The Uncial Letter ~ July 2018

In which Kenneth L. Levinson talks about a white horse…

There is something magical about Taos, New Mexico. The locals say you only come back if the Spirit of the Mountain beckons you. Fortunately, the spirit beckons my wife and me several times a year. Often, I have peculiar dreams. It isn’t clear whether they emanate from the creative forces that nurture the town or the effects of the Mexican food at places like Orlando’s or Doc Martin’s at the Taos Inn. Most likely, it doesn’t matter.

In the fall of 2015, I woke from a semi-sleep, my mind echoing the sound of three words: The White Horse. I had no idea what it meant or where it came from. I just knew it was the seed of a new story. That was the easy part. It always is. Nurturing the seed into a mature novel is the hard part.

It took a year before I had an outline of a basic plot, which included remnants of an unpublished short story I wrote decades ago on an old manual Underwood typewriter. Yes, I still have the typewriter. Not surprisingly, it can’t run Microsoft Word. I dusted off the story (but not the typewriter) and wove it into the burgeoning tale of The White Horse.

Having the outline (which consisted of an opening scene and the vague notion of an ending) was a good start, but for some reason I couldn’t get past the first two chapters. Sometimes writing is like that. You get stuck at the end of a road and can’t figure out the next step along the journey. It took another year to break the logjam. At long last, the book was ready to be written.

We spent two weeks in August at a Taos home we frequently rent. It is a wonderful place to write: a huge, sunny living room, a massive dining room table just the right height for a laptop computer, and a quietude that no hotel or bed and breakfast can provide. It has its share of quirks, such as light switches that have no knobs and, like most places in Taos, no air conditioning. But it does have a fast wifi connection.

I did little else those two weeks but write The White Horse. Two hundred pages in less than fourteen days, and not much sleep. Between spells of actual writing, I explored the internet for references to white horses—in the Bible popular culture, an historical society in Melbourne, and even a heavy metal rock band. My online wanderings also led to a spate of websites about Lippizan horses, the Byzantine empire and a Disney movie I’d never heard of. Most of these disparate items things ended up in The White Horse.

Naturally, the trip wasn’t all work. It would be unthinkable to visit Taos and not check out the usual sites: Michael’s, the Plaza, the Harwood, even the Taos Spa and Tennis Club. We did manage to take in several operas at the wonderful outdoor Santa Fe Opera House. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a regular, but she wasn’t there for any of the performances we attended. Two years ago, she spoke at the New Mexico Bar Association’s annual convention, and the executive staff was kind enough to permit me to attend. She is a captivating speaker with a brilliant mind. One of her favorite topics, aside from legal issues, is her deep friendship with the late Antonin Scalia and Derrick Wang’s one-act opera about them, Scalia/Ginsburg.

When we returned to Denver, The White Horse was finished—except, of course, for the editing, which is the most important part of the writing process. That took several months, including jousting with our beloved editor over grammar, commas and how many “howevers” are permitted in an Uncial Press book. But we got it done. And with that, I am delighted to announce the release of The White Horse.

~*~

Shortly after Uncial Press opened its virtual doors, we received a submission from Kenneth L. Levinson, a Denver lawyer. Back then we weren’t getting a lot of submissions (yet!), so it got put in the very short queue. A couple of evenings later one of our first readers started reading. Later she said she had kept reading until nearly three in the morning because she couldn’t put Final Argument down. The others agreed that it was a really good mystery and we offered for it. That was the beginning of the Adam Larsen series. This month’s release, The White Horse, is Book 7.

Adam Larsen is a well-known lawyer in Denver, Colorado. Part of his fame derives from his habit of getting embroiled in peculiar situations that often come way too close to getting him killed. This time his involvement is not entirely his fault, because all he’s doing is searching for a lost golf ball when someone tries to stab him. And so begins a bizarre adventure complicated by mystical references to a white horse that is to be feared and avoided. Adam is forced to make some choices that could destroy his career, but doing nothing could be even more dangerous—to his client, to his staff, and to himself. And along the way he must also solve the mystery of The White Horse (ISBN 978-1-60174-241-4, $6.99). Don’t miss it.

We are delighted to bring you another Ginny McBlain re-issue in August. Solemn Vows is about a pair of newlyweds who have sworn all the usual vows until death does them part. But on their honeymoon, the groom is called upon to keep an older, equally binding vow, one that could threaten their marriage. You’ll love this timeless story about the power of love and the sanctity of vows.

Whether you’re in the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere, July is a good time to curl up in the evening with a good ebook. We’ve got lots of them at Uncial Press.

Star & Jude

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