Friday, November 11, 2011

Regrets? Oh, a Few

Today the Pens welcome local writer friend Ann Parker, whose latest book, MERCURY'S RISE, is wowing critics including Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. We're so glad Ann took time out of a trip to Colorado to join us!

- - - - - - - - - - -

First, I want to thank Pens Fatales, and especially Sophie Littlefield, for hosting me on this stop of my virtual tour for MERCURY’S RISE, the fourth of my Silver Rush historical mystery novels.

Second, a few words (and a couple of songs) on the topic of regrets. Pondering the topic gave me a chance to slow down in my crazy move-as-fast-as-you-can-and-then-even-faster life, and think back.

Because that’s what regrets are about, right? Looking back, and wishing at some level that things had turned out differently… whatever that means.

Okay, let’s go for the official Oxford Dictionary Online definition:
Regret: A feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.

Has happened. Has been done. Regret is all about looking into the past.

And hey, I write about the past (the 1880s to be exact). I suppose that means the topic of regrets—their causes and their results—are right up my alley, so to speak. When I think of regrets, the song “My Way” (sung by Frank Sinatra) immediately pops to mind. (I believe my mother must have played “Sinatra’s Greatest Hits” or some such on a regular basis, because this was truly my first thought). Check out this rendition (you’ll need to get past Sinatra’s initial grumbling, but he does eventually burst into song):

Part of life, I figure, is learning to deal with regrets and coming to terms with all the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” stuff and accept (with grace and gratitude) what one does have. Mick Jagger, another singer but for a different generation, put it succinctly: “You can’t always get what you want… you get what you need.”

You can hear the whole song as it was first performed on television in the clip below. (Note: This is the Rolling Stones back in the late 1960s, so if you’re into vintage fashion and hairstyles, you may find this… entertaining? Slightly amusing? And whoa, Mick Jagger looks sooooo yoooooung.)

Another way to deal with regrets is to embrace the philosophy of my protagonist, Inez Stannert. Inez runs the Silver Queen Saloon in 1880s Leadville, Colorado. She believes that the past is gone and one should focus on the future. I like to describe Inez as a woman with a mysterious past, a complicated present, and an uncertain future. Part of the “mystery” of her past comes from the fact that she prefers not to think about it… or at least, certain parts of it. She’s learned that, to survive, it’s sometimes necessary to reinvent oneself and to keep moving forward without looking back.

So, does Inez have regrets?

On the one hand, she has, in some ways, made a hash of her life. On the other hand, given all the shenanigans and dead bodies falling around her, it’s not as if she has much time or inclination to ponder and regret.

Still, I wonder. If she were of a contemplative nature and had time to reflect on past decisions, would she regret:

1. Turning her back on her family to elope with smooth-talkin’, good-lookin’ gambler / con man Mark Stannert, back in 1868?
2. Settling down in Leadville after a decade of roaming with Mark and their business partner Abe Jackson?
3. Not looking a little harder for Mark when he disappeared without a trace in the spring of 1879?
4. Sending her eight-month-old son back East to live with her sister, while remaining in Leadville to run the saloon and to await word of Mark’s whereabouts?
5. Starting an affair with the mysterious Reverend Sands?
6. Staying put in Leadville and not running away with Sands when she had the chance?
7. Not moving a little faster on getting a divorce from her absent husband?
8. Digging into some of those mysterious deaths that seem to occur with great regularity around her?


Guess you’ll have to read MERCURY’S RISE to learn the answers to at least some of these questions about Inez, her past, and her regrets!


Ann Parker is a California-based science/corporate writer by day and an historical mystery writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush series, featuring saloon-owner Inez Stannert, is set in 1880s Colorado, primarily in the silver-mining boomtown of Leadville. The latest in her series, MERCURY’S RISE, was released November 1. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Parker smoothly mixes the personal dramas and the detection in an installment that’s an easy jumping-on point for newcomers.” Library Journal adds, “Parker’s depth of knowledge coupled with an all-too-human cast leaves us eager to see what Inez will do next. Encore!” Learn more about Ann and her series at

MERCURY’S RISE and the other Silver Rush mysteries are available from independent booksellers,, and Barnes and Noble.

Leave a comment on this post to be eligible to win a Silver Rush mystery prize! To see the rest of Ann’s blog tour schedule, check out her Appearances page.


Rachael Herron said...

Oooh! That Inez sounds like an interesting woman. I'll look forward to reading this! Thanks for being with the Pens today!

Anonymous said...

There's not a person alive who doesn't have at least some regrets. I suspect Inez has various feelings about events in her past, and that perhaps those feelings change as current events change. Something may not seem too bad until something in the present makes you see it in a different light!

Sandra (still posting, even if without reason any more)

Sophie Littlefield said...

So glad you're here today ann - hope you are enjoying colorado!

Juliet Blackwell said...

Welcome to the Pens, Ann! I *love* Inez, and the whole cast of characters (especially the town, a real character itself!) Can't wait to read your latest in such a wonderful series!

Ann Parker said...

Hello everyone! I'm sitting here in Colorado Springs, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Manitou, where MERCURY'S RISE takes place! :-D
And thank you, Sophie, Juliet, and Rachel, for your kind welcome and words about the series and Inez!
Hi Sandra! There's always a reason to post... you have such interesting things to say! And you're right about Inez: Something she didn't regret "back when" can come back with a vengeance and cause her to think differently later on.
True of everyone, right? :-)

Dani said...

It's okay to have regrets, Inez. Just don't act on them! Especially when it comes to luvvvvvv. ;)

Gigi Pandian said...

Congratulations on the new release, Ann! Now you've got "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in my head... ;)

Ann Parker said...

HA! Oh Dani, you know Inez's weaknesses! Oh those men. ;-)

Ann Parker said...

Hi Gigi!
You can join me and we'll sing in two-part harmony. .... ;-)

L.G.C. Smith said...

Hi Ann, and welcome to the Pens! I have to read your books. My grandmother grew up in Central City, and I love Colorado settings. And Inez does sound like quite a protagonist. I'm looking forward to getting to know her.

Ann Parker said...

Hello LGC! Thanks for the welcome! :-) How neat that your grandmother grew up in Central City! Now there's another place with a wild past. Hope you enjoy the Silver Rush series when you get a chance to try it out!

Barbara said...

Oh, interesting sounding characters! I've been looking for something new to read. I'm on it.

Ann Parker said...

Hi Barbara! Great! Let me know what you think, if you give the series a try... :-)