Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Author's Description: "Forgotten"

Author's Description:  "Forgotten"

    "Forgotten" is a tale derived from a section of "Search For Yesterday" where Kid finds the remains of an extinct people.  It has its beginning in fifteenth century Mexico, on the tail end of the Spanish Conquest.  In the story, the secret of the fabled "Seven Aztec Cities of Gold" sought by conquistadors for centuries, is revealed.  In an effort to protect their threatened existence from an angry Earth God, Dante Cristobal, the chosen royal grandson of both Cortez and Montezuma is snatched from his Spanish world, and prepared to lead a treasure laden expedition far into northern lands in search of a place to build a new secret city. 
     In this thrilling look back in time, the complete story of Kid's hidden valley unfolds, explaining the mystery surrounding his fascinating discoveries there.

Book Status:  First draft of the manuscript is complete, time of submittal undetermined at this point.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Author's Description: "Posey Dawson"

Set in the early 1890's.  When forced to move to a new town with his family, seventeen year old Posey Dawson meets with humiliating rejection in his attempts to fit in with his peers.  Finally, after repeated clashings with his parents, he sets out seeking freedom from the rigid constraints of his father's rules.  Upon entering the town of Fillmore Utah, he unwittingly steps into a web of twisted lies, and in his quest to recapture his lost nerve, quickly makes himself an enemy of Reese Johnson, step son and Ram Rod of Rex Kensington, the richest, most powerful rancher in the territory.  Mavenee, Kensington's daughter, a beautiful, yet different girl from any Posey had known, befriends him, becoming party to the tumultuous whirlwind of exciting events that follow, forcing Posey down a path of hair raising escapades, wherein he discovers not only the substance he is made of, but also the tangled net of lives that had been its source.  Leaving Grantsville Utah a presumptuous, head strong boy, Posey Dawson weaves an unpredictable path through Central Utah, east through the wild territory of West Central Colorado to a place where his inception and fate collide to make him a formidable man.

Current Status:  This manuscript is in pre-submittal stage, and will be submitted for publishing in the coming year, most likely on the heals of  "Trail of the Damned".  Anticipated release day somewhere near Spring of 2014

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sample Preview Book 1 "Search For Yesterday"

By the time we caught up with the wagons each night, camp was set up and supper ready. We took turns staying with the herd while the others ate supper in camp, taking alternating watches through the night.
One night on the Kansas plain it was my turn to stay alone. We had tucked the cattle up into a ravine in some good grass along a tiny stream. I watched with hunger pains knifing at the empty bottom of my stomach as the boys headed toward the wagons.
“We’ll try and get somebody to rustle you up some grub, Kid,” Jake teased.
“Hey, Kid. This here’s Cherokee country. Don’t be lettin’ no Injuns run our cows off,” Chase added. “If they do come ’round, you best have somethin’ to give ’em, so be thinking about it.”
Thinking about it, I thought to myself, trying not to appear scared. Even though I knew he was just having fun with me, from the second he said it, I could think of nothing else. The breeze drifted out from camp, carrying with it the smell of smoke mixed with barbeque in sporadic waves. I was as hungry as a bear, and the intoxicating aroma was doing a number on me.
Just as I was turning Red for another pass along the rim of the ravine, I heard the sound of dropping hoofs on the baked clay behind me. Instantly my heart was in my throat and every hair on my body keenly alert. Coming from downwind, the sound had been masked until it was too late, catching me completely by surprise. Red nickered with excitement, sensing he was going to have company, but all I could think of was what Chase had said about having something to trade.
The dark form of a horse became visible, but I was unable to make out who or what was riding it.
“There you are!” My panic instantly changed to relief upon hearing Gina’s voice. I had been near the point of seeing stars from the labored breathing caused by my trepidation, and after hearing her voice, it got worse. I was suddenly struggling for breath, but for a whole different reason, and tried desperately to regain composure before she reached me.
“I must have missed the direction in the dark,” she said, smiling. “I wandered clear down that way before figuring it out.” She gestured back behind her with her head, as her hands were completely occupied with the reins and a large basket she carried.
“You alone?” I finally managed to get out, my voice quaking anxiously.
“Yeah, Chase said you were looking awful hungry… ‘peaked’ was the word he used. So I brought you something. This basket was getting heavy, so I’m real glad I found you.”
Calmed down some but still nervous to be alone with her, I slid down to help her off her horse, first taking the basket and holding her horse while she dismounted. I had been riding with the boys so much that I hadn’t seen her or Nell except around the camp, only talking with either of them a couple of times, and briefly at that. There was something unsettling about both of them, though, and I liked it. I wanted desperately to say the right things whenever they were around, but so far I had been painfully pathetic in all my attempts. Only a day earlier I had tried nonchalantly to respond to something Gina had asked about Red and managed only to get out a twisted form of gibberish. After several tries I was in such a breathless frenzy that to avoid further embarrassment, I simply turned and ducked away. Now, all of a sudden and out of the blue, here she was again, and I was already bracing for disaster.
“I brought ribs and Dutch-oven potatoes,” Gina announced, breaking the uncomfortable silence as she opened the basket.
I tied the horses and returned to where she had laid plates and food out on a blanket.
“We already said grace back at camp, so you can just help yourself to what you like.” Even in the darkness I couldn’t help admiring her, and there I was with the golden opportunity that I had been wishing for, for weeks, and all I could do was stare at all those messy ribs, wondering how I was going to sit there and eat them with her watching.
“You stayin’?” I asked, catching her eyes expectantly watching me.
“Well, I planned to, but if you’d rather, I can head back and leave you to it.”
Panic struck again as I fumbled for words to fix my blunder.
“No! You don’t have to go. I…” I was really flaming, and she knew it. “I just wondered if you were goin’ to be eatin’ too.”
She smiled, and in the moonlight I saw the delight in her eyes as she quipped back, “There are two plates. Did you figure on using them both?” She laughed comfortably, and suddenly I felt my heart slowing to a manageable beat.
I’m going to be all right. She likes me. Wow…and even after the stupid things I’ve said.
Sitting on the blanket, we filled our plates and began to eat. I put off eating the ribs on a couple of accounts. First, because for some weird reason I felt the need to start my potatoes first, and secondly, because I feared the mess the ribs would make of my face. After a minute watching me, she called me on it. “What’s wrong with the ribs?”
“Nothin’. I just like to eat my potatoes first.”
She wasn’t buying it and continued to press.
“I’m startin’ to think you don’t like my cookin’.”
Now I didn’t believe for a second that she was really the one who had actually cooked the ribs, but I wasn’t saying it. I just looked back at her all blank and baldfaced, like I’d been caught in my unders, not knowing rightly what to say. She reached down and took a sloppy rib off the top of her pile and with a mischievous gleam in her eyes put it up to her face, smearing grease and sauce all over her mouth, before finally tearing a chunk off with her teeth.
“Mmmm… so good!”
Then she bit into it again and ripped a large strip of dripping meat off the bone. It was so big that she had to use her hand to push it all into her mouth, and by the time she got it all in she was laughing so hard I thought she would blow sauce out her nose.
All that mess on her face, with her cheeks bulging like they’d pop, and her laughing through it all magically set me right at ease. I took one from my own plate and joined her, eating until we were full and talking as if we’d been friends forever, while not minding at all each other’s sloppy faces. Gina handed me a small cloth rag she had brought along for cleaning up, and I wiped my face and hands.
The stock needed to be checked on, as it had been over two hours since I had last been with them. Inviting her to ride along, I led the way down into the ravine where we found them spread out some, as I expected they might be, so we rode beyond them and pushed the wanderers back.
“What’s it like not remembering?” she asked. “I mean, how do you know who you are?” From her apologetic tone, I could tell she wondered if she had spoken out of turn.
“Is that too forward?” she hurriedly asked.
She had come from completely out of the blue with her question as we rode along in silence, and truthfully, I was a little taken back.
“No, it’s okay to ask,” I said, hesitating momentarily as I tried to come up with a sensible response. “I guess I’m figurin’ it out as I go. Every day I learn somethin’ about myself—what I like or can do, or stuff I can’t do. Right now, Red and this hatchet”—I hesitated, patting the hatchet hanging on the side of my saddle—“are the two things I know I’m good at.”
“Speaking of that hatchet”—she hesitated—“when you say it’s something you do, what exactly do you mean? I mean, do you chop wood with it? What?”
“Yeah, but mostly I throw it.”
“At what?”
“What do you mean ‘at what?’ Trees, stumps. Whatever I want. I guess I could hunt with it if I needed to.”
“Will you show me sometime?”
“Maybe, but it feels weird doin’ it in front of folks. But yeah, I guess I could show you.”
Satisfied with the promise, she returned to her more serious line of questioning from before and asked, “What about your folks? You must wonder if you’ve got kin somewhere?”
The moon had peeked back through the clouds again, and I could see her eyes bright with interest as she asked her questions.
“By the time I saw my folks there wasn’t enough left to get a good look at them, but when we laid them down and Ben prayed over their graves, I felt somethin’ really miraculous…almost like someone was holdin’ me tight.” I swallowed hard as my voice became foggy and tears welled in my eyes. “It’s kinda hard to explain.” I choked a little, and she reached, over placing her hand on mine.
“Do you think maybe they were there…in spirit I mean?”
Her suggestion came as a surprise, but not in a strange way. It more peaked my curiosity than anything.
“I’m not really sure I understand. What do you mean ‘in spirit’?”
Thinking for a minute, she replied, “Pa says that when someone dies their body loses something inside that gives them life. That essence inside of them is their spirit. Does that make sense?”
“Yeah, I guess so, but I’m still a bit cloudy on what a spirit is. Are you talkin’ about a ghost?”
“Uh-uh…yeah, but well…yeah! Just think of your spirit as a ghost that looks like you. It fits inside you like your hand fits inside your glove, and when you die, your spirit moves away and returns to God.”
“So you think maybe my folks might have stayed around to see me and that’s what I felt?”
“Yeah, I do. They’re still alive, just in another form, and probably lingered a little while, knowing you needed them. That’s a pretty big deal, Kid. You know?” After a moment of contemplation, she asked, “So…what else?”
“What else what? I replied. “You’ve got to be more specific than that.”
“About you. What else can you tell me about you?” Gina seemed pleased with herself, having me backed up against a wall where she could squeeze whatever she wanted out of me.
“Wow, I don’t know. I’m so blank inside when it comes to what’s behind me I can’t really say. I couldn’t even tell you what I look like, other than I’m pretty tall. I saw myself reflected in the window a few times back at the Halladays’ home, and it’s hard to get a good feel for how I am, lookin’ all starved like I was.”
“You did look a little slim when I first saw you, but after what you went through, that was to be expected, I think.”
“So what about now? Do I look different? Or changed from before?”
“Yeah…you seem different, but in a good way.”
“How so?”
“Well, when I first saw you, you seemed distant and withdrawn. Your eyes seemed to be way back in your head, your skin was drawn, and you sagged a little, like you were unsure.”
“I kinda was, you know; still am, really.”
“Yeah, but it was different. Now you stand straight and you’re confident in what you do, except with us girls.” She laughed, and I flushed, hearing that my insecurities were so transparent.
“Oh, so you caught onto that, did you? So what else?”
“Well, you’re a lot more than a tall boy who’s missed some meals, that’s for sure. You’ve got the most tender brown eyes I think I’ve ever seen, and your hair! I’m so jealous of it; it’s just not fair. I swear, sometimes it’s all I can do to keep from grabbing a handful, just to see what it feels like.”
“Is it really that big a deal to you?” I asked, lifting my hat and leaning her direction. “Here, go a head and have at it if you want.”
“No! Really?” she gasped. “Seriously?” Taken by surprise, she giggled, seeming to lose some of her nerve.
“Come on. What’s stoppin’ you? You said you wanted to.”
Tentatively, she reached up and eased her fingers into my hair.
“So? Is it what you hoped?”
“Stop it!” She laughed, quickly withdrawing her hand and slapping me hard on the shoulder. “Don’t ruin it for me.” She ran her fingers up past my ear and then back down again, lingering for just a second with her fingertips against my neck.
“Okay, I said you could touch my hair, nothin’ else!”
She tried to slap me again, when from the rim above, Chase’s voice rang out.
“Kid, you down there?”
“Yeah, just comin’ up.”
“Somebody’s worried about little sis,” I teased, giving her horse a hard slap on the rump.
He jumped and she screamed, nearly losing her balance. “I’ll get you for that,” she warned, bouncing up the trail.
“It’ll be my pleasure.”

For the chance to read Search For Yesterday in its entirety, keep an eye on the "Book Watch" section of my blog for release dates and locations where e-books as well as hard copy editions will be available.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Two: Trail Of The Damned

Trail Of The Damned begins in upstate New York, and travels across country in a thrilling story of adventure, friendship, family, and love.  Taking place in a simultaneous time line, parallelling "Search For Yesterday", this epic tale fills in the forgotten gap in time, introducing events, and people which surround Kid before and after the tragic loss of his home, family, and his memory of everything connected to them..
Deacon Wells, Uncle to Kid on his mother's side, arrives in Missouri to find only a burnt home, and grave markers where his Rose Marie Lambert, his only living family and her husband had built their farm.  He finds a crinkled note, at the abandoned Halladay home which sets him on the trail of the mob who killed them, praying he reaches them before they find his nephew.
In the end, he questions his motives, wondering if finding his nephew will be enough to erase the blood from his own hands.

Current Status:  This manuscript is still in pre-submittal stage.  I will likely submit it to the publisher within six months of Search For Yesterday's release in hopes of making it available by the holiday season of 2013.