Friday, May 30, 2008

Love and War

(A Will and Diana Adventure)

Will shifted in his saddle and frowned at the horizon. “Seems like we should’ve been there already.”

“It can’t be much farther,” Diana said. “We’re almost to Don Reymundo’s lands.”

“That’s what worries me.”

Diana fumbled in her saddlebag and pulled out a compass, squinting at the markings in the bright glare of the sun.

“We don’t need that,” Will told her. “The river has been to our left the whole time, so we can’t have passed it.”

They continued in silence for another mile, intent on their mission to deliver a message to the unit monitoring Don Reymundo’s growing fiefdom. As if Don Reymundo’s land-grabbing wasn’t enough, there were rumors he had allied with at least one of the northern states of Mexico, and this could not be allowed.

Will and Diana smelled the burn before they saw it—a heavy, sickly odor of more than just wood. Mingled into the charcoal smell of burnt cottonwoods was the choking scent of scorched plastic, trash, and flesh.

He and Diana kicked their horses into a trot. Ahead, they could make out the charred trunks of trees, the blackened walls of a small adobe dwelling, and the remains of a corral.

“Was this it, do you think?” Diana asked as she walked her horse through the ashes, skirting the grisly remains of humans and animals.

Will rested a hand on his gun, looking around as if there might be arsonists among the remains. Diana was about to tease him for his caution when a sound by the river caught her attention. She drew her gun and edged her horse closer to Will’s as a dirty figure dragged himself out of the brush by the water.

“Stay where you are,” Will shouted. “Who are you?”

The man looked at them with the pained expression of a wounded animal. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He dragged himself a few more feet and collapsed with a whimper.

While Will kept his gun trained on the stranger, Diana jumped to the ground and approached him. She squatted by his side but made no move to touch him because what had looked from a distance like mud and soot was something else entirely.

“He’s burnt pretty bad,” she said. “He needs help.”

Will dismounted and fumbled in his saddlebag for his canteen. He gave it to Diana, eyeing the man skeptically while she tried to get him to drink. “I don’t think there’s much we can do.”

Diana sat back on her heels with a sigh. “I know. It’s just—”

“See if he can tell us his name and what happened.”

Diana wet her bandanna and moistened the man’s lips, leaning in close so she could hear his whispered words. She murmured encouragement as he answered her questions and when he had nothing more to say, she asked if he had any message for his next of kin.

The man mumbled something, but she couldn’t make it out, so she asked him to repeat himself. Instead, he shook his head and fell silent.

“Do you want to do it, or should I?” Will asked.

Diana got to her feet and walked away. She had gone only a little way when she heard the shot and stopped. When Will joined her, he found her staring at the river. Her eyes were wet and when she turned to look at him, she swiped at her nose.

“What did he say?” Will asked.

“That Don Reymundo’s people did this. They took some of our people away as prisoners.”

“That's just what we need. A rescue mission.”

“His name was Jacinto Torres. He had a daughter.”

“What’s her name? Where is she? Did he have a message for her?”

Diana shook her head. “She was with Don Reymundo’s people.”

“So was this guy one of ours or not?”

“He was ours.”

Will fell silent, pondering the implications. Finally he said, “Well, I guess the message we were supposed to deliver is pretty useless now.”

“I guess so.”

“We’ll bury him, then go back and tell central command what happened.”

Diana nodded and looked around at the blackened landscape. “Hard to believe people who are supposed to love each other could do something like this.”

“Mother always says war is hell.”

“But why—”

“Don’t ask. You’ll make yourself crazy trying to understand other people.” Will tugged at his hat, then reached for her hand. “Come on. We’ve got a job to do.”

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On Vacation and New Blog

Well, I had hoped to have more content than this before launching the blog for my new novel, but I wanted to leave my friends with something to look at while I’m out of town, so here it is: Steal Tomorrow. Each of the sidebar links has at least some content, and more will be added, perhaps even while I’m on vacation. I’m a veteran road traveler and can stare out the window for hours, but even I can only find so much stimulation in the flat, empty spaces of West Texas!

I’ll be adding tribe and character profiles, pictures, random bits of information, and outtakes throughout the summer. When I’m happy with the main story, I’ll post it, as well. I might even do some flash fiction based on the characters. Since the blog is so new and I still haven't settled into any fixed notions about what or how it should be, thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Also, for any of my writing friends who don’t frequent my Tri-Bunny blog, be sure to stop by my vacation blog for the next couple of weeks. I’ll be posting pics and an accounting of my adventures nightly, wherever we have connectivity.

See you in two weeks!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My draft weighs in at 101K. Things will get cut, things will get added, and numbers will change. It's a dark but fun story and I'm looking forward to getting it tidied up so I can start sharing it.

I started writing some web content and I should have enough to publish the blog before I leave on vacation. We've decided to board the bunny at the vet's, so we're heading out Friday or Saturday.

More in a day or two!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

100K and Almost There!

I broke 100K tonight (Monday). I'll be writing the last scene Tuesday night and then its time to put this puppy away for a couple weeks while I write web content for it and go on vacation (bunny permitting).

I'm looking forward to having some cool things to share very soon. I've been tinkering madly with my new blog and I have some pictures to work on for it, so I could have a url ready as soon as Wednesday!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dropping In

I apologize for the recent lapses in posting. Transitioning out of my old job, getting ready for vacation, dealing with a sick pet, and trying to finish my novel before I leave town have taken their toll on what little "free" time I have.

I'm at 95K on my word count and will probably finish the draft very close to 100K. Where it will end up after editing is hard to say.

I've started a blog for this project and friend Thomma's recent blog template escapades made me realize I'm not the only writer who can easily get sucked into making banners and mucking around with HTML and CSS codes. Right now I have a background image that is refusing to obey the no-repeat command. Nice. But I'll keep looking for a way to fix it because I'm stubborn that way and because one of my friends at work runs the university's web tech group. I have contacts. Insider knowledge and expertise. So why is it so much more fun to muddle with it myself? I get plenty of opportunities to cuss in real life. I don't need blogger for that.

Anyway, since I'm almost done with my first draft, I'll be taking a break soon to write some website content for the new blog. I'll have info about the story premise, the characters, etc, as well as photographs and other cool things. I'm leaning heavily toward publishing the whole story online once I've been through a couple good edits and a beta read or two. So look for more info about this project soon!

Monday, May 12, 2008


I broke 90K on my novel this weekend! I'm definitely on track for finishing before I go on vacation, now that my vacation got pushed back a week because of my new job.

I've started a spiffy new blog where I'll post preview information about the new novel, and maybe even post the whole novel itself. I'm still divided on whether or not to seek publication and I'll know more once I've taken a break from it and started my revisions. But in general, I'm leaning more and more toward being a committed web and POD publisher until retirement gives me the time I would need to be successful in the world of traditional publication.

I'm not posting my new blog url yet, since it's still under construction. If time permits, I'll have the bare-bones version available for viewing before I leave later this month. I'll start populating it with information about characters and locations upon my return. It's hard to keep from working on it because it's a fresh and new creative project, which always gets me excited and eager to do everything right away. Patience is not my strong suit by a long shot!

But for now, patience is necessary. Time spent creating banners in PhotoShop for the blog is time not spent finishing the draft.

If only there were just a few more hours in the day!