Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Small Success

   First of all, I would like to thank everyone who shared my posts announcing the countdown deal I decided to run, and especially the folks who decided to take a chance and actually purchase my story. Not only did I sell some books at the $.99 level but also a number sold during the $1.99 price point.
   Now comes the waiting to see if my writing is good (or bad) enough to illicit any reviews or comments. I have no problem with constructive feedback, either in an e-mail or a comment on my blog, as I'm always striving to improve as a writer.
   On a different note, our in-home critique group that I talked about in previous posts, is working out great. It's refreshing to be able to spend the extra time to explain not only what bothered us about a particular section of a story, but also why. The casual atmosphere of meeting in a home and since there are just the four of us, if we get off on a tangent for awhile, that's okay. We have known each other for quite a while so it's easier to share personal feelings and jab a little fun at each other during the meeting that might not be comfortable for newer members in our larger monthly public group.
   I was unable to post a blog last week because I had to deal with closing the estate of a relative who I didn't get along with. Old emotions resurfaced that needed to be addressed. That chapter in my story is now over so I can go on with my life.
   I'm sharing another short scene from my novella this week that I hope you will enjoy.
   Thanks for reading!

                        Chapter Ten ~When Darkness Falls
The sun continued on its path towards the horizon, indifferent to the plight of the companions as they hurried along the road in search of shelter for the night. The untended farmland fell behind when the road entered a sparsely wooded area unlike the dense and lush forest at the beginning of their journey.
Long skeletal fingers stretched for the sky from the tops of the stunted trees as if begging for rescue from the brackish water they were drowning in. Sickly vegetation covered their roots and spread its yellow-green leaves over the water, providing shelter for the inhabitants of the bog.
Swarms of insects formed a dark mist that flowed back and forth across the road. The companions were forced to cover their mouths and noses with cloth while attempting to swat the hordes away from their eyes. Fortunately, Aldan had recovered enough strength in his arm to hold a cloth with one hand and swat with the other.
The smell of decay and the flying denizens vanished as quickly as they had appeared as the road began a slow ascent and the land around them changed once again. Undulating hills dotted with rocks and the occasional ancient oak provided grazing for a small number of horses and cattle. A large house and barn could be seen in the distance but no trace of wood smoke rose from the chimneys.
Aldan lay in the wagon, eyes closed, tired of seeing nothing but clouds and sky. The threat of the goblins was a welcomed distraction from the other thoughts that plagued him. What must the Princess think of him now after his bonehead actions during the fight with the outlaws? How could he have been so careless? Granted, he’d never been in a fight like that before but the first thing his old master had taught him was a defensive spell to protect himself.
Attuned to the feel of power, he could sense the lingering signature of the magic used to heal him. Even now, the accelerated healing was sending short bursts of pain through his chest and then itched as the flesh mended. The feel of the magic was like nothing he had ever sensed before and that worried him. He was afraid the Princess had discovered a new source of power and would decide she no longer needed him.
Unable to lie still any longer, Aldan rolled over on his side and struggled to sit up. Odessa reached over to help him and then made room so he could lean against the sacks next to her.
“I feel like such a fool,” he muttered.
She glanced at him a moment and then continued to stare at the road behind. “What you did was foolish but you are never a fool. What really happened?”
“When I saw your life being threatened by those men, I panicked and reacted without thinking,” he confessed. “The thought of protecting myself never entered my mind.”
Regardless of what she believed, he was beginning to have serious doubts. “You and the men would probably be better off without me. You seem to be perfectly capable of taking care of yourselves.”
This time, Odessa not only turned to face him, she grabbed his head and forced him to look into her eyes. “Now you listen to me, Aldan Beaverson. We would not have made it this far without you. The only way I’ll be able to win back my kingdom is to have a mage at my side.” She paused, searching his eyes before continuing. “Don’t ever leave me. I have already lost two very special men in my life and I can’t bear the thought of losing a third.”
“Derek is coming back,” Jon called softly over his shoulder, hating the need to interrupt them. “I think he may have found something.”
Held captive by the intensity in her dark green eyes, Aldan finally tore free and moved over to lean against the side of the wagon, thinking, ‘now I feel doubly the fool’. He had spent his life in books and study, never as someone special. The idea was a little scary, but yet oddly comforting.

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