Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sample Saturday - Bloodied Leather

Some time ago, I was asked to write a short story for an anthology with the theme of boxing. With little knowledge of the sport, I took on the role of naive spectator and wrote "Bloodied Leather." I hope you enjoy this brief excerpt.

When Percy called that evening, Isabelle had no excuse not to receive him, with Papa home and sitting in the parlor reading his newspaper.

Percy launched into a spate of wheedling, trying to convince her to attend a boxing match with him. She shuddered as his face lit up at his description of what he expected to see at the championship event the next month. What attracted men to such unsavory pastimes? Why did he expect her to relish the invitation to accompany him? Would he attack her again tonight if she refused?

“Surely young ladies should not attend such lurid displays,” she answered his last plea in a soft voice, glancing at her father, hidden behind his paper.

“On the contrary, several very cultured women attended the last figh— uh, match.”

“Papa?” She turned to her parent for help.

He looked up, eyes glazed with inattention.

“What do you require, daughter?”

“Must I attend a boxing match with Percy?”

“He is your fiancé, my dear. I’m sure he knows best how you are to spend your time together.”

He paused to inhale a powder she supposed was snuff.


“Do go ahead and attend,” he replied. “It will broaden your view of life.” He waved a dismissive hand.

"Bloodied Leather" is found in the boxing anthology that, curiously, is titled two ways on Amazon. In the Kindle edition it's called Fight Card Presents: Battling Mahoney & Other Stories. The print version is called Battling Mahoney & Other Stories. As you can see, the cover replaces the ampersand with the word and. To me, this is a reminder to be consistent.

Come back next week for another sample.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sample Saturday - Something totally different

Welcome to Sample Saturday. From time to time I get the hankering to bust out of my usual routine and do something a bit different. That's how I feel as I'm setting this post up, so here's a thing I don't usually do. I'm announcing future plans.

When I finish writing The Zion Trail, I will work on a piece that will fit in the "Owen-verse" after Gone for a Soldier.

I call it "a piece" because I don't know the length yet, and the "Owen-verse," shorthand for the "Owen Family Universe," refers to works that specifically fit within "The Owen Family Saga," and works that are somehow related, but don't deal with the principal family members. Clear?

For example, The Zion Trail actually is a distant part of the "Owen-verse," since Elijah Marshall and Julia Owen are first cousins. However, I don't plan any characters to cross over from the Saga, nor will I label it an Owen story.

With all that said, I'm undecided on how to label companion works to indicate they are connected to the Saga, but not part of the Saga. If I call something "An Owen-verse Story" or "An Owen-verse Novel," would you understand what I mean?

I'm open to suggestions.

Back to my plans. The new piece will deal with a character from Gone for a Soldier who is not an immediate family member. I trust the story will bring the character hope and happiness. And since this is Sample Saturday, I'll give you a sample of artwork for the cover.

Thanks for coming. I'll have a regular sample for you next week.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Zion Trail - Sample Saturday

Welcome back to Sample Saturday. Lije Marshall and the family continue their preparations for their trip.

Before noon rolled around, we had readied the wagon and put both horses in harness. John led them to the front of the house while I went to the kitchen to tell Ma we were ready.

"What will you wear, son?" she asked, looking me over. "Those clothes will do for travel, but there's the matter of the service to consider."

I slapped my forehead and climbed the ladder to get my Sunday duds. I wrapped them inside my bedding, then performed the same task for John, tying our bundles closed with bits of string. When I'd brought them down to the ground floor, I went to say my goodbye to Pa.

He sat up in bed, propped against two pillows. I wondered if he should be upright, but perhaps he would get into a more restful position once we had left.

At his invitation, I hugged him with care, then shook his hand. I saw a curious hunger in his eyes as he kept my hand in his.

"I wish I were going with you, son. Pay good heed at the preaching." He gripped my hand firmly, then released it, and I understood he hungered for spiritual sustenance.

"I will, Pa," I assured him, and took my leave.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed today's sample. If you did, you'll probably want to sign up for my quarterly newsletter, "Marsha's Musings." Subscribers are among the first to learn of developments in my writing and publishing schedule. You also learn about sales and discounts, too. Click here for the subscription form. See you next Saturday!
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