Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample: War Party

Welcome to Sweet Saturday Samples. Here's just a mouthful of my short story based on a real event, War Party:

War Party

Black smoke drew Rolla's eye, smoke where there should not be smoke. Then he heard the noise: high, piercing yips, and a woman's scream, and the flat report of gunshots.
A sand hill girdled with stunted mesquite trees blocked his view of the home place. The boy tongued the grass stem from his teeth as the dun-colored pack horse swung its head, nostrils wide, and the rope between the boy and horse tightened. Water in the barrels sloshed and splashed over the rims. Rolla smelled dank wetness as it cut through the dust on the sides of the casks.
He heard Pa's angry voice, and more shots, and the eternal yips, chilling his spine. Rolla started to run, pulling the dun behind, but the horse resisted, so he tied a fumbled knot around a mesquite branch. Then he scrambled and panted his way up the slope.
Rolla reached the top and flopped belly-down behind a tangle-branched creosote bush. He broke a stem so he could see through the shrub, and a tarry odor filled his lungs. Now he saw the source of the smoke. On the right, the dugout roof and door were ablaze, and to the left, hay stacks burned next to the corrals. The boy tried to count the dashing, milling figures with long black hair tied down by rolled bandanas, but because of the dust and smoke, he lost the total.

Thanks for visiting! Now go check out other writers' samples.


  1. Very exciting and evocative. Love your writing. Do you know that Secret Cravings Publishing has put out a call for submission for westerns? Please join our SCP family and submit a western there. We need more good writers.

  2. What a horrible thing for a boy to witness! Wonder if any of his family will survive. Great sample. :)

  3. A powerfully written scene leaving so many questionsunanswered. I'm glad he had the sense to hide and wait to see what was happening.

  4. Great first line setting up what's coming.

  5. I enjoyed the way you included all the senses in this scene--the grass stem between his teeth, smell of the creosote bush, sound of gunshots and screams, etc. You made the scene come alive.

  6. Wonderful beginning! I'm hooked just from this "mouthful," as you put it. :) I kept flashing on the flashback scene in Dances With Wolves. Want to read more please.

  7. Thanks for the tip, Jean. I appreciate your visit and your comment.

    Dianne, those were awful days, during the Indian Wars and thereafter. Thanks for coming by.

    Thanks, Sherry. There are answers in the story.

    Thanks for visiting, Oscar, and for the compliment.

    Sandy, I try to get at least a bit of several senses in each scene. That's one of the fun things about writing. Thank you for noticing. :-)

    Thank you, Jenna! All my published work is available at Amazon and This one is only 99 cents (sorry for the commercial. I forgot to put in a link). I appreciate your hankering for more.

  8. I love the description in the sample. :) The tastes and smells fill the reader's senses. :)

  9. Thanks, Rachel! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  10. Very intense. I want to read more, but I'm afraid to!

  11. Great sensory descriptions, and very intense! It read like a movie scene. I want to know what happens next! Great sample, Marsha!

  12. Thank you, Patricia. It is an intense work, but I hope you would not really be afraid to continue with it.

    Gwen, I appreciate your accolades, because I do try my best to write well.

  13. You really drew me into the scene with the vivid description of what he heard, smelled and saw

  14. VERY vivid, Marsha!! Wow.

  15. Thanks, Lindsay. I'm glad you thought the description was vivid. That's much better than long and boring. :-)

    Meg, thanks for the "wow." I appreciate it.

  16. Great post Marsha. This sound like a great start. Well done. :)
    Anna del C.
    Author of "The Silent Warrior Trilogy"


I welcome your comments.

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