Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sample Saturday - August 16, 2014

Welcome back to Sample Saturday. Last week I entirely blew off posting a sample. I'm sorry. I believe it's because I was so caught up in the problem of a friend's novel being stolen and plagiarized that I could think of nothing else. I also think I was a bit wary of that or any other person stealing my scenes. I have to undergo that risk, however, for the good of my readers.

In this sample, Ben Owen leaves for war.

Ben signed his name, then took the uniform that had been made by the ladies of the town especially for the men of the Mount Jackson Rifles, which they also named “Allen’s Infantry,” in honor of he who was their captain. Ella Ruth’s own cousin. He swallowed the bile that arose upon thinking of her name and their last encounter.

He went behind the church and found that he was not the only man in the company with the same idea for privacy. He chuckled wryly, then shucked his ordinary clothing and dressed himself in the finery befitting an infantryman. He stowed his regular clothes in a haversack that had been provided to him for the purpose of trucking some of his accoutrements about. After that, he went to find his mother.

“Don’t worry for my sake,” he told her, holding her hand and stroking it. “This won’t last long. The shine won’t be off our tent pegs before you’ll see us come marchin’ down that road and home.”

Ma seemed a bit assured by his joke and made a little noise he took for a laugh, but the sound was very faint among all the conversations going on in the square. She looked around.

“Did your girl come?”

Ben scowled. Up to just a few minutes ago, he had attempted not to think about Ella Ruth’s absence. Now Ma’s innocent question brought a flood of pain. “She won’t be comin’. She rejected my offer of marriage.” The words cut deep.

Ma squeezed his hand and said in a low voice, “I’m sorry, son.” Her face showed her deep concern as she tried to comfort him.

He tried to grin to reassure her that he didn’t care anymore. The grimace he produced hurt his lips. “Never mind, Ma.” He patted her hand. He’d tried so hard not to remember the gash in his soul as he had prepared for this day.

He inhaled and mentally shook himself. Never mind, indeed. He had much better things to occupy his thoughts from now on.

“You behave, now,” Ma said, emphasizing her statement by shaking on his hand. “Go to church services as often as you can. I hear Mr. Jackson is a godly man. You hold him for your example.”

“Old Jack?” Ben saw the question on his mother’s face. “I hear tell that’s what the men call the general, Ma. ‘Jack,’ from his surname, Jackson.”

“That’s a mite disrespectful, don’t you reckon?”

“If that’s the worst he’s called, he’ll be mighty lucky, Ma.” He turned as he heard a bugle call. “Hear that sound? I have to go now. Give my regards to Pa and the young’uns. Tell Peter his time will come, and not to hurry into anything.” He let go of her hand, gave her shoulders a quick squeeze, and moved away, forming up with his squad in a line.

Then they marched away, followed by a baggage wagon full of tents and the accoutrements they could not carry on their persons.


Thank you for visiting! Please stay tuned for information about the online launch party for GONE FOR A SOLDIER on September 18. Come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foremen, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her last published book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

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