Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Walking in Heaven's Shadow

Heh. I'm back! It was a tough winter but summer has arrived in all its 90-degree glory,
and I am reveling in it. The air hereabouts will make you giddier than a toddler on helium right now, so full of the scent of peonies and new-mown hay and sun-warmed pines you want to just keel over and breathe all day in appreciation. I suppose I would feel differently if I had hay fever, but fortunately, Mama Nature gifted me with a nose oblivious to pollen. Soon I will wander out into the sunshine that wilts half the people I know and mow my yard in the middle of the day instead of sensibly waiting until evening. Evening is for riding, when the horses regain sufficient pep from their afternoon tail-swishing naps.

Living where I do, on 20 acres of mostly pasture and a small (and growing) patch of mixed fir and pine trees, really does feel like Heaven to me. And I suppose, given my up-and-down state of health, it is sort of like living in Heaven's shadow, because I have no idea how much longer I will get to enjoy it. But none of us do, so I am tickled I lived long enough to see another Triple Crown winner (yessss!!), to watch the shoots off my grandfather's yellow rose bushes bloom again and spread their perfume around my house, and to sit on my deck in the slow cooling of the evening and watch the old doe who comes every dawn and dusk to pick her way through my pasture.

I have also had more time recently to get back to the business of writing. A new short story Sunday (woohoo!) and steady forward progress on revising my epic fantasy/soft SF series "Fate's Arrow." Oh, how I want those out of the drawer! And, the nastier side of the writing biz: drumming up book sales. I have been a piker about promoting my own books because, just like everybody else, I don't want to read constant "buy me!" stuff on author's blogs. I am not keen on doing that to my readers, either. It is, however, necessary, if one does not want to die unread, so I've been prepping for blog tours today, and ran across this excerpt from my Civil War ghost story/fantasy, not coincidentally named "In Heaven's Shadow." It still makes me smile.
“Lilith!” Joab roared on top of Bert’s, “Miz Stark!”
Bert disappeared from the doorway. Joab stepped toward her; she tried to hush herself up but couldn’t manage it. Her ribs hurt and she couldn’t breathe, and still the giggles just kept bubbling up out of her. Pretty soon she caught a wispy movement in the corner of her eye and saw the giggles turning to little floaty sparks bouncing around her like soap bubbles. The nearside mule snorted at one and bounced it back toward her. It splatted into another one, and they rained light all over the dirt in the barnyard and laid there, glowing sort of silvery gold.
“What in hell…?” 
That was Bert, arrived in the yard still clutching his pistol and staring like an owl. Lilith knew she couldn’t explain if she tried all year. She gave up on the notion and just let the giggles take her. 
Joab squatted down in the dirt beside her. “Come on now, pull yourself together. Bert thinks you’re loonier than Abe Lincoln. What’s the matter with you?” 
Lilith tried to stop but discovered she couldn’t. She fought to take a deep breath and get control of herself. Her lungs seemed locked up somehow, and she just couldn’t stop laughing. “Hysterical,” Joab muttered, sounding so disgusted that Lilith wanted to slap him but couldn’t manage that, either. 
She floundered around, trying to get to her feet, and found Bert Cummings waving a hand down in her face. She reached up to take it. 
“Lilith Stark! What in the name of God are you doing?”
Even the mules shied from the outrage in the Reverend Fisk’s voice.
You can find the whole thing anywhere books are sold, but this link goes to Amazon. I would be tickled if you'd give it a try, and if you like it, how about a review? Thanks!

I promise to do another Horses in Fiction very soon, perhaps Thursday. Does anybody want a particular question answered?

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