Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Snippet -- What's a woman to do with a logical man?

This is a snippet from the novelette I'm finishing up. Look for it on Amazon & Smashwords soon.

First draft only. Please don't quote or re-post.


“You do realize he didn’t kill Minna Gorham, right?”

Jonathon looked up and over his glasses, his pen lifting from his paperwork.  In a patient voice, as if recounting to someone who persisted in misunderstanding him, he laid out his reasoning

“Item one:  he can’t account for his whereabouts that night.  Item two:  he was seen more than once talking to Minna Gorham when it seemed to have nothing to do with his duties as groom.  Item three:  he ran.  Item four:  I don’t like his looks.  Item five:  he ran.”

“It’s all circumstantial, Sheriff,” she protested.

“Of course it is, Special Examiner.  But it allows me to question him.  And he is involved in some way, make no mistake about that.  He ran for a reason.”

He looked back to his paperwork.  Anabelle stared at him for a moment.

“Since when do you need glasses?”

“Since always,” he replied evenly without looking up.  “I guess there’s a thing or two you don’t know about me.”

She silently acknowledged the hit.  Despite four years of marriage, at least one of those which she’d spent in Derrytown, Anabelle realized she didn’t know her husband as well as she had imagined.

A flashing memory of the last time they’d spent the night together in the same bed  had her lips curving in a small, secret smile.  And some things about Jonathon she knew very well indeed.  Her smile faded.  Their strained relationship had ended those episodes.  She hadn’t realized until now just how much she missed them – how much she missed him.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Venturing onto Smashwords & Amazon

I have a new story out on Smashwords called The Unlovely Princess.  The Amazon edition will follow shortly.  The publisher is A Conspiracy of Authors.  I thought it was time I started putting out some of my work in e-book format.  Over the next few months, I will add to the list of titles.  This is a wonderful new venue for authors to be seen & build name recognition.  I should have started this a long time ago, but Life does have a way of getting between intentions and actions.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Snippet - Steampunk Short

And it's Friday again!  Here's a snippet from something I'm working on. 

First draft.  Please don't copy or re-post.

Mary is aboard a steamboat.  In this world, people use dragonets to create steampower.  This snippet is related to the one from last Friday.


A rowboat carrying three people angled toward the Celeste from the east bank.  As she watched, someone held up a sign and started shouting.  She could make out the words, Save the Dragons!, on the sign.  Mary held her breath as the steamboat rolled on, causing the small rowboat to tip dangerously in its wash.

“Fools,” she heard behind her, and turned to see Court standing nearby.  He glanced at her.  “Do they think the dragonets stand a chance in the wild, what with the direhawks from England taking over the wilderness cliffs where they breed?  There are fewer wild dragonets every year.  Letting Thia and Thalia go would be like giving them a death sentence.”

“Thia and Thalia?”

Court gave her a speculative look, then said, “Would you like to see?”

He led her down to the hurricane deck and amidships, where he opened a door into the interior of the steamship.  The engine room was noisy, and they had to nearly shout at each other to be heard.  The big walking beam engine dominated the space.  He led her to a quieter room, with glass observation windows. 
Mary looked through the windows and saw another man with a wizard’s mark standing in a room that contained two large boilers.  Two dragonets the size of small dogs zipped around the space and danced around the man like an orchestrated dance troupe. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Friday Snippet

Hi.  Another post within a week.  Wonder what's got into me?

This is a snippet from a piece of short fiction I've written.  I like the character, and want to write more stories about her.


    Her trunk loaded first.  A longshoreman shouldered the modest trunk and carried it into the steamboat.  Another tried to take the leather case her trug held.  The trug, in its lumpish simplicity, held on.  Mary Penney, alarmed, waved off the longshoreman and took the heavy leather case into her arms.
   “Watch out for that.  It’s precious cargo,” Mary told the stevedore.
   The stevedore nodded, and himself accepted the leather case.
  “Cabin, miss?” he inquired.
  “Please,” Mary said.
  She turned to her trug and pressed a molasses chew in its hand.  “Go back to the shop now, Arnie.  Do you understand?  Back to the shop.”
  Mary repeated her instructions emphatically and firmly until the trug turned and shuffled away in the right direction, pulling the wheeled flat cart she had harnessed to it to convey her trunk to the wharf.  The cart bounced and clattered on the cobblestones.  She watched for a moment, concerned that Arnie would follow her order, then turned back to the gangplank.  A woman standing nearby had the beginnings of a sneer on her face when she caught Mary’s glacial expression and found somewhere else to look.
   If I want to name my trug, what business is that of anyone else?
   Irritated, Mary turned her attention to the steamboat Celeste tied at the Memphis wharf.  The forty foot sternwheeler nudged the pilings, causing a gentle shudder through the wood under her feet.  Clutching her precious carpetbag, she navigated the short distance from wharf to steamboat, steadied by a helpful hand.  Mary turned to thank the owner of the helpful hand, a man not much older or taller than herself, dressed in trousers and a chambray shirt, and bearing the black and silver of a wizard’s mark on his right collarbone.
He grimaced when he saw her gaze linger on the mark.
   “Follows me around wherever I go,” he quipped.
   A smile tugged at her mouth.  “Rather, it proceeds you, I should say.”
   “Clever,” he said, and extended his hand.  “Bartholomew Courtney.  My friends, few though they be, call me Court.  When they are feeling particularly light-hearted, they call me Conjuring Court.”
   She shifted the carpetbag to her left and shook his hand.  He had a firm grip, which she liked.  “Mary Penney.  I, too, know the eponymous danger surrounding one’s profession.  I’m known as Mechanical Mary on the streets of Memphis.”  She shifted the light scarf around her neck, exposing the engineer’s mark, vividly blue against her pale skin.
   His gaze had sharpened on her face.  “To which you’re not native, I’ll be bound.”
   “No.  I’m from Missouri,” she admitted.
   “Since the Celeste is heading for St. Louis, might I conclude that you are going back to Missouri to visit family?”
   “No,” she said shortly.  He looked a little taken aback at her tone, and she forced a smile.  “Strictly business, I’m afraid.”
   Something in her face seemed to warn him, for he said in a light voice, “As a crewmember of this mighty steamboat, please do me the honor of allowing me to show you to your cabin.”
   He extended his left arm, crooked at the elbow, and, after a moment’s hesitation, she placed her hand inside.  No use blaming him for not knowing that I will never willingly see my family again.

Friday, June 5, 2015


I will (or to be more accurate, A Conspiracy of Authors will) be putting some of my stories on Smashwords.  When I have something to link to, I'll put a shortcut here.

I'm excited about it -- about joining ACOA and about finally doing something more with my work!