I’m working on several stories (you should never work on just one – for me, at least, when a story is finished there’s a sort of ‘grieving’ period where I feel lost and at loose ends. The work is finished, the characters, whom I’ve come to love, don’t need me any more, the story is set. So it’s a good idea to have something waiting in the wings.)
I’d had quite a hiatus from writing (see my post ‘Monsoon’) and things are starting up again, rather nicely. I have four books available for purchase (check out the links) and more are underway, as follows:
This is another Civil War story, set in far western Virginia around 1864. It’s told from the viewpoint of an older man, remembering when he was eight years old and the Yankees came to town. Crowfut Gap had supported the Union, and in the third year of the war they sent to Washington to offer their assistance in the fight. They were located near one of the ‘gaps’ in western Virginia, and were in a good situation to host a garrison. The narrator is a grown man, looking back over the years…
Following the tide of memory can be risky. We turn our thoughts and emotions toward a moment in our past, recalling it through the eyes of memory and feeling it with our beings that lived through the moment and beyond and bringing to bear on that act of recollection the subsequent knowledge that our lives have brought us. The moment is not the same. We know too much now, we are able to see where we were before it, and where we went after it had its influence on us. We risk stepping into bitterness, the sense of the hollowness of hopes and dreams.If we had the chance to relive the moments that we thought were the turning points of our lives, how many of us would behold them unchanged? Many of us would say, “I wasn’t so desperate then,” or, “If I had known how swiftly my happiness would flee,” or perhaps, “I was so deluded at the moment – and I didn’t know.”And yet, as I sit here at my desk, I can turn the eyes of my memory back to one moment that remains in every particular just as it was at the time I experienced it. It hasn’t changed at all. If I could step backward, turn and enter that specific date and time, seeing it through the eyes of a grown man. I would feel the same way, see the same things, speak the same words. But maybe, knowing what I know now, there would be an added spice, the ability to sit back and say, Yes, that is how it was. I remember the feelings. I feel them now. That was then, this is now, but that moment so strongly ties them together, it is present and as strong as ever.So, then, the moment.
It’s a tale of action and revenge, and a love story.
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I’m also working on two Egyptian stories. One, The Jubilee, is a sequel to Pharaoh’s Son and follows the characters from that story. Ramesses II is celebrating a jubilee, bringing all his sons and nobles to Memphis for the festivities, arranged by Khay, who was High Priest of Path and Vizier. The Crown Prince of the Hittite empire is coming, and there is a hint of intrigue. This (the jubilee itself) is based on one held in Ramesses’ reign. I’ve altered the time frame.
What’s happening? I don’t know. The story is moving right along, and with me, at least, as I write new things come up and change the course of the plot details. It’s been engrossing and enjoyable.
West of Damascus in the Land of AmurruReign of Ramesses II, Twenty-Fourth YearTime is the most illusive of dimensions, never harnessed, measured only in its passing; grasped at like a treasure, it slips through the fingers like a fistful of water. To a cat, hunting on the edges of civilization, the life of a human approaches eternity. And to that human and the hundreds of other humans that may one day spring from his flesh and bone, the longest life is nothing when weighed against the unchanging rhythm of the Nile.** ** **They had been congregating to the north and to the west during the last weeks of summer, the subtle tang of approaching winter waking them to restlessness in their summer homes in Crete and Thrace. For the past month they had been gathering in larger and larger numbers, each day moving a little farther to the southeast in a path that led them through the mountains of Thrace and Achaia and across the turbulent Bosphorus.They darkened the sky for two days above the great trading city that later generations would call Troy as they moved across Anatolia, the home of the Hittite empire. They flew singing above Carchemish and Aleppo, whirled and fluttered across the ruined empire of once-great Mitanni before they turned southwest toward the warm, dry lands of north Africa. And to the west, like a vast, changing opal, the Mediterranean had shone blue and green, a provider of plentiful food, a source of moisture.They had left the Mediterranean behind them, and now they were in the highlands of Syria. The increasing thunder made the swallows stir, some fluttering several feet into the air. The sky was bright and clear, the thunder distant; they settled to the ground again and pecked among the grasses.The thunder was louder now, building, growing to a roar, bursting through the masses of birds and scattering them skyward in a living, moving swath of shadows.Hooves pounded on the hard soil, clouds of dust half-obscuring the flash and glitter of weapons, the glint of sun upon glossy hide, linen armor and scales of bronze, the blaze of white-rimmed eyes and distended nostrils.The flock whirred upward, scattered like specks of soot and was gone as the horses and chariots pounded through it.Arrows sang through the air, the clash of metal upon metal and the crash of splintering wood and sundering flesh split the quiet of the pains. Voices shouting in strange languages, the roar of trumpets, the bang and rattle and creak of wood and metal and leather upon the packed earth.** ** **“Turn them, rot you, Anpu, turn them!” yelled the Crown Prince above the clatter and thud of hooves as he twitched an arrow from the chariot’s side-quivers and nocked it.His driver tightened his grip on the reins and hauled to the left, cursing fluently as the horses fought their bits.The prince whipped the arrow back, the muscles of arm and chest straining and swelling against the power of the composite bow, until the fletching grazed his cheekbone. He loosed the arrow with a triumphant cry; in the next moment the chariot seemed to leap exultantly after it.The sound of the battle rose around him, the crash of splintering wood and bone, the clash of bronze, the shrieks of dying horses, the screams of wounded men. His tunic and corselet were splashed with blood, some of it his own, while his driver, Anpu, was bleeding freely from his thigh. The high, plumed headdresses of his horses flickered in the wind, and the bright sun dashed upward from the bronze fittings of their harness.The ambush had been cleverly set; if it had succeeded the Canaanites would have captured a rich prize, for Amunhorkhepechef of Egypt, the prince they had sought to snare, was the heir to Pharaoh Ramesses and the pride of his father’s heart. But the prince had known of the plot almost from the moment of its hatching.The Canaanites had sprung the trap only to find that they had caught something beyond their wildest nightmares. Now their quarry was driving them back and back into the full force of his army.
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The third is a sort of sequel to City of Refuge. I got the idea after reviewing some notes I’d made years ago. Scenes involving characters in the stories (the ones who were historical characters). I fit them in with the stories and am working on a timeline.
Hard work? Yes.
The sort of work I thrive on? Absolutely!