I hope your weather is better than ours. I should have known when we finally broke down and bought an air conditioner, the weather would turn wet and cold for the rest of the summer. I have been wearing sweaters again for more than a week now and have switched back from iced tea to hot tea. Dang that Murphy and his law!
The crazy thing is, I actually love this kind of weather . . . in October. But it really seems out of place in August. I always want to grab a good book, a blanket, and a good cup of tea when the weather is like this. It is no conducive to my writing unfortunately. I find it a real struggle to be productive on dark, rainy days.
I have been forcing myself to work, but I am still struggling with the opening chapter of Into the West: Last Showdown. Sheriff Jones is a real pain in the backside for Shorty and Blackjack, so I do not know why I am surprised he'd be just as big of a pain for me too. In fact, he's pretty much a pain to everyone who deals with him, so it seems logical that he would be hard to get in line in the story too. At least that is what I'm going to tell myself so I do not feel too bad about struggling with his backstory. I am determined to get him settled down and the opener finished today! I know I have said that at least once (or twice) in the last week or so but it is happening. I'm tired of his guff.
I need to get back to finishing the last few chapters because this is leading up to the big climax of this saga and it is going to be a doozy even if I do say so myself. For the first time, I am actually going to try to intentionally pull on a few heart strings. I know a few of you have told me before that my books hit you emotionally, but it was never anything I tried to do, it was just a side effect of the story. This time, I'm actually hoping to get an emotional response. We will see how I do.
So now I really should get back to work but I feel like I should give you a little something to tide you over. How about a little Sneak Peek?
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Into the West: Last Showdown - Sneak Peek
Part Six of the Into the West Saga Serial
Growing up his father had literally beat it into him that some people were better than others. According to his father, if you weren’t strong enough to claw your way to the top of the food chain, you deserved to be treated as less than everyone else. It was a lesson Homer’s father repeated often as he reminded him why he named his only son, Homer.
His father, Rutherford B. Jones, had run for senator of Missouri several times, but never won the seat. He had to settle for being mayor of their small town just south of Independence, Missouri. His one great accomplishment in life had been marrying Velma Polk.
According to Rutherford, Velma was the most beautiful girl in town. She had her pick of suitors, but it was Rutherford who had managed to charm her father and secure her hand in marriage. It hadn’t mattered to him that she had been in love with another less accomplished man. Her father had known that Rutherford was the better man and that was all that was important.
Rutherford also boasted that he managed to secure an heir with her on their wedding night. However, his plans for having a large family of strapping young men who would grow up in his image was cut short with the birth of Homer.
At 16 years old, Velma had a difficult pregnancy. She suffered from horrible sickness and fainting spells. Rutherford sent her to live with her mother until the child was born with instructions they were to send word the minute it was known if he had a son. He gave no instructions should she produce a daughter.
When word had come that Rutherford had a son, he hopped on his horse and raced to his in-laws home. When he arrived, he found everyone in the home to be somber and quiet. He pushed passed the house slaves and demanded to see his son. A woman known as Mamma Mable came into the parlor carrying a tiny, swaddled bundle.
She walked up to Rutherford and presented him with his son. The bundle was so small in her hands, he didn't realize at first that she was handing him his child. The baby’s face was very thin and gaunt, not the plump and healthy look he had seen on other children. One tiny hand was visible where it was holding onto the blanket. The skin had a grey pallor to it and the fingers were so long and thin, almost feminine in Rutherford's opinion. He just looked at Mamma Mable like she was trying to pull a joke on him.
“This tiny, fragile creature cannot be my son,” said Rutherford.
Momma Mable just looked at Rutherford. His rejection of his son took her by surprise.
“Mr. Jones, sir, I assure you, this is your son,” said Momma Mable. “I birthed him myself.”
She took a step closer to him and held the child out.
Rutherford gave her a disgusted look as he took a step back. He started to look around the room for his in-laws.
“Where is Mr. Polk?” demanded Rutherford. “I will speak to him about this.”
Momma Mable cradled the child closer as she looked down at the floor.
“He and Mrs. Polk are with their daughter,” she said quietly as she gestured toward the back bedroom.
“I believe you mean they are with my wife,” Rutherford said as he pushed passed her, nearly knocking the child from her arms.
As Rutherford neared the back bedroom, he could hear someone crying and another voice saying soft comforting words but was not able to make out what was being said. When he stepped into the room he instantly understood the situation. His wife, his prize, was dead.
Rutherford said nothing as he just stood there for a moment taking in the scene. It was obvious she had bled too much with the birth. Not only had that ugly, fragile child not lived up to his expectations but he took his beautiful young wife from him. Now he would have to find another to replace her.