Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Time Traveler's Illegal Harem (Peek 1)

As NaNoWriMo 2011 comes to a close, I'd like to take a moment to look back at last year, to the novel I was writing at that time.  I won the NaNoWriMo 2010 with a convoluted hard science fiction piece called "The Time Traveler's Illegal Harem," which is currently waiting for a thorough revision before I place it on the market.  I expect to get around to polishing it sometime this winter, but in the meantime I'll share this opening scene that doesn't need too much work. I expect it will pique your interest!

     The market was closing early these days, as the chills of autumn drove shoppers away.  The lingering light of dusk grew closer, as Winona Snapwick stowed her wares inside the travel trailer she used as a shop.  The aging box on wheels was all she owned, since her father had passed away during the last flu pandemic.  Of course, he'd never been very healthy, not since catching polio at sixteen.  He'd always walked with a limp, but never complained.

     Before closing the last cabinet, Winona paused to look at her wares.  The ticking timepieces held in cheap cases were beautiful in her eyes.  Some of these modern marvels she'd built herself, and others were her father's work from before his death.  All held hours of careful craftsmanship in their design, though few people could afford such extravagance.  These days, people were relying more on the municipal clocks to tell time, if they cared at all.  Those in the country kept schedules by the sun, and had no need for fancy watches.  It all left Winona's pocketbook light.

     Stowing the final case in the back of the trailer, Winona closed the shutters and clipped the locks, ready to haul her goods back to her place of residence.  "Home" was currently a little nook in the wall downtown, which doubled as her workshop.  There was running water, and city gas, so she could keep clean and warm, and it was affordable.  Still, it wasn't much, and food could be sparse.

     With everything secured for transport, Winona walked over to the livery stable, to pick up her aging mare.  Digging into her purse on the walk over, she picked out the last few coins she had, ready to pay the horse's daily boarding fee.  That money should have been for her own dinner, and she knew if things didn't improve soon she'd have to say goodbye to her equine companion.  How would she haul her wares to market after that?

     'What a damnable existence this modern world has become!' she thought, stepping up to the open stable doors.  Before she could look inside, she found herself restrained by strong arms around the waist.  She inhaled to scream, only to find a heavy cloth shoved over her face, muffling her pleas.

     "Sweet little thing like you ought not be wanderin' alone at night," a gruff man's voice said.

     A second man giggled awkwardly at his companion's statement.

     The cloth covering Winona's mouth was yanked tight, pulling her face up to the stars.  The final rays of dusk were fading, and the twinkling specks were poking out of the night sky.  It had gotten so dark, so fast!

     Winona was used to being the last one out of the marketplace.  There was usually a straggler or two who wanted to gawk at her watches, and that sometimes proved profitable, though not lately.  Her proclivity to linger into the evening was now proving to be her undoing.

     Was there anyone around who could save her?  She doubted it.  Fate hadn't been kind lately, and there was no reason for her to think her luck would change.

     But God had not forsaken her yet.

     As Winona kicked and thrashed in a vain attempt to dislodge her kidnappers, another voice halted their movements.  "Is that any way to treat a lady?"

     "This ain't none of your business, strangey," one of the kidnappers replied with a nasally voice.

     Winona felt the arms around her chest slide away, allowing her face to turn down from the sky.  Looking forward over the gag that covered her cheeks and nose, she saw a dark figure silhouetted in the pale moonlight.

     "I'm making it my business," the stranger said, standing his ground.  "That woman's coming with me."

     The last sentence dashed Winona's optimism.  From the sound of it, her would-be savior was just competing for the chance to rape her, too.  Still, a little voice in her head said he'd be a better companion than the two thugs carrying her.

     "You ain't takin' nothing, dude," the nasally man answered.  He reached under his jacket and drew a revolver from its holster.

     Before the man could aim his weapon, the stranger shot first.  In the blink of an eye, a sliver of light streaked from the weapon in his hand.  The beam soaked into the chest of the thug, and the would-be rapist collapsed without a sound, leaving his companion on his own.

     "What in the Hell?" the gruff thug mumbled, glancing over at his comrade.

     Seeing an opportunity, Winona struck back.  Placing an elbow into her kidnapper's gut, followed with a swift kick to the groin, she managed to loosen his grasp and break free.  She didn't wait to get her bearings before running across the darkened pavement of the marketplace.  She had to get away, and it didn't matter where.  Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the thug gripping his crotch, as the stranger stepped forward and shot him with his silent weapon.

     Even as she continued to run, Winona thought about her would-be savior, and that strange weapon he employed.  She'd never seen anything like it.  No only was its shot silent, but the entire mechanism was mute.  No cylinder or slide clicking or clacking, no hammer cocking, yet it killed like lightning.  What kind of magic was that?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Positively Negative (Minstrel Mondays)

Here's a poem with a lot of subtext, and everyone will take away a different meaning from it.  I won't go explaining it too deeply, for it would really ruin it.  You need to see your own message in this, whether it's one we share or completely opposite ends of the spectrum.  Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

Truth is in the dark
What you seek
Lies hidden from view
For you don't want to see it
You don't want it to be true
When the truth of the matter
Is contrary to your fairytales
You choose to believe the lie

A positive fabrication
Is what you want to believe
So you spend all your time
Lying to yourself
And everyone you see
Do not accept rational thought
Say it is wrong and it'll go away
Say those who don't follow
Along with your fantasies
Are simply full of hate
They want to main and murder
All the unsuspecting souls
Funny, all the while
You practice what you accuse

If truth is negative,
Call me what I am
The heretic
The hatemonger
The expletives you spew!
It's easier to lie
Than to accept the truth
Even when it means being mean
To prove a fallacious point

Look in the mirror
Positive one
And you'll see that your charge
Is not nearly as noble
As you believed at the start

Take heed of the truth
Seek to seek it
Even when it's ugly
And people will call you
The negative philosopher

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Discoveries Forthcoming

On Friday, I won National Novel Writing Month with a little over 50,000 words written in "The Six-Gun Conjurer."  After 25 days of solid writing, it was time I took a little break.  I still have a few scenes to write, and the big finale to complete, and I'll get to that in a few days, but it's sometimes good to sit back and take a breather.  Creativity takes time.

Anyway, yesterday morning I finally got around to activating my subscription to  A few months ago, I purchased a copy of their Family Tree Maker 2011 software, and it came with 3 free months of full access to their site.  There are a lot of things they have in their database that you can't find elsewhere, and it is helping me to uncover more bits of information about my various family lines.

Here are just a few highlights of what I've uncovered so far.

New information has already cropped up concerning my Robinson line.  It turns out that William V. Robinson was a Civil War Veteran.  He signed up as a Private with the New Jersey 6th Infantry Regiment, and ended up as a Sergeant with the 8th.  I also found his death record, stating he died on 28 July 1910.

Joseph B. Robinson, as it turns out, was a house painter in Camden, New Jersey, until his untimely death on 18 March 1918.  He died of Tuberculosis.  I'd been unaware of this information, as Joseph ran off on his wife and daughter about 20 years earlier.  Joseph's older sister, Mary J. Robinson, also died of TB on 10 December 1904.

John Julius Kirton

I found WWI army enlistment cards for two of my grandmother's uncles, Hugh Wiley Counts and Milton Counts.  I'm sure there are some interesting stories to be had there, though I haven't had the chance to hear too much from my Counts cousins recently.

In addition to these discoveries, I am finding more data that substantiates my earlier findings.  I've also found a few photographs of interest, including my father's parents' yearbook photos from the University of Michigan, and a picture of my mother's father with the Glee Club from his freshman year at East Orange High School in 1933.

There is much more to uncover, so I'll get back to it.  I expect to resume work on my writing projects in a few days, after I've dug up enough family data to satisfy my curiosity and compose a few more posts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Finish Line

I hope all of my fellow Americans had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday, and that my non-American fans had a good day all the same.

Today, I expect to cross the 50,000 word mark with "The Six-Gun Conjurer," which means I will have officially won the National Novel Writing Month challenge.  Though, the story will not end there.  I expect the rough draft will run another 5k, possibly even 10.  After that, I'll spend a little time revising and perfecting the manuscript before moving on to another exciting project.  I have something in mind for my next work, and I'll share more about it in December.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Stars Beyond Tomorrow (Peek 1)

Here's a project that remains unfinished.  "The Stars Beyond Tomorrow," is my attempt at writing a Space Opera, and it is based in a universe I created with a short story I wrote called "Last Strike For Tomorrow."  In this book, we would see the American Space Force sending a new exploratory mission out into space following a violent and bloody interstellar war.  Events in Last Strike set the stage for the book, and one of these days I might get around to completing it.  As it stands now, I have about 10,000 words and a solid plot waiting, but it remains low priority at the moment.

So, here it is, the introductory scene to the yet unfinished book:

            Commander Owen York staggered down the hallway of the derelict starship.  Gravity shifted under him, as the vessel surged and sputtered in the throws of death.  The USS Windsor, which had once been the pride of the United States Space Force, was now little more than a burned-out wreck, a hunk of hot metal smoldering in the depths of space.  Another casualty of war.

            This battle cruiser had seemed to be the pinnacle of modern technology to the folks back on Earth, but it was little more than target practice for the ruthless Kradoran warships.  It was a dead hulk now, along with a hundred others just like it.  There was no hope for the ship, but a few of the crew were determined to survive.

            Commander York knew the odds.  Even if he managed to reach a life boat, he'd probably be blown away by a Kradoran fighter, or captured to face untold torture, but if the Kradorans didn't catch him who would?  Who was left to rescue him out here, three light years from Earth?  This final wave of human resistance had seen utter destruction, and there were no more space-faring vessels he could consider to make a rescue attempt.

            Maybe it would be best if he returned to his post, and awaited death with dignity.   No, Owen could never do that.  He was a survivor, one who had to keep fighting, regardless of the odds.  If death awaited him, he'd face it, but he was damned if he'd sit down and wait for the inevitable.

            It was getting hard to breathe, as the atmosphere grew thin.  There were gaping holes blown through the Windsor, and no power left in the air circulators.  The nearest life-pod was a hundred feet away, though it felt like a mile as he trudged through the dying vessel.

            The lights went out when the massive fusion drive grew cold from lack of fuel.  It was so dark in the hallway; no windows to shine even faint starlight.  There was still limited gravity, however, which didn't surprise Owen in the least.  He knew the engineering layout, and understood that the gravity generators had a separate backup.  The auxiliary battery would last a few minutes more.

            He moved forward, searching for the frame to the lifeboat's access hatch.  He found it before long, and moved his hands around to locate the opening mechanism.  The flat touch-plate gave no response to his fingers, as the power had been cut.  The manual release was directly under the panel, hidden by a sheet of metal that cut Owen's fingertips as he pried it open.  Inside, he felt the round handle and turned it clockwise several times to release the seal and grant him access to his one means of escape.

            A breath of fresh air greeted him as the hatch slid open.  As soon as the hand crank widened the gap enough, he slid his thin body through, and found himself weightless inside the small, open airlock.  He pushed off the ship's hatch and floated into the large padded chamber beyond, and as he entered the life-pod's lights kicked on automatically.  The escape craft was charged and ready to go.

            So much space for one man.

            Owen felt very alone at this point.  So many of his fellow crewmen had died, and here he was, the last man out.  Captain Alvarez would have most likely stayed, had a falling support beam not incapacitated him at the start of the battle.  It had only taken a few minutes for the Kradoran warships to lay waste to the Windsor, and to every other ship in the strike force.  When defeat was certain, Commander York had ordered the evacuation, and sent his captain out with the first wave.  Had those lifeboats survived?  Owen had no way of knowing, for the external sensors had been knocked out before they'd launched.

            Sitting down beside the control panel, Owen programmed the lifeboat to disengage from the Windsor, and hoped his trajectory would be clear of debris.  He didn't plan to go far.  It was safer to hide amongst the debris for the time being, wait for the Kradorans to leave.  Then he could scout around, and see if there was anything worth seeing before drifting back in the direction of Earth.  With the lifeboat's ion drive, he might get there in a few thousand years.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Struggle Continues

Day 18 of National Novel Writing Month, and today I expect to surpass the 35,000 word mark with "The Six-Gun Conjurer."  Progress slowed down a little earlier this week, as I had to work out some important character developing elements, but I'm speeding up again, as we get back into more action.

This is shaping up to be a lot more complex than the first two books in the way of inter-personal relationships and world building.  Without giving away too much, I will say we're going to see a lot more of elf society in this volume, an expansion upon different elements already seen in West of the Warlock, and a continuation of certain things we'll see in the forthcoming Curse of Selwood (tentative publication date May-June 2012).

In other news, Christmas is coming up, so now would be an excellent time to invest in one of my novels.  They make great gifts for friends and family, or get them just for yourself.  Get them from, or order them from my AuthorStore!  You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rise of the Rogue Fighters (Peek 1)

Here's a sequel that a few of my most loyal fans are still waiting for.  The follow-up to "The Rogue Investigations" that will continue the paranormal investigations of Zachary McCain and his associates.  Much like the first volume in the series, Rise of the Rogue Fighters is largely based on stories I wrote as a teenager, wild fantasies derived from a steady diet of pulp sci-fi and comic books.  In this sequel, there will be a lot more magical and superhero stuff, but the underlying uniqueness of the first set of stories will still dominate.

So, here is your first sneak peek at the yet-unfinished project:

(Excerpt From Chapter 5: The Legendary Mind)

            "Christ, what a mess,"  Nathan remarked, flicking a gum wrapper into the debris.  "I hope he's got good insurance."

            "Not a cent," a raspy voice replied.

            Turning from the wreckage, Nathan saw the approaching voice belonged to the local police chief, a grizzled veteran years beyond retirement with a cigarette dangling from his lips.  He was accompanied by Zachary McCain.

            "Nathan Bradford, meet Rodney Curtis," Zachary announced.

            "You can call me Rod," the officer said.  "So you're McCain's new bodyguard, eh?  Must be fun, getting paid to follow him around while he dreams up his little fantasies."

            "They're anything but fantasies," Zachary said.  "But I don't expect someone of your years to ever change.  You're set in your limited view of things."

            "It's called sanity, Zachary.  You should try it sometime.  You'll live longer," Rod said, as a young police officer approached him from the side.  "Give me a minute."

            As Rod stepped aside to talk with his fellow officer, Zachary took the opportunity to peruse the charred wreckage.  He and Nathan slipped around behind the sizeable pile, obscured from Curtis' view.

            "What exactly are we looking for?"  Nathan asked.

            "I'm not sure," Zachary replied.  "Julie said this was going to happen in Ellsworth."

            "You said she was pretty scatterbrained at the time," Nathan said.  "Think she just got confused?"

            "Maybe.  Truth be told, I'm have no idea why we're here."

            "Chasing fantasies?"

            "Something like that," Zachary answered.

If you haven't picked up a copy of The Rogue Investigations, consider doing so today.  It's my most affordable work on the market today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Does It Mean? (Minstrel Mondays)

The world is a pain in the ass too often, and for those of us who live outside of the mainstream it can be very trying at times.  That is why so many good people seem to give up; shut off their minds and go with the flow, because it's easy.  Following trends and being "cool" is simple, but thinking for yourself is hard... and for the record "counter-culture" is the new normal, the antithesis of its namesake.  Revel in the irony!

Here's a poem for everyone who isn't "hip," or on the cutting edge of pop culture.

What does it mean
when you see a scene on a picture screen
that reminds you of time you've lost?

Why does it hurt
when you're heart's burnt
and it's blood does spurt
all over the remnants of life?

All I see, I know it well.
I've experienced some and it was swell.
But truth be told, it's all gone to hell
and I don't want to see it any longer.

I want to vanish from the reality of pain
the misery of fame or forgetfulness.
I don't want it to be at all,
I just want to live away.

Never do I want to see
the filthy city streets,
that infamous urban beat.
The sum of things and people
that make me sick, head to feet.

Hide away from human sight
where few can find me, it just seems right.
It just feels so good to be
with only those who care for me.

Leave me alone, world of blunder,
to my peace of mind, because I know it,
and I must not be bothered with pathetic games
that seek to propagate lust and murder.

Let me give you a taste of mind,
the light of truth that anyone can find
if they bother to take the time
to use their brains once in a while.

What does it mean
these things I see, the times I dream?
Is all to be mine eventually,
or will nothing ever come to me at all?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Remembrance

It's Veterans Day in the United States (or as the old-timers would call it, Armistice Day), and it is Remembrance Day for our neighbors to the north.  As such, I'd like to take a moment to honor the brave men and women who have served so proudly in the armed forces.  It is often a thankless job to serve your country, and it's not something you do for money or praise.  You do it because it's right.

I, myself, have not served.  My health and temperament were never up to the task, though I have great respect for those who have sacrificed for the safety and security of America over the years.  While I didn't take up the charge, many in my family have over the years, so I feel obliged to mention them.

Going back to the American Revolution, several direct ancestors served to found this nation, including Conrad Hoyer (7x great grandfather), and John Hubbell (6x great grandfather).

Only known photograph
of Sylvester T. Counts

In the Civil War, my 3x great grandfather Sylvester Tobias Counts was a Corporal with the 1st Company, 42nd Regiment of the Ohio Infantry, while my 2x great grandfather Charles W. Bailey fought for Wisconsin.  Charles' father, William Sullivan Bailey, may have also fought in the war.  Charles Bailey took a bullet in the leg at Gettysburg while repelling Pickett's charge, and Sylvester Counts caught encephalitis, all to preserve the Union and stomp out slavery.  No doubt, I'll get some ribbing from the Rebs for my Yankee Republican ancestors.

Moving on to World War I, my adopted Great Grandfather, Edward S. "Ned" Ingham, took up the charge to stop the Kaiser.  He was rejected by the U.S. Army for having "poor eyesight," so he hopped a ship and volunteered to drive ambulances, and eventually wrangled himself a position with the French Army.  Despite his allegedly bad eyes, he could hit a man-sized target at a mile with his issued rifle (or so the story goes).

The Mighty Eighth!
In World War II, my grandfather, Raymond W. Ingham, served with the 8th Army Air Force, and helped to flatten most of Europe in order to stop Hitler.  My grandmother (Ray's wife) Esther Counts Ingham, served as clerical staff on the Manhattan project, thereby helping to create the first atomic bomb.  And a while back I told you about my cousin, Ned Nelson, Jr., who gave his life as a bomber pilot during WWII.  My wife's grandfather, Harry Roll Short, fought for Canada during the war.

To all the men and women who have served and continue to serve, I salute you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Indomitable American (Peek 1)

This is a novella I wrote when I was 18.  Originally entitled "The Green Haired Lady," the 45,000 words were thrown together in two weeks, and while it is an interesting little story, I can't say it's anything special.  This is another one of those works that probably won't see the light of day unless I make it big.  My pre-existing fans would probably enjoy reading it, but people unfamiliar with my work might not.

Anyway, here's the opening scene to the story.

They'd been chasing me for about an hour, since the cold, unforgiving winter sun had broken through the clouds.  The frigid air stung my lungs as I ran through the thickets of spruce and fir.  Powdery snow shook loose from the branches and slid down the back of my coat, freezing my shoulder blades, for I couldn't keep the coat's hood on during the chase.  It obstructed my vision too greatly, and it liked to get hooked on the snowy branches.

            I paused for a minute after plowing through a stand of pines, but before I could catch my breath I heard their raucous voices; the boisterous and rowdy shouts of these bandits on my tail.  The lowlife vermin that had plagued this countryside for half a decade, since the onset of The Greater Depression.  It was scum like them that had forced me out into this frigid wilderness in the middle of January.

            They'd raided my homestead over a week ago, murdered my family, stolen our meager supplies, and torched the buildings.  I'd watched the flames burn all night from the hillside two miles away, and could only imagine the added horrors those savages had bestowed upon my kin.

            Of course, we'd had it coming to us.  We were farmers, who knew how to survive, and had spent the last five years feeding ourselves, while millions of others starved.  Those who couldn't or wouldn't support themselves were starting to band together in these rural lands, and growing gangs were pillaging the countryside, taking whatever they wanted, and killing anyone who stood in their way.

            The federal government wasn't going to save us.  They had their hands full, fending off the hordes of invading barbarians, and putting down the city dwellers.  Those in the country were on their own, and neighbors were often too far away to provide aid in the thick of it.

            So much for the glories of anarchy.

            The chase continued.  I charged forward, down a steep slope through two feet of snow.  I tripped on a fallen tree limb under the powder and went flying downhill.  The snow in my face was another insult upon my existence.  I'd been screwed over so much already.  Did I really deserve to stumble on this final chase?

            I scrambled to my feet as quickly as possible, yet I felt my run was nearing its end.  The killers behind me were almost in sight, and once they spotted me it would be all over.  A single shot, maybe two if I got lucky, and I'd be another nameless corpse left to feed the crows.

            At the base of the hill was a clearing, and looking at the snow I saw the fresh snowmobile tracks these bandits had left on their journey here.  The packed track led down the path that I had trekked last evening, prior to setting up camp within the thickets.  If it hadn't been for the noise of their machines, I probably wouldn't have awoken in time to flee.  These bandits were arrogant and sloppy.  I suppose it only enhanced their hunt to give their prey fair warning.

            My legs were too tired from fighting the cold and the snow.  I could barely stand now, so my time was up.  I could see the tree branches shake halfway up the hill as they came down after me.  In a few minutes, we'd spot one another and it would be my end.

            I wasn't about to go without a fight.

            Reaching for the rifle slung over my shoulder, that's when everything changed.

            A loud crack of thunder echoed across the landscape, accompanied by a blinding flash of light.  I'd been too slow, I thought.  It must have been the bandit's shot ringing out loud and clear.  That was my conclusion, as I felt my life essence suspended outside the physical world, beyond the painfully cold wilderness and harsh world I'd watched crumble to dust during my short lifetime.

            But life was not done with me yet.

            After floating in limbo for what seemed like a century, my senses returned to me.  Yet nothing was the same.  Everything I'd been experiencing was gone.  The frigid air of January was replaced by a warm wind that brushed against my stubble of a beard, and the cold snow against my ankles was replaced by short grass.  The blinding winter sun was absent, and the dim light of the moon provided me with minimal vision to look out upon the forested hillsides before me.

            I stared at my frosty knuckles, and witnessed my hands illuminated by the moon's luminescence.  Turning up at the light source, I saw a curious orange tint on its cold, battered face.  Something of this moon told me I was nowhere I had ever been before.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Love Has Done (Minstrel Mondays)

I've hit NaNoWirMo running this year, and on this seventh day of the exercise I expect to surpass 16,000 words on The Six-Gun Conjurer.  This puts me several days ahead of the minimum word count, so barring any severe trajedy I expect to surpass the 50k mark well ahead of schedule.

Here's a short bit of poetry I wrote ten years ago, to tide you over while I continue with the book.

I'm afraid I cannot work today.
My luck is just so bad.
If I were to get in a car,
it would be a wreck.
If I were to get in a boat,
I'm afraid it would sink.
Were I to patch masonry,
I'd become cemented to the wall.
Were I to fix a window,
my body would fall through the flimsy pane.
That's what your love has done to me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bloodlines: Father & Son

With NaNoWriMo in full-swing, my Family Sunday columns are going to be a little sparse.  So, this week, I'm going to do a couple of photos.

This week, school pictures came in, and this is my son's first year.  He's in Kindergarten, attending the same school I attended in our small Maine town.  It's interesting how some things parallel in life, and when it comes to Wyatt there are many unmistakable similarities.

Here are two pictures. On the left is Wyatt as he appears now.  On the right is my own Kindergarten picture from 1985.  We're essentially the same age in these pictures, and you can certainly see the resemblance.

Wyatt Ingham, Age 5Martin Ingham, Age 5

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sneak Peek: The Six-Gun Conjurer

It's day two of National Novel Writing Month, and right now I'm well ahead of schedule, with nearly 4,300 words written in my latest book, the third volume of the Fantasy Western saga!  The Six-Gun Conjurer is coming together nicely, with some all new characters and old favorites.  As things progress, I'll share a snippet or two of the work here, but only a few short passages.  Keep in mind, this is raw text, unedited and fresh off my keyboard.

In this piece from the book's opening sequence, we get to see a new member of the cast meeting a very special guest!

            There was something familiar about the man sitting beside him.  The sandy-haired fellow had a stern, serious look on his face, and didn't seem the kind to crack a smile often.  The relatively youthful look of his body placed him somewhere around thirty, and the smooth hands revealed he wasn't one for manual labor.  That, and the quality suit he wore revealed him to be something of a businessman or educated professional.

           Clarence let his curiosity get the better of him, and he felt the urge to introduce himself.  With a slight adjustment of his body, he managed to present a hand for the other man to shake, which he did with a strong grip, but no words.

            "So, what brings you out to Selwood?" Clarence asked, hoping to get some information out of the silent man.

            "Business, and an old friend," the man said.

            "What a coincidence.  It happens I'm traveling to see an old friend, myself," Clarence said.

            "Really?" the man said.

            "Well, more than a friend, actually.  The man practically raised me after my mother died.  It'll be good to be back."

            "Not your first trip to Selwood, then?" the man asked.

            "No, I've been here a few times," Clarence replied.  "Though, I mostly grew up in Kansas.  We didn't move out to Nevada until seventy-six.  I only spent a year in Selwood before going back east to college, and haven't been back since."

            "College?  You wouldn't happen to be wrangling for a job offer, would you?" the man asked suspiciously.

            "No," Clarence said.  "Why ever would you think that?"

            The mustached man sitting across from him cleared his throat and caught his attention.  "Hey, buddy, don't you know who this guy is?"

            "No, who is he?" Clarence asked, adding a questioning look.

            "That's Thomas Edison."

There you have it, the first sneak peek at "The Six Gun Conjurer."  Get ready for more might and mysticism in the Wild West, coming soon!

If you'd like to keep track of my writing progress, be sure to visit my NaNoWriMo page!