I took almost a 3 week hiatus from writing. If you've been following me since I've begun this journey of writing, all the way back to 2009, you'll know that this isn't that surprising. But I do have to admit that this has been the longest time I've gone without putting a pen to paper, or I guess in modern terminology, fingers to the keyboard.
Why, might you ask? Plain and simple - I've been discouraged. I put in so much time writing and lately, not much is happening in return. This blog post isn't a complaint fest so I'll not say much more about it. I'm going to leave the bad news off with this comment - please... PLEASE leave feedback for writers. It lets us know how we're doing. A review, an email, a tweet, a follow on Facebook or a comment - anything you can, even if it's just a few words. Even if you hated the book. And if you wanted a second (or third or fourth) book, the best way to inspire us to write faster is doing something stated above. I'll love you forever!
Now, if I haven't completely lost you and you haven't clicked on the X at the top of the screen, on to the good news. I actually sat down this morning and wrote. I wrote a lot! Almost 4,000 words in the span of about an hour and a half. I guess taking a break did the muse good. Or maybe it was the long run I took when I tried to get things sorted in my head. Who knows? But it put me over 40,000 words on Drought Warning: The Damaged Climate Series Book 2. I have had a few people ask me when to expect the release of that book and I'm now back to working hard on getting it out. Hopefully a late fall, early winter release. We will see how motivated I stay.
And now, just to hopefully get some more interest on this series, I'm going to post a small preview of what Book 2 has to offer. It is part of my (very) rough draft, so if you see typo's or problems, feel free to let me know, but also keep in mind that it hasn't been edited yet! Hope you enjoy!
The grass crackled under Ryan’s boots, making the unsettling feeling in the pit of his stomach even more prominent. With his father’s dry, unproductive cough another added worry, he feared getting to Fox Lake to find Cecilia’s parents now was impossible. The horses were gone, the sun seemed to be getting hotter with each second that passed, and their health was suffering for it. Doug continuously rambled on about things and Ryan had gotten good at blocking him out.
The periodic dust storms were also something that wasn’t helping the mood. The wind blew so hard that the dust would sting their skin, leaving them sand blown, their already vulnerable skin exposed for the damaging UV rays that were literally baking them.
When they were close to the river, Ryan would apply more mud as a homemade sunscreen but with as dry as the weather was, it would crumble and fall off after only thirty minutes. Their beards were helping protect their faces but their arms were exposed, making the situation ten times more miserable.
Ryan’s father had taken his advice and was using the towel as a mask. Respiratory issues were something you had to take seriously and with his father’s age, the smallest problem could turn into a major health disaster. Medical care was lacking and they had to treat it like they were back in the old west days when a small cut could mean a death sentence.
“Y’all sure are quiet,” Doug said as he shielded his eyes from the sun.
“Trying to conserve energy, Doug. Besides, what the hell is there to talk about?”
“How far are we from Fox Lake?”
Ryan looked toward the horizon. What was once green pastures, lakes, and beautiful land was now a desert wasteland of torn up trees, yellow grass, and constant evaporation of the water supply where he once fished and camped.
Getting his bearings, he licked his lips and cringed when no moisture came from his tongue. Dehydration was setting in and he needed to refill his canteen. “We’re not far.”
“Did you notice the smoke behind us?” Darryl lifted the towel from his face and pointed behind them.
Ryan hoped he was kidding, but it would be a crappy thing to do and his dad would never do that in times like this. Not wanting to look, he hoped whatever his father had noticed would go away if Ryan didn’t turn to observe it. Turning on his heel, his heart skipped a beat at the massive wall of smoke that appeared almost as large as the dust wall that had come through the day before. Orange flames licked the dry grasslands and trees, completely killing off anything that had been spared in the storms.
It was the only thing Ryan could think to say. Many emotions toyed with him, from them being chased by it, to the fear of Harper Springs possibly already falling victim to it. It was south of them in that direction and he had to hold out hope that it stayed north of town. If not, everything Steve and the men left behind had worked on would be demolished with no hope of rebuilding.
And even worse, what if they couldn’t escape? With his time on the fire department, he had learned that they can move fast and catch people off guard. Dry conditions ignite like gasoline and they were right in the middle of it. What if Cecilia and Ty were trapped or killed? If the flames didn’t get you, the smoke would suffocate you. A chill shot up his spine. Death was after them and each time they narrowly escaped it, something stronger came along, challenging them to the breaking point.
“It has circled around us to the north!” Doug pointed in front of them, his eyes wide. He was always joking about something but at that moment, his eyes were as wide as saucers with a genuine look of fear written across his face.
Ryan’s eyes trailed along the rim of the fire and just as Doug has noticed, it was making a large ring around them. Smoke billowed upward toward the sun, shadowing the rays around them. It appeared as dark as night, though it was mid-afternoon. The one hundred plus degree temperatures were heightened from the flames and sweat poured from Ryan’s brow, trickling into his eyelashes and beard and to his lips, the salt of his own bodily fluid thick on his tongue.
“We gotta get moving. Now!” Ryan’s voice shook as he tried to find an opening in the fire ring. “That way!” It was northeast and closing fast.
Their pace quickened to a run and his leg screamed out in pain. The tightness of the stitches tugged at his sore skin but he couldn’t succumb to it. If they ripped open it was a small price to pay to get away from the fire. Inspiration to get out and not burn to death kept him moving and each time he took a step, the pain got worse. He gritted his teeth, checked behind him and his father was right on his hip, matching him step for step. Doug was about fifty yards ahead, his healthy legs helping his sprint move right along.
The rugged land wasn’t making it easy. Uneven pastures, ruts, and turn-rows where farmers once plowed were hindering them going any faster. Ryan tried not to look at the ground too much but when he glanced to make sure he’d dodge a hole, he noticed the blood soaking into his jeans. It could’ve been an old stain from before but it was too red and fresh not to be current. The stitches had definitely come loose. With each step they took toward the small opening that the fire hadn’t ravished yet, it was like it was moving backward, away from them.
The heat from the sun combined with the flames was almost unbearable. Lack of water and good food made his legs cramp up. Losing blood wasn’t helping but he kept pushing. The thought of Cecilia and Ty was a constant inspiration to push through all of his body’s warnings to stop and lay down. Survival mode was on in full force, and though he had outrun the tornadoes, this was an all new challenge that was proving to get the best of him.
Ryan’s pace slowed. His father moved ahead of him and glanced over his shoulder, motioning for Ryan to hurry. He tried hard – his lungs burned so bad that they ached in his chest. As they got closer to the outer ring of the fire, the smoke got worse, making the visibility almost zero. Breathing became impossible and the edges of Ryan’s vision grew blurry and black. He couldn’t see Doug anymore and was about to lose sight of his father.
With each breath he took in, his body begged for a deeper breath, like he didn’t know how to breathe. He imagined this was how a fish felt out of the water, gasping and longing for energy to survive. He slowed down and his legs felt like noodles. Weak with limited energy, he tripped on something he couldn’t see and fell to the ground below him. His head hit hard and his already blurry vision went completely black. The last thing he heard was the crackling of the flames only yards away, eating everything in its path.
DROUGHT WARNING: THE DAMAGED CLIMATE SERIES BOOK 2 -- COMING SOON!