I’m participating (for the first time) in the Clarion West Write-A-Thon. It’s a fund-raising program to help defray the cost of the eighteen writers attending the 2011 Clarion West writers workshop.
The workshop began in earnest this morning and so has the Write-A-Thon.
Those of us participating have pledged to meet writing goals over the next six weeks and encourage folks to make a donation to the program, if we meet our goals. I’m committed to write 5,000 a week, for six weeks, toward completion of my steam-punk-weird western novel Boogeyman and hope to raise $100.
If you donate at least $20 toward the cause, I’ll write you into the book as a supporting character. Check back here, or at Facebook, to see how I’m doing. And drop by the Clarion West website to see how the campaign is progressing.
I plan to post my progress twice a week here. I did 934 words this morning. Here’s a teaser:
They hadn’t gone another mile before the storm swept in from the northwest, dragging dark, swollen clouds that spit a cold and drumming rain.
What trees there were in this barren place creaked with the weight of accumulated ice. Patches of undergrowth threw back the last bits of daylight, looked like spun-glass sculpture. Now and again, there came the sudden snapped-bone crack of a limb giving way.
Mackie stopped near a patch of trees, waited for Nick and Young to ride up to him.
“We can stop, try to set up the tents.” the old priest had to shout to be heard over the fury of the storm.
“Go ahead, crawl inside a tent,” Young shouted back. “I ain’t going to sit nowhere and wait for that bastard and his monster-man to creep up on me.”
A hooded, snow-white poncho almost hid Young from view. It draped over most of Pinky, too, giving horse and rider the look of a misshapen, two-headed centaur. The ice-skimmed canvas cover snapped and crackled with the wind, loud enough to be heard above the storm.
“Black John has to be handicapped by this, too,” Nick said.
He had wrapped himself in a tarp found in a barn at Bailey’s Mill. It hadn’t done a lot of good. The stiff weight of the accumulated ice across the chest and back of his service coat pressed against him. His gloved hands felt stiff and clumsy. The wind-driven rain had long since battered all sensation from his face.
Young shook his head, sent flecks of ice in all directions. “Ain’t going to count on that. Don’t think you want to, neither.”
An echoing crack sounded, almost on top of them. Pinky appeared to start at the noise, sidestepped to the right. Then the horse staggered back and dropped to his rump. Only then did Nick realize the sound hadn’t been a breaking limb.
It had been a gunshot.
Pinky finished his collapse, rolled to his side, carrying the sheriff with him.
“Damn him!” Young flailed at the frozen ground, struggling to free himself from the folds of the rain tarp. “That bastard Herron shot my horse!”