Brown River Queen cover art

Friday, February 24, 2012

Care for a Quickie?

Gird thy loins, gentle reader, against this brief but patently self-serving blog post, in which I hawk Passing the Narrows.

If you're an Amazon Prime member (and if you bought a Fire in the last 30 days, you are), you can get Passing the Narrows for free, but only for the next 30 days.  Yes, I said free. Gratis. No charge.

I'm pricing Passing the Narrows at just 99 cents for anyone who isn't a Prime member but who might want to read it anyway.  Just click here to grab a copy for less than a buck.

What is Passing the Narrows about, you ask?

It's about the steamboat Yocona and her crew of defeated Confederates, who are forced to dare a haunted stretch of the Yazoo River on a dark and moonless night.  It's about loss and letting go, about triumph and redemption. It's about 5000 words, so you can read it in a single sitting.

Still not sure?

Here's the opening to Passing the Narrows:

      The Yocona surged ahead, paddle-wheel churning, cylinders beating like some great, frightened heart.
     "Dark as Hell and twiced as hot," muttered Swain from the shadows behind the clerk's map-table.
     A ragged chorus of ayes answered.  The Captain checked his pocket watch; ten o'clock sharp.  Old Swain and his hourly announcements hadn't lost a minute in twenty years.
     The Captain snapped his pocket watch shut and peered out into the darkness.  There, to port, loomed a hulking mass of shadow twice the height of any around it -- Cleary's Oak, last marker before the riverboat landing at Float.  "We're an hour from Float, Mr. Barker.  Notify the deck crew we'll be putting in for the night."
     "Aye, Cap'n."
     "She won't like that," said Swain, whispering.  "Fit to be tied, she'll be.  Full of fire and steam."
     "Who, Swain?"
     "You know who.  The wand-waver.  The Yankee."
     "Go back to sleep."
     "I heard her talkin' while the boys were hauling me up the deck," said Swain, gesturing with the stump of his missing right arm.  "Said she was aimin' to make Vicksburg 'fore the moon came again.  Said she
had orders, and papers, and -- "
     "I give the orders here, Swain.  Not any damn Yankee wand-wavers."
     Swain cackled.  The Yocona churned past Cleary's Oak, picking up speed as the Yazoo River turned narrow and straight. The Captain rang three bells, and the thump-thump-thump of the pistons slowed.
     The Yocona’s running lamps began to touch the trees on each bank of the Yazoo River.  Shadows whirled and twisted, caught mid-step in some secret dance before fleeing back into the impenetrable murk beyond the first rank of trees.  Some few seemed to run just ahead of the light, capering and tumbling like
shards of a nightmare given flesh and let loose to roam.
     The shadows reminded the Captain of Gettysburg and Oxford and a hundred other haunted ruins left in the wake of the War.  The Yazoo River was the only safe route through the countryside now, unless you
were a sorcerer, a Yankee, or a fool.
     "Eyes ahead, boys," said the Captain, softly.  "They're only there if you look."

If you want to keep reading, just go here.  It's a good story.  And free or 99 cents, you can't go wrong.


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