Friday, April 22, 2011

Tougher Days are Here Again

Grading time is upon me. I’m grading a test now in my Capstone class, and on Monday I’ll have two tests to grade. Senior grades—and most of my students are seniors—are due Tuesday at noon so that means Monday will definitely be a nose to the grindstone kind of day. Probably most of the night too.

In the meantime, It’s been a while since I’ve talked up my own books so I thought I might leave you with some samples from a couple of my available works. Soon I hope to be able to turn my mind to writing some ‘new’ stuff.

Here’s the opening to “Showdown at Wild Briar,” from my Kindle collection Killing Trail. As you might guess, things aren’t going to be as easy as the end of this teaser suggests. In the west, going home ain’t for the faint of heart or the slow of hand.

“You Josh Allen Boone?”

Leaning back in his chair in the Bucket of Blood saloon, a man looked up from under the brim of a battered Stetson. His gray eyes studied the speaker, noted the briar-scarred chaps, the faded red bandana at the neck, beaten smooth and soft with many washings, and the sun-worn face under a sweat-stained hat. A Remington New Model Army .44 rested in a holster high on the man’s right hip. Except for the boots, which were hand-tooled and expensive, the outfit shouted cow puncher.

“Who’s asking?”

“Don’t matter,” the cowboy said. He tossed what looked like a newspaper clipping onto the table beside Josh’s beer. “Figured you’d like to know. A Texas ranger down Brazos way shot a horse thief. One, Terrance Morelli. Seems old Terrance wanted to clear his conscience afore he died. Told about a man name of Frank Caine he’d killed in Wyoming. I believe you knew Frank.”

A tiny smile quirked the corner of Josh Allen’s lips. “Knew him,” Josh agreed. “They say I murdered him.”

“Now they’ll say you didn’t. You can go home.”


Here’s a piece from the collection Midnight in Rosary, also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This is from a story called “Love in the Time of Cybersex.”

The shapeshifter prowled toward him, as if her bones and muscles weren’t quite human. And they weren’t. Persona vats could grow anything. He’d seen a dragon here last night for sweet sake, though the cost of downloading one’s mind into something like that was astronomically high. But the shifter body was almost standard, and with practice the person inhabiting it could make it change shape. In the lighter gravity of the moon, the werewolf myth could come howling to life.

This shifter was named Smokeheart, a werepanther instead of a wolf, and she hadn’t been here quite long enough to learn how to fully control her body. She remained mostly human, except for pointed and tufted ears and a rampant grace, and a tail as strong and flexible as satin rope. Boone recalled that tail fondly.

Killing Trail is a collection of western stories and some nonfiction stuff about the west. The stories were most strongly influenced by Louis L’Amour. Since this is a self-published book, it’s exactly as I want it to be. Now, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing the readers will have to say.

Midnight in Rosary is a collection of mostly vampire stories with some werewolf stuff thrown in. It’s also got a fair amount of erotica in the mix.

Thanks for listening!


Cloudia said...

Your capacity for work amazes me, Charles. Do stop to walk in nature with lovely Lana this weekend :-)

Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral




laughingwolf said...

got a thing for the boone clan, charles? :O lol

best to you and yours for easter!

Deka Black said...

part by part: Good luck with the grades. Don't let the students scare you!

About the pieces... The shapesifter piece.. the "downloading the mind" mention makes me think you know of transhumanism, right?

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, I wish. I will get a walk this weekend. I usually do.

Laughingwolf, It's a cool name. I've used it more than once.

Deka, yes indeed. It's a story about a future where minds can be downloaded into various biological clones.

Steve Malley said...

'Wild Briar' was my favorite-- like James M Cain writing a Western!

We've got to get you selling more books, man....

BernardL said...

I enjoyed The Killing Trail immensely. It was a bargain. I know you've mentioned Louis Lamour as a writer you enjoyed growing up. I did too. I read everything I could get my hands on from him.

Travis Cody said...

I really enjoyed Killing Trail. It was my very first Kindle purchase.

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, glad you enjoyed. I really liked that opening myself. I've got some ideas for promotion as soon as school is over and I can put two thoughts together.

BernardL, thanks. I appreciate that. I've got one or two of L'Amour's pulp collections, that were published after his death, but everything else I have by him I've already read and enjoyed.

Travis Cody, thanks, man! I appreciate that very much.

X. Dell said...

Good luck with the release. After my work jag, I'll have some time to read more books. Trust me, I'll get to it.

Evan Lewis said...

Dang. I'm falling behind. I've had Killing Trail in my "Kindle for PC" file for at least three months, and keep forgetting to read it. Gotta do it and make room for Midnight in Rosary.

Deka Black said...

Then is a story i would like to read. Transhumanism is a very interesting topic.

laughingwolf said...

yeah, i see that... twice in these samples ;) lol

actor richard boone [related to dan'l] was a fave of mine, though i heard the latter was less than stellar....

David Cranmer said...

KILLING TRAIL would rope in even non-western fans. Strong, tight writing there.

the walking man said...

I finally made the Amazon comment on Killing Trail...liked it. had to mention Cold in the Light too. That'll be $20! $40 if you want me to grade your papers for you so you can write instead.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Amazing how you can jump genres so easily.

Charles Gramlich said...

X. Dell, If I can keep myself from wasting too much time playing video games after I'm off, I'll be OK.

Evan Lewis, my kindle is pretty full too. I bought another yesterday, but haven't read anything on it in a week. I need to get to it. I appreciate you getting KIlling trail.

Deka Black,Yes, and one that is becoming reality, or seemingly so.

laughingwolf, you're right. You know I didn't even notice that. I believe that I've used the name "Boone" in one way or another in four published stories. Kind of odd that I accidentally picked two of them here. I'll have to check.

David Cranmer, thanks man. I really appreciate it.

Mark, and thanks, man. I saw that on Amazon. Much appreciated. I have a feeling you'd finish the grading in about 3 minutes. Or less. I don't know about 40 bucks for that amount of time. :)

pattinase, I do it in reading. and this way I don't get bored.

laughingwolf said...

one's always 'too close' to one's works, so it's easier to spot em in others' stuff...

sage said...

I hope it's not a tough day for your students :)

Bucket of Blood Saloon, I been there many times when I lived in Virginia City... The couple that owned it then are now both deceased, but as far as I know, their sons still own it.

Ron Scheer said...

If you're influenced by Louis L'Amour, you're influenced by every western writer that came before him, and that's not bad. Good luck with the grading. I'm up to my ears in it, too. Fortunately I've raised procrastination to a fine art...

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, indeed.

Sage, from what I understand that name was fairly common for saloons. I'm not sure what the first one was, maybe the one in Dodge City.

Ron, oh definitely, I've read quite a bit of the earlier stuff but it was L'Amour that crystalized it for me.

Anonymous said...

Charles reminds me of when I lectured. You are an incredibly hard worker, a writer I have total respect for, a man who has great insight, and someone I am always pleased to see on the net, I wish I could get here more often, it is not for the lack of wanting.

ivan said...

Yeah, Louis L'Amour.

John Ford and Louis L'Amour had a major impact on how people remember the Ole West.

This extends to old Kung Fu reruns, and even the Karate Kid.

You are in good comany.

Lisa said...

Hello Charles, I wonder what the pressure is like being a lecturer marking borderline answers. I'll check out Kindle more closely. I have never seen it on sale here. I had not bought from amazon in a while because of problems of shipments into Malaysia. When I ordered my "book" from blog2print, it took close to two months to reach me. I really thought I was not going to get it and lose it all.

I understand that you are having problem with DISQUS. It is too late for me to do anything now. I cannot undo it. I have heard of problems and had experienced them myself before, but I came to like it because it eases communications. But all I can do now is pray the problems will go away.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, you are far too kind, man.

Ivan, I find that I like the mythic better than the real. I suppose it's because I live in the real, I know it intimately. It has few surprises for me. The mythic has something else.

Ocean girl, hopefully it will clear up. Maybe it will. some of these glitches do. I'm still reading your posts, just not always able to comment.

Lana Gramlich said...

I love the way you write, baby. So lyrical and engaging.