Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sharing My New Cover

The excitement never dulls. This book has been a real labor of love for reasons I can't explain. I connected with Sarah on so many levels, probably because she possesses all the traits I wish I did. She's brave, beautiful and determined not to let go of her beliefs--to stand up and argue when things aren't fair. Even when her heart aches, she's rational enough to make the most difficult decision of her life.
Sarah's Journey - Coming from Eternal Press in 2008. Stay tuned for more information. Here's an UNEDITED excerpt:

Sarah started toward her smoldering Conestoga, now barely recognizable. She’d used her last penny to buy it to make this trip, hiring a driver and packing everything she owned into the beautifully-crafted prairie schooner. This wasn’t how things were supposed to turn out. Headed for California, she wanted to leave all her bad memories in Missouri and forge new and happier ones. Maybe any minute she would wake up and discover this was all just a horrible nightmare. Her throbbing head told her it wasn’t likely.

The smaller wagon behind Sarah’s stood unscathed except for the arrows jutting from the canvas covering. In contrast to violence, delicate feathers decorating the shafts swayed in the breeze.

Her eyes smarted from drifting smoke. She called out again, but still received no response. Sarah summoned strength, gathered her wits and forced her reluctant legs to move. Unsteady at first, her determination gave her strength. She fought the urge to retch when she passed by the body of the wagon master, Mr. Simms. The top of his head had been slashed off, leaving a bloody pulp. She jerked her gaze away only to view three more male bodies, one clutching a lance stuck deep in his chest. All had been desecrated in the same savage manner.

She swallowed hard and forced herself to continue her search. Circling the camp, she found more bodies as she went from wagon-to-wagon. Next to what remained of her own, she found her driver, Fred Tanner. His eyes stared lifelessly at the sky; an arrow protruded from a dried circle of blood in the middle of his shirt. He, too, had been scalped. Sarah bent, and focusing only on his placid face, closed his eyelids. Guilt gnawed at her, and she straightened and whispered a silent prayer on his behalf. In their business arrangement, he had ended up paying far more dearly than she had.

Hope pushed her onward in a quest to find someone alive. The dead children sickened her more than the deceased adults. Barely starting their lives, they came to a bitter end far too soon. She discovered most of them huddled with their mothers in the backs of the unburned wagons, fear still etched on their tiny faces.

The smell of charred flesh hung heavy in the air and made it difficult to breathe. Sarah crinkled her nose in disgust, her shoulders sagged. Each person deserved a proper burial, but she couldn’t do it all by herself. Her head pounded in rhythm with the panic in her heart as she realized the seriousness of her predicament. The Indians had taken all the animals, and from what she could tell, most of the food. She had no idea where she was or how she would survive.

Sarah collapsed to the ground and buried her face in her hands. Sobs wracked her body as she mourned each person’s passing. She’d barely gotten to know them. Only fifteen days ago in Independence, Missouri, these twelve wagons had gathered, full of excited and happy faces, ready to journey to a new life.

She cried until her tears ran dry, then finding composure, convinced herself weeping wouldn’t help. At twenty-two-years old, she was determined to see twenty-three. But how? She could walk for help, but in which direction, and how far? Even if she filled her canteen with fresh water from the stream, how long would it last before she reached another source? What if the Indians came back? It appeared they had taken all the weapons leaving her defenseless. She couldn’t just sit and wait. Besides, in the warm spring weather it wouldn’t be long before the bodies started to decay. Leaving appeared to be her only option.

She pulled a ladle from a nearby water barrel and took a long draw. The coolness quenched her thirst and eased her parched throat, but another scan of the deserted campground stirred her fear. It was time to begin her trek and she wasn’t ready. In fact she felt scared to death. She dropped the dipper back in place and struggled against consuming hopelessness by remembering her faith. God had seen her through other troubled times, surely he wouldn’t abandon her now. He saved her for reason, but what?


Diane M. Wylie said...

Great new cover, Ginger. Gorgeous. Wishing you many sales. The excerpt sounds great!

Anita Davison said...

Talk about Deja Vu? Tell me this is a trick of the eye or you teasing or something as I can't get my head round it. If it were me, I would have problems with the bad memories - but you seem to be made of sterner stuff - Go For It Ginger and Congratulations on having Sarah's Journey published - which ending did you go for?

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