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bloodinelkcreek-500

The deadline for this novella ate my life for a week. You see, when it was time to turn it in, it was about 20K words long… and nowhere near finished. I had to go into writing overdrive and did nothing but eat and sleep and breathe Blood in Elk Creek when I wasn’t at my job. I literally just sat on the couch and frantically typed.

And I’m really, really happy with how it turned out. I hope that you like it!

Blood in Elk Creek

Once called the Great Plains, the Dead Plains are a place in which no sane citizen of the Duchies dares set foot. The Infected roam the lands in starving packs and rare is the man who returns alive from an expedition. But when one of the regiments of the Grand Duchy of Denver disappears into those wilds under false pretenses, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas dares the Dead Plains to investigate. And Captain Marta Ramos, infamous pirate and thorn in his side, is not far behind.

Foul events are afoot in the Black Hills: Lakota hunting camps leveled, and the Infected move as an army in purposeful, terrifying ways. Captain Ramos and Colonel Douglas must form an uneasy truce and venture deep into the hostile terrain of the Black Hills to discover what has prompted this invasion and how to stop it.

If the Infected don’t kill them first.

And have an excerpt:

Marta looked upstream, but the view was occluded by rocks and more pine trees. There was a loud splash, followed a moment later by another surge of clouded water.

She levered herself to her feet, then drew her machete. The heavy blade felt strange and clumsy in her left hand. Feeling a bit drunk on adrenalin, she made her way around the rock with exaggerated care.

The stream took a sharp turn on the other side of the rocks, widening. Two corpses were laid neatly out in the shallow water. A coyote stood over one, worrying at its arm—the source of the splashes and the gouts of old, coagulated blood.

Blood.

Hand still clutching the machete, Marta bent over and retched, forcibly ejecting all of the water she’d just drunk from her stomach. She wiped her mouth with a handful of grass and looked up to find the coyote now staring at her, a profoundly unimpressed look on its face and a forearm and hand dangling from its jaws.

Marta’s stomach cramped again. Stop that, she mentally commanded herself. It was a reaction entirely in her mind, nothing but fear.

Tail at a cocky angle, the coyote trotted off with its prize, though the animal did give her a wide berth.

Marta approached the bodies with more trepidation than she had ever felt when faced with any number of corpses. Neither of the corpses had heads; each simply had a stump blackened with blood and rot. She recognized the look of the cuts, knew them before she’d even pulled her goggles properly on and snapped in one of the surviving magnifying lenses.

They’d each had their head removed with two or three strikes from a machete. She’d had to make similar cuts herself before, more times than she cared to consider. Each corpse wore the tattered remains of leather clothing, just trousers and no shirts, feet yet covered with moccasins. A few decorations partially obscured with muck and blood were made from colored porcupine quills; this was not the clothing of those who resided in the duchies.

All of these small details, building readily into a disturbing picture in Marta’s mind, felt curiously beside the point. Her left hand shook as she raised it to her goggles again, flipping through the loupes until she found those of treated calcite. The delicate lenses had cracked and crazed into a thousand tiny rhombic shapes, but even through that she saw the telltale glow that oozed from the bodies, that swirled through the water that touched them and confirmed her worst terror.

The corpses and stream, the stream she’d so greedily drunk from, were alive with Infection. Bright flecks showed on her left hand, which she’d used to scoop water to her mouth. A horrible sort of laugh squeezed from her throat.

She’d survived the most impressive aeroplane crash of her career just long enough to kill herself.

Order now! 

#SFWAPro

Originally published at The sound and nerdery of Rachael Acks. You can comment here or there.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
idemandjustice
Sep. 7th, 2013 02:49 am (UTC)
I got it. I'm in the middle of a really long epic fantasy, and have a couple of other things to read, but I have it for when I get a little time!
katsudon
Sep. 8th, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for buying it! :D
dynamint
Sep. 7th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
I just want to say that while I know none of this is related to you at all, so telling you about does nothing, I'm going to tell you anyway :P

I actually preordered this, because more Captain Ramos yay! But somehow, Muse Publishing has lost all records of my order even though I paid for it. I guess the upshot is that customer service is polite and helpful, but between the time difference from Japan and job interviews looming, I think I may never get to read it! (Look how I hyperbolized like an emo teenager.) In the future, I will definitely not preorder and wait until the book is actually released before buying it >.
katsudon
Sep. 8th, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
Drop me an e-mail. katsuhiro at gmail dot com
dynamint
Sep. 9th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
They were able to fix whatever glitch their system had!
So I guess now I get to read it Sunday, after the two-day interview from hell. (Seriously, I have 6 separate tasks over two full days...) Thanks, though :D
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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