Bounty Hunter 100 Word Pitch

Working cover for Bounty HunterHere’s the 25 word pitch:

Treya discovers that a Universal rift has opened interdimensional travel possibilities, but it’s the government’s big secret and they’ll kill her to keep it quiet.

100 word pitch:

Bounty Hunter is a rural adventure fantasy set in post-collapse northwest Arkansas.

There’s a rift in the Universal fabric that the Feds aren’t telling anyone about. It’s the main reason martial law is still in effect.

Treya is training to be an assassin for ARSA, a covert government agency headquartered in Bentonville. Criminals are killed three times to force them into successively lower incarnations.

Treya’s innate gifts enable her to track a person throughout their incarnations, and even across dimensions, but she soon realizes that she also is being tracked.

The hunter becomes the hunted in this rural fantasy adventure.


Want to read it as I’m writing?

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Here’s a short excerpt:

“So. Were you able to hear the heartbeat in the way I showed you?” Dersuss asked.

“Not quite. I felt it more than I heard it. Or maybe ‘sensed’ it is a better word to describe it. I can’t really explain, I just know it was hers somehow. Am I making sense?” For some reason I didn’t want to share the scent aspect of my process with him. Not yet. I didn’t know why, but figured I’d trust my gut. It had served me well so far.

“Totally,” he reassured. “You have to develop your own technique. I can only try to show you mine and you’ll modify to suit yourself more and more as time goes by, I’m sure.”

I nodded in thoughtful agreement.

“Do you think she knows we’re coming?” I asked.

“Probably.”

If you’d like to read this novel as it’s being written, sign in to my beta reader’s page. Any feedback you’d like to offer is welcome. The password is “beta”, without the quotes.


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New Working Cover and Another Chapter Posted

Chapter 14 is loaded to the beta reader’s page now: http://fiction.wildozark.com/beta-reader/

And I have a new working cover. I decided to just go with the same name for fiction and non-fiction. It’s too much keeping up with multiple names, so I hope it doesn’t really matter.

This isn’t likely to be the final cover even if I self-publish, but let me know your thoughts on it. There’s a random “a” in the tree-trunk left over from the previous rendition. I didn’t see it until just now, but I’ll take it off later.

Working cover for Bounty Hunter

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 14:

With a shrug I took the blowgun off of my shoulder and checked the fresh dart. Then I dropped the backpack on the ground beside DRSS and took out my tin of spares. After a glance back at him and catching a reassuring nod, I slung the blowgun over my shoulder and advanced toward the cabin.

It was just a quick sprint from where I’d stood just moments earlier. When I reached the door, I found myself considering whether or not to knock. Realizing the absurdity of that, I put a hand on the knob.

Well. Here goes.

I held my breath and turned the knob.

The door was unlocked. Why would she leave the door unlocked? I hesitated and listened after pushing it open a few inches. Her signature was strong. She was in there, sure enough.

This is too easy.

I pushed open the door and stepped inside. And there she was. Sitting in a rocking chair, waiting on me.


Read the rest of what I have so far by using “beta” for the password on the login page.


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Chapter 13 of Bounty Hunter is posted

Just loaded chapter 13 of Bounty Hunter to the beta reader’s page. If you’d like to read it, or read them all, just go here and enter “beta” for the password.


Readers are a writer's raison d'être - Thank you for being mine!

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#amwriting. Here’s a Short Excerpt from Bounty Hunter

I took a few months off from fiction. Now that I’m finally getting back to Bounty Hunter, I’m excited.

I still like the story as much as I did when I put it down. I guess that’s always a good thing for a writer to feel. Most writers probably don’t put things down for that long, and I’m not sure why I did.

It wasn’t writer’s block. It was too many irons in the fire syndrome. I’ve got a lot of other projects going on right now, plus we’ve traveled a little since Rob came home from overseas.

I’ve started doing web design and am working on a fairly large project right now for The Place on the Square & The Art Room Gallery. We had some homestead projects I helped with. And I’ve focused on non-fiction more than fiction for the past year or two.

But I’m back to fiction and I hope to make a dedicated run of fiction writing every day now. Bounty Hunter is at the moment a little over 38.5K words and I’m aiming for 50K. It’ll be a novella/novel, since the length puts it in the gray area of definition. The sequels will likely be closer to novella length.

Working cover for Bounty Hunter, by Madison DuBois
Working cover for Bounty Hunter, by Madison DuBois

Here’s an excerpt from today’s work (rough draft).

We moved off down a deer trail that led downhill. Then it paralleled the hillside for a long ways before dropping to the next lower level. Our pace was slower than it had been and I tried to hear Avery’s signature.

The sound was faint and I felt it more than I heard it, but I did hear it. And somehow I knew without doubt that it was hers. This puzzled me. How had I been tuned to only her? At what point did I quit hearing, feeling, or smelling others, like DRSS’s?

DRSS reached the edge of an overhang and crouched. I dropped and crawled up to crouch beside him. He parted the branches of a sparkleberry shrub in front of us. A few dried berries still clung and I reached out and plucked them. DRSS turned and glowered at me.

“What?” I asked.

He put his finger to his lips and glowered even harder. He pointed down to the valley below. We were still high enough to have a good view even though we’d come down from the top since we’d set out.

A creek ran across the back of the valley of tall grass. Someone had obviously been keeping it up. There were no cedars dotting the fields as there had been in virtually ever other one I’d seen so far. In the far corner of the field there was a small white house.

The creek made a sharp bend there behind the house, but it was on high ground. A sheer bluff rose at least a hundred feet on the opposite side of the creek.

Smoke curled from the chimney. Someone was home. My heart stilled. Avery. That’s where she’s hiding. I’m going to go in there and kill her. The thought came so matter-of-factly, so apart from the feelings that should have accompanied such a thought, it terrified me.

Suddenly I didn’t know if I could do it. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a bounty hunter after all.

Then I noticed the look on DRSS’s face. He motioned for me to back up. I crawled backwards as good as I could without making too much noise. Once out of sight of the valley, he stood. I did too, but stayed silent until he spoke.

“Something is wrong,” he said quietly.

Immediately I checked my own senses. I could feel the color draining from my face.

“It’s him,” I said. The musty odor was overwhelming. How had I missed it until now? I clamped my hand over my mouth as if it would help keep me from vomiting. But it didn’t help. The little handful of sparkleberries were just too freshly sitting in my stomach. I ran to the side and threw them up.

“What is it?” DRSS asked when I came back.

“It’s him. Eli.”

DRSS took a sharp look at me and crawled back to the edge of the cliff. I waited where I was. I didn’t want to go any closer. After a few minutes he came back using the same stealth he’d used to get over there.

“Why is it that I can’t sense this man?” he asked.

“I don’t know, but he’s there.”

“How can you tell?”

“I smell him.”

Some of you will wonder how or why I’m using an acronym for someone’s name. Here’s another excerpt that explains how Treya deals with the pronunciation of his name.


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Staying on Task with Writing Projects

Acorn putting down roots.

One of my biggest problems, in general, is staying on task – or rather, it is the difficulty in focusing only on ONE task at a time.

I love to do so many different things, writing included, and even the writing itself can be subdivided into many different types that all demand different types of attention.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t really write all that much for someone who calls herself a writer.

But that’s not true.

My blog (not this one so much, since I rarely even post here, but the Wild Ozark blog) is real writing. I try to make each post and page a true article with helpful information or entertaining (nonfiction) stories.

Sales copy for the online shop is a chore, but it too is “real” writing. I just don’t like doing it so much.

And of course I have several small nonfiction books listed at Amazon and they’re performing well enough.

But fiction is where I’d like to spend the bulk of my writing time and for whatever reasons I have the mindset that it is “less real” than the nonfiction. Possibly this is because there is no outward “proof” of effort until a work is completely done.

However, the story I’ve been toiling away at is harder for me than nonfiction because I’m not sure what I’ll write about to move the story forward. And so I often write nothing on it at all.

For too long it’s been like that acorn with the feeler root out, looking for a spot between the rocks where it can dig in and get busy growing. That’s what I’ve felt like lately, but I was stuck in the feeling around mode.

Now it’s really beginning to put down roots. Bounty Hunter is halfway done!

I’m shooting for 50-70K words and am at 35K now. Ideas are once again beginning to flow regarding the storyline from this point onward and so I’m happy about that.

I think for future sequels I’ll spend a bit more time up front with outlining and brainstorming with my husband. He’s is full of good story ideas but doesn’t write them, but we’ve talked about writing a series together. With the extra planning, maybe when I get to task of actually writing the story, the structure will at least already be built and staying on task will be easier .

For nonfiction articles, I take a similar approach although I don’t do it consciously all the time. I write the beats of the article – the highlight points. Usually those turn into the section headings later on. Then I fill in the spaces between with information to support the headings.

So that’s how the next stories will be done. And it’s how the remainder of Bounty Hunter will get done. My goal is to have it finished and ready to publish by the end of summer.

I’m still undecided on whether I’ll take the traditional route and look for an agent or whether I’ll self-publish it. With the shorter length, it might be best if I do it myself. But I’ll worry about that later, when the story is finished.

P.S. I just spent 10 minutes and wrote more than 500 words just on this little blog post entry. That’s what I need to be doing to my novel. Even that little effort would pay off in the end. I didn’t know what I was going to write when I first sat down here to compose this post. I just started writing and it eventually found a thread. Then I went back and filled in a little better. So for each chapter I’ll take a similar approach. I’ll just write about what the chapter is supposed to be about, then go back and fill in the details and make all the parts fit right.


Readers are a writer's raison d'être - Thank you for being mine!

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Busting Writerly Paralysis

busting writerly paralysis
busting writerly paralysis

I’ve been suffering from writerly paralysis.

Just as I was about to put up the sail and catch the wind with my fiction writing, the wind died.

This happens more often than I’d like to admit. It’s why it took me so long to finish novel #1.

I get scared. And when I get scared, the wind dies.

So why do I get scared?

Because what I’m writing doesn’t feel as good to me as what I’m reading.

Then the critic sets in and she makes me wonder why I bother trying at all.

So that’s why nothing new has been produced with Bounty Hunter lately. I’ve been battling the inner critic. She had me down since before the new year, but in just a few minutes, as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to the keyboard to put her back in her place.


Readers are a writer's raison d'être - Thank you for being mine!

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Fantasy Art- Tree Priestess

This is another of my attempts to draw something inspired by one of my stories.

tree priestess - low


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So Many Doors – 100 word flash

So Many Doors
So Many Doors

 

So many doors. Too many.

Too many options and not one single hint. What is the world coming to?

It’s not as if I can go door to door checking to see which one I want to take.

No. instructions said “only choose one”. That’s all. No clue.

Not a hint as to what might happen if I chose two. Or six. What then?

How am I to know if the risk is worth the consequences?

Someone I knew once said “just hold your hand over the doorknobs, you’ll feel the one”.

Right. They all feel the same to me.


Readers are a writer's raison d'être - Thank you for being mine!

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Hopefully not a “darling”! One of my favorite scenes from Bounty Hunter

Working cover for Bounty Hunter, by Madison DuBois
Working cover for Bounty Hunter, by Madison DuBois

I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a dreaded “darlings” that writers are encouraged to kill off from their manuscripts. It’s the scene where Treya first meets DRSS, who is to be her mentor in the field:


My natural sense of optimism kicked in.

The name was a problem, but at least DRSS was color drenched. I decided could ignore the glare and scowl for now.

He wore dark green canvas pants with the long sleeves pushed up on his black Henley shirt. It was mostly unbuttoned, which made the tops flop over in an appealing way. This was a damn good-looking man in his felt wool, short-brimmed Stetson hat. I couldn’t see his eyes behind the dark sunglasses but I was willing to bet they were a decent color, too. Not that iceberg blue I’d just endured for the past few hours.

DRSS frowned even harder – I hadn’t thought that could have been possible, but he did it. Once he’d finished glaring at me from behind the dark glasses, he turned and stalked toward the parking lot.

A refreshingly different scent trailed along behind him. Acorns and deep woods humus. I could definitely live with that. Total departure from the pine-sol white of the office building we were leaving behind. I didn’t know why, but that made me feel better about the whole deal. Even if the man wore a permanent scowl, at least his scent was nice.

I scrambled to catch up.

“Do you mind if I call you Dursuss? I can’t even say D-R-S-S without getting tongue-tied,” I said, still lagging behind just a bit.

Finally caught up, I smiled and held out my hand, but had nearly had to sprint to keep up with him.

He paused.

My smile faded when it became obvious he didn’t share my sense of humor or possess any social skills at all.

“Call me whatever you like,” he said. After a brief pause to glance at my hand, he continued walking toward the parking lot.

Alrighty then. Asshole is what I think I’ll call you.


 


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Bounty Hunter, Chapter 1

Working cover for Bounty Hunter, by Madison DuBois
Working cover for Bounty Hunter, by Madison DuBois

Post Collapse Sci-Fantasy set in the Ozarks

Treya applies for a position with ARSA (Apprehension, Retribution, and Silencing Agency) of northwest Arkansas. This is Chapter 1 of Bounty Hunter, my dystopian sci-fantasy Ozark novel-in-progress. If you want to see each chapter as I’m finished with the first draft, become a first reader by clicking this link. Use the password provided in the title (it’s “beta”). I’d love to have you on board.

Bounty Hunter

CHAPTER ONE -Signing with ARSA

Eighty feet of glass spanned left and right in front of me with no obvious braces to hold it in place. It rose in height an equal distance, the design an architectural marvel modeled after one of the famous buildings in a progressive Middle Eastern country.

I paused at the lowest granite step and looked at the giant A-R-S-A acronym stretched across the entire front of the building.

It was hard for me to believe I was actually going to go inside and ask for a position with a government agency. It went against all that was ingrained in me since birth, by parents who were, themselves, too entrenched to get out of the system.

And yet, there I stood. Bentonville, Arkansas, on the steps to the home of the most notorious government agency we had. ARSA stands for Arrests, Retribution and Silencing Agency. Though well respected, they were not a loved and appreciated bunch of folks. But they headquartered in my assigned domicile and it was the best option I had.

Continue reading Bounty Hunter, Chapter 1


Readers are a writer's raison d'être - Thank you for being mine!

If you'd like to join my monthly mailing list, you can read more about it and sign up from my main website.