Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Beginning 1021

August 1822

“Go away!” Kincaid shouted at Joe. There wasn’t a need to turn in the saddle and look back. He was there. The sounds of creaking leather and the clip of hooves said so. He had been there for half a day since he come trotting up with the pack mule in tow. Like he was ready to go anywhere and stay out as long as need be, the mule was loaded so.

“I said ‘Go away’,” the young man shouted again.

“Thought you said I free,” Joe replied. “Thought you said I ain’t a slave no longer. That Lerocque don’t own me, and you don’t own me.”

“I did!” Kincaid snapped.

“Then I free to ride where I want. Free to ride south like I doing. Maybe go to Santa Fe and spend some time.”

“I don’t need no mammy!” Kincaid raised his voice more. Can’t that darky see I don’t want to be around no one. That being alone and feeling the hurt was what a man needed at a time like this.

Kincaid spurred up, planning to outpace the slave, when suddenly two suspicious individuals breached the wooded trail, their faces blighted, skin hanging half off the taller one's scalp. Kincaid realized the fortuitousness of his unwelcome shadow.

With a brutal yank on the bit, Kincaid reared his horse clear around and dashed past Joe and his pack mule. Yes, when encountering the unholy zombie werewolves known to inhabit the region it was best to be accompanied on the trail by a slow man on a slow animal.

Hearing Joe's anguished cries echo through the forest Kincaid was troubled. Until he realized: Joe died a Freeman.

Opening: Wes Redfield.....Continuation: Veronica Rundell


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Joe drew alongside, his slick leather chaps, dirty with sweat and grime, dull in the sun. "You said I free," he whispered. "I don't want free, Kinny. Not if it be like this."

Kincaid reined in his horse. "Joe," he said, his voice thick and husky. "I never meant...I just wanted..."

"I knows." They both dismounted, almost running to each other's arms.

Dammit, thought Kincaid to himself as he unbuttoned his pants. The chaps. I just can't stay away from the chap stick.


“Who said anythang bout yo mama?”

“I didn’t say ‘mama.’ I said ‘mammy’!”

“They’s a diffunts?”

Kincaid didn’t have to turn in the saddle to verify Joe’s cynicism. He could hear it in the creak of a dark eyebrow on a dark forehead.

“Course they’s a diffunts!” After a pause to consider exactly what the diffunts might be, Kincaid said, “A mammy provide the bosom, while the mama provide the love.”

“Can’t argue with that, considering how everbody know yo mama be pretty good at providing both. She be one hot woman, Kincaid. Hell of a lot better lookin than that Lerocque gal, too.”

Kincaid didn’t turn in the saddle, but Joe could hear the creak of Kincaid’s light eyebrow on his light forehead.

“Giddyup, mule!”


Evil Editor said...

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that Kincaid has appeared here in the opening and query and several excerpts of Sangre de Cristo, the first book in this series. Some may recall that the query for this, the 2nd book appeared here (Face-lift 512).

You may even recall that this exact opening appeared here in Jan., 2008 (, in which case you'll also note that none of our advice was heeded. Apparently different advice is being sought.

The author reports that information about both books may be found at

khazar-khum said...

Zombie werewolves? Don't you mean Skinwalkers?

Kelsey said...

OK, OK wait--I read the original query for the first book. So, Joe is a freed slave and not only does he NOT get the hell out of a county filled with people who used to abuse him and enslave him, and likely his family--he stays with this surly white guy who doesn't seem to care much about him--AND stays with a guy who ends up HELPING the slave trade?

You're breaking all believability for me in Joe's character. In these opening paragraphs you're presenting to me, the reader, a situation where a freed black slave WANTS to continue to play the slave/"caretaker" to a young white man, and this is done without any real nuance, or introduction to complex character motivations... I'm not saying this situation can't exist. But as is, that's a pretty loaded bomb to drop in the first couple of paragraphs.

Author, I trust you don't actually mean this but your opening makes me think of people who believe slavery wasn't all that bad, as long as you had nice masters.

Good luck.

Unknown said...

I was put right off on this one.
I'm not sure where it's going, but I didn't get on with the characters. Kinkaid is a mess, and if Joe is a freedman with a mule and supplies, I can't fathom why he wouldn't skedaddle.
Folks of that era were downright industrious; he'd a left, IMHO.

Anywho, I wasn't drawn in.

Be careful of your language. It's a fine line between challenging your audience, and offending your audience.
Best of luck.

Dave Fragments said...

I went back and looked to see if I commented on the original. Gee, I did.
What strange comments I made. {shrug}

When I read this in the recent queue, I had thoughts that the scene was not set, that this was merely dialog and no setting, that the reader was jarred and badgered by Kincaid's anger for reason's unknown. I couldn't place the history. I realized that the characters are western and that one was a slave but not much else. It didn't hold my attention.
That is the original and the still existing problem. This needs a setting and time and place for the reader to latch onto.

Let me put it this way - Go read the opening paragraph of Barbara Tuchman's THE GUNS OF AUGUST. That's a setting for a historical novel. Reports are that that one single paragraph took 8 hours to craft all by itself.

Evil Editor said...

Presumaby you're not saying that The Guns of August is a novel.

Dave Fragments said...

As much a novel as any history -- but, yes you are correct, It is not fiction. It is history. It is the description of the funeral procession of Edward VII made so compelling that the reader wants to read on to the rest of the history.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

The opening does seem calculated to offend, both with the use of a slightly-off AAVE dialect and with the suggestion that Joe is slavishly following Kincaid even though he's been freed.

And yet.

What Joe says is true. From wherever you are in the world, there is only one best route to Santa Fe. And if both men want to go to Santa Fe, both men are going to take it... a fact so obvious that it hardly needs discussing.

Which makes the scene kind of pointless. It's all info-dump: Joe used to be a slave, Kincaid freed him but doesn't like him, and they're traveling on assorted steeds with a lot of leather. I doubt this is the best place to begin.