"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Shadow of the Wind

Last night I finished reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. My first inclination was to turn back to page one and read it again--it was that good--and I never read books more than once. Mainly because I have so many on my reading list and so little time. As soon as I finish one, I move onto the next one. If they don't grab me right away, they end up in a box that goes to the library or the used bookstore. (Life is too short to waste it on bad books.) But this one I'll keep. I felt just like the character in the book who discovered the most wonderful book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. If you haven't read it, you should.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Excerpt from The Last Rodeo

Here's an excerpt from Chapter One of The Last Rodeo. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter One
Arizona

Dev Summers buckled on his chaps and pulled the deerskin glove onto his riding hand, cinching it tight at the wrist. He blocked out the din of the rodeo, of everything except the sound of the announcer's baritone voice coming from the loudspeakers, smoothly playing to the audience.

"Ladies and gentlemen, our next cowboy has been riding rough stock since he was old enough to walk. Five-time Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association's World Champion, and four-time Professional Bull Rider World Champion, Dev Summers is the only man to have ever ridden the notorious Satan 101--a big, rank old bull that's been named the PBR's Bucking Bull of the Year for three consecutive years.

"Early last year in Montana, though, Old Satan got even with our cowboy and nearly ended his career. But you can't hold a good man down. Dev's back in the running, and, as luck would have it, he's drawn into another go-round with Satan."

A hush fell over the crowd as they realized this could be the ride of the night, maybe even a ride that would go down in the annuls of rodeo history. But what most of them didn't know was that Satan 101 had turned killer.

Nobody had wanted to ride him since April when Tim Roberts, a guy with whom Dev must have logged a million miles over the last twenty years, had run out of luck up at the Nampa Classic in Idaho. The bull had turned on him with the same vicious intent he'd laid out for Dev last year at the NILE Invitational in Billings, Montana. While all the cowboys had helplessly huddled in shock around Tim, the bull rider had died in Dev's arms before the Justin Sportsmedicine Team could reach him.

Tim's death had left a pall hanging over the bull riders. Every cowboy who'd drawn Satan since April had learned how to pray--and how to mean every word of it. Many had been hurt bad enough to be knocked out of the competition. Others had barely escaped injury. No one had ridden him.

The beast was at this moment trying to hook every cowboy within reach of his deadly horns, effectively sweeping them off the sides of the chute like dust from a doorframe before completing his customary exhibition and dropping to all fours, ready to fulfill the announcer's rhetoric.

Dev removed his Resistol hat to mop the sweat from his brow with his shirt sleeve. With a foot on either side of the metal chute, he eased out over the brindle's wide back, reminding himself that he could beat Satan. He'd done it once; he could do it again. All he had to do was focus and not think about what the animal was capable of doing. His entire career--maybe his entire life--would ultimately be measured by this one ride. The announcer's glowing words made him sound so indestructible, but the announcer wasn't close enough to smell his fear.

Satan felt Dev's pant legs brush his hide, and he reared again, forcing Dev to scramble to safety. Along with his other injuries, Dev had pulled his groin muscles last week, and it was there he felt the strain from his hasty retreat. He was tired of always fighting the pain, riding it out, sucking it up, swallowing it down. He was thirty-five--too old for this shit. He hurt everywhere, and he was sick of it. Damned sick of it. There was no longer a thrill to dally with death. He’d accomplished all he’d set out to do in the sport and then some. There were no more mountains to climb--except maybe to ride Satan one last time.

Walk away, man, while you still can. You've been wanting to for a long time. He heard Tim's voice in his mind, as if he were standing right there next to him. And maybe he was.

Don't worry, old buddy. Win or lose, live or die, this is going to be my last ride.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Five-Star Reviews for The Last Rodeo

The Last Rodeo got a terrific five-star review from Midwest Book Review! They called it "a unique and highly recommended piece of western fiction."

I also received a five-star review from multi-published author, Karen Lockwood. She said, "Linda's been known for her historical novels, so this is a departure for her, and a journey well worth the read. She should gain a whole new following of readers with this one. You're going to love this book."

Published author, B. J. Anderson, said, "This book pulled at the heart and left me feeling satisfied! The characters were so human, and their hardships kept me turning pages. I will read [this book] again and again over the years to come."

Watch for an excerpt from Chapter One soon to be posted here on my blog.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Short Story Finalist

I just found out that my short story, "The Ranch," is a finalist in Women Writing the West's first annual short fiction contest! The winners will be announced at the WWW conference on October 24th at the conference in San Antonio. The five stories selected as finalists will also run in Women Out West Magazine, starting with the January 2009 issue. Pretty exciting stuff!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Critiquing Your Own Work

Do you ever have problems critiquing and revising your own work? Don't know where to begin? Here are a few interesting quotes on the subject from well-known writers:

"Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. If you look at it to admire it, you are lost." Samuel Butler

"A writer is unfair to himself when he is unable to be hard on himself." Marianne Moore

"I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand . . . then I type a third draft on yellow paper, a very special certain kind of yellow paper. No, I don't get out of bed to do this. I balance the machine on my knees. Sure, it works fine; I can manage a hundred words a minute. Well, when the yellow draft is finished, I put the manuscript away for a while, a week, a month, sometimes longer. When I take it out again, I read it as coldly as possible, then read it aloud to a friend or two, and decide what changes I want to make and whether or not I want to publish it. I've thrown away rather a few short stories, an entire novel, and half of another. But if all goes well, I type the final version on white paper and that's that." Truman Capote

Saturday, September 6, 2008

September Issue of IDAHO Magazine Now Available

I got my September issue of IDAHO Magazine and was really pleased with the article that Bill Corbett wrote, entitled, "From the Wild West to You," a feature about my life growing up on a ranch and how it has influenced my writing. If anyone gets the chance to read it, let me know what you think. Those who have read it so far, said they really enjoyed it. If you'd like to read more of Bill's work, click on the Will Edwinson link (the pseudonym Bill uses for some of his work). His book, "Buddy, His Trials and Treasures," relates the somewhat mischievous adventures of a young boy growing up in the 1940s.