"Hey, what's Revis been up to?"
I get asked that a lot by folks who are waiting for the third book in the Kirkland Family saga. Finally, I have a better answer than "Hell if I know. I haven't seen or heard from him lately."
Writing a novel -- or anything else for that matter, requires that the writer have several things available, such as a way to record thoughts, meaning anything from pen and paper, to a computer or a voice recorder. It helps to have a plot and characters developing. But the most important item to have is time and the ability to focus. That's what has been missing in my quest to get the third book written.
The story had stalled before my husband got sick, but I knew what I was going to do to get it up and running again. After he was diagnosed, my life changed in ways I never expected. I had never encountered anything in my 62 years that felt more important than writing until I was told that my life long partner wouldn't be with me much longer.
But it's been nearly a year since he passed on. Most of the projects I started after he passed away are either finished or getting close. My mind is beginning to work the way it did when nothing was more important to me than finding time to write.
Recently, I attended a writing workshop hosted by William Bernhardt. He said, "if you want to ramp up the tension in your novel, ask yourself, 'how could this get any worse?'"
I did that regarding the third novel, When Hell Freezes Over" and the answer came in one of those moments that feels like the downhill side of a rollercoaster.
So I wrote a new beginning for When Hell Freezes Over. See what you think.
Revis Kirkland holstered the 45 and stared down at the dead heifer.
Luke McKinney spoke from close behind him. “Ain’t nothin’ worse than startin’ a day off like this.”
“Ya got that right,” Colton Smith agreed.
“Is somebody mad at ya?” asked Harley Johnson, the Wichita County Sheriff.
“Hell! I don’t know!” Revis snapped, feeling frustrated and angry. On an impulse, he held his watch to the light. Three thirty. There would be no going back to bed now.
Revis pulled the collar of his jacket up around his neck to keep the water dripping off his hat from going down his back. The late May morning had turned chilly with a welcome drizzle starting just about the time Revis and Luke got the call from Harley that they had cows out.
“Always somebody pissed about somethin’,” Luke muttered.
Revis turned to him. “Who’s mad? I don’t know anything about anyone being mad at us – or me. Is there something ya’ll aren’t telling me?”
“No, Boss, we ain’t keepin’ nothin’ from ya,” Colt assured him.
His tone sounded placating, though, and that irritated Revis too. “Damned sure better not be.”
“No, Sir. Ain’t nobody mad that I know of.”
“Well it sounds like somebody is,” Harley said. “Fences don’t usually get cut for no reason.” He pointed to the disabled car being winched up behind the tow truck for the ride to the repair shop. “This ain’t good, Revis! You’re liable to end up in a law suit if you don’t figure out what’s goin’ on and fix it.”
“That’s your job, Harley!” Revis reminded him.
Harley’s shoulders went back. His barrel of a chest came up and both hands turned into fists. “I have a murder investigation going on, I’ll have you to know!”
“That’s your problem, not mine,” Revis said and walked toward his truck. His hired hands, Jones, Spence and the new guy, Mason Gaines were already stringing new wire. Not hearing the familiar sound of footsteps behind him, Revis called over his shoulder, “Come on, Luke. We gotta go.”
Revis got into his truck, switched on the headlights, pushed in the clutch and turned the key, then looked to see if Luke was coming. He wasn’t. He was still talking animatedly with Harley.
“Luke!” Revis shouted out the window “We gotta go! We’re gonna miss the bus!”
With that, Luke turned, trotted over and got in beside Revis. “What was he saying?” Revis asked as he put the truck in gear and started forward.
Luke chuckled. “That you’re turning into an arrogant son-of-a-bitch.”
Revis glanced at his father-in-law as he backed around and turned toward home. “Next time you talk to him, tell ‘im I said he’s turning into a fat lazy old bastard.”
Luke laughed out loud. “I’ll let you tell him that. He is the sheriff, ya know.”
"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin
Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.
"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham
"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran
“And forget not