Friday, October 21, 2011

Breathless blog contest entry

Brenda Drake, author of Brenda Drake Writes (under the influence of coffee) has launched another contest for writers: "Can You Leave Us Breathless?"

Here's how it works: on October 21, writers post a 300-word excerpt from their work (or write something new) to their blog and enter their links in Brenda's LinkyLink list on her blog. Then we're all supposed to read and comment on others' entries.

It now being the 21st, here is my entry, an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my soon-to-be-released, rule-breaking magic historical realistic novel, The Bones of the Earth. (You can read all of Chapter 1 by clicking the tab at the top of the page.) I look forward to your comments!

From Chapter 2: The Rescue

Krajan dismounted and grabbed Elli by the chin. His mouth twisted into a horrible smile.

“Elli!” Javor yelled and lunged toward them, but his father caught him from behind, pinning his arms and pushing him to the ground.

“No, Javor! They’ll kill you!” Javor managed to break free in time to see the girls’ mothers run out, screaming. Another raider stepped in front of them and hit them with a heavy club. All the other villagers groaned, but no one had the courage to move. The women tried to get up, but the Avar hit Grat’s mother on the head again. She fell into the dust and did not move. Elli’s mother backed away on hands and knees, crying.

Roslaw and some other men ran up with bags of food. “No, please, leave the girls alone! Take the food, take it all, but leave our daughters!”
Krajan backhanded Roslaw savagely. The warrior’s heavy leather and steel gauntlet made a sickening crushing sound as it connected with the headman’s face, and Roslaw slumped into the dirt, bleeding from the nose and mouth.

Mladen, Elli’s father, sprang forward with a scythe, screaming “Everyone together! We outnumber them!” Faster than anyone could see, another raider drew a sword and slashed down. The scythe clattered to the hard ground, Mladen’s severed hand still gripping it. The Avars cheered and laughed; Mladen fell to his knees, gasping and staring in disbelief at the empty space at the end of his arm. Blood spurted over and over again onto the ground, splashing Elli and Grat until the Avar thrust his sword into Mladen’s neck, then kicked his body down. Still on her hands and knees, Elli’s mother shrieked. The village men cried out, but still no one dared move.

Krajan remounted. “We take these,” he declared.

300 words


  1. That's gross. I liked it! Good job. I'm totally intrigued. :D

  2. Loved the severed hand and spurting blood.

  3. Holy crap! The severed hand certainly got my attention!

  4. Plain awesome in it's gruesome-ness! I liked it.

  5. Wow...not good for them. Well written and drew me in. =)

  6. A strong scene but I wasn't entirely sure of the POV. Is it Elli's? If yes, I'd like some more reaction from her. After all, the raiders just smacked her mother and killed her dad.

  7. Thank you for participating in Can You Leave Us Breathless? Blogfest Contest. Your entry has been judged.

    Good luck!

    The Judges
    (Connie, Joannine, Marissa, and Brenda)

  8. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Well crafted action sequence. I see the narrator as independent of the characters, which gives a very matter-of-fact lens to the dramatic events. I like that. Third person omniscient is great for epic stories. This scene makes me want to know the characters, both male and female, and see how they will fight back or perish against this foe.

  9. No---Elli! Man, it has been a long time since I've read action like this. Too long. Really gripping. (Sorry to be late, but I'm glad I came.)

  10. Sorry to disappoint both of you, but that's thge trouble with a brief excerpt like this. The POV is 3rd-person, but not omniscient; everything is through the eyes of Javor, the boy who lunged forward.
    But I am very glad that you all like it! Thank you for your comments.