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November 15, 2014

Into the fray

It's snowing in Nebraska, but I'm off visiting Etruscan places--in my imagination, anyway. A perk of fiction writing: daydreaming is part of the job.

Right now I'm writing Tales of Malstria, Book 4. It's set in tumultuous 3rd and 4th century BCE, when many Etruscan cities were facing off against Rome's expanding power. Here's a sneak peak excerpt from the work in progress:

My troops followed the river south and east along the base of the hills. Bog reeds, willows, and birch clogged the marshland on the riverbank, but farther out the valley opened in broken oak groves and pastureland. An hour's march in bough-strained moonlight brought us within sight of our enemy's camp. 
We formed up. The light infantry--men with swords and throwing spears--took the far right flank near the river and amongst the dense-growing trees. My own guard, Aplu's chosen, lined up four rows deep, and on our left the remaining hoplites filled the valley to the hill's base, forming a wall of spear-wielding men. Silent, we waited only moments before our archers rained fire on their tents. 
The enemy scrambled, men half-dressed grabbing swords and shields; trumpets blaring and signaling formations. A ragged band, they might have been twice our number but had less than half our skill. Men charged uphill in imperfect lines as their cavalry mounted.
"Forward!" I shouted, and our trumpeter blew the call.
We ran into Vetluna's half-formed lines, and as my spear hit the shield opposite me, I lost sight of the larger battle. Tents burned, making one dark silhouette of the phalanx facing us. Somewhere beyond them, horses screamed and men bellowed like beasts.

I'm using NaNoWriMo as encouragement to keep the rough draft rolling. So excited to see this story unfolding. (I always encounter surprises as I write. Comes from using a broad outline, I suppose.) Now back to work for me!

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