Title: SKIPPING STONES AND THE SILVER STRIKE
Age and Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Word Count: 82,000
Sue, the only survivor of a wagon train attack, is taken by a horseman to the Land of Many Waters. She must decide whether to put aside her own grief to become the replacement daughter for a grieving mother, or wander as an orphan alone in the wilderness mourning the loss of her massacred family.
Geum Song Ban, a scholar wishing to experience the ways of the West leaves his native Korea to become a stowaway on a ship bound for California. When he rescues a tiny Chinese girl from China Town gangsters, his choices are to stand against the certain retaliation, or flee with the girl into the California desert.
First 250 Words:
Ma set such a store by reading and ciphering. Now Ma’s dead, and reading and ciphering aren’t much use to a person when they’re dead. Pa’s dead too, and Pap. Nearly everyone who came west in the train is dead, I reckon. Some of them aren’t dead yet, but they will be soon enough.
I don’t know about Gershom. He was cracked on the head and went rolling yonder, blood spurting.
There’s no time for worrying now, no time for anything except walking and walking, fast as all lightning, to wherever ‘tis they’re taking us. I’ve never walked so fast in my life. I’ve never seen anyone walk so quickly as these savages. I swear we covered as much ground in half the time as a six horse stage.
Pap was going on most days and nights since we left home about meeting up with savages. Seemed the more he talked about it, the more he seemed to relish the prospect. But he don’t relish it none now I reckon, with his innards all torn out and frying in the sun. Ma she tried to hush him, telling him his carrying on and storytelling was scaring the children. But he never cared, just countered the prospects of meeting up with some was mighty high in these parts. He described all kinds of tortures and mayhem the savages set to committing on any fool person blamed enough to be caught out in their territory.
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