Category Archives: Excerpt

Excerpt–At the Dig in Hearts in Ruin

In HEARTS IN RUIN, a Midwestern college archaeology team takes up a Southwestern dig with some unusual characteristics. Following is an excerpt providing just a taste of the project and the conflicts in play. The scene takes place as routines are beginning to set in. Andrea and Daniel have had a recent intimate moment, but have not discussed it since. Andrea is skeptical of Daniel’s theories about the age of the site. But in this scene, Andrea discovers something she doesn’t expect–in fact, something far outside her expectations that changes the course of conflicts in the story.

HEARTS IN RUIN EXCERPT

Under the mid-morning sun, Andrea helped Chloe and Courtney with an interesting shard. She noted the position and strata evidence and corrected Chloe’s photographic technique. But the item seemed, even though the evidence was sound, to be in the wrong place.

She scanned the area. The strata was clear. She decided to check it against the vertical. Daniel was there, lost in thought. “You mind?” she interrupted.

He looked slightly startled. “No, of course not.”

Andrea stepped past him.

He jotted notes in a field book, closed it, and walked away toward the lab tent.

Is he trying not to talk?

Andrea shrugged it off. She reviewed the strata and crouched at the two-thirds point. A strata mix caught her eye. Where the lines should have continued consistently from one side to the other, a gap appeared, line after line, creating a very thin column of earth-tone that interrupted the lines. It appeared to be a hole—a hole that had been carefully dug and filled ages ago. Only the smallest part of it showed. The vertical trench had either almost completely dug up what had been the fill in the ancient hole, or, if she was lucky, had only barely sliced into it. She scraped slightly. The column broadened. Most of the hole and its fill were still there, intact. Yes! These were the nuggets of the past archaeologists lived for. She took photos and notes, meticulously recording all pertinent data, and then traced the column to its bottom, searching for whatever had been, hopefully, buried there.

In her experience, not many things were buried during the Clovis period. She might find remains. That would be a score. She might find trash. Also a score from an archaeological perspective. But when she located the bottom, she noted an object that might not be either. She brushed away at it, taking notes and photos as she progressed.

Finally, the nature of the small object was clear. A small vessel. A bowl. It was wrapped in something, leaves, large leaves, something organic. But the entire setup was puzzling. Even the top of the hole was too low according to Daniel’s numbers. But there it was. There were clear, unbroken strata directly above it. The hole had been dug unbelievably early. Pre-Clovis.

She studied the artifact in place. It appeared to have artwork, but also…no, that wouldn’t be possible, not for something this old. It had to be something else. But its markings had the unmistakable characteristics of…written language?

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Cinco de Mayo Release

May 5, 2014: Hearts in Ruin is released by Liquid Silver Books in all major eBook formats! The book can be purchased directly from the publisher at THIS PAGE. It is also available on Amazon.

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book to get you started:

Prologue

Despite the warm evening wind, Tala drew her knees close and shivered. Under the starlight, below the community’s terraced crops, mastodons filled the valley, their footfalls echoing in the dirt. But above, the Fire Star grew.

Not a good sign.

“I have something for you,” said Bin. He crouched near her on the grassy hill. “Close your eyes.”

She inclined her head. “What is it?”

“Hold out your hands,” he prodded.

She complied. A cold weight pressed down upon her palms. “Can I look now?”

“Yes.”

Her breath caught in her throat. His gift was a beautiful bowl, bright and colorful with intricate, flowery designs. Around its interior were three words.

Bin loves Tala.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

She didn’t know how to respond. It was very sweet. But now? The Fire Star loomed. They faced imminent change—a shift that would unbalance everything. Still, this simple display pierced those concerns.

“I want you and no one else,” he said.

“Bin, I…”

He frowned. “You feel that way, too…don’t you?”

Tears welled. She glanced at the Fire Star.

He followed her gaze. “That’s a good sign,” he assured her. “It means we will be happy.”

He extended a hand. She drew a deep, slow breath, accepted his hand, and stood. The bowl slipped from her lap and cracked against a stone.

She gasped.

His eyes widened. His Adam’s apple bobbed. An intense remorse swept through her, momentarily eclipsing her fear of the Fire Star. She had to make this right.

She placed her hand on his chest and held his gaze. “I do love you, Bin.”

He blinked.

She kneeled and lifted the bowl and a fragment that had fallen from it. “This is a good sign. The words are intact.” She then handed the piece to him and arranged his hand. She held the bowl and placed it with the shard in his hand, matching. “This is yours.” She motioned. “And this is mine. It means we belong together.”

She watched his expression shift from despair to joy. He smiled and wrapped his arms around her. His eyes sliced to the Fire Star and back. He flashed a cocky smirk. “Everything will be fine,” he crooned. “You’ll see.”

She pressed her face against his chest. No, she thought. It won’t.

Bin lowered his mouth toward her ear. “We have everything we need. Nothing can change all this.”

She squeezed. He was right about how she felt. She would accept him into her heart. She saw no reason to deny that. But he was wrong about everything else.

Things would not be fine.

They would not last.

At least they had each other—even if only for now.

Chapter 1

Three unexpected visitors waited at the summit overlooking the New Mexico high- desert site. Wind whipped at them. Crouched near the center of the dig, Daniel recognized only one—his friend, Sammy Bia, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.

The others wore suits.

Daniel groaned. He dropped the unusual artifact he’d been examining into a plastic bag, scribbled a precise location with a fading pen, and stuffed the sample into his shirt pocket. He did not need a distraction. Just yesterday he rid himself of the pesky Spring- semester team. The next batch had to be better.

Daniel climbed the makeshift walkway to greet the trio. He didn’t want them tromping all over the excavation.

Naturally, this encounter does not go well. To keep reading, visit Liquid Silver Books.

 

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