Each time an author writes a word for posterity they have to consider how it will be taken. Some things just flow, some don’t. Some things are written for the author, some for a specific audience. Sometimes you write and write and write and write – and nothing usable comes from the effort.
My novel, Assault On Saint Agnes, is an action thriller. I had a wide variety of people read different drafts to get their feedback. The women all liked it because it was a good story. The men liked it because it had lots of action. Heck, even my mom liked it… she hated the first book I wrote.
The book is doing well in its various competitions, and it may well be something that gets picked up by a publisher in the near future. I hope and pray that is the case.
But an author is nothing if not a creature of self-doubt and questions. Should I make this longer? Does this paragraph need to come out? Should I have made this science fiction? Is there a need for romance? Will this book appeal to women as well as men?
And, the greatest question of all: How could I work some buggies and bonnets into this thing and get the Amish angle?
I may have the answer. I rewrote the first chapter to make the book not only appeal more to women, but to get the Amish involved early on in the story. I hope you like this submission. Let me know how you feel about it! If the response is great enough I’ll rewrite the whole thing and get it done up right. Back in black, baby.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
05 February 1021
The scent of burnt gunpowder and incense whipped through what was left of the stained glass windows. Bobby Kurtz lay flat against the cold floor—unwilling to budge. With his head down, Bobby listened for the police to arrive. He’d made a thorough mess of things and it would take days to clean up. His mother would be horrified.
To his left lay one of the priests—bloodied, a bit disoriented, but alive. He’d be highly miffed over the cacophonous state of his church but how would Bobby make amends? Bobby shook off the nausea and adrenaline that came with a gun battle. He’d won. But it was still a sin to have used a machine in the House of God. But there were no pitchforks handy and he did have the .45 Colt. He needed to make amends and apologize. “Father, I’m heartily sorry. I pray thee forgive my transgression against thine house.”
The stillness of the room erupted in a chaotic crescendo as the doors to St. Agnes flew open. Nothing prepares a man for the impact of flash-bang grenades. Bobby didn’t hear any flashbangs – only the soft noise of a hand-made quilt being spread over his back.
Bobby didn’t even move his head. He knew it was the family come to take him home.
“Robert. What have thee done now? You and your Englisher ways will forever be a stain on our family. Mutti sent me to bring thee to the farm in Lancaster. I saw the people run out and heard the shots. I knew it was your work. How many this time, Robert?”
Bobby pulled the quilt more tightly around his shoulders and rolled to a sitting position. “Silas, thou art so judgmental. I have done nought but defend the sheep against the wolves. Terrorists, Silas. Demons. But nay, thee wilst not accept my ways and I am aggrieved by the fact.”
“Robert, I am never judging you, for that is God’s job, not mine. I am trying only to bring thee back to the people. You are no longer shunned; we have voted and brought you back if you wish. I don’t know what the Bishop will say when he hears of this transgression, but I will plead for thee before the church.”
Bobby looked into his brother’s corn-blue eyes. He was a good man, a patient man in his black cloak and white shirt. Bobby longed to be back in the fields of Pennsylvania with the cows. Back in the ways of the family.
Silas helped Robert to his feet and dusted the shards of glass off of his face. “My older brother, it pains me to see you so. Here, take my hat: it will help stop the bleeding on your head. My buggy is outside. We should go now.”
The two men walked out into the cold air and down the steps of the church. There, in the buggy, sat Robert’s one true love. His beloved Karin.
Karin stared at the blood trickling down his face. “Robert, have you been shooting people again?”
Bobby nodded. “Twas Satan I fought, not people. I renounce the violence and wish to confess to the congregation my sins. May I ride with thee to the farm?”
Karin wept quietly. “In my dreams I have prayed for this. Come, it is a long ride to Lancaster and I know you are tired. Come bundle with me in the back and we shall pray.”
Just as the buggy rounded the corner and set off down Dale Street the SWAT team arrived to find a church in tatters and no sign of the man in torment for his soul. Robert Kurtz was headed home. Home to Amish country.
So, watcha think? Is there a future for me in this genre?