Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Year Without Killing


The Eight Sentences 
An African-American woman who appeared to be in her late sixties stepped onto the sidewalk and walked towards Claudia. That woman’s about my age, Claudia thought.
Then it happened.
Penn Station - across the street from where this scene
 occurs. Image Source: hereandnow.wbur.org
A tall skinny male Goth stepped into the black woman’s path. He grabbed the strap on her purse and jerked it from her grasp. His next decision was one of the worst of his life. He ran right into the path of a semi-retired assassin with a sense of justice.
As he passed, Claudia Barry stepped into his path and delivered a forearm to make Anthony Munoz proud.

The Back Story 
       A Year Without Killing is a work in progress and will be the third in my series of novels known as the "Barry-Hixon Conspiracy."  This is the sequel to my first book, The Tourist Killer, which ends with professional assassin Claudia Barry beginning a twelve month leave. She had planned to retire, but was convinced by her assigner to take some time off before making the final decision.
       Today's excerpt shows how difficult it will be to take off from work. It's from Chapter One.

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31 comments:

  1. I love this line: "a semi-retired assassin with a sense of justice."

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  2. "Claudia Barry...delivered a forearm to make Anthony Munoz proud." Made me smile and like the semi-retired assassin with a sense of justice. :D

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  3. Talk about sudden justice! What a creative bit of writing! I do think you might be missing a word just after forearm.

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    1. Thanks Jess. Good point, about the possible missing word. Actually, a "forearm" is a move commonly made by offensive linemen in football. Those familiar with football jargon wouldn't need another word, but you've pointed out something authors often forget -- we know what we're talking about -- not all readers do. Adding the word, "block" or maybe "blow" or "shove" might help the reader who isn't familiar. It would also be unnecessary for those who are. I flipped a coin, and the extra word lost. :-)

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  4. great snippet! and I LOVE your cover photo, LOL, my Canon is also constantly next to my computer. Write, take pictures, edit, repeat -- my motto. ;-)

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    1. Thanks! I've found that photography and writing complement each other in many ways -- all favorable. Keep shooting and writing!

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  5. Enjoyed the snippet and I loved the line: "..semi-retired assassin with a sense of justice."

    To tell the truth I had to read the sentence twice to figure out what you meant with 'forearm'. A 'football move' didn't come to mind at my first read through-- and my son played football all four years of high school. Just saying.... :)

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    1. I actually did some research on that sentence. I asked a group of sixty football official friends for a big name in the NFL, preferably an offensive lineman. Anthony Munoz was the answer. So I tried it out on a friend who is NOT a football fan but recognized the name right away as a football player. I was hoping that name recognition would help readers. A historical note, the "forearm" move was outlawed several years ago, but "forearm pads" are all the rage now.

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  6. Well that's one jerk who got what he deserved. Like the line about the assassin with a sense of justice. Nice job.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Elaine.

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  7. Interesting. Personally I would prefer more specific description of the people involved --even if they are only throw away characters or even extras --than "black woman" and "goth".

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    1. Thanks for the comment.
      Details on the woman in the next chapter. The goth, maybe...
      My editor stresses moving the story forward. Balancing the amount of detail with action is kinda like water seeking its own level. I appreciate you're bringing it up.

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  8. I liked it, was very happy when your main character stepped in and took action. she's GREAT. Excellent excerpt.

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    1. Thanks, Veronica.
      Claudia's popularity has increased my fan base.

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  9. A non- American reader would not recognise Munoz so missing out that extra word makes a big difference especially if Munoz is not introduced as a character later.

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    1. Important point, Bob.
      Thanks for stopping by and mentioning that. I'll keep it in mind for AmazonUK.

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  10. Beautiful, Chip! This appeals to my sense of justice and my sense of humor.

    I didn't have any trouble with forearm---I hadn't heard the term, but I took it as a 'clothesline' type football move with an elbow and went with it. From your explanations above, I captured it pretty well in context. :)

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    1. The more senses, the better!
      Thanks, Sarah.

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  11. I love it when a woman casually kicks ass. Great snippet, Frank. :)

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    1. It's not every day you run into a female baby boomer assassin.
      Thanks, Siobhan.
      (BTW, how do you pronounce your first name?)

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  12. Nice one, Chip! Somehow, a "semi-retired assassin" seems scarier than a "hit man" or a plain old assassin.

    Since this is a WIP, you might want to consider changing one of the uses of "path" in this passage. Twice so close together pinged my Inner Editor. But I'd leave the "forearm" as-is. It says what you need it to without anything extra to get in the way.

    ~Charley

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    1. Thanks, Charley!
      My inner editor agrees with yours and wants to know why I didn't catch that myself. I'm usually a stickler for that type of thing.
      Here's a great web site I should have used (and will next time): http://www.wordcounter.com/

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  13. I didn't catch the football reference at all--figured it was some kind of unarmed combat move.

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    1. Sounds like it didn't interfere with your reading enjoyment.
      Thanks for the comment.

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  14. He had no way of knowing he had such a dangerous audience. Very satisfying response!

    I admit I have no idea who Munoz is, but I can guess sports from the context, so it still makes sense.

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    1. I rarely use a dictionary when I'm reading. I skip over words if they aren't familiar and keep on going. Sometimes I substitute a word I like and see if it makes sense.
      Thanks for the comment!

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  15. Anthony Munoz... haven't heard that name in some time. You handle the rush of the action very well. I'm with everyone who particularly enjoyed your line about the assassin with a sense of justice.

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  16. NOW I get it! After reading the comments I went back and read the forearm thing. Since I'm totally lame when it comes to football (I didn't recognize Anthony Munoz), I thought she'd pulled out a gun and extended her forearm... LOL! But I'm from California, so what do I know???

    Loved the rest of it, btw.

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    1. "she'd pulled out a gun and extended her forearm.."
      You made it work though.
      Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Ah, so glad to see you back. I love this lady, she cracks me up.

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  18. I would say that guy had it coming. :)

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