Trait of Honor Excerpt

Kreyg was silent for a moment, then he said harshly, “I can’t do it. Dammit, this isn’t right… the master would do just as well with a single vial of her blood. He doesn’t need the whole body.”

What??!” the other cried. He raised his arms imploringly only to let them flop to his sides. “You idiot, we have to do it. You know we have to. Or would you rather face what the master has for us back home?”

“I know. I know…” Kreyg appeared to be looking at the ground like some scolded little boy. “But, Lleff… she’s just a child.”

Lleff snorted something incomprehensible and stepped away for a moment. Saraph turned back to Kreyg, who was fiddling with the light. It was a strange-looking device; round with knobs and a large handle. Saraph had never seen anything like it before. The conversation around her seemed too surreal to pay much attention to. Kreyg’s lantern was the only reality worth noticing.

“I’ll do it without you,” Lleff snapped. “And when the master finds out, he’ll make sure you’re next!”

Kreyg stopped playing with the light. He seemed about to say something but changed his mind. “Princess, let’s get you back to camp,” Kreyg said, reaching out to take the girl’s hand. “She’s obviously in shock, Lleff. We can discuss this later.”

“You bastard!” Lleff shouted. “There will be no later!”

“I don’t mind,” Saraph said suddenly, forgetting the lantern. The two men turned their attention to her as if they had never noticed she could speak before. “Maybe if you do kill me, it’ll be better. Maybe I’m better off dead.”


Trait of Honor is actually only a working title as I write this story little by little. It began when I was in high school – 1988- and is going under a complete rewrite. Characters change, situations are made into better sense, and the ending is even going to be different. So it’s not even the same book all anymore but I’m good with that.

I’ve been working on the rewrite for a long loooong time now. I’d like to see it finished. I’m probably about halfway there and climbing.

Shinies and pretties

So I have a lot of things on my mind as a self-published author. 1. How nice it would be to find a publisher, even if traditional publishing is changing and possibly going down in some ways. 2. How nice it would be to write that sequel to Black Wolf, Silver Fox. 3. How nice it would be to finish Trait of Honor, Akashik, Heavenly Bride, et al. and 4. The driving quest to redo the eBook formatting (and covers) for what I already have out there.

On the latter, I’ve been doing them here and there. Real life and the quest to pay bills doesn’t allow me much time to just get them done, so I do them as I can. I have a list on my desk of what I need to tackle next. And up next is Black Wolf, Silver Fox.

You know, it took me 10 years to write it. It had two publishers look at it. One took the manuscript, held it a while, returned it, and then published a book by a similar title mysteriously six months later. The other was honest with me about why they turned me down, and its their honesty that would bring me back to them if things came to it. I appreciate it.

So skimming through BW I see why, and I realize that this format workover may result in some minor changes. They won’t be anything major – it’s just that I noticed that one moment my character is strapped to the table and suddenly the next he’s sitting up.

HOW was he sitting up? Did he phase through the straps? No no no, this will never do. A phrase later and it’s fixed. Story integrity preserved.

Black Wolf wasn’t my first novel I ever wrote, but it is the first I ever got serious with. I see the mistakes in it, the dialogue I could improve and the inconsistencies. But it is my baby still in many senses, although I have managed to move on to other scenarios, stories, characters, and points of life. (You should never get stuck on just the ONE story.) So this next redo will be a proper one – me with more experience.

But I’m going to keep the crappy dialogue. It was my first real book. Just because I’m a better writer now doesn’t mean I should rehash my first success. I should just move on from it.