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28 November 2010

Un/self-published Action Scenes--Excerpts

Hosted by Jennifer Slattery
Happy Monday All! Show me the action!
As usual, this one's on you.  Vote for your favorite action scene of the two provided below, then come back Wednesday to find out a bit about their authors. You can enter our book give-away two ways: Vote on Monday or Tuesday or leave a comment Wednesday through Friday. At the end of the week, all participants will be entered into our drawing.  Two will be chosen and announced on Friday.
Excerpt A
Fire trucks parked at odd angles in the street outside Granny's Kitchen, and Will Coleman, the fire chief, barked orders to the volunteer firemen. 
Steve rushed to him. "What happened?"
The wind carried Will's voice. "Too early to tell, but we think a fire at Granny's spread to these other buildings because of the wind."
"Have you seen Dani?"
Will motioned with a jerk of his head. "She and her lawyer friend went that way."
Sprinting to the corner, the scene that lay before him plunged a knife into his heart. Both sides of the creek smoldered in the wake of the fire that still burned brightly on the other side of the creek, the new pavilion now reduced to a pile of metal, rock and ashes. Icy tentacles wrapped around his throat and threatened his ability to breathe. Was she lying somewhere hurt? He searched the area around the depot where a large blaze still lingered. A lone figure fought against the fire. Dani!
The heat warmed his feet as he darted to the bridge through smoking grass. Giant flames threatened the old train depot where Dani fought the blaze like David against Goliath. Rivulets of sweat rivered down her soot-darkened face, and she swung at the flames with a wet burlap bag, the fire hissing angrily with each hit. Another bag lay on the ground at her feet. He grabbed it and joined the fight. "Where's Andy?"
"Went for help." Her words came out in wheezing gasps.
The wind picked up and sent flames spiraling higher. Black smoke filled his lungs, and the heat and ashes stung his eyes. The whine of the fire truck siren ripped the night air. Steve motioned for Dani to quit, but she refused. There was only one way to stop her. He flung the bag to the ground, picked her up by the waist, and dragged her from the fire.
"No. Put me down." She two-fisted his chest, but he didn't release her.
Once safety was certain, he set her feet on the ground, her blond curls clinging to her face in damp tendrils. With her gaze wild and focused on the flames, she continued to struggle. Only when he pointed to the fire truck, did her body relax and crumple to the ground. He knelt beside her and grabbed her shoulders. "You okay?"
She nodded, breathless. "The depot?"
"Fine, thanks to you." He drew her close to his thudding chest, kissed her forehead, and rocked her in his arms, the realization of what might have happened sudden and strong. Thank you, God, that she's okay. He placed a finger under her chin and tilted her face to him, his tone husky with pent-up emotion. "What were you doing down here this time of night?"
Dani lowered her head, but didn't answer.
"She was with me." A terse voice sounded behind him. Andy strode toward them, his expression somber except for the fiery flames reflected in his eyes.

     Excerpt B
     A fireball soared into the night sky, illuminating the city. Albione followed the rising flame as others joined in gazing at the spectacle. "What do you suspect that is Ronar?" he asked.
         "That's strange," Ronar answered, hand on the hilt of his sword. "The enemy is too close for some mage to be playing tricks."
         When he finished speaking, darkness engulfed them. Albione readied his war hammer, but saw nothing.
         "What mischief is this?" Ronar shouted, "Be ready, Albione! I fear the night will hold peace no longer!"
         As if in response, the crash of ladders against the wall pierced the silence.
         "They have come!" a militiaman said.
         The darkness evaporated and evening light returned. Albione's body tensed as his eyes readjusted. Like trails of ants, the enemy scampered up ladders at every battlement. Albione's stomach tightened as he knew in his heart no reinforcements would arrive this time. He gripped his hammer and raced to cast down the nearest ladder.
         Ronar tackled him, knocking the wind out of his lungs. "The devils have archers!" he said. An arrow whirred past Albione's head, so he crawled on his elbows to the cover of a battlement. Ronar joined him, as did a militiaman. Another militiaman ran toward them, but staggered as an arrow struck him. Albione's upper lip curled and he clenched his fist as the man fell down dead.
         When the volley ceased, Albione stood up to throw down a ladder, but a night elf had already reached the top. Albione heard a click and the night elf grasped the bolt protruding from its chest and fell off the ladder. The militiaman nodded to him and loaded another bolt. The next night elf stepped up and Ronar brought his blade down with a two-handed swing. The night elf tumbled below, knocking off a few others behind it.
         "Now!" Ronar said. Albione grabbed the ladder with both hands, attempting to fling it outward. Ronar grabbed the other side and with their combined strength, they wrested it from the wall. The ladder teetered for a moment and then toppled backwards. As it fell, the topmost climber leapt upon the wall top. Albione swung his hammer, but the night elf somersaulted forward, scimitar drawn. The militiaman pointed his crossbow, but the enemy swung its blade. The militiaman cried out, grabbing his side as he stumbled to one knee.
         Albione swung his hammer again and the creature dodged. He struck it in the shoulder, but the night elf spun and lunged forward, scimitar extended. Albione parried the stab, pushing the blade past him. With his foe off balance, he kicked it in the legs, sending the night elf sprawling to the ground. As its face smashed into the stone, the scimitar jarred free, sliding away. Albione raised his hammer for a killing blow, but the night elf turned around and shrieked.
         Albione hesitated. Its eyes were wide, its face pleading. "Mercy!" it cried, putting its hands up to ward off the blow. "Mercy!"

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Item Reviewed: Un/self-published Action Scenes--Excerpts Rating: 5 Reviewed By: April Gardner