"So it's old Ariviapa again
They don't do the Califa dip
But they'll shoot you from the hip
Out in old Arivaipa again...."
So, I finally my short story--Quartermaster Returns--slightly over deadline and slightly over word count, but I'm hoping very much to be forgiven for both sins.
All in all, I'm rather pleased with how the story turned out. It's set in Arivaipa Territory, the hot dusty land southeast of Califa, and I've been wanting to write an Arivaipa story for some time. Some years ago, I started another short story that was set in Arivaipa--then that story turned into a novelette, which then morphed into a novella, and now is demanding to become a novel. Since I'm far past the novella word count, I suppose it shall get its way. (I'm actually quite excited about this novel, and hope it might be my next project but one after the last Flora book.)
Anyway, Quartermaster Returns was a real exercise for me. Normally my short stories come in at over 10,000 words. Normally I write the first 3/4 quickly and then take about a year to find a good ending. For QMR, I had neither luxury. I had to stick to 7,000 words and I had a deadline, which, tho' fudged a bit, could not be fudged forever. I had no room for extraneous wordage, which I usually use to establish characterization and setting. No room for indulgence. I think/I hope I did a decent job laying everything out quickly and succinctly. We shall see. In my heart, I don't think I'm a short story writer, but it's good to know I can do it if I have to. QMR is my fifth completed short fiction piece. I guess, technically, via word count, it's only my second short story.
What's QMR about? Well, I don't want to give away the whole plot, but let's just say it is about what happens to an officer in the Army of Califa when he doesn't do his paperwork properly.
Publication details will follow when they are confirmed.