As I prepare to send my novel to the editor for an [editorial assessment], I cannot help but feel some measure of anxiety. I’ve invested every possible hour for the past 14 months into this project. Creating a small town of 24,000 turned out to be a lot of work. I would not have it any other way. 🖤

[Excerpt from Chapter II]

Several days of mild weather, together with a short-lived Chinook Wind, had melted all but a trace of snowy evidence from last week’s fast-moving winter storm. No match for the warm Canadian Wind, the snow had disappeared within a few hours, leaving small piles of leaves, leftovers from last fall, scattered randomly throughout the park. The city seemed uncharacteristically silent, the only sound, a light breeze whistling through a tiny urban forest of Ash, Maple, Blue Spruce, Oak, and Cottonwood trees.

Below the leafless canopy, a lonely man rested on one of the wooden park benches, quietly reflecting on the last few years of his life, his fantastic experiences, the people he’d known and lost, and the sins he had committed. His name was Solomon, but it had not always been so. He was homeless and had been the better part of four years. Sitting alone in the darkness, a memory surfaced in his mind, images of life, death, and of a beautiful woman. Thoughts of the fantastic Chinook Winds had triggered the memory of yet another wind.


Nearly two years past, on a warm August night, on the other side of the city, Solomon sat alone recovering from battle. The rain had moved on, but the wind remained to dry the soggy Earth. The fight had ended suddenly, and his enemy would not be returning anytime soon. Little effort had been spent, and zero damage had been sustained during the conflict. Even so, he was as tired as he was grateful for the victory. For sometimes, a landslide victory may come at a landslide price. Fortunately for Solomon, the cost had only been physical and mental exhaustion, an affordable price for a man without a home. Moving with a terrible purpose, the thunderstorm had smashed into the baseball field, bringing with it heavy rain and hail, fifty miles per hour sustained winds, and more thunder and lightning than most would ever see in such a short amount of time. Within a few minutes of the first tornado warning siren, both teams, and every baseball fan had disappeared from the field and the stands. Only one man remained, Solomon, standing alone at second base with his hands on his hips, gazing up towards the clouds and the heavens as if waiting for a pop fly to drop back to Earth.

Joseph Shanklin

July 6, 2020

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