Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"Parting Shot" now available on Amazon

My science fiction/golfing short story, Parting Shot, is now available on Amazon.

The story involves an aging golfer--a former phenom, a hotshot who pretty much wasted his career partying. Now, on the downslope of his career, he has one last chance at redemption.

I know this doesn't sound much like SF&F, but trust me, it is. The possible redemption is as a result of an extraordinary (supernatural, perhaps) event. There are no wizards or aliens or high-tech gizmos. It's a character study of a man and a golf tournament (the US Open). The story is told partly from the POV of the lead character and partly by the TV golf announcers.

If golf bores you, you wouldn't like the story. But if you have even a passing interest in the game, and like SF&F, you might enjoy it. And it's only 49 cents. (Did I mention how inexpensive the story is?)

Here are a couple of short excerpts from the middle of the story, to give you a feel for the story and the writing style:

After his latest par, a buzz insinuated itself into Gomez’s cocoon of introspection. Startled out of his reverie, he glanced at his caddy, who pointed at the scoreboard nearby. The leader, Steve Hawks, had just hit in the water and double-bogeyed. His score stood at even par for the tournament. Right behind him came Jay Collins, at one over par. Two other players lurked another stroke back, followed at three over par by four men, including…Tom Gomez?

What the hell? Fifth place? How did that happen?

Gomez chuckled to himself, accentuating the wrinkles around his mouth and the crows feet that seemed carved by geologic process.

Figures. I scratch and claw and fight for victories and keep falling short. The one time I tune out the world and say ‘to hell with it,’ I play well. So now what?

More of the same, I guess.

He tried to ignore the leaderboard, but that was like a drunk trying not to notice the bottle of whiskey on the table. It simply tugged at his mind until he was forced to look. Now suddenly in contention, Gomez became distracted by his internal tug-of-war. He hooked his approach shot to the fourteenth green and bogeyed the hole. That dropped him to four strokes behind, and back to ninth place, with four holes to go.

Too many strokes to make up and too many men ahead of me.
His shoulders slumped and he let out a deep sigh. That does it, then. Once again, I’ve managed to screw up royally.


Gomez’s career, his reputation—hell, his life—rode on this one shot. A ridiculously tough shot at that. The green sloped away from the bunker and slightly to the left. If he hit the shot too hard, it would roll forever. If not hard enough, it wouldn’t clear the rough separating the bunker from the green—assuming he even got it out of the bunker

Gomez wriggled his feet down into the sand for balance and waggled his club to loosen the tension in his arms.

Focus on the shot, not the consequences. Hit the ball. Follow through. Execute. You can do this.

He swung smoothly and hit the ball perfectly, just as he’d done thousands of times in practice over the years, spraying sand everywhere. The ball flew high and right at the pin. If it didn’t go in, it would land close.

The gallery roared. From that, Gomez knew he’d hit a great shot. I did it. Damn, I did it. I didn’t choke.

The ball landed softly on the green, four feet from the pin and spun toward it. Gomez hopped out of the bunker to watch the roll. The gallery held its collective breath and went silent.

Go, baby, go!

Three feet, two feet, one foot, it was going right at the cup, picking up speed. The crowd roared. This was history in the making.

It’s in! It’s in! It’s—



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