Over at TitleTrakk.com, there's an interesting interview of Polivka by C.J. Darlington. I was surprised but encouraged to read that Polivka had written eleven novels over the course of twenty-five years before achieving publication. Though I've had other writing published, none of my novels have hit the presses yet, nor will for a while. I've been writing since I was nine, I'm now thirty-seven, and I identify with his endurance run toward publication.
Those years have not been wasted. Polivka has produced a fine work of fiction in Blaggard's Moon, and it is a joy to read. Below is a darkly humorous excerpt from about the middle of the story, and one of my favorite passages. Be warned! Here there be cheesiness and wordplay:
"Don't they ever reload?" Skeel Barris asked his accordian player. The Captain was seated behind the gunwale, his back to the fray, reloading his own pistol. The musician to whom he spoke lay sprawled on the deck, his head propped up by a bulkhead wall, his forehead shot through by a stray musket ball. It had been a hot iron ball, too, so it had left a bloodless, cauterized gray tunnel as it passed through the man's brain.
"I can see what you're thinkin'," Barris said to the unlucky minstrel. Then he chuckled at his own joke. "You're thinkin' Conch'll have my hide. But Conch'll get the last laugh."
Now an explosion from below rocked the Tranquility.
"Then again, he may not be pleased," he said, less sanguine. "Me losin' a good ship to a bunch a' dandies like these." But he cheered up almost immediately. "Gimme that dance box, will ye?" Skeel pried the accordian from the lifeless hand of its proprietor and began squeezing out a tune. "I know ye can't sing no more," he told the man, "but if the wind kicks up just a tad, ye might find ye can whistle." He laughed again, and kept playing. "No? Well, keep an open mind about it." Then he laughed some more.
Another explosion followed, and he raised his head. Then in quick succession three more, the last one ripping through the decking not twenty feet from him, an enormous fiery fist punching upward into the air. He could hear men screaming below. Skeel dropped the accordian. He looked down at his own chest to find what he figureed to be an eight-inch wooden splinter sticking out about three inches, just below the center line. "'Bout time I danced wi' the devil," he said. "Hope he can take a joke." He slumped over.
There's all manner of buckling and swashing, and much more humorous dialogue, but there's also gravity and eternal themes that run through the tale. Perhaps I'll talk about those tomorrow. Meantime, I'll say that this is a book not only for almost all ages but also either gender, as there are things about the story that everyone can like, and the male and female characters are equally well done.
For other perspectives, visit these other stops on the tour:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson