16,707 words into “Phantoms of Phoenix”, the next in the Jericho Sims stories. First draft is *mostly* complete. There are a couple of sections that include <FIX THIS SHIT> notices in them that I will address before I even begin editing it, but for the most part it is done. Plus, I had the cover already set up for this bad boy, thanks to mdw_jason.
Three possible stories to roll into next, and I’m trying to decide which one should be first up. Tentative titles exist, and the storyboards are pretty much rolled out on all three:
“Badge of Shadows” — A reunion with a soldier from Jericho’s past turns dark when a supernatural bill collector comes calling to cash in on the man’s debt.
“Oracle” — Jericho asks a seeress for information on the Surgeon, and she tells him about a conspiracy in which he will soon be embroiled. The only way he can find answers is to stop the plot, and the clock is already ticking.
“Devil’s Light” — A rancher asks Jericho for help dealing with cattle rustlers, but nighttime lights, strange sounds, and mutilated cattle found inside massive circles of dead grass soon leave him wondering exactly what it is he has stepped into.
National Novel Writing Month (AKA NaNoWriMo) is in full swing, and I’m right in the middle of it, along with a whole mess of my homies. The above Jericho Sims tales will make up the bulk of my NaNo effort this year. I want to get them all set up and ready to rock so that I can begin releasing them soon, so that everyone can enjoy spending time with Jericho as I have.
Jericho Sims, a gunslinger searching the country for the Surgeon – a faceless doctor who, toward the final days of the American Civil War, murdered Jericho’s fellow soldiers as part of an arcane ritual intended to grant unimaginable power. This ritual left Jericho marked for the forces of the supernatural, and he has discovered that the world is not what he believed it to be.
“Buried Treasure” is the second foray into Jericho’s world, and describes the events following the theft of Chickasaw artifacts – one of which turns out to control a monster of legend. Jericho and his friend, the warrior Akocha, ride across Oklahoma territory in an effort to recover the artifact from an armed gang while contending with the presence of a creature that wants them dead.
Some people have asked to know more about Jericho – who he is and what made him the man he is today, so let me introduce you:
Copyright 2015, Marlene C. Cooper
Long and lean of build, Jericho is possessed of keen eyesight and solid muscle structure suited more to speed and agility than raw strength. His life as a soldier and gunman has concentrated on quick movement, and he still manages to be faster than men a decade younger than him. He has been described by some as “ruggedly handsome”, though to him even that is a bit of a stretch. As he might put it, “I ain’t hard to look at, but then again I ain’t figuring on nobody doing it for long periods.”
Jericho wears a Colt .45 revolver in a low slung holster, offset by a long-bladed knife on his opposite hip. A second revolver, this one in .36 caliber, rests at the small of his back. He is frequently encountered wearing a calf-length duster that has seen better days. High-collared shirts and denim pants are favorites, and he would feel naked without his vest and hat. The vest has several pockets (one is usually home to a flask of a whiskey, while another holds a tin of the twisted little cigarros that he is prone to smoke), and the hat is a favorite, especially in the rain or hot sun.
No report on Jericho would be complete without his most trusted companion. Gideon is an Appaloosa gelding with which Jericho shares a deep bond. Day or night, he knows he can talk to Gideon and the horse will listen. Considering the reactions and sounds made in response to his conversation, Jericho has been known to wonder if Gideon can understand him. Having discovered the things he has in recent years, it would not surprise Jericho if he could. Standing 15 hands in height, Gideon brushes up against Jericho’s shoulders. He is brown in coloration, with a white field across his hips that brims with brown spots.
Knowing what he looks like isn’t enough? Ah, yes! You want some background too. Well, then:
Jericho left his family at a young age following some friction with his father. His journey began harshly, with the young man forced to fight for his very survival in the first town he explored. The life and death struggle he encountered there set the stage for his future. His agility would be his meal ticket for some time, as he traveled with more than one group as a gun hand, trading his skills for a meager living but managing to avoid the notice of the law.
It was when he decided to make more of his life that he met the woman who would change him. He was studying under the tutelage of a young schoolmistress who invited Jericho to attend the local church. He did and soon found himself smitten by Miss Magdalene DeCour, one of the parishioners. The two of them began a courtship and eventually married, Jericho forsaking the life of a potential outlaw for that of a farmer and small rancher.
One fateful day, as the leading edges of the American Civil War spread into their territory, a Union scouting party encountered Magdalene Sims and, following her vehement refusal to simply turn over her cattle and grains, killed her for daring to resist their robbery. Jericho put paid to the killers and set off in a rage to kill as many of their kind as he could. A fellow soldier told him once that they were thankful a demon such as Jericho was on their side. He remarked it could as easily have been the other way around if Confederate troops had acted as the Union men had. Random chance placed him where he was, and politics meant nothing to a man bent on vengeance.
It was toward the final days of the war, when Jericho was riding with a party of guerilla raiders, that his life would truly be changed. Members of his unit were injured and the group stumbled into a hospital camp. The Medical Officer in charge of the camp was referred to simply as “the Surgeon” by the men of the camp. Every member of Jericho’s unit that went into the medical tent died at the hands of this man, and when Jericho and his commander burst in to confront the Surgeon, they were caught in a mystical backlash from the demonic ritual the Surgeon had been attempting. His commander was killed, and Jericho was knocked clear of the tent by the magical forces unleashed. When he came to, the Surgeon had fled.
The energies that coursed over him have exposed Jericho to the new reality, and he is marked as a beacon to supernatural forces. Wherever he goes now, the strangest events present themselves to him, and Jericho has no choice but to push through them in his unending search for the Surgeon – a man whose face no one can remember once he has left an area. For Jericho Sims, the paranormal truths of his world – so often hidden from view of even the determined man – are becoming plain.
Interested to find out what Jericho is up to?
Find out more about Jericho Sims directly from the man himself. Snatch up your copy of “Buried Treasure” today for less than the cost of a cup of coffee! You can also find the first story, “Golem”, linked below as well. Both are short reads that will provide you some entertainment and excitement during a long lunch, on that morning bus ride, or during that business meeting with that guy who talks like a monotone robot (you know the one!). Help yourself to the fun, and check back for more Jericho soon!
Jericho sketch (c) Marlene C Cooper – See her work HERE
The Chickasaw have a legend that stalks the woods and punishes the careless. When an artifact that keeps the monster from rampaging is removed from sacred ground, Jericho is caught up in the quest to return this beast back to its slumber before it destroys him.
There will be more stories forthcoming from our Mr. Sims in the near future. The short stories are fun to write and they keep me prepped to add to the novel that is in the works.
Feel free to comment or send me a message and let me know what you thought of it.
It’s been a week since I unleashed Jericho Sims on the world. Golem has remained in the top 30 on Amazon’s Western Science Fiction selection, and in fact held the #1 slot for a while. Proud author is proud.
So plans are now underway for more short stories in Jericho’s life, with additional work on the novel itself in hopes that it will be released soon.
Back in November of ’14, I participated in the annual NaNoWriMo event, and dropped 60000 words on a Jericho Sims novel. I will be adding to it this November to make a true novel from the bones I have established.
“Golem”, however, is the first in a series of short stories. It chronicles the events following Jericho being shot with an arrow and stumbling across the home of a mad scientist who has created a new mechanical soldier.
The Jericho Sims stories will tie together various genres of writing, a little bit at a time: Western, Science Fiction, Supernatural, Romance, Paranormal Romance, Steampunk, and more than a few others. I hope that readers will be pleasantly surprised by the events they uncover as they follow this gunslinger on his quest to locate the demonic surgeon who murdered his fellow soldiers.