Thanks to a hashtag, a month, and several websites, now you can write a novel! It’s November, which means it’s National Novel Writing Month. Just as retail businesses rely on the holidays to make their money for the year, American literature relies on NaNoWriMo to provide a year’s worth of great literary works in a single month. Every writer, young or old, new or veteran, Sonic or Mario, has 30-days to turn out a manuscript. After that, forget it. Your manuscript goes straight in the trash.
Keep in mind, NaNoWriMo takes place during different months around the world. Consult your national calendar for the date of your nation’s NaNoWriMo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo writes their novels in August or later depending on the end of machete attack season. Turkmen write their novels in Türkmenbaşy, the month named after the former president of Turkmenistan. For us Americans, it’s November, so get your pens, pencils, and Selectrics and start writing. Don’t think. Don’t outline. Don’t prepare. Write.
This year I am proud to announce that I am participating for the first time with my novel, The Sword of Christ. This is a faith-based action-adventure thriller with supernatural elements that turn out to be science. I will be working on it throughout November, so please follow along with my progress. I will also be posting some choice excerpts throughout the month to attract interest from major publishers who can bid on the opportunity to publish the next great American novel from acclaimed author Zack Parsons.
Please enjoy some excerpts from The Sword of Christ!
The drop of sweat was as big as a marble as it gathered on Aziz’s forehead above his unibrow. It was hot and Aziz showed it with sweat from all parts of his body. He took off his fez, wiped the big sweat away with a cowboy bandana, and restored the fez to its place atop his thinly-haired scalp.
“Miss Jones,” said Aziz, his voice filled with nervousness, “we can’t go in there. The OSIRIS terrorists have rigged the pyramid to blow.”
Lorna Jones was a beautiful woman. She was also a driven woman. Too driven to be deterred from her goal by some petty terrorists. These OSIRIS losers had been mocking America and blowing up historic sites all throughout the Middle East. Precious jars and arrowheads were being destroyed by the fanatics. Once the lost pyramid was discovered by OSIRIS, Lorna knew she had to get to Egypt quickly to explore its secrets before OSIRIS decided to blow it up.
Lorna’s nostrils flared and she looked past Aziz to the entrance of the pyramid. When she spoke it was with a commanding tone.
“I’m used to getting past ancient death traps, I can add plastic explosives to that list, but you’re not stopping me from going in there. Now let’s go, Aziz. Get the archeology kit and follow me.”
She barely gave him a chance to pick up the heavy archeology kit. She entered the pyramid and switched on her flashlight. She didn’t need the flashlight to see the bombs. The detonators were glowing in the darkness of the pyramid. Other than those blinking lights, it was as silent as a tomb. It occurred to Lorna that it was a tomb.
“Stop,” she said and held up her hand. “Pressure plates on the floor. They’re not linked to the bombs. It’s something else.”
It was something else. A trap from long ago. Cobwebs stirred and a draft of cool air revealed a small crack between slabs of pyramid stone no wider than Lorna’s thumb. There were hints of blood on the plate nearby.
“Darts. And it looks like they got some of those OSIRIS fanatics.” She pointed out the pressure plate that had been spattered with blood droplets. “We might be too late, Aziz. But these people are not archeologists like me. They won’t know what they’re looking for and they might have left something behind.”
“I don’t like this Miss Jones,” said Aziz.
Lorna ignored him. She had no time for doubt, she had to do her archeology exploration before the pyramid blew up. She led the way deeper and deeper into the pyramid and avoided several other traps. They found the body of an OSIRIS man in a pit full of spikes. His comrades had not even bothered to pull him out. Aziz grew increasingly nervous. Lorna remained focused. She believed the pyramid might hold the most important archeological discovery of the past 10,000 years.
“God will protect me,” she whispered. She kissed the crucifix that dangled in her bodacious cleavage. She lifted it out of the cleavage first, because it would be very difficult to kiss it without doing that first.
They ventured deeper into the pyramid. There were no windows, but Lorna had the feeling of being underground.
“Look at these tapestries on the wall.” Lorna shined her Surefire Fury Defender 500 lumen flashlight at the moth-eaten tapestries hanging from the wall of the pyramid. “They depict Jesus meeting the pharaohs. Here you see that he gave them a choice: convert to the one true god or die by the sword. Not all were wise enough to convert.”
The beautiful archaeologist moved the beam of the flashlight to indicate a pile of heads claimed from the faithless pharaohs. There was a Latin inscription beneath the image of the decapitated pharaohs. Lorna read it aloud.
“The toll paid by sinners on the barge to hell.”
“He’s wearing a helmet,” said Aziz. He pointed at the figure of Christ as he mopped at the sweat on his brow.
“Curious. You are correct.” Lorna leaned in closer for a better look at the tapestry. She could see that Aziz was correct. Jesus was wearing a helmet. It was the helmet of Christ. “Yes, it’s a helmet. It is helmet of Christ. Could both the sword and the helm be located in this pyramid?”
Before Aziz could answer, there was a rumble that sent dirt spilling down the wall. A distant boom and the smell of smoke filled the air.
“OSIRIS!” cried Aziz. “They’re going to blow up the pyramid! We have to get out of here!”
“No,” snapped Lorna, a look of determination on her pretty face. “We go deeper. We do not leave until we find that sword.”