Monday, April 30, 2012

SAMPLE MY WARES II BY JIM WOODS (See Part 1, March 11, 2012; and Part 2, April 2, 2012)

As noted previously, my current short fiction collection contributed two treatments similar to my earlier Sample My Wares featuring the collection, Gunshot Echoes, and the stand-alone story from the collection, “Mexican Holiday,” (March 11). Two extracted independent novellas were made available in PDF prior to release of Cabbages and Kings. A blurb on the last page of those low priced separate stories alerted the reader to the upcoming master volume, available in print version and electronic formats. An excerpt from “She Serpent” as it appears in the collection was presented here April 2, 2012. The following is the second stand alone story, “The Diamond Exchange,” extracted from the collection, Cabbages and Kings.

In “The Diamond Exchange,” an international courier is paid well to discreetly convey the interests of his clients who operate on the shady side, even the dark side, of the law.

EXCERPT, from “The Diamond Exchange,” from Cabbages and Kings:

“Hello…hello…anyone here? Rincon? Are you in here?”

“Please step inside, Mister Barteau, and please close the door.”

“Where are you? It's awfully dark. May we have some light?”

“I'll turn on the light in just a moment. I just wanted to warn you that I am wearing a mask. If you had come-in in the light and saw me hooded, you may have panicked.”

“A mask? Hooded? What the devil is going on?”

“I assume that we are going to discuss your delivery problem. That's what is going on. I'll turn on the lights now if you're ready.”

“Yes, I am quite ready, but I warn you, I have a pistol.”

“I'd be very surprised if you didn't, but don't be concerned. Yours is the only gun in the room. Please remove it from your pocket and make it ready if it will make you feel more at ease.”

At the instant of a barely audible click, the hotel room was lighted so brightly that the slender, gray haired, moustached man in the black beret and khaki trench coat was momentarily blinded more than he had been in the darkness.

“Careful with that gun. I'm here at the desk, near the window.”

The Frenchman, realizing that he was indeed waving the small pistol wildly, focused in on the seated figure--manicured hands clasped and resting on the desktop, a plain gold wedding band on his left hand, adorned in a white laboratory coat…and a black-and-red-striped ski mask that hid his face completely except for eyes and mouth.

Barteau studied the man behind the desk, and could tell little about him except that his eyes were brown, and he may have been almost two meters tall; too difficult to estimate his height accurately unless he stood. He was big but not overweight; ninety to ninety-five kilos, two hundred pounds, or more? Yes, about that, the Frenchman decided. The long white coat covered anything that could make identification possible once the masked man left the room without it. Beneath the disguise, the mysterious American--yes, Barteau was certain of that by his voice, that the masked stranger was American--could be wearing anything from a three-piece suit to jeans and tee shirt. With the nails clean and well trimmed, the suit is more likely, he considered.

“Is the mask necessary?”

“Mister Barteau, you answered my advert for a confidential courier. You have flown across the Atlantic just to check me out. That tells me that whatever you want transported somewhere around the world is important to you. If it's that important to you, it follows that it could be important to someone else…one of your enemies perhaps, or a business rival…even the authorities.”

“Yes, what you say is indeed true, however, I would like to know with whom I'm dealing.”

“I am your courier, or rather I propose to be, and you’ll see my face at the proper time. If, however, we do not conclude an arrangement, there is no reason for you to recognize me on the street.”


As with any commercial promotion, results are long term. Final figures are not in, and with delayed sales reporting and royalty distribution, Champagne Books and I will have to wait it out. Publishers and authors accept that the publishing business moves slowly. An early favorable indicator though was reader acceptance of “The Diamond Exchange.” One ebook distributor ranked the novella in its Top Ten sales titles for two months and at the Number One ranking for two consecutive weeks, this out of more than 1600 titles in the genre from all the publishers’ works represented by the distributor.


Jim Woods has published some four hundred articles in nationally distributed print magazines, contributed to various fact and fiction anthologies, and is the author of sixteen print and e-books with treatments ranging from writing tutorial to fictional political assassination. He is a world traveler, so far having logged his presence in eighty countries. He also is a former Editor, Managing Editor and Editorial Director with Petersen Publishing Company of Beverly Hills; and Senior Field Editor with Publishers Development Corporation, San Diego. He’s a former big-game hunter and has written extensively on African safari, both the hunting and camera varieties. He lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona. Find him on line at:

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