Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Death for Beauty by Alberto Rios Arias-Excerpt: PUYB Tour Stop

Set during the Civil War, a troubled young woman struggles with her conscience after the suspicious death of her unfaithful husband. When her dreams of a new life seem hopeful, she ventures across the western plains with her sickly daughter in tow and an unscrupulous businessman who promises her a pot of gold. But the seeds of this dangerous venture—sown in blood—yield the unexpected and what she encounters along the fringes of the Oregon Trail in the dark corners of the prairies, will change her life forever.



THE SOUND RUMBLED THROUGH the air like a stampede of wild horses, warning what was yet to come. The winds echoed like an open wound—a wound so deep that only death could heal it.

She could feel the storm approaching from the east, the rising heat, the smell of rain. She saw the natural order of things gathering. Death comes like salvation, unexpectedly. But her life was slow and deliberate. A life bound by swirling untruths—dark, unanswered prayers.

Virginia Mae Mercy always dreamed of starting over somewhere else. Now that her husband died, everything else stood still too, and if she needed a little push to get on with her life, that’s when the whirlwinds seemed imbued with divine purpose.
She tried to lock down the storm shelter, but within seconds, she lay in a cornfield searching for her little girl. The storm tore off the shelter doors, snatching her and the girl in a flash. They landed acres away but somehow survived, almost falling together, bruised and hallucinating.

Two signs from above were enough.

Last month, the first sign had come in the unlikely form of a telegram. She felt it coming. Confederate soldiers killed her husband in battle, or so they thought. That shocker was still under investigation, and the disorienting malaise from this recent storm, was finally beginning to fade.

Virginia never understood life’s storms. Not hers. But if there was one defining moment in her mind that crystallized and spoke to her sensibilities, this was it. She wished she could understand eternal matters too, a lifetime of prayers that until recently had gone unanswered.

Yet it was the earthly things that often made her breathe a little heavier, made her heart beat a little faster. In reflection, she feared the sudden horror of dying alone, her childhood premonitions about a fragile life in Geneva, Kansas. How dangerous life really was.


Born in Jersey City and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey, Alberto Rios Arias filled his leisure time writing and illustrating short stories and took an interest in creative writing after reading J.D. Salinger’s, Catcher in the Rye in high school.
After a three-year stint in the Army, he pursued another obsession and enrolled in the popular School of Visual Arts in Manhattan under the G.I. Bill. Although he majored in Fine Arts, his creative writing class inspired him to continue writing.

His efforts eventually paid off and he found work as an advertising copywriter. His advertorials appeared weekly in The New York Post and The Daily News. Meanwhile he continued to hone his writing skills and upon early retirement, he decided to pursue creative writing in earnest, recently finishing two feature screenplays and his first novel.

Alberto is currently developing another novel, a short story collection, and a memoir.

A Death for Beauty or, An Immortal is his debut novel.

Learn more about the story:


Tuesday, October 25
Book reviewed at The Book Garden
Wednesday, October 26
Book reviewed at Bookspark
Thursday, October 27
Book reviewed at Between the Pages
Friday, October 28
Chat with Alberto at Pump Up Your Book Live! Chat/Book Giveaway! (link coming soon)

Disclaimer: This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.   In some cases, I receive free books in return for a review. My reviews always express my own personal opinion. I am not obligated to write a glowing or even favorable review.  I have not received any monetary compensation in return for my honest review. Promotional banners and information was provided through Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tours. I am an authorized Tour Host. 

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