Tag Archives: Red River

“Buffalo Woman” is LIVE!

It took a while, but we are finally there. Book 4 of the Catahoula Series, Buffalo Woman, is now live on Amazon. This is the fourth in the series and takes our heroes forward five years to 1872 and the tour of America by Grand Duke Alexei of Russia. Ethan and Angel get sucked into his vortex and head out West to go buffalo hunting and then New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

I have posted excerpts from the book here,  here, and here, and below is another. This one finds Angel demonstrating her skills with the sling to the Grand Duke’s party. Enjoy.

*****

Alexei then remembered Angel’s claim of her prowess with the sling and that he had previously requested a demonstration. “Miss Angelique, you told me you could hit a pigeon at thirty paces with your sling. Would you be so kind as to demonstrate the weapon of King David for us?” That was followed by a few shouts of encouragement I imagine meant to express doubt that she could do what she said.

I looked at her, and she was blushing. “You bragged and now you have to back it up.”

She stepped forward and bowed to the Grand Duke, then turned and did likewise to the gathered crowd. She stepped over to Clayton, and just as he was about to take a sip of whiskey from his tin cup, she snatched it from him. After sniffing its contents in an exaggerated manner, she pinched her nose and tossed the liquid into the fire, which flared with a bright flame burning off the alcohol.

As I watched her antics, I was beginning to think that she was quite the show person. I noticed that Buffalo Bill must have also thought so. He was watching her with arms crossed and a curious expression with half smile upon his lips.

Angel continued her show. She held the cup aloft for all to see, even tossed it into the air and caught it in a most theatrical manner. Holding the cup aloft, she marched over to the woodpile for the campfire and placed it upon the top log in such a manner that the open end of the cup would face her. In the exaggerated manner of an accomplished thespian, she gestured toward her cup target then stepped off thirty long paces as the crowd counted along with her. Everyone was thoroughly enjoying her show.

Very dramatically, she took her coat off and tossed it to me. With yet more drama, she withdrew her sling from her trouser’s pocket and stretched it out and held over her head for all to see that it was only two thongs and a leather piece to hold the projectile. The audience applauded. She then withdrew a .44 caliber lead ball from her pocket and pinched between forefinger and thumb, she held it aloft for her audience to examine.

Alexei stood to the side obviously much amused by her antics, and Cody was very clearly interested in what she was doing.

Angel carefully and deliberately placed the ball into the leather pouch of the sling and went to twirling it. I had watched her use her sling on many occasions, but I had never seen her twirl it the way she did that evening. While still facing the audience, she spun it on her right side, then on her left side, then alternating sides, then overhead. That spinning sling held her audience in its hypnotic grasp. As I said, she wasn’t even facing the target, it being on her left side some thirty paces away. Suddenly, she let out a Rebel yell, spun, and stepped toward the tin cup, letting fly the ball at her target, which promptly disappeared from the woodpile with a satisfying clang. Her audience cheered and applauded. Angel threw up her arms in victory. Cody was applauding enthusiastically while shaking his head in disbelief. Alexei stepped up to Angel and took her hand and held it aloft. She then curtsied like the finest lady-in-waiting in any European court. I reckon then that she had learned something in that expensive finishing school after all.

Buffalo Bill ordered the cup retrieved and brought to him for examination. He found a deep dent almost dead center in the bottom of the cup.

After receiving her accolades, she came over and stood beside me with a broad grin on her lips.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Never did it that way before.”

“And you attempted such before an audience?”

She looked up at me with the expression of a child caught in some mischief. “Too much champagne. I think maybe I’m a little drunk.”

*****

And Book 5 is already in the works…

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New Cover For The Last Day of Forever

For those interested, I have a new cover. I like this older Rachel much better. It is a period photo I Photoshopped slightly to make her just a bit less plain looking, mainly her eyes and mouth.

Cover B1

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The Paperback Version of An Eternity of Four Years is now available!

Book 2 1Finally! It is done! I have been teasing you long enough.

The exciting conclusion to the two-part epic of the Legend of Rachel and Ethan, An Eternity of Four Years, is finally finished and published. Both the Kindle digital version and the paperback version are available at Amazon.

An Eternity of Four Years picks up the story four days after The Last Day of Forever ends and carries the reader through the turbulent years of the Civil War with Ethan searching for Rachel to mend what was broken between them.

If you haven’t read part 1 yet, The Last Day of Forever, you need to read it first. Either book can stand alone, but reading both in order fills in a lot of back story and detail you will find both interesting and helpful to your reading experience.

Get ’em while they are hot! And don’t forget to go back and post a review. It will help the books get visibility and credibility.

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“An Eternity of Four Years” is Published!

Book 2 1The exciting conclusion to the Legend of Rachel and Ethan, part 2 of the Catahoula Series, is up for sale at Amazon. However, this is the digital Kindle version. The paperback will be available soon, probably late next week.

The Kindle version is available for only $.99 for a limited time only. This is to allow my friends to get it at a reduced price.

You can scoop both up for only $1.98 total. Such a deal! 😉

If you don’t have a Kindle device, you can download the app for your computer, your iPad, or your phone for free. Use the device you want it on to get the app.

 

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AT LAST! It is published!

Cover B1Well, almost. The digital version of The Last Day of Forever will be released for sale on Friday May 8! It is available as a preorder NOW. To order it now for delivery May 8 (digital versions) go here.

BUT, the paperbacks are available for purchase NOW. To get your copy go here.

This is what will be available:

Digital versions of The Last Day of Forever – Right now, it is only available on Amazon for Kindle devices. You can download free Kindle reader apps for other devices like iPads. There is a link for that at the Amazon page for The Last Day of Forever.

Print version of The Last Day of Forever – The link will take you to CreateSpace, a division of Amazon. (Eventually, it will be listed on the Amazon page also.) These books will be PoD (Print on Demand), meaning they will be digitally printed as they are ordered. They will be 6×9 paperbacks, but the quality is very high. Sorry, but I will not have any to sell direct, because I will not be applying for a retail sales tax license from the parish and state. If you simply must have it signed, I will be glad to do so. Contact me, and we will work something out.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Buy a copy now.
  2. Read it and enjoy it.
  3. Go back to where you bought it and post an honest review.
  4. Tell all your friends.

What is next?

Assuming you like The Last Day of Forever, you will probably want to read An Eternity of Four Years, which continues the story. While The Last Day of Forever is mostly a coming of age love story, An Eternity of Four Years is much darker since it takes place during the Civil War, and both Ethan and Rachel are, of course, involved in it. The Last Day of Forever will probably appeal more to women; An Eternity of Four Years will probably appeal more to men. Not sure that was a good idea or not, but it is where the story went. I expect to release An Eternity of Four Years very soon.

Will there be a Book 3? Working on it. Working title is The Avenging Angel, but it has a long way to go. There may also be other stories in the Catahoula Series based on spin-off characters, like Silas Riddle, whom you will meet in An Eternity of Four Years.

Lastly, I want to thank you, my friends and relations, who have been supportive of me and patient during this process, especially my bride. I truly enjoyed telling this story, and I hope you will enjoy reading it. By all means, email me with your comments and suggestions. The nice thing about digital publishing is if something is broken, it can be fixed. I can simply correct the digital file and upload the new one. I did my best to rid the files of issues and had several beta readers review the story and edit it, but I am sure something slipped past all the eyes that were on it.

As my teachers in school used to say, “Put down your pencils and turn in your papers.” Pencils are down and the papers are turned in—warts and all.

Thank you! Enjoy!

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The Last Day of Forever – Another Update and Excerpt

This is way more difficult that I ever thought. Proof #1 had issues that needed fixing, thus we had proof #2, and it had different issues, all my fault. Now we are on proof #3. I am making no predictions, but I think we are close—but then I have said that before.

Meanwhile, for those patiently waiting for me to get my act together, here is another excerpt from early in the book.

*****

Cover B1I looked at Rachel, her face not more than three inches from mine as she held my hands to the floor beside my head. Her chest was heaving from the exertion, and there was a look of confusion on her face. “Very well, you have me pinned. What do you intend to do now?”

…I did not rightly know what I was going to do then. I looked at him, and he was smiling at me, so I did the first thing that came to mind. I kissed him right on the lips…

I was more than a little surprised when she kissed me. It was only a peck on the lips, but I was not expecting it. With speed and strength I am sure surprised her, I flipped her off my chest and rolled her onto her back. Before she knew what was happening, I sat astride her with her hands pinned to the floor.

Surprise showed plainly on her face. “So,” I said, “It’s a kiss you want from me. Perhaps you should have a real one.” She looked shocked then.

As I said that, I heard my mother’s footsteps on the stairs. Our roughhousing had brought her to investigate. “Ethan! Brandy!”

“Perhaps some other time,” I said as I stood and pulled Rachel to her feet. I turned to take my medicine just as my mother stepped up to the parlor door. Not knowing what to expect from an angry Analee, Rachel tried to hide behind my back.

“What is going on down here? It sounded like you and Brandy were tussling.”

“You called?” Brandy showed up then, her hair looking a mess. My mother noticed that right off. She gave Brandy a once over, then me, and drew her own conclusions.

“Rachel, you can come from behind Ethan. I know you’re there.” She peeked around me at Analee. Her expression was one of near terror as she stared big-eyed and gape-mouthed at my mother. She looked a mess; her hair was down and hanging in her face, and her blouse was pulled from her skirt. “You too?” said Analee with disgust in her voice.

“Yes, ma’am,” she stuttered. “But we didn’t break anything.”

“Ethan!” exclaimed my mother, and Brandy mimicked her behind her back. Analee spun. “I saw that, Brandy!” That did it! I was absolutely convinced right then she had eyes in the back of her head. Brandy looked contrite and more than a little surprised.

Analee turned her attention back to me. “Ethan, these are two young ladies…”

She paused and looked at them, first Brandy and then Rachel. “Rachel!” Poor Rachel jumped. “Pull your blouse down! Your bosoms are showing!”

That caused me to turn and look. Her blouse was pulled up, but I didn’t see any bosoms, just camisole. Rachel tugged her blouse down as she looked sheepishly at my mother.

Once more my mother turned her attention back to me. Her eyebrow went up and her hands were on her hips. That was a guaranteed, sure sign I was in trouble. “As I started to say, these are two young ladies, and you are a gentleman—or I thought you were. It is not proper for you to be tussling on the floor with them as if they were children. The three of you are a little old for that. And you know I never allow that in the house.”

By then Mammy had shown up with a stern expression on her face. She stood behind Analee and nodded her agreement to every word the mistress of the house said and punctuated the important points with a slap on Brandy’s backside. Brandy squealed, but I’m sure she didn’t feel a thing through all those petticoats.

Analee turned to Brandy. “Now, you get out to the kitchen and help your mother with supper.

“Ethan, you find yourself something to do—outside.”

“Rachel, if you want that gown fitted in time for the party, you best get yourself upstairs and let me help you with it now.”

The queen bee had spoken, and with a flourish, she spun and left the room.

*****

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Proof Copies Have Arrived!

 

Last Day BooksI just received two proof copies of The Last Day of Forever. I want to tell you, it is an awesome feeling to hold a real live book in your hands with your name on it as the author!

These will be gone over carefully one last time before publishing. I already see some things I need to fix in the cover image and internal formatting, and I haven’t even begun reading it for errors.

I am thinking (hoping) this last step won’t take more than two weeks to get to hitting the “publish” button.

We are getting closer!

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The Last Day of Forever – Update and Excerpt

We are getting closer. Just uploaded the files for the print version. That will need to be proofed and any corrections made. I would like to publish the digital version and the print version up at the same time. Digital is ready to go. Print is holding up the works.

Since you are so patient, here is another taste from The Last Day of Forever, Chapter 18 – Femme Fatale.

Cover B1CRed BlogThe second week we were in Baltimore, The Herndons put on a party to welcome their prodigal son home from school for the summer. In the Landon/Herndon fashion, it was indeed a grand soiree, which included the financial and political elite of Baltimore and Washington. The food was fabulous and in plentiful supply, and there was a fountain spouting streams of rum-spiked punch. As guests of honor, Miles and I were expected to turn out in our VMI uniforms. I had not seen so many handsome men and beautiful women so elegantly dressed in one place before. A full orchestra, not like the little five piece band at my birthday, was on hand for dancing.

The first time I saw her, I was standing beside that fountain of spirituous punch, engrossed in the mechanics which enabled it to spout the élixir de la vie, as it were. I had just about reconciled myself to the fact that I would have to peek under the tablecloth in order to discern its secrets when I heard my name called.

I looked up and saw a most lovely sight, Mademoiselle Aimee de Beauchamp, on Miles’ right arm as he made his way across the ballroom of Herndon Manor with her equally lovely and charming twin sister, Annette, on his left arm.

“Ethan, there you are! I’ve been looking all over for you. I have two most charming ladies I want you to meet.”

I must confess their beauty immediately enraptured me.

He introduced me in his broken French, “Mademoiselle Annette, Mademoiselle Aimee, this is Cadet Private Ethan Davis.”

I took the hint and responded in kind. “Enchanté, Mademoiselles,” I replied with a sweeping bow.

Both of the sisters immediately looked at each other as if they had finally found a home in the New World, someone who spoke their language. They curtsied and in unison said, “Parlé vous Francais, Monsieur?”

“Oui. Je suis la Louisiane.”

Their eyes lit up. “Un Creole?”

“Oui.”

“They are the daughters of Monsieur de Beauchamp, a diplomat with the French embassy in Washington.” And according to Miles, they spoke not a word of English. “Are they not absolutely stunning? Aimee is mine, no, I think I prefer Annette,” said Miles in English.

They looked exactly alike, and their gowns were identical. Had I not kept track of which one was on which side of Miles, I would have easily mixed them up. I wondered how he could tell them apart or what difference it made. Both had dark hair and stunning blue eyes, reminding me of Rachel. They were on the petit side, not more than five feet four inches tall and slender of build.

“I think Mademoiselle Aimee would like to dance, Ethan, and I think you should ask her.” I took the hint, a proposal to which she readily agreed. Miles, of course, followed suit with her sister, and the four of us stepped onto the dance floor.

Mademoiselle Aimee proved to be even more enchanting than I had first thought. She was well educated, intelligent, and as poised as the most polished diplomat. Moreover, she had a sense of humor, which I found most refreshing, and a marvelous smile that made me want to make her laugh all the more. She wanted to know all there was to know about Louisiana and asked me endless questions about my home and my Creole heritage. We danced several dances until she appeared to be tiring, at which I suggested we retire from the floor for refreshments.

We met Miles and Annette at the mysterious fountain of spirituous elixir, and he suggested we take some fresh air. As we passed through the doorway to the patio, he said to me in English in hushed tones, “Keep Aimee occupied for me, so I can be alone with her sister. The two are almost inseparable.” With that he swept Annette away and out into the garden.

Aimee seemed not the least disturbed that her twin was gone off with Miles. We moved into the garden, and she took a seat on one of the garden benches there. She sipped her punch pensively for a moment, as I was somewhat at a loss for words, then she looked up and said in accented but grammatically perfect English, “It seems your friend Miles is quite fond of my sister.”

I looked at her askance. “You speak English?”

“Yes, I am the daughter of a diplomat. It is expected,” she replied with a wry smile.

“But Miles said you spoke no English.”

“It is a little game my sister and I sometimes play. We told Miles what he wanted to hear.” Once more she flashed that arresting smile as she patted the bench beside her. “Please, have a seat.” Somewhat stunned, I took the offered seat. She saw my confusion. “You are offended, Ethan?”

“No, just a bit taken aback.”

She smiled. “I imagine Miles will be, as well, when he learns Annette understood every word he said.”

I then remembered Miles’ remarks as he conspired to get Annette away from her sister for who knows what in the garden. Fortunately for me, it was dimly lit around our bench, or she might have seen my red cheeks. Then it hit me; the sisters de Beauchamp were also conspiring.

I looked at her and chuckled. “Old Miles thinks he’s such a ladies man. Wait until he discovers he has been had by someone more clever than he.”

She giggled at that remark. “I do not know when she will tell him or even if she will.”

“Well, I won’t tell on her. It’ll be fun to see just how long she can fool him.” I looked into those blue eyes. “Why did you confess to me?”

“I thought it best our relationship start off on an honest note.”

Our relationship? I thought about what she said. It was possible to read all manner of meanings into it, but I decided I should simply take it at face value.

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The Last Day of Forever – Excerpt 6

Here is another excerpt from The Last Day of Forever.

. . .

Cover B1CRed BlogLaura and Rachel had spent the last few moments eyeing each other up like two tomcats about to scrap, but I could not imagine why. “Well now, Laura, I must apologize for not bringing Rachel by for a visit, but I have been terribly busy since we returned. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”

I noticed Rachel rolled her eyes when I said that.

“That’s no excuse, Ethan. I’m not sure if I should forgive you just now.” Her expression turned instantly from a frown to a smile. “Rachel, we simply must spend some time together. I’m sure we’ll be good friends. Will you be at Catahoula for very long?”

“I’ll be making my home here. My mother passed away recently, and Ethan’s father has kindly agreed to take me into his home as one of the family.” With that Rachel smiled, but even I could see it was forced.

“Oh, I see. This arrangement is permanent?”

“Quite.”

“I lost my own mother a few years ago, so I know how you must feel. Well, I’m sure we will get along just famously. Won’t we, Ethan?”

“Of course,” I replied, but it was becoming quite clear even to me that such would not likely be the case.

“And you’re Ethan’s cousin?” Laura asked with a nod of her head.

“No. We’re not related. I’m the ward of his father.”

Laura looked at me as she replied to Rachel. “I see . . . ” She took a deep breath then said, “Come along, Ethan. Let’s find our pew.” With that she fairly dragged me by the arm up the steps into the church.

My mother, Sarah, and Laura’s father were already seated at the far side of the pew, leaving room for the rest of us. I stood aside to allow Rachel and Laura to be seated. They each gestured for the other to go first, but neither moved to accept the offer. For a moment I was sure they would fight over who would be the more polite.

“Rachel!” snapped my mother in an assertive whisper.

Rachel gave in with a huff and sat beside Analee. Laura smiled in triumph and took a seat beside her. That left me on the end of the pew with Laura between Rachel and me.

“Ethan,” whispered Laura, “we have so much to talk about. I missed you terribly. And I am truly upset you have not called on me since you got back. You must make it up to me.”

I had not expected her to be as mad as she was, and I wondered why she had suddenly become so desirous of my company. Laura and I had been friends since we were kids. Lately, she had become somewhat possessive of me and had even mentioned marriage on more than one occasion. I never gave the subject much thought. My attentions were focused on school and gaining a commission in the Army. With Morgan’s help, I had been admitted to the Virginia Military Institute. With four years of school ahead, marriage was not an immediate concern.

Laura was a pretty girl with blond hair and blue eyes and was one of those rare women who grows lovelier with age. At seventeen she was attractive enough, but when I saw her three years later, she was strikingly beautiful.

After the services, Laura pulled me aside, and we walked by the cemetery and talked. I should say, Laura talked; I mostly listened. “Ethan, whatever am I to do when you leave for school? It’ll be so lonely around here. Will you write?”

“Of course . . . ”

“Every day? Every single day?”

“Well, I’m not su . . . ”

“This Rachel, where did she come from? What is she to you?”

“A friend of­­ . . . ”

“She is a strange little girl.”

“I expect she would scratch your eyes out, if you called her a little girl to her face.”

“That’s what she is.”

“You underestimate her.”

“You like her, don’t you?”

“She sort of grows on you.”

Laura put on her pouting face. “I think I’m jealous of her.”

“Why?”

“She has your attention. She is with you every day, and I see you only on Sunday. You might fall in love with her.”

“Laura, she is only fourteen years old.”

She stopped and turned to face me. “And I think now it is you who underestimates her.” She sighed. “Come along, Ethan, my father is ready to leave. Perhaps you will be so kind as to give me a ride home, so I can spend some small amount of time with you?”

I helped my mother and Sarah into the carriage then turned my attention to a very sullen Rachel. I could not imagine what had come over her. I helped Laura up, and we hit another of those impasses like the one at the pew. My mother and Sarah had taken a seat in the rear of the landau. Rachel seated herself in the center of the front seat. “Move over a bit, Rachel,” said Laura with a smile.

“I thought you might like to sit on the side where you would be more comfortable,” replied Rachel as she gestured to the seat beside her.

“You may have that seat. I will be just fine in the middle next to Ethan.”

“Oh no. I insist. I wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable. I am so much smaller than you. The middle won’t be a bother for me.”

I noticed a brief flash of anger on Laura’s face. “I insist,” she replied firmly. “This is your carriage . . . ”

I decided this had gone far enough. “I’ll sit in the middle! Push over Rachel, unless you want me in your lap.” Rachel slid over, Laura took the other outside seat, and I sat between them. I looked up at my mother and saw she was trying to hide what looked like a smile behind a handkerchief as she dabbed perspiration from her lip and pretended interest in the nearby cemetery. My sister stared off into the woods as if she was oblivious to what had just happened. Either she was indeed dazed and confused, not an unusual condition for her, or she had just felt the sharp point of my mother’s elbow in her ribs as warning not to interfere.

. . .

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The Last Day of Forever – Excerpt 2

Here is another short excerpt from The Last Day of Forever.  Enjoy.

Rachel’s Diary

7 June 1856

This is the first entry in my diary since my mother passed away almost a month ago. My life has changed in so many ways I cannot even begin to comprehend what all this will mean for me. I need to record my thoughts, and maybe that will help me sort things out in my mind.

I’m on the sternwheeler “Shreveport Belle” headed up the Mississippi River from New Orleans bound for Catahoula Plantation on the Red River. I found a place where I can have privacy to work on my diary, a comfortable bench in front of the wheelhouse with a marvelous view of the river.

My mother’s passing was the most profound change in my life. She was my life, especially the last months she was alive, her health slowly declining, rendering her incapable of even the most basic efforts without my assistance. During that period, we became even closer than we were before. We laughed together and we wept together as we attempted to get through her terribly painful sickness.

It was hard watching my mother die, watching her deteriorate from the vivacious and loving woman I knew most of my life into the empty shell she became. In some ways, I am not yet accepting of it. I have not wept for her, not even at her funeral. I was numb, feeling nothing, as if my emotions were depleted, and I was incapable of expressing them. The hurt in my heart would not come out for me to find relief from it.

More changes came in my mother’s last days when an old friend of hers showed up, summoned by her. Morgan Davis was a friend of my long deceased father. My mother had written Uncle Morgan (as I was asked to call him) when she realized her remaining time here on earth was drawing to a close. They had not seen each other since before I was born, and they must have been close since she asked him to take responsibility for me.

When Uncle Morgan first arrived at our home in Virginia, my mother asked to be alone with him. I waited outside and could hear them talking about me. Sometimes they got quite loud, though not enough for me to understand all they said, but I knew my future was being decided in that room.

My mother called me in after they had spoken and explained what was about to happen to me. I was to be given to a complete stranger and taken away to his plantation in Louisiana–a place I knew nothing about–and joined to a family I had never met. That’s when the full impact of my mother’s pending death hit me for the first time. That’s when the fear first set in.

I looked up at Uncle Morgan, and he seemed as confused and distressed as I was, though he tried to hide it with a reassuring smile.

With my future thus settled, my mother died a few days later.

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