LANCER–A WALK DOWN TELEVISION MEMORY LANE by Cheryl Pierson

Hi everyone! I’m in the middle of getting new flooring. Yes, I should be grateful, but 2 months, 6 workmen and not-a-day-to-myself two months later, I’m ready to pull my hair out. Did I mention that after 40 years of marriage this is the closest we’ve ever come to divorce? We’re still together and the floors are almost completely done! I’ve got no office, no computer (except my laptop that doesn’t have everything on it) and only 2 barely functioning brain cells right now, so I picked an “oldie but goodie” from my past posts to regale you with today–hope you won’t mind the re-run–it’s been a while, and LANCER is worth remembering again and again!

I’m waxing nostalgic today, pining for the days of yesteryear when good westerns were on practically every night of the week! Today, I thought I’d remember my favorite of them all, the western television series LANCER. It’s one of those shows that didn’t last long enough, and still has many, many followers in the fan fiction world who continue to write stories using these characters in just about every scenario you can imagine. If you’ve never explored fan fiction, it’s pretty amazing, and there’s a fan fiction group for virtually every movie and TV series that ever came down the pike.

Lancer Family

Here’s a bit about Lancer, which was then, and still is, my favorite TV western ever—and that’s saying a lot, since I was a die-hard western fan from a very early age.

But what can be more exciting to a pre-teen girl than an action–packed TV western with two handsome hunky guys and a ton of family angst? The answer is…not one thing. I was glued to the tv screen every week when Lancer took off, and it was a very, very sad day when they cancelled it.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it, in a nutshell, just so you can get the gist of the series:

Lancer is an American Western series that aired on CBS from September 1968, to May 1970. The series stars Andrew Duggan, James Stacy, and Wayne Maunder as a father with two half-brother sons, an arrangement similar to the more successful Bonanza on NBC.

Duggan stars as the less than admirable Murdoch Lancer, the patriarch of the Lancer family. Stacy appears as half-Mexican gunslinger Johnny Madrid Lancer. Wayne Maunder was cast as Scott Lancer, the educated older son (though he is younger than Stacy) and a veteran of the Union Army, in contrast to Stacy’s role of former gunslinger. Paul Brinegar also appeared as Jelly Hoskins, a series regular from season two after making a one off guest appearance during the first season. Elizabeth Baur (who later replaced Barbara Anderson in ‘Ironside’ from season five to eight) also was a series regular cast member as Murdoch Lancer’s ward Teresa O’Brien.

 

Guest stars included Joe Don Baker, Scott Brady, Ellen Corby, Jack Elam, Sam Elliott, Bruce Dern, Kevin Hagen, Ron Howard, Cloris Leachman, George Macready, Warren Oates, Agnes Moorehead and Stefanie Powers.

Lancer lasted for fifty-one hour-long episodes shot in color. The program was rerun on CBS during the summer of 1971.

The episode entitled “Zee” with Stefanie Powers earned scriptwriter Andy Lewis the Western Writers of AmericaSpur Award“, the first ever designated for a television script.

Pretty impressive! With the regular cast and the very solid and vivid portrayals each of them gave of their characters, and the stellar roster of guest stars, what’s not to love? I was eleven when LANCER made its appearance, and I thought I had never seen anyone as “cute” as half brothers Johnny and Scott Lancer. But “cuteness” was not what held my interest.

lancercast

As the storyline went, Scott’s wealthy mother took him back to Boston, and he was raised as a moneyed gentleman. He served in the Civil War. Johnny’s story was different. His mother took him south of the border, to the territory she was most familiar with, and he was raised in border towns. Life was tough for him, being half white, and as we say here, “the boy run into some trouble.” So much trouble, in fact, that the Pinkerton man Murdoch Lancer sent to find him barely got there in the nick of time, as Johnny was facing a firing squad.

Murdoch offered his sons “listening money”—to come meet him, hear what he had to offer them, and then stay, or walk away. Of course, both Johnny and Scott decide to stay after this stormy encounter.

The mix of the characters, with Johnny having fended for himself most of his life, earning his living as a fast gun, and Scott being raised with everything money could buy, added to every plot and their general interaction. Scott had known hard times too, during the War, and he had to remind his younger brother of that from time to time. But their growing relationship as brothers, and the respect that they had for one another – and in time, for their father, was what made the show special. Growth of the characters and the way that growth was portrayed kept me glued to the screen week after week—though I couldn’t have told you that’s what it was at that age.

The show is not in syndication here in the States, at last check, but don’t despair! Here’s a link where you can catch season one, at least!

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB278C1B669BEA738

Johnny Lancer has been a “main character” in my imagination from the time I first saw the show. He’d lived a hard life, done some bad things, but was trying to make amends and have the life with a true family that he’d always wanted…and a place to belong. He was the youngest in his family, and so was I. His character portrayal resonated with audiences everywhere, so it was quite a surprise to learn that it was being canceled. Yet, today, there are still people who love the show and get together online to chat about it and the characters, and write more stories about them—many of which would make fantastic Lancer episodes if the show was still being written.

Lancer Johnny & dog

Do you have a memory of Lancer? Please share if you do! And if you don’t—don’t hesitate to click that link above and see what you missed!

What was YOUR favorite TV western from days gone by?

Cheryl Pierson
A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules

A Salute to All of Our Veterans!

 

I remember the cold and blustery day when I closed my eyes and said a little prayer that He would give me the strength to get through the task at hand.

It was extremely hard to sort through my Aunt Bobbie’s possessions following her death, particularly since it was more like sorting through two generation’s keepsakes. My family has never been very good at throwing out our “stuff,” so there was a mixture of both Aunt Bobbie’s precious memories mingled with those of my grandmother. Thank goodness we are packrats, or I wouldn’t have this story to share with you,

I found “the letter” in the family Bible. You know the one that everyone has … gold leaf nearly worn off and the binding so fragile that it’s held together with masking tape. Ours has silver duct tape, too. The book protects an assortment of obituaries, wedding and birth announcements, and other newspaper clippings wedged between the pages. I picked up Granny’s handwritten recipe for Louisiana Pecan Pie. It sounds like a strange place to keep a recipe but not if you had known my Aunt Bobbie.

Although I’d thumbed through the family Bible many times as I grew up, I’d never noticed “the letter.” After keeping it secure for all those years, did my aunt move it to the one place she was sure I’d find it? I don’t know. But, I do know with Aunt Bobbie, everything had a reason.

The three pages are as yellowed with age as the memories inked on them. It’s written in a precise yet manly flourish with a black fountain pen scripted on light weight “air mail” stationery.

As I slowly unfolded the fragile pages, an odd sensation of serenity settle around me. I demanded that my emotions take a back seat and allow me privacy to read the letter, thus getting to know my Uncle Vick, Aunt Bobbie’s and Mama’s brother.

July 29, 1944

Dearest Bobbie,

I wish it was possible to talk to you and tell you what I have to say.

I’m telling you so you can tell Mom. I don’t know how she will take it and I don’t want her to be alone when she gets the news. I want you to see that she doesn’t worry about me because there is no cause for it. I am in good condition now but I was wounded worse than I let you know.

I am perfectly content and quite happy. The only thing I regret is having to leave the Marine Corps. My days in the service are few but I am happy that my discharge is honorable.

I landed on the Island of Saipan with the assault wave. I made it almost through the campaign but my luck ran out and I got in front of a Jap Machine gun. I took four bullets in my left leg and one in my left arm. My arm is completely healed but I wasn’t so lucky with the leg. This is what I’ve been trying to say. To save my life they had to remove my left leg. In other words I only have one leg.

Don’t feel sorry for me and don’t worry.

Today thanks to science a man doesn’t have to worry because they have artificial legs that a man can walk on just as normal as ever. He can dance, work, walk, run and do most anything else any other man can do. I don’t feel badly at all. I take it as just something that had to happen and I thank God I am alive.

I’ll be in the states soon. I will be in California for some time. After the leg is healed it takes a long time to get the stump tough enough for the leg to be attached. But I think I will get to come home for a while. Possibly in about three months. It won’t be the home coming I wanted but we are going to have lots of fun aren’t we? We can paint any town just as red as anyone else.

I haven’t told Naomi (his wife) yet and I don’t want Mom to tell her. That is my job. How I do it is something I haven’t figured out as yet.

Don’t write anymore until you hear from me again. Tell Mom the same thing. I expect to have a new address and it takes mail too long to catch up with me.

Keep Mom from worrying about me. Keep your chin up and we’ll all be happy.

I have to close now. I’ll be thinking of you and loving you,

Always, your Bud, Vick
PS: Tell Dad first. Maybe he can help. I’ll tell more next time. Love always, Vick

Through blurry eyes and swallowing a lump in my throat much too big to go down, I read the letter twice before returning the yellowed pages to its resting place. The most appropriate place I knew to stow the treasure … our family Bible.

The letter had been written seven decades ago, in a faraway country, by a Marine fighting for our democracy. I’m sorry that I missed the opportunity to really get to know him, but in 1952 God called him home earlier than the family planned. Uncle Vick was laid to rest at the age of 33 in the National Cemetery in Fresno, California.

Today I forced myself to reread the letter, as I prepared to share his story. I thought about the hundred of thousands of other servicemen that sent home similar letters.

I wanted to share this story with you in honor of all of our Veterans.  I have my own Viet Nam Vet  and I appreciate the sacrifices he gave for all of our lives and the liberties we have today.  

Do you have a veteran in your family? If so, please give them a salute and hug.  I’d love to hear about your vet.

Phyliss
A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com
Updated: November 10, 2019 — 3:23 pm

Becca Whitham’s Winner!

 

Kimberly Burkhardt

 

Kimberly, Becca will contact you for the information she needs to send you your copy of THE TELEGRAPH PROPOSAL!

 

 

Many thanks to all for stopping by to chat about online dating – then and now!

Felicia Filly
When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.
Updated: November 11, 2019 — 8:50 am

Online Dating in the 19th Century

With guest blogger Becca Whitham.

Online dating is not a new phenomenon…at least matching two people over a distance before they meet in person isn’t. During the 1800’s, it manifested itself as mail-order brides. The Telegraph Proposal is the final book in what Gina and I call our “mail-order brides gone wrong” series. We wanted to explore pitfalls of modern online dating using an historical setting. In our first story, The Promise Bride, we looked at what happens if the person you’ve been corresponding with was lying with malicious intent. The second story, The Kitchen Marriage, explored what happens when the family of the person you’ve been dating thinks only desperate and dishonest people resort to matchmaking services. And the final book looks at what happens when the dating service matches you with someone you not only know but don’t like.

Our research turned up fascinating stories which, if you changed the dates and a few particulars, read like they were ripped from today’s news stories. Women were often lured away from home with the promise of something better only to find themselves lost in the underworld of drugs and prostitution. There were stories of individuals falsely representing themselves to get money. Here’s a quote from The Chicago Tribune (which we added to the opening of The Kitchen Marriage): “…(Here’s) a fact that all women who ever answered a matrimonial advertisement or ever intend to answer one should remember: No man who has the ability or the means to support a wife in comfort needs to advertise for one.” The article was written December 28, 1884, but doesn’t it sound like advice you hear today?

 

To combat the perception that only desperate people would advertise for a spouse, services bloomed to help vet prospective candidates. Today we have Match.com, eHarmony, ChristianMingle, and others. My husband vetted someone. He was a pastor in Washington State at the time, and one of our congregants had been corresponding with a woman in Florida. Her pastor called my husband and said, “Okay. Tell me about this Greg fellow. Is he who he claims to be?” My husband was able to assure the Florida pastor that Greg was indeed telling the truth about himself. A few months later, after the woman had come to Washington for some in-person courting, my husband performed their wedding.

In the 1800’s, matchmaking agencies offered vetting services. For The Telegraph Proposal, our principal characters were tricked into a correspondence courtship by a well-intentioned but deceptive member of such an agency. However, instead of letting the ruse stand, we blew it up early in the story. I don’t know about you, but I hated how the movie “You’ve Got Mail” ended. Had I been Meg Ryan’s character, I would not have lovingly wrapped my arms around Tom Hanks’ neck and kissed him on that bridge after discovering how he’d tricked me. I’d have slapped his face and stomped off! So that’s what happens in The Telegraph Proposal. Our characters had to learn how to find their way back to love after such a disaster.

This skill is something we all need. My husband and I have conducted close to a hundred marriage retreats, and we always talk about how couples need to learn how to fall in love with the person they actually married as opposed to the one they thought they had. Some couples figure it out before marriage, others—like my husband and me—must figure it out afterwards. The opening sentence of The Telegraph Proposal sums it up: “Marriage did not make women experts on men.”

Becca Whitham (WIT-um) Award-winning author, paper crafter, and Army wife, Becca and her twelve-foot long craft cabinet follow her husband of thirty-five years wherever the army needs a good chaplain. She thinks the cabinet should count as a dependent. So far, neither the army nor the IRS is convinced. In between moves from one part of the country to the other, she writes stories combining faith and fiction that touch the heart. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. You can find her online at http://www.beccawhitham.com

 

Ruthy here: Becca has graciously offered to give away a copy of The Telegraph Proposal! Leave a comment below to be entered… and tell us what you think of online dating. The good… the bad… and if you’ve got a great story to share (like Ruthy’s nephew and his lovely wife, married 12 years and three kids, met at Match.com) we’d love to hear it!

Guest Blogger

Karen’s Winners

 

Congratulations go to

Kim Hansen

&

Vicki

You ladies are the winners of an e-book copy of Head in the Clouds. Be looking for an email from me with instructions for claiming your prize.

Karen Witemeyer
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.
Updated: November 7, 2019 — 12:51 pm

Read a Book, Have a Party, Help a Cowboy! By Pam Crooks

Just like football players, hockey players, soccer players, etc, professional rodeo cowboys get hurt, too.  Sometimes badly and without the protection of over-sized pads. They are athletes in every sense of the word, and when they are knocked out of the competition due to injuries, their paychecks take a big hit, too.  

That’s where the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund (JCCF) comes in.  The Justin Boot Company teemed up with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to form the JCCF as a non-profit charity organization.

To learn more:  https://www.justincowboycrisisfund.org

From the JCCF website:

“JCCF had awarded nearly $8 million in need-based financial assistance to almost 1,100 injured rodeo athletes and their families.

100% of all proceeds go to eligible athletes.”

I love that.  100%.

Who hasn’t heard of big name charities who pay their CEOs hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses and benefits and who rake in millions of dollars to pay fancy overhead when the donors think they are helping the needy?  They are, of course, but on a smaller level and not as much as they think they are.

Also from the JCCF website:

“This uncommon practice for a charitable organization (100% of proceeds) is made possible by the joint commitment of the Justin Boot Company and the PRCA, which underwrite all administrative costs associated with managing the JCCF, leaving all monies received through contributions (and as investment earnings) to serve their intended purpose.”

Bravo!!

And that’s where the rest of us come in.  Raising the funds to help the JCCF do their wonderful and charitable works of which 100% goes to qualifying professional rodeo cowboys.

Well . . . it just so happens that TODAY Shanna Hatfield is hosting her 6th annual “Cowboys and Christmas Facebook Party” and it’s bigger than ever.  I have the honor of kicking off the festivities, and I’ll be joined by sister filly Kit Morgan–and Shanna, of course. Fifteen guest authors in all.

Shanna explains:

“The party gets underway Thursday at 10 a.m. Pacific Time (so that’s 11 Mountain, Noon Central, and 1 Eastern). Entries for giveaways will remain open until the following morning, so even if you can’t participate in the party during all the action, you can still check in after the fact and get in on the goodies!”

Trust me.  There will be a TON of goodies. 

Please come!  Just click – Cowboys and Christmas – to join the group!

It’ll be fast-paced and fun.  Here are the particulars:

We hope to see you there!

 

 

Do you have a favorite charity?  Do you try to give to the less fortunate at this special time of year?  Are you coming to Shanna’s party? (I know some of you are!)  Are you a little cautious about donating to big-name charities because of their high overhead?

 

Pam Crooks
Pam has written 24 romances, most of them historical westerns. She has just released her newest sweet historical romance, TRACE, the launch book for the Bachelors & Babies series starting in June, More of her books are coming! Stay up on the latest at www.pamcrooks.com
Updated: November 6, 2019 — 11:07 am

Winner! Winner!

Howdy!  We have a winner for the free e-book of LAKOTA SURRENDER, 25th Anniversary Edition.  Yea!  And that winner is:

Alisa Boisclair

Many congratulations go out to you, Alisa.  To claim your gift, please email me privately at:  karenkay(dot)author(at)startmail(dot)com — and we’ll arrange to get the book to you.

Also many thanks to everyone who came to the blog yesterday.  I really do love hearing from you.  Have a super evening.

 

Karen Kay
KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules for all contest rules.
Updated: November 6, 2019 — 8:55 pm

Becca Whitham Comes to the Junction!

Miss Becca Whitham is returning to visit on Friday, November 8, 2019!

She’ll be talking about online dating and wanting to know your thoughts on the subject.

Miss Becca has a brand new book out – The Telegraph Proposal – and is toting one to give away.

So get your chatting clothes ready and follow the trail on Friday.

You never know when fortune is going to smile on you.

Maybe you’ll get a telegraph proposal!

 

Felicia Filly
When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.
Updated: November 6, 2019 — 4:11 pm

Serving Up a New Release!

Serving Up Love has released!

It’s release week! Rosalind Kemp’s story is here. Along with three other fabulous tales of love and adventure in Harvey Houses along the Santa Fe Railroad line.

I had so much fun working with my dear friend Regina Jennings on another collection, and having the chance to team up with fabulous authors like Tracie Peterson and Jen Turano was a special treat. Every time I run into Jen at a conference, she and I talk about how we need to work together on a project sometime. Now we have!

Since I received my author copy early, I had the chance to read the other three stories in the collection, and they are all winners. Each story centers around a Harvey House in a different state during a different historical time period. Four very different Harvey Girl heroines, face unique challenges. Everything from floods to railroad corruption to high society scandal to past mistakes that rise to threaten their future, yet each woman tastes love and finds the courage to go back for more.

Like the famous Harvey House pie, Serving Up Love is the perfect dessert to enjoy with a warm cup of coffee or tea on a cool autumn evening.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

Not only has the book arrived, but we are launching in the very setting where my story takes place!

I am so excited to invite you to join me and co-author Regina Jennings in Gainesville, TX for a history-lover’s dream book launch. We will start with a tour of the Santa Fe Depot which is the setting for my novella, More Than a Pretty Face. One of the reasons I chose to set my Harvey Girl story in Gainesville was because their depot and Harvey House were still standing. Before I wrote a single word, I walked the very halls that Rosalind did. I saw the marks of the horseshoe lunch counter embedded in the floor. I saw where the kitchen had been set and climbed the stairs to the private quarters where the Harvey Girls slept. Now, you can too!

Here’s the schedule of events we have planned:

In addition, Regina and I will be raffling off a gift basket of Christmas baking goodies along with a couple of our books. We would love for you to join us! (Gainesville is roughly 70 miles north of Dallas.)

 

Head in the Clouds Special

Not only are we having fun with the Harvey Girls, but one of my older releases, Head in the Clouds is currently on sale for $0.79 – $0.99!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

Since Harvey Houses were famous for their giant slices of pie (they served 1/4 of an entire pie as one slice!), leave a comment about your favorite pie flavor, and I’ll draw 2 names to receive e-book copies of Head in the Clouds.

Karen Witemeyer
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

LAKOTA SURRENDER, 25th Anniversary Edition Now on Sale

Howdy!

Good Morning (or afternoon or evening) and welcome to another terrific Tuesday.  Well, I have some good news.  I hope you’ll find it good news.  My very first book ever, LAKOTA SURRENDER, which has been out of print for 26 years, is now going back into print.  At present it’s only in e-book format, but soon (very soon, I hope), it will be released once again in paperback for the first time in 26 years.  It’s a big deal for me.  Lots of editing (once again) to hopefully make it a tighter book.  The story line hasn’t changed at all, it’s only that it’s a bit of a tighter book, I think.  Here’s the cover.

 

I love this cover.  As I was doing the final look through on the edits, I had at the same time just received the cover for the first time.  It blew me away.  What do you think?

So I’ll be giving this e-book as a gift to one of you bloggers today who leave a message, so do leave a message, if you please.  So, with this book newly out in print (hopefully soon), I thought I’d post the blurb and an excerpt.  Hope you enjoy.

LAKOTA SURRENDER

by

Karen Kay 

25th Anniversary Edition, publishing November 1, 2019

Forbidden love…

Lakota, Book 1

As she travels west to join her cavalry officer father at his Kansas outpost, Kristina Bogard eagerly anticipates new adventures—and her first glimpse of wild Indians. She has long dreamed of flashing black eyes, skin-covered lodges and buckskin and leather.

What she finds in Fort Leavenworth, though, is a far cry from her Indian nanny’s thrilling stories. What few natives she’s encountered have been broken shadows of their proud past. All except one. A handsome warrior who stands tall and proud. A warrior who stirs up an entirely new set of dreams and emotions for Kristina.

Tahiska can’t take his eyes off the green-eyed beauty whose graceful hands are fluent in his native sign language. But he can’t afford to let anything distract him from avenging his father, who was murdered by two white soldiers.

Though anger fills his mind, Kristina steals into his heart, igniting a wildfire passion that must remain their desperate secret. For soon comes the day of reckoning, when justice will be served…or a travesty will shatter their love.

This is the 25th Year Anniversary Edition of this book

Warning: Sensuous romance for the romantic at heart

 

LAKOTA SURRENDER

by

Karen Kay

An Excerpt

 

Fort Leavenworth

July 4, 1833

 

The sun had scarcely been up an hour. The grass was still glistening with dew. The scents of early morning and of breakfast permeated the air.

Kristina brushed her forearm over her brow, her hand gripping the musical tuning fork. She was glad she had already consumed her morning meal. This tuning of the piano was requiring more time then she had anticipated. Soon the fort would come alive with soldiers and traders. She would like to have the piano tuned before it became too crowded.

She was seated at the instrument in the open air, on an erected, foot-high platform. As with most young women her age, Kristina had been taught music at a young age. But, while others played only at small, quiet gatherings, Kristina openly defied convention and played with the cavalry band.

The piano had been moved out of the church last night and set here at the head of the main courtyard, but she’d had little opportunity to tune it last evening. Besides, she had justified to herself, it was better to let the piano sit overnight. The adjusting might hold better.

She worked as quickly as she could. Because it was the Fourth of July, there would be a grand celebration today and the piano was needed to fill in with the band, not only for the raising of the flag, but also for the party afterwards.

She glanced toward the sun in irritation. Already she was warm and the day had just barely started.

She leaned over the instrument, played a middle C, then a C one octave higher, turning the wooden peg until she was pleased with the sound. She hit the tuning fork once again and struck the two notes. Satisfied, she advanced to C sharp.

The sound echoed through the fort, creating a hollow twang whose eerie song had never before been heard by the three pairs of Indian ears.

***

Tahiska and his two companions were awake and alert long before the sun became a red orb in the eastern sky. The journey to the soldier fort took usually a full moon, but the three young warriors, anxious for revenge, had traversed the distance in three weeks, changing mounts often, traveling into the night and sleeping little.

Tahiska’s heart was saddened still, and, though anger coursed through his veins, he couldn’t deny that there was an excitement about this day that eluded him. Perhaps he would meet his own death today. Perhaps. But he did not think so. A premonition stirred his soul; a feeling that an undertaking of importance was to happen today. He knew it. He could feel it. He had sensed it even as he had hunted and eaten a breakfast of berries and fresh meat. Yes, today was a good day.

The three young warriors had prepared themselves earlier in the morning and had washed in a creek close by, praying to Wakan Tanka, the God of all, for courage and bravery in the face of an enemy they had yet to meet.

Tahiska had formulated his plans well. He did not intend to wage his war against the entire fort. Though his emotions urged him to kill any white person available for atonement, his personal ethic would not allow him to commit such an immoral act. And, he schooled himself to think clearly. He would kill the two who had committed the crime and none else. Such was the courtesy he would show the white man. So it was for this reason that he and his friends would not wear the customary war paint into the fort. Only after he had singled out the two murderers would he prepare for battle.

No, first he would meet with their chief and ask for the murderers to be turned over to his own party. If this failed, and he had no way of anticipating the actions of the white people, he had other plans.

They dressed this day for council, not for war, and, leaving their horses hobbled in their camp, they made their way to the fort on foot. They stood outside the gates, awaiting entry.

They were, each one, dressed richly in elk and deerskins. Their shirts were made of delicate, soft leather, each one fringed and decorated with ornamental porcupine quills. Their leggings were fringed and fell to their moccasins, which in their own turn were adorned with beads and colorful quills. Slung horizontally across their backs were their bows, quivers, and shields. Their lances they held in their hands. While his two friends were dressed in tan, Tahiska was wearing white, and, when the white man acknowledged their presence, it was Tahiska to whom the soldiers addressed their inquiries.

But the white man’s tongue was strange, and only through a long dissertation of repeated signs was Tahiska able to tell the white soldiers that he and his party had come to speak with the fort’s chief. While Tahiska was stunned to learn that the soldiers were in ignorance of the language of hand signs, which was so common and well known on the plains, good manners kept his scorn carefully hidden.

They waited for permission to enter the fort. To an outsider their expressions would seem dour, but courtesy forbid them to show any emotion; their anger, even their contempt at being kept waiting in the ever-increasing heat of the day, was shrouded behind their eyes. They stood patiently, not making a move at all.

It was more than an hour later that the strange notes carried over the garrison walls. The sound was eerie, mysterious, and the Indians began to wonder if Wakan Tanka had heard their prayers this day.

***

As was the custom at the fur company, so too, at the fort, the Indians’ weapons were placed in an arsenal. Tahiska demanded, and was allowed, possession of his bow. Tahiska sought out the soldiers in the white man’s building and was at last able, through painfully crude sign language, to convey to the soldiers that he desired a council with the white man’s chief. Just as crudely and with great deliberation, the white soldiers told the Indians to return when the sun was at its zenith. Today was the Fourth of July, a holiday. The white chief could see them no sooner. The Indians nodded understanding and turned to leave.

As they strode back into the sun, Tahiska quickly scanned the fort. It took only a second, but his practiced gaze missed nothing—the two women to his right, one hundred yards away; the three soldiers, each carrying one firestick and a long knife; the two guards parading the planks of the garrison walls, each armed with one firestick and another long knife. He sized up the men as opponents, observed that there was no other exit but the gate they had just entered through, and wondered at the buildings along the road. The area around him was practically deserted, though there were sounds of movement elsewhere within the fort.

Tahiska was astounded at the late hour in which the fort commenced to do business. Had he been at home, he could already have hunted for himself and another family. But his thoughts were not revealed on his face, his expression guardedly blank.

There it was again. That sound. The eerie song they had heard over the fort’s walls that morning. It shrieked through the morning air, its sound more disturbing than the cry of a raven. Tahiska’s gaze searched the sky for the cause, but he could see nothing. He had no indication his medicine was bad this day, yet this melody made him uneasy.

“Spread out, investigate each tepee, each home,” Tahiska commanded, “Wahtapah, you on this side and you, Neeheeowee, on the other. I will see what sort of bird sings this song. I will see if it is good medicine or bad. When the sun is high, we meet here. Now go.”

***

Kristina sat at the piano bench, hunched over the instrument. She had one leg beneath her, one leg on the floor, and her skirts settled around her. The job of tuning the piano was almost done and she was feeling quite pleased with herself. Just two more octave notes and she was finished. She played one, then the other, turning the peg until she was satisfied. This done she moved farther down the piano and began to play a song.

An odd sensation swept over her skin, leaving goose bumps along her arms and a prickly feeling at the back of her neck. She played a few more notes, then cocked her head to the side, her peripheral vision catching a glimpse of a white-clad figure. Thinking her senses were playing tricks on her again, Kristina started to turn away when the clean scent of prairie grass caught at her breath. She stopped, her fingers in midair, as the earth beneath her seemed to reel. To counter the sensation she set both feet on the ground and spun around.

She had to look a long way up to meet the black eyes that were watching her intently. Her breath caught in her throat, and Kristina had to force herself to exhale. Perhaps, she decided, it would be best to stand.

Clutching the piano with her hands behind her, she stood, noting with a mixture of dread, plus an odd sort of excitement, that this Indian stranger stood a good head taller than she.

She stared into his face. He looked foreign, wild, and yet oddly familiar.

She tried to smile, but it was shaky. “Hello,” she tried.

He said nothing, his expression registering nothing, as well, and he looked her directly in the eye.

Kristina, unused to such open scrutiny, blushed, not understanding that he gazed at her so openly because he was uncertain if she were friend or foe. Where have I seen him before? Nervously, she wrung her hands, then gestured toward the piano. “I…I was just tuning it for the…ce…celebration today.”

His glance had left her eyes, was now roaming slowly, meticulously over the golden tan of her hair, the soft oval of her face, her nose, her lips, then downward toward her neck, stopping at the material of her gown as it clung to her shoulders.

His gaze jerked back to hers. Quickly he signed a greeting and Kristina visibly relaxed, for she knew this language well.

She moved her hands, motioning a response, but also asking, “Where are you from—what tribe?”

He didn’t answer, but instead trod to her side, next to the piano.

Kristina noted several things about him all at once: the fluid way he moved, as though it took no effort; the lone tooth dangling from a leather cord around his neck; the beaded earrings hanging from both earlobes, giving him not an air of effeminacy as one would have expected, but a sense of potent strength. His hair was quite long, reaching way past his shoulders, and Kristina was startled to note that it did not detract from his allure. He was probably the most handsome man she’d ever seen.

“What is this?” he signed, indicating the piano. He hadn’t looked at her, but when he turned back to her, catching her scrutiny of him, Kristina felt so embarrassed she couldn’t control the flush that warmed her face. Realizing her cheeks were awash with color, she averted her gaze.

“It’s a piano,” she stated, stumbling over what to sign in reply, finally settling for “song-maker.” “Pi-a-no,” she repeated, pointing to it.

She pressed down on a key; then another and another.

“See, when you finger it, it sings.” She attempted another uncertain smile. “Here, I’ll show you.”

She invited him with gestures to tap a key, but he was not cooperative, and his face revealed no expression whatsoever.

“Here.” She touched his hand. At the contact a sudden tremor shot up her arm, causing her to gasp.

She pulled back, her eyes darting up to his, but she couldn’t easily read his thoughts. His stare was unwavering, and she wondered if she were the only one who had felt it—the shock.

“I…”

He silenced her with a sign.

Neither one spoke. Neither one moved. And, for a moment, a short space of time, she felt her world stop.

The sun beat down its warmth upon them, and its tawny rays caught a fiery red highlight in his hair, reminding her of fire and passion. All at once, Kristina thought she might burst.

She turned away, but this time, he reached out toward her. It was a light graze, lasting only a moment, its intent clearly to keep her from leaving. A simple gesture. That’s all it was. Yet Kristina felt a jolt all through her body.

He motioned her to sit.

She complied, almost without thinking.

“Sing,” he motioned.

“Sing?” she asked aloud.

He gestured towards the keys, signing again, “Sing.”

“Oh, I see. You want me to play.” She fingered the keys lightly, not pressing down on them. “Like this?”

With one hand, he motioned, ”Yes.”

She played then, her attention not on the notes, but rather on the man who stood at her side. Without thought, her hands moved over the cool, ivory keys in the haunting melody of Pachelbel’s “Canon”; Kristina closed her eyes, trying to concentrate on what she was doing, not on the virile Indian watching her intently. It made no difference. Every other sense she had was alerted to him, from the clean scent of him to the muffled sound of his soft, white-bleached clothing as he moved.

Moved? Kristina played the last note and opened her eyes to find the Indian not at her side as she had thought, but in front of her, the height of the piano between them. She gazed up at him, over the piano, catching a look in his eye that might have been—admiration? She couldn’t be sure because it was so quickly gone that she wondered if she had only imagined it.

“Kristina,” Julia exclaimed, bursting onto the scene. “Come quickly. There’s news that…there’s…” Julia’s words gradually slowed. “That…there…are wild Indians… Kristina, I think you’ve discovered this for yourself.”

“Yes,” Kristina said. She glanced down as she rose from the piano. She had to get away. She wasn’t sure what had happened to her just now and she needed time alone to consider it. Without stopping to think, she quickly signed a good morning to the Indian, smiled unsteadily in his direction, and dashed toward Julia. The tingling sensation at the back of her neck told her the Indian’s gaze had never left her.

What had happened? Why did he look so familiar?

***

Well, that’s it for now.  Please do leave a message and let me know what you think about the cover and also about the excerpt.  But most of all, have a beautiful day.

https://www.amazon.com/Lakota-Surrender-Warrior-Book-ebook/dp/B07ZW9FSLG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=lakota+surrender+by+karen+kay&qid=1572920639&sr=8-1%3C%2Fp%3E&tag=pettpist-20

Karen Kay
KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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Updated: November 4, 2019 — 9:25 pm