I love Autumn. Love the scents, the colors, the fall into slumber for trees, the shrubs, the grass, the ever-flowering plants (and the bears). : ) It’s such a beautiful time of year, that it’s hard to stay inside, isn’t it? Doesn’t it make you want to get out there and rake leaves and then, of course, jump into that pile?
I grew up in the Mid-West, where autumn was long and gorgeous with golden, yellow, orange and brown leaves and fresh scents. But…I didn’t know/hadn’t experienced the absolute beauty of the East in the Fall of the year. My goodness! Orange, sugar maples, deep red-leaf maple trees, Japanese maples, ash, oak and golden birch trees, just to name a few. Takes one’s breath away.
But that’s only using one of our senses to describe this time of year. How about the scents of falling leaves, the smell of smoke and wood-burning stoves, the cinnamon-ie smells of baked goods, apple cider, the knowledge that Halloween and dress-up is around the corner? The feel of the earth beneath your feet as it, too, gears up for the winter ahead? The cool fragrance? The touch of tree bark and leaves, the sound of leaves falling? What beauty.
One of my series’ — the Iroquois series — is set in the fall of the year. When writing that series, I deliberately placed the story in the autumn because in my consideration there is no where in the world like autumn in New England, and the Iroquois Confederation was, of course in New York, deep in the area of the Adirondack Mountains. A couple of those covers show off the beauty of New England.
Those books are Black Eagle and Seneca Surrender. And to the left here are those beautiful covers — one cover from Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and the other from Prairie Rose Publications.
Yes, there will be a give-away today and in celebration of this event, I’ll be giving away three different e-books (please refer to our Giveaway Guidelines). One of those books will be BLACK EAGLE, since it is set in the Fall. I’ll also be giving away the e-book, The Princess and the Wolf and the e-book, Brave Wolf and the Lady. Those covers are off to the right here:
Now because there is a scene in both BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER that describes the fall of that year, I thought I would leave you with an excerpt of that scene.
From the book, BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER
By Karen Kay, writing as Gen Bailey
White Thunder rested his weight upon his flintlock, looking west, toward the sky, where the sun was a low, half pinkish-orange orb on the horizon, announcing its departure from the day in glorious streaks of sunlight. Shafts of light, streaming from the clouds, beamed down to the earth, looking as though heaven itself smiled kindly upon the land. And what a magnificent land it was. The birch trees were yellow, the maples red, and the oaks announced their descent into a long winter’s sleep with browns, oranges and golds. The hills were alive with autumn hues, while the air was filled with the rich, musky scent of falling leaves.
It was a beautiful time of year, when the days were still warm, but the nights were cool. But it wasn’t the beauty that was set off before him that had drawn him toward the lake this day. He’d been hunting, when something had called to him upon the breeze. Perhaps it was the rustle of the water that had announced that there was a subtle difference between the lake environment of yesterday and how it was today. But what?
Stepping quietly toward the lake, he squatted and set his musket onto his lap as he bent over to partake of a drink from the water’s cool depths.
Instantly he sat up, alert. From out the corner of his eye he caught the movement of something, and, glancing toward it, he recognized a piece of clothing. A woman’s skirt? Rising, he stepped toward it to get a better look at the thing, if only to satisfy his curiosity.
That’s when he saw her. She was a white woman, blonde-haired and slim.
Was she alive?
After hauling himself onto the rock where she lay, he stepped toward her and bent to look at her. He placed his fingers against her neck, feeling for a pulse. Her body was so very cold, and he was more than a little surprised when he felt the sure sign of life within her. The pulse was weak, but it was still there.
Turning her slightly, he was intrigued by her pale beauty. Of course, being Seneca and from the Ohio Valley, he’d had opportunity to witness the unusual skin color of the white people. But it wasn’t as familiar a sight to him as one might reckon.
Who was she? How had she gotten here? And what had happened to her?
Glancing in all directions, he took in the spectacular sights of the forest. Where did she belong? Who did she belong to?
There was nothing here to answer him, nothing to be seen, no other human presence to be felt. Nothing but the ever expansive rhythm of nature.
Using his right hand to brush her hair back from her face, he noted again how cold she was. However, he couldn’t help but be aware of how soft her skin was, as well. Putting his fingers against her nostrils, he felt the weak intake and outflow of breath. She was alive, barely.
Did he dare take her away from here? A white woman?
He hesitated and waited. He watched. Nyoh, he was the only one here, the only one to settle her fate.
That decided him. If she were to live through the night, he had best take care of her. She needed warmth, nourishment and a chance to heal.
Bending at the waist, he laid his hands over her torso. Depending on the type of injury he might discover, he would either nurse her here or take her to a more protected spot. He ran his fingers gently over each of her arms, including her hands and fingers. He felt for anything broken.
He could detect nothing. Widening his range, he sent his graze over the sides of her ribs, ignoring her ample breasts. Though his scrutiny was fast, it was thorough. Were there any bruises? Was anything broken? Amazingly, he found nothing.
He continued his search down each of her legs. Surely, there must be some clue that would tell of her recent history. Perhaps she had broken her neck, or back? With an easy touch, he tested the theory, sending his fingertips down over the muscles and bone structure of her neck. Nothing. Nothing substantial to indicate a problem that would claim her life. Turning her lightly onto her side, he felt along her spinal column. Several bones were out of place, but nothing was broken. Her body seemed intact.
He frowned. Again, he wondered what had happened to her.
Was it the spirits of the water? The falls? This was a dangerous area. Had the force of the rapids claimed another victim?
But why would she have been near the falls? A white woman in the woods alone? His jaw clenched. There had to be someone close by. Glancing up and looking around again, he realized that the puzzle of her appearance would not be solved here. His examination of her had at least established one fact. She was fit to travel.
Taking her into his arms, he was more than aware that she felt light in his grasp. He stepped down off the rock. Not knowing exactly how she had come to be here, he kept his attention attuned to the environment, listening for a sign of other life, anything to indicate the presence of another in the surroundings. She was a beautiful woman. Whomever she belonged to would miss her.
Again, he could sense nothing unusual in the environment around him—not anything that would give him any idea as to what had happened.
Enough. She required care.
Gathering her in his arms, he rushed toward the security of the woods. If someone were here watching, the trees and bushes offered sanctuary. At least there he could hide himself and her, as they fled deeper into the woods. But where would he take her? He hadn’t yet constructed his own shelter for the night, and it was already late in the day.
If his memory served him correctly, there was a cave nearby that might lend itself well for their purposes, provided that a bear or other animal hadn’t laid claim to it. It was a quiet place, if he remembered rightly, away from the all-seeing eyes of the forest. Plus, it was little known by his own and other tribes. Long ago, his grandfather had shown it to him, indicating it might serve well if ever he were in trouble.
As White Thunder hurried toward that spot, he gazed down into the pleasing features of the woman, realizing that his curiosity about her hadn’t abated. However, there would be time enough to discover who she was once they were safely sheltered. For now, he had best make haste to see if the cave were occupied or vacant.
Balancing her weight and his musket into more secure positions, he darted through the forest, disappearing into it.
Below is the cover of SENECA SURRENDER by Samhain Publishing, as it was going to be published before Samhain closed its doors. It’s a beauty and I thought I’d share it with you. Please leave a comment and let me know your memories of this time of year. I’d love to talk to you.