Category: Native American

The Very Personal Story of Gray Hawk’s Lady

Howdy!

Since we are coming up very soon on Valentine’s Day, I thought we might talk about love, and, if you will bear with me, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my own very personal story of finding love.  The year was 1995 — late in the year — and my third book, PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN had recently been turned in to AVON/HarperCollins for editing.  As I awaited the editing process, my attention went to another story and I had begun work on that.  That story is GRAY HAWK’S LADY.

My own tale began with a kiss.  But let me backtrack.  I had in 1992-1993 gone through a divorce and had come back to California, because at that time I had considered California like my home.  Unfortunately for me, I jumped right into a relationship that was very bad for…many reasons.  After that relationship, I wanted nothing to do with men, love, marriage again.  Sigh…

So I was on my own and definitely enjoying being on my own.  One of my best friends (whom I had known since 1970) was pushing me to go on a blind date.  I didn’t want to go and I told her I wanted nothing to do with men, relationships, marriage, dating…nothing….

But she insisted and I found my self consenting to one date.  That was in January of 1996.  GRAY HAWK’S LADY was due to my publisher (AVON) in July of 1996, but I had plenty of time to write it and had, indeed, started writing it when I went on this first date.

So off I went on this first ever in my life blind date.  The gentleman picked me up at my house and I noticed he was wearing cowboy boots, and, since I am interested in the West and Cowboys and Indians, this was great.  He was also born and raised in Montana, and I was very interested in Montana because the story of GRAY HAWK’ S LADY was to take place in Montana.

The date was good — okay.  We went out to eat, but I was left with the impression that he wasn’t really interested in me.  So, I put it behind me.  He never called, never asked me back out and never told me what was happening and so eventually, just to end my wondering about it, I called my friend, told her I was sorry it hadn’t worked out and … well, so long sort of thing.  To my surprise she wouldn’t let it go — I had just wanted to put it behind me.  She said, “Oh, no, he’s really interested in you.”  and I said, “Oh, no, I don’t think so.  Let’s just relegate that date to the past and go on from here.”  And she said, “No, I’m sure he really liked you.”

I had no idea that she would call his brother.  I am told that they talked, and that the upshot of it was that Paul then called me and asked me for another date.  Well, it had been a good first date, I thought, and he was a nice gentleman and perhaps we could be friends.  So I accepted.

Goodness!  Little did I know what was in store.  On the second date, we were both more relaxed, held hands, and I thought, okay, we’ll be friends.  He took me home, walked me to the door and just as I was about ready to go inside, he took me in his arms and kissed me.  Now, this was quite some kiss.  He meant it. And I became very aware of that.   His hands caressed my cheeks, my eyes, my face, my hair, my neck. It went on and on and on, and when he was done, I felt as though my world was spinning — but in a good way.  Afterwards I stared at him and for the first time, I thought to myself, “Who is this man who can make me pay attention to him with no more than a kiss?”

Well, that was that.  We had a date the next week, and within 2-3 weeks, I had moved in with him and we were married in May 1996.  Our first date was February 3rd 1996.  So it definitely was a whirlwind romance.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with the book, GRAY HAWK’S LADY.  Well, a lot, I’m afraid.  As I mentioned earlier, I was in the middle of writing that book, and I fell so deeply in love with this man, who is now my husband, that of course that love was written all over the printed pages of GRAY HAWK’S LADY.  That first kiss and my emotional reaction to it is recorded in that work.  Also, my gradual coming to understand that this man was the most important man in my life is in that book.  His calmness, his teasing, his care…it’s all written there as I fell head over heels in love.

Did I mention that my earring (the night of that first kiss) fell off — and I have pierced ears…!

In May of this year, we will have been married 23 years.  Interestingly, I still have the pictures of our wedding on my website http://www.novels-by-KarenKay.com — can’t bring myself to take them down, even though 23 years more or less have gone by now.  People sometimes write to me and congratulate me on my recent marriage — and I smile.  To me, in many ways, it does seem like a recent marriage, as I fall in love with this man all over again every day.

I’ll tell you true that I love this man with all my heart — and as the years have gone by, that love does not diminish; it grows and grows and grows.   He stole my heart with that first kiss.  (I’ll knock on wood here.)  As the — gee, was it the Ronettes that once sang the song, “And Then He Kissed Me,” —  it has always seemed to me that it started with that kiss.    Ah, sweet!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog today and I hope you’ll come in and leave a message.  I would love to hear about your own personal love stories.

Will I be giving away GRAY HAWK’S LADY today as a Valentine’s Day Gift?  You bet I will.  I’ll be gifting that book to 2 (two) lucky readers today, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.  Please know, also, that all rules for Giveaways apply — they are listed off to the right here of the page — at the very top. 

And please remember to check back on Wednesday or Thursday evening to see if you are a winner!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

https://www.amazon.com/Gray-Hawks-Lady-Blackfoot-Warriors-ebook/dp/B0723B3VCM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1549300185&sr=8-3&keywords=gray+hawk%27s+lady+by+karen+kay%3C%2Fp%3E&tag=pettpist-20

Updated: February 5, 2019 — 9:02 am

Pets — Then and Now

Howdy!

Welcome to the New Year!  May this new year bring all good things.  Did you make any new New Year’s Resolutions?

Must admit that I have not done so, yet — mostly because my schedule is rather long each day and rather intense.  Somewhere along the line this year, I hope to garner out a little bit of free time in which to think about the last year and what I’d like to do differently.

But, be that the case, if you have made resolutions and would like to share them, I would love to hear about them.  Might give me some ideas. 

Well, today I thought we might talk a little bit about our pets — today and yesterday.

Did you know that many of my pets help me to write books?  It really is true.  Over to the left here is my little boy, Georgie.  Georgie is a rescue that I found when I was away from home, in Florida.  He was so tiny when I found him, I realized that something must have happened to his mother.  He was living by eating the plant life in the area, and he was completely wild.

So I sat with him outside (he, always at a distance) and fed him and talked to him each night.  Then one night he followed me into my rented room, and that was it.  He’s been with me ever since.

Georgie helped me to write the book, BLACK EAGLE.  He helped by lying next to me as I was writing, and by listening to me as I explained the plot to him.  Sometimes he’d give me weird looks if he didn’t understand something, and I’d go in an “fix” that section. 

 

Then we have Midnight Thunder.  Midnight was another rescue that my brother-in-law found at a gas station.  Midnight was begging for food, and he gained not only food, but a home.  My brother-in-law gave him to me.  Midnight sat with me through the writing of the book, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, and in fact that title was picked because my brother-in-law found Midnight Thunder at night, thus the title of the book is inspired by Midnight, or maybe it was the other way around — not sure.  Although he is no longer with us, he was lost to us twice, and each time we found him.  But the last time we found him, he had been found and taken to a shelter.  We discovered him there.  But in order to take him back from the shelter, he had to receive a round of shots, which disagreed with him very much.  He was already rather old, and he got very sick after receiving those shots, I’m afraid, and…well the rest doesn’t need to be stated.  He was quite a wonderful cat.  He got on well with all of our neighbors, including dogs and cats.  In fact, many of our neighbors didn’t know us well, but they certainly knew Midnight.  We miss him to this day.

Next we come to Sierra.  Sierra was originally my daughter’s pet, but she was unable to keep her while she was in college, and so she gave her to me.  Sierra acted like a princess and we even called her princess.  Do you see in this picture that there is a crown above her head?  We didn’t put that there.  Interesting that the photograph captured that.  Sierra helped me write the book, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF.  The personality of Princess Sierra in the book was, indeed, drawn from the personality of Sierra.

 

Then there is Kali.  The picture to the left is of me as a child, with a cat on my lap.  Many of my early photos include me holding dogs or cats.  Well, this picture isn’t of Kali, but the only online picture I have of Kali is on my website under tours — and all that info is protected and so I can’t lift it — but here is the url:  http://novels-by-karenkay.com/tours-photos/booktour-and-special-friends-july-2003/.  If you scroll down, Kali is the calico in a basket.

The heroine in the book, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE is drawn from Kali.  The heroine’s name is Kali and the character’s personality was caught not only from my cat, but from a movie actress from the 30’s that I admired very much.  Kali was another rescue — again from Florida.  She had been abandoned by her family when they moved.  I was out for a walk and she followed me 8-9 blocks to my motel.  She became mine, and was with us many, many years.

Over to the left here is Robere.  Robere was another rescue by my husband from the pound.  Unfortunately, he was with us only a little while and he died fairly young.  We believe that he might have been poisoned by our neighbors, but we aren’t certain.  All we know is that one night he got sick, and the next day he was gone.

He was a sweet, sweet, sweet, beautiful boy.  His legacy is caught in my new book, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY.  That main character is a combination of Robere’s personality and an artist that I admire very much, who was known to be a very sweet and kind gentlemen.

Then we have our dogs, both of them were rescues from the Blackfeet reservation.  These dogs discovered us while we were on the reservation with a project called, SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT.  They adopted us, and when it came time for us to go home, we couldn’t leave them behind.

Yoda, the one in front, had almost died on the reservation when he bit into an electric cable.  My husband brought him back around, and he was never far from my husband’s side after that.  Wolf, as we call the rather large collie — who also has some other breed of dog that’s very big — is a sweetie pie.  So sweet, in fact, that he loves everybody.  To this day, there are two female dogs in the neighborhood that claim Wolf as their own sweetheart.

In the world of the North American Indian, there are many accounts of pets.  I’ve read of pet deer, pet wolves, pet coyotes, pet birds, and of course some of smartest horses ever known.  I’ve even read of Crows who have been known to have saved several different war parties from harm by warning them of the enemy.

One of the most interesting accounts of those long-ago pets is that of a pet wolf who went out with his master on war raids.  This was the inspiration for the wolf’s personality in the book, WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed our little get-together today.  I’d love to hear your stories of your pets and how they have influenced you.  Oh, and did I mention that I’ve be giving away an e-book of the winner’s choice to some lucky blogger.  So come on in and leave a message.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: January 8, 2019 — 8:05 am

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! My Gift to You, an Old, Old Iroquois Legend — Also Free e-book Giveaway

It’s Christmas Time!  It’s a season for giving.  And today I will be giving away not only a free e-book of my latest release, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY, but I’ll also be giving away another free e-book of the first in this series, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF. So come on in, leave a comment, and also please sure to check back here for the winners on either Wednesday or Thursday evening.

One of my most favorite Christmas memories is being told a story the night before Christmas in an attempt to get me to go to sleep.  It didn’t work very well (getting me to go to sleep).  But it is a wonderful memory.

And so I thought I’d regale you with this beautiful story, an ancient, timeless, American Indian Legend. I was late today making the post, and so I’ve posted the legend that I told you last year, but this year, because I’m late, I’m first going to tell you a beautiful story of The Gift of the Creator.  This story is taken from the book, LEGENDS OF THE IROQUIOS, by Tehanetorens.  Enjoy!

 

Long, long ago, an old, old man came into an Iroquois Village.  He was tired and hungry, and his clothing was tattered and torn.  As he walked through the village, he came first to a longhouse of the Turtle Clan.  Pulling on the entryway, he asked for food and lodging for the night.  But he was turned away because he looked to be an old beggar, and he was instructed to go away.

Next the old man came to the longhouse that had the symbol of a snipe on the house — a snipe is a kind of wading bird.  Again, he pulled back on the entryway and he asked for food.  But like before, he was scolded and turned away.  He moved on.

He walked on to the longhouses of many of the other clans, including the Wolf, the Eagle, Beaver and more.  Each time he asked for food and lodging, but each time he was turned away.

Exhausted now, the old man came at last to the very last longhouse in the Iroquois Village.  Pulling back on the cover across the entrance, he was met by an old woman.  Again, he asked for food and lodging for the night.

However, this time the old woman took pity on him, and asked him to come inside, where she treated him to a hearty meal, and invited him to stay for the night.  She made him welcome, giving him warm clothing and warm bedding.

However, the next day, the man was very ill, and he asked the woman to please help him by going into the forest and gathering the roots of a plant.

This she did for him.  When she returned, he guided her on how to make a soup and a tea from the plant, which he then consumed.  Soon he was well.  But it wasn’t long before he became ill once more, and again, he instructed the woman to go out into the forest and to gather the stalk of yet another plant.  This she did.  Again, he instructed her how to make a tea of it, which, when he drank the tea, he became well.

Over and over again, the man became sick, and sent the woman into the forest to pick different herbs and plants, and each time, when he drank the tea, he became well.  One day, the woman came home to the longhouse and found that the old man had become a handsome, young man. 

The old woman became frightened, but the young man told her to be calm.  He told her that he was the Creator, and that because of her kindness to him, he was going to bestow upon her, and the Bear Clan, a wonderful gift: the gift of healing.   And so it came to be.  The old woman became the most respected member of that tribe, and from that day forward, the Bear Clan, and all within it became the Keepers of the Medicine.  The lesson learned is that kindness, empathy, and good-will are always rewarded.  We may not always see it, as did the old woman in this story, and yet, we will, in our own way, be rewarded.

And now comes the story that is so beautiful to read about at this time of year.

 

This is the tale of a girl who married her one, true, love, a man who was a star.  It’s origin is Sioux — I don’t know if that’s Lakota or Dakota or Nakota.  All three are Sioux, just different dialects.  By the way this story comes to us from the book, Favorite North American Indian Legends, printed by Dover.  Before I start, I wanted to say that this story reminds me of a legend from one of my books, Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, which is now in e-books.  Although the story of Soaring Eagle’s Embrace is based on a similar legend as the one I’m telling you today, it is a little different.  Mainly in Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, it was the young man who fell in love with a star.  Okay, that said, let’s pretend we are sitting around a fire in a warm, warm teepee.  The scent of smoke is strong in the air, and loved ones surround us as we wrap ourselves in warm blankets.  And so the storyteller begins:

Long ago, there were two sisters, one whose name was Earth and the other’s name was Water.  This was at a time when all people and animals were in close communication with each other and so the animals supplied the sisters with all their needs.

 One night the sky was clear and beautiful and both sisters looked up to the sky through their wigwam — comment, now we know that this was most likely the Dakota since they were living in Wigwams — anyway, they looked up through the hole in their wigwam and admired the beautiful stars.

Earth said to her sister that she’d had a dream about a handsome young man and that she thought he might be a star.  Water responded saying that she, too, had seen a man in her dreams who was a brave man.

The sisters chose stars that they thought might be these men that they had dreamed of.  Water chose the brightest star for her husband.  Earth chose a little star that twinkled.

Then they slept.  When they awoke, they were in the land of the Sky.  The stars were, indeed, people.  Now it happened that the man that water chose was an older warrior and that the man that Earth chose was a young, handsome man.  Both sisters married these men and they were very happy.

One day the sisters went out onto the plains to dig turnips (a much favored food at this time in history).  Both of their husbands warned them not to strike the ground too hard.  But Earth, in her haste to dig the turnips, struck the ground so hard that she fell through the sky to the ground.

Earth was found and cared for by two older people who tried to help her.  But she was so upset about losing her husband that all she did is cry.  She could not even see her husband in the sky because he had blackened his face because he was now a widower.  Earth waited and waited for him to come to her, but he could not.  However, he did give her a most precious gift.

That night when she went to sleep, she dreamed of a beautiful red star.  It had never been in the sky before.  She knew at once that it was her son.

When she awoke, she found a handsome boy by her side — her son.  Although Earth’s husband could not come to rescue her, and though he loved his son deeply, he gave to his wife the only gift that he could — their son, Star Boy.  It was a gift from his heart..

‘Tis the season of giving.  I hope you have enjoyed this story, short and simple though it is.  I thought it was quite beautiful.

I’ll be giving away a free e-book of BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY to some lucky blogger.  I’ll also be giving away a free e-book of THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF to some lucky blogger.  Please do read the Giveaway Guidelines that govern our give-aways — off to the right side of the page.

 BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY is my most recent book.  By the way, the paperback is reduced in price from $14.99 to $11.99 for the Holiday season.

 

PHOT0043

THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF is on sale for the Holiday season for $.99, and the paperback is on sale for $11.99, as well.

The picture below and to the right is of myself and my husband with Chief Mountain in the background, the setting in the book, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE — on the Blackfeet reservation.

And so from my heart to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!  And, or, Happy Holidays!

Updated: December 4, 2018 — 9:45 am

The Holiday Season — And So It Begins

Howdy!

And Welcome to the Tuesday Blog. 

In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving and the start of the Holiday Season, it seems to me it would be a good idea to give away a free e-book of my most recent release, Brave Wolf and the Lady to some lucky blogger.  All that needs to be done to enter into the drawing is to leave a comment here.  By the way, please refer to the Giveaway Guidelines that govern all our giveaways.  It’s off to the right here.

Well, today I thought we might talk about love, seeing as how this is the season of love — what’s it all about?  At this time of year, with the holidays and all the out-of-mind busy-ness that we seem to get in to — I thought it might be good to take time out and have a look at  a subject that we all…well, that we all love.  Love.

14-smooch1.jpgIt seems to me that there’s all sorts of different kinds of love.  There’s the obvious kind — the kind that we all write about, the absolute beauty of love and romance and the coming together of two souls to create new life.  I’m speaking of course about the love of a man and a woman, the love of family, the love of children.  May this love always flourish and prosper in our society — I only say that because, it’s become my opinion that the family is really under attack.  But I digress.  Oh, by the way the picture to the left is of myself and my husband and the background is the Grand Canyon.

Okay, so are there other kinds of love?  I think so.

7-pic[1]

.

1-LORA-1[1]There’s of course the love between friends?  That’s love, too, isn’t it?  I know you’ll all agree that we would, indeed, be strange beings if we didn’t have a close circle of friends that we love with all our hearts.  But it’s different kind of love, isn’t it?  However, just because it’s the love between friends doesn’t  make it any less a deep and abiding love.10-greiman[1]

There’s also the love for mankind in general — the love of those in other parts of the world that might be having a difficult time.11-thousandoaks[1]  For instance,Untitled-16[1] many of our American Indian people on the reservations.

And how about the love we have for other life forms?  Our pets, for instance.  That’s most definitely love, too.         dogs space 1

 Love.  If I were to define love, I’d take a page from friend and author, L. Ron Hubbard, and say that it seems to me that it is an intense feeling of admiration directed toward someone or something.  It doesn’t ask for anything, it is either freely given or it’s not really love.  It’s not a dominating or controlling force.  Not love.  Not by definition.

It’s more about giving than receiving, sharing instead of using another.

But so far I’m leaving out one of the greatest love stories of all time.  Can you guess what story that is?

Our joy at this time of year is because of this love story.  Even our calendars are a celebration of this love story and of this one man’s life.  It has been said and shown through historical writings that because of this man and because of his teachings of love, that he freed a whole people from bondage, a people who had been utterly enslaved.  It’s said and it’s written that he brought a true civilizing force to the world, and that this force was to love and to treat ones fellow man, even ones own enemies, as one might like to be treated oneself.   It’s said also that he saved mankind itself from doom because of this love story.  One of my prayers at this time of year will be that the world at large learn again this lesson, a lesson given so freely so long ago …

Love…  I’d really like to hear your own love stories and your thoughts in general about love, so please do leave a message.  By the way, the picture below is of myself and the one man in my life whom I love with all my heart.  May you all have a very, happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!

12-grandcanyon1.jpe

 

Updated: November 5, 2018 — 4:52 pm

Autumn Beauty, Seasons of Celebration and Give-Away

Yummmmm…  Autumn — crisp air, scented delicately with falling leaves and the smoke from wood stoves;  Cinnamon and fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, turkey and cranberry sauce, apple pie, the last of the corn on the cob…

And what about the “feels” of autumn? Traipsing through leaves, racking them up and jumping in them; picking up a leaf and tracing its pattern; warm days, cool nights, the pleasure of feeling Mother Earth prepare for a few months’ sleep.

And how about the sounds of autumn?  Cold nights and warm blankets, football games announcing the players; the sounds of cheerleaders and marching bands; long practices — even the quiet sound of leaves falling to the ground.  How I love it.

thanksgivingOf course, to the people who lived close to the earth in our not-so-distant past, these senses that declared this time of year were all very beloved, much as they are loved today.  So much was this the case that the Iroquois devoted an entire festival of fun and merriment to autumn — and that festival was called the Harvest Festival.

Naturally, we are all pretty much aware that our Thanksgiving comes from the Eastern Indians, and in particular Squanto — and if you didn’t know about Squanto, I would highly recommend the movie, Squanto, starring a young and dreamy Adam Beach.  Sigh…

Autumn was very much loved by Native Americans.  In fact, it was one of many, many ceremonies honoring the seasons of the earth, and Thanksgiving (still a few month’s away) was part of an ancient celebration of the American Indians to give Thanks to He who is known as the Creator.

Now this autumn ceremony was common to all Eastern tribes.  And as I’ve already mentioned, these ceremonies tended to follow the different seasons.

The Iroquois celebrated six festivals, wherein they gave thanks to the Creator for all they had.  These festivals would open usually with speeches by leaders, teachers, and elders.  And of course there was much dancing, which was done not only for the fun of simply dancing, but it was also a sense of worship.  It was thought that because the Creator needed some sort of amusement, He gave the people dancing.  Let me tell you a little about some of these celebrations.

In spring — early March — it was time to collect together tree bark and sap – this was needed to repair houses and other things, such as canoes, bowls, etc.   Spring was also the time for planting.  This was the maple festival.  Next was the Planting festival.  Here prayers were sent to the Creator to bless their seed.

The Iroquois’ main food source was corn, beans and squash (the three sisters), and of course deer meat or other meat when available.  Family gardens were separated by borders that were broad and grassy — they would even camp on these borders and sometimes they were raise watch towers.

The next festival of the Iroquois was the Strawberry Festival.  This is where the people gave thanks to the Creator for their many fruits (like strawberries).  It was summertime.  The women gathered wild nuts and other foods, while the men hunted, fished and provided various meats for cooking.  Again, each festival was greeted with much dancing and merriment.  Did you know that the some Iroquois believed the way to the Creator was paved with strawberries?

The festival after that was the Green Corn Festival.  Again, the people thanked the Creator for the bounty of food that had been raised all through the summer.  Dancers danced to please the Creator and musicians sang and beat the drum.  Again there were many speeches to honor the people and the Creator.  There were team sports.  Lacrosse was the game that was most admired and it was played with great abandon by the men.  Women played games, too, and often their games were as competitive as the men’s.

The festival following that was…are you ready?  You’re right — The Harvest Festival.  By this time the women had harvested the corn, beans and squash.  Much of it would be dried.  Much went to feed families.  Husks were made into many different items.  Dolls, rugs, mats.  Did you know that the dolls didn’t have faces?  Now was the time to gather more nuts and berries.  Men were busy, too, hunting far away.  Bear, moose, beaver were all sought after and hunted.  Again, there was much celebration.  Dancing, speeches, prayer.  And of course — food.  It was this particular festival that was shared with the newcomers to this continent.

Can you guess what the next festival was?  Although this is a Christmas tree, it was not a celebration of Christmas — but if you guessed this, you were very close.  The next and last festival of the year was New Year’s.  At this time, a white dog was sacrificed as a gift to the Creator.  This was also a time for renewing the mind and body.  (Does that not remind you of our New Year’s resolutions?)  At this time, the False Face Society members would wear masks to help others to cleanse themselves of their bad minds and restore only their good minds.  There was again much celebration, much dancing, much merriment and enjoyment as each person would settle in for the long winter ahead of them.

The First Americans indeed did give this country very much, not only its festivals which we still remember to this day, but also it gave to this nation a fighting spirit for freedom.  In these times when there seems to be a forgetfulness about our American roots, it is wonderful to remember that the American Indian and the Love of Freedom went hand-in-hand.  What seems interesting to me is that our Thanksgiving festival still honors the custom of giving thanks for those gifts that He, The Creator, has given us.  To the American Indian all of these festivals contained this special element — that of giving Thanks to our Maker.

Perhaps it’s only because this one festival — Thanksgiving — was shared by American Indian and Colonist alike that set the tone of Thanksgiving for future generations.  And I do believe that the love of autumn and giving thanks for that which belongs to us has its roots in The Harvest Festival, so beloved to the Eastern Indian Tribes.

What do you think?

I’ll be giving away a free e-book of SENECA SURRENDER, to some lucky blogger — Giveaway Guidelines are off to the right here on the main webpage, and they apply to all our giveaways — so please do read them. Now, the book, Seneca Surrender, is set in the autumn, in upper state New York.  The time is around the 1750’s — The French and Indian War.  Now, I did deliberately set the novel at this time of year, because I think that I have never seen an autumn quite like those that one sees here in the East.  So very beautiful, and so SENECA SURRENDER, as well as the book, BLACK EAGLE, honor this time of year.  Here’s the link to go and read an excerpt:  https://www.amazon.com/Seneca-Surrender-Warriors-Iroquois-Book-ebook/dp/B07HXTN4B1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539032028&sr=8-1&keywords=seneca+surrender+by+karen+kay%3C%2Fp%3E&tag=pettpist-20

Hope you will enjoy!

Updated: October 8, 2018 — 4:09 pm

Fall Colors, Scents and the Beauty of Autumn — Give Away

Howdy! 

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.

 

Updated: September 26, 2018 — 2:39 pm

Heather Blanton – The Ghosts of Horses Past Live On

Hello everyone. Please welcome Heather Blanton to the Junction. Heather is sponsoring a very generous 4 item giveaway today – three individuals will receive her e-book box set of the Romance in the Rockies trilogy and one will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. So join  in the discussion by leaving a comment to get your name tossed in the hat for your chance at one of these prizes. 
Now, let’s hear from Heather:


Legends, myths, ghost stories. Experts say they are all rooted in at least some fact. Recently, I had the honor to see some Spanish ponies—genetically-proven descendants of horses left in the West by Spanish explorer Coronado in 1519. Five hundred years ago.

Oh, what I wouldn’t have given to hear the stories the braves and the medicine men and chiefs told about seeing those amazing, beautiful animals for the first time.

The initial sightings did, indeed, spawn some amazing tales. I heard a few of them when I was in South Dakota this summer, and my favorite is the Legend of Swift Blue One.

One day a brave was out hunting, and he saw a horse draped in flowing, blue raiment with a man covered in shiny metal on its back. Afraid, but determined to show courage, the warrior shot an arrow at this amazing animal. It struck a crack in the man’s metal and he fell to the ground. The brave rushed up and was going to shoot again, but, the stallion, a mystical blue-gray color, pawed angrily at the ground, screamed, and bared his teeth when the brave approached.

The brave wanted very badly to possess this animal, but each time he came near, the blue horse chased him away. Through signs, the man on the ground said if the warrior would save his life, he would teach him to talk to the horse called Swift Blue One.

The warrior agreed, and he and the man rode the horse back to his tribe, amazing everyone in camp at this spectacle. But the horse was fierce, kicking and attempting to bite anyone who came too close. The man taught the young brave how to talk to blue horse, but soon died from his wound. The only other one who could ride the magnificent animal, the brave still did not remove the covers that draped around Swift Blue Horse. He believed they kept the stallion from harming anyone in camp.

The blue horse was the fastest creature the tribe had ever seen. They said he had lightning in his hoofs. When the brave died in battle, though, the elders turned the horse out for no one else could talk to him. For a long time they would see him racing about, kicking up his hoofs, calling for others to join him.

Soon, Swift Blue One had gathered many horses to himself and was chief of them all. His herd grew large and his offspring were many. His descendants still roam the great plains of the West today. Some say if you look hard enough, you will see the ghost of Swift Blue One running among his children, his blue raiment flickering in the sun.

I love that story. During a visit to the Black Hills Wild Horse Preserve I saw the Spanish ponies——and the Swift Blue Ones were there, too.

 

Click on cover to learn more

There is an old poem in my forthcoming release, Daughter of Defiance, that a reader gave me about a horse with four white socks. Supposedly, not a good thing.

I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and digital copies of my Defiance books—all of which were just optioned by a movie producer! To WIN, just comment with any story, old wives’ tale, or legend you know about a horse. I’d LOVE to hear them!

And if you’d like to learn more about wild horses and their stories, I hope you’ll check out the Black Hills Wild Horse Preserve.

 

 

 

Updated: September 5, 2018 — 11:54 am

And Then He Kissed Me — A Look Back at an Astounding Era — E-book Giveaway

Howdy!

I grew up in the 50’s — Okay, I’m giving away my age, but then, probably most of you know I’m a Grandmother — that gives away my age, as well.

Oh, how I loved that Motown sound of the 50’s and 60’s.  Do you remember it?   The Crystals, The Ronettes, Little Anthony?

If you’re too young to remember, come experience the magic of the 50’s music (for us young’ins).  I’m going to leave some links:

The Ronettes, Be My Baby — One of my favorites:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrVbawRPO7I

How many of you remember the dance names that they are doing in this link?  Can you believe that I do remember?  The main one, I believe, is the Bird, and in the middle they switch briefly to the Jerk.  Oh, how I loved those dances.  Did you?

And for all us romance lovers:  The Crystals, And Then He Kissed Me — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUaUIwuU8so

I still know all the words to this song.  Do you?

Me and hubby and a smooch — off to the right here.

Not to be outdone:  Anthony and the Imperials, Hurts So Bad — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSF2oLgyV5M

Oh, how I love this song.

Do you remember The Duke of Earl — another song I sing to my Grandchildren:  Gene Chandler and The Duke of Earl:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQnfooEED8Y

Okay, and how many of you remember the dance those girls are doing in the background?  Would that be the Twine?  I think it is.  Did you do this dance?

And how about Rockabilly — that’s rock and country all in one.  Do you remember the Everly Brothers?  Oh, my gosh, how I loved all their songs:

Here’s one of my favorites — beautiful, romantic, magical — Let It Be Me — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2ImS9RBszE — oh, my goodness, I melt when I listen to this

And how about one of their humorous songs:  Bird Dog — just recently I was singing this song to my grandchildren, who laughed and laughed and laughed and couldn’t believe it was an actual song.  So of course I had to find it online and play it for them:  Love this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US49tQbYsg0 — When men’s hairstyles defied gravity…

Of course, we can’t leave out The Beatles:  Here’s one of my favorites:  The Things We Said Today — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_-NHOPt3Mc

You might argue, that the Beatles are the 60’s — but oh, well, I can’t leave them out — they are probably the most inspirational band of all time.

Here are some of my other favorite Beatles songs:  Love in the Open Air, by James Paul McCartney — A very under rated song that I believe might be the most beautiful song written in the last Century.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir-Pl4szYOs

And of course, the most beautiful song, in my opinion, from the Album, Revolver:  Here, There, and Everywhere:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdcSFVXd3MU&index=5&list=OLAK5uy_n9q-ezB2RZF1WS7PR3h3drrTgNCf-DRSk — This, in my opinion, is a runner up for first place in what might be the most beautiful song of the last Century.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with Native American Romance?  Well, perhaps a great deal, in several different ways.  One is always searching for inspiring music to write by — I think we, as authors, often write to music.  And for a lively scene, nothing beats the 50’s and 60’s music in my opinion.  But there is also this little bit of fact:  Did you know that the Native American Men who toured Europe  mirrored the Romantic Inspiration and female response as that of many rock stars?

And why not?  Many of those men were extraordinarily handsome.  All these photos here are of a couple of the men who were with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. 

Well, that’s all for today.  Come on in and leave a comment and let me know what you think.

As always, many of us writers are a bit busy and so we depend on your coming to the blog on Wednesday or Thursday to check to see if you are the winner of the Give-away.

And most of all, thank you for coming to the blog today.  And then he kissed me.

 

 

Updated: September 2, 2018 — 8:57 am

A Lake, a Resort–and a Massacre!

For those of us living in the Midwest, we are  hopelessly landlocked.  No oceans within easy reach for us.  We do, however, have some breathtaking lakes, and among some of the most beautiful are in northeast Iowa–West Okoboji, East Okoboji and Spirit Lake in the Great Lakes Region.

This summer, my family–all 19 of us–had a memorable vacation in Okoboji.  We stayed in Arnold’s Park, specifically Fillenwarth Beach.  Honestly, if you have a chance to go there and stay for even a few days, GO!  It’s the perfect family getaway.

While there, my husband and I went on a History Cruise, narrated by the widowed husband of Julie Fillenwarth, whose grandparents developed the resort in 1918.  (Yes, this year is Fillenwarth Beach’s 100th birthday.)  On the cruise, the narrator told of a museum within walking distance of the beach–an 1850s cabin that belonged to a family that had been massacred by Sioux Indians.

He explained how bitter cold winters forced bands of Sioux to find food and warmth.  On March 8, 1857, they attacked pioneer settlers who were trying hard to survive, just like they were.  In all, 33 settlers were killed and four females kidnapped, three of them married women and the youngest, a girl barely fourteen.

That girl was Abbie Gardner.  After her family’s murder, she endured 84 days with the Sioux where she witnessed the murders of two of the women until finally, she was ransomed and freed.  She married shortly thereafter at the (shockingly) young age of 14.  Though she struggled with what we now know is PTSD, she went on to live a relatively happy life with her husband and three children.  During that time, she wrote a book of her ordeal, The Spirit Lake Massacre and Captivity of Abbie Gardner.  The book earned seven printings and Abbie enough money to return to Spirit Lake and buy back the cabin her father built.  For many years, she worked at the cabin museum, selling her book and sharing her story.

I could not put this book down, it was so riveting.

(Buy the book on Amazon.)

There was even a movie made of her experience in 1927.

Abbie’s story reminded me of my newest book–without the massacre of course.  My first contemporary western romance will be released in January, 2019, by Tule Publishing.  Ava Howell comes to the Blackstone Ranch to develop a resort on the Paxton family’s ranch.  The resort has a beautiful lake, too, and a hero, Beau Paxton, who resists her efforts but can’t fight the love that grows between them.

I’ll tell you more about Ava and Beau’s story as details are finalized.  We’re working on the cover now–and Tule has some of the best!  Can’t wait!

Until then, tell me about your favorite family vacations!  Do they include a beach, too, like mine do?

Brave Wolf and the Lady — Steamboats — Were They Safe?

Howdy!

Although the title doesn’t say it, I will be giving away a free e-book of BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY, so read our guidelines for giveaways — off to the right here — and leave a comment.

So…steamboats — for all practical purposes, they opened up the West.  Starting with the first Steamboat, The Yellow Stone, they traveled up and down the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers, bringing people back and forth, and carrying on a business in terms of trade and furs and many, many other items.  George Catlin traveled on the first steamboat, The Yellow Stone, in 1834.  In his book, Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and conditions of NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS, Catlin word paints the time and place, as well as the details of travel upon the Steamboat at that time.  He makes it come alive.

In my newest book, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY, as well as the book, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, there are scenes aboard a steamboat at that particular time and place.  Both scenes go into some detail on the very real danger of travel aboard these boats.  Another of my books that involves a steamboat is WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH.  The Commerce of a growing Nation flowed over these rivers during this time period, and these boats provide a rich look at a by-gone river culture.

So I thought I’d post an excerpt that takes place aboard the steamboat, Effie Deans.  Enjoy!

BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY

By

Karen Kay

An excerpt

 

The scent of fishy, muddy water overwhelmed all other odors in this place, Mia thought as she climbed the necessary stairway that allowed her to gain access to the highest point on the steamship. Every day, as had become her routine with Brave Wolf, she arose early so that she might welcome in the new day with prayer.  Ascending to the upper deck of the boat, she took up a position that looked eastward, toward the light, silver sky. Briefly, she said her prayer, then shifted her position, strolling toward the starboard side of the boat, gazing out westward. It was here on most every day that she hoped to see Brave Wolf, always wondering if he might still be out there, following the boat. Today was no different.

          The day was only beginning, yet already the warmth of the early morning sun beat down upon the top of her bare head, for she wore no hat. However, its heat did not bother her; the gentle wind that was created by the forward motion of the boat blew into her face, causing the loose tendrils of her hair to fall back behind her ears. It was a cooling breeze and it seemed kindly, animated, as if it endeavored to cleanse her spirit.

          But such friendliness was wasted on her. Her life had forever changed. Too much had happened in this last month to allow the naivety of her former life to regain a foothold over her again.

          Was such a shift of personality for the good, or was it bad? She couldn’t be certain.

          Where was Brave Wolf, she wondered. Then she answered her own question. He would be setting a trail for his home; he would be hastening back to the arms of another woman….

          Would Walks-in-sunshine welcome him home with love in her heart?       She would do so if she were wise. Trustworthy, honorable men like Brave Wolf didn’t happen along every day.

          “Ma’am,” hailed the captain, a Mr. Wentworth. He raised his hat to her as he stepped by her.

          Jerked back to the present moment, Mia smiled, hoping that the gesture covered her surprise. She had been so lost in her own thoughts, she hadn’t noticed the captain’s approach.

          “Ye look so sad, ma’am. But don’t ye fret. We’re only a couple of weeks out from Leavenworth. We’ll make it thar all safe and sound, don’t ye worry.”

          “Yes,” she replied, as she forced herself to look happy. “I believe that we shall.”

          “How did ye get yerself all stranded in this part of the country, ma’am, if’n ye don’t mind me askin’?”

          “I…my husband and I were part of a wagon train heading for the Oregon Territory when our party was attacked by—”

          “Injuns?”

          “No, sir, although I did think so at first. But the butchers turned out to be men dressed up as Indians. They killed my husband. Indeed, I fear that they murdered all the people on that train except me. I don’t believe that they saw me at first.”

          “But they did discover yerself?”

          “Undoubtedly, they did.”

          “Pardon, ma’am, but then how did ye escape? Did ye play dead until they left?”

          “No, sir. Real Indians came to my rescue.”

          “Real Injuns? Ma’am?” He grabbed his hat from his head and whacked it against his knee. “We’s at war with them Injuns in these here parts. Cain’t imagine one of ’em rescuing ye.”

          “I know. Yet, what I tell you is true. The man who bought that ticket from you is the same one who not only rescued me, but who brought me here so that I might return home.” She paused for a moment, then added, “I think, sir, that you might have cheated him regarding the cost of that ticket.”

          The accusation, though softly spoken, was met with silence, and she let the complaint stand without further explanation. Captain Wentworth seemed honestly surprised; however, at last he uttered, “I’m right sorry about that, ma’am. But I’m under orders t’ charge high enough fees so that them Injuns don’t beg an easy ride. I’ll return the full two hundred dollars to ye, ma’am.”

          “That would be most appreciated,” replied Mia, “for I lost all of my possessions at the wagon train fight. But, although I appreciate your kindness, please ease your mind. It is unnecessary. I have enough food to sustain me until we reach Fort Leavenworth, and my clothing washes well. Besides, once we arrive at Fort Leavenworth, I can send word to my father, who will ensure that I am taken care of and escorted home safely. Keep your money.”

          “No, ma’am. Couldna live with myself if’n I was to do that,” he said. “Wait here, ma’am, while I get yer two hundred dollars.”

          Mia nodded and watched Captain Wentworth’s departing figure as he disappeared down the stairs, taking two of them at a time. She breathed in deeply, and was about to lean out over the railing, when two incidents happened at once.

          A wet, nearly nude, but achingly familiar body knocked her to the deck at the same time a bullet whizzed by her. The whir of that discharge, and its ugly blast splintered the wood at the exact place where she’d been standing, its impact showering her and her rescuer with the sharp fragments.

          She screamed.

          “Stay down!” ordered Brave Wolf. She could do little more than that, for he lay over her, using his body to protect her. Only a single instant passed before another deadly shot shrieked past them, this one aimed lower than the first.

          Then came another round of gunfire, followed by a slight pause, then more of the same. On and on it roared, the howl of the noise and the racket going on for so many minutes that Mia felt as though the entire world were engulfed by the barrage. Suddenly, as quickly as it had started, it stopped. No shots. No backfire. Nothing.

          “He…reloading. Quick, follow me!”

          Brave Wolf plopped off of her, scooting onto the deck. Lying flat on his stomach, he used elbows and hips to inch forward; Mia followed, using the same manner of crawling, and could see an open cabin door ahead of them. This must have been his destination. But what followed next precluded all attempts to attain safety.

          A huge man, who might have been twice the size of Brave Wolf, fell upon her. She screamed, then again, and she kept on shrieking as he raised a knife. Even while she yelled out, “No,” she felt certain that this moment spelled the end of her life. It might have been true, too, but for an arm that came up to block that blow.

          “Go! Move! Run to cabin!” shouted Brave Wolf.

          But she couldn’t get away from the monster, for he held her down; he was probably three times her weight. She squirmed, she tried to get away, but she couldn’t shake him off her.

          What followed could only be an act of God, for it was humanly impossible. Yet, as she watched the events unfold, she saw Brave Wolf rise up as though with super-human strength; he picked up the man as though this two-hundred-and-fifty-pound bully weighed little more than a feather. Instantly, she was free, but it wasn’t over. Brave Wolf hurled the monster across the deck. The fiend’s weapon, his knife, fell to the deck, but not so the beast’s gun.

          As quick as an instant, the would-be assassin slid his pistol from his holster. He pointed it straight at her head, for she had not run away.

          In a fraction of a second, Brave Wolf executed a quick, high leap, landing on the assassin and pushing him down, forcing him into a sitting position. Taking hold of the man’s pistol-carrying arm, and forcing it high into the air, Brave Wolf ensured the bullet shot harmlessly into the sky. The two men wrestled with that gun, their muscles straining under the assault, and the struggle that waged between the two of them outlined every muscle in Brave Wolf’s body.

          Boom!  Crash!  Blast!

          What was that? It sounded as if it were an explosion on the below decks of the boat? Was it? Was the boat, itself, under attack?

          What could she do? How could she help? She couldn’t leave Brave Wolf to fight this monstrosity all on his own. Or should she?

          Was she in the way? Should she leave here as quickly as possible?

          But no. She couldn’t leave him, even though he had told her to. As she had often said to herself: whatever Brave Wolf’s fate might be, so too would be her own.

          This decided, she darted into action, and, sprinting toward the wrestling figures, she jumped up into a flying leap, and added her weight against the bully’s arm. The momentum of her fall caused the beastie’s grip to come apart and loosen. The pistol flew out of his grasp, but the firearm was cocked, and it fired as it hit the deck…

          …Away from them.

          In a show of power and brute force, the monster flung Brave Wolf off, and Brave Wolf rolled as he landed, coming up onto his feet, unsheathing his only weapon, his knife. Then, without even a fraction of a second passing, Brave Wolf hurled himself forward, attaching himself to the fiend’s backside, his knife at the bully’s throat. But the monster threw off Brave Wolf’s grip, and the knife fell harmlessly to the deck.

          It wasn’t finished, and what followed, Mia could hardly believe. Weaponless, Brave Wolf used feet, hands, fingers, teeth and his jaw as weapons. He spit, clawed, bit, scratched and threw his arms around the assassin’s neck while his nails bit into the brute’s face. Though the beast tried to shake him off, he couldn’t budge Brave Wolf.

          Mia watched, shocked, as Brave Wolf bested the man who was as big as a bear. Like a weasel, he scratched the swine, bit him, choked him and kicked him as he wrestled him to the ground. The bully couldn’t throw a punch; in fact, it looked as though he could hardly breathe. Already, his face was turning bright red, then it was blue.

          All at once, it was over. The monster drew his last breath. He flopped to the deck and lay there unmoving. Brave Wolf, however, didn’t wait to examine the result of this struggle for life or death. He grabbed up both his own, and the bully’s knife, seized her by the hand and sprinted toward the ship’s railing, dragging her with him as he fled port-side.

          Mia ran as fast as she could, though she was stunned, having never witnessed such a bare-handed, tooth-and-claw fight against such uneven odds. Brave Wolf was easily the smaller of the two men by a hundred or so pounds, yet he had won and…what was probably most astounding, she was still alive.

          Boom! Crash! Blast! Crack!

          Another explosion from the below decks shook the boat, and she realized the craft was blowing out from within. Huge bits of wood flew everywhere, the shower of deadly and heavy splintered logs a real threat. Worse, a massive fire licked to life only a few feet away from them; it was swiftly consuming the deck on which they stood. The floor was going to give.

          “Oh!” Mia gasped. Had Brave Wolf won the struggle, only to lose the war? If the floor beneath them gave, they would be swept below as it crumbled; they’d be impaled and crushed beneath fallen rubble and knife-like timber.

          Frightened into immobility, Mia could only stare. But not so Brave Wolf. He swept her up into his arms and sprinted around a corner, ignoring the deck crashing about them. He endured the burning heat, and somehow he kept ahead of the ever-rushing fire, veering toward the port side of the boat, the side away from the paddle wheel. Still holding her in his arms, he scrambled up onto the railing, and without hesitation, he knifed feet first into the river, taking her with him.

          Down, down they shot into the mildly cool and welcoming, but muddy water. Brave Wolf didn’t wait to touch bottom. Kicking out, he swam down deep underwater, heading north, away from the boat. A deadly tow pulled at him, yet he evaded it, and dove down deeper only to have a whirlpool tug at them, threatening to drown them. Yet it didn’t happen. Brave Wolf forded the underwater death trap with what appeared to be so much ease that one might have thought he were part merman. He held her by the waist now and pulled her along with him. Once he surfaced for air and she gasped in the needed oxygen; a bombardment of bullets met them from the shoreline, and he dove down, down deep, deeper, kicking out in a stroke that propelled them to the bottom of the river, swimming as fast as the water would allow him. She felt the path of a bullet as it nicked him, for it was to that arm where he held her. Although the shot didn’t draw blood, it must have stung him. But if it did, he showed no signs of feeling it.

           Faster they swam, she kicking out now to help him. North and east they fled, away from the deadly assassin bullets. But how long could she hold her breath? She felt as though she were turning blue, and she tapped Brave Wolf on the shoulder to indicate that she needed air. Once again, although this time more cautiously, he came up for breath, but he allowed her only a second to suck in that air before he dove back under the surface, knifing toward the very bottom of the river once again.

          Surprisingly no one appeared to be following them beneath the waves, and she was reminded of the danger of the deadly whirlpools, currents and underwater tows beneath the surface of the Big Muddy River. It had claimed many a man’s life. It had tried to take theirs. Was this why no one was giving chase?

          Those deadly traps confronted Brave Wolf over and over. She felt their pull, was certain she and Brave Wolf would never survive this. Yet, they did. How he managed to use these dangers to his advantage, she might never know, for he swam through the tows as though he danced a jig with them. They pushed onward, Mia having to remind Brave Wolf on more than one occasion that she needed to breathe air, not water.

          It felt as though hours had passed as they shot through these muddy depths, although it was probably not longer than minutes. Always it seemed to her that they headed north and, she hoped, out of range of those assassin’s bullets. She was aware that Brave Wolf could hold his breath longer than she could, and he seemed to forget that she was not part fish; many more times than she could count, she had to tap him on the shoulder as a reminder. At last, when they surfaced for air, it appeared that they had put enough distance between themselves, the shoreline and the steamship, for nothing met them but the smoke of a boat that would never sail the Missouri waters again.

          They both looked on at the wreckage, which was even now still afire.

          “Why did the boat explode?” she asked softly, more to herself than to Brave Wolf.

          But he answered her quickly, saying, “Man who try kill you use fire to blow up boat.”

          Shock caused Mia to remain silent, and, when she didn’t answer at once, Brave Wolf calmly dove again beneath the waves.

  BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY

On sale now:

http://www.amazon.com/Brave-Wolf-Lady-Clan-Book-ebook/dp/B07DV7TTWY/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533526313&sr=8-1&keywords=brave+wolf+and+the+lady+by+karen+kay%3C%2Fp%3E&tag=pettpist-20

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brave-wolf-and-the-lady-n-a-n-a/1128969365?ean=2940162107118

Itunes:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/brave-wolf-and-the-lady/id1403890149?ls=1&mt=11

Kobo:  http://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/brave-wolf-and-the-lady

Updated: August 6, 2018 — 11:08 pm
Petticoats & Pistols © 2015