About 3-4 weeks ago, I learned that a good friend of mine, Steve Reevis had passed away. He passed on in December of 2017. Unfortunately, for me, I was unaware of this because when I moved away from LA, his family and mine lost contract. Steve was a Native American Actor, and he appeared in many films. Probably my favorite film of his was “The Last of the Dogmen,” where Steve played the major Native American role. I will leave a list of many of his films at the end of this blog.
Steve was only 55 years old when he passed, much too young to leave this world. In 1999, Steve helped me and my husband and a few other friends to set up a literacy project on the Blackfeet reservation. This was the first time I had met Steve. He was a very handsome young man, he was quiet, yet when he did speak, we listened, for he was also a wise young man. Steve never asked for anything in return for the help he gave us, his main concern being to help his people.
In truth, I was shocked when I learned of his passing, and so I thought that today, I would hostess a give-away in the style of the Blackfeet in Montana. (I am adopted Blackfeet.)
I’ll be giving away many books today, so do leave a message so that you can enter into the give-away. I’ll also be giving away a pair of Blackfeet made earrings. Now, let me show you some pictures of a fundraiser that we did with Steve and his beautiful wife, Macile, in a Walmart in 1999. All of my Blackfoot Warrior series (three books total) will also be on sale for a week for 99 cents in honor of Steve. (See below for the links to those books.)
The picture to the left here is of Steve when he was speaking at the fundraiser. This event also included many romance authors from the Orange County Romance Writers Association. At the event, we had a local drum group, who also donated all of their time and their musical art for the literacy project.
Off to the right here is a picture of Steve in a conversation with Maria Ferrara, who helped to fund raise for the project and was instrumental in getting the project off the ground. Without her help, there would have been no project.
As you can see here, Steve is listening intently to Maria, and this is one of my favorite pictures from that time.
To the left here are several people connected to the project. From left to right are: Mark Reed; Maria Ferrara; Jeff Butler; Harold Dusty Bull; Kinder Hunt; Steve Reevis; Macile Reevis; George Randall; Toni Running Fisher; Saginaw Grant; Yours truly.
And again, to the left is Harold Dusty Bull, who was In Charge of the Project. In the background to the left is Steve and on the right is Mark Reed, from the Iroquois/Mohawk tribe, I believe.
Both Harold and Steve grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana.
To the left here is Steve dancing. Steve was a grass dancer.
And, to the right is a couples dance. Here is Steve and Macile; behind them are Harold Dusty Bull and the founder and head of the H.E.L.P. project (Hollywood Education and Literacy Project), Kinder Hunt. Pulling up the rear in the picture is Saginaw Grant and Toni Running Fisher.
Also, there was Blackfeet style Indian bread and tacos — made by Toni Running Fisher.
To the right here is another view of Steve and Macile dancing the Couples Dance, with Saginaw Grant and Toni Running Fisher not too far behind them.
Here also is a view of some of the men who gave in the drum who gave us the music so the dancers could dance. To the left is another picture of Steve dancing.
To the left here is Steve speaking, and in his hand he holds an eagle feather fan.
To the right is Steve’s beautiful wife, Macile. Macile, by the way, has her own clothing line of Native American clothing.
To the left here is a picture snapped of us when we were visiting the L. Ron Hubbard Author Services Center in Hollywood, CA. From left to right are:
Paul Bailey (my husband); Harold Dusty Bull; Steve Reevis; Macile Reevis and her daughter; me; Toni Running Fisher and her husband Kevin. By the way, the dress I’m wearing in this picture is one of Macile Reevis’ creations.
And lastly, here we all are: the authors, the Drum, Steve and Macile (off to the left).
The event was very successful and the HELP literacy project was also a success on the Reservation, and was up and running there for many years.
I will miss my friend, Steve Reevis. Somehow, I thought he would always be here, alive and well, and I wish that I hadn’t lost touch with his family when my own family moved East. Steve once said to me in a passing conversation, “Why do you think all those warriors in the past would risk their lives?” I didn’t know and said so. Steve then said, “Because they knew they would live again.”
Somewhere, in some other time and place, perhaps, I feel that Steve is still with us, and is, even now, the cause of someone else’s joy and happiness. Good-bye, Steve. You are missed. But I know that wherever you are, those who are with you, love you.
All of the Blackfoot Warrior Series books are on sale for .99 in honor of Steve. Those books are:
Big news! At least for me. THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME has just been released. Am not going to say too much about it, except to say to be sure to leave a comment, cause I’ll be giving away a free e-book to one of you bloggers.
This is a rather long excerpt (Prologue and First 2 Chapters). So without further ado, here is the blurb and excerpt (prologue and first two chapters). Please enjoy!
THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME, by Karen Kay
A vision foretold his tribe’s doom. Is the flame-haired beauty the trickster or his true love?
Lucinda Glenforest’s father, a general who’d fought in the Indian Wars, taught his flame-haired daughter to out-shoot even the best men the military could put up against her. When Luci’s sister is seduced and abandoned, it’s up to Luci to defend her honor in a duel. Although she wins, the humiliated captain and his powerful family vow vengeance. The sister’s only hope is to flee and hide until their father returns from his overseas mission. Out of money, Luci hatches a plan to disguise herself as a boy and use her sharpshooting skills in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
The chief of the Assiniboine tribe has a terrifying vision, that someone called the deceiver, or trickster, spells doom for the children of his tribe. He enlists Charles Wind Eagle to join Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, in hopes of appealing to the President of the United States for help, and to find and stop the deceiver. When Wind Eagle is paired with a girl whom he knows is disguised as a boy, he believes she might be the deceiver. Still, she stirs his heart in ways he must resist, for he has a secret that can never be told, nor ignored. And Luci can never forget that her father would destroy Wind Eagle if she were to fall in love with him.
Forced to work together, they can’t deny their growing attraction. Will Luci and Wind Eagle find a way through the lies to find true love? Or will they be consumed by the passion of deception and slander?
Warning: A sensuous romance that might cause a girl to join the rodeo in order to find true love.
The Wild West Series
The Assiniboine Sioux Reservation
“Run! Run to them! Help them!”
Ptehé Wapáha, Horned Headdress, couldn’t move. It was as though his feet were tied to the ground with an invisible rope. He attempted to lift his feet one at a time. He couldn’t. Bending, he struggled to remove the shackles that held him prisoner. It was impossible.
Straightening up, he looked down into the Assiniboine camps from his lofty perch upon a hill, and he watched as a cloud of dust and dirt descended from the sky to fall upon the children of the Assiniboine. Helpless to act, he stared at the scene of destruction as each one of the children fell to the ground, their bodies withering to dust. Still, he stood helpless, unable to act in their defense. He heard their cries, their pleas for aid. He reached out to them, he, too, crying. But he couldn’t move; he couldn’t save them.
The cloud lifted. The children were no more; their bones had returned to the earth. Instead, in their place arose a people who appeared to be Assiniboine outwardly, but within their eyes, there showed no spark of life. They appeared to be without spirit, without heart; they were broken—mere slaves.
From the cloud of dirt came the sound of a whip as the people cowered beneath its assault. Then arose the lightning strikes and the thunder. One by one even those soulless people fell to their knees—a conquered people, their heads bowed in fear.
And, then they were no more. All was lost; all was gone.
What force was this? Who or what was this faceless power that had killed the Assiniboine people and their children? He knew it not.
He cried, his tears falling to the ground, but even the essence of this, his body’s grief, was barren. His proud people were no more.
Jerking himself awake, Ptehé Wapáha, Horned Headdress, chief of the Rock Mountain People, sat up suddenly. His sleeping robes fell around him and sweat poured from his body. Tears fell from his eyes as he came fully into the present moment.
At once, he realized that what he had seen had been a mere dream, and, while this might have comforted a lesser being, Horned Headdress knew that there was more to the nightmare. It was a vision, a warning from the Creator: this was what would come to pass if he and his people didn’t act. And now.
But, what was he to do? He didn’t know who this enemy was.
It was then that, wide awake, he beheld a vision unfolding before him as the Creator spoke to him in the language of the sacred spider. And, as the spider weaved his web, pictures of a future time appeared upon that maze, as though it were a backdrop for the images.
Astonishment and fear filled his soul. But, he soon came to realize that the Creator had not warned him in vain, for, upon that same web appeared visions of deeds that would thwart that future evil, if he could but do them.
He must act, and with speed. This he vowed he would do. But how? He was no longer a young man, conditioned to the rigors that would be required. He could not perform the skills necessary to accomplish what must be done.
But there are two youths among our people who can. The thought came to him as though it were his own, but he realized that the words were from the Creator. Moreover, he saw with his mind’s eye, that there were, indeed, two young men who were strong enough and proficient enough to undertake this task.
With a calmness of purpose, Horned Headdress knew what he would do, what he must do….
“Our way of life is endangered, and our people might well be doomed, I fear—all our people—unless we act.”
Twenty-year old, Wa?blí Taté, Wind Eagle, of the Hebina, the Rock Mountain People of the Nakoda tribe, listened respectfully to his chief, Horned Headdress. The chief held an honorable war record, was honest beyond reproach and was known to be wise at the young age of fifty-two years. On this day, Wind Eagle and his ?óla, Iron Wolf, were seated in council within the chief’s spacious sixteen-hide tepee. There were only the three of them present: Horned Headdress; himself, Wind Eagle; and Macá Mázasapa, Iron Wolf, the chief’s son.
“The White Man is here to stay,” continued Horned Headdress. “Many of our chiefs speak of this. Already we have seen changes that are foreign and confusing to us, for their customs are not ours. I have asked you both to this council today because I have dreamed that our people will not long exist if we do not act as a united people. But allow me to explain.
“As you both are aware, the annuities, promised so easily in treaty by the White Father, did not arrive this past winter to replace the hundreds-of-years-old food source, the buffalo. Because of this, too many of the young and the old did not survive the harsh snows and winds that inflicted wrath upon this country; a worse winter cannot be remembered, not even by the very old. All our people are grieved, for every family amongst us lost loved ones, and, I fear that if we do not become like the beaver and act in a fast and well-organized manner, we, as a people, will perish from the face of this earth.
“The Indian agent is partly to blame for this; he put us at a terrible disadvantage, for our men of wisdom and experience, who have always ensured that our people remain alert to future dangers, were rounded up and placed in an iron cage that the agent calls jail. He used Indian police to do this; they were young men from our tribe who listened to this agent’s poisonous tongue, and, feeling they knew best for our people, acted for the agent and not us. They helped him to disarm us, not realizing that their people had need of their guns and their bows and arrows not only to defend their families, but to hunt for food. Later, these same young men lamented their actions, for they learned too late that the Indian agent is not our friend.
“Some of our young men, like yourselves, escaped by hiding until the danger passed. Then, stealing away into the night, these men left to find food and bring it back to supply us with needed rations. But in many cases, the food arrived too late, and the evil face of starvation caused the death of too many of our people.
“We have heard this agent laugh at our plight, but what are we to do, for we have no one else to speak for us to the White Father? We chiefs have spoken often of this matter and have pondered who among us might seek out the White Father and express our grievances.
“Recently I received a vision from the Creator. I have now seen that the danger is not in the past; I have learned that our children have a terrible fate and we might lose them all if we remain here and do nothing to change our future.”
Wind Eagle nodded solemnly; no words were spoken, as befit the purpose of this council.
“I believe I know what must be done,” continued Horned Headdress. “I have seen in vision that there is a white man whose name is Buffalo Bill Cody, who is now visiting our Lakota brothers to the southwest of us. I am told that this man, Buffalo Bill, is not a bad man, though he pursues fame and approval, as well as the white man’s gold. Further, I am told that he searches for those among us who can perform feats of daring, because he would take the best that we have and parade those youths before the White Man. It is said to me that this is the manner in which this man purchases the necessities of living.
“I have discovered that he offers a home for those whom he chooses, as well as the white man’s gold and silver which can be traded for clothing, food and other comforts. He is soliciting youths who can perform trick riding, or who can run as fast as the wind or those who can shoot with precision. He also is asking for young men who are unparalleled in tests of strength and brawn. Wind Eagle, you have proven yourself to be unequalled in shooting the arrow straight, accurately and with a speed that no one in all the nations can match.”
Wind Eagle nodded silently.
“And you, Macá Mázasapa, my son, are the best horseman in all the Nakoda Nation, performing tricks that even the finest riders of the Plains, the Blackfeet, admire.”
Iron Wolf dipped his head in acknowledgement.
“I am now asking you to act for me on behalf of your people; humbly, I would implore you both to travel to the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation and enter into those contests sponsored by this man, Buffalo Bill.” Horned Headdress paused significantly as though he were choosing his next words with care. “I have seen in vision,” he continued, “that the White Father, or a man representing him, will attend one of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows. If I could, I would go in your place, but there are reasons why I cannot. I am no longer a youth who might compete against other youths. Also, I am needed here to counsel our sick and our needy and to act against this Indian Agent on behalf of our people, for this man is still here, is still corrupt, and every day denies our people the food and supplies that have been promised to us by treaty.”
As was tradition in Indian councils, neither young man spoke, both kept their eyes centered downward, in respectful contemplation. Not only was it the utmost in bad manners to interrupt a speaker, but it was a particular taboo to volunteer one’s opinions with an elder of the tribe unless asked to do so. At length, Horned Headdress continued, saying, “I have seen into the future, and I believe that both of you will be accepted by this showman. I ask you this: when the White Father or his representative comes to this show, ask for a private audience with this man, who I believe will grant your request. But beware. I have also seen that all will not be easy for you, for there is a deceiver there. You may come to know this person by being part of Buffalo Bill’s show. Have a care, and do your work well, for this deceiver might be the greatest threat to all the Indian Nations. This trickster, if not recognized and stopped, may bring about death and destruction to our children in ways that our minds do not comprehend. Look for this person, discover who it is, man or woman. Be alert that if we do not learn from what tribe he or she hails, this deceiver could bring disaster not only to us, but to all the Indian Nations, and we, as an Indian people, might die in spirit forever. Identify this person as quickly as you might and disarm him or her, for I do not speak lightly that the fate of our children rests with you.”
He paused for a moment. “And now,” he continued, “I would hear what you wish to say about this burden I ask you to shoulder, for I would know if each one of you stands ready to pit your skills against this ill wind of tragedy for our people.”
Now came the chance for each young man to speak, and they both agreed that they would be honored to bear this responsibility. They would go at once to their Lakota brothers in the south, and yes, they would use all their cunning and strength to prevent any future harm that might befall their people.
Horned Headdress nodded approval. “It is good,” he acknowledged, before adding, “Seek out another young man from your secret clan, the Wolf Clan, once you have been successful in joining Buffalo Bill’s show. Take him into your confidence, for I have also seen that three is oftentimes better protection against evil than two.”
Both young men nodded.
“Wašté, good. Now, listen well, my young warriors, and I will tell you what I wish you to say to the white man’s representative, and what I wish you to do.…”
Wind Eagle looked out from his lofty perch upon a stony ridge, which sat high above the winding waters of the Big Muddy, or as the white man called it, the Missouri River. He faced the east, awaiting the sunrise, his face turned upward, his arms outstretched in prayer. Below him unfolded numerous pine-covered coulees and ravines, jagged and majestic as they cut through the mountains, a range which appeared to never end. The huge rock beneath his moccasined feet felt solid and firm, and, as he inhaled the moist air of the morning, he gazed outward, welcoming the beauty of the Creator’s work.
He sought a vision to guide him on this vital quest for his people. Also, he hoped to ease his troubles, for as Horned Headdress had so elegantly said, the shared tragedy that had destroyed so many of their people had also struck Wind Eagle personally.
It was true that starvation had been the ultimate weapon employed by rogue forces within and without the tribe. Because both the Indian Agent and the Indian police had acted against the people, Wind Eagle’s grandfather had died in those cages the white man called jails. At the time, Wind Eagle and his father had been gone from the village on the hunt for food. But game was scarce, causing his own, and his father’s, absence to extend for too long a time. When they had returned to their village, they had found that many of their friends were now gone. Even his beloved grandmother—the woman who had raised him—had been weak when Wind Eagle and his father had returned. For a short while, it had appeared that she might recover, but it was not to be. Too soon, she had left this life to travel to the Sandhills, where she would join her husband. At least, they would journey on that path together.
It was only a few days past that Ptehé Wapáha, Horned Headdress, had spoken to himself and Iron Wolf, setting the two of them into action. Quickly, they had made their plans and had talked of nothing else for the past two days, and, if they were both picked by the Showman to be a part of the show, each individually knew what his part would be in this vital task. Failure was no option; the life of their people must continue.
Because no delay could be spared, they were to leave this very night to set out upon the trail to the Pine Ridge reservation. They would travel by horseback, the both of them taking two or more of his ponies with him.
But no such journey could commence without first seeking a vision, for only in this way could a man communicate with his Creator. And so Wind Eagle began with a prayer:
“Waka?tanka, hear my plea. I come before you humble, having given away my best clothing to the needy. As is right for my appeal, I have bathed myself in the smoke of many herbs, and have spent many days in prayer. Show me, guide me, to see how I might best aid my chief and my people.”
Then he sang:
“Waka?tanka, wacéwicawecioiya, (Creator, I pray for them)
Waka?tanka, ca jéciyata, (Creator, I call thee by name)
Waka?tanka, ca jéciyata,
Waka?tanka, unkákí japi. (Creator, we suffer)
Waka?tanka, oi?iya. (Creator, help me)
He closed his eyes, inhaling deeply as the sun peeped up from above the horizon. Already, he could feel the sun’s warming rays, and he sighed. It was good, and he became quiet, merging himself with the spirit of Mother Earth, hoping that he might be gifted a vision. Perhaps Waká?ta?ka was attuned to the cries of His people, for Wind Eagle was not left long to linger. As he opened his eyes, he beheld a pair of bald eagles—his namesake—dancing in the cool drafts of the air. Beautiful was their courtship ritual as they climbed ever higher and higher into the airy altitudes of the sky.
Then it happened, the dance of love: locking talons, they spun around and around, spiraling down toward the earth in what might seem be a dive to their death. Still, neither let go of the other, embracing and holding onto each other in their twirling spectacle until the very last moment. From that courtship dance, the pair would mate and form a union that would last their lifetime, and out of that union would appear a new generation of bald eagles. So it had been for thousands of years past; so it was now.
Entranced by the exquisiteness of this show of nature, he didn’t at first see what was before him, didn’t realize the two eagles were now hovering in the air, within his reach. The sound of their flapping wings, however, was loud in the cooling mountain breeze, and, lifting his vision to encompass them both, they spoke to him:
“We, the eagle people, are sent here from the Creator to tell you that He has heard your plea. He has told us to say this to you.
“Learn from us, for we, the eagle people, marry but once, and for all our life. Heed the advice of your heart, since it will lead you on a path that will ensure the well-being of your people. Beware the past mistakes of others. Beware also the one or the many who would hide within the cloak of deceit. Be strong, remain alert, for the way to help your people will be fraught with great danger.
“Opportunity will soon be yours, for your skill is the best in all the Nations. Use this to learn about your peoples’ secret enemy, for it will be through this venture that will appear the chance to free your people from a coming darkness. If you are successful, your acts of valor will be spoken about throughout the Indian Nations.
“Trust your heart, for there is one there who might help you to find peace within your mind and spirit.
“We have spoken.”
Wind Eagle outstretched his arms toward the eagles, and he might have sung his song back to them, but the two birds had already lifted away from him, soaring higher and higher into the sky. Once more, the eagles locked talons, repeating the ancient courtship ritual dance.
Breathing deeply, he watched their magnificent show with respect, until at last the eagles plummeted to the earth, breaking away from one another before striking the ground. Coming together again, they climbed high over the rocks, alighting at last upon their nest. Here, they would love, ensuring that their species survived well into the future.
What was the meaning of their verse? He would relay his vision to his chief, of course, for only in this way could he assure the success of his task. But, before he left, he sang out his thanks in prayer, saying:
“Waka?tanka, I thank you for the vision you have given me.
“Waka?tanka, I honor you. I honor your messengers.
“And now I would seek out my chief that I might ensure I understand fully your instruction to me.”
So saying, Wind Eagle stepped back from the ridge and retraced his steps to his camp. The day was still young, and he felt renewed with purpose.
An infamous dueling field outside Bladensburg, Maryland
May 20th, 1888
The early morning’s cool, gray mist hung low over the dueling field’s short grass and the woods that surrounded it. The lawn and woods-scented air was heavy and moist here at the Bladensburg contesting grounds; and, because this notorious spot lay only a few blocks from Washington DC proper, the atmosphere was further flavored with the scent of smoke from the fires and the wood-burning stoves of the numerous houses in the city. The earth felt mushy and wet beneath her footfalls, and the grass both cushioned and moistened the leather of her boots, as well as the bottom edge of her outfit. There was a chill in the air, and Lucinda Glenforest wore a short jacket of crushed velvet gold over the flowery embroidered skirt of her cream-colored, silky dress. Her bonnet of gold and ivory velvet boasted a brim that was quilled, and the satin bow that was tied high on top, fell into inch-wide strings that tied under her chin. The color scheme complemented her fiery, golden-red hair that had been braided and tied back in a chignon that fell low at the back of her neck. The entire ensemble had been strategically donned in the wee hours of the morning to allow for freedom of movement, which might be more than a little required for the sedate “battle” which was to take place.
Beside her reposed Lucinda’s fifteen-year-old younger sister, Jane, whose condition being only a few months in the making, was, for the moment, hidden. But soon, in less time than Lucinda liked to consider, the consequence of Jane’s ill-fated affair would become evident.
“Don’t kill him, Luci.”
The words served to irritate Luci; not because of Jane’s concern for the swine who had done this to her, but because of Luci’s involvement in a situation that should rightly involve male members of their family. But their father, General Robert Glenforest, had left for the Island of Hawaii on the urgent business of war, and this, because their family had no brother to uphold its honor, left only Luci to contend with the problem. The fact that she possessed the skills to tackle the dilemma was hardly the point.
Being the eldest child in a military family, Luci had been fated to mimic her father’s profession, for General Glenforest had made it no secret that he had hoped his firstborn would be a boy. To this end, he had carefully schooled Luci into the more male occupations of war, of shooting, of defense and of strategic planning. Luci’s own inclinations—which had included dolls and pretend dress-up—were of no consequence to her father. With the feminist movement in full swing, General Glenforest had found favor in openly proclaiming that he hoped Luci would follow in his footsteps, or if this weren’t quite possible, to marry a soldier as like-minded as he. He went further to state that he hoped his daughter would thereafter advise her husband wisely.
As Luci had grown older, she had protested, of course, but it hadn’t done her any good, especially since she enjoyed and stood out in the sport of the shooting gallery. Her prowess in these matches had earned her many a trophy over her male counterparts, and, as time had worn on, she had gone on to win and win and win, even those matches where the man she was pitted against was years older than she.
Now, while it might be true that Luci enjoyed the thrill of shooting matches, it was not factual that she shared other traits of the male gender. After all, she was well aware that she was not a man, and outside of the marksmanship that she excelled in, she held few common threads with the male of the species. Indeed, she often found a boy’s rather crude sense of humor extremely gross and very unfunny.
So it was that she had mastered a defense against her father, her resistance being to dress up and to act in as ladylike a manner as possible. Indeed, she flaunted her femininity, had done so even as a child, especially when her father was in residence. Her rebelliousness had earned her a treasure, though. She had come to love the manner in which she adorned herself. Even her day dresses protested the current trend of the dark colors of black, brown and gray; none of that for her. Her clothing consisted of vivid hues of blue, coral, pink, yellow, green and more. Indeed, she flaunted the style of the walking dress, cutting her version of that style low in the bodice. Tight waists, which hugged her curves, ended in a “V” shape over her abdomen in front and the beginning arc of her buttocks in back. These and other attributes of her clothing asserted her female gender quite vividly. Her bustles were soft and feminine, and were generally trained in back, adding to the aesthetic allure of her costume, while the overall effect of her skirts, draped in gatherings of material, fell like a soft waterfall to the floor.
That this style was considered to be a woman’s attire for only evening gatherings bothered her not in the least. Although she had often heard the whispered gossip doubting the truth of her maidenhood, no one dared to repeat such lies to her face.
Her father, when he was in residence, accused her of playing up her feminine assets too well. But when he had gone on to criticize her too greatly, Luci had merely smiled at him; revenge, it appeared, was sweet. Truth was, left to her own devices, Luci might have made much of her own inclinations, for her heart was purely girlish. Indeed, secretly at home, she enjoyed the more womanly chores of baking, cooking and sewing.
It did bother her that her abilities with a gun appeared to frighten suitors, for at the age of nineteen, she had never known the amorous attentions of any young man; no boyfriends, no male interest in her as a young woman. She’d not even experienced a mild flirtation with a member of the opposite sex. Indeed, it might be said that she was nineteen and ne’er been kissed.
So it was with reluctance that Luci answered her sister’s plea to “not kill him,” saying, “I promised you that I wouldn’t, Janie, and that’s all I can assure you. You must admit that the brute deserves no consideration whatsoever. If father were here, you know that he would demand a Military Tribunal for that man, since both our father and that viper are military. Even a firing squad would be too good, I’m sure. To think, that skunk told you he wasn’t married—“
“He did propose to me.”
“How could he? Janie, he was married when he proposed to you. He’s nothing but a lying thief.”
“He’s not a thief!”
“He took your maidenhood, didn’t he?” Lucinda whispered the words. “Once lost, it’s gone forever. You must see that he deserves to be killed.”
Jane blushed. Still, she persisted, entreating, “Please don’t do it, Luci. Please. I love him so.”
This last was said with such urgency and dramatics, that Luci’s only response was a sigh. If it were up to her…
She still remembered back to a few weeks ago, and to Janie’s confession.
Luci had found her blond and beautiful fifteen-year-old sister locked in her room, grieving. On enquiry, Jane had confessed her problem. “I’m pregnant, Luci. We had planned a June wedding. But now?…”
“Pregnant? Had planned a June wedding?”
“He’s married. I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t. He told me he loved me, and that we would be married in June. But when I came to him to tell him of the child, he laughed at me.”
“He laughed? You’re telling this to me truly? He honestly laughed?”
Jane cried and seemed unable to speak. She nodded instead.
“Who is this man?”
Jane hiccupped. “I…promise me that you won’t kill him.”
“How can I say that to you in view of what has happened? And with Father gone. Now, tell me, who is this man? You know I’ll find out one way or the other.”
“I suppose you will. But please, I can’t reveal his name to you unless I have your word that you won’t kill him.”
Luci paused. She could force the issue, but she would rather not. Perhaps it was because Jane was more like a daughter to her than a sister, for Luci had taken on the role of “mother” at the age of four, when their own mother, shortly after giving birth to Jane, had passed on to the heavenly plane. Plus, their father had never remarried. Luci uttered, “I will do my best not to kill him, Janie. But that’s all I can promise.”
Sniffing, Jane blew her nose on the dainty handkerchief in her hand, then at length, she admitted, “I guess that’s good enough. I think you might know him. It’s Captain Timothy Hall. But please, don’t be angry at him. I love him so.”
Of course Luci knew the worthless snake. He had once courted Abagail Swanson, one of her best girlfriends, who also had been underage at the time. Luckily for her friend, she had discovered the truth of Hall’s marital state before he’d been able to inflict permanent damage on her.
What was wrong with the man? Was his twenty-year-old wife already too old for him? Was he a pervert?
Oh, what she would like to do to him if the society around them would only allow it.…
Well, that was all in the recent past; what was done was done. Today was the day he would pay. Today, that no-account slime would contend with her, and Luci pledged to herself that her sister’s honor, as well as that of their family, would be avenged.
Once again, she thought back to the last few weeks. In less than twenty-four hours after her talk with Janie, Luci had challenged the bearded, black-haired degenerate, and had done so in as public a place as possible, a garden party. He had laughed at her, of course, when she had confronted him, and, using her gloves, she had slapped his face.
“You’re a two-timing scoundrel, Captain Hall, and I challenge you to a duel. Make no mistake, I will protect and defend my family’s honor.”
“You? A woman? Dueling me?” He snickered. “I wouldn’t stoop so low.”
“Low? Are you a coward, then? Is your problem that your spine runs yellow? You know that no man has ever bested me in the skill of the shooting gallery.”
His answer was nothing more than a loud hiss.
“My second will act at once, setting the time and place of the duel. And hear me out, if you don’t show, I will ensure that all the country in and around Washington DC, as well as your wife, will know not only of your misdeeds, but also of your cowardice. And this, I promise.”
Still, she thought, he might not come. For now, she awaited her second, as well as those in Hall’s party. She picked up her pistol—a Colt .45—checking it over carefully, swearing to herself what she would do to him if the wicked man didn’t show.…
“The rules for this duel are as follows,” declared Sergeant Anthony Smyth, a tall, dark-haired gentleman, who was Luci’s second. Smyth was an excellent marksman in his own right, which was one reason why Luci had picked him to preside over the duel. That both he and his wife were close family friends had aided Luci in making the choice. But Smyth was continuing to speak, and he said, “The match continues to first blood, and, regardless of how minor the injury, the match then ends. No further shots are legal, and will not be tolerated. The twenty paces, which were agreed upon in writing, have been marked out by a sword stuck in the ground at each side of the field. When I drop the handkerchief that I hold in my hand, you may each advance and fire. Lieutenant Michaels is on duty as the official surgeon.” Sergeant Smyth glanced first at Luci, then at Captain Timothy Hall. “Are there any questions?”
When neither she nor Captain Hall spoke up, Sergeant Smyth continued, “Then it is begun.”
Luci glanced down the field, estimating her distance, as well as determining where exactly she would place her shot. Having already decided that a shoulder injury would be the easiest to heal, she calculated the precise angle that would be required to obtain that “first blood,” and end the match. Next to Captain Hall stood his older brother, James Hall, his second.
Behind Luci, well to her rear and out of shooting range, sat Janie, who had brought a blanket to cushion the soft ground upon which she sat. Refreshments of cinnamon rolls and coffee, with plates and coffee cups, decorated a table next to Janie. As was expected by the rules of conduct for all matters concerning dueling, both Janie and Luci had brought the refreshments for the participants today, including that serpent, Captain Tim Hall.
Luci hadn’t easily consented to the early morning snack, but her friend, Sergeant Smyth, had already determined that the duel would follow the rules of personal combat exactly, making her obligated to provide the food and drink.
She sighed as she awaited the signal to begin, but she never once glanced away from her target. To do so might be fatal.
Smyth dropped the handkerchief, and both duelists fired at will. Luci’s shot hit Hall in the shoulder, as she had intended, while Hall’s volley missed her entirely.
“First blood has been taken,” called out Sergeant Smyth. “The match now ends as formerly agreed upon. All participants are to put down their weapons, and all are invited to coffee and rolls, which they will find at the far side of the field. A surgeon is on hand to deal with your wound, Captain Hall.”
Luci turned away, setting her gun down on the table next to her.
The explosion was unexpected. The match was finished, wasn’t it? If so, why was Captain Hall still firing at her?
Hall’s next shot hit her in her left upper arm.
“Stop this at once!” shouted Smyth. “Halt! This is illegal!”
But Luci ignored her second in command; she was in a gun fight and under attack; his words didn’t even register with her. With the quick reflexes of one who is in command of her weapon, she grabbed hold of her Colt, turned, and carefully aimed her shot to do the most damage to Captain Hall without killing him.
She sent her answering bullet at Captain Timothy Hall, placing the slug high up on his thigh, intending the bullet to miss, yet graze his masculine parts. His loud cry indicated she had been successful. She turned her pistol on Hall’s second—James Hall—who had picked up his own gun, as though he might consider using it against her, also, illegal though it was.
“Captain Hall, you and your brother must cease this at once. You will be reported. You and your second will likely be court martialed if you continue firing,” Sergeant Smyth yelled, as he hurried toward Luci, his own Colt drawn and aimed at the two culprits. But his threat fell on deaf ears. Hall had fallen to the ground, his shrieks indicating he was in too much pain to be of any more use in a gunfight. Hall’s brother, James, however, looked ready to continue the match, except that when he espied Luci’s Colt pointed directly at him, as well as Smyth’s drawn weapon, James Hall instead dropped his gun and held his hands up in surrender.
Luci nodded. But that was all that she did. Without letting her guard down, she kept her weapon trained on both the Hall brothers as she paced to where Jane sat at the side of the field. Bending, Luci grabbed hold of her sister by the arm and pulled her up. Then, without turning her back on Captain Hall and his brother, she made her retreat toward the street, where her coach awaited.
“Make a report of this at once,” she instructed Smyth, as well as Lieutenant Michaels, the military surgeon. “Let all know what a cowardly slime Captain Hall truly is. My father must be informed, and he will thank you both for doing so.”
Without cause to do more at the moment, Luci and Jane slowly withdrew, Jane leading the way to their coach, for Luci never once turned her back on her opponent. That the screams of Captain Timothy Hall wafted through the air was music to Luci’s ears. By measured retreat, they gained the street and the carriage, and Jane practically flew into her seat within.
“Driver!” yelled Luci as she quickly followed her sister into the conveyance. “Take us to the army telegraph office as quickly as possible!” Seating herself with care, she continued, declaring to Jane, “We must send Father word of this at once.”
“Why, you’re hurt!”
It was true. The exact extent of the damage was yet to be determined, and it was only now, within the relative safety of their coach, that Luci realized her arm hurt unbearably.
Yet, to Janie, all she said was, “It is only a scratch, soon healed. But come, Jane, please tear off a part of my petticoat, and give it to me to tie, that I might stop this bleeding, for I fear it is staining my blouse.”
“Leave it to you to consider only the damage to your clothing,” scolded Jane as she did as instructed. It was also she who tied the tourniquet. “As soon as we arrive at our home, I will summon our surgeon to attend to you at once.”
“After we send that telegraph to father,” amended Luci. “I fear we have not heard the last of Captain Hall and his brother. Though I feel assured that Mr. Smyth will also telegraph word to our father on any channel available to him, he may not be able to do this at a speed that could be required to ensure our good health.”
“What do you mean?”
Luci sent her sister a cautious glance. With the duel having gone as badly as it had, it was not in Luci’s nature to instill even more alarm in Jane, especially considering her delicate condition. Nevertheless, a word of attentiveness might be in order.
To this end, she patted Jane’s hand, smiled at her and said, “When Captain Hall heals from the wound I inflicted upon him, he might feel compelled to seek us out for daring to expose his base nature to his fellow military officers. A man who would flaunt the rules of honor cannot be trusted. And I fear—”
“Luci, please,” Jane cried, tears in her eyes. “What he has done is wrong, so very, very wrong, but please do not keep degrading his character to me. A scoundrel he is, I have no doubt, and I feel terrible that he has hurt you, but I am, after all, carrying his child. I wish I weren’t, Luci, but it is done, and I must bear the consequences of my actions. However, I fear that, as he is the babe’s father, he may have rights that even I don’t understand. I should try to discover a good trait he might possess, for I fear that I may have to deal with him in the future.” She pulled out a hanky from her purse and blew her nose. “Is it possible that he might have some logical reason as to why it was necessary to continue to fire at you when he should have stopped? Perhaps it was a reaction he could not control?”
“He fired two illegal shots at me, Janie, not one.”
“Oh, how hard it is to love a man so much,” Janie uttered with so much heartfelt passion that Luci was reminded of her sister’s youth—and the hardship of being pregnant at so young an age. “I know it’s true enough that he lied to me, but that doesn’t make him all bad, does it? I once found good in him. It must still be there. Oh, Luci, it hurts to love him so. It hurts.”
Momentarily, Luci felt at a loss for words. She made up for that lack by patting Jane’s hand instead.
“It will get better,” she assured Jane at last. “I know it might seem now as though the hurt will never heal. But it will.” She sighed. “It will. And perhaps you are right. Maybe in the future we might be dealing with a good man. I guess one could say that only the future will declare the truth of his character. We can hope, Janie, we can hope.”
Luci averted her gaze to stare at the closed, royal blue curtains that fell down over the windows of the carriage. Enough said. She would send this telegram to their father, then wait and see what might unfold. Reaching over to pull that blue, velvet curtain away from the window, she watched as the sun came up in the east.
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.
25th Anniversary Edition, publishing November 1, 2019
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
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.
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.
Welcome to another terrific Tuesday. The prairie. When we drive through the prairie in our modern day times, we see lots of farming, and, of course, very flat land.
The prairie is so much a part of the West, it’s hard to think of the Western without the prairie. In Kansas and Missouri, the prairie had grasses sometimes so tall that a man on a horse would disappear into the grass. Did you know that? I think it was when I was first researching the West and the Prairie that I came across that info.
BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY was a 2018 release. One of the reviewers of that book made a comment that the book was really about the Prairie and the feeling of being there on the prairie at that time when the story takes place.
Very intentionally I wrote about my fascination about the prairie, and it was wonderful to see that someone else appreciated it, too.
One of the sources of research that I like most is George Catlin, who in 1835, sailed up the Missouri on a steamboat in order to paint the Indians. Here’s a quote from Catlin from around 1835 concerning the prairie seen on the Missouri,the Platte and the Arkansas Rivers. He’s talking about a Prairie Fire here.
“But the burning plain has another aspect when the grass is seven or eight feet high and the flames are driven by the hurricanes that often sweep over the meadows of the Missouri, the Platte, and the Arkansas. This grass is so high that we were obliged to stand in our stirrups to look over its waving tops.”
Catlin, George. My Life Among the Indians (1909) (p. 199). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
In doing some research for the book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, I traveled over the Prairie of Kansas and along the Arkansas River, where my story was to take place. Sometimes, one can visit some of the off-the-beaten-track places, where they have preserved the prairie as it once was. Many travelers at that time called it the sea of green — constant and flowing and seemingly never ending.
I soaked up the feeling of the prairie, trying to imagine what it would have been like at that time for the hero and heroine. Loved reading about the Santa Fe Trail and all the adventures that the pioneers had along the way.
This book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, is about that prairie, as well, and about those that traveled on The Santa Fe Trail.
Here’s another quote from Catlin’s book:
“The high grass, being filled with wild-pea vines and other impediments, render it necessary to take the zigzag trails of the deer and buffalo.”
Catlin, George. My Life Among the Indians (1909) (pp. 199-200). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
In another book, my very first book, LAKOTA SURRENDER, I make mention of and have an entire scene wrapped around a prairie wild fire. Again, the idea was sparked by a prairie wild fire that Catlin was in, and almost didn’t escape.
Here’s what he says:
“White man,” said he, “see that small cloud rising from the prairie. He rises. The hoofs of horses have waked him. The Fire Spirit is awake; this wind is from his nostrils, and his face is this way.” He said no more, but his swift horse darted under him, and he slid over the waving grass as it was bent before the wind. We were quickly on his trail. The extraordinary leaps of his wild horse occasionally raised his shoulders to view, then he sank again in the waving billows of grass. On the wind above our heads was an eagle. His neck was stretched for the towering bluff, and his thrilling screams told of the secret that was behind him. Our horses were swift and we struggled hard, but our hope was feeble, for the bluff was yet blue and nature nearly exhausted. The cool shadow advancing over the plain told that the sun was setting. Not daring to look back we strained every nerve. The roar of a distant cataract seemed gradually overtaking us. The wind increased, and the swift winged beetle and the heath hens drew their straight lines over our heads. The fleet bounding antelope passed us, and the still swifter, long legged hare, who leaves but a shadow as he flies. Here was no time for thought, but I recollect that the heavens were overcast, the distant thunder was heard, and the lightning reddening the scene, and the smell that came on the wind struck terror to my soul. The piercing yell of my savage guide at this moment came back on the wind, his robe was seen waving in the air, as his foaming horse leaped up the bluff.
Our breath and our sinews were just enough, in this last struggle for life, to carry us to the summit. We had risen from a sea of fire. Now looking back, still trembling from our peril, I saw beneath me a cloud of black smoke which extended from one extremity of this vast plain to the other, and seemed to roll over the surface of a bed of liquid fire. Above this mighty desolation the white smoke rose like magnificent cliffs to the skies. Then behind all this we saw the black and smoking desolation left by this storm of fire.”
Catlin, George. My Life Among the Indians (1909) (p. 202). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
What an amazing accounting. Sometimes, I think when we pass through this country, it’s wonderful to remember how it once was. And so, the tall grass prairie is something that I think is thrilling to add to a story.
What do you think?
I’ll be giving away one of these e-books to one of the bloggers here today. She can have her pick as to which one. Thanks so much for coming here today, and thanks for participating. Be sure to leave a comment
Above here, are me and my brother-in-law in a short grass prairie in Montana. And below here is my darling husband, also in a short grass prairie in Montana.
Here we are on another wonderful Tuesday and today I thought I’d post an excerpt from WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE today. If you go to Amazon, you’ll see that this is one of the books that I’m advertising at the moment. It is part of the Legendary Warrior Series, that I wish to bring more attention to. As an aside, I loved this series. Of course, I love all the series’, but there is/was something I always considered special about the Legendary Warrior Series.
The book, set in Montana, is about a man determined to save his people from the whiskey trade, which is killing his people (and the truth is, that the whiskey trade was doing just that at this time period in history). So come on in, scroll on down and I hope you will enjoy the excerpt. Oh, and before I forget, I will be giving away a free e-book of WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE, so please do leave a comment. Over to the right here are our Giveaway Guidelines — these govern (so to speak) our give-aways. And don’t forget to check back Wednesday or Thursday night to see if you are a winner. I really do count on you to do so.
WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE
“Come in, Little Brave Woman. The water is good, very, very good.”
Alys turned her head away from the man, her air dismissive. She heard his laugh and wondered what it might feel like to dunk him under that falling water. She felt certain it would bring her great relief.
She drew in a deep breath. She’d had no choice in accompanying him, of course.
She had watched him struggle toward the falls, had tried looking away, knowing he had exaggerated each and every falter in his step. Yet in the end, she had not been able to remain a simple observer.
She had come to his aid, had helped him through the tunnels and outside into the falls. She had even spied on him as he had undressed, much to her chagrin.
The flirt. He knew the effect he was having on her, seemed to relish in it.
“Hmmm. Feels good, this water,” he called to her again. “Are you certain you will not join me?”
“I am going to the house. I will come back here later and check on you.”
“What? And leave me here by myself?”
“Yes, and leave you here by yourself.”
“But what will you do if I fall? What if I need you to help me return to the cave?”
“You should have thought of that before you came here.”
“But I am thinking of it now. Can you really consider leaving me?”
A long silence befell them, and suddenly he was in front of her, dripping water all over her, with no more than a cloth covering his unmentionable parts. She stared up at him, shivers running up and down her spine. And it wasn’t from the cold: she didn’t need to be told twice how this man would look without that tiny bit of cloth covering him.
He said, “If you are not going to take advantage of the water, then I will dress and follow you back through the caves. But I think you are unwise to leave the bath, and me ready to attend your every—”
“Enough. Do you hear me? You have done nothing these past few days but bait me. And what do you mean, parading here in front of me with so little clothing on?”
“I am properly clothed.”
“I beg to differ. Do you think I don’t know what you look like without that…?” She felt a deep flush creeping up to her cheeks, saw a grin on his face. “How much of this do you think I can stand?”
“I do not know. A little too much in my opinion.”
“I am a friend. I am trying to help you recover from a gunshot wound. There is nothing more to it than that. This constant flirting with me must stop. Do you understand?”
“Me?” His look was comically innocent. “Flirting? What does this word mean?”
She frowned at him. He knew exactly what it meant. “You are impossible.”
“And yet I have only your good at heart.”
“Humph. I’m not so certain of that either.”
He smiled at her before, looking away, he suddenly frowned. “I think I am well enough to use some of my day in exercise.” He stole a glimpse toward the falls. “Have you heard any gossip about the whiskey schooners going north?”
“I…I haven’t asked.”
He sent her a hard look. “Would you…ask? I would know what is planned.”
“Why? You are not well enough to do anything about it. Not a thing.”
“I do not agree. Look you here to me. I am practically recovered.”
“So much so that you have needed my assistance to help you to your bath?”
He smirked. “That is different.”
“I hardly think so.”
He came down onto his knees before her, his dark eyes staring into hers, his look completely serious. “Would you please find out what you can? I cannot discover this on my own, for I cannot yet move about the fort with ease.”
“And you are in no shape to stage an attack on a whiskey schooner, even if there were any going north.”
“Still,” he persisted, “I must know.”
She hesitated, even while his dark eyes pleaded with her. She sighed, feeling as though she were putty in this man’s hands. Though she knew she might come to regret it, she found herself saying, “Very well, I will do it, this once, but only after you are fully recovered. Do you understand? Only then…”
He grinned. “And will you help me to recover?”
“Yes, I will try.”
“Aa, it is good.” He lifted one eyebrow. “And how will you help me, do you think? I have many ideas…”
And Good Morning! How are you doing today? Well, I hope.
WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE, believe it or not, is a story inspired by a legend similar to Zorro (it wasn’t Zorro, but the real legend escapes me at the moment). I must admit that such true legends are fascinating to me. This is book #4 in The Legendary Warrior series (all four books are based on different Native American/Western legends). This book is part of KindleUnlimited at Amazon, and so if you subscribe to KindleUnlimited, you can read it for free. But I’ll also be sending a copy of this e-book to some lucky blogger today, so please, don’t be shy. Come on in and leave a comment. Also, do read the Giveaway Guidelines off to the right here — these govern our give-aways. And please do come back either tomorrow evening or Thursday evening to see if you are one of winners. I rely on your doing so.
I must admit to really loving this particular cover. What do you think?
So, without further wait, I’m going to leave you with a blurb and an excerpt from the very beginning of the book. Hope you enjoy!
Wolf Shadow’s Promise
by Karen Kay
Legendary Warriors, Book 4
She saved his life. The only way he can save hers is to deny their forbidden passion…
When eight-year-old Alys Clayton saved the life of a young Blackfeet Indian, she had no idea her own life would be forever changed. To honor her bravery, Moon Wolf pledged his heart to her, vowing to marry her. But they were both too young…then.
Returning to Fort Benton in the Northwest Territory fifteen years later, Alys again encounters the deeply handsome hero who had once set her heart afire. But Moon Wolf has changed. He has become the legendary Wolf Shadow, a warrior intent on helping his people’s struggle against those who would destroy them.
Because a precious jewel like Alys warrants more from a man than risking death at every turn, Moon Wolf battles his desire for her, denying her what she needs most. But Alys has other ideas. She is determined he will not walk his chosen path alone.
Yet, how can their love survive when they are surrounded by enemies determined to destroy them, in a world where their love is forbidden?
This book has been previously published.
Warning: Sensuous romance that might renew a love that was written in the stars. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE, an excerpt
by Karen Kay
Fort Benton on the Missouri River
1857, Northwest Territory
“Two and two equals…?” The teacher slapped the ruler against the blackboard, the wap of the wooden stick an unspoken threat. The teacher—who, by invitation, had only recently arrived here—stood frowning, arms crossed at her waist. “Young lady,” the teacher threatened as she took a menacing step forward and unfolded her arms, “answer me.”
Still the young Indian girl, standing at the head of the class, didn’t make a sound. Head down, she stared fixedly at her feet.
Looking at the child, who was no older than herself, Alys Clayton felt as if her heart might break. Personally, she had never understood why the wild Indians had been brought to this school. Her mother said the whole matter was an experiment by their Indian agent, Alfred J. Vaughan, to see if the Indians could be civilized, whatever that meant.
But the project was doomed to failure because Indians didn’t learn from this kind of teaching.
At least that’s what her mother had told her: that the Indians of the plains had not been brought up with the same books and stories as the white man; that the Indians had their own legends and tales, their own way of teaching, of doing things. Indians were close to the land, were free, or at least they were supposed to be. Alys’s mother had also said, and Alys agreed, that the Indians would be better off if left independent which, Alys decided, must mean “left alone.”
So, if all these observations were true, why was their teacher making an example of this poor child? What did it matter if the girl could or could not add the two plus two on the chalkboard? Alys knew that if she were to approach the girl and promise her four beads while giving her only three, the young girl would know the difference.
Tears streamed down the youngster’s face as she endured not only the silent threat of the teacher but the sneers and scoffing of her “fellow classmates” too.
Something should be done. Such dealings were not right. Yet Alys felt helpless. She was only eight years old, a child herself. What good was she against a teacher—against the taunts of the others?
Oh, no. Alys caught her breath.
The teacher—an overly skinny, sickly-looking woman, had raised the ruler as though she might hit the girl, causing the youngster to put a hand over her eyes as though to shield them.
Then the worst happened. Down came the ruler, down across the Indian girl’s arm.
The child didn’t cry out, didn’t even flinch, although she whimpered slightly as tears streamed down her face.
The teacher shouted out a few more unmentionable words. Still the young girl remained silent.
“I’ll teach you to sass me, you heathen,” the teacher hissed, while Alys tried to make sense of what the teacher had said. The young girl hadn’t uttered a word.
Wap! Another slap across the girl’s arms. The teacher raised her arm for another blow.
It never came.
In a blur of buckskin and feathers, a young Indian boy, the same one who had been at their school for about a week, burst into the classroom, putting himself between the youngster and the teacher. In his hand, he wielded a knife.
The class went from a mass of jeers and prankish catcalls to abrupt silence.
Where had the boy come from so suddenly? And the knife? Where had he obtained that? It was well known that the wild Indians, even the children, were relieved of their weapons upon entering the fort.
Yet there was no mistaking that knife or the boy’s intent.
Good, thought Alys.
Immediately, the teacher backed up, but in doing so, she tripped over a wastebasket, losing her balance and falling into the trash can, bottom first.
Alys couldn’t help herself. She laughed.
It was the only sound in an otherwise silent classroom. No one looked at her, however. Everyone appeared…stunned.
The teacher’s face filled with color, her hands clenched over the top of the basket. “You…you savage. You pushed me—”
“This one,” the Indian responded, pointing to himself, “has not touched you. But give me good reason to”—he waved his knife in front of her—“and I will.”
The teacher spat ugly words deep in her throat, before she uttered loudly, “I’ll have your skin for this, young man.”
“Humph.” The boy approached the teacher, then said, “And I will have your hair.”
It took a moment for his meaning to register, but as the boy swung out his knife, taking hold of the teacher’s tight bun, she screamed. Whack! Off came the bun, harmlessly falling into the youngster’s hand.
“You heathen, why, I’ll…” In an almost superhuman effort, the teacher jumped up, out of the basket. The boy quickly grabbed hold of the Indian girl, and pulling her after him, fled toward the classroom’s only window.
That was all it took for the other youngsters in the room to come alive. Insults and threats reverberated through the early morning air, while the two fugitives made the best escape they could. Boys, almost all of them of mixed heritage themselves, suddenly sprang up from their chairs, leaping after the two runaways, who had by this time cleared the window.
The entire school became a mass exodus as student after student bolted out the door, out the window, chasing after the pair.
Alys, however, arose from her seat at a more leisurely pace, strolling slowly and thoughtfully toward the doorway of the tiny cabin which served as the schoolhouse. Fingering her soft auburn curls as she moved, she trudged home, concluding that school had been let out for the day.
Poor Indian kids, she mused. Wasn’t it enough that the children had been taken away from their family to be “educated”? According to her mother, the townspeople weren’t making it easy on these wild ones either, scolding them and making fun of them. Who would want to stay amidst such hatred? Alys asked herself.
Her thoughts troubled, Alys left the schoolhouse and slowly trudged toward her home.
Her house, a wooden structure and one of the nicer homes in the fort, lay situated toward the rear of the town, away from the river and isolated from most of the fort’s more rambunctious activities. It was a relatively quiet spot, a location her father had personally selected before he had passed away almost four years ago.
That Alys’s mother had refused to return east after her husband’s passing had been the fort’s greatest gossip during the first few years after his death, at least for the few white women who had come west with their husbands.
There were only two types of unmarried women on the frontier, or so it was said: Indians and the hurdy-gurdy girls. Her mother had been asked which one she was.
And it hadn’t mattered that her mother had helped found this town, right alongside her father. Nor had the richness of her purse given her immunity. As it was in many small towns, there wasn’t much to provide gossip, leaving Alys’s mother to supply fodder for the wagging tongues, a circumstance that had effectively isolated her, and her youngster, from the community.
As Alys made her way through the fort, she wondered what her mother would say about the events of this day, knowing that it was her nature to blame the townspeople, not the Indians. Hadn’t her mother often commented on the unchristian-like behavior of the few white women in this town? Hadn’t she herself observed that those here, more oft times than not, made up the grievances they complained about?
Why? Alys Clayton could little understand it.
She only wished there were something she could do, some way to help. If only she knew where the two Indians were right now, she would offer them kindness and hope. Yes, she decided, with all the naïveté of a young girl her age. She would be kind to them, make friends with them, show them that they could trust her.
Why, she would…
What was that? There is was again, a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye. Buckskin, feathers—two small arms and legs? There in the bushes? She turned to look.
A knife suddenly appeared out of nowhere, pressing close into her throat, and a hand covered her mouth as arms slipped about her waist, dragging her backward, toward that bush.
“You cry out…I kill you,” threatened a young male voice.
Alys looked up into a set of the deepest, blackest eyes she had ever seen. She nodded.
The dusty scent of the boy’s skin, the dirt on his hands assailed Alys until she thought she might gag. It wasn’t that the smell was unpleasant, it was more that he held her mouth too tightly. She squirmed.
Two young boys flew past them, more footsteps followed, more shuffling, the pounding of boots, of adult feet striking the ground, rushing by.
Alys struggled in the boy’s arms. She wanted to let him know that she was a friend, that she would help him. It was useless, however. The boy held his hand too securely over her lips.
Gunshots in the distance caught Alys’s attention, and then came more shouts and hurrying footsteps. Gunshots? Surely no one intended physical harm to these two, did they?
She had to do something. Quickly, Alys took stock of where she was. Over to her right was her home—within running distance—and beside her house was the secret place, that place known only to Alys and her mother…
It was a special locale, a part of Alys’s heritage that might prove to be the salvation of these two outcasts, if she could make them understand. Could she?
She had to try. Motioning toward the house, Alys pointed at the two Indians, then flapped her hands like wings, trying to show an image of birds, flying away free. Would he understand?
The young boy followed her hand motions for a moment, then tugged at her to remain still. He looked away.
Alys tried again. Point to the house, to the Indians, a bird flying away free. Once more, over and over. It took a few more gestures before the boy frowned, looking down at Alys, at her hands, at the house.
More voices, more footsteps coming toward them.
Alys gestured again.
With a stern frown at her, the boy loosened his grip, allowing Alys to whisper, “I know a secret way out of the fort.”
Would he believe her? Did he understand she meant to help him?
Dark eyes glared into her own.
“It’s at the side of my home.” She motioned toward the house.
“There is nothing there, white girl; a house, a wall, no more. Do you try to trap us?”
Alys didn’t say a word. And perhaps it was her silence that accounted for her redemption.
He asked, “How we escape there?”
“In our root cellar,” Alys was quick to answer, “my mother’s and mine. There is a hidden tunnel.”
“What is this…root cellar?”
Alys pointed to a set of bushes that almost, but not quite, hid the wooden doors of the cellar. “There,” she said. “See it? It goes down to a passage underground. It’s like a cave. It leads to the hills.”
She could see him hesitate, watched as indecision played across his features. At last, though, he volunteered, “You show us.”
They waited until the approaching footsteps faded away. Then he prodded her forward, and she fled as fast as her small legs would carry her, on and on toward the side of her yard, with the two Indians following close on her heels.
“Here.” She pushed her way into the bushes and pulled at the doors of the cellar. They wouldn’t give. She almost cried.
The Indian boy came to her rescue, tugging on the doors and hauling them up.
“Hurry.” She motioned to the two of them to enter. Quickly, they did as she bid, fleeing down into the cellar, Alys coming in after them and dragging the doors shut behind her. Instantly, all was darkness inside, but it didn’t bother Alys. She merely sighed in relief.
“This is trap,” the boy said, his knife coming once more to Alys’s neck. Maybe he didn’t like the darkness, Alys considered.
“No,” she insisted, unafraid. “I’ll show you.”
Lifting a rug on the floor, Alys uncovered a small earthen mound. Brushing the dirt away, Alys pointed to a meager trapdoor.
Pulling on the door, she glanced up toward the boy, barely able to make out his features in the darkness.
“Come,” she said and dropped down to the ladder. Down and down she climbed, her two charges following.
Plunging to the stone floor of the cavern below, Alys fumbled in the dark until she found the lantern her mother always kept there. Checking first to make sure it was working properly, she lit the wick, instantly throwing a shadow of light throughout the cave. Instinctively, she took the hand of the Indian boy.
“Hold hands,” she instructed and began to lead the two of them through the tunnels. The darkness of the caves, their earthy smells and coolness had never bothered Alys. They were a part of her family, a part of her.
She and her mother came here often, hunting a treasure that had been lost here long ago. Although if Alys were honest, she would admit that sometimes she sought out the comfort of the caves for pleasure alone, these caverns being a legacy to her from her father.
“If you lead us back to…that village, white girl, I will kill you.”
“I know.” Alys hesitated. “But I won’t. I promise you.”
He let out a snort. “The vow of a white girl.”
“The word of Alys Clayton.” She might not be aware of it, but Alys lifted her chin. “Not all white people are bad.”
He didn’t say a word, though another menacing growl escaped his throat.
Well, what did it matter anyway? She would show him. Wasn’t it what her mother had always told her, that actions, not words, were important? It took an hour or so of careful travel, but she didn’t falter in her step. She knew the way.
The tunnel climbed slowly, gradually, until at last, up ahead, she could see light, hear the rush of a waterfall.
Ah, the great falls, behind which lay the tunnel’s entrance. This was her most favorite spot in the world, isolated, untouched and unspoiled. No one else knew of the caverns or the beauty of these cliffs either, as far as she knew, since they were hidden on all sides by the height of the hills. At least, Alys silently corrected herself, no other white man knew of them.
Alys led their party underneath the falls, out onto the rocks and into the bright sunshine, allowing the two young people to adjust their eyesight to the light before she stated, “I don’t know where your people are, but I reckon you’ll be able to find them from here.”
The boy looked around him and inhaled a deep breath before glancing back at Alys and staring intently at her.
Then, without any expression on his face whatsoever, he murmured, “What strange manner is this? A white girl who keeps her word?”
Alys stiffened her spine before she responded, “I told you I would.”
He nodded. “So you did, white girl, so you did.”
The young Indian miss at his side didn’t seem as devoid of human emotion as her male counterpart, however, and she came up to Alys, hugging her profusely and saying something in a very strange tongue.
The lad translated, “She says something good will come to you.”
Alys nodded, smiling. Then it occurred to her. “She doesn’t speak English?”
“So she could not even understand the teacher?”
The boy remained silent, though when he gazed down at Alys, he suddenly smiled, the first cheerful emotion Alys had seen on his face. The action made him look younger still, innocent, and oh, so very handsome. Alys gaped at him, admiring his long dark hair that fell back from his face. The cooling breeze from the falls brought tiny droplets to his tanned skin; his dark eyes, surprisingly full of approval for her, watched her closely. Alys couldn’t help herself. Gazing back, she fell instantly under his spell.
Slowly, the boy took a piece of jewelry from around his neck. A round, single white shell dangled from a chain of bleached buckskin. He drew it over Alys’s head and settled it around her neck.
“Soka’pii, good.” His right hand signed the meaning of the word in a single gesture. “Looks good on you.”
With the tip of his finger, he tilted her face up toward his. “I will remember you always, young white girl, and what you have done for me and my sister.”
So, thought Alys, thè Indian girl was his sister. Pleased by the realization, she said, pointing to herself, “Alys.”
“Aa-lees,” the young lad rolled her name smoothly over on his tongue.
She pointed to him. “And your name is?”
He shook his head. “A warrior does not repeat his own name. To do so would be dishonorable.”
“But I would like to know…”
She was interrupted by the boy saying something to his sister, again in that strange tongue.
With a quick glance up at Alys, the Indian girl spoke, and, pointing to her brother, said, “Ki’somm-makoyi.”
“Ki’somm-makoyi,” Alys whispered. “That is your name?”
“What does it mean?”
“I cannot say.”
He took a deep breath, grinned at her slightly, then said, pointing to himself, “This one is called Moon Wolf.”
She smiled up at him. “Moon Wolf, I will never forget you.”
He stared into her eyes, his look serious, before he volunteered, “Come with us, young Aa-lees. Come with us and I promise that when we grow older, I will take you for wife and show you great honor for what you have done for us this day.”
Under any other circumstance, Alys might have chuckled, the thought absurd for one so young. Yet there was a somberness to his words that she couldn’t discount. “I cannot,” she replied, her voice sounding strangely adult. “I would bring you more trouble if I went with you. No one in the fort would rest until I was found.”
He inclined his head. “That is true. For a small girl, you speak with wise tongue. But still,” his chin shot up in the air, “no matter what others would do, I would honor you in this way.”
His words, or perhaps it was the pride in his manner, reached out to her, its effect on her profound, and she felt herself responding to the boy, tears of appreciation, maybe even joy, coming to her eyes. She said, “I cannot. My mother would miss me too much.”
He remained silent for many moments before he nodded at last. “So it will be,” he uttered, “but know that though you choose to stay behind, I will carry your image with me, here,” he held his hand to his heart, “for so long as this one should live.”
Alys stared. These were strong words, a powerful declaration, for a boy not much older than she, and Alys contemplated him in silence for several seconds, afraid to move lest she spoil the moment. Slowly, he brought his hand up to run his fingers over her cheek, his touch gentle; he reached up with one of his fingers to trace the path of her tears, before bringing that same finger to his own cheek. “And now,” he whispered, touching his face with her own tears, “a part of you is a part of me.”
He didn’t wait for her to respond. All at once, he turned and fled, disappearing with his sister down the rocks and into the countryside as though they belonged to it.
Alys fingered her cheek for what seemed an eternity, letting the warmth of the sunshine wash over her and dry her face. In the distance she could hear the birds sing, while closer at hand, she could smell the perfumed scent of the grasses and wildflowers. Lightly, the wind ruffled her hair, lifting her spirit gently upward until she felt herself becoming a part of all this, a part of the natural course of things.
She would never forget this, never forget him. She couldn’t.
Alys had become, in the space of a moment, infatuated: She had fallen in love. A love that would last her a lifetime, she thought, no matter the state of her youth. And in that instant, she knew she would never be the same.
Hope y’all had a great weekend and are biting at the bit to start the new week. Well, at least happy to be getting back into the swing of things.
Hope you will all bear with me as I blog again about Grandfather George Randall. George wasn’t actually any blood relation to my husband or me, but he was a good friend. He lived with us for about 15-17 years, I can’t recall the exact number now. And when we moved East, George, being family to us by then, came with us.
After George died, Starr Miller, a good friend and reader, did some research on some of George’s acting parts, and so I thought I would share some good memories of Grandfather George once again.
Over to the left here is a picture taken of George and me when we were traveling back from the Stars in the Desert celebration. Although I don’t quite remember the date of this event, I believe is was somewhere in the late 90’s.
One would think I would remember his tribe, but I don’t exactly recall it. Goodness, I do have to work on my memory. I do believe that it might have been the Ojibway or Ojibwe tribe in the Northern Mid-West. George and I became friends when a friend of mine, Maria Ferrara, and I were working to establish a literacy project on the Blackfeet reservation. That’s when I was introduced to George.
Off to the left is another picture taken when George and I were at the Stars in the Desert event in New Mexico. And off to the right is a picture of George with Maria Ferrara when we were on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana.
The Following is a partial listing of some of George’s movies and television appearances. This partial list was put together by Starr Miller and her family — many, many thanks to Starr and family for their work on this.
Wakan – George appeared as Grampa White Owl
Durango Kids – George played the part of Doc
The Magnificent Seven TV Series – In this TV Series, his part was Shamon
Yellow Wooden Ring – as Takota (I so love this name, Takota)
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman – as Little Thunder
Scalps — we don’t know more about the part he play in this movie
The Indian in the Cupboard — George played the part of the old chief who died suddenly
Off to the right here, is George — of course standing next to the pretty girl. We used to kid George that he had a girl in every port (so to speak). Indeed, once George told us a story about him patiently awaiting a bus, when a woman suddenly rushed up to him (one he didn’t know) and suddenly kissed him, right there in the street, stating she thought he was so handsome.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed the blog today. A friend of George’s in the Los Angeles area, is putting together a “Go Fund Me” page in order to help pay for George’s Memorial and burial — or in this case paying the fee to obtain his ashes, since cremation was George’s wish.
We miss George in many different ways. We don’t have the heart yet to go through all his things, and we still have the door to his room closed (as he liked it to be), in honor of him. We also know that George is in a good place, and will bring much joy to those wherever he may be.
Would love to hear any comments you have today on the blog, any memories you have of your elders, or grandparents or of your dearly departed loved ones. So be sure to come on in. Also, in honor of George, I’ll be giving away a paperback book of SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE, which is part of the Blackfoot Warrior Series. It was really while working on the literacy project on the Blackfeet reservation where my husband and I became friends with George.
Of course, all our rules for give-aways apply — they are listed here on our site over to the right of the page. But please do come on in and if you please, share some of your own thoughts and experiences with me.
This is a win it before you can buy it kind of day.
I have a wonderful new Love Inspired Western due to release next month and the members of the Love Inspired Book Club (through Reader’s Service) already have this book and I’m so glad that these thousands of early readers are loving it…
It’s a beautiful story. The one we’ve been waiting for, the third Fitzgerald sister has come to Idaho and she doesn’t come meek and mild.
Charlotte Fitzgerald may have been raised as a cossetted little Southern Belle but she’s hit the wall now that her no-good father stranded his daughters with no money, no jobs and a tractor load of debt… not to mention he kind of ran the family’s good name through a wood chipper, then a meat grinder for good measure…
But Charlotte’s a game one. She’s finished veterinary school with an internship in horse care and she’s been raised around Fitzgerald horses from the cradle. If there’s one thing Char knows, it’s horses… and now she knows how to provide their medical care, so that’s a big plus in a northern region that’s embracing all kinds of new ranches, including her uncle’s multi-million dollar operation that she’ll get a part of if she can work from the ranch for one year.
One year is nothing to Char… she’s ready to spread her wings and fly with her brand new (and heavily mortgaged) mobile veterinary van, the likes of which Shepherd’s Crossing has never seen… but not everyone who’s taken to horses takes to Fitzgeralds and when Charlotte is called in to pass judgment on a group of badly neglected horses… and disagrees with the older, established vet in the area… she sets herself up for a fight. And when the handsome Native American horse breeder agrees with her, and saves a horse his family shares a bad history with, the stakes get higher.
Trust doesn’t come easy to Char… And honesty is clutch with Isaiah so can he see the past for what it is before it ruins the present? And is Char willing to give him a second chance after all she’s been through?
This is a great story of two strong people with vigorous roots and how sometimes those roots can twist and turn the wrong way, strangling the tree… but with the right care and trimming, even the threatened tree can thrive.
(Sorry, we’re having technical difficulties, the picture comes through as broken no matter which one I use or where I put it… silly blog! A bit temperamental today, I’d say! Here’s a link so you can see this great cover: LINK TO HEALING THE COWBOY’S HEART! )
Does forgiveness come easy to you? Or do you have to dig deep to move beyond things?
Give me a comment below and let’s talk grudge-holding and forgiveness. I came from a long line of grudgeholders on the Herne and Logan sides of the family, and those folks made the Hatfields and McCoys look like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood… so you know what I’m talking about!
I don’t hold grudges. It’s like the most unhealthy thing you can do, it’s so destructive to relationships but mostly to us. To our hearts, our souls, our mental health. Forgive and move on…
It’s been two weeks and two days since Grandfather George — George Randall — passed away. He was five weeks short of turning 99 years old.
I thought I’d dedicate this post to George and tell you a little about his adventurous life.
This picture off to the left was taken at our house in Los Angeles when George turned 90 years old. The woman with him is George’s adopted daughter.
George is not a blood relative of ours, But in the Native American Tradition of calling all of one’s elders Grandfather or Grandmother, we addressed him as Grandfather.
Some time around 2000, George came to us looking for a place to live. Although we didn’t have an extra room, we did have a fully stocked Motor Home. Because he often told me that he did best as a loner, he was happy to claim the motor home as his own. That began our fifteen or more years of enjoying George’s company.
George was American Indian from his father’s side of the family, I believe, and as a young man, he spent an adventurous life traveling across the country. He used to tell me that he called this period of his life his “ho-bo” days.
But that life became boring to him, and he turned to mining in the desert of California. Now, my husband and his brother had once been miners, and so George and my husband shared many stories with me of their mining days with me.
Off to the right here is a picture of George in 2015, at a family outing. Looks like a cold day, doesn’t it?
George told me once that he was a loner, and although my husband and I often encouraged him to talk about himself, it was like trying to squeeze sap from the bark of a tree.
He married and he loved his wife dearly, but there were no children from that marriage. When she passed away, long before I knew George, George developed an interest in acting, and, since he lived in the LA area, that became the center of his life.
Off to the left here is another picture of George at the same family outing.
George loved acting, and it was his dream to help others learn the art and craft of acting. There are many people today who enjoy film careers because of the classes that George gave at Celebrity Center, Church of Scientology, in Hollywood, CA. He was proud of his accomplishments and the people that he helped to become actors and actresses. I’ve tried to find a listing of all his films in his belongings, but so far, I have a very incomplete listing — and Googling it didn’t seem to help. So let me tell you about some of the films and TV appearances that I know about.
Here is another family picture that includes George. George was the old Indian man who fell over dead in the movie, “The Indian in the Cupboard.” He also had a role in the movie, “Con-Air.” Some of his TV appearances included roles in “Medicine Woman,” which was a popular show in the 1980’s and 1990’s. What I’m hoping is that some of those actors who knew George’s acting career, might see this post and tell me a little about other roles that he enjoyed.
I first became friends with George in the late 1990’s, when my husband and I were working with some representatives of the Blackfeet on the Blackfeet Reservation to establish a literacy project.
George volunteered his time and efforts at helping with this project, and he made several trips to the Blackfeet reservation and was present at their Grand Opening. His efforts and his willingness to help without asking for anything in return endeared him to mine and many others’ hearts. And to this day, we will always be grateful for his help.
Here is a picture snapped at a book signing in 2010 in southern California. There was a time when Grandfather George was taking many, many pictures.
When we moved to the East Coast, Grandfather George decided to come with us, since we all felt as though he had become part of the family. Some things to know about George was that he was drug-free, had a good grip on his memory and loved to walk, although for about the last year, he no longer tried to negotiate any stairs. He kept his mental capabilities in good order and really, up until the last month of his life, he was in good physical health. As an aside, George told us once that he attributed his long life to the fact that he did not believe in doctors, and that he stayed away from them. He was also drug-free.
The picture to the right here is probably the latest picture we have of George, taken when we all (including our dog) took a trip to Montana.
There will be a memorial service for George at Celebrity Center, Church of Scientology, in Hollywood, CA. The exact time and day of the service is yet to be determined, but for any of you who live in the LA area, please feel free to contact the Church for more information on when that service will be.
In the words of L. Ron Hubbard, who was a good friend to George:
“Where has all the history gone? Long time passing…
Where has all the history gone? Long time ago….” (parody, Peter, Paul and Mary “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”)
I’m wearing a mix of hats today! My history-loving bonnet AND a modern day cowboy hat because this upcoming Love Inspired book is a contemporary Western romance with a great, tough heroine and a SWOON-WORTHY hero… that I hope you love!!!!
We live in different times.
When I look at middle grade and junior high history lessons now, they are very different from what I was taught… what my kids were taught… and what my grandchildren and friends’ children now see.
History is history. But it can be viewed through varied perspectives.
It is rife with mistakes, horror, trials and triumph. It is never one-sided. From the earliest written times and the earliest Biblical references, man has been as inclined to sin as the sparks to fly upward.
People lust for power. For sex. For money. And for some it is never enough, the head rush of being powerful, sexual and rich only adds oxygen to an already fuel-rich fire… and they want more.
That said, there are other sides to history as well.
My Celtic heritage on the Logan side faced rough odds. For nearly nine centuries the Vikings ruled Ireland after defeating the Celts in the first century A.D. 900 years + or -…. When the Irish king Brian Boru waged a successful battle against them, the Viking power over Ireland was razed, but then came the Normans…. and centuries of English domination and rule when Irish land was taken from the Irish and doled out to English landowners… and the Irish pushed to less fertile lands or turned into share-holders. From Cromwell’s reign of terror from 1649 on, Irish Catholics were slaughtered, tortured and jailed and/or excised from their lands. A few generations later came the potato famine, a scourge that starved a nation but pushed many to a new opportunity, here in America or Australia.
Ireland wasn’t the only country that England claimed and re-distributed, of course. Our own America was formed in some large part by land grants given to English aristocrats. There was no or little thought given to the American Indians/Native Americans because the idea of “owning” land and distributing it through a legal process wasn’t part of their culture.
An ocean apart, and huge differences in formation of culture, science, language, mathematics… So when America “bought” the west in the Louisiana purchase, it seemed normal to the government. This had been the European model for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Of course it didn’t seem one bit normal to the Natives occupying American prairies or mountains or woodlands, did it?
It was an abomination. A threat. Much like Ireland and other countries that were invaded and taken over by expansionist nations, their claims fell on the deaf ears of the more powerful.
Studying history, we can see the both sides…. Downton Abbey, one of the most watched and loved shows on modern TV showed the ups and downs of a prestigious English family as their days waned in light of a rising middle class. But those same rich people, hundreds of years before, helped fund expeditions to new lands and opened travel and opportunity, the very beginning that forged our land. America. The United States… and then we fought for that freedom and did the unthinkable…
And began our western expansion a few dozen years later.
Writing a modern-day Western with Native American characters isn’t easy. I tackled this in “Healing the Cowboy’s Heart”, my upcoming release from Love Inspired books…. how a Nez Perce family that chose land instead of the reservation (an option offered and chosen by some) can feel out of step with the past, and at odds with the present when the land they owned and sold is now worth millions…
And did you know that the Nez Perce tribe (a total misnomer because they never had pierced noses…) embraced the Christian faith quickly because they believed in one God, the Father Almighty already… So immersing themselves into the Christian faith didn’t require a leap… but giving up their land, their autonomy was a really hard thing to do. And like Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” where young girls drive a dynamic that kills innocent people, young warriors launched an attack that resulted in a tragic war between the American army and the Nez Perce… A tragic story spawned by foolhardy, angry teens.
The American West is an ever-changing dynamic, but even so, romance and families and faith and cowboys make up a lot of that dynamic. There is something downright good about working the land and forging a life from it… and yes, there are winners and losers in war. There are things that happen that should never have happened. There is a cruelty in some men that can sicken the normal loving, caring person. But when we look and see that is the exception– not the rule– that’s when we realize we can learn from history. We should study history. And we should take and open view…
But we shouldn’t change history to fit our current narrative.
For every teacher that decries the explorers that first crossed the ocean, there’s a home they go to. An address they claim. A house or an apartment and a car or a subway or something linking them to the USA.
Without that history, those explorers, those navigators and those aristocratic land grants and land purchases, we wouldn’t exist here today.
Once discovered, it was clear that powerful countries would have their day and their say in this new land. History does that… it repeats itself quite often, so telling this story of a Nez Perce hero, a man whose work and passion is to re-develop the beloved and esteemed Appaloosa the Nez Perce made famous… and the horse doctor whose family bought up land… land that is now worth millions… and the anger that simmers over old wrongs and tragic mistakes.
This is what I hope when readers enjoy this story… that they’ll see a beautiful romance! A great love story. A story that makes them sigh, smile, and sigh some more. Here’s a link to this upcoming book on Amazon: HEALING THE COWBOY’S HEART BY RUTH LOGAN HERNE
I’m giving away two copies today (when they arrive on my doorstep) so that you can read the book and offer your opinion, dear readers… I hope what you see is a well-told modern story where the past can trip the heels of the present, but where faith, hope and love stand strong.
What’s your take on history, friends? I’m on the road today, traveling to Baltimore for the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, so I might not get on until later… But everyone who comments will be in the drawing for these two “Win ’em before you can buy ’em” books!