It’s Release Day! It’s Release Day!

Culpepper_1I’m so excited!

Today is release day for my new book, I, John Culpepper!! Ahoy, Sailor!

I began writing this book in August of last year, but the more I researched, the more interesting stuff I found, so…the book…became FOUR BOOKS. It morphed into the Culpepper Saga, beginning with John’s childhood, segueing into the English Civil War, moving across the ocean to the colony of Virginia, and finally finding inner peace and acceptance. It seems like I’ve been writing the story forever, and when I put it like that, I guess I have been…well, at least 60 years worth of writing. The tale begins in 1606 in England and is the life-story of my 10th great-grandfather, John Culpepper.

The Culpepper family has been traced by many genealogists back to the 12th century in England. They were a political family who served the monarchy for generations. Though my favorite Culpepper patriarch has always been John Culpepper of Wigsell, who lived in the 16th century, I ended up writing the book series about his grandson, also named John Culpepper. Maybe someday I’ll go back and tell his grandpa’s story.

John was born in Kent, England in 1606 and was surrounded by a cast of interesting family members including his above mentioned grandfather, his brother Thomas who served as a colonel in the king’s army, his uncle Sir Alexander Culpepper who was a knight under King James and King Charles I, and his cousin Lord Culpepper first baron of Thoresway who served under three kings. But none made a bigger impression on John than his overbearing father, Johannes, who was a prominent lawyer in London. His father insisted John attend law school, but John wanted instead to command a mighty ship. This dream strained their relationship, and his father threatened to disown him when it came time to purchase a ship. Instead of receiving daddy’s help, John got funding from his older brother, Thomas, and records show the name of the ship being the Thomas and John. Records also show John in the colony of Virginia upon the occasion of his father’s death.

The first book in the Culpepper Saga, I, John Culpepper, is the story of John’s childhood, his strained relationship with his father, meeting the lovely woman who would eventually become his wife, and starting his career as a ship merchant. In the three sequels, we will find John’s ship becoming a lifeboat that keeps the family from certain execution during the English Civil War, and John’s unwanted law-school education becoming the only thing standing between life and death for his youngest son. In retrospect, maybe John’s father wasn’t the bad guy John always thought him to be.

Everything happens for a reason, especially for John Culpepper.

I, John Culpepper is available at Amazon.

For photos and paintings of the people and places in the series, visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

OKATIBBEE CREEK on Amazon

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY OF OKATIBBEE CREEK …and don’t forget the tissue.

okatibbee creek cover front JPEGIn the bloodiest years of our nation’s history, a young mother was left alone to endure the ravages of the Civil War and a typhoid epidemic that threatened the lives of everyone left behind.

Okatibbee Creek is based on the true story of Mary Ann Rodgers, who survived the collapse of the Confederate dollar, food shortages, and the deaths of countless family members to war and disease. As she searched for a way to feed her children and her orphaned nieces and nephews, Sherman’s Union army marched through Mississippi on their way to destroy Meridian, and Mary Ann found the distant war literally on her doorstep. Help arrived just in the nick of time in the form of an unexpected champion, and Mary Ann emerged on the other side a heroic woman with an amazing story.

Okatibbee Creek is a novel of historical fiction that brings the Deep South vividly to life and will have you cheering and crying through a real-life story of loss, love and survival.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY OF OKATIBBEE CREEK

“Stuckey’s Bridge”

Pick up a Kindle copy of “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge”! Hop over to Amazon and tell ’em Old Man Stuckey sent ya!

Enjoy…and sweet dreams!

Click HERE 

Stuckey's cover_webIn 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river.

Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed.

Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again.

To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name. If you travel down to Stuckey’s Bridge, be careful, for not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.

Saturday Snippet – STUCKEY’S LEGACY

unnamedWhile writing The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge, the main character came across a young boy. The boy ended up being nearly as creepy as the main character, and I received tons of emails asking me to elaborate on the boy’s life. No one is that creepy without having some sort of lurid past. So, I penned Stuckey’s Legacy. The boy’s name is Levi, and he is a dark character. Creepy doesn’t quite describe him…

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The starlit night was perfect for a romantic walk, and it would have been pleasurable to stroll the streets for a while in the balmy night air, but Levi had more immediate plans for his escort. He marched her to the nearest hotel and checked in under the name Thomas Stuckey.

“I thought your name was Joe.” The girl giggled as she entwined her arms in his.

“It is Joe, but I don’t want to put that on the hotel register.”

They kissed as they staggered up the stairs, laughing all the way up to their room on the top floor of the three-story hotel.

Following their lovemaking session, Grace lay in Levi’s arms and listened to him tell her all about the fancy people he was going to be friends with on Jekyll Island, about Cornelius Bliss’s death, and about the New Year’s Eve Gala tickets he’d found when he broke onto Mr. Pulitzer’s yacht.

She rolled over onto her stomach, crossed her arms across his bare chest, and looked at his face. Her blonde ringlets danced across her face and he softly pushed them from her temple.

“You’re really quite pretty, you know that?”

She blushed. “Then why don’t you take me with you?”

“Oh, that’s out of the question, dear. I’m going to meet wealthy society people, and I don’t think you’ll fit in.”

“Well, what makes you think you’ll fit in?” she teased.

“Don’t you think I’m one of them?” Levi frowned.

“Mister, I grew up in the Charleston Orphan House. I know a poor orphan when I see one.”

“Well, I never lived at the Charleston Orphan House, but it’s true I’m an orphan.”

She looked at him like a lovesick schoolgirl and waited for him to elaborate.

“I was orphaned years ago. My father was a drunk. He killed my mother right in front of me when I was eight years old.”

Grace gasped.

Levi continued. “He strangled her after he caught her fooling around with a man from up the road. He murdered both of them in a fit of drunken rage.” Levi looked away from her and stared at the ceiling.

“I’m sorry. You probably loved her very much, huh?”

“I don’t know. I thought I did for a long time, but my father pounded into my head that my mother was not worthy of my love. She was a whore.”

Grace grinned. “Well, I’m a whore. It’s not all bad.”

He looked at her with surprise. He didn’t think of her like that, but it was true. “I guess you are, aren’t you?”

“What happened to your father?”

“I killed him,” Levi said flatly and looked back at the ceiling.

After a few uncomfortable seconds, Grace giggled. “No, really, what happened to your father?”

He looked her in the eye. “I killed him.” He paused to watch her expression and was satisfied with the look of fear in her eyes.

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Stuckey’s Legacy is available at Amazon.

Saturday Snippet – OKATIBBEE CREEK

okatibbee creek cover front JPEGOkatibbee Creek takes place in Mississippi during the Civil War and is based on a true story. Our heroine, Mary Ann, has been left alone with the children while the men in her family are off fighting. I don’t think she’s as fragile as the Yankees assume.

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I can hear Charlie screaming for me as he runs up the road. He flies in the front door of the store, shouting that the Union Army is coming down the street. Oh, no, here we go. Apparently I am now in the middle of this war. Unfortunately, on this day, I have all of the children with me: my three, William’s four, and James’s five.

I order the boys to run to the field in back and chase the hog and the horse into the woods. I order the girls to take every jug, every crock, and every jar of food from the store and the cellar, put them in the attic, barricade the door, and stay there. Then I load my rifle. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let these disgraceful, plundering Yankees ruin my life any more than they already have. And I will kill every last one of them before I let them harm the children. When the Yankees arrive, I will be more than ready for them.

I watch for them out the front window of the store. My palms are sweating. My heart is pounding out of my chest. My breathing is heavy. I can also feel my anger rising like flames from the very depths of Hell. My hands are shaking, though I don’t know if it is from fear or rage. I can hear them coming before I can see them. Their horses are clomping on the dry road and there is a jingling sound from their spurs and saddles. Sure enough, they stop right in front of my store. There are three of them on horseback dressed in their blue uniforms. They are filthy and unshaven and a bit thin and weary. I slowly emerge through the doorway onto the wooden front porch with my loaded rifle in my hands.

“What do you want?” I yell to the Yankees.

“Do you have any food here?” one of them asks, though it sounds more like a demand than a question.

“No, I don’t have any food,” I say, surprised at the sound of the strength in my own voice even though my statement is a bold lie.

“Is your husband home?” the second one asks.

“No. You already killed him,” I reply, with venom in my tone that would scare off any other man, but they don’t move.

“Is there a man of the house here?” the third one asks.

“No, there are no men here, just me.” I raise my gun slightly.

“You need to put that gun away, ma’am. We just want some food. We’re not here to hurt anyone. You have to have some kind of food in that store,” the first one says with a cocky smile on his unshaven face, as he climbs down from his horse. He removes his dusty hat and takes a couple steps toward me.

“I already told you, I don’t have any food,” I say slowly without raising my voice. I do, however, raise my gun to my shoulder and point it squarely at the man’s face. The two Yankees still on horseback put their hands on their pistols.

The man on the ground stops moving and holds up his free hand to the other two to keep them from drawing their weapons. Again, he starts to move toward me.

I cock the hammer. Again, he stops.

We seem to be at a stalemate. But what he doesn’t know is that the rage inside me will have no trouble blowing his damn head off. We stare each other directly in the eye and neither of us moves.

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Lori Crane Books at Amazon and audiobook at Audible.

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“Elly Hays” named semi-finalist!

book-contest-semi-finalistMy book “Elly Hays” was named semi-finalist in the 2014 Authorsdb Book Cover Contest! I love this cover best of all my books. It was designed by Elite Book Design and is awesome!!!

The distinction wasn’t for the book itself, only the cover, but check it out anyway. It’s a really, really good story if I do say so myself. It’s the story of my 5th great grandmother during the War of 1812. It has received 14 reviews on Amazon totaling 4.5 stars, and it generally sits in the Top 100 of Native American stories over there, and has for the last year since its release in October 2013.

 

elly cover_webBlurb

As the War of 1812 approached, the Creek Indian Nation was in the middle of a civil war. They fought brutally between themselves, as well as with the white settlers who were encroaching upon tribal land.  

It was during this time Elly’s family moved to the eastern Mississippi Territory for the promise of low-cost land and fertile soil. She had no idea they were moving into Creek territory – into the middle of a hornet’s nest. Tafv’s band of warriors taunted them, stealing their property, killing their animals, and destroying their livelihood. Just when the family thought things couldn’t get any worse, during one of the Indian raids as Elly’s husband chased the Indians away from the farm, Tafv’s young son was killed in the pursuit. Tafv vowed revenge against Elly’s family, and a final showdown was imminent.
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“Elly Hays” is based on the real-life story of Elizabeth Hays Rodgers and is the epic clash between a fearless warrior with nothing to lose and a young mother on the verge of losing everything.
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Lori Crane Books at Amazon