A brief description of the novel “Moon Dancer”

Okay. We have two sons of the heroes of the Ray Corngrower saga, One is Amos Corngrower and the other Tim Littlefeather. They are both Deputies on the Creek County Sheriff’s Department.

From the tribal history comes something referred to as “The Great Evil”, a spirit that possesses a huge razorback hog. Add to that an earthquake has warmed a section of the Illinois River which allows alligators to come up the Arkansas River. While Tim is assigned to deal with the gators, Amos must undergo a ritual that has him possessed by Spanish Crow (His ancestor from the 1700’s )who had disposed  the “Great Evil” not only in his life, but in many lives afterward.

Did he do it and if he did how did he do it? I dunno’ you gotta read the book. LOL

JC

Old Satan or how to tame a mean rooster

I was around ten years old when I won a shooting match with one of the neighbor kids. We were shooting pennies laying flat on the top of a wooden fence post. I was using my pellet rifle while he was using his .22.  While I don’t remember what I had to give if I lost, I wound up with a Bantum rooster and three hens.I carried them home in a tow sack and as soon as I dumped them in our chicken yard the rooster attacked my leg, so we called him “Old Satan”.We had both chickens and ducks and Old Satan wasted no time in showing hem all who was boss. Every time I’d go to gather eggs Old Satan would be laying for me. I’d come out of the chicken pen bleeding from his spurs and pecks. My grandmother wouldn’t let me shoot him, but there was many times I’d stare at him while sharpening axes or a knife..One day my grandmother got a ride to town to go shopping. (We didn’t have a car and lived five miles from town) Cousin Raymond and I was sitting on the back porch whittling and spitting as we played the “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” game.Giving Old Satan his daily “I hate you and one day will kill you!” look. I get an idea.”I know!” I told Raymond. “Let’s get Old Satan drunk!” Raymond thought that was a splendid idea. He went out to catch the rooster while I got an eye dropper and raided Poppa’s “medicine” from where it was hidden under his bed. (So he could have a snort if his heart got to hurting him at night.) Raymond has Old Satan when I bring the eye dropper and I squirt it into his open beak, then we set him down. Nothing. I go get a second eye dropper full. Raymond said the rooster was much easier to catch that time. After the second shot Old Satan lost his mind. Half running, half falling he jumped everything in the pen including the ducks, male and female alike, all the time sounding a half crow. Just as he missed the top wire and flew into the fence, my grandmother came home. Oh my! Glad she thought it was funny, but we did get a lecture about wasting Poppas medicine. But yuh know. After that Old Satan was like a puppy that followed me everywhere when I went to gather eggs.

JC

 

 

 

I Like Pie

I have posted this before, but it seems to have vanished. Hope that you enjoy it. JC

It was a different time and place in the Oklahoma of my youth. Instead of Special Taxes and Levees when as school needed new text books or play ground equipment they would raise money by having a Pie Auction. A Pie Auction is where the local ladies would make picnic baskets including a homemade pie and the menfolk would bid on them. The winner not only got a great meal, but the pleasure of the company of the woman who prepared it. If he was lucky and she wasn’t spoke for, she might even consent to take a stroll under that bright Oklahoma moon and if he was very Lucky he might even get a kiss.

Now don’t get me wrong. This was back before sex was invented. Not even married folk “did it”. I really don’t understand how our species survived … But I digress.

These social functions were popular and had something for everyone. After the auction there’d be a barn dance for the lovers, a jug out back for those with a thirst and usually a fistfight for those with a grudge. Yup. A good time was had by all.

In the summer of my thirteenth year I attended my first auction as a bidder.

I had worked all week in the hot summer sun clearing brush for Old Man Allen, the meanest cheapest man in the county. He was so cheap the bologna sandwich he furnished for lunch to the hired hands cost them a dollar.  When you are making fifty cents an hour that is a costly meal.

On Friday I drew wages and headed for home where I spent the evening shining my boots with lard, wiping the wrinkles from my Sunday -Go-To- Meeting clothes and scrubbing my hide in a Number Three washtub. (Our water came from a well and was heated on a wood burning stove) Saturday dragged like Cousin Raymond pulling that plow the year Tippy the mule went lame. But by the time I finished my chores it was almost time to go.

I changed into my fancy duds only to find that Tippy just had a nice dust bath. So it was back inside to change into my work clothes while I brushed her down and saddled her. Redressed in my good clothes we started for the Reverend’s  house where the auction was to be held.   Arriving a couple hours early I was put to good use setting up chairs and tables. Once finished I stooged around watching people starting to arrive.

A few days earlier my Uncle Howard, who was the auctioneer and I made a plan. The baskets were numbered and no one except my Uncle knew which basket was made by who. He promised he’d give me a sign when the cook was someone he thought I’d like.

It seemed like forever until the auction started with everyone exchanging “how do’s” and gossiping about stock prices and who was the witch that turned Mr. Reynold’s cows milk sour. Then finally the auction began.  I grab a chair and realize my best friend and chief competitor Woody Franks and his rich daddy are sitting right in front of me.

No hawk ever watched a rabbit any closer than I watched my Uncle, but the beds rolled on and on without him even glancing in my direction. I began to think that he had forgotten about me when suddenly he looked me right in the eye and raised his little finger in the sign we had agreed on and the bidding began. The only problem was that Woody saw the signal too and figured what it meant.

Back in those days money was money with most high bids in the four or five dollar range, But that amount was soon long past with just Woody and I bidding against each other in fifty cent increments.  When he bid the unheard of amount of ten dollars I start to sweat. I only have eleven dollars and fifty cents to my name.  Determined to do or die I brought the bid up a buck instead of the usual fifty cents and saw Woody’s dad dig an elbow into his ribs which ended the bids.

She was beautiful.

While the strains of time has erased her name and what was in the picnic basket, if I ever knew. I may have eaten the paper napkins as well. She was down from Kansas visiting kin, but was going home the next day. Yes she consented to a stroll and yes I got my first kiss from a real live girl.

On the way home Tippy seemed to be walking on air while my mind followed my heart somewhere north of the Kansas border.

To this day I still like pie.

JC

 

The Arizona Dry

Some time ago I lived near Paulden, Arizona which is north of Prescott. I lived in a mobile home park called Sunset Lake (or something like that) The big surprise is there had not been a lake anywhere near there in several million years.

I love the desert states with a metal detector in hand looking for the yellow iron (gold nuggets) the weight of a short gun on your hip for snakes both with no legs and two legs. (and both are there, believe me) and the atv just waiting to carry me to better gold fields.

However. As magnificent as the Great Dry is one’s eyes start to yearn for something green.

I had been three hours navigating my old truck along a Forest Service road full of chuckholes and switchbacks up the side of a mountain dressed in sagebrush, cactus, dry rock and brown sand when I crested the hill. I slammed on the brakes in awe of the scene before me. An emerald green valley dotted with pine trees that were greener still and bordered by a rock face that sported every color imaginable. The reds gave way to pinks which gave way to blues and purples and the yellow turned green when it kissed the valley floor.  A stream appeared from one side of the valley to disappear back underground on the opposite side, but was shaded by large oaks in it’s journey from one side to the other. It was in such awe that I got out of the truck to thank the Great Artist for such beauty for my eyes to behold.

No. I didn’t prospect there as I would not do anything to disrupt the peace and tranquility, but yuh know. when it’s my time to go if I don’t make the cut. Maybe my spirit can return there.

JC

The Joy (?) of calf riding

In my sixth summer my cousin Raymond and his older brother Ronnie introduced me to calf riding.

We’d sneak into the rodeo grounds and while two would chase the calves used in the roping contest through the chutes. The third waited on top of the chute to jump off and straddle the beast for a quick ride. Usually the rides were not very long as there was nothing but ears (If you could grab them) to hang on to.

Being the youngest I was resigned to going last. My first try ended in failure as I misjudged the rate of speed, windage and elevation of rocket calf tearing through the chute. Instead of calf I landed face down in the fresh leavings of thousands of cow critters. Jest call me “Green Boy”. Didn’t have many who wanted to be around me except flies. Had a poopy outlook on life.

My second time around I landed in front of the calf. Didn’t bother it much. It just ran over me again putting me face down in the muck. A million flies applauded my efforts.

But the third time I got it, boys! I landed right in the middle of a rock hard spine traveling at Mach 1. Needless to say that is not the best thing to happen if you are male, but I am machismo boy (I’m lying. I was screaming and crying, but afraid to fall off) Had the calf not made a hard left turn and that kind oak board corral stopped me I may have had a great career singing soprano in a choir somewhere. The final result of all of this was after I returned home being with me my million pet flies, my grandmother telling all of our relatives that she thought I might be a bit off as apparently I liked to wear cow poop.

Techno-dinosaur at your service.

Yup. That’s me! The Techno-dinosaur. Though perhaps it is a derogatory term to some. In a way I take pride in it. When I run into a computer glitch I try working it out, but am never succesful. I call my publicist sniveling and sobbing. Elizabeth verbally pats my bald pate and tells me to go play computer games. She’ll take care of the problem.

Regular computers are not my only downfall. I once had a computerized commie coffeepot that only worked when it wanted to and that wasn’t often. I swear it took three hours to brew a pot of mighty mudd. (A most horrible thng for an author) It was given to me by my mother-in-law. My wife at the time said I couldn’t toss it as that would hurt the mom’s feelings. Thankfully two years later it tried hiding from me behind the tires of Ol Blue, my truck. I didn’t see it and ran over the poor thing five times. To this day I don’t know how it got behind that wheel.

Then the other day I’m sitting in the sty wearing my fingers down on the keyboard when my buddy pulls up in his new car. I made the appropriate ooos and ahhs, then he asks if I want to take it for a spin. I don’t busually drive other folks cars, but he insisted. I get in and there ain’t no place to put a key. I’m looking around and he says “Put on your seat belt and mash on the brake while pushing this button and saying this magic word.” “Ishabibble!” I yells and that mother comes to life. It has nine gears in an automactic transmission and more durn bells, whisles and buttons than you can shake a stick at. I reach up to adjust the rearview and some gal’s voice calls me by his name and asks what she can do for him.Durn thing was haunted I tell yuh!  I’m about to order a burger, mudd and a deck of smokes when he tells her there’s a new driver and calling her was a mistake. Can’t tell you how disppointed I was when the grub and the smokes didn’t pop out of the glovebox.

Off down the road we go. That little four cylinder putting my big V8 in Ol Blue to shame. I reach over to turn down the ac and the music from 500 speakers blows my eardrums into my head. I turned that varmint around!

Back in my yard, I’m making appreciative noises about his new car. I can see his mouth moving and his head bouncing up and down. Couldn’t hear a thing he said. Went back in the house and peeked out the window until he was gone. Once he was out of sight, I ran out and hugged Ol Blue. She ain’t new. She ain’t purty, but the engine starts everytime I turn the key and yuh know. That’s good enough for me. : )

JC

Just remembering my Alaska days

Once I was running a metal detector up the banks of an unnamed stream looking for the yellow iron. It was a beautiful day. The sky was a robin’s egg blue, the breeze was warm and birds flitted among the branches. I was wearing headphones, but had one ear uncovered in case some big ugly ill tempered critter took exception to my being there.

Working my way around a bend in the stream I came to an aburpt stop. Something was watching me. I look around to see a Robber Jay sitting on a limb looking at me as if to ask “What are you doing here? Don’t you know this is bear country?” Of course I know! But I’m Manly Man! Hunter of much gold! (Yeah , right) 

A few yards upstream I glance up to see something strange. It looks a lot like a huge bear’s head glaring at me over the tops of some ten foot trees. Nah! It can’t be! I mean it looks like a bear, but bears can’t be that tall … can they? Pretending I didn’t see it, i start backing slowly down the stream. Heck. There weren’t no gold here anyway and even if there was it wouldn’t be enough to bother with. Let the bear keep it. While I’m at it … Let the bear keep everything including the trees, ant fish in the stream, even the birds in the air! They are all yours Mr. Impossibly Big Bear! 

I back clear around the bend of the stream before releasing the snap on my holster. “You know that little popgun on your hip will just anger him all the more if you shoot him.” I tell myself. “Yeah but if I shoot him five times and me once, i won’t care how angry he gets! Right!”

 I shall not say that I turned and ran. That would be a misnomer. I turned a flew with a foot touching the ground about every thirty feet. Suddenly I’m only a hundred yards from the truck and closing too fast to radio the flight tower. One last log to hurtle and I’m in the truck. Safe! Heading back to where the bears are decent sized, not some disgustingly horrible thing that I just witnessed! Just as I clear the log I hear something in the brush behind me. “It’s the bear!” my mind screams. “It has come to masticate my delicious delicate bones in those awful yellow ivory fangs! It will rend my succulent flesh with those terrible claws! Draw your gun!”  I landed in mid turn wrenching hell out of my ankle. As I turned expecting top see two thousand pounds of ugly with an appetite about to pounce on me, I see the Robber Jay looking as if to say … “See? I told you this is bear country!” Crawling on all four, I made it to my truck and was glad to be going home. : )

JC

Excerpt from “Round Mountain: Book Two of the Trail of Blood on Ice Trilogy”

From the work in progress, “Round Mountain: Book Two of the Trail of Blood on Ice Trilogy”

Private Glen Johnson watched the retreat from the shallow ditch he was using as concealment. The Cherokees ran like rabbits with the mounted Creek after them like hounds. Once in a while one of the Cherokee would stop to pin his shadow to the ground by sticking his knife in the dirt, telling all that he would run no more, but would fight in this place until he fell. It showed great honor and courage, but the mounted riders swarmed over them like ants on a piece of dropped candy. The Rebs came behind them all, howling and screaming as if all the demented souls of hell had been loosed on the earth.

Glen thought about his Ma and Pa. He wondered if his sister Ellen had married that worthless Billy Warner. God, he hoped not. Billy was a known goat rustler and hog thief. Like his Ma said about him “Just no account. No way.”

The first Cherokee passed his position and Glen returned his attention to the business at hand. He was glad that the Creeks were mounted. It made it easier to tell one Indian from another. How the hell a whole group of people could look so alike was beyond him.

Drawing bead on the first rider he watched astounded when at least three bullets hit him at the same time knocking him from his horse as a dozen more bullets whistled through the place he had been. Glen drew bead on another Indian only to see the same thing happen again before he could squeeze he trigger. “Hell.” he said aloud. “Maybe I can get through this war without firing a shot.”

The third rider pounded toward him and Glen waited to see him shot as well, but this one seemed bullet proof. Though Glen could see the bullets tugging at the rider’s hair and nipping at the sides of his galloping horse, nothing seemed to stop him. It was like the red devil had singled him out to drag him into hell and torture him forever. At twenty paces away. Glen shot him off his horse. Swearing that he could see this undying horror still moving toward him, Glen shot him three more times just to be sure.

“Ya sumbitch!” Yelled Glen after the third shot. “Gonna poke out my eyes and chop off my nerts before hacking me to pieces and lifting my hair, were yuh! That’ll show you that Momma Johnsons little boy, Glen has more grit than you thought!”

The Creeks paid little attention to the Yankee soldiers. Their blood feud with the Cherokee dated back a hundred and thirty years when the Great Liar Andrew Jackson had come against the Creek Warrior Faction “The Red Sticks”. Jackson knew that without help he would never track the Creek through the many streams and swamps. Approaching the Cherokee who had once been brothers of the creek, he had promised that if the Cherokee helped him against the Creek they could keep their lands instead of being forcibly moved to a distant barren place called Indian Territory. The Cherokee fell for the false promises and lies. With their help the once mighty Creek Nation was not only defeated, but sent west under an armed guard. It was the beginning of The Trail of Tears that the Cherokee themselves would soon after follow.

Now the Creek wanted revenge and though many brave Cherokee fell, the Union troops took their toll on the mounted horsemen. The wave of riders had passed when the Rebels surged across the open ground, a human tidal wave of gray and butternut brown.

“Aw hell.” said Glen sighting his rifle into the advancing mass.

“Retreat!” yelled Waite seeing the mounted riders followed by the row upon row of white men. The command was repeated along the line and Glen noticed that not nearly as many blue coats left the field as had been stationed there.

The House in Banes Meadow in audio

Though this has been brought up before. I just signed a contract with a narrator to put my entire set of books on audio. The first will be The House in Banes Meadow. I’ll let you know when it’s available. Probably in a week or so.

The other night I heard a scratching at my door. As I went to the door to check it out I caught the strong smell of skunk. Thinking that the feral kitty I feed had finally gotten smart enough to want to come in and get away from the skunk, I opened the door. Yup. You got it. A half grown stinker was sitting on my doorstep. I reckon there wasn’t enough cat food left to fill him up and he was hoping for more. Needless to say, I couldn’t shut the door fast enough. I’m just not that much of an animal lover, I guess. Next morning he was gone and I’ve not seen nor smelled him since. : )
JC

Have you ever thought about writing a story?

My first presented story was when my teacher read my one page short to the fourth grade. It could have been about fishing, ghosts, swimming in the creek or one of many other exciting subjects. But no. It was about mowing the lawn.  That was the only time in my life that I got twenty-eight rejects at one time.(Thinking back, I was a pretty dull kid)

The years passed and I bored hell outta friends in college with poetry dealing with love and disaster. I was still dull, but thought I was getting better….wrong again garbonzo bean.

Then I hand wrote a 400 page story dealing with the same genre as the movie “Red Dawn” (years before the movie came out) My friends just couldn’t wait to read it. I’m sure that my bribing them with a night on the town on me for those who read it, didn’t have a thing to do with their eagerness. The final verdict was between “Don’t give up your day job” and “It sucks.”  ( Funny how a liberal amount of good booze brings out the truth in people)

Then one day as I sat in a remote (remote meaning the foreman took the day off) boiler house, reading a pulp western that someone had left there. I grew angry. One minute the hero (bad-man cowboy ) was busy defending Western Womanhood, the next he was raping and pillaging.

I threw the book across the room, thinking “Even I can write better than that!” Then a little voice said “Why don’t you?”

So I got serious about putting the written word on paper. My timing was perfect for at that same time there was a huge sale on rejection notices that every publisher I submitted to had to get in on.

All except one. This one was so poor they sent me a rejection notice on a used paper dinner napkin. I’m sure they were poor because they didn’t recognize great talent when it crossed their desk. It could have been worse. It could have been used toilet paper. : )

 Thinking to start small I started writing magazine articles and even had my own column in a gold and treasure hunting magazine.

I am proud to say that with my encouragement, my cousin wrote a cookie recipe cook book and made over a thousand dollars profit.

Anyway. Now I have a book of related short stories and a six novel series published and my point after all of this meandering drivel is if you ever thought about writing a story put your self doubts and fears of rejection away and JUST DO IT!

JC