Monday, February 14, 2011

In Honor of Valentine's Day

And as a part of the * Romance blogfest here, I'm posting a scene from my first novel, The Man from Shenandoah, where Carl Owen gets his first look at Ellen Bates since he returned from service in the Civil War. I've edited it slightly to make it a bit more accessible to first-time readers:

Carl Owen turned his horse off the main road toward his brother Rulon’s house. The sun had come out bright and strong, and it felt good and warm on his back. He grinned as he recalled his conversation with his father. “Hush, we’re going west.”

As he reached the corner, Carl saw a group of mounted men dashing up the cross street in front of him. Panic rose in his throat and sqeezed it shut as he recognized the Yankee patrol that had jumped him and beat him when he'd been on his way home from the war. He wheeled his horse to find a place of concealment. Then he realized where he was, turned the horse again, and tried to calm his pounding heart. The soldiers were probably racing through the streets of Mount Jackson to make a ruckus, and he felt foolish to be caught in their trap.

“Easy, boy,” he told his horse. “It ain’t likely they’ll take after me in town.”

The Yankees drew up at the far end of the street, then turned and started back to town. As they thundered toward him, Carl noticed a young girl opposite him, evidently trying to decide whether to cross. She hesitated a moment, then bolted out into the street. In the middle, she looked around at the approaching soldiers, tripped, and fell into the road.

Without thinking, Carl spurred his horse into the street, leaned out from his saddle, and plucked the arising girl from the muck. The horse carried them across the road while the Yankees whooped and whistled as they rushed by, venting their disappointment. Carl got down the street, turned a corner, then pulled up, set the girl on her feet and slid from the saddle.

“Hush my mouth! That was the foolest thing I ever seen a body do!” Carl made no attempt to stop the hot words from tumbling out of his mouth. He glared at the girl, standing in the street with her chin up and her eyes flashing, auburn hair disheveled, the front of her clothes mud-caked and dripping. “You surely could have been killed, and that’s a fact! You keep clear away from that gang of Yankees, you hear? Darn fool girl, anyhow.” He remounted and left her standing there, pridefully biting back tears of relief. Then he rode away, shaking mud and slime off his arm, and muttering to himself.

Love at first sight . . . or not so much?

*Since I'm not exactly sure my existing published novel qualifies under the rules, I'm not making a whole lot about this post. However, I hope you enjoy it.


  1. This definitely qualifies, Marsha! Please add it to the Mr. Linky in the post.

    I love his "hot words," LOL.

    Thanks for participating!

  2. Great scene. I like how you included dialect to enhance the characterization.

  3. LOL - That's great, Marsha. If I were her, I would've felt the same - angry and relieved. I loved it. =D

  4. I LOVED this!!! I love his dialect. I loved the way I could feel the movement of the story. I know I'm going to love your books when I finally get my hands on them!

  5. Like Kathleen, I really enjoyed the dialect. I felt as if I were plopped right in the uncertain times of the old, wild west!

  6. I want to know what she says. I really like the imagery.

  7. Great scene. I love the characters already.

  8. So nice to have a western contribution here! Thanks for participating in the blogfest, Marsha. Carl's instinct to hide from the Yankee patrol makes me very curious about the earlier story, and his gallantry makes me curious about what comes next. Great writing!

  9. Anonymous10:41 PM

    Thanks to everyone for visiting, reading, and commenting.

    Thanks for hosting the blogfest, Jordan. It was so fun. I'm glad I could participate.

    Rebecca Shelley, I like to include just a touch of dialect, enough to set the period, but not so much that it's overbearing and intrusive. Mostly, it's good to do dialect with a few selected words and regional phrasing, so I try to remember to do that.

    RaShelle, Ellen is one of my favorite characters. I think you will like her, too.

    Kathleen, thanks! If you read ebooks, look me up on or go to my regular blog for links for both print and ebooks in the sidebar. The Man from Shenandoah is the first book in the Owen Family Saga.

    Thanks, Rebecca B. I love this period of time, just after the Civil War. I don't know why that's "my war," but the aftermath was certainly one of those uncertain times that has so much drama for an author to paint into a story.

    Gail, thanks! Ellen has a lot to say. Maybe not right there in that scene, but afterward! Whew! Drama aplenty!

    Thank you, Angie. They are good characters. I'm writing the fourth book, about another member of Carl Owen's family. This character played a nice part in The Man from Shenandoah, but now she will get her own chance to be front and center.

    Carol, you have to read the book. It opens with a confrontation that will give you what you want to know.

    Again, thanks to all for your wonderful comments.

    Marsha Ward
    (who can't log into her own blog tonight)

  10. That was a great scene, Marsha. I especially liked the last paragraph where he's chewing her out, and you were able to slip in a discription of her so smoothly, as well as his emotions. Also, loved the cowboy talk. Thanks for sharing! Makes me want to read the rest!
    Also, I think I sat next to you in a class at LDS Storymakers last year. It was a romance class. Nice to get to know you better :)

  11. Thanks, Robbin! It's possible we sat next to each other last year. Was it Anita Stansfield's class, maybe?

    If you liked this bit, and clearly you did, you'll most likely enjoy reading The Man from Shenandoah in its entirety. I hope you do. :-)

    Whether you read ebooks or print books, my novels are available at several places on the Internet, including my website for autographed print copies (, Amazon for pbooks, Barnes & Noble for both pbooks and ebooks (nook), and for several formats, including mobi, which works on the Kindle. I'll have actual Kindle versions up on Amazon later this year.


I welcome your comments.

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