Saturday, October 01, 2011

Sweet Saturday Sample: A Fourth Excerpt from The Man from Shenandoah

This week's sample for Sweet Saturday Samples (clean fiction excerpts from authors) is once again an excerpt from the Western novel The Man from Shenandoah, the first book in "The Owen Family Saga." Carl and other members of the Owen family are doing a bit of catching up. I hope you enjoy this sample.

Roderick Owen came around the corner of the house, puzzled by the sounds in the front yard, but ready for Albert’s Yankee invasion. He stopped short at the sight of a tall, very grubby man embracing his wife, and Albert bumped into Rod from behind.

“Look here,” Rod threatened, stepping forward.

Carl turned to meet him. “Have I changed so much, Pa?” He grinned under his smeared camouflage.

“Rod, it’s Carl. He’s home at last.” Julia wiped the mud from her face with the apron.

Without a word, Rod enveloped his son in his arms. After a long embrace, he held him off to look at him, and shook his head. “By gum, you sure get your growth dashing around with Mosby. We thought you were dead, boy, not hearing from you, nor seeing you home yet.”

“I took the long road home, Pa. The Colonel disbanded the Rangers about three weeks into April, but me and some thirty others wouldn’t leave him, so he took us south to join up with General Johnston in the Carolinas. The General gave up before we got there, so Mosby cut us loose and made us go in to get paroled.” He paused a moment, scratching his nose. “They won’t give him a parole, Pa. There’s a price on his head!”

“I reckon there’s mighty little justice around now, son. Your colonel won’t get fair treatment since Booth shot the President. There’s rumors Mosby had a hand in it.”

“Somebody shot Jeff Davis?”

“The other president, Abe Lincoln.”

“Is he dead?”

Rod set his jaw, turned his back on his son, and walked toward Carl’s horse, his hand worrying the mud at the front of his shirt and pants. He picked up the horse’s trailing reins and approached his son. “Yes, and it brings hard times upon us. There’s no mercy in the boys running the country now.”

“Mosby had no part in it. I rode with him day and night for over two years. He done no such a thing.”

“I reckon.”

“He didn’t. That’s all.” Carl’s stomach growled aloud, and he looked at his mother. “Is there anything to eat? It sure don’t look like Phil Sheridan left much. We heard about his orders to burn out the Valley, Pa, but we laughed. Not one of us believed he could do it with you and Jeb Early’s troops on home ground.”

“They sent in two and three times our number, son. All we could do was pester them around the edges some.”

“Well, I’m home now, and this ground will grow food—if we can get seed.” Carl looked about the yard. Albert stood in the shadow at the corner of the house.

“Who’s that young’un? I don’t recollect leaving anybody that big at home when I left.”

“It’s me, Albert. I growed a mite.”

“Can’t be. You were just a little bitty sprout.”

Albert came out of the shadow and stood where Carl could see him. “I ain’t a sprout now." His voice was a touch heated. "I’ll be fourteen nigh on to Christmas time.”

“You aged a right smart bit, Albert. Been doing most all the chores, I reckon.”

“You left ‘em to do.”

Carl nodded. “I figured you three boys could handle the farm. When Peter died, I felt obliged to take his place in the fight.”

“I reckon.” Albert looked at the ground and kicked the mud.

“I didn’t know James would go, too.”

“They drafted him.”

Julia moved forward and pulled on Carl’s arm. “Come in and set, boy. Doubtless you’re weary, riding all day. I’ll finish the pone we’re having for supper while you tell your pa what shape the Valley’s in down south of here. He’s been asking after news of the state of things since he got home.”

“Now Julie, the boy’s just got here. I can quiz him later while he eats.” Rod turned to his youngest son. “Albert, take your brother’s horse out back and put him in the pen behind the barn. See if you can find some grain. That animal’s come far with your brother.”

“Yes, Pa.” Albert took the reins and led Sherando around the corner of the house.


  1. Nicely written sample! Intriguing!

  2. Love the dialogue. You can read the southern drawl in the words as you read it.

  3. I sense undercurrents between the brothers. great sample.

  4. Love this book. It's on my TBR list. I went to school in the Valley and can't get enough of hearing about it. The character's voices are so wonderfully period. Great sample.:)

  5. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Nice sample :) Can't wait to see how the brothers get along now that he's home.

  6. I love reading your samples. It sounds like their troubles are far from over, and I want to know how they handle them.

  7. Anonymous1:19 PM

    The language sounds authentic.

    Elaine Cantrell

  8. I loved this excerpt and your writing. You did a great job of showing their dialogue without using dialect that can sometimes be hard to decipher. Sounds like a terrific story.

  9. I enjoyed your sample. Love Civil War stories.

  10. Anonymous6:47 PM

    I loved the realistic dialogue and how the scene was created. The Civil War is one of my favorite historical eras.

  11. Anonymous10:30 PM

    Another wonderful sample. You make it come to life as I'm reading. Wonder what will happen between him and Alfred? Maybe his homecoming won't be as happy as he thought. Very nicely done.

    Here's my sample:

  12. Thank you all so much for your very nice comments. I've been busy for a couple of days, and haven't been back in the blogosphere to make the rounds.

    My books are available on Amazon and as print and Kindle/nook books, and on in many other electronic book formats. Just search on my name, Marsha Ward, for a list of works. Thank you!


I welcome your comments.

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