Friday, July 19, 2013

I Spy . . . a Secret

I'm doing something a little different today: participating in a Blog Hop entitled "I Spy . . . a Secret". 

Have you ever kept a secret from someone you loved? In real life, or in something you wrote about?

I Spy . . . a Secret is the theme of this Blog Hop. Did I mention all the fabulous prizes being given?

Well, when I heard about the blog hop, I immediately thought of one of my characters in The Owen Family Saga

Rod Owen can't help himself. He's the master of his 19th-century household, and as such, he make decisions that sometimes have far-reaching repercussions . . . and get him into trouble with the missus.

Here's a scene from early in the first novel in the series, The Man from Shenandoah. In the confused aftermath of the American Civil War, Rod has just announced his decision that he and the entire family will leave their home in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and go West.

Rod’s words seemed to echo in the room, fading into silence. Stunned, no one moved or spoke for several seconds, then the air was split with the clamor of the family reacting to his declaration.

Julia raised her chin a bit as she stared down the length of the table. “This has been my home since we wed.”

“Pa, I took an oath I’d come home and wait to be exchanged proper. I don’t reckon the Yankees will let me leave.” Carl shifted in his chair, sitting up straight.

Albert jumped to his feet. “But Pa, I was born right here in this house.”

Rod waved away the arguments and held up his hand for silence. “I’ve decided to sell the farm and go to the Colorado Territory. You ma’s brother Jonathan is out there somewhere, and we’ll find him. There’s gold and silver to be mined, but I have been contemplating.” Rod paused to lift his cup and try the chicory. He made a face, then drank more of it before setting down the cup.

“There’s no future for us here in the Valley. Since we’re going to cross the country to make a new start, why not start a cattle ranch?” Rod looked around at his family. “We have good cattle here that we can sell as beef to the miners,” he said. “There’s a sight of folks out there that like to eat. I reckon raising cattle is as good a way to earn a living as digging in the ground for metal.”

“I took an oath, Pa.” Carl leaned forward. “I’m bound to stay here until my papers come.”

“Carl, an Owen’s oath is sacred word, but you saw the way of things out there. Since the Yankees paid their call, if we stay here our only choice is to starve. I reckon your oath is null and void.”

Carl slouched against the back of his chair. “Who’ll buy a burned-out farm? Nobody around here has any Federal cash to give you.”

“There was a feller here last week from New York State, looking for farmland. His brother was one of Sheridan’s torch men, and told him all about the fine crops he set fire to. Well, the man offered a good price, and I took it.”

“But Pa,” Albert burst out, “he’s a damned Yankee!”

“Watch your tongue, young’un. Yes, he’s a Yankee, but he has good Yankee currency and coin to give me. Now that you’re home, Carl, I aim to leave in two weeks.”

“Two weeks!” Julia echoed. “We can’t be ready by then.”

“How long did it take you to send the boys off up the mountain to save the corn crop?”

Julia stared at her plate.

“We’ll be ready in two weeks, because Mr. Avery will take possession then. He’ll be back from Washington next week with the money, then he’s off to get his family to move them here.” Rod slapped the table and stood up.

“You really sold the place?” Julia got to her feet. “You never thought to ask me?”

“We’re bound for Colorado. That’s all.” His words were sharp, final.

Julia reached down for her plate and turned her back in silence.


Intrigued? Want to know more? All of my novels and short works are listed on the Purchase page above, with multiple ways to buy them, including autographed copies.

I welcome comments, and I'm sure the other writers in the blog hop do, as well. Go here for the list of blog hop writers.Thank you for participating.


  1. What a great setup for the story! Now we HAVE to find out what happens ;) .

    Thank you so much for participating!!

    1. You're welcome, Jordan. I'm happy to be on board.

      As to the scene above, all is revealed in the novel THE MAN FROM SHENANDOAH, available at major online booksellers and aggregators ( or from me via (autographed print copies).

  2. Ooo! I love historical fiction! Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are very welcome, Sarah! I do, too.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.Come back tomorrow for a different blog hop. :-)

      Be sure to check out the prizes for this hop at the link given above (I put it in multiple places).

  3. I love the characters you've set up! Good job! It looks like the Owens have quite a few changes coming up!

    1. Thanks, Hillary. These characters have been in my mind for nearly half a century, off and on, but certainly very on for the last decade. The Owen Family Saga is retelling their experiences, one book at a time.

      Thank you for the comment, and for stopping by. Now go look at the prizes and fun by clicking one of the links above.

  4. I enjoyed this excerpt. I am hoping to get started on your series soon--it's one of the non-MG reads i have on my list.;)


I welcome your comments.

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