Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sweet Saturday Sample: Excerpt #2 from The Man from Shenandoah

This week's snippet for Sweet Saturday Samples (clean fiction excerpts from authors) is once again an excerpt from The Man from Shenandoah, the first novel in "The Owen Family Saga." We find the main character, Carl Owen, in dire straits. I hope you enjoy this sample.

From the north, a rider came pounding up the road, spurring his horse, then sawing on the reins to bring it to a halt. He alighted and ran to the sergeant.

“The major’s coming down the road. You’d better not let him catch you cutting another Reb.”

The sergeant cursed and turned back to Carl, grabbing the front of his coat.

“You got no right to wear a uniform, you dirty Rebel pup.” He took a fresh grip on his knife and addressed the soldiers restraining Carl. “Hold him tight while I teach him a lesson.”

Carl felt the tight prickle of fear racing up his spine as the soldiers freshened their hold on his arms. The sergeant looked around at the road, cursed again, turned to Carl, and cut the embossed buttons from his coat. He jerked the coat open, grinning evilly, and cut the buttons from his shirt, as well.

“Now you’re not a soldier.” The man cackled as he pocketed the buttons and sheathed his knife. “Let him loose,” he ordered, motioning to the soldiers. As they dropped his arms, he looked Carl up and down once more, his expression changing to hatred. The sergeant half turned away, then spun back, and with a massive fist knocked Carl flat. “Mount up,” the sergeant barked, and strode toward his horse, weaving a bit.

Lying in the mud, propped on one elbow, Carl wiped blood from his jaw, tasting salt as he tongued his molars to see if they were still tight. He watched the patrol leave, hate burning his belly. He turned over onto his knees and got to his feet, wincing at the pain, then whistled for his horse. Looking around for his hat, he found it on the wall where it had landed when he was attacked. He brushed at the soft, shapeless felt, removing a splash of mud, then he jammed it onto his head.

Sherando came trotting out of the trees, gray coat glistening in the misty rain that had once again begun to fall. The horse jumped the fence to reach Carl and nickered softly. Carl checked to see that the Yankee rifle was secure in the scabbard. “Sure glad them Billy Blues was so drunk they didn’t find you, boy,” he whispered through raw lips.

He swung into the saddle and straightened his back, swiped at his face with both hands to remove as much mud as he could, then ran his fingers through the blond hair at the nape of his neck, tugging loose both tangles and mud. He hoped someone at home had a comb, for he had lost his personal gear in a wild, last-ditch ride for freedom with Colonel John Mosby. Carl’s patrol had ridden into a Yankee camp to surrender after the war’s end. Union officers gave the Confederate cavalrymen parole papers and turned them free instead of holding them as prisoners of war. Carl had stolen the rifle as he left camp, but hadn’t had a chance to replace other gear.

The young man turned his horse onto the Valley Pike, laughing as joy surged through him. “Benjamin will have a comb. It’ll be fine to see him again.” Carl kneed Sherando to a trot, and launched into a tune he’d heard somewhere. “Oh Shenandoah, I’m comin’ to ya. I’m here, you rolling river.”

Carl looked toward the shallow river flowing beside the road and grinned at the cleverness of his new words to an old song. “Hold up that head, horse. We’ll show the folks that a passel of Yankees can’t lick a Virginia boy. We’re goin’ home!”

Participants in this week's Sweet Saturday Sample:
1. J. Gunnar Grey, mystery-adventure
2. Kay Springsteen C. Romance
3. Mirriam Smyth – Contemporary Romance
4. Jennifer Lowery~Romantic Suspense
5. Jean Joachim, contemporary romance
6. Chynna Laird – YA
7. Emily and Dakota-YA
8. J.F. Jenkins YA/Urban Fantasy
9. Lindsay Downs-Mystery
10. Rachel Rossano, science fiction
11. Cheri Schmidt ~YA Paranormal Romance
12. Beth Trissel-Historical/paranormal romance
13. Patricia Kiyono, historical romance
14. Felicia Rogers~ contemporary romance
15. Joyce DiPastena – medieval romance
16. Lisa Beth Darling-Paranormal Erotic Thrillers
17. Joselyn Vaughn ~ contemporary romance
18. Sandy & Sandra ~ Contemporary Romance
19. Marsha Ward~Westerns with Heart & Grit
20. Lia Davis, paranormal romance
21. Andrea Buginsky – YA fantasy
22. M.E. Romana – Romantic Suspense
23. Dianne Hartsock-paranorml/suspense
24. Bri Clark, paranormal romance
25. Elaine Cantrell, contemporary romance
26. Carrie-Anne Brownian ~ historical fiction
27. Morgan Kearns – Contemporary Romance
28. Liz Botts–YA romance
29. Sherry Gloag – Sweet Paranormal
30. Patricia Preston~historical romance


  1. Another great sample. You take your reader right into the scene.

  2. Oh, yeah! Great sample! Always enjoy reading yours.

  3. Great sample. I like Carl. He's got grit.

  4. Thanks! I enjoy writing.

  5. You really captured the feelings so well. Great scene

  6. I love this! I'm really drawn in to the character and his troubles.

  7. What a fun idea, Marsha. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Great sample! Now I know why people sometimes dig up buttons from the Civil War.

  9. This is a superb sample. I live in the Shenandoah Valley. Is the man from Shenandoah anywhere near us?

  10. Thank you, everyone!

    Beth, that's certainly a possibility, but I'm not sure where you're located. Carl is coming from the south toward home, which is a fictional farm somewhere near Mount Jackson. If you hear someone singing those particular words to the song, Carl's nearby.

  11. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Stole the rifle and taught his horse to free-jump. Like this one.

  12. Anonymous6:42 PM

    I love this story. So athentic. I'm glad he got away this time, but he needs to be so careful if he wants to make it home.

    Thanks for stopping by my site!

  13. This is a wonderful book! So glad you shared an excerpt.

  14. What's up with Blogger? I know I used to be one of your followers, but now it says I'm not. Well, now I am again! ;-)

  15. Holy cow, Marsha! Mount Jackson is just up the road from me! I see I'll have to get this book. I love your excerpts.


I welcome your comments.

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