Saturday Snippet of An Orphan’s Heart

Eric-Hoffer-Finalist-BannerI’ve spent so much time on the Culpeppers lately, I’ve grown a little weary of them. I’ve been writing a four-book series since August, which is itching to become a five-book series. Sigh. I need something a little different. I thought I’d bring back an old story this week. An Orphan’s Heart was a finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Awards. I’m so glad someone else thought it was a good story besides me. :)

Our heroine, Ellen, is a young woman in post-civil-war Mississippi, the only female traveling on a wagon train, and I’m sure she’s not used to being treated so harshly. It’s a good thing handsome Luke is somewhat of a hero, because piss-drunk Floyd has grabbed Ellen by the wrist.

If you like the snippet, the Kindle is on sale July 4-6 for $0.99. Pick it up at Amazon HERE.

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AOH%20cover_webLuke looks past me, over my shoulder. He nods, then there is a sudden noise behind me, and Luke grabs my wrist and says, “Come on!”

“Hey!” Floyd hollers at us as we pull away.

“That’s enough, Floyd!” Buck yells, appearing from the woods behind us.

Floyd turns toward Buck, and moves faster than his inebriated body should be able to. As Floyd loosens his hold on me, Luke yanks me toward the wagon and shoves me in. Buck grabs Floyd by his outstretched arm, spins him around, and puts the knife up to Floyd’s throat. Floyd curses, demanding Buck let him go. I assume Buck refused, for they’re soon having an all-out brawl. I hear the whiskey jug hit the ground, but I don’t know if Floyd threw it or dropped it. I also hear fists making contact with flesh. I can’t imagine Floyd is in any shape to fight off a man like Buck.

I jump when I hear a gunshot. Everything is abruptly silent. Even the bullfrogs stop croaking, and it seems as if time is standing still. I look wide-eyed at Luke, wondering if Floyd has been shot.

“It’s all right,” he says, shaking his head in answer to my unspoken question.

“Are you sure?” I whisper.

He nods. “Yes. I’m sorry. We were hoping Floyd would stay sober, especially with a lady around.”

I hear Buck order Floyd to lie down right where he is and sleep it off, and I breathe a sigh of relief that Floyd is still alive. I don’t hear another word from either man, so I assume Floyd did as he was told.

Luke leaves the back of the wagon. I don’t move. After a few minutes that seem like an hour, he comes back and says, “Floyd has passed out by the fire. You’re safe now.”

“Thank you. I didn’t know I wasn’t safe before,” I mumble to him.

52 Ancestors – #27 Joseph B Culpepper, Patriot

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This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is Independent.

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I guess there is no better example of Independent than one of my grandfathers who fought for American independence in the American Revolution.

Page 2Joseph B. Culpepper Jr. was a fourth generation American and the third Joseph in the line of fathers and sons. His 3rd great grandfather, John Culpepper, immigrated to America from Kent, England following the English civil war in 1650, though the man was a merchant between Virginia and England and had been to the country countless times before.

The information I have of Joseph shows him born in Anson, North Carolina around 1760-1765, and even though I’m sure that is slightly off, he was still just a kid when he enlisted in the 3rd South Carolina Regiment 03 Aug 1776. His parents were Joseph Culpepper and Piety Gibson. The records I have say that Piety died around 1764, so you can see how the dates are a little off. I bet his father must have been beside himself with worry as Joseph’s brother Benjamin Culpepper also signed up. Benjamin served as Lieutenant under Capt. Peter Burns, Col. Wade Hampton and Gen. Sumter. AA 1683A: M228, DAR SC Roster pg 223. I assume Joseph wasn’t far away, perhaps serving under the same captain. I belong to the DAR under his patriotic service. A028466.

 

What I find amazing about the history is that my great, great grandfather Joel B Culpepper fought in the American civil war. Joel’s great grandfather was Joseph. Joseph’s great grandfather was Robert Culpepper, who is the five year old in my latest book, John Culpepper Esquire. Even though the story I wrote, taking place in the 1600s, seem so many generations away, they are really so much closer than we imagine.

Joseph died 05 May 1816. He left behind his father, his wife Nancy Pickett, four sons, and three daughters.

Rest well, soldier.

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Indie Pride Day!!

CGBGz9xVEAEERePJuly 1st is the second annual INDIE PRIDE DAY. Show your love for indie books and indie authors and bring awareness to the great indie stories out there.

What is indie, you ask?

An indie is an author who has chosen to go beyond the traditional world of publishing and make it on their own. Not only do we write the stories, but we are also responsible for great covers, perfect editing, ebook and print formatting, marketing, and sales. We wear many hats!

How can you participate?

Join us today and make indie trendy! Tweet a picture of yourself holding your favorite indie book and include the hashtag #IndieBooksBeSeen. Post the photo on Facebook. Blog about a great indie book. Re-tweet and share other pictures you run across today.

IMG_20150630_213047733_HDRIndie authors everywhere thank you!

 

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read “The Secret Place” by Melodie Starkey.

the secret place jpegBefore I say anything at all about this book, I must tell you it involves incest, rape, and extremely dark adult situations. If you are looking for a clean read, this book is NOT for you. That being said, I was drawn into this macabre saga by the incredible depth of the characters and couldn’t put the book down, even though I found the subject matter unsettling.

After Emma and Trey are orphaned by an accident, Trey gives up his part-time job and his dreams for college to remain home and raise his ten-year-old sister. The two have a deep relationship built on trust and isolation, yet over the years, Trey violates their bond. Emma spends the rest of her life struggling with love/hate feelings toward him. After his sudden death, which she thinks is her fault, she finds herself alone in the world, struggling to trust anyone. There are many horrible things that happen to this poor girl, it’s no surprise that the secret place she and Trey discovered as children eventually becomes the psychological secret place she lives in in her mind for many years.

The subject matter is disturbing, but Emma’s character is such a strange mix of strength, depth, and naiveté that it’s impossible to put the book down. Jeremy, the hero who comes to her rescue, is also a very intriguing character, but I find it difficult to believe he would stay with her for so many years when she is certifiably nuts.

I think these characters were superbly crafted and the writing was excellent. The story is far over the top for anyone with delicate sensibilities. It’s like a horrific accident you just can’t turn away from. This is a well-written story if you can stomach it.

Check out Melodie Starkey on Amazon HERE!

Margaretta van Hesse from “John Culpepper, Esquire”

JC Esquire (1)In place of my usual Saturday Snippets, I’m writing about the people and places from the Culpepper Saga. The third book, “John Culpepper, Esquire,” will be released in July. If you missed books one or two, click HERE or HERE.

margaretta van hesse Lady CulpepperOne of the more tragic figures of “John Culpepper, Esquire” is Margaretta van Hesse, also known as Lady Culpepper (photo). She was an heiress from Denmark who married Lord Thomas Culpepper second baron of Thoresway in 1659 at The Hague. Lord Thomas (photo) was the son of Lord John Culpepper, known in the story as JC, cousin of our hero.

lord_thosFollowing the English Civil War, JC had taken his family to Denmark while he watched over the exiled prince, but when the prince was welcomed back into England in 1660 as King Charles II, the whole family moved back. Lord Thomas and his new bride took up residence at Leeds Castle. She was newly married, probably didn’t speak the language or understand the English customs, and Lord Thomas unceremoniously dropped her off at the castle and moved to London to live with his mistress Susannah Willis.

Fortunately for Margaretta, John’s nephew Alex was asked by JC to stay at the castle and help her get settled in. There is no proof of Margaretta and Alex having any sort of relationship, but there are a few strange coincidences that make me scratch my head.

Alex’s mom, Katherine, died in 1658.

LadyCatherineMargaretta, somehow without a husband around, gave birth to a daughter in 1670. The baby was named Catherine (photo). Hmmm.

In 1671, Lord Thomas appointed Alex the Surveyor General of Virginia and tried to send him away. Records show Alex in Virginia for a short time, but he almost immediately came back to England.

In 1689, Lord Thomas became ill and died in his house in London. Margaretta didn’t even find out about it until well after his death. His mistress had him buried. He left a will in favor of the mistress, but Margaretta had the will suppressed, making sure Catherine got everything. Before Margaretta went to court, with Alex along to assist her, Alex, now 58-years-old, quickly and conveniently married Lord Thomas’s sister Judith, who moved into Leeds Castle with them. The woman was old and died a year later.

Alex died in 1694 and in his will, he left everything to Margaretta. He was buried at St. Margaret’s Church in Bromfield, Kent, near the castle.

Margaretta never re-married. She died in 1710 at Leeds Castle and was buried at St. Margaret’s.

Thomas_Fairfax 5th baron of cameron, catherine culpeppers husbandA year after her inheritance, young Catherine married Lord Thomas Fairfax (photo) in 1690. Their children were: Thomas Fairfax, Henry Colpepper Fairfax, Katherine Fairfax, Margaret Fairfax, Frances Fairfax, Mary Fairfax, and Robert Fairfax. Family historians state that Catherine had all of her children baptized at St. Margaret’s and had built a family vault to bury her mother in. Nothing is ever mentioned about Alex’s connection or the fact that he is buried there also. Strangely enough, Catherine’s husband died the same year as her mother but was buried elsewhere.

Catherine died in 1719 at the age of 49. She was not buried with her husband. She was buried at St. Margaret’s with her mother and Alex.

The Culpepper Saga ends in the late 1670s, so we don’t learn about Catherine and Lord Fairfax, but in book two “John Culpepper the Merchant” their grandfathers were trying to kill each other during the civil war. I imagine their marriage was quite scandalous in both families, and I suspect there will be a juicy sequel about them coming this winter or early next spring. “The Culpepper-Fairfax Scandal” sounds like a good title.

52 Ancestors #26 Sir Alexander Culpepper

52ancestors-2015

This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “Halfway.”

This was a difficult theme, and I looked through half-Indian ancestors, halfway to the furthest ancestor, taking up half my time in research ancestors, anyone with a name that included “half,” and every other angle one could think of. I eventually came up with Sir Alexander Culpepper of Greenway Court, Knight who made it halfway through the English Civil War. The war began in 1642 and ended in 1649. Alexander died at the battle of Bridgewater in August 1645. He was my 11th great uncle.

Alexander was the youngest son of John Culpepper of Wigsell and Elizabeth Sedley, born in 1570. His brothers included Sir Thomas of Hollingbourne and Johannes of Feckenham (my 11th great grandfather). He also had a few sisters. In 1603, he married Mary Scott St Leger, the widow of Anthony St Leger. She was quite a bit older than him and was probably already done birthing children by the time they married, so Alexander never had any children of his own. He did have a step-son who was nearly his age, and the man had a daughter named Katherine whom Alexander raised, actually naming her his daughter in his will. Technically, she was his step-granddaughter.

In his will, he also left his home of Leeds Castle (photo) to his nephew’s minor son (son of the above Katherine who married said nephew. Got that?). Anyway, he did this so if the royalists lost the war, the house wouldn’t be seized by the parliamentarians. Before he died, he changed his will to say if his nephew wasn’t alive to oversee the property, the son would not get the house. It would instead go to his cousin Lord John Culpepper the first baron of Thoresway. I don’t know why he did that. Lord John wasn’t even in the country. He was in Denmark and France guarding the queen and the royal children.

Leeds-Castle

In July 1645, Alexander rode to Bridgewater to help fight against Oliver Cromwell and General Thomas Fairfax and was killed there. I wrote about the battle in my book, “John Culpepper the Merchant,” and made him out to be a war hero, but the truth is he was 75 years old at the time and it is reported that he died of illness at Bridgewater, not of battle. At least he made it halfway through the war.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read “One Giant Leap” by J.T. Sterling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imagesThis story takes place in modern times and is the tale of party-boy Harlan Jasper who suddenly becomes the patriarch of the powerful Jasper family. We learn through very, very lengthy history lessons that the Jasper family has been around for thousands of years, and between the fictitious House of Jasper, the Plantagenets, the Iscariots (as in Judas from the Bible), and the Pope, they pretty much run the whole world. Looks like our party-boy is going to have to lay off the coke to be able to lead a family with this kind of power. I found the story to be a lot of fun—a mixture of genealogy, world history, and “The Da Vinci Code.”

From a creative standpoint, the book is full of grammatical errors such as “you’re” instead of “your” and “fowl play” instead of “foul play,” but the story moves pretty fast so you’ll skip right over most of them. One jarring thing is that the point of view changes on a dime, so you’ll abruptly find yourself in the head of a character on the other side of the parking lot.

If you like world history and conspiracy theories, you will love this book. It’s chocked full of them!

If you’re interested, check it out here on Amazon.