I’m so excited about my new book, Witch Dance! It’s in the final stages of editing and will be available for pre-orders very soon for only $0.99. I’ll post the link here as soon as it goes live. The official release date is September 15th and will be available in ebook and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Create Space, Kobo, Sony, iBooks, and other online retailers. There will also be a blog tour and a Facebook release party, so stay tuned.
Just south of Tupelo, Mississippi on the Natchez Trace lies a place of mystery called Witch Dance.
When Thomas and Margaret Speedwell took their twins to Witch Dance for a weekend camping trip, they never imagined they would be pulled into a vortex of witchcraft, tragedy, and karma. One of the girls goes missing; the other won’t say what happened on the other side of the hill.
The tragedy pulls together a cast of characters from Margaret’s childhood and beyond – Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, Toltec ancestors, the extinct Hopewell tribe.
With the help of a childhood friend, a concerned newspaper reporter, and visions by a strange old woman, a two thousand year old mystery begins to unfold, uncovering missing children throughout generations. Who is taking them? Could it be the infamous witches of Witch Dance?
Occasionally, I write blogs about a coming book or an historical character I’ve been bringing to life. I guess I’m always in the moment or in the future. I seldom take time to reflect upon the past.
As I was moving items from my old computer to my new computer, I was glancing through some old folders on my desktop, and I realized I usually don’t brag about milestones or awards.
Let’s change that!
**Brag mode: On**
My very first book was Okatibbee Creek. It’s the story of a woman who survived the Civil War, though dozens around her perished, either through illness or war. In 2013, the story won the Bronze Medal in Literary Fiction at the eLit Book Awards. It also received Honorable Mention in Regional Literature at the Great Midwest Book Festival.
Also in 2013, my book Elly Hays received Honorable Mention in General Fiction at the Great Midwest Book Festival, and the cover (my design!) placed as a semi-finalist at Authors dB Book Cover Contest. In 2014, it was named as one of the 50 Indie Books Worth Reading at Indie Author Land.
One of the best awards also came in 2014. My book An Orphan’s Heart was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Awards! I was so happy about that one, even though the story didn’t go on to win the top prize.
The best is yet to come. It’s not an award, but it’s definitely cool. My book The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge will be featured on the Travel Channel in October on a show called America’s Most Terrifying Places. I’m super excited about that!!
**Brag Mode: Off**
Okay, back to the present.
I’m currently in final draft for my coming book Witch Dance. It will be available for pre-order August 1st, and the official release date is September 15th. Sometime between now and then, I’ll get organized with a Blog Tour and a Facebook Release Party. More details as I get them together.
Thanks for indulging me in this nostalgic journey. I guess it’s good to step out of the present and look back with gratitude at how awesome life really is.
If you’d like to check out any of those books, click on Lori’s Books at the top of this page to find out more or pop over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks. Okatibbee Creek is also available on audiobook at Audible.
Lori Crane is a bestselling author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.
I’ve been trying to do the A to Z Blog Challenge, but between work and getting the garden planted, I’ve been a little busy!!
Aaannnd, I got these chickens…
It seemed like a great idea, nice pets, fresh eggs, but darn if they haven’t sucked the last of the free time out of my life.
They were cute little peeps at week one, but you need to keep one-week-old chicks at 95 degrees, so I checked the temperature every hour for the first week.
By two weeks, I relaxed on the temperature a bit. They were very healthy. They were growing the cutest little feathers on their wings. Adorable!
They were eating more, and you know what that means…pooping more, so I cleaned out their “box” at least twice. We also began putting their coop together outside, deciding where to put their run and how to predator proof it.
By week three, they were jumping on top of their water container and occasionally knocking it over. Wet chick bedding is NOT a good smell, and of course, the bottom of the box got soaked. I dumped all the Christmas items out of my gigantic Christmas tote and moved the chicks in there. While moving them, I let them play in a cat litter box filled with peat moss. They love to flop around in there and take a dust bath. By the time the tote was ready for them, they had the entire guest bathroom covered with peat moss.
Week four began a race to the finish. They were quickly outgrowing their tote, and since they didn’t have all their feathers yet, they were looking like awkward teenagers. Without all their feathers, it’s not safe for them to live outside. The nights would be too chilly for them, and besides, the coop wasn’t finished.
Week five. The coop was ready and they were almost completely feathered, but the nights were still cold, so I took them one-by-one out to the coop during the day and one-by-one back into the house at night. There was some serious squawking going on. When they were inside, they wanted to be out. When they were outside, they wanted to be in.
Week six. Yay! Finally getting these chickens out of my kitchen. They are feathered. The nights are balmy. The Christmas tote has been washed out and disinfected and the Christmas items replaced. The coop is finished and officially named the “Taj MaHen.”
Now if we can just get the dogs to relax…
A to Z Blog Challenge
I is for Ireland
Over the years, I’ve trace a majority of my family from England, but I’ve found a few stuck in there from Ireland!
My 2nd great grandpa, John Francis Burke, according to family history, was from Dublin. He stowed away on an America-bound ship at the age of 15 in 1861. He was found en route and told by the captain they could not take him back. He said, “If I wanted to go back, I wouldn’t have stowed away.” They dropped him off in Florida – right at the beginning of the Civil War.
I’ve found Confederate records of three different men who could be him. I’m not sure which, if any, is him. He next shows up in the 1880 census married to Nancy Didama Spencer and living with her family in Mississippi.
Another 2nd great grandpa was Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene. He doesn’t have much of a history. Seems his parents died when he was young. Family rumor has it the Keene family also came from Dublin and were originally O’Keene.
My 7th great grandpa James Rogers came from Tyrone County in Northern Ireland. Looks like a beautiful place! He was married to Mary McPherson. Go ahead, say that with an Irish accent!
I find it interesting that all these people came from another part of the world, joined in marriage and children, and the outcome was ME! We ancestry-type people spend so much time thinking of the past. I wonder if they did too. And, I wonder if they ever thought of the distant future. My mind doesn’t go much past children and grandchildren. What if seven generation from now, people we couldn’t even imagine are thinking about us?
A to Z Blog Challenge
H is for Hollingbourne Manor
My mother was a Culpepper. I’ve done tons of research on them. I’ve even written four books about my 10th great grandpa, John Culpepper.
John’s uncle owned a house called Hollingbourne Manor in Kent, England – about five miles outside the town of Maidstone – about two miles from another family home, Leeds Castle. The house, and I use that term loosely, was acquired in 1590 by Francis Culpepper of Greenway court. It was bequeathed to his son Thomas the Elder, and later to his son, Thomas Jr. who was a knight. The last owner was Thomas Jr.’s son William. It was in the family for about 125 years.
Thomas the Elder built a chapel in the local Hollingbourne church, All Saints Church, as a monument to his wife Elizabeth. In the marble effigy, Lady Elizabeth’s hands each wear a ring tied by a single cord that disappears up the sleeve of her dress. The epitaph written by her husband reads: Optima Faemina, Optima Coniux, Optima Mater, which means: The best of women, the best of wives, the best of mothers.
There are many lead coffins beneath the chapel containing the remains of various Culpeppers. The entrance has now been sealed. The window in the chapel at the foot of Lady Elizabeth’s coffin bears the Culpepper coat of arms. It is the white square in the upper left with the red diagonal line.
Some day I shall visit.
If you love this old England stuff, check out the Culpepper Saga on Amazon.
A to Z Blog Challenge
G is for George Washington Spencer
GW was my 3rd great grandfather. He was a Confederate soldier in 1862, but in the 1860 census, he was listed as a school teacher.
He was born in June of 1829 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Rev. William Saladin Spencer and Martha Didama Gross. He was the 10th of 11 children, with only 1 girl in the bunch. His father died in 1841 when GW was only 12 years old.
In 1858, he married Nancy Virginia “Jenny” Holdcroft in Kemper, Mississippi, and the union produced 7 children, 5 girls and 2 boys. They made their home in Newton County, MS.
There was no organized education at the time, so communities usually gathered money and asked someone to educate their children. GW stepped up to the challenge for a moment.
When the war began, he enlisted 1 Mar 1862 with Co. B 35th MS Infantry. He was sick most of the war due to a leg infection and was medically discharged 10 Jan 1864. The family story is that his wife went by horse and wagon to pick him up from a Confederate hospital.
Following the war, he didn’t go back to teaching. He is listed on census records as a farmer until his death 22 Jul 1901. He is buried with his wife in unmarked graves at Hickory Cemetery in Newton County, Mississippi.