WITCH DANCE IS HERE!

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pre order

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WITCH DANCE is now available for pre-order at Amazon for the incredibly low price of $0.99.

Order your copy before September 1st and get a FREE Lori Crane ebook to tide you over until the September 15th release.

Simply follow the steps below:
1. Order Witch Dance at Amazon.
2. Email a copy of your receipt to LoriCraneAuthor@gmail.com.
3. Let us know which FREE Lori Crane ebook you’d like to receive. (List below.)
4. Include the email address you’d like your FREE ebook sent to. (Hint: Use the email address hooked to your Kindle account.)

Please allow 24 hours for your FREE ebook to arrive in your inbox. Your FREE ebook will be formatted to use on your Kindle reading device or the Kindle app. Requests will be honored through midnight Central Time September 1, 2018 for pre-sale purchases of Witch Dance made between July 7, 2018 and September 1, 2018. One FREE ebook per person.

Please choose one title from this list:
Okatibbee Creek
An Orphan’s Heart
Elly Hays
The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge
Stuckey’s Legacy: The Legend Continues
Stuckey’s Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan
I, John Culpepper
John Culpepper the Merchant
John Culpepper Esquire
Culpepper’s Rebellion
Savannah’s Bluebird

If you’d like to read the blurbs about the books to help you choose, please visit www.LoriCrane.com and click on “Lori’s Books.”

If you’d like a sneak peek of the opening chapter of WITCH DANCE, click here.

Please forward this to your friends and family, and watch for my coming television special about Stuckey’s Bridge this October on “America’s Most Terrifying Places” on the Travel Channel!

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Saturday Snippet of I, John Culpepper

I began researching my ancestry as a teenager. I knew my Culpepper line came to America from England in the 1600s, and I knew they were wealthy land owners with much prestige in the English court, but I didn’t understand why they would give all that up to sail to an inhospitable land full of savage Indians, facing the possibility of shipwreck, starvation, and death. How did those aristocratic people end up as the modest family I knew in my youth in Mississippi? The journey to find these answers became a series of four books about my 10th great-grandfather, John Culpepper.

51hHerBrPbL._UY250_Follow the series as John rebels against his father, the English civil war destroys the family, John ends up as the family patriarch in the colony of Virginia, and finally, as John comes to terms with his life and his past. The first book in the series is I, JOHN CULPEPPER. The subsequent books are JOHN CULPEPPER THE MERCHANT, JOHN CULPEPPER ESQUIRE and CULPEPPER’S REBELLION.

Here’s the opening chapter of I, JOHN CULPEPPER, setting the stage with his tumultuous relationship with his dad.

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CHAPTER 1

Fall 1626

“No! For the hundredth time, no!”

John looked down at the intricate grain of the walnut desk beneath his fingertips and shifted his weight to his other foot. He sighed, feeling his dreams disintegrate before his very eyes. The snap of the white sails, the taste of the salty spray on his lips, the smell of the tar that sealed the decks—the visions were quickly vanishing behind the thick fog of his father’s adamant disapproval. He pictured his mighty ship sinking into the black waters of condemnation, bubbling like a cauldron as it disappeared from sight. There was nothing he could do to change his father’s mind, and he wondered whatever possessed him to come to this man for assistance. He should have known better.

His father glared at John from behind the desk. He propped his elbow on the scrolled arm of the chair as his large hand methodically stroked his pointed beard. “Is there anything else?” he snapped.

John didn’t look up. He shook his head and mumbled, “No.” He turned and padded across the thick rug toward the door, listening to the man’s heavy breathing behind him. He reached for the brass doorknob, paused, and turned back. “You know I’ve always done everything you’ve asked of me. I went to school. I studied to be a lawyer. I did it all for you. I never wanted to practice law. I’d never be happy on the bench.”

“Happy? What makes you think life has anything to do with being happy? You are a Culpepper, and as such, you have an obligation to serve your family and your king in a manner befitting your station. This childish notion of owning a ship is nothing but rubbish.”

John released the doorknob and walked back toward his father’s desk. The intimidating man dwarfed the desk, his size exaggerated by the broad shoulders of his leather jerkin, yet he sat up taller in his chair in preparation for the quarrel to continue. It was a wasted gesture, as his opponent already knew the battle was lost.

John made sure he didn’t raise his voice. “Father, you have financed merchant ships for as long as I can remember. What difference does it make if I’m the one who owns the ship?”

“Culpeppers don’t own ships. I funded those expeditions as an investment—a losing investment, I might add.” He rose from his chair and his voice grew louder, echoing off the oak panels that lined the walls. “There has never been a Culpepper placed in a position of experiencing hunger and savages and shipwrecks, and there won’t be one now, not with my blood written on the purchase. I will not fund a ship for you, John, not now, not ever.” He pointed his finger in John’s face. “And if you somehow find a way to procure a ship, mark my words—I will disinherit and disown you. No son of mine will become a common sailor. I am finished with this conversation once and for all. Have I made myself clear?”

John exhaled, beaten. His shoulders slumped as he broke his father’s glare and dropped his eyes to the floor.

“John? Have I made myself clear?”

“Completely.”

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5-star-largeThe recipient of 5-stars at Readers’ Favorite, I, JOHN CULPEPPER is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon. CLICK HERE.

“In I, John Culpepper, you will be transported back to the time John lived and you will feel like you are a part of John’s life. The experience of reading this book was out of this world. … it is a magical experience and you will not want to miss it for anything! Amazing!” ~ Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

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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.

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Saturday Snippet – John Culpepper the Merchant

If you read the first book in the Culpepper Saga, “I, John Culpepper,” you’ll remember the red-headed wench John’s father was flirting with at the Blackwall Inn the day John was born in 1606. I was tickled to included her in the second book, and in an off-handed way, she is instrumental in saving John’s family at the end of the book.

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The Merchant ebookJohn Culpepper the Merchant

January 1643, Oliver Cromwell

John and his brother rode through a cold and damp fog into London and went for an ale at the Blackwall Inn. They removed their hats and scarfs and took a seat at the dank, corner table nearest the soot-encrusted fireplace that was glowing warm with embers. A scrawny boy placed a few logs into the fireplace, and the brothers watched the red embers grow into a roaring fire. They ordered a couple pints of ale, and once the barkeep delivered the mugs to the table, Thomas began to fill John in on all the unrest in the land that John had missed over the previous year.

“JC wrote me of the king trying to arrest those five members of the House of Commons and of his raising his standard at Nottingham, but what happened in between?” John asked.

Thomas took a drink and sighed. “Did he tell you about Cromwell?”

John shook his head.

“After the fiasco in the House of Commons, the king fled London and was ambushed in Birmingham.”

“JC told me that.”

“That attack was instigated by Oliver Cromwell.”

“Who’s Oliver Cromwell?”

“Exactly. He’s a nobody, a man of modest means, barely inside the gentry class. He’s sat in Parliament for a few years but has been pretty much useless and quiet. His only claim is that he led a single cavalry troop some years ago, and for some reason, Parliament thought that enough to elevate his status. They placed him in charge of their cavalry. He’s a committed Puritan with deep-rooted desires to take the king down because of his past religious rulings. After remaining quiet and never participating in Parliament’s dealings for years, somehow he convinced Parliament to pass what he called the Militia Ordinance, proclaiming the people of London are bound by law to join Parliament’s militia if called, and he immediately began recruiting men of low birth.”

“What’s the punishment for not joining?”

“Beheading.”

John exhaled and shook his head in disbelief.

Thomas continued. “He’s not recruiting military men or men of gentry, he’s recruiting anyone he can get his hands on. He’s not a trained military leader, so from a strategic standpoint, it’s difficult to guess his next move.”

“How many men does he have now?”

“Probably twice as many as we do. He took over the king’s royal army in London and is recruiting men by force.”

“Have the members of Parliament lost their minds?”

“Apparently so, but not all of them. Many members have disappeared to their country homes. They refuse to participate in taking down the king. The ones who are left, like Cromwell, are now jockeying for position in what they think will be a new country. Parliament is supposed to represent the people, but sadly, the citizens are now afraid of Parliament and the king is nowhere to be found to protect them. Without an option, they’re joining Cromwell’s militia in droves.”

John groaned and looked down into his mug.

An older woman with slivers of gray in her long red hair set two more pints on their table.

“Thank you,” John said.

“You’re Culpeppers,” she said, unquestionably.

John nodded.

She looked into John’s eyes. “You look just like your father.”

“Excuse me, do I know you?” John asked.

“No, you don’t know me.” She smiled and pointed at the mugs. “These pints are on the house. Tell your father to come by and visit.”

“Our father is long dead, madam,” Thomas said.

She spun her head to look at Thomas, shock in her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” A flash of sadness crossed her face and she looked back at John.

John wondered how this lowly, tavern wench knew a man of his father’s importance. She was middle aged with soft wrinkles around her eyes, but he could tell by her prominent cheekbones and full lips that she had probably been quite beautiful in her younger days. Perhaps this wench was the reason his father remained in London for lengthy stretches of time so many years ago.

The woman’s eyes became misty. “I’m very sorry to hear that. I was rather fond of your father. Well, if you ever need anything, my son owns the fishery in Maidstone, right on the River Medway. His name is Waller and the place is called Waller’s. You tell him his mother sent you.”

John and Thomas looked quizzically at each other and then Thomas said, “Um, Waller’s. All right. Thank you for the information, madam.”

“Of course.” She nodded at Thomas and slowly backed up from the table, stealing fleeting glances at John. “Just like your father,” she mumbled.

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“John Culpepper the Merchant” is available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

For pictures, paintings, and documents of the people and places in the Culpepper Saga, please visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

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Saturday Snippet – John Culpepper the Merchant

The Merchant ebookMy new release, “John Culpepper the Merchant” is the second book in the Culpepper Saga. It begins in England in 1642 at the onset of the English civil war. The king had been angering his people for his entire reign of seventeen years, and the opening chapter of the book sets the scene. It is one of the catalysts of the war.

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John Culpepper the Merchant

Chapter 1

January 4, 1642, London, England

The king marched into the room unannounced. He walked through the middle of the active session of Parliament and was greeted with stunned silence. Never before had a monarch entered the House of Commons uninvited, and the nearly two hundred members present froze in place as if someone had painted their portrait, capturing the moment complete with paper strewn across tables, pens held in the air, and faces turned to pose for the painter. The king did not return their shocked gazes.

From his seat at a table in the center of the room, JC watched the king walk past him, easily slipping between the unmoving members of the House. JC’s jaw fell open when the king sat in the speaker’s chair. JC looked back toward the door, wondering how the king had entered the room without warning and saw the king’s sergeant at arms blocking the doorway. Behind the intimidating man stood the king’s soldiers—hundreds of them as far as JC could tell.

After a lengthy and excruciating silence, the king rose from the chair. The knuckles of his right hand turned white as he gripped the ball on top of his walking stick. His left hand remained at his side, balled into a fist.

“Gentlemen!” The king narrowed his eyes as he scrutinized each face. It was obvious he was not going to stay as he had neglected to remove his wide-brimmed hat, which matched his black velvet cloak. Underneath, he wore a red doublet and breeches, almost the same shade as his face. “I am sorry to have this occasion to come unto you, and I apologize for violating your parliamentary privilege.” His beard twitched as he clenched his teeth. “But those guilty of treason have no privilege.”

There was a collective gasp from the room, and a trickle of sweat dripped down JC’s back. Parliament had not been convened for nearly nine years, as the king thought it his royal prerogative to rule the country alone, but after Scotland had invaded the north in retaliation for the king’s religious rulings, he desperately needed money to fund his army. The only body that could legally raise taxes to fund an army was Parliament, so the king was forced to call on it. It denied the king’s request to raise taxes, and instead compiled a list of over two hundred grievances against the king, demanding he address them. The document had been delivered a month ago but Parliament had never received word as to the king’s reaction.

JC had not participated in the writing of the grievances. For the last nineteen years, he had worked in the king’s service, just as his family had done for many kings and many generations. He would never contribute to anything as treasonous as telling the king how to rule. During his service, JC had never seen the king’s demeanor this threatening. This unannounced visit to the House of Commons was not going to end well for someone.

The king lifted his hand and gestured for his sergeant at arms to enter the room.

All heads turned toward the door, and all eyes followed the sergeant as he walked to the middle of the room and unrolled a piece of paper. He held it with both hands in front of his face and turned clockwise as he read aloud. “I am commanded by His Majesty, my master, upon my allegiance that I should come to the House of Commons and request from Mr. Speaker five members of the House of Commons. When these gentlemen are delivered, I am commanded to arrest them in His Majesty’s name for high treason. Their names are Mr. Denzil Hollis, Sir Arthur Haselrig, Mr. John Pym, Mr. William Strode, and Mr. John Hampden.”

The sergeant rolled up the paper and stuffed it back into his breast pocket.

JC witnessed a scowl cross the king’s face while the sergeant read the names. The five men were the authors of the list of grievances.

Attempted_Arrest_of_the_Five_members_lenthall kneels before charles“Mr. William Lenthall,” the king bellowed.

A man wearing a black cape with a white collar emerged from the crowd and knelt before the king. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Mr. Speaker, where are these men we seek? Do you see them in this room?”

Lenthall kept his eyes to the floor. “May it please Your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but only as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am.”

The king stared at the top of Lenthall’s head. Lenthall remained still. No man risked a glance toward another or even dared to breathe for fear of attracting the king’s attention. The king sighed and said, “I see all the birds have flown.”

With a flick of his wrist, the king flipped his long hair off his shoulder and marched past Lenthall, leaving him kneeling in front of his own empty chair. The sergeant at arms followed the king from the room. When the door slammed, everyone exhaled.

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John Culpepper the Merchant” is available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

For pictures, paintings, and documents of the people and places in the series, visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

New Release! “John Culpepper the Merchant”

51hHerBrPbL._UY250_If you’ve been following along, I’ve been writing a four-book series on 17th century John Culpepper who was my 10th great-grandfather. He was born in 1606 in Kent, England and was trained as a lawyer in his youth, but his greatest desire was to command a ship. Against his father’s wishes, when he was in his twenties, he purchased a ship, and his father never spoke to him again. His childhood story is told in the first book of the series, “I, John Culpepper.”

The Merchant ebookMy new release, the second book “John Culpepper the Merchant,” begins in 1642 and follows John to the colony of Virginia, but it more-or-less leaves him there as England finds itself in an uproar. The King had been angering his citizens with his religious antics since he took the throne in 1625, and the citizens had had enough. Parliament began fighting back and effectively split the country in two – the parliamentarians vs. the royalists. As civil war raged on, John returned over and over, but by the time he reached his wife and family, the fighting had usually died down. By the time he returned to Virginia, it had started back up again.

While everyone hoped the bloodshed would soon end, the members of Parliament, namely Oliver Cromwell, had other plans. He wanted to take over the country, he wanted the king dead, he would stop at nothing. After the king’s surrender, kidnapping, trial, and ultimately, his execution, the royalists found themselves at the mercy of Cromwell, and John had only one choice. He had to return to England under the cloak of darkness and rescue his family from certain death. It’s a good thing he had a ship and didn’t listen to his father.

“John Culpepper the Merchant” is available in Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

The third book in the series, “John Culpepper, Esquire,” will be released July 2015.

For pictures, paintings, and documents of the people and places in the series, visit the Culpepper Saga Facebook page.

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It’s Monday! What are you reading? Cover Reveal!

2a2It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I’ve been reading “John Culpepper the Merchant” by Lori Crane. LOL!

It’s my book, so I guess I’m cheating a little bit on posting it for this blog, but if I don’t make sure it’s error free before release, someone will lose their marbles, and we don’t want that to happen. So…I’ve been in final edit, proofread, flip-flop mode, wavering between thinking it’s-not-ready-for-release and it’s-the-best-book-ever. Truthfully, it’s probably somewhere in the middle, but as all my author friends know, that’s what we do. Flip-flopping is our most time-consuming hobby. 🙂

The Merchant ebookI’d also like to show off the new cover. Isn’t it so cool? My cover designer is amazing!

The book will be out in a few days and I’m tickled pink!

Blurb

For hundreds of years, the Culpepper family backed the monarchy, but when King Charles disbanded Parliament, married a Catholic princess, and appointed an archbishop who was a Catholic supporter, the royalist Culpeppers found themselves at odds with their friends and neighbors.

Years earlier, against his family’s wishes, John had purchased a merchant ship, sailed to Virginia, and spent most of his time there. While on American soil, he received word of the uprisings that followed the king’s actions.

When civil war began, John feared for the safety of his family in England. He was horrified when the king was captured, convicted of high treason, and beheaded. Would John’s family be next? The only way to rescue them would be with his ship, under the cloak of darkness. Would he succeed, or would they all be caught and tried as traitors?

John Culpepper the Merchant is the second book in the Culpepper saga and is the story of the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers. He was the author’s tenth great-grandfather.