Awards and such

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**

oc awardMy 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.

 

book-contest-semi-finalistAlso 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.

 

 

Web-Seal-Hoffer-Award-FinalistOne 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.

 

 

 

 

stuckey_s BridgeThe 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**

 

 

 

 

 

 

witch dance cover smallOkay, 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.

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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. 

Stuckey’s Bridge on the Travel Channel

maxresdefaultThe Travel Channel has a show called Most Terrifying Places in America. They’ve been on for a couple seasons now, and they’ve finally gotten around to the most terrifying place I know of – Stuckey’s Bridge.

 

 

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I was born in Meridian, Mississippi, near the bridge, and heard the creepy legend of the man locals refer to as Ole Man Stuckey my whole life.

Legend has it he was a member of the notorious Dalton Gang, but he was so evil, he was kicked out. He found his way to Lauderdale County, Mississippi where he opened an inn on the Chunky River.

At that time, the river was used to transport goods and produce down to the gulf. Ole Man Stuckey was known to pace the old bridge every evening at dusk, waving his lantern, and offering travelers a warm meal and a soft bed.

In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding the 50-year-old wooden bridge. During the project, they discovered bodies buried on the banks.

The townsfolk were suspicious about the creepy man who ran the inn and rounded up a posse to go find him. The mob took him down to the bridge, tied a noose around his neck, and hung him from the new iron rails of the bridge.

His body dangled over the river for five days. When the sheriff cut him down, he splashed into the river below.

Strangely enough, the ghosts around Stuckey’s Bridge today don’t seem to be the victims. The ghost seems to be Ole Man Stuckey, himself. Unexplained lights are witnessed. Footsteps on the bridge and loud splashes into the water below are heard. An apparition of a man walking across the bridge, waving a lantern, is occasionally seen.

28277124_10156046534958326_2362995188662457275_nWe taped the episode for the show last week, and in typical Stuckey-style, there were a few strange occurrences while we were there. A couple phones when crazy for a few minutes. A drone used to take footage of the river and the bridge crashed. We all heard it splash into the water, but when we ran onto the bridge to look over the railing for it, we saw it up in a tree. I wonder what the splash was…

I’ve written three books about the legend (available at Amazon, click here). That’s why they asked me to participate in the show. It was fun to go back home for the day, and I loved being out there again. It’s a cool place and it was a beautiful spring day! I’m very grateful my part of the show was wrapped up before nightfall.

 

 

Here’s my cousin dressed up to play the part of Ole Man Stuckey! This picture was taken long after I skedaddled out of there by Stuckey Bridge Canoe and Kayak

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Sweet Dreams…

Historic Stuckey’s Bridge to get fresh coat of paint

An historic wooden bridge spanning the Chunky River in Clarke County is getting a fresh coat of paint Saturday because of recent vandalism.

Source: Historic Stuckey’s Bridge to get fresh coat of paint

Stuckey's cover_webThis above story is the bridge featured in my book, “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge.” 

A to Z – Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

L is for Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge

 

 

 

stuckey's bridge from VA Iron and Bridge Co on wikiTrue? Not true? Half true but blown way out of proportion?

The Legend

In the 1890s, Old Man Stuckey, a former member of the Dalton Gang, ran an inn on a stagecoach route along the Chunky River in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. He could often be seen at night on the bridge, waving his lantern to passing flatboats carrying produce and cotton up and down the river, and flagging down coaches who had been traveling all day. He offered weary travelers a soft bed and a hot meal.

According to legend, he murdered them in their sleep for their riches and buried their bodies along the banks of the river.

In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began rebuilding the dilapidated bridge by his inn and found the remains of Stuckey’s victims. The sheriff and his posse hung Stuckey from the very bridge he used to attract his victims. They left his body hanging for five days before the noose was cut and his body splashed into the cold water below.

Old Man Stuckey must have been a serious psychopath or sociopath (psychopaths are genetic, sociopaths are created, but both have the same personality traits). Since there was no record of his existence at that time, I wonder where he came from and what kind of background he had that made him so nuts. In writing the book “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge,” and investigating Old Man Stuckey’s exploits, I started by researching the Dalton Brothers – Bill, Bob, Grat, and Emmet. What I found interesting about them is they did not set out to be outlaws. They were all initially U.S. marshals. Bill lived in California on his successful farm with his beautiful wife and is not in the Wanted Poster below. I assume his wife wouldn’t let him go that day.

Dalton Gang

Bill was involved in California politics, and the local farmers were trying to keep the railroads from running through their farms. When his three brothers (the hotties pictured above) showed up, their manly testosterone levels escalated, and they came up with a plan to teach the railroads a thing or two. They attempted to rob a train, but being inexperienced, bumbling train robbers, the result was a total fiasco. They fled empty handed under gunfire.

Somewhere between that humiliating failure in 1890 and their terrible deaths in 1892 while trying to rob TWO banks – across the street from each other – at the same time – in broad daylight – which resulted in a shootout – and most of the gang getting killed, their fine morals and upbringing obviously went astray. Boys will be boys.

800px-Dalton_Gang_memento_mori_1892

The photo here is from Wikipedia from the 1892 shootout. The middle two are Bob and Grat. Their boots were removed. They are all in handcuffs. Who took their boots?? And why are they handcuffed?? And what’s up with the gun in the photo?? So, they had a town photographer, but no town doctor to know if they were dead or not, hence the handcuffs??

Anyway, Old Man Stuckey’s story starts with the Dalton Gang on the very day of this bank shootout. Old Man Stuckey didn’t pick very good friends.

 

Saturday Snippet – STUCKEY’S BRIDGE

Stuckey's cover_webThe Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge is based on folklore surrounding the real 1850s Stuckey’s Bridge in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. I heard the tales my whole life and was drawn to write a story about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey. He cracked me up in his impatience, but he was still an evil and creepy character. Here’s a bit of the way his brain worked.

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“Wha…what’s going on?” The woman jerked and sat up. “Who are you?”

He poked the rifle into her ribs harder. “Where’s your money?”

The woman didn’t fight back. “In…in the coffee pot in the wagon.”

“You got any jewelry?”

“What? No, we don’t…”

He spoke louder, his impatience building. “Do you have anything worth money?”

“Only the…” She looked at the rifle. “Only the gun you’re holding.”

“Don’t move,” he said as he stomped back to the wagon and climbed in to search for the coffee pot.

A few moments later, the woman unexpectedly appeared at the back of the wagon, pointing a trembling six-shooter at Thomas. “Get out!” she screamed, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Without thinking twice, he spun around and shot her point-blank in the chest with the rifle, killing her instantly.

She collapsed to the ground with a thud. He sighed and turned back to his job at hand, and soon located the coffee pot in the bottom of a box, covered with threadbare dishcloths. He took the money out of the pot and crammed the bills into his jacket pocket.

He climbed down from the back of the wagon, removed the gun from the dead woman’s hand, and said, “Too bad you didn’t stay put. Why don’t you women ever learn to do as you’re told?” He shook his head in exasperation. He shoved the six-shooter into his waistband and moved quickly through the dark woods toward to his waiting horse. He rode most of the night, and as the sun rose hot and red on the horizon, he stopped to count his take. “Fourteen measly dollars, a rifle, and a six-shooter.” He grimaced. “I’m getting too old for this.”

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Lori Crane Books at Amazon

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The Backstory of the STUCKEY’S BRIDGE TRILOGY

Here’s a little background on the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy.

stuckey's bridge from VA Iron and Bridge Co on wikiMy childhood: I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi and heard the legend of Stuckey’s Bridge my whole life. It actually began in a book about the area written in the 1970s. The local paper, The Meridian Star, picked up on the legend from the book and the story spread like wildfire. The bridge instantly became THE place to party on the weekends, searching for ghosts and frightening girls into cuddling closer. (If you want to go there: head south out of Meridian on Interstate 59. Turn right at exit 142, then a quick left onto Meehan-Savoy Road. Travel 2.2 miles until you see a dirt road on your left. That is Stucky Bridge Road. The bridge will be about two miles down the dirt road. It is now closed, so you’ll have to turn around to leave. After you read the following legend, you may not want to go.)

The legend goes: In the late 1800s, a former member of the Dalton Gang came to Lauderdale County, Mississippi to find his fortune. He opened an inn near the Chunky River and stood on the old wooden bridge at night, flagging down merchants with his lantern, offering them a warm bed and a hot meal. Supposedly, he murdered his victims in their sleep and buried their bodies on the banks of the river. In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding the old bridge and the bodies were discovered. The innkeeper, Old Man Stuckey as he is known to the locals, was hung by a posse from the iron rails of the new bridge.

Stuckey's cover_webIf you know me, you know I couldn’t stop searching until I figured out who this Old Man Stuckey really was…that became the first book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE. (Check out the book trailer…creepy!)

unnamedWhile writing the story, I didn’t want Old Man Stuckey to be alone all the time, so I had him run across a young boy named Levi. In the story, young Levi took on a creepiness all his own, and I received tons of emails and messages asking what Levi’s past was. As usual with my overactive imagination, I was more interested in his future than his past, so I wrote STUCKEY’S LEGACY: THE LEGEND CONTINUES. At the end of that book, Levi “got his” and the story focused on the young woman he met during the story, Penelope Juzan.

Back to my childhood: There was a second legend around the area where I grew up. Supposedly there was an inn on Lake Juzan in the 1840s where an innkeeper murdered his guests for wealth, much like Old Man Stuckey. The man’s name was Pierre Juzan, and he dumped the bodies in the lake with the help of his Indian sidekick. Toward the end of the legend, one of them killed the other for the wealth of gold they had confiscated.

Side note: There were also a couple different accounts of trunks of confederate gold disappearing as they traveled through the area during the Civil War.

I thought all these stories had a similar thread, and I wondered if I could separate them.

stuckey Gold Cover smallBack to the trilogy: I came to the conclusion that these legends were indeed different stories, but thought they were probably connected in some way. Those crazy ideas in my head became the third book in the trilogy, STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN. 

These tales tickled me pink while writing them, and I hope you enjoy them too!

stuckey Trilogy_ smal

 

 

 

 

 

Update: October 1st release of – The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy  available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon. Click HERE!

Lori Crane Books at Amazon

Saturday Snippet – Stuckey’s Bridge

In celebration of the coming release of the third book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy on August 25th, I’m posting a short snippet of the first book today, the second book next Saturday, and the third book the following Saturday.

Stuckey's cover_webThis is from THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE.

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He staggered down to the river to inspect the boat, carrying the ax in one hand and the lantern in the other. He realized as he walked that he may have consumed one too many swigs of whiskey, for he didn’t remember the path being this difficult to navigate. He giggled as he stumbled toward the bank. The cool mist of the fog felt good on his face, but the lack of visibility made him a little disoriented. He wasn’t sure if the feeling was caused by the fog or the whiskey.

He reached the river, placed the lamp on the dirt next to the boat, and crawled aboard. He searched around the deck, under the seats, and down in the hole, but found nothing.

“Damn it. Why do they always keep the money on them?” he griped.

“Hey! What are you doing there?” called the skinny boy, who surprisingly emerged from the woods and neared the boat.

“I was making sure your boat was tied up securely.” The words sure and securely came out in a slur, but Thomas ignored it and climbed out of the boat, back onto the bank. He still held the rusty ax.

“Why do you need an ax to check on the boat?”

“Oh.” He looked down at the ax. “Just in case I run into something out in the woods. You can never be too careful out here, you know?”

“Don’t you have a gun?”

“Well, yes,” he said as he neared the boy. “But guns make noise.”

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