New Cover For Melody Hill

A Snapshot of The Melody Hill Story

First and foremost, a request:  If you have already read Melody Hill (or for that matter—any of my books) and haven’t yet written and posted your review on Amazon and Goodreads, I really wish you would consider doing it now. Your support and your review can make a difference.

Now, on to the latest blog post: Fantastic cover designer, Todd Hebertson (his contact info is included below), has designed a new cover for the Third Edition of Melody Hill, Book #1 in the Vietnam War Series. Also, a new,  more descriptive and concise book summary has been written for the back cover and for booksellers’ such as Amazon and Ingram to use on their sites.

The new story summary is as follows:

When Army sniper Duff Coleridge is recruited into a CIA advisor’s Special Operations Group in Vietnam, he little realizes how much of his soul he will be required to sacrifice. Vietnam is a world away from Melody Hill, his home in the mountains of east Tennessee, and Duff quickly finds the clear moral lines of life back home are blurred in the glare of an enigmatic war. His CIA boss, who seems more rogue than company man, is dealing arms on the black market while delivering a seemingly arbitrary and ruthless justice to the local populace. When Duff meets and falls in love with a beautiful young South Vietnamese woman, Lynn Dai Bouchet, he is left to his own instincts to decide if her advances are based on true affection or are merely a means of exploitation. Is she a Vietcong spy, as his CIA boss claims, or is she someone like himself, trying to do her part while making the best of a bad situation? Duff soon realizes he must get out before it’s too late, but only then discovers he is already trapped in a lethal game of cat and mouse.

The next project will be to work with Todd to redesign the cover for my Southern Fiction novel, Tallahatchie. The story summary will be updated for that one as well, along with some interior text edits. This will be the second edition for Tallahatchie when it is completed.

Check out more of Todd’s work at BookCoverArt.webs.com  and please send me your comments.

Rawlins, No Longer Young

Rawlins No Longer Young is now available…

Yes, this historical western novel, Rawlins No Longer Young, is now available on Amazon in three formats: the Kindle edition as well as both the paperback and hardcover editions. If you happen to be a wholesaler or bookstore, the Ingram wholesale pipeline is still about seven days from being ready for orders. For those interested in author-signed hardcovers, (yes, by yours truly), contact me via the website at Rick DeStefanis – The Word Hunter.   I will be able to provide those for a short time, on a limited basis at a flat rate of $32 dollars. Just don’t expect them overnight.

Rawlins, No Longer Young is available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover editions.

Here is the story summary: Virgil Rawlins is left without family or friends as he is swept into the maelstrom that encompasses the last years of the American Civil War. Lost in a world of brutality and inhumanity, the teenaged Rawlins matures—as did many of the Wild West’s first outlaws—with revenge and hatred as his only motivations. He heads westward before the war’s end, making his way to the town of Independence and the Oregon Trail, but along the way, he meets the remarkably beautiful Sarah McCaskey and learns that the rights and wrongs in his life cannot be defined simply as blue and gray.

When Sarah tells Rawlins of her loss to Confederate guerrilla Bloody Bill Anderson, Rawlins begins to question his own assumptions. Joining a wagon train as a hunter/scout, he heads westward into the raging Indian War of 1865. Along the way, he earns a reputation as a well-respected fighter and he must finally decide what kind of man he will be—outlaw, lawman or perhaps, neither.

Yes, as with all my protagonists, Rawlins has a woman who stands behind him, beside him and sometimes in front of him. Sarah McCaskey, like Lacey Coleridge in The Gomorrah Principle and Janie Jorgensen in Valley of The Purple Hearts, is my strong female secondary protagonist. Sorry, dear readers, I am an incurable romantic and a believer in the positive influence women have had on all men in history.

I end this blog post with one respectful request: If you like Rawlins No Longer Young, please post your review of the story on Amazon and Goodreads as soon as you read it. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy review, but the more you say about the story the better. I am posting an advertisement for the book in the November issue of True West Magazine, and it will be helpful if potential new readers see your reviews.

I would also like to receive your comments directly. Send them to me.

Please enjoy these other articles

Rawlins: Historical Fiction and Western Book

Road Trip: Jackson Hole and Rawlins Research

Part Two: Wyoming and Montana Road Trip-Grizzly, Bison and Moose

Grizzly, Bison and Moose…IT’S NOT A PETTING ZOO PEOPLE!!

He is not a Grizzly, but this is how a Bison looked after a bunch of European tourists bailed out of their vehicle and ran to within 15 yards of him where they began taking selfies–I kid you not!! Janet and I were on the opposite side of the highway (The Bear Tooth Highway north of Yellowstone) photographing him with a telephoto lens. Occasional snowflakes were darting about (the real ones) when these snowflakes began posing for their photos.

A Very Agitated Tetonka

They seemed to think this giant beast was as docile as a cow and they remained otherwise oblivious to the signs of agitation he was exhibiting. Thankfully, before he could decide if he wanted to gore a few of them, they loaded up and left. This was how he appeared shortly afterward. Anyone who knows wildlife can look at this critter and tell he was definitely at the limit of his patience.

 

Then there was the big grizzly out in the Shoshone River Valley west of Cody, Wyoming. He was on the opposite side of the river, about a hundred yards off the highway, guarding the remains of an apparent kill. Several people had stopped to take photos, and everyone remained on the highway near their vehicles–at least until the crowd grew. Then, as you might have figured, the 3% crowd showed up. That’s the ones lacking common sense. Two women and a man left the roadside and walked down closer to the river with their cell phone cameras. They approached to within fifty yards of the big Griz as many of us on the highway could only mutter “Oh $h%t!”

Big Grizzly, Shoshone River Valley

As you can see from my photo, he became focused on them. Grizzlies don’t look it, but they are agile as cats and incredibly fast. He could have sprinted across the river and reached them in as little as three or four seconds. Thankfully, they got their photos and returned to the shoulder of the road without incident. A few minutes later the bear left his kill and came down to the river, about 80 yards away, where he got a drink of water.

Griz Getting a Drink From the Shoshone River

 

The three most aggressive animals in this part of the country (and the ones responsible for the majority of attacks on humans) are the Grizzly, the Moose, and the Bison. Because they have often become accustomed to the presence of humans they do not run away and often appear deceptively at ease, which leads tourists to believe they are docile and relatively harmless. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and any of the three can kill a human in seconds.

We caught this bull moose crossing a sage flat early one morning near Moose Junction (go figure) in the Grand Teton National Park. Thankfully, none of the 3% crowd were around.

Moose, Teton National Park

Again, my 400mm telephoto lens brings him in close, while Janet and I remain nearly a hundred yards away.

I will leave you with the shot below, as a means of explaining how we get these photographs. During our travels, we ran into more than a few tourists who said, “We’ve seen very few animals. Where are you seeing them?” A few questions usually reveal they have risen a little after sunrise, had a nice breakfast at the restaurant and arrived at the park sometime around mid-morning–the time when most critters are bedding down for the day. As the photo below reveals and I explained to the tourists, “It’s not a matter of ‘where,’ but a matter of ‘when.’ You must get up before dawn if you want to see more wildlife.”  By the way: My next blog will announce the publication of my next book: Rawlins, No Longer Young, a historical western.

Tetons Before Sunrise

 

Please enjoy these other articles of interest

Bucks, Bears, and a Wildfire

Road Trip: Jackson Hole and Rawlins Research