Raindrops Keep Falling on my head….Yea!!

Rain–Rain at Last…

YES! I admit it. That was me you heard yelling. I was out there in the yard this morning near dawn with arms outstretched, facing heavenward, and turning in circles in the glorious rainfall. It’s been thirty-something days here in this part of Mississippi without a drop. One gulf hurricane went left, two went right. The only thing hanging over us was that big blue “H” on the weather map. The grass had turned brown and the trees were shedding crinkly dead brown leaves. The only things that hadn’t turned brown were my wife Janet’s artificial ferns. They were just a little dusty.

Me after the rain.

Well, sort of…

And, before, I go further: I really don’t want to hear from you my friends living out west where this drought thing is considered normal. Really. Yes, I know. I am spoilt. We get on average nearly an inch a week—roughly four and a half inches a month down here in Mississippi. We may curse the summer humidity and this our often jungle-rainforest environment, but our grass, our trees, and our critters expect it, and when that doesn’t happen…well, it gets ugly. Even the hummingbirds were doing barrel-rolls this morning.

Hummingbird doing a barrel roll

It began thundering and booming a little after nightfall yesterday evening. It sounded very much like a major artillery barrage, which is why I actually showed good-judgment for once and did not do my “thank you” rain dance last night. But it wasn’t the thunder and lightning that kept me awake last night. No.

It was that slurping sound coming from the grass and trees. Those of which hadn’t already succumbed to this “Death Valley” drought were sounding like a dehydrated camel at a desert oasis.

Even now, I walk in the grass, and it’s not squishy. Rather, it cracks like water-gorged celery beneath my feet. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but at least if it isn’t, it’s dying a happy death with its last drink of water. Reckon I’ll go out and check the battery on the lawnmower later.

Oh, and by the way, many of you have asked me if I was ever going to produce any of my novels as audiobooks. The answer was always, that I “might” consider it. Well, I am now moving ahead on an experimental basis to do one. Whether or not I choose to do more will depend on the results of this first project. That’s where your reader comments—or in this case, “listener” comments—will become a critical part of the decision. A more formal announcement and progress-update will be made in a few months.

Check this out: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00H2YO2SS

And, as always, please send me your comments.

The Birdhouse Man and a Visit to North Carolina

The Birdhouse Man
Research Trip to Boone, North Carolina

View From The Top, Grandfather Mountain, NC

Over the Labor Day weekend, Janet and I made a 4-day roundtrip drive to Boone in the North Carolina Mountains—home of Appalachian State University—oh yeah, and also at one point home for a guy named Daniel with the same last name. The primary purpose was to do some research for my next book in the Vietnam War Series. So, why “Boone, North Carolina” for a Vietnam War Series book?
Let me begin with this: All my stories contain strong female secondary protagonists. Of the few negative reviews I have received, it seems the major complaint is I don’t stick to the “war” story. To those reviewers, I say “Read Sergeant Rock comic books if you want “war” stories. I write about people, yes in war, but also in love, and the effects of war on their lives afterward. I guarantee to disappoint the “Sergeant Rock” readers with this next novel—tentatively titled The Birdhouse Man. (You will have to read it to understand the title.)
It happens or I should say it begins in Boone because the story is told from the perspective of a seventy-something-year-old Vietnam War veteran as he helps a young history major at Appalachian State write her senior thesis. The novel is actually two parallel stories—the other being the student’s trials and tribulations in a family wrecked by the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The two stories are creating a great deal of “stop and restart” writing in an effort to blend them effectively and keep the narrative flowing. The book should be out sometime next summer.

Cow on a Hill, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Back in ’71, while in the Army 82nd Airborne, I did some training in the Grandfather Mountain area of North Carolina, and we revisited the park there this weekend.

Mountain Lion on Grandfather Mountain

Turns out Grandfather Mountain was a site well worth visiting with a nature museum, a video presentation, guides, and a wildlife display—and oh yeah, the mountain. I highly recommend a week-day or non-holiday visit. Luckily we arrived early, but later in the day, it became very crowded. Also, it is best to know how to read a map. GPS navigation is problematic in the mountains.

I look forward to your comments on this post as well as my Amazon author page. Check it out at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00H2YO2SS

The Rawlins Trilogy Book II is NOW AVAILABLE!!

AT LAST!! Book II of THE RAWLINS TRILOGY is NOW Available

Rawlins, Into Montana, the second book of The Rawlins Trilogy, is now available in Kindle Ebook, paperback and hardcover editions. The Kindle version, as well as the hardcover and paperback editions can be ordered through your favorite bookstore or purchased at Amazon.com/books at https://amzn.to/32OpR3s. If you wish to learn more about the story, you can go to the “Books” page on this site and click on the cover. This will take you to the individual book page for Rawlins, Into Montana where you can read more.

Rawlins into Montana book cover

The Second Book of the Rawlins Trilogy, Rawlins, Into Montana

If you haven’t read the first book of The Rawlins Trilogy, Rawlins, No Longer Young, I strongly encourage you to do so. This second book, Rawlins, Into Montana, is a continuation of that story, and you will find it much more rewarding by reading them in order.
And now, to answer the inevitable question: When will Book III of The Rawlins Trilogy be available? It hasn’t yet been written. Currently, I am working on Book V in The Vietnam War Series. I will begin the third and final Rawlins book sometime next spring. As always, I look forward to your questions, comments and reviews.

Rick DeStefanis