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 and please send me your comments.

How About a Western?

Rawlins: An update on the latest work in Progress

Rawlins is the tentative title for the novel I am now writing. I don’t want to give away too much, but here’s a brief outline: The story begins in West Tennessee during the last full year of the American Civil War and eventually leads westward to the Oregon Trail. The protagonist, Virgil Rawlins, is a seventeen-year-old boy who finds himself un-expectantly slapped in the face with the reality of war, death, and loss. With an animus-driven by the deaths of friends and family, he seeks those responsible. The question becomes: Does Rawlins follow in the footsteps of other infamous outlaws of the time (James, Younger, etc.), or will he survive his quest without appearing on a wanted poster? To tell his story with historical accuracy is requiring quite a bit of research. My hope is that it may lead to a series, but that’s tentative. And, as always, yes, it’s also a love story.
I still owe my ‘Vietnam War Series’ readers another book, which I will begin writing later in the summer. In related news:

The new hardcover edition of Valley of the Purple Hearts with BIB Award.

A hardcover edition of the latest novel, Valley of The Purple Hearts, is now published. Special thanks to interior designer Carol Carlson who did a great job. The hardcover edition of this “Best Indie Book” award winner for literary fiction is now available on If you wish to receive a signed copy, contact me directly with your name and mailing address. The book retails for $38.95 plus postage. I will sign, package and mail a copy to you for $42.00. Be sure to include the name of the person for whom you want the book signed (exactly as you want it to appear). Since packaging and mailing books isn’t something I want to do long-term, I will limit this offer to the months of March and April 2018.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch: The February monsoon ended here in North Mississippi. That wasn’t necessarily because it stopped raining but rather the month ended. I think we had somewhere around twelve to fourteen inches of rain in February. Knowing it could have been much worse with things like tornados, snow, etc. you will hear no complaints from me. However, a little sunshine for a while would be nice.

As always, putting your written reviews of my books on Amazon makes me very happy, as does seeing your comments here on the site. Best wishes to all.


You may also enjoy: Valley of the Purple Hearts and Book One of My Southern Fiction Series: Tallahatchie


Bear Sighting – DeSoto County

Sometimes a photographer just has to get lucky…

I was down in the Coldwater River Bottoms near Highway 305 shooting photos of wildlife this morning. For those who may not know, when I am not working on a new novel, I try to get out and take wildlife photos. (Okay, time for a moment of truth in advertising–and/or when I am not doing whatever the wife needs to have done first.) Today, however, I was free. Problem was, things were pretty slow this morning with only a few shots, of some birds and deer.

This is the one of the deer—a doe and two yearlings—not a great shot, but what the heck. Every shot can’t be a classic.

Junco in The Snow

I also got these birds, a junco in the snow, and a thrush looking pitifully about for some sunshine.

It had grown cloudy again.

Thrush: “Is it spring yet?”








This sparrow shot was one of many, but I did get a pretty decent photo of a bluebird in a cedar tree. I may actually post this one on my photography website.

Bluebird in Cedar

The swamps and canals remained frozen, so there were no ducks, waterfowl, beavers and such anywhere around. I gave up a little before noon and headed back to the pickup.

The outing was nothing to write home about, but I’m not complaining. It was a pretty good morning spent ghosting around in the river bottoms in search of critters. Little did I know I was about to be the most famous bear photographer in DeSoto County. Yup, I always did want to be famous–have groupies and order my olives stuffed with jalapenos instead of pimento.

I cranked the old pickup truck and eased up the dirt road toward the blacktop. Thankfully it was still frozen, and I had no problems getting out of the bottoms.

As I was coming up Adair Lane toward the highway I was having visions of hot coffee with eggs, bacon, and grits, when I glanced to my left and there he was—a bear.

I could “bearly” believe my eyes. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.) Having often heard folks tell of sightings that include cougars, Big Foot and other such “rarities” while almost never producing photographic evidence, I was determined to get something that proved I had seen this critter. Stopping my pickup, I grabbed my camera. Luckily it was on the seat beside me with the telephoto lens still attached.

The bear seemed to be resting against a tree and mesmerized by the warming temperatures. And in case you thought me foolhardy, rest easy. I didn’t dare get out of my truck, but rolled down the window, and got my photo. The animal seemed content and never moved. He was still there when I drove away. By the way, this one did not at all resemble our native black bears, not even the Ole Miss variety, so perhaps someone with a little more knowledge of wildlife can tell us exactly what kind of bear it is. The photo is below.

Incidentally: With the good lord above watching my every move, I give my word, this is exactly how I found him, and the photo was in no way staged. I checked with some of the locals down there, and they too have seen him previously. After seeing my photo, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has declared no interest in this bear sighting–typical government coverup.

You may also enjoy: Road Trip: Jackson Hole and Rawlins Research and Rick DeStefanis Wildlife Photography