What’s Next?

Another Western Novel or Another Novel in The Vietnam War Series?

 

In recent weeks I’ve heard from several readers asking “What’s next?” And the questions come from both the readers of my Vietnam War Series and readers of my newest novel, Rawlins, No Longer Young. The problem is I lack the talent to write two novels simultaneously. There are most certainly (God willing) two coming, one in each of the genres, but I beg your patience.

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

I am currently working on the second Rawlins book, Rawlins, Into Montana. It’s now up to four chapters and Rawlins has arrived in Virginia City, Montana. There’s more I could tell you about the story, but don’t want to ruin it for you, especially if you haven’t read the first one in the series. Optimistically, it may be out by late summer, after which I will begin on Book #5 in The Vietnam War series.
The next Vietnam Series book is already working in the back of my mind and will be a tip of the hat to several readers/friends who are former military officers. That is the most I will say about it right now.
In the meantime, I continue providing logistical assistance as assistant general manager to the madam queen in the form of “honey-dos.” And in an effort to help me remain in some vague semblance of passible physical condition, she’s joined me to the local YMCA. I also continue to do my own yardwork (to help with the physical conditioning) and of course, there are fish that must be caught. After those chores are attended to, I commit a great deal of the remaining time to writing. Therefore you will hopefully understand my inability to produce a book a month like some other authors.
I will be announcing a new cover for Tallahatchie in a few days. Stay tuned.

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.

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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

 

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