Saturday, March 28, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
He is Hungry and you're the main course. The legendary Black Panther isn't a mythological monster after all. In Rick's upcoming book: The Killer Cat of Flat Rock, a black panther is on the prowl in Honey Creek Township and has a appetite for human flesh. No redneck is safe as the Killer Cat terrorizes the community while local law enforcement officials are rendered helpless.
Available Summer 2011
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Saturday, March 7, 2009
Conquest of the Wabash
It was early autumn in the year of 1680. Joseph LaMotte was barely able to clutch his makeshift oar after paddling his pirogue for the past twenty-four hours. It had been an hour since he had last seen the band of Iroquois who had relentlessly chased him from the headwaters of the nameless vermillion colored river, yet he sensed they were still in pursuit. He was desperate and was ready to collapse, but was fearful his sleep would become permanent if the savages found him with his guard down. He decided to press eastward as long as his body could endure the pain and the fatigue.
He considered fighting the current of one of the river’s small tributaries, but since he had no idea of his location, a wrong decision would likely prove to be fatal. His only option was to stay the course and continue downstream. Even though there were four braves paddling their beach-wood canoe, LaMotte was able to lengthen the distance between them due to the fact that his flat-bottomed pirogue rode much higher in the water. He was able to glide over many of the shallow shoals while the Indians were forced to carry their bulky canoe every time they hit a sandbar. Unfortunately, whenever there were long stretches of deep water, the warriors were able to gain ground. Now that the river was getting wider and deeper, he feared they would soon overtake him.
His pirogue was filled with enough trading stock to satisfy the needs of an entire tribe, so he doubted that they would give up the chase until they killed him or lost his trail completely. He was aware that they could not track him as long as he stayed on the river, but with every mile he traveled down stream, he found himself a mile further away from any potential help. He hoped by staying on the river overnight, he would have been out of danger by morning. Much to his chagrin he saw them methodically paddling their canoe a few hundred yards behind him at sunrise. He guessed they probably took turns sleeping throughout the night. Regardless of how they did it, his scalp was in peril.
He frantically thrashed the water with a long flat piece of hardwood, normally used for cleaning fish. It was awkward to hold, but its width moved a lot of water. He regretted not going ashore to get his paddle at the time of the attack, but his first reaction was to flee to safety. That policy had always served him well in the past. He would have to make do with what was at hand.
Periodically he pulled ahead until the braves were out of sight and then took time to rest for a moment to catch his breath. His arms ached and his hands were covered in blisters. It was during those few moments of rest he would once again see the silhouette of their canoe appear on the horizon. The Iroquois never deviated from their rhythmic monotonous tempo. LaMotte quickened his pace and the Indians were out of sight. When he was forced to stop again to regain his strength, the braves would appear. They repeated the deadly game of cat and mouse all afternoon.
Once, they got close enough for him to see their red painted faces but luckily the river widened and became too shallow for the braves to remain in their canoe. They looked menacing enough without the war paint. LaMotte thought that the paint made them look more like demons from hell rather than men, especially the one who seemed to be their chieftain. He had the shaved head like the others, but his scalplock was more than two feet in length and was adorned with several white feathers. He seemed to have a lightning bolt painted on his left cheek and definitely was in command of the party. There was no doubt he would kill the Frenchman if he got the chance. LaMotte paddled with all of his reserve, determined not to let them get that close again.
The rays of the early September sun exploded brightly against the ripples of the water as the river descended into a dense forested valley. Ahead on the left LaMotte could see the remnants of an abandoned winter village on the southerly shore. There were seven oval-shaped bark covered huts similar to those used by the Illiniwek tribes back on the Illinois River. He would give anything to crawl inside one of the lodges and fall asleep. Let them have the supplies. The blankets, beads, awls, and hatchets didn’t mean anything to him. They definitely weren’t worth dying for. They could have them all, just as long as they would let him sleep for a while and go back to the fort. He sighed, knowing that it wasn’t the beads they wanted. It was the rest of his cargo; six kegs of brandy and a dozen flintlock muskets. Firewater and fire sticks were a deadly combination.
Enough thought about sleep… He could sleep when he was dead like Dubois. If Dubois would have jumped in the boat, instead of trying to be a hero and save those poor Illini braves back at the camp, they would be miles ahead of these cutthroats. There were enough supplies in the boat for them both to go into business on their own. However, Dubois always saw himself as some sort of a nobleman. King and country! Service and honor! Foolish words, spoken by a foolish man. There is no honor in becoming a martyr.
LaMotte grabbed a cup from his bag and dipped it into the water. He gulped it quickly, conscious that he had missed a stroke, allowing his would-be murderers to draw a few feet closer. He found some raw acorns in the same bag and pushed two into his mouth. They had a bitter taste, but he was weak from the lack of nourishment and had to do everything within his power not to end up like Dubois. After devouring eight acorns, he went back to paddling like a man should paddle if his life depended on it.
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Wa-Ba-Shik-ki: Conquest of the Wabash, is finally at the publishers. The release date should be around the end of April. I am happy with the finished product and look forward to finally get back to writing. The editing and rewriting are torturous and feels too much like homework. I'm working on four new books and am waiting to see which one crosses the finish line first.
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