Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Elizabeth's War by D.L. Rogers

Elizabeth's War by D.L. Rogers

Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Paperback, AudioBook, & eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

Read the complete first chapter here.

In a time when raiders, bushwhackers, and Redlegs rode the Cass County, Missouri, countryside bringing fear and destruction with them, Elizabeth Miers and her family barely survived into the next day. When the enemy, in the form of Elizabeth’s neighbors, comes a-calling more than once with mischief on their minds, Elizabeth fights back to keep her children safe against men she once called friends.

On August 25, 1863, following the issuance of General Order No. 11 by Union General Thomas Ewing, thousands of women, children, and the elderly were forced to vacate their homes in the brutal summer heat within fifteen days. With determination and a plan, Elizabeth sets out on a sixty-mile trek toward St. Clair County. Carrying enough prepared food and water on a rickety built sled to reach her aunt and uncle’s farm, she prays her kin are there to welcome them, not knowing whether they lived through the burning of Osceola two years prior—or not.

Facing more than just the lack of food and shelter and the unbearable heat, they’re set upon by raiders and foraging soldiers who try to take more than just their meager provisions. Much more. Left with little after their supplies are stolen and their property destroyed, Elizabeth and her fellow travelers continue south, facing more indignities before their journey is done.

Through Elizabeth and the thousands of other refugees that traveled ahead of and behind her, feel what they felt in the wake of General Order No. 11, an order that took everything and left them destitute and afraid they wouldn’t live to see one more day.

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Crossfire in the Street by D.L. Rogers

Publication Date: June 7, 2018
Paperback & eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

Read the first two chapters here.

The Civil War yielded many bloody battles and the Battle at Lone Jack was among the worst. Fought across a sixty-foot strip of dusty road, brothers fought brothers, neighbors fought neighbors, cousins fought cousins, and the blood of horses and men ran together in the street under the blistering August sun.

The Green family tried to keep from being caught up in the war headed for their doorstep, but their efforts were lost—even before the Yankees came to town.

In their youthful exuberance and ignorance, sixteen and fifteen year old Hank and Jesse sneak into town to watch the battle—and find more trouble than they bargained for. Pete, the oldest brother, joins the Rebels and fights to save his life—and that of his brothers. Cora, the oldest daughter on the cusp of becoming a woman, loves a boy who runs off to fight with the Federals—and breaks her heart.

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Chapter Two
(Mid-June, 1861)

Elizabeth’s heart pounded like a horse shoer’s hammer. She’d never known fear like she felt right now, awakened in their beds by riders pounding up the lane, men shouting and firing guns into the bright, moonlit night.
Elizabeth was out of bed seconds after her husband.
James turned hard eyes to her. “Hurry, I’ll rouse Steven, if he isn’t already awake. Get the children.”
Elizabeth was so scared she could only nod. Her hands shook so much she couldn’t find the opening of her day dress to slide over her head, wasting precious moments. Please, please, please, Dear Lord, protect my family this night, she prayed over and over in her head.
Dressed but barefoot, she hurried to gather the children. Nora, Vera, and Sally were sitting up in the bed they shared in the large room at the back of the house, the covers balled in fists at their necks, eyes wild with fright. Little Joseph was still sound asleep in his fold down cot attached to the wall.
“What’s happening, Mama?” Nora cried.
“Make it stop, Mama, make it stop!” Vera shouted.
“Shhh, girls. We must all go to the front room. Hurry now, hurry.”
Clutching their long nightshirts the girls jumped out of bed. Nora hauled Sally into her arms and Elizabeth awkwardly lifted a still slumbering Joseph over her shoulder.
“What’s going on?” Vera asked again, voice quavering, following behind her mother and sister.
Elizabeth ignored her daughter’s question and herded everyone to the other room.
James and Steven were already positioned at the two windows, the shutters open wide enough to slide out a rifle barrel. Elizabeth put Joseph on his feet, the little boy whining and swaying. Elizabeth pointed. “Vera, Nora, sit down on the floor between the wall and cabinet with the children. Quickly now.”
“They’ve finally come, haven’t they, Mama?” Nora shuffled the two little ones toward where her mother had directed. Her words were said matter-of-factly, like she’d been waiting for this night for a long time.
“Yes, they’ve come. I want you both to keep your brother and sister quiet on your laps and do not move until I or your Papa tells you it’s all right. Do you understand?”
Neither girl spoke, but each nodded, their eyes as wide as the full moon outside. Needing no further encouragement, they squeezed into the corner with Joseph and Sally on their laps, their arms wrapped tight around the sleepy, whining smaller children who understood none of what was happening.
Unsatisfied a stray bullet wouldn’t find one of her children, Elizabeth cleared the heavy oak table in the middle of the floor with one stroke of her arm, shattering two glass candle holders, a plate of fruit, and a glass left there after supper. “Help me move this,” she ordered her son who hurried from the window to help. In moments the table lay on its side in front of the cowering children.
Four windows in the house needed defending. Two were in the front room, one to the right of the door and one on the left wall, the third was in James and Elizabeth’s bedroom on the right side of the house, and the fourth in the loft, where Steven slept.
“Go,” was all James said to his son before the boy scurried up the ladder carrying an older-model Spencer rifle and a six-shot Colt revolver, one of two pieces James had purchased recently in preparation for such an attack. “Liz.” He handed her a small squirrel rifle, a Colt, and pointed her to their bedroom. “I’ll take the brunt of it here.”
Elizabeth hurried to the bedroom, laid the Colt on the table under the window, opened the shutter enough to slide the rifle barrel out, and waited. She didn’t wait long before three men emerged into the moonlit yard from behind the house on her right headed toward the barn. They disappeared inside and re-emerged a few moments later leading Solomon, Blaze and Poppyseed, Elizabeth’s palomino mare.
“You, inside!” someone yelled from the front of the house. The children shrieked in the other room and Elizabeth almost dropped the rifle.
“What do you want from us? We’ve got no quarrel with you. There are children in here!” James yelled from the window.
“You know what we want,” came the reply.
What did they want? Elizabeth’s skin bubbled up with fear. Had they come to take her husband and son away because they believed in the southern cause? Were they here to burn their house down and leave them homeless? Her mind was whirling, waiting for James’ response when a rifle exploded from the front of the house. She didn’t know where it had come from and thought she’d choke on her heart. Poppyseed, the greenest of the three horses being led from the barn reared. The man leading her tried to hang onto the rope, but the mare was having none of it. She pawed the air until the rope jerked through the man’s hands. He shrieked and the horse raced away, the rope flying wildly behind her. Feeding on Poppyseed’s fear Solomon and Blaze reared and jerked away from the men leading them, thundering off into the darkness after Poppyseed. Regardless of the graveness of the situation, Elizabeth smiled and said a silent prayer they might escape this night with their lives and their horses.
Her attention was drawn from the men, blowing on their rope-burned hands, when someone out front shouted, “Whoever’s up in that loft better make sure if you shoot again you don’t miss!”
“I didn’t miss the first time! I hit exactly what I intended. Next time it’ll be right in the middle of your gut!” Steven shouted from the loft.
Running footsteps drew Elizabeth’s attention and she turned in time to see the three men who’d been leading the horses disappear around front. Her pounding heart roared like a train in her head, but she forced herself to stay steady, watching for any mischief at the rear of the house or near the barn. With each shouted threat from out front, her children whimpered and cried. She wanted to run to them and comfort them, but she stayed put, aware if she left it would leave them all vulnerable.
Her husband’s voice drew her attention. “My son means what he says. And he’s not the only one inside this house that can shoot. I can hit the eye out of a squirrel at 60 paces without trying, so it won’t be difficult for me to hit any one of you!”
Bile rose in Elizabeth’s throat when she spotted three men creeping from the front of the house along the left wall toward her. One man carried a torch. She waited until they were only a few feet away before she said, “I suggest you stop right there, drop the torch and put your hands up.”
The man carrying the torch didn’t hesitate. He dropped the torch and jerked his hands in the air. The other two did the same. When they looked up Elizabeth couldn’t believe her eyes. Two were neighbors, the Harrison boys!
Shaking off her surprise and allowing anger to replace it, she said in a deep, even tone that brooked no argument, “You boys better think hard about what you mean to do. I’m not usually a violent person. I try to be a good, Christian woman. But when you attack me or mine, my children in particular, there’s a side of me you boys don’t want to see—and won’t live to tell about if you don’t git outta here.” She paused a moment to let her words sink in before she added, “I’ll give you ten seconds to make up your minds whether to do as I say or defy me, but if you doubt my words, I promise I’ll blow a hole right through you.”
“You ain’t got but one shot in that squirrel gun, Miz Miers,” the unknown man challenged of the single-shot .32 caliber rifle she had pointed at them.
Elizabeth chuckled so deep it sounded evil even to her. “You haven’t seen what I’ve got next to me. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve shot many a varmint in my lifetime with this rifle I’m pointing at you boys, and to me right now you’re worse than any one of those slimy creatures. You threaten my family any further, you’ll find out exactly what I can, and will, do when I shoot each one of you just like one of those critters I’ve pulled this trigger on many times before. So make up your minds. You gonna skedaddle? Or am I gonna show you exactly what me and this rifle, and whatever else I’ve got next to me, can do? One, two....”
“We believe you, Miz Miers. We’ll go,” Roger, the older Harrison brother shouted.
“Good. Throw those guns in the dirt, kick them away, tuck your tails between your legs and run back out front with those other cowards who are threatening my family! I don’t really want to shoot anybody tonight, especially not neighbors, but if I’m provoked further I will not hesitate!”
Slowly, using only two fingers, Roger pulled his weapon, threw it down and kicked it away. Elija, the younger brother, heaved his rifle away and waited, but the third man hesitated.
“Walker, don’t be a fool. Do what she says,” Elija said.
Elizabeth thought she was going to be sick and her hands started to shake, but she couldn’t let them see it. She could not back down. Everything she loved was at stake. “Throw it down, now!” she shouted at Walker. The brothers jumped and raised their hands higher in the air.
Walker put his hand on his pistol, but Elizabeth sensed he had no intention of throwing it away. The weapon glinted in the moonlight as he drew on her and, without a moment’s hesitation, she pulled the trigger. The rifle exploded, shattering Walker’s arm below the elbow. He screamed and fell to his knees.
“You shot me!” He rocked back and forth, holding his elbow with his other hand. Blood ran down his arm, through his fingers and dripped on the ground.
“She told you she would you dumb peckerwood. Elija looked up at Elizabeth. “We’re going now, all right?”
“Take him with you. And don’t come back!”
The Harrison boys grabbed Walker and dragged him out front, his blood leaving a dark trail in the dirt behind him. Absently, Elizabeth wondered if he’d die before someone stopped the bleeding, but she pushed the thought from her mind. He’d brought it on himself and she would shoot him again if need be.
Elizabeth had no idea how many men were outside her home, but there had to be at least a dozen or so. Anger began to gnaw at her belly like bad food then started to boil like a witch’s cauldron the more she thought on what these men were doing. They had no right! How dare they attack her home! There were children here! Innocent children! They hadn’t done anything to anybody! They just wanted to be left alone! Anger overrode all rational thought and exploded like an uncapped volcano. She dropped the spent rifle on the bed, grabbed the pistol and headed for the front room.
James was yelling out the window, but she had no idea what he was saying. She stomped to the front door.
“What are you doing!” James screamed from beside her, but she ignored him.
She threw open the door and stepped outside. “You men!” she challenged, standing straight as a post, her legs braced. Elizabeth held the cocked pistol at the ready, moving it back and forth between the men on horseback.
She saw and heard rifles lifted and cocked through the thundering in her head. She was crazed with anger, and until that anger was spent, these men would either listen to her—or shoot her. But not before she was heard!
“If you men want to shoot someone so badly, here I am! Will you shoot a woman? Or is there still a shred of moral, Christian decency in you? If you intend to shoot us all, perhaps I should save you the trouble and bring my babies out here right now so you can dispense with them first!” The children shrieked in the background, spurring her anger even higher. She was charged like lightning and would have her say. “Cowards! Coming in the middle of the night to threaten my family! Every one of you is a coward!”
She aimed her pistol at the lead rider. “Hello, Mr. Bartlet. It’s a fine, moonlit night for a raid, don’t you think? And Mr. Warren? Did you get your crops planted? Oh, perhaps not. I see you’ve found other things to keep you busy.” She stood defiant, stared down every man, and said hello to each one she knew.
“You came here threatening my home and my children. I won’t hold with that, and I’ll shoot the first man who makes a move toward my house. You may shoot me down, but I’ll take one or two of you with me before the ammunition in this gun is spent!” She swung the gun at Mr. Bartlet. “You’ll be the first one I shoot, Mr. Bartlet. Count on it. Ask that man over there, whose arm is dripping blood, if I’ll shoot you if I say so, and if I don’t hit what I aim for?” She waved the pistol at Walker, woozy on his feet, watching her with blazing, hate-filled eyes, his arm wrapped in someone’s kerchief, but still dripping blood. She thought her heart would explode, but she couldn’t stop now. She’d gone too far. Anger and indignation rode her back like a serpent.
James stepped out beside his wife, his rifle raised and ready, his pistol tucked in easy access at his belt. “I guarantee you men, she means what she says. She’s as good a shot as most men.” He paused and smiled. “But I’m better, and whoever she misses, I’ll be sure to take with me before I’m done.” He swung the rifle toward another of their neighbors and the man shifted uneasily in his saddle.
“And whoever they miss, I won’t!” came Steven’s voice from the upper window. “And I’ve got a good view of every one of y’all from up here, so you can bet I’ll take a few down before any of y’all even get close to the house!”
“So, gentlemen, unless you intend to shoot me, my husband and my children,” Elizabeth raised a hand to encompass the house, “the children screaming and crying in that house behind me, I suggest you git on outta here and leave us to our own business!”
The men sat in stunned silence. Seemingly unnerved by her bravado, knowing they’d lost the upper hand and unwilling to die to test her and her family’s mettle, those farthest away turned their horses and melted into the night.
Minutes later when the last rider passed beyond the front gates, Elizabeth grabbed James’ arm, cried out, and slid to the floor in a faint.

About the Author

Although born in New Jersey of parents from New Jersey and Tennessee, it was just a matter of time before Diane's "southern" blood revealed itself. And reveal itself it did, in a passion for all things western and related to the Civil War. Having learned a great deal in her research since her historical journey began, especially in the midwest, Diane has attempted to portray both the west and the war from numerous points-of-view, which is not always the same history as what has been previously portrayed--or taught.

As a kid, Diane played Cowboys and Indians more than she did Barbie, and as she got older, she and her cousin (whose parents were reversed) gave themselves the moniker of "Yebels." The question of what it would have been like during the Civil War years, when friends and family fought on opposite sides of the war, festered inside Diane until she answered her own question in the form of the novels she writes of the west and Civil War, where everyday people, regardless of what "side" they were on, when faced with difficult situations, rose to the challenge, and survived.

Now living south of Kansas City, Missouri, on fourteen acres of property, when Diane's not writing or marketing, she enjoys sitting on her front porch, reading when she can or just watching her horses in the pasture and multitude of cats in the yard. When she does venture into town, it's to work at a lawfirm on the Plaza, or visit her two children and five grandchildren.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 5
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Elizabeth's War)

Tuesday, November 6
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, November 7
Excerpt at T's Stuff
Feature at Maiden of the Pages
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads (Crossfire in the Street)

Thursday, November 8
Review at Locks, Hooks, and Books (Elizabeth's War)

Friday, November 9
Review at Bri's Book Nook (Elizabeth's War)

Monday, November 12
Review at The Reading Woman (Elizabeth's War)

Tuesday, November 13
Feature at Book Nerd

Wednesday, November 14
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Thursday, November 15
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews
Review at The Book Junkie Reads (Elizabeth's War)

Friday, November 16
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Crossfire in the Street)

Monday, November 19
Review at Bri's Book Nook (Crossfire in the Street)

Tuesday, November 20
Review at Locks, Hooks, and Books (Crossfire in the Street)


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

D.L. Rogers

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