October Rain: A historical novel by J.W. Dunn

For any interested in Louisiana, here’s a book trailer for October Rain, a historical novel by J.W. Dunn. (I was editor). I’ll soon be setting up book signings and getting the novel into libraries throughout the state. You can order a print copy from me by sending a mailing address by FB messenger or PayPal. Including postage the fee is $15.00. I’ll be having some excerpts in the near future to pique your interest. You may recognize the voice of Jed Marum in the book trailer, from our CD, Osceola and Foster: A Florida Story in Song by Jed Marum and Rickey E. Pittman. Please share this YouTube link!

October Rain by J.W. Dunn is a historical novel relating the story of Thurston Knox and his family as they struggle to survive and prosper on his eighty-acre farm in North Louisiana in 1906. Beset by weather, a son’s rebellion, sickness, and death of loved ones, Thurston worries about his own impending death—a condition he has hidden from his family and continues pushing himself to plant an additional ten acres of cotton, determined to make his farm provide for his family after he is gone. However, his stubborn resolution precipitates events that threaten to destroy his family.

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J. W. Dunn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double concentration in history and English from the University of the State of New York, Albany, New York, now Excelsior College. He studied with Elaine Ford and Constance Hunting in the University of Maine’s graduate creative writing program.

An excerpt from chapter four, October Rain by J.W. Dunn:

 Pulling his hands from his coat pockets, Luke fastened his collar button and tugged his hat brim down closer to his ears.

“Durn him!” His words spouted a fierce vapor into the cold dusk. He breathed into his cupped palms, rubbed them together then thrust his fists into his coat pockets again. The cold gripped his shoulders and neck, and in the dying light, he saw a lone brown thrasher scratching among the dry leaves under the hawthorn and huckleberry bushes that overhung the road ditch.

He figured he’d head for Seth’s place on the far side of Hennessey Creek, but the moon wasn’t going to rise until late, so he wouldn’t be able to see his way through the dark woods for several hours. He had often hunted and trapped in these woods, during daylight and at night, sometimes alone but usually with Seth and their ma’s younger brother, Matt Tarroll. Matt was four years older than him and only a year older than Seth, and they had worked and played and fished and hunted together since Luke could remember, and he felt at home in the pine woods that covered the ridge along which the Buskin Road curved and in the three- to six-mile-wide flat woods, which they called a swamp that lay on either side of Hennessey Creek. But every few years, a panther meandered through the countryside. Grandma Knox said the Hennessey swamp was part of the panther’s hunting grounds, and folks had heard it scream and seen signs of it, off and on, for years. Luke had heard it scream, too.

ORDERING INFORMATION: October Rainl is available from Amazon or Booklocker.



A Review by Rickey Pittman of Linda Apple’s   Winston’s World & Winston’s Words of Wisdom

A Review by Rickey Pittman of Linda Apple’s  
Winston’s World & Winston’s Words of Wisdom

“Everything I know I learned from dogs.” – Nora Roberts

      Linda Apple is the author of women’s fiction, historical novels, and nonfiction as well as a motivational/inspirational speaker and a champion of literacy and promoter of new authors. She is one of the key organizers of the Ozark Creative Writer’s Conference in Eureka Springs. She has written a series of chapter books detailing the life and adventures of Winston Wallace Apple, a Scottish Terrier. For this review, I chose to feature two books, both written from Winston’s point of view—Winston’s Words of Wisdom, illustrated by Dylan Hale and Winston’s World, the Way He Sniffs It,  illustrated by Greg Moody.

         Winston describes himself as TDIC (Top Dog in Charge) and the head of Apple Security. From his hilarious encounter with a turtle, to his explanation of dog communication through pee-mail, his adventures will bring a smile to the reader’s face. Winston will help youngsters think about a dog’s life, will increase the reader’s vocabulary, and his words of advice and questions he asks are thought provoking and enriching, excellent for parent-child discussions.

         Reading these books left me with the same good feeling I experienced after viewing  Bolt and listening to “Barking at the Moon” by Jenny Lewis. The short chapters are perfect goodnight readings for little ones or fun reads for any school-aged child who loves dogs.

Rickey Pittman,  Bard of the South, October 17, 2023


Annika: Dark Angel of Lafayette Cemetery No. One

Annika, Dark Angel of Lafayette Cemetery No. One

Annika, Dark Angel,
In Lafayette No. One,
Cemetery guardian,
She watches the tombs alone.

She knows their names by heart,
And their histories,
The year of each burial,
And forgotten mysteries.

There’s a cherub by a small grave,
Where a little child lies,
And an angel sits with folded wings,
Moonbeams touch her eyes,

She often sits by the Weeping Woman
Whose hands hold an ash-filled urn,
She is veiled and bare of feet,
At times her head can turn.

Some have heard the statue whisper,
Seen tears upon her face,
Shed for the living and lost,
Who are buried in this place.

One night she fell in love
With a lonely writer,
Who walked cemetery paths alone,
His heart was sad and bitter.

Taking on her human form,
She walked along beside him,
And softly took his hand and
Led him past graves sad and grim.

“Why do you come here?”
She asked quietly,
He said, “I need the silence,
And to search sad histories.”

As they walked along together,
They opened up their hearts,
Feeling the hand of fate
And the fire of new love’s sparks.

She said, “I’m glad you came here,
And that you weren’t afraid,
But there’s something you should know
Before mistakes are made.”

Dressed in a black and red tunic,
That contrasted with porcelain skin,
She opened dark angel wings,
“This is how I will begin.

“I am this place’s guardian
And I can never leave,
But I’ll love you with an angel’s love,
That I hope you’ll believe.”

In a pool of moonlight,
|She looked into his blue eyes,
And whispered, “I know I love you,
“And an angel never lies.”

He wrapped his arms around her,
And kissed her tenderly,
“I love you, my Dark Angel,
I’ll stay with you and not leave.

She kneeled at the Weeping Woman,
And said, “No, this can never be,
|For there’s only one dark way,
That you can stay with me.

“Your life is short,
Eternity here is long,
|But come see me every night,
Our love can still be strong.”

They met together every night,
Making love with many a kiss,
He read her poems and songs,
She knew she would one day miss.

The last time that he saw Annika,
She waited in the moonlight,
On a tomb she spread her wings,
Then vanished forever in the night.

A Walk on All Saints Eve

A Walk on All Saint’s Eve

The Samhain night was as dark as death

When she entered the piney woods,

Her bare feet treading soft, sacred ground,

A candle lantern to guide her way,

On a night to honor ghosts of ancestors

And to face sad memories.

She had walked here before,

Under a full moon when blood is wild,

Under a new moon when lovers are enslaved,

This is a secret, sacred place,

She walks alone, a path shared by no other

On a Samhain night when the spirits

Of the dead are closest to ours and

Often will visit such magical places.

She lingers long, opening her heart,

And singing ancient songs.



To be successful politically in these troubled times, after consultation with numerous Democrats, Antifa members, and supporters of Black Lives Matter, the author was able to organize a primer for young liberals that is sure to bring success to one’s political aspirations. Follow these suggestions. This should be enough to get you started.

  1. Avoid Fox News: Rely on CNN, liberal podcasts, MSBNC, etc.
  2. If you are ever put on a spot on a touchy issue, blame any difficulties on Trump.
  3. Never laugh or criticize President Biden, even if he falls, becomes confused, blacks out, shakes hands with an invisible person, or exits the stage prematurely or in the wrong direction.
  4. Accuse any who disagree with racism.
  5. Become a climate change warrior/fanatic against fossil fuels, any carbon emissions of appliances, etc.
  6. Minimize or show understanding for those committing violence or riots against conservatives or law enforcement, even shooting representatives at baseball games, or threatening Supreme Court Judges.
  7. Learn to deny, lie, spin, and talk without answering a difficult question.
  8. Politics can be very rewarding! Learn from those who know how to hide your cash and valuables!
  9. The Jefferson method: Hide $90,000 cash in freezer
  10. Menendez method: Hide a fortune of cash and gold bars in suits.
  11. It is not polite or civilized, but learn how to abuse conservatives in restaurants, town hall meetings, speakers at colleges or book events.
  12. Use Twitter and social media to shame, or threaten boycotts, etc.
  13. Disrupt or sabotage votes and meetings by flipping fire alarms, interruptions, etc.
  14. Criticize, dismiss, or ignore Democrats who do not follow the party line, i.e., RFK Kennedy, etc.
  15. REPEAT CONSTANTLY: The Border is secure!

Signing and Selling Books at Holiday Markets by Rickey Pittman

Signing and Selling Books at Holiday Markets

“I’ve never met a holiday market I didn’t like.—Marissa Casciano

I am a storyteller, folksinger and songwriter, and the author of these three children’s picture books: Cajun ABC, Louisiana Animals ABC, and the Louisiana Night Before Christmas. Last week, I signed these books for several hours for three days. The event was Tinsel & Treasures, sponsored  by the Junior League of Lafayette, held in the Cajun Dome, using the wonderful staff of volunteers. It is designed to help support the Leagues charities and causes. If you would like to learn more of this event, view the image below. HERE is the link for the event’s Facebook page.

            My publisher (Pelican/Arcadia based in New Orleans) knows that the best time to sell books is the fall, the festive holiday season, so he made the decision to follow the money and attend the largest Holiday Markets in Louisiana, promoting the work of local Louisiana authors. Tinsel & Treasures was a very successful event for my publisher (and myself)  and will be followed by Holidays in Baton Rouge (Oct. 18-21)  at Cane River’s Center, and The Steinhauer Christmas Extravaganza, at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center (Dec. 8-10).

            These markets are well-advertised festive events, and I always see many happy faces in spite of overpriced food, concessions, and drinks.  Though the shoppers must pay to attend, they are eager and excited to see the numerous vendors. Excellent security is provided. The crowds are large and the full parking lots indicate a high degree of interest. Holiday music and sometimes live entertainment create a nice mood. There are door prizes and silent auctions for the women who attend. (There are very few men seen).  If you attend, you will see an endless stream of well-dressed women shopping with friends, expectant mothers shopping for their little ones, moms with newborn babies carried in baby-sling-wraps, and wide-eyed pre-school girls or toddlers holding their mother’s hands as they learn to shop.  The crowds are so large that baby carriages are only allowed in a few windows of time and shoppers are required to use clear shopping bags.

            Pelican/Arcadia is the only book publishing company I’ve seen at these holiday events, though I have seen a very few individual authors with booths. Usually there are four local authors each day for the Pelican booth, and usually they work a two-hour shift promoting and signing their books, and then leave to do their own shopping or to return home. I always work a full day when I sign, working steadily without pressure or gimmicks, relying on the quality of my books and my elevator speech to move shoppers to action. I always gather new contacts for my school Songs & Stories programs.  The event generally has a hospitality room for authors and vendors to serve snacks, meals, coffee and other drinks, which  can take the edge and pressure off the hard work of marketing books.

            Yes, it’s very physically demanding to work a holiday market,  and often quite a drive for me as the events are in South Louisiana and I live in North Louisiana. Yet, when each day of pitching and signing my books is over, I join the Pelican staff for a late supper, and retire bone weary to my hotel for a short night’s sleep, rising in the morning to a hotel breakfast and coffee, and push myself through the next day’s book signing. Trying to make it as a writer is sometimes a brutal experience, but as one famous writer said,  “All serious daring starts from within.” —Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize winning author and Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi volunteer

Archaeology: Discovering the Past on a Tour

Debbie Adams Gullet is a fascinating and very talented lady. She is an RN, a history fanatic, a lover of Science, a martial arts student, a ghost chaser, an animal lover, a world traveler, and a collector of weapons and antiques. I  first met her on a group tour to Scotland in 2018, on which I was a featured music performer. Somehow we started a conversation about history and she shared some information on an archaeology trip to Turkey she had participated in. Some photos of her trip are included at the end of this post.  In response to my questions for an interview, here is what she said.

  1. (Have you always been interested in history and archaeology? Do you subscribe to any archaeological journals/magazines?  Biblical Archaeological Review? Have you taken any classes or studied any subjects that were helpful?) I have loved history and archeology since I was a little girl finding arrowheads in creeks and fields. Western Civilization was one of my favorite college subjects. I have subscribed to Biblical Archeology Review and Archeology Magazine, but now I mainly just read online. I’m a Registered Nurse by trade but have an extensive home library that includes history, anthropology, and archeology.
  2. (Where did you go in Turkey? Were you with a group? How many were in the group? Did you work with more than one site? Does Turkey have many strict rules?) I visited Turkey on a Mediterranean tour with a group via Explorica. They do educational tours all over the world. I was lucky enough to know someone that got me into the dig sites in Ephesus. They were excavating a gladiator cemetery and a huge amphitheater. I was a glorified dirt hauler!
  3. (How did you find out about this trip? What is the typical day like for participants on a trip like this?) I found this trip through some friends, I had never known about Explorica. They’re a great company for educational tours.  My typical day started early, breakfast, then we would shuttle to the site for work till dinner, then made time for some sightseeing.
  4. (Did you make new friends on this trip? Who stood out among those you worked with?) I have made some great friends on these trips and keep up with many of them. Some of us have traveled together on several trips.
  5. (What important things did you learn from this experience? Did you find or bring back any relics? Did others find anything?) It’s illegal to take any artifacts from a site. You can buy some in shops but be very wary of fakes, these fake relics are big business. We were mainly digging up architectural items like columns or structural stones. There were bins in the warehouse of things that hadn’t been worked through yet.
  6. (Did you visit any museums, churches, or ruins? Anything Bible related? What was the most beautiful/memorable site you saw? Did you return with a list of things you wanted to study further?) I was able to visit museums and ruins in Athens, Delphi, Santorini,  Knossos on Crete, and other islands. Ephesus has a wonderful museum. I explored Patmos and the cave where the Book of Revelation, written by John the Elder in about 96 AD. He was exiled from Ephesus after preaching there by the Roman Emperor Domitian and his anti-Christian rule. There was a beautiful monastery with loads of artifacts on display there too. I also visited Meryamana Evi, a shrine where legend says Mary Magdalene was cared for by St John after they fled the Crucifixion. It was amazing to walk where these people once walked. Very humbling. The most engaging and beautiful site I saw was the ruins of the Library of Celsus in Ephesus. I can just imagine all the stacks of scrolls. Cleopatra even studied there. I always leave a site with more questions when I leave. It makes for some great research and reading!
  1. (If someone would like to take a similar trip/tour/expedition, what advice would you give them? What should they expect? What is the estimated financial cost? How can they prepare for the hard work? What clothing should they pack?) If anyone is interested in educational trips abroad, I suggest they check out Explorica, Road Scholar or others on the web. These are safe convenient ways to travel and learn. Be prepared to do much walking and be ready for rough terrain and heat/cold. Overseas does not make everything accessible like we do in the US. There are stairs, hills, and rocks. I usually plan for $5-7,000 for my trips but there are ways to cut costs depending on lodging, dining, etc. It’s well worth the cost to me to explore our world and our past.

Political Fads Are a Slippery Slope

The definition of a slippery slope is an idea or course of action, that will lead to something unacceptable wrong, or disastrous. Politically, we have many possible examples of fads that have backfired. A fad is an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.  For example, here are a few fads that have not turned out well, that have caused individuals, families, organizations, and our nation to tumble down slopes as we attempt to navigate our way on the difficult terrain of slippery ice. 

1. Transgender fad:

2. Ending the construction of the border wall. The open, porous border has allowed sex trafficking, floods of drugs (killing thousands of Americans), cartel activity, terrorist presence, and gangs.

3. Sanctuary cities: The idea sounded so noble, but living with the reality of providing sanctuary to the hordes who have invaded our land illegally has shown that the idea is unsustainable.

4. No cash bail, release of recidivist criminals. Defunding police.

5. Not prosecuting minor crimes, forbidding the pursuit of criminals.

6. Not dealing with mob violence, riots, and destruction of property, Black Lives Matter and Antifa were given a pass.

7. War on fossil fuel in America. That cost us energy independence.

8. Electric car fad: These cars are too expensive,  unreliable, and there is a power supply problem.

9. Hatred and persecution of President Trump. Blind support of Biden. There’s lots of buyer’s remorse for voting for Biden. Why was there so much hatred for Trump? I know why the rich, liberal elite hated and feared him: he exposed their corruption and threatened their power. The average Trump hater’s reasons?

10. Believing more or free money is the answer to all ills.

11. The hysterical fad of climate change.

12. The anti-Israel fad. I never thought I’d see Holocaust deniers in academia.

These fads have consequences. There is a cause and effect. It is obvious that many of our major cities–due to fleeing businesses, out-of-control crime, fleeing residents, massive homeless populations, and declining tourist trade–are becoming slum dystopias. While the idea of a slippery slope can be used as a fallacy, slippery slopes do exist and our nation is on one. Get ready for a rocky, roller coaster ride.

A Post About the Kiowa Indians

For many years, I have made presentations at the Union Parish Library and to the schools in Union Parish that the library works with. Stephanie Antley Herrmann is one of the hardest working librarians I’ve ever known. When I shared with her a little about the western novel I’m working on, she shared Billy  Barham’s exceptional program  she has sponsored about the Kiowa Indians (who play a part in my novel).

Billy Barham’s mother is full-blooded Kiowa and still spoke the language up until her death. Her photo is on a traveling display with her story from the State Dept. of Archaeology/Culture. Billy is her son and he does educational programs with a WEALTH of information. We usually book him annually somewhere. He has a museum worth of Kiowa beadwork and other materials. He and his children and grand children participate in Pow-Wows and do programs in full headdress regalia, etc.

Here are some awesome photos from his presentation:’