I have so far written twenty-one short stories and seven novels. I like to think that my fiction is characterized by the inner lives of sharply-drawn characters, often with competing motivations, and by a willingness to explore territory often ignored in mainstream works.
My seventh novel, Columbia, is available for download from this blog. In it, Theodore Lomax is a nineteen-year-old Union solider in the American Civil War, and is as committed as any to the ideal of human freedom. After being assigned to the army of William Tecumseh Sherman, shortly after the general’s infamous March to the Sea, he willingly participates in the destruction of civilian property in Columbia, South Carolina, believing his acts are justified by Southern resistance to the Northern cause of emancipation. But when the destruction escalates into violence against the civilians themselves, he becomes disillusioned, and feels compelled to strike out in opposition to his own countrymen.
The novel is told from Lomax's point of view, but there are ten other supporting characters, each with a story of his or her own. There was a time when I thought these stories should alternate with the chapters in Columbia, presenting a richer but perhaps more tangled tapestry of the lives that painfully converge in the novel's climactic scenes. But Columbia is clearly a more coherent narrative without them. Still, they were valuable to me as an author, and I've decided to also make them available for download from this blog. They are:
"Oates," centering on the character of David Oates, and describing the life he led before joining the Union Army and his first experience with battle.
"Decker," centering on the character of Enis Decker, and describing his entry into the Union Army and his first encounter with a squad of "bummers."
"Floyd," centering on the character of William Floyd, and describing his time as a Union artilleryman and the siege that hardened his heart against the Southern people.
"Powell," centering on the character of Albert Powell, and describing his pre-war involvement with a small pro-slavery organization in his hometown of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
"Sally," centering on the character of Sally Andrews, and describing her journey as a young girl from the slave cabins on the Andrews plantation to her favored position within their Columbia home.
"Victoria," centering on the character of Victoria Andrews, and describing her relationship with her favorite son and the correspondence they maintain when he goes off to war.
"Emily," centering on the character of Emily Andrews, and describing the confusing tangle of desires, memories and fears from which she constructs her perception of the outside world and the people in it.
"Lynch," centering on the character of Archibald Lynch, and describing the formative experience of his life that gives him both his calling and his strength.
"Sophia," centering on the character of Sophia Hawthrone, and describing her first experience among slaves in the unreconstructed South, trying to save their heathen souls and finding a truth that had long eluded her.
"Tommy," centering on the character of ten-year-old Tommy Pepper, and describing his adventures when playing hooky from school on the day that the Federal Army arrives in Columbia.
I hope you will consider reading the novel and supporting stories.