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Firetrail - The Movie
Firetrail - Movie Gallery
Firetrail Excerpt
Perfect Disguise Excerpt

Perfect Disguise Movie

Exiles on the St. Johns
Raiders on the St. Johns
Books By Lydia Filzen
Foxfire Collies
Rainbow Bridge

Music by Jennifer Filzen


 

 

 

(Photos courtesy of Larry Filzen, Lydia Filzen, Tomme Hilton and Lynn Laffitte)

 

Lydia Hawke presents:

 

   

Excerpt from Chapter One

Blake Winberry ran his gaze from the woman’s pale, strained face to the weapon in her hand, hoping to God his meddling was not a huge blunder.

He had acted on his best instincts honed by his experience at war. He had expected thieves to cut and run at the first sign of a threat, but this man had chosen to stand and resist. Had he misinterpreted the situation, which had seemed clear cut before? Did he kill the woman’s husband, for God’s sake?

“People warned me of bushwhackers in the area, and it appeared… I saw them abusing you, and I…” Blake nodded toward the dead man, fearing to ask. “Did you know him?”

“Not until he accosted me.” She let out a shaky breath. “I believe you saved my life. Thank you, Captain—“

Relief flooded through him. “Winberry. Blake Winberry.”

“I’m Mrs. Rogers.” She swayed on her feet.

“Better sit down.” He stepped forward to take her arm but she backed up a step. She moved without his assistance to a grassy spot at the road’s shoulder, where she folded to the ground.

“Why don’t you give me that revolver?” he asked. “You might set it off by accident.”

She stared at him and gripped it even tighter, if that was possible. “What if they come back?”

“Mind where you point it. Please.”

The trace of a smile crossed her face. Now that he had the situation in hand, he took notice that she was the loveliest vagabond he had ever seen. Her heavy dark hair, undone, framed her upturned face. Her plain widow’s weeds did not entirely obscure her fine figure. “Are you afraid I will shoot you, Captain Winberry?” she asked.

“Should I be?”

She did not drop her smile, nor did she reply, but met his gaze straight on, letting him make his own conclusions.

He reciprocated the paltry smile, respecting her reasonable fears. “Stay there. I’ll put your things in order.”

He tethered his mare, Magic, to the rear of the wagon and looked over the dead bushwhacker’s horse. The chestnut gelding had taken a few pellets in its neck, but the trickle of bleeding had slowed. Blake raised his hand to rub the animal’s nose but it snorted and backed away as far as the rein would let it. “Easy there,” he said. “You’ll be all right. We’ll turn you into a good honest cavalry horse.”

Next he reloaded his own revolver, a detail he dared not overlook in case the bushwhackers scraped up the courage to return. Then he gathered the woman’s possessions from the ground and set them back into the wagon. He hefted the shotgun and checked the breech. Empty, but it stank of freshly burnt powder.

Finally he directed his attention to the dead bushwhacker. It wouldn’t be right to ask Mrs. Rogers to carry it in her wagon. Tomorrow would be soon enough to send men to throw dirt over the body. He went through the dead man’s pockets as any good Confederate would, but did not find identification or valuables. He rolled the body into the ditch where it flopped in a tangle of arms and legs.

He stared at the dead heap for a moment, reflecting that he felt nothing. No regret, anger, pity or revulsion. Nothing. He had already exhausted such feelings on dead friends and a dead brother. He had none left over for dead vermin.

Mrs. Rogers still sat quietly on the grass, legs tucked underneath her skirts, watching him. He had seen many female refugees like her, in both Virginia and South Carolina, wandering about in their wagons carrying all they had left. God forbid his own family should ever have to go through that.

He walked over to her and hunkered down so he did not force her to look up at him.

“I gather you were headed toward Columbia,” he said. “So am I. My home is there, and I will escort you in.”

Relief gave her dark eyes a soft glow. “That is kind of you, Captain Winberry. I don’t know how to thank you for all you’ve done.”

“If you have need of it, my family has a spare room.”

A rush of color came to her cheeks, and she glanced away from him.

“It is proper enough. My father, my mother and my sister all live there.”

When she looked back at him, her eyes were moist. “I had not made any prior arrangements. If it isn’t an inconvenience…”

“It’s settled then. Let’s go.” He stood up, offered his hand and this time she accepted it.


Reviews

"Well-researched..."

Once again, Lydia Hawke has captured the drama of the last horrific months of the War Between the States and the hatred and fear that surrounded that terrible time in our history.

The characters in her novel were well-rounded and well researched and were the embodiment of the culture of that era. Her description of refugees as they fled with what meager possessions they were able to salvage from the carnage of their burned out homes, the helplessness felt by those who lost everything dear to them and their fear for their absolute survival when the boundaries of lines changed and they were invaded by the Yankees. The single-mindedness of the surgeons and medical teams ignoring all that was going on around them and being color-blind to the uniforms of those patients brought in for treatment. A very vivid picture was painted that will continuously bring forth much thought from any student of history.

I look forward to the movie when it is released. If the producers follow the book in its entirety, it will certainly be worthwhile to watch.

Lorraine Neipert
Florida Reenactors Online


"Intriguing..."

Georgia had Gone With The Wind. Now, South Carolina has Firetrail. Never was there a time more traumatic in the annals of American history and Firetrail has captured it all.

Flushed out of their homes by Sherman’s torch wielding troops, all of the state is swept before the unstoppable horde. The good and the evil, the truly heroic and the unspeakably devilish all people this epic book.

Ms. Hawke’s characters rival her intriguing plot; a self-reliant young widow and a noble Confederate cavalry captain thrown into a hurried marriage and then swept apart by the tides of war. You will weep with Judith as everything she loves seems to be destined to be swept away by forces she cannot understand let alone control. You will agonize with Blake as he watches the best and the bravest of the South’s young men under his command fall in battle. You will understand Lexi, Blake’s teenaged sister, as she struggles against the restraints placed on women of her time and applaud as she breaks free and runs away to join the Confederate cavalry.

At first thought you would believe General Sherman is the ultimate evil but Firetrail reminds that sociopaths are not restricted to the present day. Beyond any evil inflicted by the armies and their commanders are the “bummers,” those who preyed on either side and wrought havoc in their wake equal to or greater than the army they followed. Harry Bell is an accurate if horrific characterization of these parasites. He wears a Union uniform but his only allegiance is to his own vicious appetites.

Beware! Do not start this book unless you have time to finish it at one sitting. You will not be able to put it down until the last page is turned. This book is a must read for romance lovers, action adventure fans, Civil War buffs, students of human nature and anyone who likes to read a really great story.

Kathleen Walls, author of Last Step, Georgia's Ghostly Getaways, Kudzu, Man Hunt - The Eric Rudolph Story, and Finding Florida's Phantoms.


"Finely blends historical action with romance..."

Judith Rogers lost her husband, and consequently her home and security, to the Civil War. She faces her uncertain future, hoping a relative will grant her residence. An arduous journey through South Carolina in the shadow of Sherman's approach, however, proves perilous when a group of marauders attempts to take her scant belongings, and much more. She is fortunate handsome Rebel Captain Blake Winberry happens along the scene in time to help.

Blake's chivalry, though, transcends the standard "knight in shining armor" persona. He is immediately drawn to the refined Judith and, despite being on active duty, is determined to guarantee her security. The last thing Judith expected from him was a marriage proposal after a few days' acquaintance, but she finds Blake's charm and looks impossible to resist. Wedded bliss is threatened as Judith wonders if Blake's husbandly attentions are genuine, or if she is being used to compensate for the loss of Blake's previous love.

Set in the tempestuous South during a tempestuous time, Lydia Hawke's Firetrail finely blends historical action with romance.

Through interweaving the passion of war with passions of the heart, Hawke offers a romantic story that will satisfy Civil War enthusiasts as well as romance lovers.

LivelyWriter Reviews (c) 2004 Kathryn Lively


"Magnificent"

Judith Rogers, a beautiful young widow, desperately wants to stay ahead of the advancing Union army, so despite the danger, she travels alone in her mule-drawn wagon. On a desolate stretch of road outside of Columbia, South Carolina, she is accosted by a band of renegades. Judith puts up a fight, but she can’t hold off her attackers for long. Just when the men are about to take what they want, a dashing Confederate captain comes galloping to Judith’s rescue.

Captain Blake Winberry finds the beautiful refugee he rescued fascinating. When he learns that she has no place to stay in Columbia, he offers her a room in his family’s home. Although he’s attracted to Judith, Blake doesn’t do anything about it because his heart already belongs to Sally Dubose, his ex-fiancée. The heartbroken Blake plans to woo Sally away from her new beau.

When Blake fails to win Sally back, he turns to Judith. Both Blake and Judith hunger for love, so they quickly marry before he returns to the battlefield. Will Judith be able to make Blake forget about Sally, or will he return to Sally’s arms when the fickle, conniving girl decides that she wants him back?

Firetrail is a magnificent Civil War romance. It’s not a story of fiery passion, but a tale of friendship growing into love. Blake and Judith marry soon after they meet, hoping to find security and comfort. Judith seems to be in love with Blake from the start, while he spends almost the entire book pining for Sally. Normally, this would bother me, but since Ms. Hawke does such a wonderful job of making Blake a likable, honorable man, it’s easy to forgive him for sometimes being a cad. Judith is a delightful heroine. She possesses plenty of strength and determination.

Renee Burnette, The Romance Studio


"Satisfying"

Firetrail sends the reader back to the South in the midst of the Civil War. Lydia Hawke cleverly weaves history into the story in a way that is interesting and compelling. She brings the story to life in authentic details so vivid I itched thinking about the lice-infected clothes. In my mind's eye I could see the smoke of the gunfire on the battle field as the men fought face to face, and smelled the burnt gun powder. I could hear the screams of agony from men wounded and left to die slow deaths.

Confederate Captain Blake Winberry and widowed Judith Rodgers are brought together by events of the war and kept apart for the same reasons. Firetrail is a story that takes us on a journey through the struggles of war, betrayal, and to the satisfying ending of finding love in the war-torn South.
It is a book I would read again and again.

Dolores J. Wilson, Author


 "Beautifully Written..."

Confederate Captain Blake Winberry is on his way home for a brief visit after fighting in Virginia. He plans on convincing his fiancée that she really doesn’t want to marry another man. Almost to his destination in South Carolina, he encounters a lone woman doing her best to ward off an attack by three renegades. After rescuing her, he brings her to his family home.

Judith Rogers is outmatched by the three men threatening to rob her. So far she has been able to fend off the renegades, but she knows she is in trouble. She has lost so much to the war already, her home, most of her worldly possessions, her husband. She cannot bear to lose anything more, but realizes her situation is probably hopeless. The arrival of the handsome soldier seems almost to good to be true, especially when he offers her a warm bed and a hot meal with his family after chasing off the outlaws.

Unable to change his fiancée’s mind, Blake realizes he really wants a wife and family of his own. He feels a special bond with Judith that he cannot explain as well as admires her strong will and independence. Blake decides to propose marriage and much to his surprise and pleasure, she accepts.

Blake and Judith face the trials and horror of war as South Carolina is invaded by the Yankees. Though married within a few days of meeting, theirs is a love that grows and endures in the face of destruction and loss occurring all around them.

Lydia Hawke’s debut novel is a Civil War story that will touch your heart on all levels. It is beautifully written and rich in historical detail with characters that are memorable. Firetrail is a story definitely worth reading and will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.

By Brooke Wills, Romance Junkies


"Exciting"

Ms Hawke has written an exceptional novel in FireTrail. From the very beginning you are pulled into the battle scenes. They are so believable that you actually feel you are in the fight. You learn the struggle on both sides of the war. It seeps with the tradition of the South. Your heart bleeds for the tragedy of this war. Lydia Hawke's knowledge of the Civil War gives this book real authenticity. Her hero and heroine are very honorable, endearing and strong. For those who love Civil War novels this is a must read. You won't be able to put it down until its very satisfying ending. Make sure you have free time when you start this exciting novel. I look forward to more books by this very talented author.

 Judy Leigh Peters  www.judyleighpeters.com


"Compelling"

Meet Captain Blake Winberry, Captain in the Confederate army. The battles he's fought in, and the haunting experience of watching his brother die in his arms, have numbed his mind to the killing he has to do to stay alive.  Mrs. Judith Rogers is now alone by no fault of her own. This war has made her a young widow, who now has no alternative but to venture on a journey to find her only relative an aunt, but encounters ruthless bushwhackers in her quest to do so.

A deadly encounter draws these two together, and what ensues is a moving story of the sacrifices, love and hate, that continually tries to draw them apart.

Within the first few pages of FIRETRAIL, Author Lydia Hawke, manages to draw the reader back in time, to experience first hand, the victories and horrors of the Civil War era. It's a compelling depiction of the most deadly war our country has ever fought on our own soil. A novel you'll want to read over and over again.

Reviewer, Susan R. Sweet, author of A Deadly Agent and Adrift, by Wings ePress


"Masterful"

With the annual Olustee Battle Festival just around the corner, our thoughts return to our Florida history, particularly the War Between The States. No Floridian needs reminding that ours was the only capital not taken by the Union, although much of the state fell. A new novel chronicles the lives of a handful of southerners during the last weeks of the war.

Both readers of historical fiction and romance fans should check out Firetrail, by Florida writer Lydia Hawke. The author knows her stuff, as she’s an avid Southern history student. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in Civil War magazines and other publications.

Well-researched and rich in authentic detail, Firetrail is a page-turner. Ms. Hawke’s masterful use of language paints a vivid picture of battle and desolation. Her opening scene sets the stage:  So far Judith Rogers had managed to stay well ahead of the advancing enemy. She felt safer on the move, away from peril, though the zone of sanctuary was continually shrinking…

That shrinking zone of sanctuary is the encroaching Union army, led by General Sherman. During the last weeks of conflict, before General Lee’s surrender, Blake and Hunter fight hunger, the elements, and despair as much as they battle the Yankees. As with other wars, both find themselves hastily wed, grabbing brief respites of comfort and love from their harsh military lives.

But this story is more than a romance. It’s a satisfying story of hope and faith, of duty and honor. Blake, Judith, Blake’s sister Lexi, and Hunter suffer and lose so much that is dear to them but carry on until the end against abysmal odds. In a way they are a metaphor for the South — they lose the war, but they are never defeated.

Cheryl Norman, author

 

 


 

Firetrail: The Movie
Get your own DVD!(Includes S & H)

Above photo by Wes Mayhle

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Now showing


Perfect Disguise
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Movie trailer

For further information about Firetrail the Movie and the upcoming Perfect Disguise, contact Forbesfilm.

Lin Laffitte as Judith Rogers and Jim Hilton as Capt. Blake Winberry

Other Places
Doggie Fiction by
Lydia C. Filzen

 Silent Witness
Agility Suspense Unleashed


Nonfiction articles by Lydia Filzen frequently appear in:

Civil War News

Clay Today Newspaper

American Roads Travel Ezine


  

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