Firetrail - The Movie
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Perfect Disguise Excerpt
Perfect Disguise Movie
Exiles on the St. Johns
Raiders on the St. Johns
Books By Lydia Filzen
Music by Jennifer Filzen
Chris Bowman as Pvt. Canfield
Jerry Chesser and Charles Kizer
Soon to be a movie!
Excerpt Chapter One
Southeast of Atlanta and South of Covington, Georgia July 29, 1864, during Siege of Atlanta
Protected by darkness, Willa Randall knelt by the stream and washed the dried
blood and tears off her face. The hem of her skirt trailed in the water but that
didn’t matter because she had to discard the dress anyway. She rinsed the taste
of blood out of her mouth; even the silt-laden water was an improvement. Feeling
cleaner, she blotted her split lips and wiped her hands with a dry patch of
skirt, blew her nose, then stood and picked her way through the underbrush to
where she had tethered her mare.
She ran her hand down the saddle, reassuring herself that the shotgun was
still strapped on. Past the weapon, close to Annie Laurie’s rump, she found the
hastily tied sewing kit. It was one of the few possessions she had managed to
snatch as she fled. She whispered gentling talk to Annie and thrust her hand
inside the bag, gripped the scissors and pulled them out.
She’d often trimmed her own hair but had never cut it short, certainly not in the dark without a looking glass. But it had to be done, and done immediately,
so she would be prepared when she caught up with the soldiers. Although she had
left Pa and Edgar senseless, she still feared they would come looking for her.
Telling herself they couldn’t possibly follow her so soon, she nonetheless
peered into the dark to make sure she really was alone. She took off the slouch
hat and let her hair fall about her shoulders. Her scissor hand trembled as she
lifted up each lock and cut it close to her head, trying to shape it in a neat
boyish pattern. She dropped the clumps of hair to the ground and kicked leaves
and dirt over them. She must make sure that come daylight, the sun wouldn’t
shine on the evidence of her plan. Freed from the bulk of her hair, the hat fit
looser on her head.
She located the shirt, trousers, old chemise and boots she had tied onto the
saddle. Quickly she stripped off her dress and arranged the chemise in a tight
fit around her chest, flattening her breasts. She threw on her brother’s clothes
and inhaled deeply, wishing she could catch his scent or something of his being
within the hug of denim and homespun, but the only place he still existed for
her was in her memory. She didn’t fill his clothes, but she figured that
wouldn’t matter because most people wore what they could get their hands on
these days, whether it fit or not.
She needed a man's name. It occurred to her that "Will" ought to be familiar
enough for her ears to lend a quick response. Barber seemed fitting for a last
name, the one that had occurred to her as she cut her hair. She said her man's
name out loud. "Will Barber." It sounded all right, a name she could live with.
She repeated it louder, trying to deepen her voice, and that took some of the
shakiness out of it. Her natural voice didn’t sound masculine enough, another
Willa rolled the dress into a bundle and mashed it down as small as she
could. She hid it under a bush, praying her hand didn’t scare up a snake. She
traded her shoes for the boots Bobby had grown out of and hid hers. She listened
again for sounds of pursuit.
The woods were quiet except for small hushed noises and the occasional night
bird. Willa untied Annie from the branch, mounted, and continued her own pursuit
of the soldiers who had come foraging to her home that afternoon.
want to read over and over
is written in the same style as Ashes in
the Wind and Devil on Horseback. Although
this is a work of fiction, it is quite obvious
Ms. Hawke has done her historical homework in
that the characters' mannerisms and ideals were
the perfect 1860's era. The storyline in this
book will help those who are not normally history
buffs to understand what trials and tribulations
our ancestors faced during this very turbulent
time in our nation's history. The wholesome
values, camaraderie and deep sense of loss that
were felt by a people torn apart by the War
Between the States was brought to the fore in
her novel. Ms. Hawke also demonstrates that
conflict brings out very human responses in
people. Sometimes those who are basically evil
become even more so with a little power but
those that are basically good never falter and
always strive to help others; those from their
hometowns that formed up as companies to fight
the war as well as those weaker and helpless
individuals caught up in the fray. This is a
quick read but one that you'll want to pick
up and read over and over, especially if you
re-enact as it will give you some assistance
in perfecting your period persona.
Lorraine Niepert, Florida Reenactors Online
There is absolutely no way Willa Randall
can stay around and marry Major Edgar Dodds. Life with him would be filled with
beatings and worse. But if her drunken father has his way, that is exactly the
fate that awaits her. Even though the Civil War has already taken the life of
her brother, Willa saddles up her horse and sets out to find the cavalry troop
that had been by her father’s house. All she has to do is convince the officer
in charge that she is a willing recruit. While she is terrified of being a
soldier, anything is preferable and safer than marrying the abusive
Captain Jefferson Spencer is quite
certain the young beat-up boy standing in front of him is underage. But he
claims he can read and write, and Jeff is in need of an aide. Then Will Barber
shows he can also cook, and Jeff knows he’ll let the kid stay. He just hopes
Barber doesn’t get himself killed. There is something about him that draws out
Jeff’s protectiveness; a feeling he could easily do without. Caring about
people just causes pain and hurt.
Lydia Hawke has created
another terrific Civil War novel with her second book, PERFECT DISGUISE.
Filled with tense excitement, tender moments, and a plot line that moves right
along at a fast clip, this latest book by this delightful author is a terrific
4 ½ stars from Brooke Wills at Romance
A Perfect Adventure
Set in Civil War Era Georgia during the
Siege of Atlanta, Lydia Hawke’s historical romance, Perfect Disguise, is a
perfect blend of high adventure and tender romance, crammed with authentic
historical details that keep the reader steadily involved in the
In 1864, Willa Randall flees from her
brutal guardian-fiance Edgar Dodds, dons her dead brother’s clothing, changes
her name to Will Barber, and joins a Confederate Cavalry unit led by Captain
Jefferson Spencer. After this dramatic beginning, the action never slows down.
Unschooled in military matters,
pretending to be a boy, Willa overcomes one problem, only to find another one
waiting to ambush her on the path ahead. All the while, Edgar Dodds is on her
trail, closing in and more dangerous than the Yankee bullets and sabers; and
Willa lives in fear that one of her fellow cavalrymen will see through her
Ms. Hawke gives us a vibrant depiction
of army life, with all its tedium, hardships, and humor, together with the
hazards of its battles and the reality of death. We share Willa’s sorrows and
joys and narrow escapes. We see her knocking weevils from her food, swimming in
her clothing to keep her secret hidden, killing the enemy to protect her
Captain, and in an especially heartbreaking passage, having to shoot Annie
Laurie, the horse she considers her last friend, when Annie breaks her leg.
Graphic details of life and death in battle are interspersed with poignant
passages that trace the growing love between Willa and Captain Spencer, two
wounded people who seem more afraid of getting hurt again than they are of the
So cleverly has Ms. Hawke suspended
disbelief that by the end of Perfect Disguise the reader will believe that once
a young female rode with the Confederate Cavalry because life gave her no other
choice, and that she made a contribution to the Cause, while striving to win the
heart of her dashing captain. Perfect Disguise is a definite Five Star
Review by Dorothy
Lydia Hawke is at it again.
Beware! If you start to read Perfect Disguise at bedtime, you will be reading
all night. You won’t be able to put it down. Perfect Disguise combines the
excitement of an action novel with the poignancy of a romance.
previous epic, Firetrail, this book plunges you into the latter days of the
Civil War. This time Ms. Hawke tosses you right into the desperate Southern
attempt to stop Sherman before Atlanta falls. Her characters and plot rival Gone
With the Wind but there are differences. Willa is not your typical southern
belle. Oh, no. No keeping the home fires burning for this gal. She gets right
into the heart of the action. She runs away and joins a unit of Wheeler’s
Calvary. Of course she needs to pass for a boy and endure the rough camp life.
That doesn’t faze this heroine. What does cause her a lot of grief is that she
falls in love with her dashing but already heartbroken captain.
the mix, a vicious killer intent on making Willa his bride no matter who he has
to murder to do it, a group of unique Rebel soldiers, one fighting rooster, a
spirited horse and enough Yankee troops to keep everyone on the edge of their
Things really heat up when the virile captain begins having
romantic thoughts about his new aide, “Will,” you can imagine his discomfort. Or
maybe you can’t. You’ll just have to read this one of a kind
author of Last Step, Georgia's Ghostly Getaways,
Kudzu, Man Hunt - The Eric Rudolph Story and Finding Florida's Phantoms
Lydia Hawke has penned
another winner with Perfect Disguise. Her three dimensional characters, vivid
Civil War setting and intricate plot will fill a voracious reader's need for
entertainment. The developing romance between Willa and Jeff will tug at your
heart strings in hope of the elusive happy ending.
Above photo by Wes Mayhle
For further information about Firetrail the Movie and Perfect Disguise, contact Forbesfilm.
Heather Clark will play Willa Randall.
Tripp Courtney as Captain Jefferson Spencer.
Dave Long as Major Edgar Dodds
For further information about
Perfect Disguise: The Movie, contact Forbesfilm.
Suspense Fiction by
Lydia C. Filzen
Agility Suspense Unleashed
Nonfiction articles by Lydia Filzen frequently appear in:
Civil War News
Clay Today Newspaper
American Roads Travel Ezine