Blue Honor Excerpt – K. Williams

Blue Honor
By- K. Williams
Expected Publication Date- April 27th, 2015
Published By- Booktrope Publishing
Blue Honor tracks four tightly twining families during the American Civil War. Each member is asked to sacrifice more than their share to see friends and loved ones through the terrible times. The only certainty they have is that nothing will be the same.
Emily Conrad is the bookish daughter of a wealthy dairy family from Vermont. Her indulgent father has educated her and bred ideas that aren’t acceptable to her more urbane mother, who thinks Emily needs to settle down with her longtime friend and town philanderer Evan Howell. The outbreak of war frees Emily from these expectations for a time, but a stranger soon arrives after the guns begin to blaze, threatening her plans more than societal conventions ever could.   
 Devoted to the young woman who healed her wounds, Henrietta has become part of the Conrad family, hoping that she may one day see her husband and son again. As a runaway slave, she’s been lucky enough to find this slice of peace in Vermont, but the return of Evan Howell and the man he brings with him portends great change that might see her locked back in irons, if not executed for what she’s done.
 Evan isn’t as bad as his reputation has made him out to be. He knows his chum Emily will make the best doctor Vermont has ever seen, and he knows he’s not the man to marry her. With a little manipulation, he convinces his commanding officer, Lieutenant Joseph Maynard, to take leave with him and see the beauty of the north. He just doesn’t let on it’s not hillsides and streams he’s setting the man up for.
 Joseph has both power and privilege as the son of a Baltimore lawyer, but neither can guarantee him the things he wants in life. His commission in the army is likely to lead to death, a sacrifice he was willing to make to end slavery in the States—that was until he saw Emily Conrad. Torn between duty and desire, Joseph struggles to stay standing for that which he once held strong convictions. War weary, they all march on to duty…

Joseph sat atop his mount with his jacket across its rump. Above his waist, he wore a collarless cotton shirt, and the hat of his trade. He wrapped the reins of his horse tighter around his wrist. The air clung to them, sticky and hot.

Joseph reined Manny in, detecting danger along the road without his mount’s sense of smell. The satiny charger stopped and thrashed its great head, confirming the call. Joseph patted his mount’s mane while the men behind halted.

A strange odor permeated the air. Joseph studied his surroundings, failing to place the source. His mind warned him to stay back, sensing the road ahead might prove deadly for his unit and those behind. Joseph gave the men a glance over his shoulder. He gestured, wanting them to go slowly and form a line to the left side of the road. They complied, understanding there might be danger ahead. Joseph turned back to the road with their eyes

on him. Moving ahead, he went to draw out whatever was hiding.

Joseph viewed the road, flicking his eyes back and forth. Manny moved forward slowly and cautiously. Something hid in those trees, wanting to change their future. The horse’s hooves clomped hollowly.

A twig snapped. The horse protested. Joseph pulled his mount up short. His men ranged back along the left side of the road, unmoving. Manny lifted his head and his ears twitched backward until they lay flat. His nostrils flared and he pawed his hooves, wheeling backward. Joseph reacted to the horse in seconds and charged back to his men.

“Get to cover,” Joseph screamed. His men vanished into the forest, and the rifle fire began. “Get to cover!”

Joseph ducked the bullets that whistled past his head and he drove his mount into the cover of the trees. In moments the three units hid in the brush among the tree trunks, surrounded by crackling rifle fire. The fog cleared around his head and he realized he lay on his stomach with a rifle in his hand. Shots burst from enemy barrels. Less than a breath later bullets bounced off trees, rocketed into the ground, and some hit flesh. Cries of agony beat his ears.

Joseph examined the expanse, desperate to spot his men. The men peered around the base of trees and shrubs, fallen trunks and limbs. Joseph checked his gun. He concentrated back on the men. Sergeant McGuire’s face came into focus. Joseph nodded to him. The sergeant gave the word to return fire. The horses screamed and bolted, their skins shivering with fear. Joseph saw the wild eyes and the flaring nostrils. The animals turned their muzzles into each other for protection from their unseen attackers. Then, they bolted. When the brush separated to Joseph’s left, he saw the dirt-smeared face of Second Lieutenant Conrad. Joseph fired his gun across the way. A man fell on the road, his uniform nearly matching the beach sand clay. Joseph watched ahead, waiting for the moment when he might use his gun again. To Joseph’s right, Evan leaned against a large oak. His friend breathed heavily, clutching his rifle for dear life. Joseph turned his attention back towards the man he shot in the forest range. He listened to the volley of shots and the men reloading weapons.

Joseph closed his eyes and prayed, let this not be the last time we see each other in this life. The words resounded in his mind. When Joseph opened his eyes, he signaled the men to stop firing. Everything turned chokingly silent. Joseph watched the road, sweat pouring from his brow. His heart beat like a clock. His breath quickened and he licked his lips. With widened eyes, he saw gray ghosts emerge from their cover across the dirt tract. Joseph drew another dry, unsteady breath. The rebels acted cautiously, bending slightly and checking both directions as they crossed the open road. Joseph counted six. Jerking his arm to signal the men to fire, he lifted and aimed his rifle. He hoped the rebels believed they all lay dead. The six dropped. Their blood poured from their wounds, soaking the gray-brown road. More rifle shots from the other side of the road hit the trees above their heads.

Flinging himself back against his tree, Joseph just caught sight of Evan jerking back violently. He drooped at the base of the oak tree and dropped his rifle. Joseph’s heart raced, fearing the worst. His friend’s eyes were closed, as if he slept.

The shots paused and he crawled on his belly to where his friend lay as still as death. The shots rang out again, just before he took cover beside Evan. Sitting up, he propped his rifle against the tree. He had prayed too late to protect him.

About the Author-
Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she continues to reside, K.Williams embarked on a now twenty year career in writing. After a childhood, which consisted of voracious reading and hours of film watching, it was a natural progression to study and work in the arts.
K attended the State University of New York at Morrisville, majoring in the Biological Sciences, and then continued with English and Historical studies at the University at Albany (home of the New York State Writer’s Institute) gaining her Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, K interned with the 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging her interests in social movements and art.
Currently, K has completed the MALS program for Film Studies and Screenwriting at Empire State College (SUNY), and is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. K continues to write and is working on the novels of the Trailokya Trilogy, a work that deals with topics in Domestic Violence and crosses the controversial waters of organized religion and secularism. A sequel to OP-DEC is in the research phase, while the adaptation is being shopped to interested film companies. Excerpts of these and more writings can be found at:


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