Six months ago, U.S. Marshal James Mercantile defeated the demon Annie in a battle for the soul of Nevada. Now Annie is back, allied with a powerful organization of sorcerers.
Ah, prophecy! When I started to write this series, I had no intention of entangling my main character Jim Mercantile in the fickle vagaries of prophecy, So of course, what do I do? Immediately mire him in a prophecy that is infuriatingly misinterpreted every bit as often as it proves itself immutable? What was I thinking? Where is free will? Where is Jim's right, as given to him by God (as all rights are), to choose his own destiny? I can't be certain, but I hope it's still in there somewhere. (What? I've only written six of seven books in this series. How should I know what happens?) The truth is, it's usually easier to walk a path defined by someone else, especially if we're being carried down that path, than it is to blaze our own trail. The notable exception is walking the path God has defined for us. So is it prophecy that determines Jim's action, God, or Jim's own self interests? Only time will tell.
You might know it to read it, but "Annie Get Your Soul" was never meant to be a continuation of "How the West Was Saved." In fact, none of the books in this series were originally intended to follow a single story arc. Stand-alones, every last one of them! Or at least, that was my intention. But then, "Annie Get Your Soul" happened. This excerpt is the first glimpse that a reader has of the Tikatu Brotherhood and of the Founder. It was my first glimpse as well. I might have been satisfied relegating this beast to the confines of this book, but I assure you, I had absolutely no choice in the matter. In true villain fashion, the Founder set out immediately to conquer the world. Whether he succeeds remains to be seen, but I will admit this much; he did succeed in conquering the series, managing even to reach backward in time to pull the narrative of "How the West Was Saved" into his evil scheme. How, you ask? Well, you'll just have to read the series to find out.
Nevada 1882. The daughter of Nevada gubernatorial candidate Trent Slaughter vanishes, stolen, the evidence suggests... by demons! Now it is left to soul hunter Jim Mercantile to track the girl and bring her back. But as Jim begins his investigation, he quickly discovers that more is at stake than the fate of one missing girl. A demonic contract is being forged for the heart and soul of America. And Jim has only until the polls open on election day to rescue the girl, or the gates of Hell will open and destruction will be unleashed upon the Earth.
Did you know that when it comes to horses, not all grass is created equal? Generally speaking, low-yield grasses that tend to thrive in less fertile soil are better for horses than high-yield production grasses. The reason is that they are higher in fiber and lower in sugar. But more than that, some grasses can even be detrimental to the health of your horse. Sweet Vernal, for example, contains coumarin, which with the help of an appropriate mold, will convert to dicoumarol, which inhibits blood clotting. Rye grass produces mycotoxins, such as Lolitrem B, which can cause stagger, and Ergovaline, a vaso constrictor that can cause abortion, heat stress, or colic, depending on which organ the blood is being restricted from. So when seeding your pasture, stick with the classics. Your horse can't go wrong if he's chowing down on Crested Dog's Tail, Prairie Grass, Timothy, or Old Bluegrass.
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“Equo ne credite Teucri. Quidquid id est, Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes” is Latin for “Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Danaans, even when bringing gifts.” Trojan priest Laocoon said this in Virgil’s Aeneid, but the warning is ignored. The Trojans bring the “gift,” a wooden horse hiding Greek warriors, into their city. That night, the Greeks escape, open the gates, and the Greek army enters to find that Helen is no longer the twenty-something beauty they expected to rescue. Ten years and limitless bonbons result in a victory that is far from decisive. (Paris, King of Troy: “Take her. She’s ugly and does not bear me children.” Menelaus, King of Sparta: “By no means! You keep her. I haven’t a closet large enough to hide something like that.”) But that’s another story and immaterial to both Virgil’s account and this book. Here, Laocoon’s words release the “woman,” Annie. Annie is a succubus, a demon who lures men to their doom through the too-obvious means of sexual conquest. (Clearly, Succubae do not like a challenge.) Like the horse, Annie is no gift. Will Jim Mercantile learn the truth in time to save Christendom? Read the book and find out. Visit Free Offer on my website to receive How the West Was Saved for free.
I started "How the West Was Saved" in the early 90s, if by "started" you accept a page and a half of free prose in which nothing happens except a cowboy arguing with his talking horse. But then after that page and a half, I realized that I had no idea where this thing was going, so I shelved the "short story"... "for now." So ten years later, I find myself in the early 2000s attending a creative writing class and digging through old computer files in search of something to use as a writing assignment. And lo and behold, if I don't come across this story. I like the writing, so I decide to develop it. It wasn't long before I found myself looking at a novel, not a short story. But the resulting novel was written without an outline to guide it, so it had a lot of holes in it. So again I lay it to rest. Several years pass, and I decide to bring the book out again. This time, I do it right, with an outline. The result is a practically new book. This excerpt here comes from the only chapter from the first draft to make it more or less in its original form into the final book.
Jim Mercantile's talking horse Typhoid is the favorite character of many readers, but strangely, I do not describe Typhoid in this book in terms of his physical appearance. This is entirely an oversight. In the original draft, Typhoid was a paint (hence, the name Typhoid). But a rewrite, as rewrites often do, rid Typhoid of that crucial description. Later, when trying to acquire photographs of a horse that I could call Typhoid, the only horse I had access to was one belonging to a friend of my wife, who (meaning the horse, not my wife's friend) was not only a bay, but a female to boot. Clearly, I did not change Typhoid's sex, but in a later book, I do describe him as a bay. However, in my mind, I still and always will see Typhoid as a paint.
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