Well, Hello There!

Well, hello there. Long time no see.

I take all the blame, so don’t chew me out too badly. It’s one of those things we go through in life, I guess. Changes, eventides. It happens. Sometimes we’re surprised by it, sometimes now.

Anyway, just wanted to drop in and say “Hey.” So, “Hey!” Hope everyone’s doing fine. Things are good with me, can’t complain; nobody’d listen anyway. Trust me. I’ve been complaining for decades, and so far, nobody’s listened. That’s fair enough. I seldom listen when anyone complains either.

Continue reading Well, Hello There!

“Those Who Carry Fire” The Second Lawson’s Peak Mystery

cover2Deep in the back country of the southern Appalachians, a small settlement of Native Americans has existed in self-imposed isolation for three centuries with little contact with the outside world. But when someone, or some thing, burns Madeline Day Star’s cabin, and her with it, Sheriff Gordon Bredenbury searches for a murderous arsonist while desperately trying to keep the secret of that hidden village he’s kept safe for more than fifty years. When the home of Carolina Proud Horse is also burned a few days later, Gordon reaches a horrid realization: there is an Indian killer in Yona County, and it appears to be the resurrection of an ancient indigenous spirit. Gordon pursues a killer, flesh or spirit, and soon learns there are also other fires: the fires carried in the hearts of those he holds dear.

“Dead Witch in the River” The first Lawson’s Peak Mystery

cover300wideMountain sheriff and city cop pursue a killer… Wilda Proud Horse was Cherokee, but many in Long Valley called her a witch. She was rumored to cure sickness, cheat fate and sow love. When two boys find Wilda’s body beneath a sheet of ice in the river, Sheriff Gordon Bredenbury takes on his final case before he retires. But he has never investigated a murder; Long Valley has always been tranquil and free of violent crime. Gordon turns to a hard-boiled, jaded city detective for help, but indigenous spirits may stand between them and the killer.

A Place for Everything…

Over the course of dang near 34 years in this sordid business, I have always maintained that if I should criticize, I should be equally eager to commend. This week the St. Mary Parish council on an 8-3 vote denied development of an apartment complex in Garden City. Local opposition likely led to that decision. The developer has reportedly indicated he will sue. Both are within their rights. If you think about the process critically, the very progression of rezoning the property—any property—from agriculture to multi-use residential, then subdividing it, and then submitting a development plan, all require permission of parish boards and finally the parish council itself. Now, I don’t claim to be an attorney, but this more than implies a procedural succession where boards of the parish council approve (if warranted) requests and then pass them on to the full parish council which then votes on the final disposition. That means that the parish council has the right to vote to approve or disapprove. So again, the parish council was within its authority. The developer is also within his rights to file suit. I make no allegations regarding his intentions or credibility; I simply point out that . . . → Read More: A Place for Everything…


Two casts from the bank and I’ve got something: a seventy-foot pine tree. – Nick Lyons, Bright Rivers.

Nearly a month ago I wondered if it was nearly spring. After a brutal winter (by Louisiana standards) it did warm up a bit, but the rain defiantly came late in the workweek, every week, ruining plans for weekend forays into the wilds.

Then came the first spat of nice weekend weather, but that was the Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show, and I was stuck. I crossed my fingers and hoped for as good or better the following Saturday. I got my wish.

I was on the road by six and arrived at a favorite flow by nine. There were lots of people out; people who were as wrung-out by cabin fever as me, so I really couldn’t disdain them.

My fishing bud and I strung up rods and waders. Yes, waders. A quick jaunt to the clear and sparkling creek and a hand in the abundant flow proved it to be toe-bluing cold. This was nearly our undoing.

We headed downstream away from the others, but a family of three had gotten ahead of us. We usually walk until we . . . → Read More: Finally

Just Published: “A River Named Vengeance”

A River Named Vengeance‘Things aren’t always what they seem…’

A family journeys home in the wake of tragedy. David Bromley and Garret Bredenbury return to the flood-ravaged valley below Lawson’s Peak where a man they both loved destroyed everything he cherished to save it. But questions loom above the grief; why a man like Matt Bromley left such inconceivable devastation behind. How he hid the enormity of his plight from his only remaining family. And why, in the end, did he walk off into the mountains he so loved for the last time. As Sheriff Gordon Bredenbury wrestles with the demons of blame and guilt, Garret and David search for answers and soon understand that the only place they’ll find them is in the heart of the man who caused all the pain: Howard DePalmo.

“Losing Home” just published!

Losing HomeA story eight thousand years in the telling… “This is all a dream to me. A dream from a thousand years ago. And I’m only glad that I can experience it while I’m still awake…” This is the story of a nation, and that of one of its own sons. An abridged version of Roger Emile Stouff’s first three memoirs, ‘Losing Home’ is his perspective of the Chitimacha people and of the vanishing landscape, coast and river basin they still call home. ‘Losing Home’ scrutinizes the environmental loss, the cultural challenges, and the personal tragedies that have forever altered land, water and people in what was once a true paradise of wilderness. It also chronicles change in a man’s life when all solace and those things of value that he has known withers and vanishes. ‘ Losing Home’ asks, what is home? And if home has left him can he ever find that place again?

Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon!

Almost There?

Is it? Can it be?

Dare I say the word out loud?

I’ll just spell it, like people do when the kids are listening (we even do it when the dog’s listening): S-P-R-I-N-G.

Shhh! Don’t jinx it!

I hope it is. The winter from hades has been brutal. I haven’t been able to do pecan, the definition of “pecan” naturally being “fish.”

But maybe…

Just maybe…

If the rain forecast for Thursday isn’t a gulley-washer, just maybe then I’ll be able to head north. See, there’s a little sliver of heaven waiting for me up there among the low-slung, hog-backed hills. A slice of nirvana.

I haven’t seen it since October. That’s way too long! Been housebound and suffering from cabin fever. Put on too many pounds, too. But I’m pretty sure a fly rod will still fit in my hand.

It may be too early. We always go too early. Early for catching, that is. The fishing is always fine even if the catching is dismal. Don’t matter. We always go too early but we never mind. Sometimes there’s other people there, fellow sufferers of cabin fever but we don’t commiserate with them. We’re aloof in our disease. . . . → Read More: Almost There?


Well, here I sit and the winter has already been far too long!

I asked this question before and I repeat it now out of pure disdain: What is the use of living in the deep South if we have to endure winters like this? I always thought there was some kind of magical force field that protected the deep South from this kinda nonsense. Yes, I know, the bay froze once a long time ago, and there was that nine-degree day in the 1990s that killed my crepe myrtle, but those are the exceptions.

People therefore ask me, “What, you wanna live in the mountains and you don’t like the cold here?” Yes, that’s true, it’s colder in the southern Appalachians, but you know what? I can at least look out my window and see snow-blanketed peaks rather than brown mud-covered roads and road shoulders.

And I don’t intend to live anywhere near Billings, Montana, where it hit -17 degrees last week! No, much as I love the Rockies, that kind of cold is for the bears who have the good sense to find a hole in the ground to sleep until spring. My northernmost line of possible . . . → Read More: Brrr!

Remember My Father

I abuse the privilege of this space and my position to once again ask this favor of you.

It is 14 years ago this week that my father left this world to journey into the next. Many fathers have made that journey, and I don’t pretend my own dad was more important than any other. But he was my dad, and just once each year, I ask your tolerance and your favor.

I ask it, because my father was a champion of his people. A warrior of a different sort. Had his life not been so filled with toxins, it would not be unreasonable for him to still be here today. The things he inhaled in his job, his sideline work, his smoking habit, all weakened his heart and his lungs but in the end, could not curb the valiance of his spirit.

He was not alone in his duties as a warrior. Forty-six years ago, five men united to create a constitution and by-laws for the tribe, securing the final bureaucracy of becoming a sovereign nation. They are all heroes.

In the years that followed, my father took on the call of the sacred flame. It is believed . . . → Read More: Remember My Father