Once I decided upon the lead character, I needed a supporting cast but it wasn't long after I got started that I recognized the need for a good woman to be the motivation behind the man. Try as some of us do to think otherwise, the more it becomes as natural as the biology behind it for us to recognize its value. In the case of Josh Eldridge, the main character, that special young woman would enter the story in his early days after release from the Union POW camp. Josh had made his way back to Norfolk, on his way home to Currituck County, North Carolina from Point Lookout, Maryland and was working on the boats in Norfolk to get his life together again. A man who will come to be a major part in his life will give him a chance and it was at this time that he wandered into the coffee shop in Norfolk where Annie Pickett worked. It was almost love at first sight for both parties and it would not be long before Annie would become his soulmate and Mrs. Eldridge.
As the story unfolds in the first volume of the series, "The Long Road Back," Annie is devoted to him and he to her. She reads and understands his moods, is his prime confidante in the important decisions of his life, and he never wants to look at another woman again. As the story goes into book two, "The Long Road Forward," which will come out within a month, Annie helps him realize the things he is missing in life and why he needs to recognize them. The result is dramatic and, in addition to his success with a great partner in building a worthy transportation business as a captain of tugboats, he finds his faith as well and ministers to those needing spiritual upbringing in the tough life of the times as an Inner or Outer Banker.
As life goes on and Annie and Josh get a little older (remember life expectancy back then was only mid to late 50's so when you made it to forty you were middle aged), Annie decides that the hot summer and storms of the humid months mean she needs to change her style. She cuts her hair shorter to make things easier and she starts wearing good working boots for outdoors with a skirt that is shorter, but still below the knee, for more utility in getting things done. And it is in that demeanor that she is seen on the cover of the picture above which will grace the cover of Book 2 in the Coastal Carolina series, "The Long Road Forward." Books one and two take the couple and their good friends the Weston's and the others in their group through 1884. With the years from 1865-1884 now covered, the final book which I will start soon, title yet to be determined, will take Josh Eldridge's story through to life's completion. There is still a lot of action ahead, but I hope my good readers will complete both of the two first books before the finale comes out, probabll sometime in the upcoming winter season. But first, a break for a few weeks to unwind and hopefully get through Florida hurricane season unscathed.
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