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Before We Leave is the saga of the Justine-Earth mutants and the Thalian-Justine Earth descendents living in Texas in 1869 through 1949 when they leave Earth.
Red O’Neal, Justine-Earth mutant delivers a punishing beating to his half-brother, Daniel Hunter, for courting Red’s Earth sister, Antoinette O’Neal. She is to be sent to a convent until she agrees to marry a much older, wealthier man. Antoinette had managed to send a letter to her betrothed Lorenz MacDonald about her danger. Lorenz rescues her on the journey to the convent. His mother and his adoptive father, MacDonald, the Thalian-Justine mutant, allow the marriage rather than lose Lorenz. The birth of their third child prompts Antoinette to ask Lorenz why he and two of their children have two hearts. He spends the night explaining about ships that do not require sails and beings from other planets.
During their years in Texas, the neighboring Rolfe ranch is attacked by Comanche raiders. Antoinette and her mother-in-law, Anna, are able to fight them off until help arrives and before Brigetta Rolfe gives birth to a baby girl.
If that has made you curious to the content of the book, the author, Mari Collier, was kind enough to give me an excerpt of the book, which you’ll find below.
Read it and tell me what you think of the story premise, did aliens always live on Earth?
Antoinette returned to the house after leaving Armeda in charge of the laundry. Her dark hair was pulled up and coiled at the top, looping around to brush the neck. Curls carefully made to look rebellious framed the sides of her face. Her cotton dress implied that this was a work day. Summer had set in and the grasses were drying, waiting for the late summer and fall rains that would sweep up from the coast. The day was warm, but not unbearable. Lorenz wouldn’t return from the cattle drive until sometime in August. Perhaps there would be an opportunity to work on her watercolors later. She held three-year-old Melissa’s hand firmly in hers.
Kendall could stay with the laundry workers’ children happily building his forts to fight off the Indians, wrestle with the others, and devise ways to shoot a missile or rock somewhere. He’d already been warned that one more rock landing near the wash tubs meant he was in his room until dinner. At five years of age Kendall needed to roughhouse with boys his own age or there would be a fight between him and his studious brother. A situation Antoinette would not risk with Lorenz away on a cattle drive.
She entered the back door through the covered porch and went to the kitchen. When they enlarged the main house they built the side of the kitchen out to butt against the springhouse. Now the door to the springhouse opened from the coat area. This technique had widened the kitchen by ten feet and it was now a spacious room for the huge cook stove, sturdy table, and cabinets. A veranda wrapped across the front of the house.
By adding five feet to the original great room, Antoinette had gained her dining room. True it was a bit narrow, but it was large enough to hold her fancy rosewood dining set. The sweeping stairway in the entrance and grand hall was her pride and joy. The hallway between the bedroom, the old stairwell and part of Mina’s bedroom was now a bath. By widening the east side of the house and using the rest of Mina’s bedroom she gained a parlor for the rosewood piano, fancy sofa, and needle worked cushioned chairs. Lorenz had painted a lovely portrait of her and hung it on the wall behind the piano.
They’d left the fireplace along the south wall of the hall. When one entered the front, the view ran straight to the French doors opening to the garden. She had laborers install a low, paved with stones, veranda between the French doors and garden. It was more like a Spanish patio or court area where one could catch the breezes. Lorenz’s office door was on the other side of the fireplace. She had disliked the original great room and modernized everything by eliminating the old dining and seating area and creating specific rooms. It was a shame there really wasn’t space enough for a separate music room, but she had conceded that he needed the office. The sewing room she located upstairs with the bedrooms for the children.
Six-year-old Randall was sitting on the fireplace hearth bent over a Dickens’s novel. She really didn’t think he could understand much of it, but was secretly afraid he understood far too much.
Melissa looked at Randall and then at her mother. “Why can’t I go back outside and play with Kendall?”
“Because he plays too rough for a young lady like y’all. Let’s find your colored chalk and y’all can draw something. Maybe Randall will help y’all with your numbers or alphabet.”
Antoinette didn’t think other children learned as rapidly as her first and last born. She wasn’t sure a governess would be sufficient this fall. Miss Ambrose was to return in September. Lorenz had mentioned he would look for a teacher after the drive. One was needed. Antoinette felt the Rolfe children would benefit as much as her own. It seemed Marty Rolfe was the only one receiving any instruction and that was in the ways of the wild from his grandfather. She shuddered at the thought.
The clatter of hooves, gunfire, men’s shouts and women’s screams interrupted her thoughts. Randall looked up at her, and his eyes widened.
“Mama, do y’all want me to find Pawpaw’s rifle? It’s danger.”
Antoinette looked out the huge front window and saw six horses. Two were heading for the house and four were racing for the barn and bunkhouse area.
“No, come with me both of you!” She picked up Melissa and ran to her bedroom and put Melissa and Randall in the closet.
“Don’t move. Randall, take care your sister. Be still, very, very still. Shh. Don’t come out of there until I say it’s all right!” Her voice was stern, insistent.
There wasn’t time to grab one of the larger guns from the office and she pulled her derringer from her purse and ran to the rocker by the window. From the table beside the rocker, she picked up her embroidery and covered the derringer with the linen scarf she was working on. Thank goodness the bed is made ran through her mind. She heard the man coming up the porch steps and wished she had had time to be sitting in the parlor. She did not want Randall to come out to protect her. Thank God it was Randall in the closet and not Kendall. Kendall would be arguing with her.
The man didn’t really knock at the door. He kicked against it and walked in. Julia had been in the kitchen, but must have run.
Antoinette walked to the open bedroom door with the linen strewn with a field of pink and blue flowers draped over her right hand and the needle in her left hand.
The man was clad in denims and a dirty, sweat-stained calico shirt. His grey hat was wide brimmed and two guns hung on his hips. Obviously, someone had told him the men were gone. He needed a bath, and Antoinette stilled a gag from the stench of him.
“Hallo, pretty lady. Greet the new man of the house. We’re taking over…”
Antoinette pulled the trigger.
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About the author
Mari Collier was born and raised on a farm in Iowa. From there she moved to Phoenix, then to North Bend, WA, and found refuge in a small community in the high desert of California. She is an active member of the Desert Writers Guild, on the Board of Directors for The Historical Society of Twentynine Palms, and the congregational secretary for Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. She writes two columns for the Old Schoolhouse Journal and enjoys family, friends, the local art galleries, and theaters. Earthbound (Volume 1), Gather The Children, and Before We Leave are science fiction novels set on Earth.
She can be found online at her website, if you care to know more about her or her books, I strongly suggest you pop over and peruse her site because there’s loads to read on there too.
Her premise is that aliens have lived here and their genes are part of humanity’s genes. I’m currently working on the sequel to Before We Leave. MacDonald returns to his planet Thalia with part of his Earth family. He intends to free Thalia from the rule of the Justines. Things aren’t always as easy as they sound on paper. Watch for Return Of The Maca.
I must admit that this premise sounds plausible and I will put this book on my TBR list. What’s your take on alien life? Does it exist, and are they among us?