Jonathan Gray grows up in southern Ohio in the 1850s. He's raised in a pacifist family but he doesn’t share that sentiment. As a child, he flies into a rage when his father  fails to stop slavecatchers from dragging a runaway slave family from their rural church, part of the  underground railroad.

Jonathan carries this anger with him for years, but before he leaves for college, sparks fly with a schoolmate, Barbra Carson.

At Princeton, a wealthy classmate leads him willingly astray. Drinking, gambling, spellbound by a manipulative woman. Jonathan pushes everything he once loved away-his family, his sweetheart, and the values he grew up with.

When the two friends graduate, the Civil War has just broken out and they both join the Union Army. Jonathan is now so far removed from his pacifist roots that joining up is an easy decision. 

When his only friend is killed in combat, Jonathan finds himself all alone. Everything he once held dear is gone. Now he faces the gritty task of trying to regain his self-respect during the mayhem of the Civil War.

Southwestern Ohio, 1848

Jonathan ducked when the doors of the little country meeting house burst inward. Windows rattled as the crash of splintering wood echoed throughout the church. Four rough-looking men cradling long rifles stepped over the debris. Jonathan stared wide-eyed at men the likes of which he’d never seen before. Wild eyebrows, dirt in the creases of their weathered faces−dusty, worn overcoats.

His mother’s trembling hand wrapped around Jonathan’s small one. When the intruders raised their guns, Jonathan recoiled and his bundle of biscuits fell to the wooden floor. The bearded hunters looked around warily. Muddy boots thumped on loose planks as three of them strode up the center aisle. The stench of hard riding swept along behind them.


Fireflies is my first novel, started on a whim, not knowing where the story was headed as I wrote. An interesting, but sometimes scary way to flesh out an idea.

I thought Fireflies was going to be about a particular Civil War general, but when I created my hero, Jonathan, to tell about the general, he just took the story over!

​As yet, unpublished, but a good story arc that completes itself nonetheless.

Fireflies At Dusk.