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A Country for Castoffs

This series takes place during the period of early North American colonization in the 17th century. It is told from multiple perspectives with the goal of understanding the complex events that greatly impacted the lives of those arriving in North America, as well as the lives of those already here. I have attempted to show this history through the eyes of those who lived it, as they would have experienced it, so that we can gain a better appreciation for our ancestors, their struggles, their failures, and their victories.

Thrown to the Wind

Book 1 in the series A Country for Castoffs

Based on true events, this story traces one boy’s journey from France to America in 1660 as he finds the courage to save himself and those he loves.


Etienne Gayneau doesn’t understand why the Catholics and Protestants in France can’t get along, only that it means he’s not allowed to see his cousin and best friend, Nicolas, and why he’ll never be a musketeer. But when a bounty is placed on his father’s head for being a heretic, he must choose to flee with his family, or to run away and hide out with his Catholic cousin.


Etienne must give up everything he has ever known as he faces many dangers along his journey. Along the way, Etienne will befriend a beautiful Dutch girl with a dangerous father, confront his guilt over the death of his brother, and face off against injury, illness, and death. Will Etienne choose to fulfill his family’s expectations, or will he plot the course for his own destiny?

"It would have to be now or never. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and jumped!"

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Available in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle, and Audible!

Annotated Bibliography for Thrown to the Wind
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"The children were screaming, as I picked them up in both arms and ran towards the doorway. I thrust them outside just as the burning roof collapsed on top of me."

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A Home in the Wilderness

Book 2 of A Country for Castoffs

Etienne Gayneau settled New Harlem in 1663 with his family to build a new life in an untamed world. This is the story of one boy’s struggle to survive and protect those he loves.


Etienne Gayneau doesn’t understand why the native peoples and colonists can’t get along in this land of abundant resources and opportunity. As war erupts between his Old World religious community and his New World friends, Etienne must find a way to end the violence, while protecting those he loves on both sides of the dispute.


Etienne must learn to survive in this dangerous, exotic new world. He will learn new skills from his Native Americanfriends and establish new friendships a with old enemies. But just as everything seems to be going so well, conflict threatens to destroy it all! Will Etienne find a way to save his friends and fulfill his own destiny?


Annotated Bibliography for A Home in the Wilderness

Available in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle, and Audible!


“I looked down at the purse in my hand. I had done nothing to stop it. It was blood money, my thirty pieces of silver….”

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At the Mercy of the Sea

Book 3 is Newly Released!

ETrouble is coming for Etienne Gayneau and his friends at home and at sea as the English prepare to invade New Netherland, pirates roam the oceans, and pandemics and storms threaten to turn their worlds upside down.

Twelve-year-old Etienne takes to the sea again in September 1663 in a desperate move to earn the money his father needs to repay their debt only to find himself shanghaied onto a pirate ship captained by none other than his old rival, Jacob Janssen van den Burgh. He will soon discover that this voyage will test his character and his faith as he must choose whether to follow the easy path that leads to destruction or the harder road to self-discovery and redemption.


Meanwhile, back in the colonies, his friends must traverse their own difficult paths to self-discovery as they struggle to find their places in their own communities. Alsoomse resists following the traditional gender roles and her mother’s expectations as she must make a seemingly impossible choice to discover her rightful place in the tribe. And Abraham, wrestles with his own mixed heritage and fights to prove his worth to his father as he must choose the kind of man he will become.

Annotated Bibliography for At the Mercy of the Sea
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