Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker

26 Aug

Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker


A clash between Cherokee Indians and their former African slaves comes to a head in the tribal town of Feather Falls.


On the same day Sput Louie McClendon is evicted by reviled town tycoon Goliah Lynch, her husband mysteriously vanishes. Has he fallen prey to bushwhackers or timber thieves? Or is Lynch behind his disappearance?

Alone and desperate, Sput Louie turns to town elder Two Bird for help, but with racial tension between the two factions, are his intentions pure?

As Sput Louie’s frantic search for her husband intensifies, she stumbles onto a dark twisted family secret – one that could not only have devastating implications for her, but the entire town of Feather Falls.



Reviews for Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker

“Seeds of Deception has characters you’ll love, a plot that pulls you in and twists you’ll never see coming.”
— Pamela Samuels Young, author of Anybody’s Daughter anf Abuse of Discretion, NAACP Image Award winner


“Hypnotic prose, vivid characters. I was blown away. A masterful first novel.”
— Dwayne Alexander Smith, author of Forty Acres, NAACP Image Award Winner


“I wish I could go back and meet all her characters again. Haven’t stopped thinking about them yet. Easily one of my favorite reads this year.” — Lisa Bobbit, reviewer,


“Ms. Walker’s writing is uninhibited and honest.”
— C. Knight, Book-a-licious Book Club




EXCERPT: Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker

Goliah T. Lynch, known as Old Crow behind his back, was a man of considerable coin. He was arguably the most powerful mixed-blood in Feather Falls, being half-white and half-Cherokee. He was also the man who had owned both Sput’s and Benjamin’s families during slavery.

Sput wanted to spit bile. She knew Benjamin did as well.

That her two older sons were not around gave Sput some small solace.

“Here come the boys.” Benjamin jutted his chin towards the prairie to the left of Goliah Lynch.

She followed his nod. Sure enough, there was Hunter Big, her oldest, trailed by Archie, her middle son. They both knew of her and Benjamin’s loathing for Goliah. They’d cut their teeth on it.

Hunter Big was a bison of a man. He swung a rope-tied red fox from his left hand and carried a bow in his right.

Just like Benjamin, Hunter Big knew by heart the rise and fall of the land. He strode wide and shrewd towards them now.

Trying to keep up with him was Archie, Hunter’s twin brother. They neither looked alike nor were alike. Archie was the only member of the family who had managed to amass any schooling in his 20 years on earth. Hunter, on the other hand, saw no need for the alphabet if it couldn’t back him up in a bear fight.

The two boys flanked their parents and their youngest brother L.B. as they watched Goliah’s wagon roll to a stop.

“Osiyo.” Benjamin greeted first.

At the Cherokee greeting, Goliah flinched like he had been pinched.

“I have a hundred head of new cattle coming in,” he said, skipping any semblance of social pleasantries.

No surprise to Sput there.

“Well, suh,” Benjamin began.

What was a surprise to Sput was hearing her husband refer to this particular man as “sir.” She whipped her head around to give Benjamin a questioning stare. Was that a smile she saw stretching at his lips? A nasty shiver went down her spine, as her ire heated up. But then, she understood how desperation could make a man like Benjamin sacrifice his skin in order to save his bones.

“I — I don’t have a mule no more —” Benjamin continued.

“Cauth we ate him.” L.B. hooked his thumbs around the shoulder straps of overalls that didn’t quite reach his ankles. “He died firth. Then we ate him.”

Benjamin was not sidetracked. “But if you supply a horse,” he went on as if L.B. hadn’t said a word, “I can rope a steer, brand it, and castrate it with the best of ‘em. Never lost a steer to a snippin’ yet.”

Archie jumped right on board with the idea of any one of the McClendons being hired out. “They don’t call Pa Snippin’ Ben for nothing.”

“And Hunter here,” Benjamin pointed with a proud nod of his head, “he can break a bronco into a cow pony in no time. And Archie can rope and ride a salty one all day long,” he said, rounding out the recitation of McClendon family skills.

Goliah began a slow, guttural laugh. “I’m not looking to hire you.” His laugh grew. “I’m looking to evict you.”

Sput’s mouth went so dry it couldn’t even court a swallow.

“You runnin’ us off this here land?” Benjamin’s eyes narrowed.

Emerging from his fit of laughter, Goliah straightened up. “Yes. You’re going to have to move.”

“Again?” Benjamin barked. “It’s been only three plantin’ seasons since Deer Jim threw us off our last place. Sayin’ he needed that land.”

“Ya-huh,” Sput grumbled.

“We done made improvements on this here land.” Benjamin stood as straight and firm as a stake in the ground.

Goliah chuffed. “Now, you know a freedman can’t plant residential seeds within a quarter mile of an Indian. That’s a fact per the treaty.”

That damn treaty, Sput thought. It gave former slaves the right to the use of a particular plot of land from which they could not be moved, as well as the right to vote, but no one was enforcing those parts.

Benjamin twisted his mouth to one side. “Cain’t tell what a quarter mile is if folks keep movin’ their fence line.”

“Well, now.” Goliah’s thin lips gave way to a lopsided grin. “I don’t have to proffer an explanation. As a courtesy, though, I’ll tell you my new herd is arriving any day now. And this land you’re on is smack in the midst of some fine blue stem grazing land.“

Hunter turned his back on everyone, while Archie remained slack-jawed.

“You have a day to vacate the premises.”

Hunter swung back around as if yanked by a rope.

“A day?” Benjamin asked, in unison with the twins.

Sput looked around for L.B., but he was no longer beside them. No sooner had she wondered where he was than a cane chair came flying out of their front door solving the mystery of his whereabouts. L.B. didn’t even wait for it to roll to a stop before he rushed back inside, shoes flopping hard and loud.

The ragged chair with the broken-cane bottom landed right at the hooves of Goliah’s horse. The spotted Appaloosa gave a short squeal as Goliah slowly turned it and his wagon, and coolly trotted away. Just in time to avoid a flying kerosene lamp.

Benjamin’s whole body seemed to drain of life in the matter of a minute. His head drooped so low it looked like his chin was piercing his chest.

Sput averted her eyes, unable to watch the anguished face of the man who had been her salvation after slavery, the man who treated her like his galvquodi — his precious — the man who had guided her for more than half her life, the man who had just been evicted by his own father.

( Continued… )

© 2019 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Arlene L. Walker. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.


Purchase Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Mystery
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About the Author
Arlene L. Walker is a graduate of UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a winner of the PEN USA CASP award as well as a finalist in the 2011 PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in A Letter for My Mother, WOW-Women On Writing. Ms. Walker resides in Southern California where she is currently at work on her second novel. You can connect with her at

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Intimate Conversation with Arlene L. Walker

Arlene L. Walker is a graduate of UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a winner of the PEN USA CASP award as well as a finalist in the 2011 PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in A Letter for My Mother, WOW-Women On Writing. Ms. Walker resides in Southern California where she is currently at work on her second novel. You can connect with her at


BPM: Please, share something our readers wouldn’t know about you.
In a former life, I was a court reporter for 30 years where I wrote down OTHER people’s words. Now, I write down my own.


BPM: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Sincere, delightful, persistent.


BPM: Introduce us to your most recent work.
Seeds of Deception is about a woman whose husband vanishes. While investigating his disappearance, she stumbles onto a dark twist of a family secret (is there any other kind?) that could have devastating implications for not only her, but the tribal town where she resides. Seeds of Deception is available Kindle.

BPM: Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
You might be surprised to learn that two-spirit people (those who identify as both sexes) were not only respected in the Native American community during the time period in which the novel is set, but they were revered. One of the main characters Two Bird is such a person.

BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
The McClendon Family roundup: Sput Louie, the matriarch, is fiercely independent and has been through some things, including having twins at age 14 alone and in a cave. Husband Benjamin is strong but quiet,and looks more Cherokee than colored, though he is both. Son Archie is the only one who’s ever been to school. His twin brother Hunter Big had no need for the alphabet if it couldn’t back him up in a bear fight. Youngest son L.B. (short for Laughing Boy) has the mind of a five-year-old, though he is 15.

BPM: Is there a specific place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
Both of my parents came to California from Oklahoma during the Great Migration. I spent summers in Muskogee, and so, yes, I have an affinity for the area. My paternal Great-grandmother lived in Greenwood, OK during the Black Wall Street era, (aka the Tulsa riots) and so that may be the backdrop for my next novel.


BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing and developing the characters for this book?
I really enjoyed doing the research. Some people find it tedious; I found it invigorating. Getting a feel for the landscape of the time period spurred so many ideas for characters, plot, and setting. However, the character Two Bird came to me fully formed in a dream. He told me what he wanted to say and do, and I just hung onto his coattails with a death grip.


BPM: Is writing easy for you?
I thought writing was the hardest thing to do, but the release of Seeds of Deception pushed me head first into marketing. There is nothing harder than that! Especially when you’d rather be writing.


BPM: When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene how do you get in the mood?
I sit at the keyboard, close my eyes, and transport myself to the time and circumstances about which I will write. Without opening my eyes, I begin typing stream of consciousness style. You’d be surprised what gems flow from writing freely.


BPM: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips self-care for creative folks?
Get up and move! Do not sit at the computer screen, typewriter, pen & pad, hammer and chisel (whatever your choice of writing tool) for too long. I use an app called the Tomato Timer. It beeps every 20 minutes and reminds you to get up and move!


BPM: How much planning goes into writing a book in general? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
In earnest, Seeds of Deception took a good five years to complete, not including one year of research!


BPM: How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
I take others’ opinions under submission (however briefly) and consider whether or not they may be right, or have a point.


BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book?
Since all of my main characters are either Native American or African-American, or both, the are all under-represented. . If so, discuss them. Their history is untold. That’s why I wrote the book, to shine a light on a period in our history that’s not represented in history textbooks or novels.


BPM: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
One of the key challenges I faced when writing Seeds of Deception was getting the historical facts straight and accurate. I read nearly 50 history books, various studies, documentaries, National Archives where I found lots of preserved first-hand accounts of people who lived during the time period of the late 19th century. There were not only slave narratives available, but narratives of slaves who had been owned by specifically by Native Americans.


BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
I will be over-the-moon happy if someone reads Seed of Deception and learns something they hadn’t previously known. It’s part of the reason why I read. It IS the reason why I wrote it. There’s so much untold history out there.


BPM: What are the 3 most effective tools for sharing your book with the world?
Hands down, book reviews are Number One. After that, social media and word-of-mouth.


BPM: What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project when so many ideas are running together?
Write down ALL of your ideas. Then under each, list the pros and cons. The ones with the most “pros” should become the focus.


BPM: In your opinion, what is the most influential form of media today?
Twitter is the most influential form of media today. Many, many, many times people will offer something as fact, and when I ask where they got it from, Twitter is usually the answer. Lots of fake news on that platform, but there is also lots of truth. This is where discernment comes in.


BPM: What was your favorite part and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?
Of course, my favorite part of this journey was the writing. I got lost in the world I created, and I hope my readers do as well. The least favorite part was, you guessed it, promoting the darn thing. So many avenues to choose from, but you must do your due diligence and figure out what’s best for YOUR book.


Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker





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