Excerpt from Call of the Cadron

Archey Fork Park 30 Apr 2006 004

He remembered her face in the moonlight that night beside the creek as its waters sang in hushed tones. You are my love, Jordan, and you must meet me at the place where hearts unite despite the obstacles. You must, Jordan. I hear our destiny in the singing of the Cadron. Surely, you can hear it, too, my darling. ( from “Call of the Cadron”.)

NaBloPoMo# 23 Moss and Memories

Moss and Memories

Clear water drifts through swimming holes,
across flat rocks, down waterfalls,
through canebrakes full of fishing poles
where owls are practicing their calls.
The milky way and moon still shine
above a field of weeds and thorn,
the place our heifer, Clementine,
delivered a small calf one morn.



By coal-oil lantern’s golden light,
I braced the calf’s unsteady feet,
in shadows deep and late at night,
so that the calf could stand and eat.
Moss grows now where choppin’ block stood
in shade of leafy black jack tree.
When Daddy split the kindling wood,
he handed small pine chips to me
to place inside an apple crate,
behind the stove in our front room.
The paling fence and broken gate
still stand and pink azaleas bloom.
I love the smog-free mountain air
around our house of weathered boards.
Each spring,  Mama planted with care
speckled beans and big, dipper gourds.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

Down to Earth Book-Signing

Freeda Baker Nichols Book Signing for "Call of the Cadron."

Freeda Baker Nichols
Book Signing for “Call of the Cadron.”

It was noon on a Wednesday– November 13, 2013 to be exact–and there I was at the Dirty Farmers Community Market in my town. I’d been invited to come in for the express purpose of signing my book. In other words, a book signing. I was the first of a few local authors invited to bring in our books. This was my second book signing for my first novel, “Call of the Cadron.” One gentleman bought a copy for his wife. Another person bought my children’s book for her granddaughter.  That gave me a chance to sign my name a couple of times. Got my picture taken, too. One copy is here and another is on Facebook. The one on Facebook doesn’t even tell who I am or give the name of my novel. So if anyone wants to know what the Cadron is–It’s a creek! A real creek in Arkansas.  But my book is not about the Cadron.  It’s about the characters who live along that creek.  Only, it isn’t true. Not one word. But I’m supposed to be writing at least one true sentence even in fiction because that’s what Hemingway said was how you could learn to write. I’ve been trying that. That one true sentence.  And I just don’t know if that’s so or not. But it might could be.

My first signing for “Call of the Cadron” was at a book store in another town, back in April.  If I recall correctly, I sold one book. Most people walked on past my table to buy whatever it was they came for.  Which was not my book. I’m sorry to say. To admit, actually. The newspaper in that town had run a great article about me and my book, with a picture and all.  And the person who bought that one book from me had already bought three when the books first came out.

Oh, at the Dirty Farmers Community Market, one man wearing a black cowboy hat went past my books and bought some hot peppers and green tomatoes.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

NaBloPoMo #19 November 2013

A Time to Love

English: Cherry blossoms Polish: Kwiaty wiśni.













When green leaves broaden on the cherry tree
and cherry blooms have started to depart,
it’s May and all things beautiful and free
are born anew like love inside the heart.

I watch soft clouds
like cotton
stretch so thin
they disappear.

This is the time for fishing at the creek,
for catching crappie with a cane and hook.
The butterflies appear like strings of silk,
when green leaves broaden on the cherry tree.

© Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

Little Creek – Day 23 – NaPoWriMo

Ambro creek, Monti Sibillini National Park, ne...

Oh, little creek that once ran deep and free,
your water then was pure without debris,
but now your bed of rock has vastly changed–
your counterpane and pillows, rearranged.
The taste of your cool water is now banned–
my son asks why and cannot understand
why no one cared enough to really try
to keep our land the way it used to lie–
soft greens that made a big umbrella shade
along your banks while sun-perch swam and played;
where hart’s breath blended with the mountain mist
as gray fog fingers touched the amethyst.
Non-biodegradable refuse floats
on your waterways like runaway boats.
Oh, little creek, if I could have one plea,
I’d beg to set you free from all debris!

Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

My Homeplace on Banner Mountain



Clear water drifts through swimmin’ holes
across flat rocks and over roots,
around un-cut cane fishing poles
where, at night, a barn owl hoots.

Pale moons still shine
above the meadow wonderland
where our heifer, Clementine, gave birth
to a calf too weak to stand.

By kerosene lantern’s yellow light,
Yvonne and I encouraged the calf to eat.
We braved the fear of dark midnight                                                                                           
to help him stand on his wobbly feet.

Moss grows now where the choppin’ block stood
under the shade of a black jack tree
where Daddy split  the kindlin’ wood
and handed the pine-scented chips to me

to carry to the apple crate
behind the stove in our front room.
The paling fence, its fallin’-down gate
are memories now. Plum trees still bloom,

perfumin’ bud-fresh mountain air
around our house of weathered boards.
In the garden, Mama gathered with care
speckled bird egg beans and dipper gourds.

I would do again the things I’ve done–
feed white Leghorns from a brown tow sack,
walk barefoot in the April sun
but there’s no way that I can go back.

I’ll cling to memories like the skin on a peach
and trust that time will not erase
the sound of the baby barn owl’s screech
near the swimmin’ hole at my old home place.

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Dust Cover — Peaceful, like the Cadron

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But I wonder if maybe you can. The colorful painting for “Call of the Cadron,” my first novel, which was painted by artist, Yvonne Baker Hall, (who happens to be my sister), seems to depict some conflict, some sadness, some happiness, perhaps. Despite that, the cover looks peaceful, like an invitation to sit down and read a while. Find out what happened in the lives of Jordan Maxey, Garrett Jones and Michael Younger in the little place called Old Piney Town in Arkansas, in 1983. 

Call of the Cadron

Now released! 

Copies of my first novel have arrived! And I am pleased to actually hold the book in my hands.

 I’m grateful to my sister, Yvonne Baker Hall, of California, who illustrated the lovely dust jacket. She is an accomplished artist whose paintings have received many awards. She is listed in “American Artist of Renown” and her work is published in “Art of the American West.”  

Yvonne’s artistic talent highlights the setting and characters in my book in an amazingly beautiful way.  Her colorful painting portrays a major scene in my story.

My novel is set in 1983 at Old Piney Town, a fictional location in Arkansas, U.S.A.  The main characters live in a community along a peaceful creek, called Cadron.  Although there is a Cadron Creek in Arkansas, in the book the name is used as fiction.

The story begins when  tragedy strikes the Maxey family, whose livelihood is cattle farming. A car accident has left Ned Maxey paralyzed and  his wife, Sarah, in an extremely nervous condition. Their daughter, Jordan Diane,  just out of college and eager to begin her first job as a school teacher, postpones her career to manage the farm.

 Complications arise that challenge Jordan. Not only is she responsible for running the farm, she also must care for her three younger sisters, Tanya and Katie, ages nine and seven,  and Shelley, a rebellious teenager. 

A sub-plot involves the stubborn Shelley. She falls in love with a man of questionable morals. Jordan risks losing her sister’s devotion when she attempts to guide Shelley away from her seemingly destructive path.

The story is intertwined with another element of romance when two handsome men both set their hearts on winning Jordan’s hand in marriage. With her own traditional values, she,  like her sister, must make a choice.  Will she choose Garrett or Michael?

Segments of the book include  adventure and mystery.  How did the runaway cow disappear? What caused the death of the prized Limousin bull?

The villains use guns and deceit in attempts to achieve their goals.  The heroine has her own favorite rifle and knows how to use it.

Even in modern times, country folk still cling to their guns.  My characters  use their rifles to protect their property and to defend themselves against rattlesnakes, bear, and anything else that might threaten their freedom to live peaceably in their own environment.

As the characters ride horses to round-up stray cattle, the story takes on an atmosphere of a Western. That’s how my 13-year-old grandson describes my book, which he read with interest.  Aimed at a general audience, I classify my novel as mainstream.

I hope every person who reads my novel will find the reading time worthwhile. That’s “my true sentence.”  

Ernest Hemingway made writing sound easy when he said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence.”  In addition to that, it certainly takes a lot of other sentences to put a book together.  But each step of the way, from the beginning to the end of this book, has been an adventure.

Be happy turning  the 200 pages as you read the 51, 800 words.  Writing the book was a pleasure and sharing it is a joy.

Happy reading, CALL of the CADRON!

Published by:         Nic Baker Books.
                                    PO Box 1073
                                    Clinton, Arkansas 72031-1073

6 X 9 inch, Paperback or Hardback

For information on ordering, contact:
Freeda Nichols at  freeda.nichols@gmail.com
or write to the above address .

The Family at Evening

At twilight, the fireflies
light their lanterns,
one at a time.

Jumping from porch,
Jimmy runs,
fruit jar in hand,
grabs lighting bugs
while whippoorwills
repeat themselves,
like Grandma.

Lindy brings Ole Jerse
from the pasture at
Weaver Creek. “Nearly stepped
on a copperhead,” she says.

“They crawl this time
of day,” Daddy warns.

He tells Mama
his check didn’t come.
She nods.  “Candy took her
first step today.”

Daddy reaches for
Candy’s hand.  Mama looks
at the sky.  Dark clouds
boil in the northwest.
Much like when the
tornado hit Banner Mountain.

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

Awarded Fifth Place in Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas’
Annual Anthology Contest, 2005