Winner of the 2015 Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction


Mercer University Press

By the sound of his hooves plodding towards me, I recognized the old horse. He thumped closer and closer until finally—the odors of blackened earth and tobacco and wet horse gathering into a swelling warmth—Troy stood over me.

At first I was frightened. In the rain and lightning, his scarred side looked raw and somehow bloody. He stomped his front hooves. He could easily kick me, as Cleo had feared he might. But he only shook his mane, then lowered his head towards mine.


In that other storm, lightning-struck he'd lain half-dead in Jesse's pen. I'd gone to him. Now he had come to me. "Troy." My teeth were chattering. "Good boy."


How did he do it? Escape the pasture the way he did? He had powers, but not from the Devil as Cleo thought. Like Pegasus, he had wings. And he'd come, even in the storm, with his wings and his third eye, to help me. To save me.

I began to feel forgiven. I pulled myself to my knees and reached up, feeling for Troy's mane. "Let me—just—hang on."








                 Support your local independent bookstore

In May of 1964, eleven-year-old Etta McDaniel's horse is struck by lightning—dead and gone, she hopes, out of her life "as though he'd never come in the first place, bringing with him one catastrophe after another." But Troy, gruesomely scarred, not only survives but seems to have gained supernatural powers, which Etta sets her mind on harnessing in her search for treasure. Troy has other plans.

"While the story centers on a girl of 11, Lightningstruck is not only a book for young readers. It is also for adults looking back on childhood and the complexities of the world that reveal themselves as we come of age. Like the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it can be read in different ways by people of different stages in their lives." Robert L. Pincus

Click here to read the complete review by Robert L. Pincus of an exhibit featuring Lightningstruck.

Click here to listen to a Red River Radio Spotlight interview with Ashley about Lightningstruck.

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