Sunday, June 23, 2013

What was the inspiration behind, My Boogie Woogie Bugle Guy?

At night in the summer and fall, you can sit out on my porch and hear the bagpipes play. Whoever the mystery player is, they play for several hours, and the melodies are beautiful, lulling my muse into another time and place.

But it’s not the only instrument my bagpipe player plays. Sometimes in the morning, a trumpet sounds revelry. The first time I heard it at oh five hundred, I hopped up and raced to my son’s room. He’d enlisted in the Army, and was to leave for basic training in a couple of months. It had been so long since I’d heard it, and well, I was excited. Five in the morning? Yeah, I know, why didn’t you go down the road and stuff that trumpet some place...ah, well, it brought back memories—memories anyone who’s been in the military could appreciate. It made my heart pound, and the blood flow. It was time to start my day.

“Do you hear that?”
“Hear what?”

I opened his window and there it was. “Wake up.”
“Uh huh. You’ve got to be kidding me. You got me up for that?” he says as he pulls a pillow over his head.

“Get used to it, son,” says I, as I yank the pillow away. “It’s the Army’s wake up call.”
His response was to glare for a moment, roll over and pull the sheet over his head.

Kids! He has since learned the value of hauling butt when you hear that trumpet.
Anyway, back to my bagpipe/trumpet player. He inspires stories and makes me smile, and yes I leave the window open so I can hear him in the morning. He was the major inspiration behind my novella, My Boogie Woogie Bugle Guy.

In My Boogie Woogie Bugle Guy, Sgt. Frank Winters is an Army trumpet player whose been set up on a date by a buddy who was later killed in combat. Determined to see his friend’s final wishes through, he rides across country to find Grace Daniels, his date for a big band party the following evening. Except, he doesn't know where she lives, leading to a very unconventional first meeting.
Here’s the blurb:
When Grace Daniels goes to the cemetery to visit the grave of her twin brother, she meets a soldier, there for the same reason, or at least that’s what she believes until he tells her about the blind date her brother arranged before he was killed in combat.

It’s the date of her dreams. Big band, brass and sass, Madame Eve from 1NightStand has set her up for an unforgettable night, a WWII swing dance party. Unfortunately, she’s having trouble letting go of her past and is afraid to take the chance given to her.

Sergeant Frank Winters is an Army trumpet player who travels with the Color Guard, a great dancer, and six feet four inches of eye candy that could make her an addict. He’s also a soldier and soldiers can get killed. Grace doesn’t have the heart to lose someone again, but Frank knows a good thing when he sees it, and he’s determined to show her in one night, she’s got more to lose if she walks away.

And an excerpt....
“For my next number, I’m gonna play something a little more laid back.” A slurry voice rang out over the headstones, echoing through what was supposed to be a closed graveyard. A trumpet began to play. Dah, dah, dum. Dah, dah, squawk.

She bolted up. “What the hell?” Believing she was alone, she’d bared her soul to her brother. She certainly wouldn’t have had that conversation if she’d known someone lingered nearby. She turned around three hundred and sixty degrees, until her gaze landed on a mausoleum backlit by the moon. A man stood on the roof with brass to his lips, butchering Taps. In his other hand, he held a bottle of what was probably in the glass on Geordie’s grave.

Grace swatted the debris from her pants and stomped toward the mausoleum, irritation prickling over the back of her neck. She stopped at the base of the stone structure and glared at the man on the roof. “What are you doing here at three in the morning? The cemetery is closed.”
“Whoa, hot chick in the audience.” He swayed, threatening to fall off the roof. “Feel free to toss your panties onto the stage in appreciation.”

She clicked her flashlight on and cast the beam at him. “I suggest you get down from there before you fall, or I have to arrest you for public intoxication.”
He gave her a shit-eating grin. “You got handcuffs?”

“Oh, God,” she groaned under her breath. “Of course I’ve got handcuffs. I’m the police.”
He rocked and blinked his eyes. “You’re hot for a cop.”

“Thank you, I think. Now get down.”
“Okay.” He jumped, hit the edge of the roof, rolled off, and dropped like a stone at her feet, doing it with all the grace of a bag of potatoes. Yet he’d managed to keep hold of the bottle and not spill a drop. He put the horn to his lips and blew, but nothing more than a raspberry came from the mouthpiece. “For my next number, I’m going to play….” He looked up at her. “Any requests?”

“Yeah, tell me where you’re staying, so I can take you to your room.”
“Easy, girl. What kind of guy do you think I am?”

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll check out My Boogie Woogie Bugle Guy. As for my bagpipe player, I found out who he is. He’s a retired Army Chaplain that plays the bagpipes and trumpet for hero’s funerals around the state. Now when I hear the music floating over the hills and fields, I have an even deeper appreciation for it.

D.L. Jackson


  1. I absolutely love this story, and I'm so glad your neighbor inspired the story in you. :)

  2. Ditto to what Jessica said, Dawn. I'd love to sit and listen to that player with you!!

  3. I like him already!