It’s Done & in Final Pre-Press Edit

Old Hickory Lane, a novel by D. L. Keur writing as E. J. RuekThe novel, Old Hickory Lane, is completed and in its final pre-press editing phase. I actually won’t do the final edit until near the end of summer. I’m letting my eyes dry out so when I tackle the final edit, I’ll be fresh.


A veterinarian.  Think All Creatures Great and Small, but with a plot, some mystery, a great deal of tension, and a lot of characters you’ll love to hate or love to adore…like the pig lady…or the stinky, perfume saturated biddy with the pink curlers and ratty slippers.  Oh, yes, and then there’s the mysterious midnight visitor.

With a vaguely paranormal undercurrent, this is a novel about a gifted veterinarian who struggles to survive his first year of private practice, despite the huge chip on his shoulder, the heavy burden of debt from college loans, and the plague of bigotry and prejudice that continues to bring, both, benefit and pain.

Filled with accurate veterinary practices, set in intensely critical situations, all of them based on true events, the book has been “vetted” by modern, practicing veterinarians.  It is the animals that make you really pull for Warren Jeffreys, D.V.M., because, despite his best attempts not to, he cares.  A lot.  And, because he cares, because he competes against death, regardless the odds, he makes a difference–a very big difference.  Unfortunately, the farm folk he serves don’t always appreciate his efforts or his skills.  Nor do some of them trust him because of his ethnic background.  Warren really is a man without a home, having a foot in two worlds, but welcomed in none.

Based on real incidents and encounters, the composite characters and situational encounters in this novel makes the reading all the more intense.  Real people, even when composited and fictionalized, act quite differently than fictionalized stereotypes, and the audacity, the kindness, the outright shock of real life events, albeit highly camouflaged, gives the story a validity so often missing in today’s fiction.  Real people can and do kick you when you’re down; real people will give you the shirt off their back.


This novel took years to write.  I consistently avoided writing certain scenes–the most critical and emotional ones–because it was soul-searing to plunge into the midst of their moment-to-moment crises.  Faced with either abandoning the novel completely or finishing it, I chose  to make myself finish the missing scenes and finalize the manuscript.

And, once done and in the hands of aforementioned practicing veterinarians, their veterinary staff, and a handful of beta readers, the reception the book got was jaw-dropping.  Everyone was genuinely riveted by it.  Emotionally captivated, Dr. C. called me late one night weeping in shock as she neared the end of the story.  She was devastated and enraptured, grieving and joyful, simultaneously.  It was a very good feeling for me to know that, what I’d set out to do, I’d managed to do ten times better than hoped…because everyone, absolutely everyone, had the exact same reaction: “What happens next?  When are you going to write the sequel?”

It’s in process.


Release will depend upon the results I receive from where it’s been submitted. It could be released as early as this winter, or it might have to wait. Everything is in limbo, right now. As soon as the book was done, it was submitted for consideration…and I’m still waiting, a good thing. It gives me time to do a little gardening, revamp this website, and to work on finishing some other books I’ve had sitting around gathering dust.

Old Hickory Lane, full novel cover, front, spine and back