Tag Archives: Zuni

The race is on!

Zuni Folk Tales Frank Hamilton CushingNational Novel Writing Month is in full swing.  I have 30 days in which I can do nothing but write, write, write. The wheels are turning in my head, and my new story is flowing at a slow but steady rate. I know who I am writing about, and I know what his story is. I know what the action is and where it goes within the framework of the novel.

My only problem is I can’t key fast enough. When I do key fast it becomes illeggiebble…illegeabngle… .

Doh!

the Zuni EnigmaAnyway I have just received my newest textbook, The Zuni Enigma: A Native American People’s Possible Japanese Connection, written by Anthropologist Nancy Yaw Davis. I  have found some wonderful legends in the small book,  Zuni Folk Tales, by Frank Hamilton Cushing.

This book is an incredible departure for me.  Not only am I working in a world that exists in reality, I am working with a culture that is both known and unknown to me, and I must do it with respect.  This novel is a historical fantasy, but it is set in the 1890’s. I have to remain true to the period, to the two cultures this tale depicts, and I have to make my character real.

Zuni frank hamilton ushingWhat makes this even more tricky, is I am telling this story from the perspective of the main character–something I have not done before. But this tale is a diary in a way about one man’s journey, and the duality of his path in life. It is a stand-alone novel, and while it is definitely fantasy, I think it will be more of a literary novel than Genre Fantasy.

The Zuni are a private, mysterious people, and rightfully so. This makes it imperative that I know what I am talking about. Fortunately have been immersing myself in the Zuni culture through the work of early anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing.

Frank Hamilton Cushing’s stay at Zuñi pueblo from 1879 to 1884 made him the first professional anthropologist actually to live with his subjects. Learning the language and winning acceptance as a member not only of the tribe but of the tribal council and the Bow Priesthood, he was the original participant observer and the only man in history to hold the double title of “1st War Chief of Zuñi, U. S. Ass’t Ethnologist.”

My goal is to honor these amazing people, respect their privacy and maintain their mystery, and entertain my readers. The story is amazing–if only I can get it right.

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Mmmm…chocolate…

halloween kisses

Kisses of Death by artist Andrew Bell

I’ve always thought that if you really wanted to do something creepy for Halloween, you should hand out little mini-packs of chocolate covered ants, or something. I  just feel there is nothing scary about a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and to do the most sinister night of the year justice, we should serve evil treats.

Halloween is the most important day of the year for many reasons–not the least of which is the annual midnight write in at Shari’s Restaurant for those intrepid heroes who can’t wait a minute longer to start their November Novel!

HTB New Front Cover with gold frameI wrote Huw the Bard in 2011 as my NaNoWriMo Novel–it had a different working title. In 2014 it was published, and the changes it went through in those two years was amazing. Fortunately I have a supportive husband who  regularly allows me to neglect him.

This year I am writing a novel that begins in the old west of northern New Mexico, where a journey to take a holy relic to be melted down at the smelters in Durango takes a terrifying turn into a world between the worlds. The first plan I had for this story was to co-write it with indie author Aura Burrows, but that didn’t pan out as various commitments made it impossible for us to get together on it, and she is unable to do it. But I fell in love with my main character, William Two Cats, and I am going to tell his story.

I have a working title, I have designed a placeholder book cover, I know who and what I am writing about, and tonight at midnight I am off to the races. On the National Novel Writing Month website I am Dragon_Fangirl, and you can see my book page and follow my progress here.

William Two Cats is a man of two worlds, the white-man’s world and the world of the A’shiwi–the people we call the Zuni Pueblo Indians,and yet he is a man of neither. His white mother insisted he be educated him in both cultures, and his Zuni father agreed. The tribal elders know he is destined to be firmly centered between the two worlds, and ensure he takes the path of the shaman. When we meet William, he has left the pueblo.

I can’t wait to get started on this new novel, counting down the hours to midnight…counting…counting….

Oh, look! We still have chocolate covered ants left! Yum!

What? They’re not vegan?

Curses….

ants

 

 

 

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