Robin Wall Kemmerer is uniquely qualified to pen this tome. Not only is she a member of the Potawatomi tribe, she also earned a PhD in botany. Her insights from both perspectives are priceless. These pages are filled with thoughts and wisdom entirely different from the white man’s view of life. Rather than being the superior being, Indigenous people see themselves as part of a greater whole.
Everything is alive in some way, whether vegetable, animal, or mineral. When Indigenous people speak of “all my relations” they are not just referring to other humans. The concept of land ownership was incomprehensible to them, making it easy to fall prey to it being virtually stolen. The Creator had given it to the people millennia before. It belonged to everyone.
She recounted the tragic story often told of Indigenous peoples being driven from their land to desolate places no one else wanted…
Dill is one of my favorite herbs. When a friend of mine saw this caterpillar munching on it, he was surprised I didn’t have a problem with it. Why? Because that little guy or girl (sorry, it didn’t tell me how s/he identifies) will eventually become an absolutely beautiful black swallowtail butterfly!
And better yet, it will be a pollinator! Which is something I need in my garden, since there aren’t many bees these days.
This one is far from alone. At last count, I saw about 9 of them on that same plant. I’ll pick some dill and put it in the freezer for now, then plant more after these hungry caterpillars metamorphose to their final winged stage.
I must admit, I was not as compassionate toward the harlequin beetles devastating my broccoli, pretty though they may be. But they were not going to give anything back, either!
Not everyone believes in prophecy. Of course, the test of a true prophet versus someone with a vivid imagination is whether or not their predictions come true. In many cases, the speaker does not live long enough to see whether it does or not, but if others recorded what they said, in due time the truth will be known.
Native Americans have run the gamut of emotions from outrage to grief toward the white man’s life style and attitude toward Mother Earth. According to the Holy Bible, man was given “dominion” over the Earth. A word that suggests he could do as he pleased with all it contains and justifies exploiting it for his own gain.
However, in view of the current state of the planet, was that an accurate translation of the Creator’s intent?
Much was edited out of that sacred tome because it didn’t fit the understanding of…
The purpose of words is to convey meaning. How they’re spelled, how they sound differs tremendously. Sometimes they convey the same meaning, such as for a cat or dog. Others are unique and can’t be translated into another language, especially if they’re based on cultural context.
When immigrants come to a country, they assimilate better if they learn the host language. This is not simply a matter of getting along better in society. It integrates them into the culture. America became a “melting pot” as immigrants came from a multitude of foreign nations, then were united in a common language, i.e. English, even if they maintained their ethnic traditions.
When Europeans came to the American continent they encountered indigenous peoples whose languages were entirely foreign. While there’s a similarity in etymology and syntax among Latin-based languages (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, etc.), those spoken by Native Americans (which were several)…
My deep involvement researching and writing the Dead Horse Canyon series with Pete Risingsun has consumed my time to the point I’ve neglected my other books, particularly the Star Trails Tetralogy series. I was thinking about that the other day and realized that was unfortunate because those books relate so strongly to what is going on around the world these days.
The Brightstars are living in a dystopian world where the only way they’ll survive is through ingenuity and determination. The fact that they’re separated increases the issues, making the kids assume responsibilities they normally would not have to worry about.
The entire environment is hostile with lethal weather extremes plus their father is a political prisoner for the bulk of the story.
The science in these stories is based on fact with the expected sci-fi extrapolations, which in today’s world are rapidly becoming reality. That was a major challenge, to keep ahead of technology. At this point, much of what’s represented in these stories is now available, with the possible exception of their psi-linked cell phone equivalents, but I’m sure that’s on the way.
Nonetheless, those who enjoy these stories the most are young people in the “nerd” category, i.e. love science and engineering. And that is exactly the audience for which they were written! As a youth, I loved science and was always disappointed that science fiction didn’t have much real science included. Thus, these are the books I would have loved to read. Like they say, if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself. So if you know a child with strong reading skills and an interest in how the world works, I’m sure they’d enjoy this series.
The favorite character throughout the series for many fans is Thyron, the telepathic walking plant. He’s the star of book 5, “The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51.” This story has a lot of botany in it as NASA scientist, Gabe Greenley, investigates Thyron and what makes him tick.
Best of all, this entire series is available in audiobook form narrated by Hollywood actor, T.W. Ashworth! So if your young person is not into reading but loves to listen, that option is also available.
Much about these stories is a reflection of our own planet right now. They can serve as an example of how to handle bad situations and the importance of science in engineering when it’s a matter of survival.
I know, I’ve been a bad blogger lately. That’s what happens when you have four websites (five, including this one), four Facebook pages, two Twitter accounts, and an Instagram account with no personal assistant to keep up with them all. <sigh>
As you can see, Book 2 in the Dead Horse Canyon series is now out. Yay! Getting that book written and out the door took far longer than expected. This year has been a humdinger for everyone. I’ve been healthy, but all the background noise from a messed-up planet had me distracted enough it was hard to focus.
Another concern, which may sound crazy, is that I was worried about whether this sequel to “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” would be as good as the book that started it all. That one won three awards, which was more humbling than anything. It was a hard act to follow.
So far the feedback indicates that Book 2, “Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits” is another page turner.
I have to admit when a brand new fan contacted me wanting to pre-order Book 3 that it made my day. On the other hand, it was terrifying! Maintaining the quality now expected is a big responsibility!
As far as Book 3 is concerned, the good news is that it’s drafted, but that was written before I connected with my coauthor, Pete, so it requires intense collaboration. Hopefully, we’ll get it out next year. And I think it should be as good as the others, if not better, as it wraps up this story. It has some really cool, surprising stuff in there. 😉
As an introvert, I’m lousy at promoting my books. I also had it drummed into my head as a kid that it was rude to brag. It just doesn’t feel right to go out there and self-promote as shamelessly as required to get attention. I like making promotional material and especially videos. Speaking of which, here’s the trailer for Book 2.
I’ll try to be more diligent in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, be sure to follow me on my Facebook author page and on Instagram (@startrailssaga). I’m not on Twitter as much these days since Hootsuite upped their rates over 500%, something I was going to rant about here, but clearly never did.
If you’re looking for presents, please remember me for any readers on your list. Between the Dead Horse Canyon books, which are mystery/thrillers; the Star Trails Tetralogy, which is hard science fiction that’s perfect for kids interested in science and engineering; and weird stuff for that person has everything like astrology or family history, I’ve got something for everyone. Search on “Marcha Fox” in the book category on Amazon and they all come up, plus some that I did cover or editorial work on, as well as a few others for which I have no clue, but you get the idea.
This week I was excited to find out that “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” is a finalist in another award contest!
So why is that a problem?
I’m running out of space on the cover to add another badge! Then I have to upload new covers to the many places where the book is sold.
I know, “Boo hoo.”
Like I said, a good problem to have.
Getting a little crowded there….
You can read the excerpt I submitted for the contest here. Feel free to leave a comment!
And I have more good news! I’m on the home stretch editing the sequel, “Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits.” If you’d like a sneak peak at that, you can find one on the series website here.
I ran into a major problem that required a lot of rewriting when a friend pointed out that one of my major plot elements was not only inaccurate but not feasible, at least in the known universe. It was a lot of work to fix but I learned an important lesson: No matter how much research you do, the are often elusive details that you’ll miss that will bite you if someone knowledgeable in that discipline reads it, at which time your credibility implodes.
I have always been quite critical of movies that are scientifically incorrect, but now I get it. I LIKED my old, implausible plot and how its many tentacles wove through the story. A few readers would have had some rolling on the floor (yes, it was that bad), but it hurt to trash it. Which made me understand why movie producers may let those inaccuracies pass, even though anyone who knows better will forever remember the movie for being woefully inaccurate versus it’s story or entertainment value. (For me, one of those movies is “Armageddon.” If you’re interested, you can read my opinion here.)
I suppose you’re wondering what that goof was. Sorry, it’s too embarrassing. I take pride in the accuracy of my stories and I’ll be forever grateful to the person who gave me the information I needed to recognize it had to go.
And the good news is that the rewrite is actually a lot more suspenseful as well as credible! Stay tuned for a release date.
JRD’s stories are crisp, fast-moving, and loaded with action. This one is no exception. Of course I’m partial to this one because of the title. 🙂
You may even know the protagonist from his previous novel “Destroyer.” Richard McCain is a genuine bad-ass and on my list of book boyfriends. In this story you get to know more about him and see him in some serious action. Here’s the blurb:
1969, South Vietnam. Richard McCain is a Special Forces operative station at the Dong Ha Combat Base.
Located at the DMZ bordering North Vietnam, the camp is under constant attack by the Viet Cong, the North Vietnamese Army, assorted rebel groups and smuggling gangs. The culture clash with indigenous tribes amidst mountainous terrain cloaked by feral jungles creates a high-tension atmosphere, where only the strong survive.
Soon, the brutal military conflict mixes with drug-fueled episodes, supernatural events and powers beyond human comprehensions, as the tale of McCain and the Green Berets takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of epic proportions.
Audiobooks for the entire Star Trails Tetralogy are now available!
“Refractions of Frozen Time” was released today, completing the audiobooks in the Star Trails Tetralogy! This is a HUGE milestone and a fabulous credit to narrator, T.W. Ashworth, who’s the official “Voice of Star Trails!”
This final volume includes a variety of special effects to enhance the listening experience. These were designed to reflect the variety of space alien characters and other unique features found in the printed version. This took a lot of work and creativity on T.W.’s part and he did a fabulous job!
If you’re planning a family road trip, this is the perfect travel companion. The entire series will make the miles fly by for 53 hours and 18 minutes.
Wow! That’s a whole lot of driving!
If you’re new to the series, you can get started listening for free! If you’re kind enough to leave a review, I’ll provide a promo code so you can get the next one free–and so on and so forth, for the entire series. If you’re already a fan, I’ll provide a promo code for the next one on your list in exchange for a review and provide the same deal for subsequent volumes in the series. Email email@example.com for details.
All Star Trails Audiobooks are available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Print and ebooks at most online retailers as shown here.
If there’s one thing most of us need it’s an occasional sign that we’re heading in the right direction. One thing indigenous people have that most others don’t is a deep connection with nature, which talks to them on a regular basis.
Yes, I’m talking about spirit animals and receiving messages from them.
This morning when I went outside to feed my feral cats this beautiful spider web caught my eye. The fact it was on my deck furniture was slightly less than enchanting, but the perfection of the spider’s handiwork got my attention, especially the way it glistened in the rising sun.
In many cases, if you’re paying attention, you can figure out such a message yourself by considering the animal and its characteristics. At other times, it might be more subtle. In that case, you need a reference of some description to help you figure out what the world is trying to tell you.
Fortunately, I have such a reference, the book “Animal Messengers: An A – Z Guide to Signs and Omens in the Natural World.”
Here’s an excerpt from what it says about spiders: “The spider symbolizes infinite possibilities. With its eight legs it is anchored in every direction, and it weaves together the powers of the elements and their expression into a unified whole. The spider weaves webs of fate, in which we can get caught, and it encourages us to keep searching for new possibilities and explore the endless steps of our journey of learning. If your attention is drawn to a spider it wants to remind you that you are constantly building new webs with your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and visions that contain tasks you must solve and subjects you must deal with.”
As is always the case with such an encounter, this had a very personal meaning to me.
If you’re not listening to what nature is telling you, you’re missing out. If you need a little help discerning what an animal is trying to say, I highly recommend this book by Regula Meyer. Note that it does not contain exotic animals you might see in a zoo, but concentrates on those you’re likely to see in the wild including mammals, birds, invertebrates, and insects, for a total of 145 different animals. It was originally written in German, so some birds common to the United States such as cardinals are not included, either, but overall it’s very insightful.