Sunday, August 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: Vonna Harper

Vonna's winner is: Jeanette8042! Congratulations! Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Vonna. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Mt. Shasta of Northern California rises stark and challenging in the distance. No wonder ancient peoples considered the massive peak the home of their gods.

Where I stand at the Lava Beds National Monument, Mt. Shasta seems to watch over me. I've come to this remote and foreboding place to research the Modoc Indians who found shelter in the caves created during a volcanic eruption ten thousand years ago. The Modocs once had no use for the vast lava beds, prickly sagebrush, and frozen winters. But conditions at the reservation they were forced to share with their enemies the Klamaths became intolerable. With Kientpoos (who the settlers called Captain Jack) leading them, they left, intending to return to their ancestral home, but settlers had taken over their land. Pursued by soldiers, the Modocs hid in an area that became known as Captain Jack's Stronghold.

They stayed there throughout a long, cruel winter, but the estimated sixty warriors were no match for several thousand soldiers. In the end, Modoc men, women, and children were shipped to Oklahoma. On Oct. 3, 1873, Kientpoos and two others were executed.

With me on this day are three dear friends, all writers. Because we each have our own reasons for exploring the monument, we go our own ways. I head up the trail the Modocs took from their stronghold to nearby Tule Lake. Surrounded by wind and birds and watched by lizards, I try to walk in the Modocs' moccasins. What was it like for a man desperate to feed his family? How did mothers keep their children quiet and warm in those dark places beneath the ground? What were their prayers, their hopes and fears?

Suddenly I know I'm no longer alone. Looking up further along the trail to the outcropping where Modoc scouts watched for signs of attack, I see a man. He wears his black hair in a bowl cut under a small-brimed hat with an eagle feather in it. A ragged wool blanket is over his shoulders, and he carries a rifle.

This can't be! I've seen drawings and photographs of Modocs during the war. My imagination has the best of me. With my heart pounding, I continue up the steep, rocky slope. The Modoc waits for me, looking tired and wary. Then the sun escapes from the cloud that had been over it, and I see tears in the warrior's eyes.

Seconds later he's gone.

Both as Vonna Harper and under my real name, I've been writing about Native Americans for many years. My experience at the Lava Beds isn't unique. I've seen Seminole warriors in the Florida Everglades and an old Chumash woman kneeling in the Indian graveyard at a California mission.

How can I not write about Native Americans and their spiritual beliefs? What choice do I have but to explore the depths of a people's oneness with all things nature?

While Jola, my heroine in Falcon's Captive isn't Native American, she is a shape-shifter. The roots of who she is comes from Native American roots.

I believe the opening is an example: "The wind screamed, prompting the female Falcon Jola to pull her wings more tightly against her compact body and increase her speed. Alive as only a newly mature predator can be, she dove for the ground at over two hundred miles per hour. Tiny, bony tubercles in her nostrils slowed the rush of air into her lungs while her protective third eyelids lubricated her eyes and kept her vision keen."

And because I write erotica, as a Just Erotic Romance Review reported, "The sex is fabulous, inventive, and orgasmic."

Vonna will give away a copy of her book to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you won.


Blogger SandyG265 said...

I wish more authors would write books featuring Native Americans. It's hard to find many good ones.

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like a great story. Thanks for coming by to share...and to giveaway...hehe!!!

in Germany

9:45 AM  
Blogger jeanette8042 said...

I loved reading about your experience and it just adds more depth to understanding your story.

12:43 PM  
Blogger ReneeRearden said...

What a powerful experience! By sharing such intense moments with your readers, you'll not only find a space on their bookshelf but a place in their heart!

Good luck!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Pamk said...

wow sounds like a great story. I would love to win this one.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

This isn't my typical read (I tend to stay away from erotica) but this book sounds fascinating! Also, thank you for sharing your experience.

On a small side note, I poked through your website and LOL'd at "In purely psychological terms, Freud was a nut." I'm a psychology major, and I completely agree with you.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I really enjoy books featuring native Americans. This sounds like it will be an amazing read.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nice blog.
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1:33 AM  

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