Before I wrote "We'll Have The Summer" I wrote an historical fiction trilogy set in Lakota Sioux territory, spanning the years 1850 to 1910. The trilogy follows the lives of Tom Named By Horse, an orphan left for dead on the prairie, and Soft Cloud, a fictitious granddaughter of Red Cloud. The three novels are "Tom Named By Horse," "From The Banks Of Little Bear Creek," and "A Less Violent Trail."They have been quietly waiting in computer-land to see if ever I would bring them to life.
"Tom Named By Horse" has been calling to me from time to time, and every now and then I visit with those old friends (and foes) and ponder the work it would take to re-write, edit and polish. Usually I just sigh, "Oh gosh this'll take work…"
I've decided to dust off "Tom Named By Horse" and set his and Soft Cloud's story free. I've already started on the re-write, (barely) and yes, my earlier instincts were right on ... Oh gosh this will take work! I wrote the original manuscript in 2006, and how I show a story has changed. And the story I want to tell, while still their story, changed a little in my heart too.
Set in a time more rugged and violent, my original telling of Soft Cloud's and Tom's story had plenty of ruggedness and its ample share of violence. Their story weaves plenty of fiction among the facts of the time, and their paths cross with a few notables. In my re-write I'll be reining in the rough stuff as much as possible and still maintain the flavor of the time.
Wonderful horses, buffalo stampedes, hard fought battles, heroes, broken treaties and shattered hearts are all part of this story.
It’s a story of courage, friendships, and extraordinary challenges. Such as Red Cloud's first request to Tom - hunt down and kill the rouge buffalo hunter who has long been terrorizing Red Cloud's people. Red Cloud allows Tom to choose one brave to accompany him. He chooses Soft Cloud.
Things get even more complicated for Tom when Red Cloud asks him to stop his own son from raiding settlers, as Red Cloud is certain this will only bring more harm to the Lakota people. Red Cloud tries for peace, but his son, Tall Dog, has very different visions. And peace is not among them.
"Tom Named By Horse" is a love story at its core. A story of young man's heart frozen by years of brutal abuse thawed by the tender touch of a young woman's spirit.
I am working now to rewrite and edit and my plan is to have "Tom Named By Horse" available for purchase by summer. I will blog from time to time about the rewrites and edits and post a few excerpts here and there, just for fun. Like this-
EXERPT— (Page 11) ***************
Noise from the village woke Tom from a deep sleep. He threw back the blankets and hurried outside where he was greeted by a very different sight than the night before. Everywhere people were busy doing something, building fires, cooking meat, gathering wood. Children ran through the camp yelling, laughing, chasing each other and their dogs. For as far as he could see there were lodges.
Sitting on a log, Tom was enjoying the warmth from a small fire. Then he saw her. “Hello, I am Soft Cloud. My mother told me to look after you. Are you ready for something to eat?”
“Well I’ll just sit here then, while you get ready.” Soft Cloud said.
“Why do you talk English?”
“Would you rather I spoke Sioux?”
“No…. no that’s not it. I mean why would a Sioux woman know English at all ... I mean first your mother, now you. Were they your brothers last night? Do they speak English too?”
Soft Cloud giggled a little. “Yes, but not as well as I.”
Still unsettled Tom went on, “How I mean ... Why. I just can’t figure it.”
“You can read?”
“Yes, of course, can’t you?”
Tom dropped his eyes “No, I never got taught. I only ever saw one book.” He looked back at those warm brown eyes, “Why would your mother want you to know English?”
“She understands it is important. Have you found an appetite yet?”
Already Tom was beginning to feel at ease with Soft Cloud and it helped him to think. The peaceful surroundings of the Sioux village and the gentle company of Soft Cloud were having a strange affect on him. Somehow he felt as if he was growing wiser by the moment, and he seemed to understand things more clearly, in a way he had never experienced before. Never before did he need to organize thoughts, or plan things for a day. While this new clear headedness was frightening, it was also exciting.
Well I hope you're as excited as I am about Tom Named By Horse, and I welcome you aboard the adventure.