Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Echoes of the Flute, a Novel

A Golden Eagle
(War Eagle)
When I wrote CUT HAND, I had no intention of turning the book into a saga. But I was really drawn to the characters in the novel and was wrapped up their stories. In fact, after I submitted the final draft of CUT to the publisher, I experienced something akin to withdrawal pains.

Apparently, some of the readers felt somewhat as I did. If you check Mark Wildyr’s Amazon Author’s page, you will see sixteen comments on the book, most of them laudatory. Even those that are not so kind are helpful by highlighting something that might be improved upon. In addition, I’ve had many more customer contacts directly through this web page. The overriding theme of these comments were: Would there be a sequel?

I had already completed the manuscript for THE VICTOR AND THE VANQUISHED, a contemporary story, which has since been published. In addition, I had another novel, also a contemporary tale, that required some polishing before I could submit it to the publisher. However, the messages from readers got me to reconsidering my priorities. In truth, I had already begun to stop thinking of CUT as an erotic story and considering it as a historical novel. The story of Cut Hand and Billy Strobaw may have come to an end, but certainly the era that fascinated me so had not run its course. Nor had the stories of Otter and James and Cut’s Son, Dog Fox. There was more to be told.

So I told it. I wrote RIVER OTTER, all the time wondering if I was whipping a dead mule. Could I capture the era again as I had in the first book? Were the characters—who were not bigger than life as their predecessors had been—interesting enough to hold a reader’s attention. As I sat at the desk laboring over the manuscript, I found myself becoming as wrapped up in this creation as I had the first. Yet, I still had doubts. Was I competent enough to keep the connection between the character as they moved from one book to the other, one era to another—pre-Civil War and ante? Would I be able to adequately show the change in attitude about homosexuals among the Indigenous peoples? Well, the book is out now, and from the contacts thus far, I’ve done a reasonably fair job.

I had fun writing the first book in early American terms and idioms. Well, they’re different in RIVER OTTER because Language is a living thing and changes almost in the same way we lose cells and create new ones. I knew before finishing OTTER that it would require another book to complete the telling of the story. And the language in that one would be different yet.

I have completed the first and second drafts of that third book, ECHOES OF THE FLUTE. I hope I have been true to the period in this one, as well. This is the story of Cuthan’s son, John Strobaw and the orphaned Little Bear, given the American name of Matthew Brandt, as they grow to maturity and struggle with who they are. Cuthan (who readers of the first two books will recognize as Cut Hand’s son, Dog Fox) and his American wife, Mary, have tried to raise their children as Americans, believing this would provide some measure of protection for them as the tribesmen’s way of life died out. How John (War Eagle) and Matthew (Little Bear) react to this, sets them apart as individuals. What unites them is a fierce attraction to one another at a time when man-love is becoming increasingly dangerous and less accepted among the tribes.
American Black Bear
(Little Bear)       
 This third book is due out in the Spring of 2014. I had intended it to be the last in the series; however, the manuscript did not carry me as far as I intended to go. So, the Good Lord and STARbooks Press willing, there is yet a fourth in the saga percolating around in my head. I really would like the story to end after Wounded Knee, which effectively ended the Indian wars, except in the Southwest.

So, as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

Note: New posts are published around the first of every month.

Comments are welcome, not only on this post, but also about any relevant subject the reader wishes to discuss.


  1. Mark,

    This MADE my day! You know how I love these books!!!

    Nick =)

  2. Thanks, Nick. You're what keeps me going. Thanks for being a fan.