Thursday, December 5, 2019

An Excerpt from the Novel Johnny Two-Guns, Post #101
Artist: Maria Fanning
Good response from the last two postings of “Red Rez.” Have had requests for more of the story. I will comply, but this week, I wanted to post something from my book Johnny Two Guns.

To give you a feel for the book, I’ve reproduced part of the book’s blurb below:

When vacationing Denver architect Roger Mackie rolls into a quaint old trading post in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountain Range to gas up his car, it’s the start of a life-changing journey. Lean, handsome Chippewa Johnny Two-Guns is looking for a ride. He’s on a mission to recover some clan treasures. Roger is immediately smitten and drives Johnny all the way to Arizona.

The excerpt I’ve chosen comes near the beginning of Chapter 1 when our protagonist, Roger Mackie becomes fed up with the glitz and glitter of a Las Vegas vacation, and mindlessly starts driving. Let’s see how it goes from there.


          How I found myself in Montana 800 miles from Las Vegas, I’m really not certain. But I could tell anyone more than he should want to know about the Kosovo war and the Unabomber. Damn, I had to buy some tapes for the car’s sound system. I came to the sudden and belated conclusion that I should have headed south to Phoenix or Tucson. Arizona’s a grand state, and I’ve always enjoyed myself there.
          Butte, a quaint old mining town on the western slope of the Continental Divide, proclaimed itself as the “City That’s a Mile High and a Mile Deep.” Some of the old mining shafts dropped five thousand feet below the earth’s surface. Many tunnels and corridors ran beneath the town’s streets. The place got its name from the big hunk of rock nearby and its aura from gold and silver and copper mined here since the 1860s. However, the Art Chateau, the World Museum of Mining, and the Copper King Mansion could occupy me only for so long. I snapped more photos than I wanted with my Canon PowerShot 600 and after a tour of the US High Altitude Sports Center, I was breathing a little easier and the knot in my gut had begun to ease. I spent the night in a downtown hotel only to wake in the morning completely at a loss for something to do.
          After a hearty breakfast, I-90 led me out of town, and an innocuous turnoff to the west drew me deeper into the Bitterroot Mountains. I must have been recovering from my foul mood because the scenery started to hold some interest again. These hills were a part of the same great Rocky Mountain chain as those around Denver, but they had a different feel… craggier, wilder somehow. If I had been the outdoors type, I would have bought a tent and camped out in the crisp mountain air.
          Nonetheless, before long this trek started to look like the latest in a series of mistakes, because the road degraded, the traffic evaporated, and I was absolutely alone without an idea of where I was. My anxiety level soaring as the gas gauge dipped, I came to a place where the road widened. An old log building stood to the left. At the sight of two antiquated gasoline pumps in front, I pulled over and stopped. The place was so novel that I grabbed the Canon and clicked a couple of shots of the place.
          Inside, the building was low ceilinged, but much larger than it looked from the outside. If I had been on the Navajo reservation, I would have guessed this was an old-fashioned Indian trading post. I had no idea if they had such things up here, although there were plenty of Native Americans in Montana. The trading post or store or whatever it was had goods crammed in every corner, was dimly lit, and gave off a pleasant, homey atmosphere. A grizzled man of about sixty waited on an elderly woman buying a few basic groceries. The Caucasian trader stood six foot three or four—brawn going soft. He finished with the lady and turned to me.
          “Come right on in and look around. Got a pot of coffee on, and you’re welcome to join us.” He gestured toward a distant corner dominated by a potbellied stove with a few cane chairs grouped around it. At this altitude the warmth was inviting. Someone was seated in one of the chairs beside the stove.
          “Thanks. I’ll take you up on the offer. But first I’d like to gas up the car.” I halfway expected him to say he was out of gasoline.
          “Easy done.” He turned to the stove at the rear. “Johnny, can you come pump this fella some gas?”
          “Yessir, Mr. Beasley.” An indistinct figure rose from his chair with animal grace. A moment later, a young Native American emerged out of the semigloom and walked toward us with the strong, languid movement of a mountain lion… unhurried, efficient, powerful.
          “Give Johnny your keys,” the trader said. “He’ll gas up for you. You want it filled?”
          I nodded. “Yep. To the brim.”
         When I told him what I was driving, he told the kid to give me the premium. I agreed and asked for a restroom. The shopkeeper directed me to the back of the establishment, where I took a leak and puzzled over my reaction to the young man now gassing up my car. Occasionally you run into someone who catches the eye and won’t let go. Someone whose physical presence engages the entire you. I’d experienced it only once before in my life.


I went to the trouble of writing the book, Dreamspinner Press published it, now I hope you will be interested enough to read the novel. It’s a long way from Butte, Montana to Tucson, Arizona, and Roger and Johnny learn a lot about each other… and themselves.

Now a renewal of my tired plea for my work. Amazon permits you to read a short passage of my novels, Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns. I also believe the STARbooks-published River Otter, Echoes of the Flute, and Medicine Hair are still up. I sure would like to get the final book in the Cut Hand Series, Wastelakapi… Beloved, published, but it’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.

My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog:
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.


New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

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