Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chapter Four The Painted Pony

Watch For The Raven

Sitting in the old ranch kitchen with Ben, watching him work his magic with the fry bread he'd made especially for her, the world's petty troubles seemed far away and her father closer than ever. She missed him so much. Ben was as close to a second father as any could be, and they were a lot alike. Jamie could appreciate this now. 

"…Nephew comin ta hep out. Get the place ready fer winter 'n all."

Ben's smooth, mellow voice lulled her with its cadence. Nephew? Her mind grabbed the word and she pictured the lanky pain in the patoosie she remembered from earlier times. His flaming red hair, from his mother's side of course—those eyes that seemed to rivet people to the ground they were standing on. Menace, not a help, her mind said. She never really gave much thought to Ben's having relatives as they rarely visited when she was there growing up, or except for that red-headed nephew they were part of the woodwork, so to speak. She pretty much thought Ben appeared from thin air one day and was the total package, as in no relatives or significant others. 

"That'll be nice for you. Are you planning to stay the winter then?" He always had, but he looked so frail she couldn't help but wonder if maybe he should think otherwise this year. 

"Always have. Wouldn't know what else ta do. Not really inta skiin' Aspin or Vale, but love the winters here." 

Maybe his nephew could talk him into leaving. Winters here were tough even for the able bodied.

There was a short rat-tat tat on the door before it burst open and Courtney blew in like a Diablo wind. Courtney didn't acknowledge Ben as she brushed by him, spun a chair from the table so the back faced the table and straddled it in one flash move. Not giving Ben or Jamie a chance to squeeze out a word. She grabbed a piece of fry bread and tore a piece off to shove in her mouth. She looked like a painted hussy to Jamie. 

"So—how long you sitckin this time til the dust of desert sand sticks in your citified hair and you beat it to civilization again?"

Taken aback by her sudden appearance and tart manner, Jamie paused to drink in the full spectrum of a sister she no longer knew, indeed, if she ever did. Before she could respond there was another knock on the door. She and Courtney turned to see who this might be.

Ben's nephew removed his hat before he stepped over the threshold. "I'm here, Unc. " He slid by his uncle as he spotted Courtney and Jamie. After letting out a low whistle and said, "and who are these two visions?" He replaced his black hat on his equally black, full-head of hair. His blue eyes riveted Jamie to the spot. Courtney recovered way quicker than Jamie as she eyed the cowboy from his boots all the way to his six foot plus, to the crown of his hat. Courtney slithered from her chair and extended her hand. "Courtney," dripped from her overly painted lips. "Puleezed to welcome you to my father's house."

The tall stranger's eyes never left Jamie. Oh, cue the music. Jamie could feel soap opera drama smothering the scene. 

"B.J. Archer, meet Courtney and Jamie. They be Jim's daughters." Ben had closed the door and stood beside the mesmerizing BJ.

Jamie found her voice. "Hi and welcome. I hear you've come to help Ben winterize the ranch."

"Don't tell him, but I really just came for some of his vittles. Ya can't get food like this at Mc Donald's."

The air lightened with laughter, like the sunshine after a thunderstorm. Jamie's insides felt scrambled. Ben pulled plates out of the cupboard for all of them and Jamie helped him prepare to serve his meal to the sudden explosion of guests, while Courtney entertained blue-eyed BJ. This couldn't be the gangly teen she remembered, no way.  From the size of the kettle of beef stew, Jamie was certain he was expecting BJ before he showed up at the door.

Through dinner Courtney monopolized the conversation and BJ, though he kept his attention focused on Jamie. Jamie could fee his eyes on her. It made it hard for her to eat. She wished she could read minds. Especially, his mind. She also wished Courtney would evaporate or sink into a black hole and quit embarrassing herself and everyone else with her brash and distasteful swooning over BJ.
Later, much later, after Courtney had finally left and BJ retired to the bunkhouse, Jamie mulled over the impact both Courtney and BJ had had on her. Courtney was nothing but a big flirt and tease. If Damien caught her she would be in a world of hurt. Why she didn't leave that jerk Jamie couldn't figure out. He was trouble with a capital T and her dad knew it. Once Courtney turned eighteen there was no reasoning with her or stopping her.

Jamie tried to brush aside Courtney, BJ and the day to get her mind back to the council fire and the mission that seemed to be calling her. The Painted Pony had escorted her back to the ranch, but he couldn't be coaxed in for grain—she wasn't about to be corralled or confined, obviously. She never had the opportunity to ask Ben about The Painted Pony. In the morning she'd be sure to. Sleep seemed to come over her like Grandmother Nokomis pulling one of her handmade quilts over her. "Yes, morning was soon enough to ask question," Nokomis seemed to whisper.
 Watch for the Raven (Old cover will show - but the new cover, posted above, will be on the book you receive.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chapter Three The Painted Pony

Let's catch up with Jamie and her encounter with Courtney and see where we will be going from here. (Please keep in mind this is raw an rough and needs editing and polish - but thoughts come quickly some mornings and need to be captured before they get away.)

Chapter Four
A molting Blue-Jay dropped in front of Jamie to pick up some seeds from the open field. His neck looked too scrawny to hold his head up and his head and neck were totally featherless. It tugged at Jamie's heart strings. The striking colors and crest of the Jay was no longer his. As vain as he normally is, shrieking his loud "thief, thief; Thief!" He was muted, hungry and very nervous. It reminded Jamie how the Great Spirit Sometimes brings lessons to a person. Sometimes very subtle but often like a smack upside the ego, just as Mr. Blue Jay's vanity was certainly rebuffed or at least shown how quickly everything can change.
Being called to the council fire shook Jamie deep into her roots. She had neglected family and tribe since her father died. Her sister, Courtney, was not her responsibility and she couldn't tolerate her attitude since she joined the Spiral Edge Band and began living with Damien Westerly. As though their father, James Two Cloud's death had set her free, like a race horse at the sound of the starting pistol, nothing could stop her, reasoning wouldn't reach her. She was hell-bent on a path of destruction and Jamie felt so powerless and hopeless.
Jamie's father was not about to let Jamie loose from her responsibility to family, but what else was Courtney tangled up in besides drugs and or alcohol since she gravitated to this band? How did it affect the tribal youth and traditions mentioned at the council fire?  Jamie's head hurt from trying to sort it all out. She should start by talking to Courtney, if she would even listen to Jamie.  The Painted Pony nuzzled Jamie as if to say let's get moving. She was not at all sure she wanted to ride this phantom horse. Well, okay, she wasn't a phantom, but she seemed to have powers Jamie knew nothing about.
Suddenly, thundering hooves jolted her back to the spot she stood on.  Dust kicked up to invade Jamie's space. Courtney reined in the fiery-eyed black stallion and glared at Jamie. "Stay out of my life. Go back to your big city life and leave me alone."
"Wait Courtney, I haven't even seen you in two years. I'm not meddling in your life." Jamie stared at the gaunt frame of her sister as she sat astride the agitated beast that couldn't seem to stand still. Courtney's make up was overdone and apparently left over from the night before as it was smeared and half-gone. Courtney looked like a train wreck and sounded even worse.
Without replying, Courtney spun the horse around and charged back the way she had come. The Painted Pony snorted and pawed the ground.
First, how did Courtney know she was at the Rez, and exactly where she was? Second, why did she think Jamie had any thoughts of meddling in her life? She withdrew from Jamie and family, when she turned eighteen and never looked back. Perhaps it's time she looked into her little sister's life. Something was horribly wrong.
                                                                          New Cover

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Character Sketch for Courtney (Yellow Fox) Two Cloud - Antagonist #1

Here we have a look at the sketch for Courtney - doing the character sketch I found out she is a sister (or perhaps step-sister) to Jamie...This could prove an interesting twist. While she is not the main Antagonist, she is to a certain degree the number one antagonist - she could cause Jamie the most angst. So hang on to your hats because the main antagonist is Damien Westerly (I don't think he's Native American at this point) he is the live-in partner of Courtney -  and her father never liked him.

(Father James Two-Cloud)
March 15, (Beware the Ides of March)
Pisces—I Trust—Spiritualist or ConArtist
Water Sign, dreamer
Colors: Sea Green
Famous People: Jackie Joyner-kersee, Billy Crystal, Alexander Graham Bell,  Drew Barrymore

Strengths:  Compassionate, unselfish, holistic, inspired,  perceiving the unity or essence, unpretentious, synthesizing, introspective, reflective, subtle, elusive, musical,  poetic, creative, imaginative, spiritual, transcendent, inspirational, visionary, idealistic,  serene, psychic, intuitive, flowing, surrendering, flexible, forgiving, soothing, gentle. *see notes* song writer, singer, musician

Weaknesses:  Sacrificing, timid, directionless, weak-willed, overly impressionable day dreaming, impractical, unrealistic, deluded, escapist drug or alcohol addictive, bitter, cynical, self-depreciating, easily victimized, vague, confused, undiscriminating, illogical, unanalytical, cowardly, spineless, weak, imprudent, easily hurt, deceptive, absorbent.
Lime Tree: (The Doubt) intelligent, hardworking, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones. Hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations. May appear tough but is actually soft and relenting , always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them. Can become complainer, great  leadership qualities, is jealous at times, but extremely loyal. Observant and assesses others, revengeful, Loves to dream and fanaticize . Loves traveling, attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home d├ęcor, musically talented, loves special things, moody. 

*Notes: Hooked up with Damien—Band –Spiral Edge, they are toxic to each other but…*

Additional Notes: Mysticism, escape into the One; sees the unity, fails to make “normal” distinctions, often weak ego; victim, martyr,, servant; tends to escapism, fantasy, drugs (especially alcohol), religion, very receptive, sensitive, even psychic, co-dependency, care-taking, withdrawn from the world; release from the world.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Character Sketch for Jamie Dakota

Watch For The Raven
I found Jamie's last name as I was doing her character sketch so she is now officially Jamie Dakota - here is her character sketch so far.

Character Sketch for Jamie Dakota
Cancer: Mother or child. I Feel;  June 24 is her Birthday
Sign of home and family; Water Sign (ruled by the moon)
Color: Silver
Famous People Born under this sign: Princess Diana, Helen Keller, Rembrandt, Bill Cosby and Tom Hanks

Strengths: sensitive, protective, nurturing, psychic, self-protective, maternal, intuitive, deeply feeling, attuned to the unconscious, soft hearted, Comforting, receptive, empathetic, consoling, responsive, family oriented, rooted, shrewd, appreciative of the past, cautious thinking. Thrifty.

Weaknesses: Possessive, smothering, pampering, suffocating, hypersensitive, overly emotional, easily hurt, cry baby, overly-impressionable, childish, touchy, selfish, pathetic, martyr
Like, indulgent, secretive, withdrawn, clinging, helpless, and passive.

Birch Tree: (The Inspiration) vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate full of imagination, little ambition creates a calm and content atmosphere.

June People: Think for with vision, easily influenced by kindness, polite, soft spoken, having lots of ideas, sensitive, active, active mind, hesitating, tends to delay, choosey, and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous; 

Loves to joke, good debating skills Talkative, daydreamers, Friendly, knows how to make friends. Abiding, able to show characters Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy, seldom shows emotions takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious Executive, Stubborn.

NOTE: This is a thought I had as I ran across her weakness for colds. JAMIE SEES Doctor he’s a holistic medical doctor; working at a clinic he is impatient with delay... Dr. interested in culture and lore of American Indians he is from the country of India.

My take on Jamie is she fits the character mold for a Plucky Lass 
Everyone loves her, she makes friends easily .
Loyal, but not in a plodding way. She’s adventurous and spirited with loads of talent and wit. She’s a hard worker, but not because she needs to win, she’s more interested in doing a great job just because she wants to. You won’t find her climbing the corporate ladder, more likely she’ll own that charming little gift shop on the corner or she’ll find an independent niche as a journalist or caterer. Whatever she does it will likely involve creativity and a lot of interaction with people because that’s what she does well. 

There we have a great start for Jamie but I will still do an interview with her. I will, however, do a character sketch for the antagonist before I do.  I will have a couple links for great places to find character charts on line for you later. 
Write like the wind.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Painted Pony Character Development

As The Painted Pony continues, I posted a poll to gather input from readers as to which plot scenario they thought had the most potential. It always amazes me to see the various comments and thoughts about the list of choices. In this case it seems the field was reduced pretty much to one choice with some suggestions on how to keep the topic from being a rerun of a zillion others. 

Now, after the second chapter is completed I see I need to build a character sketch of the protagonist. Some of the things I need to know (and I may need to do a character interview to find these out, but…for now) Why did Jamie leave Colorado? She talks about her father – we know he is Native American… How did we find that out?  Jamie didn't come right out and tell us did she?  Telling instead of showing is a no, no.  What about her mother? 

I also need to figure out who will be the villain – what is his/her goal – what motivates him/her?
What other characters might I need (I can always add characters as needed, but it's a good idea to get some with a goal already in the story – i.e., a confidant, a romantic interest, etc.)

A major question at this point is what is Jamie's Goal (and who is she…what is her last name?  Was she married? What about her mother why hasn't she mentioned her? Or does she need to? It seems her roots are in Colorado – why?) So many questions so few answers – do you feel overwhelmed? Well, we can break this down into manageable steps.

My solution is to begin developing your characters they will tell you what you need to know – to get your story off the ground and moving forward.  Characters in Search of an Author ( Filbert Publishing 2007) available at  (or wherever you buy your books) ISBN 978-1-932794-15-1 is filled with forms, and formats to help the writer develop living, breathing characters. My favorite way to start a character sketch is to use the Zodiac signs, find a sign that has the characteristics that this plot as I know it so far needs. Then I go through his/her strengths and weaknesses and shared characteristics of people in that birth month, lastly I consult a chart that designates what tree the birth date of the character I am developing means. (this is a really fun thing to do – even for yourself to find out just how accurate this can be.)  An example of a character sketch follows.
This is the protagonist for the book Antique Armor (Wings ePress, Inc. September 2010)
Luisa Terza June Fabrizio (3rd born) Nick name June
May 13 I Have (Earth)
Colors Greens and Browns
Calm practical, takes time making decisions. May resent new ideas. Prefers familiar.
People: Florence Nightingale, Wm Shakespeare, Stevie Wonder, Cher

STRENGTHS: practical, respectful of tradition, resourceful, productive, patient, persistent, steady, earthy, sensual, loyal, devoted, has self-esteem, values self, managerial, trust worthy, strong-willed, “down home” , warm

WEAKNESS: possessive, jealous, overly attached, lazy, inert, materialistic, values only physical material satisfactions, money grubbing, unoriginal, greed, unspiritual, stubborn, slow, plodding, craves security, self-indulgent, ultra conservative, unchanging, dull, boring, bull headed, obstinate

POPLAR TREE (The Uncertainty) Looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous, if necessary, needs good will and pleasant surroundings, very choosey, often lonely, great animosity, great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean towards philosophy, reliable, in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

MAY PEOPLE: Stubborn, and hard-hearted, strong willed and highly motivated, sharp thoughts, easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention, deep feelings beautiful physically and mentally, firm standpoint. Needs no motivation, easily consoled, systematic (left brain) loves to dream.
Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical, weak breathing, loves literature, and the arts, loves traveling. Dislikes being at home. Restless.

Hard working, high spirited spendthrift. The intellectual, analytic, bright, well-informed, usually has the answer before most men do, they tend to find her intimidating. Can be rigid about her opinions, (Librarian, accountant, and chemist)
Honest sincere, intellectual and rather retiring, sometimes moody, kind and lovable most of the time. You like traveling for educational value make most of opportunities to better self.

BACKGROUND: raised by strict but loving parents, middle child of five – 2 older sisters, 2 younger brothers. Learned to be a loner, take care of herself. (Aunt Rosa stepped in and rescued her)
Father worked hard, loved hard and died young. He drank hard and had a hair trigger temper. Volatile home-life. 
Belinda, oldest sister, was devious and cruel. Used siblings, lied, cheated, made life hell for Mae.

Mother stay at home mome died in child birth, step mother tyrant hated children.
Older sisters Belinda & Jade
Younger brothers Derek and Tony
HOME TOWN—small towns, moved a lot from apartment to small houses, always crowded but felt adequate
COLLEGE , interior design, communication
Wanted to be a dancer, actress
Lost virginity when/how? Saved herself for marriage
Past trauma/formative events – death of her husband.
Keepsake from past/what it represents. Locket – her father’s had given it to her mother something he brought back from WWII – kept him near.
Spelunking and rock climbing.
Obvious skill organized artistic/creative. Hates doing, waiting, for anything needs to be doing/busy.
Hidden skill – clairvoyant
Obvious weakness =- obstinate
Hidden weakness – jealous no spontaneity
Talent creative, loves organizing, auctions and estate sales.

Now that I have all this information I need to find an opposition, an antagonist that is worthy of her. Again I'll use the Zodiac charts to find this "other" person – As I recall the above character sketch did not remain the same as initially drafted.  For one I changed her name {smile} But  a character is malleable—you need to suit your story and though I wouldn't carelessly change a character after the book is started there is occasion when it is the right thing to do.