Red Bird’s Song was the first novel I ever wrote but the sixth I’ve had published. The story took years to research and completely finish writing. Going back over and revising Red Bird’s Song became an annual event. Though written first, it’s the second novel in my colonial frontier trilogy, Through the Fire being the lead story, and I’m at work on the third–have been on and off for twelve years. This time round, though, I’m determined to finish it! That ongoing challenge is Kira, Daughter of the Moon.
But back to Red Bird’s Song. A one line soundbite: “A young Scots-Irish woman and her Shawnee captor battle the dark forces against them only to discover their greatest challenge lies within their own hearts.”
Here’s the description I originally wrote for it:
Autumn 1764: Wicomechee scouts out the Scots-Irish settlement and the war party is in place. Then she comes. Her brilliant hair and green eyes remind him of a spirit of the autumn trees. Charity whirls around to find the most savagely handsome man she’s ever seen standing behind her. Stripes of paint blur his striking features, his eyes are like the dark pools where deep-woods fern grow; his face reminds her of the man in her dream. But this can’t be––he’s a Shawnee warrior!
Here’s the official Blurb I ended up with after a great deal of help:
Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.
George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.
As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.~ And to that I would add, or be destroyed.
Yes, I admit the second one is better, but I still like the first.
Wicomechee, the hero in RED BIRD’S SONG, was a real Shawnee warrior to whom I have family ties. He actually lived in the early nineteenth century, a little later than the setting for Red Bird’s Song, which was the colonial frontier–mostly Virginia but also the Ohio territory. I loved creating the character of Wicomechee who comes vibrantly to life in the story, but he’s based on the unique and fascinating warrior I tell you more about at the end of the novel.
A deeper glimpse into Wicomechee through snatches taken from the book:
Shades of Wicomechee:
From the heroine, Charity’s, point of view: “Wicomechee was undeniably attractive. She’d never expected that in a warrior. His eyes reminded her of dark pools where the deep-woods fern grow. His nose, neither too large nor too small, complimented his smooth brow, high cheekbones and strong chin. Nor could she fault his gleaming hair, or muscular chest partly revealed beneath the cream-colored hunting shirt open at the neck.
But his intimacy in the night left her bewildered, as did her disquieting response.”~
From his point of view: “Wicomechee’s chest pounded beneath his shirt from his race down the ridge. Charity’s anguished shrieks had sent cold dread knifing through his heart, unlike anything he’d ever imagined. She must be in dire peril to call out to him. Her name for him swelled in his ears.”~
From her point of view:
~“You are paca, beautiful.” Closing his arms around her, he drew her gently against him. He combed his fingers through her hair. “Like fire, your hair, and your eyes…never have I seen such a color. You are the sun, the trees, come to life.”~ ****
“How do you guess my thoughts? You’ve done this before.”
“A warrior must see in the face what lies in the heart. This is why we are careful to guard our thoughts.”
“Why don’t you want others to know?”
A hawk shrilled overhead as he answered. “Much danger lies in this.”
“I don’t know how to hide mine.”
“No. Like clouds making shadows over the earth, your face changes to show what you think.”
“It’s just as well I haven’t any secrets, then.”
His eyes looked deeply into hers. “None?”
“Perhaps I’ve a few.” Suddenly self-conscious, she squirmed under his forceful gaze.~
“I am the man in your dream, but you will not say.” Without waiting for her stammered reply, he continued. “You grow cold. I will take you from here.”
“Wait. Before you do, where is my home?”
He pointed to the east. “There.”
She searched the rippling ocean of ridges for a final glimpse of the lush green valley called Shenandoah, Daughter of the Stars.
“Will I ever see the valley again?”
A sweep of his arm encompassed the western sky. Lavender and rose streaked the golden rim of the ruggedly beautiful Alleghenies. “Your home lies that way, beyond the mountains. You belong to Shawnee now.”~
From his pov: Wicomechee sought shelter in the fast descending darkness. These ridges would be cold tonight and Charity was especially vulnerable to the chill. A wolf loosed a long thin howl above the wind crying through the trees.
She jostled against him. “Mechee—a wolf.”
“Brother Wolf will not harm you.”
“How can you call that beast your brother?”
“He is clever. Shawnee respect him.”
Wicomechee guided her through the dusky light to the cluster of evergreens. A rocky mound on the windward side of the trees offered additional cover.
He paused before the dim outline of the thickly branched evergreen. “Go under.”
She crawled beneath the sweeping boughs and hunched on the layer of needles. He slid in beside her. The force of the wind instantly lessened and he kept her in the innermost recess of their hideaway.
He laid his musket down and slipped the shot pouch and powder horn from his shoulder, barely discerning their shapes in the gloom. His tomahawk joined the others at arm’s length. The knife remained at his waist. Like trusted friends, he kept his weapons close.~
He untied her cloak and pressed his lips over the curve of her neck…like swans’ down. “You feel some fondness for me? Before, you said I am only your enemy.”
“You are. I’m just—having difficulty remembering.”~
From her pov: In one lithe movement, Wicomechee was out of the water. With three short strides he stood over her, his black hair streaming. “You attacked Chaka first?”
She stared up at him, shivering in her wet clothes. “He provoked me,” she faltered. “ I only tried to knock him down.”
Disbelief mixed with the potent censure in Wicomechee’s eyes. “Is this a fight you thought to win?”~
From his pov: With a howl of deepest anguish and blackest rage, Wicomechee flung down his musket and grabbed his tomahawk Before the big Long Knife could reload, he sprang at him.~
Wicomechee speaking: “Can a heart be taken, like a horse? Even horses remember their masters. A man cannot force a woman’s heart as he can her body…her heart is mine. She seeks my love in return. Not yours. When she wakes with fear, she holds to me, not to you. Her tears wet my shirt, not yours. When she is glad I hear her laughter. For me she sings.”
Native American Historical Romance Novel Red Bird’s Song, set in the colonial frontier, is available in print and or digital download from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.