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Medicine Man I: Chief of All Time
by S. R. Howen
Shannon Running Deer is American Indian by blood, he has forsaken his people's ancient ways to embrace the "modern" world as a wealthy, highly successful trauma surgeon.
His comfortable existence begins to unravel when, seemingly by chance, Shannon finds himself gradually drawn into the past. Pursued by an ancient evil, he knows he can change the future, if he can survive the past.
In the tradition of Diana Gabaldon, S.R. Howen's MEDICINE MAN is a distinctive and atmospheric novel full of spirituality, mystical time travel, passion, and suspense.
How did you come up with ideas for your books?
For Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time, I went to a park in Wisconsin and saw these three rocks, near the lake shore, that were tilted together so they looked like a giant stone tulip. I sat on those rocks and noticed that someone had scratched a small pictograph of an elk man into one of the rocks. A car drove past behind me, a black jaguar, and the music coming out of the car was a American Indian drum piece. As soon as I got home the story was already spinning in my head.
2. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I used to run a crit group. I do think that the right kind of critique group can be very helpful. Few things that have to be in any group, writers who are at your level or above you, real helpful crits, not a pat each other on the back group or a slash and trash group either. I am at the point where I no longer find a crit group a great help, instead I have a few trusted beta readers and an alpha reader or two.
A crit group is good for learning the basics and getting your story telling in shape, but then what you need is a beta to say wait this doesn’t make sense not a critique to say this is a now it doesn’t work, or explain what a dangling modifier is.
3. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
I submitted my first book (now a trunk novel) back in the late 70’s to Bantam. Had no idea how to do any of it. I found their address inside the book cover on a book I was reading and sent off my manuscript. I got a handwritten note back that while it wasn’t what they were publishing at the time that I should consult the writers market for other venues. They asked if I had anything else to send it on.
Being a fragile new writers I sputtered and said what the hell is the writer’s market. If only I knew then what I know now.
4. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (Regarding writing or publishing)
Worst hands down, was that in order for a book to work it had ot be outlined. I have learned that no an book does not have to be planned out in advance for it to all come together.
Best advice, murder your darlings. Writes hear this a lot, and it is good advice. Words are just that – words. No word is so sacred that it can’t be changed, no scene so perfect that it can’t be changed, deleted or moved to make the story better.
In Medicine Man my editor and I have a debate over the capitalization of a word. I like the title for the main character people in the book, used it a lot, I think 30 times. In the end, I eliminated almost all the uses of the phrase. Not because my editor thought it needed to be, but because it wasn’t a battle worth fighting. The words dind’t matter the greater good of the story does.
5. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I write organically, no idea who the characters, settings, genre or plot of the novel is when I start it. I write one word at a time and see where the story takes me. My characters are in charge directed by the muse of the unknown. I have as much fun as the reader turning the pages to learn what happens next.
6. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
For Medicine Man I, my love of adventure, and primitive camping and survival skills came into play. Also my deep love of the old stories and myths of all different bands of Native people mixed in.
7. Do you have an all time favorite book?
Pierce Anthony’s On a Pale Horse. I had been struggling with writing my first novel, other than a trunk novel, and really thought I had to outline. When I read this and then read in a copy of Writers Digest that he didn’t outline, it set me free of HS English that said you had to have an outline.
8. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
I am working on edits of Medicine Man II: Raven right now. It starts out almost a year after book one. I don’t want to say too much and give away any spoilers about book one or book 2.
I do have a traditional fantasy coming out in the next few months form Wild Child Publishing. Romance set in a fantasy world, with magic, intrigue and a quest.
9. What is your favorite reality show?
The Amazing Race. Man vs Man, Man vs Self, Man vs Nature—all wrapped into one and the diversity of the players is also great. What better way to experience life in another place in short bits than to live little slices of it.
10. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
In Medicine Man I the main character is pursued by an ancient evil. When the Evil one finally catches him, he reaches a depth of despair that has him reliving moments from his past. There are other dark moments in the book, but this is the defining moment, the pivotal point in the novel when the reader wonders how he will get out of it, sane and alive.
She stood up, undid her jeans, and started lowering them as if I were not staring at her like some lusty teenager. I fled the room and shut the door on her seductive form. I stood in the hallway, leaned against the wall with my eyes shut, and tried to still the passion she invoked in me. I knew she didn’t wear a bra; the absent top buttons on her shirt made it obvious. She also didn’t wear any underwear. Not unless they were much lower on her hips than her partly lowered jeans. In all my adult life, I had never felt like this before.
“You could have her. Take her,” the elk-man’s voice echoed.
“You’ve been too long without a wife,” my grandfather said.
“Leave me alone,” I said, as much to the elk-man voice as to my grandfather.
“You have been too long without a wife,” my grandfather repeated. “Even I remember what it was like to be that ready for a woman.”
I tried to yank my shirt down farther before I opened my eyes to tell him to mind his own business. I got a good view of his back as he went into the guest room. The door shut with a firm thump. The sound of the lock turning made me shake my head.
My grandfather was at his exasperating best. Later, he would wander out of there to raid the refrigerator for whatever he could find. I went into the kitchen and put the teakettle on the stove. The burner lit with a faint whoosh, and I experienced a flash of the medicine dances I’d attended in my youth. The tribal medicine man would throw fine sulfur dust into the fire to make it do the same thing. A grand show, as was everything medicine men did. None of their tricks had worked for my father.
My father, being a firm believer in the old ways, would’nt seek out modern medicine past the point of being told he had terminal cancer. He wouldn’t even consider modern healing mixed with the old beliefs. My own mother turned her back on me after he died.
The teapot shrilled, and Morning Dove’s voice came from the doorway. “I am very tired.”
I took a mug from the shelf above the sink. From a different cupboard, I took down the box of nighttime tea I kept there. I added water and tea to the mug and watched the steam for a moment, before I held it out to her.
“It will help you sleep,” I said when she just looked at the cup.
“I have had enough white-man’s medicines put into me already.” Her eyes flashed with what I took for humor.
“This is a mixture of natural herbs, no preservatives, no artificial colorings, no caffeine. . . ”
With a smile, she took the cup. Her fingers brushed against mine, sending an electric chill along my nerves. I led the way to my study and turned on the gas fireplace. Morning Dove went to the thick sheepskin rug in front of it and sat down. While she sipped the tea, I went to the closet and retrieved a pillow and some blankets. I paused with them in hand to watch her. She sat in the terry robe and held the mug in both hands. She took a small sip and stared into the fire.
Her hair hung down over the robes back in a glimmering wet curtain. One corner of the robe slipped down to reveal her shoulder. I wanted to sink to the floor and wrap myself around her. With a grunt, I pulled myself away from thoughts of intimacy with her. I covered the couch with a sheet and punched the pillow a few times--to fluff it.
The gate buzzer sounded loudly in the silent room. What nut would be out on a night like this unless they had to be? I pulled the door to the study shut and went to answer the gate intercom.
No one answered. When I turned away from it, thinking the storm had made it go off, it buzzed again. Loud and insistent. I jabbed the button.
I heard nothing in return except the thunder rumbling overhead. I pulled open the front door. Down the drive, through the sheets of rain, it looked like a set of round headlights on the other side of the gate. My brother’s Jeep?
I reached back inside and pushed the button to open the gate.
Lightening cracked so bright I couldn’t see for a moment. I blinked back the brightness, tried to blink it away again.
It didn’t help. The deer filling my driveway didn’t go away. They ran past the house in a steady stream, an entire herd. Where had they come from? The drums sounded behind me.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
For more than 12 years, S.R. Howen has been an editor at Wild Child Publishing and Freya’s Bower. She also runs workshops on how to craft a winning synopsis and query letter. Over the last few months S.R. Howen has been working on Medicne Man 2: Raven, as well as a second Forge book for Freya's Bower under the pen name Shaunna Wolf. She is also working on an epic fantasy series of books, and a Erotic Romance set in the 1980’s. Under her pen name Vic Ross she is working on a SciFi humor series.
A former military brat, then military spouse, and a traditional naturalist, S.R. Howen currently lives in Texas, with a dozen cats (three of them the non-domestic sort) two squirrles, one raccoon, one dog, and her daughter. She works with wilf life rehab and rescue as well as running a cat shelter and rescue. For more info on her and her works please visit her web site or her facebook page.
Contacts and Buy Links:
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time (Wild Child Publishing): http://www.wildchildpublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=106&products_id=404&zenid=8e8ea1c48ee3fc580ce3355a6fbb25e8
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time (Amazon Ebook): http://www.amazon.com/The-Chief-Time-Medicine-ebook/dp/B009Z2R3BS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353081294&sr=8-1&keywords=medicine+man+howen
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time (Amazon Print) : http://www.amazon.com/Medicine-Man-The-Chief-Time/dp/1617980714/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353081294&sr=8-2&keywords=medicine+man+howen
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time (B&N Ebook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/medicine-man-sr-howen/1113712670?ean=2940015913316
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time (B&N Print): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/medicine-man-i-s-r-howen/1113795431?ean=9781617980718
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time (Kobo ): http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Chief-of-All-Time/book-_hYNNKIra06osXQdjttbtg/page1.html?s=vNIlqpUbIUaJ6gin-i4ZOA&r=1
Blog: Critters at the Keyboard http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/
Author Web page: http://srhowen.wix.com/srhowen-1#!home/mainPage
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