Ghost of Lost Eagle began life as a western-romance concept with no paranormal element. In writing the first chapter, I trapped my male protagonist, Mason “Tuck” Tucker, underwater, pinned against the bottom of the canyon floor by a raging flashflood, and almost out of breath. Sass Thornton, the female love interest and cowgirl extraordinaire, could not even see him under that fast-moving water.
“What am I going to do?” I thought. “How do I save my main character in this impossible scenario?”
No matter how I rewrote the scene, I could not find a plausible way for her to save him, and it was critical for her to meet him in that savior role.
Before I explain how I solved this plot obstacle, let me share my beliefs about ghosts, spirits and magic. I have never seen a ghost, but I have felt the presence of a hostile spirit. It threatened my child when he was a baby. I never saw it or heard it, but the room went cold when it was present, and, for some reason that I never figured out, it wanted my boy. My mind has been open to the supernatural ever since that experience. Native American beliefs in spirits, ghosts, animal spirit guides and similar lore could, in my opinion, certainly happen in the way they envisioned. Consequently, when I write about spirit guides or the American Indian spirit world, I do so with personal conviction and a sense of realism that I try to convey in my writing.
That said, let’s get back to writing that first critical chapter. The working title for this western-romance book was originally Sweetwater Canyon, that is, until I wrote Tuck into a no-win situation. Struggling for a solution, I went back to the beginning of the story to find a better way to put Tuck in peril so that Sass could save him and initiate their turbulent relationship. To my great surprise, I discovered the solution in just the fourth paragraph.
In the distance, a wolf howled.”
It was an epiphany—so simple and so obvious. The wolf was Tuck’s spirit guide, and the ghost who haunts that canyon would wrench Tuck free from underwater. Why? The rest of the story would reveal the connection between the naïve young cowboy, Native American lore-come-true, and the petulant cowgirl. Tuck’s destiny connects love, revenge and the supernatural in a fast-paced story filled with twists and turns.
Blood of the Lone Wolf is the upcoming sequel to Ghost of Lost Eagle. It expands on the themes and characters introduced in the first book of the Sweetwater Canyon series.