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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"The Beautiful One"

For a couple of decades I taught the American Indian Literature course at California State University, Chico. One of the archetypes that frequently occurs in native tales is "the beautiful one," the exquisitely perfect person whose beauty allows him or her to achieve what ordinary souls cannot. When I decided to write a book set near the Navajo and Hopi Nations, I created a "beautiful one" of my own.

From the opening pages of RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, here is the first time our heroine, Meg Taylor, sees "the beautiful one." She has just arrived in the town of Rainbow Rock, Arizona, and has stopped for gas.

Before her lay a stretch of red earth that reminded her just how lovely the desert could be. Dotted with sagebrush and greasewood, it lay perfect and timeless in the pure golden light of the afternoon, its plane broken only by the small, flat hill that stood a lone sentinel on the valley floor.

And that was when she saw him, the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He was climbing Valley Hill some forty yards away. His muscular upper body, bare and bronzed, was dappled by the spotty light as he worked his way up the bluff. He wore old, well-fitted jeans and climbing boots, and the light breeze riffled his leonine mane of thick blond hair. He seemed perfect, essential and ageless, at one with the bluff, the desert, and the endless sky.

Meg let out her breath, unaware she had been holding it, then stared in fascination. A shaft of light fell over the climber, making his tanned skin gleam like polished gold. "Who is he?" she whispered, not realizing she had spoken aloud until Kyle answered.

"He's a local guy. Name's Jim. Some kids spotted Indian relics and he's checking to see if there might be an old burial site."

Disappointment cut through Meg like summer lightning, leaving a flat taste. "A grave robber."

"No, ma'am, not Jim. He's not in it for the money. He locates burial sites and gets ‘em recognized by the state so nobody can mess with 'em."

"Oh." Meg turned her concentration to the man on the hill. He was beautiful, to be sure, but there was also something mystical about him--ageless and elemental, something that called out to her, drawing her to him. As she watched, he rounded the curve of the bluff and disappeared. Disappointment cut through her as she realized she had never seen his face.

Like to know more about Meg and Jim? It's easy. RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME is now available as a FREE download for Kindle and Nook and at most other e-book sites, including Smashwords, OverDrive, and scribd.com.