A series of mystery/suspense/thriller novels from present day, western Montana

Read more about Felix at Goodreads

Montana

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Strategies for 2011

I have pitched both ‘Mystery at Little Bitterroot’ and ‘The Killing Zone’ to agents and publishers, generating some interest from a few agents both via mail correspondence and in-person interviews. I’m still trying to find that one agent or publisher who will understand the marketing potential of my novels. With the advent of many CSI-type shows on TV and with our society becoming more multiracial and beginning to understand the precarious ecological balance of our Mother Earth, I know that my writing of a mixed-blood sheriff involved in CSI investigations while solving mysteries and who experiences conflict within the modern world and his Native American traditions will resonate with a large group of readers.

My strategy is to finish the final draft of ‘Montana Harvest’ (chronologically, the first of the novels that I’ve written so far) by the end of September and then send it to my editor. I will review her corrections and recommendations, then finalize the manuscript by the end of this year and then in early 2011, self-publish that novel. Then while ‘Montana Harvest’ is available at Amazon.com, Borders, Walden Books, etc., I’ll continue to pitch ‘Mystery at Little Bitterroot’ and ‘The Killing Zone’ to traditional agents & publishers.

I plan to volunteer at a Red Feather straw bale house build on the Northern Cheyenne Indian reservation in Montana during June, 2011 and if all goes well, by then I will have three published novels available and will be working on the fourth novel, ‘Secrets of the Bob Marshall Wilderness’ which takes place prior to ‘Montana Harvest’ while Jim is a newly commissioned Montana Highway Patrolman. I plan to blog about my volunteer activities while in Montana and my intent is to make people aware of the hardships and neglect prevalent on today’s Native American Indian reservations.

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Seven Philosophies For a Native American Man

First Philosophy – TO THE WOMEN

The cycle of life for the woman is the baby, girl, woman, and grandmother. These are the four directions of life. She has been given by natural laws the ability to reproduce life. The most sacred of all things in life. Therefore, all men should treat her with dignity and respect. Never was it our way to harm her mentally or physically. Indian men were never abusers. We always treated our women with respect and understanding. So, from now on, I will treat women in a sacred manner. The Creator gave women the responsibility for bringing new life into the world. Life is sacred, so I will look upon women in a sacred manner. In our traditional ways, the woman is the foundation of the family. I will work with her to create a home atmosphere of respect, security and harmony. I will refrain from any form of emotional or physical abuse. If I have these feelings, I will talk to the Creator for guidance. I will treat all women as if they were my own female relatives. This I vow.

Second Philosophy – TO THE CHILDREN

As an eagle prepares its young to leave the nest with all the skills and knowledge it needs to participate in life, in the same manner so I will guide my children. I will use the culture to prepare them for life. The most important thing I can give to my children is my time. I will spend time with them in order to learn them and to listen to them. I will teach my children to pray, as well as the importance of respect. We are the caretakers of the children for the Creator. They are his children, not ours. I am proud of our Native language. I will learn it if
I can and help my children to learn it. In today’s world it is easy for the children to go astray, so I will work to provide positive alternatives for them. I will teach them the culture. I will encourage education. I will encourage sports. I will encourage them to talk with the Elders for guidance; but mostly, I will seek to be a role model myself. I make this commitment to my children so they will have courage and find guidance through traditional ways.

Third Philosophy – TO THE FAMILY

The Creator gave to us the family, which is the place where all teachings are handed down from the grandparent, to the parent, and to the child. The children’s behavior is a mirror of the parent’s behavior. Knowing this, I realize the importance for each Indian man to be responsible to the family in order to fulfill the need to build a strong and balanced family. By doing this, I will break the cycle of hurt and ensure the positive mental health of our children, even the children yet to be born. So, from now on, I will dedicate my priorities to rebuilding my family. I must never give up and leave my family only to the mother. I am accountable to restore the strength of my family. To do this, I will nurture our family’s spiritual, cultural and social health. I will demonstrate trust, respect, honor and discipline; but mostly I will be consistent in whatever I do with them. I will see that the grandparents and community Elders play a significant role in the education of my children. I realize that the male and female together are fundamental to our family life. I will listen to my mate’s council for our family’s benefit, as well as for the benefit of my Indian Nation.

Fourth Philosophy – TO THE COMMUNITY

The Indian community provides many things for the family. The most important is the sense of belonging; that is, to belong to “the people”, and to have a place to go. Our Indian communities need to be restored to health so the future generation will be guaranteed a place to go for culture, language and Indian socializing. In he community, the honor of one is the honor of all and the pain of one is the pain of all. I will work to strengthen recovery in all parts of my community. As an Indian man, I will give back to my community by donating my time and talents when I am able. I will cultivate friendships with other Indian men for mutual support and strength. I will consider the effects of our decisions on behalf of the next seven generations; in this way, our children and grandchildren will inherit healthy communities. I will care about those in my community so that the mind changes, alcohol and drugs, will vanish, and our communities will forever be free of violence. If each of us can do all these things, then others, will follow; ours will be a proud community.

Fifth Philosophy – THE EARTH

Our Mother Earth is the source of all life, whether it be plants, the two-legged, four-legged, winged ones or human beings. The Mother Earth is the greatest teacher, if we listen, observe and respect her. When we live in harmony with the Mother Earth, she will recycle the things we consume and make them available to our children. As an Indian man, I must teach my children how to care for the Earth so it is there for the future generations. So from now on, I realize the Earth is our Mother. I will treat her with honor and respect. I will honor the interconnectedness of all things and all forms of life. I will realize the Earth does not belong to us, but that we belong to the Earth. The natural law is the ultimate authority upon the lands and water. I will learn the knowledge and wisdom of the natural laws. I will pass this knowledge on to my children. The Mother Earth is a living entity that maintains life. I will speak out in a good way whenever I see someone abusing the Earth. Just as I would protect my own mother, so I will protect the Earth. I will ensure that the land, water, and air will be intact for my children and for my children’s children-the unborn.

Sixth Philosophy – TO THE CREATOR

As an Indian man, I realize we make no gains without the Great Spirit being in our lives. Neither I, nor anything I attempt to do, will work without our Creator. Being Indian and being spiritual has the same meaning. Spirituality is our gift from the Great One. This say, I vow to walk the Red Road. As an Indian man, I will return to the traditional and spiritual values which have guided my ancestors for the past generations. I will look with new eyes on the powers of our ceremonies and religious ways, for they are important to the very survival of our people. We have survived and are going to grow and flourish spiritually. We will fulfill our teachings and the purpose that the Creator has given us with dignity. Each day, I will pray and ask guidance. I will commit to walk the Red Road, or whatever the spiritual way is called in my own culture. If I am a Christian, I will be a good one. If I tradition, I will walk this road with dedication. If each of us can do these things then others will follow. From this day forward, I will reserve time and energy for spirituality, seeking to know the Creator’s will.

Seventh Philosophy – TO MYSELF

I will think about what kind of person I want to be when I am an Elder. I will start developing myself now to be this person. I will walk with the Great Spirit and the grandfathers at my side. I will develop myself to remain positive. I will develop a good mind. I will examine myself daily to see what I did good and what I need to improve. I will examine my strengths and weaknesses; then I will ask the Creator to guide me. I will develop a good mind. Each day, I will listen for the Creator’s voice in the wind. I will watch nature and ask to be shown a lesson which will occur on my path. I will seek our the guiding principles which guided my ancestors. I will walk in dignity, honor and humility, conducting myself as a warrior. I will seek the guidance of the Elders so that I may maintain the knowledge of culture, ceremonies and songs, and so that I may pass these on to future generations. I choose to do all these things myself, because no one else can do them for me. I know I CANNOT GIVE AWAY WHAT I DON’T HAVE, so I will need to learn to walk the talk.

Source: http://www.nativevillage.org/Inspiration-/seven_philosophies_for_the_nativ.htm

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Jim’s people – the Crow Tribe

Crow (trans., through French gens des corbeaux, of their own name, Absároke, crow, sparrow hawk, or bird people). A Siouan tribe forming part of the Hidatsa group, their separation from the Hidatsa having taken place, as Matthews (1894) believed, within the last 200 years. Hayden, following their tradition, placed it about 1776. According to this story it was the result of a factional dispute between two chiefs who were desperate men and nearly equal in the number of their followers. They were then residing on Missouri river, and one of the two bands which afterward became the Crows withdrew and migrated to the vicinity of the Rocky mountains, through which region they continued to rove until gathered on reservations. Since their separation from the Hidatsa their history has been similar to that of most tribes of the plains, one of perpetual war with the surrounding tribes, their chief enemies being the Siksika and the Dakota. At the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804) they dwelt chiefly on Bighorn river; Brown (1817) located them on the Yellowstone and the east side of the Rocky mountains; Drake (1834) on the south branch of the Yellowstone, in lat. 46º long. 105º. Hayden (1862) wrote: “The country usually inhabited by the Crows is in and near the Rocky mountains, along the sources of Powder, Wind, and Bighorn rivers, on the south side of the Yellowstone, as far as Laramie fork on the Platte river. They are also often found on the west and north side of that river, as far as the source of the Musselshell and as low down as the mouth of the Yellowstone.”

     According to Maximilian (1843) the tipis of the Crows were exactly like those of the Sioux, set up without any regular order, and on the poles, instead of scalps were small pieces of colored cloth, chiefly red, floating like streamers in the wind. The camp he visited swarmed with wolf like dogs. They were a wandering tribe of hunters, making no plantations except a few small patches of tobacco. They lived at that time in some 400 tents and are said to have possessed between 9,000 and 10,000 horses. Maximilian considered them the proudest of Indians, despising the whites; “they do not, however, kill them, but often plunder them.” In stature and dress they corresponded with the Hidatsa, and were proud of their long hair. The women have been described as skilful in various kinds of work, and their shirts and dresses of bighorn leather, as well as there buffalo robes, embroidered and ornamented with dyed porcupine quills, as particularly handsome. The men made their weapons very well and with much taste, especially their large bows, covered with horn of the elk or bighorn and often with rattlesnake skin. The Crows have been described as extremely superstitious, very dissolute, and much given to unnatural practices; they are skilful horsemen, throwing themselves on one side in their attacks, as is done by many Asiatic tribes. Their dead were usually placed on stages elevated on poles in the prairie.

    The population was estimated by Lewis and Clark (1804) at 350 lodges and 3,500 individuals; in 1829 and 1834, at 4,500; Maximilian (1843) counted 400 tipis; Hayden (1862) said there were formerly about 800 lodges or families, in 1862 reduced to 460 lodges. Their number in 1890 was 2,287; in 1904, 1,826.

     The Crows have been officially classified as Mountain Crows and River Crows, the former so called because of their custom of hunting and roaming near the mountains away from Missouri river, the latter from the fact that they left the mountain section about 1859 and occupied the country along the river. There was no ethnic, linguistic, or other difference between them. The Mountain Crows numbered 2,700 in 1871 and the River Crows 1,400 (Pease in Ind. Aff. Rep., 420, 1871).

      Present aggregate population, 1,826.

     See Hayden, Ethnog. and Philol. Mo. Valley, 1862; Maximilian, Trav., 1843; Dorsey in 11th and 15th Reps. B. A. E., 1894, 1897; McGee in 15th Rep. B. A. E., 1897; Simms, Traditions of the Crows, 1903.

Source: http://crow.bz/main/people.htm

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What it means to ‘Walk the Red Road’

I’ve used forms of the term ‘Walk the Red Road’ in this blog and in my novels and it is a common reference used by Native Americans to describe where they strive to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My character, Jim Buchanan always makes an attempt to follow ‘The Red Road’ but as it is with most behavior modification it is sometimes difficult to attain. Distractions always seem to compete with our goals but if we can take small steps just a day at a time, we can all get there. I found a good definition of ‘Walk the Red Road’ and here it is for you to read:

The Red Road

The Red Road is a term used frequently which means to live a traditional lifestyle: drug and alcohol free, respect for others, respect for yourself, respect for creation and to worship the Creator, Great Spirit, Great Mystery.

It means to be honest with yourself and others about who you are as one of the original common, wild and free peoples of this land.

It means to walk among mainstream America alert and aware of the fact that you are very different than they are … and that is okay.

It means they will always try to make you the same as them because they are uncomfortable with your existence as an American Indian.

Always walk in a good way.

Let them be reminded of lies told, treaties broken and promises made but do all you can to heal yourself and others.

Keep your mind free and alert.

Stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Seek wisdom.

Attain peace in your heart and gift it to others in turmoil.

We have never been and cannot be what they are.

It’s not in our blood.  Stay strong.

Stay alive and give our children a future of confidence and pride.

We find no answers in material possessions … seek spiritual growth … find contentment and walk in Creator’s light.

– Anonymous

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My New Writers Group

Last month I joined a newly formed writers group in Storrs, Connecticut. The group, composed of between five and ten members, is predicated upon the Iowa Writers Workshop concept; a popular technique for providing constructive feedback. My submissions for this writers group will be the chapters from Montana Harvest. Chapter 1 will be submitted this Wednesday, August 25th.

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Books, books, books

I met a dear friend for lunch today. In fact she was my companion at Manchester Community College’s Mishi-maya-gat Spoken Word & Music Series in 2007 where we both gave readings to a captive audience. Our enjoyable lunch lasted from 1:00 until past 3:30. We spoke of where we are in our writing careers and our lives and made plans to organize a reunion gathering of our former teacher and our classmates. After lunch I went to Borders Books because I had a 33% off coupon and a $25 gift card that I won in a raffle at CAPA-U in May. My intent was to find books pertaining to either Native American Studies or Montana travel guides. My plan is to volunteer for a Red Feather build next summer. What I instead found myself drawn to was Native American Spirituality. I discovered the following books:

1 – 365 Days of Walking the Red Road by Terri Jean – a book of inspirational quotations
2 – Native American Wisdom by Kent Nerburn and Louise Mengelkoch – a book of random quotations
3 – The Wisdom of the Native Americans by Kent Nerburn – a book of words to live by
4 – Indian Spirit by Michael Oren Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald – pictures of great Native Americans and their words
5 – Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt – the premier Native American book widely hailed as a religious classic. Black Elk is considered a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux.

I will take the best excerpts from these books and post them weekly to my blog. The quotes are classic, in-depth revelations of how we as a society should behave toward ourselves, toward other creatures in the world, and toward Mother Earth herself. For without wisdom, compassion, love, and understanding, what are we?

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Linda Stevens – the fourth entry in the Jim Buchanan character series

You met Sheriff Jim Buchanan in May, Coroner Hank Kelly in June, and Deputy Rocky Salentino in July. Now meet Police Chief Linda Stevens.

Linda is 5’8” with short blond hair and an athletic build showcasing her 14% body fat. She is a Thompson Falls native, four years younger than her friends Jim and Kate. Linda idolized Jim’s successes during her teenage years and decided to follow his professional path, studying Criminal Justice at the University of Montana. After college she applied for and achieved the highest ranking to date at the Montana Police Academy in Bozeman. Accepting a patrol officer position with the Thompson Falls Police Department in 1989 at the age of 23, Linda worked her way up the ranks until she was named Police Chief in 1997 at the age of 31. Linda is a solid, rock steady person in town and Jim’s honest link to the police department. Everything is by the book with her and it doesn’t hurt that she holds simultaneous black belts in Karate, Aikido, Judo, and Jiu Jitsu as well as being a highly decorated law enforcement marksman.

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Web Site Coming

I have begun the process of establishing my web site. I have the domain name ‘felixgiordano.com’ reserved and when I build my website and upload it, it will then become available via Internet searches and for website browsing. My manifested target date will be during mid-2011. I plan to utilize the site for my promotion as an author and will identify the novels in The Jim Buchanan Series, their progress, how and where readers will be able to purchase them, book reviews that I come across, plus book tours and signings. My primary plan is to secure an agent and a traditional publisher but an alternative path is to self-publish. Self-publishing has come a long way since questionable services such as AuthorHouse, Infinity Publishing, Xlibris, and IUniverse, ruled the landscape. Now highly recommended self-publishers such as CreateSpace (owned by Amazon.com) and Lulu are helping authors get published when the traditional routes become blocked due to various reasons not related to a particular author’s talent. Stay tuned, I plan to update my progress on this venue. It will prove to be an exciting time.

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An indication of how serious I take my writing

The Jim Buchanan Novels by Felix Giordano – Series begins in 1992

Red indicates novels completed or currently working on

1) Secrets of the Bob Marshall Wilderness – rumor of a lost gold and silver mine brings together a group of people in search of untold riches. However, greed, a 19th century legend and an early winter storm lead to their downfall and it’s up to Montana Highway Patrolman Jim Buchanan to save them and put the pieces together. While doing so, Jim is seriously injured. (1992)

2) Straddling the Red Road – Jim recuperates from his injuries and spends time with his half-brother Bobby Twofavors and learns how both close and far he really is from the Red Road. While on the Crow Reservation, he becomes involved in opposing a pseudo-town’s desire to sell liquor to the Natives. (1992)

3) Sasquatch – Amid reports of a Bigfoot on the loose, the county is awash with developers trying to build a coal-fired power plant. Jim is asked to become involved in an investigation by Sheriff Dan McCoy when a number of construction workers are killed. The two men have to determine whether the murderous rampage was the result of a Bigfoot or the locals. (1993)

4) The Vanishing Tribe – the legend of a small tribe of Native Americans having magical powers and inhabiting a remote section of Northwestern Montana is related to Jim by Flathead Police Chief Jacob Stronghorse. Soon to be retiring Sheriff Dan McCoy calls them the Brigadoon Tribe. (1993)

5) Mission Mountain Mystery – around the same time that Jim wins election as Sanders County Sheriff and leaves the Highway Patrol, a rumor surfaces of a rabid Grizzly Bear on the loose terrorizing hunters and campers in the wilderness. Jim is persuaded by another county sheriff to help find the man-eater. (1994)

6) Cries from the Flathead Valley – alcoholism leads to the deaths of Flathead youth and an investigation uncovers that there is more to it than just kids drinking themselves to death. (1994)

7) Montana Harvest – series of corpses and unsolved murders leads Sheriff Jim Buchanan to break up an international human organ transplant conspiracy with Mayor/Doctor Hamilton Jackson as its head which ultimately leads to the death of Jim’s wife, the former Kate Nelson. (1995-96)
8) Mystery at Little Bitterroot – Jim and Elijah find a body on the Flathead Indian Reservation and Jim involves Police Chief Linda Stevens and County Coroner Hank Kelly in the investigation. Soon after, two Flathead youth die from alcohol poisoning and Jim begins to wonder if the body and the deaths of the boys are connected. (1996)
9) The Killing Zone – Two teenagers, one an artist and the other a musician, are hitchhiking from Minnesota to Los Angeles to seek fame and fortune. On the way they meet two Native American boys who give them a lift. When their car breaks down they run into a biker gang. One girl is murdered, one boy left for dead, the other girl kidnapped and the other boy is blamed for the carnage. Jim learns of the assault and gets involved when the gang kidnaps his daughter, Alma Twofavors. (1997)

10) The Scarlet Max – A rare red diamond is smuggled out of Australia by organized crime and transported to the United States. The diamond courier is murdered and the rock stolen in Las Vegas. Jim and his deputy, Rocky Salentino cross paths with the murderer in Vegas while attending an FBI seminar. A pursuit ensues across three states and the diamond eventually lost, or is it? (1998)

11) The Disappearance of Joshua Nelson – Jim is contacted by his former Chicago Bears defensive line coach to resume his pro career. Once the season begins, Jim’s teenage nephew, a budding minor league baseball prospect, disappears and foul play is suspected. Jim must decide which is more important, his career or rescuing the boy. (1999)

12) Great Lakes Mystery – The two Native American boys from ‘The Killing Zone’ travel to Minnesota to visit the girl they once met and after finding her stumble onto a mystery requiring Jim’s help. (2000)

13) The White Buffalo – A white buffalo is born on the Crow Reservation which is a sign of prophecy for the Crow and a sign of envy to the white population in Billings. (2001)

14) September Mourn – Jim, Hank Kelly and his family are invited to New York for the wedding of Kate’s cousin Karin. When her fiance dies in the WTC towers attack, Jim has to rescue Karin while Hank assists with the forensic investigation. (2001)

15) Enigma in the Pines – a college student on a summer tree planting expedition meets the specter of a young Native American girl in the pine forest and learns that she holds the key to a long lost secret that Jim must confront. (2002)

16) Badge on 42nd Street – Jim and Hank are invited back to New York due to their heroism in the WTC attacks. They inadvertently get involved in an investigation of missing homeless people. (2002)

17) Unidentified Corpse – a headless, handless, footless body is found near Flathead Lake coinciding with the escapes of two criminals that Jim helped place behind bars. Jim has to find the murderer and uncover the killer’s motive. (2003)

18) The Legacy of Dan McCoy – Dan McCoy is murdered and Jim has to find his killer and determine if it was a random act of violence or if there was criminal intent to murder Dan. (2004)

19) Justice for Little Hawk – Jim is accused of murdering a common drifter who is later found to be the only son of a very rich man. (2005)

20) Circumstances at Cold River Junction – in the midst of a raging snowstorm a group of college students become stranded and one dies in a suspicious manner. Jim and his daughter Alma, who is now an FBI agent, suspect that someone in the group is the killer and they have bring that person to justice and the rest of the group to safety. (2006)

21) Milwaukee Road – Jim is attacked by a fugitive from justice and dumped onto a freight train. When he regains consciousness, he discovers himself in Milwaukee and doesn’t remember who he is. He must learn who he is, get back to Montana and capture the criminal. (2007)

22) The Return of the Scarlet Max – Hawaiian honeymoon of Jim and retired Police Chief Linda Stevens is interrupted when she is abducted by organized crime who are still searching for the lost Scarlet Max diamond. (2008)

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Mystery at Little Bitterroot


Mystery at Little Bitterroot has achieved Amazon's #1 ranking for Native American Literature's Hot New Book Releases.
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