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My first novel, Hands of Fate, was conceived and basically written on the back of a motorcycle between California and Texas.
The basic idea of the story came to me when a rancher friend of mine found the skeletal remains of a 7ft tall Native American on his Texas Panhandle ranch. The skeleton was completely intact, except for it's hands. A number of arrow points were discovered within the rib cage.
Having spent thirty years as a working cowboy, and the last seventeen years as a Peace Officer, the circumstances of the find intrigued me to no end. As most plains Indians were of small to medium stature, where did a 7ft giant come from, and why was he killed and buried in the middle of nowhere? Why were ONLY his hands missing when he was buried?
In my book, Hands of Fate, a modern day Sheriff's deputy, Stretch Dalton, is haunted by the spirtit of this giant ancestor, and Stretch not only solves the above mentioned puzzle, but also prevents a horrible crime from being committed again.
As my old Daddy used to say, "If it didn't happen that way, it should've."
Excerpt from Chapter 18.
Tall-Eagle was very weary. His aching shoulder had not helped make the trip a pleasant one, and he was in need of food. This would be a good place to rest for a day before he resumed his long ride to New Mexico. The south-facing cave was high enough in the side of the hill to give him a commanding view of the area, and would provide shelter in the event of an early fall storm, which seemed to be building in the north. The cured buffalo grass was excellent grazing for his horses, and by day after tomorrow they would be ready for the final leg of his journey. He unsaddled his horse, took the pack from the other animal, and hobbled their front legs together. He would probably have to look for them in the morning, but they couldn't get too far away.
He began climbing the hill to the mouth of the cave, when he felt a sharp pain in his side. Then he heard the gunshot.
As he looked down at his chest, he saw a ragged hole, oozing blood above his right breast. Though weakened by the wound, he found the strength to draw his rifle from its scabbard and wheel around to face his enemy. The Kiowa were racing their ponies at him, firing as they ran. Rocks and dust flew into the air as the bullets hit all around him. He raised his rifle and fired. One saddle was now empty. The others, knowing their advantage of surprise was lost, jumped from their horses and began firing at him from prone positions.
Just a few feet from the mouth of the cave, another bullet found its mark, entering his stomach just below the ribs. With his final few breaths he picked off two more of the enemy, before a bullet went through his big heart.