Monday, April 16, 2012

What my Book research taught me this week.

This week the combined edition of my very first two novels re-released onto Amazon.com-Kindle store. The new title is -Ever After-.
I decided not to change the story line much from what it originally was (it was written nearly four years ago).

So onto my children's book- Olivia and the search for the Super Giant Imagination-, yes it's still heading for a late April release. It is in the illustration process, something I do not do (no way) I write...I do not draw or do any form of illustrations! I have many talents, but sadly that is not one of them. Again I am so happy to have this little book dedicated to my sweet niece Samantha!

My next YA novel is in progress as I write this. I have the intro done, and can hardly keep from posting it! Ok, I  might post it soon, not sure yet.
The new novel -Unspeakable Things- centers around a 16yr old Lakota Indian girl who witness  the murder of her mother when she is six years old. She sets out to solve the murder investigation the local police mysteriously closed as unsolved. The elders on the reservation, where she lives with her grandmother, know things about her mothers death, but seem to afraid of "someone or something" to tell her. -This is just a short intro, not final. I just thought I would share a bit about the book. 
-Remember this is all fiction- and not based on any real events....this is just the stuff that comes out of my mind, and yes it's a bit weird or maybe even scary at times...just kidding.... I'm a writer it's just how we are!

My daughter, who recently went on a spring break trip out west, mentioned how sad the Indian reservations made her when they passed them. She noticed the homes looked ran down, and she worried the people needed help. This set my writing wheels into motion and my Google search button as well!

On my fathers side of my family we are blessed to have ancestors of the Black foot Indian tribe, so I began my search with them. I happened to be led elsewhere, to the Lakota of South Dakota. I am proud of our family's Indian heritage, and as many Americans should remember, many of us have ancestors of one or more Indian tribes.

During my book research I wanted to base the novel on an actual Indian reservation. I found one, and I was saddened and shocked at what I read, as I looked deeper. I found Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, the following is from the One Spirit Organization's web site. This is an amazing group of people, who are trying to assist the Lakota in improving their daily lives etc.-
The Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Reservations in South Dakota are part of a larger territory established for the Lakota in 1868 by the United States government and later parceled out to non-Native homesteaders and broken up into smaller tribal reservations. Today, Pine Ridge Reservation is home to about 40,000 Native Americans and Cheyenne Reservation about 20,000. According to the US Census Bureau, the reservations lie within the poorest counties in the United States.

Can you imagine that in the United States of America:
  • There is a group of people who have the shortest life expectancy of any group in the Western Hemisphere, outside of Haiti?
  • Families, children and elders go without food on a regular basis?
  • Families are often without heat during sub-zero temperatures?
  • People are without employment opportunities or adequate medical facilities?
That is the plight of Lakota People living on reservations in South Dakota.
  • Life Expectancy is 48 years for men and 52 years for women.
  • Unemployment is estimated to be 87%
  • 90% live below the Federal poverty level.
  • The teenage suicide rate is 3 1/2 times higher than the national average.
  • Infant mortality is five times higher than the national average
  • Diabetes, heart disease, cancer and malnutrition are epidemic.
     
     Despite hardship and adversity, the Lakota maintain their cultural knowledge and traditions and preserve for their children and for the world, ancient wisdom that contributes to quality of life.
    • About 1/3 of the population still speak the Lakota language
    • Almost all maintain their traditional spiritual and cultural beliefs
    • They are leaders in knowledge of environmental preservation.
    • They are a sharing society - when one eats, they all eat - or they all do without.
    • Their exquisite bead work, quill work, quilting, sewing, painting is art at its best.
    • They wish to preserve their culture and find ways to be self-sufficient.
     
    This is just a portion of the information I found their is also a video by 20/20 about the reservation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJapHc7B8Xs. I had no idea this was going on in our country, so I wanted to share this information. If you have a moment please visit One Spirit's web site if you feel you would like to help. http://nativeprogress.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=188&
    Itemid=39
     
    I started the Indian reservation research for my next book, but my heart was touched by the real story's I found and that such proud people, the real first Americans are living this way. I have contacted One Spirit and learned how to help. I hope those of you reading this might do the same. 
     
    As most of you know I am a youth pastor, as well as a writer. I have decided to make the Lakota Indian reservation-Pine Ridge, part of a long term mission project for the youth of our church. We will be collecting clothing and household items on a monthly basis to help the Okini program. To learn more about the Okini program please follow the link here-
http://nativeprogress.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=193&Itemid=54&Name=Value


I look forward to the youth of our church, learning to help others less fortunate than they are and to grow their compassion for other people.

 Upon completion of my novel- titled -Unspeakable Things- I will be donating a portion of every book sold to the One Spirit organization. I plan to base the novel there to help bring awareness to the situation in Pine Ridge, in hopes readers just like you will feel it in your heart to help. I will also have an information page in book for readers on how to learn more about One Spirit, and how to assist the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

So, my journey to the writing of my next novel not only opened my eyes to a great injustice going on in our country but fueled my desire to help. I look forward to writing this book, maybe more so than any of my other novel's. My greatest wish is that my book will help bring awareness to the Lakota Indians of Pine Ridge and in turn more helping hands to make their lives better.


Many Blessing to all of you!
Heather

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