Message From The Author
For almost 20 circles of the seasons, the great spirit has blown favorable winds across Janelle Taylors writing career. The enormous popularity of her nine-book Gray Eagle series generated two New York Times bestsellers and three million-copy Publishers Weekly bestsellers. As Gray Eagle goes into its 129th printing, Janelles editor has given the green light for another authentic Indian series.
Janelles new four-book series, Lakota Skies, unfolds through the lives of Chief Rising Bears four children starting in
spring 1851, just before the Treaty of the Long Meadows (Fort Laramie peace treaty), and ending in 1857.
LAKOTA WINDS begins with the eldest sons story. Wind Dancer and his beautiful warrior mate, Chumani, are brought together by their tribe through a sacred vision. The hero and the heroine are embittered by the misery inflicted by the Crow tribe, and they have lost hope. Reluctantly, they obey the sacred vision that promises that Wind Dancer and Chumani together will save their people and their way of life. The series continues to explore the impact of the Long Meadows treaty on the Oglala Lakota: their culture, hopes, dreams, love and pain.
Janelle writes with such incredible feeling and authenticity that she has won the respect and trust of present-day Lakotas.
To show their gratitude, they extended a rare invitation for Janelle to attend their annual PowWow in the Dakotas Black Hills. Although she had not realized it, Janelle had been working toward this honor all her life.
Raised in a small town outside Atlanta, Georgia, Janelle recalls her early introduction to Indian life: I had two brothers who always were playing cowboys and Indians and, of course, they both wanted to be the cowboys so they would make me the Indian. I also liked boys adventure books better
and basically was quite the tomboy.
Whenever I played with my
brothers, read the books or watched the movies, it was the Indian who was portrayed as the bad guy or loser. I wanted to turn it around. So when I started writing, I wanted to write from the Indians perspective.
That desire was fueled in part by Janelles voracious reading of anything she could find that related to Indians and their writings. She found herself particularly impressed by the writings of the members of the Oglala tribe of the Dakota nation.
That special affinity inspired her to focus on the Oglalas in her first series and then to return to the tribe when she was asked
to do the Lakota Skies series.
That affinity also inspired her to immerse herself in every conceivable aspect of the Lakota culture, including learning their language, religion and mystic beliefs. She found herself greatly assisted in these efforts by Hiram Owen, a Lakota translator and educator who has since joined the
ghost trail. It was through his efforts that she found herself invited to the PowWow, where she was witnessed ceremonies that were normally prohibited to whites.
Janelles drive for first-hand knowledge does not stop at the Indian culture and language but extends to the location and
setting of her stories. My husband is my advance scout for the location aspect of a book or series. He goes out and videotapes the area, as well as taking still pictures. And then I come in behind, and he outlines the important aspects.
It was during her husbands research into Fort Laramie that he came upon the 1851 treaty. Suspecting it would prove
valuable, he brought a copy home to Janelle. With her intimate knowledge of Indian
culture, Janelle realized that she had uncovered the historical context that would provide the structure and conflict for her series.
The following excerpt is a sneak peek at book one.
Later as they lay on their sleeping mat, Wind Dancer suggested they practice kissing and touching to make their behavior appear convincing in public. He alleged he was concerned his people might worry about the impending Sacred Vision Quest if it looked as if they were not well matched in their joining and feelings. To his delight, his wife agreed.
Even so, Chumani told herself she was cooperating only to safeguard the secret of their unconsummated relationship
Yet, it was a fierce struggle not to lose herself in the passion and pleasure of that ensuing episode.
His mouth was skilled and delicious upon hers. His hands were gentle and arousing on her body His mood was tender and caring in her perception, and he seemed to enjoy their game.
Her previous doubts about him vanished for a while as he enchanted her entire being. It was exciting and flattering to have great warrior and future leader pursue her, and to do so with persistence and without
a great rush to seek his own appeasement. She liked viewing this side of him, the gentle and sensitive man. It gave her the chance to become more relaxed around and with him before they united their bodies in an intimate and special manner if it was not enjoyable or was painful to her, that would breed problems between them when she became resistant to future mating.
Wind Dancer struggled to retain control of his overtures and her effect on him. She was so tempting, so beautiful, so responsive that it evoked a fierce yearning in him to possess her fully. But, he reasoned,
if he did so, she would believe he
had tricked her into submission.
For now, he must be satisfied just
to hold her, to taste her lipsto
heighten her awareness of him as
a man. Yet, he realized he had
to halt their stimulating behavior
soon or stopping would be
impossible for him
Currently, Janelle is completing the final book in the series, LAKOTA NIGHTS which will be released late next year.
As for her next project, Janelle is uncertain which direction the winds will blow. But she is certain they will continue to be favorable, for her career involves lifelong passions of reading and writing. I truly enjoy what I do and
feel so lucky that I am successful at
what I do. But, one of my biggest thrills is when I receive a letter from one of my readers who tells me how my book inspires them to get back into reading.
And, for Janelle that is the
Look for the paperback edition of LAKOTA WINDS (May 99), hardcover edition of LAKOTA DAWN (Feb 99), LAKOTA FLOWER (Mar. 2000), and LAKOTA NIGHTS (Nov. 2000). Write to Janelle @ P.O. Box 211646, Martinez, GA 30917-1646. Send an SASE for a bookmark or newsletter.
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