The three short stories featured below focus on a secondary character in the Secrets of Ravenshire novels. Originally written and submitted as entries for annual anthologies published through the Las Vegas Writers Group, the setting had to be Nevada. Although the primary action in my novels (so far) takes place in 18th and 19th century England, Henry, the 11th Earl of Ravenshire, started a trading company and traveled the world. I decided to take one of my characters, Jean-Louis, a French fur trapper who met the earl in Canada around 1790 and returned to England with him, becoming his bodyguard and confidante, and create a backstory around him.
Research revealed that the first report of a white man in Nevada occurred around 1776, so the 1784 setting worked. French trappers traded with the Indian tribes, so it was plausible. If the stories had not been accepted for publication, I figured that I still achieved more character depth and understanding from the process. I liked doing this, although short is not my go-to format and even my short stories run long. I intend to do more short stories centered on Jean-Louis and other secondary characters, maybe as diversions between trilogies.
The Search for the Snow Tribe
A quest was the theme for stories accepted for the 2015 anthology, Tales from the Silver State II. in The Search for the Snow Tribe, Jean-Louis meets a Paiute shaman during an encounter with a cougar in the plains of the Canadian west. The Paiute's quest for ceremonial herbs that only grow in that area is successful, but he dies saving Jean-Louis from an attack. Fulfillment of the quest is undertaken by Jean-Louis, who must find the Snow Tribe and deliver the life-saving herbs to them. During the process, we learn his survival skills and how he bridges cultural gaps to create enduring ties of love and respect.
The Flight of the Eagle Feather
Sacrifice was the theme for stories accepted for the 2016 anthology, Tales from the Silver State III. In The Flight of the Eagle Feather, Jean-Louis confronts his life's choices in 1825 and makes the trek back from England to the American West to find the Snow Tribe. He finds a lasting legacy from his previous adventures and settled in to build a new life for the years that remain.
The Promise of the White Buffalo
Redemption was the theme for stories accepted for the 2017 anthology, Tales from the Silver State IV. Jean-Louis takes his place as a valued member of the Snow Tribe and explores the developing west and the changes that will change the Native American lands forever.