The Book That Wouldn’t Be Published

As a Native American Historian, I wanted to write about events of the nineteenth century from a different perspective by showing original citizens as I think they were. Yet, I wasn’t bold enough to create a Native American protagonist. Instead, I compromised by creating a white man who interacts with Natives, and, in the process, they develop mutual respect.

Two actual events are depicted in the story. First is the Nueces River Massacre which deals with the German immigrant population in Texas who refuse to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy and the consequences of that decision. The other is the first battle of Adobe Walls, where troops under the command of Kit Carson fight combined forces of Kiowa and Commanche.

Other actual skirmishes are referred to but not discussed in great detail. Fights like the 1859 Antelope Hills massacre pitting Texas Rangers and Tonkawa warriors against a defenseless Commanche village. The Sand Creek Massacre in the Colorado Territory between Colorado Militia under the command of John Chivington against Black Kettles Cheyenne is also mentioned. Everything makes sense so far, so how did A Ranger’s Revenge become the book that wouldn’t be published?

The first inkling of a potential problem occurred four chapters into the writing. I didn’t like it! The story takes place over two years, and I thought it would work to compress it into one year by using the technique of flashbacks. I had done this in a previous book, and it seemed fine, but here, it was far too difficult. The result was a re-write. The original first chapters are still present, except now they begin as chapter fourteen. That’s right, I started over and wrote over half the book anew.

After completing the writing, I farmed out the editing to a professional editor and began the search for a publisher. After numerous submissions of synopsis and first three chapters, I received a contract. My publisher knew I was completing the final chapters of editing and had no issues. Instead of sending the final two chapters to the editor, I sent the whole manuscript as an attachment to an email.

Hours after sending, I got a response from her that said there was no attachment. I checked my “sent” file, and she was right, no attachment. In fact, the entire manuscript had vanished from my hard drive. With the help of a former programmer from IBM, my computer was scrutinized with no result. A Ranger’s Revenge was gone. All I had left was a completely unedited hard copy. The publisher agreed to continue with their own editing team if I would pay to have it transcribed into a Word document.

That should have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. Not by a lot. Somewhere along the line during the beginning or the editing process, the publisher got into a squabble with another author about how much time it was taking to publish his book, and, for what ever reason, he got me confused with that other writer. I received a terse email saying “You want it published, here it is.” The original, unedited manuscript, complete with ugly cover, was suddenly available for sale through Amazon.

Through legal wrangling, I got the publication stopped, and the undelivered books sent to me. What I could not do, however, was void my contract. For the next three years, Ranger was dead. Since I was prohibited from writing anything using the same characters or actions, my plans for sequels vanished along with my interest in writing.

As the years passed, I became more involved with Native history and culture, and with inspiration from the likes of Tony Hillerman (The Lt. Leaphorn Series), I decided to create a Native Protagonist, Rick Davis, and Through The Eyes of an Assassin was born. Its completion roughly coincided with the end of my contract, and I got the now defunct publishing company to finally send me a resumption of rights letter.

After extensive rewriting and editing, the book that wouldn’t be published is today available worldwide. I hope it’s one you can enjoy.

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