Thursday, November 2, 2017

Historical fiction can reveal hidden truths

     Ralph Waldo Emerson is among the inspirations I had for writing the historical novel, Winter of the Metal People.
     From reading the Spanish chronicles about Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, who led the first European expedition into the American Southwest in 1540-42, it became immediately obvious that the Spanish side of the story was being told over and over. What was lacking, however, was the Pueblo Indian viewpoint.
     The expedition led to the first named Indian war in what is now the United States — the Tiguex War (pronounced TEE-wesh). But how could the expedition or war be understood without learning both sides of the story?
     Emerson's quote of "Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures" helped me to realize that the Pueblo Indian side of the story could be told with plausible narrative filling in the deliberate gaps in the Spanish chronicles. The natives never wrote their viewpoint, nor do they talk about it very much even today. After nearly 500 years, I told their perspective for the first time in Winter of the Metal People based on the best historical, archaological and anthropology research since, interviews with Pueblo Indians, and logical assumptions based on what little is known.

Friday, September 22, 2017

2nd edition of Winter of the Metal People

The second edition of Winter of the Metal People was released in October by Sunbury Press.
     This edition includes a glossary of names and places, as well as endnotes providing historical background and sources for this relatively unknown period of America's early history in the sixteenth century.
     Although endnotes were always available on my author's website, serious readers of history wanted the endnotes also printed in the book. Others asked for a glossary to help with the unfamiliar names of sixteenth-century people and places.
     The first and second editions extensively report for the first time the Pueblo Indian point of view and experiences during the 1540 expedition of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and his warfare against Puebloans. The result was the Tiguex War, the first named war between Europeans and Native Americans in what is now the United States.
     Novelist Margaret Coel said of the book:
     "A riveting historical novel of immense scholarship and insight. Dennis Herrick makes the story of the first American Indians in the West to face the military might of European forces a vivid and real as if Coronado's expedition had ridden out of Mexico yesterday. Winter of the Metal People will forever influence your perception of the stunning landscapes and rich cultures of the Southwest."
     Historian Richard Flint wrote:
     "Herrick skillfully brings the Native side ... into vivid focus. We are brought to imagine the complexity and variety of Pueblo reactions as they struggle to come to grips with the foreign presence and how it violently impacts their lives and traditions."
     Said anthropologist David Stuart:
     "A vivid historical novel that brings to life the epic winter of 1540–41 as Spanish and Pueblo Indian worlds collided. Herrick's narrative ... is the closest we will ever get to standing on a hill above an ancient Pueblo community and witnessing the gritty reality of history."
     From the book review by John Kachuba of the Historical Novel Society:
     "This novel is highly recommended for those interested in the history of the American Southwest and its native peoples."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Approval for Esteban biography

The biography I wrote, Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America, has been approved for publication by University of New Mexico Press.
     The book will become available in 2018.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Latest version of short story collection

The latest updated anthology of my collection of short stories in Guest Bedroom now includes 17 titles. Most but not all are available on my author's website. The titles in the collection are:

The Woman With a Rain PotThe AncestorThe Bullet That Saved MeGive Me the Country LifeA Missing Tourist in MexicoHunting SeasonIt Only Cost Two TeethAn Unwilling PatientWoman Without a NameSpirit JourneyThe Final FarewellThe GiftTo Steal What is SacredShadows of a Lost TimeAlien VisitorsThe Indian Who Defied CoronadoSitting Bull Rising From the Grave — The Christmas Shopper

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sci-Fi novel about alien invasio

My latest book is a sci-fi novel titled War of the Planet Burners, about a first-conact alien invasion of Earth. But why did they come? And what are they after?
     Here's a brief synopsis of the novel:
     Humans fight extinction in War of the Planet Burners, a sci-fi thriller about interplanetary alien invasion in the near future.
     The Master Intelligence came to harvest what it needed from Earth. It sent its slave warriors to fight anyone who resisted. The aliens killed nearly all humans and destroyed technology by eliminating electricity. That tactic had suppressed resistance on other inhabited planets.
     But humanity wouldn't give up.
     Sci-fi novelist Jane Lindskold wrote about the book:
     "War of the Planet Burners has the feel of classic post-disaster SF novels, such as John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, in which a small fragment of humanity struggles to survive against both technological challenges and genocidal, inhuman attackers"

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Another short story added to anthology

One great advantage to a self-published book is that you can continue to make changes and are not locked into having typos appear forever in your work.
     Pueblo Mysteries, my collection of short stories about Pueblo Indian culture and history, started out with only four short stories. Later I added a fifth, and now I've added a sixth. Also over the years, I've often corrected typos, improved the writing, and in the most recent edit I eliminated many unnecessary dialog tags.
     You don't have that kind of flexibility with a commercial publisher. Once a typo makes its way into a commercially published book, for example, it remains there until and if your publisher ever permits another edition. Even then, any edits you would like to see might not be allowed.
     My stories in Pueblo Mysteries, in the order they were written, are Hunting Season, An Unwilling Patient, The Ancestor, The Woman with a Rain Pot, To Steal What is Sacred, and now Shadows of a Lost Time.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Two more blurbs for sci-fi novel

Two avid sci-fi fans who advised on my sci-fi novel, War of the Planet Burners, have also written blurbs that are in the book. They are as follows:

"War of the Planet Burners is an exciting Sci-Fi book about alien invasion of Earth and the desperation of a handful of human survivors fighting to avoid extinction in a world without electricity. An action-packed story that you won't be able to put down."
—Brian Gilmore, retired Navy captain and aviator

"War of the Planet Burners is science fiction at its best. A battle with interplanetary dimensions pits the brains and courage of Earth’s humans against an interplanetary force of a scientifically more advanced species in a struggle over who will ultimately own the small planet on which we live. Earth’s military and civilians combine resources, even though deprived of the majority of our current technology, in an exciting story that kept my interest all the way through. "
—Jack Ellis, retired Air Force officer and electrical engineer

The book was published by Moonshine Cove Publishing on June 7 and is available at ebook or paperback on