I’m writing another novel about early Texas in the 1840’s. One of the characters is the child of a ‘mission Indian.’ The girl’s name is Scottish, Angelina Cromarty, because the character’s father was Scottish.
Yes, I’ve written a plot in which a priest from Scotland knocked up a Native American who lived in the village next to the Alamo Mission. This was in the 1700’s, before San Antonio grew up around the old mission, that turned into a fort, that turned into a US Army warehouse, which finally turned into Texas’ most famous iconic structure and tourist attraction.
I was brooding about whether creating a horny priest was being fair to the situation back in the 1700’s, when the Catholic Church worked diligently to Christianize as many Native Americans in this part of of the world as they could. Then I saw an online image of this wonderful 1930’s mural. It is still on display on the wall of an old mission building near Goliad, Texas. Apparently, during Texas’ Centennial celebrations, at least one artist shared my less than pure suspicions. Take a look at the entire mural, then the segment of special interest with the padre and the bare young native woman, and see if you agree with me.
Today I watched a short political campaign video of a woman running for a seat in the US Congress. She's from Round Rock, a suburb just north of Austin, Texas. She is married, mother of three kids, has a big upper arm tattoo, and worked as an F-16 mechanic for five years before she went to Air Force flight school.
Next, she served five tours in Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot. She flew rescue missions to pick up wounded soldiers and fliers, until she herself was eventually shot down on a mission. She was rescued by another helicopter, and fired a weapon defensively from the door of that helicopter once she got on board. She was awarded a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross for her valor. Pretty admirable military service record. Her name is Mary Jennings Heger.
I have a goofy writer’s connection to Mrs. Heger’s story. By coincidence, today, the very same morning I read about candidate Heger’s impressive actions as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, I am writing a similar scenario. Only the Heger inspired character in my Texas history dragon fantasy novel, is the giant flying female horny toad dragon herself.
Six hundred marauding Comanche warriors have burned down the town of Linnville, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico (that happened historically) and captured a few Anglo women during the raid. (also historically true). My horny toad dragon and her two female human companions/riders are going to fly cover for the Texas militiamen in pursuit of the Comanches, and attempt to rescue the women in the confusion of the coming battle. (the historical Battle of Plum Creek.) The plan will go awry, but there will be brave and heroic women in the middle of the action, both of the human and dragon kind.
To be sure, writing a fantasy dragon-based historical fiction novel about early Texas has garnered glazed-over-eye reactions from some of my men friends. Granted, that most dragon fantasy books seem to be set in the middle ages or on alien worlds. But I love Texas. and I’ve always loved dragon tales, and I’m thoroughly enjoying writing this one. No apologies here. Maybe no sales either, since Comanches and dragons are not usually paired together in the same tall tale. We’ll see later this year when it’s a done deal.
Meanwhile, kudos to combat rescue pilot, and now, Congressional candidate Mary Jennings Heger. Good luck in November, Ma’am.