Father Serra - Missionary

Father Serra - Missionary
Always forward, never back

Monday, October 15, 2012

Leatherjacket Soldier

Well, I've finished the novel and am sending it off to the publisher for consideration.

For your consideration, here is the Synopsis:

Fernando Rivera is born in Compestella, Mexico in 1752. His father, a minor government functionary dies, leaving the family in poverty. Jesuit priests have taught Fernando to read, write, and do sums. Fernando enlists as a common soldier for the light cavalry, known as Leatherjacket Soldiers. He serves well and is selected for assignment to the military garrison in Loreto, Baja California, the capitol of the province. He rises from private to sergeant. All are shocked when he, a mere Criollo, is elevated by the viceroy to the rank of captain to be the military commandant of California. This was due to urging by Jesuits priests he had well served. When the Jesuits are forced to leave the New World to be replaced by Franciscans, he continues to perform his duties even after having been replaced. He later becomes governor of Upper California. However, as he was born in Mexico, he is considered to be a second class member of Spanish society. He is replaced again by another titled individual from Spain and sent back to Loreto. There, Fernando continues to serve his king with dignity and dedication. The viceroy determine the pueblo of Los Angeles will be founded and Fernando is tasked to recruit soldiers and settlers, along with livestock. At what is now Yuma, Arizona, Fernando sends half the livestock to Mission San Gabriel. He and his small band are attacked by local Indians. He is slain, dying a pauper as he has not received pay for five years, leaving his survivors in poverty.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Phew! It's in the can!

At least that's what I understand they say in Hollywood.

At long last I have finished the first draft of Leatherjacket Soldier, the story of Don Fernando Rivera whom I have written about on this blog.

This is one of those characters who, as a story teller, I find creates himself, even across the centuries. My task was to ensure accuracy and to keep to the historical timeline. At the same time, I worked to bring he and his companions to life so readers can enjoy learning about him as much as I.

Stories sometime present themselves in the strangest way. Don Fernando played a role in my first novel, The Sailor and The Carpenter. He became even more involved in The King's Highway. But, as Timothy and Jaime were my main characters, Don Fernando clearly had to play a much more minor role.

I finished The Missions Bloom and started the fourth and final, The Missions Wither, when I did the three part blog post on Don Fernando. It was then when I realized his life deserved more attention. In conducting extensive research, I found myself admiring and respecting his professional and dedicated life as a founder of European civilization in the Californias. How many had every really heard about him? Or understood who he was and what he represented - a Soldado de Cura - or the Spanish heavy cavalry.

My task now is one most writers/authors dread - the editing and revising. Trying to clear up the extra stuff that comes out as our ideas go down on the page. Even with spell-checkers and automatic word clues, things pass that we either fail to see or become so deep into what we're trying to say we simply ignore it. I will do a quick grammar and spell check and will then set it aside to let it cool off. Fortunately, there are two or three who have indicated a desire to read it, not for a line-by-line edit or comments, but to review and comment on it. That provides an invaluable service for writers - to get some feedback from others we don't know and have no personal agenda.

Sigh. I enjoyed it so much that I'm kinda sad it's done - at least for now.