The Way of the Eagle Wins Third National Award!


I am so happy to announce that my novella, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening, has won its third national award!  It has been named Finalist in the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA), in the Cross-Genre Fiction category. 

The announcement showing the book cover is located on the NIEA website, HERE.

Apparently there was a slight mix-up because not all winners and finalists were notified, so when the awards were first announced in a general email, I didn’t think it had won anything.  Fortunately the award organizer realized the problem and sent a new email August 1st.  And that’s how I found out, to my great delight. 

Check out the book if you haven’t already – it’s available for $3.99 on Kindle, HERE! on Amazon.com.  It’s illustrated with five beautiful pieces of original art by award-winning artist, J.H. Soeder. 

You can read the Kindle book even if you don’t have a Kindle, since Amazon now has apps for all devices, PCs, and you can also sign up for their Cloud Reader and just read it online. When you check out, you are given the option to select which format(s) you want it and how/where you want to read. Pretty cool!

The Way of the Eagle Named Medal-winning Finalist in 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards!

I’m proud to announce that The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening was named a Medal-Winning Finalist in the Novella category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. 

Meet Our Release Experts

The competition is the largest not-for-profit awards program for independent publishers and is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group (www.IBPPG.com) in cooperation with the Allen O’Shea Literary Agency.

The 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the second national award for The Way of the Eagle. In November 2011 the book was honored as a Finalist in USA Book News’s “Best Books 2011,” Visionary Fiction category. The Way of the Eagle has also been nominated for a 2012 Global Ebook Award.

The original peoples of the entire Los Angeles area, from the San Fernando Valley on the north to Orange County on the south, were a culturally rich tribe called the Gabrielino-Tongva (after their close association with the San Gabriel Mission during the Spanish Mission Era), or simply the Tongva, which means “People of the Earth” Their indigenous Southern California heritage outstrips the Spanish period by thousands of years, as it has been their homeland for at least 2500 years, and some sources say 5000.

Various Tongva tribal groups have organized and been recognized by local governments. More than 300 enrolled members of the Gabrielino-Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, and an estimated 2,000 or more descendants of the tribe, live throughout the Los Angeles-Orange County area. Individual bands of the Tongva have different names, such as the Fernandeño, and the Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.

Relatively few people are aware of this tribe because they were nearly exterminated in the period between the Spanish Mission Era and the nineteenth century. It was so close, in fact, and their numbers and culture were so decimated by missionization, disease and persecution, that some historians mistakenly believed they were extinct.

While there is no tribally owned land or reservation and the Tongva Nation has yet to be federally recognized, the tribe still exists and its families do work to preserve and restore their culture and important sites. An interesting place to visit is the Rancho Los Encinos Adobe. Stepping onto its grounds is like stepping back several centuries in time. It is not a Tongva village, but the buildings and artifacts show what the site looked like in the Spanish mission era. Its website states:

     “The site that is now known as Los Encinos was a “rancheria” (the Spanish term for an Indian village) of the tribe now called “Fernandeño”, “Gabrielino” or “Tongva,” for several thousand years. In 1797, when the San Fernando Mission was completed, the site was largely evacuated” (Los Encinos State Historic Park website).

D.E. Lamont’s book, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening, is set in the pre-1542 San Fernando Valley – that is to say, before any Europeans or Spanish explorers arrived and the indigenous inhabitants’ culture was still undisturbed. A historical fantasy, the book portrays a young Tongva brave’s misadventures in surviving the baffling and dangerous tasks assigned him by his mysterious spiritual mentor. Through these adventures and encounters, he gradually comes to know his own capabilities and spiritual identity.

While the story is a historical fantasy with much of the action from the author’s imagination, the settings as well as tools and implements of daily existence in this early period give readers the feel for what life for the Tongva in pre-European Southern California could have been like.

Reviews have been very complimentary. Kirkus, which selected the book as a Weekly Pick, wrote in its review:

     “There is hardly a word out of place … what is most commendable is the precision and unpretentiousness of the prose while still managing to invoke the intense quality of Tacu’s visionary quest and moving nature of his movement.”

Earlier in 2012, a judge in the 19th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, commented:

     “I found this ‘journey’ easy to follow, easy to enter into with Tacu, easy to rejoice, hurt, and cry with him on his path to maturity. … This book is nearly flawless and I found few areas, if any, that I could comment on in the area of improvements. It was very inspirational.”

The author, D.E. Lamont, was raised in several different towns in the booming San Fernando Valley during the 50s and 60s, including Encino, but was never taught that Native Americans had lived there originally. When she and her brothers found arrowheads, an ancient cave, and the vestiges of a native village site in the wild chaparral-covered hills and canyons surrounding the Valley, she wasn’t sure if these artifacts were real indications of original Native American inhabitants.

Later, as an adult, Ms. Lamont felt that it was ironic that thousands of years before the Hollywood film colony took root, a creative, resourceful and fun-loving people lived a rich, bountiful life in the same location.

The Way of the Eagle is available in quality softcover at Amazon.com, in illustrated ebook format at Smashwords.com and in the Kindle store at Amazon.com. The book contains five beautiful original black and white illustrations by J.H. Soeder, a California artist and environmentalist.

D.E. Lamont’s author website is located here. She can also be followed at Facebook, and at Twitter @DELamont1.

# # #

Great News – The Way of the Eagle Places in “Best Books 2011” Competition

I’m delighted to announce that The Way of the Eagle has been honored as an Award-Winning Finalist in the Visionary Fiction category of The USA “Best Books 2011” Awards, sponsored by USA Book News!

My book competed against many others in its category, including books published by mainstream publishers. Each category had one winner and several finalists. Recognition in its category of Visionary Fiction means a great deal to me, as one of my hopes for the book is to inspire others to explore their own spiritual and transcendental nature as well as enjoy my own main character’s journey to greater self-understanding and enlightenment.

The book’s listing on USA Book News can be viewed here!

 

Global Ebook Award Nomination Honors L.A.’s Original People, The Tongva

If
you asked a person on the street who the original inhabitants of Los
Angeles were, many would say the Spanish, and others the Mexicans. And
some might say the film companies! None of these would be correct.

The original peoples of Los Angeles were a culturally rich tribe called
the Gabrielino-Tongva, or just the Tongva, which means “People of the
Earth.” The name “Gabrielino” was used because so many Tongva lived and
worked in association with the San Gabriel Mission after its
establishment. But their native heritage outstrips the Spanish Mission
era by thousands of years: Southern California has been their homeland
for at least 2500 years, and some sources say 5000.

Relatively few people are aware of this tribe because they were nearly
exterminated in the period between the Spanish Mission Era and the
nineteenth century. It was so close, in fact, and their numbers and
culture were so decimated by missionization, disease and persecution
that some historians mistakenly believed they were extinct.

The good news is that the Tongva community is still here in its
homeland. More than 300 enrolled members of the Gabrielino-Tongva San
Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, and an estimated 2,000 or more
descendants of the tribe, live throughout the Los Angeles-Orange County
area. There is no tribally owned land or reservation and the Tongva
Nation has yet to be federally recognized, but various Tongva tribal
groups and bands are organized and have been recognized by local
governments.

The Tongva community works hard to recover and
preserve their culture, language, and native identity. The Tongva
community gathers for meetings and celebrations, to dedicate cultural
sites, and to participate in other community events. They also work to
prevent the destruction of sacred burial sites by developers.

An increasing number of Tongva historical sites, village sites and
markers have been formally dedicated. The story of how a peak in the
Verdugo Mountains came to be dedicated as Tongva Peak is linked here: articles.latimes.com/2001/aug/13/local/me-33740

As of February, 2012, the illegal and secret excavation by Los Angeles County of the remains of
Tongva tribe members and other early inhabitants of the original site of the city’s founding during the construction of the downtown LA
Plaza de Cultura y Artes project was still unresolved. Federal grant
money was still being withheld. See article: “Concerns over Indian
remains stall LA museum grant” indiancountrynews.net/index.phpblog.theautry.org/2011/05/05/george-harwood-phillips-on-stitching-together-the-story-of-a-people/

Author D.E. Lamont wished to honor the Tongva and let more people know
about them by writing a story about them set in the period before the
arrival of the Spanish in 1542. Her ebook novella, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening,
is a historical fantasy. It portrays a young Tongva brave’s adventures
in surviving the dangerous lessons given him by his mysterious spiritual
mentor and finally coming to know who he really is. Its well-researched
details can give readers a taste of what life for the Tongva might have
been like.

The Way of the Eagle has been well received. The softcover edition was designated a Weekly Pick by Kirkus, which wrote in its review,

“There is hardly a word out of place … what is most commendable is
the precision and unpretentiousness of the prose while still managing to
invoke the intense quality of Tacu’s visionary quest and moving nature
of his movement.”

The book was honored as an
Award-winning Finalist in USA Book News’s “Best Books 2011” in the
category of Visionary Fiction. A judge in another competition stated:


“I found this ‘journey’ easy to follow, easy to enter into with
Tacu, easy to rejoice, hurt, and cry with him on his path to maturity.
… This book is nearly flawless and I found few areas, if any, that I
could comment on in the area of improvements. It was very
inspirational.”

– Judge’s Commentary, 19th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, Jan. 2012

Lamont was raised in the rapidly developing San Fernando Valley during
the 50s and 60s, but was never taught that Native Americans were the original inhabitants. When she and her brothers found arrowheads, an ancient
cave, and the vestiges of a native village site in the wild
chaparral-covered hills and canyons surrounding the Valley, she wasn’t
sure if these artifacts were real. Later, as an adult, Lamont felt that
it was ironic that thousands of years before Hollywood, a creative,
resourceful and fun-loving people lived a rich, bountiful life in the
same locations.

The Way of the Eagle has been
nominated for a 2012 Global Ebook Award. Now in its second year, the
Global Ebook Awards honor and bring attention to the future of book
publishing—Ebooks. The Awards are presented in 72 specific categories.
They are open to all publishers large and small so that a winner is the
best in its category, not just the best of small or regionally-published
ebooks. globalebookawards.com/

Recent Praise for The Way of the Eagle

    I was gratified to find a thoughtful review of my book on the Goodreads.com website written by Beth, an historian in England whose avocation is reviewing historical fiction and other genres. As a new fiction author, I very much appreciate Beth taking the time to formulate this review. I have excerpted some of the comments from her long piece:

        “….The story reminded me strongly of the Native American myths and legends I read as a child, it manages to capture the same spirit and essence, but the characters and the plot are all new, and Lamont adds a fresh twist to the tale by including elements of the modern … Whilst the story implies that Europeans don’t arrive in the Tongva’s lands during Tacu’s lifetime, these little hints convey perfectly the steady encroachment into the Tongva’s consciousness, and later way of life, and best of all it’s done so subtly and without drawing undue attention to itself – for that is not the plot here, only the background setting…. [I]t is a joy to come across an author who draws such implications deftly and without breaking stride from the main plot of the novel, and Lamont implies more changes to come than sweeping doom and gloom.

    “Tacu’s story is reminiscent of the classic coming-of-age tales which have a popular place in Native American legend, and although it has a fresh twist to it, its foundation is grounded in the timeless story of a character in that awkward, transitional phase of life, struggling to find his or her place in the world…. 

    “It’s very clear that Lamont has done her research and knows her stuff, but as a writer she also knows how to employ it. Authentic details are used to garnish the setting and the plot, but Lamont does not allow them to distract from the plot or become the novella’s heart. The characters and the storyline are what bring The Way of the Eagle to life.
                                                
-Beth, Goodreads.com”

                                                                        

A Little More About “The Way of the Eagle”

I know it can be hard to know whether a story will interest you and decide whether or not to read it. I thought I’d let you know a little more of this story’s “inside story.” 

The thing that I believe is most unusual about my story is first, that it concerns a time period in the history of the west coast of North America (before the European explorers arrived), and an entire culture (that of the Tongva), which have been almost entirely omitted from literature.  To the best of my knowledge, very little has been written about Southern California’s original peoples. 

Because my book is about a culture which was all but wiped out, relatively little has generally been known about the Tongva as they existed then. Yet some of their place names have survived right up to the present in the names of streets and locations I heard all my life.  Cahuenga (Blvd.) came from Kawengna, Tujunga Canyon from Tuhungna, and Topanga Canyon from Topangna. There are many others.  I really wanted to bring back the reality of this rich original culture to people through my story, and bring some of its people – even though imaginary – alive. 

To help you envision the details better, I took care to describe the locations, natural plant life, and wildlife accurately.  Most of the locales in the story are real, because they are the places I frequented as I grew up. The final scene in the book takes place at an actual place high in the Santa Monica Mountains – which is a coastal range just north and west of Los Angeles. I won’t reveal where it is – but I am sure that some of you may be able to figure that out. It is a indeed a magical place. I went back there over the years a number of times to show it to special friends.  (The last time I was up there, I took a boyfriend to impress him – but afterward I scared the living daylights out of him by zooming down the winding canyon roads too fast in my VW bug. I had thought all men liked speed – I was wrong!)

The story, seen from Tacu’s viewpoint, is about many things, one of which is learning from your environment and what you see and encounter around you. It is also about becoming aware of more than just the physical objects, and about being able to take what life brings you and turn it to the best. I think you could say that Tacu learns to live life as a Tongva brave in a better, fuller, and more courageous way than he previously was able. 

Lastly, the book is a 136-page novelette – longer than most short stories, but not nearly as long as a novel.  I do hope you will get it and let me know what you think.

Incidentally, The Way of the Eagle is now available both on Kindle and in softcover – priced low to enable more people to be able to get it.  All versions, including the e-books, contain beautiful illustrations to help you enjoy Tacu’s journey and see a little of what he saw, all those centuries ago.  I’m very happy at the appearance of both the softcover and the Kindle versions.  In the Kindle e-book, the illustrations are big enough to see, and the cover is too!  The book will also soon be available for Apple mobile devices, Sony, Kobo, and others.

Have a great day – see if you can make it more and better!    D.E. Lamont

Welcome to The Way of the Eagle Journal!

Welcome to the first article of my Journal. Or, as the Tongva, the First People of Los Angeles, say in greeting, Nachochan!  That means literally “My eyes see your eyes, my hands are open.”

I’ve updated and reposted this article in celebration of having just published my novelette, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening. It’s now available on my website, at Amazon.com in both print and Kindle, and very soon will be in many mobile e-stores like Apple, Sony, and more. This Journal blog is also visible now on my pages at the Goodreads and Smashwords websites. 




First, to clarify, I am not of Native American descent. I had grandparents on one side who were Spanish/Mexican from Los Angeles, and on the other Russian/East European from New York. My website page, About the Author, describes how I first became interested in the Native American Indian culture as a child. 

Over the last couple of months, I’ve begun writing about subjects here relating to the book that are of great interest to me and, I hope, will be to you as well. A few of these include Native American spirituality, culture, and building bridges of understanding between Native and non-Native individuals. I’d welcome comments on these subjects from readers.

One special interest of mine is in showing how people have innate common spiritual qualities and abilities, no matter their specific background, religious or philosophical beliefs. These qualities are sacred in several senses of the word. What I mean is that, if anything about humanity is sacred and valuable, it is our inborn or native qualities and abilities, which I believe have their source in our spiritual nature.  They are then expressed through our human identity. Lots of these qualities are everyday things most people might not even describe as spiritual.  

One of my reasons for writing my book, The Way of the Eaglehas been to make Native American viewpoints and beliefs better known to non-Natives. Understanding is the basis of all progress and improved relations between people of good will. I hope to bring alive one narrow slice of the original Southern Californian Tongvan way of life and make it easier to imagine and understand what they may have thought, felt, understood, and experienced…and the spiritual knowledge and abilities they may have possessed. 

Fortunately the current American and European cultures have largely moved beyond automatically considering all native cultures “primitive,” as was almost universal in the 19th century and before. The amazing and profound speeches and statements of great Native American chiefs, leaders and orators show, in contrast, how enlightened and advanced their thought and beliefs were.

Therefore, in this website, I will find excerpts of great American Indian orators of the past and present that are legally OK to quote, so that others can begin to understand the beautiful way of life, thought and expression that preceded our own here in America. There is a huge amount we can learn from them, admire, and add to our own lives to make them better.

I’d love to hear from you via the comments box on my website Journal page, or my website Guestbook.  Please check back often to catch future Journal entries (or subscribe to receive the Journal via email by filling in the “Subscribe” window).   

My best until next time!
D.E. Lamont

The Birth of a Story

Each writer is different, and each writer finds his/her own way to come up with a story. For me the process is not at all mechanical or subject to a formula. And it changes a little with each new story. 

I only discovered what I wanted to write when I realized I had some things I wanted to say, and express, through fiction.  I’ve always loved writing, but unlike some others, I didn’t want to write until I had something I believed in to put down.  And then I discovered that my fiction would only work and  would only live in the reader’s mind when I wrote about something I cared about – or had an intense interest in. 

But fiction is tricky… a story really needs to have its own integrity, and value just as a story. It can’t just be a transparent vehicle for some political or social message to ride on.  A story needs to grip the reader and take them on a journey in which they do not know what is around the next corner – but really want to find out.  Story – STORY – is sacred.  It’s how the First Peoples passed on the events of their lives and generations.  And today, it’s how I create a world and get you to come into it.  And for all the eons we’ve been around as humanity, stories have been important to us. 

So, as I describe on my bio page, as a kid I loved to explore the hills and canyons surrounding the San Fernando Valley. I actually had a very strong desire to discover things different from my ordinary everyday surroundings.  And, having found a few Native American artifacts virtually in my own back yard, I wondered – could these be real, are they really what they appear to be?  As I got older and was able to drive myself around to explore the hills even further, I started to sense another presence in the open fields and places off the beaten track that the ever-spreading development hadn’t yet covered over.  And this feeling, this ephemeral sense of something, would periodically haunt me.  It was a deep feeling that there was something here that needed saying or writing about. 

A couple of decades and many interesting experiences passed.  From the late 70’s through the mid-80’s, I had had a series of about 7-8 very unusual dreams, which appeared to be lessons – some simple and some profound, some momentary and others longer – usually consisting of a spiritual or philosophical lesson presented as a living, 3D, color, interactive experience. Near the end of these dream experiences, and sometimes after I awoke, I had to discover the moral or the point, if it wasn’t obvious.  During the dreams, I always felt as if someone was communicating to me very deliberately. 

In one of these dreams, I was following an older Native American on horseback through a steep canyon.  Something happened, and our experience together taught me a profound lesson in a very beautiful way.  I awoke very moved by it. I immediately thought about putting it in a story. But I didn’t – for a long time.  

By the mid-90’s I was thinking of stories and ideas for stories a lot. My mind was working on ideas even when I wasn’t at a desk or computer. And in this frame of mind I had another dream, and when I awoke I was very excited, and knew I wanted to create a story out of what I had dreamed about, because it was true to what I cared about in many ways, and it could be set in the hills and oak woodlands of the western San Fernando Valley – the Tongva’s home territory for thousands of years before we got there.  And I realized also that I could finally incorporate what I had learned in my dream of six or eight years before, when I “rode” the dream landscape with a Siksika companion and teacher. 

So that was how and when this story was born – a bit unusual, and a bit ephemeral in nature – which is appropriate, I think.  What do you think?  I’d love to hear your comments and your own experiences.