How Coyote the Trickster Sneaks in and Twists a Story, by K.M. del Mara

Always lurking behind the scenes in my new book, Twist a Rope of Sand, is Coyote the Trickster. You may not notice him nosing amongst boulders, but he’s there, observing all comings and goings, never missing a thing, not even the Chopin nocturnes someone practices daily. Music does soothe the savage beast, they say, and Coyote knows those nocturnes to the last note.

Although Coyote Trickster turned out to be essential to this book, it was not my intention to feature him in any way. Granted, the previous book in this mini-series, Vagabond Wind, also had a trickster figure who put mischievous ideas into peoples’ heads, or brought unlikely loners together. But I thought I was finished with merry pranksters when I closed that book.

That tricksy character, though, had other ideas. Somehow he transformed, grew fur and ears, and popped out from behind a rock. Scared me half to death, too, if I own the truth, having only seen a coyote once in my life. But as this new story settled itself into the high desert of the southwest, I realized, even as I tried to ignore him, he would not go away. Then, wandering around online, I tripped over Janet Kessler’s wonderful site. I am learning a lot reading her posts, but the thing that first drew me in was a remarkable image she captured, of Coyote and Raven in the very midst of an altercation. How Janet ever caught such an interchange on camera is beyond me, but that image wrote the first chapter of the book. And, spoiler alert, more besides.

They say authors succumb to writer’s block when their imaginary friends stop talking to them. This coyote, though, will not keep quiet. He still whispers in my ear even though I’ve closed the cover on that book. I’m thinking that, if I can pass him along to a few readers, maybe he’ll leave me alone. But I warn you, beware! If he puts his nose over your doorsill, you never know what will happen. And so, allow me to offer you a chance to meet Señor Coyote. But watch yourself carefully if he’s around. That guy is not to be trusted.

Twist a Rope of Sand, by K.M. del Mara

It’s available from Amazon here.

Visit me at www.kmdelmara.com

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PS: [Raven/Coyote story can be found here]

Twist a Rope of Sand, A Paradox, by Karen del Mara

          Sometimes, when you need something, it just falls into your lap. That happened while I was looking for images of coyotes recently. I am writing a story about three kids who visit Bandelier, New Mexico during the Depression and shortly before the Civilian Conservation Corps arrives to develop it into a national monument. The book will be a sequel to Vagabond Wind, the Adventures of Anya and Corax. In the new book, before the kids take center stage, I needed to call upon those mythic characters, Coyote and Raven, to help fill in the background story of Frijoles Canyon.

        By chance I tripped over a photo that perfectly illustrates the encounter of these two rivals. It led me to Coyoteyipps, Janet Kessler’s wonderful site. Janet has very kindly allowed me to use this amazing image in this, a sample from Twist a Rope of Sand, More Adventures of Anya and Corax. If you’d like to be occasionally updated about the progress of this book, you can e-mail me at kmdelmara dot com, or check www.kmdelmara dot com.

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TWIST A ROPE OF SAND
There has always been a Trickster.
Since the Time of Beginnings, the Old Ones knew him as
a symbol uniting opposites:
Transformer and Destroyer, Joker and Truth-Teller.
He is contradiction and paradox,
because everything in our world is balanced by its opposite.
We may complain that nothing ever changes,
but if that Trickster puts his nose over the doorsill
our life can turn in the space of one pawprint.
And herein lies a tale.

A PARADOX
Circa 1050 C.E.
Near Frijoles Canyon, New Mexico

          She rides the hot thermals with barely a flap of her wings. High she soars, impenetrably black against the sky.  That is how Raven is the first to see what is coming, one day while she circles lazily over the sweltering Parajito Plateau.

          Out there, far away across the mesa. Something unfamiliar.

          But this distraction is forgotten a moment later when she spies her enemy. Coyote! That enemy she so loves to hate. It’s that old trickster Coyote himself, creeping along the rim of the canyon, slinking among the boulders, probably stalking a marmot or a pica.

          Haha, Senor Coyote! No pica for you today, Raven croaks to herself.

          Coyote, glimpsing the shadow of Raven hovering above him, crouches low and prepares to lunge at her. With a scream, Raven dives and swoops past him, nearly clipping his ear and hoping to alert any prey to Coyote’s presence.  Coyote rears up, snapping his ferocious jaws but catching only the odor of Raven’s dirty feet. So intent on Coyote is she, that she nearly collides with a branch of a pinon tree.

          As so often happens for Coyote, though, the encounter works in his favor. Raven’s attack alerts him to another danger. Out there, what is that he sees? Anxiety sharpens his perception. Vague, indistinct forms, rippling in the shimmering heat of the plateau, the oddest band of creatures he has ever seen. He sits up and watches them, yipping small panicked cries, ears alert, nose scenting. What are those strange animals? There are many of them, definitely coming his way. Alarmed, Coyote turns, disappears over the rim of the canyon, and threads his way down the cliff.

          He and his extended family have made homes in this canyon for time out of mind. What would happen if those strange creatures discover this beautiful place? Would they want to stay? He fears that, in a blink of his yellow eyes, his life could be upended, his home dislocated, his children endangered, the prey he hunts no longer in their customary haunts. Everything would change.

          Ah, Senor Coyote, you are right to be afraid. Yes, even you, with your breed’s superior ability to adapt. Your old habits, old comforts may have to be left behind, and it may happen that you are allowed only a sliver of time in which to move on. Things can change just that quickly, and suddenly the dark angel of fear is standing at your shoulder.

          But you, Senor, you best of all, realize that you must release this dark angel, as you have needed to do, time and again. Because then and only then do the archangels enter; you discover what is waiting for you. And Time spins loose from the eddy that snagged it, and flows on to its secret destination.

          Meanwhile, …. [press here to read more]

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