Friday Sampler: Native Lands by P. C. Zick
January 22, 2016
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors and novels in the marketplace today. Friday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Native Lands, a romantic, environmental thriller from P. C. Zick.
As one reviewer said: There are secrets, plot twists, murder and more entwined in a gripping tale of Global Corporate Greed and the small town hero’s who are trying to uncover what the heck is happening in the ‘Glades’.
When their environment is torn apart by a conglomerate of international interests, a tribe of native Floridians thought to be extinct rise up and form their own oddly matched conglomerate, and with the assistance of nature, attempt to halt the destruction of the natural world they treasure. Cultural boundaries established centuries ago are erased as love and nature seek the balance lost in the battle for power and control of the last of the Florida frontier.
Native Lands is a novel rich in intrigue and history as a tribe of Native Americans, thought to be extinct, fight to save their beloved heritage. They join with others willing to sacrifice everything to save further destruction of the Everglades and St. Augustine.
Join Locka and Mali as they lead their tribe of Timucuans away from the Spanish near St. Augustine in 1760 and settle into a new life in the Everglades alongside the Calusa Indians. Their progeny grow up in the Everglades, attempting to keep their bloodlines pure.
By 2010, Mangrove Mike, Joey Cosmos, and Rob Zodiac live among the white people and learn that the human connection transcends the fear of extinction of their people. Barbara Evans in the Everglades and Emily Booth in St. Augustine are the glue as the different cultures combine forces to fight a conglomerate of international interests.
It’s a dangerous journey as this oddly matched group attempts to halt the destruction of the natural world they treasure. Cultural boundaries established centuries ago are erased as love and nature seek the balance lost during the battle for power and control of the last of the Florida frontier.
Barbara Evans sat in the living room of her house on the western edge of Chokoloskee Island, leafing through past issues of Sierra magazine, searching for an idea for her next column. She listened to the news from the television, only looking up when the local weather presented NOAA’s prediction for an active hurricane season. Then the newscaster began a report that caused Barbara to put down the magazine and devote her full attention to the screen.
“Yesterday, wood storks in Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area attacked a young boy as his mother shot this video of the assault,” the announcer said.
Barbara watched as a boy, approximately ten years old, was crying as a wood stork’s beak poked at the Mickey Mouse portrait stamped on the front of his T-shirt. Another stork approached and began nudging the foam snout of the alligator hat on the boy’s head. A man ran into the frame of the video, yelling and scaring off the wood storks as the boy howled.
“Officers from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission are handling the situation. Here to talk with us is the agency’s spokesperson, Larry Castle. Larry, what’s your agency doing to make sure the tourists are safe in the Everglades?”
“Along with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we’re asking residents and visitors to our great state to keep their distance from wildlife,” Larry said, wearing a green shirt and hat with the logo from the state’s fish and wildlife agency. “They shouldn’t feed wildlife or make any attempts to capture or touch them.”
“The parents say the wood storks just came up and attacked their child,” the newscaster said.
“Wildlife usually keeps to itself unless tempted by food. We’re investigating, but the safest thing anyone can do is to enjoy wildlife from a distance with a zoom lens on the camera.
“Thank you, Larry. The family told us they are cutting short their vacation because of this unwarranted aviary violence. Governor Rick Scott offered the family a week’s stay in Miami to make up for the attack, but the family declined the offer.”
“My son may never get over this attack.” The mother, wearing a white visor with a Minnie Mouse label on the front, appeared on the screen. “His favorite hat is now in shreds in the swamp. It has been one horrible experience.”
The newscaster came back on the screen. “The video of the attack was recorded by the mother on her cell phone.”
Barbara ran her fingers through her short curly red hair, and with the other hand reached for her phone to call Stan Hogan, her editor at The Miami Herald.
“Stan, I’ve got to write the story about the wood stork attacking the family at Big Cypress,” Barbara said. “You’ve got to let me do it.”
“If I let you write the article, it’s off limits for your column,” Stan said. “You write an objective piece, but no editorializing. Agreed?”
“Then I can write a column about it in a few weeks.”
“No. You’ve been hired as a columnist. If you want to go back to reporting, then we’ll start you on covering the commission meetings in the communities around Lake Okeechobee.”
“Come on, Stan. You know I can write a good piece. I don’t know why you won’t let me.”
“That’s my final say on the subject. You write your column or you start working the Glades County beat.”
“All right, all right.” Barbara knew being assigned the rural beat near the shores of Lake Okeechobee amounted to a death sentence for a writer. “The column is better because I can ask, ‘why the hell was the mother recording the attack instead of protecting her child?’ The kid deserved getting attacked just for wearing that stupid alligator hat. Tell them to pull the column I wrote for this week. I’ll have the new one to you later this afternoon.”
“No ‘those tourists deserved it’ crap. You got me into a load of trouble with that last piece about the pigeons and doves at that wedding in Disney World. One of the copy editors should have caught the line ‘anyone who chooses to get married in the land of Mickey Mouse deserves dead doves floating down during the vows.’”
“I can’t help it if nature keeps biting back,” Barbara said. “Just be sure they pull my old column.”