Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Guest author Ruth Zavitsanos shares some of her research on Native Americans for her latest release, FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE.
Available now from WhiskeyCreek Press
When the concept of my historical romance, FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE, came to mind I knew I wanted the story’s setting to be America’s frontier just a few years after the Civil War. I also knew I needed to have some Indian upheaval to make the opening paragraphs work.

A run for the prey. A hunt for the kill.
This was no game of tag. Deer Shadow’s coal black eyes were filled with hunger.

Little Dove drew a deep shuddering breath. She turned to run again. Deer Shadow’s swift muscular legs would easily catch her shorter ones. She mustered up her courage to stop in her tracks just as he was about to tackle her.

A few pages later, Little Dove escapes the night before her tribal ceremony to marry Deer Shadow, the chief’s son, she considers a brother. It was important for Deer Shadow to be from a friendly tribe. However, later Little Dove comes across a stagecoach being attacked by a tribe on the warpath.
Cheyenne family
near tipi

After research, I found the Cheyenne to be the friendlier tribe and the Comanches were the more volatile group of Native Americans living on America’s frontier.

THE WAY IT WAS IN THE USA: THE WEST, By Clarence P. Hornung, became a major book of reference for this story. The book is easy to follow with some terrific sketches from the time periods the author details.

Cheyenne Mother
with baby
A chapter later, when the handsome trail guide comes across the aftermath of the stagecoach attack, he immediately notes the arrows and shape of the footprints.

In comparing the Cheyenne with the Comanche I found several vast differences, including their physical stature (The Comanches were three to four inches shorter than the Cheyenne) "judging from his tall muscular build, Seb figured he was probably Cheyenne.
Quanah Parker,
Kwahadi Comanche
There are other details about these two Native American tribes I sprinkle throughout the story, adding a true sense of the people who did not need to claim the frontier but rather belonged to it.

FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE is a MUST READ on the Night Owl Review earning 5 stars. It continues to receive a variety of highly favorable reviews and is a June book club selection at a local book shop (outside of Philadelphia) awarded BEST OF THE MAIN LINE.
Currently, Ruth is working on the follow-up to FLIGHT. The story takes place outside of Denver at the SISTERS INN (Tentative book title). She is a member of PennWriters, Valley Forge Romance Writers of America, Society of Children’s Writer and Illustrators and has two children’s chapter books published, THE VILLA DOG and THE OLD FORTRESS DOG. For more information, visit her website at


  1. Welcome to Sweethearts of the West, Ruth. We've been looking forward to your visit.
    The Flight of Little Dove sounds like an amazing story, well written (obviously), and certainly well-researched.
    The Cheyenne are usually portrayed as the romanctic tribe, the one we admire. Like the Cherokee, they have an amazing story.
    The Comanche? Yes, they're always portrayed as the worst of the worst, but this is the tribe I have a soft spot for. Lands, yes, they were cruel, but that was their way of life--which was being taken away.
    Congratulations on your success and best wishes for a continued career writing romance. Celia

  2. Ruth, in North Central Texas we are so familiar with Cheyenne chief Quannah Parker and his mother, Cynthia Ann Parker's sad story. The Comanche were fierce, but they had to be. Best of luck with your writing and thanks for being our guest at Sweethearts of the West.

  3. Ruth, Researching the Native Americans is interesting. There were such broad differences in all of the tribes. Sounds like a great read. Congrats on the great review!

  4. Ruth,
    Congratulations on the great review for The Flight of Little Dove!

    I know from my family's experience in central Texas that the Comanche were so fierce they were feared. Local farmers and ranchers kept signal fires burning on the tops of the highest hills and mountains throughout the southwest when the Comanche passed through.

    But the Comanche were also honorable. After my great great grandmother saved the life of a Comanche brave, and he later rejoined his tribe when he was healed enough to walk, the Comanche Chief told her family on their return trip north from Mexico, that they were their friends from then on, since she had saved the life of one of their braves. This family incident inspired my story, "Are You Going to the Dance?" in the anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, published by The Wild Rose Press.
    I wish you many happy readers! Writing native American stories is challenging as well as fascinating because of the tribes' diversities.
    Thanks for visiting with us today and telling us about The Flight of Little Dove!

  5. Sounds like you've done a lot of research and found a treasure trove of information. I love the history of the Native Americans and used some in my first story. The legends are what I enjoy and used when I was a Camp Fire Girls leader years ago. What a rich culture they have.

    Nice to get acquainted with you today.:)

  6. Hi, Ruth. You know I love your book and especially the cover. I wish you the best of luck with it!

  7. I love books with well-researched Native American history. Will definitely check this one out.

  8. Thanks for sharing your research, Ruth. I'd love to read Flight of the Little Dove. Where is it available? Hard copy please...I'm not Kindled yet!

  9. Love your book cover, Ruth. It's beautiful. Interesting research on Native Americans. I agree their history is fascinating.

    Best of luck with your releases!


  10. I'm so glad you all enjoyed my guest blog here at Sweethearts of the West. This has been a great site for me. I find all the guest blogs to be highly informative and quite interesting.

    Yes, I agree with what many of you said about Native Americans being both diverse and fascinating. After being taught basic history of the Indians from a textbook view of "In order for America to grow the land had to be taken and developed. White man offered schooling and reservations to the Indians (back in the 70s the term "Indians" was broadly used.)" Thankfully in college I was fortunate to come across a college professor who had a place in her heart for the Native Americans, what they went through and how the settlers not only took their land, but their pride, Gods, and way of life. She did it without the image of Hollywood flashing in the background, but rather factual stories, often told through the eyes of the Native American. It was truly an eye opener for me. Since then, I've traveled the Southwest and visited (as a tourist) reservations of various tribes and always enjoyed their distinct tribal culture.

    Flight of Little Dove has been called a "Captivating story" that keeps the reader wanting more with characters who are "believable and very likeable" something this author is extremely pleased to have accomplished. I'm currently working on another Western set in 1870.

  11. congrat on the celebration many more for you the book looks great and would love to read and blog on it
    the pic are the great ty


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