HH Com 520

Rosa Marquez and Sean Carpenter have two things in common: they’re both native New Mexicans, and they’re both seeing visions. Rosa, a student of the healing art of curanderismo, encounters the mythical Native American flute-playing hunchback Kokopelli on a hike among petroglyph-carved volcano cliffs near Albuquerque. Sean, a computer programmer, sees the Virgin of Guadalupe while playing his flute in the dry, barren bed of the Santa Fe River. Both give cryptic messages that lead Rosa and Sean to join a fight to save the dwindling resource of water in the Rio Grande, one of America’s most endangered rivers. It’s a fight that leads them to tangle with a powerful developer who doesn’t hesitate to play dirty, a fight that puts both of their lives--and their hearts--on the line.
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KOKOPELLI AND THE VIRGIN is a novel of miracles and music, of love and visions, of the mysteries of Hispanic and Native American traditions and the hardball machinations of real estate development and finance, set in the fertile but endangered Rio Grande Valley.

This is all set up and too detailed for a hook. Give us more on the developer and what Rosa and Sean are trying to do to "save the dwindling resource of water in the Rio Grande" and how can a river be endangered? Is it disappearing? Or is it being polluted. Be specific.


Virginia Miss said...

Interesting topic and setting.

I'd lose the first sentence. (We figure out that we're in New Mexico and that they're seeing visions in the next few sentences.) That way we get to the "flute-playing hunchback" right away.

Then, maybe insert the word visions into the third sentence: "Both visions give cryptic messages..." (to make it clear that Rosa and Sean aren't the ones giving the messages).

Then tell us the good stuff: how they go about fighting.

Anonymous said...

I really really like your use of magic traditions specific to the area and connecting them to each other and the problem. That's 1000 times more better than the usual silly-name people fighting silly-name evil in a silly-name fantasy world.

writtenwyrdd said...

Please read "Way of the Hopi" before you have Kokopelli star in your novel. Please.

I have an aversion so Southwest co-opting of Kokopelli because it is so badly done. So I wouldn't want to read your book. Sorry. It sounds like you have a decent plot, though.

Anonymous said...

writtenwyrdd said:
I have an aversion so Southwest co-opting of Kokopelli because it is so badly done. So I wouldn't want to read your book.

Isn't it bit presumptuous to assume this author would handle Kokopelli badly? You may be depriving yourself of a well-researched and respectful look at Hopi culture and traditions.

The hook is too short to make that distinction. I, for one, would give it a chance.

batgirl said...

Unfair. Kokopelli gets FOUR adjectives, two of them compound, and the Virgin gets none at all. I think she should get at least two of the adjectives, for the sake of the readers who have seen Kokopelli blazoned over everything from wind-chimes to coffee mugs but have no idea which Virgin comes from Guadalupe.

writtenwyrdd said...

anonymous, that would be me and my prejudice and it has nothing to do with the author's skill. Stick your criticism of my personal beefs, or call yourself presumptious for not liking broccolli or whatever food you hate.

Inkwolf said...

I've been given to understand that Native American legends are considered more or less copyrighted to the tribes that originated them. While it's reasonably safe to deal with creatures that appear in many different tribal traditions (Coyote, wendigos and thunderbirds, for example), I'm not sure that you'd be able to use Kokopelli without some sort of protest.

That aside, the one time I saw the Rio Grande, it looked like a muddy drainage ditch...obviously, it needs all the help it can get with or without a new threat.

Twill said...

Pesonally, I'd omit the phrase "one of America's most endangered rivers" - which smacks of "issue of the week" and would cause me to instantly drop the book to the floor at Barnes and Noble.

Instead, give a straight description of what is going to happen to that section of the Rio Grande if the developer has his way. Let the reader determine if that is high enough stakes.

ovezkrrd - the sound of a Barnes and Noble Product Defense Droid targetting a book dropper.

Virginia Miss said...

inkwolf, I hope you're wrong about that. One of my critique partners is writing a novel featuring wendigos...

Inez said...

This really appeals to me, though I wonder if you need to say that Sean is a strong Catholic (or not) and Rosa is Native American (or not)? In other words, why did these people get precisely these visions? I would love to read this book for its landscapes and local beliefs. Good luck, writer!

Writtenwyrdd, with all respect, if you mean Frank Waters' Book of the Hopi, Hopi people have told me that most of the information came from one clan and others don't think much of it. But my guess is that this writer has consulted good sources.

And unless an image, story, dance etc. is actual clan property, and if it's used as respectfully as it seems to be here, it may not be seen as cultural appropriation. If one had doubts one could always ask an elder or shaman.