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  • Writer's pictureMark Meier

Raven Mocker Odyssey

By Chuck Suddeth

Four years ago, I wrote a companion story to my picture book, Spearfinger. Raven Mocker is also taken from Cherokee folklore, but it has nothing else in common with Spearfinger’s story. For Spearfinger, I had adapted an ancient story, shortening it, and deleting all references to violence. For Raven Mocker, I could not find a suitable story, so I wrote my own story, keeping in mind Cherokee culture and traditions. Raven Mocker was originally a monster who ate hearts. Way too much for little kids, too much for some grownups. I wrote about a little boy fighting a monster named Raven Mocker who wanted to steal the soul of the boy’s mother. I needed no violence, but lots of action and tension. I wrote the rough draft of Raven Mocker in a few weeks. After months of rewriting and submitting it to the same 3 critique groups I had used for Spearfinger, I submitted it to 4RV Publishing, Spearfinger’s publisher. They accepted it. However, Raven Mocker had to wait until Spearfinger was released. Another long wait. In June 2017, Spearfinger was released. Now I could work on Raven Mocker! Two English editors edited it. Wayne Harris-Wyrick worked on the story, making sure it was exciting but not too scary for little ones. Renee’ La Viness helped make sure the English version flowed and was fun to read aloud. It was time for an illustrator, but the illustrators who worked on Spearfinger were not available. Since Cherokee translators are scarce, the hunt was on for someone who could turn Raven Mocker’s English into Cherokee magic. I located another Cherokee instructor, Wallace Belew, AKA Walisi Leyesdisgi ᏩᎵᏏ ᎴᏰᏍᏗᏍᎩ. At the present, he is busy translating it. I have learned enough Cherokee to assist with the glossary. When the glossary is completed, Aidana WillowRaven, the Art Director, will assign an illustrator. I am hoping that Raven Mocker will have a winter release date, but bilingual picture books are very complicated. I do not want it released until it is perfect, so I am content to wait. 4RV Publishing has accepted a third Cherokee manuscript, Booger Dancer, but it will have to wait for Raven Mocker. (Booger is an old word that means ghost, nothing to do with the kid’s word) Coming soon from 4RV Publishing, a bilingual English/Cherokee picture book: Raven Mocker. Unole, a Cherokee boy, fights Raven Mocker, who turns into a raven and tries to steal the soul of Unole’s sick mother. Can a little boy defeat Raven Mocker and save his mother? Charles Suddeth

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