Category: Sandy Nathan––News, Publications, Contest Wins, Opinions, Rants

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem – How Rick Mora’s Picture Came to Be on the Cover

After only nineteen years of mind-rending effort on my part, Mogollon: Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem is on to the market. What is Mogollon? It’s a book about the richest man in the world–Will Duane–meeting perhaps the greatest Native American shaman ever born. Will and a bunch of his corporate hot shots travel from Silicon Valley to the Mogollon Bowl in New Mexico for the shaman’s annual retreat. The Mogollon Bowl is a miraculous place where people can become psychic, meet their soul mates, and experience personal and spiritual growth equivalent to about three lifetimes of psychotherapy.

That’s because the shaman, Grandfather, is the real deal, and so is the Mogollon Bowl, and so are the spirit warriors at the retreat.  It’s intense. What happens is intense. That’s why the subtitle is A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem. Mogollon is a book about conflict: cultural and spiritual conflict, economic conflict, and inter- and intra-personal conflict. And it contains several great love stories. Mogollon could be marketed as a romance, except that it doesn’t follow the rules of the romance genre. Plus it’s funny in parts.

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem

Here is the front cover and spine of Mogollon. I’ll post the rear cover below. This book is worth buying for the cover alone. How did this cover come to be? When I write a book, I make a video about it.  You can look at some of my videos here. As the writing and production of Mogollon began to look like it might happen before I croak, I started looking for images that matched my ideas of what the various characters look like. The book has lots of characters: Will Duane, the rich guy; a bunch of his executives and staff; Grandfather, the shaman; and four thousand Native Americans. (If made into a movie, Mogollon would be a full employment opportunity for Native American actors.)

I searched every stock photo in existence looking of images of Grandfather, Will Duane, and Wesley Silverhorse. I could not find satisfactory photos for any of them. None of the potential shaman stand ins had the lift-off factor that any person of spirit has to have. Read the first section of Mogollon. That’s Grandfather speaking and that’s what I mean by lift off. Every spiritual master I’ve known has had the ability to elevate the spiritual state of the people near him/her. No stock figures of Grandfather, though I did find the drawing which is floating in the sky above Rick.

No canned image for Will Duane, either. I was born and raised in what became Silicon Valley and spent much of my adult life there. One thing I’ve noticed about tremendously rich people: they didn’t get where they are because they’re lazy and stupid. You have to feel what these people are like. The intensity. The drive. The intelligence. The ability to work three days straight. A stand-in for Will is on the back cover, but he’s not right.

And then we have Wesley Silverhorse. Wesley is Grandfather’s most advanced spirit warrior and is expected to take over from him when the time comes. Wesley is drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s also everything else you’d want in a human being. If either of my daughters wanted to marry Wesley, it would be an automatic thumbs-up. He does a martial arts exhibit in the book you’ll never forget, not to mention his exhibition of horsemanship.

Believe me, Wesley does not exist in stock photos of Native American men.

What could I do? Well, I Googled “beautiful Native American men.” When the images came up, about half of them were of one person: Rick Mora. I had never heard of Rick Mora, but he came closer to fitting my image of what Wesley would look like than anyone. How did he get on the cover of Mogollon?  I asked him. Sent him an email, if I recall. There was some conversation––he’s very nice––and voila! In due time, Rick’s photo is on the cover of my book.

Cool, huh? I love this cover and I hope you do, too. Rick’s presence is on the cover is wonderful., the cover designer for both the eBook and the paperback, did a fabulous job in creating a memorable piece of work. And that’s how Mogollon’s cover was created. The paperback should be coming out within a week.

We’re planning all sorts of fun launch activities. Stop by my website and see what’s going on.

Mogollon's Rear Cover--Will Duane points to some of his real estate holdings.


MOGOLLON – This is not a COVER REVEAL – repeat NOT – This is a conversation with FREE BOOKS attached

My new book, MOGOLLON: A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MAYHEM is poised for release. Poised, but not there yet. At this point in a book’s production, everyone involved is just a little touchy and very tired. But decisions must be made.

Mogollon is a story of conflict, contrast, and personal growth. Will Duane, the richest man in the world, and his key executives are thrown together with Grandfather, an old Native American shaman and his People. The conflict plays out at a Native American spiritual retreat hosted by the shaman.

This is where I need your help. I’ve got the coolest cover in the universe. Scroll down. The extremely attractive guy on the horse is Rick Mora, a Native American actor, model & philanthropist. When I write a book, I usually do a video incorporating images of real people that I think look like my characters. It makes the character more real to me. In search of images for the video, I searched for “beautiful Native American men.”  Photos of Rick covered about half the page.

Rick looks exactly like my idea of a key character in Mogollon: Wesley Silverhorse. Wesley is Grandfather’s most advanced spirit warrior and expected to succeed  the shaman when the time comes. Wesley has all sorts of spiritual powers, but he’s a really nice guy and very modest. In wanting Rick on my cover, I wanted more than just a pretty face. Wesley is beautiful, and he’s also moral, kind and generous. And very sweet. To me, Rick embodies those qualities.

Here he is, riding across the New Mexico sand. Or ocean.

OK. I’ve got this great cover. So why am I holding a NOT COVER REVEAL? I’ve got another great cover and I can’t decide between them. I’ve asked all my friends what they think. They say all sorts of things. I’d like to see what you think. Here’s the other cover:

Not much difference, is there? Except for the shaman floating in the sky above Rick. Shaman or no shaman, that is the question. Scroll up and down on the page, comparing both of them.

And then leave a comment on this post and tell me which cover you like better and why. I’ll randomly select people and send them a free eBook of Mogollon. I’ve got ePub and mobi versions; tell me which you need. You can’t get Mogollon anywhere; the book is not out yet. When will it be out? That’s a good question.

Let’s discuss the shaman in the sky from an art critic’s position. The version without the shaman is a superior piece of art, hands down. Most art professionals frown on anything hovering in the sky: buffalo, fairies, hearts, you name it. They are tacky, unsophisticated, and trite. Sorry, lovers of floating wildlife.

Most of my friends and one editor said exactly that. “No shaman! No shaman! No shaman!” Some threatened to hold their breath until I promised to get rid of him.

But my eye just grabs onto that shaman and won’t let go. Why? Here’s something you probably don’t  know about me. I was associated with a meditation school based in India for, oh, about thirty years. We did all sorts of spiritual practices, but my favorite was the spiritual retreat. Go away for a few days, come home with all your demons singing in harmony.

I stopped counting how many retreats I’d done when I hit sixty. Yes, sixty. I don’t know how many more I did. My brain is thoroughly fried. People ask me where I get the ideas for my books  and how I write them. The ideas come from spending lots of time on the other side, the home of bliss and visions and creativity. I write the way I do from hard work.

Do you know what it’s like sitting in a meditation hall with a meditation master? When I got within ten feet of my first meditation master, my mind shut down. The energy blasting off of him made it hard to breathe, much less think. A still mind reveals what’s underneath the busyness of ordinary life. What’s that? Bliss. An ecstatic universe underlies the world around us.

And–you can get seriously intoxicated meditating. I did, as often as possible. Nothing is better than the high you can get through spiritual practice. Nothing. That’s why all those monks are smiling.

Bliss is the hallmark of  spirit.

So I go for the shaman.

What does this have to do with which cover I should use? Not a lot, because my developmental editor gave both the covers above  a devastating blow:


Ooh. That smarts, but it’s true. Mogollon is set in 1997. Will Duane, the richest man on earth, made his fortune by starting the tech revolution in the late 1950s. He’s kept ahead of all competition since then. His corporation has the most advanced technology available on the planet. To offset business cycle ups and downs, Will’s diversified into other industries.  He rules the economic world. Will and his team are Silicon Valley hotshots all the way, even if they’re in the New Mexico wilderness. Mogollon isn’t a western at all.

But I love the cover and don’t want to change it. How can we get the existing cover to reflect the contemporary and cutting edge status of the corporate side of the equation? We’re working on it.

Meanwhile I had the best idea:

The perfect merging of tech culture and a spirit warrior.

If I was better with Photoshop, I’d show Rick riding the horse while using the laptop.

That’s it for now. Sometime soon I’ll have a real cover reveal.

Write a comment any maybe you’ll win an eBook of  Mogollon.


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Here’s the text from the rear of the cover. It will give you a better idea of the book:


Will Duane owns the tech revolution. It’s 1997; Will’s been the richest man on the planet for twenty years. He sways governments and ruins lives. Will has a new mission, one that brings him into conflict with all that’s holy. He and his corporate hot shots have reached their destination, a Native American spiritual retreat in the New Mexico desert. Their caravan enters the Mogollon Bowl, a geophysical anomaly where anything can happen. Now Will can spring his trap.

Grandfather, the shaman leading the retreat, has different plans. He has a vision of a world where love is king, a world of peace and harmony. His corporate guest is the key to making his vision real.

Another force watches them, waiting for an opening. Both men’s hopes are dashed, as a sacred place becomes the playground of evil. A malevolent power reaches for them, trying to claim their lives and souls.

An unforgettable modern day fable, Mogollon is a high-speed, high stakes fantasy with visionary roots.


Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money - This is NOT Mogollon's new cover. The it's being designed.

HURRAY! HURRAY! Mogollon is done. (Though see the note below about its release date.) I started the Bloodsong Series, of which Mogollon is book two, in 1995. Eighteen years have gone by since a spectacular spiritual experience launched a series of books that have owned me since. What happened?

Some really bad things happened to me long ago. Mercifully, I did not remember them. Until I did. That was 1993. After working harder than I knew I could to recover, I finally felt well enough to attend a meditation retreat in 1995. I’d been meditating twenty years at that point.

I worked as hard as I could in the retreat, following the 4 AM to 10 PM daily schedule, going to classes, doing spiritual practices. Praying. And contacting one of the people involved in the “really bad things.” I’d never been brave enough before.

When I got home, I felt fantastic. Totally healed, sparkling new. All trauma gone. That was nice, but the real perk of the adventure had yet to occur. A couple of days after I got home, I was in the shower (showers are intensely spiritual places) when something like a lightning bolt hit me in the right temple and entered my skull, ricocheted around inside, and left a trail of blue sparkles and mist that Hollywood special effects guys could not replicate. Then it left. Total elapsed time? A few seconds.

“Whoa,” thought I, “that’s never happened before.” The fireworks were not the whole package. The spiritual zap from Somewhere also left a book behind. Its plot was right there in my mind as the blue mist disappeared. I ran down to the computer and banged it out. “What do you think of this?” I showed the pages to my husband.

“It’s good, but it seems like a comic book. Make it longer.”

Two hundred and seventy five pages later, I knew I had a book. Pages more than that, I realized it was a series.What is it about? Bloodsong starts out with the adventures of the richest man in the world, Will Duane, meeting a great Native American shaman at the shaman’s retreat in New Mexico. Numenon and Mogollon are set in this part of the series. But, after the retreat, the corporate gang goes home to Silicon Valley and the Numenon Corporate headquarters in Palo Alto. All sorts of characters, from witches to rogue corporate execs to budding shamans, come up in locations all over the world. It’s a wild, highly imaginative series.

That’s how the Bloodsong Series was born. It keeps growing. I counted ten titles in my Bloodsong file on my computer. These are either written as drafts or soon to be released, like Mogollon.

All were born of that meditation retreat and moment  in the shower where Something sent me a message of hope and love. And power, violence, pain, redemption, and a bunch of amazing characters.

My writing can be very gritty. With the exception of work written for children, all of my writing should be R rated. It’s not for kids. That’s the fruit of the “really bad things” mentioned above. If you’ve been marked in that way, going back to sweetsie and happy-ever-after is impossible.

I said up above that Mogollon was finished. Not quite. What’s finished is my line by line response to my editor’s terse comments, “This sucks.” No, she doesn’t say that. She speaks a different language: “Too much head-hopping here.”

I’ve finished addressing my editor’s myriad concerns and have a manuscript version Mogollon that’s ready to hand off to other professionals. I’ll send it off  for copy-editing and proofreading. Then comes the design of the book, eBook, covers, the whole visual package. What’s finished is my mind-numbing involvement in the book’s every line. The hard part.

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem, Bloodsong Series 2, will be released in early 2014.

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money - This IS the existing Numenon cover. Enjoy it while you can: the new one will be different.

So will Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, Bloodsong Series 1. What! Book 1 of the series will be released at the same time as book 2? Yep. We’re doing a slash and burn of Numo.

Numenon was released in 2009; it’s four years old. It was also the first book I wrote. My writing has improved exponentially since 2009. We’re giving the book a full makeover. Once that’s done, the book will be redesigned and ready for a double launch with Mogollon.

Why am I doing this? Well, Numenon is dear to my heart. It flowed directly from that mystical experience back in 1995. If you look at Numenon’s reviews, you will see that by far the majority of readers LOVED it just as is it stands. They said things like:

“The new release `Numenon‘ by Sandy Nathan is one of the most superbly developed, intensely riveting and profoundly moving works of fiction I’ve read in quite a long time. The author’s attention to detail, in-depth character development and cohesive, constantly evolving storyline will keep the reader transfixed from beginning to end.”
Brian E. Erland, Hall of Fame Reviewer

You can read the negative reviews for yourself. Suffice it to say, they blistered my hide.

If I can fix something, I will. I’m going to attempt an update that will satisfy people like Mr. Erland and the folks who thought I should boiled in oil along with my book.

Reviews are very interesting, particularly if you have a background in psychology. I hold an MA in marriage, family and child counseling. The depth psychologies claimed my heart––these are the areas of study which treat the deeper more primal parts of the psyche, archetypes, the essential areas of the soul, especially mystical experience. My interest lies with the work of Jung, Psychosynthesis, and the transpersonal psychologies.

I found Numenon’s reviews a textbook illustration of Jungian typology. Carl Jung, a giant of modern psychology, came up with his typology trying to reconcile personality differences between his friends and colleagues, Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. Both were brilliant men and giants in the development of modern psychology. Here’s an article I wrote about Jungian Type for writers. The theory is complex, but what Jung says is: People are different. They live in literally different worlds; they don’t see the same thing, even when in the same room.

Which is why Numenon’s reviews vary so much and people reporting honestly on their experiences can come to such different conclusions.

* * *

I  am an intuitive in Jung’s typology. Intuitives live in a realm beyond the physical, picking up on currents that others don’t see. We have a vision of what direction the world will take. Intuitives are intensely interested in their internal growth and that of everyone else. They’re interested in people and their stories. They’re very interested in their vision becoming a reality.

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money could only have been written by an intuitive. And intuitives are the ones that “get” what I was writing and the way I did it.

* * *

Modern novels have become very fast, like screenplays, where all the action takes place on the page, and that’s all you get. You lose a lot that way, but fast action-filled writing does satisfy certain types.

I’m going to rewrite Numenon so that it retains its spirituality and moves faster with more action for the modern sort of reader. Without wrecking it.

If you read my work, please realize this:

I AM NOT A THRILLER WRITER! I AM NOT A SCI-FI OR FANTASY WRITER! AND I AM!  If you want breakneck speed, chills, battles between good and evil, monsters and bugs running around blowing things up, and the end of the world–I’ve got them all in the Earth’s End series and my newer work.




Sandy Nathan and Tecolote


Sandy Nathan

Sandy’s Amazon Author Page. Click here of on image.

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