The 4 books of the V&TRR

Currently, four stories are related to the fictional Virginia & Truckee Railroad of West Virginia. They span a period of four years from the summer of 1879 to the spring of 1883. The first, Summer at Stewart Creek, is the story of Brett Tompkins’ summer with his father at the Stewart Creek Logging Company in Snow Shoe, West Virginia. Stranded in Snow Shoe [prequel to Summer of Two Worlds] is the story of Scot Robinson’s search during the spring of 1880, for his uncle, in order to find and eventually join his father, a surveyor for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Summer of Two Worlds is the story of the summer of 1882 during which life as Prairie Cub knew it comes to a violent end. As events unfold, Scot Robinson, a friend of Prairie Cub’s, arranges for the boy to start life over where he had once been, in Snow Shoe, West Virginia. Twelfth Winter [sequel to Summer of Two Worlds] tells of Prairie Cub’s new life as Michael. It begins as he arrives in Snow Shoe at the end of the summer of 1882 and starts life over in Michael’s world, and carries into the spring of 1883.

With the publication of Twelfth Winter, three out of the four stories have been publish. Stranded in Snow Shoe remains as an incomplete manuscript from nearly forty years ago. It will hopefully release as a completed work sometime in 2022.

Within this 4-book series is a trilogy, the Summer of Two Worlds trilogy. Summer of Two Worlds was first published in 2014. Its manuscript had been completed and reproduced in a photocopied, plastic comb edition back in 1982 with two character photos featuring two of the three boys for whom the story was created [the third living hundreds of miles away and not available to be photographed for the book], with a reformatted edition in 2001 with the addition of a third character photo with another boy from another time. All four boys were participants in camping programs run by the author and are credited in the photography notes and the subject of the book’s dedication. The prequel and the sequel in this trilogy were only begun at the same time and remained for nearly forty years as incomplete manuscripts.

The story sequence is thus. Stranded in Snow Shoe is the prequel in which Scot Robinson arrives in Snow Shoe in the spring of 1880 in search of his uncle who is supposed to care for him until he can join his pa, a government surveyor, working somewhere in the west. His mother is back east in a hospital, chronically sick, so it’s up to Uncle Hank Filmore to care for the boy until his pa is settled in his next assignment. But Uncle Hank has no idea the boy is coming. Unbeknownst to Scot, he’s too busy robbing trains. The boy has no one to turn to until Jay Miller, the engineer on locomotive Number twenty-one, the “R L King” steps in to help him find his uncle. Stranded in Snow Shoe is the story of a friendship and a search to reconnect a boy to his family.

Summer of Two Worlds is Prairie Cub’s story in which the reader enters the life of an 11- year-old boy, son of a Sioux warrior. Prairie Cub was only born white. Having been orphaned on the prairie at age three and adopted by Thunder Eagle, a Sioux warrior, he was Sioux. It was the only life he knew. The name Michael was all he had of his ancestry. When the course of history doomed the Indian’s way of life, his father, realizing the boy’s white heritage gave him a chance for a future, sent his son back into the white man’s world. Summer of Two Worlds is the story of that summer. Following his journey west to rejoin his pa, Scot befriends Prairie Cub when the railroad sets its base camp near an old trading fort near the right of way. It is the same fort outside of which Prairie Cub’s people set their summer village in order to trade the buffalo skins harvested during the annual buffalo hunt. It is Scot who reaches out to his engineer friend back in Snow Shoe and helps arrange for the boy to find help in starting over again in Michael’s world.

Twelfth Winter picks up the story as Prairie Cub journeys east to start life again in Michael’s world. It is the story of a boy’s emotional journey as he is forced to return to the white man’s world and culture into which he had been born, after having lived his whole childhood as far back as he could remember, as the son of a Sioux warrior. The boy has returned to the world of his birth where his white heritage allows for a future in Michael’s world. Michael journeys east to start life again with Scot’s friend, Jay Miller, a locomotive engineer for the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in Snow Shoe, West Virginia. At Jay’s suggestion, he adopts the name Michael P C Freeman, determined to never forget his Sioux heritage. With Jay Miller’s help, Michael finds a new home with the Tyler family, leading to new friends and a new life in Michael’s world in Snow Shoe. Corresponding with family and friends in his old world, he wonders if he’ll ever see his family again.

While these three books comprise the Summer of Two Worlds trilogy, Summer at Stewart Creek sets the stage with the story of Brett Tompkins, who spends the summer of 1879 with his pa, the owner of the Stewart Creek Logging Company. He leaves his home in Baltimore to spend his twelfth summer with his father in a logging town named Snow Shoe, West Virginia. His father, a banker by trade, has taken over the family logging company at the request of Brett’s grandfather who is no longer able to operate it due to failing health. But mother is not happy with this and gives him only a year to try it out. Reluctantly, she allows her son to spend the summer with his father at Snow Shoe. During that summer of 1879, Brett meets new friends and new adventure at Stewart Creek Logging Company, and comes to enjoy life in the mountain country. His first friend of the summer is Jason Johnston, whose parents operate the Railroad Hotel in Arlee where the boy spends the last night on his journey before catching the next morning’s train to Snow Shoe. Before boarding the morning train, Jason introduces Brett to his friend, the train’s engineer, Jay Miller. It’s the beginning of a friendship that lasts over the years to come. After arriving in Snow Shoe, he joins his pa where he is temporarily living with the Tyler family, until they can make arrangements to move back into the family home which his grandfather had leased out when his health failed and he moved back to Baltimore.

While Stewart Creek begins the Snow Shoe series in the summer of 1879, it leads into Scot’s story and the Summer of Two Worlds trilogy as its characters and setting become the setting for Scot’s story, opening in the spring of 1880.

Summer of Two Worlds remained the only book of the series to be published, beginning with it’s 1st edition release in 2014, for more than five years. Changing publishers with the promise of the three novels published with the first publisher in black and white to be republished in full color at the same price as the 1st editions, Summer was republished in a 2nd full color edition in 2016. But the second publisher failed to produce any royalty payments, so when a new publishing agent reached out to the author in 2019, a 3rd edition was released, once more in black and white, at half the price of the 1st edition. All seven of the author’s books were republished in their 3rd edition with the new publisher with one very significant change. Royalty income began to generate with the first quarter of republication. It continued to grow steadily. This resulted in the release of two more books from manuscripts that had been previously completed. Summer at Stewart Creek was the second of the two becoming available December 1, 2020. The reader meets key characters of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad and the community of Snow Shoe who will continue in the years ahead. This June 1, 2021, they will carry into Michael’s story with the release of Twelfth Winter, leaving only one story left to be completed. Stranded in Snow Shoe is expected to release sometime in 2022.