Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Halloween is Nigh!

 Hopefully, the real nightmare of my country will be banished. In the meantime, I'm offering a month-long free-palooza for The Witches of Galdorheim series. You'll have to watch this blog because whatever is free on a given day will only be announced the first day the item is free. Got that? 

FREE DAYS ARE FILLING THE MONTH STARTING OCTOBER 1ST

I've mentioned this series about a billion times so far, but it bears repeating, and repeating, and repeating.

The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim - All of the following books in one big, fat volume.

BAD SPELLING - Book 1
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

MIDNIGHT OIL - Book 2
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

SCOTCH BROOM - Book 3
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

This prequel story to the Witches of Galdorheim series gives the reader a chance to get to know the smart-aleck kid, Rune, before he got his magic down pat.


Friday, September 25, 2020

Big Sell Off - Everything Going to Kindle Unlimited

I've had my ebooks on the Smashwords interface for umpteen years. Generally, I thought it was a good place to keep copies in different formats which I could give away via pricing to $0 or by coupons dropping the prices to various levels.

Guess what? Very few people give a rat's butt. I'd make the books free and hand out coupons in wads. Very few took me up on the offer.

The other part of Smashwords is distribution. Every single one of my books qualified for distribution to around 20 or so sites, including Amazon! Sales from any external sites have also been zip.

Given the lack of interest, I'm unpublishing all of my books from Smashwords. I'm doing this so I can re-enroll all of the books in the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program. Every quarter I can put each book on sale for free or whatever I'm inclined to do. Also, people who have ponied up their money to subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited program can download them free within the program if they want. I don't get anything for this except some token amount if pages are actually read. It doesn't amount to much, but when I did have books available through KU, I made more money on page reads than I did from Smashwords.

Of course, I have copies of the files which I will send to individuals if they want to read a book (and review it, I hope).

So, here comes KU/KOLL for my entire catalog. Who knows? Maybe somebody will read a couple of pages. I'll update the KU/KOLL page (it will be up top of this blog) to include all the correct links and prices.

There. My life is now much easier. I don't need to worry about people who don't exist. That is, people who don't read my books no matter what.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Is It Fall Yet?

The four major annual events include two Solstices (summer and winter) and two Equinoxes (autumn and spring).

September 22nd (or 23rd) is the official first day of autumn and is celebrated in the Pagan/Wiccan tradition as Mabon, the time of harvest, gratitude, and sharing. No doubt, the pagan tradition had a lot to do with the celebration of Thanksgiving in Canada and the US. However, the day divided into equal parts of dark and light, is an excellent marker for any tradition and, most countries to have some kind of harvest celebration.


The Autumnal Equinox is the basis for the myth of Persephone's return to the Underworld after a half year of growth and greenery. If you recall your Greek mythology, you'll know that Persephone was kidnapped by Hades (god of the underworld) to become his wife. Demeter, Persephone's mother and goddess of the harvest was understandably peeved. After a period of mourning and struggle, Demeter eventually got her daughter back from Hades, but only for nine months of the year. Every fall, Persephone would return to the underworld to spend three months with Hades. During these months, Demeter refused to use her divine skills to make plants grow, explaining why we have three months of winter every year.

In Christian tradition, the equinox is Michaelmas Day. Did you know you've been missing a reason to party? These days, Michaelmas is a minor festival mainly observed in the Catholic church. Centuries ago in England, the time around Michaelmas also had a business side. Servants were paid their wages after the harvest, and workers looked for new jobs at employment fairs which also became a place for celebrations.

And let us not forget The Mayan Snake of Sunlight. At the precise moment of the equinox, when the Sun shines directly on the equator, an enormous “snake of sunlight” slithers down the stairs of the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico. The Mayans who constructed this ancient temple used advanced astronomical calculations to determine the exact angle of the staircase.

Japan has the Higan Festival, China and Vietnam celebrate the Moon Festival, Indian parties for several day for Havaratri, a celebration for the divine feminine Devi.

So, you have lots of good reasons to celebrate September 22nd (6:31AM PST). Why not at least lift a glass of grog to say goodbye to summer and hello to the beginnings of winter.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

My Favorite Sorceress

A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Mordita the Witch (She Prefers Sorceress)

Hands down, readers' favorite witch on Galdorheim is Mordita. She's powerful, all right, but it's her wicked sense of humor that makes her a fan fav. She also has some secrets, which are revealed in Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim, Midnight Oil.

Kat meets Mordita in Bad Spelling. In Midnight Oil, the two have become close friends. Even Aunt Thordis gets along with the sorceress since Mordita helped rescue Kat and Rune. Well, they pretty much rescued themselves in Bad Spelling, but Mordita's skill with a scrying crystal helped greatly.

While Mordita has tons of magic, she prefers to maintain her old hag appearance just to keep the Galdorheim witches from stopping by to visit. Mordita is alone, and she likes to keep it that way. She's not quite alone if you want to count a fat orange tiger cat named Kudzu.

Mordita is a mystery. Why did she come to Galdorheim if she doesn't want to consort with the witches and warlocks? Learn Mordita's deepest secret in Book 2 - Midnight Oil (#free later this month).


EXCERPT FROM BAD SPELLING

Kat woke in the dark and dressed without turning on a light. She slipped out the front door and jogged down the empty main street. When she reached the very edge of the village where a gate barred the way, she stopped. This was the home of Mordita the Sorceress.

Unlike the neat houses lining the rest of the street, Mordita filled her yard with brambles and poison oak. Translucent green slime covered the stone path from the gate to the door. It twinkled in the early morning sunlight. Pretty, but it made walking hazardous.

When she neared the dilapidated front door of the house, she hesitated. What am I thinking? Mordita would as likely turn her into a toad as help her. Still, she knew Mordita wouldn’t tell anyone what Kat wanted, if only to thwart the other witches. Aunt Thordis despised Mordita. The feeling was mutual.
Kat rolled her shoulders, took a deep breath to get herself ready, stepped up to the door, and spoke to the knocker. “Hello. I’m here to see the lady of the house.”

The knocker just hung there, a plain old horseshoe turned upside down with a spike on a hinge attached at the top. Kat reached out to raise the spike, hesitating just before she touched it. When her finger came to within a fraction of an inch, a blue spark of electricity arced from the spike to her hand. The knocker cackled with maniacal laughter. Kat tried to shake some feeling back into her fingers. Then the door swung open with a spooky-sounding creak.

Kat peered into the gloom, but it was too dark to make out any details. She shrugged. An open door was an invitation to enter, so she stepped over the threshold and into the Sorceress’ abode.

“Madame Mordita,” she said, not daring to raise her voice above a whisper. “Ahem. It’s Katrina, Ardyth’s daughter.”

Outside, the safety committee had peppered the village with spirit lights to ensure the safety of the residents. Mordita’s home did not have a spirit light in front of it, though. When the municipal-care warlocks set one by her gate, it disappeared by the next night. The front room was gloomy, with only a glow from the fireplace casting weird shadows on the walls. Looking left and right, Kat noticed shutters covered the two front windows, one on either side of the door, so even during the day little light could seep into the house.

Something touched her shoulder, and Kat jumped. She suppressed a full-out scream and squeaked, “Erk!” She whirled around while grabbing her shoulder, but whatever touched her was gone.

She saw a hazy form floating toward her from the other end of the room. It must be Mordita, who had a flair for dramatic entrances. When the ghostly shape stopped before her, it thickened and became opaque.

“Well, well. Thordis’ niece. What did your auntie do? Send you because she’s afraid to face me?”

“Of course not. Aunt Thordis has nothing to do with why I’m here.” Right away, Kat regretted sounding so abrupt. She needed Mordita’s aid and insulting her wouldn’t help.

She pasted a sweet smile on her face and continued. “Of course, if Thordis did want something, she’d be too afraid of you to come herself.”
* * *

BAD SPELLING $2.99 - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Can Kat find her magic in time? If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home. Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman. The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Scottish Vampire? Who Knew?

Mabon is Not Just for Witches

Glaistig the Scottish Gray Lady

In Scotch Broom, I present Glaistig as a vampire woman who has entered the Otherworld because she no longer wants to live from the blood of humans. Within the magical realm, she can safely feed on the various magical creatures without killing them. Once I discovered her, I knew she had to be part of this story. While a vampire, she’s got a soft side that appeals to Rune. In other words, she’s not all bad; she’s just been fabled that way.

I discovered Glaistig at a now defunct site called Monsterpedia,  The picture is from that site so it might be misuse of copyright. But they started it! 
According to one legend the glaistig was once a mortal noblewoman, to whom a fairy nature had been given or who was cursed with the goat's legs and immortality, and since has been known as The Green (or Gray) Lady.
In most stories, the creature is described as a beautiful woman with dusky or gray skin and long blonde hair. Her lower half is that of a goat, usually disguised by a long, flowing green robe or dress.
In the diverse and changing traditions of the Highlands, the Glaistig was seen as both benevolent and malevolent towards humans. In one aspect she even takes the role of the Banshee, wailing at the death of important people.
The glaistig may take the form of a beautiful woman, especially one already known to the male victim; after offering sexual favors like a camp follower, she leaves her male victim with his throat cut, every drop of blood sucked from him. Other such tales have her casting stones in the path of travelers or throwing them off course.
In some variant stories the glaistig may be seen as benevolent, fond of children and a protector of old people. Libations of milk were poured for her, especially on selected stones; this veneration may be linked with older fertility customs. The glaistig has been described in some folklore as watching over children while their mothers milked the cows and fathers watched over the herds.
The glaistig frequented the lonely lochs and rivers in the Highlands of Scotland, such as Ardnacaillich, Donolly Castle, Loch Fyne, Crathes Castle and in Wales at Caerphilly.
Excerpt

Rune, Kat’s brother, is searching for his sister while Cailleach is searching for both Rune and Kat by sending one or more of her minions to find them. Glaistig’s job is to find Rune, determine whether or not he’s a vampire, and to bring the boy to the goddess.

As the sun eased down to hide behind a mountain range to the west, a movement to his left caught his attention. It looked like a tendril of smoke rising from the swamp. Since it was unlikely anything could burn in the bog, he watched the gray mist with interest. He notched up his vampire vision to watch. The smoky mist grew opaque then solid. A figure formed, but as if a statue made of granite, it was solid gray. Watching closely, Rune waited to see what this might be. He had studied all types of magical beings and couldn’t recall one like this.

The smoke woman, for he now recognized the shape as female, wafted toward him on the air. When it stopped a few feet away from him, it slowly gathered color from the moors. Heather green, water blue, dried grass yellow. The colors mixed and swirled and finally settled on the figure, giving her the approximate colors of a woman with blonde hair, a pale, gray face, and dazzling blue eyes staring at him in silence. She wore a long dress and cape, both the color of morning mist.

Rune ventured a greeting. “Hello?” The woman didn’t speak, but she moved again, this time circling him. Rune turned to keep her in his sight.

“I am Glaistig.” Her voice was as soft as the smoke from which she formed.

Without his vampire hearing, Rune wouldn’t have been able to hear the whisper. “Ahem. I’m Rune. Nice to meet you.” Rune wondered whether to offer his hand to shake and decided not to risk it. He’d heard some magical beings poisoned those who touched them.

The pale woman looked him up and down and then nodded slightly. “You are vampyr?”

“Um. Is that a problem?”

“Not at all. I am also.”

“Oh. I should have guessed. Night. Smoke. Oh! I remember who you are!” Rune snapped his fingers. “Glaistig, the Gray Lady. But you’re not a true vampire, are you?”

“It depends upon my mood and how a person treats me. If I meet a man on the road, and he tries to grab me, I dance away and let him follow. I lure him to my lair. Then, I take his blood. But if a man tips his hat and wishes me a good evening, I leave him with a smile.”

“That’s a relief. My name is Rune, and I’m here looking for my si—” Rune stopped and considered that if Glaistig was a vampire and thought he was too, he shouldn’t mention he had a witch sister. “Uh, a female friend. Have you seen a girl with black hair?”

“I have not, but Cailleach may be able to help you.” Something darker than the blackest shadow lumbered out of the night. Glaistig glanced at the giant coming up behind her. “It’s all right, Bodach. This man is a vampire.”

The giant halted by her side and glared down at Rune, who swallowed hard and craned his neck to look up at the ugly face on top of the nine-foot tall body. The giant sniffed. “As you say, Glaistig. We take him to Cailleach?”

“Yes, we do.” Turning to Rune, the Gray Lady beckoned with her index finger. “Come, Rune. We shall visit the goddess.”

“Well, that’s okay. I’ll just look over there,” Rune replied, pointing in the opposite direction of where Glaistig appeared to be headed.

Bodach took two long strides and grabbed Rune’s arm before he could react.

“Uh, since you put it that way.” He pulled his arm away from the giant and followed Glaistig.

The Gray Lady smiled at him. “I’m so happy you agree. Bodach is Cailleach’s very faithful servant. I doubt he would take no for an answer.”

Rune nodded glumly. It looked like he was stuck for now. Still, it might be a good thing. This Cailleach might be able to help find Kat. But why would being a vampire all of a sudden be a good thing? He could sense that if he had not been a vampire, Bodach the giant, would now be crushing his skull between his two gigantic hands. And who was this goddess Cailleach? The name didn’t ring any bells.

Rune followed Glaistig, with Bodach close on his heels. Over the thumps of Bodach’s heavy footsteps, he heard the skittering sound of a small animal in the grass as they walked away.

* * *

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Get the entire series including the prequel short story, "Spellslinger," and the follow up "Blood Ties Tested." in a single volume for only $4.99: The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim.

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Witchery Coming Soon

Break out of the same-old Ireland (not that Ireland isn't neat) and step into the Otherworld of Scotch legend and myth. Cailleach is less known than her sister Bride (Bridget), but she used to be the one with the real power. Now days, not so much.

Cailleach the Winter Goddess

Cailleach is a goddess in the Scottish Celtic pantheon. Descriptions of her looks and personality run the gamut from ugly monster or beautiful protector of the land. This split personality goddess is the winter counterpart to the beautiful Bride (Bridget), the goddess of spring.

Living in the Otherworld after the Celts have stopped worshiping the old ones, Cailleach has let herself go to seed. She spends her days attempting to make sense of the hags’ potion in MacBeth (Double, double, toil and trouble). When she hears that a witch has come into the Otherworld, she begins to scheme. If Cailleach can only steal the witch’s magic, she can be young and powerful again. But the crone is cautious, she sends her minions out to learn more about the witch and to lead her to the goddess. While waiting for news, she learns that yet another witch has entered the Otherworld, but this one doesn’t make any sense. Cailleach determines this being is male, thus a warlock, but also smells of vampire. She decides to draw in this one like she plans for the first. But first, she decides to do a little homework.

She sends Bodach, the black giant, to give a message to Glaistig, the only Scottish vampire, to scope out just exactly who or what this male is: warlock, vampire, or both.

From the Monstropedia on Cailleach (Alas, Monstropedia is no more, but this was what it did say):
She is depicted as as having an eye in the middle of a blue-black face, long red teeth, and matted hair. In several stories she appears before a hero as a repulsive hag and suddenly transforms herself into a beautiful girl. At winter’s end, some accounts say the Cailleach turned into a grey boulder at Beltane until the warm days were over. The boulder was said to be “always moist’, because it contained “life substance’. The Cailleach Beara is ever-renewing and passes through many lifetimes going from old age to youth or flesh to stone in a cyclic fashion.
The Cailleach is seen as a seasonal deity or spirit, ruling the winter months between Samhain (October 31st) and Beltaine (April 30th), while Bride rules the summer months between Beltaine and Samhain. Some interpretations have the Cailleach and Brìde as two faces of the same goddess.
She is a bringer of snows, death, and sharp storms. On Samhain the Cailleach leaves her mountains and walks the Land. The Cailleach then proceeds to "wash her plaid". Her plaid represents the sand. When the Cailleach is done the plaid is white and the Land is covered with snow. She is said to ride on the back of a wolf carrying a wand made of human skin, that she uses to strike down all signs of growth. Behind her follows cold winds, blizzards, and ice. In Scotland, she is also known as Beira, Queen of Winter.

It’s easy to see why Cailleach is so interested in regaining her strength, to become what she had been in the olden times.

Excerpt:

Cailleach groaned when she leaned over and lifted her bare foot high enough to clip her toenails with the gardening shears. She looked up and sniffed twice. The hag dropped her bare foot, stuffed it into her flipflop, and shuffled to the door. Throwing it open, she held her head high, closed her eyes, and sniffed some more.

“Drat! Not another witch.” She sniffed again. “Wait, a warlock. No, a vampire. Hmm.” She closed the door and slumped into a chair. “This is confusing. Maybe there are two.” She went to the woodshed door. Cailleach rapped three times and then stood back as it creaked open.

Bodach, her roommate and minion, dragged his crippled body out of the small hatch. “Yes, Mistrezz,” he slurred, casting one protruding eye upwards.

“We have another foreigner in the swamp. Get out there and find a skrat to check. No, not a skrat. I smell vampire. Find Glaistig and send her to investigate.” Cailleach patted him on the head. “There’s a good boy.”

“Can you tell me where Glaistig is hiding?” Bodach examined his armpit and sniffed.

“Go to the standing stones on the north side of the loch. She has a cave there.”

“Yes, Mistrezz.” Bodach dragged his limp legs behind him. He began to unfold in a way the eye could not follow. When he reached the door, he needed to bend and shuffle through sideways to fit.

“Bodach, stay with Glaistig and do as she says. She might need some muscle.”

“Yes, Mistrezz.” Bodach ducked and went to seek Glaistig, the Gray Lady.

Cailleach closed the door behind the giant and sat again. She twanged the long hair protruding from the wart on her chin. “This is all very disturbing. Two foreigners stomping around in my bog within hours. This second, though, he’s strange. Yes, male. That much is clear. But I smell on him both warlock and vampire. Very odd, indeed.”

She went to the dusty bookshelf beside the fireplace. As she tapped each book with her gnarled finger, it spoke its title aloud. The Compleat Book of Bats. Care and Feeding of Monsters. Selling Love Potions on the Internet. Vampires: The Myths and the Facts. She took this one off the shelf and flipped through the pages. An occasional groan or scream emitted from the book, depending on the chapter topic.

“Ah, here it is. ‘Vampire Half-Breeds.’ Hmm. ‘Cross breedings with werewolves, ghouls, and Sasquatch have been cited, although most of these stories are second-hand accounts at best. It is believed that vampires could breed with any species; however, it is most likely this only occurs when the other creature is in an altered form. The werewolf, for example, must be in its wolf mode, not its human aspect.’”

Cailleach stuck her finger in the book to hold her place and plopped down on her rocking chair. She must be mistaken about the invader. This was a scholarly work, although a little dated having been written in 1549. But it seemed to deny the possibility of a warlock-vampire mix. She’d have to study this a bit more. Still, the vampire smell was strong. Without her power, all she could do was wait for Glaistig to report. The only known true vampire in Scotland, Glaistig wouldn’t waste a minute of darkness beating feet to catch up to the male, determine what he was, and report back.

Satisfied she could do nothing more, she leaned back in her rocker, intending to read the rest of the chapter. But sleep overtook her, and she was soon snoring in her chair.

* * *

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Get the entire series including the prequel short story, "Spellslinger," and the follow up "Blood Ties Tested." in a single volume for only $4.99: The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim.

Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

While dodging the goddess’ minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Eagle Quest Book Trailer

Eagle Quest - 99 cent Sale


A Vision Quest turns deadly when four friends confront eagle poachers in a wildlife refuge.

Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual junior high school crowd as they are from each other.

Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight camp out as they encounter a black bear, a retired forest ranger living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other.



Tuesday, September 08, 2020

A Conversation Across Centuries and Countries

Since Renee Duke and Marva Dasef both have Native American/First Nation characters in their books, we thought it would be nice if they had a chat. Here's Mitch from "Eagle Quest" and Skookaweethp from "The Spirit Rose."

Bear Friend: Hi, I’m Mitch, also known as Alisoqualvdi Unalii. That’s in Cherokee and kind of hard to say, just call me Bear Friend. I didn’t know what it was until long after the events we’re describing here.

I couldn’t tell my friends the whole story of my encounter with the bear in the Wildlife Refuge. What I could tell them is in the book, “Eagle Quest” by Marva Dasef.

There are a couple of reasons I haven’t told the whole story. First off, Fiona, Hap, and Billy wouldn’t believe I sort of spoke with the bear in my mind. They let that go, figuring if I wanted to believe it what was the harm.

The main reason, though, is a lot weirder than that. To explain what happened, I needed to have a special person here to help me out. Someone you can read about in another book, “The Spirit Rose”, by Renee Duke. I didn’t quite know how to ask this person here. I mean, it’s not like I could call her up on my phone. But she must have known I wanted her help again, because she talked to me in a dream. She said, if I sat real quiet, and really concentrated, she’d come through to my mind. So that’s what I’m going to do…Are you there, Sk…um,,,Skoo…?

Skwkwwilp: I am here.

Bear Friend: Can you help me pronounce your name and then explain what went down when I met the bear in the clearing?

Skwkwwilp: My name? Hmm. You would perhaps find it easiest to say Skook-a-weeth-p. It is good to be with you again, Alisoqualvdi Unalii.”

Bear Friend: You pronounced my name right and everything, but maybe just call me Bear Friend or Mitch since this is in English. Could you tell the readers who you are, where you’re from, and, for that matter, when you’re from?

Skookaweethp: If by where I come from, you mean a location, I am from what people of your time know as the Okanagan Valley. As to when…just think of it as long, long ago. Millennia ago.

Bear Friend: Before you describe your part in this incident, I’ll set up the situation. Basically, my friends and I were wandering around the wildlife refuge when we come to a clearing. There’s a huge tree fallen in the way. Before we could even get to it, a big black bear looked up over the log. It scared all of us. The others took off, but I heard, maybe that’s not the right word, I felt something that made me stay. That’s when you showed up, out of, like, nowhere, which was a really good thing because, otherwise, I think that bear would not have listened to reason. I didn’t hear you say anything, but the bear sure did. Right after you talked in its head or whatever you did, it came right up to me, sniffed a bit, and looked me right in the eye.

Skookaweethp: The bear was wiser than you think. And not there by chance. It was looking for you. Your spirit guide, the friendly spirit which now protects you and seeks to help you find your way, required a living form. I had asked the bear to allow it to take its form.

Bear Friend: Yeah, when the bear talked in my head, it said we’d be connected from then onward. All other bears would recognize me and think of me as their friend. It just about blew my mind!

Skookaweethp: Through your spirit guide, all bears are now indeed connected to you. This is because the manner in which a bear lives its life is one which you, too, should follow. A bear is strong, and fearless, but not constantly active. Just as a bear goes off to hibernate, you, too, should withdraw from others from time to time, to contemplate your life’s path.

Bear Friend: Cool. I wanted to learn more about spirit animals when we met, but you said you had to leave to help some other kids from this time. Did you have a bear go to them, too?

Skookaweethp: Yes. Though it was not, like yours, a black one. A bear and other creatures protected Paige, Dane, and Jack from the disruptor, thus enabling them to reach me and claim the power of the golden circle long held for them.

Bear Friend: The disruptor?

Skookaweethp: He who sought to interfere with their destinies. And still so seeks.

Bear Friend: So, they’re not through having trouble with him yet?

Skookaweethp: Alas, no.

Bear Friend: Too bad. He must be a really bad dude if it took a lot of spirit animals to see him off. I’m glad I’ve got a bear for mine.  I’ve got a lot to think about. I hope we can connect again sometime in the future. See you later.

Skookaweethp: Past, present, and future are as one, Bear Friend. Until the time of our next connection, farewell.

 
SPIRIT ROSE (Buy on Amazon)

The discovery of an old book provides more information on the medallion, but Paige and Dane will soon be returning to Canada and know it will be several months before they can make another time trip with their cousin Jack. Then, amidst all the preparations for Grantie Etta’s one hundred and fifth birthday party, strange things start to happen.As a result Jack, too, must go to Canada. Once there, it soon becomes apparent that the only way for the Time Rose Travellers to stop the increasingly distressing alterations to their modern-day lives is to venture far into the Okangan Valley’s past and locate the syilx girl who has the legendary Arcanus Piece.

EAGLE QUEST
(Buy on Amazon)
A Vision Quest turns deadly when four friends confront eagle poachers in a wildlife refuge.

Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual junior high school crowd as they are from each other.

Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight camp out as they encounter a black bear, a retired forest ranger living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

It is Happening Here

Excerpt from "Missing, Assumed Dead"

 Prologue

Seven Years Ago

Salvadore Vasco poured coffee into a tin mug and clumped out onto the rickety porch fronting his wooden shack. Sun glare off the bare, brown rocks scattered about the yard made him drop his head, so the brim of his hat shielded his eyes. Today would be another scorcher. He took a sip of the hot, bitter liquid and stood quietly for a moment inspecting the only thing he owned: this scruffy acreage a few miles outside a tiny town in eastern Oregon. It might not be much, but it still brought a smile to his lips. He propped the shepherd’s crook he used for a cane against the siding. Bending to sit in the rocking chair, he grimaced. Not even seventy yet, and his bones didn’t cooperate this early in the morning. Sign of a hard life to be stove up so young.

On the horizon, dust billowed up from the main road. It drifted east with the morning’s hot breeze. Sitting up straighter, he watched and waited. Once the good Lord took Miranda away, nobody came out here anymore. It crossed his mind it might be his only friend, but Ray wouldn’t leave his diner during the day unless something big came up. Jack and Jill’s, the name Ray gave the place, had been there so long it could prob’ly run itself, but you couldn’t tell Ray that.

Not much reason to come here unless somebody died.

The vehicle wound its way up the dirt track leading to his house. Salvadore heard the rough engine of an older truck just before he made out a white pickup. Looked like a Dodge Ram.

It stopped a few feet from his porch, dragging the road dust in with it. He covered his mouth and nose with a big handkerchief until the cloud passed and then stood to greet his visitors. He didn’t recognize either of the men. The driver was in his forties, the passenger younger, maybe thirty. When they opened the pickup doors and stepped out, they hitched up their gun belts in unison.

It wasn’t unusual for men to wear sidearms in these parts, so it didn’t worry him. Salvadore noted the rifle rack in the back window of the truck. Most likely hunters. Both wore their hair close-cropped and were dressed in khaki camo trousers and black T-shirts. The outfits reminded him of uniforms. Tattoos covered the bigger one’s arms. Salvadore stared at the spread-winged eagle on his upper arm. It seemed familiar. “Howdy, fellas. Can I help you?”

The driver looked at the other man and smirked. “Anybody up here, old man?”

What do you mean? I’m up here.”

I meant any other people, old timer. We’re lookin’ for somebody. Thought he might have come up this way.”

A chill crawled up Salvadore’s crooked spine. “Nope. Haven’t seen nobody but you two.” He instantly regretted his too honest answer. Now they knew he was alone. He pointed north. “If you’re wantin’ the best place to hunt bighorn, you should head that way.”

The driver moved closer. Salvadore took a step back.

A dark mark on the man’s neck looked like a swastika. Pockmarks speckled his cheeks. He planted his boot on the first step with a thud and bared his teeth in a grin that didn’t reach his eyes.

Salvadore moved his hand to the left and gripped his shepherd’s crook. “Nothing here of value, boys.”

We’re not planning to rob you, old man.”

Good to hear. So you can just move along.”

Oh, I don’t think we want to do that.” Pockmark smirked at his partner. “Do we?”

Both men came at him. He raised his crook to protect himself.

It did no good.

* * *


MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Prejudice, murder, insanity, suicide: Every small town has its secrets.
Buy the Ebook, Print, or Audio at Amazon (ebook 99 cents)
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Buy the Audio Book at Audible.com or iTunes

When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.

En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.

Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.