Sunday, September 11, 2016

Folktales—Open Book Blog Hop

When I first started writing Wolves' Pawn, I knew I didn't want my wolves to be bound by the traditional rules of werewolves. No changing only at with the full moon, I wanted my characters to be able to shift at will. But in order to break the rules, I needed first to understand what the rules were.

Which led me to research the lore of shifters from around the globe. And most particularly, the stories of shifters in Native American legends and beliefs. What I found fascinated me. There is a large variety of shifter tales and not just wolves. I mention several of them in the book.

One of these is the Navajo skinwalker. The skinwalker is a creature of great evil. Legend has it that they are tribal medicine men who, after achieving power, kill a member of their family. They gain the ability to change into the shape of any animal, but primarily favor coyote, fox, crow and wolf. 

Skinwalkers are described in some stories as being able to read human thoughts. They are also said to
be able to mimic the sound of any animal. In some of the stories they are part man part beast, other stories have them changing fully into animal form.

Traditionally, the Navajo are reluctant to talk about skinwalkers, If you'd like to check out some supposedly authentic modern-day stories, here's a link. Skinwalker Stories. What follows is one of the antecedents which includes many of the standard elements of skinwalker tales. 

This didn’t happen to me but a very close friend of mine. I’ve heard a lot about coyotes and Skinwalkers, and had a weird experience or two with coyotes (creepiest was waking up to my sleeping bag being surrounded in paw prints without ever hearing them during the night) but never anything paranormal so to speak. Patrick’s story, however, kept me from going back to a favorite backcountry secret stash.
He was leaving the area one morning, had been camping there a couple days and said there was a coyote that always seemed to be close by, like in his peripheral vision but never overt. He loaded up his truck and started to drive down the wash out to the fire road. At the end of the wash, he could see the coyote following him. When he pulled onto the road, it was running next to him. Now he was freaked out, so he sped up. He said he was going 35 or so, and it was running along beside him. Definitely not possible. When he looked back, the coyote was running on two legs and was wearing what Patrick said looked like buckskin pants. An instant later, it was a person wearing a coyote fur keeping pace with his truck. When he looked again… It was gone.

We never went back to the grove after that.

Credit to Sean Reveron.

I ended up not using the skinwalker abilities in my book, although I do make reference to the legend. The Navajo aren't the only tribe with shifter stories, and the shape that shifters take vary from tribe to tribe.

To find out what folktales the other authors are talking about, follow the links below.

Additional rescources

Sept. 12 - Folktales -
1. Link your blog to this hop.
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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Labor Day—#OpenBook Blog Hop

This week on the Blog Hop, we're talking about Labor Day. To me, it's always marked the end of summer.

As a kid, school never started until after Labor Day. Although I liked school, it always seemed like summer wasn't long enough. There were still hills to climb and bikes to ride and nights to spend sitting on the front porch listening to the whippoorwill calling down in the valley and watching the fireflies flash among the willow trees. I feel bad for today's youth, who start school in the middle of August. It feels like they are getting cheated.

As an adult, I no longer have the free time to spend my summers in pursuit of wild huckleberries or trying to track down the ends of elusive summer rainbows. I have duties and responsibilities and a paycheck to earn, by gum. I must prove that I'm a productive member of society. When I manage to slip away to the mountains on a weekend, no one needs to know that I spent time watching the clouds form pictures while pretending to try to catch a fish.

In the mountains, Fall comes early. Much earlier than the official date of September 22nd. In fact, I'd have to say it has already arrived. There's been snow in the mountains and we've had to turn on the heater several nights. We're taking bets on when the first snow will fall where we will live. I've seen in snow as early as mid-September.

So it's fair to say that Labor Day really does mark the end of summer. The leaves on the trees are already starting to show a change in color. It's time to pack away the shorts and throw another blanket on the bed. The extra day off work will be used to cut the grass one more time and do housework that was neglected all summer long.

What does Labor Day mean to you? You can share your thoughts in the comments. And if you click on the links below, you can find out what other authors think.

Sept. 5 - Labor Day - What does it mean to you or how do you celebrate?
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Custom Blog:

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Saturday, September 3, 2016


If you're here from the Sunset on Summer Romance Blog Hop, welcome!  Before I give you a scene from my book Wolves' Pawn, let me present the book's description.

Dot McKenzie is a lone wolf-shifter on the run, using everything available to her to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. When she is offered a chance for friendship and safety with the Fairwood pack, she accepts.

Gavin Fairwood, reluctant heir to the Fairwood pack leadership, is content to let life happen while he waits. But old longings surface when he appoints himself Dot’s protector ... and becomes more than a friend.

But her presence puts the pack and her new friends at risk, and Dot must go into hiding again. When old enemies threaten the destruction of the Fairwood pack, it will take the combined efforts of Dot and Gavin to save it.

Can anything save their love and Dot’s life when she becomes a pawn in a pack leader’s deadly game?

Romance among wolf shifters often doesn't follow traditional paths. When you have two alphas, the path can take a lot of negotiation. Even when a deal is struck, there can be a lot of obstacles in the way. And sometimes it takes a threat from a joint enemy to bring them together.

Gavin went over to retrieve the knife and examined it before handing it back to her. “Special steel?” he asked.
“Yes, chosen to hold its edge and point longer while still staying tough enough not to break under pressure.”
“Like you.”
The sudden rush of moisture in her eyes surprised him. “Is that how you see me, Gavin? If you knew how many times I’ve come close to breaking, you might think differently.”
“Each time you learned and got stronger. Now you’re as strong as the steel in your knives.” He moved to put his arm around her waist, but she stepped away.
He wondered what he had done wrong as the silence grew. She walked over and stared at the whiteboard again. “This is dangerous, isn’t it?”
She sighed. “Can I ask you a favor as a friend?”
“Of course.” Gavin was puzzled but waited.
“Have you chosen a mate yet?”
She’s standing right here, he thought, but she doesn’t know it yet. “Not officially.” Now that she was back, he needed to have that conversation with his pack leader.
“Oh,” she said, “Never mind then.”
“Why, Dot?”
She sighed. “I was going to ask you to have sex with me tonight,” she said, and the knives spun in the air again. “But if you’re spoken for, never mind.” He waited again, sensing there was more she needed to say. “I realize there is a chance I’ll get captured tomorrow night, and if I do, there’s a better chance I’ll be raped. Probably by more than one man as they either fight over me or share me as spoils. And I hoped my first experience would be a pleasant one.” His fists were clenched as tightly as his teeth as she slid the knives back in place. “Can you believe that I’m still a virgin?” she asked, avoiding his eyes. “I’ve had a few offers, but decided I wasn’t into the friends-with-benefits scene.”
He cock grew hard instantly. He’d dreamt of holding her too many times for his body not to react. He had his arms around her and his mouth pressed against hers before she had a chance to move. “I can’t have sex with you,” he said as he backed her against the wall. “I told you in Atlanta I loved you and I heard you say it to me too.”
“You heard that?”
He thrust his body against hers and kissed her again. “Yes, I heard that. And when I take you, it won’t be just sex. I will make love to you, every part of you, and you will know that you are loved.” His ran his hands up and down her back while his mouth wandered from her lips to her neck and back again. He raised his head and stared into her eyes. “Let me know now if that’s not what you want while I still have the strength to walk away.”
“Please ...” She met his gaze and returned his stare, not blinking. The beating of his heart pounded in his ears as he waited for her to say more.
“Please make love to me.”

 Wolves' Pawn is available at: 
  Amazon (Kindle)    Barnes & Noble   iTunes  Kobo   Inktera for mobile