Monday, September 1, 2014

The Romance Reviews ~ Fall into Love Party!

It's time for The Romance Reviews Fall into Love Party! This month-long extravaganza has more than 250 participating authors and publishers and more than 200 prizes to be won -- including a grand prize of a $100 gift card! (All winners will be notified at the end of the event.)  
My prize is an Authorgraphed (signed by me) Kindle copy of The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo (book 1 in the ongoing series) ~ a modern tale drawn from ancient myth and urban legend. My participation day is September 23rd. Play all month long. The more you play, the greater your chances of winning.

How to play:
Read my excerpt here.
Register and be logged in on The Romance Reviews site.
3. Follow this link to The Romance Reviews site and look for my name on the participant list.
4. Scroll down to my question and choose an answer from the multiple choice.

Question: Eli's facial birthmark and his generally creepy personality have inspired this nickname.

After a few well-placed questions, Eli was certain Old Edgar still lived alone and the house was dark, as he’d expected at this late hour. Eli quietly closed the crooked gate behind him. As soft as the sound of the latch catching was, it still spurred the chickens in the nearby hen house to cluck softly. He quietly climbed the porch stairs. Reaching for the door knob, his hand was stayed by the unmistakable sound of a match being struck. He turned to the sound and found Old Edgar sitting on a rocking chair, in the process of lighting his pipe. The old man had a shotgun laid across his lap, the barrel pointing squarely at him.

“What do you want?” Edgar dropped the match, and picked up the gun.

Taken aback, Eli blurted, “Edgar! I was worried about you. I thought I’d check to see if you were all right.”

“You come to my home in the middle of the night to see if I am all right?” Edgar rocked forward. “Why are you really here, Spider?”

The name caught Eli by surprise. He hadn’t heard that derogatory name in three thousand years. His eyes narrowed. “What’s that you called me, old man?”

“I remember you, Spider. I was a boy when you were last here, but I remember you. Forever forty, hey?”

“Are you saying you remember me as a boy? That’s absurd!” Eli waved him away. “You’re one crazy old man.”

The pipe flared as Edgar drew a puff. “You look the same as you did the last time I saw your spider face. No, you are the same man living a cursed life.”

Eli took a step closer. The porch light went on and another unmistakable sound came from just inside the open door. Edgar’s grandson Warren stepped onto the porch, a freshly chambered shotgun in his hands.

“It is not my place to kill you, Midewi. But at my word, another will,” Edgar said in no uncertain terms. “You’ve been recognized. We know you for what you are. Leave my land. Leave the reservation.”

Eli made no move to leave.

Taking a step forward, Warren hissed, “Holy man or not, I’ll fuckin’ shoot you dead right now. Get the hell out of here.”

Eli smiled at them both. He put his hands up, and walking backward said, “You’re both crazy you know that?” He spit on the landing. “You shouldn’t believe your childrens’ stories, Edgar.” On the bottom step, he turned and walked into the night, not bothering to latch the gate behind him. Warren followed some distance behind to make sure he drove away.

Feeling a little shaky, Edgar let out a breath and tapped his now-cold pipe ash over the railing. He’d immediately recognized the Spider across the fire that night. Though at first, disbelieving his old eyes, he took off his glasses to clean them before taking a second look. Sure enough, it was that cursed man sitting next to Tony Reed. And Edgar knew the Spider would try to kill him the moment he finished telling the story of Ashkewheteasu. There were many stories of the Spider Midewi. That there was an especially evil man.

Edgar smiled at Warren coming up the steps, the sliver of morning sun at the horizon behind him.

“Who was that creep, Grandpa?”

Edgar looked at his grandson – a Marine recently returned from Iraq who had stopped to pay an unexpected visit on his way north to see his sweetheart. Sky Father had placed his feet on this doorstep for a reason. Warren was here to guard against the Spider. Edgar replied, “Remember the story of Ashkewheteasu and the Spider?”

Having grown up in a family of storytellers, Warren was familiar with all the stories. The young man nodded.

“That was the Spider.”

Back in his car, Eluwilussit frowned. That didn’t go as he’d planned. His life had been comfortable here. And given the age of Edgar’s grandson, he couldn’t live here safely for at least sixty years. So one thing was certain: sometime in the next five years, he’d make sure that entire family of storytellers was dead and buried and with them that story. He hated being called Spider. Even as a child it filled him with rage.

But he’d planned on going south anyway. Sooner rather than later didn’t matter. He only had a few peyote buds left and needed to get more. Having discovered the Midewin uses of the plant nearly fifty years ago, he used it regularly though it was getting harder to acquire these days as this government considered it a substance to be controlled. No matter the laws that made it scarce, acquiring it was necessary. He felt himself getting closer to the Manitou each time he ingested the psychoactive cactus buttons. There were other herbs and potions that did the same, and he might have learned the methods from Nawkaw. Unfortunately, the old Medicine Man took secrets with him when he died.

Down the road, Eli pulled over and opened a map. Elk Horn was a long ways away and he had to make a few stops — home first, to gather his belongings, then to find a station to gas up, and after, he’d find a small motel to get some sleep. Not only disappointed that his midnight visit had gone poorly, he was tired. There was one thing that never changed in all the years he’d lived: No matter the amazing inventions that extended the day, when the sun went down, he grew sleepy.

An hour later, he filled the tank of his Lincoln Town Car. As the pump ticked away, he used the time to wipe the windows, his mind filled with the details of the last hour. When he’d gone home, a throng of men were waiting for him. Some had shotguns. Angry that he couldn’t retrieve his belongings and his money, Eli turned his car around and headed south, figuring he was bound to come to a road-side motel eventually. He was tired. Dog-tired. Digging in his pocket, he pulled out a ten dollar bill, six singles, some odd change, and his switch blade. The pump stopped at exactly $67.52. He went inside, and the gas station’s outdoor lights went black. Minutes later, he walked back to his car with a paper sack of assorted travel foods, bulging pockets of cash, and a two-liter bottle of ice-cold Pepsi.


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