Friday, August 22, 2014

Update

It's been quite awhile since I last posted a blog...

I've been doing quite a bit of editing, not so much writing. Remember the baby that does not sleep? Well, she's now the toddler who takes the occasional nap. ; ) To feed her curiosity and innate desire to learn, I started teaching her pre-preschool. She already knew how to count to 18 so I'm teaching her number values. She knows the alphabet so I'm teaching her letter sounds, but mostly we're having fun with books, sensory boxes and tons of hands-on activities.

My husband is done with college... well, until he decides he needs his Masters. ; ) So yay! That means my evenings may be freed up to do some writing!

So life has been busy, full and good.

I don't think its a secret that I'm a Christian, a bible-believing, born-again Christian, at least not to my closer friends. I don't mention it much because this is a writing blog, but my beliefs, as anyone's do, permeate everything I do.

Because I am a writer, and I miss writing, and my life is full of mommy-type things lately, I decided to start a more personal blog. I'm hoping that means this one will be revitalized too.

Here's to wishful thinking. ; )

But at any rate, if you'd like to check out my Shawna Guzman blog, here it is.

It's rather plain right now... mostly because I had a two year old asking for blueberries, and then Paw Patrol, and a few minutes later a popsicle as I was attempting to write it.

I hope you are all doing well! I miss the writing community! : )

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Writing Process -- Blog Tour!


My Writing Process -- Blog Tour!
Step one: Acknowledgements: Thank you to Jody Wallace and Meankitty (Meankitty has her paws in everything... and no, not saying that's a bad thing.) who tagged me and then was so gracious when I dropped that ball flat on the ground. http://blog.jodywallace.com/2014/03/my-writing-process-blog-tour.html T

Step two: Answer the 4 questions below about your writing process.

1) What am I working on?

Honestly, not much. I have a very active almost-year-old who does not sleep. A 20 minute nap does not constitute sleep. Trust me. It's just long enough to grab a cup of coffee, sit, open the WIP, read where I left off, get started... and then bang my head into the keyboard when I hear "mommy" So a better question is what would I like to be working on. The answer to that is an awesome paranormal story involving a Native American heroine and native lore.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I wrote it, duh! Seriously? The currently wannabe story involves real-life situations and well, a lot of cool paranomal bad guys based on native legends.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I guess I write what I like to read. I like bad guys who you almost want to root for. Almost. Heroes and heroines who are far from perfect and plots that make sense.

4) How does your writing process work?

It's not working. See question one. Ideally, I have an idea. I think about it, toss it in the air, catch it, see what floats, what doesn't. The characters almost always come first. Then I ask questions. Why is he/she there? What does he/she want? What if. The ideal time for this is when I'm half asleep or in the shower. Go figure. Then I just go. No huge outline, no index cards. Just me and quiet... which I am sorely lacking at the moment.

Step Three: Okay, now I need to tell you who else to go see. Jody, of course, who is a multi-published and talented author who lives in  Tennessee with her husband, two kids and two cats. She is a terrible packrat and likes to amass vintage clothing, books, Asian-inspired kitchenware, gnomes, and other items that threaten to force her family out of the house. She also likes cats. A lot.



Next week you need to....

1. Go see Veronica Scott, she of the ancient Egyptian romances and the science fiction romances! Her bio: "Best Selling author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything."

2. Go see Petra Grayson, an avid reader buddy I've made on Twitter who may soon dive into the writing side of publishing. Her bio: "Petra Grayson reads romance novels and writes reviews whenever life allows it. She’s very spoiled in her house full of men and keeps busy working out, volunteering, and trying to remember what life was like as an engineer. She tries to write stories when things are quiet but so far they contain too much sex and not enough talk. Find her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/LietoFine7 or check out her bloghttp://theoryoflietofine.blogspot.com."

3. Go see Jeanne Hardt, who writes historical romance and is the president-to-be of my local RWA chapter. Her bio: "Jeanne Hardt first thought she would be a famous singer until she dreamed that a college professor challenged her to write a romance set in turbulent times. When she woke up...she did! Four books and a couple years later, her dream professor is still inspiring her to pursue publishing."

4. Go see DT Dyllin, who writes paranormal romance and loves dogs. Her bio: "D.T. Dyllin is a Bestselling Romance Author who writes in both New Adult and Adult genres. She is a member of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and also her local chapter, the MCRW (Music City Romance Writers)."

Friday, March 7, 2014

Today I'll be...

Today I'll be over at Angela's blog. Or rather Bredych will be there. Have you ever met him? If not, you're in for a treat, or destruction... depending on his mood. I've been told he's in his most charming frame of mind.

Bredych is one of those characters that stays with you. A little know insight? Once when I was writing him, I had a moment of true fear thinking someone so cunning was in my brain. Shivers.

Today he's explaining why he's not a villain.

So take a chance, stop by and say hi.

By the way, this guy would play Bredych extremely well.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring

I almost feel guilty sharing these pictures because I know a lot of the country is still knee-deep in winter, but it's been spring here for some time and now all the flowers are blooming!

My favorite blooming tree, our peach--which oddly enough has magenta flowers--isn't blooming yet. We pruned it pretty severely this winter so it's to be expected. This is the apricot.


These are grape hyacinths, taken five minutes before tiny toddler picked them all for me. ; )
So what is happening where you live? Spring? Winter?

Don't forget, there's still time to enter a drawing for one of two gorgeous pendants!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Triune Stones: Dominion

Dominion, or Crioch, is the stone held by Bredych. Dominion is never describe in any of the books, but when Ilythra first “sees” Bredych, she describes him as the red man because of the stone. The stone is not evil. Ilythra often describes it’s song as sounded tortured because Bredych uses it contrary to it’s intended purpose. The keeper of Dominion can influence the world around him, influence the way things grow, the weather, but only in keeping with the natural order of things. Bredych controlled a pack of wolves in Journey of Dominion, but he couldn't make. Crioch's keeper can also fold the space between two places and step from one place to the next, but this takes a lot of energy. We know how Ilythra came to hold a sacred Elder-born stone, but how did Bredych get his? Treachery, of course. Ilythra gets some insight into the event as she’s walking the roads of Teann. (Edited from Journey of Dominion)


 He’d known what he was even then. The thought hit Ilythra full force. She blinked, gazing through eyes that were not hers. I’m dreaming. But this was unlike any dream she’d ever known. 

The path before her stretched into the distance, shadowed by trees and peppered with fern. Third-person thoughts and emotions mingled in her mind. She was two people, herself and someone else. She fought vertigo and panic to quiet her thoughts, so the other’s could come through. A man. 

Flashes of clear images dissolved and reassembled into something new. Memory. Slowly a story formed as images and impression coalesced. She felt the poverty, sorrow and lack in his early years. She lived the scorn and alienation of his childhood. And, as the will and fortitude of the man developed and strengthened, she reveled in his intelligence and success. His dramatic rise through the ranks had been merely a by-product of being different from the others and destined for greatness. 

As he had every day for many years, while the others dined in the great hall, he’d set off on a path along the riverbank, shunning the crowded table or the halfhearted invitations to sup with inane nobles seeking handholds to boost their positions. The same nobles who spat at his mother while he clung to her skirts as she begged for a crust of bread. In the fresh breeze that skimmed off the waters and cooled his skin, he marched along the raging river. He’d always thought better in motion. As his mind sharpened, he pondered his circumstance. Now others groveled at his feet; now he wielded authority. He’d learned power was the only thing worth pursuing. And despite all obstacles, he’d grabbed it—from groom to King’s Steward and one of the greatest alchemists in the land. Although few would know his name if they heard it. He didn’t seek popularity or favor from the nobles. He had no need of benefactors or the limelight. He wanted only one thing: more. 

A few seemingly random accidents and a well-timed rumor of treachery was all it took to clear his path. He glanced toward the gate, where the head of his predecessor still swung in the light breeze, a warning to all others who would dare go against the lord of the castle. Miles Santon had gone to the gallows screaming his innocence, not that it mattered. The man slowed his rapid pace and stared over the span of water, not quite seeing the glint of sun dance along the gentle waves. Miles and the others were weak. He was not. And now? Now he’d wait a few years. It was well known the king’s son drank far too much during the hunt. The scenario would be predictable. Ever the faithful servant, he’d accompany his prince. Once alone in the thick of the woods… The horse could easily be spooked. Accidents happened all the time. And just that easy, he’d be the king’s favorite, and with the king’s daughter of almost marriageable age… 

The prospect didn’t fill him with any sense of satisfaction. Too easy. He turned back toward the castle, his mind already on the experiments in his laboratory. 

When two strangers materialized on the path before him, Ilythra blinked, missing the man’s reaction. She experienced a moment of self-doubt as their thoughts mixed. She felt his confusion as though it was her own. For a heartbeat, he feared he’d succumbed to the disease afflicting his father. But she knew the strangers weren’t an illusion and soon after, so did he. 

 Covered in grime and blood, the men tumbled onto the path as though thrown and lay in the dirt where they fell. As she watched, one of the men rose to his feet and looked around. She saw the men with two sets of eyes, each perceiving differently. She was awed at their beauty. Even wounded and filthy, there was something majestic about the strangers. But she could also feel his greed and growing excitement. He can taste their power. Only then did she notice power swirl around the men, almost encompassing them in its tendrils. One bled heavily. Bind his wounds! Ilythra shaped the thought with urgency. But no, I’m seeing something that already happened. 

The man rushed to the fallen men and spoke rapidly. One of them answered, but she couldn’t hear the words. As the man drew near, Ilythra recognized the power. She was seeing herself. No, that was only partially true. It was Ilydearta, but with another keeper. She fought a strange jealousy. Did the other man also carry a stone? She strained for a look. Then as Ilydearta’s keeper and her host picked up the wounded man, she felt it. Crioch. The wounded man was Crioch’s keeper. She hadn’t recognized its power. The melody was different, unrestrained, free. 

The scene spun away and as it did, time seemed laid bare, stretched so she could see its path. The wounded man did not survive. She saw him holding Crioch out, his eyes begging. A hand, her hand, his hand reached out to take it, and she felt the certainty that even the gods were aware of her/his greatness and that the man before him was weak and unworthy of his power. He/she took the stone, felt it resonate through his body and promised the man he’d do everything he asked. 

And he had. And more.
In honor of Crioch, I am giving away these two pendants. Enter for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 3, 2014

Back to the Beginning: Part Three

I thought it might be fun to revisit one of the early drafts of Journey of Awakening. This is the third and final part of Back to the Beginning. If you'd like to read part one and part two you'll find them here:


This chapter has always been special to me. It's one of the few I wrote from personal experience. It was hard to cut it, but it didn't go with the version my editor and I chose. But at least now you can read it. ; ) 

CHAPTER 3

One, two, three, four. Sarah counted stripes on the worn pastel carpet, sighed and stopped to eye a print on the wall. Pointillism. The designer had probably meant well but failed. Subdued hues and framed artwork could do little to calm anyone waiting to know if a loved one would live or die and nothing could beat the absurdity of standing in a hallway admiring a peaceful country scene while her grandfather fought for his life yards away.

Frustrated, she entered the ICU waiting room. Several people looked up and Sarah realized they hoped and dreaded she was a doctor with news; their faces a strange mix of expectation and relief. Then, as eyes met hers, relief flooded into the uncanny identification of kinship. She was one of them. A feeling of solidarity pervaded the small space where the community of sufferers shared in a universal truth. Small children watched a cartoon on a television suspended from the ceiling in one corner. Adults napped, lying across several of the heavily padded chairs. An ice chest and sleeping bags crowded other corner. Someone was in for the long haul.

Unsure what to do, Sarah glanced around, her gaze stopping at a little silver box on a nearby wall.

“What room?”

Sarah turned to the brown eyes of a young woman, obviously pregnant, who sat on the edge of a couch.

“Excuse me?” Sarah said.

“Do you know which room?”

“No, they just brought him in. The doctor told me to wait here.”

The woman nodded. “Then push either button. Tell them who you want to see and don’t let them forget you’re here.”

Sarah smiled her thanks, stepped up to the box and pushed the left button.

“Yes?” The voice was hollow, distant.

“I’m here to see William Kenneth.”

“What room?” The woman sounded bored.

“I don’t know. They just brought him in.”

“Just a minute.”

The intercom went dead and then buzzed back to life moments later.

“They’re still working on him. The doctor will come out when he’s finished.”

Working? Finished? What the hell did that mean? As she debated whether to find a seat or continue her pacing, the door opened. A collective breath caught in the room.

“William Kenneth, any family?” A young man dressed head to toe in blue scrubs walked in.

“I am——” Sarah began then stepped forward. “I’m his granddaughter.”

The man peered at her for a moment and lowered his voice to a whisper “I’m Dr. Mosely.” He laid a hand on her shoulder and led her to an empty section of the room. “Your grandfather has had a heart attack. He’s stable now.”

“W——when can I——?”

“Visiting hours are over.” Then his gaze softened, “but you can see him for a moment.”

The doctor led her back into the hallway then paused before large double doors and pushed a steel circle on the wall.

Sarah walked into an alien world of hissing ventilators and the aggressive smell of strong chemicals. 

Darkened rooms contrasted sharply with the bright hallways. Sarah kept her eyes averted from glass partitions that seemed more like museum cases than hospital rooms. Printed curtains hung from railings on the ceiling, offering the patients a measure of privacy.

Before reaching the end of the corridor, the doctor paused and indicated a room with a nod of his head. William lay on a bed, tubes growing from his hospital gown. An IV dripped steadily as monitors beeped and tiny lights flickered. His index finger glowed red. Sarah traced the line to a machine. Ninety-two point nine.

The doctor glanced at a chart. “He’s stable. We’re running tests now. We’ll know more in a few hours.” He looked up. “Don’t stay too long.”

For several seconds she stood rooted to the spot, unable to assimilate that the man on the bed was the grandfather she’d known all her life. As if pulled inward by unseen forces, his body had shrunk almost beyond recognition. Sarah’s eyes brimmed over. Until this moment, William’s mortality hadn’t registered. He was her grandfather, the constant in her life; but now he seemed so frail, so small. She fought panic. He couldn’t leave her; she couldn’t face the world alone. Sarah rebelled against her selfish thought but it fought back; she needed him; his voice, his presence, his strength.

“Papa?” her voice seemed small against the machines’ persistence. “Papa, don’t you leave me.” She trailed a hand along the creases of his face and leaned closer to lay her head on his shoulder.

“Sarah?” The voice was little more than a whisper.

She straightened, grasping a hand that had taken on the appearance of a dragonfly’s wing, the skin translucent over veins and tendons. “I’m right here, Papa.”

“You’ll go to Anatar?” His voice remained a whisper.

“Papa, I won’t leave you. I’ll look after you. I’ll get a job and——”

A thin smile touched William’s mouth. “Some things are out of our control. I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I’m satisfied. The next task is yours alone.”

“You rest now; we’ll talk about this more when you’re better.”

“No darling....” His eyes flickered. “Now is the time to decide. You wear the pendant. You can feel its power. Please, say you’ll take it back.”

Heat bloomed through her chest as Ilydearta glowed, faint light seeping through the thin fabric of her blouse. 

A cool breaker washed over her troubled mind, leaving in its wake a soft narcotic calm and the blurred image of pebbles whispering on a distant shore.

“Yes, Papa, I’ll go to Anatar. I’ll take the stone. I’ll finish what you began.” Sarah closed her eyes to ward away an involuntary shiver. “But I don’t know how to get there.” This is crazy. “And——if I do, where do I leave it?”

The pressure of his hand increased. “No, Sarah, you can’t leave it. You must find the other two stones. The three stones must be reunited or Anatar will fall into darkness.”

Sarah fought to still a groan. Darkness? Like in a Tolkien novel? These things don’t happen! She could feel the insistent pressure of his hand and something else; his strength ebbing away like tame rain sucked in by thirsty soil. She panicked, seeking to grasp at reality in a world of beating lines, blinking lights and hisses. 

“But Papa. I don’t even know how to get there. Do I have to go back to Germany, find the lake?”
Through a misting of tears, Sarah watched peace settle over William’s features.

“The sea, my love...the sea... is your mother.” He labored a faltering breath. “The sky, Sarah.”
William smiled and closed his eyes. The trace in the monitor peaked once and flattened into a straight line along the center of the screen as the beep became a single note.

Sarah gazed at her grandfather, his outline softening through a blur of tears. “I love you the moon, Papa.” She kissed his forehead and stepped out of the room passing the nurses who rushed to William’s bedside.



CHAPTER 4

Sarah stepped into the darkened entry and deposited her keys in the glass dish, the echoing sound unfamiliar. Until this moment, the house had seemed to hold its breath waiting for William’s return, now it felt sad, resigned to a permanent loss.

As her silent footsteps glided over the wooden floors, Sarah felt bitterness curdle in her throat. They had always made a game of walking without noise and trying to sneak up on each other, whether it was in the house, the beach or the woods. She now recognized it as part of her training. Sarah’s hand reached to her chest and Ilydearta underneath her blouse, its beat insistent, prodding, urging. She turned to the worn banister. Upstairs, she paused before her grandfather’s open door.

Few had attended William’s funeral: students who read his obituary in the local paper, the man at the grocery store, a neighbor or two. Sarah hadn’t cared. She watched as though witnessing a play. Nothing seemed real.
Her heart beat with the voice in her head. He’s gone. He’s gone. Now what? Get a job? The house was paid for but bank statements told her there was little money left. Her grandfather had wanted her to go to a place called Anatar; a place better left in a fairy tale. Did he expect her to know how to get there? Well she didn’t. The analytic part of her brain told her the anger she felt was part of the grief process. It didn’t help. Surely this was a dream; she’d wake up soon and tell her grandfather about it while they shared breakfast. She realized she was pacing up and down the hallway. Her steps echoed in the enclosed space, a lonely hollow sound. How was she going to get through this? One arm outstretched, Sarah leaned against the wall, her legs weak. Warmth bloomed in her chest and for a moment, Ilydearta glowed incandescent. William and all the love and security he represented receded into the misty background of her mind and hovered there, an indistinct memory of something beautiful in her life. She was filled with longing, a craving for something, but for what she didn’t know. And then a blurred image played like a flickering old film against her closed eyelids: pebbles whispering on a distant shore.

The beach. That was it, the house was too small. I need space... Air. Sarah walked down the stairs and through the garden toward the ocean. The beach was her sanctuary, the place she would go when she wanted to be alone. Mist swirled in her wake then slowed, gathering and resettling to eddy at the feet of tall eucalyptus, their fragrance and shape adding to her dreamlike feeling. She breathed in the pungent scent as a breeze rose and a shiver ran through the leaves.

Before long, she could hear the breakers grinding against the shore where she’d spent many joyful afternoons, alone and with her grandfather. The beach was isolated, well away from any tourist attraction and now, well after sunset, it was deserted.

The breeze made her skin feel alive. The soft hairs downing her arms tingled as if charged with static. Sarah narrowed her eyes as the recurring imagine of a pebbly beach filled her mind. But not this beach.

Removing her shoes, she walked to the foam crust left by the last wave. The sea, my love...the sea... is your mother.

Cool sand sent shivers through her body. Sarah gazed up at the night sky where thousands of stars throbbed in unison with the pendant lying against her heart. The sky, Sarah. A seagull cried overhead. The salt-spray mixed with her tears until it was as if the ocean cried with her.

Sarah gazed across the inky depths. The waves fell in one long splash, like a wall falling, a wall of dark stone capped in fluffy snow. She regarded the dark water, felt her heart surge with the tide. Come.

One foot moved forward then another. Cold water eddied around her calves as she took another step, freedom chasing away the last remnants of fear. The pebbles in her mind’s shore tinkled like seashell wind chimes as she stripped off her clothes. Ilydearta catching the starlight, Sarah dove into the ocean.


****
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into what might have been. Let me know if you have any questions about what would have happened next. ; ) 


Friday, February 28, 2014

Back to the Beginning: Part Two

I thought it might be fun to revisit one of the past incarnations of Journey of Awakening. In this version, Sarah lives in Seattle, Washington. You can find part one here.


CHAPTER 2

“Most tales have obscure beginnings and this one is no exception, so I’ll begin with your parents.”

“My parents?”

“Yes. What do you remember about your mother?”

“She sang me to sleep, told extraordinary stories and she smelled... Mmm, I don’t know but it was wonderful. I can’t remember anything else.”

“No wonder, you were very young when she passed away.” William placed his cup on the table. “Of course, you have no memories of your father; he died before you were born but you would have liked him. As you know, he was an archeologist.”

At Sarah’s nod, he continued. “He was digging in southern Germany when he wrote about a box he’d found with strange markings carved on its lid. Since I’m an expert in ancient languages, he included a relief of the markings, lines of signs, similar to runes but with patterns I’d never seen before, like hieroglyphs or ideograms. I racked my brain, went up to the attic and dusted off books forgotten since I attended university. I even posted a photograph of a few symbols at a haunt frequented by buffs of obscure languages but with no results. I was never able to decipher the symbols on that box. A few days later, I received another letter; he was returning home for a brief sabbatical and bringing his wife with him.”

“You never told me my mother was German,” Sarah interrupted.

“No, and I never will, because she wasn’t.”

Questions radiated from his granddaughter but she remained silent. He smiled, proud of her self-control.

“I picked them up at the airport. I’d never seen a woman as beautiful as your mother. Beautiful and frail. I didn’t know it then, but her fragility hid strength of character; a trait she passed to you.”

William glanced to the fire; Sarah moved to push a log on the dying flames.

“When they settled, Charles asked me about the lettering on the box. I told him I was stumped. I recall how he ran his fingers through his hair and then began pacing. He told me to sit down because he had one helluva tale to tell. He said he had unearthed the box in an unexplored part of the site, took it back to his tent, made the relief that he sent to me and then opened it. Inside he found a pendant on a long silver chain. When he took it out, the box crumbled into dust, but there wasn’t any sign of aging on the necklace. He said it appeared as though it had been created the day before. For reasons even your father didn’t know, he dropped it in his pocket and didn’t enter the find in any of the logbooks or tell anyone else about it. For the rest of the day he went about his duties but couldn’t focus on anything except the necklace in his pocket. That evening he took it out and placed it around his neck. Charles said he felt whole for the first time in his life.” William blinked to rein in a flood of almost tangible memories. The fire brightened and a faint blue flame tiptoed across the blaze like a butterfly over ripe wheat. He cleared his throat.

“‘I walked out of the tent and into the woods feeling I had a direction, a purpose, but it was soon clear I was lost. In the thick darkness you can only find in deep forest on a moonless night, I slipped down an embankment to the shores of a lake. The waters drew me and I accepted their call.’ Those were his exact words.”

“You mean he went for a swim at night? In an unknown lake?” Sarah asked.

“Yes. He did. He swam for a long time, unafraid, and when he pulled himself out it was daylight. He thought he was losing his mind.

“He wandered through countryside of tall lush trees and thick undergrowth, not knowing where he was or how to get back home. After a while, he came across a small cottage and knocked on the door. An old woman answered. He tried German then English, French and Spanish, but she didn’t understand and he couldn’t make heads nor tails of her language. She probably thought he was a beggar of some kind because the woman gave him bread and shooed him away.

“He crossed a field munching on the bread when he saw a beautiful woman picking flowers and fell in love with her. I’ve never believed in love at first sight, but  didn’t doubt him. You could see it in his eyes. How he wooed her, I don’t know; they couldn’t even communicate. But he did. Kari took him to an abandoned cabin. There she visited often to bring food and take long walks as they learned each other’s language. After several months, he felt homesick and asked Kari to go with him. She agreed. A few nights later, they returned to the lake and swam. Halfway across, he knew they’d returned to this world. They climbed out onto the shores of a lake in Germany.

“Later, when I learned her language, I asked her why she followed him to a strange land. She told me she’d suspected she was pregnant with you and that she’d found her home and her family in Charles. She would have followed him anywhere.”

William paused. Sarah’s brows drew together wrinkling her forehead.

“I know, it sounds like a fairytale. It isn’t.” William pulled the necklace from underneath his shirt. “This is the pendant your father gave me before returning to Germany. I didn’t understand then why Kari was frightened of it. I do now.

“After your father died, I did my best to make Kari feel at home. We would spend long evenings practicing her beautiful language”

“Anatarian?” Sarah’s eyes grew large.

“Yes, love. I hated taking credit for such a magnificent tongue. I didn’t invent it. It exists... somewhere else.”

“You mean another country?”

William took a deep breath. “Over the years I’ve considered the issue, Sarah. You know I’m a practical man, more at ease with scientific laws than legend or fantasy. But even a practical man knows some things defy explanation. Perhaps another dimension is the best description. Your mother spoke often of her land, Anatar, of the people and their traditions. I asked her about the pendant. She called it Ilydearta.”

“Doorway?”

William nodded. “More literally, ‘Waymaker’. It’s one of three powerful stones created in ancient times. She didn’t know how much of the legend was true and how much fantasy.”

“It all sounds like fantasy to me.” She tilted her head, eyes narrowing. “Is this a practical joke?”

“No, Sarah. I am quite serious.” He smiled. “And in my right mind.”

“One of three powerful stones? How is a stone powerful?”

“I don’t know, but this one is. I believe it is as its name suggests: a facilitator between worlds. Though I’ve never tried it.”

Sarah’s swallow was audible. “Where are the other two?”

“I don’t know and neither did your mother.” William shrugged. “But for Anatar to be whole, this stone must be returned.”

Sarah’s face lost more color. “What do you mean?”

“Ilydearta must go back to Anatar.”

“And you’re going to take it?”

“No, child. You are. It’s what your mother asked of me before she died. It’s what you’ve been trained for.”
Sarah leaned back. Large eyes, full of shock and confusion regarded him. “That’s what the lessons were for? My whole life you’ve been training me for something as outlandish and ridiculous as taking a rock to another... dimension and you didn’t think I deserved a choice?” Her eyes blazed.

“You wouldn’t have unders——”

“I understand now,” her voice rose and leaned forward. “This is crazy. How could you do this to me? I mean, this is crazy.”

She was close to hysterics. William reached a hand toward her then let it drop. How to make her understand? He sighed, unbuttoned his shirt and removed the necklace from around his neck. “This is yours. Your heritage. I force you to do nothing. I’ve done what I had to do and so will you.”
Arm outstretched, the large blue stone caught the light of the fire. He watched Sarah hesitate, and then take the necklace from his hand as a spark flashed across her eyes, leaving a streak of wonder in her gray irises and something else, perhaps fear.

#

Sarah watched her grandfather exit the room, aghast at his sudden departure. In an instant he’d metamorphosed, his skin sagged, deep furrows rearranged his face. Gone were the genial expression and his boundless energy. When he stood from his chair, he was a frail old man burdened with unbearable tiredness. She listened to his faltering tread fade as he climbed the stairs; her chest constricted with a heavy sensation of guilt and shame at her outburst. As she stood to race after him, Sarah’s hand unconsciously offered the necklace up to the firelight. The stone radiated a field of blue across her arm and her skin rippled with a tingling sensation. Images flashed across her mind. She saw stone cottages nestled in fields dotted with poppies against a background of blurred mountains, scenes that reminded her of the old Irish postcards she once saw at the university. Sarah closed her eyes and gripped Ilydearta tighter.

Before her stood a door: dark, heavy and carved with strange markings. When unseen hands opened it, she stepped through to stop before a dais and a tall man. Dark hair highlighted by a silver circlet topped a pale face with the beauty of youth and the wisdom of age radiating from his eyes. He stood watching her, his bearing regal, but without display. Green as the forest after a rain, his eyes drew her in, beckoning, seeking beyond her appearance and into her heart. She felt naked, exposed. He spread his arms in a gesture of welcome and smiled.

Sarah blinked and, feeling a sudden weakness in her legs, sat down. She stared at the stone throbbing rhythmically in the crook of her hand. Swathed in silver filigree, the jewel was beautiful. Sapphire? No. Sarah moved it from one hand to the other, testing its weight, the vestiges of her vision slowly clearing like morning mist. She ran the tips of her fingers over the smooth stone. “What are you?” Sarah was startled by the sound of her voice. She turned the pendant over. Okay, there was something about the necklace, but a doorway between worlds? That was incredible. Wasn’t it? Her grandfather obviously believed it. And her grandfather.... She glanced up the darkened stairway.

“This can’t be real.” Sarah spoke to the empty room. Sarah studied the stone for any clue to its origin. 

“Ilydearta.” The jewel seemed familiar as if this were a reunion instead of an introduction. She felt as though it were weighing her as much as she examined it.

Without conscious thought, she slipped the necklace over her head. The flames in the grate flickered. She blinked. With sudden unwavering certainty, she knew her grandfather’s outlandish tale had to be true. We belong together. The thought issued from her mind yet she looked at the stone in surprise. Was this what her father felt, her grandfather? “And I’m to take you to a world I’ve never seen? Don’t even believe in?”

Sarah’s heartbeat sounded in her ears. Slowly the lights dimmed and she straightened, suddenly alert. The furniture seemed blurred. She massaged her eyelids to clear her vision; the air had darkened, thickened like odorless smoke. As an overwhelming foreboding gripped her, Sarah glanced up toward the second floor 

Papa! Did he call? She bounded up the backstairs pausing before her grandfather’s room.
William didn’t answer her knock. She opened the door a fraction. “Papa?”

He was sprawled on the other side of the bed. She charged through the door. “Papa!”




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Back to the Beginning Part One

Books usually go through quite a few revisions before they make it through publication. The Triune Stones went' through, I think, more than most, especially the first, Journey of Awakening.
I was looking through some old files and found the, almost original, beginning. It is so different from how Journey of Awakening starts now that I thought I'd share. For the next few days, I'll post a parts of the first chapters. All of it in one day might be too much.

In this version. Sarah doesn't start out in Anatar. She lives in Seattle, Washington. I hope you enjoy this.


CHAPTER 1

White wings flashed as gulls soared against an angry sky. Sarah Kenneth followed their serene ballet, a puff of wind chilling her skin and whipping dark hair into her eyes. After taking the porch steps two at a time, she paused under the eaves to fumble with her keys, appraising the leaden clouds. The day had dawned overcast, promising a downpour but never delivering more than an occasional misting. The storm had finally come of age. So am I.

“Stratus and cumulonimbus.” She shook her head. Can’t even admire a storm without classifying cloud formations. Get a life, girl.

“Twenty-one.” Her key slid into the lock. A magical number. More times than Sarah could recall her grandfather’s answer to a question had been: ‘I’ll tell you when you are twenty-one’ or, ‘when you’re twenty-one, you’ll be an adult and you’ll understand.’ Sarah smiled, feeling the extra weight in her bag. On the way home, she’d stopped by the liquor store to buy a bottle of wine for dinner, another benefit of her coming-of-age.

The oak door creaked as she pushed against it. “Papa, I’m home.”

Koreie sindu awau,” a voice called from further in the house.

Sarah sighed. “I’ll put it away.” Even though she was now an adult, she wondered if her grandfather would always treat her as if she was seven.

Before storing her bag in the foyer’s closet, she removed the bottle of wine. Carefully, Sarah slotted a bokken on the vacant hooks above her katana and ran a finger over the sword’s curved scabbard. She stepped back. It appeared lithe and feminine compared to the claymore and the heavily decorated schiavona, which hung on the adjoining wall. “The new Kendo instructor is good,” she called, slipping off her shoes in exchange for the tabi waiting in a battered wicker basket.

Her grandfather appeared through the kitchen door. “Anatarian, please, Sarah.” A linguistics professor and fluent in several languages, William preferred his own invention, a language he’d developed before she was born. Sarah sometimes teased that Anatarian was the native tongue of the Kenneth household, and they its only users.

One generous eyebrow rose, losing itself behind silver bangs as his smile widened. “How long did it take you to beat him?”

“Twenty minutes. But what a match!” She rubbed her side and flinched, “I’ll have the bruises to prove it. He was impressed I already knew Kenjutsu, even more...” Sarah wrinkled her nose. “What’s that awful smell?”

“Ah! My frostbite preventive,” William called over his shoulder as he scurried out of sight.

Sarah followed, her feet whispering against the silky oak floor, and leaned against the wooden frame of the kitchen door. Some of her earliest memories were of her grandfather bent over the stove, brewing one concoction or another. But then she hadn’t had an ordinary childhood. She watched him lift a blackened pot off the burner. A wild mop of white hair, always in need of a trim, dipped to brush wiry eyebrows crowning intense blue eyes. He took to the role of mad scientist well.

“Are you going to stand there watching?” He nodded at the table. “Hand me that bottle, please.”

Sarah passed over the container, jumping back to avoid a waft of pungent steam when he lifted the lid. Noxious fumes filled the small kitchen. She blinked back tears, her sinuses cleared. “Frostbite? Are you sure it’s not an expectorant?” Sarah opened a window, breathing in the damp, cool air.

“An added benefit. Were you afraid the smell was your birthday dinner?”

“The smell? No. I know you better than that.”

“Good.”

Their eyes locked and she felt the uncanny intensity of his gaze.

“The cake’s in the refrigerator, but don’t peek. It’s a surprise. Still raining?”

As if returning from a dream, she combed a hand through her dark hair, smoothing out the rougher patches. “Yes and no. The sky can’t make up her mind.”

“The sky is female now?”

Sarah watched golden fluid drip through a strainer into the glass jar. “Of course she is. You think a male could change his mind so quickly?”

William smiled. “Was that a bottle of wine?”

“Uh huh, for dinner.”

“Red?”

“Anglianico.”

“My favorite; good girl.”

The kettle sang. Sarah prepared tea and settled into her chair. She knew what was coming next.

“Now, let me tell you what I’ve done, so you can reproduce it as necessary,” William’s voice took a familiar lecturing tone.

Sarah sipped her tea. When she was small, she would sit in the back of his class, enthralled by the words and ideas Professor Kenneth offered his students. For the last ten years, she had been his only pupil, sharing in his vast liberal knowledge of standard subjects, and a dusting of unusual ones: herb craft, survival skills and primitive technology. Besides the Kendo, Iaido, Kenjutsu and kickboxing lessons she’d practiced for years, he’d also enrolled them both in medieval history classes and botany. She’d often pondered that her knowledge would come handy in the Amazon Forest or Papua New Guinea, but in Seattle?

She felt a pang of guilt. When Sarah’s mother died shortly after her father, her grandparents had taken her in. Then, after Grandma died, William retired early to attend to Sarah’s education full time. Her grandfather was brilliant, kind and his love for her permeated his every action. Perhaps he pushed her a little at times, but they were all each other had. It was enough.

William paused mid-sentence. “Sarah, this is a special day and here I am lecturing. You only turn twenty-one once. Why didn’t you stop me?”

She shrugged. “One day, I may be caught in a blizzard with nothing but a potato and a pepper and I’ll have you to thank for keeping all my toes. Of course, have you noticed it rains more often than it snows in Seattle?”

He peered down his slightly crooked nose, his eyes stern.

“What? I was kidding.” Sarah sighed.

“Sarah… never mind.”

“Papa, I’ll remember. If the pepper is hot on your tongue, it’ll warm your skin but dilute it with an inert substance so it doesn’t burn and further damage the tissue. If you don’t have access to a pepper, add a little oil to the meat of a baked potato and apply it to the affected area.”

William smiled. “Very good. But don’t forget, that cure is for minor frostbite only.”

“Yes, if I faced major frostbite, I might be more worried about dying than losing a few digits.”

A cloud passed over William’s face but he pointed toward the liquid-filled jars. “No, use my formula and your skills and you won’t die or lose any digits.”

Sarah cleared her throat. “So, what did you make for my birthday dinner?”

“Your favorite: roast beef, potatoes, carrots and parsnips.”

“Carrots and parsnips? You found them already?” Theirs wouldn’t be ready for weeks. She kissed his wrinkled cheek. “I love you the sky, Papa.”

William stroked her hair. “And I love you the moon, Sarah. Don’t you ever forget it.”

#

William placed one last dish into the cupboard, closing its door with finality. He was stalling. Rain battered the windowpane. Sarah moved to the window, opened the sash and breathed, a look of delight on her delicate features.
His throat tightened and he felt his resolve weakening. Have I done the right thing? The ghosts that haunted his sleepless nights returned unannounced. For years, he’d driven her mercilessly, drilling Sarah for her destiny and in doing so, he’d stolen her childhood and the wonderful years of careless youth. His schedule of extra classes, training and activities occupied her waking hours, including weekends. She didn’t have leisure for a social life. At times, it had broken his heart to watch her as she saw other children playing or groups of teenagers indulging their foolishness. She hadn’t complained, much. Sometimes he wondered if some hidden part of her knew that she was different. He’d taken her out of public school after first grade when he realized, eventually, peer pressure would overcome even a child like Sarah. There was too much at stake.
Reaching inside his shirt, eager fingers sought a pendant, his breath quieting as a rush surged through his veins like cool frothy water. Tonight he needed its power more than ever.
His eyes sought Sarah standing by the open window. Five-four and not an ounce of extra fat on her slender body, she was now taller than her mother had been. Her hair had grown. He’d never learned how to style a girl’s hair. The first few years, after his wife died, he fumbled about with clips and rubber bands and finally opted to keep it short. Now, Sarah’s hair fell just past her shoulders, a curtain of mahogany silk. When she turned around, his heart sang at the unbound joy on her features with the wind on her face. Tiny droplets of water clung to her cheek mirroring the gleam in her eye. Her eyes were her best feature, a deep silky gray that sparkled when she laughed. Yes, I have done my duty. He released the pendant, the ghosts gone.

“Shut the window, you’ll catch a cold.”

“Nonsense, you’ve taught me better. But I will make us more tea to go with our cake. Earl Grey?”

“Thank you.” William caught a flash of concern in Sarah’s expression. Her eyes had always said more than her words.

“You seem preoccupied. Are you okay?” Sarah asked, placing the kettle on the stove.

He wasn’t but he wouldn’t tell her. He had greeted the morning with a sense of anticipation and dread. “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.”

“Who else am I going to worry about?” Sarah’s smile lit her face but her eyes darkened with concern. “Papa, go sit down.”

William nodded and moved to his easy chair, a hand caressing the pendant.
Purpose gave him strength. Years of preparation would come to fruition today. The stone warmed in his hand, its power coursing through his arm. “Yes, it’s time.” His words seemed loud against the crackling fire and distant bustle in the other room.

Closing his eyes, William swam in his memories where a parade of faces both warmed and chilled his heart. His mind settled on Sarah, his life. The stone throbbed. William felt her presence and opened his eyes to see Sarah entering the room, a tray in her hands. When he wore the pendant, he seemed to have an added sense; vision beyond what his eyes could see. Magic. He both hated and loved the stone. Hated because it had ruled his and his granddaughter’s lives, stolen carelessness and the bliss that ignorance could bring. Loved because it was what it was.

Sarah walked with supple movements. Born with natural grace, her agility had improved with time. Sarah had been only four when he signed her up for ballet lessons and then gymnastics and martial arts; at fourteen she’d won her First Dan black belt and moved on to Kendo. He smiled. His granddaughter: the Samurai. Child, you’ll need everything you’ve learned.

“My, you look deep in thought.” Sarah set the tray on the ottoman and poured the tea.

“You know how old people are, collecting cobwebs.”

“The last thing I would call you is old.”

“But I am, Sarah.” He sipped the hot tea. “I bet you’re wondering what you’re getting for your birthday.”

“The question has entered my mind.” Her eyes sparkled. She arched an eyebrow. “A trip to Japan to study with a Fifth Dan?”

William threw his hand in the air. “Children, what are you going to do with them?” He watched firelight play in her hair. “No, Sarah, today you are an adult and for your birthday, I’ll give you a story.”

“A story?” Sarah sat in a chair opposite his. Her intelligent gray eyes never leaving him.

“Yes. A story.”



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Triune Stones: Ilydearta

In any series, getting to know the characters is key. Will the reads like them, hate them? Will they be real? In the Triune Stones series, the three stones play as big a part as almost any character so I thought an introduction might be in order

In Journey of Awakening, we are introduced to Ilydearta.

In Siobani, the language of the Dawn Children, Ilydearta means Doorway, or Waymaker.  From the first draft to the last, it didn’t change much in appearance:

With her eyes closed and life swirling around her, she pictured the stone in the necklace. Dark blue and swathed in silver filigree, the jewel was beautiful and as hard as it was to explain, she understood that it was now part of her, or who she was becoming. Who am I becoming? A chill of fear shot up her spine.

Sara’s grandfather gives her the stone on her birthday, but it is Sara’s father who originally found it. This is Sara relating the story to Maelys. 

“My father, Arles, was a peddler. My grandfather lived up north. He was a warrior who had hung up his sword in favor of a plow. One day, my father came home with a tale almost too strange to be believed. He had been traveling through an empty land of rolling hills. The sun had begun to set when he came upon two men digging in a field. It didn’t take him long to guess they were grave robbers. He ran them off, but they had already broken into a barrow. He placed everything back in the dark hole on top of the skeleton until he came to a box. He told my grandfather the box was covered with strange markings he didn’t understand, yet he recognized the quality of the workmanship. But that’s not what caught his attention. Although everything else in the grave had suffered the ravages of time, the box looked new. My father thought that it might have belonged to one of the robbers but knew he’d never see them again and if it was theirs, it was probably stolen. He took the box back to his cart and placed it on the seat next to him.” Sara paused, almost hearing her grandfather’s rich timbre as he had related the story.
“That night, when my father made camp, he opened the box. Inside he found a pendant on a long silver chain. When he took it out, the box crumbled into dust. There wasn’t any sign of aging on the necklace. It appeared as it does now.” She lifted the pendant. “For reasons even my father didn’t understand, he placed it around his neck, hiding it under his tunic. He said he felt odd but went on his way and shortly after, met my mother. She had been traveling with her family.”
The fire brightened and a faint blue flame tiptoed across the blaze like a butterfly over ripe wheat. Sara cleared her throat. “He fell in love as soon as he saw her. Grandfather said he didn’t doubt it because he could see the love in my father’s eyes. How he wooed my mother, I don’t know, but he did. She left her family and all she knew to follow him. Grandfather said he asked her about it and she’d told him that in my father, she found her home and her family. She would have followed him anywhere.”
Sara paused. “My father was divided. He still wanted to be a peddler, but didn’t want to expose my mother to that lifestyle. She wouldn’t be swayed. When they left, she was pregnant with me. She died in childbirth.” It was a story she’d known her entire life, but that never ceased to fill her with longing. What would it have been like had they lived? To know a mother’s touch? A father’s love? She loved her grandfather but theirs had been a solitary existence.
Maelys’s dark eyes gleamed but she remained quiet.
“The next time my grandfather saw him, my father had been wounded by bandits. Grandfather treated the injury the best he could but it was too late, and my father died.”
“Is that why your grandfather taught you Shi’ia and the healing arts? To defend yourself?” Maelys asked.
“You know I practice Shi’ia?”
Maelys’s gaze didn’t waver. “I have eyes.”
Sara shook her head. Her dark braid moved against her back. “I asked him that same question. He said he only sought to prepare me, but that I had a different destiny than my father. He said…” Sara swallowed. “He said my father told him that he may have possessed the stone, but he was not a keeper, merely a vehicle to get the necklace to me. He knew it as soon as I was born. He told my grandfather to keep me safe. To prepare me.” She met Maelys’s cool gaze. “My grandfather saved the stone for me. Until I was ready.” Tears pricked her eyes. I’m ready, Grandfather. How wrong she’d been. Sara gazed at the stone, surprised by the weariness that now weighed down her body.
For the story of how the stone was left in the grave, you will have to read Journey of the Wanderer.

Ilydearta is called the Waymaker because it can make a way where none seems possible. Sara first uses it without conscious knowledge. It is how she survived her boat capsizing. It is how she found Maelys, one of the few people who could teach of her Teann, and the stone. She needed these things to happen and the stone found a way.

It does not change matter or our physical existence in any way, but it opens the bearer’s eyes to possibilities. 

In Journey of Dominion, when it was time to attack the castle, she was able to see where the fortifications were weak and direct the siege engines accordingly.


This is the stone you’d want if you had to walk across a minefield. To observers, she’d appear very, very lucky. 

And you may be lucky too. Enter this contest for a chance to win your own Ilydearta. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 24, 2014

Journey of the Wanderer

The day is finally here. Journey of the Wanderer, the last book in the Triune Stones series, hits the cyber shelves today!

I am full of excitement and a bit of melancholy.  To celebrate this event, I'm giving away three copies of Journey of Awakening to three lucky contestants.

Enter below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can pick up your copy at these three retailers or any other online vendor!

Carina
Amazon
Barnes and Noble  


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Please Welcome Barbara Longley

Please help me welcome Barbara Longley to my blog. I've been a fan of Barbara's for some time, but my esteem has recently increased. She's combined two of my favorite things--American Indians and Scottish Highlanders--into one book. A must read! 

Today she's talking about her favorite heroine!

 ***

I like feisty, confident heroines, and Alethia Goodsky definitely fits into this category. The Tuatha Dé Danann character searched long and hard to find just the right person to send back through time, finally choosing Alethia who grew up on the Anishinaabe reservation in northern Minnesota. Along with her “special” abilities, Alethia had much needed survival skills.

TRUE TO THE HIGHLANDER’s plot has lots of twists and turns, and Alethia barely has time to catch her breath between her perilous adventures. She’s sent to fifteenth-century Scotland to save someone’s life, but she doesn’t know whose life is in danger. Naturally she sets out to save everyone, believing that accomplishing the task will be her ticket home. Of course she hadn’t counted on losing her heart to Malcolm, our delicious hunky alpha male hero.

After the serious nature of my contemporary Perfect, IN trilogy, writing the time travel historicals has been a blast. The second in the Novels of Loch Moigh trilogy is entitled THE HIGHLANDER’S BARGAIN, (July 2014) and in this one, Robley of clan MacKintosh travels to the future. The third, THE HIGHLANDER’S FOLLY, is Hunter’s story. He’s the deaf child Alethia adopts in book one.

Incidentally, my ex is from the same reservation my heroine is from, and my first teaching job was on the Lower Sioux Dakota Community. Everything my heroine does—beading, brain-tanning hides, making moccasins—I’ve tried. I’m good at the beading and moccasin making, but I suck at tanning hides, and I have not hunted or trapped.


Blurb:
Native American violinist Alethia Goodsky had plans for her future, and they didn’t include time travel, hocus-pocus good luck charms, or heroic deeds. And she certainly never intended to lose her heart to a fifteenth-century Scottish warrior or an orphaned boy unable to hear her music.
A life hangs in the balance, and only Alethia can tip the scale. This is all the supernatural being posing as a Renaissance festival fortuneteller reveals before transporting Alethia back in time to the Highlands of Scotland. Alethia must unravel the mystery before it’s too late if she’s to return home. She throws herself into the task only to have her efforts thwarted by her overbearing, self- appointed protector—Malcolm of clan MacKintosh.
It is 1423AD, the year before Scotland’s King James is ransomed from the British to take his rightful place upon the throne. The Highland clans are at each other’s throats, and all of Scotland suffers under the ruthless reign of their regent, the duke of Albany. Treachery and intrigue rule the day, and all Malcolm wants is peace. Finding a gently bred woman alone on MacKintosh land can only mean more trouble. When the exotic foreigner reveals her strange tale, Malcolm believes she was placed in his path to warn him of coming danger. He cannot allow the willful beauty to put herself in harm’s way for his sake. Malcolm is determined to keep Alethia safe and by his side—if only she’d let him.
Surrounded by enemies, with the mystery still unsolved, passion grows between Malcolm and Alethia until her heart is torn. Should she follow the dictates of reason and find a way home, leaving Malcolm and the young boy she’s adopted behind, or should she listen to her heart and remain true to the Highlander?
Buy link:   Amazon 
Visit Barbara at her http://www.barbaralongley.com/ 



Monday, January 27, 2014

When life influences fiction


Most of us have seen the coffee cup and magnets that warn people to be careful or they might end up in a writer’s novel. I know I’ve been asked several times if my characters are based on any “real” person. Until now I’ve always said no. But in Journey of Wisdom, I decided to immortalize someone very dear to me.
We rescued Shadow, our dog, from a shelter. He quickly became part of our family. He checked on the kids every night, let them dress him in clothes, and was the most loving, faithful dog ever. He grew sick 2012. The vet said, besides exploratory surgery, there was nothing we could except hope the antibiotics worked. They didn’t.

I was working on a scene in Journey of Wisdom and suddenly, it just seemed a perfect place to honor the world’s best dog. This is a short excerpt:

The fire began to falter, having consumed Mohan’s offering. He stood, too tired to move. His will was gone, as though it too was eaten by the flames. Something moved behind him. Mohan spun on the balls of his feet, drawing his sword.
A dog limped out of the forest near the clearing’s edge. Its dark gray coat was matted and wet in places. The dog paused several wheels away from Mohan. It whined once and wagged its shaggy tail. Mohan groaned. It was wounded, probably from the Rugian attack. He walked forward to put the mongrel out of its misery.
The dog looked up with dark, sad but hopeful eyes. Mohan slowly stretched out his hand. The dog whimpered softly and licked Mohan’s fingers.
“You’re the only one left.” Mohan’s voice broke. Where once there was laughter, family, there was only death.

And no, Mohan doesn’t put the dog out of his misery. The dog helps ease his... which is also a testimony to Shadow.

He whistled, and the dog raced between the trees toward him. It was only recently that the dog would let Mohan out of his sight and even now not for long. His habit of trailing Mohan and his gray coloring had inspired his name: Shadow... Adoration lit his dark eyes. Mohan patted the dog’s shaggy head. Shadow still had a slight limp but more than enough energy. “We’ll be home in a few hours. Are you ready to meet your new troupe?”

Shadow touched my family with his loyalty and love. I thought it a fitting tribute to let him stand by Mohan’s side and do the same.

We still haven’t been able to buy another dog. Recently, however, we did let a kitten into our home. Baby steps.

Do you have a pet that is part of your family?