Category Archives: Excerpt

Excerpt of Forthcoming Book

Rachel Blackstone’s Greatest Challenge Yet

Anasazi Medium: A Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery  is due out in January 2020.

(Copyright 2019 by G G Collins)

They ate in silence for a few minutes. It tasted like the best meal Rachel had ever eaten. Everything always tasted better, the sun looked brighter and the birds sang sweeter after a close call. She could feel the adrenaline losing its punch as she came down and began to feel tired.

“Where did the yellow water come from?” Chloe asked.

“No clue, but I’m going to find out. I got a sample on the way home.”

“Rachel, that’s great. What made you think of that?”

“Something’s very wrong,” Rachel said. “First the bird kills, the otherworldly appearance in my backyard, his prediction, the deaths of the university officials, and now being in the right place at the right time to rescue Anna. And there is the ever growing Dog Star.

“My understanding is the yellow water and fish kill is another sign of the impending end of the fourth world.”

They were thoughtful for a few minutes.

“Rachel, I wonder,” Chloe said. “Should we visit the Valles Caldera? Is there anything we could learn there?”

“I think there might be,” Rachel said thoughtfully. “The last time I was there I did an interview for the Longmire TV series coverage, back when they were filming the series in New Mexico. We ran several stories on that production. The Valles Caldera was used as Sheriff Longmire’s ranch location.”

“Quite a drive from the Las Vegas where they filmed the downtown and sheriff’s office scenes,” Chloe said.

“Yes, I know. I drove to both sets for the interviews and again to Madrid and the Mine Shaft Tavern that was used as the Red Pony bar.”

“I hated when that series ended,” Chloe said.

“Yup, me too. Seems like the good shows always end too soon.”

“And Supernatural is ending,” Chloe added. “Don’t know what we’ll do without Sam and Dean to guide us on these, uh, mystical excursions.”

“At least they got 15 years,” Rachel said. “Longmire only got six.”

Rachel changed the subject.

“You know, I’ve had those herb plants sitting on my back porch all summer. I think after what happened today, I’d like to do a little gardening.”

“You want help?” Chloe asked.

Rachel raised an eyebrow in question. She’d never seen Chloe plant any of her gardens.

“Well, I could ask my gardener if he would have time to plant it for you.”

Rachel grinned.

“No, but thank you for the offer. I think I need to do something physical.”

“Okay,” Chloe said. “I’m going to check in at the office, see if anything critical is a foot and then go home to a hot bath and a glass of wine.”

“Do you think they will still grow?” Rachel asked.

“What?”

“The herbs.”

“Sure, everything but the parsley will likely come back in the spring. Sometimes my parsley even overwinters,” Chloe said. “Of course, as you so generously pointed out I don’t cultivate my own so my gardener may have secrets to plant longevity that I don’t know.”

“I just can’t see anything else dead for awhile,” Rachel choked.

“I know,” Chloe said and hugged her friend. “Seeing those dead men will haunt us both for a long time. Go get your hands dirty and forget about today.

“I’ll let myself out.” Chloe was gone in a whirl of her long dark hair.

Chile Pod had finished her dinner and was glazing out the kitchen window at a bird picking at the remnants left on the ground from the feeder.

“You stay there. You can watch me plant the herb bed.” Rachel grabbed a jacket off the hook near the door and went into the evening air.

She’d bought the herb plants in spring and somehow she never got around to planting them, but somehow remembered to douse them with water several times a week. There just never seemed to be a good time. Now the leggy plants were root bound. Rachel hoped she could save them.

During the spring she had bricks delivered. In a fit of energy, she had turned the soil, laid the bricks in a 6-foot square and mulched it. In the meantime, deadlines came and went. Time passed without planting the herbs.

Because she had mulched the garden all she had to do was push the organic matter away, dig a hole and add the plants. First, Rachel took a knife and cut the roots back as she remembered her father doing when she was a kid. It would help the roots grow in a more normal way. She planted lavender and then added rosemary, thyme, oregano and fennel.

With that done, Rachel picked up the bucket against her house and brought it to the garden. Inside were an assortment of stones and crystals she had collected for the past several years. She placed each among the herbs; a river stone here, a quartz there and a lovely piece of petrified wood.

When it was all watered in, Rachel went inside the house and came back with several gazing balls in purple, blue and red crackled colors. In the center of the herb bed she placed a stand and added the larger purple gazing ball. She positioned the smaller ones on the ground and stood back to survey her handiwork.

Satisfied and feeling better, she headed back inside. Before she reached the safety of the backdoor, a wolf howled. Rachel was now recognizing the various warnings that Kiyiya made to alert her. This howl was an announcement, not an urgent warning.

Rachel stopped immediately, her pulse quickened and her breath turned to fog as the temperature dropped. Once again, the rattling sound commenced, the vapors seemingly came from nowhere and formed into a column. She had no idea who or what to expect. Would it be the Native American she met most recently or someone or something altogether different?

Within a couple of minutes, it was the Native who stepped from the fog. Rachel braced herself and waited.

Again, he spoke in a language she didn’t understand, but the words appeared in her mind in English.

“The blue star grows in the sky,” he pointed.

“I know,” Rachel replied. “What I don’t know is who or what is causing it?”

“The evil men.”

“Who are the evil men? What are they doing to cause the star to grow?” Rachel asked.

“I do not know them,” he said. “They are of this time. Not of mine.”

“Do you know what they are doing that is wrong?”

“Taking from our land.”

This wasn’t going well. There was a lot of time and space between them. Rachel didn’t know if she could span the centuries. She tried to keep her words simple to enhance his comprehension.

“I’ve been looking for these men, but haven’t found them. I’ve looked to see where…where work is being done. I’ve checked for mining and drilling permits.”

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“I’m sorry. It’s when men remove earth by digging into the ground.” He nodded with some understanding.

“I’ve been trying to uncover what these men are doing along with two friends who are helping me. And I think that two men were killed who may have known what I need to know.”

The man was silent for several minutes. Rachel thought he was about to disappear leaving her in more confusion.

“Do your powers take you to the Land of the Dead?” he asked.

That took her off guard.

“I…I” she stammered. “I don’t know.”

“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.”

“How can I do that? I don’t know how.” Rachel asked.

“You have friends in spirit?” he said as though having inside knowledge.

“Uh, yes.” As far as Rachel knew that would be one spirit. The Hopi shaman, Joseph, who had helped her before.

“You should talk with spirit,” the Native said. “Time grows…” He searched for the word. “Short.  Everyone will die.”

“I understand, but I don’t know what to do,” Rachel felt panic seeping into her soul.

“You must talk with the Skeleton Man.” He faded from her view in a whiff of smoke.

Read the entire series: Click on the book.

    

Humor in the Bathroom: Good, Clean Fun!

Excerpt: Atomic Medium

Or, Rachel Takes a Shower

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Chapter 11

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

After a short drive to Chloe’s much more upscale neighborhood, Rachel parked in front of the garage and walked to the back door. At first she knocked tentatively, but panic flooded her body and she began pounding.

“Chloe! Chloe, are you home?”

“Is that you Rachel?” Chloe asked from inside.

“Of course it’s me. Who else would be screaming out here holding a cat?”

“Come in.” Chloe opened the door. “I’d ask if you are alright, but I can see you’re half-crazed. Sit down, let the pretty girl out and I’ll get her some food and water.” Chloe opened the fridge, took out a new bottle of Evian and poured it into Chile Pod’s bowl—which she had bought just for her—followed by some expensive gourmet cat food.

“I told you not to give her that,” Rachel protested knowing it was futile. “I can’t afford to feed it to her regularly.”

“That’s okay,” Chloe said petting Chile’s head as she lapped up the pricey treat. “She deserves to be spoiled when she visits Auntie Chloe.

“Now, the baby is taken care of, what happened to you?”

Rachel related the incident she experienced minutes ago. From Chile’s first alarm, to Kiyiya’s warning howl, to the frightening man who appeared and threatened her; it all spilled it out.

Chloe was thoughtful for a moment.

“Rachel, there’s one thing I didn’t understand. What was on the pin or cuff link he was wearing? You said it reminded you of something. What was it?”

She went back to the confrontation and searched her mind for what she wanted. When she found it, she wanted to forget it.Manhattan Proj Nazi Swastika

“Chloe, it was a swastika!”

“What’s going on?” she asked. “Wait a minute. Remember you said when the two men went through the fluid curtain the room looked older; the big black phone, the vintage clothing?”

“Yes, but what are you getting at?”

“Don’t you see Rachel, it sounds like you’re saying he’s from that era you saw through the stargate.”

“I didn’t say that at all.”

“Yes, I’m afraid that’s exactly what you are saying. If this man belongs in the 1940s, then that room must belong there too.”

“But that could make him a, uh, Nazi?” Rachel didn’t want to deal with that. It was too grim to even consider. She ran her hands through her brown hair pushing the natural waves out of her face.

“It would make him a Nazi,” Chloe echoed. “I’m going to make us hot toddies.”

“I don’t think that will solve anything,” Rachel said hoping she could put off accepting this hypothesis.

“No, it won’t, but maybe it will be less frightening through a nice fuzzy haze.”

“But why would a Nazi from the 1940s materialize here and now?”

“That’s what we need to figure out.” Chloe warmed some water, this time a bottled water called Saint-Géron which her parents shipped her from Paris. They told her the mineral mix was better for women. Rachel didn’t know about that, but it was about $35 a bottle. When hot, she poured it into mugs, added some A. H. Hirsch and squeezed in some fresh lemon juice. Rachel blanched. The amount she paid for the bourbon would make a down payment on the new garage.

“Here you go, get comfy and let’s see what we know.” Chloe set a cup in front of Rachel.

Rachel pushed back into the banco that made a “U” around the kitchen table. The structure was stucco with the traditional rounded walls and a high back. Chloe had added long plush flame-stitched cushions in southwest colors on the seat and back. It was comfy and felt tucked away. A flat screen hung overhead and beautiful native pottery added a decorative, earthy touch to the shelves on the wall.

The friends sipped in companionable silence for a few minutes.

“He told you to stay out of their way,” Chloe said thoughtfully. “Who do you suppose they are and how could you possibly get in their way? In the way of what?”

“I don’t know. I’m writing a story on The Manhattan Project, but that’s as close as I get to WWII and Nazis,” Rachel said. “That was 70 years ago for god’s sake. I’ve no idea if that’s the connection or if there is a connection.

“There is something else,” Rachel said. “It could be significant.”

“And that is?”

Rainbow Man, Former Location of the Manhattan Project Office

Rainbow Man, Former Location of the Manhattan Project Office

“The Manhattan Project Santa Fe office was located in that building now occupied by Rainbow Man.”

“Oh my god,” Chloe sputtered. “How could I have forgotten that!”

“As soon as the word Nazi came up I remembered,” Rachel said. “I’ve been trying to consider other possibilities, but not coming up with any.”

“That’s because there aren’t any,” Chloe said definitively.

“But I still don’t know what it means. Okay, let’s say the big, scary guy is a Nazi and he kind of disappeared inside Rainbow Man, the former Manhattan Project office. So what? What does it have to do with the time of day or the price of gasoline?”

“And why is he threatening you and defacing your office?”

“We don’t know with certainty who graffitied the office. So we really don’t have anything?” Rachel said.

“Oh, we have something, we just don’t know what,” Chloe said stifling a yawn.

“Yeah, time for bed,” Rachel caught the yawn. She finished her toddy and rinsed out the cup.

“Night,” Chloe said. “And don’t worry; the alarm is set, the doors are locked.”

Rachel walked down the hall to the guest bedrooms. She and Chile Pod had a dedicated room of their own. When she entered, there was Chile curled up and fast asleep encircled by pillows. She knew there would be more Evian and luxury cat food in the bathroom, along with an automated litter box. There were toys scattered about and she could see that Chile had already picked out a soft, leopard print ball of fabric. It was lying on the bed next to her. Rachel sighed. Auntie Chloe could make almost any bad day better.

On the bedside table Rachel found her favorite chocolate in a Nambe silver dish. There was a small fridge in the dressing room which she knew would hold bottled water, juices, fruit and power bars. Chloe did her best to keep her healthy despite Rachel’s penchant for green chile cheese burritos. And there was a variety of teas on the counter next to the microwave and a small table cupboard that held cups, glasses, plates, napkins and some stevia. Chloe was trying to get her off sugar too. Even she had to admit that staying with Auntie Chloe was like living on Easy Street.

Chloe had thought of everything. There was a computer and printer/copier/fax on the desk should Rachel need them. A TV and stereo in the sitting area completed the suite’s accessories.

The only thing that bothered her was where in the hell to put all those pillows! Rachel took the larger ones and filled the two chairs, and then arranged the medium-sized ones on the desk until the top was covered. She left a couple of small ones around Chile, as if she could fall off, and began flipping the smallest ones across the room. This activity shortly lost its amusement factor.

She trudged into the bathroom where she came face to face with a new shower. Rachel stopped in her tracks, and evaluated the addition.

It had been installed since her last stay over. She had to admit it was beautiful; glass with wood panels covering the floor. Rachel stripped, placed a cushy bath mat on the floor and stepped inside the enclosure. After failing to find the usual knobs and levers that one used to perform a rather simple task like a shower, she saw there was a control panel.

“Oh no,” she grumbled. “I see Chloe is competing with NASA again.”

Staring at the array of options, she could see tiny pictures. Apparently one had to punch one to get water flowing. However there were also 20 of them—she counted—jets in the front and back of the stall. To further confuse the issue, there was a handheld shower head. She thought this to be the most straightforward way to get clean.

The panel also touted a radio, steam, aromatherapy and something called chromatherapy lighting. “Geez,” Rachel looked at the waterless shower head in her hand. “I just want some fucking water to come out of this thing.” She shook the nozzle. Nothing. She was getting cold.

Consulting the controls again she saw an image that might be water spraying and pushed it. Nothing at first. After a few seconds, steam began filling the stall.

“No, no, no!” She touched it again and tried another. Instantly, she was engulfed in loud music. Electric guitars screeched; drums pounded so hard she could feel the shock waves against her chest. She turned it off. “Dammit! The guy who installed this must have been a sadist!

“Something must turn on the water.” She puzzled over the panel again and chose another icon. Nothing happened. She sniffed. Fragrance was being released from some secret source. She took another whiff. Yes, that was definitely sandalwood. “Ugh, that’s the most suffocating odor.”

By Doug Coldwell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Doug Coldwell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“One more time for the team.” She poked another symbol. Suddenly she was deluged with water from overhead. “Oh crap, I didn’t want to get my hair wet,” she moaned. Too late to worry about that now. The tropical rain feature was a real drencher.

Now that she had water it was time to soap up. Luckily, she found a low-tech bar of soap on the built-in shelf. Once the paper covering was off she noticed the strobing effect. Somewhere lights were flashing. All she needed to make this experience complete was disco music.

Rachel looked up and saw the water falling from above was constantly changing color. “Well how do I stop that?”

Please select a color. She was prompted by a voice coming from the entrails of the control panel. Her fingers pressed more buttons. The jets came on full force hitting her body front and back.

Please select a color.

“Holy shit, I don’t want any color.”

Rachel began banging on the panel. If it had been a person, they would have called 9-1-1 to press charges.

Please select a color.

By now, she had soaped most of her body if you didn’t include her back or feet, but if you counted the pulverizing her back had taken, it had probably blasted off even the smallest microorganisms. In her frustration, she had managed to bash her elbows while thrashing around. There would be bruises.

Please select a color.

Was there no “Off” button? Apparently not.

Rachel tried to ignore the infuriating voice and rinsed off. Certainly she had enough water gushing at her from all directions to accomplish that.

Please select a color.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” She finally found the right button to turn off the water and the annoying voice stopped. Oddly, no water had ever come from the shower head she originally wanted to use, the one lying on the floor where she dropped it in frustration.

“Well, that was relaxing.” She opened the door and there sat Chile Pod, eyes big as saucers, ears cocked forward looking at Rachel as though she had completely lost her mind. Could a cat look flabbergasted? Yes, this one definitely did.

“Okay, so I didn’t do such a hot job of working the damn thing. So what? I’m mostly clean.” Chile Pod decided her person must be okay and headed back to her warm spot on the bed.

Rachel pulled a towel off the warmer and dried with Egyptian cotton so thick the water beads didn’t penetrate to the other side.

With the stink of sandalwood following her into the dressing room, she thought a tea, having finished her evening ablutions, would be just the thing to relax her. Once ensconced cross-legged on the bed, she opened her notebook with Emma Perkins’ interview. The envelope with the photos fell onto the bedding. She picked them up and absently thumbed through them. And then her heart nearly lodged in her throat.

There was the man; Mister Tall, Blonde and Scary!

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Quetzalcoatl: Man-eating Deity

Mesoamerican Deity is Threat in Dark Fantasy

Excerpt from “Lemurian Medium” a Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Rachel Blackstone confronts the man-eating deity Quetzalcoatl in her Santa Fe kitchen in “Lemurian Medium.”

Available at Amazon.

Available at Amazon.

Rachel stared at the piece of jewelry lying on the floor.

“I’m sorry,” Chloe stood and started to pick it up.

“No, don’t,” Rachel stopped her.

“Why not?” A second later she remembered Rachel’s earlier experience with the necklace and took a step back. “Is it doing anything?”

“Not yet.” Rachel thought for a moment it had all been a ghastly delusion, until it began to move.

Chloe saw Rachel react, looked again, but it was just lying on the floor.

“Don’t you see it?” Rachel implored as the necklace began to stir and change shape.

“See what?” Chloe kept watching the harmless piece of jewelry and couldn’t figure out why Rachel looked so afraid.

Within seconds the serpent stood up and filled out as if he’d been formed from air blown in from a bicycle pump. But he wasn’t a balloon and didn’t float away. Chile Pod watched with huge eyes. Her fur stood up on her back, ears flat, she dove under the tablecloth and onto a chair. The snake didn’t miss a thing and knew exactly where she hid. He made sure Rachel saw where she cowered by slithering across the floor and nosing at the tablecloth. Then he turned his attention to Rachel.

“I am Quetzalcoatl,” he said as the green substance dripped from each of his fangs. They were six inches long and dagger sharp. The odor of sulfur emanated from his hobnail skin as it grated against itself. He was constantly in slow motion. The stench itself was enough to make her want to flee, but the continuous shifting of his spine beneath the scales was sinister.

Quetzalcoatl feathered serpent form as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensi. Wikimedia Public Domain

Quetzalcoatl feathered serpent form as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensi. Wikimedia Public Domain

“I know who you are,” Rachel tried to say it with strength. Everything in her told her to run, but she couldn’t leave Chloe or Chile. She resisted the urge to recoil, feeling intensely this time the reptile’s desire to harm her. He barely controlled his desire to destroy her.

It rippled and swelled in both height and width. His feathers unfolded around his head, back and tail. The effect was even more menacing this time.

“Screaming won’t help you,” it said reading her thoughts.

“How do you know?”

“I am a deity,” Quetzalcoatl said in a deep hoarse voice. Add a little cinematic CGI and he would make Bruce Willis run and hide. Only this monster was real.

“Rachel,” Chloe stood in the doorway not understanding why Rachel was talking or to whom. “Who are you talking to?”

“Can’t you see the snake? He’s right here in the kitchen.”

“No, I can’t see it, but I can see you and you’re. . .”

“Never mind,” Rachel stopped her not wanting the self-proclaimed deity to know she was about to freak.

“What do you want?” she asked Quetzalcoatl.

“Once again, you called me?”

“Are you sure about that?”

“I do have a message,” it said.

Oh god, she thought, what now?

The snake’s head began to morph before her. In a few moments, it took on more human characteristics, but the fangs remained. She wondered how many more tricks he had.

“Does this look make you more comfortable? You know, lions eat their own kind.” It deliberately turned its head to look at the small tortoiseshell cat peaking from beneath the table; the only thing that separated her tiny cat from this snake-god was a piece of fabric.

“Chloe, would you please take Chile out of the room.”

“Of course.” Chloe reached under the table and pulled out the scared kitty, cupping her tiny body in her arm. Before she could exit the kitchen, Quetzalcoatl rose up and struck out in their direction.

“Run Chloe!” Chloe did, all the way to her car where she locked the doors and held Chile Pod in her lap. She petted her with shaking hands. “Did you see it?” she asked the cat, but couldn’t understand when Chile told her she had.

Back in the kitchen Rachel said, “Tell me the message and get the hell out.”

By Jami Dwyer [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jami Dwyer [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“My dear, you must not speak to a deity in that manner. You know I’ve eaten Homo sapiens many times. You’re all quite tasty.” He was eyeing her as something on the menu. He sniffed like a dog checking out a piece of meat. “You have my favorite blood type: red. I find it to be as satisfying as a fine Bordeaux.”

Rachel shuddered. She softened her tone. It pissed her off to do it, but she had to get rid of this raw material for making boots. “Please tell me the message.”

“Much nicer. Was that so hard? I said before they want the artist, but that was diversionary. They want you. You were supposed to enter the picture, not the other woman.”

“Is Stella all right?”

“For now, she is safe. I see you are perplexed. Humans get confused easily. It is a defect.”

“Why do they want me, and who are they?”

“Enough for now. I’ll allow you to digest this information.”

Rachel wanted Quetzalcoatl to go and never return, but she had to know.

“Please answer my questions.” And she blanched when she heard her voice break.

That was when she heard the low growl behind her. She was certain it was the wolf, but took a moment to check for him. Nothing. And when she turned back to the snake, there was nothing but a necklace lying on the floor. “Stupid, stupid!” Rachel berated herself. “Of course it was the wolf. He was warning me to be careful and what do I do? Take my eyes off the monster!”

Her hands shook as she opened the front door and motioned to Chloe that it was safe to return.

She took Chile from Chloe and held her in arms that continued to tremble. Tears threatened. Chloe guided her gently to the sofa where they sat quietly for a few minutes. Rachel began to shiver uncontrollably.

“Are you okay?” Chloe asked.

“Yes, I guess.”

 “Of course you’re not okay,” Chloe said softly. “You’re scared half to death. I’m scared half to death and I couldn’t see a thing, only you reacting to it.

“What did you see on the floor if you couldn’t see the snake?”

Temple of Kukulkan, closely related to Quetzalcoatl. By ATSZ56 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Temple of Kukulkan, closely related to Quetzalcoatl. By ATSZ56 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“All I saw was the necklace.”

Rachel felt defeated. How could Chloe understand if she couldn’t see it?

“It told me something. They, whoever they are, want me—not the artist.”

Chloe gasped. “But then why did they take Stella?”

“Apparently, she couldn’t resist the pull of the painting.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t take a chance on astral travel,” Chloe said. “I’m getting a real bad feeling about this whole thing.”

“But doesn’t this make it even more imperative that I learn to do it? We can’t just leave Stella there, wherever that is. We have to try to rescue her and discover what this is all about.” Rachel wiped angrily at a tear.

“I’m not leaving you tonight,” Chloe said. “We’re going to have some of that weed right now and then I’m sleeping here on the couch. No protesting.”

“No problem. Would you go replace the necklace in that damn envelope?”

“Will we be safe then?” Chloe asked.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever be safe again. The rules have changed, I fear irreparably.”

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