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Cover Reveal

Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Re-Covered

Lemurian Medium

Rachel travels to an ancient doomed land to rescue Stella Dallas, High Desert Country magazine’s beloved receptionist. It will take her special skill-set to pull it off in a hostile environment.

Cover design by Tatiana Vila of Vila Design. Check out all her designs at https://www.viladesign.net

Interviewing for the Fiction Writer

So You Have to do an Interview!

By G G Collins          (Copyright 2017)

Nonfiction writers are accustomed to conducting interviews, but what about the fiction writer? It’s fiction; don’t I just make it up? Some writers may be able to, but the vast majority of us will have to do some research, including the dreaded interview.

Here’s how.

The Interview: Who You Gonna Call?

By Cogiati (own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Cogiati (own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe you need location information. Yes, you can Google photos and descriptions, but what if you need specific information about a festival for a scene in your book? How a rescue is performed in a national park? Background on a historical event that occurred in the 1940s? Is there seismic activity in the locale you’re using? I’ve answered all these questions for my books by doing interviews: some in person, others via phone or email. Note: If you do an email interview, be sure to tell your source if you need detailed information and ask if follow-up questions are okay.

There is a wealth of experts out there who are willing to talk with you. Yeah, their boss may make them, but most of them are happy to share their knowledge. I’ve spoken to festival organizers, park rangers, historians, museum curators and university professors. Their enthusiasm for their subject or specialty is contagious. You’ll go back to your computer with lots of ideas because of what you have learned.

Decide what it is you need to know and call the city’s tourism office or chamber of commerce for referrals. Universities are great places to learn about almost anything and don’t forget area historical societies. If you have a question, there is someone who can answer it.

You may need to give them your credentials. If you haven’t published as yet tell them about your debut project, why you’re qualified to tell the story and how far along you are in writing the book. But if you aren’t published, don’t assume no one will talk with you.

The Tools: Reporter’s Notebook, Recording Device, Pens

A reporter’s notebook is thinner than other notebooks. It’s 4 inches wide which makes it faster than an old-fashioned steno pad.

Use a recording device. I still use a small cassette recorder, but there are other options now with smart phones and tablets. Use what you’re comfortable with.

A combination of notes and recording is best. What if air conditioning, nearby conversation or airplane traffic drowns out the recording? I’ve had all these happen. It’s a sinking feeling when you can’t understand the interview. You’ve got to have the notes as backup.

Which Pen Would You Choose?

Which Pen Would You Choose?

When taking notes during an interview or at a press conference, the type of pen you choose can make all the difference. Look at the pens in the photo. Which would you select? The best one for taking notes while someone is talking about 110 words a minute; the round colorful one. Reason? It has a medium ball point.

The other two pens are both fine points, one is a gel tip. Fine points slow down note taking. I’ve found the gel tip to be even slower, dragging and pulling. The medium tip slides almost effortlessly. The rounded shape is more comfortable to the hand. And the rubber strip around the tip assists the fingers in grasping the pen without gripping, reducing strain. Some pens even come with built-in lights. Just be careful where you use them. You don’t want to disturb others. When I review performance art, I take notes in the dark. Yes really.

If you take shorthand or speedwriting, great, but most of us don’t. They are dying skills. If not, you can quickly develop your own with a little practice. Some words like “people” are used a lot. I shorten it to “ppl.” Leave out the vowels. To add “ent” I use a hyphen at the end of the base word: “cont-” for “content.” For “ing” I underline the last letter of the base word: “end” for “ending.” You’ll find your own way.

Questions: The Basic Six 

Wikipedia/Tobias Klenze/CC BY-SA 3.0

Wikipedia/Tobias Klenze/CC BY-SA 3.0

Go to an interview with a minimum of six questions. Let’s say your protagonist is going to get lost in that national park. You’ll want to know the best way for your character to alert someone she needs help. Of course, her cell phone won’t work. Does the park require hikers to sign in and out? If so, how long does the park wait before searching? Would your character need a signal fire or other SOS? How are rescues done? By helicopter? By foot? Another way? You don’t want to say they used a vehicle if there are no autos allowed in the park at any time. Is there a famous person who was rescued at the park? What was the most difficult rescue? Anecdotes add interest.

That’s your six questions.

I add a seventh question: Is there anything I haven’t thought to ask that you think would be important for my readers to know?

What if I’m Anxious?

You probably will be the first few times you talk with someone, that’s why you should be prepared. Readiness makes for less nervousness. Writers are often life-long learners and your need to learn will likely help you relax. Greet the person as you would anyone with a handshake and a smile. Then get to business. They are making time for you and you should take only 20 to 30 minutes of the valuable time for your interview.

A Reporter Notebook is only 4 inches Wide.

A Reporter Notebook is only 4 Inches Wide.

When you get to your final question, tell them it’s the last question. That way they understand you’re wrapping up.

Then thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Say goodbye and leave. Don’t linger. Your work is done. Let them get back to theirs.

It’s always nice to follow the interview with a thank you: mail, email or text. You judge which is appropriate by the age and rank of the interview. Get a business card before you leave their office so you have the contact information.

How to Use What You’ve Learned

Now that you have soaked up the knowledge of your expert, it’s time to write it down, right now, while it’s still fresh. Rough out how you want to use it. It can be blended into location description, insider information to make your prose more realistic or dialogue that adds depth and interest to your story.

You just did an interview!

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Christmas in Santa Fe

Happy Holidays From Santa Fe!

And the Reluctant Medium

Santa Fe Christmas Door

Santa Fe Christmas Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Bargain: Mystery 5-Day Sale Begins 11-28-16

Reluctant Medium: Amazon Countdown Deal $0.99

First Adventure in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series

$0.99 for 5 days only

Only at Amazon.

Only at Amazon.

Get it here:   http://amzn.to/1bKKVKP

Reporter Rachel Blackstone bungles a Native American ritual to return the dead. Instead of the father she believes was murdered, an evil spirit returns. Worse yet, Rachel is seeing ghosts, some are helpful but others lead her astray. Problem? She can’t always tell them apart. Where does the spirit wolf fit in? She turns to a Hopi shaman and her best friend Chloe to help her solve the mystery. One thing is certain; this badass spirit has got to go back!

 

Sale Ends December 2, 2016.

 

Worldbuilding in Writing Fiction

Builder of Worlds

By G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

I never expected to be a builder of worlds and yet I’ve written two books where I needed to do just that.

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

Time travel is always tricky, but it’s also fun. In “Lemurian Medium” I sent protagonist Rachel Blackstone back in time via astral travel to the mythical (?) continent of Lemuria. I began reading about the continent that reportedly sunk into the ocean when a cataclysmic series of earthquakes and volcanoes broke up the island country and the sea claimed it.

When you ask people to buy into a paranormal or fantasy storyline, it’s important to include as much fact as possible, to lend integrity to the story. I began reading the works of Colonel James Churchward, who called Lemuria by another name; Mu. He studied monastery sources in India while serving in the British army.

After getting a basic idea of Churchward’s theories I read Frank Joseph’s book “The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Oldest Culture.” There are many creation stories and Lemuria is one for that part of the world. There is a museum in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan called the Mu Museum and is a tribute to the Motherland. In the Hawaiian Ethnic Art Museum in Oahu, there are carvings that seem to verify the existence of a golden race who survived the onrush of the sea.

Frank Joseph's Book on Lemuria

Frank Joseph’s Book on Lemuria

Book The Camino MacLaine

Review of “The Camino.” Click on the book.

To make the city realistic I researched the Romans from their garments to their communal toilets. In addition I read Shirley MacLaine’s dreams of Lemuria as she related them in her excellent book “The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit.” Her description of the Lemurians—some golden, some violet, and hermaphroditic—let imagination fill in the blanks. For homes I went with crystal construction with private areas being opaque. Rachel was surprised to learn she could communicate either from her mind or with the use of Lemurian seed crystals and crystal balls.

Reputed to contain the history of the ancients.

Lemurian Seed Crystal Reputed to contain the history of the ancients.

I needed a villain in spirit and chose Quetzalcoatl, a Mayan god who liked to dine on humans. It is thought that Lemurians who survived the end of their homeland took to the vast water and made their way to what is known today as Central America and to the southwestern part of the US.

When my research was complete I was no longer certain that Lemuria was a myth. I hope readers of the book can entertain that possibility as well.

Next Post: We’ll take a look at “Atomic Medium,” worldbuilding in a much closer era.

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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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Character Interview: War Merchant

An Interview with Dydre Rowyn,War Merchant Protagonist

Character interviews are so much fun. We get to see how authors and their protagonists interact. They can be lighthearted or dead serious. Today, meet Dydre Rowyn, Patrick Parker’s lead in the War Merchant. I wouldn’t turn my back on her! GGC

by Patrick Parker        (Copyright 2016)

War Merchant is available at Amazon.

War Merchant is available at Amazon.

War Merchant is a suspense-filled novel that crosses the globe in a world of corrupt politics, a ruthless greedy opportunist, terrorists, and a pawn with deadly skills. First a little about Patrick.

Patrick says his goal is to entertain you. He wants you to be thrilled and on the edge of your seat all the time, wondering what is going to happen next.

After retiring from the Army, he worked in the defense industry for fifteen years. Now writing full-time, he draws from his military and corporate experience to write fast-paced, suspense novels. Inspired by authors like Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, John le Carré and, of course Tom Clancy, his books will keep you on the edge of your seat.

His previous title, Treasures of the Fourth Reich, is based on actual events that occurred at the end of World War II.

  • What is life really like in your line of work?

Hmm. That one is a bit hard to explain. I deal with some of the world’s worst people. I want out of this business. It is a bit tense at times and you have to be as tough as woodpecker lips, if you’re going to survive. Other than that, I live on the edge, not knowing sometimes if I’m about to take my last breath or not. I travel all over the world, often at a moment’s notice. Most of the people I deal with would just as soon kill me as look at me; I only meet with them on my terms and from a position of strength—I have something they want. I don’t like doing business with the fanatic Muslims and they don’t like doing business with me. Most of the others I deal with are dictators, thugs, and terrorists. There’s not much difference in any of them, actually. I look forward to a long hot bath after I meet with those slime balls.

  • You’ve given your business title as international business development consultant. I know Zsigmond took you in but how did you wind up doing his dirty work?

I needed some kind of title and that one doesn’t raise eyebrows. It started out very benign. At first, I just made phone calls and ran errands for Clay. That increased to a few simple meetings in low threat environments. Although most of them were in third world countries and the people I met with, you probably wouldn’t invite them to Christmas dinner. It wasn’t long until Clay was quite busy and wanted me to do more. The next thing I knew he was hiring people to train me in weapons, explosives, as well as escape and evasion techniques. I was young and it was a bit of an adventure. The money is damn good. I’m very accomplished in jujitsu, you know. That, in itself, gave me a lot of confidence. I had a lot of instruction in hand-to-hand combat, too. I didn’t realize how dangerous it was until it was too late.

Author Patrick Parker

Author Patrick Parker

  • Do you always wear a disguise? What’s that all about?

Yes, usually.  It’s about staying alive. In school, I was very active in the theatre and learned a lot about makeup and disguise for the stage. I got the idea during one of the escape and evasion classes. Intel agencies around the world use disguises, so I applied the same technique. Early on, when Clay sent me out in the field, I was quite naive but smart enough to conceal my identity. I knew several people who wound up dead because of miss communications, something didn’t go just right, or wanted out. Most of the cockroaches I deal with would track you down and kill you. So, I disguised my appearance and identity. I even kept my house in Italy a secret.

  • Zsigmond kept a dossier on you? Would he really turn it over to Interpol?

Yes. Clay changed after his wife, Johanna, died. I loved her like a mother. I tried to quit and suffered Clay’s wrath. He threatened to kill David, my son, if I tried to leave. He made it very clear to me that if I did manage to break free from him, he would send my dossier to the authorities and hunt me down. He’s crazy. I knew he would.

  • You’ve worked with many notorious and ruthless people. What was the scariest situation you’ve been in?

The scariest? Good one. There were a few. I guess it was when Clay screwed things up with the terrorists and told them I betrayed them when the Ranger devices didn’t work. I had to convince the terrorists I was going to fix the problem. I really thought I was going to die. If I didn’t address the issue, they would come after me. If we didn’t fix those devices, I was dead. Honestly, I didn’t have much faith that we would fix them.

  • Why did you kill Mac? Didn’t you have feelings for him?

Mac. I liked Mac. Ruggedly handsome guy—a professional and no-nonsense. Unfortunately, he was a loose end. He was the only one, outside of Clay, that could tie me to the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda.

  • Ludwig Stäbler set you up. Didn’t you see that coming?

No, I didn’t. I’ve known Ludwig for a long time and he owed me. Besides, he didn’t care for Clay. Looking back, I might have been too focused on getting David. Ludwig is a soldier of fortune, and money talks.

  • Did you sleep with Anthony Mangiano? Are you involved with someone special?
Available at Amazon.

Available at Amazon.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss whom I may have slept with. I might ask you if you slept with someone; would you tell me? Next question.

  • Are there any romantic plans in your future?

 

I hope so.  I want to have a family and be like normal people—David, me, and a father for David.

  • You seem fearless. What scares you?

A lot of things. Clay, Muslim fanatics, and, believe it or not, Anthony. He can be cold and is always one-step ahead of me. Silverfish and lima beans, well they don’t scare me, I just don’t like them.

  • What does the future hold for you? Will we see you again?

That is a very good question. I understand a number of people want to see me again. Patrick has talked to me about it several times. It is possible. I do think he likes me.

 

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1izsnBH

Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1pnfAoM

Google+: http://bit.ly/1y8cCI5

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pparkerntx

Goodreads Profile page: http://bit.ly/1pnLth0

Blog: http://bit.ly/1tTUjjv

Webpage: http://bit.ly/1ZEoYGu

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Meet Spirit Animal: Walk a Labyrinth

The Story of the Spirit Wolf

Excerpt from “Atomic Medium,” a Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, counsels with her friend former priest Eddy O’Brien. He advises her to walk a labyrinth to gain insight to her predicament. While doing so she sees the dead shaman Joseph and learns the story of her spirit wolf, Kiyiya. We pick up where Eddy encourages her to walk.
Labyrinth in Santa Fe, NM

Labyrinth in Santa Fe, NM

“The labyrinth will guide you. I’m going to wait here in the car. If anyone comes, I’ll delay them so you can complete your walk. It is your journey.”

“Should I ask a question?” Rachel asked, stalling. “Something specific?”

“Just walk and see what happens?” Eddy said.

Rachel nodded. At first she looked down at the heavily trod path edged in stones. The ground was hard and dry beneath her mocs. She was grateful for their thick lug soles. The red sun was sinking deeper into the cosmos. The sunset colors played across the labyrinth mixing with the dust in the air. She thought it must be what star dust looked like; fine particles in magic shades drifting through space. The shadows of nearby piñon crossed her path here and there, moving as she did. As she strolled the first circuit she was aware of not really wanting to do it, but as she moved deeper into the labyrinth she became more engrossed.

Like yoga, she found as her concentration increased, the distressing concerns of her day faded away. Rachel had heard of walking meditation and attempted to do that. There had to be some presence in the moment or she might stray from the path, but yet she needed to allow her mind to quiet.

As she finished each track a little more of the environmental noise dropped away: traffic, construction, all man made sounds. She was no longer aware of the rustling leaves or chirping birds. Rachel closed her eyes. For a moment she felt as if she floated among the enchanted airborne particles.

But as the quiet settled, another noise began to intrude. It was familiar. Just she had experienced in her living room months ago when she performed the ceremony to return the dead, she picked up on some subtle crackling almost as if the air overflowed with electricity. Yet she felt no evidence of it. Rachel held her ground and closed her eyes. There was a faint rattling.

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

“Oh no,” she whispered and opened her eyes, fearing what she would see.

In the gathering dusk, fog seemed to flow from all directions, despite the persistent dry air. She hurried.

“Should I get the hell out of here?” she muttered to herself.

By the time she reached the center, the vapor was meeting and began spiraling upward, each strand wrapping around what appeared to be an empty center, but it created a perfect human-shaped mist.

It’s happening again. And she was afraid. She closed her eyes once again and fought down the panic. Grappling for control so she wouldn’t run, she tried to prepare herself for anything. Would there be another Nazi to manage? Or was she dealing with another evil entity?

Calm down. Take a deep breath. Rachel tried to do this simple breath, but with her fight or flight instincts all amassed and at ready, she could hardly inhale.

Open your eyes. Slowly, looking down first, she glimpsed a pair of bare feet. Having expected something military in nature, this confused her. When she raised her line of vision, there was Joseph standing before her, smiling with some amusement. His skin was brown from decades in the sun and his eyes laced with lines from squinting. He was a slight man, but a giant spiritually. Rachel could see aura glowing around him. Usually he wore the white aura of a spiritual guide, but today he it was the purest of blue which she knew to represent harmony and great understanding of people and other creatures.

While he never spoke aloud, he was telling her a story. At first, she didn’t get it, but then it became clear he was talking about her spirit wolf, Kiyiya. The white wolf had been different all his life. Although his parents had been alphas in his family pack, and therefore he was deserving of respect, he had been aware that others judged him as unusual.

One day while drinking at a stream he took a moment to look at his reflection. He felt both exhilaration and shame at his differentness. He wanted to be like the other wolves. Troubled, he asked his mother why his fur was white as snow. She recognized his need for reassurance and told him white wolves were destined for greatness in the spirit world. Someday, he would understand why he had been created this way.

For several years, he lived with his pack, hunted with them, played with his siblings and howled into the night. It was a good life, but something seemed to be missing. On a particularly cold, crisp winter day, he arose early and strode up the rocks in search of food. Just as he was about to catch a rabbit he felt a sharp pain in his chest.

Meet Yikiya, Reluctant Medium's White Spirit Wolf Photo Public Domain

Meet Yikiya, Reluctant Medium’s White Spirit Wolf
Photo Public Domain

The falling was more frightening than painful, but as he continued to fall his rate of descent slowed and the terrain changed from mountainous to cloudy and then to night. He slowly righted himself as if he were a cat and landed on his feet in a place he didn’t know. A woman stood outside of a car in the middle of a big road. Confronted by a ghostly figure, she was alarmed. Instinctively, he knew she must be protected. His presence frightened the spirit away but also the woman. When he showed her no aggression she returned to her car to continue her way. Somehow he knew her journey was important.

In his new world he would shield others as well, but this woman was to be sheltered at all times. As he grew in the wisdom given by the Great Spirit, he learned ways of helping her when she was confused. His body could glow when light was needed. His shadow could change in size and shape. When he howled she knew that danger was near. She had much to learn, but he felt she had vital work to do.

And so he came to understand what his mother had told him. He was destined for greatness and he would do his very best to make her proud.

Rachel became cognizant of where she was and the tears streaming down her face. She began to sag but strong arms caught her.

Let me help you. Joseph found this way into her mind again. She felt sleepy and foggy and tried to shake it off.

“But what about the threshold?” Rachel said aloud. “Should I cross it?”

You will receive a message from the other side. It will come from an unlikely source. Be open to it. It will be true.

He was gone.

Rachel stepped over the stones and sat on a nearby bench. She was exhausted, drained. After resting for a few minutes, she returned to the parking lot where Eddy waited.

“Did you get what you needed?” he asked. “Was there an answer?”

“Yes,” she said. “It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it was something I wanted to know.” She described meeting Joseph and what he said.

“That’s the way labyrinths work,” Eddy said. “In mysterious ways they channel knowledge we need.”

“I’m so tired.”

“You had a spiritual experience,” Eddy replied. “You have arrived.”

All the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries are available at Amazon. Thank you for reading.

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Interview with Novelist G.G. Collins (Reluctant Medium)

My thanks to Matthew Toffolo and WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival for the interview.

Novel Writing Festival

Having walked several beats, G G Collins has racked up a lot of column inches, a few awards and a fellowship. An avid reader since childhood, she started her reading career with Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. From there, Stephen King was a small leap. The day she discovered the Hopi ceremony to call back the dead, she just had to ask: “What would happen if the wrong spirit returned?” Read it for yourself.

Books:

http://amzn.to/1t2z6Eu     Reluctant Medium

http://amzn.to/1PuwQix    Lemurian Medium

http://amzn.to/1RpatNv    Atomic Medium

http://amzn.to/1T8JYAD   Murder, USA: A Crime Fiction Tour of the Nation (anthology)

Blogs:

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/

https://paralleluniverseatlarge.wordpress.com/

 ggcollinsInterview with G.G. Collins: 

Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels?

G.G. Collins: Weird with a twist. That twist would be humor and horror together. Rachel Blackstone is a reporter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in…

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