George Seaton on Writing and Whispers of Old Winds (DSP author guest blog)

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whispers-of-old-winds

Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton
D
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist Anne Cain

Available for Purchase at

        

My short story, “Whispers of Old Winds,” appeared in the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar. I expanded the short story to novel length, providing a more thorough view of the main characters, Sam Daly and his husband Michael Bellomo, and the secrets of Pine County, Colorado—a place where magic exists with quiet impunity.      

About Whispers of Old Winds

Sheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County, in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam had known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.

When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening cause him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.

Excerpt

“I’m Monsignor Tumino,” he said, holding his hand out.

The Monsignor. I grabbed his hand, noticed the dark rings around his eyes and his stare that appeared, if not angry, surely intense. “Sam Daly,” I said.

“You’re Michael’s friend,” he said, and it wasn’t a question.

“We’re more than friends, Monsignor.”

He continued to stare, and I was feeling a little uncomfortable.

“Michael is special,” he said.

“Yes, he is.”

“He was given a divine gift at birth. Something that sets him apart from most of humanity.”

“So I’ve been told.”

“The dark veil. A curse if it’s not used properly.”

I looked at this little man, his white hair, the dandruff on his shoulders, his black crow-like eyes, his odor that I’d just identified as something between mothballs and death, and I smiled again.

“Michael is my husband. I love him more than I’ve ever loved anything or anybody in my entire life. If he is cursed, then he’s cursed with everything that’s bright and beautiful in this world, the dark veil, as you say, notwithstanding. Tell you what. You and Michael’s mother need to loosen up, maybe step out of the church every once in a while and smell the fucking roses, the trees, take a look at the sky, and see the beauty of the world rather than the dark mysteries that apparently you’re both so fascinated with. Whaddaya think? That sound like a plan?”

He smiled. And if I’d had Michael’s talent, I would have captured that smile in my mind and painted a picture of it—Beelzebub himself.

“What matter the world, when eternity is the goal? You are a sinner, Mister Daly. And you are ill-equipped to deal with Michael’s curse.”

I can’t say I really disagreed with him on that last part, though I hadn’t exactly characterized Michael’s weirdness as a curse. It was just who Michael was, and I was trying to deal with that. Long ago, though, I realized it’s practically impossible to talk reason or logic to anyone who believes the sum total of reason and logic is contained within the pages of a single book written by men at a time when the world was still flat.

[Note: This is a Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Story, both when it was published as a short Advent Story and now in its fuller length.   ]

About George Seaton

George Seaton’s short stories, novellas, and novels capture contemporary life mostly set in the American west—Colorado and Wyoming in particular. He and his husband, David, along with their Alaskan malamute, Kuma, live in the Colorado foothills just southwest of Denver.

Website: http://www.gmseatonauthor.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/george.seaton

Twitter: @GeorgeSeaton 

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

whispers-of-old-windsSheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County, in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam has known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.

When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening causes him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.

I really enjoyed “Whispers of Old Winds”. It’s a bit of an unusual paranormal story. It’s not told from the supernaturally gifted MC’s pov and I’ve never come across the Native American myths about skinwalkers before. I’ll admit that my knowledge of Native American myths and legends is extremely limited, though.

Anyway, I liked how the author wove those myths into the story so easily, even though his MCs are not Native American. I have a thing for myths and fairy tales and I’m always thrilled to learn more about them.

The story itself was an interesting mix of supernatural occurrences and crime investigation, with a bit of mobster business to spice things up a little. Oddly enough, it was still a rather quiet story. Or at least that’s how it felt to me.

Sam and Michael are already a married couple at the beginning of the book. We do learn about how they met and fell in love in short flashbacks all over the book. I think there were a few too many time jumps at the beginning, making things a little bit confusing. The love story doesn’t play a major role here, even though the two of them are very obviously in love with each other.

The sex is non-explicit for the most part, with a few short exceptions where things got a little more detailed. I think that worked well with the vibe of the story. Explicit sex scenes would have felt out of place, somehow.

George Seaton is a master at making me feel cold. His descriptions of the weather conditions were excellent. And I definitely know where I don’t want to live now… Way too cold up there!

Michael remains a bit of a mystery throughout the story. We don’t get his pov, so we only know what Sam knows, and that’s really not all that much. He still seemed very likeable, if a bit odd.

I immediately liked Sam. The way he interacted with Brunhilde, his car, was adorable. He treated her like a pet. Little quirks like that gave him real depth.

George Seaton came up with a very interesting cast of minor characters, each with their own unique personality.

What makes “Whispers of Old Winds” so good is the excellent mix of all sorts of little things, like Sam being a war veteran or Michael being the son of a mobster, without making the whole story about just one of those things.

Long story short, if you like crime novels, fantasy and/or mythology, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. Give it a try, it’s worth your time and money.

Cover: I really like the cover by Anne Cain. The mountain landscape is beautiful and it all gives off a very mysterious vibe, which fits the mood of the book perfectly.

Sales Links

        

Book details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 286 pages
Expected publication: December 16th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163533120X (ISBN13: 9781635331202)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryAfter Sam returns home from two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he moves to the Colorado mountains, where he hopes to begin a new life with his husband, Michael. Sam becomes the sheriff of sparsely populated Pine County, while Michael opens a curio shop for tourists where he sells his art. When Sam and his deputy attempt to rescue a body from a dangerously fragile mountainside snowpack, Sam’s perception of the world, his husband, and the veracity of truths whispered in old winds, are called into question.

It was the title that drew me to this story.  Whispers of Old Winds promised something magical and ancient and that’s exactly what George Seaton delivered along with an established romance and mysticism in the Colorado mountains.

Sam and Michael’s back history is delivered in nice brief glimpses throughout this short story.  We see how they met, and tiny moments from their previous lives, including Sam’s tours of duty where he saw things he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe.  Now married and the sheriff of a quiet Colorado town, a call to rescue someone (dead or alive) from an area to be avoided at all costs brings the supernatural back  into Sam and Michael’s world.  Or maybe its been there all along.

Seaton’s story is far larger than the 38 pages listed.  Its full of native american mythology,  shapeshifters,  and worlds far beyond the mundane we see around us.  The author’s writing is so beautifully plotted and vividly described that he pulls us so smoothly into the lives of his characters and the events that are occurring that when the action starts we are jarred out of our complacency along with the characters.

The characterizations are wonderful, especially those of Sam, Digger (the naive Deputy) and Hank Tall Horse, the old Ute Indian so central to the story.  Michael is more vague, but I wonder if that wasn’t on purpose, especially given the ending of the story.   There is so much here that it would be a shame for the author not to continue on, to bring them all back for a larger book that they call cry out for.  That is the only reason for the less than perfect rating, a feeling that things were left undone, unsettled and maybe a bit shaky.

Several of the advent stories have their own covers.  How I wish this had been one of them.  It deserved it.  I highly recommend this story.  Its unusual and quite wonderful.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |   All Romance (ARe)  | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 38 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN B018RRVPRO
edition language English