Monday, December 17, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Spirals by Ruby Standing Deer

WELCOME to the Spirals Blog Tour. This is a wonderful historical fiction series. I hope you enjoy the post!


ABOUT THE BOOK

A Holy Man, who lives in both this world and the Spirit world, waits hidden in a cave in the canyons, as a newly made woman runs toward him. She flees her would-be suitor, who wants from her more than she can give.

The Holy Man and his constant companions, a colony of mice, accept the woman within the cave. She worries that he may be crazy, but given her fear of the man who desires her, maybe crazy is not so bad.

In this sequel to Ruby Standing Deer’s first novel, Circles, the main character of Shining Light is now grown and with family. He dreams of the woman and the Holy Man in the canyons, and knows that, after four seasons of calm and peace in the Forest of Trees, he must go to them.

He seeks guidance, but the Spirits tell him only that he must rescue these two people. Yet he need not go alone. Ever Shining Light’s faithful companion and Wolf Brother, White Paws senses he must follow his Human Brother. Thus, one Human, one Wolf, and their two families set out for the unknown.

The adventure exceeds all of Shining Light’s expectations, and he learns more about his place in this world than the Holy Peoples of his band could ever teach him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author of Circles, Spirals and Courage Through Fear, a short story in a book called Evolution Book 1 Put out by my publishing Company, Evolved Publishing.

Life is a wondrous mystery that I still explore. I spent my youth "feeling" my way thought it. I traveled throughout the seventies, standing on one highway ramp or another, exploring the many corridors of our country, learning about life and what it had to offer.

In 1979, deep in winter, I settled down. I was lucky enough to become the first woman journeyman pressman of a major newspaper in Colorado. After ten years of working on printing presses, an injury forced me down another path.

I made and sold jewelry, cared (still do) for abandoned animals, volunteered for a horse rescue as well as a no kill shelter. I went to school for so many different careers that ended up combining my credits to get a degree in horticulture. Unfortunately, or so I thought back then, two car accidents during my last semester, my last class, prevented my pursuing it as a living.

I had no idea what my future held, but I was fortunate; my caring and understanding husband allowed me to explore other paths and I found one I knew I belong on--writing.

Back then, I had no idea "someone" was pushing me to become a writer.

I had taken creative writing classes off and on throughout my college years, because I always felt the need to write. Nothing came of it, except satisfying my own desires, until that special dream guided me to write my novel, Circles.

I joined a couple writing groups to improve my skills. I met David Lane (aka Lane Diamond), my editor, in a group. He taught me to keep going, not to get discouraged, to write and never give up. He stuck with me and gave me the confidence I needed in myself, to let go of doubt, to move forward.

My animals taught me about myself through their own lives. They showed me that I had the patience to push onward toward my destiny, that to give up meant the end. They helped me learn that if I willed myself to wade through all the murky waters, eventuality, I would see clearly enough to move forward.

I am currently working on Stones, the third in this series and a book of short stories of the paranormal that will have something for everyone even if you are not sure you believe. I might just change your mind!

My mixed bloodlines have shown me many things in life that I am truly grateful for. Thank you, Great Mystery, for the dreams, for the guidance, for the whispers in my mind.

ONLINE LINKS:

REVIEW

I love the way Ruby Standing Deer brings her characters and settings to life in such a natural way.  I found it easy to slip back into Feather/Shining Light's story as he once again follows the lead of the Spirits to help others.  I also really like the way the author integrates her themes as a natural part of the story, she makes her points so well that they slip in without much effort on the part of the reader.  And yet there is much here to think about.  Stories like this make me ponder on the wisdom of our society that is so busy running from one activity to another that we don't take the time to enjoy the beauties and joys that surround us.

I'm not sure what else to say or how to explain just why this book touched me the way it did.  The author has a talent and I very much look forward to reading the third book in the trilogy. If you enjoy historical fiction with a strong spiritual element to it, one that combines the love of nature with the best that people can offer, I strongly recommend this one. And be sure to check out the first in the series, Circles, see my review here.



CHAPTER ONE


Falling Rainbow's ceremony, a joyous celebration, turned sour when Night Hunter came to her parent's lodge with three mustangs as an offering for her. Elk Dreaming, her father, refused. Night Hunter could do nothing but walk away and promise to return with his last mustang, the prized male. He gave her father an angry glare as he left.

Falling Rainbow knew her father did not want his only daughter to go to a man whose face was etched in anger; he'd told her so days before when the man entered their camp. He'd told Night Hunter that his daughter was worth more than mustangs.

She hoped her father would come up with an impossible request for another gift.

She backed away into the darkness of their lodge and curled into her mother's arms. Her mother held her, cooing and rocking her as she had done since Falling Rainbow was a child.

Tears fell from both women, and the new woman pulled away. "Mother, I will never be Night Hunter's woman. I will leave the band first. Night Hunter is four winters older and I hold no desire in my heart for him. I do not understand why he wants me as his mate. I heard him speaking to his brother about Power. I do not understand."

"I know, Daughter, more that you think I do. But you must also know a man changes with the right woman, and four winters is not so much. Your father is eight winters older than I am. You must not judge a man by his age."

Her mother reached behind her for a pack. "Here. You will find food, a knife, and an extra humpback robe to keep you warm. I knew you would want to go into the canyons, after you ducked into on of the lodges of your friends when he showed up with his brother. Night Hunter will leave soon. I know your father will tell him you have other men who ask for you, and that he must allow each one to speak to him. It is not a lie, Daughter, not really. I have watched young men follow you with their eyes. Come back after maybe two sunrises. I smell snow even this late in the season, so you must walk with care. You know you can take one of your father's mustangs."

Her mother reached out and ran her hands over Falling Rainbow's face as if memorizing it. "Be safe. If the snow starts to fall, you turn around and come home, you understand?"
She nodded and hugged her mother. Taking a mustang would mean hoof prints to follow. She intended to walk where she would leave few footprints, but did not want her mother to worry, so she said nothing.

She slipped out under the lodge's edging, and disappeared into the coming darkness.
***
Falling Rainbow did not know which way to go. After two days of walking, the snow, a light fluff at sunrise, had turned into a fierce, howling blizzard. Sleeping on the ground with her robes would leave her shivering too much.

I should have listened to Mother about the mustang! The snow whisked around in deep circles, and her steps became more labored. Soon darkness would take the land.

Of all nights, this had to be the one when the moon chooses to hide. I am sure he waits for me still, and I have no more food! Shelter now became more important than finding the paintings in the canyons.

Many times, she had searched for the paintings in the canyons. Her parents knew, but no longer worried. The hairy faces had long ago stopped coming this way to hunt for the yellow stone. This is why her people had settled here this last time. The band moved to the new campsite four moons ago, just after the leaves fell, to escape the raids on their old camp.

Why do they steal our women when they have their own? And why my closest friend? Had I not gone home when I did, I would have been captured along with her.

She shook the memory from her mind and tightened her light ceremony robe, and the humpback one with the hair on the inside, around herself. She kept her arms inside, her fingers clinging to the outside edges. Neither robe did much to cover her ice-crusted hair.

"Why do these things happen?" She stared up searching for blue sky, but found only thick, grey clouds.

Are the Spirits angry with me? Do they wish me to be Night Hunter's woman? No, they sent me the dream vision! A vision of the paintings, so they must have plans for me that I do not yet understand.

"I am freezing! Why do you torment me?" she yelled, raising her fist to the darkening clouds, but quickly put her hands over her mouth and letting her robes fall.

Angry Spirits might make the storm worse. She just needed shelter, but had no idea where to go. Father Sun had already lowered, and she could not see that well.
She scooped up both her ceremony robe and the one her mother had made her, and flung them back over herself. Beautiful tinkling shells and quillwork across the bottom of the ceremonial elk hide did little for the new woman of fourteen winters. Every turn she took looked the same. With so much blowing snow, she could barely keep her eyes open. Her teeth hurt from chattering, and her fingers ached, burning from the cold. She blew into cupped hands, her breath barely warm, and touched her round face, but her numbed cold skin felt little. She shoved her hands back inside and pulled what robe she could over her head.

I am lost! Lost! How can this be? Many times, I have followed these canyons on one-day rides or two-day walks. Stupid! Why did you walk? Where was your mind?
And where was your mind when you let Night Hunter take you that night, moons ago? You were lucky a baby was not made. Did he use some kind of trick to draw me to him? Why did he take me knowing I was not yet a woman? Why did I allow him to dishonor me?" Teardrops froze in little balls on her cold face. "No other man will want me now.

Three moons ago, she heard his flute music as it floated past her lodge, soft on the cold night air. Her mother had told her every woman knew the sound of her future man's voice in the music. Not knowing who called, she followed the sound. Quiet footsteps led her to him. She could not see who it was, but went to him even though she should not have until her ceremony had passed. Hypnotized by the beautiful sound, she faced Night Hunter unafraid. The flute stopped, then their eyes met and he lowered her to the ground. It was wrong, very wrong. Even the cold and snow-covered ground did not stop her from lying with him, encased in the warm humpback robe.

Another blast of cold brought her back to the moment, reminding her she had yet to find safety, and that she did not have the warmth of another person. She started to drift in her mind, thoughts jumbled. Her body shivered uncontrollably, and her feet ached from the freezing water that had found its way through the sinew used to make her footwear. She rounded another curve in the canyon. Orange-red colors plastered in icy-white greeted her. Her eyes combed for caves, indents in the stone, even a curve that would get her out of the wind.

Nothing! There is no shelter anywhere!

She arched her neck toward the now nearly invisible clouds and cried out. "Creator, help me please. I am young and afraid. I am not brave. I fear loosing my life in such a way. Who would sing my Soul to the campfires in the sky? I would be lost in-between this land and the Spirit's land. Please, Great Mystery, help me to help myself. I know I am weak. I am sorry. I wish I was braver."

She pushed away her snow-covered hair that escaped from the robe, but it whipped around, slapping her face. Stupid! I smelled snow! Why did I not take my winter footwear? Her ceremonial footwear soaked up even more of the icy water. She'd hurried, and the air was warm when she'd left. Still, even after her parents had taught her about sudden cold, she had not listened. She had acted as a child, and now must pay for her haste. Would a woman act this way?

Cold and exposure started to claim her. Numb feet no longer ached. She could no longer feel the tips of her fingers. Sleepy.... If I could just rest.

Thunder rolled and lightening sparked in pink above her. Thunder snow. The old ones said it meant Nature herself was confused, and the cold season was always much worse. At every turn, she found only white ice that clung to jutting edges of stone—no shelter anywhere. She pushed on, head bent against the blasts of cold pelting her face. Ice concealed the uneven ground, and the tip of a hidden stone tripped her. Frozen ground rose up to meet her. She lost her grip on the robes, and gasped when the icy water splashed up her dress. With numb hands, she pushed herself into a sitting position, and laughed.
I finally feel warm. Am I seeing the last place of my life? I should have stayed and accepted Night Hunter's offer. He was not so bad to look at when he did not wrinkle his face in anger. He did smile at me the first time we saw each other. I did not see anger then.

Instead, I lay here freezing. So sleepy.... If I could rest but for a short span.

"No!"

She reached out for the pack her mother had given her, hoping she had missed extra clothing. She clung to the rocky face of the canyon wall, pulled herself up and reached her arm behind herself to pull the pack off her back. The canyon's snow crusted wall gave in and some hand-like thing pulled her through.

Her own hands touched fur, and she screamed.

EXCERPTS

"One Who Wanders—"

"Oh, call me Wanderer like my friends." He leaned over and offered to fill her bowl again. "Good thing I made extra. I see you are very hungry."

She looked up from her bowl and into eyes that stared right through her. They had a soft blue glow. He wore a worn, quilled yellow and white headband that reminded her of the zigzags on the canyon baskets that a trader brought occasionally. Her father had actually traded a good robe for one.

She guessed Wanderer had seen around fifty-five winters, maybe more. "Where are your friends?

"What friends?" He reached for another bowl and dipped it in into the warm food, then leaned back and blew on it. "Good this time! Much better with the dried root plants added in. I saved them for when you would come. My friends would have enjoyed this."

She squeezed her eyebrows together and smacked her head. "Your friends who call you Wanderer. Where are they?" She tried to show only respect for the elder, but he made her mind crazy.

He jabbed a finger above his head. "There. Not to worry, little one, I will do you no harm. I had two wonderful women in my lifetime and do not want for another... even if you are a pretty one."

                           ***
 "Shhh, no time for questions and whisper! Once we catch the mustangs, we need to keep them at a trot to get back here if we are to make it before Father Sun wakes. Sister Moon hides—just a sliver shows and this will help. When we get to the top, stay low to the ground, girl, no sense taking chances of someone being awake."

He pushed her forward and pointed up the boulders. "We climb here. It will take us right to your camp. It is just over these boulders. Seek the way with your hands, you will feel the way."

"I have never climbed down this way, too slippery for me and now you ask that I climb this?" She arched her neck up and saw not a path, but a good place from which to fall.

"I lived where your camp is. The hairy faces came in the night and only a few of us made it over these boulders to hide in the cave. Long ago, other Peoples made handholds on the boulders we will use to climb. Be careful, some are worn and shallow. I will follow behind you in case you fall. Feel for the handholds. They are spaced about an arm's stretch all in a row."

"I will not fall, I am strong."

"I hope so. I am not and if you fall, I too, will fall."

"Then why did you tell me to go ahead of you?"

"I told you, in case you fall. Whisper."

                  ***

She moved so close that he reached out to her. He gasped when she pulled him in. "I...I feel so warm, loved. Never before have had I such Power move all the way through me. I am one with all there is. I have no fears, no worries. I do not even feel the burden of a body! What is this place? Not even the center of the Circle has done this to me."

'Silly boy. You still ask questions. Feel where you are. You are deep within the Circle of Life, deeper than you will ever feel as long as you have a body. I see you have walked the Spiral. You have opened your mind, expanded your knowledge. There is yet another lesson for you, one of many that will come your way as you live to become a Great Elder yourself. You cannot teach what you have not experienced personally.'

Colors faded and Blue Night Sky vanished. White Paws lay beside his Human Brother as if neither had ever moved.

"Such peace! Were we really there with her?" He turned and extended his arms around him. "Are you real White Paws? I mean in my space, my people's lives? I feel you, see you, yet some how you know things before I do, react with a knowing I do not have. You truly are a living Spirit Guide. Not that Spirits are not alive...or...who are they?" He put his face in the wolf's fur and breathed in as one would after a clean rain.

White Paws Jumped up and ran a circle around him, grabbed his tunic and pulled until he rose to his feet. "What are you doing? Sweet Mother...something has happened in camp."

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