Eli Easton

Author of m/m romance books and stories

Welcome to Eli Easton!

Interview with narrator of “How to Howl at the Moon” Matthew Shaw

July 3

audiocover

“How to Howl at the Moon” was the first audiobook my husband and I self-produced. I interviewed the narrator, Matthew Shaw, about what it was like to read his first m/m romance!

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE.

ELi

Interview and giveaway: Last week at “My Fiction Nook”!

June 25

It’s the final week of my “Author of the month” stint at My Fiction Nook! This week’s post features the Sex in Seattle series and has a giveaway for an ebook of “The Mating of Michael”. If you’ve already got a copy, you can give it to a friend. So go over and leave a comment!

http://www.myfictionnook.com/2015/06/author-of-month-eli-easton-grand-finale.html

Thanks so much to My Fiction Nook for having me as their guest this month!

Eli

 

Author of the month on My Fiction Nook — Week 3!

June 18

I’m on My Fiction Nook today for week 3 of my Author-of-the-week stint.  Today’s post features 3 of my books and a personal story about how I met my husband.  Also there’s a chance to win an audio book of “Unwrapping Hank” when it comes out! Jason Frazier is narrating. (and it’s fucking awesome)

http://www.myfictionnook.com/2015/06/author-of-month-eli-easton-week-three.html

Eli

“The Stolen Suitor” — new novel just completed!

June 17

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I once heard a saying: the greatest days of a man’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it. lol

Maybe there’s a parallel for authors: the best days of an author’s working life are the day he/she starts a new novel and the day he/she turns it in. I’m pretty sure that’s the case for me, anyway.

Yesterday I submitted a new novel, tenatively titled “The Stolen Suitor”, to Dreamspinner.  It’s a very plotty book with lots going on. It weighs in at 65K words, which is fairly long for me!

I wrote “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song” in the spring of 2013 and it came out Dec of 2013. It’s not one of my best-received books, but it’s one of my own favorite.  Even though it’s contemporary, it has a folksy, down-home, cowboyish tone that was inspired by one of my favorite romance authors, Pamela Morsi (“Simple Jess”, “Courting Miss Hattie”).

When I wrote “Prairie Dog”, I already had a sequel/series in mind, but nothing immediately came of it. Finally, I got to return to Clyde’s Corner, Montana.  “The Stolen Suitor” is the result. Joshua and Ben make an appearance in “The Stolen Suitor”, but it’s about a new couple and can be read as a stand alone.

Here’s the (temporary, a quickie written by me) blurb:

The Stolen Suitor – by Eli Easton

Summary/blurb:

Mabe Crassen has an idea—a wicked, brilliant idea. She wants her older son, Eric, to court the pretty widow in town. If Eric marries her, the Crassens will own the biggest ranch in Clyde’s Corner, Montana.  Unfortunately, the widow already has a suitor, Chris Ramsey, the local dandy. Mabe suspects Chris is light in the loafers and sets her younger son, Jeremy, to lure him astray.

Jeremy Crassen wants to go off to college and become a writer. Ever since his father went to prison when he was only seven, the name ‘Crassen’ has been the lowest of the low of Clyde’s Corner. Jeremy grew up hiding behind his long hair and disappearing into his stories.  So when his mother promises to give him her blessing for college if he seduces away the suitor of a local widow, Jeremy agrees. Now shy, virginal, secretly gay Jeremy has to figure out how to attract Chris Ramsey, the rich son of the town’s Mercantile, who may or may not like men.

Chris Ramsey is back in Clyde’s Corner after ten years of living in Denver. The death of his best friend convinced Chris he was needed at home.  Chris is a settling-down, family kind of guy, and his last free-loving boyfriend convinced Chris he’d never have that with a man. It seems like the right thing to do to marry up with Trix, his best friend’s widow, and help raise 4-year-old Janie.  After all, there’s more to life than passion and sex.

It’s when we know exactly where we’re headed in life that lightening can strike out of nowhere. With any lucky we’ll end up, not with what we want, but with what we really need.

What do you think? Are you in?

Eli

“My Fiction Nook” – guest post & giveaway!

June 11

Come visit “My Fiction Nook” today where I’m being featured as author of the month. Today’s post includes a look at a few of my books, a list of things you didn’t know about me and a giveaway of the “How to Howl at the Moon” audiobook!

http://www.myfictionnook.com/2015/06/author-of-month-eli-easton-week-two.html

Eli

First Excerpt: “Kingdom Come”

June 5

KingdomComeCoverLarger

“Kingdom Come” is a murder mystery set in Amish country with a romance subplot (m/f).  It’s being published by Penguin/Berkley in the Berkely “Prime Crime” line.  It will be published under my ‘other author name’ Jane Jensen since it’s more mystery than romance.

Here’s the link to the Amazon page.

And here’s the first excerpt — the first scene in the book.

The Dead Girl

“It’s . . . sensitive,” Grady had said on the phone, his voice tight.

Now I understood why. My car crawled down a rural road thick with new snow. It was still dark and way too damn early on a Wednesday morning. The address he’d given me was on Grimlace Lane. Turned out the place was an Amish farm in the middle of a whole lot of other Amish farms in the borough of Paradise, Pennsylvania.

Sensitive like a broken tooth. Murders didn’t happen here, not here. The last dregs of sleep and yet another nightmare in which I’d been holding my husband’s cold, dead hand in the rain evaporated under a surge of adrenaline. Oh yes, I was wide-awake now.

I spotted cars—Grady’s and two black-and-whites—in the driveway of a farm and pulled in. The CSI team and the coroner had not yet arrived. I didn’t live far from the murder site and I was glad for the head start and the quiet.

Even before I parked, my mind started generating theories and scenarios. Dead girl, Grady had said. If it’d been natural causes or an accident, like falling down the stairs, he wouldn’t have called me in. It had to be murder or at least a suspicious death. A father disciplining his daughter a little too hard? Doddering Grandma dipping into the rat poison rather than the flour?

I got out and stood quietly in the frigid air to get a sense of place. The interior of the barn glowed in the dark of winter morning. I took in the classic white shape of a two-story bank barn, the snowy fields behind, and the glow of lanterns coming from the huge, barely open barn door. . . . It looked like one of those quaint paintings you see hanging in the local tourist shops, something with a title like Winter Dawn. I’d only moved back to Pennsylvania eight months ago after spending ten years in Manhattan. I still felt a pang at the quiet beauty of it.

Until I opened the door and stepped inside.

It wasn’t what I expected. It was like some bizarre and horrific game of mixed-up pictures. The warmth of the rough barn wood was lit by a half dozen oil lanterns. Add in the scattered straw, two Jersey cows, and twice as many horses, all watching the proceedings with bland interest from various stalls, and it felt like a cozy step back in time. That vibe did not compute with the dead girl on the floor. She was most definitely not Amish, which was the first surprise. She was young and beautiful, like something out of a ’50s pulp magazine. She had long, honey-blonde hair and a face that still had the blush of life thanks to the heavy makeup she wore. She had on a candy-pink sweater that molded over taut breasts and a short gray wool skirt that was pushed up to her hips. She still wore pink underwear, though it looked roughly twisted. Her nails were the same shade as her sweater. Her bare feet, thighs, and hands were blue-white with death, and her neck too, at the line below her jaw where the makeup stopped.

The whole scene felt unreal, like some pretentious performance art, the kind in those Soho galleries Terry had dragged me to. But then, death always looked unreal.

“Coat? Shoes?” I asked, already taking inventory. Maybe knee-high boots, I thought, reconstructing it in my mind. And thick tights to go with that wool skirt. I’d been a teenage girl living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I knew what it meant to care more about looks than the weather. But even at the height of my girlish vanity, I wouldn’t have gone bare-legged in January.

“They’re not here. We looked.” Grady’s voice was tense. I finally spared him a glance. His face was drawn in a way I’d never seen before, like he was digesting a meal of ground glass.

In that instant, I saw the media attention this could get, the politics of it. I remembered that Amish school shooting a few years back. I hadn’t lived here then, but I’d seen the press. Who hadn’t?

“You sure you want me on this?” I asked him quietly.

“You’re the most experienced homicide detective I’ve got,” Grady said. “I need you, Harris. And I need this wrapped up quickly.”

“Yeah.” I wasn’t agreeing that it could be. My gut said this wasn’t going to be a cut-and-dried case, but I agreed it would be nice. “Who found her? Do we know who she is?”

“Jacob Miller, eleven years old. He’s the son of the Amish farmer who lives here. Poor kid. Came out to milk the cows this morning and found her just like that. The family says they’ve got no idea who she is or how she got here.”

“How many people live on the property?”

“Amos Miller, his wife, and their six children. The oldest, a boy, is fifteen. The youngest is three.”

More vehicles pulled up outside. The forensics team, no doubt. I was gratified that Grady had called me in first. It was good to see the scene before it turned into a lab.

“Can you hold them outside for five minutes?” I asked Grady.

He nodded and went out.

I pulled on some latex gloves, then looked at the body, bending down to get as close to it as I could without touching it. The left side of her head, toward the back, was matted with blood and had the look of a compromised skull. The death blow? I tried to imagine what had happened. The killer—he or she——had probably come up behind the victim, struck her with something heavy. The autopsy would tell us more. I didn’t think it had happened here. There were no signs of a disturbance or the blood you’d expect from a head wound. I carefully pulled up her leg a bit and looked at the underside of her thigh. Very minor lividity. She hadn’t been in this position long. And I noticed something else—her clothes were wet. I rubbed a bit of her wool skirt and sweater between my fingers to be sure—and came away with dampness on the latex. She wasn’t soaked now, and her skin was dry, so she’d been here long enough to dry out, but she’d been very wet at some point. I could see now that her hair wasn’t just styled in a casual damp-dry curl, it had been recently wet, probably postmortem along with her clothes.

I straightened, frowning. It was odd. We’d had two inches of snow the previous afternoon, but it was too cold for rain. If the body had been left outside in the snow, would it have gotten this wet? Maybe the ME could tell me.

Since I was sure she hadn’t been killed in the barn, I checked the floor for drag marks. The floor was of wooden planks kept so clean that there was no straw or dirt in which drag marks would show, but there were traces of wet prints. Then again, the boy who’d found the body had been in the barn and so had Grady and the uniforms, and me too. I carefully examined the girl’s bare feet. There was no broken skin, no sign her feet had been dragged through the snow or across rough boards.

The killer was strong, then. He’d carried her in here and laid her down. Which meant he’d arranged her like this—pulled up her skirt, splayed her thighs. He’d wanted it to look sexual. Why?

The doors opened. Grady and the forensics team stood in the doorway.

“Blacklight this whole area,” I requested. “And this floor—see if you can get any prints or traffic patterns off it. Don’t let anyone in until that’s done. I’m going to check outside.” I looked at Grady. “The coroner?”

“Should be here any minute.”

“Good. Make sure she’s tested for any signs of penetration, consensual or otherwise.”

“Right.”

Grady barked orders. The crime-scene technicians pulled on blue coveralls and booties just outside the door. This was only the sixth homicide needing real investigation I’d been on since moving back to Lancaster. I was still impressed that the department had decent tools and protocol, even though I knew that was just big-city arrogance talking.

I left them to it and went out to find my killer’s tracks in the snow.

 

My Fiction Nook Author of the Month – and GIVEAWAY

June 4

My Fiction Nook has done me the honor of having me as their June 2015 author of the month. Check out the first post and enter the giveaway for a free copy of “How to Howl at the Moon”. There will be more giveaways as the month goes on.

http://www.myfictionnook.com/2015/06/author-of-month-eli-easton-week-one.html

Eli

Desktop: “The Black Dog” (in claw anthology)

April 18

It’s my tradition to do a desktop post when I have a new story release, showing images that inspired my story.

“The Black Dog” is in “claw”, the 3rd gothika. It’s a gothic m/m anthology with three novellas by myself, Jamie Fessenden, and Kim Fielding. The theme of the claw anthology is beast shifters. Jamie and Kim’s stories feature werewolf shifters and mine, a massive black hound.

INSPIRATION:

I love gothic stories and horror movies. Both of my previous gothika stories were influenced by some of my favorite books or movies. (“Wuthering Heights” and “Frankenstein” for stitch’s “Reparation” and “I Walked with a Zombie” and “Wide Sargasso Sea” for bone’s “The Bird”).

The inspiration for “The Black Dog” comes from “Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Conan Doyle.

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I love this Sherlock Holmes story, the mood and atmosphere of it. Though I have to admit always been a little disappointed that the ‘solution’ to the mystery ends up not being paranormal at all.  In “The Black Dog”, that’s not the case. SAY NO MORE.

Initially, I was going to do a modern take on “Hound of the Baskervilles”, sticking true to the original plotline. But as I began working on it, I wasn’t satisfied with that and I decided I needed to pull in some other influences and go my own way.

LOCH NESS MONSTER

nessie

I liked the idea of having a legendary creature in my story, and a small town where monster-hunters might go to try to track down this legend. I’m a fan of TV shows where people are trying to track down Big Foot and other fabled beasts.  “The Black Dog” is set in Scotland and the legend of the Black Dog (which is fictional) is the only thing bringing in dribs and drabs of tourists to the tiny Northern Scotland hamlet where my story is set. The Black Dog is like a poor cousin to the Loch Ness Monster.

SCOTLAND AND HAMISH MACBETH

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Gothic stories are defined by their setting. It’s critical to have someplace that feels mysterious, spooky, and isolated, where the normal safeguards and rules don’t apply.

I decided to set “The Black Dog” in an isolated region on the northern coast of Scotland. Why? Well, first I felt the story had to be on the British Isles because the original inspiration, “Hound of the Baskervilles” is a very British story. But I wanted someplace that would still be very remote in the current day.

I decided on Scotland, primarily due to my love of the TV series “Hamish MacBeth”. Hamish is a constable in a small town in Scotland and I loved the rural, isolated feeling of the show. What a great place for a spooky tale! The show was also the inspiration for my main character, Hayden, who is a constable in the small Scottish town of Laide.

More pics of my setting:

castle_lg plockton-main-street Mountain-Road-Through-Applecross-Peninsula1

HAYDEN MacLAIRTY

Hayden, my main MC, is a huge “almost ginger” Scotsman, a police constable, patient and steady. Simon calls him “Mount MacLairty”. Yes, he’s big. He’s the seventh son of a seventh son, and he loves living in the tiny hamlet of Laide and wouldn’t have it any other way, despite the fact that all his older siblings have moved to big cities and the modern world.

I don’t really have a picture that does Hayden justice, but not to leave you hanging, here’s a lovely Scotsman for you…

Hayden

SIMON CORTO

My other MC is a writer from New York. Simon is intelligent, sophisticated, he loves to travel, doesn’t mind roughing it, and has made a career writing fictional stories around real monster legends. I picture him looking like a younger Neil Gaiman.

neil-gaiman

And last, but not least, some inspirational beast pics I grabbed off the web while writing:

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That’s it for this desktop. I hope you will give “The Black Dog” a read!

You can read an except and find ORDER LINKS here.

Eli

First excerpt from “The Black Dog”!

April 12

Claw Cover

“Claw”, the third volume of the gothika anthology, is coming out Apr 13th!  I’ll have a blog post running on the DSP blog tomorrow, and in celebration I’m posting the first excerpt from my novella-length story, “The Black Dog”.  Here’s the blurb.

The Black Dog by Eli Easton
Constable Hayden MacLairty is used to life being dull around the tiny hamlet of Laide on the north Scottish coast. They get occasional tourists, “monster hunters” interested in the local legend of the Black Dog, but Hayden thinks that’s only a myth. A rash of sheep killings, a murdered hiker, huge footprints, and sightings of the Black Dog force Hayden to rethink the matter. With the help of Simon Corto, a writer from New York doing research for a book about the Black Dog, Hayden tries to figure out why the enormous hound is reappearing. Hayden finds himself strongly attracted to another person for the first time in his life. But between the danger stalking the hills, Simon’s inevitable return to New York, and Hayden’s mother’s illness, true love may be more of a phantom than the Black Dog.

CHAPTER 1:

“I’m tellin’ ye, it was the Black Dog. Now what the hell are ye gonna do about it, Hayden MacLairty?”

The dead sheep, all four of them, made a grisly spectacle on what remained of the green summer grass. All of them had their throats crushed and bloodied, and two had their stomachs torn open, too, inviting flies to the feast. Hayden couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.

There were no bears or wolves in Scotland. A vicious pet or zoo animal might have gotten loose. Or perhaps it was a pack of stray dogs that had gone rogue. But what would kill four sheep and not feed? The animals were not so much eaten as displayed.

Hayden knelt down by one of the disemboweled sheep, trying to get a closer look at its wound. It looked torn, as from claws or teeth, not cut with a knife.

“I’ll take ’em to the vet in Ullapool. See if he can tell me anythin’ about what done this.”

“I told ye what done this! It was the Black Dog!”

Hayden straightened up to his full height, not averse to using his size to shut up Dylan Mitchell. Dylan was one of many colorful characters in Hayden’s precinct. He drank, and he saw things, and normally Hayden could ignore his wild stories. But not today, not with four dead sheep.

“Now you listen here, Dylan. There ain’t no such thing as the Black Dog.”

“I seen it! Why, just two nights ago—”

“And whatever killed your sheep is real, not some supernatural phantom, and that means I’ve gotta catch it. I’m not likely to catch it if I’m wastin’ my time lookin’ for spooks.”

Dylan’s face clouded with anger. “Ye don’t never listen to me, Hayden. But I know what I saw. Seen that thing five times now, the first time when I was nigh on ten year old, and there weren’t no liquor involved then. And I drink plenty without seein’ the damn thing. When I see it, it’s because it’s there. So what’re ye gonna do about it, hey? I can’t afford to lose four head.”

“I’ll post watch for a couple of nights,” Hayden agreed reluctantly. “I’m not arguin’ with you. We gotta find this thing.” And if you didn’t get drunk as a lord every night, you could watch your land your own damn self.

“’Course we do! My sheep one night, maybe my wife the next…! I wanna know what yer gonna do about that monster.”

“Now, Dyl, it won’ do a lick of good to berate the man.” Laith Mitchell spoke up, thank heaven. She was a good woman with a heck of a lot more sense than her husband.

“How ’bout you?” Hayden asked her. “You seen any animal in these parts that might have done this?”

She shook her head regretfully. “No, Hayden. The O’Ryan’s lab goes wanderin’ from time to time, but he’s gentle as a kitten. Ain’t seen nothin’ else.”

Dylan glowered harder.

“Right, then. I’ll just load ’em up.” Not for the first time, Hayden wished he had a subordinate to give such menial work to. He spread out plastic bags in the back of his Land Rover that was marked with the cheery yellow and blue check of the Scottish police. Then he hauled the heavy, bloody sheep into the boot. He had to drive them over an hour each way to Ullapool. But anything that ever had to be done, Hayden did himself. He was the only constable in the small hamlet of Laide and its surrounds. He covered a territory of nearly a hundred miles square, and he himself was the entire breadth and width of the law here. He might call in help if there was real trouble, but not for sheep. And decidedly not for a phantom black dog.

 

 

It was nearly dark when Hayden got back to Laide. He passed the Black Dog pub. There was a strange car in the lot, a rental, so apparently Angus had tourists in. Hopefully, they were there for the night and not just a meal. It was a good day when Angus could let out one of his upstairs rooms.

Maybe Dylan would show up at the pub tonight and spout off about the Black Dog. Nothing like a little local color to give the monster-hunters that chill up the spine. The wild northern end of Scotland was popular with long-distance cyclists and the occasional hardy hiker. But the few who stopped in the tiny hamlet of Laide had the legend in mind.

Hayden sighed. How he’d love to put up his tired feet at the pub and have a pint. But he had other obligations.

 

 

At home, Hayden let himself in quietly. As always the house smelled sourly of camphor and rose water and cabbage.

“Hullo,” he said to Ruth as he entered the kitchen. “And hullo, Mom.” He kissed his mother on the top of her head, assessing her condition automatically. Her crazy thick black hair, shot through with gray, was freshly washed, a task Ruth only managed a few times a week. She was wearing a thick purple cardigan. It was a bit too small on her large frame, but it was clean. And she had on real trousers today—some old khakis—not PJ bottoms.

His mother looked up at him and smiled. “Hayden! Ruth made us supper. Isn’t that nice?”

It was a good day then. Deep inside, where fear gripped his stomach in greedy handfuls, the tension eased.

“That’s lovely, Mom. What’re we havin’, then?”

“Pot roast! Can’t you smell it? I’m surprised the whole town isn’t outside the door wantin’ to be let in. Smells delicious!”

Hayden swallowed and looked at Ruth. She shook her head a little. “I’ve got some baked chicken in the oven,” she said quietly.

His mom ignored Ruth, going on and on about the pot roast. He sighed. A year ago he would have chased that phantom. But he’d learned better. Even if he went out and got a pot roast now, and they cooked it right away, by the time it was done, his mother would have forgotten all about it. She’d pick at her food like she always did, taking a few bites, and then claiming she was stuffed and couldn’t manage another morsel. He had no idea why she wasn’t a skeleton by now.

“I’m sure it’ll be wonderful,” he said. “I’m starving. I’ll just go wash my hands, shall I?”

 

 

After dinner, his mother settled in to watch her programs on TV while Hayden helped Ruth with the dishes.

“What is it, Hayden?” Ruth asked, giving him a leery expression. “I know that face.”

He sighed. “Ah, Christ. I hate this.”

“Go on. Hemming and hawing won’ make it any easier.”

He bit his lip. “Dylan Mitchell lost four sheep last night. I’m thinking it’s a pack of dogs. Told him I’d watch out tonight. Our farmers can’t afford to be losin’ livestock.”

Ruth rinsed the dish soap from her hands and turned to face him. “Hayden, of course I’ll stay, but this is what I’ve been tellin’ ye. You can’t manage. You can be called out any time day or night with that job o’ yours. And she shouldna be left alone.”

The anxiety in Hayden’s stomach returned with a vengeance. Dear God, he’d be growing a family of ulcers in there. “I can’t afford to hire a nurse, even if she’d take to one. What am I supposed to do?”

“Well, you know what I think! One of those fancy brothers o’ yours should be helping out.”

He didn’t disagree with the general concept. It was the particulars that were the problem. Jamie and Loren were both taking graduate courses in London. Jackson, Levi, and Moby had jobs and families of their own to care for hundreds of miles from here. And Sam was on a ship somewhere with Her Majesty’s Navy.

They’d all gotten away from Laide. And Hayden, the youngest, was left the loser in the MacLairty game of musical chairs. Last one standing. Then he felt guilty. He wasn’t the one with dementia. He shouldn’t be whinging about his own troubles. Besides, he honestly had no desire to leave Laide.

“You know that’s not gonna happen,” Hayden said tightly. “And you know how she is. Last time that social welfare lady stopped by, Mom screamed bloody murder, and she didn’t calm down for days. She won’t abide a stranger.”

“I know,” Ruth said quietly. “Which is why I told my niece and her husband they could have my cottage for the summer. And why I’m gonna be bossy and tell you I’m movin’ into the spare room.”

It was so welcome and yet too much at the same time. Hayden leaned against the counter, light-headed with relief. “I canna ask you to do that. I can’t pay you for more hours, and it’s not fair to you. You have a life.”

Ruth gripped his hand. She had a lot of strength for an old lass. And the light in her fierce eyes made it clear there was no faltering in her faculties either. “I’ve had a life, and, God willing, I will have one again. But right now Becca needs me. And you need me. And she’s been my best friend since we were six year old, and that doesn’t stop because she can’t remember what year it is. Of course, I don’t want any more of your money, Hayden MacLairty.”

Hayden swallowed. “That’s… I don’t know how to thank you.”

Ruth smiled, but she still looked worried. “It’ll be a relief to be able to keep me eye on her, to tell you the truth. You’re a right bonny son, and no mother could ask more. But if you ain’t workin’ nights, you sleep like the dead, and don’t think I don’t know it.”

“Hayden!” His mom called from the other room.

“Thank you, Ruth. Really.” His throat felt thick with gratitude.

Ruth snorted. “Yes. I’m sure any healthy young man would be itchin’ to live with two old crones. Go on, then. See what she wants.”

Hayden went into the living room. His mother waved frantically at the TV screen.

“Hayden, look at that dog! Isn’t he the cutest thing!”

Hayden sat on the arm of his mother’s recliner and took her hand. “He’s sweet, isn’t he?”

“You’ve asked and asked for a dog, but you know how your father feels about it. Maybe this Christmas, if you get that A in Maths. Do you think you could do that, lad?”

“Sure, Ma. I can do that.” His father had been gone for ten years, and Hayden had been out of school far longer. He often wondered how his mother could look at him and see a teenager instead of a man just turned thirty-two. But her misfiring brain had its own rhyme and reason.

Becca frowned. “I had a dog once. His name was Bandi. Did I ever tell you?”

Hayden rubbed her cold hands. “No, Ma. Tell me about Bandi.”

“He was a German shepherd. Used to sleep right by my bed. And he’d follow me to school. And I’d say ‘Thank you, Bandi! Now go on home!’ when we got there.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And do you know what happened to that dog? He got into the neighbor’s chicken coop and ate a chicken. Oh, did Pa gave him what for! Lord, Hayden. But Bandi, he’d got a taste for it, ye ken. And he wouldn’t stop. So Pa took a rifle and put him down.” There were no tears in her eyes, but her voice got soft. “Ma said Bandi ran away, but the neighbor’s son told me the truth. Pa shot him.”

“I’m sorry, Mom,” Hayden said, like he always did.

“Oh, look! It’s Bette Davis. Isn’t she lovely!”

Here’s the link to “Claw” on dreamspinner’s site.

And the Goodreads link.

Dream Vacation: Walking the UK

March 12

Dreamspinner’s blog theme this month is ‘dream vacation’, so I thought I’d blog about the best trip I ever took.

Two things you may not know about me: 1) I’m an Anglophile and 2) For many years I was into long distance walking. I was president of a volkswalking club in Seattle for a few years, and I’ve done a 10K in all 50 US states (except Alaska, which I haven’t gotten to yet).

In 2009, I did a walking trip in England with a friend of mine. We did about a hundred and twenty miles on the Southwest Coast Path and half the Coast to Coast trail. We booked our trip with a company called contours. They reserve all your B&Bs and also pick up your luggage in the morning and drop it off at your next destination. So all you need to carry is a day pack and you walk from B&B to B&B. It’s perfect.

I adore the long distance walking trails in the UK. The Southwest Coast Trail, as the name implies, hugs the southern coastline of England. The Coast to Coast trail cuts straight across England close to its narrowest point. Both are spectacular trails.

Here’re some pics!

Southwest Coast Path — St. Ives to Pendeen

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My friend Marcia and I ready to head out from St. Ives. Click on any of these pics for a close-up.

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Southwest Coast Path — Pendeen to Porthcurno

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Getting absolutely drenched at Land’s End, the furthest SW point in the UK.

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Southwest Coast Path — Porthcurno to Penzance

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Southwest Coast Path — Penzance to Porthleven

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Southwest Coast Path — Porthleven to The Lizard

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Southwest Coast Path — The Lizard to Coverack

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Southwest Coast Path — Coverack to Falmouth

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Coast to Coast Path

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Marcia took the photo above of me in rain gear with my camera. I was really into photography at the time! And yes, I lugged that beast every step. And it was worth it.

So that’s my dream vacation. I hope to go again to the UK to walk the Cotswolds Way with my husband.

What’s your idea of the best trip on earth?

Eli

 

 

 

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