I knew when I got the idea for THE ELF GUARDIAN that It would be set in the Bitterroot Mountains, like the others–but I wanted a unique twist. It came when I read about the Montana Vortex.
When paranormal investigator Chiara de Luna needs a boost to her sagging career, she makes a trip to northwestern Montana for new material. Little does she know that the real story she’ll find is much more outlandish than weirdly tilted trees and brooms standing up on their own.
Clan Elves of the Bitterroot (Book IV): The strong Earth energies that support the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot have gone awry for unknown reasons, and the powerful forces at work have not gone unnoticed by the outside world. When a paranormal investigator looking for a story to save her career is told a fantastic tale by the juvenile and disobedient elf prince Elliun, his young albino elf bodyguard Max must try to fix the mistake. Can Max get humans, mages, and elves working together in time to save the land before the energies spin out of control? Or is this the end of the elven world in the Bitterroot Mountains? [Urban Fantasy series from Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.]
The phone line went dead before she could even say ‘goodbye.”
Not that she was going to say ‘goodbye.’ Anything but.
The once-sweet name turning bitter on her tongue, the whispered words sighed through her lips, becoming sharp, cutting her.
No, that was her teeth, biting down hard enough to make her bleed.
She set the phone into the stand. Gone.
Her knees gave way and she landed, hard, in her office chair, banging her elbow on the edge of the polished black-and-chrome desk. The pain reverberated up and down her arm, but did nothing to cloak the agony raging inside her.
The news clippings across the surface of the desk seemed to mock her now. Paranormal Investigator Visits Alcatraz. DeLuna Solves Local Murder with Psychic Clues. Ghosts Give Up Secrets to Ohio Paranormal Expert. All her work, fifteen years of building a reputation as an investigator of the weird and unexplained—what would it mean if Hunter Nowles walked away from her?
And why was he leaving? Because that stupid exorcism had turned out to be a fake.
Okay, and the haunting of that old mansion in Pennsylvania had turned out to be a bust.
She chewed her lip. To be honest, she’d failed to either prove or debunk the last seven investigations she’d undertaken. Lucky number seven.
“The great Chiara DeLuna bites the big one,” she muttered, waiting for the rim shot that had to follow. It was a joke, right? She was a joke. The network seemed to think so. Davis had already sent a memo warning her they wouldn’t fund her program any longer if she couldn’t produce results. And now Hunter had decided she wasn’t worth his time, either.
Or maybe he was just afraid that her failures would taint his own growing stature in the paranormal investigation community. Their three years as lovers didn’t mean anything at all?
Her gaze was snagged by one of the news photos on the desk, herself smiling and shaking the beefy hand of some small-town police chief. See, that woman was Chiara DeLuna, “spooky” media star—the woman with the chic platinum blonde hair, the expensive wardrobe, and the ominous black sedan that seemed to part crowds when she arrived on a scene.
Not the woman who looked back at her from the mirror, dreary, bookish Bonny Lang from Euclid, Ohio whose most thrilling accomplishment before she’d hit the big time was surviving a wreck with a drunk driver, as a teenager. Her mother had been killed in the crash; Bonny had sold her first paranormal article based on a post-mortem conversation they had before her mother’s spirit faded.
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One of the themes of this blog is adventure, which I think everyone should experience at some point. But sometimes adventures are planned…and sometimes….
As she reached Broadway, a worn blue bicycle pulled up next to her, horn screeching over its rider’s distinctive squeal. “Where is your car, woman?”
Jelani eyed her best friend, Iris Pallaton, whose blonde hair swirled above the bright cloud of a magenta blouse. “Richard had it towed.”
“Tell me about it. I’m late.” Jelani headed off again.
Iris pedaled along the curb beside her. “You should call his supervisor and complain.”
“And what? Humiliate myself because he’s a jerk? Screw him!”
“Maybe you should.” Iris laughed. “Then he’d be too awed to bother you again.”
Jelani glared as they crossed the street. “Funny.”
On the far side, she caught the glint of glass in the middle of the sidewalk. “What idiot would drop a bottle when there’s a trash can right there?” she grumbled. “I’ll get it. First karma points of the day.”
Iris climbed off the bike and put down the kickstand. “What is that?” She bent down near the object. “Oh, sweet Gaia! It’s a glass slipper!”
No kidding. It really appeared to be a shoe made out of glass. A large one.
“Who would have left this here?” Jelani picked it up, looking around for a prankster camera team. Something kept her from tossing the shoe.
“Try it on,” Iris whispered. “It would get Richard Snyder off your mind.”
“Richard is not on my mind. He’s on my crap list.”
“Oooh. Sorry.” Iris ran her finger over the shoe. “You’re chicken anyway.”
“Don’t even go there.”
“Chicken. Bawk-bawk.” Iris giggled.
“Fine! If it means I can get to work.” Reaching down with her right hand, she unzipped her boot and kicked it off. “Ready? You want a picture?”
Iris dug for her cellphone and raised it, ready to take a shot. “Just in case your prince shows up right then.”
“I don’t need a prince,” Jelani complained. “I don’t need a man. I need a new life.”
Setting the shoe on the ground, Jelani slipped her foot in it and gently stepped down, not sure to what expect.
The slipper shattered, slicing into the sole of her foot.
Nauseous, Jelani screamed and could only watch in disbelief as tiny men sprang from the blood trickling under the broken shoe. She lost track of how many. With the biggest maybe two inches high, the men scattered into the shadows around the nearest building and disappeared.
She lifted her foot, shaking off the blood, and examined her sole to see if glass remained buried in her skin.
“Did you see that?” Iris gasped, nearly breathless. She grabbed at the wall, eyes closed for a moment.
Jelani felt faint, too, suddenly washed out. “I don’t know.”
There were no glass fragments in her foot or anywhere. The shoe had vanished. The only trace of the whole incident was dark blood, slowly drying in the sun on the sidewalk. As she watched, the cuts in her foot healed.
Iris knelt down to peer at Jelani’s foot. “There were little people. Naked little people. They ran away. I swear they did.”
“Did you get pictures?”
“I almost forgot!” Iris got up and activated the screen on her cell phone, pressed the arrow. Jelani leaned close to watch the whole thing replay in living color. “Oh. Bless. My. God,” Iris said, in her shock reverting to the male deity.
Jelani nodded. “And the horse He rode in on.”
When Jelani tries on a real glass slipper left lying on the sidewalk, it splits in half and out pour dozens of two-inch high creatures who scurry away into the shadows. As if that’s not bizarre enough, she is soon approached by two men claiming (of all things) to be elves who need her help to rescue their queen.
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Interesting story about Bozeman, Montana, not too far from the Bitterroot. Seems like they have a lot of problems that my new home city, Asheville, NC, is dealing with:
Is it possible to build up too much fun for anyone to afford?
Come by, read an excerpt and check out the new covers for the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series!!
The northwest corner of Montana is a magical place indeed. Not only do my Clan Elves of the Bitterroot live in the forests alongside the Montana Vortex, the Sasquatch is also rumored to live there! Advice from the pros? Pack your PBJ’s; leave the Skittles at home.