MEET THE AUTHOR
Louann Carroll is a Native Californian living in the Sierra Nevada foothills with her husband, Dennis. Mother to three children and grandmother to six, she is an avid rock, fossil, and gem hunter who enjoys sharing her finds with her grandchildren and friends. She is a student of alternative religion, archaeology, anthropology, and paleontology. She was five when she found her first set of fossilized shark teeth. Since then, she has added numerous finds to her on-going collection.
Louann has written numerous radio talk shows, articles on adoption, and is the author of Journeys, The Adventure of Leaf. She was the senior editor of American Carriage House Publishing and assisted in the writing, editing, and formatting of the award-winning book, AdoptingOnline.com.
Kellyn O’Brien strives to create the perfect family. Then, disaster strikes. Her husband is dead. Three weeks later, she discovers her son is heir to Shadow Ley, a nineteenth century estate nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Reeling from Michael’s death, Kellyn moves to Shadow Ley. Soon, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary: broken drinking glasses repair themselves, stair rails that were once old are now new, and suddenly the estate of Shadow Ley is not what it seems.
She turns to the local historian and learns of Sha’ na ho bet, the angry fire god, bound forever to Earth. Native Americans tell her about Coyote, the Trickster who creates chaos out of order. Then the dreams begin with windows into past lives, hints of multidimensionality, and the promise of life beyond death.
Legends abound and so Shadow Ley, the home Kellyn had hoped would bring peace to herself and her children, becomes mired first in doubt, then in terror, and finally in love eternal.
As writers, we all have our niche, mine is Ancient Egyptian Mythos. Tell us what inspires you and how it impacted your writing on your new release, A Shadow of Time.
I love the sciences, especially physics—theoretical that is. There are so many concepts that have arisen over the last decade it’s enough to keep a writer’s mind busy for centuries. One of those ideas is the theory of multidimensionality.
After reading a few books on the topic, I began to wonder:
- How many dimensions might there be?
- How are dimensions created?
- Do all dimensions evolve or do some get sick and die?
Contemplating the unknowable, I came up with my latest book, A Shadow of Time, which encompasses the dimensions, lives, and loves of four individuals, Kellyn, John, Adam, and Connie.
Shadow Ley is the setting of Shadow of Time. Tell us what it looks like and what’s hiding within its walls without giving away too many secrets.
In some places, ley lines cross. Shadow Ley is one of those places. A ley line is associated with mystical phenomena and multidimensional activity. Shenahobet is a portal (dimensional) guardian. The problem arises when it is discovered that this Shenahobet is insane and the dimension unstable.
I understand some theoretical physics inspired a Shadow of Time. Did you conduct a lot of research to make this storyline work and make it believable to the reader? Are there any interesting truths/concepts that you incorporated?
Here is the concept that permeates A Shadow of Time:
Physical objects (including ourselves) exist due to the arrangement and identity of atoms. Those atoms contain the nucleus. The nucleus is made up of quarks and you (by this I mean the observer) directly influence the nature of that quark, how it will behave, and what it will become.
Thereby: You create your own reality.
A tiny tuning fork placed within a bell jar with all the air removed was seen to vibrate in more than one dimension, by the physical eye. The question must be asked, is it the observer creating the dimension, or is the dimension already there?
Once you accept the probability that you can create another dimension it is only a short ride to begin to wonder if all dimensions are sane and if not, how can a dimension be made whole if the guardian of said dimension is insane?
Now this is somewhat different from your previous book, Gemini Rising. What inspired you to write a horror/mystery romance?
The two novels aren’t that much different even though they may appear to be at a glance. In book one of Gemini Rising we are only able to view Kate’s reality. As the series continues, we will meet more worlds than you can imagine.
Do you like to incorporate themes into your writing? The old adage ~ the moral to the story. Does Shadow of a Time have a message you would like to share with readers?
All stories have a moral—either good or bad. Even being indifferent is a moral choice so yes there are always moral questions needing answers. Hopefully, I’ve answered a few in A Shadow of Time.
Kellyn O’Brien, your heroine, comes from a tragic background. How has her past molded her into the woman she is today? Does she find strength in her pain?
I believe so. Kellyn walks out of victimhood and into being a woman who create hers own reality. Risking all she holds dear in the process.
Who is her romantic interest in Shadow of Time? Can you tell us about him?
Kellyn meets Dr. John Aldrich after she experiences her first panic attack. Just three months pregnant, she finds his name in a local telephone directory and heads over to his office. With her young son in her arms, she meets Connie, the physician’s receptionist. Frightened something may have happened to her unborn child she is not at ease until she stares into a pair of shocking blue eyes that seem to know her body and soul.
Obstetrical physician, Dr. John Aldrich, sees the young woman his receptionist has just announced. Almost immediately, he realizes something is wrong. He tries to discover what it is though he finds it difficult to get through to Kellyn on just one visit. She doesn’t have any relatives to call on for help and this fuels his curiosity. He recognizes her fragility, as she is newly widowed and raising a young son on her own. Even though his life has taken a strange turn, he decides against his better judgment to become her protector.
That is John Aldrich. Strong, protective, and endearing.
Working fulltime and writing, how do you manage? Do you have advice for other writers?
Recently, when asked to put together an article for new writers who want to become published authors, I did a little research and found the most offered advice was to read, read, and read. Somehow, that just wasn’t enough. I came up with this 5 Step Plan for Success:
- Read because you love it not because someone tells you to do so. I suppose there are those who can execute formula writing with perfection, but I doubt the result would be a novel that captures the heart. Read and write what you love.
- On editorial/critical review: Don’t let it destroy your self-esteem. A writer cannot edit his or her own works. The writer’s brain will substitute the right word over the wrong word in a manuscript. As for editorial review—not everyone will like what you read. Some will get you and some will not.
- Be willing to learn and keep your mind open to new ideas.
- Grammar DOES matter.
- Find your voice—your own voice—never mimic another.
What do you are you cooking up next? What can readers expect?
Gemini Rising continues. Kate and Noah, banished from Earth, are sent to the Olam where Kate will learn how to become a bond mate and Noah, a king among men.
Where can readers find you and your books.
Amazon Author Page for buy links.
Open MIC fav five:
- Favorite hero or heroine: Humphrey Bogart–Casablanca
- Favorite author: Ayn Rand—love the philosophy and the drama.
- Favorite music to write by: I don’t. I need silence. My head plays all the music I need. Seriously. It gets loud in there sometimes.
- Favorite inspiration: Being outdoors and/or driving the car. I have no idea why, just that it works best when I’m alone.
- Most memorable writing moment: The end of Gemini Two came to me as I was driving down the mountain. It was so stunning I almost had to pull over to the side of the road. It was that visually impacting.
2 – EBOOK GIFT PACKS: Gemini Rising & A Shadow of Time.
1. Leave a comment for Louann
CONTEST ENDS January 13, 2013 at 2359
EXCERPT FROM A SHADOW OF TIME
A dry wind caressed the meadow, rustling golden rye grass. A pool of brackish water reflected the sun, and a darting bird caused the liquid to move sluggishly. Thirst gnawed, creating scratchy tracks of pain in Kellyn’s throat. However, the thought of drinking from the pond turned her stomach. Her pace picked up. She knew she had been here before. She started running because in this place realities converged, and she wanted no part of it.
A man appeared on a hillock dressed in a golden tunic that shined under the sun and glimmered in the heat. He waved and started toward her.
“Kellyn!” he cried. “Wait!”
She gasped, the air searing her lungs. Sweat paraded down her face and neck, soaking her hair. Once again, the man called her name. She slowed, glancing over her shoulder, the voice familiar. Is he one of them? she wondered. Yes, she answered as his face came into view.
He was Matka, one of the five who were one. She thought to warn him of the dark waters, but she desperately needed to conserve her strength. As soon as she recognized where she was, fear had set fire to her feet, and she’d ran as fast as they could carry her, terrified of the living djinn of the water.
If she didn’t warn him, the circle of life would demand a repeat of her actions, until she got it right. Such was a soul’s fate. But what was right? She had no way of knowing. She could only do. She was not omnipotent. A river of sweat scalded her eyes. She had to find shelter before she withered up and blew away in the desert heat.
In the mountain’s shadow, a cave nestled behind several large boulders, giving sanctuary. She ran inside then leaned against a far wall, grateful for the coolness of the cavern. Glancing around, she searched for water. Nothing but a pallet lay within the rocky compound. She leaned in for a closer look, immediately repelled by the stench that emanated from the bedding.
Guilt rose. She should have warned the man, but perhaps he would follow her here. She had met each of them in other lives and different times. The names shot through her head: Matka, Michael, John, Tonah, and the over soul who had created them all. She too was one of many, and although she understood the concept here, she never could carry it back to her waking life. A veil had been drawn between this Kellyn and the one that walked the earth.
Tired, she crept toward the pallet. Unable to overcome her aversion to the smell, she knelt on shaking legs. After a time, she realized Matka had not followed. Exhaustion overwhelmed her. She crept onto the skins. Laying her head down amongst fleas and dirt, she slept.
Icy wind slithered through the bedding, waking her. Shivering, Kellyn sat up, fingering animal hide. She shuddered, the cold attacking her skin like tiny knives. Night lifted and sunrise illuminated the cave, bringing it into view.
A loud rustle and snore startled her. A man lay next to her. Tonah? The name popped into her mind. Warm breath clouded an unshaven face in fine mist. Strong features accentuated a rough visage. His nose, long and straight, sat above a full mouth, cracked with the winter’s wind. His eyes rolled beneath closed eyelids, partially veiled by locks of blue-black hair.
Suddenly, another bump and softer snore sounded to her right. Bundled close by, a young girl slept wrapped in rough hide. Her angular face nestled deep within animal fur, eyes closed tight against the cold. Overcome with emotion, a tear slipped down Kellyn’s cheek. She knew this child, had loved her dearly. The man moved, and she glanced at him. He opened his eyes.
Startled, she scooted closer to the girl. His gaze settled on her, setting off a rush of love that was at once exquisite and unsettling. She yearned for him, until an icy clamp of fear formed around her heart.
The man sensed her terror and reached up, pulling her against him. He said, “Ahyokoochettooa, Ayana.” I will not lead you wrong.
Her mind dipped precariously. Michael? John? Tonah? Oh, God, she thought. Joy filled her, pushing away all thoughts of a world beyond this one. She answered with gratitude the name he called.
Tonah’s arms were strong, his skin cracked and reddened, and he was warm, oh so warm. Not cold, like the body that lay in the mortuary for three days. Not waxy, like the face she had seen covered in make-up, his cheeks pushing against his ears in a way she had never before seen. He curled toward her, his mouth open—the tiny stitches of thread that had held his lips forever closed were gone. In their place the warm breath of the living descended upon her.
His muscles flexed as he held her, and she luxuriated in the oiliness of their bodies. The scent of cured animal hide filled her nostrils. The icy walls of the cave provided shelter from mother Earth and security from father Wind. She took refuge in his arms giving thanks for the man who loved her so fiercely.
“Oh, Ayana,” he whispered. “You are my life—my love.”
Salty tears tracked down her face as she lifted her mouth. His lips were warm and he smelled of the earth. She clasped him closer, never wanting to let go. He straddled her and she welcomed him, lifting her arms in surrender.
Always gentle, always sweet, he stroked her arms, her legs, and then her thighs. He stood, sweeping her off the ground and holding her close as if her body and his were the same.
Wrapping her legs around him, she buried her face into his neck, sucking in the rich odor of life and love. Never had she been so close to a human being, experienced such passion, and reached such heights of ecstasy.
After the sweetness of love was finished, he laid her down, rose from the skins, and walked naked to the mouth of the cave. He grasped a thin curtain of hide and pulled it away from the opening.
He shouted, “Come. We must greet the sun and be on our way.”
Ayana pulled back the covers, shivering in the chill morning air. She reached for her daughter. “Awake, Kayi. It is time to go.”
The child looked up. A smile started at her lips that soon reached her eyes. She yawned, showing even white teeth.
Ayana grinned at her sleepy offspring then stepped out of bed and threw on a Caribou hide robe. Striding over to the fire she’d bedded down the previous evening, she blew on it gently, feeding the flames dried dog dung until the fire rose into a body-warming blaze. “Come and warm yourself.”
The girl rose, running with dainty steps over to the fire.
From a sickly infant, Kayi had grown into a healthy young woman more than able to carry her weight in camp. Born half alive, Ayana’s womb had become a tomb of death instead of a well of life. Before the babe could take her last breath, Tonah had called the ancient shaman who arrived with bold paint and staff. He danced his prayer to the White Mammoth asking that the child live, and she had.
Ayana lightly touched her belly. Her womb was too small for a maturing fetus. Instead of enlarging, it bent and twisted the infant so that the child’s legs were malformed. After Kayi’s birth, she followed the shaman’s wishes, starving herself for three days while allowing another to nurse the baby. In return, she expected and received the life of her child. Kayi’s limbs had taken time to grow and straighten. Now she was as lithe on her feet as any youth her age. She had a slight limp and was sometimes in pain, but it only showed in her eyes and never in her voice.
Ayana opened the carrying pouch, thinking she had at best one more day of food. Together they warmed a bit of sinew then, in a round bowl made of stiffened Caribou hide, they heated snow to drink. In the manner to which she was accustomed, the child carried the first of the day’s offering to the man that stared out over the canyon.
Her father, now arrayed in furs and skins that protected him from the cold, smiled. The sun’s rays burned the snow-laden mountains a brilliant pink, and she squinted as she handed him the meat and water.
“Thank you,” he said, accepting her gift.
She crept back to the fire.
“Come,” Ayana said, smiling. “It is time.” She was pleased with Tonah’s response to Kayi.
Where most men would have decried the birth of a daughter, he had welcomed her and her disabilities. It was Tonah who strapped the sticks to Kayi’s legs to help them grow straight, and it was Tonah who helped Ayana accept the fact she would bear no more children. She sighed, remembering how lucky she was to have him as her mate.
The wind whistled as she packed what was left of their utensils and blankets. Wrapping extra skins around her daughter, she made sure her ears and hands were well covered. She stepped onto the sled as her mate readied the dogs for the long trek down the mountain.
With longing, she gazed back at the cave, wishing she didn’t have to leave its warmth. Tonah hooked up the dogs to the main sled and attached the smaller emergency carrier to the back of the basket sled. She and Kayi hunkered next to him, their bodies wrapped in bear hide.
He whipped the dogs. “Haw!”
Icy wind blew through her hair. Frost formed on her eyebrows and eyelashes as the sled sprinted across the ice field. She squinted, protecting her eyes from the sun and the blowing snow. Kayi huddled next to her father, taking great care not to interfere with his driving. She had curled into a ball, covering her ears with her hands as the hide rug had fallen away.
Ayana attended to her daughter’s exposed flesh. She took her hands into her own and rubbed the skin fiercely. Already they were blue from the cold. Three days ago, in a moment of negligence, Kayi had dropped her gloves over the rim of a ledge. Although hunger was fierce, the girl still had the energy of youth and played with the dogs using her gloves as a toy. A quick reprimand sent the stricken child to the rocks to hide. Moments later, the gloves went over the edge.
Ayana was forever grateful that it was Caribou hide and not her child that lay at the bottom of the cliff. Since then, she worried that her daughter’s hands would freeze and she would have to watch her fingers fall to the ground, black and shriveled, as had her grandmother’s.
As Kayi’s hands warmed from her frantic ministrations, Ayana looked to her husband for strength. Her heart blossomed with love. Strong and capable, he handled the dogs with ease as they shot across the snow. She had great confidence in his tracking skills and his ability to lead them to the new land beyond the white ice mountains. She just wished they had never decided to leave the camp of her birth to follow the Caribou. She missed her mother, her cousins, the security of the main camp, and the great hunts and celebrations that followed.
She pulled her robe tighter.
Exposed skin grew numb. She knew it was dangerous to follow the way of the herd. Her father, Kirta, had tried to persuade her not to follow her mate. Who would touch hands with Kayi in the land of the sun, he demanded to know. The child deserved to have a place at her own hearth. However, the stories of others who had gone before pacified her, giving the assurance of numerous camps far ahead.
Stinging ice and wind bit her face. The basket sled flew down the face of the mountain, the cold slithering in between the cracks and crevices of her fingers, the lines at the corners of her mouth, nose, and eyes. She held tight and they continued onward.
“Sasshay on out of here,” Leanore piped, swatting her son Cory on the hip. “Your brother left half an hour ago.” Already he was late for school, a constant problem with this child of hers.
“I’m going.” He grabbed his books from the table and bumped into Kellyn. “Sorry.”
“It’s all right.”
Leanore turned to look at her guest as her son slammed the front door behind him. While Kellyn had bathed and dressed, the young woman’s face was pale with deep circles under her eyes. She asked, “How are you feeling?”
“Not so good. I didn’t sleep well.”
“Some. It’s been a rough couple of days.”
“Sit down. I’ll bring you some eggs.”
Kellyn pulled out a chair. “I’d be happy to pay you for them.”
“That’s not necessary.” Leanore piled Kellyn’s plate with food. A flush of heat rushed into her face, embarrassed by what the young woman perceived as poverty. “You look like you could use a good meal.”
“It smells wonderful, but I have to warn you, I’m almost four months pregnant. Sometimes my stomach rebels.”
Leanore asked, “How do you like Shadow Ley?” She put the dish in front of her. “Coffee?”
“Please. I guess it’s okay. It’s big, that’s for sure.”
“Too big for some.”
Kellyn glanced at her and smiled.
Connie walked into the kitchen, her boots tapping across the floor. She pulled out a chair. “Is there enough for me?” She grinned, glancing at Kellyn’s plate.
“There’s always enough.” Leanore put a dish before her.
Connie broke off a piece of bacon. “Rough night?”
Kellyn nodded. “I dreamed about the little Eskimo girl.”
Leanore poured herself another cup of coffee and added in a large dollop of homemade vanilla cream. “More eggs, Connie?”
“How about you, Kellyn?”
Kellyn stared straight into Leanore’s eyes. “Kishtuah. Neckoutvoot nahngock.”
Connie snagged the frayed cuff of Kellyn’s shirt, giving it a good shake as Leanore leaned toward her.
“Kellyn!” Connie got to her feet.
“Leave her alone.” Leanore lifted a hand to stop her daughter. “She’s in a trance.”
“A trance. It isn’t good to bring her out of it too soon. Let her be. She’ll wake up on her own.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“No.” She positioned herself in front of her guest.
“Pahtahgahmick tightah. Tahng. Ahyokoochetooa.”
Kellyn’s eyes shot open. She took a deep breath and shuddered. “What the hell?”
Leanore grabbed Kellyn’s icy wrists and rubbed them briskly then she snapped the blood vessels just under the skin. “Can you remember anything? You’re so cold!”
“Something about my hands being frozen and something else about wet clothes and needing the dog team.” Her eyes opened wide in terror. “Last night, I dreamed Tonah is Michael and Michael is John. I’d forgotten it until now.”
Hands shaking, Connie grabbed a cup of coffee. “What’s a Tonah?”
“Tonah is not a what. He’s a who.”
“So, who’s Tonah?”
“Michael and John and some other guys, too.”
Connie tried to steady her hands as coffee slopped over the side of her cup. “What are you talking about?” She sat down, the chair squeaking in protest.
“Well, I’m not really sure. Somehow, they’re all tied together. You and Adam, too. There’s something we need to do here. The little girl I saw at the house and in my dream is named Kayi. Michael and John and some guy wearing a golden suit who is also John…well…they are Tonah, Kayi’s father.”
Leanore studied Kellyn, believing her and understanding. Dimensions were known to overlap during times of crisis.
“I know it doesn’t make sense, but bear with me. My name is Ayana. We came from the Bering Strait though we don’t call it that. We’re searching for warm sun and plenty of game to eat. It won’t end in success. I’m not sure how, but we’ll die. In addition, Michael or Tonah is John, just as I’m Ayana.” She sat back, the blood leaving her face. “Oh my God. I sound insane.”
“Not at all,” Leanore said. She considered the convergence at the house, conflicts needing to be resolved. Shenahobet had created an imbalance the four needed to put right. If she encouraged Kellyn to leave Shadow Ley, they might have to do this over again. If she encouraged her to stay, God alone knew what might happen. “Do you remember anything else?”
Kellyn frowned. “Just that it was cold, and we were all afraid. We had very little food to eat, plus we were freezing to death. Good God. I must sound like an idiot. It was just a dream, that’s all.”
“What do you know about reincarnation, or better yet, multidimensionality?” Leanore asked.
Shrugging, Kellyn answered, “Not much. When I was in college studying for my degree in sociology, we discussed reincarnation in psychology, but when I asked Father Clark, he said he’d spit in God’s eye if reincarnation was true.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. You’d think religious people would be more tolerant.”
“I worried more for him than myself. I wouldn’t want to go spitting in God’s eye no matter what the truth was.”
Leanore chuckled. “I think God is big enough to take our anger, our happiness, and even our stupidity as long as we’re walking toward him and not away.”
“I guess. So, Connie said you might be able to help me.”
“Possibly.” Leanore sat at the table and folded her hands. “I don’t like to foist my beliefs onto people, but if you think I might be able to help, I’m glad to try.”
“Thank you. I’d appreciate your advice.”
“What you did just now is called channeling.”
“I’ve heard of it. It’s when you allow a spirit to talk through you.”
“In some cases, yes, but Ayana is not that type of spirit. She is, in a very real way, you, and she’s in trouble.”
Kellyn tilted her head. “How do you know?”
“She’s coming through during a crisis situation. That can only happen if she’s trying to get your attention. She needs you for some reason. Or perhaps, you might need her.”
“But how am I supposed to find out what she wants?”
“My understanding is that as each soul learns in different dimensions, that education is passed on subconsciously to others within the soul circle.” Leanore paused for a moment. “What do you think about a world that exists in more than one dimension?”
“I guess it’s possible.”
Leanore unfolded her hands and tapped the table with a finger. “When you talk of John being Michael and Michael being Tonah, you must understand, while each of them is different, they are also the same. You and Ayana are like that. Part of the same soul only different, and each of you live in different dimensions.”