Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rose Anderson and her Wolf Man

I am pleased to welcome Rose Anderson to my blog. Rose is a multi-published, award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and learning interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper mid-west. Rose is a great supporter of fellow authors, always willing to share advice and encouragement.

Great to be here, Roxanne. Since October is the month for ghouls and goblins and things that go bump in the night, I thought I’d mention the unusual origins of one of my novels. My tale concerns an ancient shape-shifting Native American shaman whose world changes around him until one day it ceases to be. Desperate to end his immortal existence, his decision literally throws him in front of Dr. Olivia Rosalini…or rather, her car.

I was recently asked to do a book signing of that novel at a local cafe dedicated to the strange and bizarre in a region somewhat famous for strange and bizarre. The dense woodlands and uninhabited expanses of rolling glacial hills are ripe for creepy urban legends. There locals say they’ve seen something strange at twilight or dusk not too far from my home – a wolf walking upright like a man. As if that isn’t unbelievable all on its own, the Great Lakes Native American oral traditions and accounts of the early French fur trappers mention them too. There was nothing for this writer to do but write The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo!

Wolf men aren’t the only weird sightings in that vortex of strange and bizarre. Apparently there’s more. Another creature some describe as a Sasquatch a.k.a. Bigfoot has been seen there too. Hard to believe? Famous naturalist David Attenborough and a renowned authority on primates, Jane Goodall, both believe Bigfoot exists. And they’re not alone. There’s even a field of study for rumored creatures called Cryptozoology. The word is a combination of three Greek words: kryptos, zoon and logos, which mean, respectively, hidden, animal, and discourse; in other words, the study of unknown animals.

Just two weeks ago I saw a news piece that said DNA testing was being done on Bigfoot material gathered from around the country. I suppose “material” could be anything from hair and scat to a Bigfoot body! Don’t you just love when fact and fancy overlap?

Before I continue, this is really not all that farfetched if you think about it. New species are discovered all the time. Global exploration expanded when man mastered the sea. New uncharted-lands held strange plants and animals never before seen. These native legends, rare sightings, and tales of inexplicable bodies seemingly made of parts, weren’t believed to exist. This skeptic’s list from the past had creatures we all know today: giraffe, kangaroo, tapir, beaver, okapi, panda, duck-billed platypus, Komodo dragon, orangutan, the “living fossil” fish, the coelacanth, and the recently verified Giant Squid – quite possibly the Kraken of mythology.

Then we have creatures on the truly odd list. The most famous of these is the Loch Ness Monster. Even Nessie isn’t too farfetched to believe. Not if we follow the legends. Many large bodies of water around the world have purported Nessie-ish creatures – Lake Champlain has Champy, and the Congo River has Mokèlé-mbèmbé. Then there’s that chupacabra from the Americas... I think I feel another story coming on.

The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo
Book 1 – Ashkewheteasu

What does an immortal Native American shaman do when the grave he’s sworn to watch over for all eternity disappears under urban development?
His purpose of guarding his wife’s burial mound gone, Ashkewheteasu seeks to end his immortal existence. In his despair, he assumes the form of a wolf and steps in front of a moving car and into the life of Dr. Olivia “Livie” Rosalini. The veterinarian saves the animal’s life, and in the process saves the man within. Unbeknownst to Livie, the dog she’s taken into her home and grows to love is a magical being seeking to win her heart as a man.
While Ash is learning a new world filled with new love, friendship, and happiness, an old menace makes plans to steal it all away; just as he had 3000 years before.

Excerpt (Ashkewheteasu finds his wife’s burial mound destroyed)

A large curious field mouse scurried over the top of the burial mound. He watched the people, his gaze pulling time and again first to the fire-haired young woman leaving with the others, then to the slightly older woman who’d stayed behind to spread a blue covering over the soil with obvious care.

Sensing the people were gone, the mouse drew a deep breath. Suddenly his form changed from mouse to rabbit, from rabbit to fox, and then from fox into a wolf with unusual black markings on its face. This higher vantage allowed him to check the area before continuing. Confident he was alone, his legs lengthened as he slowly shifted from wolf on four legs to a wolf on two. His muzzle shortened, as did his ears. A moment later he stood as a man.

His throat tightened as he walked amongst the tables and pails. A small bone caught his eye and he bent to pick it up. He stared a long while, seeing but not seeing the hand it belonged to so long ago. It was his task to watch over this resting place, and his task alone. Coming here later than usual today, there was nothing he could do to stop the white man’s destruction. His eyes filled with tears as his fist closed around the finger bone. Slumping to the ground, he sobbed in anguished sorrow.

There was no sense to this. What kind of people disturb the dead? Couldn’t they see this was sacred ground, a resting place? Composing himself, he wiped the tears from his eyes before reverently setting the small bone back in the opened mound.

Twilight fast approaching, he faced the setting sun, his palms held up to the sky. He hadn’t spoken for a very long time and doing so now, his voice sounded dry and strange to his ears. “Sky Father I have failed, I beg your forgiveness!”

Kneeling, he pressed his hands to the ground. “Earth Mother, I beg forgiveness. I have failed in my task…”

Rising, he turned his back to the sun and held his arms out wide. “Wind Spirits of the East, I beg forgiveness for this failure.” Turning, he croaked, “Wind Spirits of the South, I beg...”

He rasped his plea to the remaining directions and the spirits who dwelled there, and then addressed the mound and the body that lay within, “Aiyanna my love, my heart. I have watched over you through time but I can watch no longer. Please forgive me, I have failed you….” His throat choked close. Swallowing hard, he whispered to the earth that half-covered his wife, “Again.”

Kneeling beside the dirt-encrusted bones, he pulled the cover away to expose them fully. The small bones of the baby he knew laid with its mother had dissolved in the acids of the soil. Gently digging through the loam between the exposed rib bones, his fingers found the bird stone, its cord long since returned to the earth. Holding it now, he remembered...

Buy Rose’s books on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Rose-Anderson
Follow my blog http://calliopeswritingtablet.com/
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18 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks for having me today Roxanne. If anyone stopping by has questions, I'll be here on and off all day to answer.

woolfcindy said...

Roxanne, love your new website. Rose, love your excerpt and the story behind it.

Rose Anderson said...

I'm glad you like it Cindy. Sometimes the facts are stranger than the fiction.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Ash was a lovely character in both his forms, human and animal. I loved that he could change to whatever animal he needed to be in any given situation. And that in the end, he found his Livie.

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks Jane. I think Ash is everything a hero should be. It was a challenge to write an ancient being into the modern world..oh so much for him to learn, but I was very happy with him.

D'Ann said...

I prefer to believe Bigfoot does not exist! I ride horses in the mts all the time, and I've never seen any kind of sign of him anywhere. And I hope to keep it that way.

Victoria Adams said...

What a fantastic excerpt. Pulled me in immediately. Going to have to check this book out.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

My thinking is that there has to be some element of truth behind every myth or legend. Anyway, congrats on the new novel!

Brenna Chase said...

There's probably stuff out there we'll never know about, and maybe that's the way it should be. Wonderful excerpt! His pain just grabs you.

Rose Anderson said...

It's interesting how the story came about. I had an opportunity to speak to the reporter turned author who first covered the story. The eye-witnesses for the wolf walking upright like a man weren't the sort of people you'd doubt. Their stories were consistent too. Sitting around my kitchen table a few days later, my friends and I chatted about those sightings. One said what if this was a magical thing, a spiritual event where a shaman had managed to shape-shift. Shape-shifting plays into many legends around the world. What if the grave guardians of the upper Midwest were no different than Anubis of ancient Egypt? My imagination ran with in. Thanks for stopping by everyone. :) You read read the Look Inside on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFFFESI

Rose Gorham said...

Great excerpt, had me right from the get-go. Sounds like a very good read.

helenafairfax.com said...

I love the look of your blog, Roxanne. And Rose, the origins of your story are fascinating. I loved the excerpt. What a great idea for a novel

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks and thanks! It's an unusual story steeped in facts...not just the real people saying they've seen this wolf man..but the details of the archaeology, the Mound Builder culture of the Ancient Native Americans, veterinary medicine, and lifeways and societal attitudes of modern Native Americans living in the Great Lakes area.

katewyland.com said...

Great excerpt. Really pulled me in.
I agree. There probably is an element of truth in the old legends. Fun to play with.

Melissa Keir said...

Old legends are always based on things around us and explain things we might not be knowledgeable about. I love Rose's stories and can't wait to read more!

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone and thank you Roxanne for hosting. Have a nice evening all

Gemma Juliana said...

Roxanne, what an amazing heart greets the visitor to your lovely website. Rose, you have a great gift for spinning stories filled with myth and magic. I am very fond of shapeshifters and Native American legends. Your story is very dear to me. :)

Kaye Spencer said...

I love reading the story-behind-the story, and the Native American culture has so many rich legends and myths to choose from.

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