Here is the next in my Author Profiling posts!
Please welcome Teresa Garcia!
I hope you all enjoy this new/unknown author!
Title: Dragon Shaman: Taming the Blowing Wind (Dragon Shaman Book One)
Author: Teresa Garcia, (formerly Teresa Huddleston-Garcia)
Genre: fantasy, romance, adventure, coming of age, multi-genre
Blurb: Every girl yearns for adventure, romance and magic in their lives. BlowingWind MountainChild had all of these and lost them, just as she was starting on what she thought would be the greatest adventure of her life. Now, she is being called out by the forces of life and undertaking the journey into adulthood alone. However, journeys always seem to entail healing, and a quest to find her lost love turns into something even greater.
Take Ryu is a boisterous magma ryugami trapped for five years beneath Mt. Fuji for the crime of becoming too engrossed in human affairs. Upon the end of his imprisonment he emerges to find a strange and undefended shaman woman within his territory. Falling prey once more to his kind heart he too is swept up in the threads of a destiny that neither human nor dragon could have ever believed.
This is the first book of the Dragon Shaman series, which will follow BlowingWind and her family in a saga of such depth and breadth, that some greater being, or beings must surely be behind the scenes. But for what purpose?
1986 – 1998
She had gone to bed hours ago. However, just because mother had made her go to bed did not mean that she had necessarily gone to sleep. Mother might have thought that the silence meant that her little bundle of energy was lost in dreams of desert adventures with Hawk and Coyote. This was not so though.
Blue eyes had been open for around two hours after bed-time, watching the Star People spin by in the night sky. A red cotton hand-me-down night gown hung down around her pale and skinny seven year old body while little hands supported a tiny chin as she pouted at the window.
Her father had not been allowed to take her with him to the protest and anti-nuclear power rally, this time because she had been grounded by her mother for skipping school earlier that Arizona spring day.
“It’s Coyote’s fault, he was the one lurking behind a trash can on the playground waiting for a chance to steal my stuff, including my homework. The teacher wasn’t going to believe that Coyote stole my homework. If even Mom won’t believe me about him, how does she expect me to show up in class and get made fun of again?”
It had been a long and dusty chase away from the playground after Trickster. Ultimately though, he had out run her, leaving her where old man FourHorses had found her spread out by his well. The school had not been happy, Father had been mildly amused, and Mother was absolutely furious. BlowingWind had always been complaining nearly ever since she could talk that Coyote was either making her do bad things, or framing her for doing bad things.
“It was fun though. I’ve always liked leaving Town behind. Did he have to get me in trouble for stealing cookies from the jar again too? I swear, sometimes Mom must be blind. He walked right past her covered in cookie crumbs, but I get yelled at for ditching and filching.”
A scratching pulled the child’s attention down from the moon to the dust outside of the stucco and adobe home. A scraggly and thin yellow coyote sat panting outside of her open window, her now very ragged and dirty red bag at his feet… minus her school books.
“Hey, you ruined my favorite backpack and got Mom mad at me again.”
“I’m sorry I got you in trouble again. Why won’t you ever come and run with me? You would certainly get in less trouble.”
“Father told me that you would get me in trouble no matter what I do, but that I would be safer if I didn’t. I’m not like you, you know. I won’t come back to life if I die.”
“And you won’t learn what really matters if you keep hiding safely in Town.”
The coyote changed form, shedding his fur in exchange for sun leathered skin that bore wrinkles as deep as the Badlands, though his hair was still as black as the arrowhead point on the Sacred Arrow that her cousin was the Keeper of. His buckskins, although the fine white preferred by the holy beings, were covered with the dirt of a long hunt. Smiling, Old Man Coyote gave her pack back.
“Old Woman Coyote will be angry at you for dirtying your leathers again.”
“It won’t be the first time.” He sighed, a wry smile playing at the corners of his lips.
Coyote was about to leave, when a gust of wind kicked up the dust, causing him to stay.
“Ba’ts’osé, is she still awake?”
The wind settled to reveal the speaker as a large golden hawk who had settled on Coyote’s shoulder. Coyote rolled his eyes.
“Yes Hawk, BlowingWind is still awake. Why?”
“You had better stop bothering her and let her get to bed then. Come to Council.”
Coyote resumed his animal shape, loping off after the Hawk who had gained the air once again. Shaking her head, BlowingWind went back to bed.
“I hope Hawk doesn’t tell Father I’m up past bedtime again. He really will be angry about that.”
Laying down in her bed and pulling up the thin blanket, she stifled a yawn.
“He still has my homework hidden somewhere, and I’ll bet he ate my lunch. I hope someone runs him over again.”
The drone of her mother sewing new clothes out in the living room drifted through the night, another calico dress for a stretching body conjured by a mother’s magic. An hour later she still had not found sleep, but a loud knock at the door relieved her boredom. The young and happy voice of her mother carried softly through the home.
“RedFeather, ‘tis a pleasant surprise it is to see ye, for sure. Are ye stayin’ the night again, leanbh? Where’s my Soaring’awk now?”
“Uncle was shot Aunt Marie. They want you at the hospital, but there isn’t any hope. He’s gone.”
RedFeather had tried to keep his voice down, not wanting to wake up the little one. BlowingWind had heard though, and heard her mother’s anguished cries as the child was forgotten for a moment. BlowingWind got out of bed and went to her mother.
Rivers of red hair spilled down from where a beaded barrette had corralled it while she was working, strands escaping where her curls rebelled. Blue eyes leaked liquid crystals onto high, freckle spattered cheeks, and a tall dark boy handed Marie his red handkerchief.
“Mommy, why are you so sad?”
Marie MountainChild grew silent as she saw her little one standing in her bedroom door, and then drew a breath before diving into carefully crafted words.
“Daddy ‘as gone away, and ‘e won’ be coming back.”
“Why Mom? Why won’t Daddy come home?”
“Daddy ‘as to go somewhere we can’t.”
“Will we ever see him again?”
Marie looked at the child, and then at RedFeather, who was nodding his head and motioning for her to go.
“You will see your Daddy again.” Red Feather bent down to his cousin’s height. “He was shot, kind of like when my little brother went hunting the first time when he got too excited, remember? David put that hole in his foot, and you doodled all over his bandages?”
BlowingWind nodded, and RedFeather continued.
“Well, your Dad’s at the hospital right now. After the doctors fix him, Kato’ya needs to see him, so he is walking the Star Path. Mommy has some work that she has to do now, but I’ll be here to watch you while she is gone.”
“Ok. Will you tell me a story Feather?”
“Sure Wind, but then you have to get to bed. You won’t receive any dreams from the Ancestors if you’re awake.”
Marie kissed BlowingWind goodbye before leaving. RedFeather sat down on the blanket covered couch, pulling out the red feather that he always wore, while he waited for the child to situate herself on his lap.
It was a few days later at the funeral that young BlowingWind had begun to understand what the Star Path really was, when she saw Grandmother crying that her son was dead. Not long after her father’s death, BlowingWind found herself moving.
“Where are we going Mother?”
“Somewhere new, leanbh.”
“Mom, why can’t you just speak English like other moms?”
“Tis a ‘ard ‘abit to break for sure now. Would ye rather I spoke like a bloody Brit then?”
“Mom, Ms. Sanchez said it’s not okay to call them that.”
“Well, then, don’ ye be gettin’ all uppity there with me. I’m sure that after a few more years ‘ere my accent will a slowly change. We’re moving to McCloud sure enough now, to answer ye question.”
Mother had taken a job in Northern California as a wood worker and carpenter. The house they moved to had been a large two story, an 1800’s historical home hidden away in the woods near the old logging town. The mountain forests had suited her well, and she had freely and happily roamed that summer while her mother got everything in order. Eventually, things had settled down enough that they could go camping like they used to.
Watching her daughter perform the prayers that her husband had once done while they set up camp in the high desert that held Medicine Lake had been odd, and it brought the loss back as sharply as if it had been just yesterday. In order to move past it, Marie had paid attention to establishing camp, instead of watching her daughter follow SoaringHawk’s footsteps into the forests of spirituality.
When BlowingWind had been singing the old prayers, she had been facing towards the lake. The layers of green reached into the distance beyond the condensed sky that had formed the waters and even further beyond this, like a smiling father had loomed the sacred mountain. Something about the area soothed her wounded soul, and she could almost feel the presence of her father, urging her to look into the lake. And so, after the songs had been finished, she had followed the tugging on her soul.
Twin whirlpools of chocolate and mud had pulled her soul to the lake bottom, creating a longing that the eleven-year-old did not fully comprehend. She felt safe and whole looking into the orbs that were in the water, paying no heed to how guarded they were, nor to the black fur around the pointed face, or the scales running along the lithe body. Neither did she see the great red mane as it waved in the currents where the lake serpent hid beneath the surface. She was in ecstasy that there was someone who could take away her pain for even a moment. In joy, she had called to her mother.
“Mama, look what’s in the water. Aren’t his eyes beautiful?”
The woman’s screams pierced the ears of both the child and the water creature still hiding in the murk and lake plants. They echoed out over the lake, rebounding off of trees and rocks to amplify even more, and flocks of birds abandoned their nests believing it was a warning of danger.
“Whoever ye be, Spirit, leave my baby alone! Ye can’t take ‘er too!”
BlowingWind watched as the eyes faded, and ripples moved in the water as the creature swam away. Turning, she realized her mother was paler than usual, shivering the way she did when shocked or frightened, like when they had found a rattlesnake contentedly sleeping on their porch not so long ago.
“What’s wrong Mother?”
“Draigan. Mother was telling me for true, an’ she wasn’t touched. They be real.”
She held her head, rubbing between her eyes, for a moment her gaze pulled from the present into a locked area of her memories. Every muscle bunched and tenses, and hair lifted as BlowingWind watched.
“Mom, are you ok? You’re acting kind of weird.”
Marie’s eye cleared, and once more she was the practical Irishwoman BlowingWind knew.
“Oh, for sure now. T’was but a trick of the light now. Come now, we’ll go for a bit of a stroll for some firewood.”
Later that same night, a fire crackled only to die down into their makeshift hearth to cook their dinner.
“Alright, story time. What is it tonight Mother?”
“Tonight, I’ll be telling a story about long ago, and about a geas laid on our family by a draigan.”
“What’s a geas?”
“That’s a curse, my leanbh.”
“Maeve was a brave lass, and was among the finest of Brigit’s priestesses. There were few warriors better, man or woman, and ‘er prowess attracted a draigan that knew the magic of shape trickery. As a comely lad, ‘e enticed ‘er to join with ‘im in marriage, and being lonely, she was sorely tempted. There was another lad, a cobbler, in another Clan that also loved ‘er, and war was common then.”
BlowingWind leaned in closer, and Marie’s speech dropped some of the heavy accent, though not all.
“Maeve loved this draigan, but ‘er service to ‘er goddess required that she ‘ave permission before taking a ‘usband. The well and forge that she was a protector, and keeper, of was attacked before she could do anything about ‘er suitor though, and Maeve was one of the priestesses who were captured.”
“If she was so good, how was she caught?”
“The story is old, me mother did not remember all of it. Bits ‘ave been forgotten over time, they ‘ave.”
Marie dropped her gaze from her daughter, looking into the fire instead.
“Ultimately, Maeve was dishonored by the cobbler, who somehow was involved in the raid. Drake, the draigan, learned of it, and the draigan came to stop it, but was too late. She ‘ad already been taken, and in a rage ‘e had not only killed the cobbler but also cursed any children that the cobbler had ever begotten. Unknown to Drake, Maeve had been more dishonored than ‘e ‘ad ‘eard tell of, and a cursed child came under ‘is care due to ‘is own wrath. Now, every child of that child loses the first marriage partner to the curse. That is ‘ow our family was named, and why the Spirit World is so drawn to you. We ‘ave unfinished business with the spirits, an’ so ye must be careful with what ye do, and who ye trust.”
Understanding her mother a bit more, BlowingWind secretly made an apology to the lake spirit after her mother was asleep.
The next day, she had woken up with a polished obsidian mirror and a swirling snail shell necklace beside her pillow. The child put on the necklace and dropped it beneath her shirt, then hid the mirror. Her mother would surely take these away if she saw them, and the lake spirit obviously had given them to her. There was power in the gifts, and she knew better than to refuse the sacred medicines she had been granted guardianship of.
A year later on another camping trip, this time with friends, she met a boy there of about her own age. Strong and well built for his youth, he had impressed her with how he was able to keep up with her on heart pounding runs through the wilderness. His dark eyes had captivated her, always reminding her of the unnameable and only half-remembered shape of the thing that had been calling to her soul from ever since she could remember. The boy had always been there on every trip after that she had taken, until her mother put a stop to her going to the lake. After a while, he had begun to show up in town to walk with her. This was a discovery that her mother could not and did not reject out of hand.
BlowingWind had never questioned it. It just felt right. When he was around, she felt like she belonged somewhere, as if she had roots of some kind. Obsidian was a fixture in the family before the three even realized what had happened.
Time roared through the wilderness with alternating snow and drought, pulling the dreamer with it. March of the year 1998 arrived, after a winter of record snowfall, and snowboarding practices bogged down by poor visibility and sticky slush that had tested many young men and women taking their first tentative steps into adulthood. Mount Shasta, the patriarch of Northern California, sparkled in the glorious and much prayed for winter sun. Hundreds of high-school students from all over the state milled over Douglas Butte like an army of ants, including BlowingWind.
The day passed her by in a glorious blur, and once more she was the carefree girl she had been, streaking down the race course only to ride the ski lift back up to man her station, in order to make sure the others had actually cleared the gates.
Her final run of the day had also been the very last for the day. The wind rushed around her body and over her helmet as she bulleted down the mountain, and knocked on the gates. It was biting cold, and yet she relished it. To her, the world was a perfect waterfall of sound, the scrape of her edges on ice, and the white ice that she danced over like a surfer riding a great frozen wave. As she skidded finally to a stop at the bottom, she saw him grinning widely next to her mother and wildly ringing two great cow bells, right along with a couple strange looking women from the Big Valley Ski Team, and one from the Yreka Ski Team. Willow, or Angelina as she now preferred to be called, a racer from the Big Valley Team who was also in her senior year, blew an air horn while shouting at her friend.
“No! No rocks, rocks are bad for our equipment.”
BlowingWind suspected that Willow had sweet-talked the mountain spirit into allowing the weather for the championships to be clear and cold. He had been focusing this year on gathering enough water underneath his mountain to restock swiftly falling water tables, but Angelina had been worried about someone getting hurt racing in white out conditions.
As she quickly undid one binding to get out of the clearing area, she eyed him through her goggles. Tall and lean, Obsidian’s tanned skin spoke of long days out in the sun while his long black hair poured behind him in a great waterfall. His chocolate eyes sparkled with glee as her time was announced. Before she could even stand her teammates and a few others from different schools in District 2 and 3 had glomped her.
“Dude, you pulled off turn three without catching your edge, sweet!”
“Hehe, I’m gonna rub the Buddah for luck, ski championships are tomorrow”
“Hey, this suit has no padding guys. Get off, and whoever just grabbed that is going to meet Mr. Slappy.”
Mother had laughed and yelled that she would wait in the cafeteria and send up something for her.
“Mom, don’t leave me to this pack of hyenas! Obsidian, help! Don’t you dare lift me.”
“Do I look crazy? They all had tall Mountain Dews. I keep telling you that stuff is dangerous.”
“Gee, thanks for your support Obsidian.”
When she had finally escaped the writhing mass of fellow adrenaline and caffeine junkies, he had been waiting for her with a steaming mug of hot cocoa, just what she had been planning to go and get from the cafeteria.
“Congratulations, Miss Number One for Female Varsity Giant Slalom in Snowboarding.”
“Really? I didn’t think I was going that fast. Thank you Obsidian.”
He had placed a chaste kiss on her cheek as he put the cocoa in her hands, and she drained 16 ounces of the steaming liquid in one long pull.
“How could you not? You are up there four days a week practicing after all. This is your last year, what are you going to conquer next, Little Warrior?”
She blushed at the compliments and the heat in the young man’s gaze.
“I… hadn’t decided yet. Universities are lining up for me, but I don’t know where to go.”
“Maybe you could stay here? I… could help you.”
“I suppose I could. What are you really trying to ask me? Hey, are you blushing?”
“There’s too many people here. Say you’ll be mine, and I will tell you everything later tonight.”
“Ok, but you’re telling me what this is all about later. No more secrets.”
“No, no more secrets after tonight.”
The simple shell necklace that she wore around her neck began to heat beneath her clothing, and she began to wonder what she had just agreed to.
He had eaten dinner with them, Marie insisting on taking them out to the Black Bear Diner on their oddly roundabout way back to McCloud. Her excuse had been that she needed groceries, even though their hometown had a grocery store. The teenagers played along though, pretending to have forgotten all about the store. BlowingWind couldn’t help but laugh in joy as her mother told her how the others on her team had placed. Eventually though, dinner ended and they had driven home.
“Don’t you need a ride home Obsidian? The streets are so icy at this hour, and that road into the main part of town isn’t what I would call exactly plowed.”
“I’ll be fine Mrs. MountainChild, thank you for your concern though. Good night.”
Instead of going to where his home really was, he had hidden in the trees until after Marie had gone to bed. BlowingWind was so tired from her day that she had prepared to go to bed as well, when a snow ball exploded next to her window. She stormed to the window, opening it to glare outside.
“Who did that?”
“Did you forget?”
“Oh, sorry Obsidian. I’m just so tired.”
“I understand. I’m sorry for disturbing you. I’ll trouble you no more.” he said, then turned to go.
“Wait! You said you would tell me everything. You aren’t a normal human, are you?”
He looked up at her once more after turning around. There was a stronger quality to him now, as if part of him had been in hiding. As she watched, his clothes changed from the modern T-shirt and jeans, morphing instead into a leather suit. His leggings, tunic, moccasins and breech-cloth were a finely done pale color, like the holy beings wore, and resplendent with quill-work. Nothing else changed, yet he held out a hand.
“Do you trust me?”
“Yes. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Come down, I have much to tell you, as long as you will listen and believe me.”
He watched as she withdrew from the window, and seeing how much it looked like his heart was being pulled to pieces as she backed away, she gave him a gentle smile to ease the pain. She threw on some warm clothing, and then made her way out of her room, before stretching over the squeaky floorboard in front of her mother’s door. Feeling her way down the dark hall to the stairs, she found herself becoming high on yet another adrenaline rush.
“I’m going to need a nap in the car on the way back up the mountain tomorrow morning. What is he?”
Finally, she was down, through the entry room, and out the door, paying no heed to the blue oriental carpet or the fire that was dying in the fireplace. The snow covered the porch in a thick mantle where neither she nor her mother had bothered to shovel, leaving only a path out and down to where he stood waiting, unaffected by the cold. The stars blazed overhead like diamonds set in a rich field of blackened velvet while the pines whispered among themselves in their quiet groaning language that only they spoke. Soft light danced in his hair, giving him an ethereal cast, as if he was only a dream that would vanish when she opened her eyes.
Rushing forward, the young woman surprised him by engaging in a flying tackle, pinning him beneath her in the snow as she gazed eagerly down at him. The woman had no idea of the effect she was having on the spirit below her, with the hunger in her eyes that was waiting to devour the knowledge he would finally divulge.
“You had something to tell me?”
“As soon as you let me regain a more dignified position.”
They sat on their knees side by side, neither looking at the other.
“Do you believe in spirits?”
“Yes. I believe in spirits.”
“You have no idea how much easier that makes this. Would you believe me if I said that I was a spirit?”
“After seeing you change your clothes without undressing, what do you think, Obsidian?”
“If I was a spirit, would you still agree to be mine, as I would be yours?”
“Yes. Why are you skirting around this, just spit it out!”
He drew in his breath and looked up at the moon, before gazing into her eyes, blushing brighter the further he got into his speech.
“I, Obsidian, am the current guardian spirit of Medicine Lake, and I am asking you to be my wife and my vessel to convey blessings to this world that has nearly forgotten me. I ask you to live with me and give me children after your studies are over, and I will always provide for you, keeping you safe for all eternity.”
“Is that all? Here I thought you were going to tell me that I would be childless if I still accepted, or that I would never be in the Human World again.”
“Just like that? No throwing me into the wall screaming about the nerve I have in even thinking of fathering your children?”
“No. We’ve known each other for years. You’ve been my date for my Junior Prom, and you’ll be my date for my Senior Prom. Why not get married?”
She leaned in to kiss him, but his face turned before she hit her mark, her lips grazing his cheek instead.
“You aren’t ready for that, as much as I want to. Besides, if your mom gets restless and looks out her window and caught us doing that, we would both regret it.”
“Good point. Mom may slowly be loosing her Irish accent, but she still has the O’Drake temper.”
“You’re tired. Go to bed Love. But don’t grab any Mountain Dew or chocolate on the way. You still have regular Slalom tomorrow, and then after that you have to help with the skiers’ gates.”
“I’ll hold you forever in my heart Obsidian.”
“I will love you forever, my BlowingWind.”
Late March of that year had still allowed the forest to harbor patches of snow, while the spirit of Mt Shasta had continued to keep his mountain cloaked in that crystallized water. The championships had been over now for about a week and a half. As she and Obsidian had been hiking in the silent chapels of the forest perhaps two miles from her home, one of the ravens had winged overhead. Fascinated by the beat of wings, she had paused to watch it pass in awe. Unknown to her at the time, Obsidian had been watching her child-like joy, drawing up behind her to grasp her hand.
“There are times that I wish I could fly like that. It must be wonderful to ride the wind, to feel it lift you up.” She sighed as she closed her eyes, mentally following the flight.
“What if I granted your wish?”
“I’m just a human. If I had been meant to fly, I would have been born a bird.”
A short bout of silence fell companionably around the two as the spirit held her wrapped in his arms. The shaman’s breathing was contrasted by the lake spirit’s lack of breath.
“What if I told you that I can fly, even though I too am no bird?”
“You would have to show me, seeing’s believing.”
“Really? Then hold on to me and what ever you do dear one, don’t let go.”
BlowingWind went to shift her weight, finding less resistance on her feet than she expected. Experimentally, she flexed an ankle, only to find nothing.
“Oh God! We’re gonna fall!”
He squeezed her hand tighter than he was already holding it, pulling her body closer to his own. Embracing her now, Obsidian held her until her initial terror passed.
“I would never let you fall, don’t you trust me yet Love?”
“Yes, I trust you. I don’t trust the ground not to smash me if I slip.”
“BlowingWind, look down.”
“Aw, come on honey, you know you want to see for yourself.”
“Hey, you’re the one that said you wanted to fly. If you don’t like it, I’ll take you back down.”
She cracked her eyes open slowly, processing the spires of pine and cedar reaching for her feet.
“Woah, it’s like I’m standing on glass. How are you doing this Obsidian?”
“I can’t tell you, to understand it so soon would take the magic away. Without magic, life means nothing. Maybe in a couple years.”
“Can we do this more often?”
“Of course. I rather like the feeling of not being alone up here.”
Title: Call of the Kami
Author: Teresa Garcia (formerly Teresa Huddleston-Garcia)
Genre: Poetry, mythology, folklore
Blurb: The world is a fine tapestry, ever worked and ever evolving upon the loom of spirit. The worlds of the visible and invisible mesh, and sometimes the unseen is glimpsed between the red posts of the torii on a walk in the woods, or at home. The Kami ever call for their Miko, and they are both within us all. The flower of a poem opens her petals to the sun, amidst a garden of other poems.
The poetry herein is the product of a Western Woman who has been heavily influenced by the East, and particularly by her researches into Shinto spirituality and Japanese folklore. Although the poems and songs speak for themselves, brief explanations of culture have been included, with a list of resources for further reading in the back.
Song of the Dragon Vessel
I walk the earth upon two feet
To be a path for earth and sky to meet.
A vessel for the crystal light
Shining ever with love and might.
I guide the other to see
The waiting dragons that patient be.
I search for those of my race
Though separated by time and place.
A voice for their Voice I chose to be
Until all finally grasp their Eternity.
Other Work: “Dragon Shaman Book Two: The Smoky Mirror,” “Call of the Kami,” “Stories of Spirits,” “The Adventures of Lightning the Cat,” various short stories for Selkies’ Skins universe, and the in progress novel “Selkies’ Skins”.
Before we move on to the interview could we have a little snippet from the book?
Of course. Myself, I prefer the audio version, so feel free to go to the Amazon page for the audiobook and have a listen. These are some favourite poems from a different segment of the book.
Emerging from the bubbling spring
Nestled among the plants so green
He dances away swift and white
Pleased by the shining light.
The child grows as he capers,
Unheeding of a student correcting papers.
Slower now, but yet swift and free
Plunging ever towards the sea.
Winding, spreading slowing down
The young man begins to frown.
Deep rich mud for fertile fields
Polluted by what humans wield.
He watches as a group of teens
Pull out from him unnamed things.
Flows onward even now
Watches while some group bows.
Caught behind a concrete gate
Kawagami will not wait.
Calls out to a passing storm
To replenish what is worn.
Raging up, swelling over
Ever the restless river rover.
Floods the lands for miles around
Uncaring what he has drowned.
Deposits rich and fertile mud
Along with a lot more crud.
Trees cry in joy and agony
Fed and watered so cruelly.
An old man now wanders on
The dam now broken and gone.
Reaching ever to the sea
Yet dancing quietly beside me.
Kami no Yama
I gaze at him,
Cloaked in snow and cloud
As he rises high
Into a frozen sky.
I want to climb
Up his exposed face
And to shush down
Between the towering pine
Accenting his robe.
He comes to me softly
In my open sleep
Like the Kami of Miko
I have no need of thread
To lead me to my
In the daytime he
Calls my soul unto him.
He was my lover
Long before I married the
Man who cares for me.
My beloved Mountain God,
Kami no Yama
This one will dance for you
In awe of your face
1 When did you first start writing?
I grew up since at least the age of two with pencil or pen and paper in hand. In gradeschool and middle grades my favorite assignments were the story writing ones. Some of my first stories that I wrote were done while doing the vocabulary exercies. We were supposed to write a sentence for each vocabulary word. I found it kept me more interested to ensure that my sentences when read together would tell a story.
2 Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Yes and no. I always loved writing and telling stories, but the first thing that I wanted to do was to be a volcanologist. To be fully specific, I wanted to be the first volcanologist on another planet, then that changed to staying planetside as my friends and I had come up with a full “team” idea to help take care of populated areas being affected by active volcanism. Writing still would have figured into both routes since a lot goes into writing scientfic studies and reports. I also wanted to be a parapsychologist, which in some ways I am on a non-professional level. I also wanted to be an interfaith minister, which I am.
3 What drew you to writing fantasy, folklore, and romance stories?
I did a lot of travelling with my parents and we got to learn many different stories from various ways of life. We picked up many folklore books and audiobooks, spoke to many people about local stories, even visited reservations. I also read a lot of pure fantasy and science fiction. While young, my friends and I would do what I later found out was called LARP (live action roleplay) during our recesses and sleepovers. Writing as I got older became a way of tapping that creative spark when it was not possible to go my normal route to it.
4 Where does your inspiration for these stories come from?
I have always been fascinated with the blending of cultures. I myself am the product of blending many races and cultures. I am also fascinated by world religions and spirituality. I guess you could say that it comes from everywhere, especially the environment and spiritual world.
5 What has your experience been like publishing with THG StarDragon Publishing?
It has been a lot of work since I first started the company. Dragon Shaman: Taming the Blowing Wind was the very first book published by my company. When publishing my own stories I usually have my editor Faith Lindgren-Brown go over it, unless she’s very ill. She is actually my preferred editor for the company, but I may have to think about finding another person that I trust to add to the roster. When it comes to publishing the other authors, either Faith or I will edit those manuscripts.
6 Where is your favourite place to write?
I have a few spots. My absolute favourite spot was a willow tree, but the particular branch in that tree fell away many years ago. Now I either write in the rocking chair by the livingroom window, at my bedroom desk, or in my bed when my back is giving me too much trouble to sit fully upright.
7 Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I do build lists of music for certain parts of a story I am working on. I don’t always utilize them. I keep one of my messenger accounts open when I write, but I only have a few people that know that account so that I don’t get too distracted but I am still available (mate, Dragon Hearts boss, immediate family). My mate sometimes points me to tracks that help too, often when I’m so involved in my schoolwork or a project that we haven’t spoken much. Usually I just sit, and write.
8 Do you use a computer/laptop for your first draft or are you a pen and paper writer?
It depends. Some chapters have the first draft on the computer, others the first draft is written longhand with pen and paper. If I have gone camping, or something comes while I am running errands, then the first draft of that particular section is on the paper. Usually I use the computer though since my fingers type much faster than I write. Even with that I can’t always keep up with what is in my mind though.
9 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Some names just come, Marie O’Drake (married: Marie MountainChild) and Marcella O’Drake were ones that just popped in. BlowingWind and Ryu were carefully chosen as I wanted the names to be symbolic on many levels. BlowingWind almost had her name literally in Apache, but as the reclaiming of cultures has not gone that far yet it may end up being any children that she has which will have their names in Apache. This will actually depend a lot on what I continue to observe in the Native American reclamation movements by the time I get that far in the storyline.
10 Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
No matter what you do, the characters have their own thoughts on their stories, and those sometimes differ greatly. An example: “WHY did you kill him? Do you enjoy torturing me?” and “I have to agree with poor Kaze-chan, [Wind] that was a low thing to do.” I gave myself a large fright when I was working on the first book, as I had been working and concentrating on it so much…but one day when I went to do the grocery shopping I saw a couple that looked exactly how I envisioned BlowingWind and Ryu (other than the clothing). I knew the couple were just tourists, but it still had me feeling very odd several days after.
11 How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It varies depending on the length and complexity. Some take only a few months, such as “Call of the Kami”. The second one in the Dragon Shaman series took years since my father was dying of cancer and I was not in the best of states. My current project, “Selkies’ Skins,” is going on at almost a year, and is scheduled for release in January 2014 as of right now.
12 Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?
I could not believe that I had actually finished a book. I have that thought with every book that I publish. There is a sense of relief and outright terror that mingles with that joy though. Will the book be found by its target audience? Will people that do not enjoy this sort of thing shred it before the intended readers find it? What if it really isn’t good enough?
13 Who are some of your favourite authors?
- Issac Asimov
- Peter S. Beagle
- Anne McAffrey
- Ann Rice/Ann Rampling
- Hayao Miyazaki
- M.C.A. Hogarth
- Marantha D. Jenelle
14 Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?
I HATE writer’s block. My mate probably hates when I get it too, as the poor man then gets to hear/read “I want to write, but I’m stuck.” I usually work on something else while figuring my way around writer’s block, or I refer back to the outline/synopis I scrawled down (when I remember to do one). Other times my mate and I will text role play in the messenger when there is time, which both relieves stress and gets the juices flowing again. Taking the kids out to hike or swim helps a lot too, and family time is always good.
15 What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Keep writing. You will not please everyone, but those readers that like the sort of things you write ARE out there. Just keep writing. Then find a good editor to read through, point out your errors, and look for plotholes. Some of those will open up the need for a second book to deal with them without taking away from the story you are telling us. Others will best be addressed by a rewrite and expansion. When you feel down, watch Miyazaki’s “Whisper of the Heart” and take note of what the ji-san (old man/grandfather) tells the very young author.
16 Would you share a deep dark secret about you with us?
I sometimes wonder what would have happened with the kids if I had died on the birthing table with one of them, or if I had bled out a few years ago. I was told by a gynaecologist in 1998 that I would likely never have children because of my pelvis being so narrow and because of some feminine problems I had. Those problems only got worse with time, until March 8 of 2011 when I had to have an emergency hysterectomy because I was bleeding heavy for a month. I had to take a pack of birth control pills a week to slow the bleeding enough to give time for the surgeon to get to me. The first appointment was missed due to a blizzard. It terrifies me to think what might have happened to my kids if I had died. My daughter had a hard enough time coping after my father passed away and it took years to get her stable again.
Thank you for letting us get to know you and your books, Teresa Garcia. This book sounds rather exciting and thrilling I must say! Plus you do have a lot of books under your belt 🙂
Everyone, please remember any questions or suggestions for Teresa Garcia please write them in the comments section below.