Hiya guys! We have George Seaton popping in today with his upcoming expanded re-release Whispers of Old Winds, we have a short guest post from George and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
Whispers of Old Winds
Sheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam has known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.
When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening causes him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.
First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2015. This edition has been expanded by 250pgs.
I wrote a short story for Dreamspinner’s 2015 Advent Calendar titled, “Whispers of Old Winds.” Being a short story, there wasn’t much room to expand on the relationship between the main characters, Sam Daly and his husband, Michael Bellomo. A few review comments suggested that what was missing in the short story was exactly that—the relationship. Though the original story is included in the first few chapters of the novel, the ensuing narrative goes back to Sam’s and Michael’s first meeting, their decision to move to the Colorado mountains, and the secrets the mountain community of Pine County reveal.
Here’s the blurb: Sheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County, in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam had known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.
When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening cause him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.
I ordered a beer and found a relatively quiet corner with a view of the front door. As much as I’d told myself I needed to be around people, I still wanted my own space. I was happy to leave the clumps of happy men to themselves, their animated chatter not grating but something I wasn’t ready to do myself. I didn’t return smiles directed my way. Nothing new, as I’d always avoided that kind of interaction with strangers except for the moment my type flashed their dental work—How do they get them so white!—at me, which, of course, usually commenced the rites of the night, ending at my apartment the next morning with the realization that it really was a damned shame that youth was wasted on the young. A lithe, nubile, beautiful body was, I gradually came to understand, no substitute for a brain firing on all cylinders, capable of processing the nuances of one-night stands as opposed to happily ever afters.
Like I said, I’d placed myself where I could see the front door. I watched the comings and goings, seeing the friendly faces of men comfortable with their imperfections—their slight or substantial guts, teeth not that white, thinning hair, some features cut from dough rather than granite. It was a good crowd. A comfortable crowd.
I’d just resettled myself in my corner after getting another beer, when the front door opened and my type entered. He was young, beautiful, dark hair, and his eyes, even from where I sat, reflected intelligence and kindness. He wore old Levi’s and a button-up shirt, the sleeves rolled to his biceps, the color and pattern artsy. He was obviously alone, smiling, and appeared as though he’d never been here before. He gazed around the room with the eyes of someone who seemed to be preserving what he saw for later transcription. He slowly walked to the serving station at the bar, leaned into the bartender, and ordered what in a few moments I saw was a glass of white wine. He turned with glass in hand, once again surveyed his surroundings, and began walking through the crowd.
I’d not come to the bar with any expectation of meeting someone, much less taking someone home. I didn’t know if I was ready for that. But the young man who had just walked in the front door, who’d ordered white wine—white wine, for Christ’s sakes!—and was now heading my way—he’d already made eye contact with me—was unexpected and a little unnerving. Was I up for this?
He leaned against the wall next to me, took a sip of his wine, continued to look at the crowd, and said, “If I were to paint this scene, I’d probably put in a fireplace and a good old dog. Right there—” He motioned with his wine toward the center of the room. “—because that would complete the story.”
“What story is that?”
“The one about this place. I’m Michael.” He held his unoccupied hand out to me.
“Sam,” I said, taking his hand, knowing this was the first young male flesh I’d touched in a very long time not coated in dust, blood, or sweat—the sweat reeking the offal of fear, the blood evoking panic if it spurted rhythmically, utter gloom if the wound didn’t bleed at all.
“This is my first time here,” Michael said.
“I thought that was the case.”
“Oh?” He looked at my eyes for the first time since leaning against the wall.
“Yeah.” His stare was so deep, so knowing, so starkly void of mendacity and anything but concern, intelligence, caring, that for a moment he must have thought I’d swallowed my tongue. I could not speak. I cleared my throat and said, “I guess I’ve had a lot of practice, uh, reading people.”
He again turned and stared at the crowd. “Me too,” he said. “I’ve read you, you know.”
It was my turn to say, “Oh?” Yeah, I know. This was kind of a creepy come-on—painting the scene, reading me. But you weren’t there. It wasn’t creepy at all. It was different but not creepy.
“Yes.” Turning back to me, he smiled. “You’re just back from a sad place or experience. You’re, oh… I guess the right description would be that you’re cooling off, trying to get yourself together.” He lowered his eyes and looked at my boots, then followed my body with his eyes up my jeans, shirt, then back to my eyes. “You’re trying to fit in again.”
“Again? Like after that sad place or experience I’ve come from?”
He nodded. “Yes. That’s it. Now, you read me some more.”
I shifted myself and turned toward him. “You’re just out of college, kind of an artsy-craftsy kind of guy—your shirt does give you away—and you’re probably the spoiled child of a rich daddy, you insist that your hair is cut with a razor rather than scissors, and I’ll bet those are the same Levi’s you started college with.”
“Good. Very good,” he said. He smiled again, his teeth, yes, too white.
George Seaton’s short stories, novellas, and novels capture contemporary life mostly set in the American west—Colorado and Wyoming in particular. He and his husband, David, along with their Alaskan malamute, Kuma, live in the Colorado foothills just southwest of Denver.