The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon by @startrailsIV @FreshInkGroup
Hi everyone. I hope you’ve had a good weekend. Today, it gives me great pleasure to host fellow author, Marcha Fox with her book The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon, which she’s co-authored with Pete Risingun. I’ll let Marcha tell you all about it 😁 >>>
The Perfect Novel to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month!
“The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits”
by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun
“An exceptional novel complete with conspiracy, intrigue, and murder that will enthrall everyone who has an affinity for suspenseful thrillers with just a smidgen of the paranormal.” –Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Review
Charlie Littlewolf knows there’s something suspicious about the accident that killed his best friend. Determined to solve the mystery, he must return to a way of life he’s shunned for decades. Will the Cheyenne grandfather spirits respond before a black ops team kills him, too?
The sweat lodge is a ceremony common to Native American tribes. In this excerpt, Charlie prepares the fire platform and secures the rocks that will be heated to red-hot temperatures.
To heat the stones required for a sweat required the blaze to last for an hour and a half, then another hour and a half after that to keep them hot for all four rounds.
The first four logs became the base. Charlie laid the four-foot lengths side by side, oriented east to west, made sure they were straight, then stood, rolled his shoulders, and stretched.
Now for the stones.
A small-scale, individual sweat could get away with using twenty-eight. He winced at the thought. Eaglefeathers frowned upon such deviations.
Do it right or not at all.
Gathering up the needed forty-four, one to honor each of the Cheyenne chiefs, would take considerable effort. It wasn’t as simple as collecting big rocks the size of a grapefruit. The only ones acceptable were volcanic in origin and thus capable of withstanding extreme heat. The prospect loomed as a daunting task in both time and energy.
Maybe he could use the stones from the one he and Eaglefeathers built.
When he returned to the old site he stood there a moment, touched as never before. His vision blurred, heart aching. What he wouldn’t give to be with the old man one more time. He wiped his eyes, then pushed aside the overgrowth to make his way inside.
The stone pyramid in the lodge’s center, as expected, was undisturbed. Goosebumps chilled his neck and arms, breath stolen by an involuntary gasp. He knelt before it, mesmerized. How many times did Eaglefeathers bless those very stones?
Memories besieged him.
Sweet grass smoldering, fragrant smoke rising.
Soulful strains of the Grandfather Song.
More than ever he recognized the site was sacred. Disturbing it was still wrong.
Use the stones, grandson. They bind us together in ways you cannot know.
He fell back to his knees. Tears kissed the stones during his grateful prayer. He opened his eyes, yet remained a while longer to absorb the moment. Gentle hands caressed those on top, then lifted each one with the same reverence bestowed upon the ceramic jar given to him by his amasani. Then, one by one, hefted them to the fire pit.
The best ones served as grandfather stones which were placed in the four corners and center of the log base. The remaining ones filled the space within, then stacked to form a pyramid.
He checked it’s stability, then cleaned up all the leaves, twigs, wood chips, and other debris from around the lodge, inside and out. Not to be wasted, it filled gaps between stones, then as kindling. After that he surrounded the pile with upright four-foot lengths of split logs.
Satisfied at last, he returned to the cabin to retrieve his grandfather’s sweat lodge buffalo hides to cover the structure, which took a few trips due to their size and weight.
After tying the last one in place for the door he stepped back and exhaled hard. He wiped the sweat from his brow and smiled. He’d just built a sweat lodge entirely by himself. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Certainly a step toward becoming an honorable Tseteshestahese man.
Of critical importance was the fact it was constructed strictly according to Tseteshestahese tradition. A worthy abode for the grandfather spirits.
“Good work, Naalnish,” he declared aloud. “You earned Amasani’s name for you today.”
His warm rush of accomplishment mingled with the approval he felt coming from Eaglefeathers, whom he’d sensed nearby since retrieving the stones.
He ducked inside and sat cross-legged on the far side of the stone pit facing the door. It was darker than night. The smell of freshly hewn choke cherry branches and buffalo hides provoked memories that flickered like the shards of light teasing the door.
Tired but content, he sang the sweat lodge completion song, feeling as if he weren’t alone. He finished with a prayer that Maheo and the spirits would be there, then remained a while longer, soaking up the sense of peace before going back outside to admire it again.
Its readiness beckoned, but it would be at least a week before he could use it. Loneliness flared again that he’d be its sole occupant.
If you follow the way of Maheo, as I have taught you, Okohomoxhaahketa, then you will never be alone. He will always walk with you and be with you.
Gradually the memory and satisfied glow transitioned to reality: His job with LSO started the next day.
By the time a week passed he would need its ritual cleansing.
MEET THE AUTHORS:
Marcha Fox earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Utah State University in 1987, which facilitated a 20+ year career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Her interests expand far beyond the world of aerospace and hard science, however. The esoteric realm of metaphysics and all things weird and wonderful hold her interest as well.
When her attempt to debunk astrology backfired, she pursued knowledge in that field as well. She graduated from the International Academy of Astrology’s professional development program in 2012 and is the sole proprietor of ValkyrieAstrology.com. Much of the popular website’s content can be found in “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology.”
Her previous fiction work includes her epic Star Trails Tetralogy series, which has been highly acclaimed for its family-oriented plot as well as its palatable and STEM-friendly science content described in detail on www.StarTrailsSaga.com.
Born in Peekskill, New York, she has lived in California, Utah, and Texas in the course of raising her family of six children, now grown. Besides writing, she pampers her two cats, maintains an active astrology practice of international clients, and tries to keep up with her home, yard, friends, and family.
Social Media Contact Links:
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor
Blog Page: http://marcha2014.wordpress.com/
Series Website: https://www.Dead-Horse-Canyon.com
Pete Risingsun is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who has served as a spirit helper to medicine men in ceremonial sweat lodges. He’s a proud fifth generation descendant of Chief Iron Shirt, who was a lodge keeper and powerful medicine man.
Born in 1950, he was raised on a small ranch east of Busby, Montana. He attended Montana State University, then worked for Exxon in Billings, Montana for a year before returning home to the reservation as adult education director for the Northern Cheyenne tribe where he also raised black angus cattle and bred championship Quarter horses. He has served as a Tribal Council member and was the first Northern Cheyenne elected to serve as a Rosebud County Commissioner.
He’s the proud father of one daughter and grandfather to two. Pete is currently retired, but in addition to co-writing The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” he makes sweet grass braids, a sacred plant used in various ceremonies.
Social Media Contact Links:
Series Website: https://www.Dead-Horse-Canyon.com
Universal Buy Link: https://www.books2read.com/deadhorsecanyon