YAPC would like to welcome G.M. Moore to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt from her book Ghosts of Manitowish Waters. If this looks like a book you would enjoy reading, please go pick up a copy!
“Powerful. Clever. A solid … choice for both girls and boys.” —Publishers Weekly
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist
Balance in all things. That principle is at the heart of the teachings of Wisconsin’s Ojibwe Indians and at the heart of the conflict in the lives of three young adults.
Fifteen-year-old Tess O’Brien finds her life inexplicably intertwined with the rebellious teen Cain Mathews and the conflicted Wesley Thayer as they search the vast Wisconsin woodlands for a mystical albino deer herd.
An ominous curse, a mysterious fog and villainous poachers plague their journeys as the three struggle to come to terms with their lives, their parents and the wilderness they love.
Ghosts of Manitowish Waters is a coming of age story about finding your own path and following it. It’s a lesson in knowing when to obey your parents and when to have the courage to defy them.
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The hand covering Tess’s mouth loosened, and she turned on her attacker wild eyed and ready for a fight. Their faces were now just inches apart, her green eyes locked intently on his hazel ones. He held one finger to his mouth and whispered, “Tess, shhhhh.”
She gulped, the fight instantly draining from her body. He knew her name? How did he know her name?
He motioned for her to follow him. She did so quietly and without hesitating, and soon the two were crouched side by side behind a group of mossy boulders hidden among the blackened, twisted trees and the brushy growth surrounding them.
Tess turned to look at his chiseled profile, the square jaw, the rugged nose. His dark brown hair was slightly greasy and hung in scruffy layered waves down to his chin. The shortest pieces hit just under his eyes. The way those pieces frame his hazel eyes… Tess drifted into a dreamy daze, then quickly snapped herself out of it. Get a grip, she scolded. But that was difficult to do because Cain Mathews knew who she was. How was that possible? she wondered. Tess was a freshman and a nobody at Northwoods High School. The campus drew from towns across the county and had more than 1,500 students, so it just wasn’t possible that he knew her by name. He was a junior. And he wasn’t just any junior, she reminded herself. Cain Mathews was one of those bad boys; half Ojibwe Indian, he was a loner so aloof that he was the constant topic of gossip. Yet, here she was with him at her side. Tess’s mouth felt dry, and she had to swallow hard before speaking.
“What’s going on?” she partly croaked, partly whispered, then laughed nervously. “You scared me.”
He nodded toward where the animal had fallen. “Poachers,” he whispered.
Her cheeks flushed red. In less than two minutes she had forgotten all about the strange creature lying just a few yards away. “Whaa whaa what is it?” Tess stammered, took a quick breath, and then asked, “Is it a deer? From what I saw, it looked like a deer.”
“Will it live?”
He shook his head. “No, it’s likely dead already. Hit just above the heart.”
“What’s wrong with it?” she asked, then rolled her eyes at the stupidity of the question. “I mean besides being shot,” she quickly explained. “Its hoofs, they’re pink.”
“It’s a woods ghost,” Cain stated matter of fact, then turned to her and saw the puzzlement in her face. “An albino deer. Very rare and very sacred.” He put his hand on the back of her head and gently pushed. “Stay down and stay quiet.
Tess crouched lower and waited, scanning the clearing for whoever was about to enter. The steady lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub of her beating heart vibrated through her body. Her ears pounded. Her skin prickled. Then, with one quick inhale, everything stopped. Tess held her breath as a small, ghostly figure emerged timidly from the woods. The small, white fawn stood out sharply against the blackened trees. It was so fragile, so vulnerable looking that Tess immediately began to rise. A hand firmly gripped her arm and forced her back down.
“But…” she whined, pulling slightly against the hand holding her. She looked down at Cain’s hand, then turned her gaze upward. Tess saw fear flicker across his face. He never looked directly at her, just shook his head no as he watched the fawn. Tension emanated from him. She looked down at his hand again and felt the grip loosen, but the hand did not leave her arm.
The two teens watched the albino fawn creep across the meadow on spindly legs. Its large, pink ears twitched back and forth as its pink nose lifted in the air. It came to an abrupt stop, then pranced almost playfully on pink hooves to where the doe had fallen. Tess couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She had lived near Spooner her whole life and had never seen an albino deer, had only heard stories. Now, within twenty minutes, she had seen two of the mystical creatures. Unbelievable.
The fawn’s head went to the ground, lost in the underbrush for a moment. The head came up and went back down as the animal slowly circled the slain doe. Tess squirmed as the baby let out a series of mournful bleats. The hand on her arm tightened. She turned to plead with Cain but saw he was no longer watching the fawn. She followed his gaze across the meadow to where a short, fat man stood, shotgun raised. Her stomach lurched when suddenly a second man rushed out of the woods and hit the shooter’s arm. Tess bit back a scream as a shot rang out.
About the Author: G. M. Moore is a former newspaper writer, editor and columnist. She currently works as a magazine art director and writes fiction as a hobby. The author grew up battling game fish and exploring the lakes of northern Wisconsin, and uses that state’s enchanting wilderness as her muse. During the summer months, you can still find the Chicago-area author “up north” and out on the lake.
“Ghosts of Manitowish Waters,” the author’s first young adult book, is set for release Sept. 19, 2014. Moore is also the author of a middle grade action-adventure series. The Up North Adventure series includes, “Muskie Attack” (Book 1), “Ancient Elk Hunt” (Book 2) and “Snakehead Invasion” (Book 3).
Moore was inspired to write her first book, “Muskie Attack”, by her then 9-year-old nephew who, in a literary world filled with fantasy, was struggling to find books that appealed to his outdoor interests and adventurous spirit.
When not writing, Moore can be found walking her dog, Piper, or feeding the fish, birds and flying squirrels in her Snow White-like backyard.
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