Mar 9, 2015

The Concealing by D.E.L. Connor blog tour!


The Concealing
by D. E. L Connors
(Spirit Warriors #1)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, & Young Adult
Pages: 191
Published: November 24th, 2013 by BookTrope 
Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Emme Belrose has it all: four best friends, a horse of her own, a hidden tepee hangout, and a blossoming romance with tall and handsome Charlie. These friends also have a secret. They can move their spirits into animal bodies: an osprey, a mustang, a grizzly, a mountain lion and a coyote. But when Charlie, who has a gift for seeing the future, has a vision of Emme drowning in the icy Yellowstone River, the Spirit Warriors must train their animal bodies to kill an enemy they know is coming… but know nothing about. Suspenseful, romantic, and awash in Native American magic, Spirit Warriors captures the tragic enchantment of the American West—and confirms the power of friendship.

EXCERPT
Whenever we could, we practiced communicating with each other and learned to filter out the extra thoughts. We worked to protect our bodies as we merged. Charlie’s warning was always in our thoughts: “Protect your body.”

We had designated practice times. Archie would meet us in the clearing. We spent time learning how to quickly merge. The faster we were going when we merged, the worse the injuries were to our body. Sprinting seemed to be the best way for us to merge. I started the first practice, sprinting and calling Eros. As Eros circled above me, I slowed to a jog. When I thought he was close enough, I lifted my arms to the sky and merged. The last thing I felt was my body crumble to the ground. The two of us flew off. Archie ran over to my body and gave us a thumbs up. We had merged without hurting my body.

The others followed. Charlie was next, sprinting as Hercules lumbered out of the tree line and headed in his direction. As Hercules gained speed, Charlie slowed down to a jog and reached over to Hercules. Charlie’s strong body rolled over twice and lay with his face up. Archie walked over and gave us another thumbs up.

Lilly never hurt her body after the first merge. She and Arion were so much in tune that every movement was as if they were one. Now Ollie, that was another story. He was clumsy, sprinting and slowing with no rhyme or reason. Zephyr was confused and kept coming to a complete stop and staring at Ollie like he was stupid. It took days of practice before Ollie could even reasonably safely merge with Zephyr. Finally one day it happened and Ollie managed to merge without hurting his poor bruised body. Bets caught on quickly, and within a couple of tries she was able to leave her body face up and uninjured.

Once we had mastered that task, Archie started working with us on offensive maneuvers. Archie had a suit that you wore when you were training attack dogs. It was padded on the legs, arms and chest, and made Archie look huge. Archie would get his tomahawk, gun, bow and arrows, and knife and stand in the middle of the clearing. He would call one of us out.

I was the first to go. Eros and I flew overheard, trying to find an opening to attack. When we swooped down to attack, Archie threw his tomahawk at us! It sailed through the air and Eros and I banked sharply to the left and the tomahawk whizzed by us. I could feel Eros’s heart beating hard and fast. I was pissed! How dare Archie try to kill us!

Eros and I flew back up and I decided to try a side approach. This time Archie had time to get his bow and arrows out. Eros and I heard the zing of the bowstring. In a panic, we flew hard straight up. The arrow barely missed Eros’s tail feathers.

Now I was really pissed. I decided to let Eros take the lead. He flew straight down and at the last possible minute banked hard to the left, then to the right. Archie had his knife but we were too close and flying too fast. Eros and I reached out feet first and grabbed Archie’s arm with his talons. As we latched on, Eros flapped hard and twisted. We released Eros’s talons as Archie fell hard to the ground. Eros and I flew off to the tree top as Archie brushed himself off, smiled and gave us a thumbs up.

Lilly and Arion were next. They went for a direct attack. Arion thundered full force towards Archie. Archie reached for his gun and fired off a shot towards Arion. Arion twisted sharply to the right, stumbled and almost went down. Arion’s flanks were wet with sweat. He came from an angle this time as Archie sailed an arrow at his flank. Arion skidded to a stop and the arrow flew by his head. Arion was now only a few feet from Archie and he surged, jumping forward and knocking Archie to the ground with his front feet. Arion turned around and galloped off with his tail high. Archie jumped up and gave Arion a thumbs up.

Ollie and Zephyr were nervously pacing as Archie motioned for them to attack. Zephyr was hesitant, and Archie fired his rifle straight at them! Zephyr panicked and ran off in the tree line. Archie gave chase, firing his gun in Zephyr’s direction. Zephyr was running, flat out scared and panicking.

Up to now all of us had been quiet, letting the others concentrate while they were attacking. Now I started talking to Ollie. “Ollie! Shit! Get your head together. Come on, do something and quit running scared before Archie shoots Zephyr in the ass.”

I could hear Lilly, “Outflank him Ollie, get around Archie on his right.” Zephyr veered to the right and came out behind Archie and knocked him down from behind.

Archie rolled around a couple of times and stood up. He called out to Ollie, “Don’t you ever run again. You make the decision to fight and you stand your ground and fight. You hear me Ollie?” Zephyr walked out of the trees with his head down. “That goes for all of you as well. You will never get a second chance to defeat evil. Never show weakness.” We were all quiet.
 
Bets and Electra stood at the edge of the clearing. Archie motioned to them. Electra bounded forward. As Archie sent an arrow towards Electra, she dropped to the ground and crawled forward, hidden in the tall prairie grass. Archie fired several shots into the grass and we all held our breath. The wind was moving the grass and we weren’t sure if he hit Electra or not.

Suddenly Electra pounced from only five feet away and sailed through the air. She knocked Archie several feet through the air, and it took him a few minutes to get up. We patiently waited. Archie got up and gave Electra a thumbs up.

Finally it was just Charlie and Hercules. Hercules was impatient, rearing up and bellowing. Archie motioned them forward. Hercules dropped to all fours as Archie fired his shotgun at him. One shot grazed Hercules’s ear and he roared with rage. Within seconds, he had run the distance to Archie, and with one swipe of his huge paw he knocked Archie through the air. As Archie fell down, Hercules was after him, roaring with his teeth bared.

I started to panic. “CHARLIE!” I screamed. “STOP.”

I heard Bets and Lilly yelling as well. But Hercules continued on. We were screaming at Charlie, and I saw Archie with his tomahawk and knife preparing to defend himself. I was panicked that we would lose Charlie or Archie. Electra jumped over Archie’s head and crouched down, growling at Hercules. Zephyr joined in, running to get next to Electra and growling, crouched down low. I saw Arion headed to the left of Hercules, and I distracted Hercules by circling overhead and shrieking. My diversion worked, as Arion backed close to Hercules and delivered a hoof kick straight to his head. Hercules dropped to the ground.

Suddenly we heard Charlie. “What happened? What happened?” I said sarcastically, “You tried to kill Archie and all of us.”
 
“I would never do that,” Charlie said.

“Well, you did,” Ollie interjected.

Archie motioned us toward our bodies. As we returned to our bodies, Hercules, Zephyr and Electra took off into the woods and Eros flew to his nest.

We went to Archie. Charlie was looking at the ground. Archie looked at him. “Tell me what happened with Hercules.”

Charlie looked at us. “I’m not sure. I think I might have had a seizure and I lost control of Hercules. It didn’t feel like a seizure, but something happened to make me lose Hercules.”

Archie looked upset. “I hope you kids remember what can happen if you lose focus. These are wild animals, and without you they will be what they always are. You must be vigilant.” We nodded our heads.

The next lesson was on teamwork. We learned how to attack, practicing once again with Archie. This time Archie put football tackling forms on the field and lined them up around him in a circle. Once we all merged, we discussed with each other what to do in order to bring down all the football forms that represented people and Archie as well. If the forms represented people, then they would be able to shoot us or hurt us if we hit them individually.

We decided to get Hercules in the middle, as he could take stabbing and gunshot wounds without being hurt as bad. My job was to draw the gunfire. Eros and I flew up and then over the area. Archie fired off several shots as Eros and I dodged. The others were running in a V formation with Hercules in the lead. They hit the first tackling forms and knocked down half of them. Then they divided and Hercules took out three more while Electra and Zephyr finished off the rest. Arion hit Archie in the chest as they jumped the forms and knocked him down. Within moments the pretend battle was over. Archie smiled and waved at us.

We spent many hours and days practicing everything Archie could think of. Archie cut us no slack, and sometimes he hurt one of us, but it was never serious and we never made the same mistake twice.

We developed an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each animal. We protected the others’ weaknesses and used their strengths to our advantage. Eros was extremely vulnerable in the air, but when he flew low nestled between the others he had the ultimate advantage. Eros could tear a fake human head to pieces with his talons. Hercules could tear anything apart with his claws or his teeth. Electra could drop out of a tree silently and suffocate someone with her teeth on their neck without rustling a leaf. Zephyr could bring down a runner with his teeth and crush their windpipe. Arion was lethal with his hooves. One strong kick and he could fracture a skull. We were trained to be killers, but none of us thought we would ever really need to kill someone. We thought maybe just the machayiwiw and that would be it.
 
First I must comment about the cover it is very beautiful one and very suitable to the plot. It is projecting the  quality of innocence and purity that of it.

The author has managed to literally place you in the book where you can clearly see each detail, smell and feel the wind, and be a part of this wonderful story.

What we have?
Five best friends (Emme, Charlie, Bests, Lilly, Ollie all being in the middle teens), growing up in the freedom of the wild landscape. They find that they have a mission in life. 
What the Mission?
They are Spirit Warriors, they can move their own spirit to share the body of an animal, then back to their own body.  Each one bond with an animal (horse, bear, mountain lion, osprey and coyote), learned its movements and behaviors. When not inhibiting the animal's body he/she can play with his/her animal and visit their homes.
The set: the countryside Montana, USA.  Where the children grew up  with horses, farms and native traditions. The historical lessons involving the spirits of the ancestors bring a great flavor to the story.I liked the the Tempo of the life where a year is taken to built one tepee... so five yeas to  build a circle of 5 tepees.And Who trained their horses to kill Rattle snakes.
The plot tolled by 16 year old Emme, the daughter of a Montana Rancher. Her group of friends include . Emme think she is ugly as she said:  ''Gus and I were soulmates. Two beautiful souls trapped in ugly bodies." Same as Emma I care nothing about chickens, they are messy and mean-spirited creatures. If they find a sore spot or something else wrong with another chicken, they will eventually peck it to death. Her Dad says it is survival of the fittest, but she can’t understand why other bird’s imperfections should mean that they have to die.
Her Dad used to be an English teacher. He quit teaching  to take over my grandparents’ ranch after her grandmother died and my grandfather became the town drunk. They don’t talk about that. Emma will discover a few surprising things about him, that will change her mind. Both her parent take care for a musical education she practiced violin and her brother Ben practiced cello.
Charlie the only true Native American in the group and the love of Emme. Tall and muscular with dark tanned skin and straight blackish brown hair that hung over his forehead.Who He wore jeans and no shirt. When he started talking about the Spirit Warriors, there were many people who thought he is crazy. His father left his mother and  she couldn’t stand the stress of both things.,and started to drink more and more until she couldn’t remember that she had a son. His grandfather came to pick him and he had transferred to thier school when they were nine years old from the reservation about twenty-five miles away. At the first day he had a seizure. Because of Thunder (one of the 2 horses of Emme family) and his seizures, Emme knew how to treat him.
Charlie believe in the prophecies and spirits of Native American culture. What made him explain his seizures- “The Indian Health doctor calls them seizures, but they are really visions from the Spirit Warriors.” Mean - Charlie is a "seer" that gets visions of the future.He is telling to Emma - “I know who you are. I have been looking for you.”.... “You will die and I must help you to find a way back.” ... “I know about your dreams. I know how you wake up screaming. I know what you dream about.”...“I was sent to protect you.” Charlie hadn’t had any more seizures or visions since that day.
He believes that they need to join together as spirit warriors to fight an evil spirit. Machayiwiw that will come soon and will threaten the lives of the group. In purpose to be at their strongest they must join with animal spirits and use their strengths for the coming battle. Emma claim that sometimes he talks like a 40 years old and he has a wisdom more than an average  teen his age should have.
Archie, the foreman on the Flying A Ranch and Charlie's Grandpa. He is the only one who understands Charlie's gift. Archie ran the ranch and worked with the thoroughbreds that Zach Arrington, the owner of the ranch, raised and raced. The horses there were beautiful animals, sleek and pampered, and Archie rode and trained them and they devotedly ran to him when he whistled. The horses were registered with the Jockey Club, and Archie submitted six name options for each colt before the Club decided which one the colt got to have. 
With Archie the teenagers camp out in Tepees and learn the stories of The Native American ancestors.
Lilly is Emme's best friend, but she spends her time with her friends, avoiding going home to a father who constantly abuses her. She is thrown a life line by Oscar Hines who leaves his ranch to her upon his death. She is wiser to her own destiny than Emme can believe, and her cheerful character humbles those who know her.
Bets is the brainiac of the group who always asks questions and believes everything can be solved with science and logic. She can be very blunt and mean with what she says. Bets’s dad had a big building close to his house that he made his sculptures in.
Ollie skinny, optimistic and the funny one. Ollie is the the one who say, “Being an only child has privileges.” Who pretant that farts are “barking spiders.” He always the one to lightens up the moods . He was the one to named almost every horse that Zach Arrington owned and yet Zach Arrington had never even met  Ollie. He is tech man of the group, he had all the latest technology and video games. He loved music and spent his allowance on music from obscure alternative bands that he loved to share. His parents have a busy lives, and they weren’t around much. His dad was a surgeon and his mom was a nurse who worked in the office with his dad.
Jack Arrington the newcomer. He arrived from  Australia to live with his uncle on the Flying A Ranch. He befriends the group instantly. They trusted him and let him in on their secret lives. The group have a very close and supportive friendship which would be the envy of many teenagers, their dress code for the school prom is a prime example. Meanwhile the evil is drawing closer. 
Ben Emme's brother with a mop of whitish blond hair falling across his forehead.. He is the talented musician in the family -  play cello and violin. Even at his young age, he was better than his mom. Ben said that he could “see” music in the colors of the rainbow, fluctuating with the beat of the music. He could see the music before the next beat played in the colors in his head. He said that music made him feel things.
I also liked how close were their families (except for Lilly's). The adults trusted each other with their children and they protected all of the kids like they were their own. I loved how all treated and cared for Lilly, whose father was an abuser. The other parents took Lilly in, fed her, clothed her and provided for her.
The plot bring in a world of issues from the teen life. It talk about first love, first attraction, which makes it worth for teen and YA market. But it also raise the topics of abuse and homosexuality. This topics only gently  raising  from between the lines .
''..... I ran to the fire to help Archie cook breakfast. Archie took out his huge, black cast iron skillet. He carefully laid the bacon strips in a row and put the skillet over the fire. I put water in the coffeepot and cracked an egg over the water. I put the grounds on top of the egg. Archie taught me how to make coffee like that. The egg would catch and hold the coffee grounds and you wouldn’t have to drink the grounds. I nestled the coffee pot in the fire.....''

Camp Coffee
 
Definition: camp coffee - Place enough coffee into a pot of cold water. Place the pot on the stove or campfire. When steam rises from the coffee pot, the coffee is hot and ready.
Methods to remove the coffee grounds include
  • wrapping the coffee in cheesecloth, 
  • dropping a raw egg in the coffee pot just before it's ready to drink (the cooked egg collects all the grounds), 
  • pouring a cup of cold water in the coffee pot (this causes the grounds to fall to the bottom of the pot so you can pour the hpt coffee off the top).

Egg Coffee

Long a tradition in Lutheran church gatherings of Scandinavian-Americans in the Midwest, egg coffee is a light, clear brew with absolutely no bitterness or acidity.
Egg drop coffee is an old fashioned way that coffee was made. It was a good way to make and get the coffee grounds to stay at the bottom of the pot. The egg would catch the coffee grounds and make them settle on the bottom of the coffee pot.
Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 9 cups water (to boil) plus 1 1/4 cold water
  • 3/4 cup freshly ground coffee (medium to coarse grind)
  • 1 egg

Preparation:

Bring 9 cups of water to a rapid boil in a saucepan or enamel coffee pot.

Meanwhile, stir together ground coffee, 1/4 cup water, and 1 egg (Note: diehard egg coffee lovers use the crushed eggshell as well, but it works fine to leave this out). The mixture will look like wet potting soil.
When water is boiling, carefully pour in the egg-coffee mixture, turning down the heat if necessary to prevent it from boiling over. Boil the coffee for 3 minutes. (Note: You’ll see that the coffee grounds will gradually bind together into a single mass that floats at the top of the pot).
After 3 minutes of boiling, immediately remove pot from heat and pour in 1 cup cold water. Let the coffee settle for 10 minutes; the “lump” of grounds will settle to the bottom of the pot.
Pour through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer into cups and serve. The flavor of the coffee grows stronger, without becoming bitter, the longer that it simmers.
Yield: 10 cups coffee.

About the Author

Della was born in South Dakota and raised in the vastness and beauty of Montana on a farm. When she longed for the big city life, she moved to Texas, where she attended college and received a PhD in nursing. When not nursing people back to health you can find Della huddled over her Mac writing the stories that have occupied her mind for so many years, or traveling with her best friends, the NOLA’s, riding bikes across the Golden Gate bridge or exploring botanical gardens. She is the proud mother of a champion triathlete, two aging dogs and one grand-cat. Della has admittedly confessed to her coffee addiction and swears that her two hour coffee crawl while on vacation in Seattle was the best two hours of her life!

Author Links: 
The next book in the series is:

Spirit Warriors: The Scarring

Book Description
Publication Date: July 21, 2014

“One of us would finally end what had been started by the machayiwiw so many years ago. I would have to kill him. It was just that simple. I never thought I would want to kill anybody or anything, but maybe I never had anything worth killing for before.” -Emmeline Rima Belrose, The Scarring (Spirit Warriors, Book 2)

In the majestic beauty of a Montana summer, Emme and her friends celebrate her near-drowning survival and their defeat of the powerful evil spirit, the machayiwiw. But even as they rejoice, things are amiss. Emme watches helplessly as her family divides, and her friends struggle to hold their relationship together. Worse yet, the love-of-her life, Charlie, announces that he will move back to the reservation, without Emme. New nightmares take over and Emme realizes she must fight and kill- or watch those she loves be killed. New friends from the reservation reach out to Emme and show her what evil can steal from her. Emme believes that evil can never break her bond with the Spirit Warriors or the love she shares with Charlie. Or can it? 
This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours. 
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