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Depth Of Return
Another Healing #2
Betrayed and left for dead by his lover, North has retreated to a secluded island to nurture his coven of witches and their demon partners. His group uses the magic of starlight to bring as much peace to the world as they can. It is enough. North has no desire to look for love again.
When an accident on a carpentry job reveals he is a demon, Alan Holsen is sent to North for training. Alan possesses a rare healing ability—one he might be able to use to close the old wounds in North’s heart. While North teaches Alan magic, Alan teaches North to love again, and they both struggle with leftover resonance of their haunted pasts.
Just when they dare to relax, North’s old enemy returns, and sets his sights on Alan. To save him North must enlist the aid of neighboring covens, and he learns he isn’t as alone as he thought. But in the end, only North’s love for Alan and the power of the stars have any chance of saving them.
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Hi, I'm M. Raiya. Thank you so much for letting me pop into My Fiction Nook on my Depth of Return Blog Tour. Depth of Return, which released on September 5, is an urban fantasy novel set in northern Vermont, where I live. It's the second book in the Another Healing series. The main characters of the first novel make an appearance, but Depth of Return's characters are new and the novel stands alone. The two main characters, North and Alan, are a witch/demon pair, predestined before they were born to make magic together. But no one told them that, and it takes them a good while to figure it out. But they had help along the way. A dog named Jade.
So I thought I would talk about pets and writers and animals as characters in this post. Let me start by saying that I love animals, domestic and wild. I have never been without a pet since I was born. My father had a cat named Sam all through my childhood. I got my first kitten, Love, when I was seven. (I will not talk about growing up in the 60s because that might give readers an impression of how old I am.) Love was big and grey and came from my grandfather's farm. Soon I got a dog from the Humane Society named Komodo, as in Komodo Dragons, and I have to say he was a nightmare and well named, though I loved him dearly. I also had a horse named True Dax who lived on the family farm where we ran a boarding stable for a while. Sometime I will write a horse story, I'm sure.
Then I got married, and the second apartment my husband and I rented came with a cat who had been abandoned by the previous tenants. We named her Ibis, after a kind of shore bird we saw in the area. She was ours for fourteen years, making the move into our first real house with us. She was joined by Ginger, a golden retriever, the first and only animal I've ever actually bought. I'd always dreamed of owning a golden, and she was a dear, dear sweet dog. She was joined unexpectedly by a second golden named Ruby, who was given to me by a teacher I worked with who couldn't handle her. She too became a dear, dear sweet dog after a few months of training, and Ginger and Ruby became best of friends.
And then came two cats at the same time -- Whisper and Pumpkin -- also from a shelter. Of all the animals I've ever had, I bonded most closely with Whisper. I think we had been partners in another life, or something. We just really connected. He lived to be seventeen. The last year and a half of his life, he was diabetic, and I gladly got up and gave him an insulin injection at six every morning and made sure I was home at six every evening to give him another. He finally passed last winter, while I was in the middle of edits for Depth of Return, and I decided to dedicate the book to him. Now we just have our Pumpkin, and she is eighteen and still quite capably rules our household.
Early on in writing Depth of Return, I decided to give the main characters a pet. The two main characters had both been lonely men and were resisting the attraction between them, but nobody can resist a puppy. I can't tell you how Jade came into their lives without a spoiler. I never really say what breed he is, just that he is black and huge and growing huger all the time. He is the first bond between the two men. I wrote scenes with them each alone with Jade, and by showing how they relate to the puppy, I reveal more of their characters to the readers. By the end of the novel, Jade is a full fledged main character. I wanted to make sure he always came off as a dog, though. He does plenty of drooling and panting and knocking things over and shedding hair all over the place. But he is also devoted and loyal and protective, and very perceptive to evil and danger. By the end of the novel, when Jade barks, North and Alan dive for cover without asking why.
I had a hard time choosing an excerpt about Jade to share without giving away a spoiler. That made me realize how central to the plot he really is. So I settled on an excerpt that's not really about Jade, but Jade is there with North, and North is very aware of the dog's quiet presence. This also captures the mood of the book early on, where North is lord of his domain -- the island in the middle of a pond.
Jade nudged his way into my room and wagged from the shoulders back. He looked as though he’d grown a few more inches overnight. Then he looked urgently at the front door. Blearily I let him out and then headed to the bathroom. I heard nothing from Alan’s room, save for his soft breathing.
Jade joined me for a swim. As I waded into the cool water and stretched the kinks out of my back, I surveyed my domain. All peaceful on the pond. All tranquil on the island. All calm on the shore. Good. The sky was already hazy, with a milky quality that promised a humid day. I breathed in the scents of sun-warmed water and pine trees. I swam and listened to the bright song of a cardinal that carried across the water. A great blue heron flew out of the marsh near the parking lot on the shore, pulsed above his reflection in the water, and headed toward the cliffs at the far end of the pond. A turtle plunked into the water from a fallen log and made a pattern of expanding rings on the still surface.
But tension worried at the back of my neck, especially when I looked at Jade, who was nosing around the rocks at the edge of the pond. My coven was as clueless about him as I was.
I hope you all have wonderful furry friends that you share your lives with. I will happily read about them if you leave me comments below. They will be entered into a drawing for a free book from my Dreamspinner backlist in 72 hours. Or ask me anything. Thank you for reading!
Meet the author:
M. Raiya knew she was a writer since second grade when her teacher kept her in for recess because “Somebody had better teach you about semicolons!” She started her first fantasy trilogy in fifth grade. She majored in writing in college, got her master’s degree in English, published some literary fiction, and fortunately emerged from all that with her imagination unscathed.
She is a native Vermonter and often needs four-wheel drive to reach her home on a dirt road in the mountains. Her other passions are birdwatching, nature photography, and swimming. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks with a big lens and a pair of binoculars, often standing motionless for hours waiting for the right lighting for the perfect shot, or climbing into places not meant to be climbed into for the right angle. Or she might be found in the nearby lake in the summer or a handy swimming pool in the winter, since she will turn into a mermaid if she doesn’t submerge at least once a day.
She is married and has two almost grown daughters, a cat who demands to lie between her and her computer whenever she dares to sit down, and a day job working with high school kids with special needs who frequently tell her that she is completely crazy, which she's always known and definitely would not want to change.
The author will select one lucky winner from the comments left on this post within the first 72 hours after the post is live. Good luck!!