Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Howen's tribal, supernatural blend a surprising weave across time

S.r. Howen
Few stories have the ability to suspend me from reality and transport me, almost as if I am held in a bubble, without time or place, or need to reason. But I have to admit, Howen's  release, The Chief of All Time, was a pleasant find, a gem I randomly discovered while sifting through the digital library that is Amazon. It was such a treat to read. And while I am not usually a fan of horror, I found this book to be an unexpected blend of just the things I like in a good story: an invitation into an unusual world built on some solid research and relatable characters. I say unusual because I can't ever recall hearing or reading a story about Native Americans in which it was overlapped with horror. Folklore, yes. Cautionary tales, yes. But horror? Read it for yourself, and judge for yourself. Time may not be as relative as you think.

1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve done about every job you can think of, milked cows, worked on the family farm, waitress, cook, bar tender, forensic clean up, Christams tree farm, canning factory, mink ranch, wild life rescue, fast food manager, convience store manager, and teacher. I’ve always told stories. It wasn’t very popular with my parents and my teachers in grade school—but once I discovered that if you wrote your “lies” down no one cared and they called them stories and oooed and ahhhed over them . . .my path was set. I would be a writer. Who knew you could get paid for telling lies?

2. Besides writing, what other activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
People have spare time?I sleep about 5 to 6 hours a night, other than that I am non-stop on the go. We have the wildlife rehab and a cat rescue, plus 2 dogs, and our own cats, I also edit and do mentoring, I host for a tour company, run a writer’s group and I do like to read and give reviews. So basically my life is very full from sun rise to sun set and beyond.

3. Describe your daily routine, once you have an idea for a story?
When a plot bunny invades, and often they invade in hordes, I sit at the keyboard, shut off the screen, put on whatever music seems to fit the story, and I type frantically for hours, weeks and days. Most novels of 90k take me about 45 days to write. I do have certain things I must have while I write, a stack of colored index cards, post it notes, a notebook, a spreadsheet I use to track word count, and of course a new package of pens. I don’t outline, I have no idea where the story is going any more than a reader picking up the book would, I discover the story as I go along. When a new character walks into the book, I note them on an index card, and if something about a character hits me that isn’t going to be known to the reader yet, then I will jot something on a post it note, like John, he thinks this or that while talking to the police. I have giant white board (a 4 x 8 smooth panel that was made for the purpose of use in a bathroom) and it ends up full of notes and so on but only after I have written a scene, if I work out the story before I write it, my muse rolls over and plays dead, since I have already “written” that story.

4. People are inspired from a variety of places. Where do you get your ideas from?
I don’t know. Isn’t that an odd and ambiguous answer? I can sit an analyze and try to come up with that one spark that gave me an idea, something I saw, heard, felt, but in the long run, they just come. I can hear a song on the radio, or even a TV ad and there it is, the idea stirs.  And since I have no idea what I am going to write before I do, I just sit and write and see what happens with that feeling. So more than ideas for stories, I get feelings for them. 

5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite, and why?
Wow, I don’t have a favorite, I have one that I think is one of my best works, and I have one that is my least favorite—but most favorite?  If I didn’t love all my books to some extent then why would I bother to market them or to even finish writing them?

6. Funny moment. Do you have one? Better yet, do you want to put it out there?
I can’t think of anything.  My sense of humor comes out pretty well on Facebook, and in my everyday life. I am WYSIWYG.

7. Are any of your stories inspired by true life events or from your imagination?
Yes to both. A beta reader read my latest erotica story, and she said wow, I didn’t know this was going to be semi auto biographical. My reaction was huh? So while I don’t set out to write stories that are based on my life or experiences I think they leak in, I think that’s true of any writer. You can research, and look into, but if you want the emotion of the experience to come through then the only way to really make the reader feel what the character feels is to have felt it yourself.

8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name, and if so what is his/her name?
The first thing that jumped into my head was: Relentless Bastard. You can bleep that if you want. But my muse is no walk in the park, when it wants me to write and has given me that feeling, I go for days with no sleep, while it keeps cracking the whip.

9. What other genre besides the one you are writing in would you like to try?
I always wanted to write mystery, I read a lot of mystery. But every time I started one it never worked, I was trying to hard I think. My latest erotic romance started out as a chance encounter of two damaged people taking place in 1985. It ended up being a mystery. Next, I like the idea of a hard boiled type detective novel. 

10. Who are your favorite authors?
I read a lot of JD Robb, but not her books under her own name Nora Roberts. Sue Grafton, JA Jance, Tony Hillerman, Sue Henry, Anne Rice, Stephen King, RR Martin, Mike Reshnick—I don’t have any one favorite.

11. Do you have a favorite female and male character in your books?
In the Medicine Man series it would be the MC Shannon Running Deer’s grandfather. He is based off my own grandfather and my dad. In my upcoming erotica under my pen name, Shaunna Wolf, it would be Kat, the female lead. She is beaten down, and never had love or anyone that accepted her for who she is, and in Life Flight, we see how strong she is.

12. Is there an aspect to writing you find difficult?
Making other people understand that when you are writing you are working andthey need to leav you alone. After that, marketing and promotions. They are killer.

13. Do you have any advice for new authors?
You hear so many new writers talking about the rules being old fashioned, from grammar ot needing an editor. Don’t listen to that trend. Yes, big name authors break the rules, but they didn’t when they started out, to break the rules you have to know them in the first place.  Learn everything you can about grammar and story structure, then write. And always remember that writing is a job, it’s not your baby, so when reviewers or people don’t like your story it’s not personal. If everyone liked the same book, there would only be one book.

14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you imagine yourself doing?
I’d probably be living in the woods somewhere, living off the land, but sine I like ot write, and publish I need tech, and to have tech I need to live in the civilized world.

15. Describe your perfect romantic getaway?
A camping trip through the wilderness.

16. Now that we've had a chance to get to know you a little bit, tell us about the story you have brought with you today? 
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time, while part of a series, it is a stand-alone book as well.  The book is a supernatural horror story based on a Blackfeet story, with an element of romance, and dark adventure.

Publisher: Wild Child Publishing.com
Genre: Ethnic (American Indian)/Paranormal/Horror with historical and romance elements
It is strictly believed and understood that a child is the greatest gift from Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery, in response to many devout prayers, sacrifices, and promises. Therefore the child is considered "sent by Wakan Tanka," through some element—namely the element of human nature.

Robert Higheagle
Tenton Sioux

Shannon Running Deer left the present behind to live 2000 years in the past. He's accepted his role in 33BC as The Chief of All Time. But life in the past is not as easy as he would like it to be. His wife, Morning Dove, is ready to deliver his child, and the spirits have shown him that all is not right with the coming birth.

So many years in the past, his people should be safe from the ravages of the Europeans. But when time's fickle finger pulls him into her web once again, he comes face to face with a person who shouldn't be on the North American continent for several more centuries.

Pursued by an ancient evil, and confronted with things that don't match the history he knew, his mission to change the past, to save the future, may have already failed . . .
From Book 2 of the Medicine Man series, Raven

“Always in a hurry.”

Once the steam cleared, my grandfather’s face came into view. His favorite blue-checked flannel shirt, his long white braids–one over each shoulder, and his classic “old Indian” wrinkled face, the same as always. The last time I’d seen him had been when I’d been elected Chief of All Time.


He dribbled more water onto the stones, less this time. “Do I look like your grandmother?”

I let out a small laugh. Yes, he was the man I’d known most my life as my grandfather. In reality, he held the position of Napi, creator of all the Blackfoot people knew. If he were actually my relative, it didn’t matter. He’d filled the role of grandfather to me for so long I had a hard time thinking of him as a “god.” But, here he sat across from me, after he’d vanished half a year ago.

“I see you still have no use for the spirit’s gifts to you,” he said. He settled on the woven floor mat and leaned a bit to the left and passed gas.

“Good to see you as well, Grandfather.”

He made a sound--half grunt, half snort, and dribbled more water on the rocks. I didn’t have any idea if the sound meant agreement or simply discomfort from the hard ground.

Medicine Drummer came back in and placed a large gray stone on the pile. He dribbled water over it, watching me closely. He glanced around the sweat lodge, his gaze darting into the darkest edges, before he took a deep quick breath and left.

“Now, that one, he has use for the spirits–use for their gifts.”

“He’s a good student,” I said, avoiding the trap I’d once regularly fallen into of arguing with him every time he insulted me. A person could learn a lot from him, if they kept their mouth shut and listened for the wisdom in the words–if there were any to be found.

“Well, then, maybe they should have made him chief and let you go back to that modern world you love so much.”

It became my turn to suck in a breath. I thought the issues between my grandfather and I had been resolved. It had seemed he’d found respect for me, and I’d found understanding and acceptance of the old ways he preached to me throughout my youth. I shut my eyes and chanted the words to the spirit guide calling chant. His appearance, spouting his old views of me, only served as a reminder–unless I did everything properly–I wouldn’t receive any guidance.

“Awfully hot in here,” he said.

Trying to ignore him, I chanted louder.

“The spirits aren’t deaf,” he told me.

He wasn’t going away. I opened my eyes. “Grandfather, I am honored by your visit. What is it you wish to tell me?”

“Hurry, hurry, hurry.” He adjusted his position again. “Brother sweat lodge may have crouched on the earth to allow us to find what we needed, but I doubt he meant a person had to sit on rocks.”

To illustrate his point, he held up a large jagged rock. He tossed it over his shoulder where it made a sodden sounding thump against the wall behind him. I’d personally searched the ground for any rocks and debris that would make the floor of the lodge uncomfortable. He found another rock and tossed it across the lodge. I jerked to the side, narrowly avoiding the missile.

I didn’t doubt he could call rocks up out of the earth if he wanted to, but I didn’t want to be their target.

“Grandfather, please.”

Holding a good sized chunk of stone in his hand, he paused mid-aim and stared at me.

“No more rocks. I am listening to you.”

“Phah, I doubt that.” He lowered the rock. When he set it on the ground, the earth opened up and swallowed it. It occurred to me then that the lodge no longer concealed me in total darkness. A small oil stone lamp rested near the pile of heat giving rocks. I glanced toward the doorway, and, when I looked back, fire danced where the rocks had been.

We now sat in a small lodge, with many furs on the floor. Baskets hung from the lodge poles and parafleches lined the northern edge. Where I had to crawl in the sweat lodge, I could have stood to my full height of seven feet in here. I didn’t try it. In a vision state, I would most likely knock my head on the framing of the sweat lodge.

His stomach rumbled.

“Wife,” he called. I expected the woman who had raised my wife–the woman whom my grandfather had married to make her a respectable woman, to appear.

“Wife,” he yelled, louder this time. He shouted for her three more times before he shook his head.

“Where is that woman when a man needs food?” He used a stick to poke at the logs in the fire before he moved off to the side and began to open the parafleches, one by one.

In the first, he found small pebbles. From the second, he withdrew a handful of what looked to be finger bones. From the third, he picked up a live kitten. Its tiny mouth opened and closed in a silent pantomime of meowing.

“Not time for you, yet,” he said and stuffed the kitten back into the hide container.

Find THE CHIEF of ALL TIME at these stores: 

As you can see, S.r. Howen is very active online. There are many ways you can stay connected with her. Follow the links below:
Facebook Author’s Page: http://www.facebook.com/srhowen1 
Blog: Critters at the Keyboard http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/
Author Web page:  http://www.srhowen.com//


  1. It was a pleasure. :) You know, I never told you, but I have a Kumeyaay grinding bowl a friend and I found. It's about one-quarter of its original size but still a very special find for me.