Blog Tour: Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton (Excerpt)

Hi there everyone!

I am excited to share with you today an exclusive excerpt for author Claire Fullerton’s novel Mourning Dove.

About Mourning Dove:

Mourning Dove Cover

“An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” Kirkus Book Reviews

The heart has a home when it has an ally.
If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.

But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

And now here is an exclusive excerpt from the novel:

In winter, Finley tried out for the Woodhill Country Club hockey team because Dad, in his day, had played a regionally lauded center.

One good look at the eight-year-old Finley, and anybody would have said he didn’t have the stature for a contact sport. But Dad took Finley seriously and shepherded us to the rink, where he coached Finley into membership while I skated figure eight into arabesque. Mom had no interest in skating but she loved standing on the ice socializing in her fabulous full-length beaver coat, deeply engaged in gossiping, which was the only contact sport that ever truly held her attention. Chuck Dudley was part of the parents’ crowd that stood on the ice unshielded in Minnesota’s ungodly winter temperatures.

The grown-ups huddled in a cluster, drinking Schnapps from plastic glasses after smearing Vaseline on their children’s faces to abate the whipping wind. I didn’t like Chuck Dudley from the first moment I saw him. There was something smarmy about him, something slick, wormy, lax-muscled, and weak-shouldered, but my mother sure liked him.

I couldn’t tell why.

He had a mousy wife he ignored and a nine-year-old son named Derrick, who was just as unsavory as he. The attention Chuck Dudley slathered on my mother made me uneasy, yet for some reason it made her shine. She became animated in his presence, laughing and charming and fluid, as if Chuck were the most captivating person in the world. Every time we went to Woodhill, Chuck was there laughing and grinning with his big white teeth and blond receding hairline.

The women at Woodhill vied for his attention because they subliminally subscribed to his self-image, which he cast about like a net designed to ensnare. Chuck Dudley got my mother’s competitive nature riled, and it was clear he had his sights set on her now that his three-year affair with Sandra Hardwicke had ended. He’d preen and strut under my mother’s encouragement, and they flattered each other’s vanity like pleasure-seekers in need of a high.

I didn’t know if Finley intended it or not. I didn’t know if he presciently intuited disruption brewing and wanted to rail against it, or if Derrick Dudley was just a pansy in the wrong place at the wrong time. I leaned down to tie my skate laces. When I looked up, I saw Derrick on his back, crying and bleeding from his forehead, with Finley at a T-stop standing over him wearing a scowl.

Even though they were on the same team, Finley had managed to head-butt Derrick with an impact that started on the ice, landed in the hospital, and wove its way into the fabric of our lives.

About the Author:

I’ve always known I’m a story teller. Having been born in Wayzata, Minnesota (the homeland of my father) and transplanted at the age of ten to Memphis, Tennessee (the homeland of my mother,) I learned early that the art of observation can be an acclimating life saver.  My mother told me that as a child, I would sit and watch people. I was thirty years old the first time she said this, then she added,“You still do.” If what is known as “the writer’s eye” is the ability to see the world from the outside in, then I am happily guilty.

Although I now live in Malibu, California, I’ll always consider myself a Southerner: a card carrying member of the last romantic culture on earth. When I was growing up, Memphis was a hot-bed of social and cultural change. In this atmosphere, I embraced popular music, for the city that sits on the bluff of the Mississippi is a musical mecca, and I wanted to be in its middle.  I found my niche in music radio as a member of the on-air staff of five different stations, during a nine year career.

Music radio led me to the music business, and the music business led me to Los Angeles, where I worked for three years as an a1rtist’s representative, securing record deals for bands. From Los Angeles, I took a trip to the west coast of Ireland and ended up staying a full year. An uncanny twist of fate directed me back to Los Angeles, where unbeknownst to me, my future husband waited. Three weeks after my return to the United States, I reviewed the journal I kept, while living in Ireland, and knew I had a good story. I started the draft of what became my second published novel, but years intervened between its beginning and publication.

During those years, I wrote a creative, weekly column for The Malibu Surfside News, and submitted to writing contests and magazines as I focused on developing my craft.  I wrote a paranormal mystery about a woman who suspects she has lived before, and titled it A Portal in Time. Vinspire Publishing published the book, so I decided to show them the manuscript of my Irish novel. Vinspire Publishing published it under the title Dancing to an Irish Reel the following year.

My third novel is titled Mourning Dove. It’s a sins-of-the-father, Southern Family Saga, set in 1970’s and 1980’s Memphis, and  I’m thrilled to report that Firefly Southern Fiction will publish it in June of 2018.

I love the lifestyle that writing affords. I write daily, on one project or another, and like many writers, I have an inexplicable urge to interpret the world around me, in hopes that readers will not only be entertained and have something to think about, but be able to see themselves.

https://www.facebook.com/clairefullertonauthor

https://www.instagram.com/cffullerton/

https://www.clairefullerton.com/

Advertisements

The Reaping Release Announcement

On June 24, 2016, THE REAPING will be available in both
print and e-book format. To celebrate the release, the first book in the
DREADLAND CHRONICLES series,  ALL ROADS
LEAD TO TERROR will be free from Friday June 24, 2016 until midnight Sunday
June 26, 2016. There will also be a second chance weekend on July 16 & 17
to give those who missed the first free weekend a chance to enter the drawing.

Anyone who downloads a free copy of All roads lead to terror
and leaves a review on Amazon.com before midnight on August 20, 2016,will be
entered into a drawing for a one of a kind candy jar to take place on August
21, 2016. Full details about the giveaway can be found here:

http://www.richardschiver.com/p/giveaways.html

The Reaping Synopsis

Man is no longer alone at the top
of the food chain.

From the East a new threat to a struggling civilization
emerges, spreading across the land like a cancerous stain, leaving in its wake
the shattered remnants of a species teetering on the brink of extinction.

After the dead walked and society crumbled, mankind
struggled back from the brink of extinction. Having fled the cities, the
survivors lead a more pastoral lifestyle, while the cities to the east stand as
silent monuments to the former progress of man.

But they are not empty.

Not only did mankind leave behind the trappings of his
progress, but the creatures of the night that once fed along the shadowy edges
of a well lit world. Inhabiting that twilight space between day and night, between
what is real and imagined, between dreams and nightmares.  

In Bryn Mawr Window is infected when he is bitten by a
Reaper. As he struggles against the rising bloodlust, viewing his friends as a
potential meal, they set out to the East in the search of a cure.

Along the way they learn more about the nature of the world
they inhabit, their own past, and the part they each play in a potential
future. Crossing paths with a shadowy figure who leaves small tokens from each
of their own history. Little objects that carry powerful emotions linked to
major changes in their past lives.

In the nations former capitol they are confronted by the
master who reveals the cold truth about the cosmos as he prepares his own army
of the undead to enslave what remains of mankind.

Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DYDG2XI

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01DYDG2XI

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01DYDG2XI

All Roads Lead to Terror Synopsis

The horrors of the
past meet the brutality of the present.

On the day of his birth the dead walked and society
crumbled. His mother took one look at him and pronounced him Meat. He survived,
she didn’t.

Fourteen years have passed and obscurity means survival in an increasingly
dangerous world. For the survivors compound at Bremo Bluff that obscurity is
threatened when a savage band abducts a group of children from the compound.

Accompanied by his three friends Window, Einstein, and Billie-Bob, Meat embarks
on a quest to rescue the children. A journey that will lead them into
adulthood, with a brief detour through the Dreadlands, as they confront the
harsh reality of a brutal world beyond the barriers that had served to protect
them.

In the dead city of Richmond they will confront that savage cult of children
who worship a creature of the night. These creatures, once considered the
nightmare imaginings of a fevered mind, are now awake in a world where the
population that once served as their food source has been reduced.

Awake and very, very, hungry.

Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016MLXM32

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B016MLXM32

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B016MLXM32

The Reaping Excerpt:

They heard her before they saw her, whistling a soft tune, a
haunting melody that was anything but  upbeat. Like a funeral dirge best
shared during the procession when the casket takes its final journey to the
grave. From around a bend in the small stream the sound came, competing with
the babble of the water rushing over smooth stone, and the restless voice of a
soft breeze that stirred what leaves remained, their dead bodies chattering
against one another like skeletons dancing a frenzied jig.

Cautiously they approached the sound, coming upon an old woman kneeling on the
bank as she washed clothes in the cold waters of the stream. Her calloused
hands were red with the cold, and as they rounded the bend she pushed herself
to her feet with the help of a gnarled cane, tilting her head to one side like
she could hear their footsteps on the grassy bank.

“I been waiting for you boys to find me. Mama said you would be around,” she
said as the hem of her long dress caught in the moving water and the fabric
drank its fill. She wore a black shawl stretched across her shoulders, her
white hair in stark contrast as it rested against her back.

“Don’t be bashful now, I know you’re out there, I can smell ya.” She turned her
head to look in their direction, the cataracts coating her eyes capturing the
sunlight to lend them a silvery appearance. Her face was a road map of
wrinkles, each one denoting a different emotion, the lines radiating out from
her narrow lips ready at a moments notice to punctuate a smile or a frown.

Window moved past the others, following the narrow strip of brown grass that served
as a bank to keep the stream on its course. She blinked several times as he
approached, taking a hesitant step back as he got closer, his six two frame
towering over her diminutive five three posture.

“He got to you, didn’t he boy?” She said with a faint quiver in her voice. It
was obvious she was frightened by Windows sudden movement, but at the same time
she carried herself like one who was prepared to meet her end. She reached out
with one hand, and gently caressed Windows cheek like a mother comforting her
child.

“How did you know we was coming?” Window said.

She smiled then, relaxing her grip on the walking stick she used to keep
herself upright. “Mama told me back when I was a young un. She said, Sophie,
you help them four boys when they come, you wait right there, don’t go running
off, cause they’s gonna need your help.”

“How long ago was that?” Window said.

“All my life I’ve known, and I’ve waited, cause mama told me I had to. From the
time I was a wee child running barefoot down to old man Winner’s little store,
I’ve known of you.”

“But that was before we were even born,” Window said as the others joined them
and the old woman tilted her head to each in turn.

“You can see us?” Billie-Bob said.

She laughed then, her voice filled with a joy that helped push back the chill
of the late fall day, offering a brief respite from the cold as a spreading
warmth filled each of them at the sound of her merriment.

“Everything that has been, and is yet to be, has been writ down for those who
know where to look,” she said before turning to look in Billie-Bob’s direction.

“I can see you with my heart, and that’s all I need. I can see your pain, you
did something you thought was bad, but it wasn’t. Sometimes we are pushed to do
things we otherwise would not do, for these things we can’t be held
accountable, least ways not to ourselves. Where each of you are going you need
to leave your guilt behind, it’s the only way you will survive, the only way
the world as we know it will continue on its way.”

“What good is this world?” Einstein said, “why should we worry about letting it
continue on its way.”

The old woman reached over and touched Einstein’s cheek, “I feel your pain son,
but sometimes we have to know loss before we can know joy. It’s the way of the
world and it won’t do us any good to fight it. You can’t see that now, but you
will.”

“Can you help us?” Meat said.

“That’s why I’m here,” she said as she took Windows hand into her own, “he’s
got something very bad in him,“ she said as she nodded at Window,
"they calls them reapers, I can see it hunkered down next to his soul,
trying to hide from me. I can’t help with that, but I know what you need to do.
Let’s go inside where we can talk.” She looked around, searching the woods
around them for other intruders, the boys followed suit, finding only the empty
forest.

When they turned back a small cabin stood behind the old woman. It hadn’t been
there before, Meat was sure of it, it was like it had materialized right out of
the forest behind them.

About the Author

Unlike other writers who knew they wanted to write the
moment they became self aware, Richard’s path to taking up the pen followed a
more leisurely route.

As a child he wanted to be a fighter pilot, later he thought
it would be neat to be a rock star. Unfortunately, as an introvert, he was not
suited for the stage. Once he gave up the guitar, much to the relief of his
parents, he turned his attention to making movies.

Armed with an 8mm movie camera, several rolls of aluminum
foil liberated from the kitchen, and the spare bed sheets, he filmed his first
masterpiece. The story was about a space ship crash landing in the woods behind
his house. His sister starred as the damsel in distress while his little
brother, wrapped like a mummy in the spare bed sheets, chased her through the
woods.

His career as a famous director ended before it even got off
the ground when on opening night his mother recognized the missing bed sheets
and  aluminum foil resulting in his
grounding for the remainder of that summer.

A voracious reader, he believes writing is the most intimate
form of communication possible. The reader permits the writer access to their
mind, and the readers reality dissolves as they focus on the narrative of the
tale being spun.

His love of the macabre was sparked at an early age when he
would sit on his grandmother’s porch listening to her tell ghost stories.
During the summer he and his cousins would sleep in his grandmother’s back
yard, within sight of the abandoned haunted house next door, and spend the
night scaring one another with gruesome tales of shadowy creatures that went
bump in the night.

During his life he has played a series of roles, husband,
father, son, and lover, but his favorite by far is grandfather. He and his wife
of twenty plus years have raised four children, and helped raise eight
grandchildren. They provide a secure home to a yellow lab named Max and a cat
who will answer to either Flame or Furball. His loving wife, Dena has
experienced first hand the exasperation of living with a writer whose mind has
a tendency to wander at the most inappropriate times. Yet she manages to keep
his feet firmly planted on terra firma.

Richard can be found online at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook/RichardSchiver

Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardSchiver

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/richard-schiver

Written in Blood is Richard’s personal blog where he shares
his thoughts on writing, and whatever else might strike his fancy.
http://www.richardschiver.com

He can be contacted directly at rschiver@gmail.com and would
be delighted to hear from you.

Sign up to be notified of new releases when they become
available. He promises to never share your contact info, nor will he swamp your
inbox with unnecessary crap. http://www.eepurl.com/2bYSf