Dark Moon Rising– an excerpt


From Pixabay

I finished the first draft of Dark Moon Rising last year, but due to life and and Hilda’s Inn, I haven’t finished editing. Silly me, I am re-editing She Called It, Wolf because I noticed that my writing has gotten better by writing. Who knew?

Plus I made a mistake as a new writer. I started a series and only wrote one book. I am hoping to correct that error. In my mind there are three books about the Felony Flats werewolf pack.

Tucked around the novels, I have written some short books in that world–Billy the Kid, Urban Werewolf, and Diamond Butterfly. Hidden in the Sierras is short fiction in the same world, but of a werebear sleuth.

So without further ado, here is an excerpt of Dark Moon Rising:

What the wind blew in

British Columbia, Canada
Mari Cantor

The pine trees swayed around the cabin as the rushing wind heralded the end of summer. Even in the forests, the heat had beat down on the trees. It had been so dry, that the pine needles crackled underfoot. The usual smell of mold was undercut by the dust that covered everything. They had been lucky this year that there had been no huge fires.

I leaned against the frame of the open door, sipping the bitter coffee in my cup. Sweetness was for others. I liked mine strong and black. When I left Felony Flats a few years ago, I came to this small town surrounded by trees that hadn’t been cut for over a hundred years. I had a small car, a small amount of cash, and an aching heart.

I sipped my coffee, rolling the black taste across her tongue, as the light brightened around the cabin for a moment and then vanished in the clouds. It may rain today.
In my head I listed the things I needed to do today. First I would have to finish picking the last tomatoes. The small amount of corn I had grown had been pilfered by raccoons.

But, I could trade the tomatoes for corn. Someone in the small town would have grown enough corn to feed the entire town for the winter. I’d wait to harvest the last of the potatoes after the first good chill. My small garden would keep me well-fed over the winter.

There were very few jobs in this area that didn’t center on hunting and fishing trips for rich tourists. Some of the locals had gotten inventive and started camera tours. Even though a lot of their customers were the tree-huggers, the guides always took guns with them. You never knew when you would run into a grizzly or some other wild creature that was hungry. During mating season the moose would hump anything. I smiled at the image. Some tree-huggers had learned that the hard way.

I drained my coffee, tasting the last of the bitter dregs. As I tasted the bitterness slid across my tongue, my precog kicked in and I froze. It had been a long time since I had been bothered by the buzzing across my nerves. When I ran to the woods, I did it deliberately. I wanted limited contact with people. The more contact I had, the more murmurings I heard in my head. Sometimes they would develop to full-blown epileptic fits caused by visions. Of course, I had run. Ran from the sounds and visions and the people would would use me to see into the future.

I stumbled to the small couch before I fell as the room swayed around me. I dropped my coffee mug. The sound of breaking ceramic almost jerked me out of the vision as I collapsed on the couch and not the floor.

It started like a migraine. Colors burst and bubbled around my vision and pain of constricting and then contracting veins blasted the top of my head. I heard whimpering coming from my own mouth because the pain was so great.

Then my vision narrowed until I saw a long tunnel. At the very end of the tunnel, she saw a man walking towards her. His body was blurred, but she could see the face clearly. There was no sound with this vision. The man, she didn’t want to put name to that face, said something. He was saying her name over and over.

The vision released me as suddenly as it had started. I was too weak to drag myself to the bathroom, even though I wanted to vomit the coffee that had soured in my stomach. I could hear his voice in the wind as it rustled the trees. The leaves called out to me.

My voice cracked, “He’s coming. Heaven help me. He’s coming.”

I wanted to run to the closet, fill my suitcase with clothes, and leave. I had to be gone before he found me. But my body wouldn’t move.

Little by little, I lifted my head, and slowly moved one arm after another. When I could feel my body again, I stood on my feet. My stomach rumbled. In a daze, I swept the coffee mug into a dustpan, and dropped the broken pieces in the trash. I could try to escape, but she I knew in my gut that he had already found me.

“Too late,” the wind whispered.

“Too late,” my heart echoed.

There was a loud knock on the door. For a moment, I stood frozen. This time, a loud yoo-hoo unlocked my brain. It was the neighbor two miles down the road. He wasn’t here, yet.

I threw open the door and saw Susan was standing on the stoop with a child in her arms. She handed the little one to me. “Mari, could you watch the baby while I go for groceries in Vancouver?” Susan chattered about having a baby and the price of diapers and formula.

“Greg said that if you would take care of her today, we can go to the big store and get the stuff much cheaper. Please?”

I couldn’t say no to Susan. Susan was the neighbor who had helped me find this cabin, taught me how to grow a garden to supplement my food, and even how to survive in the backwoods. This woman, short and bouncy, taught me how to survive bears and elk and other creatures. Plus she had showed me what berries to eat and what not to eat.Susan was the closest thing I had to a friend.

Susan’s hazel eyes pleaded. She didn’t get to have much time alone with Greg since the baby was born. I sighed and bounced the child in my arms. The wind rustled and laughed. “No escape.”

I was too late to leave. If I wanted to leave I should have left in the beginning of summer when I had had that small warning. I had seen a fire in my dreams. But, when nothing happened I decided to stay. I had found my nest—my place. I didn’t want to leave.

“Okay,” I said to Susan. She was all business-like as she showed me the milk and the diapers. Like a new mother she gave me instructions on how to care for the baby even though I had done this before.

Then she was in the truck with Greg and they were gone. The wind had quit whistling and blew lightly. I closed the door. The little girl whimpered once and then fell asleep.

I settled into the small rocking chair on the front stoop. I could smell curdled milk and lotion. My heart slowed down. I rocked the baby until my thoughts were quiet.

Once Greg and Susan were back, there would be time to say goodbye to the woods and the cabin. He was coming and I knew deep in my bones that I was not coming back.

I looked out across the dirt road leading through the woods; the baby snuggled in my arms. As the day progressed the light held more shadows. It was fall. I would miss the change from late fall to early winter and snow. This year I had made enough money to buy a snowmobile so that I could get out after the worst snowstorms. Sometimes the lights of the bar and the small town were a welcome sight after being snowed in for days. I wouldn’t buy a snowmobile now.

I was already missing my cabin and my forest. It was so unlike the desert I had played in as a child. At first when I moved here, I would see people in the periphery of my eyes. When I looked straight at them, I only saw trees. I was used to having the landscape stretch before me, unbroken by trees. Now I felt comforted by the trees as they towered over me.

Some of the trees around my cabin were over four feet in diameter and some were even larger. This summer I had been entranced by the squirrels that floated from tree to tree.
Feeding the squirrels could be hazardous. Some of the smaller mammals got rabies. It was better that I didn’t get the animals familiar with this cabin as a feeding ground. So I watched the squirrels and birds, and I stopped the impulse to feed them.

When the baby started to grumble a little, I stood up and took her into the house. I pulled out a bottle of milk from the fridge, warmed it, and feed the little one. The baby grabbed onto the bottle’s nipple with her mouth and sucked hard until the milk was gone. Then I put the baby over my shoulder. I patted her until she burped. It burst out of her.

“I see you have new skills, Mari,” a male voice said from the screen door on my porch. I knew that voice. He had found me.


Hilda’s Inn for Retired Heroes – Is available tomorrow

I apologize that I am not a marketing freak. I heard that it takes seven times before someone actually notices your name or your product. I just can’t do it. I try to keep that time for writing. Unfortunately, my last week was seeing the doctors and then getting tests done. I have another test I need to schedule so I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I hope it is a good one.

Today, I am letting you know that my latest novel, “Hilda’s Inn for Retired Heroes” will finally be out there tomorrow.

Hildaebookcover2015finishedHilda’s Inn For Retired Heroes

By Cyn Bagley

Price $4.99

In Delhaven, there is an Inn run by a retired mercenary. If you are a down-on-your-luck mercenary or men-at-arms, come to the public rooms and Hilda Brant, the owner, will give you a bowl of stew. If you want ale, hand over the coins. Hilda may give you floor space, but she expects you to pay in favors or coins.

Hilda is also an untrained mage with an elemental, which is another reason she is retired. Most mercenary companies are wary of mages for good reason.

When Lord Barton decides he wants the magic on Hilda’s property, Hilda pulls together her resources, including her brother a mage and her sister a brothel Madame, to save her Inn.

Hilda isn’t prepared for the damage and chaos caused by a dragon, black mage, and elementals. And a very angry Lord Barton.


Thank you for pre-ordering it.

My primary WIP is Dark Moon Rising, the second book for EJ Hunter. I am about a third of the way through the first draft. Good reading.

Finally, fruits of my labor

Hildaebookcover2015finishedSo it’s done and now ready for preorder on Amazon. Release date is October 16, 2015. I am trying to arrange it so the paperback will coincide with the digital release–

Description: In Delhaven, there is an Inn run by a retired mercenary. If you are a down-on-your-luck mercenary or men-at-arms, come to the public rooms and Hilda Brant, the owner, will give you a bowl of stew. If you want ale, hand over the coins. Hilda may give you floor space, but she expects you to pay in favors or coins.

Hilda is also an untrained mage with an elemental, which is another reason she is retired. Most mercenary companies are wary of mages for good reason.

When Lord Barton decides he wants the magic on Hilda’s property, Hilda pulls together her resources, including her brother a mage and her sister a brothel Madame, to save her Inn.

Hilda isn’t prepared for the damage and chaos caused by a dragon, black mage, and elementals. And a very angry Lord Barton.


On the other hand, I will be back to writing on “Dark Moon Rising” the long awaited second novel of the EJ Hunter series. It’s been harder for me to write the next book than I expected.

Also a couple of shorts will be back on my writing schedule. For those of you who wonder about my little dog, Foxy, she has more energy than I have seen in a while. It is good to see.

Friday Excerpt – The Valley of Shadow

Today, I was looking through some of my old story starts to see if I wanted to finish them. This one started as a project for one of my English Lit classes. I had just gone through an English Lit class about Southern writers, including Faulkner. Let me make my preferences clear. I don’t read Faulkner unless I must. Anyway, this was the beginning of that project.


     She stood on the porch. The porch’s roof, propped up by slanted boards, shaded her as she peered into the horizon.  The sun, a peach, barely peeked out from its hiding place of the night.  She peered toward it on a porch where the brown paint curled down the 2×4’s, the plain pine boards blackened from the sun and the occasional rain. The girl, for she was only a girl, wore a dirty gray-white dress that fluttered slightly as the breeze touched her skirt.  Her arms, legs, and feet were bare—sunbrowned and dusty.

She turned slightly to the southeast, watching a dust cloud billowing from the dirt road. In her estimation, the visitors would be at their homestead in an hour. Not often did they get visitors. The last ones had buried her mother three months ago.  She brushed a brown, dust-covered curl from her face. One day that same curl would turn gray and she would still be standing on the porch watching for the visitors that sometimes did, but usually didn’t, come. Aeh. It was hard to judge her age as she stood there peering out into the desert. She could be twenty-five or forty. Her slight frame did not give her away, but she was twelve . . . now a mother to her brother, a housekeeper to her father, another pair of hands in the desert world they had found themselves in. Pa always knew best, she thought.  Maybe if Pa hadn’t insisted on going gold hunting, Ma would be alive today.  Ma, she was so beautiful, but she . . . A tear trickled down the dust on Sara’s face.  Ma would have loved her son, the child that took her life.  Life is hard. The desert eats up women and children.

She gazed at the land: the cactus hiding beneath the dust, greasewood bushes with small pulpy leaves stark against the sky, and the short twisted trees.  This land hoarded its water.  Water was as precious as gold, the gold her father searched for. There was life in this land, much life, but mainly nocturnal.  The harsh sun beat against the land, taking away precious moisture, taking away life.  Only in the cool of early night or dawn did the sun become tamed.  She hated this land. Hated. And, why? I remember the cool trees, the tame hills, the waters of home. Water to wash in, water to drink. Water. Water. Water. Ponds. Rivers. Lakes. Cool, slippery, splashy jumping into the water and feeling the cool smooth sensation laughter mother peace feeling the fish slip through my fingers wet. But, not in this land of endless dust.  The golden rays of the rising sun touched her feet, she shifted.


If I use that bit, I will do some editing. Anyway, the full story at least in my head– this story has bothered me since 2000– is a young girl who is abandoned in the desert. The other character in the story is her great-grandson, who is a ne’er do well casino gambler. It is a redemption story– and a time travel story.

The following excerpt is the great-grandson:

A buzzing noise threatened to disperse the gray fuzziness, the cotton-mouth, wooly-headed feeling that comes from too much drinking, drugs, girls, cigarettes, and late-late nights. Lucas Hunt, one-stop fool, liked the gray fuzziness. It kept him from thinking.

He rolled over, grabbed the alarm, and threw it at the wall. Whoever invented the alarm had better be burning in hell. He groaned. With his head lifted from the pillow, the buzzing changed to a ringing sound.

Dammit, his hand groped the small table next to his bed.


“U, huh. U, huh,” he said, shaking his head up and down. Damn. “Just give me fifteen minutes.”

“You’re not out of bed, yet?” Lucas pulled the phone from his ear. That hurt. His head began to ring. If he had known, she would be on the end of the line, he wouldn’t have answered it. Her voice squeaked when she was mad. She seemed to always have a reason to be mad.

At least, he got tired of her squeaking. The only reason he listened to her now was because she was the mother of his son.

She had been tired of his shit that was why he was in this little bed-sitter, sleazy motel, in North Las Vegas. When she had thrown him out of their house, she had told him that he could spend his time more profitably sleeping in the bus station. He disagreed. He was not going to sleep on a bench in a bus waiting room. It wasn’t sanitary. At least, he was sure that the homeless he saw camped on those benches did not bother to get up and pee in the bathrooms. They stunk and the benches stunk with them. He had not sunk to that level yet.

At this moment, he was tired of her shit. “Get to the point,” he said. “Ok, I’ll be right there.”

He rolled out of the gray sheets. He groped for some underwear. Something that hadn’t been worn too often. One pair, lying on the floor, had brown streaks in and out. He had worn them enough and tossed them into the garbage can. Yeow, three points. He looked around the room. Being a bachelor was not the fun and games he had thought it would be. There was not a decent clean pair of jeans anywhere—just piles of dirty clothes.

Lucas went to the least dirty. Crawled bare-assed into a pair of jeans. He would have to buy some more briefs, but not now. He had had a call for a command performance from his soon-to-be ex. He put on his least wrinkled shirt, grabbed his keys, threw the keys into the air, and caught them.

“She called me,” he grinned.


So the question is– Would anyone like to read this story? Should I finish it? I may have to finish it because the story has haunted me through my illness. But would you read it?

Dark Moon Rising – first draft

dark moon risingA couple of years ago I finished the first novel in a three part set of EJ Hunter’s World. She Called It, Wolf was about EJ Hunter who had been an Army veteran that found out her werewolf heritage. She meets Adam, and saves some children from a group of scientists who were using the children’s genes to make a super-warrior with werewolf genes.

Due to illness and other problems, I didn’t finish this book when I should have about a year later. So I have it one the schedule to finish this year. It starts with Owen (Adam’s second) who leaves the pack to find the geneticist who is experimenting with the pack’s DNA. Plus EJ has become the diplomat to the werecats. This should be fun– I am hoping anyway.

Thanks for reading–

On another note, I am slowing down my poetry to one a week. At the end of the year, I will put together another chapbook. Also I will keep up the short story effort.

As for my health, I will keep it together as much as I can.

Hope you have a good New Year.

Nanowrimo First Day

Moon CursernnwmOnce again I have started a book in the wonderful, screwy, mad-rush of Nanowrimo. This year I am attempting a sci-fi novel with Perry Doyle, my main character, and his trusty sidekick Joe, a robot. Perry is a scalawag and scoundrel who hates to pay duty to anyone even his family, who bankrolls him.

Seriously I thought I was writing a space opera, but it is becoming a space comedy. *sigh Characters always do it to me. His robot is the space equivalent of Joe from the “Man with No Name.”

And so it begins…

You can find me here at Nanowrimo.
Word Count: 2009 at the time of this post