Book Tour! Wolf Legend by Florence Witkop

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Title: Wolf Legend

Author: Florence Witkop

Genre: Urban Fantasy

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Jane, who dislikes wolves because they kill livestock, takes Buck Portman, wolf researcher and wildlife professor at the nearby college to an island for a week to seek out the huge wolves legend says have been seen in the area. She’s skeptical until a huge wolf runs through their camp… and mentally connects with Jane. Both woman and wolf are startled by their mental connection. The wolf invites Jane to follow so they can sort out what’s between them. Jane takes off after the wolf in the dark, followed by the confused professor. She follows the wolf through a cave and into another world, one populated by larger-than-life, dangerous animals, including the wolves of the legend. Her mental connection to the alpha she-wolf is all that saves their lives in that dangerous place. Days later, when they return to their world, at the request of the alpha wolf they take her wolf pup with a broken leg so it can be healed. Problem is that wild wolves are not allowed as pets in our world so the professor must technically care for the wolf with Jane’s help. But he has reservations. The huge dire wolf pup is in the wrong world. As it grows, will it remain a pet or become a dangerous predator? As the attraction between Jane and the professor grows, so do the problems inherent in having a huge prehistoric wolf in today’s world.

 

Author Bio

author

Florence’s stories begin as simple tales of contemporary life, often in small towns or the wilderness she knows so well. Where they go from there is what makes them special. There is always a strong sense of place. Sometimes they cross genres and contain paranormal, sci/fi, or fantasy elements. There is usually a romance and there are always characters her readers like and would enjoy having as friends.

Most of all, there is a story because what Florence does best is tell stories. Well plotted stories that carry the characters towards a logical conclusion that always includes a happy ending.  Stories that shine light on the human condition while they celebrate the world we live in.  Stories that her readers relate to and remember long after the reading is over.

She writes about people who are as normal as apple pie (most of them, anyway) who unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of situations ranging from the heartwarming through the difficult and all the way to the horrendous. But Florence’s characters choose to act instead of running away. In the process, they survive, thrive, overcome whatever obstacles large or small are thrown in front of them, and while they are at it, they find time to fall in love.

Florence was born in the city and has lived in the suburbs, small towns, the country and the wilderness area of northern Minnesota, where she still lives with her husband and a cowardly cat named Smoke.

At various times in her writing career she’s been a confession writer, a copywriter, a ghost writer and an editor. She writes short stories, novellas and novels.  Her work has been categorized as romance, science-fiction, fantasy, mainstream and eco-fiction, to name a few genres that it fits so beautifully into.

 

 

Book Excerpts

wolflegendExcerpt One

I set the cup on the ground beside me to save the one last cold swallow for later when I turned in for the night.  Buck, watching, hooked his own empty cup over his belt and prepared to do the same.

As my cup touched the ground, the largest wolf I’d ever seen ran through our campsite.  Two hundred pounds at least, possibly three hundred, with black velvet, silver-tipped fur and yellow eyes that shone in the night.

It was beautiful.  Awesome.  And it tore through the camp as if we weren’t there, scattering plates and silverware every which way and making short work of the tent just because it happened to be in its path.  “Oh my God!”  My mouth dropped open because the wolf couldn’t exist.  Not here, not anywhere on earth.  But it did.

The wolf heard.  Stopped.  Turned towards me.  Scared the crap out of me because it was larger than me, double the size of any wolf I’d ever heard of and a predator.  Tipped its head to one side and looked straight at me.  Stared.

Our looks met.  Connected.  My fear disappeared because it wasn’t looking for food.  It was on its way home and in a hurry to get there.  The pups missed their mom, the rest of the pack was good, they took care of the pups, but they couldn’t take the place of a real mother.  It should hurry home.

I blinked.  Tried to wrap my mind around what was happening and failed completely.  I couldn’t know what it was thinking.  I couldn’t be reading its mind.  Of course not, it was impossible to know what another human being was thinking, let alone a wolf.  Wolves were a whole other species.

Except that I did.

 

Excerpt Two

I set the cup on the ground beside me to save the one last cold swallow for later when I turned in for the night.  Buck, watching, hooked his own empty cup over his belt and prepared to do the same.

As my cup touched the ground, the largest wolf I’d ever seen ran through our campsite.  Two hundred pounds at least, possibly three hundred, with black velvet, silver-tipped fur and yellow eyes that shone in the night.

It was beautiful.  Awesome.  And it tore through the camp as if we weren’t there, scattering plates and silverware every which way and making short work of the tent just because it happened to be in its path.  “Oh my God!”  My mouth dropped open because the wolf couldn’t exist.  Not here, not anywhere on earth.  But it did.

The wolf heard.  Stopped.  Turned towards me.  Scared the crap out of me because it was larger than me, double the size of any wolf I’d ever heard of and a predator.  Tipped its head to one side and looked straight at me.  Stared.

Our looks met.  Connected.  My fear disappeared because it wasn’t looking for food.  It was on its way home and in a hurry to get there.  The pups missed their mom, the rest of the pack was good, they took care of the pups, but they couldn’t take the place of a real mother.  It should hurry home.

I blinked.  Tried to wrap my mind around what was happening and failed completely.  I couldn’t know what it was thinking.  I couldn’t be reading its mind.  Of course not, it was impossible to know what another human being was thinking, let alone a wolf.  Wolves were a whole other species.

Except that I did.  I was doing precisely what I couldn’t do, what no one could do.  I was reading its mind and was pretty sure it was reading mine and was just as surprised at being able to read my mind as I was to know what it was thinking.  We stared at each other, adjusting to this new reality.  Shock kept us both immobile for what seemed like minutes and was probably seconds.

Then the wolf turned away and disappeared into the night because she had a family and responsibilities and couldn’t stay to chat, not even for a conversation as mind-blowing as ours.  Two separate species were communicating for the first time ever.  But she had things to do and places to go, a pack to care for and pups to feed.  So she left.

But as she ran into the growing dark, the silver fur blending into the black of the forest, she left a thought behind.  “Want to follow me?  Want to come for a visit?  Maybe we can figure this out.”

It was an invitation.  One I couldn’t turn down.  So I rose and followed the wolf.

 

Excerpt Three

I ran straight into the night.  Buck followed, pausing only long enough to grab a flashlight.  “I knew it!  I knew it!  There are wolves on the island.  And did you see the size of it?  It’s huge.  It’s a behemoth!”  He waved the flashlight like a wand until he stumbled.  Then he came back to earth and lighted the way.  Pointed it towards the ground ahead.  Then at me.  “There are no tracks.”  Accused me of something, only he didn’t know what.  I was, after all, going somewhere.  Where?  “We can’t know where it went.  You can’t know.”

“I know.”

He caught up to me.  “How?”  He looked around.  At the blackness that had enveloped us the instant we left the faint reflected light of the lakeshore.  In that forest, the dark was complete.  Suffocating.  Disorienting.  “I can’t see a thing.”

I tried to come up with a rational explanation, something that would reassure him.  I failed, there was no rational explanation for what I was doing.  I wasn’t following a sound or a track.  Rather I was following a thought.  It lingered in the embrace of the trees the way scents do, curling like smoke through air, ready to evaporate or change direction at the first whiff of a breeze, but, also like smoke, it was knowable, identifiable, and easy to follow if I didn’t hesitate.  I couldn’t hesitate. So I simply said, “It went this way.”  Then I turned in the direction the wolf had gone and ran into the night.

 

 

English: Kodiak, a 13-year-old captive North A...

English: Kodiak, a 13-year-old captive North American wolf at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Berkshire, England. The photo was taken by myself in early June 2007 and shows Kodiak moulting (with large tufts of loose fur visible). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Excerpt Four

I charged ahead, disregarding tree roots and twigs that sprang up and tried to trip me.  But nothing would stop my headlong dash, nothing would pull me back or slow me down.  I was grateful for the flashlight, though at times Buck lagged so far behind that the light wasn’t much help.  But I ran on, running all out in order to follow my new friend.  When we reached my new friend’s home and she was able to reassure herself that her pups were fine, we’d figure out what this strange thing was that connected us.  Until then, I simply put my head down and ran before the wispy thought that I was following disappeared.

As I ran I realized we were following the dry creek bed.  I recognized the pile of pine needles I’d heaped over the wolf tracks to hide them from Buck.  When the creek bed turned, so did the wolf spoor and so did we.  I wished I’d paid more attention to the layout of the creek as it meandered through the forest while it was still light.  But I hadn’t known it would become important so now I had no idea where we were headed and no way of knowing where we were going until we got there.

I’d have run smack into a rock wall if not for Buck’s flashlight.  As it was, the light showed a cave that must be where the creek originated when there was enough rainfall to fill the creek bed.  Buck grabbed me before I could plunge into the cave.  “It’s the wolf’s den.  Don’t go inside.  You’ll be attacked.  Killed.”

No I wouldn’t.  I wiggled free of Buck’s iron grip on my shirt and closed my eyes in order to better concentrate on the thought that I was following.  “This isn’t the den.  That’s somewhere else.  Farther away.”

“Where?”  He lifted his hands in question and in sheer bewilderment at my actions.  The actions of a crazy woman.

I concentrated harder on the thoughts the wolf had left behind.  She’d left them for me so I could find her and I would.  “On the other side.”

“The other side of what?”  He flashed the light upwards.  The cave was a hole in a solid granite cliff.  It must have taken millions of years for water to grind away enough of the granite to form the cave.  He grabbed my shirt, refusing to let me enter what he perceived to be a dangerous place.

“Let me go.”  I wiggled until I pulled free.

“What’s wrong with you?  Don’t you want to live?  Do you want some mega-wolf to have you for lunch?”

“This isn’t the den.”  I had my shirt back but he held tight to my arm and I couldn’t get free.  “It’s just a creek bed, but if we follow it, we’ll find the den on the other side.”

He came close and peered into my eyes.  We were inches apart as he tried to read my expression in the night and the light of the flashlight.  What he saw must have frightened him.  “Tell you what.  You wait here.  I’ll climb the boulder.  I’ll find out what’s on the other side.”  I pulled and twisted but he held me even tighter.  “Jane, thanks to you we now know where the wolves live.”  His words were earnest and caring.  “We should go back to camp tonight and return in the morning.  We’ll find them then.”

“No!”  He didn’t understand.  “Morning will be too late.”  The wolf’s thought spoor was growing weaker as we talked.  I was desperate to follow.  “The cave goes on practically forever.  There are many twists and turns.  We must go now before the trail grows cold and I can’t follow it.”

“What trail?  What are you talking about?”  He flashed the light towards the ground.  “There is no trail.  No tracks.  I don’t know how you got this far.”

“It’s not that kind of trail.”  I pulled and tugged until I broke free.  “I have to go.”  I evaded his grasp and ran into the cave.

 

Español: Lobo en el zoo de Kolmården (Suecia).

Español: Lobo en el zoo de Kolmården (Suecia). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Excerpt Five

Buck followed me into the cave, swearing.  “You’re going to get us killed.”  But he kept up as I raced through one room after another in a cave that seemed to go on forever.  Until he said, panting, in a kind of wonder, “How big is this cave, anyway?  I didn’t think the island was this big.”  Then, in a voice filled with awe, “We must be beneath the lake.  That’s the only explanation.”  Then he shut up in order to save his breath because I was getting ahead of him.

As we ran, I got a feel for the way the cave was laid out.  Most of it was a blur, but every so often there’d be soft, moist earth beneath our feet which meant we were still following the creek bed.  In years of normal rainfall, the cave wouldn’t be accessible because it would be full of water.  I wondered if we’d find the source of the creek.  If we did, would we find the wolves there waiting?

Once, in an area where the cave narrowed, I noticed a piece of fur.  Buck saw it too and grabbed it on the run, shoving it into his pants pocket.  Proof of wolves on the island.  If we didn’t find the wolves themselves, the fur could be checked for wolf DNA.

I fleetingly gave Buck credit for more brains than I’d thought when we first met.  Then my judgment had been clouded because I’d seen a man who was looking for something that didn’t exist.  “You were right all along.  As were all those people with their stories of huge wolves.  The people who started the legend that turned out not to be a legend after all. Buck, I apologize. The wolves are very real and we are about to meet them on their home turf.”

 

 

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One thought on “Book Tour! Wolf Legend by Florence Witkop

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