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Like a circle in a spiral…

by on September 15, 2014

And now for something a little different. I’ve been invited (for no good reason that I can think of, to be honest) to be today’s host for a blog tour by my good friend Holly Barbo. Yes, she has a new book out and the best thing that I can do is tell you all to go out and read it…

So, without further ado, here’s Holly!

Thank you, Will, for hosting me on The Unraveling blog tour and for asking me the one question no one has: Why did you decide to have animals as characters and how did you choose these three?

I can answer for the first part with a question of my own. Haven’t you ever wanted to communicate with an animal? These critters are secondary characters and this isn’t a Doctor Dolittle sort of book but while Erin is running from a murderer it would be helpful to have some companions that would blend in and have a different perspective. Three wild creatures provide that.

As for why I chose the ones I did…there are reasons. A “bird’s-eye view” could come in handy to get the overall idea of how people are moving around and possibly detecting an individual lurking near the protagonist Erin. To manage that, I needed a day and night bird-of-prey. I chose a merlin falcon (Keir) and a great-horned owl (Nuit).

I’ve watched wild animals my whole life and would adore having a hawk or an owl as a friend but the third companion actually comes closer than that. For a brief period in my late teens (close to Erin’s age) I had a young de-scented skunk as a pet. I know how they move and their idiosyncrasies. They are intelligent animals and mine had a slightly feisty personality. Also a skunk would draw a person’s gaze away from Erin and to the animal.

As any developed character, these three have distinct personalities. Here is an excerpt. To set the scene, there has been a series of earthquakes just before this moment in chapter 15.

The first part of the morning went by without incident and everyone was breathing easier. Around lunch time, the train came upon a large crack in the ground. The prairie had ripped; one section of ground had dropped while another had lifted. It was a very sobering sight and they drove by it in silence. Later in the afternoon, Erin and Tempo walked beside the caravan. Erin was checking with the teams and continued to reassure them. She knew there would be more quakes. Tempo was finding more to eat. There were enough vesi, worms, grubs and berries that he was happy. After all, he was a growing skunk and preparing for his winter insulating fat layer.
There were two small aftershocks during the day, but nothing to alarm the horses. Every once in a while they saw other splits in the land. Tempo was intrigued by them because they exposed bugs and worms to the light of day. He had been digging in one of those cracks when an aftershock hit. The ground shifted and Tempo dropped from sight. Without warning, his little growl had an audibly higher pitch. Erin heard in her mind, ‘Caught! I’m stuck! Erin help!’ There was another high-pitched growl of panic. ‘I’m afraid the ground is going to close. I can’t get my footing to get out! The ground just slides under my feet! It’s closing!’
Erin looked around and ran for the slit in the ground. She spotted part of a dirt-covered nose and one little paw that disappeared again. Tempo was trying with all his might to dig himself to the surface, but the ground kept slipping away beneath him. She flattened herself on the ground and reached as far as she could. It wasn’t enough. She could hear his growl punctuated with squeals. Lor saw her on the ground and stopped the wagon. Jumping off, he ran to the torn ground.
“Tempo fell in and the crack is still moving. I can’t quite reach him.” They heard a muffled high-pitched growl.
Lor got down and grabbed her ankles. “I have you. Crawl forward! Does that allow you enough extra arm length? Can you grab him?”
She wiggled forward until her head and shoulders disappeared down the hole. She stretched as far as she could, but it wasn’t quite enough. Inching farther in she reached as far as she could, fingers splayed out in full extension. Yes! She just managed to get a grip on Tempo by the scruff of his neck.
“Got him. Pull us out!”
With a long tug, Erin was out to her forearms and she was able to lift Tempo back to the surface. He was covered with dirt and mud and rocks matted his fur, but he was back on the surface of the prairie.
The rest of the wagon had halted when they saw Lor stop and jump off his wagon. Erin was brushing the debris from the little skunk’s fur after he shook to get some out of his ears and around his eyes. ‘Are you hurt anywhere?’
‘No, I’m fine. I’m not going to look for food in those cracks again. That was…scary! I could feel the ground move and getting tighter around me.’ He was trembling as she picked him up.
“He’s fine. I’ll bet he won’t go hunting near those ground splits again. Sorry to delay you,” she said to the guild members.
“Nonsense,” said Kennet. “How many times has that little critter saved us from disaster by his early warning?” Several heads nodded in agreement.

Hollys blog tour 3

And after that taste, admit it: you all want the links, don’t you?

The Unraveling
By Holly Barbo

Blog Tour Link: (goes live on Sept 7)

Erin’s parents are murdered and she can sense that same malevolent energy hunting her down. With little time to grieve, Erin is forced into hiding and discovers an unusual ability she’s never had before — she can talk to animals!
With the help of her new found animal companions, she eludes the killer. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins the Autumn Gathering and is able to concentrate on the questions she needs to solve: Who killed her parents? Why are they trying to kill her, too?
Quakes, storms, and murders begin plaguing Erin’s world and she soon realizes that they’re all connected. The fabric of her world is just beginning to unravel…

Add the book to Goodreads:

Buy links:
Barnes and Noble:

About the Author:
Holly Barbo’s world is shaped by her love of her family, the beauty of the natural world in Northwest Washington State and an irrepressible creative drive.

Living where the scenery is incredible with a rich abundance of wildlife “is so special and soothing that it feels like a quiet kind of magic,” according to Barbo. She is drawn to creating stories where there is just a bit of something unworldly, perhaps it is magic or psychic skills. Her stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building a discordant drama inside the peaceful frame.

Social media links:

Giveaway rules to post before widget: Giveaway is open internationally and ends on September 27, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winners will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter and announced on the widget as well as emailed; winning entries will be verified prior to prize being awarded. They will have 48 hours to respond. Failure to respond will result in a new winner being selected. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. Number of eligible entries received determines odds of winning. **If audiobooks cannot be downloaded via Audible for whatever reason, winner of audiobook prize pack will be given the Sage Seed Chronicle ebook set as an alternative.** Giveaway was organized by Paper Crane Books and sponsored by both the press and the author. Void where prohibited by law. Your information will not be sold or shared and will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Rafflecopter Code (for giveaway): a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter link to get code (if code above does not work):


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  1. I love using animals as characters. They’re in our lives, no reason they can’t be in stories too.

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  1. The Unraveling Blog Tour | Paper Crane Books

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