I don't go on many trips, but when the opportunity came to visit Settler, Oregon, I knew I had to visit. The plan was to spend the weekend at Leeds Motel, but the owner had recently died, so the motel was up for sale. Instead we ended up at Blackes Ranch Resort and Spa.
Boy, you should see the Oregon Trail shows! It puts playing the Oregon Trail game to shame. And you don't have to worry about losing part of your party either. Or do you? Settler is one mysterious place. The locals have been talking about strange happenings. People disappearing. Dying. But you don't have to worry about those things at Blackes Ranch Resort and Spa. The resort is top-notched.
With so much to do at Blackes, I didn't see much else in Settler. The stargazing stole my breath. I'd never seen so many stars out before. It was like those nature scenes on the TV show Survivor where you see millions of stars.
But my favorite part about my trip was the fossil digging. I found no T-Rexes, but I did take home a thunder egg.
The Gold Rush trickles to a fool’s quest and a string of stagecoach heists. In 1888, Earl Blacke decides to make a new start and become a better man. He escapes into the mountains, heading north. In the wilds of Oregon, a rift inside an ancient volcano opens and sends him into the future, into the present day. It also shaves forty years off his age, forty years to live over again and atone for what he’s done.
Starting over is hard to do. In current day New York, Daelin Long’s dream job at a publishing house goes the way of the dinosaurs her sister chases. With no money and nowhere else to go, Daelin accepts the librarian position in her sister’s dinky town in the middle of Oregon. Nestled inside ancient volcanic peaks, the town of Settler holds onto many secrets. Residents roam the streets with weirdly fashioned devices, and odd lights pulse in the night skies. People whisper of a phantom outlaw and start dying, murdered and missing their heads. On top of it all, Daelin’s sister is missing, and Daelin doesn’t know who to trust.
Earl knows more than he’s saying. He shares a notorious history with the phantom, one he’ll see remains buried. Keeping Daelin’s sister’s secrets is his only chance at redemption, and the only way to keep this world safe.
The Rifters is available for free. The second book in the series, The Initiate, will be available October 20, 2014. It’s up for preorder for a special price at iTunes, Amazon, and Nook. Check HERE for links. Giveaways and events are ongoing through October 31, 2014. Check HERE for details.
M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide, has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock, and is slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. Learn more at mpaxauthor.com.
An Excerpt from The Rifters:
Earl’s vigil ended. His girl came home. It had to be her. He stood, ready to run down into the clearing and embrace her, but the angle of the head gave him pause. Silhouetted by the blue energy, the arrival had a long beak. Yes, a beak. Definitely not Charming.
“No.” Earl slumped to the ground and scrambled behind a boulder. Once concealed from the visitor below, he raised his binoculars.
The figure came into focus illuminated by the moon and the rift. It wore a mask with goggles over its beak. Green mist poured out of it in a breathing rhythm, and it had the tail of an eel. The thing stood like a human with two arms and two legs in the usual places. It set down a gyroscope, a metal orb of rings, some full rings, some partial, before the gateway. The gyroscope spun, siphoning energy from the pillars, energy reaching for a crystal in its center. It spun faster, faster, faster until the crystal began to glow. A disturbing shade of green.
The beaked thing from the rift shrieked, which came out as a bubbly burp, an odd sound to go with an odd sight. It kept burping, stopping periodically to sniff at the wind. It continued with its strange behavior until the moon started to set, which deepened the shadows of night, stretching them to distorted patches.