Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Chat: My Summer Trip to Settler, the setting of M. Pax's The Rifters



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.

30 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you didn't disappear!
Congratulations, Mary.

Gina Stoneheart said...

It sounds like you had a great time on your trip, Cherie. It must have been amazing to see some of those trails and to go star gazing. I have to keep Oregon in mind once we figure out when we will drive cross-country.
Thanks for sharing Mary's books. I have The Backworlds waiting for me in my Kindle. The Rifters sounds really interesting, too. Wishing her the best of luck with her upcoming release!

Christine Rains said...

Yay for Mary! Wow. Nice find. Much better than what my guy found!

Michelle Wallace said...

Thunder egg? I'm curious... will have to Google it...
Congrats to Mary!

Julie Flanders said...

That thunder egg is awesome.
So happy for Mary to see her everywhere this week! :)

Catherine Stine said...

Hey ho! A Thunder Egg. Sounds better than an egg creme, an Easter egg, a Reeces peanu-tbutter egg...
I have to visit Settler!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Great "trip"! Sounds like you have a good time - glad nothing bad happened...

M Pax said...

Hey! The thunder egg is the Oregon state rock. :) I have a pail full in the garage. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

Thanks a million, Cherie!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a super fun trip. Glad you enjoyed it.

And congrats to Mary!

M.J. Fifield said...

I loved the Oregon Trail game when I was a kid...Sounds like I definitely need to visit Settler, Oregon.

Congrats to Mary!

Editors At Work said...


Congratulations to Mary, eye-catching cover!

Rachel Morgan said...

Cool to hear about your trip! Never heard of a thunder egg, I have to admit, but the picture looks good :-)

Rachel Morgan said...

Cool to hear about your trip! Never heard of a thunder egg, I have to admit, but the picture looks good :-)

Carol Kilgore said...

Cool story, Cherie. I had to look up thunder egg :)

Yay for Mary!

Loni Townsend said...

You made it out alive, and with a really pretty rock too! Hopefully none of the spookies follow you home. :) MWAHAHAHAHA!

Sarah Allen said...

Great photos! Sounds like a really interesting place :)

Sarah Allen
(writing blog)

Raquel Byrnes said...

What a cool premise! And the pics of the trip are great!
Edge of Your Seat Stories

Cathy Keaton said...

Sounds like you had a very cool trip to Oregon! Good thing you didn't disappear or die. It's a little eery-sounding.

Congrats, to Mary for her similarly-themed novel!

Patricia Lynne said...

Sounds like a fun trip. I hope one day, hubby and I could make it up to that part of the country.

Rebecca Bradley said...

Your trip sounds amazing. Like something I would definitely enjoy. And I love The Rifters cover :)

Milo James Fowler said...

We don't see too many stars in SoCal -- besides the Hollywood variety. Must've been awesome. And way to spread the good word on Mary's new series, Cherie!

DMS said...

Sounds like an amazing trip! I can only imagine all the stars that are visible out there. I hope to get out there one day. I love the cover for The Rifters! Yeah for M Pax. :)
~Jess

P.S. Your thunder egg is so cool.

Vanessa Morgan said...

Glad you didn't disappear out there :)

Sherry Ellis said...

Glad your trip went well! Fossil digging sounds like fun - something my son would like, too!

Gwen Gardner said...

Settler sure is an interesting place! Watch out for the Ghost Head Hunter! Nice thunder egg :)

Medeia Sharif said...

Cool egg and it felt like a great journey reading this and imagining the place.

TBM said...

Congrats Mary and a thunder egg sounds like an awesome find!

cleemckenzie said...

If there's a spa, I'm there. And then star gazing is always a reason to hang out someplace.

I know Mary's book is a winner!

Kelly Steel said...

Hi Cherie!

Congratulations to Mary!

Emilyann Girdner said...

Cool trip.... and now I will have to Google the mysterious "thunder egg" for more details :)