Welcome to Reader Girls. We are today's stop during the Spirit Seeker Virtual Book Tour. Below is a blurb about the book and an excerpt provided by the author and an entry form to enter into a contest to win a copy of the book.
Life is strange and difficult for the granddaughter of a shaman.
Sixteen-year-old Talisa Santiago was born in the desert underneath the full moon in January—the wolf moon. However, she left the desert with her mother when she was a young girl. She remembers bits and pieces of her past but it isn’t until she and her mom move to a remote barrier island off the coast of North Carolina that she feels fate has finally called—secretive and mysterious he stands alone on the edge of the bank. Her friends tell her to stay away; she hears rumors that he is dangerous. Still, she can’t resist. Whether Talisa realizes it or not, she knows a thing or two about boys like Jag Chavez.
Fate is funny that way.
For the first time in her life, Talisa meets kids just like her—Native Americans who know the way of the spirit. The closer she gets to Jag, the more she realizes he is hiding a dark secret. He may have the markings of the Thunderbird, but he is named for the powerful Jaguar. Together they embark on a journey that will haunt her forever.
Book trailer links:
Drowning would be a terrible way to die. Silent. As I gazed out to the summer sea, images of twinkling sands swept across my mind. The dark, unfathomed ocean with its mysterious tides filled my soul with a holy presence, for I knew that its depths were seldom seen. However, when I visited the corners of my life, it wasn’t water that I longed for. Instead, it was the desert of my past, a place of total isolation.
It was the most horrifying thing I had ever witnessed. And the most wicked. Enchanting? Of course, that’s why I remember it so well.
I was only five when I first saw the dead man. I was awakened at midnight by the sound of beating drums.
Before me were two men with their bodies painted, wearing masks, dancing around the grotesque corpse. Their long, thick hair flapped against their backs as they moved in perfect rhythm. In and out, they went into a trance. Shadows appeared through the smoke. I could see the dead man’s spirit hovering around, waiting for redemption. His side had been torn in half, mauled it seemed by a wild animal of some sort. In the background there was a woman stirring a paste. I smiled when she looked at me. It was my mother.
She went to the dead man and began rubbing his ragged, maggot-ridden side with the magic potion. Her long hair flowed into his wounds. The two male dancers began stomping their feet, waving their hands, and chanting foreign sounds only the spirits could understand. The ceremony took most of the night. By dawn, the drums finally stopped beating. And the dead man woke up. He staggered as he stood, walking out of the tent with a limp. The miracle workers removed their masks. I watched my mother with perfect clarity. She was mesmerizing. Her beauty was extraordinary. Divine. The way she carefully wiped the paint from their sweat filled faces and soaked their bloody, battered feet in buckets of warm water was a ritual my mother knew all too well. The two men she cleansed were my father and grandfather. She handed each of them a peace pipe. That was the last memory I have of my father. After that, I don’t remember ever seeing him again.
Although I do know the moon well, the lullabies sung to me as a child were never from storybooks that promised goodnight wishes to the beautiful planet. Instead, at night, when the stars shone upon me, I would recite a sacred prayer to the hidden sun, the earth father—the almighty jaguar. I would gaze into the night sky and dream of the jaguar’s spots shinning above me. I would wish into them and fantasize childlike dreams. I knew the jaguar had a sacred power in the earth and the animals that lived upon it. I just never knew I was creating my own destiny so long ago.
“The Universe will give you exactly what you ask for. It only takes once for a wish to be willed,” my mother used to say as she kissed me to sleep each night in the desert. I always heard her but never answered. I think I knew, even then, what I really wanted in my life. Whom I really needed. And what I had to do in order to get it.
My name is Talisa Santiago and my grandfather is a shaman—a natural healer.
I was born in the desert on the dirt floor of his house under the full moon in January—the wolf moon. His home was a tent made of woven’s goat hair. When he first pulled me out of my mother’s warm womb and into the outside world, he whispered a chant and placed an arrowhead through a burning stick of sandalwood before hanging it around my neck. Something about sandalwood, it brings us closer to the divine. Something about arrowheads, it wards off evil spirits.
When I was seven, my mother told my grandfather we were leaving the desert and never coming back. She would travel with me and make a home for us by the water. He held a special ceremony, called me a water singer, and named me Talisa. With grief in his heart and tears in his eyes, he bid us farewell. As we were leaving, he handed me an eagle feather and told me a proverb. Since I was so young, I only know the proverb from the way my mother tells it and she hasn’t repeated it all that much. I think she wants to forget the desert and the dirt floors, so I never ask too many questions. Even kids have an innate sense of knowing when and when not to ask their mothers about the past. To me, the desert is a place I remember like a fairy tale told once upon a time. Time and time again, I’ve heard people say the first few years of a child’s life are the most important in mental development. They have no idea just how profound that statement truly is.
Spirit Seeker by Jamie Haden
Age: Young AdultAvailable at: www.pillhillpress.com & most other online retailers!
ABOUT JAMIE: Jamie lives by the seashore in Wilmington, NC with her husband and three daughters. Jamie has a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and taught middle school in Kentucky and NC. Jamie is currently working on Illuminate-Alive, she cried, the sequel to Spirit Seeker.
GIVEAWAY: Five print copies of Spirit Seeker will be given away tour wide. Enter below.
And leave a comment on the tour stop!