Trauma llama is back this week thanks to author Susanne Matthews! She’s come to discuss coleslaw and her latest book. Checkout the blurb below and scroll for an excerpt.
Born Mohawk, raised white, forensic pathologist, Michelle Thomas is trapped between two worlds—this one and the spirit world where the ghosts of those who’ve drowned speak to her. Haunted by crippling nightmares of her own drowning death and erotic dreams of a phantom lover, she strives to make sense of her life. When two suspicious deaths occur at the Lake of the Mountain Resort, she’s sent to investigate. She’ll face the greatest challenge of her career when her past and her present collide. One of these men is her future, but which one—the rich and powerful Mayor Ron Davies, or Tony Steele, the hydrology professor who may be responsible for his students’ deaths? Charged by the spirits of her Mohawk ancestors to atone for her previous sins by protecting Lake of the Gods, can Michelle solve the murders, save the sacred waters, and fulfil her destiny?
Release Date July 11, 2014
Purchase Echoes of the Past from SCP.
Check Susanne’s Website for other purchase options.
Susanne’s Trauma Llama Tale
Have you ever seen an event in your life suddenly happen as if in slow motion? You recall each part of the event with a vividness you’d expect from stop-action photography. I had something like that happen to me, and I was absolutely mortified, at the time. Today, we talk about it and laugh until the tears come.
My nephew was making his First Communion, one of those Roman Catholic rites of passage families celebrate with more food than we can possibly eat, plenty of booze, for the adults who endured the service, and a fancy cake. For the occasion, I’d worn a beautiful three piece knit suit, and a new pair of 4 inch heels.
The house was packed—my parents, her in-laws, the child’s godparents, and assorted family friends who never passed on free food and booze. I was helping my sister clean up after the meal and had just put the lid on a super-sized bowl of coleslaw and moved to take it downstairs to the second fridge. I burped the air out of the covered bowl as we did in those days and turned to go down the six steps to the landing which led to another six steps to the basement and family room.
I’d gone down two steps when disaster struck. Picture the scene. My sister’s father-in-law had snuck downstairs for a quick drink while her mother-in-law was occupied in the bathroom. He stood on the landing and stopped, waiting for me to come down. He was superstitious, and there was this thing about passing people on the stairs. I was working as a high school teacher at the time, so passing people on the stairs was nothing new to me.
Mr. Smith was a nice, quiet, somewhat shy, elderly man, bald on top with a fringe of gray—he looked a little like a thin version of Friar Tuck—and glasses. He wore a white shirt and tie, light gray flannels, and highly polished black leather shoes. He smiled at me, unaware of the disaster waiting to happen.
From the basement stairs came two kids—a three year old with a six year old chasing her. They were giggling and screaming, completely oblivious to the woman in pink blocking the stairs. I had one foot in the air to take the next step, but the child didn’t care as she raced up the steps and hit me, knocking me off balance. With the grace and dexterity of the best Kamikaze pilot, I was airborne, sailing the distance between the second step and the landing, with incredible speed if not elegance, at Mr. Smith’s feet. But my humiliation wasn’t complete.
The bowl of coleslaw landed in my lap and the force of the fall caused the lid to pop off. The coleslaw, that solid mass of cabbage, vinegar, and oil flew up. What goes up, must come down—and it did all over Mr. Smith. It was on his head, in his glasses on his shoulders like little piles of bird poop, splattering the blue and gray tie with its silver tie pin, and burying his beautifully polished shoes. Of course, I was covered in the oil and vinegar cabbage, too.
The three year old started to cry, and I sat there stunned. My sister ran for the towels, but guess where the linen closet was—you guessed it, in the bathroom with Mrs. Smith who’d decided it was time to evacuate her bowels. And so, there I sat, at Mr. Smith’s feet, watching him clean the coleslaw off his glasses.
Luckily, nothing was broken although my leg was badly bruised and hurt like the dickens. Today, both Mr. and Mrs. Smith have passed on, but from that day on, the man seemed to cringe any time I came near him. By the way, I’m not allowed to carry the coleslaw downstairs anymore.
haha! There are definitely better places for coleslaw than in one’s glasses
Check out this excerpt from Echoes of the Past:
Each step brought her closer to the shop and amplified Michelle’s discomfort. Tasha had accused her earlier of ignoring the problem she had with water, but she was wrong. Since it had gotten worse, she’d tried to find an equitable solution to it, but nothing had worked. Not being able to take a shower and wash her own hair was ridiculous, and she knew it.
Her aquaphobia had intensified shortly after her arrival in Thunder Bay, about the same time she’d started seeing Mohawk Madam. She’d tested her theory about the ghost being attached to the motel rather than herself earlier when she’d tried to wash her face in the tub. Just bringing her hands full of water toward her face had almost brought on a panic attack. Thank goodness she could still use wet ones to remove what little make-up she wore and keep her face clean. She could bathe and wet herself up to her neck, but what would happen if the time came when she couldn’t?
She’d tried taking the bull by the horns and had gone the municipal pool in Thunder Bay. When she’d tried to put her face underwater, her terror had been so extreme one of the lifeguards had thought she was drowning and jumped into the pool to save her. The ensuing scene would have been comical had it involved anyone else. Michelle had been mortified. The lifeguard had suggested she seek medical attention.
“We’re here.” Tasha’s words brought her back to the present. Michelle looked at the storefront and shook her head. It didn’t look promising. Curious, she peered in the window. The shelves and counters teemed with all kinds of books, crystals, candles, and other objects apparently designed to cure whatever ailed you and balance your spiritual self.
How can Tasha believe in this stuff?
According to the poster on the door, Audra, a denizen of the spirit world, was empowered to help those in this dimension. For twenty-five dollars, she could contact the spirits and help you with whatever ailed you. You could lose weight, quit smoking, end chronic pain, and overcome fears.
Yeah, like this one’s for real.