Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guest Post - Rose Anderson - The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo Saga

The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo
Books 1 & 2
by Rose Anderson

The second book in my Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo saga was just released this past week. How I came to write the two-part tale is interesting because of the amount of true history involved. It all started with this:

What does an immortal Native American shaman do when the grave he’s sworn to watch over for all eternity disappears under urban development?

This was the thought that popped into my head after I stumbled across a campy book regarding a local urban legend – the Wisconsin wolfman. Over the decades, eyewitnesses claimed they’d seen a wolf walking like a man, and some of these people weren’t the sort you’d doubt. I wouldn’t have normally given such a book a second look, but the locations it mentioned weren’t far from my home. What’s more, these sightings weren’t just modern urban legends, they went back to pre-settlement times. Historical tidbits will grab my attention every time. 

There was one account in particular that captured my imagination as a writer. It occurred more than 70 years ago at a convent with ancient Native American burial mounds on the premises. I knew that Wisconsin was once filled with burial and effigy mounds so I filed that juicy tidbit away. A night watchman saw a wolfman kneeling atop a mound there. Not sitting like a wolf. Kneeling like a man. Naturally believing his own eyes, the watchman came home rattled. Here’s the strange part – not only did he share the frightening experience with his family, he swore them to secrecy fearing he’d get fired if word got out. People would think he’d been drinking on the job. A little research uncovered Native American lore about wolf men guarding the graves of warriors. I saved that bit too. Before long I came upon more useful info. The pieces fell into place and I crafted a story with a spin that included the ancient as well as the modern legend. 

Written in two parts, my tale concerns an immortal Native American shaman of the Middle Woodland period of the Great Lakes Mound Builders (Hopewell culture). 

Book 1 – Ashkewheteasu
What does an immortal Native American shaman do when the grave he’s sworn to watch over for all eternity disappears under urban development?
His purpose of guarding his wife’s burial mound gone, Ashkewheteasu seeks to end his immortal existence. In his despair, he assumes the form of a wolf and steps in front of a moving car and into the life of Dr. Olivia “Livie” Rosalini. The veterinarian saves the animal’s life, and in the process saves the man within. Unbeknownst to Livie, the dog she’s taken into her home and grows to love is a magical being seeking to win her heart as a man.
While Ash is learning a new world filled with new love, friendship, and happiness, an old menace makes plans to steal it all away; just as he had 3000 years before.

The True Beginning
Ten years ago, a reporter for a small-town newspaper heard word of strange sightings of a wolf-like creature roaming the Wisconsin countryside. Authorities had determined what these eyewitnesses had actually seen was a lone wolf broken off from a pack from the north. However, the witnesses were adamant that what they’d seen had been no ordinary wolf. This wolf walked like a man. Similar sightings were mentioned in ancient Native American oral traditions. In those tales, dog men or witchy wolves looked after burial mounds in much the same way jackal-headed Anubis guarded the tombs of ancient Egypt. And early French explorers knew of them too. They’d called these wolf-men the loup-garou

He spoke in his language again and she shook her head, not understanding. He smiled, picked up her hand and kissed her palm. Closing her fingers around the kiss as though it were a tangible thing, he told her, “You make me burn for you Livie, but this is not the place to love you as you deserve.”

Not knowing how to respond, she took a breath and let it out slowly. If not for the fact she barely knew him, she’d ask him to come home and finish what he’d started, inebriated or not. She was sorely tempted. But that wasn’t the kind of person she was. Fired up or not, desirous of Ash or not, knowing a guy a few accumulated hours meant it was too soon for that level of intimacy. But boy oh boy she was tempted. 

“Where do you live?” she asked once more. Again she was met with another language. Thinking him too tipsy to give directions, she said, “I’ll drive by the clinic and we’ll see if that sparks your memory.” She put the car in gear.

Ash smiled and nodded, then began to hum a repetitive and hypnotic tune. 

She teased, “That’s lovely, but I think you’ll put me in a trance if you keep it up.” 

Keep it up? Ash stopped abruptly. Looking at her, he shook his head and chuckled. The slur accented his words. “You confuse me, Livie.” 

For the first time she noticed the tiniest inflection. Ash had an accent she couldn’t quite put her finger on, similar to John’s Aunt Mayweather but not quite. She gave him a sideways glance. “I confuse you?”

“I will learn. It may take time. But I will learn,” he said sincerely. He put his hand on top of hers, where it rested on the stick shift. Ash began speaking in that other language again. The breathy words rolled off his tongue and gave her goosebumps.

“Now you’re confusing me!” She laughed.

“Please stop your car. I need to go.” 

She pulled over, expecting him to rush, either to pee or to vomit.

But Ash got out slowly, then to her surprise, came round to the driver’s window. She rolled the window down and he reached in to take her face in both hands. The kiss was so deep and sensual that she instinctively turned her body for more, and pressed the horn. 


Startled, they broke away from each other, looked at one other with wide eyes, then laughed. His eyes twinkling with humor, he informed her, “I’m feeling very happy, Livie. I’ll see you soon.” With that, he turned and jogged off into the night. 

“Hey!” She laughingly called, then put the car in park in case he returned. Several long minutes passed. She got out and called into the night. When he didn’t return, she headed home. Touching a fingertip to her tingling lips, she realized that man made her feel things she’d never felt in her life. And she wanted him — badly.

Ash felt odd. The sensation was not unlike the altered mental state brought about by the ordeals of his training, when his mind ventured in another world while his body stayed in this one. His earlier jumble of thoughts returned. It is the beer. The beer is bringing this sensation. It was only a guess but the odd feeling was intensifying since the last two glasses. Watching Livie drive away, he slid his hand down the front of his jeans to grip himself. Kissing her had made him hard and now he ached. 

Knowing he had to resume his wolf form at Livie’s home, he took a deep breath and shifted, but his inebriated mind was not concentrating and he ended up with a raven’s head atop his man’s body. He tried again. Forgetting that he still wore clothes, he found himself a small bird, pinned and struggling under the heavy garments that had fallen to the ground in a heap. He shifted into a feathered snake before taking the form of a mouse and working his way out of a sleeve.

The movement caught the attention of an owl on its nightly hunting foray. Just as it was about to swoop low on silent wings, intent on nabbing the large field mouse, a naked man with a mouse tail and whiskers appeared. The owl, clearly startled, flew off into the night. Laughing, Ash raised his arms and yelled after it, “This is not your night, my brotherrrr!”

Tail and whiskers absorbed into his changing form and once again bare skin grew feathers. He shifted into a raven — a six-foot-tall raven. Laughing at himself, he made his body small and flew fast to Livie’s home, albeit not in a straight line.

Book 2 Eluwilussit

An ancient hatred seethes in pastoral Wisconsin. Denied access to the White spirit world of the ancestors, ancient shaman Eluwilussit finds himself in the Red Realm and receives a terrible gift from the forsaken spirits dwelling there. Blaming Ash for this misfortune, as well as Aiyanna’s death, he vows to be rid of the other shaman once and for all.

Eluwilussit woke to find himself curled into a ball, his hands protectively covering his genitals. The fire was almost out. He had no idea how long he’d traveled. Peyote tended to steal time. Retracing his visions as best he could, he remembered that he’d beat the wall of the White World with his fists, remembered too that he’d slashed himself to get the attention of its inhabitants. Sitting up, he was met with a stench that indicated he’d fouled himself under Mescalito’s influence. He frowned. Adding another sliver of fat wood, he checked himself over in the light of the small blaze and found his skin smooth, clean and otherwise unmarred. Perhaps the stink was only a memory lingering in his mind like the rest. The Red World and its inhabitants were foul. 

The spirits in the White World had seemed not to hear or see him, yet he couldn’t credit that. He could certainly hear and see them. The frown deepened as he remembered Bemidii kissing Nawkaw. The rest of it came out of the stinking haze. The forsaken ones had heard him screaming at the barrier and laughed at his frustration. Remembering now, a wave of nausea took him and he quickly turned his head to vomit but his heaving was dry. He’d survived the brutal gang rape in the spirit realm and it left a bad taste in his mouth in this realm. He craved an ice-cold Pepsi in the worst way. Mouth parched and filmy, he made an unsuccessful attempted to spit. 

Another wave of nausea rolled over him and he curled on his side to let it pass. He wondered if submitting to those disgusting beings had indeed given him the means to shift his form into animals. If the trade were true, then it was worth the agony and debasement he experienced at their foul hands. With the skill and full knowledge of the Midewin shape-shifter, he would be a powerful Medicine Man. Sky Father would welcome him back. Aiyanna would be impressed by him, and they’d be together as they were meant to be. Even though he would have to live with his feet in two separate worlds, having her in one of them was worth anything.

Feeling stronger now, he tried to recall the legends of the shape-shifters. It was all he had to go on. He was never trained in this skill. Anger pricked him. Both Nawkaw and his pet could do this. Old Nawkaw must have told Ashkewheteasu how this was accomplished. Lifting his hand before his eyes, Eli stared at it and wished to turn it into a paw. He felt pressure in his bones and it quickly grew unbearable. He stopped wishing. Panting, he tried again. He watched as his fingers curled under as though his tendons were pulled by invisible strings. A cry tore from his throat and the hand changed before his eyes. When the pain in his bones subsided, he couldn’t believe what he saw. What animal had a paw such as this? Large and mottled with brown and gray fur, it appeared a cross between a deer’s hoof, a bear’s paw, and a man’s hand, with only two fingers and a thumb. Where his fingernails had been, long curved claws had taken their place. 

Perhaps this gift was not an easy one to learn. He refocused his mind. The pain in his legs wrested another cry from him as bones altered and an animal’s shanks appeared. But this was not the wolf shape he envisioned! He tried again, returning to his own bare legs before assuming the same shape as before. What deceit is this? His rage increased with each attempt. And each was the same as the last. His arms and legs took the shape of some foul beast, with two toes ending in hooked claws. His fur was matted and sickly, his hide had weeping sores. He stood on his ugly legs, shook his hooked fists in the air and raged, “What have you made me? Sky Fatherrrrrrr!

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About Rose
I love words and choose them as carefully as an artist might choose a color. My active imagination compels me to write everything from children’s stories to historical nonfiction. As a persnickety leisure reader, I especially enjoy novels that feel like they were written just for me. It's hard to explain, but if you've ever read one of those, then you know what I mean. I tend to sneak symbolism and metaphor into my writing. You might say it's a game I play with myself when I write. And I so love when readers email to say they've found something. I’d like people to feel my stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth. These hidden insights are my gift to my readers.


  1. Thanks for having me Donna! I'll stop in throughout the day if anyone stopping by has questions or comments.


  2. Great blog and I loved the excerpts. You've got me very intrigued.

    1. Thanks Cindy. :)The truth behind the stories is even more intriguing!

  3. Hey, Rose, I loved both books. Fascinating Native American history and culture, not to mention wonderful characters!


    1. Thanks for stopping Jane. Ash really grew on me. I love the whole Redleaf family too.

  4. Wonderful blog, Rose!

    A small part of my heritage is Native American so I always enjoy a well written story with NA characters and history.

    Thanks and good luck!


    1. Thanks for stopping Donna. There really aren't that many NA stories that have Great Lakes roots. Fascinating cultures in that area.

  5. Wonderful post, Rose... I sense a strong bond between you and your characters. Maybe a bit of a shared journey? Love the blog post!

  6. Hi, Rose, I can't read the first excerpt because I'm reading The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo Book One, now. The second excerpt, though, has me hooked, too.