Every Friday (well, this week it's Saturday) until my steampunk novel, DEAD IRON is in bookstores (July 5th) I am going to post an excerpt of the book for your reading pleasure. Remember, you can read the first chapter of the book right here. Or maybe you’d like to see the back cover blurb. Here is last week's excerpt with Cedar Hunt Now it's time for something new! This scene introduces one of the main characters in the book. It's just a snippet, but I don't want to give away too much. 😉 Thank you for coming by. I do hope you enjoy this little scene with….. ……MAE LINDSON It had been years since Mae Lindson called on the old ways. She promised Jeb she wouldn’t use them anymore. Not out here, so far west, where there was no coven to hide her. It was enough trouble, he had said, for a man of color to marry a white woman. Telling people she was a witch would only bring them quicker to their doorstep with torches in their hands and hanging in their eyes. But it had been three months. Three months waiting for him to come home. She was done waiting. Done wondering if he would ever come home to her. When she made a vow, it could never be unbroken—so was the way of her magic within the sisterhood. She had vowed her heart and soul unto this man, until death do them part. That vow, that promise, should have guided him home to her by now. She pushed the basket of dirt sprinkled with rose hips and wormwood closer to the hearth where the light of the rising moon would soon find it. The fire was crackling hot and strong enough to burn on to morning. The whistle and pop of the steam matics working the lines had quieted since nightfall. All the world of man had quieted. Now was the time for magic. Mae glanced at her door. A strong bolt made of brass and springs held it tight. That, Jeb had given her as a wedding gift. He had fashioned it with his own hands, as he had fashioned all the other beautiful things of wood and brass that filled the shelves alongside her pots and dishes and herbs and books. Just as he had fashioned her spinning wheel and her loom. He was never without a gear or fancy to carve, but only ever showed his creations to her. Still, the bundle of protective herbs wrapped along dried grapevines and rowan above the door did as much to keep her safe as Jeb’s bolts and devices. Herbs and spells to keep the Strange at bay. She pulled her shawl close around her shoulders and knelt next to the basket of dirt. The people of town were beginning to whisper about her. When she walked to town to trade her weaving for supplies, people talked. Said her husband had long left her. Said he was dead. But they were wrong. She still heard him, heard her husband’s voice in the night, calling her name. Mae rolled up her left sleeve, exposing her wrist and forearm, strong from tending the field, strong from tending the sheep and chickens. She placed her fingers in the basket of dirt and stirred, fingers splayed, counterclockwise. The dirt warmed slowly, soaking up the heat from the hearthstones. She hummed, settling into the feel of this soil beneath her hands, between her fingers, and breathed in the scent rising off the soil—of summer giving its life away to autumn. She sang the song slowly, words forming the spell that would find Jeb. Little matics and tickers on the shelf hummed along with her, echoing to the notes of their tuning. “My hand touching this soil, this soil touching all soil. All soil beneath my hand. All soil I know. The heartbeat, the soul of two who have vowed until death do us part. Jeb Lindson, husband, lover, soul.” She closed her eyes, held her breath. Pushed away the awareness of the wind outside the door, pushed away the sound of the fire scratching across the wood. Pushed away everything except the one clear need to feel Jeb’s heartbeat, somewhere, anywhere in this world of soil and stone. After a long, long moment, there, beneath her palm, she felt a slow thump.