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The GateKeepers Book 3
BY SHANON GREY
Ruthorford—the perfect southern town, with even more perfect descendants. Except, perfection has come with a price. Now, in order to survive, they must turn to outsiders for help.A missing body and an accident that looks like a set-up force the powers that be to call in the one person they know they can trust with their secrets. However, when she uncovers secrets even the descendants don’t know about, things start heating up—in the investigation and between people that should know better. Yet, in Ruthorford, nothing is ever as it seems and, this time, new discoveries could threaten the descendants’ very existence. Welcome to Ruthorford—where science and magic merge.
“When a Cover is More Than a Cover”
All authors have a story. Boy, is that an understatement! However, I am referring to the authors themselves. This story is how this author is tied to this cover and how far back it goes. As they say, everything happens for a reason. This is no exception.
Twisted Fate is the fifth novel centered around Ruthorford, a fictional town in Georgia, where being paranormal is normal and nothing is as it seems. This particular novel started about a year ago and evolved into a long story about how things can go wrong or, at the very least, not go as they were planned or expected. As with all my other stories, I had planned to turn to my cover artist toward the end to design a great cover for my book. Except, when I reached out to her, she was nowhere to be found. No one had heard anything and, to this day, I have no idea what happened to her. I suddenly found myself with a very long novel approaching publication and no cover.
I tend to take pictures for my Facebook posts with my cell phone, almost daily. Even so, I am not a photographer. I take pix and upload them to folders, occasionally finding one I want to share. In the process of transferring some old files to a hard-drive, I transferred a bunch of files mistakenly into the wrong folder. When I went into the folder to straighten things out, there were two pictures next to one another—a picture of an amazing sunset I took from my front porch and a graphic I’d turned into a jpg years ago—the background and the hooded figure on my cover. I opened up Photoshop Elements and, as if by magic, I had a cover.
Now, let me tell you about the hooded figure. Many decades ago, my husband (before he became my husband) and I were offered a place to stay until we could get on our feet. Both of us had found ourselves between jobs and living in a place unworthy of our precious puppy. A friend told us she happened to have a townhouse without a tenant and offered to let us stay, rent free, until our circumstances improved. We packed up and, with the help of her and her sons, moved in, sight unseen. As we stepped into this gorgeous townhouse, I almost burst into tears. It was far prettier than anything I could have imagined.
I was in heaven—for a few months. At first, I noticed some cold spots and tended to avoid them. Then, I started hearing a mewling sound, but could find no cat. We had none, just Rufus, our chow, and he didn’t seem to hear anything. One day, I heard him upstairs, growling, in a lower pitch than I’d ever heard before. I went up the stairs to find him staring into one of the bedrooms, his hackles raised. I came up beside him and tried to look around him into the dark room. He kept moving, placing himself between me and the door, until I finally had to put my leg over him, in a straddle, because he wasn’t budging. I leaned forward and looked into the room, a cold burst of air hitting me in the face. On the window sill sat an animal the likes of which I’d never seen (and, honestly, hope to never see again). It was mostly an outline, except for the eyes, which glowed at us. I grabbed Rufus by the collar, pulled my leg back over him, and pulled him downstairs and outside with me. As soon as he was outside, Rufus returned his energetic happy self. Me, not so much. I was cold and shaking like a leaf. When my boyfriend came home, we searched the entire house, finding nothing. Never did see that thing again.
Luckily, we both soon found jobs. Mine was as an assistant editor for a regional magazine, which provided long and odd hours, allowing me to spend some time at home with Rufus. One day, as I was coming down the stairs, I felt a pair of hands shove me. Instantly, I was thrown off my feet and went flying down the stairs, head first, toward the wall at the bottom. Then, just as instantly, I was lifted by some sort of energy over the half-wall railing and dropped, none too gently, on the floor on the other side of the stairs, stunned but safe. Rufus was on me in seconds, whining and licking the side of my face. As I blinked, mentally taking stock of my body, I saw the edge of a billowing grey robe right as it disappeared. I had no idea how I’d managed to dive over that railing, but I figured what I’d seen was a result of landing on my face. After that, several times a week, I would dream of a hooded figure. I would walk down the stairs to find him waiting, where he would turn and lead me into darkness, his staff glowing just enough to illuminate our immediate surroundings. He seemed to be trying to teach me something, but it was in a language I couldn’t grasp and it was in my head, filling my mind. After I got over my fear (maybe because I was grateful to him for having saved my life), I came to think of him as Mr. Grey. I never saw his face and never felt warmth from him. He was more mentor than friend. And, honestly, I don’t think I was a very good pupil.
It was around that time that I decided to write my first novel, Capricorn’s Child, which wouldn’t be finished until years later, only to be lost (I thought) when the computer flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Somehow, my son found the original typewritten pages in a soggy folder, dried them out in the sun, and bagged them. The day he handed them to me, I cried like a baby. That, the clothes on our backs, and a few odds and ends were all that survived Katrina. Those remnants of my manuscript are priceless to me and I still have dreams of publishing that book one day.
For several months, things at the town house returned to normal. Even my dreams decreased in frequency. About the time I had begun to convince myself that I had imagined everything, I came home to find the large window fan lying on the floor upstairs with its sides crushed in. Then, a week later, I found all of furniture in the living room had disappeared while the dog and I were napping not twenty feet away in the kitchen/office and all of the doors were still locked. I went to a neighbor’s and called my friend and the police. They found all of the furniture deposited in the room upstairs where I’d seen the strange animal. After a half hour of trying to explain that there was no way I could have moved all that furniture by myself, I finally conceded that maybe someone was playing a trick on me—as the police kept insisting. When my boyfriend came home and saw what had happened, he agreed that it was time for us to move on.
On our last day in the townhouse, when I was cleaning off the tops of the kitchen cabinets where we’d kept some decorations, I found several piles of fresh wheat, dry and sweet smelling. I cleaned it up, silently thanked Mr. Grey, closed the door behind me on the way out, and thought nothing more about it—until my friend called. She told me she had let her son and his roommates move in. Apparently, they didn’t last a month, claiming the place was haunted. When they left, their parting gift was piles of maggots. Remembering the piles of wheat, I was grateful whatever it was liked us.
That was close to thirty years ago. When I was publishing my first Ruthorford novel, my publisher suggested I use a pseudonym because of my other career in technology. My son thought that was a great idea and told me to finally choose a first name I’d really like. (He knew I’d grown up being teased because Jerry was a supposed to be a boy’s name and not one for a little girl.) I chose Shanon, after a woman I’d met as a child. I gave the task of choosing a last name to my son. After insisting I drive him around to several bookstores and doing some research, he presented me with my new last name. His rationale was that he chose one that started with a letter in the middle of the alphabet, putting it in good spots on shelves in bookstores, and was short and easy to sign (it is). I’ve used it happily ever since. My son knew nothing about the townhouse and, honestly, I hadn’t thought anything about that time in my life, until I saw those two pictures together in that file folder, placed together by pure accident—or note. Whatever the case, that cover represents a Twisted Fate, not only for the descendants of Ruthorford, but for their author, Shanon Grey.
Shanon Grey weaves romance and suspense with threads of the paranormal. THE SHOPPE OF SPELLS, MEADOW’S KEEP, PENNYROYAL CHRISTMAS, GLYNDA’S DARE, and TWISTED FATE are available from your favorite bookseller. Shanon spent her life on coasts, both the beautiful Atlantic and the balmy Gulf. Hurricane Katrina taught her the fragility of life and the strength of friendship, family and starting over. She currently lives in the mountains of Georgia, trading the familiarity of the coast for the lush beauty and wonder of the mountains, where her husband fulfilled her lifelong dream—to live in a cottage in the woods. There, she garners inspiration from horses grazing on rolling pastures and deer that wander by to show off their young. You can join her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ShanonGrey, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ShanonGreyand visit her website at www.shanongrey.com. Contact her at email@example.com. She would love to hear from you. TWISTED FATE, as well as her other novels, are available in digital and/or print on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2F5AVz6
Links to Shanon’s website, blog, books, etc.
You can join Shanon Grey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ShanonGrey, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ShanonGrey, and visit her website at www.shanongrey.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She would love to hear from you. TWISTED FATE, as well as her other novels, are available in digital and/or print on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2F5AVz6
Thanks, Shanon, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!