Veronica: Welcome to the blog and take it away, Dani!
Dani: Although I launched my writing career with werewolf tales, the transition to writing about CELTIC FAERIES was an easy one. I had a Welsh grandmother whom I adored. She was a brave and tough little gal, full of fun, who immigrated to Canada all by herself at the tender age of 19! The rest of my family roots are Irish and Scottish, with some English sprinkled in. So you can bet that I grew up on an abundance of stories about the Fair Folk, the Fae, the Sidhe, the Tylwyth Teg, and more. Most were cautionary tales. Some of the characters were beautiful, many were scary, but ALL were dangerous!
One of my favorite Welsh legends provided inspiration for my new GRIM SERIES. The Grim is a legendary canine with many names: The Black Dog, the Gwyllgi, the Dog of Darkness, the Barghest, Dog of the Twilight, and the Black Hound of Destiny. It’s said to resemble a giant mastiff, larger than any living dog, and its eyes are often glowing red or resembling twin flames.
The story is an old one, dating all the way back to Celtic
The story is an old one, dating all the way back to Celtic
In its defense, however, the Grim hasn’t always been threatening – at least, not to the innocent. In some tales, the animal is an instrument of justice, hunting down escaped murderers. A few stories recount incidents where the great beast protected children or guarded lone travelers. This made me wonder – what if the ghostly creature had a conscience, a sense of right and wrong? What if the black dog didn’t mindlessly follow its mission? In fact, how did it get stuck with a task like this in the first place? Thoughts like these that led to the creation of my GRIM SERIES.
There are three books in the series at present: STORM WARRIOR, STORM BOUND, and STORM WARNED, and they’re available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and Audible. You can check them out on my Amazon Author Page at amazon.com/author/daniharper. (A fourth novel, STORM CROSSED, will be released in a few months!)
PS - Although the books are related, each story can stand alone. And while each book necessarily has its paranormal beginnings in Wales, the Grim and all its faery associates wind up in present-day Washington State, to run afoul of the humans who live there!
EXCERPT FROM BOOK 3 OF THE GRIM SERIES, STORM WARNED:
Passionate musicians Caris and Liam grew up centuries apart. When their fates collide, they must learn to trust each other and work together to stop a dark force from seizing both Fae and human worlds.
The forest seemed far darker than it should. It wouldn’t be the first time Caris had stayed too long, lost in her music, but a break in the trees revealed ominous clouds overhead that doused the bright daylight as surely as water doused a fire. It was a long way back to the farm, and she could find her way there blindfolded if need be—yet a mountain storm was nothing to trifle with.
A flash of lightning half blinded her. Thunder crashed like the world was ending, and her steady, dependable Eira did something unheard of: he threw his rider and bolted for home. By the time she got her breath back, her pony was long gone. Caris got to her feet slowly and with care. Nothing broken or sprained, thankfully, but she’d have some bumps and bruises on the morrow.
The wind had picked up, thrashing the limbs of the trees, and above the din, the mournful horn wailed like a lost soul. She’d never heard the like of it, and the hairs on the back of her neck prickled.
It’s coming this way.
Caris saw nothing unusual in the dim forest. The storm above, bearing down on her with incredible speed, was something else entirely. The blackened clouds roiled like an angry sea, lit within by flares of unnatural lightning—green and blue and vivid mauve. I’ll never make it to the farm. But staying among the trees in such weather was a poor plan. There was little other shelter to be had—unless she went to the dolmen. On their way to their campsite each year, the Romani waved bits of red cloth at the ancient stone structure and spat in its direction, giving it as wide a berth as the rutted forest paths would allow. Evil or not, Caris hoped the great white capstone, supported by three half-buried boulders, would shield her, and she ran as fast as she could in its direction.
Her heart was in her throat as the wind whipped her long black hair free and yanked at her clothing with invisible fingers. Lightning struck behind her, close enough that she could feel the ground shake, and she nearly lost her footing. As the clap of thunder died away, instinct made her cast a glance over her shoulder, and what she saw did make her stumble and fall: great coal-black hounds of monstrous size were bounding in her direction, their red and glowing eyes revealing their identity. Grims!
Panicked, she scrambled to her feet. The dark fae dogs were said to foretell one’s death, but they weren’t the most frightening thing she saw. Following the hounds were forty or fifty riders—and their horses’ hooves didn’t touch the earth!
She was completely surrounded by the otherworldly company before she could scream.
Caris choked down her fear and forced herself to stand still, her hands in front of her gripping each other so hard that they hurt. She needed the pain to help keep her wits together. All these years she’d thought the Wild Hunt was just a story to frighten children into being good, that the Tylwyth Teg, the Fair Ones, were nothing but make-believe. She knew that many of her neighbors believed them to be real, however, real enough that they set offerings of bread and milk on their porches at night to avert fae pranks and beg their favor. Even the preacher must have thought them real, as he occasionally spoke out against the evils of consorting with demons and faeries. Perhaps he thought them to be one and the same. Whatever they were, no one wanted to actually meet them.
But here she was.
STORM WARNED is available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook at https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Warned-Grim-Dani-Harper/dp/1477827927/
You can check out and purchase ANY of Dani’s books on her Amazon Author Page at amazon.com/author/daniharper
Say hi to Dani on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Dani.Harper.Authoror visit her website at https://daniharper.com/
Leave a comment below naming one of your favorite paranormal creatures and why you like it, OR tell me what you’re reading right now! I'll draw a winner at random on September 1st, and announce it right here in the comments.
Giveaway is READER’S CHOICE of any published book in the Grim Series, in paperback or MP3-CD audiobook. Prize will be delivered by Amazon. Open to US, UK, or Canada.