At last! The E-book version of The River Goddess and Other Stories is up on Amazon!
At last! The E-book version of The River Goddess and Other Stories is up on Amazon!
A movie/TV treatment for “The River Goddess” (first of the four chapters in The River Goddess and Other Stories) is now available on the Sunstone Press website.
We’re very excited about introducing viewers to Alyssa and her friends! We fell in love long ago, and we think you will too.
For more information, contact
James Clois Smith, Jr., Sunstone Press. (505) 988-4418 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Valentine McKay-Riddell. (505) 780-5990 / email@example.com
These are some of the main characters in The River Goddess & Other Stories. You’ll meet each one in more detail, but for now…
The Raven serves as a messenger. He carries important information back and forth between Alyssa and her friends. He gets a bit grumpy from time to time, but he has a good heart!
Then there’s Mr. Mole. Definitely not the best-tempered of the lot, but he does help save Alyssa and Mr. Two from a terrible fate in “The Ants’ Treasure.”
And we can’t forget Mr. Snake, who plays his own part in helping Alyssa and Two out of a bad spot.
Finally, there’s Octa, the Sea Princess. Octa is probably the most difficult character of all. She’s imperious, petulant, and utterly narcissistic! A hard one to love, but the Cockney Gull is smitten in spite of it.
What is real, and what is not? What is magic, anyway? The shiny new coin plucked from behind your ear? The rabbit in the top hat? One of my guides (yes, I do have guides!) calls it “5th dimension science.” Science fiction is actually an attempt to address this question. But is it real?
For Alyssa and her friends, magic is definitely real and it surrounds us, all day, every day. We have only to be willing to see it. Starfriends, Book II of The Alyssa Chronicles, explores the nature of reality, the existence of magic, and the true meaning of love through Alyssa’s experience with an unusual visitor to our planet. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter:
Alyssa leaned back against the still-warm sand of the Earth Hole and looked up through the juniper’s scraggly branches. The first star winked back at her, brilliant in a pale opal evening sky. A little breeze skimmed along the surface of the arroyo, lifting damp hair off her forehead. Over to her right, Rosie sighed, a huge sigh that filled the St. Bernard’s sides like a bellows and collapsed them again into a giant shaggy dog rug.
“Okay, Rosie. I know you’re bored. C’mon—let’s go home.” The girl pushed herself up on one elbow and glanced briefly back up the arroyo towards the Sister Tree and then down towards the road.
Along the right bank, near a large rusted piece of metal, something, glowing faintly blue-green, moved ever so slightly. Alyssa shook her head and scrunched her eyes tightly shut, then opened them. The bluish glow was still there—she hadn’t imagined it. She picked up a pebble and tossed it at the metal. Again the hint of movement—almost imperceptible—the barest rearrangement of air molecules.
“What the—?” She looked at Rosie, who had risen to a half-crouch and was gazing intently at the glow. Rosie glanced at her quickly and then back at the glow, a low growl rumbling deep in her belly.
It wasn’t a flashlight—Alyssa was sure of that. The light was too vague, too diffused—kind of like the glow from a TV screen—so there probably wasn’t a person hiding in the bushes on the bank. Besides, if there were, Rosie would be barking. But if it wasn’t human, what was it?
Alyssa got to her knees, moving slowly and as quietly as possible. Again she saw a flash of movement—almost like something changing shape, the way things do in the movies for special effect. But from what and to what she couldn’t tell—it was too fast. Silently she summoned Rosie, signaling with her hand. The dog crept forward on her belly until her nose was almost touching Alyssa’s head where it cleared the top of the Earth Hole. Together the girl and the dog watched quietly while the twilight deepened around them and the phosphorescent glow grew brighter. Suddenly Alyssa saw it clearly—a human form—shimmering in the light. Rosie growled again, and the little hairs on the nape of Alyssa’s neck stood on end. The creature froze, facing them across an abyss of darkening sand.
“W-who is it?” Alyssa demanded, her voice quavering.
“It is I—Thar,” came the answer. The creature took a tentative step towards them and stopped. It was about five feet tall, just Alyssa’s height, and naked, with the hairless and flat-chested body of a young girl. Alyssa stood up slowly. So did Rosie, drawing back her lips to reveal two rows of gleaming white daggers.
“Please—I cannot hurt you,” the creature said softly. “Ask the animal to sit.”
“Rosie, down,” Alyssa commanded. The dog sank to her belly, eyes riveted on the glowing figure. Alyssa took a step toward it. “Are you real?” she whispered.
“Of course I am. As real as you are. But different.” Thar, if that was the thing’s name, took another step towards Alyssa. Each of them reached out a hand and the space between the two hands narrowed, glimmering.
One of the main characters in The River Goddess & Other Stories is Number Two, a large red ant who acts as the voice of reason (sometimes ad nauseum!) in most of Alyssa’s adventures. Kind of like C3PO in Starfriends. I have a special spot in my heart for ants– there are a couple of reasons for that. One is based on a Hopi tale about how the ants saved humans in the Third World.
Great Spirit was very displeased with the People. They had not been behaving properly. In fact, they’d been very bad, some of them– stealing each others’ possessions, sleeping with each others’ wives, even killing each other! Great Spirit decided a cleansing was needed and that a huge flood would do the trick nicely. However, He also knew that there were a few good people and those folks should be saved, so He sent a message…
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Sunstone Press in Santa Fe is the new publisher of The River Goddess & Other Stories. I was thrilled to deliver my little River Goddess into the capable hands of James Smith and his staff. Sunstone is well-repected in the publishing world, and has been based here in Santa Fe since the early 70s. Thanks to Ellen Kleiner at Blessingway Author’s Services, who introduced us, Alyssa and her friends have found a new home!
One of the key characters in The River Goddess & Other Stories is Mr. Two, a large red ant who becomes Alyssa’s confidant and good friend. Two, as she affectionately calls him, is a wee bit like C-3PO, the droid who behaves like a proper English butler in most of the Star Wars movies. It’s definitely time you met Two, so…
The Ants’ Treasure
Alyssa plunked down beside the Ant Hill at the top of the barranca, drew her legs up, and rested her chin on her knees. Some days made absolutely no sense. Especially this one! Heart, usually calm and endlessly patient, had actually snapped at her after breakfast and told her to find something to do outside. Gentle Owl, slamming his metal palette against the tiles on the kitchen counter while cleaning his brushes, was uncommonly loud and boisterous. Alyssa wondered just what was going on. …
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Well, the Cottonwood has just reminded me that it’s time you got to know Rolf, Alyssa’s very old friend, and the Trees. Incidentally, there is no picture of Rolf, nor of Alyssa or any of the other humans in the stories. The reason for this is because I hope you can see yourself in these characters, unhindered by my mental images. So, here we go!
The tall Cottonwood that lived at the corner of DeVargas and Galisteo streets wasn’t in its place when it noticed Owl’s truck pull up to the curb—it was down by the acequia sipping water from the ice melt. Hastily it bounded back up the hill, landing with a jolt that dislodged a small piece of bark, and settled its branches. It would never do to miss the Greeting—a simple ceremony but one that held great meaning for both the Cottonwood and Alyssa. Besides, it had…
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In Tesuque, New Mexico, where we were living in the early 90s, there is an arroyo, or dry river bed, that runs through the property on which our casita, or cabin, was built. I used to walk in the arroyo every day– it became a secret world of my very own, and the feeling this evoked was similar to what I used to feel as a small girl when I’d find a special hiding place in Nature near my home. One day during my walk I noticed a little root, sticking up out of the sand. It looked so much like a female figure, dancing with wild abandon, that I decided to honor this manifestation of the Divine Feminine with a stone altar and a name. The name that came to…
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This is a drawing of the River Goddess. She felt that the best way to introduce herself was to give you a bit of her first conversation with Alyssa:
One afternoon, hurrying home down the arroyo, Alyssa noticed
something strange, close to the ground near the right bank. It was near
sunset and she didn’t want to stay much longer in the arroyo but her
curiosity pulled her toward an oddly shaped root. She squatted down
to examine it better and noticed that it looked almost as if it had legs
growing out of the sand, and a long, twisted body. There were little
branches at the top of it that seemed to her like outstretched arms
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