I wish to thank Larion Wills for honoring me today and stopping by my crib to talk about her latest release from MuseItUp Publishing.
I've had the pleasure of meeting her on several different chat groups, getting to know her by Larriane, one of her other pen names as well as through MuseItUp. My darling hubby, Mike, also has published several books with them. Since then, she's also joined Secret Cravings Publishing where I've published the majority of my stories. So without further ado, take it away Miss Larion.
Poachers are stealing our heritage.
So many times an author is asked what inspired you to write the story. Most times, I can’t really answer, and I’m not a climb up on a soapbox type of person. I’m not, however, adverse to using fiction to bring an issue to attention. Illegal poaching is something I’ve been aware of for many years. When I realized it still happened, in the proportions it does, and what a dangerous job a game and fish agent and park rangers have, it surprised me. My awareness occurred back in the 70s, the reason I choose to use that time period for my story. Traps has our hero and heroine fighting against poachers in a Federal Park. Though the story is fiction, the atrocities of poaching are not. The preface of Traps is a summary. “The Federal Park Service's mission is to preserve the United States' natural resources and wildlife. Poaching has been and still is a serious problem. The time period for this story is in the 1970’s when a bear gall, or gall as it is commonly referred to, sold for eight hundred dollars and upward. In the year 2000, those found in Asian shops across the United States carried a price tag as high as twenty-eight hundred dollars. Neither of those figures take into account, nor include, the profits on those smuggled out to other countries. You can imagine what a single gall would bring on today’s market with price escalation through the years. The greed of those feeding the belief in the “powers” of dry and ground gall is one example of practices putting those who enforce hunting laws into one of the highest level of fatalities in all of the law enforcement agencies. They also endanger the survival of bears in their natural habitat, adding to the loss by killing a nursing mother without consideration of the orphans left starve to death. Nor are bears the only animal in danger or does this happen only in the United States. In Africa, elephants are slaughtered for the tusks, rhinoceros for the horn, both hacked off the animal and the carcass left to rot just as the bear carcass is left to rot here. These are only three examples of natural resources in our world that can never be replaced, being lost through greed.”
The problem has not gone away. Here’s a report by fish and game in California in 2010: Black bear market sales of gall bladders range from $500 to $5,000 each when exported. Personal use of bear hide for rugs and clothing also has encourages the illegal take and waste of this species.
USA Today reported a new threat has been added: Deer, elk and even raccoons have a new type of predator to worry about: Poachers who kill increasingly for the thrill of it. The thrill killing usually involves youths ages 14 to 23, who gather in groups with the intent of killing as many animals as possible. Read the entire report at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-01-26-wildlife-thrill-killing_N.htm
An update on the poaching described in Traps wouldn’t be complete without including the very real modern threat: Unregulated internet provides ease with which poachers are able to find customers willing to pay premium prices. International Fund for Animal Welfare surveys reports over 7,000 species were sold via auction sites, classified ads and chat room in 2008.
When I say poaching, like Ward in Traps, I’m not talking about an occasional deer taking out of season to put food on the table. I’m talking about people without conscience who are stealing from us something that can never be replaced.
Tag: Saved from one trap, caught in another, Callie and Ward must work together to survive the final.
Veteran, Ward Overland’s wanted nothing but quiet, his wildlife book published, and to stop poachers. Being saddled with a woman to retake his photos was the insult. Acting as her guide to said animals was the injury. Worse, falling for a poacher’s trap and being saved by her. Still, he couldn’t let her just walk away.
Tragedy locked Callie away from life. Only the need for money convinced her to take the job. The sooner it ended with the abrasive and rude loner the better. Saving him from death changed everything. Watching him regain strength for the journey home, she found one part of her still alive…passion. The rules…no strings, no relationship.
The poacher wanted Ward dead. He didn’t figure on Callie, either time.
“I’m Ward Overland.”
She stepped back to let him in. “There’s coffee on the stove.”
He stayed where he was. “I want to get started.”
She hesitated for a moment before saying, “I’ll only be a few minutes.”
“You aren’t going with us,” he told her flatly. If Bennett wanted to have his bed comfort handy, that was his business. Ward was not dragging her along.
He didn’t care for stupidity, either. “Is he ready or not?”
To further irritate him, she asked, “Who?”
“Cal Bennett: that is who I was supposed to meet.”
She shifted to face him more directly. “I am Cal Bennett. Cal is short for Callie.”
A kick in the gut would have gotten much the same reaction from Ward. He jerked before exploding. “What the hell does he mean, sending me some powder puff woman? You can’t keep up with me out there.” Before she could answer, another question shot out of his mouth.
“Cal? Cute trick. He knew damned well I wouldn’t agree to any woman.”
“Is it against the law to trap with those?” she asked.
“It is here,” he said darkly. “Damn poachers!”
She wasn’t sure if he meant it was against the law because he was there or because it was against the law in a federal park. She decided not to ask for clarification. “I take it from your tone of voice you aren’t referring to the occasional deer out of season.”
“Are many endangered species lost this way?”
“Yes.” He turned and walked off again.
Thinking he was too mad to give her more than the shortest of answers, she followed and received a surprise when he started talking.
“When the trappers started in this valley, it was teeming with otter, beaver, mink, and fox, anything with a pretty fur. Their numbers have dwindled to what you can count on your fingers. The same assholes poach bear primarily, cut out one small part of their guts, the gallbladder, leave the rest to rot. Other assholes powder the gall to sell as an aphrodisiac, both for money with total disregard to the fact they’re driving them into extinction. A single gall will be worth hundreds of dollars in the right market.”
Callie made no comment, watching as he veered off, climbing up the bank to a tangle of logs left by some long ago flood. One hand went up to hold the lens he carried for her inside his shirt from sliding when he ducked beneath a log. His knitted cap brushed the log and started a cascade of snow.
Callie had an unobstructed view of him reaching up to brush the snow off he as stumbled slightly and the log above him fell.
For a moment, Callie couldn’t comprehend what had happened. One second he was there; the next he was gone from sight, under a log and snow falling from the surrounding brush and trees dislodged when the log fell. He was buried.
She took a step forward and tripped on the ski she forgot she had attached to her foot. Kicking off both skies, she ran, floundering several times to her knees in the snow. When she reached the log, it wouldn’t move. She dug and found his head, buried face down in the snow, and he was unconscious, not breathing.
The log had his arms pinned under him, and the weight of it was close enough to his neck he couldn’t lift his head free of the snow even if he hadn’t been knocked out. He was suffocating, and she couldn’t turn his head far enough to free his face. Nor could she turn it far enough to give him mouth to mouth to start him breathing again.
She put his cap under his face to keep his mouth and nose free of the snow and scrambled over the log. Reaching under it to press on his ribs in an awkward attempt at resuscitation, she accomplished nothing. The log was too wide to reach high enough to force air out of his lungs, and his backpack was in the way. She could see why the log wouldn’t roll on down the hill over him. His pack held it. She emptied the pack ruthlessly, splitting open the bottom with the knife from his belt. Indifferent to the cost of the contents, she tossed everything out of the way, scrambled back over the log to his head and pushed with her shoulder. The log slid to his hips. The weight off his lungs might have enabled him to draw in air, but the snow in his mouth and nose kept him from breathing freely.
She straddled him, working her arms under him to jerk her fists up into his diaphragm. Water from melted snow and snow crystals sprayed from his nostrils and lips. He still didn’t breath.
Changing positions again, she moved back to his head. His arms could be broken, and moving them could maim him. She had to move them, pulling them above his head to draw air into his lungs. She knew he could have broken ribs and pressing on them to force air out, clearing the passages more, could also drive jagged bone edges into his lungs. With no other choice, she pressed. Press on his lungs; drive the air out. Pull up his arms; draw air in. She could be killing him by doing it, but he would die if she didn’t.
Fear and panic didn’t hit her until he had coughed and sputtered his way back to breathing. She sat with her hands in fists on her knees, staring down at him. “Damn you,” she told him. “I don’t want to feel.”
Her voice choked, and her eyes filled with tears. Her body shook while she pulled in deep breaths catching in sobs. She wouldn’t feel. Any emotion was a hole in the dyke, letting others flood through. She wouldn’t allow it. She hadn’t for three years, and she wouldn’t again.
She had the dyke repaired when he began to stir back to consciousness. She had to get that log off him, and the job wasn’t going to be easy. One end was hung up against a standing tree. The log wasn’t going to roll or slide any further.
Since its release day, let's run a contest, free download of Traps. Go to my site, tell me what my next release will be in an email to larriane @ hotmail.com with Traps in the subject line and I'll draw one for a free download of Traps. (hint: it's on the coming soon page)
Thanks Larion for honoring me today by guest blogging. Everyone let's give her some love for stopping by and entering her contest by leaving a comment below as well as following her directions for entry. Below are all the ways you can contact her:
Larriane AKA Larion Wills, two names one author, thousands of stories
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/ White Savage, Chase, Tarbet
http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/ Mourning Meadow