Exploring a Story with George Seaton

December 22, 2016

Exploring a Story with George Seaton


After my short story, “Whispers of Old Winds,” appeared in Dreamspinner’s 2015 Advent Calendar, several reviewers rued the lack of detail about the relationship between the main characters, Sam Daly and his husband, Michael Bellomo. I agreed with those reviewers’ criticism, and began to expand the story into a novel even before the short story was published. Though the original story is included in the first few chapters of the novel, the ensuing narrative goes back to Sam’s and Michael’s first meeting, their decision to move to the Colorado mountains, and the discovery of the secrets the mountain community of Pine County reveal.

Here’s the blurb: Sheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County, in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and  tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam had known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.

When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening cause him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.



“Michael, I don’t want to…. I’m trying my best to understand this thing you’ve got. This extra set of eyes and ears that seem to transcend… reality—at least my reality—and I really, really don’t want to—”

“Sam,” he interrupts. “How long have we been together?”

I’m surprised by his question, but I answer him. “Well, we’re going on five years.”

“And in all those years, have we ever really discussed this extra set of eyes and ears, as you say, that I’ve been blessed with?”

“I might not say blessed, but yes, a couple times we have. You told me about the caul, and then when that freak bear fell on top of Digger and me, you made the painting and…. Yeah, we’ve talked about it.”

He pulls his legs up on the couch and tucks them under him. “And when I told you I couldn’t touch your dog tags anymore?”

“Yes. That too.”

“Okay,” he says, smiling. “But we’ve never discussed how I filter all of this… weirdness. How I, oh, put everything in its place so that I can function as a—God, how I hate the word—normal person.”

The occasional funks I’ve seen him in over the past four years come to mind, but they’ve never lasted longer than a few days. It occurs to me that, yes, he has to have some way to filter the weirdness or I’d be living with a fucking zombie.

“No, we’ve never discussed that.” I take another sip of bourbon as he slips off the couch and then places another log on the fire. He returns to the couch and, once again, pulls his legs under him.

“When I was a kid,” he says, “the perceptions I received would sometimes scare me. They really would. But gradually I figured out how to deal with them. It’s like I set up some file cabinets in my brain where I could put the scary stuff away. I gave all the drawers locks, and only I had a key. That worked for a while. I’d see something, or perceive something, and I’d quickly shove it into a drawer and lock it down. When I got over the initial fright of it, I’d usually unlock the drawer and take a second look. Those second looks were always more, um, insightful than when the perceptions first hit me. They’d come from nowhere, and I wasn’t able to understand them until I locked them away for a while and then eventually pulled them out again.”

“You still do that?”

He shakes his head. “No. I learned how to deal with them without locking them down. Now I just shove them way, way back in my mind where I can retrieve them whenever I want.”

“What about when you painted that picture of Digger and me under that freak bear? You did that before it happened. What were you thinking when you painted that?”

“Oh, that’s something else. That’s… I guess it’s precognition. Or if you have to call it something, that’s what it would be. No, when I was painting that, I was just reflecting what was in my mind. I had no idea that what I had envisioned would actually come true. In real life.”

As he leans over to grab his glass, I want to ask him, Why you? Why were you picked to carry what must be a burden no man should have to deal with? “I know you said it all has to do with the caul, but why…? Who? What’s the reason for all this? Why?”

“Magic,” he says with a smile on his face that makes me smile too.


Check out Whispers of Old Winds today!


Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton


Dreamspinner Press

About George

George Seaton’s short stories, novellas, and novels capture contemporary life mostly set in the American west—Colorado and Wyoming in particular. He and his husband, David, along with their Alaskan malamute, Kuma, live in the Colorado foothills just southwest of Denver.

Website: http://www.gmseatonauthor.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/george.seaton
Twitter: @GeorgeSeaton


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