STORM WARRIOR - Death's Messenger becomes the Hero in this new Paranormal Novel by Dani Harper

STORM WARRIOR by Dani Harper features a GRIM,
a legendary black dog who is a messenger of death,
from the folklore of Celtic countries such as Wales 
My friends, family and readers are well aware that I adore shapeshifters, and my novels to date have been filled with Changelings who can transform from human to wolf at will.

And it's true that I'm usually a werewolf kind of gal, totally over the moon for the tall, dark and furry kind of guy.

Not this time.

Yes, STORM WARRIOR is shapeshifter story of sorts, but you won't find a single wolf in this tale! Instead it combines Celtic myth with faery lore from Wales. (Like the heroine, Morgan Edwards, I was lucky to have a Welsh gramma!)

The result is a hot hero, Rhys, who has been cursed by the faeries to be a Grim, a legendary black dog.


STORM WARRIOR  by Dani Harper
I love a good ghost story and a ghost DOG story is even better! One of my favorite Welsh folktales concerns the Grim, a legendary canine with many names: The Black Dog, the Gwyllgi, the Dog of Darkness, the Barghest, Dog of the Twilight and Black Hound of Destiny. The creatures is said to resemble a giant mastiff, larger than any living dog, and its eyes are often red and glowing.

The legend dates back to Celtic times in Wales. The Grim, or Black Dog, is the herald of Death itself, and those who see the animal are usually destined to die very soon. The dog appears without warning, follows or even chases people – yet vanishes without a trace. Electrical storms are often associated with the dog’s appearance (and yup, there’s a thunderstorm early on in Storm Warrior)

This otherworldly beast has counterparts in many parts of the British Isles. For centuries, black dogs have haunted particular towns, roads and forests in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. Occasionally, they have even cursed particular families.

Negative associations with dark dogs seem to be part of our collective human consciousness. It’s a frightening archetype throughout myth and legend, from Cerberus, the hideous canine that guards the entrance to the Underworld, to the black Hounds of the Norse god, Odin, to the Hellhounds that follow the Faery Hunt. Plus, a common pseudonym for depression is The Black Dog.

It's an unfortunate but well-documented truth that large black dogs are far less likely to be adopted from an animal shelter.   :(   It's called BDS or Black Dog Syndrome, and many shelters join in programs like the nationwide "Back in Black" event to encourage the adoption of black pets.

STORM WARRIOR by Dani Harper

In classic fiction, the haunting of a specific family by a black dog helped inspire the 1901 classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Big black dogs continue to appear in pop culture. Remember "the Grim" in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling? TV series such as SupernaturalReaper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have all featured monstrous and malevolent hounds. The legend of the black dog is also alive and well in many video games. The Lord of the Rings online computer game features just such an animal.


STORM WARRIOR  by Dani Harper
Did you know there are sightings of ghostly canines right here in the United States? Black dogs are said to haunt Macon County, Tennessee and foretell death and calamity. US Highway 491 is also said to be haunted by dogs of darkness – which perhaps is not surprising when you find out that the highway was originally named Route 666! Motorists report braking for giant black dogs – only to have them vanish at the moment of impact!

Even Long Island, New York has a black dog legend. Just like its Welsh counterpart, seeing the creature is said to be followed by death within a month. The supernatural canine that roams the hills of Connecticut is a little more forgiving – you have to see that particular black dog three times before writing out your will.

Think you’re safe if you stay home at night? Maybe not. There are many stories out there of seeing the Grim in a nightmare. As if the bad dream wasn’t enough, it’s said to be followed by dire events, even death. People have reported the giant black dog appearing inside their home, complete with glowing eyes, only to have it vanish when the light was turned on. Illness or death in the family or other catastrophe followed.


STORM WARRIOR  by Dani Harper made #5 on the 
Top 10 list of Romance and
Erotica for this fall
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. But a few stories recount incidents where the great beast protected children or guarded lone travelers.

This made me wonder – what if the spectral creature had a conscience, a sense of right and wrong? What if the Grim didn’t mindlessly follow its mission? What if the Black Dog didn't want to be Death's Messenger? What if it wasn't really a dog at all?

That was the proverbial "aha moment" in which my story was conceived!

* * * *

Originally I wrote my Black Dog story as a short ebook-novella called A Leap of Knowing -- and foolishly, I thought I was finished with Grims.  
Not so! 
I swear the characters "hounded" me ever after to write more because the story was soooo much bigger than the little novella could do justice to. 

In STORM WARRIOR, this paranormal fantasy/romance is finally the rich full-length novel it was always meant to be. And right now, I can hardly believe I'm working on Book Two, Storm Bound!

After all, there are so many more black dogs out there...

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Storm Warrior by Dani Harper

Storm Warrior

by Dani Harper

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