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A.F. (scribe77) | 369 comments Mod

Ilana Maletz

Ilana Maletz

Cha'risa's Gift

Cha’risa’s Gift begins with a love story between a Hopi medicine woman with uncanny healing abilities, and Caleb, an Irish immigrant who runs a ranch just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. The two meet when Cha’risa’s son, Ahote, decides to take a job on Caleb’s ranch. Having spent years in an Indian Boarding school, Ahote feels uncertain about which world he really belongs to. Cha’risa chooses to join him on the ranch, hoping to help to guide him. Then the unexpected happens; Caleb finds himself falling for her, and against her better judgment, Cha’risa finds she feels the same.
Cha’risa and Caleb are confronted with the fact that their love is an affront to many. It is only through Cha’risa’s profound gifts of healing that the community learns to overcome their prejudices. Ahote, spends many happy years at the ranch, growing secure in his place within this diverse family. It all changes dramatically in the course of an afternoon, when Ahote learns the impossibility of fully joining the white man’s world. He flees the ranch, sick at heart for what he unwittingly unleashed; only to find himself inexplicably drawn to an eerily beautiful place deep within the Grand Canyon. There, he discovers a people of magic unlike any he has ever seen.
Even as a small child, Cha’risa and Caleb’s son, Sam, demonstrates some very unusual abilities, but it is his gift of being able to see the future that nearly becomes his undoing. He survives the horrors of World War I only to find his visions haunted by an even darker future. By the time Sam’s twins, Kat and Cal, are born, the family and their ranch/lodge enterprise are greatly respected. At sixteen years old, the twins have a violent encounter with cattle rustlers that awaken within them spiritual gifts they never knew they possessed. For Kat, it is clear that she has inherited her grandmother’s talent for healing. For Cal, he discovers a shamanic gift; an ability to see through the eyes of animals. What they learn on that fateful day with the cattle rustlers sets the stage for all they must endure in the South Pacific during World War II.
Come, immerse yourself in this magical setting of towering red rocks, snow-capped peaks and sacred canyons, and discover this story of love and family, spanning the generations.

message 2: by Ilana (last edited Apr 07, 2017 11:01PM) (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments Ilana Maletz

Cha'risa's Gift

Hi! Thanks for stopping in to visit my CyCon author showcase. You'll find lots here to help introduce you to my book, Cha'risa's Gift, and also to help you get to know me :)

If you are looking to find out more on how to purchase Cha'risa's Gift, you can find my book here at cycon at the book expo, You can also purchase the book on my website: And for this weekend, to celebrate the Brains to Books Cycon, Cha'risa's Gift is on sale for just .99 cents!

EVENTS: Over the course of this weekend I will be participating in events in both the fantasy and the historical fiction genres.  

Here are a list of the events and where to find them:

Jessi’s historical fiction fun: running April 7-9. I've written a rather spooky short story involving an interview between my main character, Cha'risa, and a developer trying to build a tourist attraction right at the most sacred site within the Grand Canyon.

Fantasy genre's scavenger hunt: Here's a chance to hunt down some great prizes. Stop by and and join in the game! Do you want to see what I'm contributing to the prize pot? 


I'll be participating in the Fantasy Blog hop, which is a really fun way to check out my website: I hope to see you there, especially because I have some really great gifts! Just visiting my website will give you the opportunity to sign up for a really exciting, one of a kind giveaway. Five lucky entrants are going to be granted free, early access to , a Visual Novel - Sci Fan adventure where you choose what happens. This intriguing book is beautifully illustrated with a compelling musical score. Early reviews of the novel are already generating lots of excitement in the digital media world. Want a quick glimpse? You can see the trailer here:

Also, anyone who ends up subscribing to my newsletter on my website gets another very special gift. So stop on by, I have a whole page dedicated to just Brain to Books:

Cover Wars: THIS JUST IN: After the first day of voting, "Cha'risa's Gift" is in 1st place in Cover Wars with 73 votes!
I'm extremely partial to my book cover. It was made by my daughter-in-law, Natalie Maletz, a very talented artist. If you love it as much as I do, I hope you'll pop in there and vote for Natalie and me! We really have a chance to win this!

Also, I am taking part in the B2B Giveaway. It is a huge giveaway, Cha'risa's Gift is only one of many, many of books being given away over the course of the weekend, so take a look, see if there's something there strikes your fancy:

And last, but most definitely not least, I'll be stopping in to visit Joe Compton, for Joe Compton Live over the course of the weekend. You can watch me there at

I want to share with everyone some exciting news. My book, Cha’risa’s Gift, was a semi-finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Competition! There were hundreds of very talented authors competing in this competition, so making it into the semi-finals was very much a crucible moment for me. It is so hard, when you put your work out there, to know how it will be received. Once you take that plunge, you quickly learn that there are literally thousands and thousands of voices out there, all with stories to tell, all clamoring to be heard. In such a crowd it is very hard to get noticed, and even harder to get feedback. So this moment really was like a ray of light for me. I had been judged and found promising by a distinguished jury, in a festival that has become a mecca for writers here in the Southwest. With the arrival of that notification, I could say with much more confidence that I had written a story that truly resonated with people.

message 3: by Ilana (last edited Mar 16, 2017 12:46PM) (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments For any of you curious about who I am, here is bit about me: I have lived most of my adult life on the east coast of the United States, where I spent the majority of my time raising a family, and teaching singing to middle and high schoolers. Back then, I was also doing lots of writing, but the only things that made it out of my file drawers in those days were theatrical productions I created for my students.

During those years I lived in some beautiful places, most of them along the eastern seaboard. For a short while, I even lived in Munich, Germany. The one thing all these varied landscapes had in common was that they were either city or suburb living. That all changed when I began visiting Northern Arizona with my family more than a decade ago. It didn't take us long to all fall in love with the natural beauty and history of this region. Seven years ago, we made the decision to move here permanently.

With that move my life changed dramatically. Every day, I would walk out the door with my dog, Lucy, and we'd enter into this vivid landscape of color and wide open spaces.
I’d walk among towering red rocks, and box canyons dotted with the fresh green of scrubby pine and juniper. It didn't matter whether the sky was a cloudless blue, or the darkening grey of a coming storm. All the colors of the sky enhanced the beauty of the land all around me. It amazed me, how Lucy and I could walk for miles and not see a single person. Out in that wilderness we needed each other to find the paths, steer clear of snakes, and to chase off the roving packs of coyotes. Together we spotted elk, deer, jackrabbits, and all manner of birds and lizards. I was enchanted, and all the while, I would wonder about those who may have walked these paths before me.

Cha’risa’s Gift was my way of trying to share this beautiful gift with others, giving people something of what it feels like to be immersed in the magical beauty and wildness that is Northern Arizona. 

message 4: by Ilana (last edited Mar 16, 2017 09:40PM) (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments For those of you still wondering if you'd like my book, I'd like to share an excerpt from "Cha'risa's Gift" with you. This story is told through a series of crucible moments that happen within Cha'risa's family over the course of four decades. But none of these future moments could have happened without this first one that I'm about to share with you. In this scene, Cha'risa is trying to discourage Caleb from developing a romantic interest in her. She decides the best way to do this is to tell him her darkest, most shameful secret. She feels certain this will send him running, but she is soon to discover Caleb McKenna does not scare easily.

Cha’risa turned from him, fighting off a smile. She decided she liked his persistence. After all these years of being doubted, it felt good to hear him take her side. Still, for his sake, the words needed to be spoken. She took a moment, and he waited for her, not uncomfortable with her silence.

She did not look at him when she spoke again. “You need to understand that the line between a medicine woman and a witch is a fine one. The knowledge I use to heal can also be used to harm. Truly, the only difference between the two is how one chooses to use that energy.”

“I’m listening,” he said, encouraging her to continue.

She took a deep breath and once again met his gaze. “My people are always aware of this. They notice when someone is no longer using this power for the betterment of others.” She paused a moment and then admitted. “Four years ago, I gave my village a reason to believe that I had crossed over to the dark side of this power.”

“Did you?” He sounded fascinated.

Obviously, Caleb McKenna was not a man who scared easily, but it only made it more imperative that he hear the full accounting. Cha’risa didn’t like to think of that night, let alone speak of it, but still, she forced herself to relive the events so he would fully comprehend the darkness inside her.

“Four years ago soldiers came to my village in the middle of the night. They came to abduct our children and take them to the Indian School.” She glanced at Caleb. She knew he’d been one of Ahote’s teachers. Perhaps he knew already how her son had come to that school, but certainly he didn’t know all of it.

She continued speaking. “They dragged Ahote out of his bed, all the while shooting their guns in warning. From all over the village, children were screaming as the soldiers grabbed them, threw them across their backs, and carried them over to their horses. I stood there screaming too. I was so afraid. I felt powerless with all their firearms pointed at us, but not my husband. He ran up to where a soldier sat upon his horse, holding our terrified boy in his firm grasp. Kwahu tried to grab the reins, to keep the soldier from riding off with our son. But the soldier raised his rifle and fired a shot. I ran to where Kwahu lay motionless on the ground. I could see the wound to his head. There was nothing for me to do; my husband was already dead. For a moment, the soldier sat there stunned, looking at Kwahu, looking at me.”

Cha’risa took in a deep breath to steady her trembling hands. After a moment, she squared her shoulders and looked back up, meeting Caleb’s steady gaze. She was ready to tell him the worst part of her story.

“When I looked into that soldier’s eyes, I was filled with such hatred. It burned inside me unlike anything I’d ever felt before. It exploded like wildfire, a crazy wind blowing in all directions, and I just opened my arms and let it go. Almost immediately, the soldier’s nose began to bleed. You could tell he didn’t think much about it. He wiped away the first trickles. With his rifle still trained on me, he rode away from our village and into the canyon. Soon our village was empty of soldiers, empty of children, and eighteen adults as well, who’d been arrested for resisting. They didn’t arrest me, because they never realized what it was I’d done.”

“It wasn’t long before stories started coming back about some kind of terrible disease striking down people in Keam’s Canyon. All of us were frantic with worry for our children. But when the men they’d taken from our village finally came home, they said the disease only ever affected those soldiers who’d raided Hoteville. They described the symptoms, saying every single soldier who’d participated in the raid began bleeding from the nose, the ears, and the eyes. Our returned men glanced at me as they finished their story. They said it was unlike anything they’d ever seen, and the agonized screams of those afflicted had been terrible to hear. Every last one of those men died.”

With the last of her story finally revealed, Cha’risa let out a shuddering sigh, and then fell silent. The shame of her confession weighed heavily on her, but she knew she’d done the right thing. Now Caleb would understand the darkness inside her, and why he needed to keep his distance. After only a few moments of this heavy quietude, Caleb reached out and took her hand. She looked up at him, surprised.

“They killed your husband and kidnapped your child.”

Was he defending her actions? Another tear escaped her, and she shook her head, not trusting herself to talk.

“I would have fought them too,” Caleb assured her. “I would have killed them if it meant I could save my child.”

“But don’t you see?!” she cried. “I didn’t save him. I didn’t save anyone!” She bowed her head. “That’s the worst part. I had the power to stop them, and I waited until it was too late. I killed those men when it served no purpose, except to vent my own rage.”

More tears fell now, a steady flow that she didn’t even bother to wipe away. Once again she lifted her face and met Caleb’s eyes. “I’ve never said this to another living soul, not even my father, but it is not the killing I regret, or the turn to the dark side of the power. What I regret is that I didn’t save my husband and I didn’t save my boy.”

Caleb leaned in closer, his eyes searching deep into hers. “Next time,” he said. “You won’t hesitate.”

That shocked her. “Are you suggesting I should freely use my dark power?”

“No. I’m saying I understand why you did, and if you ever do need to protect someone you love again, you will know what to do, and have the courage to do it.”

She dropped her gaze from his, shaking her head. “This is a dangerous power to let loose. I have the ability to cause great harm.”

“I’m thinking if you put a gun in my hand I can kill as well as you.”
“You don’t understand,” she persisted. “Every time I open to that power, the darkness will lay a stronger claim within me. How can I risk that? Even I’m not sure if I’m a witch or a medicine woman!”
He put his hand under her chin, lifting her face to meet his. “You’ve given me many reasons why I shouldn’t be interested in you, except for the one that actually matters to me.”

“And what’s that?” she asked.

“You haven’t told me you’re not interested.” Then he leaned in even closer, kissing her on the mouth.

Perhaps she should have stopped him, but it had been many long, lonely years since a man had touched her like this, and had kissed her so tenderly. Without thinking, she wrapped her arms around him, responding to his kiss with a hunger of her own. It was Caleb who at last rested his forehead against hers.

“Can I take that to mean you might also be interested?”

Cha’risa laughed. “You are a fool, Caleb McKenna.”

He cracked a smile. “You wouldn’t be the first to have said so.”
“No good can come of this.”

“Depends on what you mean by good, because I thought that kiss was a lot more than just good.”

She didn’t know what to say, because she had, too.

message 5: by Wordwizard (new)

Wordwizard (wordwizardw) | 29 comments I tried to Save The Date, but nothing happened when I clicked Submit.

message 6: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments Wordwizard wrote: "I tried to Save The Date, but nothing happened when I clicked Submit."
I've sent a message to the B2B tech team.

message 7: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments Ilana wrote: "Ilana Maletz

Cha'risa's Gift

Hi! Thanks for stopping in to visit my CyCon author showcase. You'll find lots here to help introduce you to my book, Cha'risa..."

message 8: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments And Cycon is up and running! I'm so excited! Hope to giveaway lots of gifts and make some new friends! See you around the fairgrounds :)

message 9: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments THIS JUST IN: "Cha'risa's Gift" is in first place in the historical fiction, memoirs, YA cover wars with 73 votes. If you haven't voted yet, please do!

message 10: by Maddy (new)

Maddy | 162 comments This sounds very interesting. May I ask how you came up with the names of your characters?

message 11: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Miller | 3 comments Loved the book. Loved the characters. Loved the cover. I just voted for your cover in the B2Bcycon cover wars. I hope you come out on top.

message 12: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 59 comments Hello Ilana, love your booth! I think it's awesome that you added a picture of your book festival booth in your virtual booth! Can't wait to read Cha'risa's Gift!

message 13: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments Heidi wrote: "Hello Ilana, love your booth! I think it's awesome that you added a picture of your book festival booth in your virtual booth! Can't wait to read Cha'risa's Gift!"

Maddy wrote: "This sounds very interesting. May I ask how you came up with the names of your characters?"

Thanks, Heidi! I had some good role models helping me figure out how to make the booth look nice :)

message 14: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments Sharon wrote: "Loved the book. Loved the characters. Loved the cover. I just voted for your cover in the B2Bcycon cover wars. I hope you come out on top."

Thanks, Sharon. I really appreciate all the support! It's making a big difference! Last I looked I think "Cha'risa's Gift" was up at 114!

message 15: by Ilana (new)

Ilana Maletz | 25 comments Maddy wrote: "This sounds very interesting. May I ask how you came up with the names of your characters?"

Hi Maddy, I often use sites for baby names to name my characters. And it just so happens that there are several dedicated just to Native American names. Cha'risa actually means elk in Hopi, and the spirit of the elk is one of brotherhood. I felt like that was one of her challenges throughout her life, and that the spirit of the elk was always a reminder for her pointing her in along the the right path.

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