NEW NEW *** Island Girl *** NEW NEW

31 Jul

                                        Newest releases from GSP!

First up we welcome Russell James. Congratulations on your new release. 🙂



After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, he became a technical writer by day and spins twisted tales by night. He writes speculative fiction and historical fiction, but horror is his primary genre.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.” He has published the paranormal thriller Dark Inspiration in 2011 and will publish Sacrifice in 2012 with Samhain. His short stories appeared in Tales of Old, Encounters and Dark Gothic Resurrected magazines, and with Wicked East Press. He is a founding member of the Minnows Literary Group. He and his wife share their home in sunny Florida with two cats. 

His book we are highlighting today is Island Girl.



In 1851, Harrison Bartlett boards the brigantine Enchantress, escaping to the East Indies from the painful memory of his late wife. His ship sinks in a Pacific storm. The sole survivor, he washes ashore on a deserted volcanic island. Struggling to survive, he meets a fellow castaway, a native island girl named Anapele. She teaches him local ways and they begin to thrive. Just as they consummate the growing bond between them, events conspire to force them to decide how, or even if, they can stay together forever.


Harrison Bartlett watched the sea from the rail of the brigantine Enchantress. The Pacific lived up to its name and light swells stretched out to the few white clouds on the horizon. With the midday watch posted and the sails set, the only sounds were the creak of the ship’s timbers and the staccato stretch of the hemp lines with each gust of the wind. With a following breeze, the cargo ship was making good time for her destination in the Dutch East Indies.

Harrison’s head pounded out a near incapacitating bass beat. Another night in the comfort of demon rum had done him a disservice, an unwelcome continuance of his habit over the last six months. His black hair had just this week grown long enough to cover the scars on his scalp from the carriage accident. His limp was gone, but it still pained his back each time he straightened to his full six-foot height. But his physical recovery was less than half the battle.

“A pleasure cruise on a cargo ship?” First Officer Renwick asked as he walked up behind Harrison. The hefty veteran seaman wore the blue jacket that passed as an officer’s uniform on the ship. “I’ll never understand it. They have to pay the rest of us to be here.”

The first officer’s voice went through his head like a spike.

“It’s not the journey,” Harrison muttered. “It’s the destination.”

“Aye, and I’ve been to the East Indies,” the first officer said. He gave Harrison’s refined black suit and gold pocket watch a quick inspection. “A rough and tumble life there compared to the streets of Boston.”

“The bigger the change, the better,” Harrison said.

“Well, a young man like yourself will have no trouble making a go of it.”

Harrison nodded and looked back out to sea. He was sure he would make a go of it. What depressed him was that he would have to make a go of it alone. The accident had left him more mentally scarred than physically. It had claimed his beloved young wife, Constance.

“Enjoy these calm seas while you can,” the first officer said. “The Pacific can shift moods faster than a spoiled child. The only thing you can count on is that tomorrow won’t be the same as today.”

The first officer returned to his duties. Harrison hoped he was right. He longed for tomorrow to be different from today. He prayed that tomorrow the pain would be less, the loss would feel smaller, the emptiness within him would somehow be filled.

To think he was out here on little more than a whim. With his wife gone, all his success, all his money, all his family status had lost their allure. Alcohol became his unhealthy refuge. He grew depressed enough to contemplate suicide.

Instead, he opted for escape to a place far from all he knew, though his father asserted that such a dangerous journey was just suicide by other means. With both a continent and an ocean between him and his past, perhaps he could move on.

So far, he had not.

The next day dawned blood red. Harrison remembered the adage: red sky at morning, sailor take warning. The first officer’s admonition the previous day proved prophetic. By mid-morning, the clouds were coal black and the wind ripped through the rigging with a banshee’s scream. By noon, reefed sail carried the ship into a full gale.

Harrison had beat a panicked retreat to his tiny cabin to weather the storm. The ship rose high in the water and then dove down so fast that he nearly floated up off his bunk. China and cutlery clattered across the deck with each change of direction. His shirts swung on their hangers in the closet, following each pitch of the deck, arms flailing through the air like madmen. His precious framed daguerreotype of his late lovely Constance skidded across a shelf. He lunged and caught it as it sailed out into space. He stuffed this treasured prize into his shirt.

Each crash of the hull through the waves sent a painful reverberating shudder up Harrison’s spine. Any concerns he had about being suicidal were put to rest. A bottle of rum toppled from his desk and shattered on the deck. He begged God to let him live through this rolling hell as he gripped the sides of his bunk in desperation.

Muffled warning shouts sounded from the deck above. “Rogue wave!” cried a man.

A wall of water hit the ship broadside. Masts snapped, sounding like claps of thunder, as the water tore through the sails and rigging. The ship rolled onto its side. Constance’s picture slipped from his shirt and skittered away as Harrison clung with both hands to the side of his bunk. His trunk smashed open against the bulkhead and the rest of his effects exploded around the room.

The ship breached. A thunderous, wrenching snap came from the ship’s keel as it broke in two. Water rushed into Harrison’s cabin as if through an opened floodgate. The bulkhead above him cracked open like an eggshell. Roiling water rose to his chest. Clothes and papers swirled around him. Certain he was about to drown, he reached for the rip in the hull, his only escape. He pulled himself through and clung to the side of the sinking ship.



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