Tag Archives: cats

The Eyes Have It….

9 Oct

Today we are featuring, with pleasure, Denise Bartlett. Welcome Denise.

Denise Bartlett began writing short stories when she was nine. Pen and paper gave way to word processors and typing, printing, reading and perfecting. A dreamer, she has always searched for deeper meaning and more vivid experiences in her everyday life. From hypnosis, training with mystics and spiritual people of many walks to tax preparation and gardening, her interests vary widely. The thread that runs through her life is imagination. Denise has written a variety of poetry, short stories and novelettes, as well as columns and articles on gardening and income taxes.

Her GSP Halloween Promo book entry is The Eyes Have it.

Liza Casey called in to report a double homicide today. Sheriff Bobby Knowles had a high-school crush on Liza’s mother, Elizabeth, who disappeared without a trace, years ago when Liza was young. Liza’s life has been a maelstrom of tragedies, and this seems to be yet another one. But what is behind the latest report? Liza says it’s the green-eyed monster.
Excerpt:
Peace officer. Hah. Sheriff Bobby Knowles poured single malt whiskey neat into the same small Support Your Local Sheriff tumbler his father had always used. His father, Robert Knowles, Sr., had been the sheriff of Lane County, Texas, for years before retiring and backing his oldest son’s election to the spot. Easing into his recliner, Bobby pulled the remote out of the western-design saddlebags his wife had made for the old stuffed chair several years before. When he clicked the button, the pre-programmed CD player dutifully started through a stack of 20 George Strait and instrumental country music disks.
His back hurt, the worn out muscles sent spasms up his spine and he knew exactly where the pain originated. The desk chair at work was hurting his back these days, but that was his own fault. During his trip to the U. S. Law Expo in Washington, D. C. last month, paid for by the fair politicos of Lane County, he’d opted for the latest in technology-three new laptop computers equipped with satellite uplink and GPS-with absolutely no money left for new office chairs. Maybe he’d just have to set aside the money from the meager supply funds and get one. Yeah, right.
Sometimes he wondered why he had gone into law enforcement. As he mused, he smiled to himself. His mother had always said he had gone into peace-keeping. “It’s a worthy field, Bobby. Your father has kept the peace here for years.” He’d thought-there is no peace, Mom-but had kept that thought to himself. He knew it was the only way she could justify allowing another of her loved ones to wear a badge and carry a gun. But he had not been able to keep the peace.
Being a peace officer had not been enough to keep cancer from ravaging Jill’s body, either. They’d been married only five years when she died. They had no children; he alone remained. He still lived in his parents’ rambling old two-story, built somewhere around the turn of the century.
Shortly after his dad’s retirement, a car accident way off in Minnesota had taken both his parents from him. Peace. He could not believe how much he ached from the times peace had been replaced by tumult in his life.
Jill. He’d met her his freshman year over spring break in Galveston. She’d been a fresh, vibrant sociable fireball of a girl. Her blond hair was straight and her blue eyes bright-and he’d loved that little birthmark at the base of her throat that seemed to tremble when she was excited. She’d often been excited-at football games, at parties, out late at night at beach parties and alone with him in his car. Those were the days. . . .
Fun and youth and laughter. Going to Padre Island to look for shells, feed the sea gulls and watch the sun set on the dunes. Why did he feel so old and alone today? What was with him?
How he missed her. Jill. He sat staring at the brown liquid in his glass, moving it slightly to watch the waves swirl against the insides. He sipped again, letting the fiery liquid burn his throat as he slid deeper into reverie.
Before Jill, there had only been one other love interest, a local girl, Elizabeth Casey. He had a huge crush on her, but he never knew if it was reciprocated. Sitting there in his lonely house, forty years heavy on his frame, he recalled those high school days. He remembered very well the long afternoons spent daydreaming that someday she would be his wife. Unfortunately, there was a significant block of his unexpressed ardor from the beginning.
Liz Casey, one of the most beautiful young women in the county, had the most domineering father Bobby had ever met-maybe the most domineering man Bobby had ever known. How many times had the teenage Bobby driven to the end of the driveway leading to the lonely cliff-top home of the Caseys and turned back after sitting, staring, wishing for an hour or more? Bobby knew the number was not low. The young Bobby Knowles had never ventured anywhere close to the old mansion.
To make things worse, the man Liz had married as the result of an arranged betrothal was not any kinder than her father to the way of thinking of the citizens of this fair town, Bobby among them. Straight out of high school, she was swept off to someplace off in the Eastern USA to be courted and married. The town had been abuzz with the news that Elizabeth had married one of her father’s old friends. Scandalous talk-rumors really, gossip shared quietly over the side fence for fear of repercussions-sizzled through the town’s grapevine. Elizabeth’s father was not young when his daughter was born. Her mother had died in childbirth when her daughter was only ten years old. A housekeeper, Abigail Carlson, cared for the girl and her father, as old Naomi Carlson, her mother, had tended the Caseys before her.
Many believed hers was an unhappy marriage, for Elizabeth rarely came into town in the months after she and her husband returned to her childhood home. However, they had seen her blossom with the birth of her own daughter. For a short time, she had come out of her shell and spent time in town, showing off her child and adorning her in lovely dresses made by the local seamstresses.
Then, fifteen years ago, when her daughter was only six years old, tragedy had struck. Much to Bobby’s horror, at midmorning of a windy, overcast fall day he was summoned to the cliff-side mansion. The girl’s nanny was crying, almost incoherent in her worry. She haltingly reported that Elizabeth had disappeared. As they arrived, his men had spread across the land, working in a grid from the spot where they found her horse. An avid horsewoman, she always went for a morning run to exercise the restive Arabian mare, Katie.
Her beloved bay mare grazed on a long line. The animal was still saddled, its bridle hanging from the pommel of the saddle, a rope attached to her halter, keeping her close for the rider who never returned.
According to Mrs. Carlson, Liz sometimes came here, to the highest point of land overlooking the sea, to sketch scenes of nature-she’d always had a natural ability. They found a sketch pad with a riding jacket folded beside it, but not Liz. Teams of Search and Rescue dogs and their owners, familiar with the rocky coastline, were called in at noon. The afternoon wore on. When darkness approached, a sense of desperation settled in until one of the men shouted. Then it was a deep sadness which intensified in the hearts of the searchers when they saw him pointing down toward the turbulent, rocky waters.
Throughout the long day, Little Liza had refused to stay at the house, following the movement of the sheriff, as the others circled around him, watching from her seat on a big flat-topped rock. She was wrapped in a blanket the police had given her, but she would not give in to the exhaustion Bobby knew she felt.
It appeared the rocks on the side of the cliff bore some blood, but the rain and the waves washed it away before anyone could crawl down to gather it for testing. What had caught the eye of the man was a flash of color-one of the bonnets Elizabeth always wore clung below them, against the stark gray cliff side. Its bright red ribbons fluttered sadly from a crevice. Perhaps it had flown there on a breeze as she fell-or jumped-to her death. A storm raged through the night and the evidence, what there was of it, had washed away.
They spent a week searching for her, hoping against hope that the young mother would be found alive. After no additional evidence surfaced, Elizabeth Casey Skews was declared dead from accidental drowning. The conclusion the police and townspeople had drawn was that Elizabeth had slipped and fallen to her death. Wilton Skews and his daughter Liza continued living in the big manor house with only old Mrs. Carlson helping out as housekeeper. The nanny had been dismissed.
Wilton remarried three years later. And only three months after the wedding, the now nine year old Liza had come home from school to discover Wilton’s wife and two stepdaughters brutally murdered where they had picnicked atop the cliff overlooking the ocean. Although Lisa discovered the grisly triple homicide, she didn’t witness it. The murders were still unresolved. Bobby still wondered about it-had it been a random event? The women’s jewelry had been taken, but the house had not been broken into.
For more about Denise and where to get her books please follow the links.
http://www.gypsyshadow.com/Denise.html#EyesExc
http://www.silvervalkyre.com
Denise@silvervalkyre.com/.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Eyes-Have-It-ebook/dp/B00433TAPQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349754518&sr=8-1&keywords=the+eyes+have+it+denise+bartlett

Happy Easter from Prague

7 Apr

Easter is yet another tradition filled holiday in the Czech Republic. The picture above is but one of the many Easter markets around the city. This little square is a favourite of mine. The name of the square is Namesti Miru- translated as the square of peace.
One of the most notorious traditions is the ‘beating’ of the women and young girls on Easter Monday. A lot more dramatic than it sounds. Please let me add right here that the Czech Republic does not advocate the beating of women! The pomlázka, which is a whip braided from young twigs and decorated with coloured streamers, is used by men and boys to symbolically beat women on the legs to keep them young and fresh. Pomlázka, (from pomladit or “make younger”

The pomlázka


The tradition is till practiced although mainly in villages and small towns. Although the romanticism may have been somewhat lost down the ages it is done mainly for fun. The reward for the beating is usually in some form alcohol like plum brandy or slivovice so that during the afternoon many happy men can be seen around the streets.
A more docile tradition is the painting of eggs. Eggs bought for this purpose have two holes made in them and the inside blown out. They are then hand painted and dried then hung up as Easter decoration.
A lamb is another tradition and now in supermarkets lamb cakes decorated in white or chocolate frosting can be seen. However, many Czech Traditions are related to Springs and beautiful foral arrangements decorated with toy chicks and bunnies can be seen everywhere.

An Easter display in a shopping centre


I love the Easter markets. Apart from lovely Easter things to buy there is great food! You can smell the aroma of roasting pork enticing you to stop by.

The Easter market stalls


Zvonek’s Easter’s draw: Two lucky people to win a Zvonek 08 coffee mug as seen in the picture on here. Please answer the following question:
What is the name of kitten that went missing in Mau-ow? The answer can be found in the excerpt of Book 2 on http://www.gypsyshadow.com/AnneHPetzer.html#Zvonek2Exc
Please send your answers to: annepetzer.com. Draw ends on 13/4/2012
Happy Easter.
I wish you all a very Happy Easter. Be safe.

http://www.annehpetzer.cz

Clawless on Centre Stage

24 Feb


This month we are fortunate to have yet another wonderful guest, hailing this time from Northern Ireland. I am very excited to have Christine with us today as her project which you are about to read supports a cause close to my heart. I consider animals, especially pets, to be one of the most vulnerable parts of our society. They often end up in a less than pleasant situation and Christine’s project aids the relief for some of them. Let’s hear about Clawless the first, I believe, feline soap opera :).

“When Clawless came out – it’s release week, our publishers sent out a press release to all the magazines and newspapers that subscribe and I sent out my own press releases to local newspapers and was thrilled to get a call almost immediately. My local paper ‘The Newtownabbey Times’ wanted to send someone round to interview me and take a photo. Of course, I felt nervous but also pleased as it is great to talk about your own achievement but strangely difficult. How easy is it to say ‘My book is very funny and wonderful’? Well, easier than you think because I didn’t write it! As a co author it is so much easier to be able to say ‘Oh it’s so funny. The other authors are a scream and write so well.’  Plus ‘Oh one when person wrote something really funny you sort of felt you had to write something as good so we all helped each other to keep up the standard’.  And when asked which was my favourite bit – it was fun to be able to praise one of the other writers’ work.
 
I had a few calls and emails from the Authors online press release including a few children’s comics ‘Animals and Me’ being one. They loved the book but maybe it was a little ‘old’ for their 6 – 10 year old readers. But any publicity is good publicity.
 
Choosing the charities had been hard.  We wanted to give the royalties to a cat charity and one that wasn’t too big so they would appreciate our donation and preferably and international one but we couldn’t find one. International animal agencies are there but mainly for wildlife or endangered species and I was keen to use Bath Cats and Dogs Home again as they do such amazing work – I had got Kimmy from there and truly they are the best animal rescue of its type bar none, in the UK.   (they have a vet on site to care for the animals and a behaviourist to work with dogs who are ‘difficult’ so they can be rehomed and they rehome cats of all ages but always have a waiting list of cats to come in. The animals are very well cared for too.)  On a par with Battersea Cats and Dogs Home which is also excellent but no better and with a different type of stray problem being in London.
 
As we had 2 UK writers,  4 US, 1 Canadian, 1 Australian and 1 S. African – it should probably have meant that they royalties went to one US charity if we couldn’t find an international one but the publisher was in the UK and it seemed … well unfortunate not to capitalise on Kimmy’s fan base in the Bath area plus the fact that Bath Cats and Dogs Home had been remarkably good at helping me sell books before via their newsletters and shop.  So we decided to give to two charities  – Bath Cats and Dogs Home and Ann Scarborough’s local shelter, The Humane Society of Jefferson County (another small but hard working centre where animals are not routinely euthanised unless very old or sick)  and both charities were so grateful.  As yet we have not made a fortune for them and the sales have been slower than I would like but we are still hopeful that the world will catch on to Clawless and that sales will rocket.
 
Had we done a second book we would have used two other charities probably in Australia next time and maybe in the US as well.
For more info on Clawless:

http://www.facebook.com/ClawlessBook
http://www.wix.com/squishgeo/clawless

It may purchased at: Authorsonline.co.uk

thank you Christine for being part of my blog. I wish you loads of sales.

Prague’s Old Town Square

4 Nov

To continue with the Prague series this week I have decided to concentrate on Old Town Square, in my opinion one of the most beautiful squares in Prague. It is nestled between Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge. From what was allegedly a market place in the 12th Century has now become a major attraction of Prague.
It’s buildings boast different styles of architecture. Prague is also known as The City of a 100 spires, a few important ones are visible on the square’s parameter.
St Nicholas church built in baroque style, shows off three of these spires and towering over the square it’s gothic rival, Týn Church, the main picture.Tyn Church is an impressive building with two spires stretching heavenward. The spires are probably two of the most famous and often seen on photographs of Old Square. The church is enormous and stretches backwards from the square to into courtyard beyond.

St Nicholas Church


Another attraction, is the Astronomical Clock mounted on the south wall of the Old Town city hall. The clock displays an astronomical design on its face, showing the position of the sun and the moon in the sky. Every hour the figures of the 12 apostles appear as well as the figure of death depicted by a skeleton. Attracting hundreds of tourists crammed in front of it waiting for the hour to strike after which a burst of applause can be heard.

Old Town City Hall


During the festive season it transforms into a fairytale Christmas delight. The square plays host to the official Prague Christmas tree and many stalls selling Christmas nick nacks. The delightful smell of spiced hot wine and trdlo- a Czech and Slovak Christmas pastry – permeating through the market has become the ‘new’ smell of Christmas for this South African. Snow adding to the ambiance brings the magic of Advent to earth.

Offical Christmas tree of Prague on the square