Tag Archives: Feline

Fortunes Told….

5 Feb

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The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Julie Stahl.

Julie Stahl writes fiction, creative nonfiction, children’s books and poetry—just about anything, really. She has held (with varying degrees of fear and loathing) numerous jobs over the years, including, but not limited to, research assistant, waitress, secretary, college instructor, pre-school teacher, tutor and bartender. Somewhere along the way she managed to acquire some formal training in French and Experimental Psychology. She has come to the conclusion that Life is one big experiment, a concoction of perceptions we gather up as we go, shaped by chance and choice; trial and error. She takes refuge in laughter whenever possible. 

Her book that we are highlighting today is Fortunes Told.

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Ava Brooks is wrestling with the realization that her love for Frank Mazzini—the first deep and potentially meaningful relationship she’s had since college some 19 years ago—is quickly turning into a trite monologue. Despondent at first, then bordering on desperate, Ava seeks to ratchet up her desirability quotient in Frank’s eyes, turning to any number of sources, including (but not limited to) a prescription for Viagra; self-help books she peruses on her breaks at the bookstore where she works; her hair dresser who happens to be Frank’s sister incognito; hypnosis; Lasik surgery; and last but not least, her best friend, Trudy, whose own personal life seems to be falling apart even as she attempts to help Ava spice up hers. Chapter by chapter and fortune by fortune, Ava begins to realize that love, like luck, comes in many disguises.

 

Excerpt:

 

  As I approach the table with my cue stick, I ask myself which shot will set me up for another, rather than which shot I can make. This is a new way of thinking for me, a big picture perspective. Since I met Frank Mazzini I seem to have adopted this attitude not only toward my pool game, but my life in general.
    I look over at Frank for reassurance, like I always do when I’m in a tight spot. He’s in a corner and seated, but even in the shadows his presence is gripping, his bold good looks irresistible. Though not a tall man, Frank is sturdy and vibrant, with broad shoulders, a strong Roman nose, and a wide, slightly furrowed forehead. He’s the swarthy, Italian type, and at almost fifty years old, he radiates a kind of confidence that one can only accumulate with age and experience, encompassing everything from sexuality to professional expertise.
    He nods slightly, almost imperceptibly in my direction, as if to say, “You know what to do,” though we both know I don’t. I don’t have an intuitive understanding of the game the way Frank does. I chalk my stick and decide to wing it, my dilemma being the placement of the nine ball, in the way of the five just enough to make a nice, clean shot impossible.
    Frank, a pharmacist by day, is the team coach tonight. As I point to the five ball then the pocket with my stick, I feel his light touch on my arm. Momentarily I’m distracted by a warm tingling sensation deep inside my navel.
    “You’ll want to put some right English on that,” he says softly, and walks away. I do and make the shot, then two more before I scratch, giving my opponent a ball in hand.
    “Bad luck, Ava,” Frank says sympathetically. In a matter of minutes the game is over. My opponent, a wizened, grizzly-looking fellow who managed to mention by way of introduction that he started playing pool on his 63rd birthday, easily sinks the eight ball. I drop onto a bar stool to watch the other members of my team play. I’ve only been playing league pool for about six weeks. A year ago I never would have pictured myself doing this.
    The first time Frank and I played pool together, about a month after we started dating, Frank said, “You’re a natural.” He winked at me as he said it, an endearing trait that has grown on me since then.
    I laughed; sure he was either being facetious or had confused me with the blonde bombshell in tight jeans and low-cut sweater at the table next to ours who had just sunk three balls in a row effortlessly. But Frank had thus far displayed no talent for sarcasm, and a quick glance in the mirror over the bar removed all but the merest likelihood of anyone mistaking Anna Nicole over there for me. He said it again the next time we played and while I didn’t necessarily believe him, I did believe he meant it. That’s one of the things I like best about Frank: he’s probably the most honest person I’ve ever met. This has its pitfalls, as you might expect. For instance, if I wear a dress that I think is the hottest thing on the rack and I’m feeling all sexy and glam when he comes to pick me up, then he casually remarks that the bust line is off-centered, or the fabric too clingy around my ass (thereby accentuating the whole side-of-a-barn impression I’m forever attempting to eliminate), the dress comes off and the next day is hanging back on the rack at the store. He means no harm and actually, he’s doing me a favor. I mean, who wants to be seen in public wearing some dress that doesn’t flatter you, or a pair of shoes that cause your legs to look like Elmer Fudd’s, or worse yet, Bugs Bunny’s?
    Tonight I think how Frank has taught me everything I know about pool; that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. I imagine myself winning a BCA championship, making a speech to a cheering and adoring audience as I accept the trophy. “I don’t deserve this, really. Frank is the one who knows how to play; I just do what I know he would tell me to.” They would applaud my modesty and look admiringly over at Frank, as I do, and think what a good fit we must be.
    By the time we get back to Frank’s place we’re both exhausted. I fall asleep instantly and awaken toward dawn from a bizarre dream where I keep phoning Frank but he doesn’t answer. I want to believe he’s deathly ill, or lying paralyzed in a hospital bed as a result of road rage―someone else’s, naturally―but the nagging thought that he simply doesn’t want to talk to me keeps rearing its ugly head. Meanwhile, I’m being pursued myself; well, stalked would be more accurate, by Donald Trump. The man keeps hounding me, telling me to forget about Frank, that he’s nobody and can never give me the kind of life I deserve. He’s relentless and finally I agree to go out with him. On our first date he proposes, presenting me with an enormous, dazzling diamond that I’m sure I’d be afraid to ever even wear for fear of damaging the tendons in my ring finger. Courageously, I slip it on and hold my hand out in front of me, admiring the grandeur of the thing. Trump, on bended knee, is waiting for my reply, gazing adoringly up at me and holding his breath. I should feel lucky, I tell myself, and I open my mouth to say okay, “Sure, I’ll marry you, Donny,” but no words come out and all I can think about is Frank. Finally, on the brink of passing out, my suitor gasps for air, and when he can manage to speak again, asks me, “Why, Ava? Why do you love this man so much?” 

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JulieStahl.html#FortunesExc

 

http://www.amazon.com/Fortunes-Told-ebook/dp/B00440DP9K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360079083&sr=1-1&keywords=Fortunes+Told

 

The Carol Singers…

29 Nov


Today on the GSP Christmas Promo we welcome Violetta Antcliff.

Violetta Antcliff has been a member of the Nottingham Writers’ Club for the best part of Twenty years. She is the winner of numerous short story competitions and was area short listed in Waterstone’s WOW factor story competition. She took first prize in Nottingham short story competition with a story called Irish Mouse Tales and has read her poetry and short stories on local radio.

The book we are highlighting today is The Carol Singers.

With only a cat for company, Alice sits in the gathering gloom recalling Christmases past. Outside, carol singers with hands outstretched wish Merry Christmas to one and all: but it isn’t carol singers who knock on Alice’s door this Christmas eve; it’s ghosts from her past.

Excerpt:

Rock, rock, went the old chair, wearing away the last vestige of pile from the faded carpet. Alice had inherited the chair when her mother had passed away many years ago.

She, along with her sister Mildred and brother George had all been rocked in it as babies.
Alice loved the chair and all the memories it held; she recalled the times she’d cradled sweet lovable little Tommy, her own baby in her arms. Remembered how she had rocked him through teething troubles and sleepless nights.

“We’re getting old, Daisy,” she murmured. The old cat she now rocked in place of her baby answered with a low, rumbling belly purr and snuggled deeper into the folds of the shawl spread over her knees.

Alice often talked to the cat; one-sided conversations, she called them. She had no one else to speak to; no one else to argue with, or to exchange points of view.

In days gone by she’d been an avid television viewer, never missing an episode of the soaps; and would pit her wits against contestants on quiz programs, often answering the questions before they did. But the set was old, and when it broke down she didn’t have the funds to replace it. Now it just stood in the corner next to the fireplace, gathering dust.

Alice missed the corner shop most of all; it used to keep her up to date with everything that was going on in the street. Unable to compete with a supermarket that had opened on the outskirts of town three years ago, the owner of the little convenience store finally gave up trying, rolled down the shutter, locked the door and left.

What Alice missed most of all was the neighbourhood gossip, the scandal—who was expecting a baby? Who was in trouble with the law? Who wasn’t married, but just living in sin? This would be whispered from behind a hand, given with a nod and a wink not to be passed on, which it always was. Alice liked to think she’d never been guilty of spreading rumours, but she’d listened and nodded her head along with the rest of them.

The letter box rattled, breaking the silence in the room, and mail thudded to the mat. Alice gently removed the sleeping cat from her knee. “Sorry to disturb you, puss,” she said, getting to her feet. “I know it’ll only be junk mail and bills,” she mumbled, making her way over to the front door to pick them up. “That’s all it ever is: junk-mail and bills; nobody ever writes to me anymore.” She moaned and rubbed the small of her back with one arthritic hand before bending down to retrieve the mail from the door-mat.

“What’s this then?” she murmured, separating an official-looking envelope from the pizza delivery offers and holiday brochures. It was addressed to the occupant of Number Five Cathcart Street. Alice pulled out a chair and sat down at the kitchen table to read it. The table was still set with a cup saucer and plate she hadn’t cleared from breakfast time. She hesitated momentarily before picking up a knife and painstakingly slitting open the envelope and removing the letter. Glasses perched on the end of her nose, she gave it a quick perusal before reading it out aloud. “It’s from the Council,” she said. “This is to inform you of the decision of the local council regarding your house, Number 5 Cathcart Street. It has been condemned and is due for demolition the early part of next year. You will be offered alternative accommodation and help with relocation. Blah . . . blah . . . blah. Yours sincerely.”

Alice read the letter through again, this time to herself, and it was a good ten minutes later before she pushed back her chair and stood up. With trembling hands, she cleared the table and washed the pots. Her mind was not on the task in hand. Instead, she was remembering times past when she had first moved into the little two-up, two-down terrace house.

“I was only seventeen, when Charlie carried me over that door-step. Did I ever tell you that, Daisy? After being unemployed for over a year, my Charlie finally landed himself a job, and he rushed me down to the Registry office and made arrangements for us to get wed. That’s the type of man he was, never stood still long enough to let grass grow beneath his feet. You’d have liked him,” she added.

Links:
http://www.gypsyshadow.com/Violetta.html#CarolS

http://www.amazon.com/The-Carol-Singers-ebook/dp/B00A9N2FWO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354126719&sr=8-1&keywords=the+carol+singers

Xmas Wishes…..

26 Nov


Today GSP Christmas Promo welcomes Lindsey Duncan. Lindsey is a life-long writer and professional Celtic harp performer, with short fiction and poetry in numerous speculative fiction publications. She feels that music and language are inextricably linked. She lives, performs and teaches harp in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Visit Lindsey’s Website at: http://www.lindseyduncan.com/writing.htm

Her book that we are highlighting today is Xmas Wishes.

As Christmas approaches, Irena Maddox faces typical teenaged problems: her mother is half the world away, the boy of her dreams doesn’t know she exists, and it doesn’t even have the decency to snow. Then she meets her eccentric new neighbor, Moira, and everything seems to change. But is there something more to her run of good luck . . . and to Moira?
Excerpt:

Irena Maddox slowed as she passed her neighbor’s garage, trying to catch a glimpse of the contents of the new woman’s life. Since the end of summer, the newcomer had lived in isolation behind the metaphorical moat of her property line. The welcoming committee tried three times to bring her into the community and finally settled for leaving a fruit basket on the doorstep. Bravely, Irena had stolen a kiwi. No one ever missed kiwi.

She felt that same defiance as she peered into the garage. There was no room for a car. Moira Alban didn’t seem to own one, and in fact, Irena had never seen her en route to anywhere. Uneven stacks of boxes filled the shadows. She squinted, hardly noticing she had halted and could no longer use the excuse she was wandering by.

The boxes were labeled, Xmas Decorations—Fragile, and similar phrases. Irena knew some people wouldn’t write the word Christmas out: something to do with the first half being irreverent or not. Her mother would know, but she was never around to pack boxes. Irena wasn’t sure what was worse: her mother’s long absences, or how little she knew about what happened during them.

So the boxes were ordinary. The only thing they told her was Moira put up Christmas decorations—and Irena wasn’t sure there was anyone who didn’t, whether they celebrated or not—and she was the kind of person who didn’t spell the word out, whatever that meant. Maybe she was lazy. Maybe the reason no one knew anything about her was there wasn’t anything interesting to know.

The winter cold impelled her to decision. Instead of scampering onward to her house, to a superstitious grandmother and another holiday that wasn’t, she scuffed up the driveway, moving as subtly as one could while wearing a bright red jacket and towering like a scarecrow. Probably all the boxes were sealed, but if one was already open, or if maybe it had only a little bit of tape . . .

Her fingers scrabbled at a cardboard flap, pulled it free. The box was full of snow globes; the tap she had given the box caused endless blizzards within. She scooped one out. Instead of the expected scene inside—a cute snowman or a foreign landmark—there was a little cornhusk doll . . .

“What are you doing?”

Irena yelped and dropped the globe. It pinged off the concrete. She whirled to face her accuser, a flush burning her cheeks.

Moira Alban towered, somewhere in the infinite expanse of middle age, with auburn hair and eyes the color of storms. “Well, if it isn’t the girl who stole the kiwi,” she continued.

“I did not,” Irena said by reflex, and then bent for the snow-globe. “I was just curious . . .”

She hadn’t seen the globe roll, but Moira picked it up from her feet and cradled it like something precious. “Do you understand the hazards of curiosity?”

In the chill and shadow of the garage, the words seemed menacing. Irena drew back, heart pounding with a rabbit’s fear . . . even though she could easily have dodged past, even though hers was the next driveway over and kids shouted in the yard across the street.

“Killed the cat,” Irena said bluntly, and wished she hadn’t. Her skin prickled, even as her mind shouted at her it was ridiculous. Neighbors didn’t attack each other for picking through boxes, and the garage door had been open. Surely that was an invitation. And besides, how would Moira hurt her?

Moira laughed, a rich sound. The menace evaporated. “Not the most original answer, but it will do. Since you’ve meddled with my boxes, you can help me carry them inside. Come, child.”

Though Irena bristled at the label, her relief, silly as it was, kept her from protesting. She picked up the nearest box and followed Moira inside. The coolness of the house surprised her, though still a relief from the Midwest bluster.

The house was spartan, furnished in white with few distinguishing marks—no hanging pictures, no mirrors, no knick-knacks. The other thing missing was peculiar in itself: no television, no computer, no electronics. The phone even had an old-fashioned cord. Up until then, Irena had thought they no longer made phones like that.

Moira directed her to the foot of a massive fir tree. After the fourth trip, she seemed satisfied. “Take off your coat,” she said, “and I’ll make you hot chocolate.”

Poof: you’re hot chocolate, Irena muttered. “Thanks,” she said aloud with a wary smile, not sure her intrusion had been forgiven, but it wasn’t like the woman would poison her just for peeking in some boxes. Especially not after she had carried them in. She eeled out of the coat, but had trouble with the sleeves. They ended up tucked inside themselves.

Moira started a kettle of water. “Tell me about yourself,” she invited. “What school do you attend?”

Irena wanted to retort she was more interested in finding out about Moira, but answered that question and those following politely, even as she scanned the room for personal touches. She came up blank. Christmas decorations would do the house good.

“What about your family?”

“Grandparents. Mom sometimes,” Irena said. “My grandfather’s a retired something-or-other.” Military, she always assumed. He occasionally referred to the war, but never answered questions. She wished he spoke more; at least enough to put a stop to her grandmother’s superstitious quirks, like hanging a horseshoe over the door and throwing salt over her shoulder. Who did that these days? Besides that, guess who had to sweep up the salt.

“So your mother’s away?”

It was not Irena’s favorite subject. “Yeah. Work.”

Moira arched an eyebrow. “Even on holidays?”

“Sometimes,” Irena said. “Christmases, even.”

Had it been her imagination, or had Moira shuddered? Certainly she drew back, but that was only to remove the kettle from the heat. “And this year?”

“Could be.” Irena cast about the kitchen, looking for a conversation point. It was like finding a toy boat on the ocean. “So, uh, what do you do?”

“Whatever comes my way,” Moira said. “Primarily, I help people with long-term plans.”

Irena frowned, trying to figure out what Moira’s answer meant. “So like—investments or something?”

“Something,” Moira agreed.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/Lindsey%20Duncan.html#XmasExc

http://www.amazon.com/Xmas-Wishes-ebook/dp/B00A9KCSCO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353953359&sr=8-1&keywords=xmas+wishes+lindsey+duncan

Father Christmas….

23 Nov

Welcome to the GSP Christmas Promo and first author up is Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

Scarborough is the author of 22 solo fantasy and science fiction novels, including the 1989 Nebula award winning fantasy novel, Healer’s War, loosely based on her service as an Army Nurse in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. She has collaborated thus far on 16 novels with Anne McCaffrey, six in the best selling Petaybee series and eight in the YA bestselling Acorna series, and most recently, the Tales of the Barque Cat series, Catalyst and coming in December 2010, Catacombs (from Del Rey). Her last published solo novel was CLEOPATRA 7.2, soon to be re-released for e-Book download and print on demand under the Fortune imprint of Gypsy Shadow Publishing.

The book we are highlighting for this post is Father Christmas.Where Ms Scarborough shares the spotlight with a delightful feline called K.B. Dundee. This story is dedicated to Kerry Greenwood and Karen Gillmore, whose encouragement has kept me writing and whose friendship made the holidays happy. To add to the festive theme there are several black and white interior illustrations depicting the characters in the book as Christmas ornaments.

The proceeds of this book from whatever source will be donated to the Humane Society of Jefferson County for the benefit of the animal shelter.

Father Christmas: Spam the Cat’s First Christmas

Spam the cat thought he’d seen a lot of the world in his nine months of life. After all, he was the foremost vampire hunter of Port Deception, WA. (SPAM VS THE VAMPIRE) ! This was his first Christmas, however, and from what he’d heard on TV, on Christmas all was supposed to be calm, all was supposed to be bright. The deer and Renfrew the raccoon had other ideas however. In an attempt to keep Renfrew, aka “The UPS Bandit” from ruining a lot of Christmases, Spam begins a task that leads to him being the sole protection of a new mother and child, and a less-than-warm-and-fuzzy reunion with his feral father. Altogether, his first Christmas eve is a less than Silent Night.

Excerpt:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring; not even a mouse. Rats! While I’d been out chasing vampires and zombies, my furry housemates had hunted all the fun prey. Now my fourteen feline roomies were all asleep, our human mom Darcy was gone for the weekend leaving us on our own with just a cat-sitter coming in to feed us, and I felt restless. I was nine months old, and this was my first Christmas.

It felt like something ought to happen. It felt like something was going to happen, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be in my boring house with my boring friends and relatives.

On the other hand, it was snowing outside. We were having a white Christmas. Bah, humbug. Bad weather is what it is, the kind that clots white cold stuff in your paw pads. Unacceptable. I would wait until the weather humans came to their senses to go out, I had decided.

That was before I heard the prancing and pawing of each little hoof, apparently coming from up on my roof. I sat down to think, curling my tail around my front paws, my calm pose betrayed only by a slight flick at the creamy end of my plumy appendage. There were stockings hung by the propane stove with care, but a trip down that chimney would be disastrous for anybody, since they’d just end up inside the stove and wouldn’t be able to get out. I considered waking my mother for a further explanation of the powers of Santa Claws. But then I thought that if anyone would know what was going on, it would be Rocky. I jumped onto the kitchen counter and stood against the corner cupboard. I am a very long cat, even without taking my tail into account. My front feet could just reach the top cabinet, where Rocky liked to lurk during the day. Inserting my paw beneath the door’s trim, I pushed. It smelled like vampire cat in there, but not as though the vampire cat was actually in there. Rocky was out. Well, it was night. He wouldn’t mind the snow.

Some more scrabbling on the roof, and I suddenly thought, what if Rocky has Santa Claws and is feeding on him? He might. He was my friend, but he was definitely no respecter of age, gender, or mythological belief system.

I bolted out my private entrance. Only Rocky and I were able to come and go through that new cat flap that had been installed for me since my last adventure. I had a chip in my neck that activated it. Rocky had my old collar containing a similar chip, the one I’d worn before I went to the vet and got tagged.

The cold air hit me with a shock, and the snow wet my pink paw pads, though the heavy tufts of fur between them formed natural snowshoes. I was a very convenient breed of cat for this climate, actually. Maine Coon cats, or their undocumented relatives like me, were built for cold and wet and according to the Critter Channel, used to be ships’ cats on Viking vessels. I didn’t mind a nice trip around the bay on a nice day, but this snow stuff wasn’t my cup of—well, snow.
Links for the book: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas–Spam-Christmas-Adventures-Emancipated-ebook/dp/B007307Q52/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353690667&sr=8-1&keywords=Father+Christmas+Spam+the+cat%27s+first+christmas

The Cursed….

31 Oct

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from the GSP Halloween Promo. This is the last post for the Promo and we would like to thank you all for your support and participation. It has been a fun month and hope that you, the readers enjoyed it too! Today we welcome Lisa Farrell.

Lisa Farrell has been writing for as long as she can remember. Much of what she writes is speculative fiction, but she tries other things from time to time. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, and some of her stories are available in print and online – check out lisafarrell.blogspot.com for links. She lives in the UK with her husband, son and two black cats.

Her book that we are featuring on today’s post is The Cursed.

Magic cannot be used without consequences, that’s why you need a license to use it. But if your child was suffering because of the backlash of someone else’s spell, could you stand by and do nothing? Wouldn’t you want to save them, no matter what the cost?

This is a dark tale of magic, desperation and revenge.

Excerpt:

She pretended not to notice the women watching her as she approached the bier. She kept her head up and eyes forward as she passed them, her baby held carefully in the crook of her arm. Her offering was precious perfume for the chaotic god; she had to bring the best she could afford. It wasn’t her fault the other women could only spare a loaf of bread or a bunch of wild flowers. Their husbands toiled in the wheat fields because they hadn’t the skills to do anything else. Her man could both write and count, and so served the lord personally, up in the great house on the hill.
    That was where he was now, though the sun had almost set. The farmers were able to attend to the rites with their wives while she had to make their pledge alone. As the other women joined hands with their men and marched past her with their noses in the air, she turned to head for home. She cooed to her baby, who was waking up.
    It was a warm day, so she kept to the shade of the tall rickety houses along the street. The smell was worse in this season, as the sun released the vapours from the dung that had been walked into the cobbles of the road.
    She hated the town. Everywhere there was life, but of a very different sort to that around the country dwellings where the more fortunate lived. The sort she could have lived in, had her husband’s family not been cursed with ill fortune. It would be a long time before he could afford to house her on one of the hills above the town, where the air was clear and the ground not infested with maggots or disease.
    Her husband worked all day up on that hill, and she envied him for that. She had to return now to their poky little house, with nothing but a stone wall between her and the farmers’ families. At times she even envied the farmers themselves, who at least got to spend their days in the open fields beyond the town walls. They weren’t encased in stone all day.
    Her baby began to cry as she closed the gate behind her. He didn’t like the grate of metal as the latch dropped back into its place. Her garden was a mass of herbs and the scent greeted her. Everything she grew had a strong smell; it served to mask the stench of the town.
    She walked up the little stone path, jiggling the baby in an effort to quieten him.
    “It’s all right, my sweet one,” she said, “we’re home now.”
    She wished that she needn’t take him out when she paid homage, but she couldn’t keep a nanny for him, and it would look bad if she didn’t take something to the bier in the square at least once a day. Not with her husband doing so well in comparison with the other poor souls around, and with a young child to keep safe too.
    Her key was in the bottom of her pocket; she could feel it digging into her thigh. She held the baby close with one hand and fumbled for the key with the other. Her long skirt was too tight, she couldn’t get her fingers in without shifting position again. The baby was starting to thrash in her arms.
    “Stop it,” she snapped. “Give me a minute.”
    Her tone did nothing to soothe him, but when she pushed the heavy door open at last and stepped into the dark of the hall, the cool air quietened him. He whimpered softly as she moved to the living room, where she placed him on the rug before the empty grate.
    “There, that’s better,” she said, smiling as she knelt before him, hoping to have a smile in return. He just stared at her with his big blue eyes, but she tickled his round tummy and was rewarded with a giggle. He was getting bigger so quickly. It hadn’t been long ago she could leave him lying there as she worked and he’d be safe. Now if she turned her back for a moment he would crawl off somewhere more interesting.
    “Are you hungry?” she asked as he reached for her. “Already?”
She gathered him in her arms and sat in the chair by the fireplace to feed him. She had worked hard today, washing and baking. She hoped he’d sleep after his feed, and give her time to rest herself.

***

    She woke to his wailing and sighed. Her head hurt, as it generally did when her sleep was interrupted. Her husband rolled over to face her and mumbled something, but she hushed him. She would get up to quiet the baby and let him sleep.
    Her candle had burnt down while she slept. Moonlight highlighted the cracks in the shutters and allowed her to see her way to the cot by the shades of grey. The baby’s cries were angry and urgent, as though he was in pain. He was kicking his legs in the air as he shrieked, and his tiny fists were clenched. She reached in to lift him out, but before her fingers touched him she could feel the heat radiating from his body. She was afraid to touch him. She put a finger to his wrinkled forehead and yelped at the burning of his skin.
    “Mark!” she cried. “Get up! Something’s wrong.”
    She didn’t try to lift him for fear of dropping him, so stood uselessly looking down at his face. Her husband stumbled to her side and blinked down at the screaming child.
    “Maybe he just needs feeding?”
    “He’s too hot, Mark, feel him. I think . . . I think someone has brought the curse on us.”
    Mark put his hand to the baby’s forehead and the little hands latched onto his bare arm. The sickly smell of burnt hair began to fill the room but Mark didn’t move.
    “Fetch the doctor,” he said.
    She spared little thought for the shame of having to go herself, but hitched her nightdress up and ran barefoot through the street to the doctor’s house. A learned man who came at no small price, his house had a wall higher than her own. She clambered over the gate, for her hands shook too much to open it, and hammered on the door.
    She was shivering by the time he opened it to her, but couldn’t feel the cold. She could only blurt out that they needed him before she broke into sobs. He came with her at once, throwing a coat over his dressing gown.
They could hear the baby’s cries from halfway down the street, and she cried harder to think that his little throat must be raw with screaming.
    “He’s burning up,” Mark said as they entered the bedroom. “What’s wrong with him, Doctor?”
    He had detached his arm from the child and lit a candle. She could see red welts on his arm where he’d been gripped. The doctor hurried to see into the cot, and swore.
    “What is it?” she asked, and gasped as she peered over his shoulder. The child’s face was scarlet, and his eyes, open wider than she’d ever seen them, were bright yellow.
    “Oh, gods help us!” she said. “What’s happening to my baby?”
The doctor turned to her, his lips a tight line and his brow furrowed.
    “I can’t help you,” he said. “It’s the curse. Only magic can save him from magic.”
    “No!” she shook her head, and her husband caught her trembling hands before she could grab the doctor by the collar. “There are no magicians in this town! There must be something we can do.”
    “I’m sorry, Madam, but this is no natural sickness. Do you want me to inform the witch-finders?”
    “Yes!”
    “No,” Mark said. “That won’t help him. We must employ a magician to redirect this curse.”
    “Someone has cursed our child,” she growled at him, “and we can’t let that go unpunished. No one has a license in this town. They must be brought to justice!”
    “One man has a license,” Mark said. “Our lord. And I shall go to him at once.”
    “Be sure that you do,” the doctor said. “The child will burn out; he doesn’t have long.”
    “Wait!” she shrieked, breaking from Mark’s grip to follow the doctor from the room. “I beg you, Doctor. Send for the witch-finders.”
    “As you wish, Madam.”

Her book is available at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Cursed-ebook/dp/B00433U1EU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351668472&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cursed+lisa+farrell

The Sainthood Ghost….

29 Oct

Today we welcome Lady Deidre to the GSP Halloween Promo. What she says about herself:
My passions include God, family, and writing. When I’m not playing with my grand-babies, I’m writing newspaper articles, short stories, or working on my trilogy in the hopes of being a novelist some day.
Her book that we are featuring today is The Sainthood Ghost.

When Bella inserts a horror flick into the DVD player, she soon discovers her apartment is being haunted by the sainthood ghost. Tossing the movie jacket into the corridor to rid herself of the problem, only leaves the hallway in danger. Jake, long time friend, comes up with an idea to get rid of the ghost forever.

Excerpt:

The Sainthood Ghost
     She sat huddled on her divan, engrossed in a movie, when the doorbell rang. A frightened Bella yelped, “Son-of-a-ratfink!” as she scrambled for the remote. She clicked off the TV before striding toward the door in her pink flannel pajamas calling, “Who is it?”
     “It’s Jake. Let me in, Bella,” he called, jiggling the doorknob impatiently.
     She swung the door wide, “You scared the crap out of me, dick,” she stated, although she was pleased to see him.
     “I just rang the doorbell,” he said, striding in the living room with a large pizza box. “Besides, you knew I was coming over.”
     “Well, to tell you the truth, just before the doorbell rang the flick I was watching jumped into the horror lane.”
     “That’s why people read the movie jackets, Bella,” he reminded her as he slid the pizza onto the coffee table. “What possessed you to start the movie without me anyway?”
     Bella started to explain when a loud crash exploded from the interior of her bedroom. They both craned their necks toward the intrusive noise and then stared at one another blankly.
     “We better go see,” she finally spoke. She hurried off to investigate with Jake hard on her heels. She examined her neon pink room for a moment before spotting the problem, “My picture fell.”
     “Hmm, that’s weird,” Jake commented casually as she hung the picture back on the wall. “Perhaps, you need a new pink wall hanger,” he smirked.
     “No,” Bella said, standing back to gaze at the photo of Christ. “It’s fine.”
     “It fell for a reason. My guess is the picture leaped to its death to get away from these obnoxious pink surroundings,” he jested.
     She rolled her eyes at him. “Very funny.”
     “Let’s face it, you couldn’t cram another pink object into your hovel if you tried. I’m starved, pinky,” Jake said, heading back to the living room to eat. He plopped down on the white divan in front of his pizza box. He noticed the movie jacket. “Is this what you were watching?” He held it up.
     “Yes,” Bella nodded as she eased down on the divan next to him. “A friend loaned me the movie. She said I would enjoy it because it was a Christian flick.”
     Jake laughed. “She lied. It’s about a gang of evil men called the Sainthoods who go on a killing spree.”
     Bella shivered. “Really, the men appeared handsome and good, but then suddenly this stabbing scene popped me in the eye from nowhere. Freaked me out,” she admitted.
     Jake smiled. “Apparently, you didn’t watch much of the movie because those so-called good men are the knife welders.”
     “That’s just creepy. I hope I don’t have nightmares.”
     Jake opened his pizza box to view the contents. “What’s interesting is that your picture sprang from the wall just after you started the movie,” he commented as he scooped out a large slice.
     “It’s frightening,” she said, leaning over the edge of her divan to peer at her bedroom doorway. The silhouette of a milky white ghostly figure stood watching her. She screamed at the top of her lungs and clutched her pajama collar tightly about her neck from fright.
     Jake dropped his slice of pizza in his lap. “What the . . .”
     “There was a ghost standing in the doorway!” a frightened Bella shouted.

Her book is avaible at this link:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Sainthood-Ghost-ebook/dp/B004UN6JNU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351527716&sr=8-1&keywords=the+sainthood+ghost

Entity’s Promise…….

26 Oct

It’s Friday! This means our ebook give away competition. Our last in the GSP Halloween Promo. Be sure to enter. As usual, further down is a question and the answer will be found in the excerpt below.
Thank you to Shiloh Darke for donating this weekend’s ebook.

Shiloh grew up in an average, mid-sized town in West Texas. As a child, she had a very hard time learning to read. Not only did it seem to her to be a waste of time; it was also hard for her to focus on the words. And let’s just admit it . . . it was so much more fun to daydream of romantic adventures. As a kid, she was full of them! In fact, she could often spin a better story from the pictures in her storybooks than the authors themselves did.
When she was twelve years old, still reading at a second grade level, her mother fought her illiteracy by giving Shiloh her very first Harlequin romance. It took her a month to read the story, but reading it did the trick and flipped the switch for her. By the end of her fifth grade year, she was reading at a seventh grade level and anxious for the next book she could get.
 Soon, Shiloh was reading any and every romantic book (translate that term as mostly romance novels) she could get her hands on. At the age of fifteen, she discovered Bram Stoker, whose work inspired the beginnings of her own written storytelling. She wanted to tell stories of love that surpassed time and broke through the barriers of life and death, but with touches of adventure and paranormal suspense as well.
 She began writing short stories and poetry, all haunting tales of love between mortal and immortal souls. At eighteen, she started mapping out her ideas for The Order of Eternals. The result of her meticulous plotting and planning is a staggering list of novels her readers can anticipate with gusto, two of which are currently available in eBook format.
 She lives with her own soul mate and her two children, along with their very own zoo (cats and dogs and elephants no wait! Scratch the elephants . . . but her daughter does have a python. Did we mention she also loves animals, in addition to reading and writing?). She enjoys reading everything from thrillers to mystery and paranormal romance to Gothic novels, as well as writing her own.
The book we are giving away is Entity’s Promise.

Two reporters, Rosalie and Kendra, have been sent by their magazine to investigate a reportedly haunted mansion near the border of Louisiana in the swamps of East Texas. They arrive skeptical, but excited, at the opportunity. Almost immediately, they realize there is more to the old place than meets the eye.

QUESTION: Outside which town is Kensington Cross located? Please send your answers to annehpetzer@gmail.com. The competition closes Sunday evening Central European time and winners notified Monday evening Central European time.

The two specters sat on the roof of the old house, watching the road. It was a lazy day with a gentle breeze blowing, and both souls enjoyed watching it rustle the leaves in the trees. The scene was relaxing.
    Connor turned to Gavin. “You are sure the ladies are comin’ today?”
    Without even glancing in the other ghost’s direction, Gavin nodded. “Ya, today is the day they should be arrivin’. I heard the old man make the reservation myself.”
    The other spirit looked back toward the road. “Do ya think it’ll be  them?”
    That brought Gavin’s head up. “I do no’ know if the other one is meant for you. But I heard the voice of the one who made the reservation. I felt her soul callin’ ta mine. She is meant for me.”
    Connor opened his mouth to ask yet another question, but stopped when Gavin held up his hand, then pointed toward the road. The women were coming.
 
ARRIVAL
 
    Kensington Cross stood in glorious splendor against the backdrop of the swamp. Located outside of the town of Jefferson, near the edge of the Louisiana border, it stood proud amongst the pines of the forest. The two women pulled into the small but empty parking lot with expressions of open-mouthed awe at the sight before them. It reminded them of an old Southern plantation mansion, even though it was surrounded on all four sides with forest.
    Sharing a happy look and a giggle of excitement, they grabbed their luggage and headed in to the old home to check in and get started. As excited as they were, this trip was not for fun. It was research. Kensington Cross was supposed to be one of the most haunted places in Texas. The story would fit into the Texas history magazine perfectly for the next issue.
Rosalie had brought her trusty camera with the night vision on it in hopes of catching something on film, while Kendra was looking forward to finding the motivation to write one of the best stories she could come up with while they were here. Of course, she was also hoping to  indulge her whim to begin her first novel. They were here for a week; longer if they found anything.
    After they checked in, the elderly innkeeper led the two women through the deserted inn, speaking animatedly about the history of the place. “Kensington Cross was built in the early eighteenth century. Originally, it was owned by an ancestor of mine. He built it for his betrothed as a wedding gift. During the civil war, it was a refuge to many a soldier, as well as slaves who needed aid.” He gave the women a hesitant glance. “Of course, neither one knew about the other. They had to be very careful back then. It wouldn’t have served to have our home taken from us for playing both sides. Soldiers were housed here. Runaway slaves were given sanctuary in the basement.”
    He sighed and ran his fingers through his silver hair before changing the subject. “My family redesigned it when I was just a child to serve as a bed and breakfast before the second World War.”
    Kendra found herself fascinated with his story. Unable to stop herself, she asked, “Did anyone in your family keep any records?” She hesitated before adding, “A journal, perhaps?”
    He watched her closely for a few moments before giving her a wink. “If we had such things, I can assure you, we would only be sharing them with the most trustworthy individuals . . .” he raised an eyebrow and pressed a finger to his lips before adding, “If one or two such journals made their way into your possession, I’m sure I would have no idea how.”
    Rosalie smirked, biting her lip. “I’m sure we would be very discreet with anything we found.”
    “Our home has had its share of ups and downs over the years. There were a few times when we  were afraid we would lose it.” As he led them up the spiraling staircase, he gestured around at the paintings that spanned the generations more than two centuries of. “However, as you can see, we have stood the test of time.”
    The two women, Rosalie, and Kendra, both followed his gestures with their eyes. “I can see the place has been kept up beautifully.” Rosalie offered with a friendly smile.
    The gentleman inclined his head in gracious acceptance of her praise, taking in her dancing green eyes and long auburn hair. “Of course, the establishment is almost an empty shell during this part of the year,” he explained with a smile. “You ladies will have the whole place to yourselves. Aside from us, that is.” He sighed after a moment, adding under his breath, “And the ghosts.”
    “Ghosts?” Kendra repeated in question. “How many? Do you know?”
     The kindly elder just answered, “Oh, we have many ghosts here. If they be wanting you to know of their existence . . . you can bet, they’ll be dropping in to say hello.” His eyes sparkled as he offered the brunette a mischievous smile.
    Kendra and Rosalie exchanged a look but held their silence as the innkeeper handed them each a key. This is your floor. Your rooms are right across the hall from each other.” He pointed to the room between them, “This bathroom is shared between you. If you lock this outer door, it can be accessed from your rooms and you won’t have to worry about strangers surprising you.”
    Thanking him, Rosalie and Kendra shared a smile. When Rosalie turned and went into her room, Kendra looked down the hall, feeling a strange sense of being watched. Brushing the feeling off, she opened the door and entered into her room as well.   

The Blood that Flows….

25 Oct

Today we welcome Stephanie Van Orman to the GSP Halloween Promo.

Stephanie Van Orman often writes under the online alias Sapphirefly. Stephanie has written ten online novels since 2001. You may remember her from such online novels as ‘Vampire Kiss’, ‘Mark of the Dragon’, ‘Rose Red: Model 85001’, and ‘Whenever You Want’. ‘The Blood that Flows’ is her sixteenth completed project.

We are featuring The Blood that Flows in this post.

I just wanted to root through Marshall’s files. That was my only reason for getting a job in a Private Investigator’s office. If I didn’t figure out what was happening to my sister soon . . . No. That was a lie. I knew what was happening to London. She was looking for a human and when she found one that suited her tastes, she was going to drink the poor sucker’s blood. If things went bad, he’d drink hers and then I’d have another mess to clean up. The last mess was her previous boyfriend. Yeah, I killed him, but you should have seen what he was about to do to her. I’m lucky that hasn’t come back to bite me, because vampire revenge is uglier than sin.
Excerpt:

Chapter One
Not Just a Bubblegum Girl

“A vampire goes through four phases in its development. One of you two must be able to tell me about them,” Detective Marshall said gruffly. He looked from Dudley to me, like he was expecting one of us to raise our hand.

Neither one of us moved. Why should we? This wasn’t bloody school. We were sitting on mismatched chairs in his cramped office, which smelled of tobacco and old French fries. A pile of paper appeared on the verge of sliding onto the floor from the top of Marshall’s filing cabinet, and I suspected a wad of gum ground into the carpet was stuck to my shoe.

Marshall just enjoyed talking like this. A former police chief in some distant city before he’d resigned and moved here to lay down the law about vampires—which would have worked, except the Chief of Police here was a closet blood sucker. With Marshall’s passion for slaying vampires, it was impossible for him to keep a job working with police who sympathized with the undead. So, about ten years before he’d started working as a detective for the masses of humans who hadn’t quite gotten the memo. This was a vampire city.

Me? Yeah, I got the memo. I got it when I was fifteen. Did I know the different phases a vampire went through? Well, I knew some of them, but remained unclear on what happened after a certain point. One thing I knew for sure—vampires were not invincible. As for the rest, I’d come here hunting for the gory details of their lifespan, since things in my life had taken a distinct turn for the worst. I couldn’t let Marshall know that. He wouldn’t trust me if he thought I was a newbie, so I returned his gaze patiently and acted bored, but willing to let him play teacher all day.

I didn’t know Dudley’s story. He looked like he was in his late twenties with dark eyebrows and a rough five o’clock shadow. His expression read like a tombstone. The message was simple—dead men don’t talk, and neither do I. Too bad really, since he looked like a movie star from black and white film noir.

Marshall waited for several long moments before he grunted, “Get out. You’re both worthless.”

Unfortunately, both Dudley and I were in Marshall’s office for a job interview. Dudley was applying to be Marshall’s partner; I, to be his receptionist. Dudley was a private detective already. And me—as I said before, my aspirations were fewer. I just wanted to root around Marshall’s files and get as much information on vamps as I could before I got canned.

I cleared my throat, directed my gaze pointedly at Dudley and said, “Sorry, I rather hoped this would be a private interview.”

“I don’t have time for private interviews,” Marshall said crossly.

I ground my teeth together. I didn’t want to have to do this, but it was better to act like a fool than to let a vampire hunter masquerading as a private detective in on my true stance. Dumb girl routine number four coming right up. “I’m not interested in vamps,” I said, twirling a lock of my hair. I wouldn’t be able to use that routine after I turned twenty-four, so I had to get good use out of it while I could. “I’d rather answer your phone, sort your messages and keep your files straight than get involved with crap that could kill me. I thought you just stalked married women who strayed from the path.”

Marshall gave me a weird look, and then opened a jar on his desk and offered me a piece of round pink bubblegum. Probably the same stuff that had been stomped into the carpet.

I shook my head and said, “No thanks. I’m trying to cut back.”

He smiled. He liked me. No problem. I was in.

“Okay, so girlie here is too smart to get involved with vamps. What about you, Boy?”

Dudley shook his head coolly and recited in a disinterested tone, “A vampire goes through four cycles. First, they are a human who has been tagged by a vampire to be their mate. If the human is unwilling, it will die.”

“And if the human is willing?”

“Then they will end up sharing massive quantities of their own blood with the vampire as well as drinking the vampire’s blood. A human won’t make the transformation into a vampire unless they consume at least ten liters of vampire blood over a two-month period. During this time, both parties experience a drug-like euphoria where they believe that they can’t possibly live without the other. Even ancient vampires can fall into this hole. Many of them can’t bear to kill their lover, even though they know what will inevitably happen next. Once this first phase is complete, the human is a new vampire and even if it is unreasonable, both the new vampire and the old one are filled with suspicion and anger toward each other. The old vampire liked the human and is disgusted by them once they change, so much so that they will murder them if they have the chance. The new one thinks the old one is jealous of their newfound power and beauty. I’m sure there are plenty of different emotions experienced, but in the end—one of them will kill the other. I’ve never heard of a case where one of them didn’t die. Then there’s the third phase, where the vampire who survived is basically not a nuisance to anybody. They don’t kill in the third phase.”

All of this, I knew. It was beyond this that I hit unfamiliar territory. What happened in the fourth phase?

Dudley looked indifferent, but he continued. “In the final stage, they want to mate, but vampires don’t exactly mate. They either make a new vampire out of a human and die, or they repeat the process of falling in love over and over again without giving up their legacy. That path turns them into killing machines and causes no end of trouble. I’m sure you’ve seen it.”

Marshall shook his head carefully. Then he looked at me and said, “Be careful who you date.”

The book is available at:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Blood-That-Flows-ebook/dp/B005R3T5NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351178512&sr=8-1&keywords=the+blood+that+flows

Eternal Moon….

23 Oct

Today we welcome Shiloh Darke to the GSP Halloween Promo.

Shiloh grew up in an average, mid-sized town in West Texas. As a child, she had a very hard time learning to read. Not only did it seem to her to be a waste of time; it was also hard for her to focus on the words. And let’s just admit it . . . it was so much more fun to daydream of romantic adventures. As a kid, she was full of them! In fact, she could often spin a better story from the pictures in her storybooks than the authors themselves did.
    When she was twelve years old, still reading at a second grade level, her mother fought her illiteracy by giving Shiloh her very first Harlequin romance. It took her a month to read the story, but reading it did the trick and flipped the switch for her. By the end of her fifth grade year, she was reading at a seventh grade level and anxious for the next book she could get.
    Soon, Shiloh was reading any and every romantic book (translate that term as mostly romance novels) she could get her hands on. At the age of fifteen, she discovered Bram Stoker, whose work inspired the beginnings of her own written storytelling. She wanted to tell stories of love that surpassed time and broke through the barriers of life and death, but with touches of adventure and paranormal suspense as well.
    She began writing short stories and poetry, all haunting tales of love between mortal and immortal souls. At eighteen, she started mapping out her ideas for The Order of Eternals. The result of her meticulous plotting and planning is a staggering list of novels her readers can anticipate with gusto, two of which are currently available in eBook format.
    She lives with her own soul mate and her two children, along with their very own zoo (cats and dogs and elephants no wait! Scratch the elephants . . . but her daughter does have a python. Did we mention she also loves animals, in addition to reading and writing?). She enjoys reading everything from thrillers to mystery and paranormal romance to Gothic novels, as well as writing her own.

Her book that we are highlighting is Eternal Moon.

Darmetheus has been alive for a very long time. A Werewolf Eternal, he’s seen it all. Or so he thinks. But when he takes what he thinks is going to be a vacation from the daily hassle of fighting EVIL, he winds up in the fight of his life.

Lilith is a sassy, beautiful brunette with a secret talent. A talent that makes her a walking target. She’s more than eye candy to these immortal villains and they’re willing to kill in order to possess her.
But this enemy is no stranger to him and he is torn. The rebel in him wants to just walk away and leave Lilith to her fate. The hero in him won’t let him. Or is that his heart? 

Excerpt:
”  No. I don’t think they’re targeting me,”  she lied. ”  I just think that these guys are taking girls that are psychically talented.”  She shrugged before continuing, ”  I can easily hide my gift. It isn’t very noticeable. I just wouldn’t want to lead anyone to you if there were any of them watching me. You know?”  Penny scoffed on the other end. ”  I don’t do my talent openly!”
    Lilith chuckled softly at that, ”  Yeah, but you don’t not do it in the privacy of your own home, either.”  she sighed. ”  I’m just not willing to take the risk, okay?”
    Penny groaned. ”  Okay, all right. But listen, you have to promise me that you will get your ass out here if matters get worse. Okay? There is safety in numbers. Got it?”
    Just as Lilith opened her mouth to answer, she saw a wolf run into the safety of her yard. That wasn’t not possible! Surely one of those damn things hadn’t found a way through the magical barrier she’d worked so hard to put into place.
    Flipping the light switch in the kitchen off, she stood in the darkness weighing her options. A clearing throat on the other end of the phone line reminded her that her friend was still there.
    ”  Penny, I promise, okay? Now let me let you go before we run up the phone bill so much we can’t talk again this month! I love you, bye!”  As she hung up the phone, she watched the wolf shift into human form before her eyes. When he made for the front door of her cottage, she cursed, running into the hall. Grabbing her shotgun, she prepared herself for whatever was about to take place.
 ****
    Soon he reached what he’d been seeking, an old abandoned cottage. Enough human scents lingered around the old house that maybe it would throw that thing off of his trail. Glancing around, he looked for some sign of the beast. When he found he was indeed alone, he let go of his hold on the wolf’s form and became a man.
    Moving quickly, he stepped into the cottage he’d known would be here, thankful he’d not forgotten the way. When he closed the door, he heard a shocked intake of breath. He pivoted toward the sound and found a dark-haired woman with startling blue eyes and a rifle aimed at his head. ”  So, tell me,”  she spoke slowly. ”  Did a thief steal your clothes, or did you shed them to become one of those things outside?”
    Darmetheus faced her with wide eyes. Raising his hands in a gesture of surrender, he spoke softly. ”  You are safe, okay? I am not one of those things.”
    The girl gave an exasperated laugh with a roll of her eyes. ”  Yeah . . . and I’m Santa Claus’ cousin.”
    Darmetheus couldn’t stop himself. ”  Merry Christmas,”  he said in a low voice. His eyes never left hers. He could take the gun from her in mere seconds, but that would only alarm her more. So instead, he stood stock still and tried to reason with her. ”  Come on, think about it. I was riding my bike through town. Those things jumped me and I ran.”
    The girl stepped out of the shadows and closer to him, giving him a better view of her stunning looks. She was short. No more than five-foot, two with long black hair and eyes that looked like a clear sky in winter. ”  Really? Then where are your clothes?”
    He would have been completely mesmerized by her looks if he hadn’t found himself staring down the barrel of her shotgun. Yeah, idiot! Lie your way out of that one! Darmetheus winced at the thought. “I took them off. A piece here, a piece there, trying to scatter my scent.”
    Indecision seemed to cloud her crystal blue eyes for a moment before she lowered the gun slightly. ”  You swear to me, you aren’t one of those things?”
    He nodded. ”  Yes. I swear. I was just passing through. I would have gone a different way if I’d known there were rabid dogs out and about.”
    Shivering at the thought, she whispered, ”  Those things aren’t dogs. They aren’t even wolves.” Lowering her shotgun, she moved to the closet and pulled out a large t-shirt, and a pair of sweats. ”  This might fit you, I guess.”
    He caught the clothes she tossed at him and looked at the bright pink t-shirt with disdain. ”  Do you have anything a little less . . . feminine?”
    Snickering, she rolled her eyes for the second time since they’d met. ”  Not that would fit you, I don’t.”  She said, looking his masculine frame over. ”  You’re huge!”  She sat the gun down in the corner and moved to lock the door. ”  I’m Lilith. My father bought this cottage when I was little. I moved in when all the crazy things started happening in town.”
    Darmetheus quirked an eyebrow at her. ”  But, why wouldn’t you just stay in town? Isn’t it safer there?”  Lilith shook her head. ”  No. Those things aren’t intimidated by locked doors, or silver . . . or much of anything else, for that matter. They’ll come right into your home and steal you from your bed. The only people that don’t seem to be too bothered are the ones who don’t live in town.”
    He frowned. ”  Well, that’s weird.”    

This book is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Moon-Shiloh-Darke/dp/0982325169/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351004570&sr=8-1&keywords=eternal+moon+shiloh+darke

Freedom………..

17 Oct

Today we welcome Julian Adorney to the GSP Halloween Promo. What Julian says about himself.

 I’ve been a writer since third grade, when my teacher made my class write a fantasy story apiece. I was hooked. Since then, most of my life has revolved around my writing: I’ve written short stories, taken writing workshops, and I’m an English major from University of Colorado at Boulder. When not writing, I enjoy hiking and getting together with friends.

My other fiction can be read at Untreed Reads Publishing (‘Deals’) Shadowcast Audio Anthology (‘Souls & Snowboarding’), and Cynic Online Mag (‘Murder’).

Featuring today his title Freedom.

When Brian fell in love with the sorceress Gloria, he thought she was the perfect girl. But when she risks his life without a second thought, he realizes that she’s something else entirely. Her violent possessiveness and Machiavellian control of his life make him wonder who–or what–he’s in love with. All Brian wants is freedom. Is he strong enough to break free before Gloria steals that possibility forever?

Excerpt:
  Blood pumped from his chest, seeping over the spearshaft still pinning him to the ground.
     Brian groaned. Pain lanced through his body. His broken ribs turned every breath into an ordeal, spasming as his expanding lungs pushed them against his chainmail.
     His lifeblood drained away, bringing numbness. The pain dulled.
     He still couldn’t believe it all ended here, bleeding his life away on some nameless field. He had never considered the possibility of his death before.
     He thought of all the things his twenty-five years hadn’t let him accomplish. The books he yearned to write—his imagination overflowed with ideas. The adventures across Qa’mar—climbs up her icy mountains, descents in her deep tunnels—he had hoped for.
     Those thoughts flashed past and were gone. The only thought that stayed was of her.
     Corpses littered the rocky battlefield. Black blood oozed from green-skinned orcs like tar. Drakes lay on their sides, scaly bodies rent. His hand still grasped his sword, and he smiled at the memory of the battle. Monsters swarming him while he used his blade to fight for his life.
     The outcome hadn’t been what he had hoped for, but damn it had been a good fight!
     If he hadn’t rushed into the midst of that clutch of drakes, he might not be dying right now. He shrugged ruefully.
     His thoughts returned to her. To Gloria, the girl who so obsessed him that even in battle he had to wrench his thoughts away. Part sweet maiden, part sorceress who used the Power to blast their enemies into cinder. He sighed, imagining her beautiful face, her green eyes.
     The familiar feelings flooded him, sweeping aside his pain like a waterfall sweeps aside a matchstick. The desire for her. The desperation to be with her, as though he was dying and her presence alone could save him.
     He groaned as blackness seeped into his vision. Unconsciousness loomed and his eyes closed. When they opened again, she was there.
     She stared down at him, pretty features anxious. Her emerald dress brought out the green of her eyes. Curly red hair framed her pale face.
     “Oh, Brian! You’re hurt!” She fell to the grass and touched his chest, tears glistened in her eyes.
     His body tingled at her touch, but he barely noticed. Blackness seeped into the velvet twilight sky as he felt himself slipping into unconsciousness.
     He knew if he let it take him, he would never wake up.
     “Oh, Brian!” He heard her words from a long way away. “Don’t die, my love! You can’t leave me!”
     An image formed in his mind of her face. If he died, then he would never see her again—never again hold her or kiss her or feel her whisper in his ear.
     No, he thought. His desire for her pulled him back from the brink. Gloria’s image sharpened. The feel of the grass beneath him, the stickiness of the blood drying on his ribs, returned.
     Thoughts came faster and he opened his eyes.
     “Oh thank the gods!” she sighed. “You came back.”
     He grinned. “You know me. I could never die and leave behind such a beautiful girl.”
     It was more truth than boast, he realized. His brow furrowed at the ease of his return. He had heard that it was a struggle to come back from near-death, but this . . . it was effortless. He couldn’t leave her; even death had no claim on him where she was concerned.
     He could feel her using the Power to heal his body. His mangled nerve-endings repaired themselves. His wounds healed and blood evaporated from his tanned skin. He lifted his head and caught her gaze.
     She bent over him, hair falling over his face.
     “By the way,” she whispered in his ear, “I’ll kill the bastards who did this.”
     She pulled him to his feet and he kissed her. He drank in her scent, relishing the feel of her lips against his.
     Then she pulled away, jerking her head toward a trail through the trees surrounding the battle-ground. He nodded, and they started walking.
     “I found the people who planned this,” she said, a few minutes later. A breeze swished through the trees, ruffling Brian’s blond hair.
     He looked at her. “Is that where you were today?”
     She nodded. “They’re the same force we’ve been hunting for the past year. I tracked them to the Caves of Rasha, fifty miles north of here.” She smiled. “You killed most of them today, my brave knight. Now all that’s left is to hunt the rest down and slaughter them.” There was a dark gleam in her eyes.
     He shook his head, worried. “Gloria, what’s this about?”
     “They killed him, Brian! I will have my vengeance.”
     His eyes widened. “Gods, love, I know what they did. But you’re talking about an entire clan! Women, children . . .”
     She shook her head. “They deserve it.” Her voice was low and eager. “I saw their leader today, Ra’jaa. I recognized him. He’s the brute who killed my brother.”
     His brow furrowed. “Wait. An old man’s not going to be on the front lines of his camp. How did you see him?”
     “I told you, most of their army was gone. It was an easy matter to slip in and—”
     “And you knew going in that their army would be gone?” His voice came out rougher than he intended. A branch slapped his face, but he kept his eyes on her.
     “Yes, of course I did.”
     “You knew they were hunting me?”
     Her eyes widened. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know there would be so many!”
     “Gods Gloria, I almost died today! That damn force almost ripped me to pieces! And you knew!” He stopped and glared at her. “You couldn’t have stood by me?”
     He spun away as she reminded him that she had left three days ago to hunt Raj’aa. He listened past her veiled statements to the truth: she had known Raj’aa was watching them. She had known he would never send his army out to hunt them both; he would have stayed holed up in the caves, too entrenched for even them to defeat.
     She had abandoned him in order to lure Raj’aa’s force out of their defenses. He had almost died.
     Resentment boiled within him, and he forced himself not to look at her. He knew if he saw her face, her wide eyes, her freckled nose, his anger would melt away. He didn’t want it to.
     Resolutely, he stared at a misshapen tree to their left. It soared into the forest canopy, its thick trunk dappled with sunlight and shade. Bulbous knots protruded like warts.
     He knew she loved him. But still . . . sometimes it felt like she was just using him. Like he was her favorite trinket, to be loved while it lasted but sacrificed if need be.
     Why she would sacrifice him when he knew she was in love with him, he had no idea. He shrugged. Sometimes love didn’t make sense.
     “If you’re having misgivings, love, tell me.”
     He shook his head, forcing his feelings down. Arguing wouldn’t do him any good.
     “Good.” She leaned in, brushing her lips against his ear. “Just help me kill Raj’aa. I promise, I’ll make it worth your while.

Julian’s book is available at:
http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-ebook/dp/B004UGNDWM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350490843&sr=8-1&keywords=freedom+julian+adorney