Tag Archives: Fireflies Promo

Tiger Stone….

31 Mar

On the last day of the March GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome Cody Stanford.


Cody L. Stanford lives in Overland Park, Kansas. He attended the University of Missouri at Kansas City and is fascinated by the arts, history, politics, mythology, and other elements that shape the forces and foibles of human nature. His stories have appeared in The New Orphic Review, The Circle, and Eyes. When not writing, he occasionally spends time working with tigers and other exotic cats at a nearby feline conservation park.

Check out Cody’s Blog at: http://www.gryphonandtiger.blogspot.com
Learn more about Cody here: http://www.gryphonandtiger.com
eMail Cody here: gryphontiger@gmail.com

His book we are highlighting today is Tiger Stone.


Private eye Kimball Glock hunts for a stolen diamond through the jazz-magic streets of postwar New York City. Kimball uncovers the stone in the teeth of a shapeshifting tiger-boy who hides from a witch bent on the child’s enslavement. Tough guy Kimball is shattered by his selfish betrayal of the boy before being swept by magic both dark and light into a final battle for the weretiger’s soul.


A time once in New York City when magic fell like snow; the postwar years when nylons wrapped women’s legs again and skirts hugged billowing hips. Automobiles, so big they made my apartment look like a mousehole, rumbled through the city both at reveille and lullaby. Neon tubes and incandescent bulbs were the night shepherds of jazz, hustling the music like impish American kids. Music was in the air, but murder was always on the ground.

Magic touched me one cold January, but not the nostalgic magic of long-gone postcards. This was magic more ancient and evil, like wizened, long-dead apple hearts. I found murder and magic shining in a diamond that was and a tiger that wasn’t; in a mother who profaned the title and another woman who earned it. When I bother with business cards, they read Kimball Glock, Private Detective. It never crossed my mind when I first met the Princess that before long I would wind up married to a witch.

Erol Sadler was already dead when I reached his apartment, five floors up on Broome, Lower East Side. I kept my hat and overcoat on in case I had to leave quickly. Erol’s life lay tossed about his place like so much trash. I had come for a diamond. So had Erol’s assassin, who left Erol dead on his stomach. A line of blood dotted the top of Erol’s balding dome like red bugs marching for the forest of his salt-and-pepper head ruff. The mess of trash ended by the bedroom door, where the murderer must have found the diamond. Perhaps it had been hidden in the oddments spilled from an overturned coffee can or buried among wrinkled bills fluttering from an old cigar box. I cursed my luck. I was now in a war for the diamond, but I was naïve about who else was after it. The witch had hired me, though at that time I still called her the Princess. Without the shiny rock, she would withhold the rest of my payment. The gem was lost again. How long would it take to find the diamond now, to solve a murder as well as a robbery?

I pondered asking the Princess for a higher fee when I flinched in double surprise. The diamond appeared right in front of me, sparkling amber-white-black; beautiful and priceless. It was all mine if I could merely figure out how to pry the stone loose from the sharp teeth of the approaching tiger cub.

* * *
At first she was the Princess, because the week before I found Erol, she slinked into my office with that moneyed air of ownership that flew far above my world. A Princess who came to the Lower East Side to hire me. Likely she possessed dark and dirty secrets worth money, if they were but kept secret. Jaleh Zadeh was her name. She had long black hair and whiskey skin; my type for certain, like my lady Angela DiMarco, feisty and full of mystery. Jaleh Zadeh’s eyes were polished onyx flame. When she entered my office, she fingered a break in the frosted glass on the door, a corner shattered during a door-slamming fight with Angela. Jaleh looked like the kind of woman who caused a lot of broken glass, too.

The Princess purred my name, hackling up to a growl; “Mr. Kimball Glock,” deep in her throat like a stuck raspberry seed. “I am missing my diamond and my son.”

I stood from the chair behind my desk and stubbed out a cigarette in a pile of butts that hid an ashtray somewhere underneath. “How old is your son?” I said.

“Eight, if he’s still alive. He was taken from me three years ago.”

“Who took him?”

“The same man who stole my diamond.”

I tried to be clever. “And how old is the diamond?”

“Five thousand years.”

What the hell? I was lucky if my sort of clients owned paste diamonds hidden in their panty drawers. “When was the gem taken?”

“Two days ago.”

“You’re sure the same man took the diamond and the boy?”

The brief lowering of her gaze told me she might be reaching for some high melodrama that didn’t exist. “Possibly.”

“Which is more precious to you?”

“What sort of horrid question is that, Mr. Glock?”

“Call me Kimball. If I find them both in a burning building, I want to know which one to grab first.”

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/CodyStanford.html#TigerExc



The Witch and the Squirrels ….

30 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome G. E. Stills.


About himself Stills says: “

I live in the southwest with my wife, dog and a cat. I have grown children with children of their own. In the past I was a mechanic and then a business owner, retired. I have always loved to read and enjoyed writing stories from an early age. Most of my time now is spent in front of my keyboard writing or sitting back and thinking about a current WIP or a new story to write. When not engaged in my favorite pastime of writing, I enjoy boating and camping.

My stories primarily deal with paranormal, fantasy or science fiction and all of them, thus far, involve romance. The heat levels vary from non-erotic to sizzling. Most of my characters are strong and assertive; many are outspoken. Many of my characters have magical abilities or are normal people in abnormal situations with a strong sense of justice. My villains are, well . . . villains, doing villainous things.”


Read an Interview with G. E!

His book we are highlighting today is The Witch and the Squirrels.


As a fireman in a small town, Chad’s life is laid back, easy going. The worst problem he has is tolerating Jerry, his so-called friend. Jerry sees himself as a gift to women. He’s a player and Chad has a difficult time dealing with that. Chad’s life is destined to become much less peaceful and serene when Heather appears in town. From the very first time they meet, he is strongly attracted to her. To his consternation, Jerry imposes himself between them and tells lies about Chad in order to win Heather’s favor.

Jerry vanishes, as does Heather. Then one day on the way home from work, Chad encounters her again. Having discovered Jerry’s lies, she invites Chad to join her for dinner. Cheerfully, Chad accepts. With Jerry out of the picture it’ll be just the two of them . . . but things are about to get very interesting for Chad.


Chad resisted the urge to break into a run when he passed the run-down house. If not for the fact it was along the route he used when he walked to work . . . You’re a grown man, not some scared little boy. Still—something about the place gives me the willies.

Cold and dreary-looking, the dilapidated two-story structure sat on a lot that encompassed the entire block. An unkempt yard, overgrown with vines and shrubs, surrounded it. Nobody had lived in the place for years.

Not since old lady Jameson vanished a number of years ago.

That was long before he’d moved here.

His steps carried him away, putting the house behind him. The somber feeling of foreboding lifted from his shoulders as the distance increased. Two blocks farther, he entered a two-story eight-plex. Taking the steps two at a time, he then paced down the hallway to his apartment door located on the left near the rear of the complex. Soon he forgot the eerie feeling. Changing out of his uniform, he put on faded blue jeans and buttoned up his sport shirt.
Locking the door behind him, he left for the small bar a short distance away. When he opened the door, the smell of whiskey and stale cigarettes assailed his nose.

Why do I come here?

He answered his own thought immediately.

Because this may be a hole in the wall, but they have an excellent burger. He usually treated himself to one at the end of his shift. The bartender poured a glass of ice water and set it in front of him on the counter.

“The usual, Chad?” the bartender asked.

“Yes, thanks.”

The bartender walked away to place his order.

“What’s up, Chad my man?” a familiar voice said. He stifled a groan when Jerry sat down next to him.

Why me?

“Not much. Just got off work.” For some reason, Jerry had glommed onto him from the start.

Maybe because I was new in town. Maybe because I didn’t know him any better. That, and the fact he has an apartment in the same building as me. And he and I are both single.

“Wanna come to the club with me tonight? There might be some fresh meat there. Ya never can tell, with that new catalog ordering center opening up. I hear they’ve hired a number of women. About damn time this shitty little town got some new businesses.”

Translated, new women who don’t know you and what a player you are, Jerry.

“If you hate this place so much, why do you stay? Why don’t you move to a larger town?”

“Maybe I will someday, but in the meantime I haven’t bedded all the eligible ladies in this one.” He winked.

And some that are not eligible, Jerry.

Chad shook his head and smothered his sigh of disgust. Even after all these months of knowing Jerry, he found it hard to believe his attitude toward women. He found it even more difficult to accept.

“So what time should I pick you up?” Jerry asked.

“I’m kind of tired. Just got off my three-day shift.”

He should have known that Jerry would not be discouraged that easily.

“Aw, come on. You don’t do anything but lay around over there unless there’s a fire.”

“We do other things besides fight fire in this town, you know.”

“What, rescue cats from trees?” Jerry scoffed.

He rolled his eyes and bristled at hearing his job belittled. “It’s not worth arguing about. I just don’t feel like going out tonight.”

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/GEStills.html#WitchSquirrelsExc



Channeling Cleopatra…….

29 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.


Elizabeth Ann 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 collaborated  on 16 novels with Anne McCaffrey, six in the best selling Petaybee series and eight in the YA bestselling Acorna series. Her latest releases are the Spam sereis.

Her book that we are highlighting today is Channeling Cleopatra.


“Get the past life of your dreams!”

Leda Hubbard, a forensic pathologist, gets the job of her dreams when an old school friend hires her to collect and authenticate the DNA of the famous Cleopatra. It’s all great fun for Leda until, during a massive disaster, her colorful dad, the dig’s security specialist, is killed by a group trying to hijack the precious material for a “blend,” a process in which the queen’s DNA is used to import her memories, personality, and character traits to a new host. They screw up, however, and get Leda’s dad’s DNA instead. To keep the queen from going to the murderers, Leda blends with Cleopatra herself, learning a lot more about Egypt than she ever wanted to know.



Cleopatra looked at the snake. The snake, its tongue flicking, stared back at her. She apologized to the creature, the emblem of her queenship and the end of it. “My lord, if only Octavius were as trustworthy as you are, there would be no need to disturb you with our concerns. But alas, my protectors are all dead, my beauty faded, and even my hairdresser and handmaiden have offered their flesh to your fangs for my sake, so I have no choice. If I live and flee, Octavius will avenge himself upon my children. If I live and submit, he will degrade and humiliate my person and position in his accursed Roman triumph, dragging me in chains through the city where I should by rights have ruled as empress. Then he will kill me and destroy my body and my hope for the afterlife. Oh yes, my lord,” she said in her tender, singsong voice, the voice of a natural-born snake charmer. The snake swayed, half uncoiled to strike, its hood majestically fanned around its face.

The coils of its body lay still upon the folds of the yellow, red, and white linens of the Isis robes covering Charmion’s corpse. Iras lay beside the altar containing the body. Charmion also wore the Isis crown and what was left of the crown jewels. Iras had dressed her fellow handmaiden’s head in the black Isis curls Cleopatra customarily wore when assuming the guise of the goddess. The queen herself had employed her considerable skill with cosmetics to change faces with her look-alike maid. Now, dressed as Charmion, she explained herself to the cobra. The cobra did not mind her humble robes. It knew who she was. She was Egypt, its home, its mother, and finally, its prey.

She spoke to it to clarify her own mind before her death and to delay that same death, for she had long loved life and was loath to leave it, even under the circumstances.

“Yes, it’s true. I have it on the best authority. Isis in her compassion has sent me a dream so I may save my body and thus my immortal soul. Whatever lies he tells my people, Octavius intends to burn me after my death—before it, if he is given the opportunity, I’m sure. So I have chosen my own time. My eldest son has fled the country, and as for my younger children, I am unable to protect them, and moreover, I provide cause for Octavius to do them harm. Perhaps without me to spite with their suffering, he will spare them. And so you must give me my last kiss, my lord. My priests, who know our little secret, will do the rest. In exchange, I grant you your freedom from your duties as guardian of this tomb and temple.”

She took a deep breath, broke eye contact, and quickly, so as to startle the fascinated snake, thrust her arm at it. Having had its part so considerately explained to it, the cobra performed its last state service and struck her with a force that staggered her back, away from the altar.

Unhooded and blending with the dust, the snake then slithered out through an open window.

The pain subsided, quickly replaced with numbness. Soon she knew paralysis and death would follow. By that time, Octavius would have received her message begging him to bury her with Antony. She knew he would not, but the message would serve to seal in his mind that the body in her robes was her own. He would expect to see her there, and dead, and that is what he would see.

The stage was set to perfection, except the cobra, in striking, had pulled Charmion’s wig askew. Slowly, with a sense of detachment and amusement, as if she had had too much wine, Cleopatra rose and stretched out her other hand to adjust it.

Which was how Octavius and his soldiers saw her when they burst into the room.

She felt Octavius staring hard at her, and she thought for a moment the ruse had failed. Then he said, puzzled, more to himself than to her, “Is this well done?”

The bastard was trying to figure out if her death was to his advantage or not.

She felt herself ready to fly to the afterlife, but she had never been able to resist a good exit line. “It is well done,” she said, her voice unrecognizably husky with the dying, “and fitting for a princess descended of so many royal kings.”

And so it was that the body of Charmion, dressed in the robes of Cleopatra, was displayed to the people as proof of her death. Later, as Cleopatra’s dream had warned, Octavius publicly said she would be interred with Mark Antony but privately, to his lieutenant, he said, “Burn the bitch. The brats may watch.”

The bodies of the handmaidens were removed afterward by the priests. Cleopatra’s public tomb, stripped of its glories by Octavius, lay empty, as she had somehow always known it would. But it secretly connected, through a long and twisting passage with many stairs and a maze of tunnels, with a private tomb concealed deep beneath her palace. In some ways, the tomb was very bare, her special coffin, sealed within three others, the simple alabaster canopic jars with her cartouche and titles and seals of gold, some clothing and toiletries, a prettily carved inlaid table and chair, a bed, a wealth of lamps. The tomb was for one person only. No place for husbands or children or even trusted servants. Iras’s body had been removed to her family’s crypt. Instead, the side rooms held Cleopatra’s greatest treasure, one that Octavius and other conquerors lacked the wit to covet. But to the queen, for whom the love of erudition was more fundamental than her love of either of her Roman husbands or even her kingdom, her burial hoard was of the most valuable nature possible. It contained the originals to the best, the rarest, the most informed and fascinating of the manuscripts collected by her own great Museon, the Library of Alexandria.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/ElizabethScarborough.html#CCleoExc




Matchmaker …….

28 Mar


Welcome to Lady Deidre on today’s GSP Fireflies Promo.

About herself she say’s 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.”

Learn more about Lady Deidre

Her book that we are highlighting today is Matchmaker.


When Alex stops into an antique store for a simple gift, he discovers the owner, Cindy Lee, keeps a creepy apparition as a sidekick. Wanting to make a quick exit from the ghoulish shop, Alex heads for the door, but soon finds the giant spirit has other plans for him.


“Don’t mind Henry, I think he’s just clumsy today,” the perky brunette chimed.

The customer glanced around the antique shop looking for an individual, but found no one. “Who are you referring to?”

She pointed behind him, down a narrow lane, to a small toy section. A row of soldiers, along the top shelf, clattered to the floor. “There,” she said as they tumbled.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/LadyDeidre.html#MatchmakerExc




His head jerked so hard toward the falling toys, that he almost lost his wire rimmed glasses. “I . . . still don’t see anyone,” he said with concern. “How . . . did those soldiers . . . fall?” he stammered.

“Oh,” she smiled. “You’re one of those.”

He turned to stare at her with his brow crinkled in confusion. “What does that mean, exactly?”

“Not everyone can see Henry,” her smile widened. “He’s a peculiar spirit.”

“I’ve never encountered . . .” he cleared his throat as he peered down the aisle, closely searching for any sign of existence, “a ghost before.”

She waved a hand, “No need to worry, he won’t attack you.” To be honest, she wasn’t sure what Henry was capable of. Sometimes she could sense his aggravation if he perceived a threat to her, but that didn’t occur often.

“Attack.” He jerked his head back toward her. “I hadn’t even thought of that.” His eyes darted back to the fallen soldiers scattered across the old wood floor. “How can you be certain?”

“Well, Mister—what did you say your name was?”

“I didn’t.” He extended his hand politely. “I’m Alex.”

She grasped his narrow hand with a firm grip and squeezed hard. “Cindy Lee. It’s nice to meet you,” she said with great enthusiasm.

Alex removed his hand and rubbed his numb fingers for a moment. “Likewise,” he countered uncertainly.

When the phone shrilled from the service counter near the exit, Cindy Lee replied, “Excuse me, Alex. I have to get that, but I’ll be back to answer any questions you have.” She trotted to the front of the shop—in a hurry to answer the phone.

Alex stared at the fallen soldiers and mumbled, “She must be delusional,” as if that answered everything. He decided to move away from the antique toys. If ghosts really existed, he had no interest in seeing one firsthand.


Sparrow’s Release ….

27 Mar

On the GSP Fireflies today we welcome Shiloh Darke.


What to say about myself? Gee . . . I’m not sure. I’m a wife, a mother, and even a GRANDMOTHER . . . But call me MiMi!

I LOVE to tell stories! It is just about my favorite thing to do. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve LOVED a good romance.

But not just ANY romance. No way! I have to have adventure, excitement, danger, thrills and chills as well. What’s the point in just a regular old, PREDICTABLE romance? If I can tell halfway through the book what is going to happen, where’s the fun in that?

As if you can’t already tell, I love to read about as much as I love to write! I read romance, mystery, horror, fan fiction (Mostly Harry Potter or True Blood) and anything else that catches my eye.

I also write stories for younger readers age 14 and up; YA novels under the pen name of Rowan Shannigan. I’m working on my second novel in the first series I’ve started under that alias. Check it out at http://feeltheawareness.weebly.com if you are interested. Same CRAZY kind of stories, just a little less intense. If you don’t try it, you don’t know what you’re missing!

I like movies, but I have to be in the mood for them. I’m sassy, stubborn, smart, silly and always wanting to know what people like or don’t like about my stories! If you follow my blog, comments are LOVED! Actually, to tell the truth… if you ever contact me with questions, worries, or any kind of thoughts on my stories, you can rest assured, I will answer you. It may take me a few days. Sometimes it might even be a week. But I will always send you a response. Frankly because I believe not  torespond is just RUDE! And my Momma taught me to be a Proper Southern Lady.

Okay, so now you know more about me . . . Now, let’s talk about you . . . What’s YOUR fantasy?

WEBSITE: http://www.shilohdarke.com
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Shiloh_Darke1
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/shiloh.darke
MYSPACE: http://www.myspace.com/shiloh_darke 

Her book wwe are highlighting today is Sparrow’s Release.


Sparrow is a street-smart, savvy cop. No . . . scratch that. She just made Detective. She’s strong, self-assured, and fairly satisfied with where she’s going in life. Her only sadness is the longing for family. But then, her life suddenly changes in the middle of the night when she gets unexpected company. She’s heard stories of Alien abductions. She gives in to it fairly easily. She’ll be back in bed by morning with no memory of it anyway, right?

Navar is a ruler of a world very similar to Earth. For some time now, he has been watching the women of his race die off unexpectedly or become barren. He is a just and fair King. He would never, under normal circumstances, take part in the trafficking of women from another world. But, his people are beginning to suffer and desperate times call for desperate measures.


Chapter One

Sparrow McBride woke to the sound of breaking glass. Jerking upright in the bed, she blinked a few times, trying to command her eyes to focus. She knew a few seconds of disoriented confusion. Someone was in her house. No sooner had the thought come than she heard yet another breakable thing shatter.

Her memories of another intruder breaking into her home when she was a child came to the forefront of her thoughts. Her father had run to protect them. Her mother had made her hide under their bed. She still slept with her parents and had no room of her own yet. Her brother, wanting to be tough, like dad, had followed him.

When the first shots were fired, Sparrow had covered her ears. The intruder had not wanted to steal anything. He just wanted to feel what it was like to kill someone. She had stayed where her mother had hidden her for hours after everything had gone silent. When she finally emerged, it was to find her entire family slaughtered at the hands of someone who had cared only about ending someone’s life.

The courts appointed her aunt as legal guardian. Sparrow lived with her until she finished high school and turned eighteen. Then she had started pursuing her plan of becoming a cop. She wanted to help do her part to keep that same horror that happened to her from happening to any other six-year-old child. Her aunt had died the year after she had graduated from the academy.

Not having a family was something that constantly bothered Sparrow. She was thirty now. Well past the age of Spinster, in some people’s opinions. She hated being alone, but she just hadn’t met the one. She knew in her heart he was out there . . . somewhere. Someday, he would rescue her from all the painful memories and give her a child and a life worth living; one where she wasn’t always alone.

The sound of still more breaking glass interrupted her thoughts, reminding her some jerk off was breaking into her house. She growled softly, “Not this time!” and hit the floor, pausing only long enough to grab the Heckler & Koch P2000 Compact Pistol out of her nightstand. Whoever was so insistent on robbing her better kiss his ball-sack goodbye, because he was going to lose his left nut if he broke one more thing. What idiot would enter the home of a cop in the middle of the night anyway? She eased down her stairs silently with a second’s smirk at the thought.

One would think the squad car parked in the drive would be a dead giveaway that whoever was the officer in the home was indeed currently occupying the residence. Of course, it was beginning to be a well-known fact—people were becoming dumber every year. Maybe the intruder thought the car was just there for curb appeal?

She paid no attention to her state of dress. It didn’t even bother her that she was about to take down a burglar, wearing nothing more than a wife-beater and a thong. Pressing herself against the wall at the foot of the stairs, she moved, silent as a panther readying to strike.

Although her name made people believe she was no more than a tiny sprite, Sparrow was a well-trained officer. She had gone into the police academy straight out of high school; had worked with the bomb squad for over three years. This last month, she had made Detective. The standard squad car was going to be replaced by her preferred personal choice next week. Then she wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb in her neighborhood any longer.

Slowly, she edged around the corner and looked at the reflection offered by the mirror, which just happened to be placed strategically to give her a view of the kitchen. It hung over the fireplace, but was big and offered her a revealing glimpse of both the entryway and the kitchen in just such an instance as this.

At first, she saw nothing. Then a large, skinny, naked gray man’s reflection became apparent as he stood staring back at her image in the mirror. She heard a series of clicks and pings, which the logical side of her brain told her had to be his language. However, her logical side was not the voice she was listening to. She shook her head in crazed denial at what her eyes were seeing . . . little gray men? Her mind couldn’t make sense of what she was witnessing.

She had come down here expecting some stupid member of the adolescent male species from the state of Texas, rummaging through her belongings in search of something he could pawn. Finding a skinny gray being with black eyes and no discernible mouth was not what she had bargained on. Not in a long shot!

Suddenly, her whole world changed when she watched a second being join the first. He had no mouth either, but he was bigger and more menacing. His face seemed to resemble something she had once seen on Star Wars, with flaps of flesh that pulled back from his head to fall loosely around the edges of his head; almost like a lion’s mane. It reminded her of someone who had Dreadlocks, but not with hair . . . Not! That was a continuation of his skin. As she watched, a series of clicks and pings began between the two. The bigger one looked from the gray one to her and lifted his left three-digit, stubby-fingered hand. Her mind issued the warning to run, but she could not make her body obey as she stared in silent fascination.

As the orb neared her, it seemed to grow, eliciting a squeak of shock from her as tentacles much like spider webs snaked out and wrapped around her. Her arms were immediately pinned to her sides and she fell, powerless to the floor.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/Shiloh.html#SparrowRExc





The Silver House….

26 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome Janet French.


Of herself she says:

I live in beautiful Shropshire in the UK and keep a craft shop. Authors like David Gemmell and Anne McCaffrey have always been on the top of my reading pile and are my inspiration to write. I have no interest in stories of the mundanities of everyday life but give me a dragon and a magic sword and I am good to go.

Her book we are highlighting today is The Silver House.


The Zashran invaders are at the gates of Cardanon. As the city falls the Dragon Mothers take the Silver House and the city’s children into hiding away from the mortal world.

The future of the House, the threads of Power and the land itself are in the hands of a ragbag of escapees. Aric, the new Duke of Cardanon; Agbani, a beggar girl; Marka, a House Sister; Bertran, a merchant’s son; and a group of rescued children are led by Genya, a stranded Dragon Mother. Used to the safety of city life they must evade the pursuing Zashran and find their way through a strange and exciting countryside with only their courage and resourcefulness to rely on.

It is up to these few to face the dangers of the road and find their way to the heroes who can help them save the House and their world.


Chapter One

Duke Coric leaned back into the shifting shadows against the stained and broken wall that used to be a part of Cardanon’s finest inn. Across the broad street, the Great North Gates shuddered under the pounding of the Zashran rams and the noise filled the sooty air.

Coric was tall and well made, of middle years, with an air of inherited stature and grace but the slight stoop to his shoulders and the weakness of his blue eyes betrayed a man used to seeing the world in close up, in books and histories. Three months of siege had not made his armour comfortable nor his sword fit his hand. This was the end of his city. One thousand years of history was coming to a crashing finale under his rule and the last of his dynasty would fall with it.

The ugly glare from buildings left to burn in the night lit the scene with a hellish light. Coric slid sideways toward the deeper shadows and wondered if he could be out of sight.

Even now the Duke was not left unattended, a millennium of protocol was not lost so easily, but the humour of seeing his Steward, Eoc, picking his way through ruin to offer him water had been exhausted many weeks ago. Coric scrubbed at his gritty eyes with the back of his leather gauntlet and heaved himself away from the wall.

He addressed the man, “There are plenty of men who need that more than I do. Give it to someone who can still help this city.” Coric was thankful he could still hear some authority in his voice.

Eoc stiffened, affronted, as much as he was able against a ragged crutch and stood his ground.

“My apologies, Eoc, but I am resolute in this if in nothing else. If there is water left, give it to fighting men. I am of no use to my city now.”

“Don’t say that, Sir!” Eoc pleaded. “There is only you and the House holding us together.”

Coric followed Eoc’s gaze up to where the tower of the Silver House, high behind them, was hidden in the night.

“I still pray Power for help but how can any of us hope to see the morning?” Coric’s voice betrayed him with a tremble.

“We will defend the House, Sir, even if the gates fall.”

Coric shook his head and looked around in the guttering light at the muster of men waiting to meet the Zashran invaders. He could not see more than a handful without signs of injury and those were exhausted and half-starved. The wounded that could bear any weapon at all had been brought from the surgeons’ care and were lining up before the gates. Coric’s eyes misted as he watched the men propped against buildings, their swords strapped to their hands. Women were moving out from the shadows carrying whatever weapons the fallen fighting men had left behind. The Zashran took no prisoners and gave no quarter. Cardanon’s remnants were choosing death in the open rather than waiting to be butchered.

He rubbed at his eyes again and looked up to the walls, searching in the darkness for his son. Aric’s pale face was looking anxiously down at him but turned away as soon as he saw his father was still standing. Coric finally pushed all weakness away and moved to stand at the front of Cardanon’s defenders. He threw his helmet aside to let the firelight catch his bright hair as he raised his sword in a last gesture of defiance. The gates finally cracked and buckled in front of them.

High above the city in the Silver House, children in nightgowns sat in warm groups around the nursery fires waiting for their bedtime drinks. Sisters sat with them, smiling and talking softly while they helped to comb the knots out of long hair, damp from the bath. A Mother gathered half a dozen toddlers to sit with her on the hearthrug for a story and reached out to take one of the latest arrivals onto her lap.

Frieda stood in the doorway for a moment, letting her silver robe blend into the candlelight and hide her from casual eyes. She gazed hungrily at the cosy scene and indulged herself briefly by imagining how the children would snuggle up to her and share their stories if she joined them, but the danger of the night was waiting outside the North Gates. Dark wings were stretching in the blackness beyond the city, yearning to fly. The haunted eyes of the children that had recently come to the House from the city gave her a reminder she did not need. Everything was going to change tonight. She smiled back to the children who noticed her and left them to be soothed by the comfortable winding down of the day.

The Sisters knew Frieda was watching them but preserved the atmosphere of unhurried calm. There was an appointment to keep in the tower room but the bedtime clock had to be allowed to tick its regular routine for the last time. The House Mothers had placed quietness like a bubble around the room to make a gentle sanctuary but the Sisters’ ears, able to reach beyond the glamour, could still hear the sounds of distant battle. These precious children were the city’s last treasures and Silver House’s dilemma.

Frieda turned away from the children and closed the door softly behind her. She stood for a while with her hand on the wall beside the door, feeling herself a part of the life and strength that ran through the stone. The deep currents in the Power beat smooth and strong but little smudges of filth intruded where the Zashran worked their dark magic. Close by, she felt the surface eddies of unease set spinning by the Sisters’ fear sending ripples over the rich fullness of the House Mothers. She reached out into the city, avoiding the little dark spots the enemy was sowing, and assessed the strength of the city walls. The Power the House was holding in the stonework was being pushed back by noisome streaks of filth and fire. She sought out the sparks that were her Duke and her son. She found Duke Coric waiting with the last of Cardanon’s men, watching the inside of the North Gates bowing toward them under the rams of the Zashran horde. Aric was on the wall trying to clear defenders from the last ramparts before they fell. Children were still pelting the heads of the ram teams with whatever came to hand. Frieda’s pride and grief fuelled her resolve. She wrenched herself away from the looming dark beyond the city walls and raised her eyes to look about the hallway.

This House was her; its care was the work of her life. She looked with true love at the grey stone and the bright hangings she had commissioned to warm the corridors and please the children with pictures of animals and flowers. She remembered every set of small feet that had worn the pathways between the doors. All those children had run, hopped and skipped from dining room to schoolroom and bathroom to playroom but always back to the comfortable order of the nursery. How many children had been schooled here in the two hundred years of her rule? How many orphans had been raised with the Sisters’ and Mothers’ own few children? She could name them all. The siege of the city had given her the choice of fighting and perhaps postponing the end of Cardanon or trying to save the children. At the last, there was no choice for her, only the tedious process of going through the motions until the wayward and distracted House Mothers united behind her.

She left the glowing hallway to walk the narrower passages to the small hall by the kitchens. Here some busyness remained as Sisters came and went through the back door that led through the darkened kitchen gardens to the portress’ gate. The siege of the city had made nonsense of the rhythm of night and day. Away from the fragile peace around the children, domestic duties were done at need, not by the clock, but time was running out and the chores of everyday would soon be put aside for the night’s work. Frieda felt an urge to see all of the House, not to say goodbye but to hold its details fresh in her mind before the city fell. She knew she was trying to put off the hazard of the night’s work. She could never know her House any better.

The sounds of the siege were suddenly loud as the door opened. A Mother and two Sisters, their arms filled with babies, shepherded a bedraggled group of youngsters into the light. Welcoming hands led Sisters and children to the comfort of the kitchen fireside and reached out to soothe the bleakness in the eyes of those who had seen the spoiled city. Parents were still sending their children to the House, trusting they would be safe. Frieda wondered at such blind faith. If they knew what she planned to do would they still send the children? They probably would. There was nowhere else.

Velia, the newly arrived Mother, left the children at the fireside and shook out her amber cloak. She passed Frieda in the hallway and offered an empathic caress with her mind and a wry smile.

A group of young Sisters were about to go out but stopped when they saw Frieda.

“Will you bless us, Mother Frieda?” they pleaded. “We have to hurry.”

They already had all the blessing she could give but she would not deny them any comfort. She held her hands out to them and allowed them to see her House tattoos glowing softly from her fingertips and writhing sumptuously up her forearms. The Sisters touched their foreheads to the backs of Frieda’s hands in awe and reverence.

“You know you will not get back in time?” Frieda asked softly. She could see in their faces that their choices were made but she needed to say it. A fair girl, her opalescent cloak glimmering faintly, spoke for them all.

“We think we are still needed in the city more than we are in the House,” she said. She hesitated, then spoke in a rush.

“I don’t want to be here while my family is fighting. I need to go back to them.”

“There is no safety anywhere tonight.” Frieda smiled slightly. “You must choose as best you can. Go well, I hope we meet again.”

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JanetFrench.html#SilverHExc




Read an Interview with Janet
Another Interview with Janet

Congratulations to Janet for being in the 2011 Preditors and Editors top ten Novel Category for The Silver House.

The Cat Lottery……

24 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome John Des Fosses.


John was raised in Holyoke, Massachusetts with one brother and three sisters and two loving parents. He graduated from Holyoke High School, where in his senior year he earned an All American High School swimmer title.

John attended one semester at Springfield College, Springfield, MA. A financial crisis forced him to leave college. From 1966—1970 he served with the US Navy aboard a submarine, the USS Salmon, SS573, stationed in San Diego, CA. He attained a rank and rate of E-5 torpedoman.

John returned to college, after a two-year stint with a property management company in San Diego. He attended a local college for two years after which, Sandi and he left San Diego for Manhattan, Kansas and Kansas State University. He graduated in 1976 with a BS degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.

After college he worked for GE Medical Systems, Marquette Electronics, Decision Data, and Econocom. In 1987 John started he own computer company and he is now semi–retired after 22 years in business.

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/john.desfosses.12

His book that we are highliting today is The Cat Lottery.


Camille has exhausted the last of her nine lives. Under strict cat law, she must depart this earth for the eternal tenth life. Pioline and Poulet, her eight-week-old kittens, are left behind. Willed by Camille’s departed spirit, Boots, her aging brother, finds the kittens under the deck of John and Sandi’s house. They are wired with fear and spirits so lost they might never be found.

Boots, a life long stray, confesses he is ill suited for the caring of kittens. He must devise a plan to convince the humans to take the kittens into their home. A more daunting task is to convince the kittens they should become house cats. Sandi becomes an unwitting partner in his plan. John becomes an unwitting foil. Learn the laws that govern a cat’s life and how they deal with death, fear, joy, humor and love.


Camille’s kittens were born in early October when leaves fell from the tall trees in the yard, weaving colorful patterns of red, gold, and orange. As they landed, the once-green grass of summer gave way to the hues of fall. The warm breeze turned cool, signaling to all the coming of December’s wintry nights. Camille wished her two kittens had been born during the spring, but this hadn’t happened.

Mother and litter lived beneath a wooden deck attached to a house at the end of a dead-end street. The owners of the house, John and Sandi, built the large deck so they could enjoy the only comfortable seasons in Virginia Beach: spring and fall.

The deck had a rectangular shape and was eighteen inches off the ground. A forty-two inch railing followed the edges. At each end were two sets of wooden steps each with three planks: one leading to another set of stairs and the back door of the house, the other to a covered stack of firewood some thirty feet away and parallel to a cedar fence. John had cut a hole in the deck so a twenty-foot tall maple tree wouldn’t have to be cut down. The tree provided ample shade for the potted plants scattered about the deck.

The ground beneath the deck was covered with years of accumulated leaves, some put there by John, some blown there by the wind. Although the leaves had a musty smell, they made a soft bed on the hard clay soil and offered protection from the winter winds. The leaves also provided a hiding place from humans, and from animals that walked through the yard. It was a safe place to live and play, and it was the only world the kittens had ever known.

From time to time, Camille would leave her kittens while she hunted, but she had come to realize she couldn’t run or stalk her prey the way she once had. She remembered the days when to catch a bird at a feeder was mere kitten’s play. And when mice were just as easy.

Because winter was nearly upon them and food supplies were scarce, Camille often felt her kittens were being punished for the poor timing of their births. She also knew she’d used up all of her nine cat lives and her time on earth was limited.

The kittens were too young to know their mother was preparing for a journey—a journey traveled only by those cats who had used up their nine lives. Camille knew she was about to travel alone to a place where her ninth life would end and her eternal tenth life would begin. It would be a place where there were fields of catnip and pools of honey milk. It would be a place where peace and harmony were joined together. A place unlike anywhere she’d visited as an outdoor cat on earth. She had to take great care to keep this trip a secret from her kittens. They must not know anything about it, she thought. Not knowing was important for their survival.

With all her courage and determination, Camille put off her journey as long as the rules that govern a cat’s life would allow. But on this afternoon when colored leaves fell from the trees, she knew her time had come.

She was thankful her kittens were nine weeks old and fully weaned from her milk and could eat solid food. There had been few occasions lately, however, when she could make solid food available to them. One of those occasions was the previous night; it would be their last meal together.

Just before dawn, while the kittens had slept soundly and safely beneath the deck, Camille had seen an opossum snatch a half-chewed turkey leg from a tipped-over garbage can. The can more than likely had been turned over by Boris in the night. Boris was a three-year-old Doberman Pinscher who hated every living thing. Camille worried about her kittens when Boris was around. He often passed through the yard. She knew that had he seen her kittens he’d have tried to snatch them up. But why would Boris miss this morsel of food? Camille figured he had found something more alive and challenging to chase and catch.

From under a red-berry holly bush, Camille watched the opossum climb head-first into the trashcan and back out with his prize. He gripped the brown, meaty turkey leg like a fat cigar in his narrow, pointy mouth and headed toward the back of the house. Camille followed close behind.

Waddling as fast as he could, the opossum found a safe spot near a pile of leaves and twigs by a cedar shed. He sat down and prepared to eat.

Camille crept up without his noticing her. Quietly, she filled her lungs to their fullest capacity and let go a howl that broke the night’s silence like a fire truck’s siren.

The startled opossum jumped two feet in the air, fell hard to the ground, and played dead. Camille wasted no time worrying about whether the opossum was actually dead. She bit deeply into the turkey leg and dragged it to her hungry kittens. She’d been sneaking up on and scaring opossums all of her life, and she really enjoyed doing it. They fell dead before her scream every time.

Her kittens ate heartily until their stomachs were full and little was left. The bone remained near the nest of leaves like a trophy won by a great hunter.

The next morning, Camille watched her kittens play as the sun began to rise. The boy kitten, Pioline, stalked his sister, Poulet, who tried to ignore him. Pioline had long, jet-black fur. Camille thought this was odd because there had never been longhaired cats in the family. Black fur looked very good on him, she decided. Poulet had jet-black fur, too, but it was short like Camille’s. The true family resemblance was in their golden eyes and ink-black pupils. They have my eyes, Camille thought, smiling. Their day together was quiet, peaceful and happy.

It was a half-hour before the sun dropped behind the weathered fence when Camille left her kittens. She did not utter a sound. The kittens watched with surprised eyes as she passed the perimeter of the deck and headed toward the shed. She had never before left to hunt at this time of day. The kittens thought something was wrong, but didn’t say anything.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JohnDesFosses.html#CatLotExc





The Bridge Between Worlds…..

23 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome Stephen DeBock.


Stephen DeBock writes on just about any topic but for fun concentrates on sci-fi/fantasy adventure and supernatural fiction.

As a teenager, Steve would entertain (and frighten) the neighborhood children by retelling them stories from E.C. horror comics like The Crypt of Terror. As a middle school teacher, he continued the tradition by reading his students a horror story to initiate the school year. Now retired, he has time to write his own stories.

His first writing success came as a high school senior, when a 25-word essay won him an all-expenses-paid vacation in Alaska. Upon his return he entered the Marines and was chosen to serve in the President’s Honor Guard. Vignettes from that venue have appeared in American Heritage magazine and in various newspapers.

Upon leaving the Corps, Steve worked days, went to college at night, and spent weekends earning a private pilot’s certificate. A flying narrative he wrote was published in AOPA Pilot Online.

During his teaching career, Steve garnered an award by the State of New Jersey for his work in consumer education. He served briefly as a consultant for Consumers Union and contributed to essays in Time magazine, ABC’s World News Tonight, and CNBC.

Having founded and later sold a video rental business, Steve and his wife also sold their home and lived for three years aboard a 42-foot sea-going trawler yacht. An article describing one of their summer cruises was sold to Living Aboard magazine.

Steve has written newsletters for both private and non-profit organizations; a flash fiction story for the children’s magazine Spider; and the text for a coffee-table book on one of America’s most-collected living artists: The Art of H. Hargrove.

He and his wife Joy live in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

His book that we are highliting today is The Bridge Between Worlds.


Alden Walker—sport pilot and skydiver—finds himself and his light airplane mysteriously transported into an alien world: a parallel Earth peopled by exotic-looking humans as well as a host of animals that have evolved into human-like form, with human-like powers of thought, but which have retained their appetites for flesh and blood.



From the Baltimore Sun:


SALISBURY, MD—A skydiving mishap has cost the life of a well-known feature writer for this newspaper. Lynda Murray, 26, perished when her parachute failed to open. She was a veteran of over 100 jumps.

Murray was the correspondent who penned the popular “Girls Do It” feature that appeared monthly in Sunday’s edition of this newspaper. The column chronicled her forays into offbeat and occasionally dangerous hobbies and pursuits, especially those favored mostly by men. Last September, she learned of a parachuting school located at Walker Field, here, and signed up for a jump course. She wrote a full-page article about her experience, complete with freefall photographs, in a subsequent “Girls Do It” column.

Having become enamored of the sport, Murray coupled her love of skydiving with her growing affection for the airport’s owner, Mr. Alden Walker. The two were married last Saturday while enroute to jump altitude in the center’s airplane. Their plan was to be pronounced man and wife during freefall by the Rev. Donald Wilson, a fellow parachutist. They were then to perform aerial maneuvers for the entertainment of their guests on the ground before opening their chutes.

Features editor George Murray (no relation), an invited guest, reports that whereas the parachutes of Walker and the minister deployed normally, “Lynda’s never came out of her pack. All of us could see her struggle to pull the ripcord. When she finally pulled her reserve, it was just too late.” He added, “Lynda was a vital part of our Sun family. She will truly be missed.”

Murray’s parents are deceased and she had no siblings. She is survived by her husband, Alden James Walker. The Hemby Funeral Home, Salisbury, is in charge of arrangements. Rev. Wilson, acting as spokesman, has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the donors’ favorite charities in the name of Lynda Murray Walker.


I could tell Gus wanted to smack me—hard—upside the head.

“When are you gonna stop moping around, Numbnuts? Two months and you still won’t get back on the horse that throwed you. Fly a plane. Take a jump. Even better, take a student pilot up, run a jump lesson, earn the company some money for a change.”

I attempted to deflect the sting with a weak stab at humor. “Just so I’m clear on this, Gunny. You’re calling the man who signs your paychecks Numbnuts?”

He tried to look contrite, something he was never able to do. “Oh, I’m sorry; Mister Numbnuts—sir.” He scowled and shook his head, his short gray hair still cut high and tight and flat on top, just as it had been when he was in the Marines. “Come on, Walker, all due respect to Lynda, you’re not the one screwed up. I’ve told you every day, every way I know, and you know I’m right. From now on, convince yourself And do it fast.” He put his hands on his hips, as he used to do when he wanted to intimidate recruits. “I’m carrying your load as well as mine around here, and my sea bag’s gettin’ kinda heavy. Know what I mean?”

I had to admit he was right. I was as useless as teats on a boar hog since what folks euphemistically called the accident. Don Wilson, Nate the jump pilot, Lisa the head instructor, Dennis the chief rigger, all the club members—they knew full well accidents are caused; they don’t just happen. And they were kind enough never to mention the obvious—that I was made a widower after forty-five seconds of married life because of human error, not mechanical. And the human in question wasn’t me.

So here I stood, in the ops building next to the airport parking lot and directly across from the jump school, attempting the impossible: staring down my former drill instructor, now my fixed-base operation’s chief administrator. Gus ran the FBO with the same no-nonsense, by-the-numbers approach he’d used on the grinder at Parris Island. And his calling me Numbnuts was mellow. I can remember from when I was an eighteen-year-old recruit his getting within two inches of my nose, his stogie breath nearly gagging me, screaming all sorts of imprecations and aspersions upon my ancestry. I remember too, his famous threat to the platoon, which he regularly made good on to individuals throughout our boot training: “You little pissant, I’ve decided I’m not going to chew your ass out! No, private! I’m going to chew around your ass, and let it fall out by itself!”

From day one, when my ragged platoon mates and I had to stand on the painted yellow footprints in our first formation, eyes front, thumbs on our trouser seams, heels together, feet at a forty-five-degree angle, Staff Sergeant Bellows (how appropriate the name) and his two junior drill instructors rode us hard, kept reminding us that we weren’t Marines, we wouldn’t make a pimple on a Marine’s ass, we were nothing but a bunch of high school pussies. And they kept reminding us there were: “only two ways to get off my beloved Parris Island—in a Marine Corps uniform or in a pine box.” Most of the recruits both feared and hated their DIs. But I didn’t. Well, I admit to a certain amount of fear. But I had gone in knowing what they had to do.
Especially human flesh and blood.

Accompanied by a beautiful indigenous woman with a score of her own to settle, Walker must set out upon a covert mission to retrieve a vital element from the creatures who have stolen it, employing his piloting and parachuting skills in combination with her superb swordsmanship. On their quest they will encounter a host of anthropomorphic predators, until they finally reach their goal: a mountain fortress occupied by a coldly calculating race of humanoid vampire bats.

And upon the success or failure of their mission hangs the fate of both their worlds.





Irish Mouse Tales…

22 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies 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.

Congratulations to Violetta for being in the 2011 Preditors and Editors top ten Short Story Category for Magic and Mayhem.

Her book that we are highliting tody is Irish Mouse Tales.


Michael O’Leary, a mouse with a larger than average size tail, is a story teller who can hold audiences spellbound with his tales of daring and adventure. Michael, along with his two friends Patrick and Guido, lives on a farm in a remote corner of the Emerald Isles and it is here he holds his story telling evenings. Some of his yarns arere so graphic, small rodents have been known to suffer attacks of panic, faint clear away and have to be dragged outside.

Guido, however, is a different case; his stories, although they always contain a grain of truth, need to be taken with a large pinch of salt, but they are entertaining. As for Patrick, well at times he finds it just too much trouble to compete, so he doesn’t bother.


Michael O’Leary was relaxed and in an expansive mood. With his longer than average tail draped over one arm, perched nonchalantly on a bag of corn, he surveyed the motley crowd that had gathered for one of his storytelling evenings.

“Did I ever tell you about the time Patrick Shaunessy, Guido Rafferty and myself nearly met St. Peter?” he began.

For a while no one answered, then, “You did me,” piped a small vole. “You did me twice.”

Michael peered round to see where the voice came from. “Well, just youse keep quiet not to spoil the telling for the others then,” he warned. The vole scurried away into a dark corner of the barn.

“If there is any blame to be proportioned,” he continued. “Patrick Shaunessy was the instigator, therefore it’s on him I’ll be putting it.”

Patrick, whiskers flaying the air, shook his head vigorously.

“It’s not denying it that you are, is it, me old friend?” The look Michael gave the little mouse was enough to silence further protests. “After all, was it or was it not your idea that we should visit Father O’ Brien, and see if he had anything brewing?” The nod he received in answer to this question was barely discernible.

“Yes, if I remember correctly . . .” he paused for effect. “It was October, and Father O’Brien had gone away leaving his barn of a place unprotected. So, Patrick, Guido and myself decided to keep an eye on the place for the good man. Naturally we rewarded ourselves for the good deed, by sampling a few drops of spillage from his vats. Myself, I only had a wee sup. But Guido, his mother being one of those that came over on the boats, had a liking for the stuff and got legless.”

“You must admit, Michael, it was some of the best stuff that’s been brewed round here for a long time,” squeaked the unrepentant Guido, “and, if I remember correctly, your head was as thick as mine the next morning.”

Michael chose to ignore that remark and continued with the telling. “Blind drunk they were, the pair of them. I’ll admit my own vision was a bit blurred. But I was in a better state than the pair of youse. And,” he stressed, “if it hadn’t been for my clear thinking we wouldn’t be here now.”

“As I recollect, me old friend,” ventured Patrick. “It was my idea to tie the rope round Guido’s middle and drag him along behind us.”

“And was it or was it not my tail you hung on to for support?” Michael flicked the said tail angrily.

“And just whose idea was it to cut through that old Biddy’s garden, nearly getting us killed?” As Patrick grew more daring, his squeaks rose higher.

“It’s not an argument I’m looking for, me old friend,” Michael said. He could see that if he wasn’t careful, things would get out of hand, and the evening would most likely end in a free for all. “It’s just a telling of things the way I saw them.”

Patrick gave a mollified grumble. From the rest of the barn there was no sound. Those who had not heard the story before waited for its conclusion with baited breath.

“I knew we could be taking our life in our hands, taking that shortcut,” he admitted. “But things were desperate, and if it hadn’t been for Guido—” Guido tittered nervously. “—we’d have got away with it. We’d tiptoed through the cabbages, broccoli and carrots, crept along the gravel path and we were just about to pass the front door of the cottage, when Guido decided to wake up and give a rendering of O Sole Mio at the top of his voice. This set the dog barking, a wolfhound that bayed like the very hound of the Baskervilles.”






Zvonek 08 Feline Intel….

20 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome Zvonek -agent 08.


The book in the series we are highlighting today is book 3: The High Life and Operation Catwalk


Operation Catwalk—At last the most prestigious event of the year is being held in Prague. The Miss Feline CZ. Zvonek and Honza are looking forward to attending. The five finalists are chosen and The Mau is gearing up for the grand finale. Everything is on schedule when an alert on Vladimir’s desk reveals strange happenings around the finalists that could sabotage the competition. Will Zvonek discover who is behind the attacks in time, or will the show just have to go on?

The High Life—Metaxa is suspicious of an elegant tom who arrives in Prague. When she meets him at a dinner with Zvonek and Honza he is witty, rich and appears to like her. Will she be taken in by his charm and wealth, or listen to her inner voice? What is his real connection to the strays and is he connected to Zvonek’s latest mission?


“The Spring Miss Feline Contest is in Prague this year,” Honza read aloud from The Daily Meow home page on the internet. The annual beauty competition traveled to different cities of the Czech Republic. Last year it had been in Brno.

He and Zvonek were in the computer room catching up on some reading. Honza had invited Zvonek to the hostel for lunch—some tom time away from Metaxa. Afterward they had gone to check the latest news.

“Zvoni, did you hear me?”

“Sorry, what did you say?”

“Prague is—what are you reading?” Honza leaned over to see what held Zvonek’s interest.

“It’s a piece on cat shelters. Mister Lidé has reopened the shelter he used to run with his wife.”


“Yes, it’s all here.” Zvonek pointed to the screen. “Along with the story of her tragic death while trying to save two felines.”

“Hmm . . . nothing of his Christmas fiasco, I see.”

Zvonek smiled. “So what were you saying about Prague?”

“The Miss Feline Contest is to be held here this year.”


“At The Mau.”

“Great stuff! I’ve always wanted to go. We should get tickets early to go to the finale. I bet it will be full. When does the voting open?”

“The finalists arrived yesterday and the voting opened this morning. We only have twenty-four hours to vote. Their photos and profiles are here on the competition’s home page.”

The finalists had been selected from the original twenty queens chosen to participate. From the original twenty, through votes, it had been whittled down to ten. These, then, traveled to Prague. Another five had been eliminated by computer vote and the judge’s decision, based on various questions and tasks. Everyone in the entire feline population was allowed to vote on one of those five. The finalists went through a series of tests and were given marks by the panel of judges. The last test required parading the catwalk to stand on stage and answer questions fired at them by the judges. There were strict rules to enter the competition. The entrants had to be born on Czech soil and also to have had no kittens, to give them the freedom to move around. The year-long reign took them to all four corners of the country, doing charitable work and serving their fellow felines.

The two toms looked through the profile photos.

“Wow, they’re all so pretty!”

“That’s why they were chosen, Honza.” Zvonek smiled.

It was a difficult decision, the rules stated only one vote per cat.

“Miss Prague is a Ragamuffin this year. Very nice.” Honza purred appreciatively.

“I’m not sure who to vote for, although I agree she is very pretty.” Zvonek looked at her profile photo. She was white and smoky grey with lovely blue eyes. He liked blue eyes. She looked very gentle and kind.

“What about Miss Karlovy Vary?” Miss Karlovy Vary was an ebony silver Oriental Longhair with golden eyes, very elegant looking. Honza was scrolling through the photos. He enjoyed competitions of any kind and even more so when pretty felines were involved.

After spending time going through all five of them, both toms decided Miss Prague should get their vote. She was the softest looking, Zvonek decided. As there was no entry from his home town of Litomerice, Miss Prague was the logical choice for him.

It felt strange wandering around with nothing to do. It had been a quiet winter work-wise. In one way, it was a good thing everything was peaceful. There had been a few domestic spats, but nothing really big since Bobina’s capture. Security had been tightened with a more vigilant eye kept on the rats. Even Rodent, in his cell, seemed to be behaving himself.

Zvonek was getting restless. He needed to have something to focus on, other than watching out for Metaxa. That job came down as orders from the top. He offered to get the tickets from the office which had been set up at The Mau.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/AnneHPetzer.html#Zvonek3Exc

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Operation-Catwalk-High-Zvonek-ebook/dp/B00BENGP5G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363760663&sr=8-1&keywords=operation+catwalk

About the author:

Anne is a South African currently living in Prague. She lives with her two cats, both of who feature in the series. She completed a correspondence course in Short Story Writing in 1976 and has been writing forever but the Zvonek series is her first published work.

Website: http://www.annehpetzer.cz