Tag Archives: New Release

NEW NEW *** Island Girl *** NEW NEW

31 Jul

                                        Newest releases from GSP!

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



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

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

His book we are highlighting today is Island Girl.



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So far, he had not.

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

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

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

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

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

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





New Release New Release New Release…

14 May

Second new release this month from GSP – The Hollows.


Former detective David Alders is forced to downsize to an apartment after a decade searching for his missing wife. To avoid staggering debt, he and his daughter Melanie move into the Whispering Hollows, a complex full of older residents, like the charmingly befuddled Eldon or the redneck property manager Charlie.

On the first night Melanie is terrorized when a burnt corpse crawls into bed with her. And events only get stranger as David finds himself reliving the same day twice! Suddenly, time travel is an all-too-real tool at his disposal, one he can use to finally return to the love of his life.

But time travel comes with rules. Deadly consequences await anyone bold enough to break them. As David wades cautiously into the past, he learns the awful truth of his existence:

He didn’t choose The Hollows. The Hollows chose him…


    Elise’s Journal: December 28, 1993

I tried to get my wedding ring back today. I pawned it two weeks ago so we could buy some decent presents for Melanie. David doesn’t know. He started at the police academy last month and he’s barely bringing home enough to pay the utilities. He probably thinks I borrowed the money from my brother, although he doesn’t realize that the idea makes me as livid as it makes him. But I wanted Mel to have some good presents. I know she’s only three months old. I don’t care. This was her first Christmas and our first Christmas as a complete family. I wanted it to be special.

The pawn shop guy couldn’t find my ring. He spent an hour searching the jewelry shelves, the merchandise storage bins, the owner’s desk, everywhere. I don’t know if he did it for show or if he saw a young woman with a baby in her arms and tears streaming down her face and felt compelled to keep going. His compassion hit its expiration after sixty minutes. He stopped at the counter, shrugged, and said something to the effect of, That’s that.

Excuse me? As far as I was concerned THAT most definitely was not THAT.

Look, lady, he said. You gave us the ring. We gave you money. I know you didn’t mean it to be permanent, but sometimes you have to take the trade as it stands.

The jackass.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at home, crying my eyes out, wondering if David would forgive me. Melanie was the one who pulled me back. I watched her in her crib, staring quietly up at her new Beauty & the Beast mobile. She focused on each individual character as it circled past—the princess, the candle, the Beast, the clock. Her wide eyes flickered in amazement for all of them. That’s when I realized the pawn shop guy was right, even if he would forever be known as Mr. Jackass. Our first Christmas as a family had been perfect. I would remember it always. At the end of the day, the wedding band was just something I wore. The trade was worth the memory.

Tomorrow I’ll tell David the ring fell down the bathtub drain.

                                                       THE CLOCK STRIKES


                                                          The Buckner Farm
                                                              May 13, 1949

For Tess Buckner the only worthwhile activity on that blustery Texas afternoon was standing between two clotheslines in the backyard and letting the sheets billow against her. White cotton sheets lifted on the breeze, tickled her nose, and played dead again. She held out her arms, turning her little body into a T. The sheets rose to the occasion, taking her hands in loose but enthusiastic handshakes. Tess giggled.

Then the breeze quieted and so did she. Momma’s head bobbed over the clothesline on the right, her squinty gaze catching Tess at once.

“I thought my pischouette came out here to help her mother,” she said in that tone, sounding both amused and annoyed.

“I’m only so big,” Tess explained. “These clotheslines are too high for me.”

“Which means I should give you a chore more suited to your size.”

“But Maw-aaah,” Tess said. “I’m helping. I’m looking out for dropped drawers.”

Mare Buckner smiled. “I assure you, my drawers are not in any danger of dropping.”

Tess took a moment to catch her mother’s meaning. “I mean from the line, silly.” She laughed. The sheets thought it funny too. They billowed up in their own silent fits of hilarity.

“Tell me a story,” Tess said. She couldn’t see Momma beyond the sheets, but she didn’t have to see her to know she was rolling her eyes. Tess waited and asked again. “Tell me a story…pleeease?”

“You’ve heard all my stories,” Mare replied, but Tess didn’t believe her. There are endless quantities of certain things. The beach will always have enough sand. The sky will always have enough rain. And Momma will always have a story squirreled away in the corner of memory taken up by childhood.

Mare Buckner grew up in Nawlins. At least that’s the way she pronounces it. Papa insists it’s pronounced New Orleans. It’s only a teensy bit away from Texas, where they live. Tess once put her fingers on the United States map at school, one on New Orleans and one on Fort Worth, and the gap was barely the size of a dime. Part of her longed to see Momma’s Nawlins, but Papa sounded like the distance was too far to be troubled with.

Tess rounded the sheets as Mare pulled one of Papa’s shirts from the basket. Tess tugged on the shirt. “A story, Momma. Story, story, story…”

“Tess Elizabeth Buckner,” Mare said, snapping the shirt back. “You’re about to hear the story of the girl who spent all day pulling weeds as punishment for back-sass.”

“But you haven’t told me one in weeks,” Tess pleaded. Momma didn’t know that Tess repeated the stories at school. She had grown popular retelling them. A small circle of third graders on the playground gawked at her in awed silence as she spun tales of Southern jinxes and Vodun curses. Even big-shot Arnie Fetters occasionally shuddered or gasped in surprise. If the stories ever got back to the teachers she’d be in for an earful from her mother. But for the moment Tess was willing to take that chance.

Besides, Tess loved the way Momma sounded as she told them. That accent she tried hard to simmer down most times came bounding back to life during a story. Tess always thought she was glimpsing Momma in her truest, most beautiful form.

“I’ve got it,” Tess said, holding a finger up like her teacher did when making a point. “If you tell me a story I’ll pull weeds in the flowerbed for a full hour.” She rocked on her feet as her mother looked at her. “You have to admit, that’s a pretty swell deal.”

Mare watched her. From the kitchen window ledge the radio switched songs. I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover gave way to the dreamy Bing Crosby crooning Now Is the Hour. Tess listened, swooning in the breeze, as Bing melodiously said goodbye to a dear loved one sailing away.

“The weeds can wait another day,” Mare decided. “But that doesn’t mean you’re getting a story for free.”

Tess grabbed her mother’s dress. “I’ll do anything.”

Mare grabbed another piece of clothing from the basket. Tess cracked a smile when she saw it was Papa’s drawers. “Fetch that pail off the back porch,” Mare instructed. “If you can go down to the river and make it back with a pail-full of water I’ll tell you a story.”

“That’s it?” Tess bounced happily. Their well pump had gone out yesterday evening, giving Papa a chance to use many of the words Mrs. Gershon said were Paddle Words. “I can do that.”

Mare propped her hands on her hips. “Then why are you dancing around here?”

Tess didn’t need further motivation. She darted for the porch, grabbing the pail by the handle without slowing. Rounding their two-story farmhouse she nearly banged the pail into Papa’s candy apple red Studebaker. She pulled back in time, thankful she didn’t scratch the paint. That wouldn’t have been pretty, for the paintjob or her behind.

She slowed to skip across the flat stones surrounding the circle drive, being careful not to get caught on the rosebushes near the porch. Beyond that was the rusty old barn. Tess hurried past it, hearing Papa’s disgruntled tones echo through the loft window. He was somewhere in there, grumbling to himself and banging tools and getting himself all in a dither. Papa spent whole days dithering in the barn and on those days Tess knew to steer clear. When a matter couldn’t wait it was Momma who ventured into the barn, and she never came out looking happy about it.

Past the barn the forest began. It looked dense and forbidding to a first-timer, which Tess was proud to say she wasn’t. The forest wasn’t as vast as it first appeared. It covered three acres at most and once inside, the trails were easy to follow. Within minutes you emerged from the other side, staring at the Trinity River. But for a few precious moments the woods came to life in that same mystical way Nawlins did in mother’s stories. The silence seemed watchful, as if something unseen waited in breathless anticipation.

Tess was through the first acre when she heard the sound. It was low and barely audible. She cocked her head and stopped, peering up at the canopy of branches and the shards of sunlight that pushed through the leaves like hungry fingers. Her body went rigid as the sound drifted over the breeze again.

A groan. She heard a low, muted, raspy groan.

It was a ragged, withering voice that could have been male or female. She twisted slowly, finding it difficult to move. The sound didn’t come from any one direction. But it was close. The more she listened the closer it felt. She stared at the forest floor, seeing pine needles dappled in sunlight. The shadows were more noticeable.

The groan lifted, becoming a reedy warble. Someone had to be hurt, maybe from tripping over a branch or getting bit by a snake—or worse. Tess wanted to call out. Her lips parted but her voice didn’t follow. Her mouth had gone dry as dirt. The groan spiked again, passing through her like an electric shock. Tess coughed.

“Are…are you okay?” Had she said it out loud? If it made it past her lips it came out as a whisper. Tess tried again, pushing the words out one at a time. “Hello? Who are you? Where are you?”

The groan broke into a series of dry coughs, sounding like the distant gunfire she heard during hunting season. A thump followed the coughs and then silence. Tess waited, realizing the abrupt end to the noise was scarier than the noise itself. The fear put her in motion. “Hello?” she called louder. “Where are you? Tell me where you are.”

No answer. She moved deeper into the forest, leaving the path. Bushes snagged at the blue summer dress Momma had bought last week. She couldn’t stop to disentangle herself from every little branch. Faces of her schoolmates floated in her mind as she imagined each one lying with a broken leg and grasping at the air for help. Tess climbed a small rise and tried again.

“Please call out again,” she cried as she stepped carefully over a trunk and into a small grove of trees. A group of crows took flight, shooting upward from every side. Tess staggered to avoid them. Her foot landed on something that wasn’t ground. Up above a crow cawed in annoyance. She had already forgotten the crows. Her focus was on the large wooden door she stood upon.

The wood was nearly green from years of overgrowth. The metal clasps and the old padlock on the handle were so rusted they looked bloodstained. It was a cellar door or more likely a storm shelter. Spring storms in these parts would justify having one, but why so far from the farmhouse and so well hidden? The surrounding trees were like guardians protecting the door from the outside world.

The groan came again. Tess screamed and leapt back, dropping her water pail. The sound came from directly beneath her. She knelt on the ground and knocked on the door in a panic, not wasting time thinking. Someone was down there, someone who needed her. A cold knot tightened in her stomach.

“Who are you?” she cried, banging the door with her small fist. “Are you hurt?”

The groan lowered to a whimpering. It sobbed, and Tess brought her ear close to the wood, taking in every sniffle. It whispered only one word.


Tess scrambled to her feet and grabbed the first heavy thing she saw, a fallen branch not two feet from the door. Tess hefted it as best she could, shifting it onto her shoulder, and took a stance over the blood red lock. “Don’t you worry,” she said. “I’m getting you out of there.”

With a squeaky grunt she swung the branch and got it on the first try. The branch hit the heart-shaped padlock, and the metal shattered like an ancient vase. She probably could have kicked it with her shoe and gotten the same result.

She lugged the branch aside and grabbed the door handle, hoping it wasn’t as breakable as the lock. “I’m opening the door,” she announced to whoever was down there. If it was a small child she didn’t want to scare him or her. She squatted and braced herself—and then pulled.

It was hard, but not as hard as she expected. The door didn’t shift from its resting place at first. The roots and weeds at its borders played tug-of-war with her. Tess thought of the cowering child waiting inside and put her back into it. Weeds ripped. Roots cracked. The door swung until gravity helped her, allowing her to let the door fall against a tree. Tess found herself at the top of a staircase, staring down into blackness.

The overbearing stench of mildew forced her to take a step back. Sour air wafted over her, the underground lair exhaling after years of holding its breath. She wondered how someone could actually be waiting down there. She kept looking in the oily darkness, hoping for a sign of movement.

“Can you walk? …Hello?”

No movement. No sound. Had she scared the child? The daylight could be too bright for someone who spent a long time in darkness. She squatted again and held out her hand, like someone befriending an uneasy dog.

“It’s okay. You can come out. I wanna help.”

She waited but no response came. Rising from the squat, she eyed the rotten-looking stairs warily. Only the first four were visible in the light, and there was no way to know how many followed or if they were intact. And yet the toe of her shoe drifted closer to the first one. Her shoe touched the wood and a soft creak echoed in the darkness. She let her other foot follow until she was completely on the step. It sagged a little, but it didn’t break. She was sure of it. She—

Hands closed on her shoulders.

Tess gasped as she was pulled backward. The hands spun her around until she was staring into Momma’s taut face. “Tessie. Tu dèlires? I send you for water and you decide to go exploring instead? Well, I think I have several other chores that need your immediate attention.”

“But Momma!” she erupted. She twisted in her mother’s grip, pointing into the black hole. “There’s someone down there! I heard em crying. I think the person’s hurtin’.”

Mare had started pulling her the other way, but stopped to look back. She eyed Tess first and then the door. It was obvious she had never seen it before either. She turned her gaze to her daughter. “Wait. What?”

“The child’s down there, I promise.” She stared up at Momma, letting the tears come. “I know he ain’t making noise now, but he’s down there. He is. I wouldn’t make this up. Not this.” She tugged on her mother’s dress, praying Mare wouldn’t think she let her imagination get the best of her. Adults had a way of ignoring the important stuff.

Mare’s gaze remained steady. “All right,” she finally said. “Let me take a look.”

Tess nodded gratefully and they turned to the waiting darkness. Mare stepped past her, keeping one hand firmly on Tess’s shoulder to let her know she wasn’t to follow. Momma went to the doorway and stopped at the edge.

“Who’s down there?” she demanded. “Tell me your name and how you found your way onto our land. There’ll be no hiding and seeking.”

Mare waited with hands on hips. Now that she put it in those words Tess wondered if someone had toyed with her for sport. If that was the case there would be a fight on the school playground tomorrow. And if it was Arnie Fetters he could expect to go away from it with a bloody nose.

No answer came. Momma waited a whole minute before turning to look at Tess.

“I heard someone.” Tess looked at the hole in the ground, hoping in vain to see a child crawling off of the stairs.

“I know you did, Tessie, but whoever’s down there isn’t going to fess up to it. We’ll have to go back to the house and ring the police. Allons.”

With a gentle touch Momma took her by the shoulder and turned her around. Tess didn’t need convincing. She was happy to turn her back on the strangely-placed storm shelter. And she was happy Momma was with her too. To think she had almost stepped down into that blackness alone.

“Don’t worry,” Mare said as she squeezed her. “I’ll still tell you a stor—”

Momma’s hand jerked away as she let out a guttural cry. Tess wheeled around to see her mother on her stomach, writhing in the dirt as she flew backward. Her dress bunched around her waist as some unseen thing yanked on her feet. Her fingers clawed the ground, raking at loose leaves and making trails in the dirt. Her eyes blazed panic.

“Tess!” Mare cried. Tess flung her small body toward the dark opening in the ground that wanted to swallow Momma. Nothing happened fast enough. Tess couldn’t make her legs react as rapidly as her heart. Her arms were pitifully short, her hands pushing through air like fish fighting the current. Tess’s index and middle fingers brushed the stony white knuckles of Momma’s left hand. Then Mare was ripped away, disappearing into blackness. Tess heard several hollow thumps as Mare Buckner tumbled down the steps. Then the scream came, so awful and loud Tess thought she had to be in a dream.

“Momma!” she cried back, crawling madly to the edge of the staircase. She saw movement like bugs crawling on the trees at night; a glistening shape one moment, a sense of liquid motion the next. She cried for her mother again and again. And then she saw her, or at least her hands, shaking as they came into the light.

They were much too white as they grabbed the lowest visible stair. Momma’s waxy face came into view and Tess screamed. Her chin and neck were red with blood. Momma’s eyes quivered in their sockets, but they bulged farther when they fell on Tess.

“Run,” Mare said, and the voice might have been the same raspy whisper she heard earlier. “Please, Tessie. Run.”
Mare’s gaze dropped as she gagged. She vomited on the stairs, spraying blood over the mildewed wood. Something else moved in the darkness and Momma was yanked out of view. A sickening ripping sound followed.

Tess ran. She ran so hard she couldn’t remember running later. It was as if she turned from the hole in the ground and ran straight into Papa’s barn. He rose from his workbench on lanky legs, asking what the hell she was doing. Tess screamed something about Momma and a cellar and a voice. She grabbed Abner Buckner by his overall straps and yanked with everything she had. “Help me!” she bellowed. “Help Momma!”

He stopped cussing and followed, grabbing a scattershot rifle as she took off back into the forest. A moment later they were there, looking into the blackness. Abner fished a lighter from his pocket and squatted next to the opening.

“Honey?” he yelled, waving his lighter toward stairs. “Mare, you in there? Did you fall or sumthin?”

“It’s down there,” Tess said through her sobs. “Something hurt Momma.”

Abner braced the rifle in the crook of his arm and started down the stairs. The flicker of the lighter was barely enough to light his way. But he went down the stairs, seven in all, and then a concrete floor. From the edge of the opening Tess saw glimmers of half-rotted shelves lining the walls. She saw stacks of old crates covered in thick coats of dust. What she didn’t see was her mother.

“Are you sure she went down here?” Abner asked, bending over to move the light across the floor. “I can’t even see her footprints in the dust.”

That wasn’t what bothered Tess. What her eyes stopped on and couldn’t veer away from no matter how hard she tried were the wooden stairs. She peered at the grayish-green planks, feeling a lump rise in her chest.

“The blood,” she whispered. “The blood is gone.”

Abner Buckner looked at his daughter’s rigid posture. She was on the verge of fainting, and he hadn’t the slightest notion why. But when he stopped calling for his wife, he heard something. It was oft and easy to miss amid the swaying tree branches, but the longer he listened, the more he thought the sound was there in the cellar with him.

Ticking—like the ticking of a clock.

About the author:

Ben Larken resides near Fort Worth, the city in which he was born and currently works as a police dispatcher. He is the winner of three Epic eBook Awards for Best Horror.






New Release New Release New Release….

13 May

We interupt our Bard’s World Promo from GSP for three new exciting releases. First off is Sirion


The world of Mendleburg is threatened by the growing power of the Druadians led by their vicious overlord, the emperor Estraimor. Between the armed hosts of Estraimor and southern Mendleburg, lies the mighty Dwarf fortress of Sirak-arnal which Estraimor must overthrow in order to achieve his dreams of conquest. Azhal, Warden of Sirak-arnal, sends out a company of Dwarves to seek for the Sceptre of Anankhar. With this great heirloom of the Dwarf race in his possession, Azhal will be able to command the allegiance of the disunited tribes of the Dwarves, and thus swell the ranks of the defenders of Sirak-arnal before the hosts of Estraimor lay siege to Sirak-arnal. The mighty wizard, Sirion, joins the companion as they seek for the sceptre. Dangers beset the company and the companions call upon Sirion’s great knowledge, skill in arms and powerful magic to ensure the success of their quest.


The world of Mendleburg is threatened by the growing power of the Druadians led by their vicious overlord, the emperor Estraimor. Between the armed hosts of Estraimor and southern Mendleburg, lies the mighty Dwarf fortress of Sirak-arnal which Estraimor must overthrow in order to achieve his dreams of conquest. Azhal, Warden of Sirak-arnal, sends out a company of Dwarves to seek for the Sceptre of Anankhar. With this great heirloom of the Dwarf race in his possession, Azhal will be able to command the allegiance of the disunited tribes of the Dwarves, and thus swell the ranks of the defenders of Sirak-arnal before the hosts of Estraimor lay siege to Sirak-arnal. The mighty wizard, Sirion, joins the companion as they seek for the sceptre. Dangers beset the company and the companions call upon Sirion’s great knowledge, skill in arms and powerful magic to ensure the success of their quest.


About the author:

After 16 years of teaching in primary and high schools and at North West University in South Africa, I was fortunate enough to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream when I joined READ Educational Trust as a writer-editor. In 2010 I immigrated to Ireland with my wife and daughter to take up a position as Instructional Designer to the Yahoo/Microsoft Search Alliance Project, after which I worked for different companies as a Learning / Instructional Designer and Technical Writer.

I have always had a great love for history, warfare, theology, fantasy and language and have sought to combine these with my other great love—that of writing. The result is my first fantasy novel, Sirion. I have been extremely fortunate in being able to have my wife provide all the illustrations for my book. It was a joyful experience watching her bring the characters and the world, which existed only in words, to life with her extraordinary talent.





New Release New Release New Release….

25 Mar

Straight of the press from Gypsy Shadow Publishing, Philip and the Loser. Congratulations to John Paulits.


Philip and Emery dread their school assignment: perform an activity demonstrating brotherhood. Philip gets an inspiration, though, when a neighbor tells him about her women’s club fair which will raise money for charity. He and Emery decide to create a game for the fair and donate the money they collect. Creating a game proves more difficult than they thought, especially when Leon, Emery’s unlucky cousin, shows up to help out. Can Philip and Emery deliver their game on time, or will Leon’s monumental bad luck prove their undoing?


Chapter One

Philip slumped at his desk. The teacher eyed him coldly, so he quickly sat up. When the teacher looked elsewhere, Philip slumped again. Will this class never be over? he wondered. Will lunch time never get here? Fourth grade had to be the most boring thing in the world, and September hadn’t even ended yet! The teacher looked his way a second time, so Philip took the trouble to wriggle upright again. Mr. Sagsman wasn’t their real teacher. He only came into the class twice a week to teach about feelings, conflict resolution, brotherhood, and stuff like that.

“And so, kids, what I want you to do is find an example of brotherhood somewhere in your own lives,” Mr. Sagsman went on.

Philip quietly moaned and glanced at his best friend Emery, who sat next to him. Brotherhood; oh, brother, Philip moaned inwardly. He had one baby sister, and Emery two baby sisters. Why didn’t Mr. Sagsman teach about sisterhood and how to put up with it? That would have been something worth learning, instead of his making the class write a whole page about some kind of brotherhood in their lives. Philip didn’t even know what Mr. Sagsman was talking about. He hoped Emery would be able to clue him in.

Suddenly, a jolting crash came from outside the classroom. Philip sat up again. At last! Something interesting to break the monotony. Mr. Sagsman walked over and opened the classroom door, and from where he sat, Philip saw a boy lying on top of an upside-down, single desk, trying to get untangled from the four upright legs of the desk.

“What in the world happened?” Mr. Sagsman asked, stepping outside to help the boy to his feet.

Philip noticed Emery put his head down on one arm and cover the top of his head with his other arm. Philip looked back at the doorway. Mr. Sagsman led the boy into the room.

“Are you all right?” Mr. Sagsman asked. “What happened?”

The boy smiled, and Philip could see one of his big front teeth had a chip out of it. The boy’s hair looked like his mother forgot to make him comb it. The boy gave a loud sniff, scratched above his right ear, and said, “I fell down.”

The class laughed. Mr. Sagsman shushed them. “What do you mean you fell down?”

“Well,” the boy said slowly, scratching the other side of his head above his left ear. “I was pushing this desk to Ms. Bethal’s class. She’s my new fourth grade teacher, and this is my first day here, and that’s gonna be my desk.”

New in school, Philip thought. No wonder he hadn’t seen him before.

“I was pushing it and . . . and . . .” The boy wobbled his hands around in front of him for a few seconds. “. . . it fell over.”

The class laughed again.

“You were pushing the desk, and it fell over?”

“Yep,” the boy nodded. “It went . . .” He flipped one hand over the other. “. . . over. Boom!” The boy smiled at the laughing children, pleased to be entertaining them.

Mr. Sagsman looked at the class and shook his head. “Stop.” He turned back to the boy. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I didn’t go . . . boom! The table went . . . boom!” He said ‘boom’ real loud and gave a loud “yuk yuk” after the second boom, and the class laughed ever harder.

“All right. All right, enough,” said Mr. Sagsman. Philip wondered why teachers didn’t have the same sense of humor as their students. Mr. Sagsman, especially. “Come on. Let me help you.” Mr. Sagsman took the boy into the hall and righted the desk for him. “Be careful now.”

The boy stared back into the classroom and said, “No more booms?”

“No more booms,” Mr. Sagsman responded over the laughter of the class. He turned away from the boy and reentered the classroom. The boy followed Mr. Sagsman to the door. “Boom!” he cried again and joined in with the wildly laughing children in front of him.

“Young man,” Mr. Sagsman began. Philip saw this boy knew what ‘young man’ meant. The boy turned away and got behind the desk and pushed it out of sight. “All right, class. We still have ten minutes. Let me finish explaining your assignment.”

Philip saw Emery raise his head. The class hadn’t quieted yet, so Philip quickly said, “You missed everything. Why’d you have your head down? It was pretty funny.”

Emery shook his head. “It wasn’t.”

“It was.”

“It wasn’t. That boy?”

“Yeah?” said Philip.

“He’s my cousin Leon, the one I told you was moving a block away from me.”

“That goof’s your cousin?”

“Quiet, there,” said Mr. Sagsman.

Emery nodded at Philip and faced the teacher. Philip faced front, too. That was Emery’s cousin? The cousin Emery never wanted to talk about? The one Emery’s mother said they’d have to play with every day? Philip glanced at Emery, who sat with his head cradled in one hand. Philip knew if Emery had to play with him, he would have to play with him, too. Philip cradled his head in one hand while Mr. Sagsman droned on about the wonders of brotherhood.

About the author:

John Paulits is a former teacher in New York City. He has published five other children’s novels, four about Philip and Emery, as well as two adult science fiction novels, HOBSON’S PLANET and BECKONING ETERNITY. His previous Gyspy Shadow book, PHILIP AND THE SUPERSTITION KID, was voted best children’s novel of 2010 in the Preditors and Editors readers poll.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JohnPaulits.html#PhilipLoserExc