Tag Archives: South Africa

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Oxwagon

22 Aug

Congratulations to Jim woods on his brand new release from GSP, Oxwagon.

Image

The story opens with a very strange cargo for an oxwagon driver—the comatose body of a woman whose passage is paid by a man fearing for his life. When the driver takes on the load, he also takes on unexpected adventure for everyone involved on the long and perilous overland trip.

Excerpt:

“Are you sure she’s alive? She looks dead to me and I don’t transport dead bodies for any price. For that matter I don’t take passengers either, so we have nothing to discuss. No deal.”

“Verdoem, man. Cover her back up; I don’t even want to look at her again. I’ve got to get rid of this woman. She’s driving me crazy and she tried to kill me.”

“Then why didn’t you just kill her? If she tried to kill you, you’d be justified. Unless, of course, she had reason to. But actually, I don’t want to know. I’m just not taking her on this trek.”

“Man, you’re in the transport business, and this is cargo I need transported. Why can’t you take my business? I’ll pay to have her transported to Fort Salisbury. Tell me, what are your rates?”

“But I do not take passengers, much less a woman. This is hard country. We barely survive it ourselves, what with the rains, the mud and the fever. And we lose oxen on every trek, if not to the lions, then to their exertion of pulling too much weight over bad country. Their strong hearts simply fail, or they break a leg and we have to shoot them. And when they get tired and cranky they fight among themselves. That’s why we take along extra teams of the animals. We lose too many on a trek. Don’t you understand? This trek is too hard as it is. No passengers to make it even worse!”

“Verdoem, Clayworth, this woman is not fit to be called a passenger. She’s freight, pure and simple. And if she does not survive the trip, I don’t care. Dump her off just by the side of the road as you would any other damaged freight. So, tell me. What is your rate to Fort Salisbury?”

“See here, now, Hannes. You know my rates very well. They’re the same as any other transporter’s. This won’t do you any good, but Johannesburg to Fort Salisbury is a three-leg trek. The first leg is from Johannesburg to Palachwe; the next is to Bulawayo; and the final leg is on to Fort Salisbury. My rates are twenty-five shillings per hundredweight, per leg. That’s seventy-five shillings. Man, you could buy her a salted horse for that if she wanted to go to Fort Salisbury and she could join a train on her own.”

“I never said she wanted to go to Fort Salisbury. I want her as far away as I can put her and Fort Salisbury fills that bill. Look, I know she’s swaarly, more than a hundredweight. I’ll double your price. One hundred and fifty shillings, a shilling for every pound, to take her with you all the way to Fort Salisbury. Dump her off there and she’ll never find her way back here again. What do you say?”

“I say no, just as I’ve been trying to tell you. No passengers. Passengers have to eat and the trip takes twenty to thirty weeks and that’s if we have fair weather. That’s a lot of extra food to carry or find along the way. A man could be useful on a long trek, but not a woman. A man can stand night watch. He can chop firewood. He can wade the mud to pull the trek-oxes through. A woman. Bah! On a wagon trek she’s good for one thing and one thing only. And not good at all when my partner and I would share her. No. I won’t do it. Take her away. I have to inspan and get on my way. Sunlight is a wasting.”

“Now see here, Clayworth. I’ll pay you triple. Two hundred and twenty-five shillings to take this problem off my hands and the load off my mind. What do you say?”

Jerrick Clayworth, grim and tight-lipped, forced himself to hold back lashing out again to the Afrikaner, Hannes Crouse. He considered the offer of two hundred and twenty-five shillings, more than eleven pounds, more than enough to pay for a replacement ox when he lost one, as he was sure to do somewhere, sometime on this trek. And if the woman died along the way, or went on her own way once they were a few days out of Johannesburg, then so much the better. But is she really alive? Jerrick lifted the woven-reed lid from the deep and sturdy woven grass basket once again for a confirming examination. The woman was dressed in man’s breeches and boots, with a shirt top that was male as well. She made no sound. He bent low to inspect her, noting no bleeding wounds, but more importantly no smell of death about her; an earthy odor but certainly not dead.

“How did she get in this condition? What’s the matter with her? Why is she unconscious and how long has she been this way?”

“She’s just knocked out for a while. She’ll come around.”

“What did you give her?”

“I got the potion from a sangoma. I don’t actually know what’s in it.”

“Then how do you know she’ll come out of it?”

“The old teef told me she would, and if she don’t, I’ll wring that witch’s scrawny black neck and take back the two goats I paid her.”

“Well she don’t look dead, but if she does come out she’s going to get really messy in short order when her body starts to function again. We’ll have to get her out of that basket. I’ll spread a bullock hide to lay her on so she don’t piss or crap all over my goods when she wakes up.”

“Danke, Clayworth. Here, I’ll help you with her.”

“Not so fast. I’ll take the shillings first; otherwise she stays in the basket and goes home with you instead of on the trail with me.”

Grumbling, Hannes counted out two hundred and twenty-five silver shillings, and in so doing, emptied the bag. Jerrick noted and realized Hannes knew all along how much he would have to pay and was prepared with just the right amount. Hannes cupped the coins, returned them to the pouch and handed it over to Jerrick. Together the two men spread the hide over the crates and baskets, and stretched the still inert figure on it.

“Does she have a name?’

“I always called her Gertie. Gerta, I suppose?”

“And her surname? Hell, man if she dies on me I have to be able to burn a name on the crossed sticks. I couldn’t leave her for the animals.”

“Verdoem, man. Don’t bother to dig the ground for her. As far as I know even she doesn’t know her father’s name or even who he was. She’s just Gertie and the hyenas won’t check her pedigree.”

About the author:

Jim Woods wrote novels and short stories, many of which stand alone, while others are assembled into collections, in worldwide milieus. He was a world traveler, having researched numerous exotic locales as settings for his stories. Much of his world travel was for big game hunting which, coupled with his background as editor with Petersen’s Hunting, Guns & Ammo and Guns magazines, frequently allowed him to bring firearms into play in his tales. Jim Woods passed away October 8, 2012; he lived and wrote in Tucson.

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JimWoods.html#OxwagonExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Oxwagon-ebook/dp/B00ENVXYXW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377159051&sr=8-1&keywords=oxwagon+Jim+woods

 

Texas Vampire Mini-Massacre….

22 Oct

Today we welcome Laney Stryker to the GSP Halloween Promo.

Laney Stryker is a pen name used by author Julie Kimbrell. Julie lives in Arkansas with her husband and two children. She loves to read but writing is her passion. Over the past two years, Julie’s been honored by having numerous titles both YA and Adult Romances published by various e-publishers.

Her book that we are featuring for today is Texas Vampire Mini-Massacre.

Cheyenne McAlister is a cancer survivor by day and vampire slayer by night (in her dreams). When she answers a peculiar employment ad in the paper, Cheyenne finds more than she bargained for. Not only is the ad a trap, but she meets Garrett Sims, who’s also checking on the ad. She finds herself intrigued by the boy, but ends up disappointed after a miscommunication. Can Cheyenne get past what she learned about Garrett? Will the two join forces and kick some Vampire butt?

Excerpt:

Though 8:30 a.m. doesn’t seem early to most people, it is for me. Normally, I sleep until noon, but yesterday Mom put the kibosh on that. “Cheyenne, it’s time you got up off your ass and stopped feeling sorry for yourself. You will get a job or else.”

That’s what she said to me. So, of course I wanted to make her happy, and I set my alarm for 8:00 a.m. With the newspaper in my hands and a steaming cup of coffee in front of me, I got busy. Unfortunately, the classifieds caught my eye first, so that’s where I started.

First thing, I found an announcement about Vampires that piqued my interest, but had to flip the paper over quickly at the sound of Mom’s voice. I scoured for the employment section, and found big circles already drawn around certain ads. Mom already scoped it out, which I should’ve expected.

“Cheyenne!” Mom’s voice rudely interrupted my thoughts. “Did you find the paper I left on the table for you?” Her footsteps clip-clopped down the hardwood stairs. “There were a ton of good jobs in there today. I’ve circled the ones I thought you might like.” She appeared in the kitchen and was hovering over me within seconds.

I’d already found the one that interested me in the Announcements, but I went along just to please her. “I’m reading through them all first, then I’ll make a few phone calls.” The unenthused tone must’ve given my mood away.

“Honey, I know you’d rather stay in the house and be a hermit forever, but it’s time you moved on. The cancer is gone, and you’re fine. Your beautiful hair’s finally grown out again, and you look vibrant and ready to take on the world.”

“Thanks.” I didn’t want to get into another discussion about my ridiculously low self-esteem and lack of interaction with people my age.

She kissed my cheek. “Gotta get to the hospital. I’ll see you tonight.”

“Bye.”

I waited until the door slammed and her car started before flipping over the paper and staring at that the big bold letters.

WE WANT YOU!
VAMPIRES ARE TAKING OVER THE TOWN
IF YOU WANT TO LIVE, JOIN US NOW!
INTERVIEWS MONDAY AT MIDNIGHT
WILL HEAVILY COMPENSATE VOLUNTEERS
No phone calls please
666 Dreary Lane

After reading the words over and over until I had them memorized, I contemplated exactly what the ad meant. Did someone have a vampire problem and need a hand getting rid of them? Maybe it meant the complete opposite, which would’ve been a good way for a vamp to lure some unsuspecting soul into his world then suck the life right out of them. I assumed the latter since the interview was at midnight.

I drained the coffee cup, then folded the page into fourths and tucked it in the front pocket of my baggy camouflage utility pants. Quickly, I brushed the dark, wavy hair that finally hit my shoulders after a full year of occasional trims, and pulled the auburn locks into a bun on top of my head. Running downstairs, I remembered my old but loyal car had no gas, just like my bank account had no money.

Book is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Vampire-Mini-Massacre-ebook/dp/B004UH1LE8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350927946&sr=8-1&keywords=texas+vampire+mini+massacre

Freedom………..

17 Oct

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

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

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

Featuring today his title Freedom.

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

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

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

The Haunted Spring….

10 Oct

Today we welcome Anthony Diesso on our GSP Halloween Promo.

About Anthony. “I currently live in Northern California with my wife and two children (they’re growing so fast – my kids, I mean: my wife is maintaining her usual size, and I’ve leveled off, too). The Haunted Spring not only reflects my interest in ghosts (which are constantly hiding my car keys), but also in the experiences of an NICU ward, in which my wife and I spent three months after the birth of our first child.”

His new release The Haunted Spring is our featured book for this post.

ay Bennett, a comfortably maladjusted man in his early 20’s, finds Anna LaMonica knocking on his apartment door, looking for someone else. Seeing more of each other, however, they quickly fall in love. After overcoming an extended separation, as well as hostile family and friends, they marry and begin a new life together.

But Anna’s sudden death during childbirth leaves Jay to watch over their infant, born premature and requiring an extensive hospital stay. Grief-stricken, helpless, and alone, he is tormented by apparitions of his lost wife, recalling their love and ruined hopes. These apparitions, at times horrifying, at others pathetic, yet others darkly alluring, threaten to crack loose his grip on reality. Attempting to overcome such frightening occurrences, he struggles to piece together his life, to pull some sanity and hope out of the world around him, and to become a good father to his newborn son.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Knock, knock, knock.

From inside, in comfortable shadows, I just stared at my apartment door.

Knock, knock.

And jogged out of a late afternoon stupor, I put a mailed catalogue aside, hastily aligned a bowl of mushed bran-flakes upon the armrest, and stood up from the sofa. Its springs creaked abruptly with relief as I called out, “Who is it?”

There was a woman’s muffled voice. “I’m very sorry. I was looking for apartment seventeen.”

Pausing a moment without considering anything, I then turned the latch, pulled the knob, and found her waiting. She had auburn hair, which as she backed up from the opening door, was glazed with sudden sunlight, and her eyes, a soft, rich hazel, chilled me instantly. We waited for me to say something, ‘til, helping things along, she stepped forward under the eaves again and into the shadows before me. She wore a dark skirt and a smoky-colored blouse, and her lips curved slightly with embarrassment. I wondered if she could see the bowl of cereal from the door; I also wondered if it was about to tip. And almost looking back, I hastily put it out of my mind, trying to think of nothing as I waited politely.

“The numbers go from sixteen to eighteen,” she said in a more intimate voice, slightly tilting her head to one side, keeping her hands behind her back.

I grinned, nodded like a bobble-head, my own hands gesturing with theatrical intensity, my lips grown a bit stiff. “Yes, it’s on the way, other side of the building. Sharon McClean. I don’t know why they numbered it the way they did. Here, let me show you.”

“Oh, I’d appreciate that. Thank you very much.”
The day narrowed my eyes, along with a surface spangle on the swimming pool; and a reflected light cast wobbly shapes across the walk. I wasn’t much interested in any of that, but it was an excuse to avert my glance, and I fixed eyes on it while speaking, noticing peripherally her slow, legato steps. “So you’re a friend of Sharon’s?”

“Yes, we knew each other in Arizona before she moved out here.”

“Mmm. Where in Arizona?”

“From Flagstaff. I’ve come down for a couple of weeks.”

The walk began to warm my brain up. “Ah, I’ve been there once. A college, mountain town, with lots of forests, all shadowed green and pine. It smelled nice.”

“Some parts better than others, yes. Why were you there?”

“I was looking for my dog.”

“Really? What was it doing in Flagstaff?”

“I don’t know. He could have gone anywhere, so I decided to try Flagstaff. I crossed it off the list.”

She laughed with a pleasant familiarity, and I met her glance, if only briefly.

“Well, here it is.”

A woman waved from the window of apartment 17, a faded shape behind the sun-glare off of tinted glass. Having grabbed our attention, she disappeared into the dark behind the reflected white. Latches worked, the screen-door creaked, and before that nasty slam they make, she had gotten in several sentences.

“Finally! Anna, I thought you were lost. Are you all right? How was the traffic, was it bad? How was the drive?” Smack! “Did you get lost?”

“Yes, no, good, no.” The woman laughed while embracing her friend.

“I was ready to drive out to look for you myself. California has wonderful freeways, but like everything else here, there’s too much to choose from.”

“No, I followed your instructions. They were good. Your neighbor was nice enough to show me to your apartment.”

Sharon was a pleasant enough woman of about 24, rather short, and blonde, with black-rimmed glasses. Like a lapdog, she seemed to have a full-sized nervous system pressed into a smaller frame, and if you didn’t know her, you would think she was looking for someone to report some sort of disaster to. I moved into the complex after her, and she showed me where the mail drop was, the laundry room, the rear parking lot, the pool, all the things the apartment manager shows you in that first grand tour. We were amiable enough, but hardly close, and she probably couldn’t consider me a friend when I was already a neighbor.

But with her visitor, she seemed to view me in a fresh light, or at least to present me in a role I wasn’t expecting: “Jay, that’s nice of you. You’re the protector of travelers, like St. Christopher in cargo pants. I don’t think I even told you she was coming. Anna, this is Jay Bennett. Jay, this Anna LaMonica.”

We smiled awkwardly, as if we had just laid eyes on each other, and whatever corner table nuance our former looks and words conveyed was now entirely lost within a banquet hall exaggeration.

“Jay, would you help Anna with her bags?”

Her friend grinned, shrugged her shoulders. “I only have one bag in the trunk and it’s on wheels, with a handle.”

“Fine. While Jay is helping you to get it out of the trunk, I’ll set out the glasses.”
We nodded to each other, and I walked a step ahead of her, guiding her toward the parking lot.

Returning from the car, the two of us entered the small front yard space, and sat at a round glass table with impressions on it, like fingerprints, that made the two sets of knees and shins and shoes seem as if under ice. Sharon emerged from the apartment with a bottle, and seeing only part of the label, I noticed, in curling, vine-like script, the name of some sort of leaf. She poured the rosé into each of the scarlet-tinted glasses, then sat and watched. I pinched the stem, lifted it, declared, “Well, salute.”

“Salute,” murmured Anna.

“May the road rise up and smack you in the face,” Sharon piped in. “That’s an old drinking toast. At least that’s what my father said.”

I tasted the wine. It was light and sweet, with a slight carbonation that pestered my tongue. It was refreshingly cold for a late, summer afternoon, and would have been just the thing for an alcoholic’s tea-party.

“Anna, I’m glad you’re here. And Jay—thank you for helping with the bags.”

“No, not at all. Thank you.” I lifted my glass again and nodded.

The walk lamps clicked on, producing frail, golden auras. The dusky mood and, of course, the wine, stirred shadowy but pleasant thoughts in me, at least: a number of peculiar and buried recollections, like odors not inhaled for many years. When the conversation drifted toward our childhoods, I mused, “Oh, the things that I believed when I was small: that coins shook in the sunlit trees, and boughs were crooked spider legs. I’d peek out from the window and see those dangling things, and plead with Ma to sweep them from the tree. She’d take a broom, go outside, then come back in to say that everything was fine.”

I stopped talking, conscious that I might be drifting in my conversion, amusing only to myself. I glanced at Anna tenuously: her face was lowered in reflection, its expression cast upward from the table toward me, a lit veil of fixed eyes and slightly parted lips. She traced her finger in the moist imprint left by the base of the wine-glass, and spoke almost in a whisper, “My parents had a small statue of the Virgin, and at night, by the dim candlelight, she would move her eyes or change expression. I told my parents, and they smiled and said it was a miraculous sign.”

“At least they didn’t have to take a broom to it,” Sharon laughed.

“Have you outgrown it?” I asked Anna, after smiling at Sharon’s quip. Given the opportunity, I lingered over her delicate, oval face, her supple, curved lips, her brightly dark and almond eyes; her look turned upward from her finger, gliding as if on ice, to me.

“Mostly,” she replied. “Have you?”

Anthony’s book is available at:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Haunted-Spring-ebook/dp/B009FDY9C8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1348931074&sr=8-6&keywords=diesso

WEBSITE: anthonydeaso.webs.com
BLOG: http://www.anthonydiesso.blogspot.com/
TWITTER: https:twitter.com/AnthonyDiesso
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/anthony.diesso

The Eyes Have It….

9 Oct

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

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

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

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

The Witch and the Squirrels

8 Oct

Today’s post goes to author G. E. Stills. Welcome to the GSP Halloween Promo Gary.

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.
The book we promoting for this promo 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. 

Excerpt.

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.”
More information about Gary’s books and where to get them:
http://www.gestills.com
http://www.facebook.com/gary.stillman
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorGEStills?ref=hl
authorgestills.blogspot.com
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007FRP90M
http://www.gypsyshadow.com/GEStills.html#top
http://www.wickedinkpress.com/product_info.php?products_id=50

The Anvil Ghosts winner is Anne Sutton.

Phillip and the Haunted House…

3 Oct

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.

Philip and Emery are scared out of their wits when they learn their community service assignment involves dealing with a haunted house, but it gets worse! Circumstances force the boys to sneak inside the haunted house, and when they do, they receive the shock of their lives!

Excerpt:

Philip and the Haunted House

The rumble of a heavy truck caused Philip to turn in his bed and open his eyes. He felt his heart pounding. He had been trapped in some dark, awful house. He immediately recognized his own bedroom and sighed in relief. Only a dream! The sound of the truck stopped briefly and started up again. Turning a corner, thought Philip. As he listened, the truck noise ended suddenly, instead of fading little by little. Philip guessed the truck had stopped somewhere in his neighborhood.

He sat up in bed, turned, put his feet on the floor, and stretched. A long Saturday loomed ahead of him. No school. What a great feeling! Philip thought of his dream again. Yesterday, his teacher Mr. Ware read the class the part of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer where Tom and Huck look for treasure in the haunted house. While they’re looking, they hear someone coming and run upstairs to hide. One of the two men who enter the haunted house turns out to be Injun Joe, who wants to kill Tom for identifying him as Doc Robinson’s murderer at Muff Potter’s trial. Injun Joe gets suspicious, takes out his knife, and starts to climb the stairs. Tom and Huck lie frozen in fear on the floor, peeking through a chink in the wood as Injun Joe, step by step, gets nearer and nearer. Then, CRASH! The old, rotten stairway collapses and tumbles Injun Joe to the floor.

When Mr. Ware read it, he’d shouted the word “crash” as loud as he could. Everyone, including Philip, jumped out of their chairs. For once he’d been paying close attention, and the teacher rewarded him by almost giving him a heart attack. Philip blamed Mr. Ware for his frightful dream.

How could Tom and Huck even want to go inside a haunted house, Philip wondered, even if they thought they’d find some buried treasure? Buried treasure. Philip thought he might go into a haunted house to get rich, but not for fun. No way. He decided he’d go back to daydreaming in school next week and stop listening to the teacher’s heart-attack reading lessons.

Philip dressed and went downstairs. His father lay on the sofa reading the newspaper.

“Well, look who’s awake,” his father said, sitting up. “Your mother went to the supermarket. Becky’s still sleeping.” Becky was Philip’s baby sister. “Emery called twice already.”

“What time is it, Dad?”

“A little after ten.”

He had slept a long time. Maybe if he’d gotten up earlier he wouldn’t have had the dream about the haunted house. Stupid reading lesson.

“Give Emery a call, and I’ll get your cereal.”

Philip called Emery, who said he’d be right over.

As Philip dropped his cereal bowl into the sink, Emery walked into the kitchen.

“Are you sick?” said Emery.

“No, I’m not sick. Why?”

“You slept so long. I only sleep long if I’m sick. My two baby sisters cry so much I can’t sleep late anyway.”

“No, I’m not sick. I had this weird dream, though.” Philip led Emery into the living room.

“You, too, eh?”

“Me, too? You had a dream?” Philip asked in alarm. Maybe something’s going around, he thought.

“No, I mean putting the dishes in the sink.”

“Oh. Yeah, something new.”

“My mother, too. She must have talked to your mother. They do these things together sometimes. What did you dream about?”

“The haunted house Mr. Ware read about yesterday.”

“Oh, yeah. When the stairs crashed, and he made everybody jump. Cool!”

“I didn’t jump,” Philip lied.

“Well, everybody else did. Haunted houses are spooky.”

“Only around Halloween,” Philip said boldly.

“All the time,” Emery replied with a sharp nod.

Philip felt he’d established his bravery, so he dropped the topic.

“Weird, though,” said Emery.

“What’s weird?”

“A big truck pulled up around the corner, and they’re taking everything out of the junky, empty house.”

“The one with all the grass growing around it?”

“Yeah. It’s still got a “Sale” sign on it so I guess nobody bought it yet. That’ll be an empty house now and look even more haunted.”

Philip pictured the house—dark, empty, and surrounded by tall weeds. It could be haunted for all he and Emery knew; and there it sat—right around the corner from where they lived.

“Want to go watch them take stuff out?” Emery asked.

“They’re still there?”

“Yeah. They only got there a little while ago.”

Philip thought of the truck that woke him up.

“Okay,” Philip said. He’d go now, but once they’d emptied the house and left it empty and lonely and scary looking, he planned to stay away from it. Far away.

John’s book is available at: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JohnPaulits.html#HHouseExc

Songs of the Dead

2 Oct

Dawn Colclasure is the author of five books, among them BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: How We Survive as Writing Parents and 365 TIPS FOR WRITERS: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat The Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity. Her articles, essays, poems, book reviews and short stories have been published in regional and national newspapers and magazines, as well as online. She lives and writes in Oregon with her husband and children.
Perfectly in keeping with our Halloween theme Dawn Colclasure’s dark poetry collection, Songs of the Dead (formerly named Topiary Dreams), is not only dark, but passionate. Anger, fear, hurt and betrayal run under the skin of this work and shine through especially bright in poems such as No Turning Back, Deep Within and I am Madness. Colclasure examines the dark side of human nature; murder, drug use, violence, insanity and isolation. But, beyond the tales of death and darkness there’s also a message of empowerment; the voice of someone who has taken too much, for too long and has finally had enough.

Songs of the Dead is a re-release of the chapbook originally published in 2003 and with more than twenty-seven new poems; it has more than earned the title “expanded”. Colclasure has a flair for prose, with lines such as “walk on the moon and hear the stars breathe,” (from Death Shows my Pain) and different poetry forms stop the reader from falling into a sing song rhythm of sameness and help to keep the collection fresh and interesting, page after page.

Excerpt:

Songs of the Dead
I’m the Only One Who Can Take You There

Push me now into your veins.
Push me softly, deep inside.
Let me take you far away
Where you won’t have to run and hide.

Forget your tears, forget your pain.
Escape from this world of despair.
Come to me, I will save you
I’m the only one who can take you there.

You don’t need to be afraid.
I will shield you in my arms.
No more sadness, no more pain.
I’ll protect you from life’s harms.

Never fail you, always true.
And you enjoy the things I do.
You won’t find better relief anywhere
Because I’m the only one who can take you there.

Where to find Dawn’s book: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/DawnColclasure.html#SongsExc

More information about this amazing author:

Her Web site is: http://dmcwriter.tripod.com/ 
Blog: http://dawncolclasureblog.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/dawncolclasure
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Dawn-Colclasure
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dawncolclasure
Other: http://greenwolf103.deviantart.com/
Read an Interview at Highlighted Author!
              Writer Sanctuary
Thank you Dawn for participating.

The American Connection – guest blogger James Woods

27 Jan

It is my pleasure today to have James Woods as my guest. James is a fellow GSP author. Jim Woods, who also uses the pen name Jamel Dubois, writes novels authentically set in South Africa. As a native South African, I am usually skeptical about foreigners writing about my country. However,, James has perfectly captured the South Africa Afrikaaner in his book Assassination Safari. I have just finished reading it and found to be totally authentic to the culture. So with any further ado over to you James.

The continent of Africa and particularly the southern regions including South Africa became a major part of my muse immediately upon my first visit, and that initial visit perhaps calls for a bit of background. The time was the mid 1980s and I was firmly entrenched in the outdoors magazine business. I was on staff with Guns Magazine as Senior Field Editor, which translated to allowing me mailing-in my monthly feature and column from my Arizona ranch mailbox that was half-mile walk up the dirt road. I earned that almost retirement privilege by first working several years as Editor, Managing Editor and Editorial Director with (then) Petersen Publishing Company in Beverly Hills, where I was attached to Guns & Ammo and Petersen’s Hunting magazines. These professional and literary connections put me on my first flight to Africa.

Commercial magazines are supported by advertisers, not subscribers; but advertisers are attracted to magazines holding influence over a reader base sufficient to justify a product supplier spending promotional money with a particular magazine. My first two trips to Africa were press junkets. The first, to Zimbabwe, was hosted by a German optics company introducing new
line of riflescopes and binoculars and they wanted articles on the products. I was one of four magazine writers making that trip.

It was a natural progression for me to think South Africa following that junket; Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, was politically and socially tied to South Africa in my numerous history volumes. I waited two years for the opportunity to visit South Africa, but in the interim I read, and re-read, James Michener’s, The Covenant, on colonial influence and development of the country. I also was introduced to Wilbur Smith, who writes on Africa and has become my
favorite author. He has written thirty-three novels, most of which are set in South Africa, and I have them all. My safari to South Africa was at invitation of the South African Tourism Board (SATOUR); they looking for favorable press on the recreational opportunities in the country at a time when the country was not getting favorable press from the world at large. I was one of seven outdoors communicators invited–magazine, newspaper and television–from the U.S. And Canada.

Spouses are not invited along on press junkets. Upon my return from South Africa, and my wife, becoming fed up with my praise for the beauties and attractions of the country, announced that my next trip to Africa would include her. It came the following year, just the two of us and at personal expense; no more sponsored press trips. We self-drove all over the country for six weeks, me showing off what I had been shown and both of us discovering so much more for ourselves. I decided I had to tell the western world about South Africa, and formulated what I considered to be the ultimate travel guide.

Actually, the germ for the travel guide came to me while I was in the home of a professional hunter, in South Africa, on my SATOUR sponsored trip. The bunch of us, all the writers and the hunter’s family, were socially imbibing in the comfort of the hunter’s home, all paying rapt attention to his tales soon to become fodder for my current novel-in-work, when I was distracted by movement at the vented jalousie window. A green mamba slithering its way up the exterior wall found the window opening and started to enter between the panes. I caught the hostess’s eye and silently directed her to my discovery, and she coolly approached the window and cranked it shut, causing the viper to withdraw. No one else observed all this and I determined that I had to tell the world about this fascinating country, things to see and do, and things to
avoid. Subsequently on my long personal explorations I collected tons of notes on history, customs, politics, human relations, cuisine and traveler amenities. It was a lost effort.

I cleverly titled my work, Tackies, Bakkies and Biscuits. “Tackies” is the local identification of sport shoes that we not in Africa call tennis shoes, running shoes or trainers. Tackies are tacky; I’ve been asked to leave high-toned establishments in South Africa because I dared to enter wearing the shoes and breaking the dress code. And not just tackies either; I travel in jeans
wherever in the world I’m in charge of my own travel, such as driving through southern Africa. I was escorted from a historic hotel dining room in Harare, Zimbabwe, for showing up in my travel jeans. The Ndebele policeman was a foot shorter than me and quite officious in his sharply pressed and detailed khakis. I was permitted to retrieve my luggage and change into khakis
myself, before being readmitted to the establishment. The firearms mores are strict as well. I know of bird and waterfowl hunters refused admission to South Africa’s shooting sites because they came equipped with automatic or pump shotguns. Over-under guns are tolerated but side-by-side double guns are the accepted sporting arms of gentleman shooters. These are things I intended to tell potential travelers to the region, in my book.

The “bakkies” in my travel title is more or less synonymous with “pick-up truck” The word does not rhyme with “tackies” when verbalized, but I thought it looked as though it did in print. And “biscuits” are not biscuits as westerners know them, but the English version of cookies. I intended my book to clarify and educate outlanders in the local language anomalies. I also laid out travel advisories and money exchange tips. The book did not get published, not even
completed. I submitted numerous queries complete with sample chapters and full outline to agents and publishers, but found no takers. I had publishers tell me in no uncertain terms that South Africa as a subject was taboo because of Apartheid practices in force at the time. By the mid 1990s, the book was still incomplete due to the continuous updates I was making on subsequent research trips, but the death knell was the elections of 1994 when the country’s
political structure was altered drastically. I chose to drop the travel guide effort entirely.

In the interim I did sell several safari articles to the outdoors magazines, and I used South African settings for some success in short fiction, novels and factual hunting accounts. From my first of several exploratory trips to South Africa I wanted to write an epic novel using exploits of the professional hunter credited with creating the modern safari operations from its roots as a cottage industry. I transferred his real accomplishments and credits to my fictional
protagonist. That novel is currently in work, primarily because initially I had no knowledge of novel writing, just desire. So I trained myself with a couple of preliminary works, one little more than a long novella, and the second qualifying as a novel with all the complexities and characters unknowingly omitted from the first.

My novel writing education, and much of my Africa knowledge, came from the works of Robert Ruark, Ernest Hemingway, Peter Hathaway Capstick, whom I knew and associated with personally, and the afore-mentioned Wilbur Smith. Success for me as a novelist will not be counted in dollars; all I want is my books alongside theirs on bookstores around the world. Is that asking too much?

Thank you Jim for being with us today. Jim Woods lives and works in Tucson, Arizona, but can be found on line at these websites:

http://users.dakotacom.net/~jwoods
http://www.champagnebooks.com/
http://www.gypsyshadow.com/default.html

Happy New Year

1 Jan

Bubbly anyone?


I wish you all a wonderful 2012, filled with peace and health. I have to say I am not sad to the see the back of 2011. It was a difficult year although not without high points.
The highest point was seeing my high school dream fulfilled, the publication of the Zvonek 08 series. As some of you know I wanted to live in Europe, have two cats and write books. Finally in April last year I could tick all the boxes.
Starting my blog was also a high point and it has been exciting to have wonderful people willing to be interviewed or being a guest on my blog.
My first ever guest was Shelia Deeth, telling us how she got started writing. Bless you Shelia for taking the plunge with me. If you haven’t read the entry please check October 29th.
In November I interviewed Hana Rawlings, whose book on Cake Decorating will be out this year. She shared a lovely Czech recipe for Gingerbread with us. By the way Hana would love feedback if any of you actually tried the recipe. I am including a photo at the end of this blog of the ones she made this year. Please see the entry for November 26th.
We saw the year out with my friend and fellow author Elizabeth Ann Scarbourgh, Feline Book Feast, telling us about her latest feline books. Please see the entry December 17th.
To all of you thank for being on my blog and to my readers a big thank you for your support and comments.
We start this year with guest blogger James Woods telling us about why he writes about South Africa. I have read James’ Assassination Safari and have to say it captures the South African image perfectly. As a native South African I am always suspicious of foreigners writing about my country but I have to give James thumbs up :). He will be my guest on 27/1, please do stop by.
Next month I will have Christine Wilson as a guest on my blog. Christine is an Irish author. We will be highlighting a special work of hers so please don’t miss it.
So from Zvonek and Metaxa purrs for a great 2012 and again from me all the best.

Hana's Christmas 2011 bake using the recipe she shared with us