Tag Archives: zombies

Jason Spells It Out….

30 Oct

On the eve of Halloween, GSP Halloween Promo welcomes back Violetta Antcliff.

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

We are featuring her latest release, Jason Spells it Out, in time for Halloween. Congratulations Violetta and we wish you loads of sales.

Jason finds himself in troubles of the worst kind when he meets up again with the evil hobgoblin Shrug. How can he stop the Wizard’s book of magic from falling into Shrug’s hands? Magenta, a witch whose broomstick he’d once rescued, is under his spell, thinking she is in love with him. Jason knows without his help she’ll be fooled into telling him where the book of magic is. He has to act, and fast; can a love potion be the answer to his problems? Or will it just add to them?

Excerpt:
Jason was restless; he couldn’t get to sleep—something bad was going to happen and he sensed it. The house was not only quiet, it was unnaturally quiet; no sound of snoring coming from his sisters room or creaking of the cot, from the nursery where little Emily Louise slept.

Jason tossed back the duvet and glanced round the room—it was bathed in beams of moonlight that danced high on the walls and cast shadows in the dark recesses. He got out of bed, padded over to the window, opened it and looked out. At first he saw nothing unusual, nothing different; then from the corner of his eye he noticed a movement. The hairs on his arms quivered as if under attack from static electricity, his heart began to pound erratically and he felt weak at the knees. For a fraction of a second, Jason thought he was going to pass out, but when the wave of dizziness slowly passed, he knew he was going to be all right.

In a daze, he returned to his bed, clambered in and pulled the duvet over his head; he couldn’t believe what he had just caught a glimpse of and wanted to shut it out. He tried to convince himself he was really asleep and just having a bad dream, but he knew he wasn’t, knew the goose-pimples were real and the fearful apparition he’d seen wasn’t a figment of his imagination.

Nerves stretched to breaking point, Jason trembled uncontrollably; he could taste the fear and broke out in a cold sweat. Someone, or something, was in the house, in the bedroom—his bedroom—and he could hear it breathing.

“I know you’re only pretending to be asleep. Aren’t you pleased to see me?” Whoever it was cackled mischievously as if deriving pleasure from his plight.

Jason refused to open his eyes and plugged his ears with his fingers.

“I’ve not come on my own. I’ve brought somebody with me; I told him all about you and what you did.”

Jason screwed his eyes up even tighter and pushed his fingers deeper in his ears. Finally however, curiosity got the better of him and with eyes narrowed, he peered out from behind the duvet.

A woman stood at the foot of his bed, and if Jason hadn’t been so frightened he would have yelled for his dad to come and chase her away. He knew without being told she was a witch because she fit every description he’d ever read about them in books: hook nose, warts; red-rimmed eyes that stared without blinking and a mouth no more than a gash in a white face. Hair blacker than deepest midnight streamed out from beneath a conical shaped hat.

“What . . . what . . . what do you want?” His words came out in short gasps, he was so frightened.

“I told you when you retrieved my favourite broomstick from the clutches of that evil hobgoblin, I wouldn’t forget, didn’t I?” The witch perched herself on the foot of the bed and sat, arms folded, staring at him.

“Did you?” Jason inched away; he still vividly remembered everything about the broomstick and the ride he and Wayne had taken on it. Remembered how it had been whisked away soon as ever they’d landed, but he didn’t recall any witch saying anything; he hadn’t even seen one.

“I said what do you want with me?” Jason demanded bravely.

“It’s reward-time for services rendered for you and your friend . . . where is he, by the way?”

“You mean Wayne? He’s at home in bed where he should be.” Jason wasn’t feeling so frightened now; his nerves had settled, the goose-pimples had disappeared, and his hair was no longer standing on end. And although he felt more in control, he still kept his voice low as he didn’t want his dad to hear and come investigating.

“Shall we go and get him?”

“I said he’s in bed, and I expect fast asleep, as I should be. So you can bog off and don’t forget to close the window on your way out.”

The woman threw her head back and cackled so loud Jason leapt out of bed and rushed over to close the bedroom door. “Shut up, will you?” he mouthed. “Do you want to wake everybody up?”

“Nobody else can hear me but you,” she assured him. “And I am going nowhere without you, so you’d better get used to the idea and get dressed.”

The way the woman’s eyes narrowed, Jason could tell she meant it. He scrambled into his jeans, pulled a T-shirt over his head and pushed his feet into his trainers. “I thought you said you’d brought somebody with you,” he said.

“I have,” replied the witch, “my friend, Bertie Crowsbreath. He’s a warlock, and he’s outside looking after the broomsticks. I’ll call him.”

Eyes closed, head cocked to one side, she muttered something unintelligible under her breath. Less than a split second later there was a whooshing blast, and a broomstick with a man cloaked in black sitting astride it whizzed in through the open window and skidded clumsily to the carpeted floor. The newcomer got to his feet, shook himself, and stood looking around.

“Where have you left my broomstick?” the witch asked, finger wagging.

“Don’t worry, my dear.I’ve parked it on the roof next to the chimney stack. It’s quite safe. I can assure you.”

The man turned his attention to Jason. “And you must be the boy Magenta has told me sooo much about,” he said in a spray of spittle.

“Who’s Magenta?” Jason wondered if they’d gotten the wrong address, he didn’t know anybody called Magenta.

“That’s me,” simpered the witch with a flutter of eyelashes.

“Is it true you have a baby sister?” The warlock rubbed his hands together and licked his lips. “How old is she?” he asked in a lowered voice.

“Ten months. Why?” Jason wondered why the man was interested in his little sister.

“No special reason, dear boy. It’s just that children are so scrumptious at that tender age.”

Apart from his strange appearance, Jason didn’t like the man, didn’t trust him and wanted him to go and take the freaky witch with him. But he sensed they wouldn’t leave unless he went with them.

“I’m dressed,” he said, “but I can’t go anywhere until I’ve scribbled a note for my mum and dad.” Jason was playing for time, hoping to come up with some plausible excuse for not going with them.

He looked for something to write on; a school jotter he been doing his homework in was on the bedside table, so he picked it up and tore a page out. “This’ll do,” he murmured. “Now all I need is a pencil.”

“What for? You’ll be back long before you’re missed. Now stop wasting time and climb up on the broomstick behind Bertie.” Magenta’s mouth twitched at the corner, revealing crooked yellow teeth.

Jason shook his head. He wasn’t ready to go anywhere.

“Come on, stop dithering. Jump on the broomstick behind Bertie. You know there’s nothing to be afraid of, you’ve done it before, and I’ll be right behind you on mine.” The witch put two fingers in her mouth and gave a long, low mournful whistle. Fork lightning streaked across the sky and through the open window Jason caught sight of the second broomstick dipping and diving, countless coloured sparks trailing in its wake.

Seconds later the three of them, on broomsticks that seemed to have grown in size, were swooping and diving over gardens and rooftops as they headed toward Canal Cottages.
Her book is available here : http://www.amazon.com/Jason-Spells-Adventures-Foster-ebook/dp/B009WW8EXM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351614299&sr=8-1&keywords=jason+spells+it+out

Entity’s Promise…….

26 Oct

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

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

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

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

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

The Blood that Flows….

25 Oct

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

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

We are featuring The Blood that Flows in this post.

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

Chapter One
Not Just a Bubblegum Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And if the human is willing?”

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

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

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

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

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

Awareness….

24 Oct

Today we welcome Rowan Shannigan to the GSP Halloween Promo.

Rowan Shannigan has always harbored a deep fascination for the paranormal. She believes in Ghosts! She believes Angels watch over us. She knows Demons stalk us and she really wishes Elves were around to be yummy and heroic when we need them for inspiration!

Rowan lives in Texas with her son and her very own Soul Mate. Her house is filled to the brim with love and laughter, not to mention a few ghosts here and there. Oh, and more than just a few cats! You can’t forget the cats!

Awareness is Rowan’s first Young Adult novel, with two more books planned out for this, the Awakening Awareness series. She also writes Romance for adults under the pen name of Shiloh Darke.

The book that we are featuring today is Awareness.

Waking in the hospital after a car accident nearly claims her life is a serious jolt to Rebecca, a sixteen-year-old with a promising future. Learning she had been there for over a week is pretty nerve-wracking as well. But that isn’t what really bothers her. No, what is really bothering her is her newfound ability to see shadows no one else around her can see, and to hear voices no one else can hear. Then, the ghost of a little boy materializes in the middle of her room, walks right up to her and starts talking. TO HER! In front of her mother, no less.

Now she has to re-learn everything she once believed to be true about the world she lives in, and what is real in that world is becoming a pretty daunting task to face. Because ghosts she can see and hear are not the only ones popping out of the woodwork; let’s just say . . . Elves and Angels, demons and Faeries, oh my! And would someone please just answer this one question: What’s a girl supposed to do for a good night’s sleep?

Excerpt:

One—Voices

Voices . . . the first thing I remembered hearing when I woke up in the hospital that morning. I was confused and disoriented. My mother sat perched near me with a worried expression on her face, but all I could do was take everything in.

I was lying in a bed with tubes connected to me. Shadows danced along the pristine walls, but had no apparent point of origin. Who did the shadows belong to?

Voices; hundreds of voices whispered all around me, but I saw no physical body for any of them. My heart sped up as I looked around, trying to make sense of it all. Surely I was going crazy. I had no other explanation for it, though.

My inner musings were interrupted when the doctor entered and greeted me with a smile. “Well, look at you! All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.”

I glanced from the doctor to my mother and back again. “What’s going on?” I asked in a voice that was hoarse from disuse. “Why am I here?”

Mother leaned forward and took my hand. “Baby, you were in a car accident. You’ve been unconscious for six days.” Tears welled in her eyes. “I’ve been so worried.”

Swallowing the lump that had formed in my throat, I whispered. “Is everyone else okay?”

Squeezing my hand, Mom nodded. “You were the only one who had to be admitted. Everyone else went home that first day.”

“Thank God,” I responded, closing my eyes. When I opened them, a woman was standing just to the left of my mother, looking down at me with a curious expression.

Then, just as fast as she had appeared, she vanished. I blinked and reached up to rub my eyes, trying to clear them of the days of crusty sleep that had built up in the corners. Surely I was seeing things. How bad were my injuries? Did I have a concussion?

“So, what’s wrong with me? When do I get to go home?” I asked quietly.

The doctor smiled. “Well, I’m keeping you for a little longer, just to make sure your head injury is truly on the mend. But I think we can probably let you go home in time for the weekend.”

When he spoke, a shadow raced past him, drawing my attention as it stopped just as abruptly and turned toward me. As I watched, it moved closer and a face took shape.

The boy looked me over intently before offering me a lopsided grin. “Don’t tell him you see me, or they’ll transfer you to the State Hospital, just as sure as I’m floating around.”

He glanced over toward my mom and the doctor, adding, “They’re watching. You need to tell them your head’s hurting and ask them to turn down the lights.” Glancing back at me, he clicked his tongue. “Trust me. Do it now!”

Without even thinking, I turned and covered my eyes with my hands. “I’m sorry. The lights hurt my eyes. Can we turn them off?”

The doctor nodded. “Of course; you have a couple of hours until lunch. Why don’t you try to get some more sleep?” Turning to my mother, he smiled. “She seems to be in the clear now. I’ll be back to check on her later.”

She offered him tears of gratitude, and I watched, feeling pretty overwhelmed. I wondered silently how close I had actually been to dying.

“Oh, you were close,” the boy said. “They’ve been in and out of here for days.”

I looked back at the boy, who had now materialized completely to stand beside me. He couldn’t have been any older than twelve, but he seemed very with it. Glancing over, I saw my mother was standing at the door, talking to the doctor still, so I could respond without worry of being overheard.

Looking back at the boy, I asked quietly, “They? Who are they?”

He looked from me to my mother, then back at me. “Okay, two rules. One: you don’t talk to me. I can hear your thoughts. You don’t want just anyone seeing you talking to things they can’t see. They’ll think you’re crazy.” He smiled. “And second: don’t ask questions you aren’t prepared to hear the answers for.”

He chuckled. “I’ll come back tonight after your mom goes home. It’ll be easier for you to understand me and not freak her out by talking to imaginary friends she probably can’t believe in.” He smiled and reached to touch my arm, but stopped, holding his hand just inches from my skin.

Fascinated, I watched as the hair on my arm directly below his hand stood straight up. A chill ran through me, making me shiver. I could feel him. But I knew he had no physical body.

He stepped back. “Just don’t freak out at what you see today. The things you see here in the daylight won’t hurt you. I’ll explain when I come back tonight.”

With those few wise words, he vanished, exactly like the woman who’d been standing beside Mom earlier had. To say I was shaken would have been an understatement. This went beyond anything I’d ever imagined possible.

“Well, baby girl, it looks like you’ll be going home soon,” Mom said as she moved back to take the seat beside my bed. “That’s wonderful.”

I turned to smile at her. “Yeah,” I answered. “That’s good.” And it was. I just wasn’t sure this other thing was good. But how could I tell her about that? I mean, I was seeing ghosts. Wasn’t I? How was that even possible?

Or maybe I had just hit my head so hard this was all still a hallucination and I only thought I was awake! Yeah. That sounded like the better option. It was a heck of a lot easier to believe than the version of ghosts, disembodied voices, and shadows dancing all over the walls. I mean, move over, space cadet . . . Psycho in ward three!

Okay, so ghosts were real. All right, I could buy that. I mean, it was actually pretty cool . . . on a really weird, spooky, don’t-tell-anyone kind of way. But they didn’t need to talk to me. I mean, no way was I going to continue seeing them. I could refuse. Couldn’t I?

I was soon to learn just how impossible it would be to ignore the spirits that float around us every single day of our lives. I was also about to learn the plans I had been making for my life were no longer an option.

Two—Ghosts and Angels

Later that night, my mother kissed me goodbye and promised to be back early in the morning. I had to clasp my hands together to keep from grabbing her and begging her not to leave me. I didn’t want to be alone. But I was too old to act like a baby.

It was just all too crazy. I wasn’t prepared to handle it with people all around me during the daylight. How the hell was I supposed to handle it at night with no one—no one alive, that is—here?

Biting my tongue, I waved goodbye as she walked out the door. Then, I counted. One-one-thousand, two-one thousand, three . . . nothing. Maybe I had only been hallucinating. Nope, I had quit counting too soon.

“Hi there! Miss me?” His voice almost made me jump completely out of the bed.

Gasping, I turned to look at the boy I had seen earlier, now perched precariously at the foot of the mattress. “Don’t do that!” I growled. “You scared my heart half out of my chest!”

He tilted his head, considering my words and looking at the vicinity around my heart. “Still looks like it’s beating in place to me.”

I fought the urge to throw my pillow at him. Instead, I tried the calm, I-don’t-believe-in-you approach. “You are figment of my imagination. I am going to sleep now and you . . .” I grumbled, pointing at him, “. . . are going to go invade someone else’s nightmares.”

He actually looked insulted. “Hey!” he pointed back, “I’m here to give you a quick lesson. You had better be nice, because I’m not going to help you at all if you’re gonna act like that!”

I groaned, shaking my head. “You are not real! I hit my head and I am just hallucinating!” I pointed, wagging my finger at him. “I don’t need a lesson. I need to get some sleep so tomorrow they’ll decide they can let me go home.” I rolled my eyes. “You’re younger than me anyway. What could you possibly teach me?
Her book is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Awareness-Rowan-Shannigan/dp/1619500450/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1351096943&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=awareness+rowan+shinnagan

Eternal Moon….

23 Oct

Today we welcome Shiloh Darke to the GSP Halloween Promo.

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

Her book that we are highlighting is Eternal Moon.

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

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

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

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

Freedom………..

17 Oct

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

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

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

Featuring today his title Freedom.

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

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

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

Philip and The Monsters

11 Oct


Thank you John for being part of the GSP Halloween Promo.
    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 Gypsy Shadow book, PHILIP AND THE SUPERSTITION KID, was voted best children’s novel of 2010 in the Preditors and Editors readers poll.
Congratulations, John, for Winning first place in the 2010 (Philip and the Superstition Kid) and top Ten in the 2011 (Philip and the Angel) Preditors and Editors Readers Poll for Children’s Novel!

For this post we are featuring, Philip and The Monsters.

Could the Frankenstein monster, Dracula and the Wolfman actually move into someone’s respectable neighborhood? Philip and his best friend Emery are convinced it has happened when a suspicious new family moves in down the block. The boys have seen the vampire bat; they’ve heard the werewolf’s growl; they’ve witnessed the coffin delivery to the house. When Emery’s mother invites the new family to dinner, Philip and Emery have no choice but to prepare for the worst.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

“Boo!” shouted Emery. Philip’s heart shot up, and his stomach tumbled. He spun to face his friend.

“Are you crazy? Are you really crazy? Why did you do that? I walk into your house and you jump out like a maniac? You almost gave me a heart attack.”

Emery laughed and waved a hand at Philip. “Get out. We’re too young to have heart attacks. Unless,” said Emery in a spooky voice, “your arteries are clogged with the cholesterol of fear.”

Philip stared at Emery.

“What?” Emery asked.

Philip continued to stare.

Emery smiled nervously and shrugged.

Philip didn’t move a muscle.

Emery blinked and blinked again.

Philip continued to stare and refused to blink.

“Say something, please,” said Emery in a small voice. He waited. Philip said nothing. “Come on, you’re scaring me.”

Philip kept on staring and counted to himself. When he reached three, he threw his arms in the air and shouted, “BOOOO!”

“Ahhh!” Emery burst out. “Why did you do that? Are you crazy, too? You were scaring me and then you scared me. Why’d you scare me?”

“Can we go back to the beginning?” Philip asked slowly, still giving Emery his coldest stare.

“The beginning?”

“Did you ask me to come over so we could do our homework together?”

“Yes, I did,” said Emery, paying very close attention to Philip’s questions. He didn’t want Philip to start staring and BOO-ing him again.

“Did you tell me you would leave the front door open, and I should just walk in?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Why?”

“So I could jump out and scare you.”

“Then you admit it!” Philip cried. He tried to stay calm. “Why did you want to scare me?”

“Uh, because you said I could.”

Philip stared at Emery again.

“Are you going to do the staring Boo! thing again, because . . . ?” Emery stepped back, arms out, hands waving slowly.

“No, stand still,” Philip said softly. “When did I say you could jump out at me and try to give me a heart attack? When? When did I say it?”

“You said we would do our homework together, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, so? Is giving me a heart attack doing our homework together?” Philip shouted.

“No, but scaring you is. I’m doing my report on how people act when they get scared. You have to do a report too, you know. The class report we have to do about a feeling. Remember?”

“What was the stuff you said before?”

“Before? When?”

“Before. About the arteries and the clogging.”

Emery laughed. “Did you like it? I made it up. I read this newspaper article about good heart health, and I read a different article about how peoples’ hearts beat faster when they get scared.”

“You didn’t have to read about it. I could have told you.”

“Yeah well, I put the two things together and I said . . .”

“I know what you said. What does cholesterol have to do with your report?”

“Nothing. I made a joke, for Pete’s sake.”

“Some dumb joke. Next time, save it for Pete.”

“Never mind the joke. Tell me what you felt when you got scared.” Emery scrambled to the floor and lay on his stomach, pencil in hand and notebook open. “Go on.”

Philip tried the best he could to remember everything he felt when Emery jumped out at him. As Philip talked, Emery wrote fast.

“Good,” said Emery, his pencil zipping across the paper. “Good. Now let me write what I felt when you scared me.”

When Emery finished writing, Philip said, “Lemme see.” Emery handed him the notebook.

Philip read, “When Philip first scared me by staring, I got scared because I didn’t know what he was doing. I felt scared because I didn’t know what would happen next. When Philip jumped at me, I felt really scared, heart-beating scared.”

Philip looked at Emery, impressed. “Pretty neat. You got scared a different way each time.”

“Yeah, it’s great for my report. Now I need you to add things to my list.”

“What list?”

“My list of things people get scared by. Tell me what things scare you. You know, to see or think about. Know what my mother said? She said hairy people scare her. You know with hairy hands and arms and eyebrows and nose hairs and hair where it shouldn’t be, like on warts and stuff.”

“Disgusting!”

“Yeah, but scary. Go on, what scares you?”

“What did you put for yourself?”

Emery flipped back a few pages. “I put waking up in the dark in a strange place.” Philip agreed. No argument there. It happened to him. “Watching scary movies in the dark when my parents are out.” Philip agreed again. Still no argument. “Being alone in the house. Sometimes. Like at night. That’s all.”

“They’re all good ones.”

“Your turn.”

“You took all the good ones.”

“You have to give me something different. Come on.”

“The haunted house scared us. Going inside it, remember?”

Emery wrote it down.

“Somebody finally moved in there, you know,” Emery said, when he finished writing.

“I heard. My dad told me. At least we won’t have to mow their lawn anymore. The new people can mow their own lawn.” He and Emery had beautified the deserted house by mowing its lawn as part of a community service project.

“Give me one more. A good one. How about monsters? Are you afraid of monsters?”

“What kind of monsters?”

“Regular monsters. You know. Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman.”

“Everybody’s supposed to be afraid of them, but they’re not real.”

“I’ll put it anyway.”

“Under my name?”

“Sure.”

“No, no,” Philip scoffed. “I don’t want everybody in the class to think I’m afraid of Dracula. Put your cousin Leon’s name instead of mine. He’s afraid of everything.”

“All right. All right. So there. Only one more person to interview and I’m done making a list. I’ll ask Mrs. Moriarty later what she’s scared of.” Mrs. Moriarty was their favorite neighbor. “Fourth grade projects aren’t so bad. You pick yours yet?” Emery closed his notebook and tossed it on the sofa.

“No,” said Philip.

“You better hurry up. Want to go see what the new haunted house family looks like?”

Philip looked out the window. It was early December and darkness arrived early. Philip checked his watch, hoping Emery got the message and would suggest a time with more daylight available.
Book available at http://www.amazon.com/Philip-Monsters-Emery-Series-ebook/dp/B006JG0N2E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349974756&sr=8-1&keywords=philip+and+the+monsters+john+paulits

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.