Special Things

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Five New Print Books Uploaded at Gypsy Shadow Publishing

 

Piñata Belly And Other Tales of Later Love

Five Titles from the I'm Here series by Joe Novara

 I’m Here is a fast-moving tale about the slow-down of aging and the freedom of choosing where to sleep and with whom.

After 25,000 Masses: A 72-year old priest decides to leave more than his parish when he retires. A woman who admired him as her high school chaplain opens him to loving one person after a lifetime of loving everyone.

Pinata Belly has a retired black high school teacher and an ex-pat Southern Belle running a B/B in the Guatemala Highlands. The two never-marrieds are a parable of our times as Harry and Cobi, diversity-woke, racially open, represent the browning of America or conversely, America going off-white.

Vito’s Tale, is one immigrant’s version of the American Dream that saw this country as a means to make enough money to return to the ‘real world’ of his motherland while pushing one of his sons into upward mobility before pursuing late love in ‘the old country.’

Cagalupo Redux: Nick Finazzo, a roving freelance writer, spots Carol walking a Lake Michigan beach a long way and a lifetime from their early years in Detroit’s Eastside—their adolescent attraction, friends in common and now disparate life styles—her Lake Michigan mansion, his live-in van. Can they start over?

 http://gypsyshadow.com/JoeNovara.html#PinataPrint

 

 Across the Faebridge by Shiloh Darke

Leanna is a widow who just wants to start over. She moves out into the country, where she feels an instant connection to the land with the little cobblestone cottage. She hopes the change of scenery and time by herself will help her take some much needed time to herself and find a way to heal.

One evening, deciding to explore a little, she crosses the cobblestone bridge that crosses the creek running across the property. One minute, she is crossing the bridge in the late evening. Next minute, she is nose to nose with a real, live dragon. In the middle of the day.

As if the dragon isn’t shocking enough, the Elf on his back has seriously got to be the sexiest man she’s ever seen. Vlameir is an Elf King who has all but given up on finding his soulmate. When Leanna stumbles through the Portal and into his life, he is shocked to feel an instant connection to the petite human female.

But there is always more to every story. Unfortunately, soulmates finally finding each other is only the beginning... 

 http://gypsyshadow.com/Shiloh.html#FaebridgePrint

 

The Godmother by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

 What if someone wished a fairy godmother would help the entire city of Seattle? An overworked, overstressed social worker named Rose Samson does just that when she makes an idle wish on a mustard seed. Felicity Fortune of “Godmothers Anonymous” shows up to help. Rose Samson is neither fashion model beautiful, nor a twit, and she happily joins forces with Felicity Fortune, a “Godmother” who demonstrates that Grimm’s fairy tales are still relevant in our humdrum modern world.*Fairy godmothers are on a magical budget, so every possible way they can get human beings or animals to assist one another, they will try, rather than using up their magical means.

Felicity encounters many strangely familiar situations: a pretty stablehand named Cindy Ellis is mistreated by her cruel stepsisters. A rock star’s daughter, scared of the supermodel her dad married, runs away from home and meets seven Vietnam veterans at an encounter session and retreat. One of them might be a big bad wolf, who knows?*In all their experiences, Rose and Felicity try to blend their magical aid with realistic human initiative and social responsibility. Scarborough’s fully realized settings, with the humor built into the mix of magical solutions and grim reality, make this work an entertaining and compelling read.

  http://gypsyshadow.com/ElizabethScarborough.html#GodmotherPrint

 

The Godmother's Apprentice

“Dear Rosie,
Being an apprentice fairy godmother is complicated. Not only do I have to go out and find good deeds to do, but for a sidekick I have that hit man that Felicity changed into a toad. I wanted to take the cat but she seems to have had a big funeral to attend. Felicity isn’t around much. She keeps disappearing through a door in the guestroom that opens on the side of a hill. The swimming pool is weird too, and I could have sworn I saw someone dancing on the bottom. I am enjoying riding the flying horse and helping a boy who plays squeezebox and talks to swans though, so things are—you should pardon the expression—looking up.”

“SIMPLY ENCHANTING.” Publisher’s Weekly

“CLEAR AND ENTERTAINING. . . LOTS OF FUN.” Locus

“CHARMING. . .Scarborough mixes folklore, adventure, atmosphere, psychology, and whimsy into a thoroughly absorbing plot.” Booklist

“AN ENCHANTING BOOK.” Affaire de Coeur 

 http://gypsyshadow.com/ElizabethScarborough.html#ApprenticePrint

 

The Godmother's Web

Cindy Ellis knows about fairy godmothers.  Her almost-stepdaughter is studying to be one and she is a close personal friend of Felicity Fortune, an Irish godmother. But she didn’t suspect when she picks up Grandma Webster that the elderly, seemingly lost American Indian woman in traditional dress was a magical godmother too. When a self-serving skinwalker/witch inflames tensions between neighbors and pits sisters against each other in the best fairy tale fashion, Grandma enlists Cindy’s help, along with that of a Navajo doctor, a Hopi rancher, and an unlikely champion, a dude who is related to coyotes and dreams of a home shopping network empire. Together they must defeat the evil that is threatening to destroy their world forever.

“Characterization, pacing, and folkloric expertise are all up to the series’ high standards, so Godmother-followers and others should greet this book joyfully.”—Booklist

http://gypsyshadow.com/ElizabethScarborough.html#WebPrint 


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Gypsy Shadow Releases for January-May, 2021

New GSP Releases, January-May, 2021

Many New Releases!

The Perfect Man by Violetta Antcliff

What is the perfect man? Is there such a person? Faith would have said no, would have argued that even a saint has flaws, defects. She has given up hope of ever finding a man that can live up to her expectations. That is until James and his namesake come into her life. One is perfection personified, too good to be true. The other has all the weaknesses of the common man. Does she want a robotic yes man who agrees with everything she says, or one who is anything but perfect? Can a simple kiss be the answer to this confusing conundrum? That is the question, but what is the answer?

Word Count: 10300
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Philip and the Boy Who Said, “Huh?” by John Paulits

Philip’s new friend Eugene has some strange ways about him, especially the way he sometimes ignores people. Philip decides to investigate, and when he finally figures out Eugene’s secret, it upends not only Eugene’s life, but also Philip’s own.

Word Count: 13400
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Across the Faebridge by Shiloh Darke

Leanna is a widow who just wants to start over. She moves out into the country, where she feels an instant connection to the land with the little cobblestone cottage. She hopes the change of scenery and time by herself will help her take some much needed time to herself and find a way to heal.

One evening, deciding to explore a little, she crosses the cobblestone bridge that crosses the creek running across the property. One minute, she is crossing the bridge in the late evening. Next minute, she is nose to nose with a real, live dragon. In the middle of the day.

As if the dragon isn’t shocking enough, the Elf on his back has seriously got to be the sexiest man she’s ever seen. Vlameir is an Elf King who has all but given up on finding his soulmate. When Leanna stumbles through the Portal and into his life, he is shocked to feel an instant connection to the petite human female.

But there is always more to every story. Unfortunately, soulmates finally finding each other is only the beginning…

Word Count: 78231
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Piñata Belly by Joe Novara

Harry, a retired African American high school history teacher turned D.C. tour guide, decides to explore guiding opportunities in Guatemala. On an outing to Mayan ruins, the life-long bachelor with a rapport with teens, connects with Bryn and through her, with her ex-pat grandmother, Cobi. Surprised by love, so late in life, in a cultural setting that views him as a “darker wave in a sea of brown,” he links up with Cobi as she unravels her tangled, exiled, Southern past.

Word Count: 22164
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Vito’s Tale by Joe Novara

Vito’s Tale is a piece of creative non-fiction (or historical fiction) about my grandfather who came to this country from Sicily ahead of his wife and children, sent my father to college, worked heavy construction labor all the while longing to return to the ‘home’ he left behind. Finally, as a widower, he did go back, married again and welcomed the grandson who came full cycle to live with him for a summer.

Word Count: 19200
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Ruby Crab by Nathan Gemmell

Bored, dreaming of a different life with adventure, success and family… Well, that’s just around the corner, but the path to our dreams is never straightforward.

Nat lives a mundane and solitary life. Day after day, nothing changes; he wakes up, goes to work, eats, then sleeps—and it all starts again the following morning. Always he dreams of a better life and to find someone to care for and to love.

Then, one day, he finds Ruby Crab. She is a beautiful childlike creature made of pure ruby. She has been abandoned! A refugee, Ruby Crab exists in a society in which she does not belong.

After spending a lot of time together, they develop a loving father-daughter bond. Will the world continue to reject her existence? Will society accept their connection? Will their love for each other prevail in this world—or in another?

Word Count: 10200
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Psychopaths and UFOs by Violetta Antcliff

G. Baxter & Flint, Private Investigators, are two of the best who seldom turn away clients who come to them for help. But when Georgina Baxter takes on a psychopath as a client, she gets more than she bargained for and ends up fighting for her life.

Joseph Flint, her partner in the firm, is persuaded to take on a client who he thinks is delusional, a man seeing aliens and flying saucers every time there’s a full moon.

Flint doesn’t believe in UFOs but he investigates regardless, and what he finds out is mind boggling, unbelievable.

Word Count: 10850
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Remembering Sunny by Dawn Colclasure

Jeanie and Mara are two cousins who grow up together and share a dream of opening their own animal shelter one day. But that dream is put on hold when, at 18, Mara announces she is pregnant and that she’s going to marry her boyfriend, Drake Preston. Jeanie knows Drake is bad news, but supports her cousin all the same. After Sunny is born, Mara can’t imagine her life without her. Then tragedy strikes and the family pulls together in mourning. It is in her grief that Mara learns how to turn tragedy into triumph and bring hope to her life again.

Word Count: 10750
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Cagalupo Redux by Joe Novara

Nick Finazzo, a roving freelance writer, spots Carol walking a Lake Michigan beach a long way and a lifetime from their early years in Detroit’s Eastside—their adolescent attraction, friends in common and now disparate life styles—her Lake Michigan mansion, his live-in van. Can they start over?

Word Count: 5700
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

Eltava: A Sword for All Ages by Nyki Blatchley

A swordswoman with a love of wandering, Eltava lives a nomadic life in a world of island kingdoms and mainland empires, sometimes on her own, sometimes with her immortal companion, known as the Traveller. These eleven stories chronicle her life and adventures from an adventure-obsessed 14-year-old to an 84-year-old who still has a move or two up her sleeve.

From acting as bodyguard for princesses to defending peaceful communities from aggression, Eltava battles bandits and tyrants, demons and unearthly creatures. But her greatest battle is with herself, as she becomes more aware that she’s growing old, while her companion doesn’t age. A search for eternal life ultimately teaches her that life itself is a victory, however long or short—and Eltava’s going to enjoy every minute of hers.

Word Count: 78585
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon

 

Friday, October 2, 2020

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month~~October

 

On the Wings of Pink Angels by Dawn Colclasure

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 "You have cancer." These are words people dread hearing. But when worse comes to worst, push comes to shove, something wonderful happens. More people come together for support and encouragement. More people participate in "Race for the Cure" events, and more people discover an inner strength within themselves that they never knew they had before. On the Wings of Pink Angels offers a gentle hand through this difficult time, sharing stories that inspire hope, strength, gratitude and courage during a time when someone must fight for his or her life against breast cancer.

Word Count: 32000
Pages to Print: 133  

Buy it at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon 

Also available at many online vendors worldwide. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

Dawn Colclasure

Dawn Colclasure is a writer who lives in Oregon. Her articles, essays, poems and short stories have appeared in several newspapers, anthologies, magazines and E-zines. She is the author and co-author of over two dozen books, among them Burning the Midnight Oil: How We Survive as Writing Parents; 365 Tips for Writers: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat the Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity; Love is Like a Rainbow: Poems of Love and Devotion; On the Wings of Pink Angels: Triumph, Struggle and Courage Against Breast Cancer; A Ghost on Every Corner; The Yellow Rose and her latest novels, Faded Reflection and Imprint.

WEBSITE ~ TWITTER ~ FACEBOOK ~ BLOG


EXCERPT:

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 by a variety of health and medical organizations promoting the message of breast cancer awareness.

You can visit the site here: http://www.nbcam.org/

And here is the Wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Month

Since its inception, businesses and charities across the globe have stepped up to do their part in the fight against breast cancer. Major corporations such as ValPak, Walmart and Lands End have participated in NBCAM in some form or another. They have distributed flyers and informational documents about breast cancer among employees and customers, created support groups to help those with breast cancer and created an in-house breast cancer screening program. Even the government has done its part in participating in NBCAM, by including a message about breast cancer on government employee pay stubs during the month of October.

Over the years, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been a month of challenges, inspiration, support—as well as controversy. A local breast imaging center in Eugene, Oregon started a “Make Time for the Girls” campaign during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2010. The idea of calling breasts “the girls” was met with a public outcry, spurring many residents to complain to their local newspaper about such insensitivity. Still, the campaign persevered. Another year when NBCAM rolled around, many people on Facebook shared a status update saying, “Let’s find a cure for ALL cancers, not just breast cancer.” The purpose of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to promote awareness and support for anyone fighting for their life against breast cancer. Yes, we do want an end to ALL cancers one day, but let us remember that this special month was not created to slight the other cancers, or even to dismiss the struggles of those afflicted with other cancers. Let us march forward with our pink ribbons spreading the message that the fight against breast cancer, and indeed all cancers worldwide, must continue to go strong.
 

Beating Time At Its Own Game: Life Begins With Cancer

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

The day after my biopsy, my husband and I drove to Las Vegas on a business trip, never thinking about possibilities. We stopped at the state line for a ride on the giant Ferris wheel. We shelled giant prawns for lunch at the Stardust buffet. We slid quarters into a slot machine—the old fashioned kind I like with spinning cherries that will surely triple my money and spill the winnings into a silver trough.

That was not a bad approach at the time. There is no reason to assume the worst, to project abject possibilities that may never come to pass onto the present. Denial is sometimes very useful. On the other hand, it often keeps one from examining one’s own behavior, one’s own motivations. I share this anecdote because it illustrates how thoroughly denial had become entrenched in my life.

I was raised in times that were not easy for women. Most of the barriers I faced were ones that couldn’t be seen nor acknowledged because I didn’t know they were there. They crept up silently on padded feet and, if I sensed them at all, I chose not to turn and face them.

This faculty for denial was intact and very healthy when I was diagnosed with cancer. By 3 p.m. that day, the picture was not so jolly. We had to return home so I could begin autogenous blood donations. The risk of AIDS in the blood supply was still high; my doctor believed that we should have my own blood on hand in case it was needed.

My first reaction was true to pattern. I reassured myself that everything was going to be just fine, that I wasn’t nervous, that cancer was not a terrifying word. Unfortunately, my doctor had not sounded especially positive when he demanded that we set a surgery date in that moment, over the phone.

My husband was also up to the task. “We won’t work today. We’ll just take off, have some fun and drive back tonight.” We were two peas in a pod. We’d both try anything other than just saying, “Gee, I’m scared.”

I almost went along with that plan. Instead, I used the time on the open road to meditate. In that time, I realized—sort of knew at a cellular level—that I had to do more than donate blood to myself and that cancer doesn’t just happen.


 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

 

Newest GSP Release, September 30, 2020

The Prodigal by Violetta Antcliff

About the book:

Poppy Berisford has everything going for her: a loving family, more pocket money than the average teenager and much more than her fair share of good looks. So why does she give it all up to go on the run with a boy who has nothing to offer her but toil, sweat and tears? A boy who hasn’t even started to shave and like Poppy is under the impression money grows on trees.

Is this a story of true love between two teenagers, or just a case of juveniles playing at being grown ups, willing to get their fingers burnt? Only time will tell.

Word Count: 10600
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $3.99

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

It was coming up to midnight when Poppy crept out of the house; both her parents were fast asleep in bed. She knew this because when she tiptoed past their bedroom door, she’d heard her father snoring.

Kyle had texted her earlier to say he would be waiting for her at the street corner. He reminded her to bring whatever money she could scrape together, at such short notice, with her.

Being extra cautious, not wanting to wake anybody, Poppy switched off the burglar alarm before opening the front door, then closed it quietly behind her and slipped the key through the letterbox.

As promised, Kyle was stood there waiting for her. He greeted her with, “Did you remember to bring the money with you?”

Poppy tapped her handbag “Yes, it’s all in here,” she said.

“How much?”

“Thirty pounds. Every penny I’ve got. How much have you brought?”

“Fifty—the money I’d saved for the school trip to France. Won’t be going now will it?” he said with a shrug of the shoulders.

“So what’s the plan, or haven’t you come up with one yet?”

“Of course I have. First we make our way to the railway station. It’s a bit of a walk I know, but we’ve got plenty of time.”

“And then what?” Poppy wanted all the details.

“We make our way to Skegness, find someplace to stay and then I’ll get a job. Shouldn’t be any problem this time of the year.”

“Finding someplace to stay could be expensive, and don’t forget we’ve got to eat.” Poppy was being practical, which was unusual for her.

“When I said we would find a place to stay, I was thinking of a caravan, not a big posh family one, just a two birth.”

“And what will I be doing while you are out at work all day?”

“You could get yourself a job as a waitress, you look older than sixteen so you should have no problems.”

“I won’t be sixteen for another three weeks and working as a waitress in some greasy spoon café—” Poppy threw her arms in the air. “Well, there goes my plan for training as a brain surgeon, doesn’t it?”

Kyle laughed. He was one year older than Poppy, although at times he seemed much younger. “And there goes mine as an airline pilot,” he said. “Come on, let’s get a move on or we’ll miss the train.”

The train was on time and they had no trouble finding a seat because at that time of night it was half empty.

Dawn was breaking when they pulled in at the station in Skegness. Poppy, who had slept for most of the journey, was now wide awake and alert, ready for whatever the day ahead held for them.

“Well, we’ve arrived, so what do we do now? Most of the shops will be closed this time of the day,” she reminded.

“There’ll be a shop open somewhere, where we can get a bite to eat,” returned Kyle optimistically.

He was right; more than a couple were already open and ready for business on the seafront. “Look we’re spoilt for choice,” he said choosing one advertising All Day Breakfasts.

The food was good and reasonably priced. The owner of the café, a rotund man, who looked to be in his late sixties, walked over to their table when they had finished eating and stood arms folded, looking down at them.

“You kids here on holiday?” he asked, “or just on a day trip?”

“Working holiday,” said Kyle jumping in before Poppy had time to say anything.

“Where are you staying?” Was his next question.

“Haven’t decided yet,” returned Kyle. “Was thinking of finding a caravan camping site, asking if they had any two-berth vans to let for the season.”

The older man stood, stroking his chin and thinking. “And you say you are looking for work?
Kyle nodded.

“Well, I think I might be able to help you. I have a two-berth caravan parked out back, and if this young lady,” he nodded toward Poppy, “isn’t afraid of a bit of hard work, I would let you have it rent free.”

Poppy was all ears. “What sort of hard work?” she asked.

“The wife’s been looking for some extra help for over the lunch time period, it gets very busy at the height of the season,” he said. “A few of hours a day, let’s say from eleven thirty to two thirty in exchange for living rent free in my old van. What do you say?” He held his hand out, and Poppy took it.

About the Author:

Violetta Antcliff has been a member of the Nottingham Writers’ Club for the best part of twenty years. A winner of numerous short story competitions, her work was area short listed in Waterstone’s Wow Factor story competition. Took first prize in Nottingham County Council short story competition with a story called “Irish Mouse Tales,” which was published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing as an eBook in July of 2012. “A Shot in the Dark” is Violetta’s 37th eBook with Gypsy Shadow since 2009 and follows “The Left Hander,” “A Silent Scream,” “The Rough Sleeper,” “The Odd Claims of Lizzy Croft,” “A Shot in the Dark,” and the latest installment in the Jason Foster Series, “Jason’s Teen Years.” She has had her poetry and short stories read on local radio.

Find her on FACEBOOK

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New Release September 21, 2020

 

The Lady in the Loch by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Also available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and dozens of other online vendors.

Basically the same story with a brand new look, Cover Art by Karen Gillmore.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Skillfully cross-stitching history, mystery and old-time urban legend… tension mounts steadily . … an artful work. —Publisher's Weekly The Lady in the Loch by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

When a woman’s bones are found in the icy dregs of the noxious Nor’ Loch, newly appointed sheriff of Edinburgh, Walter Scott, is called upon. Are these the remains of a drowned witch or religious heretic, or are they perhaps linked to something more recent and sinister? For although Edinburgh is known to be the center of literature, science, and medicine, it is also the haunt of body snatchers who prey upon the living and the dead alike, selling their victims for study by the student physicians at the medical school.

When a band of Travelling People is forced to winter near the city, two young women are taken, one from her bed while she sleeps near her family. Justice from the settled people is rarely accorded to gypsies and the Travellers fear they will be murdered one by one by the ghouls stalking their people.

A young gypsy named Midge Margret is sure that Scott will care. He befriended her family before and once more he promises to help find the murderer who prowls the snowy forest in a black coach. When a patchwork woman with supernatural strength begins hunting the streets as well, Scott and Midge Margret know the crimes are rooted in bloody dark magic. In order to catch the killer, the butchered victims themselves must testify.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough was born in Kansas City, KS. She served as a nurse in the U.S. Army for five years, including a year in Viet Nam. Her interests include weaving and spinning, beading and playing the guitar and dulcimer.

Scarborough is the author of more than 24 solo fantasy and science fiction novels, including the 1989 Nebula award winning Healer’s War, loosely based on her service as an Army Nurse in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. She collaborated on 16 novels with Anne McCaffrey, six in the bestselling Petaybee series and eight in the YA bestselling Acorna series, and most recently, the Tales of the Barque Cat series, Catalyst and Catacombs (from Del Rey). Recently she has converted all of her previously published solo novels to eBooks with the assistance of Gypsy Shadow Publishing, under her own Fortune imprint. Spam Vs. the Vampire was her first exclusive novel for eBook and print on demand publication, followed by Father Christmas (a Spam the Cat Christmas novella) and The Tour Bus of Doom.

EXCERPT:

Available soon in PRINT!

The mother of the corpse wore solid black as she danced round and round the room to the lamenting coronach of the pipes. With her danced the father of the corpse, also in black. The attire of both showed signs of having been recently, hastily dyed for the occasion. Phantoms of the plaid fabric swam beneath the dye of the mother's gown. The mother wept as she danced and the father scowled. The corpse lay in the middle of the room, her claes deid, her funeral garments, concealing the thirty stab wounds in her chest and the dishonor her killer had subjected her body to before she died. All around the coffin, her brothers and sisters-in-law, her sisters and brothers-in-law, her fiance and her grandmother, all of them weeping, shuffled in their own awkward dancing. The neighbors danced and wept as well. And close by the coffin, the bound and gagged tinkler man was weeping too, less for the murdered lassie than for himself, he who was the accused.

The time was one minute until midnight by the grand-father clock standing in the candle-cast shadows draping the walls, festooning the ceiling and carpeting the floors. The flickering of these same candles lent astonishing expressions to the corpse's face and deepened the dread on the faces of the other celebrants, dancing, singing, eating, drinking, and weeping for the dead lass.

A danse macabre if ever there was one, Walter Scott mused from his chair in the center of the room, close to the girl's open coffin. Scott was excused from the dancing both because of his semi-official status in the investigation and because of his lame leg. In a way, it was quite thrilling, this lyke-wake, for it was the first he had attended. Lowlanders and Borderers such as himself, people raised in the strictness of the Kirk, did not practice such rituals, but the girl's family, the MacRitchies, were transplanted Highlanders. So on the one hand, this gave Scott a wonderful opportunity to observe a ritual of which he had previously only read. But on the other hand, there was the girl in the coffin, and though he had never known her, never heard her name, she was touchingly young, younger even than his own eighteen years. She should have been beautiful too, an Ophelia, a Lily Lady of Shalot, but she was actually rather ordinary-looking, robust even in death, the freckles standing out like blemishes on the waxiness of her skin, her eyes, at present, closed with coins, her red hair too festive for her own funeral.

The sheriff-depute of Selkirk, Scott's old friend Adam Plummer, stood beside him, both of them shivering, for the room was chill for more common reasons than the eldritch atmosphere that gripped it. The fireplace was cold, as it must be until the body was removed, and the door was still wide open for the moment.

As the clock gonged the first of its twelve notes for midnight, the dancing wound to a shuffling halt and the piped lament died a wheezing death. Plummer crossed the makeshift dance floor in two long strides and closed the door so that it was barely ajar. The mourners hushed, except for one man who continued, unheeding, to gnaw on the drumstick of a goose. As Plummer returned to the corpse's side, the clock struck its second gong. The mother, Mrs. MacRitchie, let loose with her eerie keening cry, the hullulu, as the Irish so accurately termed it, for that was the way it sounded, a long mourning-dove yell.

The MacRitchies' large, pleasant stone farmhouse was wrapped in the boughs of the Ettrick Forest, and both forest and farmhouse kitchen could be entered from the kitchen door. The house was not too far from that of Scott's old friend James Hogg, and his mother. Hogg had been with the search party that discovered the lass's poor body and also with the party that had flushed the tinklers from their camp in the woods and chased the young man through the trees. The murdered girl's fiance and her brothers had assumed, as had all the neighbors, that the tinkler lad, since he was in the area, was of course the perpetrator of the crime. Had it been left only to them, the young man would by now be hanged. But Hogg, who had some connections with and sympathy for the tinklers, told the accusers that if they proceeded, the current laws of this district would call them murderers as well, that it was best to send for the sheriff-depute and allow him to conduct a proper investigation. Recalcitrant as the younger laddies were, the elder MacRitchies prevailed and allowed Hogg to send a servant with a message to the home of Scott's aunt Janet in Sandy Knowe. Scott was visiting his aunt and uncle for the summer, far away from his studies at the university in Edinburgh. He and Plummer had been whiling away the early afternoon playing chess when the MacRitchies' servant knocked on Aunt Janet's door and told him of the lass's death (never calling her by name. One never called the deceased by name unless in court or kirk or on one other occasion, as the sheriff was soon to demonstrate). Plummer evidently was acquainted with the family, however, and had some idea that the lyke-wake was in order. He told Scott that this might prove a more interesting experience than most and urged the younger man to accompany him.

Riding hard, they had reached the farmhouse shortly after sunset, when the forest shadows gave way to the mist rising from the creeks and ponds, and that was joined by the smoke from the kitchen chimney, blowing a solemn ring around the house.

Plummer questioned Mrs. MacRitchie, who had laid her daughter out, about the girl's wounds. Scott was relieved his friend had felt no need to remove the funeral linens to see the wounds for himself, but he wondered why. Plummer questioned the tinkler lad as well, but the man refused to say anything except that he had done nothing wrong, and to shake his head stubbornly. The brothers and the girl's fiance, one Robert Douglas, the son of an even more successful farmer than the girl's father, wanted to "bate the truth oot o' the knacker," and in fact, it looked as if they had already made progress toward that goal before Plummer and Scott arrived. Hogg too bore a couple of visible bruises, although no apparent malice toward those who had inflicted them.

The clock gonged for the fourth time. Plummer began, "By the power vested in me by the Sheriff of Selkirk and through him the King, I will noo commence interrogatin' the victim of this heinous crime."

"What does he mean, interrogate the victim?" Scott asked Hogg, who had drawn near.

Hogg shrugged. "Used to be done whenever there was foul play, according to Mither," he whispered back. "Nowadays nane but the law know the way."

"Why's that?" Scott asked, but just then, one of the men screamed.

"No! Let her rest in peace! We hae Ma—my bride-to-be's murderer there. We should hang him and be done wi' it!"

"Haud yer tongue, man," Plummer commanded. "Let nane speak but her whose foremost business it is, the last witness to this crime. In the pursuit of this investigation, once more I invoke thy name, Mary MacRitchie," he said, in appropriately sonorous tones. "Rise up, lass, and accuse thy slayer."

Though he had never seen such a thing before, Scott had read of the dead accusing their slayers, but had thought it only superstition. He, with the other occupants of the room, held his breath, waiting, to see what would happen, what, if the victim indeed rose up, she would say.

Even the gnawer of the goose bone had finished all the flesh and, putting away his bone, realized that the room was now completely still except for his ever-more-cautious chewing and the echo of Plummer's invocation, and the heartbeats and expirations of all of those who were not now allowed to speak. The first sound other than those was a slight slipping, like jewels against a lady's velvet dress, and then a hollow clink as the coins fell from the girl's eyes and dropped into her coffin as if it were a wishing well.

Even the tinkler was still, as with a sussuration of the claes deid and a long, pain-wracked groan, the body raised itself, hands still bound across its chest, to a sitting position.

With the raising, Scott caught the stench of corruption emanating from her, washed and freshly dressed as she was. On such a warm summer day as this had been, her body had already begun to decay.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Newest Release, September 15, 2020

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Kari and Fai, wandering teenage sorcerers and lovers whose spells occasionally work, just want to relax in the city of Jayen—only it's vanished. Things just get weirder when they learn from a child goddess that the city's been catapulted thousands of years into the future, and they need to follow it with her to avert disaster.

But the future is more terrifying than they expect—a dystopian technological nightmare, where a crack in reality is keeping two versions of the city trapped. To save Jayen (and maybe the world) Kari and Fai must venture into the Crack and confront the mysterious Dweller within.

Word Count: 26500

Also Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other vendors worldwide!

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:     

Nyki Blatchley is a British author, poet and copywriter who lives just outside London. Alongside a varied career that's involved selling books to royalty, care for disabled people and posing for artists, he's had about seventy stories published by, among others, Penumbra, Daily Science Fiction and The Thirteenth Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories. His novel At An Uncertain Hour was published by StoneGarden, and he's had novellas out from Musa Publishing and Fox & Raven.

Nyki is an administrator for the online fantasy writers’ group Fantasy-writers.org. He's also had numerous poems published and has performed poetry and music at various venues around London. This included frequent appearances at the legendary coffee-house Bunjies, which in the 60s hosted artists such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and David Bowie.

WEBSITE: http://www.nykiblatchley.co.uk
BLOG: https://nyki-blatchley.blogspot.com
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/NykiBlatchley
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/nyki.blatchley

EXCERPT: 

I

“So,” demanded Karaghr, gazing around the unbroken jungle, “where exactly is this city?”

Failiu raised her eyebrows at him, jerking her head suggestively at their guide. Her face looked torn between anger and tears, and he reached out a comforting hand to her. She’d been looking forward to reaching the city of Jayen and its comforts even more than he had.

Da-Zheng, the guide who’d brought them all the way up the river, stood staring around. Had the man brought them to the middle of nowhere deliberately, for some nefarious purpose? It seemed unlikely, from what Kari had seen during the journey of the stolid, reliable man, but he put his hand on his knife-hilt, just in case.

“I don’t understand it.” Da-Zheng turned to them, his pale face even more blanched than usual. “This is the place. Jayen should be here.”

“But it’s not, is it?” snapped Fai. “You’ve brought us the wrong way.”

“No.” The Thaal guide shook his head, his eyes stunned. “It’s all as it should be. The bend in the river. The ridge we crossed two hours back. Anyway, we followed the road.”

That was true. The paved road was clear enough that Kari had wondered occasionally why they needed a guide, although Da-Zheng had been valuable in steering them through the customs of remote villages.

“Could it be a different road?” he suggested. There must be a simple explanation.

“I know the road to Jayen. There isn’t a route in these parts I don’t know.” From anyone else, the retort might have been angry, but Da-Zheng seemed to have no temper to lose. He made a broad gesture to indicate trees, undergrowth, the riverbank a few hundred paces away, the three of them standing in the steamy heat still rising from the last downpour. From a distance came an animal cry that Kari didn’t recognise. “Here,” the guide insisted in his slow voice. “This should be the south gate.”

Kari pulled Fai closer to himself, taking comfort by giving it. “So what are you saying? That an entire city has vanished, and the ground taken back by the jungle since you were last here? Just how long ago was that?”

“Last summer.” Da-Zheng was wandering around the immediate vicinity now, as if the buildings might be hidden behind one of the trees. “It was a thriving city last summer, and I’ve heard no news of disaster. In any case, what about that merchant? He’d been in Jayen, hadn’t he?”

That was true, and Kari cursed himself silently for forgetting it. The merchant they’d passed on the road five days ago was effusive about the prices he’d got for his goods in the city’s many markets and the rare commodities from the north that would make him even more when he returned to the coast.

That was Jayen’s importance, as a meeting-point for the road and river trade that came from both north and south of the great forests dividing the Thaal kingdoms in half. In spite of its remoteness, trade made it a rich and luxurious city, everyone said.

Fai trembled, and she was as pale as her dusky Errishi complexion would allow, but she let Kari help her shuck her pack before collapsing to sit on it. He joined her, holding her hand. A speckled snake, longer than he was tall, slithered along a branch high above, but took no notice. It was of a type Da-Zheng said wouldn’t attack humans unless it felt threatened.

It had seemed such a good idea to go on a trek through the jungle to find the city of Jayen. The Lost City, Failiu insisted on calling it, though it was nothing of the kind, and the trek was a stroll along a good road. Still, finding lost cities was what you did when you were teenage outlaw sorcerers, and that’s what they’d been since they were kicked out of the temple in Errish for studying forbidden volumes. It was an adventure.

Da-Zheng still wandered about, looking stunned. “It doesn’t make sense,” he muttered.

“All right.” Kari felt he should be positive for Fai’s sake. “Could you be mistaken? I mean, the jungle’s confusing. I know you know it, and there’s the road, but is it possible… I don’t know, there’s another bend in the river and another ridge just like the ones you know? Or… something?”

The guide looked at them blankly. He was an emotionless, middle-aged man who hadn’t seemed flustered by anything that had happened on the journey—not even when his young charges had wandered away for an exuberant lovemaking session and got lost—which made his attitude now more frightening.

“No. No, there’s no chance I’m wrong. This is where Jayen should be.”

Monday, August 17, 2020

Gypsy Shadow Publishing's 2019-2020 Releases

EBOOKS and SOME PRINT BOOKS: Oldest First...

Click on the cover pictures to see more information and/or to purchase)

Jason's Teen Years by Violetta Antcliff, Released March 6, 2019

Jason finds being a teenager is something not to be taken lightly. Jason Foster’s teen years are a roller coaster of rip-roaring adventures. BOOK 7 in The Adventures of Jason Foster series.

Ti, AU79 by S. R. Jaborsky, Released March 29, 2019
 
Seron Ti once again returns to Earth to battle aggression and confront emotions within her own heart. BOOK 3 in the Seron Ti series. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!
The Definitive Biography of Saint Arborius of Glossopdale and his Thin Dog by Mark P. Henderson (AKA A Learned Scholar), Released April 2, 2019

Did this fictitious saint in Dark Age England really work miracles—or was it his guardian spirit, a foul-mouthed thin dog?

A Silent Scream by Violetta Antcliff, Released April 8, 2019

Lied to, abused, stabbed in the back by her supposed best friend. Will Kelly find the rainbow she is seeking, or is that too much to ask?

The Hound in the Heather by C.J. Heckman, Released May 17, 2019

Eamon is called forth to slay the fearsome beast that killed his brother. To succeed, he must face the guilt that has long haunted him.

The Empty Houses by John Paulits, Released July 15, 2019

Can Dougie and Gwen find out who pushed Curly to his death from a second floor porch? With Curly’s ghostly help, they plan to try. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

G. Baxter & Flint CASE: The Tangled Web by Violetta Antcliff, Released September 16, 2019

Can G. Baxter and Flint, private investigators, sort out this Tangled Web to the satisfaction of both parties? Or is this just one case too many for our dynamic duo? BOOK 2 in the G. Baxter and Flint detective series.

After 25,000 Masses by Joe Novara, Released September 23, 2019

A seventy-two-year-old priest decides to leave more than his parish when he retires. A woman who admired him as her high school chaplain opens him to loving one person after a lifetime of loving everyone.

The Godmother by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Released October 31, 2019

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s The Godmother puts a new twist on contemporary fantasy with the assertion that fairy godmothers exist here and now, and they have magical power that allows them to intervene in real-world problems. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

Scarborough Fair by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Released October 31, 2019

Scarborough Fair and Other Stories includes ten works by the author of the Nebula Award–winning The Healer’s War and many other novels. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

Song of Sorcery by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Released October 31, 2010

A portentous song sparks an unlikely adventure in this lighthearted contemporary fantasy by the Nebula Award–winning author of The Healer’s War. BOOK 1 of Songs from the Seashell Archives. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

G. Baxter & Flint CASE:Crossbreed Versus Pedigree by Violetta Antcliff, Released November 5, 2019

A wet nose, wagging tail, man’s best friend, regardless of pedigree... what more could one ask for? BOOK 3 in the G. Baxter and Flint detective series.

Songs from the Seashell Archives by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Released December 2, 2019

Magic, Dragons, Unicorns, Dastardly villains and more! Songs from the Seashell Archives is a six book collection of some of the finest fantasy writing you'll ever read. Together as one set for a limited time only at this special price. Don't miss the chance to grab this collection at a great discount.

G. Baxter & Flint CASE: The Left Hander by Violetta Antcliff, Released February 22, 2020

This is a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. BOOK 4 in the G. Baxter and Flint detective series.

The Ascender by Tracey Pacelli, Released March 11, 2020

What if a 12 year-old boy is the personal target of The Mandela Effect, an energy wave that frequently attacks, erasing pieces of Billy's past and inserting new details into his life script? BOOK 1 in The Ascender Series. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

The Victims of Innocence by Chet Pleban, Released March 20, 2020

When a man convicted of rape, after spending seventeen years in prison, seeks a DNA test to prove his innocence, evidence of prosecutorial, judicial and political corruption surfaces. BOOK 3 in the Felbin Legal Dramas. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

The Rough Sleeper by Violetta Antcliff, Released April 20, 2020

Not all rough sleepers are alcoholics, as Darren is to find out for himself.

Return to Zoron by John Paulits, Released May 7, 2020

A distant planet... A transporter beam called the Tappa Ray... Adventure and Danger await! Princess Zayla summons Mark Foy back to Zoron to keep her from being bored, not knowing she is about to get both of them into a mountain of trouble. BOOK 3 in the Planet Zoron Trilogy, which is also available in PRINT!

The Goshmen by John Paulits, Released May 14, 2020

Paul, Billy, and Argo encounter the Goshmen, a strange people forgotten in time, who hold a secret Shumbus has been searching for. They learn the secret, but can they escape the Goshmen and return home with the news? BOOK 3 in The Golden Mushroom Trilogy, which is also available in PRINT!

American Pig Dogs by Joseph Hirsch, Released May 22, 2020

It’s the 80s and the Cold War is at full freeze, and that freeze is pretty literal for Corporal Chris Talworth and his two friends, Private Legg and Specialist Jablonski.

Kill Zone by Damir Salkovic, Released May 22, 2020

Frank Clayton has lost everything dear to him to powerful corporate interests. Forced to join a murderous reality show, he discovers he still has revenge to live for. ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!

G. Baxter & Flint CASE: The Odd Claims of Lizzy Croft by Violetta Antcliff, Released June 24, 2020

Mad, devious, or an accomplished liar? Which of these can Mrs. Croft be? Number 5 in The G. Baxter and Flint detective series.

A Shot in the Dark by Violetta Antcliff, Released August 10, 2020

When Kate Grant bid for a house unseen at the auction, did she get a bargain or more than she bargained for?

Star Dancer by Tom Olbert, Released August 10, 2020!

In a dark interplanetary future...  Sabine DeGuerra, an exotic and deadly concubine, risks her life on a desperate mission of rescue.