New Cover Reveal – A Beltane Gift By Holly Barbo

Today I have a new cover reveal for you,  A Beltane Gift by my friend Holly Barbo.  I have read this story and it’s awesome.

HOLLY A Beltane Gift Ebook.jpeg

 

Description1

 

Summer in Scotland, and Mari is working on an archaeological dig of a Viking burial ship during Beltane, a time of the year when the veil shrouding the spirit world thins.

What could possibly go wrong?

A Beltane Gift is a contemporary story with historical elements and a wee bit of the paranormal. It won first prize in the PGP Short Story Competition in August 2015. It is also available as part of the anthologies Change of Tides and Tendrils.

This short story has planted roots in Holly’s imagination. It’s possible it will be continued in other books.

A Quick Read book is a short story available as a single small book. In both ebook and paper format, it is a perfect small gift or for escaping to another place and reality when you only have a tiny block of spare time.

 

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December/Christmas Promotion – Treasured Legacy By Holly Barbo

Today’s promotion is for Treasured Legacy, a quick read Book Six, by my friend Holly Barbo.

Treasured Legacy from scrnsht

 

Description1

 

A contemporary suspense steeped in history

With dwindling time, Leone uses the last of her strength to share important family history with her only living relative: her grandson David. Despite her final request to not sell the family heirlooms, David and Anne look into it because of their desperate need for money. But the pieces have secrets and the young couple finds themselves in unexpected danger.

 

Excerpt2

 

When David arrived home, he slipped his computer bag off his shoulder and coming up behind his wife, he gave her a hug. “Dinner smells good honey! How was your day?”

She turned around in his arms, returning the hug, but held on, unwilling to separate.

He leaned back and tilted her chin up, studying her face. “What happened today at the museum? Is this about the three pieces Grandma Leone told us about?”

She nodded mutely then ducked her head under his chin and breathed his scent deeply. Pulling out of his arms, she put the dishes on the small kitchen table and poured two glasses of wine. “Dinner is ready. While you wash up, I’ll lock the door and pull the curtains for the night. There is much to tell you.”

He gave her a baffled glance as he went to the sink to do as she requested. “And the wine?”

“Well, it was either that or whiskey and I thought that would dull the senses too much.”

He eased into his chair as he contemplated her words. Taking a swallow of wine, he reached across the table. “Okay. Take a bite first. You look pale.”

 

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December/Christmas Promotion – A Crystal Snowflake By Holly Barbo

Today’s promotion is for A Crystal Snowflake, a thrilling story by my friend Holly Barbo.  We also have an excerpt for a taste of what is to come.

 

HOLLY crystal Snowflake cover.jpeg

 

 

Description1

A cyber-thriller short story

When Chayse’s friend is murdered before he can get protective custody, she and her department in Homeland Security are thrust into a race to stop a destructive cyber worm from wiping out all bank and stock market records during the Christmas break. The good news is there is an inoculating code which will stop the worm. The bad news is it is hidden in a special crystal concealed in the sculpted walls of a beautiful ice hotel in the Lapland region of Sweden, and the terrorists are searching for it too. As the snow flurries of November become frozen December, each side rush to find the crystal… with entirely different goals.

Will the Christmas holiday bring destruction for western financial systems?

 

Excerpt2

 

 

He smiled when he heard her voice and responded by saying, “I’m on my way and no one is following me. Just in case, I sent instructions to our safe place. Don’t worry about retrieving the envelope unless I don’t get there by morning. Okay. Gotta go. I’ll be at your door for breakfast with your favorite croissants. Have the coffee brewed.”

Orion laughed at the response. “Okay. I need to concentrate on driving in this stuff. See you soon, Chayse. Bye.”

Beyond the stop sign, the road sloped to a picturesque country bridge, one of many that dotted the New England states. He had to admit it was beautiful in the snowfall but with the driving conditions worsening, he focused on how the car responded to his small adjustments in steering. In the weak light, he didn’t notice the watcher standing in the shelter of some trees on the far side of the road. The muffled figure took a box out of his pocket, pointed it at the car and pushed a button. The loud sibilant schwuff of the slush hitting the car’s undercarriage drowned out the pop.

Without any warning, Orion’s power steering quit. Working to compensate on the slick road, he fought to correct the fish-tailing motion of the car. “Shit!” He tapped the brakes and was horrified as his foot went all the way to the floor.

Fighting the wheel and the momentum of the old Chevy on the slippery surface became his entire focus…and he was losing. He tried gearing down and applying the emergency brake, but the car went into a spin and he caught a glimpse of the bridge railing coming up too fast. “Shit!” The car broke through the wooden barrier and sailed into the darkness over the side.

 

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The First Quick Read Thriller Is Out!

reblogged from http://hollybarbo-books.com/2016/09/19/the-first-quick-read-thriller-is-out/#respond

BINDING CONTRACTS

Quick Reads Book 5

by Holly Barbo

GENRE: Thriller Short Read
What do you do when you no longer want something? You discard it, right? Which is exactly what happens when Keith gets tired of his wife. But there are signed contracts and someone hasn’t read the fine print.

“Mr. John, it is good to see you.” She looked into his bloodshot eyes and noticed the circles of fatigue beneath them and the general pallor of his skin. “Still haven’t heard from the VA?”

John shook his head and took another bite. After he finished chewing and taking a swallow of coffee, he cleared his throat. He hadn’t talked much in days and hoped his voice was still working. “You have a good memory. I haven’t been here in three weeks. Thank you for the service you offer. The food, shower and clean clothes make me feel almost human.” Having run out of things to say, he took another bite as he watched the kind face framed in black.

She smiled. “It is a skill that comes naturally to me, thank you. But it isn’t perfect. I have forgotten your last name, if you’ve ever shared it, but do remember you saying you were a SEAL in Afghanistan and have worked in a similar but non-military position after that. I can surmise you are now homeless due to your PTSD?” She looked at him for confirmation and waited until he gave a curt nod. “The wheels of the VA move very slowly. Too slow for the people who need help. I also have noted, when speaking to you, that you are intelligent, educated, and I know the longer you stay on the streets the greater chance you have to die early. It would be a real waste.” She smiled and patted his hand. “Son, I’ve some news for you. A new clinic has opened its doors. I’ve watched them to see if they are legitimate and to see the quality of their care. It’s called The Destiny Clinic, and it is going through the paperwork to be recognized as a VA-affiliated treatment center. Instead of cash, the price for treatment is to help the community in whatever capacity you can, and if that is beyond the patient receiving services… it is free. The funding comes from a local company who made its money making prosthetics and body armor. This is their way of supporting the wounded veterans.” She handed him a card. “Here’s the address. It isn’t far, and they have several treatment programs and therapy strategies. The day is still young. You can go there after your meal. You’re a good man. Let them guide you back to us. Our city, our country needs quality people like you.”

He looked down at the card and back up into the kind eyes. “You don’t know me or what I have done, what I’ve seen. Those things return in my nightmares and in sudden sounds. Terrible flashes of memories. The military and later…” John’s voice dropped to a near whisper as he lowered the coffee mug to the table. “The CIA gave me a structure and purpose until I became broken and a liability to them. But you’re right. Living on the streets and under the overpasses is a game of Russian Roulette. Thank you for your kindness.” Pocketing the card, John picked up his empty plate and cup. He stood and looked down into the lined face of the nun. “Sister, I don’t know your name.”

“I’m Sister Mary Rebecca.”

“Thanks, Sister Mary Rebecca. My name is John Easton.” He gave her a nod of respect, then with a small smile he touched his forehead in a salute. He left his dishes in the pan beside the kitchen and stepped out into the late spring day.

A Beltane GiftThe Tin of HoneyThe Dragil: Broken MagicThe Battered Ball

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

Her motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

Halloween Promotion – Ode to Autumn

Today’s Halloween offering is Ode to Autumn ~ A Season of Change, wonderful dark stories and poems by a talented group of authors.   I will put up my story to give you a taste.

Ode to Autumn

Introducing~ An Ode to Autumn~ A Season of Change… An anthology of dark and deadly poems and short stories from over eighteen acclaimed, award-winning Indie authors, hosted by Linell Jeppsen!

Through The Porthole

Ch’kara SilverWolf © Copyright

 

Rhea had recovered from the passing of David; he had been her best friend as well as her lover. Although she had settled down into the daily routine of living, there was a part of her that was lost.

Her friend Kat had offered her some time out at her house in the mountains. She was looking forward to the solitude, time to think, to sort out what she wanted from life. To recharge and get herself ready to start life anew, instead of the mindless existence she had been drifting through.

She arrived at the cottage on a sunny November day, it was looked beautiful as she came up the drive, which was filled with gorgeous flowers, and the cottage looked warm and friendly.

She opened the door, and stood for a moment looking around; she had been here before with her friend and loved the peace and tranquility of the place. Walking into the kitchen with its oak furniture and pots hanging above the workbench, she discovered that the neighbor had been over and turned on the power and water, also she had left a basket of fruit and the essentials in the fridge such as milk, bread, butter, and eggs. They were such nice people, also in the fact that they would not come around uninvited.

The note with the food told Rhea if she needed anything, to call, otherwise she would not be bothered by anyone. They had been told she wanted quiet time and they understood. Over the next few days, Rhea slept late and took long walks, enjoying the fresh air and peace. She began to feel alive again, she could almost perceive of a new life.

One morning, she woke to the sound of rain on the roof, as she lay there listening, feeling in a sense, cleansed by the rain, she realized she could hear a window banging, so pulling on her slippers and bathrobe, she went upstairs to see where it was coming from.

At the top of the landing was Kat’s room, the sound was definitely coming from there and although she had not been in there before, she did not want anything to be damaged by the water. She went in and closed the window, checked there was no water damage, and as she scanned the room she thought how lovely it was. A big brass four-poster bed with a canopy draped in antique lace. Pillows of all sizes gave the bed a soft inviting look.

Rhea then turned back to the window; it seemed odd to be there. It was round like the window in a ship, a porthole, she stared at it for a while trying to decide why she was drawn to it, then noticed that the frame surrounding it was carved with intricate symbols. She had never seen anything like it, as she stood there; she reached out and traced her fingers over it. It was almost like a compulsion to do this, all of a sudden she pulled her hand away and stepped back, she thought she had seen somebody reflected in the glass. She spun around thinking there was someone in the house, but the room was empty.

Her heart was pounding; her mind was racing with all the possibilities of what it could have been. She was reluctant to focus on what she was really thinking could have happened. Could someone be looking through the glass at her? This seemed impossible as she was on the second floor, her analytical mind did not want to accept this. She knew her friend Kat was open to unusual phenomena, but not her. If you didn’t have a solid explanation for something, then it didn’t exist.

With her heart still pounding, she stepped in front of the window again; she was determined to discover the ‘logical’ explanation for it. So far, everything was normal, and then she put her hand up and once again traced the symbols.

There was a flickering, so steeling herself, she kept tracing them, suddenly the flickering stopped and she could see another room through the glass. There was a man standing there, he turned as though he sensed somebody, Rhea was stunned, standing there transfixed. Then he smiled, he had dark hair and deep brown eyes, which came alive when he smiled.

“Hello, don’t be frightened, my name is Jean-Claude, you must have traced the symbols, that could be the only way we are here like this.”

Where are you? How did you get here? I don’t understand this, it can’t be real, oh god, I must be having a breakdown.”

Jean-Claude saw how agitated Rhea was. He was afraid she would leave. “Please don’t go. Tell me your name, I won’t hurt you. I promise to answer any of your questions. I am as real as you are, you must know Kat, or I think you wouldn’t be here.”

“You can’t be real, this is not logical.” She lowered her head into her hands thinking that when she looked again it would all have been an illusion. However, when she looked up there he was looking out at her only this time she could see his hand on her side of the porthole.

“Please don’t be afraid, what is your name? I promise I am real, see you can touch me.”

Rhea stepped back in fear, no this cannot be true. She ran from the room and slammed the door. What should she do? If she phoned Kat, she would probably think she was going mad. All her friends were so worried about her and had wanted her to see a doctor, a shrink, but there was no need for that, she was perfectly sane. Or was she? She went to the kitchen to make coffee, maybe if she cleared her head it would all make sense to her. She sat with the steaming coffee in her hands thinking how much she wished that it was a glass of wine instead. She had been drinking far too much since David had passed and therefore one of her reasons for being here was to be away from that temptation.

She dressed and walked in the beautiful gardens. This was normal and how it should be. She spent most of the day outside and as the sun began to set she returned to the house. She turned on all the lights and prepared something to eat. She laughed nervously, this was so silly, and it had all been such a stressful time for her she must have been imagining it.

After her meal, she went upstairs and hesitated outside Kat’s room. Maybe she should just go look, and prove to herself it had been her imagination. She went up to the porthole and there were the symbols. They looked perfectly harmless, just a beautifully carved decoration. She couldn’t stop herself, she felt compelled as she stepped closer and once again trace her finger around the symbols. The same shimmering occurred and she could see the other side, although there seemed to be nobody there. She tentatively put her hand up to the glass, and her hand went straight through, as though it didn’t exist. Just as she was about to bring her hand back something grabbed her. She screamed and struggled to pull her hand out of the porthole, but something was pulling her in. Oh god, how was this happing to her? She fought harder, but the more she struggled the more she was pulled in, she thought her arm would be pulled from its socket. Then one last pull and she felt as though she was falling. She hit solid ground with a bang and quickly jumped up. Standing in front of her was Jean-Claude.

“How did I get here? I want to go back, you can’t keep me here.”

He laughed, and suddenly it sounded so sinister. “Oh but I can my dear. You are mine now; Kat promised she would send me a new toy to play with. We are going to have so much fun together you and I.”

Rhea threw back her head and screamed and screamed but no one came. Everyone was told to leave her in peace. A peace she would never know now.

Jean-Claude took her hand and she shivered in fear. “I think my dear, the moral of the story should be. Never put your hand where you think it should not go.” With that, he laughed loudly as she ran to the porthole and banged her hands on the glass; for once again it was solid. There was no escape.

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New Release – Tendrils by Holly Barbo

Today I have a New Release for you called Tendrils, a collection of stories by my friend Holly Barbo.  I have read one of the stories and loved it and will definitely be reading the rest soon.   Holly has also given us an excerpt from one of the stories called – A Crystal Snowflake.

Tendrils

Description1

HOLLY image of Tendrils blurb

An excerpt from – A Crystal Snowflake:

Orion gave a quick scan of the room. He needed to make sure he had everything important. His backpack was stuffed and the computer case held so much that there were edges of paper sticking out of it in a haphazard manner. The slender young man slung the strap of the computer bag over his shoulder, grabbed the backpack and headed for the front door. His hand paused as he reached for the knob and he looked out the window.

It was dark and he could see the snow falling through the street lights. There didn’t seem to be anyone about, so he slipped from the house and walked casually to his trusty old Chevy, his breath coming out in rapid visible puffs. The nonchalance was an act. He wanted anyone watching to assume he was going to M.I.T. to get in some late night work. He scanned the shadows, hoping that no one was there. He threw his backpack on the passenger seat then wedged the computer case between it and the seat back. He wanted both within easy reach. Once buckled in, he allowed his nervousness to slip out and thoroughly checked the view from his mirrors.

He eased onto the street and when there was no sign of his tires slipping, increased his speed. Orion reached into the pocket of the backpack for the pre-paid phone that he’d picked up when he determined his cell had been tapped. At the stop sign, he punched in a number. The snow flurries were increasing and he switched on the wipers. Orion waited for his friend to pick up.

He smiled when he heard her voice and responded by saying, “I’m on my way and no one is following me. Just in case, I sent instructions to our safe place. Don’t worry about retrieving the envelope unless I don’t get there by morning. Okay. Gotta go. I’ll be at your door for breakfast with your favorite croissants. Have the coffee brewed.”

Orion laughed at the response. “Okay. I need to concentrate on driving in this stuff. See you soon, Chayse. Bye.”

Beyond the stop sign, the road sloped to a picturesque country bridge, one of many that dotted the New England states. He had to admit it was beautiful in the snowfall but with the driving conditions worsening, he focused on how the car responded to his small adjustments in steering. In the weak light, he didn’t notice the watcher standing in the shelter of some trees on the far side of the road. The muffled figure took a box out of his pocket, pointed it at the car and pushed a button. The loud sibilant schwuff of the slush hitting the car’s undercarriage drowned out the pop.

Without any warning, Orion’s power steering quit. Working to compensate on the slick road, he fought to correct the fish-tailing motion of the car. “Shit!” He tapped the brakes and was horrified as his foot went all the way to the floor.

Fighting the wheel and the momentum of the old Chevy on the slippery surface became his entire focus…and he was losing. He tried gearing down and applying the emergency brake, but the car went into a spin and he caught a glimpse of the bridge railing coming up too fast. “Shit!” The car broke through the wooden barrier and sailed into the darkness over the side.

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Coming Soon – Tendrils by Holly Barbo

My friend Holly Barbo is soon to release a short story collection called Tendrils, I have read one of these stories and am looking forward to the rest.  There are a total of 14 stories in the collection, including one flash fiction. The collection will be released within a couple of weeks. 4 out of 14 of the stories have won in short story contests, one of which has won first place!   I will re-post when it is up on Amazon.

Holly Tendrils coverDESCRIPTION

Stories come from any number of places. One could start from a memory, a photo in a magazine or from pondering a news item and wondering, “What if?”

This collection arose from that sort of random stimuli. Some are pure imagination of science fiction or fantasy. Others, though developed from random historical facts or the disturbing news stories of war-torn regions.

Each story has coalesced from “What if” to “What is.”

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