Conspiracy of Cats by B C Harris


Conspiracy of Cats
B C Harris

Genre: Contemporary fiction, paranormal, murder mystery
Publisher: Olympia Publishers, London
Date of Publication: 26th August 2021
ISBN: 978-1-80074-032-7
ASIN: B09CGHZ7K7
Number of pages: 325
Word Count: 123,121
Cover Artist: Olympia Publishers, London

Tagline: A Beautiful House, A Horrible Death, A Brilliant Revenge

Book Description: 

CONSPIRACY OF CATS… a supernatural murder mystery.

An apprehensive Jos Ferguson travels from Edinburgh to Northern Tanzania to visit the house her Uncle Peter built before he died. But Peter isn’t as dead as he should be… he was murdered, and he wants his niece to help him exact revenge upon his killer. With a little Maasai magic and a conspiracy of cats, Jos sets out to do exactly that.

A beautiful house. A horrible death. A brilliant revenge.

Who knew death could be so lively?


Excerpt

Looking back, it was as if Peter had known that he was going to die.  

It was as if all of them had known, because the Maasai came prepared for their ritual even though their little brother died only a few hours before they arrived. It was the largest group of Maasai Beola had ever encountered at the white house. At least fifty men, most of them warriors, all carrying their weapons and their shields. Their chests and faces and arms painted as if they were going into battle. She watched them from the master bedroom window, just as she’d watched the police arrive, having gone back up to finish changing the bed so it would be clean and ready when Jude returned. They arrived on foot just before sunset, and it would have taken all day to walk from their village on the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro all the way to the white house.  

Some of the warriors carried armfuls of wood, and immediately began building a large fire in the middle of the lawn. The elders, including their bearded laibon, sat down on the porch steps to rest and, when Beola went out to meet them, they asked only for water. When she offered food they politely refused. When Beola moved to go back inside to fetch the water, a young warrior stopped her. ‘We must leave the white house in peace, little sister,’ he told her, and then he and several of his fellow warriors guided her towards the lodge where they fetched enough water for all. When that was done, the young warrior told her, ‘Word has been sent into the park so your husband and your son will come home soon. When they do, you must be ready to leave.’

‘But why?’  

‘The laibon wishes to cleanse the white house of sorrow.’

Beola knew better than to argue with the wishes of a laibon, and so she nodded, resigned.

‘How long must we stay away?’

‘Moon die and come back again, man die and stay away. Come back with the new moon, sister.’  

Back inside the lodge Beola began to pack, without any clear idea of where her family would go or who they would stay with. By then it was full dark, and the fire was burning so brightly she could see its orange glow above the garage blocking her direct view. Kissi and Ben arrived while she was still packing, in shock at both the death of their friend and the large gathering on the white house lawn. The evening breeze was becoming a wind by then, and the stars were obscured by gathering clouds. The warriors had begun to sing a sorrowful sounding song, their beautiful voices competing with the mounting voice of the wind.  

By the time the Nyerere’s were readying to leave, a storm was in full flow.  

The perimeter of trees bent and swayed in the wind that had initially made their leaves whisper. That wind was howling and shrilling by then, a tempest that thrashed and whipped the leaves and branches. Storm clouds had gathered so close, they were piled on top of one another, grumbling, rumbling, crashing with thunder directly overhead. Lightening split the night over and over. Up on the roof garden, a solitary figure braved the onslaught. The old laibon was yelling into the night, his spells snatched away by the wind that seemed, in turns, to want to blow him away and push him down. Rain pelted down upon him, it blinded his eyes, dripped from his beard, soaked his shuka and chilled his bones. He fought against it, at the same time as he embraced it, arms stretched wide and high. Calling out, over and over, to the spirit of his friend.

As the Nyerere’s were loading up their jeep, another vehicle arrived, lights sweeping across the scene as it circled the lawn. Beola thought that it must be Jude, but it was Henk de Vries, pulling up in his flatbed truck. She assumed he’d heard the news and had come to pay his respects. She ran towards him, but half a dozen warriors barred Beola’s way. They told her to go, to never speak of this night to anyone. Beola struggled against them, and called out to Henk in some distress, but either the wind stole her voice, or the Dutchman chose to ignore her. Kissi was next to her by then and had to impel his wife bodily into the back of his Land Rover as Ben sat quietly weeping in the front. He then got in himself and set off for his father’s home in Arusha, having called ahead to stay there were sanitation issues at their home, so they needed a place to say for a while. As they were moving around the lawn towards the drive, Beola watched Henk lower the tail gate of his truck and saw two warriors lift and carry something towards the fire. Meat for the funeral feast, he told her much later.  

When Kissi’s Land Rover reached the foot of the hill, he turned north towards the main road that would take them to Arusha. They left the storm behind almost immediately. When they reached the top of the escarpment, he stopped and got out. Ben and Beola joined him. Together they stood atop the ridge, watching a small storm rage over the white house.  



About the Author: 

B C Harris is a Scot who, at the time of writing, had just finished renovating a farmhouse in France. A labour of love that began from first sight back in 2016. No sooner had the final length of flooring been laid and the last paintbrush dried, than disaster struck in the form of pandemic. France went into a strict lockdown and, with time to do more than simply daydream about writing books, a new project began to take shape.

Writing began as an escape from the fear and isolation that was soon affecting us all, and quickly flourished to become ‘Conspiracy of Cats’. The global pandemic seems to be receding now, but the passion for writing has taken root. Find out more about B C Harris online.








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Beyond Atlantis: An Epic of The Ancient Americas by Lucius Beauchamp


Beyond Atlantis: An Epic of The Ancient Americas
Lucius Beauchamp

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
ISBN: Paperback 978-0-6488929-0-8  
ISBN: E-book 978-0-6488929-1-5
ASIN: 0648892905 
ASIN: B01I4OMBVY
Number of pages: 448
Word Count: 158,240 
Cover Artist: Flametree Creative

Tagline: Greater Atlantis, where The Guardian Tribe roam

Book Description: 

10,000 years ago, ancient Atlantian Tribes of magicians flourished in the lower Americas and along the Mississippi. 

Galen, an Atlantian magician priest is locked in a relentless power struggle with an envious sorceress who blackmails, lies, and manipulates. A prince of the blood, Galen is determined that nothing will stop his becoming an Archpriest.

Eten, blackest witch and high priestess sees angels and seeks a forbidden treasure. She finds Galen’s curse of having a soulmate particularly helpful. 

Half a millennia ago the Island of Atlantis sank off the Biminis, the 13th Tribe was held responsible for the demise of Atlantis. The surviving Atlantians stripped the 13th of all technology and exiled them. 

Vengeful, the 13th Tribe wishes to return but the 13th’s warlocks fear crossing into Greater Older Atlantis. They do not dare set foot on the Guardian-protected land. The great Guardian Tribe possess a formidable circle of psychics who roam North America keeping constant vigil to keep Greater Older Atlantis safe for all Atlantians. 


Excerpt:

    With lightning rushing to greet the barbarians, not only sulphur made their guts wrench. That most feared God, the God of lightning, was among them. Sheets of power forked across the ground, felling dozens of the pure race. Repeatedly, the riverbed exploded and sprayed molten sand. Dripping glass sculptures remained and pressure waves threw barbarians into the glowing glass pools. Where some lay stuck, in death or dying.
     The false day reached the refugees, the sky pulsing green. From the Safety of the hillside they saw it all, with deafening thunder rocking them. Dodging lightning bolts, the barbarians ran when they could to slid into super-hot streams of glass where their flesh seared so completely that bare-bones were exposed among living tissue. There was screaming at newly blackened limbs and sizzling holes within a shoulder or thigh, created by actual lightning strikes. And then more astral screams as the black shadows of the underworld chased and fell upon the freshly dead. Only a handful survived. It was another mist-night.

                                                               *

Tancah. Ten ships comprising another fleet had landed. Gold. Mounds of gold was being turned into ingots for shipment to the Far World.
     The gangplanks were sunk into the pink sand by the tread of disembarking
warriors.
     The scarred pyramids were towers with large stone tablets standing
on top. Not very wide, with ladder-like stairs, each had an almost sheer
drop at the back. Saplings burst forth in unexpected places among the ruins.
     The seventh ship to dock was grander than the others. Its occupants always liked to be seventh, from superstition. Rhaim, the commander-in-chief hurried to meet these new arrivals. They were the main reason he’d come back to Tancah. After all, he didn’t want their leader to take offense. In black clothing with wide purple edging, the thirteen glided down the gangplank. Weary soldiers made hasty signs in the group’s direction while dropping their eyes. Even with a close trimmed mustache, the outlines of the first face were a death mask. Udo, the leader. Tall, white-haired and eyes robin’s-egg blue. The whole group was from similar molds.
     Not on land yet, Udo glanced at Tancah. A connoisseur, he breathed
deeply of the destruction. Then he put a foot hard on the sand and dogs began to howl. A flock of monarch butterflies, resting on their way to their wintering ground, filled the air. Raising his hand to the sky, Udo cut a swath through the gossamer wings. The lovelies rained down among the pyramids, while the coven roared with laughter.
     Invisible to everyone, a watcher hovered over the beach within sight of the ships. As one, the black-garbed group turned to look at him, eyes burning. Languidly, Udo said, ‘Kill.’
     Two men vacated their flesh so utterly that their bodies fell to the ground. Their spirits were shadow hounds. Instantly the temple flyer telepathed the sight to his temple, then spirit claws were on him. Dying, screams filled the heads of other flyers.
     The murdered watcher’s body, seated in the temple chamber, spasmed and went limp. A high priest wiped the corpse’s brow, ‘Where is the other?’
     Simultaneously, Udo’s face was in the room, hanging in mid-space.
Gloating, he disappeared. Then he was back at the beachfront. ‘Find the other watched.’
     The two dark hounds pounced forward, but Udo’s snarl sent them scurrying into their bodies. He believed in sharing and signaled a fresh pair.  

 

About the Author:

Like Plato, Lucius believed Atlantis existed. Interpreting Plato’s description of location, backed up by Edgar Cayce’s readings, the Island of Atlantis was off the Biminis. Therefore, for him, the Continent of Atlantis (Greater Older Atlantis) was North America.





Hello, I’m Lucius Beauchamp and I’ve written a fast-paced fantasy novel, called ‘Beyond Atlantis: An Epic Of The Ancient Americas’. Today, I’ll talk about snakes.

Excerpt:

“She frowned, threw a stick down the track and then waited. Nothing moved. ‘Mind you, it’s walking all the way and all, all, uphill.’ She tossed another stick, lengthways and high this time. A dozen six- inch snakes dropped from the trees. Poisonous. ‘Or the tabooed coast, north of the New Nile.’ She’d just had a feeling about that track; maybe because it was too overgrown, maybe because no sound came from the track. ‘It’s only really forbidden to those without Atlantian heritage.’

Excerpt:

“Observing the sea snakes, he laughed triumphantly. ‘More illusions.’ He ploughed into the truth and shrieked when it bit him. For a moment he was frozen there, unable to believe each sear of pain. Then he was tearing the snakes off him. The serpents merely saw an invitation to bite his hands. His veins seemed to be pumping acid. Convulsing, he fell forward under the slithering mass.”

About snakes, they’ve been milk-fed attendants in the temples of the ancient Roman Good Goddess. Alexander the Great’s mother Olympia had a thing for snakes, in association with the worship of Zeus; with whom she believed, wink, she’d had a son. 

Cleopatra wasn’t afraid of snakes, as shown by her choosing a snake with which to kill herself. Mind you, I’m not sold on that story. Cleopatra was a queen who personally knew all about poisons, what to watch out for and what to keep aside for a rainy day. And she lived in Alexandria where they weren’t shy about sharing expertise on poisons. Yet, apparently, after she had semi-walled herself into her mausoleum in self-defence against Octavian Caesar, she’d had to send out for a take-away of Asps. I doubt it; she’d thoroughly researched the least painful way to die. Hence, Cleopatra would have had a precious vial twisted into her favourite wig, or a couple of emergency vials papyrus papier-mâchéd into the walls of her mausoleum. 

Back to our slivery friends. They are the other of man’s two most popular phobias. When I was a young boy, I knew a particularly nasty woman, friend of the family, who told me that tennis balls were filled with tiny, tightly-coiled live snakes. Proof that the wicked witches of Grimm’s Fairy Tales still exist in modern form; smiling sweetly while dripping poison. Now, be truthful, how do our fanged friends affect you? 

She Died on a Monday by Kevin McLeod


She Died on a Monday
Kevin McLeod

Genre: Love Story, paranormal
Date of Publication: 20/09/2021
ISBN: 979-8469680987
ASIN: B09DYZ1D4W
Number of pages: 50
Word Count: 8886
Cover Artist: Theresa Bills

Tagline: What do we do when everything changes in an instant?

Book Description: 

Picture the kind of enduring love that most of us would wish for; the kind of elderly, married couple we might see on the street, or in a café, so in tune with each other that it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

John and Elizabeth have a love like that, but John’s world is suddenly shattered when Elizabeth is brutally taken from him. For some people it can feel as though it’s just too difficult to go on when one half of you is missing. How will John cope with his broken heart? Who, or what, can help him?

Kevin McLeod is a best-selling children’s author, but this is his first adult short story, inspired by the love his grandparents shared. Kevin writes beautifully, in heart-rending detail, about the numbness, shock, and crushing grief that John faces. He explores challenges that we will all face when someone we love dies, made all the more poignant by his tender evocation of a long and happy marriage.

‘She Died On A Monday’ is a story of love and loss that you’ll want to read time and again, to enjoy each perfect detail and the clever twists and turns. But, be warned, you might just cry every time that you do.


Excerpt:

She died on a Monday. No long lingering illness. No last words, just there, then gone. One minute they were sharing breakfast, the next his world collapsed. She was falling too fast and he was moving too slow. Later, the doctor would tell him that it didn’t matter how fast he had moved. He couldn’t have saved her. Like that makes it ok. As if that would make him feel better. It mattered to him. He should have caught her and helped her; instead he had moved in slow motion as the love of his life, his very reason for living, disappeared in front of his eyes.

There was no warning. She had been healthy and happy. Ten minutes before she died, they had been discussing what to do after breakfast. He remembered scoffing at her suggestion that they should visit his sister. He tried to remember the last words he had said to her. Finally, they came back to him. Is there any toast? Such a normal question, but now it seemed so stupid, so banal. If he had known they were going to be his last words to her he would have said something meaningful, something profound.

Later, the doctor would tell him that it had been an aneurysm in her brain and that she had felt no pain. Should this comfort him? If it was supposed to, it didn’t. Somehow the suddenness made it worse. Neither of them had been prepared for this. The numbness he felt began cocooning him in his own sorrow.

At some point, he didn’t remember when, his daughter arrived. She was talking to the medical crew. She turned and began to talk to him. He couldn’t make out the words. The lines of her face were blurred by his tears and her words were unable to penetrate an overwhelming numbness.

They took his wife’s body away, carted it off on a trolley like she was nothing. He wanted to yell at them, to make them do this terrible thing in some different way. Instead, he sat and watched while his daughter hugged him. He was vaguely aware he wasn’t hugging her back, his arms unwilling to move.

He found himself on the couch, unaware of how he had come to be there. His daughter was on the phone and his son had arrived. His son was looking in drawers and speaking, but he couldn’t make sense of it. He heard the word funeral and slowly his brain began to understand. His son was looking for the funeral plan papers. He managed to tell him where to find them. His voice was quiet, broken, as he mumbled through the words. His son put a hand on his shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. A simple act of love from a son to his father. He put his hand over his son’s. No words were said.

He couldn’t accept it, wouldn’t accept it. His wife couldn’t be dead. They had so many plans. So much to do. How could she be gone? They were due to go on holiday next month. It was all paid for and arranged. She had been looking forward to it. They both had. Now, they would never get to see those views, or take that boat trip. The same one they had taken on their first holiday together.

After a few hours of helping and being there for him, his son and daughter left. His daughter had asked to stay with him tonight, or for him to come with her, but he wanted to be alone. He managed to thank them for helping, while ushering them towards the door. He shut the door, instantly becoming aware of the silence. It crashed into him like a wave. There were no sounds coming from the kitchen, or from the radio in the living room. She always liked to listen to the same channel, keeping it on for some background noise. He walked to the living room and switched on the radio, as if this would bring her back. Feeling foolish, he turned it off again.

He lay down on the couch and cried himself to sleep.

‘John, wake up, it’s time to get up.’

He heard her voice so clearly that he woke with a start and sat up straight. Confusion took over as he tried to work out whether it had been a dream or if he had actually heard her voice. He looked to the large window, the one with her favourite view over the city from their fourth-floor apartment. It was one of the reasons they had bought this place, she loved that view. It must be late, as darkness had replaced light while he was sleeping. He turned on a lamp and went to shut the curtains. He froze, as just for a second, he swore that he saw her behind him. He turned to the living room but found only emptiness.

He drew the curtains and went to the kitchen. The clock on the wall told him it was a quarter past ten at night. He hadn’t eaten all day and knew that he should. He went to the fridge and found a sandwich that his daughter must have made for him. He sat at the table, the same table where she had died, and stared at her empty space. Slowly, he ate the sandwich, tasting nothing.

He walked through the hall to their bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he stared at her side. Suddenly he felt it, her touch. He couldn’t explain it, but he felt her. She was here, she was with him. But, as quickly as the sensation came, it left. His mind was playing tricks on him. It surely was understandable; he was processing the enormity of what had happened. He didn’t bother to undress. Lying down on the bed, on top of the covers, he curled into the foetal position and began to cry.

She died on a Monday.


About the Author:

Kevin McLeod is the international best selling author of The Viking’s Apprentice series. He has written 4 books in this series and now takes a step into a different genre with ‘She Died on a Monday’ 

Kevin is 46, lives in Hamilton in Scotland with his two daughters and his dog, Tiger. Kevin is a keen cook and loves the outdoors. He loves spending time with his friends and family. 

Kevin began writing professionally in 2013 with the release of his first book, The Viking’s Apprentice. After his huge success in middle grade fiction he has moved into a more adult genre and looks forward to writing many more stories in the years to come. 








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