First Chapters, Gambling Ghosts

Confessions of a Pirate Ghost – First Chapter

” What could be more fun than a sexy Pirate Ghost that has mob hit men running scared?” Amazon Review

This is the first chapter in my latest, lighthearted ghost story; a fusion of fantasy, adventure and romance.

Escape

“Who says life is fair? Where is that written?” ~ the Princess Bride

 

Well past midnight, Harley Davis crept up the long, creaky staircase to the front entrance of the Victorian teahouse, leaving a puddle on each step. Swimming to shore in the frigid, ocean water had chilled her to the bone, but she had no time for self-pity. Everything should be easy now that I’m on land, she told herself. A light inside the house shone brightly through the front window, a warm glow that promised sanctuary. It had been the only light visible in the small sea-side town. Slowly, she curled her stiff fingers into a fist and knocked on the old wooden door.  Silence. Shivering in the brisk night air, she tapped again. Nothing. She called out, “H-hello. Anyone? I need help.” Her teeth chattered. With a blue hand she reached for the door handle. It felt ice-cold, and as she turned it, a chill spiraled up her arm sending a dark sense of foreboding flowing through her senses and settling into her heart. But she had no choice. She pushed on the door and entered.

“H-hello.” She said it louder this time.

The sound of faint laughter and people talking came from further inside. They must not have heard her. But the sense that all was not right sat heavily on her shoulders.

“H-hello. M-my name is …” There was no point saying her name if no one was listening, and enunciating words was so darn hard. Her eyes felt heavy. If only she could lie down. Nausea rose in her throat.

She took a step inside and the door slammed shut behind her. Darkness surrounded her, and a tingling sensation crawled along her scalp. And I thought I was too cold to feel anything. The silence in the entrance way had a graveyard quality that she didn’t trust. Desperate to stop her creepy thoughts, she reached for the wall and fumbled for a light switch. Finding one, she flicked it on.

The noise of people continued, a distance away.

In a glance she took in her surroundings. Beyond the entrance alcove, there was a sitting room with faded rose wallpaper and a collection of well-worn wing chairs, small tables and a sofa. An antique, Tiffany lamp stood in one corner and a chandelier hung from the middle of the ceiling. The air smelled of cinnamon and coffee, and beneath that lay a note of mustiness, as if the house breathed its age.

“H-hello,” she called out again.

It was warmer inside the house, but her body continued to shudder. Hypothermia had set in. She needed to get warm. A blanket would help. She would give all her worldly goods for a blanket and a wood fire.

A loud chorus of laughter broke out and she turned towards it. Light leaked from beneath the door of the room where the sound originated. They must be really busy not to hear her. Surely someone would help her, if they knew she was in such bad shape.

Her heart raced and her breathing with it, yet her darned feet moved slower than the last drops of molasses in a bottle, so painfully slow she wanted to scream, but she knew she shouldn’t waste her energy for that. Step by step she willed herself forward, hoping she wouldn’t fall before she reached someone. “H-hello,” she continued to call in a slurred and raspy voice. “H-hello.” The light called to her.

When she reached the door, she didn’t bother knocking. Desperate, she grabbed the door handle. Again, its ice-cold surface sent swirling vibrations up her arm, vibrations that carried with them dark, haunting images. But she would not be stopped, by tricks of her mind. She opened the door so wide it banged against the wall.

Silence. The room was empty. A single candle burned in an elaborate candelabrum.

She wanted to scream at the horror of the moment. This room had been her last chance. The laughter must have been a recording or maybe a radio. This would be her end. “N-no,” she screamed, hearing the hysteria in her voice. This can’t be the way I die.

Out of the dark emptiness came a man’s voice. “Woman, you’re dripping.”

Harley turned towards the sound, but no one was there.


Available on Amazon platforms around the world:

Amazon.com                                                         Amazon.ca


Back Blurb:

Confessions of a Pirate Ghost

Gambling Ghosts Series, Novella 3

Everyone has secrets.

Escaping the clutches of a mobster, art forger Harley Davis dives off a yacht in the middle of the night and swims ashore to Sunset Cove, a small town in the Pacific Northwest, where the only light she sees comes from inside a haunted teahouse. Soaking wet and shaking, she pauses at the door. No one in their right mind would enter such a creepy place, but she has no choice. She needs to hide.

Pirate ghost, Three-Sheets, enjoys his extended life on earth, gambling and flirting with the ladies, but when he meets Harley, he discovers he wants more out of death than a good gambling hand.

As the charming Three Sheets woos Harley, her former boss puts a contract on her head. What do you get when you mix a saucy thief, a pirate ghost and an angry godfather? Another fun, Gambling Ghost story.

Guest bloggers

A Dragon’s Desire- Tina Glasneck, #New Release

Today is release day for A DRAGON’S DESIRE, and I am thrilled and excited to be sharing my latest baby with you. As with giving birth, even of books, there is much labor and love involved, and I am happy to share a tale of the labor and how it influenced my creation of the Dragons series.

When I started writing as an adult, I started out a place of trauma, a way to try to re-gain something that fear had taken away from me: hope. Those first two books are dark. I lived in darkness, drank it in, and soaked it up into my skin until I couldn’t tell the difference between the world I wished to create on paper and the world in which I lived. For three years, I worked on the then titled, THOU SHALL NOT, a play on THOU SHALT NOT. It was well received. People wondered how a woman so young could be so dark–I wrote from a dark place, and understood the motivation behind my characters.

And then, not knowing anything about marketing, publicity or how to make that newfound success into something, I fumbled the ball, and drifted away on to the back of people’s shelves.

Although I continued to write, and published a follow up to the book, it tanked–not from a lack of story, but for a huge change in the market, and lack of knowledge still about what I needed to make it in this hard business.  Struck by anything and everything that glittered and sparkled, I continued my journey, but by this time, the darkness was becoming less home. It was a place I could visit, but not a place I wished to dwell. That dip into horror or dark story telling ceased to be a comfort but a chore.

Again the market shifted, and by the mid-2015, I was broken. It seemed as if my dreams had shattered worse than second-hand glass. I felt like a phony and fraud. The recipient of harsh emails from readers didn’t help. I wanted to stop; I wanted to give up… but my muse wouldn’t let me. I began this journey into flash fiction–stories that were 250 words long–it was me dipping a toe into speculative fiction, a little of the fantastical and being able to fracture fairytales that I enjoyed.

I was shocked how readers enjoyed it, but even more, how I looked forward to being able to participate every week, and truly rejoiced when something I did placed or even won! This confidence boost allowed me to explore a different side of me–and although I’d been a gamer of years, playing on the XBOX, and enjoying the world of fantasy, I never thought to write it until I fell head over heels into a story that just shook me to the core.

Then, death came.

I’ve constantly felt the need to prove myself, to define my success according to the boxes I’m able to check out. I know we all have our own battles, and stories as to how we’ve come to this moment in our lives. It doesn’t have to be something traumatic, nor does it have to be some long drawn out tome.  But after death came, I found that I could no longer step into darkness like the books from before.  Sorrow tugged at me, and going through the stages of grief (of which I find myself to still be in), I found that only through working on the fantastical did I have any joy. My muse beamed at the story; characters came to life and like a phoenix, I felt that this could be my rebirth–out of the ashes, dragons arose.

I am blessed that this year, I have been able to complete three additional stories since the initial release, and continue to work on a series that is not work, but fun. It saved me from a dark depression. It saved me from despair, and walking away from this author thing. My readers embraced a product of my heart, and they might never know how they also saved me from giving up completely.

In this series, I’ve discovered hapless heroes, kick-ass heroines, and how love is worth fighting for–not just romantic love, but also for me as an author and being able to love the path I am on, and the journey to success.  I’m able to use all of those things that I learned in college–including that theology degree, interest in the humanities, mythology and of course love and romance.  This is an amazing journey, and I feel like I am on the right path for my writing right now, to bathe in the glorious tales as influence by mythology, deities, and history. I can’t wait to see where the stories take me next!

If you enjoy Norse/Viking Mythology, have interest in the gods, and fantastical creatures, and also enjoy a grand adventure to love, I think this series could be something for you.


Excerpt

“What did you do?” Tink asked.

Her question made me stop giving Erich my come-hither stare. Would I be a bad friend if I admitted that I wanted to kick out Tink, his non-blood relation who he called sister on this earthly plane, so that I could explore where his hot gaze might lead?

Tink snapped her fingers before my eyes.

“Jaz,” she screamed. “What did you do?” She backed up until the kitchen table jammed into her side.

It was then I noticed the army of fire ants that paraded down the wall and marched toward her. Climbing on top of each other, they quickly formed a three-dimensional shape resembling a moving wave.

“Make it stop!” she said.

I had no idea how to make fire ants obey me. Hell, I didn’t even know I could conjure them up. Like a madwoman, I gathered pots and pans and began to scoop them up, while saying every Latin word I could think of. “Sic semper tyrannis,” I said, as if the motto of the Virginian flag might help.

Instead the ants continued to pile on top of one another. Tink scampered away, and still they came.

She followed my lead and started to bang together pots and pans to knock them away.

“Say something to stop this,” I said.

Tink waved her hands. Nothing happened. “I can’t. You’re magical. Your magic is not like anything I’ve ever handled. You have to learn how to hone in and control it.”

Brutum fulme” I then shouted, as if calling forth senseless lightning would cause a bolt to come through and fry the pesky things. Still nothing happened.

“I’m so not qualified for this,” I screamed. Frustration caused a tingling in my fingers, which rose up my arms like I’d touched a hotplate.

“Jaz,” Erich interjected, “concentrate.”

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and focused on the dragon resting just below my skin. I felt her stir, awaken. Fire grew in my belly. My lips puckered and uttered the words the beast had whispered to me, “Carpe noctem.” Seize the night!

The ants stopped mid-step, frozen.

Hearing the beast, I repeated what it ordered: “Transit umbra, lux permanet.Shadow passes, light remains. The fire ants disintegrated, leaving not even a speck of dust behind.

Tink hurried to her cauldron, which was boiling over, vomiting a cloud of what looked like pixie dust on to the counter and removed her black choker with Chakra stones. “I’ve read of many wearing talismans until they are able to get control of their powers. This will protect you. Do NOT take it off, do you hear me?”

“Sure, sure,” I nodded my head, but really, I just wanted to push her out of the door. “Thanks, Tink.”

Tink looked first at me and then at Erich.

Instead of moving towards the door, I wished for it to open, and it did.

“I guess that’s my sign to leave,” she said and quickly packed everything into her wicker basket.

“I didn’t know I could do that.”

 


Buy Links:

Thank you Jo-Ann for allowing me to be a guest today!

Grab your copy of A DRAGON’S DESIRE from Amazon and where books are sold (Nook, IBooks, Kobo)

https://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Desire-Book-ebook/dp/B06XFW7DCG/

https://www.books2read.com/u/b5ODjp

 

Who is Tina?

Tina Glasneck can’t imagine a world without coffee, acrylic paints or castles. Her love of history, fantastical creatures and storytelling all come together in her Dragons series. You can connect with her online at tglasneck.wixsite.com/tglasneck

contests, Gambling Ghosts

Winner of the Pirate Review Contest

The winner of the Review Contest Draw for Confessions of a Pirate Ghost is [drum roll] Angel Crum. I’ve sent her a $25.00 Amazon gift card, which I hope she will have fun spending.

How did I do it? I put numbers in my skeleton cup and drew one. Each number corresponded to the number in my email list. While I had many reviews, only seven people emailed me a link, so they each had a one in seven chance of winning.

A huge, thank you from the bottom of my heart thank you, to all my readers and reviewers. You’ve helped me push my novella higher than any other story I’ve published. I reached a ranking of 4,223 in Amazon books sales, 7 in short reads Sci fi and Fantasy (and two of the spots ahead of me were taken by JK Rowling and another by a Nebula award winner), 43 in short reads, ghosts and 85 in short reads romance. I also made 2nd in short reads, sci-fi and fantasy hot new releases. I’m pretty excited. Please, keep spreading the word.

Now, I’m going to make myself a cup of coffee, pick up a book and have a good read.

Gambling Ghosts, giveaway

Launch Day * Confessions of a Pirate Ghost!!!

Everyone has secrets.

Escaping the clutches of a mobster, art forger Harley Davis dives off a yacht in the middle of the night and swims ashore to Sunset Cove, a small town in the Pacific Northwest, where the only light she sees comes from inside a haunted teahouse. Soaking wet and shaking, she pauses at the door. No one in their right mind would enter such a creepy place, but she has no choice. She needs to hide.

Pirate ghost, Three-Sheets, enjoys his extended life on earth, gambling and flirting with the ladies, but when he meets Harley, he discovers he wants more out of death than a good gambling hand.

As the charming Three Sheets woos Harley, her former boss puts a contract on her head. What do you get when you mix a saucy thief, a pirate ghost and an angry godfather? Another fun, Gambling Ghost story.

BUY LINK – early-bird price $0.99

Confessions of a Pirate Ghost is the third novella in the Gambling Ghosts Series.

 


 Are You Interested in a Draw for a $25.00 Amazon.com Gift Card?

To enter the draw: purchase Confessions of a Pirate Ghost, post a review for it on Amazon  and send me the link (connect@jo-anncarson.com). You need to post the link before April 7th. By doing so you will help me push the novella to the top of the rankings.

Your chances of winning, I guestimate to be 1 in twenty, and you get the added bonus of helping me promote my ghost stories.


Until next we meet,

May the Ghosts be with you,

Jo-Ann

short story, The Brown Family

Don’t all Mothers Have a Witchy Side?

Cassandra Brown lives a double life.

During the day she attends to the needs of her husband Bob and two children, Benjamin and Annie, with the efficiency of an executive assistant on steroids, political savvy of Genghis Khan and the dedication of a Sumo wrestler. No one messes with her family. She works afternoons at the local library, and to the world she appears to be a normal, thirty-five year old, bottle-blond with car pools to organize, bills to sort and a weight-loss program to ignore, who looks like everyone else in her book club where she religiously exchanges recipes, sex tips and gardening ideas. At midnight, however, she resumes her immortal body.

She has chosen her double life for one reason, and one reason only, she wants to raise children of her own.

Mondays were laundry day at the Brown house. As Cassie stuffed the second load of wash into the machine, she noticed blood stains on the neckline of Benjamin’s, much beloved, Led Zepplin tee shirt. Tracing her fingers over the stain she tried to remember him hurting himself, but nothing came to mind. She gathered the fabric to her nose and used her witch senses. Startled by the vision of him being punched, she dropped the shirt.

Oh my God -dess! My little boy fought over a girl.

All kinds of thoughts flooded her mind: he was too young, the girl was unworthy of him, where were the teachers … But the one that really stuck in her heart was how to get even with the bully.

Should she pay the vile, freckle-faced  teenage villain a visit after midnight?

She could threaten the orgre, or she could smack him on the butt with a two-by-four. That thought warmed her blood. Of course she would prefer to smack him on the head. That thought warmed her blood more. But hitting a human child would get her in trouble with her coven. They were a peace loving group committed to solving problems with love, and chants, and herbs. Sometimes spices.

Oh for the love of Goddess. Poop on love. This boy needs discipline.

Grumbling as she paced the living room floor, she replayed her vision of the incident over and over again. The boy looked fully human and three years older than Benjamin. He wore a football shirt.Perhaps if she spoke with him about his anger issue, he would see his error, apologize and mend his ways.

Yeah, right, said a tiny voice in her head.

Cassie went to the kitchen and pulled out her brown mixing bowl, the one she used only for magic. She filled it with water from the tap and added a few herbs. Holding her right hand over the solution she chanted until the dragon tattoo on her right wrist darkened and the air pulsed with magic. A dark blue mist settled on top of the water and formed the image of the boy and his home.

She chuckled. Humans think they’re so smart with their GPS.

Later that day Cassie stopped at the boy’s house. It looked like every fourth house on the street, with a double garage, one dormer window on the second floor and shutters on the front window.  She knocked on the door. When it opened the smell of apple-cinnamon muffins baking and floor cleaner accosted her nose. The boy answered, “Yes.”

“You don’t know me, but …”

“What do you want, lady?”

How incredibly rude! She felt her face drop and  hoped it hadn’t hit the ground. Balling her fists to keep herself from zapping him, she gave him a very human stink eye. “Listen here young man, you shouldn’t hit others.”

He slammed the door in her face.

She knocked again. He opened the door again. “I recognize you.” He narrowed his marmalade eyes. “You’re the mother on the next block.The one who gives whole chocolate bars out on Halloween.” He folded his arms across his chest and nodded his head, as if he had invented a cure to the common cold.

“You hit my son.”

His cheeks pinked. “Benjamin hit me first. It’s not my fault he’s a lousy fighter.

A woman in a navy-blue business suit appeared behind the boy. “If my son hit your son, then your son deserved it.”

Anger is a useless emotion and one Cassie had fought with for centuries. I will do no harm. I will do no harm. I will do no harm, she chanted as she squeezed her fists so tightly, her fingernails bit into her flesh. Dear goddess there’s no spice strong enough to deal with this family.

“Please, leave at once,” the woman continued in a haughty voice. “If you bother us again, I’ll phone the cops. Henry, close the door.”

As the door slammed once again on Cassie, she released her hands and stretched her fingers. She had tried being nice. Now it was time to go nasty. That night she consulted her grimoire for a solution.

When Benjamin came home from school the next day his grin grew so wide it made his cheeks dimple.

“What’s up?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he said.

“You look to me like something happened today.”

“Mom, if a girl kisses you, out of the blue, does that mean she likes you?”

“Well son, it doesn’t mean she hates you.”

“Cool. Brianna kissed me on the cheek and she did it in front of her boyfriend.”

Now this news should have made Cassie happy. After all, Benjamin had gotten back at the bully in the most loving of ways. But something wasn’t quite right. The sweetheart kiss had awakened something in her son. Something Cassie had not expected. His right wrist bore the unmistakable markings of a young dragon tattoo.

This made no sense to Cassie, but then little did, when it came to motherhood.

©Jo-Ann Carson


 

Meet the Browns

If you like this story, check out my other stories about the Browns, the most normal, abnormal family in the burbs.

1 –  A Dog of a Story for Monday

2 – All You Need is a Pink Tutu


 

Do you like ghosts?

Launching next week:

99 cent early-bird buy

                                                         Everyone has secrets.

Escaping the clutches of a mobster, art forger Harley Davis dives off a yacht in the middle of the night and swims ashore to Sunset Cove, a small town in the Pacific Northwest, where the only light she sees comes from inside a haunted teahouse. Soaking wet and shaking, she pauses at the door. No one in their right mind would enter such a creepy place, but she has no choice. She needs to hide.

Pirate ghost, Three-Sheets, enjoys his extended life on earth, gambling and flirting with the ladies, but when he meets Harley, he discovers he wants more out of death than a good gambling hand.

As the charming Three Sheets woos Harley, her former boss puts a contract on her head. What do you get when you mix a saucy thief, a pirate ghost and an angry godfather? Another fun, Gambling Ghost story.


pre-order The Biker Meets His Match 

How could a dead guy be so sexy?

When Charlene Walker, a tattoo artist with a sweet tooth for bad boys, starts a boycott of the haunted teahouse in a small, west coast town, no one alive or dead is safe. One way or another, she intends to stop the haunting of her brother.

Biker ghost, Rufus has no idea what he’s up against. Her saucy personality makes him feel alive, not to mention her provocative tattoos and every inch of her body hidden beneath. Pulled into her web, he finds himself confessing to more than the ace up his sleeve that got him killed, and he struggles with feelings he never imagined having.

Adding to their epic heat is the mischievous charm of a resident pirate ghost and the twisted intentions of a human trafficker from Charlie’s past.

What happens when you mix an ink slinger with attitude, a cheating gambler, a playful pirate and an evil creep? Another Gambling Ghost story.

 


Credits:

Feature Photo from Pixabay

Meme created on Canva

cover reveal, Gambling Ghosts

Cover Reveal – The Biker Ghost Meets His Match

The pre-order will go up soon and the book will launch in July. Here’s my new cover by Steven Novak.

Comments welcome.

giveaway, Promotion

#Paranormal Romance Giveaway + #Free Book

Win up to 35+ Paranormal Romance eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks!
(32) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

Click the graphic to link to the contest page. Good Luck!


Here’s your chance to read my first book, Covert Danger, for free. If you like female spies, exotic bad guys and romance, you’ll like this one. It’s a cross between Indiana Jones and Covert Affairs.

Free Button


Happy Reading,

hugs,

Jo-Ann