Ani’s Advent 2020! Gifted authors…? Mylo and Geoff Le Pard…

Christmas 2014

There is always that one awkward person,
You just cannot decide what to proffer
When Christmas comes round
Gifts seem thin on the ground
But a book is a good thing to offer.

You can go for adventure or romance
Or a story of brimstone and gore,
There’s horror or mystery
Chick-lit and history
Fantasy, sci-fi and more.

It might not be their volume of preference
And might end on a charity shelf…
But if they don’t read it
Or find they don’t need it
You could always read it yourself.

As a gift it is excellent value…
There’s a book wrapped up under the tree…
That will please more than one
When all is said and done,
Because you and the author make three!

Spare a thought for the Indie at Christmas
Who has toiled at the keyboard all year…
So put books on the sleigh
As it starts on its way
And give all Indie authors some cheer!

Christmas 2014 008_FotoSketcher

You can find all my books at Amazon worldwide

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And I, the Small Dog, also feature as ‘Anu’ in many of the books

by them, France & Vincent

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Ani’s Advent 2020! Lulu is lonely ~ but she has Pete Springer

Dear Santa,

This virus that appears to be getting around the worldeven faster than you do, is going to make sure it is a very lonely Christmas for so many people.

Families and friends cannot be together as they would like. There will be no big gatherings around the table… and no families will come together to celebrate as they normally would all joys of the year.

And it is no good saying that there will be other years. Not everyone who should be, will be around to share another Christmas. Even my two-legs is on borrowed time and we didn’t even know if she would make it to this Christmas. (But now she is frantically baking…)

Lots of famlies have lost people this year… That is normal. We all lose those we love sometimes. Not all losses can be expected, though. Many pas too young, many fall ill without warning, and some fall foul of the various viruses and seasonal illnesses that wend their deadly way through the unpredictably vulnerable.

Those of us who are left must find new ways to grieve when we are denied the comfort of our friends and families. A hug goes a long way when you need a shoulder…and a virtual shoulder can feel a cold one, no matter how much love is behind it.

For that reason too we can feel lonely, especially at this time of year…and especially this year when COVID is adding to the distress.

I miss my two-legs when she has to be at the two-legs vet all day. I know they pump her full of smelly stuff and make her bleed, but she says it is better than me having to miss her for even longer… and I didn’t like it when she went into the vets and had to stay there…

But that’s just me. Lulu is missing Jake… the best of big brothers.

And if anyone knows a person who is missing someone this year… maybe you could deliver a hug from me, Santa. Or maybe their friends could find ways to make those virtual hugs a bit warmer…

Give Lulu a hug from me when you call…

Much love,

Ani xxx

Jake (left) and Lulu (right) focused on potential treats.

Hi Ani,

I don’t write letters much, but I’m feeling a bit lonely.  You see, this will be the first Christmas I’ve ever had without my brother, Jake.  He was eight when he got sick earlier this year.  I’m six, but my two-legs think I still act like a puppy.  They don’t realize how mature I’ve become.

Jake and I are both yellow labs.  I wish you could have known him.  He was a good older brother though he did have a couple of bad habits.  He used to jump up and drag food off the kitchen counters.  He was such a sneak that he’d run out to his favorite tree in the backyard and chow down before the two-legs knew what happened.  He had another bad habit.  He was infatuated with toilet paper, often taking it off the roll to chew it up.  Once, he trashed a package with twenty-four rolls in it.  I’ve never seen the two-legs so mad before!

Jake was good to me, though.  Even when he just wanted to sleep, he would play with me.  We used to chase the ball forever.  He was a much better catcher than me and would often snatch the tennis ball when the male two legs would throw it up on the roof.  The ball usually hit me in the nose when I tried to catch it.  Most of the time, Jake would get the ball whenever one of the two-legs would toss it, but he was such a good brother that he would let me take it right out of his mouth afterward.

My two-legs are still very sad about Jake not being around anymore, but they make me feel loved.  The female two legs still cries whenever one of us brings up Jake’s name.  I used to follow Jake around wherever he went, but now I stick very close to my two-legs when I’m not outside staring at the squirrels. Those critters make me a little crazy with their bushy tales and beady eyes.

I don’t want to make you sad, Ani, so let me tell you a funny story about Jake and me.  We live at the end of a private drive.  When delivery drivers came, we always went out to greet them.  We were friendly with everyone, but especially them.  When they’d bring a package to the house, we’d often get a treat too.

We climbed into the trucks with the drivers even though the two-legs always told us never to ride with strangers.  When the driver had to go, he would throw some delicious treats out the door for us to chase.  As soon as we got out of the truck, the driver would peal out, almost on two wheels, as he was rounding the corner.  The two-legs were embarrassed at first, but then they thought it was funny.

I hope that you have a happy Christmas and that Santa brings you lots of presents, Ani.  I’ve heard that you’ve been a good dog.  I miss Jake, but I have lots of good memories of him in my heart.

Your friend,


Lulu is a little camera shy with her two-legs.

About the Author’s Two-Legs

My name is Pete Springer. I taught elementary school for thirty-one years (grades 2-6) at Pine Hill School in Eureka, CA. Even though I retired over three years ago, my passion will always lie with supporting education, kids, and teachers.

When I came out of the teaching program many years ago, I realized how unprepared I was for what was in store for me in the classroom. My college education focused mostly on learning theory rather than the practical day-to-day challenges that all teachers face. Thankfully, I had some great mentors to lean on to help support me in the early part of my career.

I have made it my mission to pay it forward to the next generation of teachers. I was a master teacher to four student teachers, and I have several former students who are now teachers, including one who teaches at my former elementary school. That is pretty cool!

While I was teaching, I decided that one day I would write books for children. That ship is now in the harbor. I took some writing workshops, found a critique group, joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and I’m nearing the end of writing my first middle-grade novel. I’m writing for middle-school boys, as I don’t feel there are enough good books for that age level.

Find and Follow Pete on Social Media


Facebook   Website   Blog   Twitter  Amazon Author Page

Pete’s Book Trailer


Book Blurb

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model.

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher by [Pete Springer]

They Call Me Mom

Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

 Purchase Links

My book is also available in paperback or on Kindle in the United Kingdom at:



A Tale of Two Tails ~ Cathy Cade

Reblogged from Cathy Cade:

‘Two o’clock and all’s well.’
 A shivering watchman rings his bell.
 The celebrants of midnight mass
 are home abed, where’ere they dwell.

 Alone, he huddles in a doorway,
 no brown terrier by his side.
 Tess took ill on Hallows Eve.
 On All Saints Day, the old dog died.

 Snow tumbles to the narrow street,
 slid from the roof across the way
Where he’d just stood. Now on that roof
there stands a large, red, reindeer sleigh.

Continue reading at Writing Wrinkles

Ani’s Advent 2020! Victoria Zigler with Lilie and Logan

ani-002-2Dear Santa, we’ve a problem here
(Another one, it’s true)
If she’s in bed and locks the doors
Then how will you get through?

The old house had a fireplace
Complete with chimneypot,
But when she said we’d move in here
That’s something she forgot.

I know that’s how you get inside…
It must take quite some luck;
A two-legs of your size and girth?
You really should get stuck.

Do you go down feet first or head?
Or shrink small as a sprite
When you climb down the chimneypots
Each year on Christmas night?

I always try to wait and see,
But think you’ve got my number
Cause every time I fall asleep
And you come while I slumber.

But this year we’ve no chimneypot
No fireplace nor flame.
I worry, though she tells me that
You’ll still come just the same.

The windows will be closed at night,
The keyhole seems too small
To wriggle through with turkey
And a brand new tennis ball.

She says that there are certain things
That always find a way,
Like love and light and Santa Claus
And joy on Christmas Day.

But just in case you’re in a rush
And she’s tucked up in bed…
And if you really can’t get in…
Just leave things in the shed!


Dear Santa Paws,

This has been a hard year for all of us; animals and humans alike.  Mummy says even you probably had a hard year because of avirus and such.  I’m still not sure what all that avirus business is, but I know it’s bad, and I know it makes people act in bad and strange ways because they’re scared.  It all makes me sad; especially thinking about how many more people and animals will be by themselves over the holidays this year because of it.  I hope you and your elves can find ways to make them feel like they’re not so alone, even when they can’t be with the rest of their pack, or flock, or whatever.

Also, Santa Paws, can you please make sure to check carefully what address you need to use for our presents this year, because Mummy and Daddy say we have to move again soon, and at the time I’m writing this I don’t know if it will be before or after you come for your Solstice visit.  After all, though I don’t mind if I don’t get so many presents this year, I’d hate to miss any you did plan to give me.  And I have been a very good girl, so I think I deserve presents.  I’m sure you’ll agree, and that I’ll be on the nice list.  Check if you don’t believe me.

Speaking of which: can I please have another ball, a new cuddly toy with a squeaker in it, and some tasty treats – because you can never have too many of any of those things, especially balls.  Besides, I haven’t found that perfect ball to replace The Ball since my brother ate it, so the more I have to choose from the better.  You should probably bring my little brother, Logan, the same; otherwise he’ll only want mine.  I’m not sure if he should be on the nice list or not, but he does try to be good… Even if he’s not yet as good at it as he should be.  We all have our weak moments though, and he’s not quite two yet.

Oh, and you should probably bring something for Mollie and Artemis too, though I don’t know what they’d want… I know Mollie likes sticks and things to chew on though.

Lots of licks,

Lilie the Westie

Dear Santa Paws,

I’ve been a very good boy.  I hope you agree, though I worry you won’t, because Lilie doesn’t think so.  I try so hard, but there are so many rules.  Anyway, I’d worry even if she didn’t say that though, because I worry about everything.  Like how avirus made people not want to be our friends for a while, and now I don’t know if I should let them be friends or not.  The whole world is just so scary and confusing! And now we’re moving again, which makes me even more worried.  You will know where to bring our stuff, won’t you, Santa Paws? Mummy and Daddy say you will.  I do hope they’re right!

Lilie says if I’m so sure I’ll get presents, I should tell you what I want.  Well, since they’re my favourite things, mostly I want some treats and a new cuddly toy, please.  But Lilie says she wants a ball, so can I also have one of those? I like it best when we have the same.

Don’t forget to bring something for Mummy, Daddy, Mollie, and Artemis too.  I don’t know what they might want, but they’re good at sharing if they have snacks I like – just saying.

Lots of licks,

Logan the Cavapoo


Lilie and Logan are a Westie (West Highland White Terrier) and Cavapoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Toy Poodle) who live with their human Mummy, Victoria Zigler – who prefers to be called Tori – and human Daddy, Kelly.  They also share their home with a chinchilla named Mollie, and a Hermann’s Tortoise named Artemis.

To try and ensure their humans stay at optimum health, Lilie and Logan have taken up the exhausting – and only semi-successful – job of ensuring both Tori and Kelly take regular breaks from their computers for playtime and walks.  It’s also their responsibility to supervise chinchilla and tortoise playtime, and bark at every new noise – just in case it could be a threat to their pack, or a friend coming to play with them.  When they get some time to rest, Lilie and Logan like to take naps near their humans, or stretch out on the big bed the humans still keep insisting is theirs (even though everyone knows anything that comes in to the house belongs to the dogs, unless they don’t want or like it) to enjoy a good treat ball or chewie.

Lilie was featured in several poems published in a collection called “Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes” and is the star of the story “Where’s Noodles?” too.  Plus, the book “Snowlilie’s Brother” is all about both Lilie and Logan – even if they do appear under the names Snowlilie and Rascal instead.  All three of those titles are available in eBook, paperback, and audio, via a variety of online retailers, along with a load of other books Tori has published, which Lilie and Logan don’t care about due to not being in them.

Additionally, Lilie and Logan – with occasional help from other non-human members of their pack – often take over their human Mummy’s blog, where they post their own thoughts and opinions on what’s going on in their lives.  During some of these times they run a feature called “PetKid Pals” (which used to be known as “Furkid Friday” before it was changed to be more inclusive to Artemis, who hasn’t got fur) where they interview fellow writers’ pets.  They love making new friends, so if you’d like to be a guest on that, you can find out how by visiting the blog at and clicking on the ‘PetKid Pals’ tab near the top of the page.

About Lilie’s two-legs, Victoria Zigler

Lilie is a very friendly and energetic West Highland White Terrier, who makes friends wherever she goes.  She lives with her humans in a town by the ocean.  Lilie also shares her home with a degu named Joshua, and a pair of chinchillas named Mollie and Maizie, all of whom refuse to come out of their cages and play with her, much to her disappointment.  If she’s not playing with one of her toys, reminding her humans that things at dog level will become claimed by said dog, going walkies, eating, or trying to persuade the squeaky things in cages to play with her, it means she’s finally tired herself out enough to need a nap.

Lilie appears in the book “Where’s noodles?” as well as in many of the poems in “Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes” (both of which were published in 2018).  She also appears in several posts on her humans’ blog and social media accounts, most notably many of the “Furkid Friday” posts on the blog.

 Where to find Lilie and her humans

Website     Blog      Goodreads     Facebook author page

Twitter     Google+

Where’s Noodles

Author: Victoria Zigler

Narrator for audio version: Judith Bareham

“Noodles is a strange red creature with a squeaker in his tummy, who just happens to be the favourite toy of a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie.  At least, he is now, since the bushytailed squirrel and cuddly triceratops fell apart while she was playing with them – totally not her fault, by the way!

Now noodles is missing.

Lilie’s sure she left Noodles on the living room floor when she went walkies.  But when she comes home and goes to fetch him so they can have a nap together, Noodles isn’t there.

Where’s Noodles? Is he somewhere else, or is he lost forever?”

Where to find Victoria’s books:

Audible   Smashwords  Barnes & Noble   Kobo   iBooks   iTunes   Amazon UK

  Amazon US  Amazon Canada   Goodreads

covers of Zeena books

Many other books by Victoria Zigler are available from:

Audible   Smashwords

Barnes & Noble   Kobo    Chapters-Indigo

iBooks  &  iTunes    Amazon UK     Amazon AUS

Amazon US   Amazon Canada   Amazon India   Book Depository

a selection of zigler book covers

Ani’s Advent 2020! Roberta Eaton ~ All I want for Christmas …

Dear Santa,

We may have a bt of a problem. It’s my two-legs… she is up and dpwn all night like a yo=to most of the time at the moment. And when she does manage to sleep,she is as likely to be on the sofa as in the bedroom. How are you going to sneak in?

I mean, our place is tiny anyway… not much of a place to hide a large man in red, not at the best of times…but with her awake and pottering, there will be nowhere for you to hide.

She says that you will manage, even if you have to twist your continuum, whatever that means… It sounds painful to me, and I’d rather you didn’t do yourself any injuries. Lots of people need you, especially this year.

I mean, I’d like the turkey and stuff, but my best present is still having her around to share it with… so don’t twist anything for me!

Much love,

Ani xxx

All I want for Christmas …

Roberta Eaton

My mother wanted a cat. When my sisters came to visit her, she talked about cats. They all had cats and were happy to engage in lengthily discussions about the delights of cats, and the therapeutic benefits of having a pet.

In February of that year, 2014, my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Who would have that the seemingly innocuous fine needle aspiration performed by a trusted doctor would have such a significant impact on our lives?

When the call came informing me that the lump was malignant, I’d been shocked. The doctor had said it wasn’t cancer. He’d assured us that he was merely being cautious and there was nothing to worry about. I am sure my shock was secondary to my mother’s, but it didn’t feel like that at the time. In retrospect, I would have preferred more honesty from the doctor. The diagnosis wouldn’t have been so unexpected and overwhelming if he’d said nothing.

My mother had gone through months of horrible treatment and now she wanted a cat.

The problem was my oldest son didn’t want a cat or any other creature. Animals flew in the face of his obsessive-compulsive disorder (“OCD”) which involved a fear of germs and contamination.

But my mother wanted a cat, and she’d been ill and needed uplifting. What to do about the cat?

Fate decided to intervene and on the morning of the 16th of December, my youngest sister arrived with a kitten. The poor little thing had been found living with its mother and siblings in a parking lot outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

What could I do? We couldn’t turn the kitten away and my mother took to her immediately. So, we hid the kitten in my parent’s cottage and left for a Christmas party, taking Gregory with us.

After lunch at the Christmas party, I thought I’d better let Greg know we were going home to a cat. It was a mistake to tell him at the party and ended up with us leaving early and taking an extremely upset child home.

Neither of my parents, nor the cat, made an appearance that evening and by the following morning, Greg had formulated his plan of defense and the negotiations about where the cat was allowed and what she could do began. She was only allowed in the cottage and not the house and wasn’t allowed to do anything that infringed on Greg’s lifestyle.

The following week, we took the kitten, by then named Push-Push, to the vet for her injections and a general health inspection. A few months later we took her to be spayed. Greg had become used to the cat by this point and there was grudging acceptance of her existence, although even to this day, he doesn’t have anything to do with her.

Around the time that Pushy was spayed, my sister arrived with another abandoned kitten. Smudge had been found in a run-down house occupied by drug addicts. The mother and her six kittens were struggling to survive on a diet of left-over pizza. Smudge is a short-legged cat and is also a tortoise shell. She was in a much greater state of neglect, strangely enough, than Pushy was although she was living in a house and Pushy was living in a car park.

Smudgey also had a trip to the vet. She had midges in her ears and had to have a treatment programme, but her hearing was not impacted, and she is fine now.

Pushy has ended up being a time share cat. I have her 50% of the time and my dad has her the rest of the time. Smudge is a one-man cat. She follows my dad around like a puppy and cries when he goes out and leaves her.

This is the story of our Christmas and Easter cats, both of whom have brought a lot of happiness into our lives.

My mother is now in officially in remission as her treatment ended in August 2015.

About the author

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Find and follow Roberta Cheadle Eaton

Twitter    Facebook    Blog    Goodreads    Website

Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s Books from:

TSL Books    Lulu     Amazon UK

While the Bombs Fell

TSL Publications     Lulu

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Through the Nethergate

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Robbie also writes as Robbie  Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at

Ani’s Advent 2020! Fiyero, Idina and Trent P. McDonald

Dear Santa, she is way behind!

I’ve seen no Christmas shopping, but I think she’s gearing up for Christmas… getting in the festive spirit or something. The bags under her eyes would do as overflow sacks for Santa and Rudolph will be out of a job if her face gets any redder. She’s quiet at present… apart from the constant barking. I think you two-legs call it snoring…

Let’s just say that her ‘ho, ho, ho’ has been more of a ‘oh, oh, ergh…’ and that’s without the other strange noises she’s been making. Though the less said about those the better…

But she promises the tree will go up and there will be things underneath it after you have been. She says I’ve been a good girl…without me even asking her for a recommendation… ’cause I’ve been looking after her and keeping her feet warm.

Merchandise ~

Well, what else can I do when she looks more like the Hogfather’s replacement than Mother Christmas?

Ah wel, she’s never let me down yet at Christmas. And, if she is too poorly for Christmas shopping, at least she can’t buy any of those silly antlers or ears.

As long as she can get a turkey…

Much love,

Ani xxx

Fiyero, Idina and the eternal problem of precedence…

Hi Ani! It is us, Fiyero and Idina!

You mean Idina and Fiyero…

I’m the oldest, so….

You’re the ugliest, so… I’m the Alpha. My name goes first. Period.

Yeah, you’re the Alpha, so you deserve special treatment. Right. What I think is… hey! Stop biting my leg! See, Ani, what I have to deal with?

Hurmph. See, Ani, what I have to deal with? Males. Hurmph.

Anyway, the reason we are writing is because we know that you are the Ball Master, with the One Ball to Rule Them All! And I…

What? That’s not why…

As I was saying, great Ball Master, my Mom and Dad had set up this tree looking artificial thing and were sitting watching it and I brought my ball over. It wasn’t quite the One Ball…

Fiyero, it was disgusting!

..but it is well loved, and black and lovingly covered with my drool.

Too much information!

Anyway, my parents, what you call my two-legs, and I were playing and all was good…

No, it wasn’t.

…until Idina came and took it away. I dare not try to get it from her.

I’m the Alpha.

After a minute, she put it in her crate. Her crate! I will not go into a crate, any crate, and not hers if I ever did.

You won’t go in my crate because I am Alpha, and since being Alpha, I have my own space in the house, unlike any other animal…

Anyway, she later left the room, so I snuck in and stole, I mean, rightfully took, my ball back. So my question, oh Ball Master, is that is it a sin against Dogdom to steal a ball and make it inaccessible while it was in play?

Ball is an outside only game! You know that!

OK, let’s go outside, and I’ll show you…

Ha! You couldn’t hurt a fly…

Ouch, quit biting my back! I thought this was supposed to be an outside game as well!

Not for me. I’m Alpha.

OK, OK, you are Alpha. Is that better?

Right. Now if you are done with your silliness, we can actually get down to the business of this call.

Right. Anyway, Ani, Dad, my male two-leg, finally let us on the computer so we could wish you a very merry Christmas.

Good Boy, Fiyero. Ha! And we would like to wish your two legs a happy Holidays.

May you have a wonderful New Year,

Full of chasing!

And Ball


And Cuddles

And Love.

Fiyero and Idina
Idina and Fiyero!!!

trentAbout their Two-legs, author Trent P. McDonald

I never decided what I wanted to do when I grew up. I compose and play music, draw and paint, take a lot of pictures, and yes, I write. I’ve written a couple of books that are sitting on my shelf waiting to go out and I write a new short story almost every week, which I often post on my blog, I’ve collected some of the best short stories I’ve written and put them out as “Seasons of Imagination”.

I also like to eat, so I work as a computer nerd during the day while I figure out what it is I really want to do.

If you really need details, I was born and raised in Ohio by the shore of beautiful Lake Erie and now split my time between mountainous New Hampshire and the coast of Massachusetts.

One thing to know about me is that I hate to write bio-blurbs in the third person.

Find and follow Trent

Trent’s World Blog Amazon author page Twitter@trentpmcd

Find Trent’s books on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle

Towards the Light” and “The Mad Quest” are two fast paced, farcical Fantasy novellas. With visible winks and nods to the great Fantasy works that came before, but with a few unexpected twists, these two stories are light-hearted valentines to those classic works of the past; love notes but with pokes in the ribs and “bunny-ears” behind the head fun.

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The Fireborn

In the shadowy area where myth and history collide, an unlikely hero is forced to save the world from an ancient Celtic curse. Dr. Elliot Everett-Jones knows that shadowy area well, having spent most of his life exploring its dimensions as given by a host of unreliable sources and imaginative speculation. Some would say he daydreams over the improbable plots of second-rate Romantic era authors. These fantasies, however, come to life after the discovery of the Cauldron of the Dead. When the Cauldron produces the evil fireborn, Elliot is forced to confront an army of these mythic undead with nothing but his obscure knowledge and the hope of finding the legendary Lady of the Lake to give him Author’s sword. Even more frightening is the idea that he might have to confront his ex-wife, Eleanor. “The Fireborn” is part joyful romp through history, myth and legend, and part fast paced adventure set in modern England and New York. The entire book, though, revolves around Elliot’s relationships with a large variety of characters. These relationships form the key that may unlock the mystery or lead to utter defeat.

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seasons-final-jpg-72dpi-469x750Trent P. McDonald’s Seasons of Imagination contains an eclectic mix of stories covering many places, times and even different genre, yet they all hold one thing in common, they are all about people. Be they silly, serious or speculative, all of the stories are about us. What makes us tick? Why do we say the things we do? Why do we react as we do?

So whether it seems the stories are exploring outer or inner space, in reality they’re always exploring the human space.

Here is an invitation to open the page and come with me to explore the Seasons of Imagination

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The Halley Branch

An evil 300 years in the making. A trap set 150 years in the past.

The day should have been a normal “family day” at the Hawkins’ Mausoleum, but a premonition followed Trevor into the crypt. To make matters worse, he couldn’t shake his morning vision of a dead woman draped in a funeral-shroud.

After rescuing a girl trapped in the tomb, repressed memories forced him to reevaluate everything. Was his extended family a cult with roots going back to America’s colonial past? Was the evil Benjamin Halley still stalking his tomb after 150 years? Was there any truth to the Power described by the family’s patriarch, Miles Hawkins?

Trevor realized that he was being manipulated and drawn into a trap set in the 19th century, and feared that everyone around him had already been ensnared. Who could he trust? The members of his own family’s Branch, The Bradford’s, like his cousins Bill or Stan? Perhaps members of the Hawkins Branch, such as the beautiful but jaded Amelie? The one Branch he knew not to trust was the extinct Halley Branch.

But the Halley’s were the ones who were welcoming him with open, if dead, arms.

Available via Amazon

Buy your copy of the Halley Branch in Paperback :US UK FR IT DE

…or for Kindle: US UK FR IT DE CA AU IN

Ani’s Advent 2020! And Then We Were Eleven ~ Betsy and Deborah Jay

Dear Santa, here’s my Christmas list,
It’s just about that time,
And as an Indie writer
Thought I’d submit mine in rhyme.
I know you’re overworking
And your mailbox must be full,
So maybe a poetic list
Might have that extra ‘pull’?

I’d like to say that I’ve been good,
But that’s not up to me…
So could I have some nice reviews…
Some stars to top the tree?
I know it’s not that simple
As folks have to read them first,
And lugging all those books around
For you must be the worst!

So maybe you’d get Amazon
To do the decent thing…
Delivering the books for you…
Think of the joy they’d bring!
You wouldn’t have to carry them
Or break poor Rudolph’s back
With all those heavy volumes
That you’re hauling in that sack!

My third request of course you know;
To bring a little cheer…
Could you arrange that everyone
Gives Indie books this year?
Would it be too much trouble
If a few of them were mine?
(I won’t forget the usual…
The mince pies and the wine…)

But while we’re on the subject
Think of other Indies too…
The artists and musicians
And the illustrators who
All work with so much passion
In the small hours of the night
To share their own creations
And bring their art to light.

So many Indie artists
Working hard to share their vision!
It would be nice if you could
See your way to make provision…
So Santa dear, if we have earned
A crumb of approbation
Please fill your sleigh this Christmas
With Indie imagination.


Much Love,

Ani xxx

And Then We Were Eleven (or The Eleventh Day of Christmas?)

Betsy and Deborah Jay

Hi everyone, and thank you Ani for inviting us to be a part of your Advent Calendar.

My name is Besty, and I’m very excited about Christmas this year with my new big family. Last year I was in what I thought was my furever home, but when that funny stay-at-home thing happened in March, my mini-mum, who doesn’t cope well with changes in routine, had a bit of a meltdown, and then naturally so did I – I couldn’t stop barking!

And so, I came to stay at this new house – until things went back to normal, you understand – with this exciting big pack, and I fitted in so well and was so happy all my two-legs parents agreed it would be best if I stayed permanently. My mini-mum comes to visit sometimes, which is awesome, and I still love seeing her, but my new home definitely suits me best.

The garden is HUGE, it goes all around the house, so we use it as a race track. Sometimes we collide with each other, or even one of our two legs mums. I can’t repeat their language in polite company, especially when we knock one of them down, but hey, they really shouldn’t stand in the way, should they? Or are they playing skittles?


We also get to run in the forest on miles and miles of tracks. Sometimes one of my sisters, Karis, is very naughty and goes hunting (lots of deer in the Scottish Highlands), and we have to wait at the car for her to return, which she always does. Eventually.

Most of us speak with Spanish accents, although Ben the Collie has a broad Scottish twang. We all have tales of horror from our youth that we’d like to forget, but sometimes that’s difficult, though we never cease with our happy wagging about where we live now. Apparently, Ben started the rehoming trend – before that, our two legs bred dogs for other people before they saw the error of their ways.

Ben was a birthday present for a teenager. I’m sure she didn’t mean to, but she would often go out and forget about him, leaving him in his crate for hours, and sometimes forget to feed him as well. He came here as a foster dog, but every time they tried to rehome him, he would misbehave and come back. It took a while for the two legs to understand he wanted to stay – they can be a bit slow at times – but in the end they got the idea.

Our Annie came next. She’d been pulled out from under a car in Spain where someone had tossed her at 3 weeks old, to dispose of her. I don’t understand it, how can any two legs feel it’s okay to do that? There’s no doubt Annie can be a little – odd? – at times, but I guess that early trauma shaped her a bit off kilter.

Annie has been joined by other Podencos Karis and Dyson (who can hoover up anything almost before it hits the floor). Then there are the wee ones: the little white dudes Darcy, who is a Japanese Spitz, (without the Japanese accent!), and Toby terrier who has nightmares and wakes up biting if you startle him, which I try to avoid! Finally, blind Lola (cocker spaniel who used to bite, but now can’t see to aim her teeth so she’s a lot safer!) and Aise (Labrador cross. Probably).

You see how many siblings I have to play with? Apparently, they are all misfits that no other two legs would take, but ours love us just fine.

The others tell me Christmas will bring lots of food – I’m a Galgo (Spanish greyhound) and I’m always hungry, so I can’t wait! – and lots of time snuggled with our two legs beside the fire. I might just have to be careful where I poke my very long nose as it can get me in trouble, especially as it reaches right to the back of the kitchen work surfaces. I might have had a few extra meals that way. My two legs’s call it my probos-kiss, I think that’s right???

Oh, and I mustn’t forget our extra holiday guests – Corrie and Lola 2 – whose mummy and daddy have parted company and can’t keep them anymore. Everyone is hoping their mummy will get a new home where they will be allowed to go live with her, but for the moment they are staying with us. So that makes for eleven of us temporarily.

We shall see…

About the author

Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate enough to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

She has a dream day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR, due out in 2021.

Her first urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, about a Scottish water sprite, is the opening novel of the CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES. The companion short story, SPRITE NIGHT is available FREE on most ebook retailers.

Find and follow Deborah

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Amazon author page      Newsletter sign up and FREE short story

Books by Deborah Jay
Click the images or titles to go to Amazon

The Prince’s Man (The Five Kingdoms Book 1)

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

The Prince’s Son: The Five Kingdoms: Book Two

This epic fantasy can be read as a stand alone story.
Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.
Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats, and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.
And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victims’ strings with expert malice.

Desprite Measures (The Caledonian Sprite Series Book 1)

On the surface she’s a cute and feisty blonde, a slender pocket rocket fitness coach. But Cassiopeia Lake has a secret; she’s really a force of nature – an elemental.
Water sprite, Cassie, has lived undisturbed in her native Scottish loch for eons. Now, one encounter too many with modern plumbing has driven her to live in human guise along with her selkie boyfriend, Euan. It’s all going fine – until a nerdy magician captures Cassie to be an unwilling component in his crazy dangerous experiment.
Escape is only Cassie’s first challenge.
She’s smitten by her fellow prisoner, the scorching hot fire elemental, Gloria. But how do you love someone you can never touch?
And what do you do when your boyfriend starts to hero-worship your persecutor? Not to mention that tricky situation of being the prize in a power contest between two rival covens of witches.
So when Gloria’s temper erupts and she sets out to murder the magician, can Cassie keep her loved ones safe from the cross-fire, or will she be sucked into the maelstrom of deadly desires and sink without trace?

Sprite Night: A Caledonian Sprite Short Story (The Caledonian Sprite Series)

Discover a unique eco-urban fantasy with a touch of romance.
When Scottish water sprite, Cassie, volunteers for an anti-fracking protest, the last thing she expects is to find herself at odds with a druid. But with time running out for the local environment, she can’t afford to be distracted by the handsome hunk of a Highlander.
Intent on a minor act of sabotage, Cassie is totally unprepared to be caught in the cross-fire of a magical battle. Can she avert catastrophe? Or will she become the very agency of an ecological disaster?
A Caledonian Sprite short story.

THE WORLD AND THE STARS: Dazzling Science Fiction and Fantasy

Twenty-four of the most exciting voices in genre fiction bring you the world and the stars, each in their own individual way.
Stories that explore the vast grandeur of the universe, worlds close to us, worlds far in the distance. Alternate Earths, colonies in the sky, engineered worlds, mystical battlegrounds, pirate seas, underground caverns, journeys in time and across the stars.
In ONDRALUME (Tanith Lee) two sisters, Ondain and Unniet, plead with the gods to bring rain to their parched and dying land. But can their sacrifice save their people? The answer might come from another world, or from the stars.
In SUBSTITUTES, (Colin P. Davies) offworlders have come to Earth, and Melinda and her Dad are on the run. She sees patterns everywhere, in the stars or in the bubbling water of a stream — but what does this signify, and where will it lead?
GLITTERING SPIRES (Elizabeth Counihan) merges Science Fantasy and Austen sensibilities to playful effect. A young princess might well have to navigate not just the mores of her society, but also the wild, fabulous rogues and creatures that inhabit her world.
In THE BATTERY CAVERNS, (Nigel Brown) Jak is a member of a clan living within the labyrinthine tunnels of his ‘world’. Conditions are worsening, and fearsome raiding parties from other clans are scavenging for the precious battery pods. To survive, Jak must learn the true nature of his environment, and the cause of the seismic tremors that threaten to tear it apart.
In DUSKING, (Liz Williams) a young girl, Emily, longs to escape the watchful gaze of her aunt. But if she goes out into the woodland at night, to see what can be captured there, she might find something darker and more primal than she bargained for.
GOLTY’S BURROW (Paul Laville) is found on an engineered world that has suffered through a technology Armageddon. Races clash in the ruins, fighting for survival. An evolutionary stalemate needs to be broken if things are to change. But as Lorni and her twin, Prilly, discover, everything has a cost.
PERFECT FIT (Deborah Jay) follows a starship travelling to a planet to colonise. But as time passes and resources dwindle, the promised world has not been found. The ‘splicers’ rely on genetech to keep the ship going, but for how long will the inhabitants of the ship tolerate their rule?
In TEN THOUSAND MOONS OF HOWLING, (Gareth Caradoc Owens) the Warchief Olambur stands with his army and priests at the border of the mortal world and the land of the dead, Nuji Giya. To repel the rising dead, Olambur is commanded to give up the Lord of Wits, Din Yirgish. Alliances are forged and battles fought, but in a war between gods and mortals there are bound to be casualties.
THE DISAPPEARED (Sarah Singleton) presents us with Britain preparing for war, with paranoia all around. An invitation to the Blue Cat café might well be an enticing proposition, but a reporter should be careful where his curiosity might lead.
In MICRO EXPRESSIONS, (Stephen Gaskell) a woman asks to cross a border, to pay homage and pray. But is that her true purpose? A decision must be made to grant or deny her passage. Might the first tentative steps towards a better world be there for the taking?
THE COURT OF HIGH RENOWN (Cherith Baldry) takes us to a mysterious enclave, shaped by its Queen and her Court. But is everything within the castle and the surrounding forest as unreal as it seems? And is there anything beyond the fading horizon?
THE RETURN OF ODYSSEUS (Peter T. Garratt) reinterprets the events of Homer’s epic poems to tell a somewhat different tale of Odysseus’ journey, of what happened when he failed to return, and what happened when he did return.
Perhaps the harrowing WE SHELTER (Leigh Kennedy) occurs in the future, or maybe its story is universal and timeless. It is all too easy to imagine that the sick and dying are somehow less than human.
Plus many more…

A Quick Pint Down the Pig & Ferret


Scroggy? Redbone Coonhound init! Fred sez it’s a real steal – erh, catch, for such a rare and contenshosh breed. And we’re gonna make a sheep dog outta it soon enough. The genuine articools.

Watcha mean Coonhound’s a hunting doggy? Hunting, Sheeping, all the same init! And no one knows more about doggies than me and Freddy. We’ll take yer domestic dog, yer street dog, yer –
Nah, not take. Didn’t mean to imply…more like appropriate, erh…and, erh, Fred says “Terry go round up some mammals with sheepdog potenshals”. Yu’d be amazed how many mutts ‘round abouts West Pid have them potenshals…um…

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Ani’s Advent 2020! Introducing Roscoe and Friends, including Jemima Pett.

Dear Santa,

I’m a bit sleepy this morning, so I borrowed her pillow. She’s been up a lot of the night and we got to talking. She tells me that she hasn’t always just had dogs. I am aware that she has had birds… and even cats…and she still has fish… but did you know she has also had mice, a rat, hamsters… and guinea pigs?

Her first one wasn’t really a guineau pig though. He was a leprechaun. One of the Little People. He wanted to see the world and travel a bit, so came back from Ireland with her grandparents after a trip there. But as Little People cannot leave Irish soil in their own form, he changed into a guinea pig and stayed that way for years. Or sp her gandad told her.

Another guinea pig was Fred… a French rosetted female that thought she was a kangaroo and hopped everywhere. She was pretty much free range and spent a lot of time wandering around the house avoiding feet.

Now she just has me and the fish… but the birds come in through the door to see here when I don’t guard her well enough. Especially the robin… I’ve had to do a double take sometimes when we have the Christmas Tree up as we have a robin on there.

But we don’t have any guinea pigs… so we are glad to have Roscoe and his family over today…

Much love,

Ani xxx

Meet Roscoe and Family

Me and Bertie with his ramp

Hey, there, Ani!

Thanks for inviting us into your Advent calendar. I’ve never been in an Advent Calendar before. I don’t expect many of your readers have seen a guinea pig in an Advent Calendar either. I thought I say a bit about how we celebrate about now.

First off, we have a party. Well, before the party we have presents, and have our Christmas photos taken – with hats. Sometimes it’s under the Christmas tree, but it probably won’t be this year. There’s no room for it.

You see this year’s been right strange. I’m glad it’s nearly over, to be fair.

Colman refusing to wear his Christmas hat

The year started with the four of us, Bertie, Biggles, Neville and me, in our nice run in the big house in Norfolk. We had already been on holiday in Hampshire, three times to a very nice cottage, and just before Christmas we had a week in our new house. It was right bare. Mam put up some Christmas cards and a wreath on the front door just for show. Then we had Christmas as usual in our big house, with presents and Christmas pudding and everything. Guinea pig Christmas pudding, not human stuff. Couldn’t eat that, it would make me ill.

Biggles, Neville and me on the table in the garden

Then came the big transfer to Hampshire. We came down for a couple of weeks in January, then Mam left us in Norfolk and came for a couple of days in February, or was that the other way round? Anyhow, our cages were here and our big run was in Norfolk. Then the builders came and Mam took us away for most of the time because they’d be very noisy, but something happened and they were late. Mam got all stressed and eventually we had to stay here when the builders were finishing and the men moving all the furniture in. It was pretty noisy.

The next day everything went quiet. Mam told us we were in lockdown, but thank goodness we were all safe together in our new home. Well, we were fine, and in our cages, and Bertie got a ramp so he could run in and out of his (he jumped out, so Mam went with the flow). Then Mam built our runs again, and we got all settled.

And summer came, and we had a party for VE day, although it wasn’t much of a party because Bertie died that morning, all of a sudden, and we were all very sad. We settled down without him, and Mam tried to find some new pigs from the nearest rescue, but she couldnt get a home visit or something. And after months of this, she went back to Auntie Sophie in Norfolk and brought Ludo and Locksley home.

Me and Neville under the Christmas tree last year

Locksley’s a baby, and growing fast, like babies do. Ludo is young, and traumatised from his experiences. He’s taking a long time to get used to things here, but he’s started to enjoy his cuddles. I have no idea how Mam’s going to do our Christmas party, because we usually all come together for it.

So I hope you’ve had a better year than us, although we’re all safe together, so we’re lucky. Except for Bertie, who we miss, but were glad we’ve given Locksley and Ludo a good home.

This year’s Christmas photo

If you can give a home to another animal, please go to a rescue and ask – there are so many animals homeless through no fault of themselves. They’d love a nice home with you.

Here’s to a happier 2021!
love Roscoe

About Roscoe
I’m a white semi-longhaired guinea pig, and I was born on Tyneside, up North. I’ve lived with Neville for most of my life, and we were left in a flat when our family moved out, and I got very upset. The North East Guinea Pig Rescue found us, and after a while, we went by train to Norfolk with our new Mam. We’ve lived with Mam, Biggles, and Bertie since 2017. Mam reckons I must be six years old by now, which is pretty old for a guinea pig. But Colman, who refused to wear the Christmas hat for his photo, lived till he was eight, so I’m planning on beating his record. I blog each week on our website, George’s Guinea Pig World, which George started in May 2009.
we’re also on Facebook at Georgesgpworld

About Jemima Pett, Roscoe’s Two-Legs

I’ve been an independent author now for over ten years, with fifteen titles published, and plenty more in the notebook waiting to be written.

Most of my books have been for middle grade (children 9-12+) readers simply because their characters are based on my pets. The main series seems to have attracted mostly adults who like clean mystery adventures with a touch of fantasy.

My favourite genre is science fiction, but I also like other aspects of speculative fiction. My aim is to use my environmental training to create some really interesting speculative fiction to help inspire transitions in the real world.

I now live in Hampshire with my guinea pigs, the first of whom, Fred, George, Victor and Hugo, provided the inspiration for the Princelings stories.  Where Pete and the Swede came from is another story!

Find and Follow Jemima

Website   Blog   Pinterest   Goodreads   Facebook    Twitter

Youtube    Instagram    Amazon Author Page    Kobo    Barnes and Noble

Smashwords and Apple Books

Books by Jemima Pett  available via Amazon

Kobo, Barnes and Noble,  Smashwords and Apple Books

The Princelings of the East

Suitable for children age 10 to 110, The Princelings of the East started a trilogy, then turned into a series, relating the adventures of unlikely heroes Fred and George. Two innocents abroad, they solve problems caused by unintended consequences, commercial greed, and blind prejudice—and still find time to engage in troubled love affairs and nearly blow themselves up with their own inventions.


A feudal land with advanced technology that runs on strawberry juice? The Princelings world is not much like our own, except for adventure, bravery, double-dealing, and people working with their brains to try to improve life for all.
The first three books form a trilogy, and then the stories venture out into other parts of the Realms. We meet characters both charming and nefarious, unreliable and over-confident. We venture from north to south, from west back to east, and end up more or less full circle. Time and flying machines feature strongly, as do stories within stories.
With chapter illustrations by the author, this is a heartwarming set of mysteries with colourful characters suitable (in most cases) for eight years and up.

The Veridian Series

Big Pete and the Swede, more correctly known as Pete Garcia and Lars Nilsson, are asteroid miners in the far reaches of the galaxy.  The asteroid belt of the Viridian System is rich in orichalcum, a rare, very useful, and therefore extremely precious metal, which everyone wants.  The Imperium, a dominating oligarchy which masquerades as a benevolent democratic institution, wants it badly.  And after years of being happy just to trade it and leave others to do the dirty work, it wants to control it, like it does other useful things.

Planets that produce grain abundantly?  Take them over. Planets with the raw materials for plasglas? Turn them into manufactories.

The only organisation that seems to have any hope of opposing the Imperium is the Federation, and they aren’t strong enough to be everywhere at once. Besides, they have their own type of nasty dictator…

Book 1: The Perihelix

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to find Pete and Lars hold secrets of their own.  Each has been too closely mixed up with Imperium business in the past, and they want nothing to do with it.  But their pasts catch up with them, and in the first book The Perihelix, they are drawn into a chase around the Alpha Quadrant to find pieces of the Perihelix, a legendary weapon which will free the enslaved and deliver defeat to the enemies of the righteous.  Or something like that.

corsair final jpgBook 2: Curved Space to Corsair

Big Pete and the Swede, together with Maggie and Dolores, who is now a free woman, take a holiday in the miners’ new spacecraft while some building work goes on at their villa.  “Maybe ten weeks will do it,” Maggie estimates.

Dolores is training to qualify as a space pilot. Pete has had a call to his home planet, Corsair, to save them from disaster, so they set off in that direction to give Dolores more space hours, only to slight error of course which leaves them in a horrible mess.  Meanwhile the Imperium declares war on the Federation, while a little personal business by one of the senators leads him off in the direction of the Viridian System to start a canny land grab.

Guidance: 18+

Book 3: Zanzibar’s Rings

Status: writing first draft

Concerned that the asteroid belt might not hold enough orichalcum to keep them going, the Viridian System elders suggest Pete and the Swede check out the fifth planet, Zanzibar, which has twenty-four moons and a slender ring system (much like Saturn).

With the Imperium senator still sniffing around, there is trouble for Dolores who inadvertently becomes his personal chauffeuse. With the refugees from Pete’s home planet needing more resources to help them rebuild their civilisation, there are enough sparks to fuel a fire—and then the Federation and Imperium arrive to argue about the wealth of Zanzibar’s Rings.

For these and other books by Jemima Pett,

please visit and follow her author pages.



Ani’s Advent Calendar 2020! A place in her heart…

Long, long ago, my kin began to tell stories, passing down the history of our kind from dam to pup. This is the Long Memory of our kind. Your kind have it too, but more and more, you forget how to look within and read what is written there…

One story tells of when the world was still young and cold winds brought the ice that bites and freezes. Food was scarce, the pack was hungry and the old and the very young were failing. My ancestors saw the glow of fires, warm against the snow and drew close. Hiding in the shadows outside the camp, they watched as you cooked a deer and fed your people. One by one, they watched you curl beneath your furs and fall into dreaming until none remained wakeful save one young boy.

He sat motionless, leaning on a spear and gazing into the distance. My people crept closer, hiding in the deepest shadows, drawn by the smell of meat and the warmth of the flames. One female, bolder than the rest, drew closer still. The boy froze, watchful, his hand tightening on his spear, but he made no move. She crept out into the pale light, poised for flight, her yellow eyes holding the blue ones of the two-legged creature.

Slowly, very slowly, never taking his eyes from hers, the boy reached into the ashes around the fire and found a bone still rich with meat. He tossed it towards her and sat back, once more motionless.

She watched, fearful and distrustful of these strange creatures… and yet, there was something… something she did not understand… that passed between them, eye to eye. Need prevailed and she inched closer, barely moving, each pawstep taking an eternity, until she stood above the bone.

The two-legs smiled… it was a strange expression, unlike the wide grins of her own kind, yet it reassured her. She took the bone and backed away into the bushes carrying it to her young.

Night after night she returned, and night after night he fed her the scraps from the ground around the camp until she began to trust. When he hunted, she followed… and although he made no sign, he knew that she watched and left part of his kill for her. When he slept, she watched over him as if he were one of her own young.

That was the beginning. Kindness, gratitude and trust. Others followed where she led, scavenging the scraps from the camps, killing the rats that also followed where the two-legses passed and feasting on their flesh. We changed, our faces broadened and we learned your words. Your kin and mine learned to read each other’s expressions until, many years later, we lived together, guarding each other, helping each other to hunt and survive in the bleak winter of the world.

It was a relationship that helped both our kinds. Love came later, when we protected your children and you healed our ills… and it still endures.

When I was very small and still with my brothers and sisters, our mother told us the stories of our people and that, one day, the two legses would come to take us away from each other. There was no sadness in her words… it was simply what would be. But, she told us, we had to choose wisely, and choose for them, because we could see more than they knew and would know their need better than they did themselves.

Then, she came, with her boy. He was not very well… and she was tired and sad inside, though she smiled at us as we played. I recognised her straight away. I heard her telling my mother’s two-legs how she had grown up with Irish Setters and she kept watching my brother, who was all red and setterish… but I knew that she was mine to look after.

I was only very small, but I waddled over to where she was sitting on the grass, playing with a lapful of puppies. I looked deep into her heart and saw there another dog, one she had loved very much, and who had looked just like me. The same ears, the same markings, all black with a white bib and feet. I saw in her heart the memory of the first time they had met… and, like that puppy before me, I rolled onto my back by her hand and looked deep into her eyes. They sparkled and leaked… and I knew that we would be going home together.

“What shall we call her?”
“Anubis… for the black jackal in my coma-dreams.”
“We can’t… she’s a girl…”
“Then, call her Ani…”

She calls me that… and many other things… but mostly, she calls me ‘small dog’. Not because I am small, as I am not… and anyway, she has no room to talk on that score. I am just ‘smaller’ than the dog who went before and whose empty place in her heart I have filled with love.

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