The Secret Supers – A guest post from Aurora Springer.

Gargoyle Hunt, Book 3 of the Secret Supers

Danger is the last thing on Estelle’s mind when she visits the University of Oxenford for a summer course. But, mysterious thefts and shadowy figures spur her into action. With Toby five thousand miles away, Estelle and her winged horse must hunt for the culprits alone. Soon they are embroiled in a mixed bag of aliens and ancient magic. Toby’s unexpected arrival throws her into turmoil and spurs events into a climax. Under pressure to succeed, Toby is trapped in a web of deceit. The two supers have less than a week to catch the crooks and salvage his reputation.

gargoyle-coverExcerpt

Outside the entrance of the mound, the hippies were debating the alignment of the Kennett Long Barrow relative to the major axis of Stonehenge. Estelle hid a smile and stepped back to gaze at the rock entrance. She climbed to the top of the barrow in search of a quieter spot, enticed by the promise of a cool breeze and extensive view. A handful of people lounged in the grass above the entrance. Further along the mound, two middle aged women sat next to four small dogs.

Estelle strolled toward the end of the mound. The two women made an incongruous couple. The thin one had a severe black dress and long black hair framing a pale face, while the other woman had short gray curls, round pink cheeks and wore a flowery frock. Two of the dogs, miniature greyhounds, scampered over and sniffed at Estelle’s knees. She bent down to pet them.

The plump woman said, “I see you like dogs.”

“I love animals,” Estelle said, smiling at the friendly woman.

The thin woman stared at Estelle, sharp black eyes contrasting with her pale complexion. Lidding her eyes, she whispered, “I see white feathers.” She opened her eyes and asked, “Do you have a pet bird?”

With a flutter of wings, the speckled white pigeon landed on the mound nearby. “I’m not a pet,” Rockette squawked indignantly.

Hush,” Estelle sent.

“Not a pet and not a bird,” the dark haired woman said, glancing at the pigeon.

Her pink cheeked friend smiled at Estelle. “Would you like to sit down and chat for a few minutes, dearie?”

The dogs have yappy thoughts. Better find out who they are,” Rockette advised.

If the mare could hear the dogs, Estelle guessed they must be Farleon animals. She sat on the grass and the dogs lay down and licked her bare legs. “Thanks. I’m visiting Oxenford for a summer course.”

“One of our American cousins?” the thin woman asked.

Nudging her companion with an elbow, the plump woman said, “I’m Misty Tibbit and my partner is Dot Farthingale.”

“Estelle Wright. I’m from Atalanta in the United States.” She petted the two dogs curled beside her. These women and their Farleon animals were her kindred.

The pigeon waddled closer.

“And who is the bird that isn’t?” Dot asked in her astute fashion.

“My companion is a mare called Rockette,” Estelle said, gesturing at the pigeon.

I can talk to the dogs,” Rockette announced. “They like to hunt Zarnoths.”

Misty gestured to the small greyhounds. “Meet Wolfie, Molly, Patch and Catch.”

Sighing with relief, Estelle said, “I could use some Farleon friends. There’s trouble in Oxenford. Mysterious thefts and living stone gargoyles. I guess they might be Zarnoth creations.”

The two older women exchanged glances, and Dot mumbled, “Ill dreams troubled me two nights ago.”

“Never mind the dreams,” Misty said. “The local newspaper was brim full of the university’s losses. Along with a mite of speculation about the criminals.” Fondling the ears of the dog sitting beside her, Misty nodded at Estelle. “We’ll see what we can find out.” She rummaged in her handbag, pulled out a pen and a scrap of paper and scribbled a note. Handing the paper to Estelle, she said, “Call us if you need help. We live in Hodgecombe Cottage, Little Wickham. It’s not ten miles from Oxenford.”

“Thanks!” Trusting her new Farleon friends, Estelle offered her phone number in exchange.

Secret Supers Series

Teen superhero, Starrella, and her flying horse combat alien crooks.

Super Starrella, Book 1

Starrella Falls, Book 2

Gargoyle Hunt, Book 3

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Complete List of Aurora Springer’s Books: http://auroraspringer.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html

 

 

Author Bio

Aurora Springer is a scientist morphing into a novelist. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and discovers science facts in her day job. She has invented adventures in weird worlds for as long as she can remember. In 2014, Aurora achieved her life-long ambition to publish her stories. Her works are character-driven romances set in weird worlds described with a sprinkle of humor. Some of the stories were composed thirty years ago. She was born in the UK and lives in Atlanta with her husband, a dog and two cats to sit on the keyboard. Her hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like gardening, watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.

Media links:

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Blog

 

Sunday Snippet, A Modest Proposition, ctd.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel. This week continues their dialog

 

An Unexpected Visitor and a Proposition.


“I see. You aren’t expecting me to do anything … improper, compromising. I still desire marriage, although not with Lord Hartshorne.”

Lucinda had sat silent through this exchange, “Miss Rachel, please. This isn’t becoming and I’m afraid you’ll live to regret it.”

“I know Lucy, but to be honest, Lord Bromley warned me that I was cutting it too fine when I first wrote to him.” Rachel stared at the ceiling for a moment, and then at Lord Bedlington. “On the understanding that I shall simply be a friend, or at least do my best to be a friend, I’ll accept your offer.”

“That’s the spirit. You won’t regret it, and my Charity will be pleased to see her new nephew at Almack’s. Get her mother to show you the town.”

“Why not yours?”

“Ah, well, she prefers that Rupert not get married. Afraid he might break the entail. However, what we’d do with his estates is beyond me. It’s one thing if he doesn’t produce an heir. Entirely another if he doesn’t try.”

“I see. There is a complication, Lord Bromley expects me this week.”

“Not a problem, I’ll frank your letter. Um … I have one of my own to send to the city, so if you write yours quickly, I’ll see that it gets sent today.”

“To Charity?”

“Why would you write … I’m sorry, mine’s to her.”

“As it should be. Where did you find paper?” Rachel rose, followed immediately by Lord Bedlington.

“The library, in a desk below a stuffed eagle.”

“All those creatures, I’m not sure I’ll feel comfortable writing while they watch.” None the less, Rachel found her way to the library and ignored the animals’ unblinking stare while she wrote a short letter to her sponsor, to let him know that she would be later than expected, but would arrive, in style, escorted by a member of the ton.


It’s probably obvious that the title, “A Formulaic Romance” refers obliquely to chemistry. There’s another arcane reference in the text. Anyone caught it yet?  It’s sort of, maybe, perhaps, important, given what Rupert worked on in the past.

The unusual firearm shown in the featured image is another clue.

The Art of Deception 42

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

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This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  Last week Alice sat, nervous, in her uncle’s office while he reviewed her work. Pleased with it, this week he elevates her to active status and introduces the agent with whom she will work.


“Yes, I’m assigning you to work with one of our best agents, Roderick, Lord Fitzpatrick; he’s just back from a long stint in the Americas.”

“Sounds delightful, is he handsome?”

“I’m sure you’ll like him; just the man to squire you around the assemblies; one of the leading tulips of the ton, a real nonesuch. Odd thing is, he also reported finding a French agent, in Bristol and then Bath; the agent hit him so hard that he ended up in the hospital overnight; do you think it was the same one?”

Alice pondered his words for a few moments, and said, “Might be, he was … rather obvious about it.”

“Funny thing that, Lord Roderick said she was-”

The servant knocked on the door.

“Come in.”

He and Lord Roderick entered.

Alice stood and pointed, “You!”

Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.


My apologies for creative punctuation.

promo_dec_16

Lots of great books and one of mine (Frankenkitty)
Still working on a cover idea – hard even though I’m a dashed good photographer (if I say so myself). That and editing the manuscript to put more description/reaction into it. (not to mention a few thousand words).

 

first_motorcycle_and_gasoline_vehicle
This is a little later (1880’s), but shows the first gasoline vehicle. Note that it’s a motorcycle. I doubt Herr Benz wore “All The Gear All The Time,” but then he didn’t have to worry about those new fangled automobiles on his roads.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstein’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

Like poor Cecelia, ” The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.

I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere Miss_devere_1 This is a fun read.

Get Free Stuff and try out my landing page. There are three free complete short stories (including an ARC for Frankenkitty) available after you’ve gone through the hoops.

Turkey Pie

Meat pies are a traditional way to finish up with leftovers. Leftovers such as turkey.

Step 1) (Day before) boil the bones and less desirable parts of meat. (back & wings). I break it up and cover it with water. Then I boil for 4-5 hours until the fluid is dark and slightly viscous. Doesn’t that sound delightful? That’s the collagen dissolving to give the stock body.

Step 2) Filling. Precook by boiling two or three potatoes. Do it with the skin on. I’ll also cut up three or four carrots and add them to the mixture. Once they are cooked, drain and let cool (you can overlap this step with making the rest of the filling).

In a deep frying pan saute (tablespoon olive oil, tablespoon +- butter) two onions and 5-6 stalks of celery. Cut up the turkey while these are cooking. Add about 1 1/2 cups of the cooled stock to the frying pan and start the reduction process. Put the turkey and carrots (if they’re done) in the frying pan while you’re reducing. Reduce the stock by about 1/2.

Step 3) Crust. 2 cups flour, 1 stick margarine, teaspoon salt, teaspoon sage, teaspoon thyme leaves (I suppose you could used “mixed spice” in the UK). Cut the margarine into the flour mix. Then when you’re ready to roll it out mix in about 1/3 cup cold water. I add the water in smaller amounts as it’s easy to add more and dashed hard to remove it. Divide into 2/3 and 1/3.  Roll the 2/3 out and line a 9 inch glass pie dish.

Step 4) Assembly.  De-skin and cut up 1/2 the potatoes and place on the bottom crust. Add the rest of the filling from the frying pan. Then skin and put the remaining potatoes on top. Roll out the remaining crust and cover/seal with the lower one.

Bake at 375 F (210 C – slightly hotter than moderate) for about an hour. Since fluids may leak from the pie, it is a good idea to put the pan on a baking sheet with sides to catch the liquid before it messes up the oven.

Enjoy.

Sunday Snippet, A Modest Proposition.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, this week George makes a somewhat improper proposition to Rachel.

 

An Unexpected Visitor and a Proposition.


At mid-day, Rupert was still electrolysing his salt, but Lord Bedlington sought a repast. He found his poetic meanderings dashed exhausting. Still, he thought, Charity would approve of his doggerel, as long as it was addressed to her. At least he hoped she would, and not criticise his construction, spelling and how the verses scanned.

Rachel and Lucinda joined him. Never one for subtlety he asked, “Lady Hayforth, may I inquire about your station in life?”

“Do you mean my estate? My father left it heavily mortgaged, and under an unusual entail.”

“Indeed?”

“Yes, I have only a short time to live there, unless I’m married. Then it goes to my second cousin. He’ll get it anyway if I die without issue.”

“I see. It is unusual to leave it to a female. I suppose there were reasons. So I presume there is some impetus for you to marry.”

“You might say that. I hope you aren’t …”

He backed away, “No, no, my dear lady, I’m happily engaged. Just getting the head of the family’s approval … and checking up on him. That said.”

“No. I know what you’re hinting. I barely know him and he seems such a strange, shy man.”

“Dreadfully sorry, I think you misunderstand me. What do you know of Rupert’s history?”

“Nothing. Until yesterday, I was completely unaware of Lord Hartshorne’s existence, and I’m certain he had never heard of me. Why?”

“Ah. There is a side to him of which you are unaware. He cut quite a dash about town … until, um, he met Antonia Green. She swept him off his feet and left him in the gutter. Found someone even richer. Pity rather, but he’s well out of it.”

“So? What is my concern in this?”

“He hasn’t looked at a young woman since. Retired to the country and pursues his chemical experiments. Alone in splendid isolation.”

“Surely you’re not proposing that I do something improper?”

“Not at all. It’s just if you could befriend him … This is dashed awkward, but I understand you’re not exactly flush with the ready.”

“No. I have five hundred pounds and expect little more.”

“And you hope to find a husband on that? It is a long shot, my dear. The odds … not to my liking.”

“I know. There simply isn’t much of an alternative. Five hundred pounds is not enough to live on and it won’t make my life as a governess or companion any easier. So for better or ill, a hunt for a husband it is.”

George nodded his head. This chit had her priorities straight. “Well, then, I have a very simple proposition for you. Befriend my nephew, and get him to London. Help me to turn his head to thoughts of ladies and marriage. In return I shall, ah, grease the skids as it were.”


The featured image is a “toad crossing” sign from the peak district – near Hayfield and the Kinder Scout. Nothing to do with the plot, except it’s not far from the scene of the action.

The Art of Deception 41 London

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

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This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  After the events in Bath, Alice has made her way to her uncle’s in London. Things are about to take a more serious turn.


Deep in the war office, Lord Grey gave his niece a baleful glare from the other side of his desk; then he resumed reading Mrs Hudson’s report on her as well as Miss Aldershot’s. Alice sat and watched him, nervously clenching her hands.

She had arrived in London the night before, and despite the enthusiastic greeting from her Aunt Margaret and Cousin June, there was a distance between her and her uncle; in the morning, he had proposed they go for a walk. Ostensibly, it was to work off his gout, and to show her the landmarks. In reality, it was to go to his office and evaluate her performance.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, he looked up and smiled at her, “Mrs Hudson speaks most highly of you and -”

“And?” Alice sat on the edge of her chair.

“What happened in Bath can stay in Bath; I see you put your escape and evasion training to good use.”

Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.


My apologies for creative punctuation.

Still working on a cover idea – hard even though I’m a dashed good photographer (if I say so myself). That and editing the manuscript to put more description/reaction into it. (not to mention a few thousand words).

The Telegraph enters into this story at several points. Not Morse’s electric one, but the optical telegraph. More is written about the Napoleonic “semaphore telegraph” than the British one. But Murray’s six-panelled construct linked Britain together during the war.

brit_tel_op

It was probably not as easy to read at a distance as the French semaphore system, but with six panels and 64 symbols (two to the sixth), it would have allowed relatively high rates of information flow. A message could have gone from Bristol to London in about fifteen minutes. Given that a dispatch rider would have taken all day, that is a rather significant improvement. There were several units on top of the Admiralty building and you could, for a consideration, see them in action and have the details of the mechanism explained to you.

In typical British fashion it was dismantled after the war and largely forgotten.

 

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstein’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

Like poor Cecelia, ” The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.

I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere Miss_devere_1 This is a fun read.

Get Free Stuff and try out my landing page. There are three free complete short stories (including an ARC for Frankenkitty) available after you’ve gone through the hoops.

Sunday Snippet, Secrets Revealed.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

This snippet continues their story. George and Rupert have wandered to the lab.

An Unexpected Visitor and a Proposition.


Meanwhile, George accompanied his nephew to the laboratory.

“You’ll have to leave once I start the process,” Rupert said, “but you can wait while the salt comes up to heat.” He stirred a coal fire into life below a crucible, then bent over and blew into it. “It will take a few minutes, and I presume your visit isn’t simply a social call.”

“It is, and it isn’t. You can be the first to give me felicitations … What is that smell?”

“Or as head of the family I could forbid it. Melody, I presume?”

“Charity, Melody was last year and I’m sorry to say we didn’t click. Lord Broughton’s new wife, now. I suppose I should have said ‘glad to say we didn’t click.’ Charity’s much nicer than Lady Broughton.”

“I suppose I can approve. You’re not expecting me to attend the wedding?”

“Ah, well … it would be generous. Indeed, somewhat expected of you. Show good form and what not. Also Mother sends her greetings. Wishes you all the luck at continuing your experiments. Asked me to tell you not to hurry to the village.”

“You know, when she visited here last year, she spent her time measuring for curtains and counting the spoons.”

“It’s your own fault, Gas. If you’d make a push and break the entailment, it would be a big weight off my shoulders. As much as I love her, my dear Mater can be trying at times.”

Rupert didn’t reply so George continued, “You’re not still pinning for what’s her name?”

“Antonia? … No, not really. However, I swore not to let myself be hurt like that again. I’m done with females.”

“I see, and this pleasant young chit, you have staying here?”

“Her carriage broke down last night. I couldn’t turn her away, could I?”

“I suppose not, but you seemed to enjoy her company this morning. What was that stuff you put in the saucer?”

“Sodium … Don’t read more into it than you have. I’ve offered the carriage-wright a hundred pounds to finish repairs today. She’ll soon be off to London or whatever. Good riddance.”

“I see.”

“What are you hinting at? That I ought to marry her just to cut you out of the inheritance. She’s a pretty enough chit, I’ll warrant you, but ignorant and untutored. Not only that but …” Rupert couldn’t finish his sentence.

“But what? Besides, if it’s just ignorance, you can fix it. She’s not dull, is she?”

“I wouldn’t know … she did enjoy my demonstration. The salt’s almost molten again. You really must leave now. These gases, they’re not good for you.”

“I know. More to the point, I can see the effects on you. That blonde streak is dashed attractive, but your face and that hoarse cough.”

Rupert ignored the persiflage and after donning his goggles and then his coat, opened a window. George shivered in the cold breeze. Rupert said, “I’m going to connect the voltaic pile. Best if you’re not here George.”

“As you say Gas.” George turned to leave.

“And I wish you wouldn’t use that name. My name is Rupert, in case you’ve forgot.”

“I don’t know.” George sniffed the fumes that were beginning to emanate from Rupert’s apparatus.  “Gas seems so fitting. Don’t kill yourself, nephew.”

“I won’t.”

After he left the room, George quickly found Mr Brindle. “Edward, can you send a page to the carriage-wright?”

“Sir?” Mr Brindle’s austere tone of voice reflected his disapproval of George’s over-familiarity. If he noticed it, George ignored it.

“Rupert said he’d paid the man to finish as soon as is possible. I’d like to delay that if I may.”

Edward gave him one of his rare smiles, “I see, Sir. It will be my pleasure. Mrs Hobbes and I were speculating last night. Are you certain you don’t wish to inherit this house?”

“Good Lord no. I have enough to manage as it is, and … to be honest, there are better ways to restore harmony in the family than waiting for Rupert to die. I mean, dash it all, he looked after me when we were at school together. Can’t let him keep making a hash of things.”

Edward bowed, his countenance restored to its usual impassivity. “I’ll see that the carriage repairs are delayed, My Lord. You’ll advance the needful?”

“Of course. Thank you and I suppose it is unnecessary for me to suggest that you converse with Mrs Hobbes? See if there is some way for her to encourage this gift of providence. Even if they don’t click, which granted is highly unlikely, I hope we can get him thinking about marriage again. At least out and about – meeting members of the fair company.”

“I shall attend to it, Sir. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Edward bowed, and then made his way to the servant’s quarters in a rapid, but surprisingly dignified pace.

George watched him depart, and then went to the library in search of writing material. Charity would be waiting to hear from him. He felt the gift or maybe the curse of poetry coming upon him. He found a writing desk, pulled out the chair and sat on it. As he looked up at one of the stuffed birds for inspiration he said, “Pity there aren’t many words that rhyme with Charity. Where she named Jane, Susan or even Mary, I could really spread myself. Still, I think she’ll be pleased to hear that good old Gas agrees to our wedding. Even if it will take blasting powder to get him there.”

He started writing, then paused and added, “Not that it would have mattered if he’d objected.”


Entailments were (and I suppose still are) a way of ensuring that property stays in the family. The entailment Rachel is labouring under is somewhat unusual – to an almost fictitious degree. However, the entailment of the estate for Rupert was a common form. Without male heirs, the estate would become the property of some (often distant) male relative.