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Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold – FREE until September 7th

Gumboot & Gumshoe Series (Adult Black Comedy)

Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold FREE on Amazon until September 7th

This book can be read as a stand alone story… it helps to read the first three books in the series to understand the characters and world of Seal Island, but you don’t have to with this one.

Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold – inspired by the true story of Brother XII, Canada’s first cult leader. The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series: Book Four

A cop, a pig, & a sorcerer know all that glitters is gold.

A pot-bellied pig and a Jersey cow with a nose for trouble… A retired RCMP Sergeant and her partner, a drug sniffing German shepherd afraid of crowds, determined to preserve law and order on an island where no one takes any guff including the blind old lady who just got flashed and the young mother bothered by a ghost in the attic.

What could possibly go wrong?

Amazon.com   Amazon.ca   Amazon.uk   Amazon.de  Amazon. australia


Interview with fellow equine writer Carly Kade on horses and writing

I had a great time doing an interview on Melissa Banczak’s BooksCubed channel with fellow Western Romance author, Carly Kade, about writing in the equine genre. The link is below, but if you love horses and hot romances, cowboys and cowgirls, do check out Carly’s books on Amazon. Click here to view the youtube podcast. or on Apple for the podcast.


An excerpt – Chasing Santa – coming soon

Here is an excerpt for Chasing Santa, the final book in The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series.

I am hard at working writing the final installment in the series. All good things must come to an end and I thought a Christmas story would be perfect. After that, thanks to reader requests, I will be working on a sequel to The Silver Spurs Home for Aging Cowgirls.

Enjoy!

 

The Santa Claus Blues

Chasing Santa. Copyright Laura Hesse 2020. All rights Reserved.

December 10

 

A small skiff made its way to shore. Salt water sloshed against the little rowboat’s sides as the man inside it, a jolly black-haired blue-eyed fellow dressed in a red velvet Santa suit, rowed as hard as he could against the out-going tide. Sweat beaded his forehead. His breath was a frosty stream in front of his face. His cheeks were rosy from the cold.

Behind him an old catamaran tugged gently on its anchor, far enough out in the Strait of Georgia that its hull wouldn’t end up marooned once the tide finished receding. Its sail was wrapped tightly against the main mast, the rigging still in the windless night. A solitary light glowed inside the round cabin windows.

The stars twinkled overhead, the Milky Way a bedazzling display of flickering lights against the rolling frigid clouds of fog that drifted over the water.

The boat’s hull crunched against gravel as it hit a small spit on the beach in front of a massive two-level cedar log home. Huge square pillars held up the shake roof that covered an entertainment sized deck which overlooked the strait. Patio bi-fold doors opened onto the great expanse. A stone fireplace and built-in gas barbecue walled in one side.

The wiry man dressed as Santa Claus jumped out of the skiff, his black gumboots splashing in the surf as he tugged the boat onto shore.

He reached inside the velvet overcoat and pulled out a red hat and fake white beard. He donned the last of his costume and then fished a large black plastic garbage bag out from under the seat. The bag smelled faintly of fish.

With a grin on his face, he tugged on the black leather belly bag that held the tools of his trade, and with a spring in his step, walked across the beach to the house.

Christopher Nicholas thought it fit that he assumed the role of Santa Claus to liberate the burdens of the rich to aid the poor; namely, Christopher and his daughter, Sam.

Sam was the apple of his eye. She was a resilient kid; he mused as he strode quickly across the deck and peered into the house.

Inside the house, vaulted ceilings gave way to a wall to wall window view of the ocean behind him. A plush white Italian leather sectional couch filled the living room. Original oil paintings of green forests and Haida carvings hung on the walls. Interspersed on the tables were glass vases filled with silver and gold Christmas balls. Fronds of plastic ivy wound its way up the staircase, red silk bows tied to each spindle. A tall imitation Christmas tree stood against one wall, its golden lights casting a soft glow around the room. There were already several Christmas presents wrapped in festive paper piled around the base.

Chris wished he could afford a house like this. He desperately wanted Sam to have a bedroom of her own again. All he needed was another hundred grand and he could buy a two-bedroom house on the northern tip of the island. His daughter could go to school, maybe make some friends. He could get her a dog too. That would be fun.

Chris walked over to the far side of the deck and leaned forward over a potted Japanese Maple.

He spotted what he was looking for, an alarm panel. It was on the wall beside the side door.

He tugged a pair of tiny opera glasses from his belly purse and examined the alarm.

“God bless these islanders,” he grinned, noting that the alarm wasn’t on. That meant the homeowners were home, asleep in their beds upstairs, thinking the cheap door locks were security enough.

Chris slipped quietly around the house to the side door and expertly popped the lock without difficulty.

Once inside, he took off his gumboots and left them by the door. He crept through the house, slinking upstairs, the murmur of velvet the only sound he made as he liberated the sleeping woman and man in the master bedroom of their jewellery. Chris noticed the small black safe tucked away on a shelf behind some folded t-shirts in the walk-in closet right away and smothered a laugh.

He retreated down the stairs and placed the safe by the side door. It wasn’t heavy, but its metal corners would slice through his loot bag.

Chris strolled into the kitchen and rifled through the cupboards. He found some boxes of sweet and salty popcorn and a bag of chocolate bars, plus a tin of honey roast peanuts. They all went into the big black bag.

He then went to the fridge and pulled some chicken breasts and a frozen pizza out of the freezer. These along with three packs of grape juice, a head of lettuce, a carton of milk, a block of cheddar cheese, and two apples, also went into the bag.

Upon returning to the living room, the tall Santa Claus bent over and examined the presents under the tree, lifting each one and shaking it. The smaller presents looked like they might contain jewellery or some other expensive item. These went directly into the bag.

“Santa,” a childlike voice gasped behind him, “you’re early.”

He spun around.

An impish three-year-old girl with big round eyes, a snotty nose, and wisps of curly blond hair, regarded him with wonder.

“Shhhh,” he whispered, glancing down at the medium sized present in his hand. The name on the tag was Brittany. Chris quickly scanned the tags on the smaller presents inside the bag.

“Hey, you’re supposed be asleep, Brittany,” Chris continued.

“You know me,” she squeaked. “You are Santa.”

“I am,” the fraudulent Santa muttered, pulling a small red and white candy cane from his pocket and handing it to the child. This was his last one. He’d have to stock up again the next time he and Sam went shopping.

“Can you keep a secret?”

Brittany nodded, an angelic look on her face.

“My elves made a mistake and mixed up the presents. I have to take these back to my workshop so we can deliver the right presents to the right Brittany,” Chris lied. “Don’t you worry, I’ll be back with yours on Christmas.”

“’Kay,” she muttered, sucking on the candy cane.

“Off to bed now,” he told her, resisting the urge to yell ‘ho, ho, ho’ lest he wake the child’s parents.

Brittany grinned and ran upstairs.

Chris breathed a sigh of relief, put Brittany’s present back under the tree, and bolted for the door. He slipped on his gumboots, picked up the safe, and ran back to the skiff carrying the safe under one arm like a football.

Santa tossed his bag of loot and the safe into the boat and pushed away from shore.

Chris smiled as he put his back into his oar strokes, the tide helping the skiff along as he rowed quickly back to the boat.

Brittany reminded him of Sam when she was that age, full of wonder and trust. That was before he lost his job, his house, and his marriage, in that order. The only thing he had hung onto was the catamaran he had salvaged and restored. Sam never asked where her mommy was. His wife never wanted kids, and Chris suspected Sam always knew that.

 

Sam lay in her bunk inside one of the catamaran’s pontoons reading a tattered copy of The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe. C. S. Lewis was her favorite author. She had ten dog-eared copies of his novels in the tiny hatch overhead.

Sam sighed wistfully and leaned over to stare wearily out the window at the faraway coastline. The orange glow from the streetlights in Comox and Courtenay looked creepy in the advancing ice fog.

Here and there, the house lights were popping on in the city and along the shore as people started their day.

A faint red line had appeared on the eastern horizon, the dawn chasing away the night like an orca hunting a seal.

The catamaran rocked gently on the water, almost lulling her to sleep. The small propane fueled heater in the cabin buzzed softly.

The winter was going to be colder than normal. She could sense it. The geese and trumpeter swans had long since flown south. They had gone early this year. Except for the seagulls, the other birds had also disappeared. The grey and white gulls huddled on shore, rarely following the catamaran like they usually did. She hadn’t seen a humpback whale in ages.

Nine-year-old Samantha Nicholas grinned. Maybe it would snow for Christmas. That would be cool.

Oh, yeah, snow baby snow, she thought merrily.

A dull thud against the hull made her sit up.

Daddy was home.

She breathed a sigh of relief. There was always the chance that one day, he wouldn’t.

Sam tugged on a plain grey cable-knit sweater and her running shoes and hurried up onto the deck. She flipped on the running lights as she did so.

She saw Santa Claus toss a bulky garbage bag onto the deck. A black and gunmetal grey safe followed that. The safe slid across the slippery deck before catching in some rope rigging. Santa climbed up the aluminum ladder onto the boat. His velvet suit drooped, saturated by both fog and seawater. He immediately hoisted the skiff out of the water and turned towards her.

“Hey, honey, what are you doing up,” Santa Claus asked her patiently, clumping across the deck in his gumboots.

“Waiting for you,” she smirked.

“Oh, sweetie, I told you to stop worrying so much,” Chris replied, playfully flipping her ponytail into the air.

Her father had already removed his hat and beard. His face was ruddy, his glacial blue eyes dancing with triumph.

Sam wrapped her arms around her body and shivered. It was bone chilling cold despite the giant woolen sweater that fell almost to her knees. She could tell the caper went well.

“Hey, go back inside,” Chris commanded his daughter, concern replacing the penetrating stare he fixed upon her.

“What did you bring home for breakfast,” she asked, forcing a smile. She would give her right arm for Sugar Pops or Frosted Flakes.

“Pizza,” her father declared proudly, pulling a frozen ham and pineapple pizza box out of his bag of swag.

“That’s great, daddy,” she lied, hiding her disappointment. They ate pizza a lot.

“I’ve also got grape juice, chocolate bars, popcorn, and peanuts,” he grinned. “After we move on and moor someplace for the day, maybe we can watch a movie on the VCR and pig out on junk food.”

“Okay,” Sam laughed. That was appealing. Hey, she was just a kid.

“Can we watch Free Willy?”

“Again,” her father frowned.

Sam pursed her lips into her best pout ever, letting the bottom lip drop and quiver.

“Yeah, that doesn’t work anymore,” her father chortled. “Take ‘the take’ down below while I haul anchor.”

“Yes, daddy,” she agreed, dragging the weighty bag towards the hatch. “What’s in here? The kitchen sink?”

“Lots of stuff,” he responded. “Chicken, milk, lettuce, presents… oh, wait, did I just say presents?”

“Presents, huh,” Sam’s voice warbled.

Food, jewellery, coins, stuff like that was okay to steal by her way of thinking. That was what insurance was for, Daddy told her. Stealing somebody’s Christmas gifts bothered Sam in a way that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. She and her dad had been thieves for as long as she could remember. She went with him when he needed someone small to climb through a window to open a door. They had got the idea after watching the movie Oliver.

Wait! Did that mean her father was Fagan?

Sam laughed lightly. She thought the Fagan character was a riot, even if he was a little hard on Oliver.

Did she want her dad to stop stealing? No.

She loved the prettily wrapped presents that appeared in her stocking on Christmas morning.

One Christmas, her father had mistakenly given her a very expensive pearl necklace. Another Christmas, she got a Cuban cigar and a toy hand grenade. At least, she thought it was a toy. Her father had almost fainted when she pulled the weirdly wrapped football out of her stocking and unwrapped it. She was excited; she had thought it would be a Nerf ball. Surprise! Daddy had ripped it quickly out of her hand and tossed it overboard, so she wasn’t quite sure about that one.

“Don’t worry,” Santa-daddy replied. “I didn’t take Brittany’s.”

“Who is Brittany,” she shouted from inside the galley.

“Later,” her father yelled back.

Instantly, Sam heard the scrape of the anchor as her father hauled it aboard. The boat skipped sideways, caught in the current. The catamaran tended to surf the waves rather than tilt sideways like a regular sail boat, the two pontoons providing incredible stability.

Sam began unloading the food out of the garbage bag and tucking the chicken, milk and juice away in the small fridge in the galley, and the dry goods into the cupboards. She unwrapped the pizza and popped it into the microwave.

Her father started the twin engines. The two small diesels sputtered into life and the catamaran smoothly over the salt water as her father guided the boat into the middle of the Strait. There wasn’t enough wind to use the sails.

Drop anchor, do a job, hoist anchor, and find a deserted cove to see what they got, rest and repeat. That was the Nicholas family’s life.

Sam thought it was a glorious life, imagining her daddy as Blackbeard and she as his first mate, feared pirates of the high seas. Women would swoon when they saw Daddy coming. Men would run in fear.

She thought the thirty-eight-foot catamaran was aptly named for pirating. Her father had christened it Polar Bear Express when he re-built the boat from the fiberglass hull up, skimping only on the quality of the interior, which he bought from Ikea and later customized.

Sam leapt forward, one arm raised over her head, legs bent in a sword fighter’s pose, her lips pursed into a thin line, her brows knitting together as she plunged a butter knife into the empty pizza box like a sword: the famed Nicholas’ were here! Pirates of the high seas. Pillagers of the West Coast.

Sam backed up and saluted the torn pizza box with the butter knife.

Life was good.

Once a month they would go to Vancouver to see Uncle Harry to cash in. Uncle Harry wasn’t her real uncle, but he was always nice and had a special gift just for her. Usually, it was homemade jam or muffins that his wife made especially for Sam. She liked the strawberry jam the best.

That was how they lived.

What kid her age could helm a boat, go to sleep listening to whale song, laugh at the dolphins playing in the catamaran’s wake, and eagle watch to her heart’s content. And then there were the spirit bears. Her father had taken her to see the sacred white Kermode bears when she was only four. It was the trip of a lifetime and they had done it not once, not twice, but ten times already.

Yep, being a thief’s daughter wasn’t all that bad, not when your daddy was Santa Claus to boot.


Coming Soon – Chasing Santa!

The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series – Book Five – COMING SOON! Christmas 2020!

Stay tuned for the release of the final book in The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series – Chasing Santa.

A pig & a cow know this Santa smells fishy.

It is up to Gertrude, a pot-bellied pig, and her cohort, Peaches, a Jersey cow, to save Christmas from being destroyed from a Grinch-like Santa Claus thief who decides to target Seal Island on Christmas Eve as Betty & Reggie become embroiled in stopping a smuggling ring.

It’s thrills, chills, laughs and adventure in the final book in The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series – Christmas 2020.

Just hit the ‘Follow Me’ button on this website or on Goodreads, Bookbub, or Amazon, to be notified when Chasing Santa is ready for release.


Gumboots, FREE until August 17th on Amazon

START READING THE GUMBOOT & GUMSHOE SERIES TODAY FOR FREE ON AMAZON.

ONLY UNTIL AUGUST 17TH!

From pot farming fishermen and millionaire condom factory moonshine operators to best selling mystery and romance writers with deep, dark secrets, everyone on Seal Island seems to have something to hide.

Sgt Betty Bruce loves the laid back lifestyle of Seal Island until her pot-bellied pig, Gertrude, and side-kick Peaches, a Jersey cow, discover widow, Eliza Bone, floating bottoms-up in her Oscar fish tank. The one clue left at the scene is a set of muddy gumboot tracks. Betty’s problem: everyone on Seal Island wears gumboots.

After several more bizarre deaths occur on the island, Betty and Gertrude soon find themselves in the cross-hairs of a serial killer. In the end, only Gertrude may be left standing.

Read more on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia


For those awaiting new audiobook releases

I was half way thru narrating The Silver Spurs Home for Aging Cowgirls when fate took a dive, literally. Due to the need for major emergency dental surgery, my narrator, namely ‘me’, will be out of commission for a few weeks. I was hoping to have The Silver Spurs Home for Aging Cowgirl ready for the end of August and then The Dastardly Mr. Deeds and Murder Most Fowl by the end of September and October, but my dates have changed to later in the Fall.

Sorry to all you audiobook fans. Will keep you posted.

In the meantime, it is soup and more soup.

Enjoy the summer.

Laura


August Freebies

August Book Deals:

August 13 – 17

Gumboots, Gumshoes & Murder, Book One in the Gumboot and Gumshoe Series – FREE on Amazon worldwide.

A comedic cozy mystery series for lovers of Miss Marple or Murder She Wrote.

When Gertrude, a rascal of a pot-bellied pig, discovers widow, Eliza Bone, floating upside down in her Oscar fish tank, Sgt Betty Bruce has a hard time believing Eliza’s death is accidental. The one clue left at the scene is a gumboot print, men’s size 8. After two more bizarre deaths happen on the sleepy little island, Betty is left to wonder if there is a serial killer at work.

 

August 18 – 22

The Thin Line of Reason – a paranormal thriller – FREE on Amazon worldwide.

Sarah Lancaster and her brother, Bill, have something in common. Too bad they don’t know it.

When a ghost from Sarah’s past walks into her neighbourhood gym, it triggers a game of cat and mouse with a killer that everyone but Bill thinks is dead in this twisted supernatural thriller.

 

August 20 – 24

Gus, Book One in the Unicorn Daze Series – a children’s short bedtime story for unicorn lovers – FREE on Amazon.

Meet Jessie, a girl who is always getting left behind. When she gets lost in a corn maze on Halloween, she meets a unicorn named Gus who takes her to meet the Spirit Bear who guards the corn maze.


July Sales Promotions

On July 22 – 29th the following books will be on sale:

The Dastardly Mr. Deeds – The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series, Book 2 – $0.99 on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk

Unicorn Daze: Books 1 – 3 – will be FREE on Amazon worldwide

Amazon.com   Amazon.uk 

Unicorn Daze: Books 1 – 6 – will be $2.99 on

Amazon.com  Amazon.uk

 

Enjoy the reads. Stay safe. Peace and wellness to all.


Ever wondered where an author gets their ideas?

I shot this video at the farm where I kept ‘Pumpkin’ Sally a few years ago with the help of Jacque Duncan and a wonderful group of horses. I am glad that I did as Sally, Willow and Cloud have now passed over the rainbow. Thought it would be nice to share it again. This video is ‘child’ approved. 🙂  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeVxH62HqOs

 


The Silver Spurs Home for Aging Cowgirls $0.99 until June 30!

BUY it NOW on Amazon.comAmazon.UK, for just $0.99 (US) until June 30, 2020.  FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Better to ride a good horse for a year than an ass all your life. ~ Dutch Proverb

The Montana family made a big mistake!

They thought they were opening up their sprawling ranch house and their stables to four retired cowgirls and their horses. Turns out three of the four women aren’t cowgirls at all, and their horses aren’t either.

And then there is the cheating husband that came along for the ride.

The word ‘baggage’ just got a whole new meaning.

If you think senior living means the party is over, then you haven’t spent a night at the Silver Spurs Home for Aging Cowgirls where romance is in the air and flirting with another woman’s man can be murder.

Do you know what your grandmother is up to?


Real life funny family adventure

Peter Pan Wears Steel Toes is a funny real life adventure suitable for all ages, but reading level is 11 and up. From friendly skunks to horny moose, fry pan eating critters to angry bears, this non-fiction novel is based on my time spent timber cruising on fly-ins in northern Ontario.

Available for $0.99 on Amazon.com and Amazon.UK until June 25th.

Go ahead, have a little fun.


$0.99 Sale – for comedy & cozy lovers

From today until June 11th, The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series Trilogy (Gumboots, Gumshoes & Murder, The Dastardly Mister Deeds, Murder Most Fowl) is on sale on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk for just $0.99 US.

Read more on:   Amazon.com

 


FREE YA/Teen sci fi short until May 17th

Butterfly Becoming – a short fantasy sci-fi for Teens/YA

FREE from May 13 – 17 on Amazon around the world:

This is the first book in The Rise of the Butterfly Series

Jazzie was sixteen when the blue man army invaded.

She was seventeen when when the blue man ship landed on Golgotha.

A fast paced hard hitting action adventure about a girl who discovers that a mouse can become a warrior after she and several hundred of her classmates are abducted by a race of feral aliens and deposited on a barren desert planet. Their motive is unknown. The struggled to survive for Jazzie and her friends is very real, but Jazzie suspects she has been to Golgotha before, somewhere in a distant memory.

If you loved The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, then you will enjoy this fifteen minute short story, Butterfly Becoming.

Read more on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk, Amazon.australia


NEW RELEASE – Paranormal Thriller

Defying Hope – an adult paranormal thriller/horror  NEW RELEASE

“You can’t fix what’s already broken.” Hope Sanderson

In a world of good and evil, lines get blurred, and rolls get reversed in this disturbing paranormal thriller with a touch of comedy. Go ahead, dance with the devil in Angel P. Dark’s breakout new novella.

*** Note: Rated R. Some Violence & profanity. Mature readers only. Gallows style humor.

Available worldwide on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and more:

Kobo, Apple & worldwide distributors, or visit Books2Read

Amazon links:  Amazon.com  Amazon.ca  Amazon.uk  Amazon.de  Amazon.australia


May 2020 FREE E-book Specials on Amazon worldwide

For Children and YA:

May 2 – 6 – FREE – The Flood – Book 2 in The Unicorn Daze Series

May 7 – 11 – FREE – The Unicorn King – Book 3 in The Unicorn Daze Series

May 8 – 12 – FREE – One Frosty Christmas – Book 1 in The Holiday Series

Teens:

May 13 – 17 – FREE – Butterfly Becoming – a short sci-fi

Adult:

May 21 – 25 – FREE – The Thin Line of Reason – adult paranormal thriller

 


FREE ebook promotions – Gumboots & Gus

Looking for something to entertain you or the kids?

Mark this date on your calendar: April 22 – 26th.

Starting tomorrow, Gus – the 1st book in The Unicorn Daze Series – a series of short bedtime stories for children ages 3 – 10, and Gumboots, Gumshoes & Murder, the 1st book in The Gumboot, Gumshoe & Gumshoe Series, a black comedy/cozy detective series for adults, will be FREE (e-book only) on Amazon around the world. Enjoy.

Stay healthy…stay safe. God bless to all.

Laura Hesse


The Unicorn & The Dragon – FREE on Amazon for 5 days

The Unicorn & The Dragon is FREE on Amazon around the world until April 21st.

This is a fun story about the battle of good vs evil that is suitable for ages 3 and up. It is a very Walt Disney type of story with a Disney ending. It is written in an easy to read play format so that you can read this short children’s bedtime story with or without voices. You can also pair it up with the audio book for a great way for younger kids to learn to read.

While this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. Buy now for free on Amazon.com 

 


Just Released – Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold

Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold – inspired by the true story of Brother XII, Canada’s first cult leader. The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series: Book Four

A cop, a pig, & a sorcerer know all that glitters is gold.

A pot-bellied pig and a Jersey cow with a nose for trouble… A retired RCMP Sergeant and her partner, a drug sniffing German shepherd afraid of crowds, determined to preserve law and order on an island where no one takes any guff including the blind old lady who just got flashed and the young mother bothered by a ghost in the attic.

What could possibly go wrong?

NOW AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 US until April 24th on Amazon around the world.

Amazon.com   Amazon.ca   Amazon.uk   Amazon.de  Amazon. australia

 


FREE until April 8th – The Unicorn Wears Red

In celebration of children around the world who are stuck at home right now, I have put the children’s short bedtime story, The Unicorn Wears Red, for FREE on Amazon around the world. While it is part of a series, you don’t have to have the others to enjoy this short bedtime story about love lost and found and the battle of good against evil. It is written in an easy to read  play format. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LDW66VG


Sorcerer’s Gold & Price updates

Like many fellow authors, I am trying to do my part in helping during this tough time around the world. I have lowered the prices on all of my e-books by $1.00 or more, and of course, they are all FREE on Kindle Unlimited for KU subscribers. I have also lowered the price to $0.99 on Gus (short children’s fantasy) and One Frosty Christmas (children YA family drama). I will be doing FREE e-book giveaways on a rotating basis based on what the KDP program for authors will allow – basically it allows for each book to be free once for 5 days every 3 months.

From April 3 – 7th, Independence, will be FREE to everyone on Amazon worldwide. It is a standalone coming of age adventure for horse lovers of all ages.

New Release: Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold is almost complete. I am in the process of writing the last two chapters of this novel, the 4th in The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series, and then it is off to the editors. Release date: Easter 2020.

Take care. Stay safe. God Bless.

Laura Hesse


On Sale until March 19th

The Silver Spurs Home for Aging Cowgirls

What a wonderful way to spend an evening!!! This book was so fun and wow, what a crazy bunch of Old ladies!! I loved it as I’m almost there myself. I loved every character even the bad guys. There’s so much living, laughing, and loving left in us as we age!!! And oh the stories we can tell!!!! Thank you for such a delightful book!” Amazon Review

Absolutely one of the best, most entertaining books I have ever read.” Amazon Review

BUY it NOW for just $1.99 on Amazon.com, Amazon.UK, Also available around the world – solely exclusive to Amazon. FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Check out the ranking today:

The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series: The Complete Trilogy is also on sale from today until March 20th on for only $2.99 US. Amazon.com, Amazon.UK


March Promotions

Kindle Countdown Deals for March 2020 – Mark these dates on your calendar

Looking for something to read over March break, then check out these March deals on Amazon (US & UK only)!

The Silver Spurs Home for Aging Cowgirls – only $1.99 in the US and UK from March 12 – 19th 2020! Free on KU.

The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series – The Complete Trilogy – only $2.99 from March 13 – 20th 2020! Free on KU.

Gumboot, Gumshoes & Murder – Book One – only $0.99 worldwide on Amazon! Free on KU.

 

 


Valentino is going on sale in the US and UK at midnight tonight

Valentino will be on sale for just $0.99 as a Valentine’s Day gift from me to you from December 6 – 13th on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk

Thank you to my readers for leaving such amazing reviews.

You, rock.

 


Update – Book 4 – The Gumboot &Gumshoe Series

Due to the popularity of the first three books in the series, comments in reviews, and emails from readers, I decided to release the cover for Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold – Book Four in The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series as well as a short preview.

Preview of Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold

A cop, a pig, & a sorcerer know all that glitters might be gold!

The Gumboot & Gumshoe Series: Book Four

COPYRIGHT© 2020 Laura Hesse/ Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold

All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means or stored in a database or retrieval system without prior written permission of the publisher.

The author and the publisher make no representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in this book.  The material is provided for entertainment purposes and the references are intended to be supportive to the intent of the story.  The author and the publisher are not responsible for any action taken based on the information provided in this book.

All characters in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold/by Laura Hesse

Cover Artist: Autumn Sky, Self Pub Book Covers Inc.

Publisher:  Running L. Productions, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Distributed worldwide on Amazon

1928

 “Gold conjures up a mist about a man, more destructive of all his

old senses and lulling to his feelings than the fumes of charcoal.”

― Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

 The stars in the Milky Way shone like diamonds in the cloudless sky. A full moon illuminated the giant Red cedar, Sitka spruce and Douglas fir trees that marched up the steep slopes of the island to the crest of Watchtower Mountain.

Waves broke on the rocky beach, the water making a shushing sound as if it was telling the night birds to hush.

A large tugboat, its silhouette black against the moon glow on the water was anchored off shore. Two lanterns, one on the bow and one on the stern, cast minimal shadows on the secret endeavors of the boat’s crew. The name on the bronze plaque on the bow read Kheunaten.

A wiry middle aged man with dark bronzed skin, a smattering of white hair amid his blue black locks and bush of a beard, and his companion, a short brunette woman with a stern countenance, climbed out of a wooden hulled dingy. They carried two heavy wooden boxes, two feet wide by two feet long and two feet deep, one balanced on top of the other. The woman staggered under the weight.

“Don’t drop it,” the man growled.

“Don’t be stupid, of course I won’t,” she snarled back.

The pair carried the boxes up a slope and into the forest.

“Here. Put it here,” the man ordered once they reached the tall tree that bordered the edge of a small meadow.

The woman gratefully dropped the boxes to the ground with the soft tinkling of glass rubbing on glass. The woman looked up into the dense foliage of the Garry oak that rose above her, blocking out the moon.

“Are you sure we’ll be able to find it again,” she hissed.

“I know where I am,” he whispered hoarsely.

“That’s not what I asked,” she retorted, agitated.

The man ignored her and returned to the dingy.

The woman stood alone in the meadow. She shivered despite the warmth of the night. The dark was absolute, the forest that bordered it so thick that the moonlight couldn’t penetrate the dense stands of deciduous and evergreens. There were no signs of civilization anywhere on this side of the island.

The man returned with a shovel and began to dig. He dug a hole large enough for the two boxes to lie side by side in and then slid them inside of it. The boxes landed with a thump on the earth at the bottom of the hole. Once again the jingle of the glass bottles inside the wooden boxes tapping against each other was heard, much like the sound of silver bells, each note echoing prettily in the quiet solitude of the meadow.

“What if something happens to you,” she said. Her voice was husky and demanding. “I need to be able to find this Godforsaken place.”

“Fine,” he mumbled.

He took his shovel and carved an eye inside a triangle in the rough bark of the Garry oak tree.

“Satisfied?”

“But where exactly are we?”

“Where it was foretold,” he groused and stalked off.

The woman looked around and then trotted after him, her boots crunching on the gravel as she left the shelter of the forest to stumble across the beach towards the waiting dingy.

The woman stopped to stare at the squared off top of Watchtower Mountain and the moon which hung above it like a dazzling Christmas ornament. She let the image burn into her memory until she was sure that she would recognize it again.

“Hurry up,” her companion snarled, pushing the dingy into the water.

“I’m coming, Brother,” she soothed him.

The woman climbed into the boat and then the man pushed the dingy away from the shore. He vaulted over the side like a man much younger than his fifty years.

“I’m sorry if I offended you, my dear,” she purred.

“You didn’t my love,” he replied, his voice cracking. “Let them all be damned.”

The woman laughed.

After a moment so did the man.

 

Present Day

“Oh, Gertie, do stay out of trouble,” retired Supreme Court Judge Violet Bone said, wagging a finger at the grey and white pot-bellied pig.

“You too, Peaches,” the silver haired Archie Bruce warned the cream colored Jersey cow.

The pig squinted through the folds of fat that half covered her eyes, her inquisitive look darkening at being unceremoniously escorted out of the kitchen and onto the back porch.

The cow stood in the yard nibbling on the seeds within a gloriously large and brilliant yellow sunflower, a perpetual look of confusion on its face.

A blush crept over the woman’s cheeks as she looked up into the cheeky sparkle in the eyes of her companion. The two returned to the cottage and closed the door on the annoyed pig.

“You did remember to lock the front gate didn’t you,” the woman whispered as the door clicked shut.

“Don’t I always,” the man’s baritone voice rumbled.

“No,” the woman whispered huskily.

A series of girlish giggles and the stomp of feet across a hardwood floor was all that the pig heard after that.

Tea and cookie time was over.

Gertrude was getting used to be shunted outside.

Gertrude’s hooves clattered on the wood planking as she waddled off the porch and down the cobblestone lane leading to the drive.

Her buddy mooed pathetically, not wanting to leave the garden full of sunflowers.

Gertrude snorted, her nostrils quivering.

She was bored.

Gertrude toddled down the driveway, her curvaceous body jiggling as she walked towards the gate. She stopped and checked over her shoulder. Despite the call of the sunflowers, Peaches followed her friend, her teeth working the sunflower seeds in her mouth into mulch. The pig grunted in satisfaction.

The two had always been friends, but were inseparable now that Special Agent to the RCMP, Betty Bruce, had retired and moved back to Seal Island permanently. Betty had adopted Peaches after Andy McCowell had willed his house to Betty shortly before he died. Gertrude was supposed to stay with Archie, but she preferred to live with Peaches and no one seemed put out by it.

Gertrude ambled off in search of a friend with a handful of dog biscuits or a pint of beer that they were willing to share.

The gate at the end of the driveway stood open.

Gertrude sniffed the air, looking first right towards the pub and marina, and then left towards the McDonald’s farm. Stew Mann, the owner of The Bristling Boar pub, might offer her a dram of beer now that his mean wife was gone, but there was no guarantee of that.

Gertrude was a smart pig. She only stayed with Archie and Violet when Betty and Reggie were off cruising on Reggie’s boat. It hadn’t taken the pig long to figure that out. Without Reggie, the likelihood of a shared beer was remote.

She looked up North Shore Road. Heat shimmered over the packed gravel and dirt. The grass at the side of the road was coated with dust and burnt brown from the summer sun. It would be a hot walk, but Rainbow always had Milk Bones in her pocket.

That settled it.

The pig trotted up the road with thoughts of Milk Bones twirling around and around in her head. Where Gertrude went, Peaches followed, and so the adventure began.

 

Gertrude walked with her head down into the McDonald’s farm yard, a thin strand of drool dripping from her mouth. The noon day sun beat down upon the pot-bellied pig and the Jersey cow.

Heat waves made the air hazy. A thin layer of wispy cloud made the top of Watchtower Mountain look grey green instead of its usual vibrant dark green.

A water fountain gurgled at the front of the small log cabin. Bees buzzed. Water striders skipped along the top of the dark water between the lily pads.

The pig dove into the little pond. Lily pads and bright white flowers cascaded over the paver stone border.

The cow stopped for a much needed drink.

The McDonald’s Blue Heeler ran towards them, tongue lolling. It first nosed the cow to say ‘hello’ and then dove into the fountain alongside the pig, barking furiously. Water flew everywhere.

Rainbow, her auburn and blond streaked dreadlocks pulled back under a multi-colored scarf stopped picking herbs in the fenced off garden, and shaded her eyes from the sun to see what was causing all the commotion. She laughed when she saw the heeler and the pot-bellied pig cavorting in the ornamental pond.

Frank sat aboard a tractor in the far fields, his focus fixed on the task at hand. The tractor’s revolving blades growled as they turned over the dry ground, the engine humming, metal screeching when it hit rock. Dust hung thick in the air behind the man and his machine.

The McDonalds one farm hand, a pretty young woman with a mane of peach colored hair and a sparkling personality, stepped out of the barn, a glass of iced tea in her hand. She too laughed when she saw the pig and dog in the fountain.

Melanie went back into the barn and returned with a couple of Milk Bones for the pig and the dog and a carrot for the cow.

Rainbow waved at her and returned to work, clipping thyme and pruning sage.

“You guys give new meaning to The Three Musketeers,” Melanie chuckled.

Gertrude and Blue, the Blue Heeler, stopped playing. Blue jumped out of the pond and vigorously shook himself off. Gertrude snorted and lay down in the water for another roll.

“Here you go, Peaches,” Melanie said, handing the cow a carrot. The cow gently took the treat from the tanned woman’s hand. She then kissed Peaches on the soft swirl of hair between her eyes.

The dog sat obediently, his blue grey and black coat glistening in the sunshine.

“Good boy, Blue.”

Gertrude stood up, her curly tail wind milling furiously. She grunted and snorted, but refused to come out of the water.

“I’m not going in after you just to give you a Milk Bone if that’s what you’re thinking,” Melanie chortled, holding out the treat.

Gertrude sighed, disappointed.

Melanie burst out laughing.

“Come on, out you come or I’ll go and fetch a broom.”

Gertrude eyed her dubiously, but hauled her great heft upwards and leaned forward, trying to nip the Milk Bone from Melanie’s outstretched hand.

“Oh, no, you don’t. All the way out, you cheeky pig,” Melanie cajoled the errant animal.

Gertrude snorted in disgust and stepped out of the pond, a lily pad sucker root wound around her tail.

Melanie handed Gertrude the biscuit and patted her gently on the forehead.

“Ooh, but you stink, Gertie. I would love to visit with you, but I have work to do and everyone else is working as well so off you go.”

Gertrude understood the tone of Melanie’s voice and walked past her, farting once as she did so.

“I’ll remember that the next time you want a treat,” Melanie glowered, waving a hand in front of her face.

The pig cast a sad look the girl’s way and then waddled past her, its hooves clicking on the meandering pebbled path that lead down to the ocean. Peaches followed the pot-bellied pig and the Blue Heeler, its tail wagging as furiously from side to side, followed the Jersey cow.

Melanie grinned as she walked back to the barn. The threesome shouldn’t be able to get into too much trouble at the beach or so she thought.

Gertrude followed her nose. The tangy scent of salt and rancid smell of rotting seaweed greeted her. The seaweed didn’t much appeal to her today, even though she quite often found tasty treats nestled within it like the wonderful old sneaker with the severed foot inside it that she found last year. She had been really irritated when Betty and Archie had taken it away from her.

A couple of seagulls paddled by, yellow eyes watching the pig as it stared out to sea.

The dog barked and splashed into the water, chasing the gulls away.

The cow munched on the sea asparagus that grew in the moist areas along the shore.

The air was still with hardly a breath of wind rippling the waters of the Strait of Georgia between the British Columbia mainland and the rocky coast of Seal Island.

Gertrude’s bristling hair was already dry from her swim in the pond and her skin was beginning to burn. The cool shade of the forest was only a short distance away. That appealed to her more than the open beach.

The dog whined as it watched the pig stroll across the beach and into the forest. The cow quickly trotted after it. The dog knew it wasn’t allowed to go any further,  spun around and galloped back the way it had come, leaving the pig and cow to their wanderings.

 

The small cabin was built into the side of a rocky shoal. The back of the building was a wall of rock and the front opened up into a patchwork quilt of light and dark offered by the shade of a giant Garry oak tree. The oiled parchment that covered its front windows was yellow and cracked with age. The sod roof was thick with tall sedge grass. The door canted sideways, one of its hinges broken.

Gertrude stuck her snout through the partially opened door and inhaled deeply. The smell of rot and mold greeted her. She pulled her head back out of the building and moseyed over to the base of the old oak tree.

Peaches mooed and climbed the steep bank. She walked onto the roof of the cabin and began to devour the lush green grasses that grew there. The old logs creaked under the cow’s weight, but held fast.

The pig snuffled around the base of the tree. A rotting black ball of truffle popped out of the black earth. Gertrude ate it swiftly.

She routed around for more, digging and digging with her sharp cloven hooves.

Gertrude squealed in pain as something hard caught between her toes. She tried to dislodge it with her mouth, but the thin round gold rock was wedged in tight. She stomped a foot, but that only lodged the painful thing in deeper.

She stumbled forward.

The cow looked up with beseeching brown eyes, not wanting to leave until all of the sweet green grass was gone.

Gertrude’s eyes watered. The thin round thing caught between the toes of her left hoof was excruciatingly painful.

She limped through the small meadow and turned left onto the deer trail that wound its way onto South Shore Road. She wanted Betty… or Reggie… or Archie to fix it. They were the only people she trusted, especially after one human shot her best friend with a taser.

Eventually, her best friend, the Jersey cow, joined her as Gertrude headed to the landing to get help.

 

End of Preview – coming soon – early Spring – just follow Laura on Amazon, Bookbub or Goodreads or on her website to find out when Gertrude & The Sorcerer’s Gold will be released.