Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Shushan Portal : Behind the Hollyhock Hedge


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gloria Pearson-Vasey is awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After her sister dies, Meara Deleaney invites her bereaved nephew, Jackson, to accompany her on a book tour to Canada's Atlantic provinces. Fearful of leaving the security of her apartment, Meara bolsters her courage by recalling the imaginary dragons she and her sister slew as children behind the hollyhock hedge.

As they travel in a motorhome from park to park and bookstore to bookstore, Meara and Jackson are unaware of the manipulating forces intent on preventing their return home. They do, however, realize they are being stalked and therefore welcome the company of another touring author, criminology professor Bartholomew Wolfe.

A long-standing professional relationship between the authors builds to romance and a persuasive invitation to seek shelter at the professor's lodge. However, to reach the lodge, Meara—now accompanied by her nephew, niece and mother—unsuspectingly travels through a portal which exits in a future dimension near a fortress.

From there, the family is escorted under guard through dangerous territory to a lodge where metaphorical dragons lie in wait, and security comes at a price.

Read an Excerpt

Mystified, they grabbed up their bags and followed Gabe (the lodge manager) along the shore toward a solitary balsam fir. At their approach, a baby bird sitting in a sandy hollow at the base of the tree hopped off and disappeared into a clump of wild grasses.

“We’ve reached our end of the portal,” said Gabe. “It’s important we all huddle together in the hollow vacated by the bird so no one gets left behind as we transition from the OD to the FD.”

Feeling rather foolish, his guests exchanged quizzical smiles as they shuffled together into a loose cluster.

“You’re not huddling! Lean into the person beside you!” commanded Gabe.

“Mother needs to sit down soon,” protested Meara.

“Yes, I’m feeling a bit shaky and I can barely breathe,” said Agnes. “Enough of your inane prattle.”

Assuring them they would soon be enjoying comfortable transportation, Gabe asked them to close their eyes and count out loud to ten. They reluctantly complied, and by the count of four, all slipped into an ever-darkening vortex and lost consciousness. When they regained bewildered awareness, they were at the edge of a wooded area overlooking the stark walls of a fortress enclosing a medieval castle.

“The Shushan Citadel,” whispered Gabe, pointing toward the fortress.

“Can we go in?” asked Penny.

Gabe hushed the girl and hastened his charges toward a multi-legged vehicle camouflaged in dull paint splotches. He identified the vehicle as a solar-wind-powered Centipede and assisted them in entering through a door in its transparent dome.

Within moments of seating themselves, the passengers realized the Centipede was moving.

About the Author: Gloria Pearson-Vasey weaves contemporary issues into her novels, and likes a story - be it literary fiction, historical fantasy or science fiction - to be authentic and end on a note of hope.

A member of The Writers' Union of Canada, Pearson-Vasey has also penned non-fiction books on autism and pilgrimage.

The author feels blessed for experiencing the joy and chaos of merging child raising with career, camping, travel and pets.

She lives in a picturesque Ontario town, and enjoys reading, music, country drives and time with family and friends.




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  1. Thank you for featuring SHUSHAN PORTAL today - we appreciate it.

  2. Thank you for hosting ‘Shushan Portal’ today. All good wishes, Gloria

    1. Best of luck with your book.

    2. Thank you Kathy! Have a lovely day. Gloria


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