Sunday, February 22, 2015

Excerpt from Ursula, Sisters of Prophecy, Book 1 by Jude Pittman and Gail Roughton

Ursula, Sisters of Prophecy, Book 1

By Jude Pittman and  Gail Roughton

What’s a girl to do? Beautiful young artist Katherine Shipton has a painting that talks, an ancestor who won’t stay in her own century, and a former boyfriend with a serious ax to grind against her new fiancĂ©. She already has a full plate, but when said ancestor sends her tripping back and forth between the 15th and 21st century without benefit of psychedelic drugs, the poor girl begins to doubt her own sanity. Then her best friend, a high fashion model with more than her own share of psychic energy, and her troubleshooting aunt show up on her doorstep in response to a psychic SOS Katherine swears she didn’t send. Life couldn't get more complicated. At least, that's what she thinks until her oilman fiancĂ© disappears in the Gulf of Mexico and a DEA agent knocks on her door.
"A delightful read with twists and turns, quirky characters, a bit of darkness and some snappy dialogue. The authors maneuver between the 16th and 21st centuries with ease, adding authenticity through well researched historical data. While the characters from the two eras have their own stories, their lives are interlocked like the pieces of a puzzle. Putting those pieces together is much of the fun. Jude Pittman and Gail Roughton have successfully blended their styles into a rollicking good read . . . the first in a series. The closure at the end of Book 1 is much appreciated, as well as the tantalizing teasers which left me anxiously awaiting Irene's story in Book 2. I can easily recommend Sisters of Prophecy - Ursula, and after reading it, I'm sure you will, too." ~ 4 Stars, Deborah Sanders

"I've got to say that there is some dialog between a savvy female police interrogator and a cocky, not so smart male criminal that I thought was just the BEST and left me howling. Holy mackerel, that was just fabulous! I am glad there will be more to this series & look forward to Irene's story in 2015. Rest assured there is more to come but this book ends on a satisfying high note and NOT one of those pesky cliffhangers. Nice start to a series that celebrates the powerful love of "Sisters" no matter how they come into your life." ~ 5 Stars, Lomg Time DF Fan

"It was quick, but it was also exciting and interesting. I think many readers will find it enjoyable and a good read for a sunny afternoon or an evening indoors. It’s definitely a fast read, and it will entertain without eating away your entire day." ~ 4 Stars,


Katherine flew through darkness. Dream darkness. Toward something. Sound barely audible coalesced and rose in volume, forming words. Beneath these gray stone walls I stand, an ancient gypsy king… The darkness lightened into shades of gray and a tower loomed.
A boat approached the tower. Inside, a woman, in Katherine’s likeness. Not her, but near enough to be of her lineage. Floating over the woman, Katherine watched. A man, dressed as an ancient workman, fixed the boat against the steps leading up to the looming tower. Reaching down, he helped the woman from the boat, and pulled her toward a dark stairwell.
Another, in uniform, nodded to the oarsman, and took the woman’s hand. His flickering torch gave barely enough light for the woman to make her way up the stone steps as she groped along behind him. The steps crumbled, and twice the woman almost fell when her feet slipped on the damp stone.
A fierce roar sounded in the night and Katherine knew it as a lion. The guard stopped in front of a scarred wooden door, and pushed it inward. The flicker from his torch revealed a small barren chamber, with scant furnishing and a stone floor. Against the wall stood a crude bed with a single bed covering. The guard motioned the woman inside. She stumbled across the room and sank onto the bed. The guard used his torch to light a single candle. Then without a word, turned and left the cell.
The woman curled into herself. Great sobs shook her body.
Katherine floated back out into the courtyard. Standing in the corner an old man, dressed in the garb of a medieval gypsy, chanted.
“With heavy heart I bear the words of cruelest Mary Queen…”
Mary Queen? Tower? The scene changed in an instant, dream-fashion. Now she floated back to the cell. The same rough cot and threadbare blanket covered a still figure.
“These words I take in sorrow drear unto a lady fair…”
On cue, the woman rose from the cot and entered her dreams. Nobility for certain, possibly even royalty. Her time in the cell had dulled her eyes and matted her hair but yes, the chant was right. She’d been a lady fair. She would be so again, given fresh air and sunshine.
A lady who from birth was blest with visions strange but rare…
The door of the cell opened and the old gypsy entered the cell.
“Tarot! My dear, dear friend! How good it is to see you!” The lady ran into his arms, and he held her to his breast.
“My grandmother. My husband and son. Is there news?”
“Your grandmother is well and fights ceaselessly for your release. Your husband—there’s been no news from Russia. Except that he pleads for intercession from the Russian Court.”
She smiled sadly. “I can just imagine how much he pleads. He is afeard he’ll be tainted with the same brush that’s painted me.”
“No, Milady! He is doing all he can.”
“Tarot, dear friend, ’tis a very bad liar you are, but I love you for it. Prince Frederick makes no effort on my behalf. He has abandoned me. As have all, in the face of the Queen’s disfavor. All but you and Grandmother. And I bear them no ill for such. ’Tis asking too much to expect them to stand with me and risk a charge of witchcraft.” She shrugged. “And for the prince, a chance to rid himself of a disappointing wife who only bore him one son.”
“Oh, Milady! It hurts me so to hear you speak as though resigned to fate.”
“Dear friend. Do not despair. My heart has always belonged to another, that fate sealed from childhood. If only I’d been stronger, surer! If only I’d followed my heart and run away with my Toby when—”
She broke off, her face losing all expression.
“Milady? What—a vision! ’Tis a vision you’re seeing. Cease fighting them! Use them! Use the power!”
“I—Tarot, someone’s watching us.”
“Watching? I bribed the guards well. They have no cause to—”
“No, not the guards! Someone from—someone not here. Someone who sees us, who knows me. Knows me in her soul. Someone who can—dare I say it? Someone who can help me! Help me change the start of this disastrous path!”
In her dream, Katherine tried to leave, to get away. Enough of this misery that wasn’t hers. Except it was. Somehow it was hers.
“Oh, please! Please don’t leave! Help me! Help us!
“How?” The dream Katherine spoke. “How do I help you?”
“I cannot tell you!”
“Then what am I supposed to do?”
“The portrait! Yes, I see it. There’s a painting, a painting yet unfinished! ’Twill show you the way! It must show you the way, or you will never be.”
“Milady? Your vision speaks to you?”
“The portrait! The portrait will know!”
The portrait will know…the portrait will know…the portrait will know…
The words followed Katherine back through the depths of the dream and echoed in her ears when she woke, gasping into wakefulness.