Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where is SciFIGuy?

My sincere apologies for my complete absence from the blog over these past several weeks. Real life threw me a curveball that quite literally has physically kept me away from the keyboard. It was not my intention to be so totally out of communication and it will be a few more weeks until things get back to semi-normal. Please bear with me, I miss you all. The Urban Fantasy Weekend Report will resume, but not for awhile yet.

I am also greatly behind on my e-mail correspondence and hope to catch up with that in the next 10 days. I'll also try catch up with any outstanding contests and related inquiries.  I'd also like to extend a further apology to those guests/authors/publishers whose deadlines I missed and hope to reschedule at future date once things settle down.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guest Author - Annette McLeave (Interview & Giveaway)

Last fall, Ottawa paranormal romance writer Annette McLeave joined me for the launch of her debut novel Drawn Into Darkness, the first book in her Soul Gatherers series. I loved the down to earth heroine. Today she returns to launch the highly anticipated follow-up, Bound by Darkness.

Annette is giving away two copies of Bound by Darkness and will also be here to chat. Annette asks the question, "What quality do you think tips the scale between a mediocre villain and a great one?"

You can view Annette's previous post here and read my review of Drawn Into Darkness here.

Welcome Annette!

The Demons Have It

One of the best parts of writing paranormal stories is the world building—pulling arcane details from the depths of your imagination to frame the environment in which your hero and heroine must battle to save the day. My protagonists often pop into my mind fully formed. I’m not sure where they come from, but bringing them to life on paper is more of an interview and peel-back-the-layers process than it is a study in raw creativity.

My villains, on the other hand, are more organic. They owe an element of their personas to the demons of record—Lucifer, Beelzebub, etc.—but I take a lot of liberty with demonkind. Thanks to Dante’s Inferno, I envision hell as a series of rings, each world filled with unique horrors and each ruled by a powerful demon lord. I created my demons to match the horrors of the rings—but my own, rather than Dante’s. The demons in my hell are matched to the angels in heaven—for every righteous archangel, there is an ambitious archdemon; for every soul-collecting psychopomp, there is a soul-thieving pith demon.

Great fun.

My demons all have a common ability to manipulate fire, but each breed has its own skills as well. In Drawn into Darkness, the first book in the Soul Gatherer series, the primary bad was a lure demon—a demon who could appear as a human and manipulate thoughts. In Bound by Darkness, which released last week, the threat is a set of demon triplets known as Maleficus, Mestitio, and Malumos.

Here’s an introduction:
“Excuse me?”
She spun on her heel.
Standing behind her was a dark-haired man in a plaid shirt, maybe thirty-five. His arm was hooked over the shoulders of a young girl with glasses. He smiled and held out his Nikon camera. “I wonder if you’d be willing to take a picture of my daughter and me in front of the temple?”
She peered deep into his blue eyes before responding. He seemed genuine.
“I’d be happy to.”
They got into position, beamed into the camera lens, and remained pleasantly patient as she snapped a couple of photos. Family photos. Cheery mementos of happy times. Her hand trembled as she passed the camera back to him.
“Thanks,” the man said. His daughter tugged on his arm, stage-whispering a plea to go throw a coin in the huge L-shaped reflecting pool. He handed her a pocketful of change, watched her wander off for a moment, then favored Lena with another smile, this one laced with warm interest. “I really appreciate your help. It’s always hard to get shots of the two of us.”
Lena racked her brain for the right words to discourage her new admirer. Before she could speak, however, a frumpy woman with gray hair and a wooden walking cane bumped his arm. Her admirer gasped. A perfectly natural response to a sudden jarring, one that would have gone unnoticed by someone less attuned to the sound of a thrall demon passing from one host into the next.
The ancient gold amulet around her throat began to pulse, and her gaze zeroed in on his eyes again. Yes, there it was: the inky stain of evil. The demon Malumos had made his entrance.
A formidable villain cast against a valiant hero almost always results in great entertainment. What quality do you think tips the scale between a mediocre villain and a great one?


To celebrate the release of Bound by Darkness, I’m giving away two signed copies to today’s commenters. I’m also running a release contest on my website until the end of May, so stop by for more chances to win. Good luck!
  1. Open internationally.
  2. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  3. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  4. Giveaway open until Midnight, May 19, 2010 EST.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Contest Winners!

Tracy Cooper-Posey Giveaway
The winner of a copy of Eva's Last Dance (ebook) is:
  • Robin K who said...I think that creatures should be hidden with just a few select groups knowing about them. If there are not hidden I think the book turns a bit toward Science Fiction and less Urban Fantasy. Not that Science Fiction is bad :) It is just a different genre.

Michael J. Sullivan Giveaway
The winner of a copy of The Emerald Storm is:
  • Christine H who said... I personally haven't read this series. But I'm entering for a friend that does. Please enter me.

The Cosa Nostradamus Spotlight & Giveaway
The winner of a complete set of the Retrievers books  by Laura Anne Gilman (6 in all) is:
  • heatwave16 who said...I think that Burning Bridges is my favorite. With the electricity coming from her hand and heading towards the bridge, it makes me feel like a big showdown is coming next. Looks like a fabulous series.

Many thanks to Michael J. Sullivan, Tracy Cooper-Posey and Laura Anne Gilman for their time and giveaway donations.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest Author - Michelle Rowen (Interview & Giveaway)

Michelle Rowen writes paranormal romance, futuristic romantic suspense, young adult fantasy and will soon be moving into urban fantasy. Michelle has four different series, several standalone novels and contributions to a number of anthologies. I was first introduced to her writing through her fun and charming Immortality Bites series.

Michelle just launched her newest series Living in Eden which begins with The Demon in Me (May 4). I think you'll love Eden and the demon Darrak. Please join me in welcoming Michelle to SciFiGuy. Michelle will be dropping by to chat so feel free to leave a question or comment. I also have two copies of The Demon im Me to giveaway. Check the usual contest guidelines at the end of the post on how to enter.

SFG: Michelle, first off I'd like to say what a pleasure it is to have a Canadian paranormal writer here at Is there anything from your Canadian experience that you put into your stories that makes them unique or do you see paranormal as universal?

Thanks Doug! Ah, my “Canadian experience”... well, I was raised here so I would think that affects how my characters act. In my earlier books I tried to throw in some Canadiana, ie: Tim Hortons, CN Tower references, other Toronto landmarks. I’m keeping it a tad more generic now, especially since some of my books take place outside of Canada. Some of my American friends probably assume my characters say “aboot” (I swear I can’t hear my accent, but they seem to think it’s hilarious), but I’m not so sure about that.

SFG: You are just launching your brand-new Living in Eden series beginning with the Demon in Me. Can you tell us a little something about the book and the direction of the series?

Sure. It’s about a psychic consultant to the police who’s possessed by a demon. Her first impulse is to have him exorcized, of course, but once she gets to know the “voice in her head” she realizes he is cursed and needs her help. She agrees to help him when he offers to help her woo the man of her dreams, her cop partner on the psychic investigations. She also is a part-owner of a detective agency that, because of the demon’s presence, becomes a magnet for supernatural clientele. It’s a whole lot of fun and takes the humour I used in my Immortality Bites series and adds in a bit of a darker edge. I love books that will scare you one moment, make you shed a tear or two, and then make you laugh your butt off. This is my goal.

SFG: You usually write about vampires. What made you choose Demons as the supernatural centrepiece for Living in Eden?

Once I got the idea about a woman who is possessed, choosing demons as the central supernatural character was an easy choice. I suppose I could have gone with a ghost, but I liked the evil/good implications that I would get to play with by having a demon hero.

You've written five books in your Immortality Bites series, do you plan more? Do you have a favourite book or characters from the series? You also have some very clever titles, how did you arrive at those?

No more Immortality Bites books are currently planned and the last book definitely ended on a definitive note. I wouldn’t turn down the chance to write about these characters again, but at the moment there is nothing contracted. My favorite book in the series is Stakes & Stilettos because I got to explore my hero Thierry’s backstory through his point of view to help readers understand this enigmatic character a bit better. The titles are adorable, aren’t they? It all branched from the first book, originally titled Dearly Departed, but I was asked to come up with new titles. I supplied a list to my editor and she chose Bitten & Smitten, which at the time I thought was unforgivably cutesy, but seemed to work very well after I embraced the cutesiness. From there, the titling hook (a vamp word and a chick-litty word) stuck. Although I have to admit it got a bit more difficult near the end!

SFG: Like many paranormal and urban fantasy writers you also write young adult fiction. Tell us something about the Demon Princess series and in particular the forthcoming second book Reign Check. What do you like most about writing for the young adult market?

Demon Princess is about a 16 year old girl who learns her estranged father is a demon king in another world accessed by magical gateways, and is the safety zone between the human world and hell. As his only child, she is the heir to the throne and because of this, her life is in danger by those who want free access to the human world. She’s protected by a cute but mysterious guy her father sends to her with a message that he must meet her soon. Uncontrollable powers, proms, hot guys, and homework ensues.

In Reign Check, Nikki is brought before the demon council in the Underworld who want to meet this new player on the scene. She also has to deal with a young faery king enrolling at her school to learn more about the girl he considers a threat to his kingdom -- and he’s very disturbed when he finds the half-demon her more charming than threatening.

I love writing YA because it’s the genre of my heart -- the first thing that really made me want to start writing seriously. I was working on a YA project (never published) long before I launched my paranormal romance career. There’s something about being a teenager, experiencing everything for the first time -- first love, betrayal of friends, slowly and grudgingly becoming an adult, that whole “coming of age” thing -- that just really works for me in fiction.

SFG: Next year also sounds like a very busy year for you with another new series being launched; can you give us a small preview of Nightshade?

Yes, my Nightshade duology (plus a novella in between) begins February 2011. I wrote a darker futuristic romance under the pen name Michelle Maddox in ’08 and I wanted to take that voice into urban fantasy. It’s about a woman who is injected with a top secret formula that makes her blood both irresistible and poisonous to vampires. She’s used against her will as a pawn to kill a vampire king and gets involved with a vampire hunting, battle-scarred and emotionless dhampyr. Chaos ensues. It’s bloody, sexy, and a real thrill ride. I loved writing it.

SFG: Are you a reader of contemporary YA fiction and if so what are your favourite series/books?

My favorite genre at the moment is YA because it offers up a little bit of everything. I’m a shameless fangirl of the Twilight franchise -- both books and movies. I adore Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. Worship Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games and can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy. I could go on and on. Great stuff is being published in YA right now.

SFG: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Neil Gaiman. Because he’s Neil Gaiman. And I heart him.

SFG: I see that you are attending a Toronto science fiction convention this summer, are you also a science fiction and fantasy reader?

I am attending the Polaris convention here in Toronto as an author guest. It was a lot of fun last year so I’m looking forward to July. I must admit I don’t read that much sci-fi or high fantasy -- but I watch a lot of it on TV and in the movies, which this convention gears to.

SFG: You just returned from the RT Convention. What was the highlight of the event for you?

Of course I love seeing the readers who come to the book signing and bring their own books to be signed. So much fun. One woman showed me a tattoo she’d gotten of the bat on the cover of Lady & the Vamp. That was a real thrill! Also, it’s great fun to hang out with other authors and talk shop over lemon drop martinis. But my highlight was probably receiving the RT Reviewers’ Choice award for Best Vampire Romance for Tall, Dark & Fangsome. I am wooed by the bling. ;)

Congratulations Michelle on your RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance!

You can visit Michelle Rowen at her main website, YA website or blog.


I have two copies of The Demon in Me to giveaway to commenters
  1. To enter, ask Michelle a question about her about her books/series or tell us about your favourite UF/PNR that featured a demon.
  2. Open to everywhere that The Book Depository ships.
  3. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  4. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  5. Giveaway open until Midnight, May 13, 2010 EDT.

October 5, 2010 – Berkley Books
Book #2 in the Living in Eden series.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Guest Author - Jaime Rush (Guest Post & Giveaway)

I have the wonderful Jaime Rush here today to talk about building her first paranormal thriller series called the Offspring. The third book, Touching Darkness has just been released (April 27). Jaime also had an Offspring novella in the recent Bitten By Cupid anthology.
Description for Touching Darkness:
They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary. They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry—and they are in terrible danger.

Nicholas Braden has an uncanny psychic talent for finding things—which is why he's been recruited for a covert government program designed to hunt down terrorists. While his work for a shady controller named Darkwell is leading him down some very questionable alleyways, it's also bringing him closer to Olivia, Darkwell's stunning young assistant. A "good girl" with a wild, secret side, Olivia tempts Nicholas in ways he never believed possible—and in his business, a loss of control could prove fatal.

But there is something not right about the operation. And as Nicholas and Olivia's passion reaches a white-hot intensity, chilling reversals of good and evil, of right and wrong, suddenly threaten their very survival.
You can read Jaime's earlier guest post from last fall here. Jaime will be by to chat, so please take the opportunity to say hello and ask a question or leave a comment. Jaime has also generously provided two copies of Touching Darkness to be won by commenters. Giveaway details at the end of the post.

Welcome Jaime!

And then….and then…and then…

After writing 18 stand-alone books under my real name, Tina Wainscott, I embarked on a totally new adventure—a series under a pseudonym. A couple of years ago I needed a change, a big fat change. So I let my muse loose and told her to pick whatever she wanted, no limits. (Not that she listens to me anyway.) Like a dog let out of the house after being confined for days, she bounded through imaginary wood and swamp, into caverns and deep into the ocean. When she came back, happy and panting, and dropped her bone at my feet, I was shocked: a series idea? Really?

Never in all the years had I been writing did I even once consider a series. The more I chewed that bone, the more I liked the idea. Having read series, I know the appeal of seeing your favorite characters grow over a long period of time, revisiting friends from past books, continuing a thread. I didn't want to focus on one character but a group, and each book would feature a new romantic lead.

I also didn't want to have a series arc that spread over all the potential books in the series, thus leaving new readers coming in at book 3 or 6 stupefied with all the history. I went with the KISS method, creating an arc that is wrapped up in four books, leaving the rest of the books as connected but more stand-alone.

Once I'd come up with the arc and general plotlines, I thought, "Hey, this is going to be easy compared to stand-alone books. No new entire cast of characters to create, no need to hunt for a new setting." Easier in reality? In a way, yes. In a way, no. Of course, new characters come into every book, though not a whole cast. The setting does change, though their hideout remains the same. But that cast of characters…they don't remain static. They grow and change through the story, even if it's not their story. Their relationships to each other change, too.

I love the dynamics of a group of people thrown together, but the tough part is keeping it straight as I go from book to book. The details…isn't that where the devil resides? Oh, my, yes. I have character charts, tattoo charts, timeline charts, hair color charts, and people who've died charts. I'm always referring to the charts or searching in previous books for conversations about a subject to see what's come before. The trickiest part is catching up new readers without an information overload.

It's been fun watching the series grow. I confess, I didn't fully map out the entire arc. I knew where the first three books were heading, and I had a few mysterious characters who popped in from time to time, though I didn't know who they really were. You see, the series is about a group of twenty-somethings who all have extraordinary psychic abilities, like telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and seeing the future. Someone in the government is hunting them down because my group is beginning to see the truth about who they are and why they have these abilities. Each one had a parent who was involved in a classified program twenty-five years ago, and that parent died soon after the program was terminated. Their parents were given something that enhanced their abilities but had a nasty side-effect: it also made them crazy. So if the offspring inherited the ability, did they also inherit the side effect?

I only recently figured out what the substance was and what they really are. For a writer who usually plans, it was great fun to let things play out, and the truth was even neater than I'd thought it would be.

TOUCHING DARKNESS is book three of the series. Nicholas Braden, a psychic spy in a covert government program, suspects he's a pawn in a mad man's quest for justice. His boss's stunning assistant is too loyal to give him answers, but Olivia's secret, wild side bends his mind and fires his body. As they edge closer to the darkest truth, good and evil blur, threatening their very survival.

I love writing a series, as it turns out. Who'd have thunk it? It's why shows like Lost and Friends gained such popularity. My books are less complicated than Lost, more complex than Friends, with some X-Files thrown in. You get to hang out with your friends for as long as you like, and that's pretty cool.

What are your thoughts on book series? Do you prefer stand-alone books? Do you like following the same protagonist through the jungle or having a new character/couple to meet in every book? And what's your fave series? I personally love both Ilona Andrews's series and Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series.

And for something fun! I've been running my Kick Butt First Line contest for every book I release: Shocking, suspenseful…make us want more! Cash prizes! Contest runs from May 1 through June 1, 2010. It's open to readers and writers. The entries are entertaining to read, even if you don't enter. For details on that and my books, go to


Jaime is offering TWO copies of Touching Darkness. The books will be shipped directly from the publisher but signed bookplates can be sent to the winners upon request.
  1. To enter,comment your response to Jaime's questions in the interview -- What are your thoughts on book series? Do you prefer stand-alone books? Do you like following the same protagonist through the jungle or having a new character/couple to meet in every book? And what's your fave series? I personally love both Ilona Andrews's series and Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series..
  2. Open to US and Canada.
  3. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  4. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  5. Giveaway open until Midnight, May 10, 2010 EDT.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Urban Fantasy Weekend Report


I've been under the weather the past week which is why you have seen few posts from me and fewer comments around the blogosphere. Lisa Hurley, my roving SFF reviewer did a terrific interview with Michael J. Sullivan on Monday (with a giveaway of The Emerald Storm). Yesterday we hosted a stop on Leanna Rennee Hieber's Haunted London  Blog Tour with a copy of her newest book The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker or Leanna's first book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Both giveaways are still open. Check the posts for details.

The fabulous giveaway of Lover Mine by J.R. Ward continues - Canadian Giveaway (5 copies)!

Tomorrow we have a return visit from paranormal thriller writer Jaime Rush who joins us to talk about Touching Darkness, her third book in the Offspring series. On Thursday I am excited to have Canadian paranormal romance author Michelle Rowen joins us to chat about The Demon in Me, the beginning of a new series called Living in Eden.

Remember to check my Author Events and Interviews schedule posted on my left sidebar for the most recent updates.


Barb Hendee had some exciting news to share about her Vampire Memories series. She has sold two more books in the series -  In Memories We Fear (Book Four) and Ghosts of Memories (Book 5).

Book Trailer for The Native Star by M.K. Hobson (Coming in September)

Diana Rowland had news this week about her Demon series. The third book, Secrets of the Demon will be out from DAW on January 4th, 2011 and the series is also getting new cover art by Dan dos Santos!

Jackie Kessler announced that her Hell on Earth series concluded at the end of the three book contract and has not been renewed. Good news though that Jackie is tying up all the loose ends in a fourth book called Hell to Pay on her website. Starting May 18 she will be serializing the novel and posting a new chapter every Tuesday.

Jocelynn Drake has a report and lots of photos from the RT Convention. Day 2 | Day 3. Keri Arthur also reports with lots of pictures on Day 1Day 2, and Day 3. Also some great coverage by Rinda Elliott from the Deadline Dames here, here and here.

Kim Harrison announced the title for the next Hollows book which will be Pale Demon. I like it :)

Larissia Ione confirmed that her Demonica spin-off series about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will launch with Eternal Rider, book 1 in April 2011. this series title will be Lords of Deliverance.

Book trailer for the young adult novel Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

My best bud Marta Acosta has a new novel coming out om May 18 called Nancy's Theory of Style written under the pen name Grace Coopersmith. Find out more about this contemporary romance in an interview at Bookaholics Romance Book Club or at her new Grace Coopersmith website.

Jonathan Oliver, commissioning editor of Solaris Books, has acquired DESDAEMONA, the opening volume of a fascinating urban fantasy series from pseudonymous author 'Ben Macallan'.[via]
Jay finds people – runaways. He looks like a teenager, but he's not. He treads the line between mundane reality and the world of the supernatural, including the awesome Powers That Be. Desdaemona, who also knows the non-human world far too well, comes to him, searching for her lost sister Fay who did a Very Bad Thing involving an immortal before disappearing. This may be a mistake – for both of them. Not least because of those whose attention is drawn to them...
"Ben's urban fantasy novel is wise, witty and terrific fun," Jonathan Oliver said. "It's great to find a work that does something different with the genre while still managing to be a ripping good yarn."

Kelly Gay has a new Facebook page up for her YA alter-ego Kelly Keaton. The first book in the new series is Darkness Becomes Her.


Deborah Cooke has some Advance Reading Copies (ARC’s) of the next Dragonfire book - WHISPER KISS which will be released on August 3. 2010.

Win on Wednesday: List of 129 Urban Fantasy Giveaways


Lots of things blowing up in Jonah Hex.

Another True Blood promo poster. Wereflamingos anyone?

A little taste of True Blood until the season starts in this Fangtasia minisode.


Every single day during the month of June, All Things Urban Fantasy & Tynga’s Reviews will be hosting different authors, titles and giveaways during their 1st ever Paranormal Summer Fest!

Literary Escapism is participating in this fundraising event and has a slew of UF/PNR novels to be won. Check the posting for details.


 Here is the cover for M.K. Hobson's The Native Star and I have to admit the blurb is very intriguing. I'll definitely be checking this one out. Releases in September.
 It’s 1876, and business is rotten for Emily Edwards, town witch of the tiny Sierra Nevada settlement of Lost Pine. With everyone buying patent magicks by mail-order, she’s faced with two equally desperate options. Starve—or use a love spell to bewitch the town’s richest lumberman into marrying her.

When the love spell goes terribly wrong, Emily is forced to accept the aid of Dreadnought Stanton—a pompous and scholarly Warlock from New York—to set things right. Together, they travel from the seedy underbelly of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, across the United States by train and biomechanical flying machine, to the highest halls of American magical power, only to find that love spells (and love) are far more complicated and dangerous than either of them could ever have imagined.
Chloe Neill posted the cover copy to go with the new cover of Hexbound.
Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…
Katie MacAllister posted the preliminary cover for In the Company of Vampires which will be a stepback cover.

Kelly Meding has the cover for the German edition of AS LIE THE DEAD. Maggie Stiefater has some Italian covers to show.

Nalini Singh posted the cover to Play of Passion, the ninth Psy-Changeling novel coming in November. A very nice romance-style cover.

Stumbling Over Chaos has Misadventures in Stock Photography: Part the Twentieth (SHAGY)

The Book Smugglers have the result to their "Cover Matters" survey here. Lots of interesting info.


The Galaxy Express profiles three new SFR titles coming from Carina Press. Check out the post for the blurbs and other details.

Mark Chitty at Walker of Worlds has SFF Book Releases for May 2010. Wicked Little Pixie and All Things Urban Fantasy have the May UF/PNR releases.


C.E. Murphy with new baby son Henry Stanford Murphy Lee. Congratulations!
Gail Carriger at Murder By the Book signing in Houston

Author Kari Stewart in her mermaid persona

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The DARKLY LUMINOUS Haunted London Blog Tour (& Giveaway)

It is my pleasure to welcome Leanna  Renee Hieber here to to celebrate the launch of her second Persephone Parker book,  The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. Leanna's first book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker was recently optioned as a stage musical production. Wow!

It’s great to be with you SciFiGuy and friends! Thanks Doug!

Just like last year’s Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour, we’re continuing with more real ghost stories I use in the Strangely Beautiful series, continuing with the sequel in the series, THE DARKLY LUMINOUS FIGHT FOR PERSEPHONE PARKER – now available!

About the Book: “Death-pale Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Foretold by ghosts with which she alone could converse; a war was coming. Victorian London would be overrun by a spectral host.  Yet, within mighty Athens Academy, alongside The Guard who shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come.”
About the Tour: I’ve had a life-long love for the 19th century, England and ghosts. London is alive with history, thriving not only with the pulsing energy of the living, but the restless energy of the dead. When the character of Professor Alexi Rychman and his Guard of spectral police make their rounds, it is to any number of real, documented, familiar London phantasms.  Since these characters are familiar to The Guard, I don’t get the opportunity to tell their complete story.  But these tales are too good not to tell in their full, spooky splendor… (Special thanks to London ghost and Ripper expert Richard Jones, whose books and tours are my go-to resource).

Today’s Ghost: 
Oliver Goldsmith and Ye Olde Cock Tavern
22 Fleet Street, EC4

While you may know Fleet Street from Sweeney Todd, there’s more than just a demon barber down Fleet Street. Of mid-16th century vintage, Ye Olde Cock Tavern is the oldest pub on Fleet. Writer and playwright Oliver Goldsmith (1730-74); She Stoops to Conquer, The Vicar of Wakefield) is buried in the graveyard of Temple Church which lies to the rear of the Tavern. A barmaid once exited the rear door and found herself face to face with a floating, disembodied head. It took a great deal to calm her down, and she only started up screaming again when, upstairs in the Tavern, she saw a portrait of Goldsmith on the wall, shrieking that his was the face she saw. Here’s how I use Mr. Goldsmith in Darkly Luminous…
 From The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker:
“Busy night, Lord Withersby,” Rebecca stated conversationally. “I was just on my way to Ye Olde Cock Tavern. Then to Sadler’s Wells.”

Elijah made a face. “Oliver Goldsmith’s head? Again? And that clown? They must have a cranial rivalry; they’re always out in tandem.”

“Each won’t take but a minute, especially if we work together. We’ll begin up Fleet Street.”

Rebecca kicked her horse into a slow walk, and Elijah strolled along beside her. “Damn writers,” he opined, “loath to leave anything, frightened of fading into obscurity; it isn’t Goldsmith’s body haunting Fleet street, it’s merely his pride. Damn them all. There isn’t a single noble profession in the world.”

“Nobility comes only through lack of work, then?”

“My class is constituted entirely of sniveling idiots,” he replied.

“What, then?” Rebecca laughed. “There must be some worthwhile task—”

“Yes,” Elijah said firmly. “Ours. We’re the world’s only nobility, Rebecca. Though our rewards seem paltry.” He eyed her. “How are you faring these days?”

Rebecca snorted. “What’s come over you?”

“I was asking the questions, my dear.” He grinned. “I was just wondering how it feels to be free of His Highness, if only for a bit.”

Rebecca thought a moment. “Not bad, I suppose. Not bad.”

“Good, then. Our leader Alexi may be, but you of all people oughtn’t be kept at heel.”

“He did not put me at heel.” Her voice was cold.

“No, he didn’t.” Elijah’s gaze was uncomfortably direct. “You did. He respects you the most of all of us. But you’ve never done yourself that honour, have you?”

A discomfited clearing of her throat was Rebecca’s only response, and they walked in silence to the tavern.

“Hold on to your head, Oliver!” Elijah cried upon their arrival. “We come for it again, you witless sot! I never did like a single one of your tired phrases!”

He threw open the tavern door and burst inside with a raucous yell, drawing a pretend sword and crossing the entire first floor in a few bounds. Rebecca couldn’t hold back a laugh. The burly man behind the bar had come out to tackle him, but Elijah raised his arms in a swift, grand gesture like a conductor halting a symphony. All was immediately quiet, the tavern’s assemblage staring suddenly off into space. Unable to help himself, Elijah waved his arms about a bit, seeing how the entire company moved their heads in response like marionettes on strings. This caused him limitless glee, and Rebecca had to take his arms and gently lower them, lest he play giggling puppeteer all night.

“You allow me no fun,” he pouted, a stray finger still making one slovenly drunkard’s gaze turn loops.

Rebecca confiscated both his hands in hers and nearly pressed her nose to his. “Fun? What about Jane’s recent lark? We cannot all be allowed to misbehave.”

“I thought I saw something about a children’s ward…” he began.


“Brilliant.” Elijah grinned.

“You picked the locks, didn’t you?”

“What, and let Michael steal my mischief? He lets her into the parish wards all the time. It was my turn.”

The two of them walked onto the tavern’s back stoop in tandem. Sure enough, Oliver Goldsmith’s disembodied head bobbed at eye level in the back courtyard, his transparent features looking entirely offended.

“Stop scaring the barmaids with your corpse, Goldsmith…let your prose do it for you!” Elijah’s magic pinned the writer by his century-dead eyes while Rebecca’s incantations of banishment settled into a hush. The spirit was soon dispatched, and they crossed back through the quiet, lazing pub, Elijah relinquishing his control of the inhabitants with a flick of his wrist as the front door clicked shut behind them.

Leave a comment to win one signed copy of either Strangely Beautiful #1; The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker or The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful #2). Specify in the comment which one you’re entering to win!  Giveaway open until May 7.

The Strangely Beautiful saga will continue again with “A Christmas Carroll” (Strangely Beautiful #2.5) novella in Dorchester’s A Midwinter Fantasy anthology this October!  Please join me via any of the sites below for ongoing updates, contests and more!

“Strangely Beautiful” Blessings! - Leanna Renee Hieber

Find Leanna on the web:
Day 1, April 26th: Babbling About Books & More! (The haunted plague pit at the centre of the city)
Day 2, April 27th: Release Day! Bitten By Books (The ghost of clown Grimaldi)
Day 3, April 28th: True-Blood.Net, the Original Fansite for HBO's True Blood (Why Percy is a Parker: A personal tale)
Day 4, April 29th: Magical Musings (The haunted execution of poor Margaret Pole)
Day 5, April 30th: Reader's Entertainment TV (Highgate Cemetery)
Day 6, May 1st: Sci-Fi Guy (The ghost of writer Oliver Goldsmith)
Day 7, May 2nd: The Season (A ghostly wedding)
Day 8, May 3rd: Vampire Wire (An inside peek into Whisper-World ghosts)
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