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.”
Richard Jones, http://haunted-london.com whose books and tours are my go-to resource).
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
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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)