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)


  1. I love ghost stories and these sound great. I haven't read any of this series so I'll have to go for Strangely Beautiful #1. Thanks for the giveaway.

    forwhlz at gmail dot com

  2. This series sounds amazing, love a good ghost story. Would like to enter for Strangely Beautiful novel #1.


  3. I read The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd love to win The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker to catch up with the continuing tale of Percy, Alexi and The Guard.

  4. I've been wanting to try this series for a while now! I'd love to win The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.

  5. Count me in if Canadians can enter.

    The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

  6. I haven't read a good ghost story in a very long time.

    I would love to read the first book in the series.

    If the giveaway is open worldwide, then please enter me.

    Thank you.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  7. I would love to win Strangely Beautiful #1.
    Please enter me.

  8. Wow , I have to admit your ghost story posting caught my attention and dragged me away from my usual romance blogs. This series sounds fantastic! Whether I win or not, I think I'll be reading this series very soon.
    the first book please

  9. I've been wanting to read 'Strangely Beautiful" forever- at least it feels that way to me. Ghostly stories are always so much fun and this book has gotten a lot of buzz for being unique.Please enter me for a chance to win book #1.


  10. I have the first book but have yet to read it. So please enter me for The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker

  11. Great Excerpt.

    I'd like Strangely Beautiful #2.

  12. I'd like to win The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker since I've already purchased Book #1. I love stories that incorporate real ghost legends and Book #1 is at the top of my TBR pile.

  13. I would love to win The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.

    Thank you for the contest.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  14. Hi! What a great contest. I'd love to win The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.

    Thank you!

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Oh, I would love to win #1 The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Thanks for the giveaway.

    roxane.elder (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. I've heard a lot of great things about these titles and would love an opportunity to read them, so I'll go for Strangely Beautiful #1.

    whatbookisthat at gmail dot com


  18. Wow! I've been missing out! Please enter me fore Strangely Beautiful #1; The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker!

    Thank you!
    Kate (aka YzhaBella)

  19. Both of these sound really good. Since I haven't read the first one, I'd like Book #1. Thanks for the great giveaway!!

    I follow

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  20. I'd love to win "Strangely Beautiful #1". Love the using the real London ghost stories idea.

  21. I am fascinated by the research that was done to produce to amazing stories. I love the history. Leanna has created a haunting yet wonderfully moving tale. I can't wait to read it.

    Thanks for the giveaway! Please enter me for The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker.
    Thanks, Lisa


  22. I'm entering to win The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful #2)

    I love ghost stories have since I was a kid.

  23. This premise is unlike anything I've ever read before. I am a self-professed Anglophile and love the whole Victorian gothic feel.

    Count me in for Strangely Beautiful Book 1, please. thanks.


  24. Loved the first book! Can't wait to get hold of The Darkly Luminous!

  25. Would love to read Strangely Beautiful #1. Got to see Leanna do a swordfighting demo at RT Convention this past weekend and she was terrific. Wanted to pick up her book at the book fair but she was sold out by the time I got to her. Can't wait to read it!

    arhcadia at yahoo dot ca

  26. I'm so excited to read these books. I'm a sucker for good ghost stories too!! Thanks for this great giveaway. I'd love to win a copy of the first book, Strangely Beautiful.

  27. I would like to enter to win Strangely Beautiful

  28. I have heard so many good things about the first book. I would love to win The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  29. I'm really excited about these two books. Great blog tour!

    Book choice: The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful #2)

    alternate email from blogger
    magenta 2 red [at] gmail [dot] com

  30. Very intriguing! Strangely Beautiful #1 so I can check it out!
    dwndrgn at hotmail dot com

  31. I loved Strangely Beautiful and to become a musical - OMG - the costumes would be amazing! I would love a chance to read Darkly Luminous annhonATaolDOTcom

  32. Got so excited when I heard this might be a musical. Would love to win the first book!


  33. Please count me in for book #1! Thanks!


  34. I'm very interested in ghost stories, I would like to enter for Strangely Beautiful #1. Thank you.

    gpmargial @

  35. This series sounds fantastic!! I agree with LEanna, the UK and London is such a diverse and layered setting, it pulses with history of different eras, I love how the old ruins/buildings are still present in the modern day city! Last summer I went to Edinburgh, it was phenomenal, that city oozes power and magic!!

    I would like to be entered for book #2, the Darkly Luminous novel.

    Thank you.

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  36. The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful #2), please.

    I love haunted England, Scotland, and Ireland.
    When I was stationed at Lakenheath, I took a Haunted Sussex bus tour on Halloween night. It was the best Halloween ever!

  37. I'd love to win The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful #2)!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  38. I'd like Strangely Beautiful #1 since I haven't read the series yet.

    The sounds intriguing though.


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