Caravanserai – Blog tour #Historical #FantasyRomance

Caravanserai

The Chronicles of Alcinia Book 7

by Miriam Newman

Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance

Her grandmother’s dying words launch Serafina on a quest to find her unknown father. Unable to accept the love of a childhood friend, she nevertheless accepts his company on her journey, but what they discover may lead to a quick trip to an enemy prison.

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**Book 1 is FREE, the rest are on sale for only $1.99!**

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Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. You can see my books at http://www.miriamnewman.com.

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The Conall Series – Blog Tour and Guest Post #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalFantasy

The Women of Conall – Guest Post – David H. Millar

The Conall series is a tale of the ancient Gaels, their lives, loves, and battles. It is a story of a warlike people who also had an undisputed talent for art, design, and music. The series is set in Europe, 400 years before Christ, in a time when life was harsh and violent, and the boundaries between myth and reality were fluid.

A young blacksmith’s apprentice, Conall Mac Gabhann, returns home from a hunting trip with his friends to find his parents and young sisters slaughtered, along with the rest of the small rural community. A meeting with the mysterious Sidhe, Mongfhionn, and a geis accepted, sets Conall on the path of retribution. Several decades later, the former apprentice, now Rí Ruirech, King over Kings, of the great clann he founded and nurtured, stands before the gates of Rome to face his nemesis, Marcus Fabius Ambustus, Pontifex Maximus of Rome.

Conall is a journey of bloody battles, honour, treachery, tragedy, love, and high passions. It is an epic tale of vengeance and retribution, of courage and the frailty of body and spirit.

In Gaelic society, the women fought alongside the men, and many would argue they were the better and more ferocious warriors. From Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and north-western France, the ancient Gaels were guided by the Fénechas (The Law), a set of laws predating those of any Western civilisation. The Fénechas was well ahead of its time in establishing and protecting the rights of women.

Conall III: The Sisters—Na Deirfiúracha is the third book in the Conall series, and the women take centre stage. That said, all the Conall novels feature strong, sometimes tragic, and in some instances truly frightening women.

Mórrígan and Mongfhionn are the main female characters of the series. Both are powerful, troubled souls. After her family was slaughtered, a darkness of the soul overtakes Mórrígan, threatening to destroy her. From beginning to end, Mórrígan, a haunted, beautiful, and emerald-eyed queen, treads a fine line between sanity and madness, often finding relief in dispensing terror.

Her eyes blazed in fury, and her appearance was terrible to look upon; her waist-length, almost white hair shot through with streaks of red-gold. Her face was pale, highlighted by fiery red cheeks and full, blood-red lips; her eyes near black as the night sky.” Mongfhionn of the Aes Sidhe—a race of demi-goddesses—is an enigmatic and ageless creature whose driving force is avenging the murder of her sisters. Sometimes dark, the lady and her alter ego—the Hag—terrify both friend and foe.

A further sampling would include: Mòrag, “A voluptuous, somewhat narcissistic beauty, and an inveterate flirt, Mòrag was also a fierce warrior who could flatten most of the men in the army,” sets her sights on Conall, setting up an inevitable clash with Mórrígan. The tragic queen Ceana whose betrayal of her husband is a lesson in misjudgement and the descent into madness. “Áine had a mind, and it was a cunning, manipulative one that interpreted everything through its own twisted perspective.” Áine, a spoilt and indulged princess whose guilty conscience sets her on the path to madness, murder, and disease. After extreme abuse by her grandmother, Gràinne, of the Cinn Péinteáilte, swears that never again will she be defenceless. The malevolent Queen Kartimandu is not all she appears and is the only truly irredeemable female character.

Author Tidbits

My influences? I have three main influences: my Irish cultural background, my love of history, and my wife, Lauren. It was Lauren who, when I was constantly complaining about the paucity of stories in this genre of historical fantasy, turned to me and said, “Write your own.”

My target audience? Anyone with an interest in Celtic culture. I had always considered my books historical fiction. However, given the time period of 400 B.C., the distinction between myth and reality is quite blurred, and I recently recategorized my genre as historical fantasy. Some characters are mythical, such as the Sidhe, Mongfhionn, and others such as Medb, queen of the Connachta, are open to interpretation. The latter had a unique negotiating style and was often described as “Medb of the friendly thighs”!

My goals? My priority is to give readers a good yarn in the tradition of the ancient Celtic seanchaithe—the storytellers. The books are a gritty reflection of the time, the battle settings are bloody, and some scenes may raise a blush to your cheeks.

Future works? The future is Celtic. It is a niche that I enjoy writing about and is underserved.

Now that I have completed the Conall series, there is a need to emphasise marketing and promotion. For most authors, marketing, which includes acquiring reviews, is a daunting, vital, and ongoing need. Branded merchandise, author events, and blogs like the Authors’ Lounge are all part of the mix.

 

The Place of Blood – Rinn-Iru

Conall Book I

by David H. Millar

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Over four hundred years before the birth of Christ, the island of Ériu is a patchwork of feuding kingdoms, wide plains, and impassable bogs. Battle, intrigue, betrayals, and courage are part of life for the Celts who call Ériu home, while from their underground halls the mysterious aes sidhe seduce brave warriors, turning men in to kings and binding them with fearsome geis.

Conall Mac Gabhann is content with his apprenticeship to the local blacksmith. Content, that is, until his family is slaughtered in their home.

Two men share responsibility for the massacre: a mad Irish king and a dissolute Roman. Conall will have his vengeance on both, or die in the attempt.

Accompanied by his childhood friend Brion ó Cathasaigh and the veteran warrior Fearghal ó Maoilriain, Conall’s hunt takes him northward through unfriendly kingdoms and treacherous bogs to a confrontation beyond the ancient earthworks of the Black Pig’s Dyke.

Along the way, Conall will gather an army, and come to the attention of the aes sidhe. An apprentice blacksmith could become a king with their help—if he so desires.

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The Raven’s Flight – Eitilt an Fhiagh Dhuibh

Conall Book II

Conall II: The Raven’s Flight continues to chronicle the epic journey of the warriors from Ériu (Ireland).

Conall Mac Gabhann and his brooding queen, Mórrígan, lead over two thousand warriors together with their followers across the narrow sea that separates Ériu from Albu (Britain). Their quest: the capture of Cassius Fabius Scaeva, the dissolute Roman patrician held responsible for the slaughter of their families.

The Ériu encounter human, natural, and supernatural foes and friends. At the mercy of the aes sidhe, a race of demi-goddesses who demand that he fulfill an ancient geis, Conall is named as the “Hand of the Goddess” and given the instrument that will crush the Na Daoine Tùrsach—a tribe of fanatical, blood-lusting priests.

They battle fierce northern tribes: the Aos na Coille, whose one-eyed king, Drostan Ruadh, opposes their presence as do the Na Mèadaidh led by the sly Finnean Mac Sèitheach. Not all are enemies. The Aos an Fhithich offer their support, although it too comes at a price.

Heroes and villains from myth, legend, and history converge in this saga set in the vast ancient forests, treacherous bogs, snow-capped mountains, and mysterious lochs of Scotland some four hundred years before the birth of Christ.

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The Sisters – Na Deirfiúracha

Conall Book III

It is 406 B.C. The Gaels tramp through the vast forests of lowland Scotland, cross the brooding moors and marshes of the Pennines, and plough the grain fields of the South. The majestic stone brochs and dùns of the north give way to the great hillforts of the south.

Cloaked in a rich tapestry of tattoos or wearing armour inlaid with iron scales, the Gaels stand as one, taunting their enemies with fierce battle-cries and insults.

In Conall III: The Sisters—the third book of the Conall series—the women take centre stage. Brighid and Danu are kidnapped on the orders of Kartimandu, a malevolent queen bent on conquering the North. Mórrígan and Conall’s blood oath promises no quarter until the young twins are returned.

Will Eachdonn Breac, betrayed by his queen—Ceana, redeem his honour on the battlefield? A merciless assassin stalks the community. Tadhg Ó Cuileannáin is given the unenviable task of tracking the killer down. A mission made worse, when the signs point to the sister of one of Conall’s closest friends. Amid, the battles and intrigue, Mòrag Ni Artair, a tall beauty and fearsome warrior, sets her sights on Conall. A clash with Mórrígan—Conall’s queen, appears inevitable.

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A Brace of Eagles – Snaidhm Iolar

Conall Book IV

Butter-gold and cruelly hooked, the beak ripped a ragged gash across the newborn’s throat.”

Son of a blacksmith, Conall Mac Gabhann’s only desire was to follow in his father’s footsteps and enjoy a long life with his childhood love, Mórrígan. The slaughter of their parents dashed those dreams. Fuelled by vengeance, both embark on the dark path of retribution.

From the ancient forest, two great eagles take wing. With amber-gold eyes, Fate and the Goddess watch, ready to guide and meddle in human lives. Conall, now Clann Ui Flaithimh’s ‘king over kings’, must complete his geis—at any cost. Conall takes another stride closer to Rome and a reckoning with Marcus Fabius Ambustus. Flat-bottomed biremes carry Conall’s army cross the Muir nIocht to crash on the shingle beaches of North-western Gaul. New enemies and uneasy alliances flourish.

Assassins, treason, and treachery thrive. Above all, Conall values loyalty. Thus, treason within the tribe sours his belly. Mercy will have no part in his response.

The fourth novel in the Conall series, Conall IV: A Brace of Eagles is a rousing epic of Celtic heroes and villains, bloody battles, political intrigue, honour, treachery, and forbidden love.

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Retribution – Díoltas

Conall Book V

Witch!” Tullus gasped.
“You are not that fortunate, Roman,” came the menacing reply.”


Blood has purchased a fragile peace for Conall and Mórrígan and the close circle of friends they call family. Now, allies and enemies alike wonder if the king and queen have lost the thirst for vengeance on those who slaughtered their families. Alarmed, gods, kings, and despots conspire to poke the slumbering fire.
Brennus of the Senones still smarts at his defeat at Conall’s hands and covets his lands and wealth. Will a bruised ego and hubris overrule the Gaulish king’s normal pragmatism?
The Gaiscedach want revenge for the defeat and execution of their queen. In the dead of night, like cockroaches, they scuttle over the walls of Lugudunon.
Marcus Fabius Ambustus tolerates no challenge to his plan to be Dictator of Rome. But has arrogance blinded him to the enemy he has nurtured?
The gates of Rome and retribution draw closer. But Conall needs his enemies as much as his friends. Still, who are enemies and who are friends? It is a time of schisms and rebuilding, of loved ones endangered, and assassins and spies revealed.
Yet, there has always been one constant. Only the foolish doubt Conall and Mórrígan will show any mercy to those who threaten their family.

Conall V: Retribution is the fifth and final book in the Conall series.

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Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, David H. Millar is the founder, owner, and author-in-residence of Houston-based ‘A Wee Publishing Company’—a business that promotes Celtic literature, authors and art.

Millar moved from Ireland to Nova Scotia, Canada, in the late 1990s. After ten years shovelling snow, he decided to relocate to warmer climates and has now settled in Houston, Texas. Quite a contrast!

An avid reader, armchair sportsman, and Liverpool Football Club fan, Millar lives with his family and Bailey, a Manx cat of questionable disposition known to his friends as ‘the small angry one!’

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Conall t-shirt of choice – 3 winners, US only!

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The Prince of Summer – Blog Tour – Historical Fantasy Romance

The Prince of Summer

The Chronicles of Alcinia Book 5

by Miriam Newman

Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance

Jossa of Havacia is an outcast–disinherited. But can a man born to be a warrior ever be anything less? From the snow-bound country of his birth to its island fortress and the mystical kingdom of Alcinia, Jossa’s destiny pursues him like the hand of fate in The Prince of Summer.

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Get the rest of the series here!

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Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. You can see my books at http://www.miriamnewman.com.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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Echoes of a Song – Excerpt

Echoes of a Song (c) A. L. Butcher

A Legacy of the Mask tale

The Angel of Death stalked the De Chagny’s so the whispers said. Maybe it was true. For once the Angel of Death had been a man. A masked man of magic, of music and of murder. The Angel had many names, and many guises; Raoul had once laughed scornfully at Christine’s infatuation with the Angel of Music. But now he understood the terrible bewitchment, for it was his now to bear. This man, this ‘Phantom’, who at once was angel, ghost, maestro, architect, and magician had held them all in his not insubstantial power. Erik – so he called himself – had almost brought the mighty Paris opera house to its knees. Erik’s opera house, so Christine had told him. And in those desperate nights, at least, it had been true.

Raoul pulled out the hidden drawer beneath one of the shelves and read the newspaper – now yellow and faded – as he had every night for three years like a consuming obsession. First the accounts of the ‘accidents’ at the opera: the terrible night the chandelier had fallen killing an employee, the apparent suicide of a stagehand and the murder of one of the foremost tenors. Wild stories abounded about an ‘Opera Ghost’ who’d managed to fool the managers into parting with a fortune, terrified the corps de ballet and whose face was so terrible to behold that any who saw it would die, but who sang with an angel’s voice. The truth was not something that bothered the Paris Tribune too much, but the truth could be strange beyond reason. And the Surete could hardly believe the wild stories of masked men and angry ghosts. They’d searched and asked questions, and considered a cuckolded husband or an angry father, but no perpetrator had been found. The case dwindled into obscurity. Months and years went by and other cases took prominence and now few remembered one death in a city where murder was common and adultery more so. Peering at the faded print in the bad light Raoul found the part he sought in the letters of the city’s more reputable rag.

“Erik is dead,” Raoul said it aloud. Three words. Three words which had haunted him these twelve years.

A dozen tumultuous years after the dramatic events at the Paris Opera House Raoul, Comte de Chagny is still haunted by the mysterious Opera Ghost – the creature of legend who held staff at the Opera House under his thrall, kidnapped Raoul’s lover and murdered his brother. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

Best fantasy 2019 on reviewer site NN Light Book Heaven!

Ebook, audiobook, large print and paperback

https://books2read.com/Echoesofasong

Clothilde – Blog Tour and Giveaway – #Historical #Fantasy #Romance

Clothilde
The Comet Series Book 3
by Miriam Newman
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Daughter of Norman aristocrats, Clothilde du Flaumier is hopelessly in love with the illegitimate son of a nobleman. Her father will never countenance their marriage, nor does the object of her affections want one. But who else is there for such a stubborn, reckless girl?
Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$15 Amazon giftcard,
ebook of ‘Flame of Normandy’ – Book 1 in The Comet Trilogy
-1 winner each

Mystics in Hell #Fantasy #HistoricalFantasy #DarkFantasy

Mystics in Hell

Mystic Madness!

Join the doomed on their vision quests in eleven stories by the damnedest writers in Perdition: Janet Morris; A.L. Butcher; Joe Bonadonna; Andrew P. Weston; Gustavo Bondoni; Seth Lindberg; Tom Barczak; Michael H. Hanson; Louis Antonelli; Christopher Crosby Morris.

https://www.amazon.com/Mystics-Hell-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B0926LKYYH/

Janet Morris & Chris Morris: A Frame of Mind

The devil’s casting couch becomes a chopping block. On a blasted heath, Marlowe find’s his mystic powers and loses his head over the Weyward Sisters. At the Globe, unwitting Orpheus and Solomon set the stage for Satanic mayhem as real witches cast themselves in Macbeth.

Andrew P. Weston: The Come Right Inn

In the Come Right Inn, we meet one of Satan’s most secretive agents. A charming woman with a finger – and most other body parts – in every pie. She’s bewitching, beguiling, and bedeviled to be sure, but won’t think twice about skinning you alive if you cross her. 

A.L. Butcher: Abode of Woe

When the self-proclaimed anti-messiah builds a temple on their doorstep and ruins business, Calchas and Cassandra look to some devious means to bring down the walls.

Duelling mystics and misinformation bring mayhem to the underworld.

S E. Lindberg: Fool’s Gold

Rejoice Forty-niners, there is a gold rush in hell! King Midas still transmutes flesh into gold. He’s minting the promising new gastro-currency: buttcoin. Mine for a price. At your own risk.

Most-infamous archeologist Howard Carter discovers that exploiting mysticism can turn a profit, even in hell. If only he could only seize the Philosopher’s Stone from higher powers…

Thoth, Egyptian god of mysticism, seeks conspirators to regain control over his realm of afterlife, Duat. He just needs someone to retrieve his alchemical powers. You in?

Lou Antonelli: The True Believer

The man who invented Apartheid refuses to acknowledge his hellish fate and gets a special visit to set him straight.

Gustavo Bondoni: By Any Means Necessary

Umberto Eco knows he’s in Hell; the suffering and multiple deaths that never kill him permanently are more than enough of a clue for a man of his learning.  But when he gets forcibly recruited by Nazi Commando Otto Skorzeny to prove the theories of one of history’s greatest charlatans, he thinks things can’t get any worse.  He’s wrong.  Hell can always get worse.

Tom Barczak: Excalibur

Hell can be hard. But Rasputin has something even harder, and Lafayette Ronald Hubbard desperately needs it if he is going to pull off the greatest magic trick hell has ever known.

Michael H. Hanson: On the Run

Sufi mystic Rumi, Zen Buddhist Dōgen, and Charlatan Spiritualist Mina Crandon use their new found magics on the grandest of all quests, to find powerful talismans that will allow them to escape Hell itself.

Andrew P. Weston: The Sorcerous Apprentice

In The Sorcerous Apprentice, Daemon Grim learns new tricks from an old dog. And just as well. There’s a fallen saint to bring to heel, and she’s not known for playing ball . . . crystal or otherwise. 

Joe Bonadonna: Colossus of Hell

Victor Frankenstein and Alan Turing want to build a cyborg. Quasimodo wants to win the hand of a fortune teller. Rasputin and Cagliostro want to open a private club. And the Orange Ogre, he wants revenge.

Strange Arts: Janet and Chris Morris

Deep in the bowels of the Tower, Kit Marlowe is recruited by Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, for a perilous mission. Witches, wraiths, Fates? Who are the Weyward Sisters? And what do they want in hell?

Meet My Character Week – Madam Giry

CHARACTER’S NAME: Madam Lise Giry

How did you find yourself in your current predicament/on your current adventure?Life is an adventure, of that I am certain. What led me here? A Ghost. 

Years ago when I was a lonely and neglected bride I saw a travelling fair – of the sort the gipsies manage. There he was – this young man in a cage – like a beast. The fashion was for freaks – bearded women, dwarfs, those unfortunate souls God had touched with something not quite right. This man in a cage wore little more than rags, his face covered by a mask and his eyes had a hateful feral look but when he sang – heaven wept. Neither before nor since have I heard such a sound – it went directly to the soul and bared it before one – raw, weeping, glorious. 

Then his keeper made him remove the mask. Such a face was revealed as the devil himself would turn from. Poor Erik. For that was the wretch’s name.

I did not know it then but an act of kindness would send my life and my heart along paths I never knew I could endure. He wept at kindness. A life of such woe that a simple Christian kindness brought this man to tears.

 The caged devil – The Living Corpse – became a ghost, and an angel and our paths diverged for many years but I never forgot that music, and he never forgot the only kindness he was ever shown.

How many crimes have you committed? I sheltered a murderer, I aided his escape. I have been complicit in blackmail, theft, seduction – and I have sinned before God in thought and deed. I turned away from the Church, I loved a man who was not my husband, although I never committed adultery I thought about it.

How do you think others see you?  A stuffy, prim and proper dance mistress and seamstress. I know what the corps de ballet whisper about me. Some of the girls spend more time on their backs than dancing and I have seen what happens to those left with an unplanned burden. They are Séductrice! I am strict, but I am not stupid – those who leave due to pregnancy will end up at best a short term plaything for the rich patrons. 

Are you resilient? Do you deal with change easily? How do you react? I’ve had to be resilient. My mother died when I was very young, my father died when I was just married, my husband’s family despised me, several of my children died, and I’ve been a widow for twenty years. 

I would like to say God saw me through the hardest times, but I am unsure if that’s the truth. I dare say I deserve it.

If you could live your life again would you make the same choices? If I was married to Jules when I met Erik? Yes, I think so. The rational side of me says what kind of life could I have had with him? Always on the run, probably often afraid and hungry. Could I live with the things he’s done first hand? I do not know. The part of my soul that yearns to live in that music, for the Angel to sing for me, as he sang for her says I should have made the choice to have followed him. 

What is the hardest choice you’ve had to make in the course of your adventures? What was the easiest? I have a daughter, I buried my other children, and then my husband. I had very little for a long time and then Erik arranged for me to come here. That was an easy choice. The hardest? I suppose not having the courage to say I would go with him when he left the barn so many years ago. Not having the courage to say what was in my heart. Turning aside when the bodies started mounting up, and having to stand by whilst he destroyed himself for that ingénue, Christine Daae.

What trait do you abhor most in yourself or others? Spite and shallowness. 

Do you have any dirty secrets? Apart from the crimes, unrequited love, casting my Catholic upbringing aside, knowing who is behind the murders here and not informing the gendarmes? No, I can’t think of anything else.

Have you ever loved/been loved? I loved my husband Jules He was a decent man but he has been gone a long time. I loved my father, and I loved Erik. I believe Jules loved me. Did Erik love me? No, but he was kind to me – helped me when I was desperate and hungry – but he did not love me.  Perhaps the tragedy at the Opera house could have been averted had he loved me, not her. 

Do you believe in a god/s? I was raised a Catholic but in the dark nights when I hear Erik’s music in my dreams and see that awful, terrible visage given to him by God I wonder at such a fickle deity – a god that took my children from me and left us to starve. I have sinned and so perhaps that is my punishment but as each year passed my faith dwindled.

Why should we read about your adventures? My story is a tragedy; a tale of desperate love, death and music. Ours was a strange friendship that spanned the decades and sustained two terribly lonely souls and we had that night in the barn, so many long years ago. 

Madam Giry features in

Tears and Crimson Velvet

Madam Giry finds herself embroiled in the tragedy unfolding at the Opera house; mystery and murder stalk the corridors and, it is said, a ghost haunts the place. Giry knows the truth, for she recalls the caged man she met so many years ago. This is her story, their story.

When murder and mystery begin at the Opera House one woman knows who is behind it, and what really lies beneath the mask. Secrets, lies and tragedy sing a powerful song in this ‘might have been’ tale.

A short, tragic tale based on characters from Phantom of the Opera.

A Legacy of the Mask Tale.

https://books2read.com/TearsandCrimson

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Amazon.com https://amzn.to/2oW2frb

Amazon UK audio https://amzn.to/2S9zpRh

Amazon.com audio https://amzn.to/2R7iwFM

Audible https://adbl.co/2yVVoT1

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Apple https://books.apple.com/gb/book/tears-and-crimson-velvet/id1344489540

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tears-and-crimson-velvet-a-l-butcher/1127921665

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/tears-and-crimson-velvet

 

 

#Heroika Skirmishers – Beth Patterson and Her Character

Name: Beth W. Patterson

Give us a brief synopsis of your story. The continuing story of Thérèse Naquin (aka “Pichou,” or Creole for “wildcat”) is one of the eleven-year-old girl in the heart of rural Cajun Louisiana. Pichou mourns the loss of her mentor Mister Broussard but finds a contemporary in a boy her age who moves into the late man’s vacant house. The two quickly become fast friends, eagerly swapping lore and talents. Their happy camaraderie is soon disturbed by the tiny town’s newest threat, a legendary serial killer. Devoid of guns or blades, they must rely strictly on their wits, their quick young bodies, and a heart-stopping bluff that could cost them their lives.

Why did you choose that time period/group of people to write about? The magic and lore of southwest Louisiana was something I’d already experienced in my youth. It was one of the few settings that I felt I could truly make authentic. I began to feel my deepest appreciation for my native Cajun country around my teens, roughly the time when I began to dive deeper into reading fantasy and collecting folktales. A friend of mine and I would often skip school and go visit a lot of elderly iconic Cajun musicians, often recording them playing tunes and telling stories. I named my story after a song by the late, great DL Menard.

What research did you do for the story? I revisited the place that was the inspiration for the setting. I hadn’t spent much time in St. Landry Parish and Evangeline Parishes since maybe 1991. I got sunburned, bug bites, mud splashed up to the roof of my car, and a speeding ticket. In other words, I had a ball. A lot of scenes were set in real places I’d visited in my youth, such as the bar/feed store. I thought it would be a good idea to preserve that little Polaroid snapshot in my memories of a zeitgeist that has definitely changed since then.

What is your writing space like? It’s complete chaos at the moment. I have my own little office, but it’s crammed with musical instruments, piles of notes, journals, and music charts that I still either have to file or throw away. I’ve moved three times in the past three years (with a grand total of ten times over the past twelve years). But now I think finally I might be able to thrive in this new house. I still need to unpack most of my research books (my husband and I are currently using stacks of boxes for our makeshift live-streaming living room studio during the quarantine). But I have a shelf within my line of sight that contains some special items that help me step into a certain frame of mind: photos, candles, a rubber ducky given to me by my late friend Robert Asprin, a painting by my sister in law, a little pair of foo dogs, a tiny brass unicorn, a 3-D printed octopus that shoots the bird multiple times, and a handmade sparkly rainbow skull-spider that a friend sent me (as a thank you present for helping to keep him from going too stir crazy with my quarantine videos). All of these give me courage.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m trying to be a better plotter, because I think that having a well thought out story arc does make for stronger structure. But some of my passages that people seem to find most memorable are my most spontaneous ideas. I was trying to have an actual formula for a story last night, with some necessary questions: What does my main character want? What obstacles are standing in the way? What are the main character flaws? How does the conflict resolve? Is the antagonist a good guy or a bad guy? And then two thousand words just came pouring out before I had a chance to set the framework, so who was I to stop that rare deluge? As we say in music, “I’ll fix it in the mix.”

Is being a writer ‘what you do’ or ‘what you are’? It’s more what I am, because I haven’t yet invested enough time and discipline for it to be what I do. Playing music has been my bread and butter for almost thirty years, so I’ve had to give that priority. For me being a writer is a state of mind. I’m constantly processing incoming information through a storyteller’s lens. Sometimes I’ll start daydreaming, and my husband will notice a look on my face and ask me, “Are you creating a scene again?”

What did you want to be when you grew up? My brother teases me about how when I was little I assembled a little axe out of popsicle sticks and went around whacking on tree trunks (apparently I wanted to be a “woodchopper”). I did attempt writing some stories before kindergarten, for I had taught myself to read and write, even before I knew which way some of my handwritten letters were supposed to face. When I was in the third grade, I saw an episode of Cosmos on TV that was about DNA, and went through a phase of wanting to be a biochemist. By the time I reached the sixth grade, I wanted to be a rock star. While I’m mostly glad that I stuck with being a self-employed musician, I’m glad that not all of my wishes came true, because I definitely couldn’t have handled fame.

Character Section

Name: Thérèse Naquin (aka “Pichou,” Creole patois for “wildcat”)

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m eleven years old, the whole town thinks I’m fou-fou (crazy), but I’m gonna go to the big university in Lafayette someday and become a herpetologist. Either that or discover monsters and prove that they’re real, like a cryptozoologist. I’ve got one good friend, a boy my age I call Firing Pin. He’s smart like a fox and draws real good. And that’s all I need, me.

Tell us a bit about the society in which you live. We’re pretty far away from the big city. A lot of the old people are superstitious. Everyone is Catholic, but sometimes a little folk medicine never hurt anyone. Everyone on TV talks about Cajun cooking as something really special, but fancy restaurants never get it right. The best food you’ll ever eat is at someone’s maw-maw’s house.

Are you brave? I don’t know, me. There’s some scary stuff out in the world, but when you’re the only one who can stop it, what are you gonna do? I helped this town, but I was scared the whole time! Maybe someday I won’t be afraid anymore.

How do others see you? My Nonc (Uncle) Ulysse and Tante (Aunt) Rosalie think I’m too wild. They didn’t really like me too much when they were raising me. But I saved our town from a dragon, so I think they can forgive me a little bit.

Do you love anyone? Do you hate anyone? I loved the old man down the road from me, Mister Broussard. He taught me to play the fiddle, told me stories, and always had time for me. But he died, and then Firing Pin moved into his old house and became my friend. I don’t know if I love FP or not, but he’s fun to do things with, like when we make Burmese tiger traps or go looking for monsters. I don’t think I hate anyone. My aunt and uncle used to say mean things to me all the time, but I don’t hate them.

What do you REALLY think of your author? She’s okay. She kinda reminds me of myself. But she needs to go outside more. She hasn’t forgotten that monsters are real (although she thinks that monsters are just bad people), but she’s stopped believing in the good guys. I’m gonna try real hard to make sure that I don’t grow up to be too much like her.

What is your favourite thing? Animals, especially reptiles and amphibians.

Well, I killed a dragon that was destroying my town, and later I helped bring down a serial killer. That’s gotta count for something.

 

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AUTHOR BIO (short)

Beth W. Patterson was a full-time musician for over two decades before diving into the world of writing, a process she describes as “fleeing the circus to join the zoo”. She is the author of the books Mongrels and Misfits, and The Wild Harmonic, and a contributing writer to over thirty anthologies.

Patterson has performed in nineteen countries, expanding her perspective as she goes. Her playing appears on over a hundred and seventy albums, soundtracks, videos, commercials, and voice-overs (including seven solo albums of her own).

She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband Josh Paxton, jazz pianist extraordinaire.

 

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Echoes of a Song – Best #Fantasy 2019

Yay! Echoes of a Song came top in the NN Light Fantasy category for best book reviewed in 2019!

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/announcement-2019-n-n-light-book-award-winners

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The other nominations are here 

Check out some of these awesome reads.

Echoes of a Song

A dozen tumultuous years after the dramatic events at the Paris Opera House Raoul, Comte de Chagny is still haunted by the mysterious Opera Ghost – the creature of legend who held staff at the Opera House under his thrall, kidnapped Raoul’s lover and murdered his brother. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

Available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and many other stores on the link below.

Universal Link https://books2read.com/Echoesofasong

Amazon .com http://amzn.to/2E7Cdu0

Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2BJwAgk

Print

https://amzn.to/2N0JIbI

https://amzn.to/2Nxki4I

Amazon Audio https://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Song-Legacy-Mask-Book/dp/B07HCKG3WK/

Amazon UK audio https://www.amazon.co.uk/Echoes-Song-Legacy-Mask-Book/dp/B07HCM1624/

Audible UK https://adbl.co/2xlH8Tz

Audible.com https://adbl.co/2MRTQP7

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Hell Week 2018 – A Day in the Life of Haeckel and Carter

Today on the Infernal Broadcasting Channel we welcome Ernst Haeckel and Howard Carter.  Pull up a seat by the fire and get out the marshmallows….

[Ernst Haeckel]: (Stares into empty interrogation room). “Gutentag. Is anyone in here?”

[Interviewer]: (An electronic voice rasps over the intercom). “Please, have a seat. Who are you?”

[EH]: “Ernst Haeckel. Do you not remember me?”

[Interviewer]: “Of course, sorry, lots of Hellions coming through today. It is quite chaotic with this queue, Doctor Ernst Haeckel. Have a seat. Questioning will begin shortly.”

[EH]: (Sits in one of two chairs at a table facing a one-way mirror, then strokes his white beard anxiously). “Last year, for Hell Week 2017, I spoke to a real person for the kick-off of Pirates in Hell.  Compared to this cell, that was a comfortable office. The Librarian of Erana, Alex Butcher, was a kind hostess with a splendid British accent. She appreciated the fantastical pasts of history. Back then, I was promoting the pirate tale ‘Curse of the Pharaohs’ in which my compatriot, the tomb raiding Howard Carter, and I explored the Mediterranean shores of the Vile Delta. You I cannot even see.”

[Interviewer]: “Let us get to the point. Do have Osiris’s treasure?”

[EH]:Was is das? I am an expert in natural life, not man-made art. Archaeology is Carter’s expertise.”

[Interviewer]: “You both are academic researchers who appreciate custom suits. I need to distinguish between your disciplines and art… and motives. Remember, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.”

[EH]: “Interesting. What do you mean? It is simple. I dig through the earth to document living things, or their remains. Carter digs to find items that man crafted.”

[Interviewer]: “There must be overlap, things that you both would covet. What about weapons made from once-living matter, like bone? Architecture moulded from the earth? Or babies brewed in test tubes?”

[EH]: (Silently stroked beard, excited about those questions but afraid to implicate himself). “I am sure Carter would like those.”

[Interviewer]: “Any you, Doctor Haeckel?”

[EH]: “Perhaps.”

[Interviewer]: “Have you seen your partner recently, this Howard Carter?”

[EH]: (Looks around, unsure where to direct his voice). “Hmmm, not for several days. We do seem to be fated to work with each other, so I am sure our paths will cross. If we do, I am sure we will revert to our divisions of labour: he does relish looking at materials, while I enjoy dissecting nature’s beautiful objects.”

[Interviewer]: “You remain a discredited evolutionist—a creator of fake news, true?”

[EH]:Ja, perhaps. Yet, I am a renowned artist and ecologist.”

[Interviewer]: “Well, the authorities require the truth now. Not embellishment. Where is your partner in crime?”

[EH]: (scoffs). “I am no criminal or liar. However, sometimes the truth must be extrapolated. It is easier for the public to accept abstract concepts as if they are well-established theories, even when ideas are not even ripe hypotheses. Anyway, if you are looking for a criminal, then you want to know where Carter is? Why would I know?”

[Howard Carter]: (Opens door suddenly, enters, and shuts the door. Sits is the open chair beside wiping his brow of sweat with a handkerchief. His Savile Row suit vest bulges with a mysterious, fist-sized object). “Ernst! So glad you are here. I’m on the run—”

[EH]: (Motioning to quiet his compatriot, pointing to the mirror and ceiling).

[HC]: “—I found the most amazing, golden artefact. This is better than anything I found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb. This is—”

[EH]: (Clears throat loudly). “You speak in the company of others.”

[HC]: (Not detecting anyone present, raises an eyebrow). “Oh, are you being interrogated?”

[EH]:We are being interviewed, I think.”

[Interviewer]: “Howard Carter…”

[HC]:The Howard Carter.”

[Interviewer]: (Sighs). “Mr. Carter. Were you not fulfilled enough with your 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb? You received a lot of press in the papers. More complimentary than any Haeckel received. You still search for more glory. Explain.”

[HC]: (Stroking his vest, and its hidden content, as he leaned back in the chair). “Well, most archaeologists cannot find even a single treasure. They spend decades sieving through sand to find a few shards of pottery. Me? I found a whole trove. Me! I do impress myself. Why let all my potential go to waste?”

[Interviewer]: “Howard, are you still practicing your thievery?”

[HC]: “Archaeology?”

[Interviewer]: “Semantics. Do you court danger by hoarding treasures of antiquity?”

[HC]: (Rubs the hidden item in his suit pocket, then winks at Haeckel). “I do appreciate royal artefacts.”

[Interviewer]: “What is in your pocket, Mr. Carter?”

[EH]: (Glancing wide-eyed at Carter, gasps as he discerns the phallic shape tucked into the backside of Carter’s vest).

[HC]: (Shifts to conceal his chest from view). “Why? Are you in the market for something? I sense you would like to maintain anonymity like my other clients. I am open to offers.”

[Interviewer]: “Do either of you express remorse?”

[HC]: “What have we done?”

[Interviewer]: “For the record, I will review the myth of the Egyptian God Osiris. He was murdered—”

[EH]: “Murder is not really our forte.”

[Interviewer]: (Sigh). “Osiris ruled over Egypt with his wife Isis, but he was usurped by the God Set. The evil Set dismembered Osiris, cut him into thirteen parts.”

[HC]: “Most reliefs indeed point to Set as the culprit. But it may have been another. Not us, in any course.”

[Interviewer]: “All his parts have been reclaimed, but not his most prized masculinity. His phallus.”

[EH]: “Eh gad! The gods are real? And one lacks a penis?”

                (The door latches automatically).

[EH]: “Carter, the door is locked.”

[Interviewer]: “There is no escape from this room until you come clean.”

[EH]: (Clears throat). “We do not hide anything. the next Heroes in Hell Periodical called Lovers in Hell details our adventures. ‘Lovers Sans Phalli’ will explain everything. It will clear our names.”

[Interviewer]: “The gilded phallus of Osiris. Do you have it?”

[HC]: “How much do you want for it?”

[Interviewer]: “I have what I need. This interview is over.”

 

lovers in hell

S.E. Lindberg resides near Cincinnati, Ohio working as a microscopist, employing scientific and artistic skills to understand the manufacturing of products analogous to medieval paints. Two decades of practicing chemistry, combined with a passion for the Sword & Sorcery genre, spurs him to write graphic adventure fictionalizing the alchemical humors (primarily under the banner “Dyscrasia Fiction”).  With Perseid Press, he writes weird tales infused with history and alchemy (Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Pirates in Hell). He co-moderates the Sword & Sorcery group on Goodreads.com, and invites all to participate. He enjoys studying Aikido and creates all sorts of fine art in the family workshop.

 

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