Monday, April 26, 2010
Mho Fho is so very excited to welcome 2009 Prism Award Winner and Barnes & Noble Bestseller, Leanna Renee Hieber. Not only does Mho have a mad crush on Lennna (she did give him an almost exact replica of Alexi's cravat), but we are very happy to be the first stop on Leanna's Darkly Luminous tour to promote, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, which will be out tomorrow.
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 my hero Professor Alexi Rychman and his Guard of spectral police make their rounds, it is to any number of real, documented, familiar London phantasms. Since the sprits are familiar to The Guard, I don’t get the opportunity to tell the complete ghost story. But these tales are too good not to tell in full, spooky splendor. (Special thanks to London ghost and Ripper expert Richard Jones, http://haunted-london.com whose books and tours are my go-to resource).
Day 1 – Highgate Cemetery
We’re back to Highgate again in Darkly Luminous, a vast and beautiful graveyard in the “Garden Style” which is located between the Highwayman-Haunted Hampstead Heath and the forbiddingly attractive grounds of the grand Rychman Estate.
Highgate was founded in 1839 and quickly became the most ‘fashionable’ place for eternal rest. It is indeed the City of the Dead and by the beginning of the 1900s thousands upon thousands found their eternal rest within its 20 hillside acres, and many spirits through the years have been loathe to leave it behind. This time, rather than merely referencing Highgate as I did last book, I decided the place needed some ‘ghostbusting’…
From The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker:
“What’s Highgate?” asked Percy.
“The great graveyard, where London’s most fashionable dead are interred. Quite a place to see,” Josephine replied.
The carriages set off, and soon tips of obelisks and angels in the distance heralded Highgate’s approach.
Alexi’s hand was pressed firmly over Percy’s, and he stared ahead with fastidious concentration. A congregation of ghosts glowed just inside the fast-approaching gate.
Alexi helped her down once their carriage pulled to a halt. Visiting hours had long since passed, but Michael held out his hand and the enormous locked gate swung wide. A ring of dead children coiled at the centre, but there was an additional flank of unrest. Adult spirits lined the tall iron gates of Highgate, waiting. Swaying. And speaking. For Percy, there was no bugle call to arms, there was only a torrent of whispers. Percy felt her stomach roil, and she wondered if the head of a cavalry charge felt the same.
“You hear something, don’t you?” Alexi asked, watching her, knowing she was picking up on what he and his group could not.
“They’re all speaking, Alexi, the children, in some sickening rhyme, and the others…Well, the others think you have brought me as an offering. As one of them. But I don’t know what they want.”
“My attention. I’ve been away. These spectral delinquents require the firm hand of a master.” And with that he gestured to The Guard, who darted forward among the grand monuments.
Surrounded by graceful angels, carved mausoleums and fine crosses, a bright, full moon illuminating the scene, Percy couldn’t help but be taken with the eerie light particular to a graveyard; the luminosity of an eternal crossroads.
Her husband lifted a hand toward the children, who suddenly seemed as curious as the adults to see Percy. Tendrils of blue flame snaked forth like ivy from his palm, and he became the great conductor. The transparent adult phantoms squealed and giggled or wailed like banshees, one by one realizing Percy was indeed living flesh. Before they could comment further, Alexi wrapped glowing cords of light around wrists, waists and necks, attaching them in fiery shackles.
The Guard’s power rose; the blue fire crackling forth from their circular conduit, reaching upward in tall flames that tickled the feet of the bobbing young spirits, who sobered, their small eyes angry. “Beware the wrath!” one little girl in a white nightgown called, wagging a finger at Alexi. “He’ll lock you away, he will!”
The other children picked up the taunt. “He’ll lock you all away!”
“Children, I demand that you go to bed this instant!” Rebecca cried, using her best headmistress tone. Alexi followed the admonishment with a renewed swat of blue fire. The spirits screwed up their faces and descended, sinking again into the earth beneath the small gravestones marked with lambs and flowers, floating onward to where Percy did not know. The sight saddened her, but at least it was quiet.
Returning to their carriages, Rebecca addressed only Alexi. “Athens?”
Alexi raised an eyebrow. “Now?”
“I don’t mean to alarm you, Alexi, but what’s happening on the grounds is so…strange. Oughtn’t you come? There are matters—”
“Rebecca, dear, it’s near midnight. Fresh phantasms can await the dawn.”
“Indeed,” said the headmistress, her mouth thinning. She straightened her shoulders and marched off.
Percy watched her retreat. A few paces behind her was Michael, attempting to be noticed. Rebecca deigned to allow him to ride back in the same carriage, and they vanished into its interior. A thought occurred. “You would have gone, wouldn’t you? Before?” she asked Alexi.
“What do you mean?”
“Before our marriage. You would have gone to Athens. Rebecca seemed surprised. Disappointed. I’m all right, Alexi. If you should go, please don’t hold back on my account.”
“I’m taking you home, and that’s final,” he said. The scorching look in his eyes made Percy’s body flood with heat. “We must dole out your supernatural excitement in pieces. I’ll not subject you to more, no matter what may lie in wait at Athens.”
(End of Excerpt)
Want to win your own signed copy of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, second in the Strangely Beautiful series? Leave a comment her for Leanna by Thursday 4/29 and you can be one of the lucky ones to wrestle the copy away from Mho. Sorry, only for US residents.
And the saga continues with “A Christmas Carroll”(Strangely Beautiful #2.5) novella in Dorchester’s A Midwinter Fantasy anthology this October! The Darkly Luminous Haunted London Blog Tour continues daily until May 4th! Click here to view the other stops on the tour.
Blessings! - Leanna Renee Hieber
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