Saturday, May 27, 2017
Under one month away until PERILOUS PROPHECY, the Prism Award winning prequel to my acclaimed STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL saga with Tor Books! This book is lyrical and mythical, following the beleaguered and dangerous paths of The Guard, a secret band of spectral arbiters tasked with bringing Prophecy to bear in 1867 Cairo and London. Shifting between mortal and the Whisper-world of the dead, ancient vendettas come to bear in an eerie, gaslit age.
Read Exclusive Excerpts posted by THE BOOK SMUGGLERS
And Now for the LAUNCH PARTIES!
JUNE 20TH, 7PM CINCINNATI, OH, STREETS OF WEST CHESTER BARNES AND NOBLE
I return to my Cincinnati Hometown Barnes and Noble on June 20th, release day, at 7pm for a reading, discussion and signing!
COME TO MY BOOK EVENTS AND BUY MY BOOK FOR MY BIRTHDAY! Release week falls on my Birthday so if you want to get me a birthday present, supporting my new book is everything I could ever ask for! If you can't make it to an event, don't worry, WORD BOOKSTORES in Brooklyn is doing signed, personalized pre-orders that will ship release day!! Order by June 18th and they'll go right out, please note any personalization requests in the notes section of the order. You're supporting a great local bookstore that is very active in the community and this very important release all in one!
JUNE 24TH - PORTLAND, OR - THE HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY CONFERENCE is open to the public for a book signing and events!
JUNE 27TH, 6:30-8:30PM, NEW YORK, NY, THE MORRIS-JUMEL MANSION - Signing, discussion and fashion presentation by Wormwood and Gall!
Hope to see you there!
Cheers, Blessings and Happy Haunting!
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
You are Cordially Invited to the Wedding of Natalie Stewart and Jonathon Whitby, Lord Denbury
When they turned to the joyous crowd, Natalie first looked at her father, then Evelyn. Beautiful and elegant Evelyn in a champagne silk gown, the picture of ageless grace and the woman who had become more to both Jonathon and her than either of them could quantify, mother and mentor, guardian and guide, her heart swelled. But then joy tumbled again a moment, like that little sparrow from the window sill if it flew into a harsh wind. She ached as she thought who else should be standing there.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Upon the Occasion of my Joining the Historical Novel Society: The Musings of a Reincarnate Victorian
|Photo by C. Johnstone|
If you know me and my work, some of this musing will be familiar to you and I invite you to pull up your usual chair. If you are new to my work, I welcome you into my parlor and please do avail yourself to a cup of hot tea. As we count down to the Historical Novel Society conference in Portland, OR this June, I’m pleased to take part in an event celebrating HNS, and discussing why I joined.
Sometimes a writer finds a genre and sometimes it finds you. For me, writing historical fiction was a habit since the age of 12, when I began my first novel, set in 1888 and I never looked forward... While that particular labor of love thankfully never saw the light of day, as childhood manuscripts give way to higher education and better craft, my love of the 1800s only burrowed deeper in my soul. My inexplicable draw to the Victorian era could only be likened to the inescapable pull of a past life. Nothing else quite makes sense.
I did not romanticize the era, though I thought of it as a distant home. Devouring countless novels written by 19th century authors, I understood the difficult plight of women as second-class citizens, how it was impossible for nearly any marginalized group to have their voices heard or needs met. Through a sense of pain and stalwart determination, I felt I knew the era deeply, its dress, its spirit, its language and the ways of its sooty cities, even though I grew up in rural Ohio. The complex, maddening, gritty, grand, unjust, innovative, brutal, beautiful, awe-inspiring, devastating 19th century sounded in me like an old familiar tune, and what can one hope to do but put that haunting melody onto paper?
I could not begin my stories, however, without one key element. The paranormal. What was my dear Victoriana without a good ghost story or freakish twist? In my mind those elements had always been entwined. With my sense of the 19th century came the surety that it was unrepentantly haunted. Credit Dickens, Henry James, Poe, the Brontes and Mary Shelley, as well as my own understanding of the era’s preoccupations.
The 19th century was a time of great loss. Death was all too common by countless diseases that medicine tried and failed to cure. While the industrial revolution changed everything at a breakneck pace, medicine was trying desperately to keep up. An expansive, holistic death culture and obsession with contacting the deceased was a part of everyday life. With a finger on a Victorian pulse, their obsessions became mine and I entwined elements of the paranormal and the fantastical with all my tales. I write in a realistic 19th century world in which paranormal things happen. History is at the core, and is the precedent and the foundation.
I went to school for theatre with a focus study in the Victorian era, received a scholarship to travel to London for research, trained and performed extensively in classical theatre around the country, publishing small pieces, all while researching, developing and revising what would become my debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. My debut at its sequel is now reissued as Strangely Beautiful from Tor Books, with its prequel releasing this June, Perilous Prophecy, right during the HNS conference!
When first drafting, I didn’t consider that I’d crossed-genres, I wasn’t aware that when published one could ascribe any number of genre tags to the bulk of my work; Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Young/New Adult, Suspense/Thriller and most of all Gothic. I wasn’t aware that in jumping shelves for my next series, to YA and then to SciFi/Fantasy, that it would mean starting over a bit each time, even though my trajectory as a Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy author has remained the same. While it may be hard for audiences to keep finding me, I am blessed when they do. I have some of the most earnest, interesting and creative readers any author could ask for. It is places like HNS that help audiences find their authors, and I’m so very, very grateful that they include those of us who don’t write strict Historical-only work in their ranks. HNS has created a safe space for all the ways in which writers encompass a love of history. History is the core, all else follows.
I join writers’ organizations to commune with other like minds. I’d long meant to join the Historical Novel Society, and when my dear friend Elizabeth K. Mahon (Author of ScandalousWomen and HNS Board member) reminded me that not only had my novels been reviewed favorably by the HNS magazine, but that the organization is filled with my kind of people, I couldn’t delay further. Portland will be my first HNS conference and I dearly look forward to seeing old friends and new there.
I know my sense of ‘belonging’ to a specific era will be shared by countless other writers, who belong to any number of other eras; a club of old souls making their way in a modern world. It is a strange and straining sense, to belong to more than one century. It is a wistfulness that at times can be almost painful. Other writers drawn to be a cipher of a distinct time in history will understand that old, beautiful ache. I look forward to reminiscing with you, through the power of our old souls writing modern fiction. We need community to build broader audiences, through each other and what we’ve felt called to write. I'm grateful HNS is one.
For those attending, I hope I see you at my panels on Friday and also, look for me at a table filled with shiny, pretty, neo-Victorian things like you'll see on my Etsy! One of my other passions and jobs is as a creator and curator of Gothic, Steampunk and Victorian-styled jewelry, as well as author-themed brooches, pins and necklaces. Stop by and procure a one of a kind treasure! I also hope I'll see you all at the book signing to celebrate our love of books. I can't wait to connect with kindred spirits.
Keep channeling your centuries, friends, and I hope you'll enjoy mine.
(Think X-files meets Penny Dreadful)
Second in the Eterna Files series of Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy with Tor Books.
A mythic, Gothic Gaslamp Fantasy set in 1860s Cairo and London, featuring an inter-faith cast of young mortals drawn into an immortal's plot of love and war between the living and dead. A Strangely Beautiful prequel. Signed pre-orders via WORD Brooklyn.
Most known for: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, (think Harry Potter meets Jane Eyre) an eerie, sweeping, ghostly, Gothic romance set in 1888 London at the time of Jack the Ripper, featuring a group of unlikely heroes, outcasts and orphans, who must band together to save the mortal world from the onslaught of the spirit world. Originally published in 2009 as separate novels, this new 2016 revised, author preferred edition contains the first two books in the Strangely Beautiful saga.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
BUT, as PERILOUS PROPHECY will be here before you know it, I hope you'll take a moment and pre-order a copy! If you'd like it personalized, I'm very thrilled to again partner with the wonderful independent bookstore WORD in Brooklyn, NYC, a great place to support both yours truly and an incredible, vibrant and community oriented place all in one! Their kind, enthusiastic, caring staff is handling the signed preorders, just click here! If you're missing one of my Eterna Files or other Strangely Beautiful signed titles, you can order one of those too and they'll go out together!
Please note any personalization requests in the notes/comment form of the order, thanks!
If you're not one for signed preorders and want to take advantage of Barnes and Noble and Amazon's amazing sale $10 preorder pricing, go now and take advantage of the sale!
2017 Appearances Scheduled so far!
PERILOUS PROPHECY LAUNCH TOUR: Cincinnati, OH, Portland, OR and New York City! There will be a chance for each of you fine cities to get a signed copy IN PERSON at one of my three launch events!
June 20th, 7pm at Barnes and Noble West Chester, OH (Streets of West Chester Complex):
Hometown Book Launch!
This is always an incredible party, where I'll do a little theatrical reading, answer a little questions, do a lotta signing, and we all enjoy some wonderful company!
June 24th, Open-to-the-Public Book-signing of the Historical Novel Society Conference:
Portland Hilton: 621 SW 6th Avenue
Readers Festival begins at 12:15
June 27th, 6:30 at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York City:
My Morris-Jumel Mansion Launch Parties have become the stuff of Legend!
Come visit NYC's oldest mansion (a haunted one, no less), drink wine and devour food, listen to a theatrical reading, enjoy a fashion presentation and launch of the Perilous Prophecy additions to the Strangely Beautiful line curated by Wormwood and Gall, get a copy of Perilous Prophecy signed, hear local ghost stories and more!
6:30 Reception begins
7:00 Reading and Fashion Presentation
7:30 Book Signing and House Tours
Tickets are $15 at the door, $10 if utilizing a Group Discount, proceeds go to the ongoing restoration process of this incredible historic treasure. Ticket includes wine and food!
Motor City Steam Con
Literary Guest, Panelist
Labor Day Weekend
More to come: See You There!--
In Case You Missed It:
If you missed my over-the-holidays reissue of A Christmas Carroll: A Strangely Beautiful novella, it's out now in digital and trade paperback!
I've also joined Instagram! http://instagram.com/leannareneehieber
I'll be back soon with some insights on events and more this year, cheers and stay tuned for excerpts from PERILOUS PROPHECY as we count down to the release!
Blessings and as always,
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Being involved with this is fitting, because phrases about holding on to the light have been my exact inscription on most of the books I’ve signed for readers, or variations therein. Holding onto light, both figurative and literal, is the crux of my entire STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL series.
So I’ve had a dark side all my life. That in and of itself is nothing to fear, I revel in a Halloween-Town sort of life, I'm one of those "Perky Goths". However, dressing all in black since my teen years aside, I have had intense periods where I’ve struggled with specific kinds of depression.
The course of my life’s work has been to find ways to dive into tumultuous, deep, treacherous psychological waters and navigate them in a way that is useful, helpful, healthy and societally constructive. My books are the result of that journey. I myself struggle to find words. But my characters are my mediums, and they channel what I want and need to say in a (hopefully) entertaining and engaging way.
Here’s a brief section illustrating why I’ve found a haven in Goth and Gothic culture and literature, and why I will always be an artist lifting up these themes, a premise that has been life-saving for me. I find my characters say it better than I can, so if you'll indulge them...
This is a scene between Nathaniel Veil, a performer of Gothic drama and my steeled-mettle heroine Natalie Stewart in The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart:
"Well hello there," Mister Veil said appreciatively. "You're not one of my Association. That must make you the lovely Miss Stewart, Jonathon's girl. I was warned you'd be coming," he grinned, showcasing the fangs from a vampiric bit that he'd retained for the rest of his show.
“I am indeed Miss Stewart. The lovely part is up to you.”
Nathaniel laughed, putting fingers to his mouth. With one snap, the fangs were gone. Part of me was sad to see the illusion fade.
“You play a vampire, but do you believe in them?” I asked. "In all the characters and creatures you portray?"
Nathaniel considered this as he placed his teeth into a jar of faux incisors. "Vampires surely exist, in one way or another. Something that preys on human life? I’ve seen that well enough. Fantasy is the only way we can understand reality.” There was a darkness to his tone. A familiar one. “The world is full of devils and thieves, Miss Stewart. To make the darkness playful is the only way to survive it. We must externalize that which might kill us otherwise.”
I nodded. “Jonathon described you as unapologetically melancholy. I find it refreshing. I’ve terrible nightmares. They don't make for pleasant conversation. But life isn’t always pleasant, is it?”
Nathaniel shook his head, gauging me with an intensity that surpassed custom. It was thrilling and off-putting all at once. “Funny. Jonathon didn’t say I couldn't stand close to you. I’d have thought he knew me better.” He took a step closer. I could feel heat coming off his powerful form. Perhaps Jonathon only kept company with men who were, as he was: distinct, bold, and impossible to ignore…
“Is this what you say to all those young women there in the gallery, swaying in black-”
I raised an eyebrow. He explained:
“We are united in melancholy, nothing more. We revel in it, turning our black hearts outward to find joy. We cannot remain in shadow's ecstasy always, so we must make a game of it. Would you like to join us? I'm not usually forthcoming with strangers. But, alas, you've disarmed me.”
Beaming, he produced a card. In bold, elegant script the card declared membership to:
“Her Majesty’s Association for Melancholy Bastards.”
I couldn't help but chuckle. Turning over the card, it read:
Vice President: Edgar A. Poe
Social Chair: Mary Shelley
Treasurer: Manfred, Lord of Otranto
Grinning, I looked up from the card to see Nathaniel looking rather pleased with himself. “Brilliant,” I agreed.
“Would you like to join?”
I gave him a wary look. “Is there a membership ritual?”
“I’ll forgo the bloodletting for you,” he said and laughed when I looked wary, gesturing that I keep the card. “Show this at the theatre door whenever I play, and they’ll let you into the pit. We’re self-selecting. We don’t want anyone making fun or starting trouble. It’s why there’s a dress code- grand dark aesthetic aside- it shows you want to play in the spirit of community and camaraderie.”
The way his art defined yet didn’t overwhelm him was wonderful. He didn’t take himself too seriously, which made me take him utterly so.
“Some are born with darkness," Nathaniel stated. "Some have darkness thrust upon them." He turned to his mirrors to wipe a bit of kohl from his eyes. “I hear you and Jonathon were put through quite the trial. He wasn't born with darkness, so it was thrust upon him. You?”
“Thrust upon me and always pressing in. You?”
“Born with it,” he stated airily. "And when you're born with melancholy you learn how to live with it or else you die of it. Simple as that."
I knew it wasn't as simple as that. My disability proved that rising above challenges, no matter what kind, took discipline and ritual. Veil had figured out his ritual, and once learned, the discipline seemed simple. It was the work of a lifetime.
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The next day, I went directly out to Chicago and then on to Milwaukee for a Boswell Books event with one of my favorite authors and a dear friend, Mary Robinette Kowal, who was presenting one of my favorite books of all time, her brilliant Ghost Talkers. Also joining us was Ada Palmer, whose incredible Too Like the Lightning really stunned us with its clever conceit and rich prose.
Here we are in period costumes appropriate to our work!
|Alethea Kontis captures me mid-interview|
In the midst of the convention run, because I'm always working, I also happened to be on a killer deadline for a very different and unique new project I’ll be able to announce later this month. I managed to turn that challenging project in, along with a few short stories and confirmations about another few anthologies I’m honored to be featured in, can't wait to announce those as well.
If you missed my epic Twitter rants about the ending of Penny Dreadful or missed my Facebook link to this post, I wrote a very important essay on Feminism and the Gothic that the fine folks at Fantasy Café asked me for. I put a lot of heart and soul into this one.
And because I just can't miss an opportunity to share my excitement about the latest books, I was interviewed for two podcasts of recent note and relevant interests:
AND the wonderful Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador himself, is featuring me in an incredible multi-post interview! Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, more to come.
Barnes and Noble Union Square, NYC
Barnes and Noble 5th Avenue, NYC
Morris Jumel Mansion, NYC
Barnes and Noble Oglethorpe, Savannah, GA
Boswell Books, Milwaukee, WI
And signed, personalized books can always be ordered through my page at WORD Bookstore in NYC!
Or via my Etsy store!