Thursday, March 19, 2020

DARLINGS! I'm on Syfy

The amazing folks at SYFY WIRE are hosting the exclusive cover reveal for my next Kensington novel, book 3 in the Spectral City series,  A SUMMONING OF SOULS!

Hop over to Syfy Wire to check out this beautiful cover, read my very personal note about this series, some kind words from the Syfy team AND you'll get your first look at the entire prologue of the novel!

A SUMMONING OF SOULS will be available July 21st from Kensington Books in digital and trade paperback!

Pre-order links are digitally available in this BookBub list here, trade paperback pre-order links will be available soon!

Cheers and happy haunting! Your support of the Spectral City series helps more than I can say!

It is, of course, a scary time for all. As a freelance artist / author / actress, all my various freelance work has entirely vanished. One thing that I can rely on are my books so if you're able to support this series in particular and tell friends, I'd be very grateful and your support will help keep my family afloat in uncertain weather.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Historical Novel Society Review praises A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS!

Dear Readers!

I'm so thrilled to report that the spring edition of The Historical Novel Society Review loved my latest Spectral City novel, A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS! See what Audra Friend, blogger and reviewer at Unabridged Chick, has to say, I'm so honored by her words!

From HNR Issue 91 (February 2020)
A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS - Nov, 2019 from Kensington Rebel Base Books

"This second book in Hieber’s Spectral City series returns with another powerful, evocative story set in this unique alternative history of 1899 New York City in which the NYPD has a secretive paranormal department where mediums work with ghostly spirit guides to solve crimes. This refreshing and inventive setting provides a wonderful freshness to the crowded murder mystery shelf, and the supernatural elements evoked by the work of the Spiritualist crime fighters are interesting, emotional, and intriguing.
Readers will benefit from – and enjoy – Hieber’s previous book, The Spectral City, which introduces this world and the main character, Eve Whitby. Eve is a cautious, empathetic medium who leads séances with three other mediums, working with the dead and the living to solve crimes. This book quickly dives into an atmospheric and moody mystery involving the seemingly impossible: a criminal who can hurt the dead. (Sensitive readers should be aware that there are child victims, but there is no in-scene violence depicted, just the aftereffects.) Most challenging for Eve and her squadron of mediums is that ghosts are as unreliable as humans.
Hieber expertly mixes atmospheric setting with compelling and complicated relationships – grandmother to granddaughter, friendship between women, a burgeoning romance between individuals of different cultural backgrounds, the tenuous threads connecting the dead to the living – with an unearthly and moody plot. The social mores and restrictions of late 19th-century life are still real in this world, making Eve’s work and her burgeoning romance with the Jewish Detective Jacob Horowitz resonant and emotionally satisfying. Her world building is rich and imaginative, diving into the everyday realities of what life would be like if the living could communicate with the undead.
This is a compelling read that will leave readers eager for the next in the series; start with the first book to most enjoy the growth of characters in this one." - Audra Friend, Unabridged Chick, for The Historical Novel Society Review
A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS - Barnes and Noble - IndieBound - Amazon - Books a Million

Sunday, January 19, 2020

On Edgar Allan Poe, and the Book that Changed Everything

Dear Readers,

I wrote the following post originally for the site Unbound Worlds. This is one of the more personal things I've written, so on this auspicious birthday of the great Edgar Allan Poe, I'd like to continue to pay tribute to his memory and re-publish this piece here, in thanks for his ongoing ministrations as my patron saint.

The single most influential book of sci-fi/fantasy/horror in my life, by far, was my first volume of The Collected Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. That tattered paperback went with me everywhere, it was my best friend at a lonely time, and Poe’s words spoke right to my young heart. I’d been exposed to Poe in grade school, earlier than most thanks to a progressive program. Poe became a distinct catalyst. By the time I was a pre-teen I had already begun drafting a Victorian-set Gothic novel in the vein of The Phantom of the Opera (Leroux’s classic being another influential book).

Eighteen years later, my first published novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (which now exists in print as Strangely Beautiful via Tor Books), set in an eerie, ghost-filled London in 1888, can track its existence back to that paperback book with a raven on the cover.

From first hearing “The Raven,” then diving into more poetry and the whole of his canon of stories, I was aware I was digesting true genius; an accessibility that readers young or old could grasp, his Victorian voice immediately relatable to a modern ear, his unique gift of making the grotesque beautiful, his deftly poetic turns of phrase and his powerful high-concept invention of most genre fiction.

I also felt, in reading him, like I was encountering a certain window into my own soul. The classic Shakespearean quote from Twelfth Night goes “some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.” In one of my novels (The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart) I paid homage to this line but highlighted melancholy instead. “Some are born with darkness, some have darkness thrust upon them…”

I was born with a distinct dark side prone to ghost stories. That side came from no direct influence anyone could tell other than my own preferences; what I gravitated towards and identified with. I learned from Poe, from his art and from his own difficult life, that if that side wasn’t managed and folded in holistically into my full self, it could define me entirely, I could be lost to it, I could war with it without respite. But I also knew my dark side has always been, like Poe, the place within me inexhaustibly full of possibility and imagination, thrilling fantasy, the source of endless esoteric questions concerning the perilous precipice between life and death. My dark side has always been my muse; my creative lens, the more interesting compass determining life’s path.

Donning a Goth aesthetic when I first began shopping for my own clothes, I found that externalizing my interior narrative helped the world navigate me as I was trying to navigate the world. 20 years later, my wonderful, loving and extremely supportive parents have realized dressing in black isn’t a phase. They’ve graciously come to celebrate that my work as a Gothic novelist, artist, performer and Ghost Tour guide means I’ve made an entire career out of celebrating that razor-thin edge between beauty and horror, making friends with melancholy and telling hopeful stories from the shadows. I dance from that liminal space.

Because I dress, daily, in some level and form of Victorian mourning, when people comment on my wardrobe I always say; “if you like my clothes, you’ll like my books, I dress like I write.” The same goes for what I cut my teeth on as a young reader. Themes rife in Poe are rife in my work, as my stories are set in the 1880s, my characters often make direct reference to Poe and his tales, all of which would have preceded them. I speak on countless panels at conventions around the country about the lasting impact of Poe’s genius; my artistic north star.

I often wear (and I also make Poe-related jewelry) Poe’s image on a necklace or pin and I was once asked by someone who didn’t recognize the iconic image: “is that your boyfriend?” I laughed and just said yes. I do believe in past lives, I believe past lives are part of the reason I recognized and was drawn to 19th century stories and writers from grade school age. I doubt I am a Virginia Clemm reincarnate but I do wonder if I would have orbited in Poe’s old literary circles, or perhaps he was just as much an inspiration to me then as he is now. Perhaps the prolific, driven writer wrestling with their melancholic angels echoes through time itself.

The great tragedy of Poe’s life is not only his premature (and entirely suspicious) death, but the constant spectre of loss that haunted him forever; abandoned early in his life, as an adult, his great love Virginia (a healthy, mutual, consensual relationship that by all records was a devoted one on both sides) dying of tuberculosis in the bloom of youth was a blow from which he never recovered, the sincere lack of public appreciation of his groundbreaking, gorgeous work, and the constant financial strife chasing down every penny publishers owed him, all of which drove him to drink. He was not, however, as crazed or as addicted as history has made him out to be, that’s all trumped up allegations from Rufus Griswold, a literary nemesis in life that published a damning and sensationalized biography of Poe after his death. We tour guides try to set the record straight and return Poe’s memory to a more moderate tale of a difficult life of an underappreciated genius.

I pay homage to Poe, and that well-worn paperback collection, every day. I walk the streets he walked while living in New York, I keep his authorial voice in my ear, and from the moment I knew art could be a healing salve and spiritual calling, he’s never been far from me; my melancholic prince, my patron saint.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe. I hope your spirit can take comfort now knowing how loved you are in our time.
-- Leanna Renee Hieber

If you like these thoughts, you'll like my books! Especially The Spectral City series with Kensington Books! Cheers and Happy Haunting!

IndieBound Independent Bookstores: 


Word Bookstores: 




Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Christmas Truce via Tor dot Com and a reading from Miss Violet and the Great War

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, dear readers! recently asked me to write about a real historical event that influenced my Strangely Beautiful series finale, Miss Violet and the Great War, so I hope you'll visit my discussion and tell me what you think about this beautiful and tragic piece of history, the World War I Christmas Truce here.

And as always, what I write is what I wish for the world: Peace. So here's my holiday wish for all of you, as embodied in this reading from Miss Violet and the Great War, may art and love carry you through all darkness and into safety and peace. Blessings and happy new year!

If you like what you see here, Miss Violet and the Great War is available from Tor Books in paperback and digital, wherever books are sold.

And A Sanctuary of Spirits, the second Spectral City novel, is delighting readers of mystery, supernatural suspense, history, romance and more so be sure to come along for this delightful adventure starring the family legacy of Darker Still and my Magic Most Foul saga!

Cheers and Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS on NPR, CRIMINAL ELEMENT and more! High Praise for the latest Spectral City novel!

Darlings! It's been a whirlwind release month full of high-praise for A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS! Come join in the celebration!

It's been featured on NPR! Check out what the wonderful and talented

Maya Rodale has to say

"For a spookier romance, look no further than A Sanctuary of Spirits by Leanna Renee Hieber. It's 1899 in New York City and Eve Whitby, fearless leader of the NYPD Ghost Precinct — think lady ghostbusters — is confronted with a gruesome case involving the ghosts of children, a missing mortician and an especially creepy mesmerist. Fortunately she has the help of an assortment of spirits, mediums and the dashing Detective Jacob Horowitz who not a ghost and very much a man. He and Eve are courting — is it for the sake of appearances, or are real feelings developing? Eve fears losing her independence and ability to work if she marries, but her feelings for Jacob are becoming too real to ignore.

Readers may want to start with the first book in the series (this is the second), though starting here doesn't get in the way of enjoying this otherworldly mystery, gorgeous writing and slow burn of a romance with a man who truly understands a woman, ghosts and all." - Maya Rodale, Bestselling author, latest release: Some Like it Scandalous, for NPR - Read the full NPR article here!

-A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS has been featured on Criminal Element! I LOVE this personal and heartfelt review from Megan Schuler that celebrates the atmosphere and immersive nature of the book, read her feature here

-See what THE GOTHIC LIBRARY has to say, Julia does an amazing job of examining my work and lifting up meaningful aspects that are so important to me. Hear her thoughts on The Good Death and more here!

-Avalinah's Books has SPECTACULAR feature on the Spectral City series, highlighting the diverse representation, especially in regards to disability and various physical aspects the characters deal with as they fight to be taken seriously. Check out the adorable illustrations created to go with this post, my heart melts!

If you haven't gotten your copy of A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS yet, what are you waiting for?! Please support your local independent or brick and mortar bookstore today! 

IndieBound (Just type in your zipcode to find a local treasure near you! Stores always willing to ship!)


Barnes and Noble

WORD Brooklyn (For signed, personalized copies!) For personalization requests, please note who you would like the book signed to in the Limited number of 5x7 art prints by Kelley Hensing illustrating a scene from the novel will be included as a thank-you gift with purchase!


Cheers and Happy Haunting!


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS releases today! Available wherever books are sold!

It's release day, darlings!

Gather 'round your favorite bookseller and indulge in the latest Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy set in 1899 Manhattan, the next SPECTRAL CITY installment, A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS, out now in digital and trade paperback from Kensington Books! 


New York, 1899, and the police department's best ally is the secret Ghost Precinct, where spirits and psychics help solve the city's most perplexing crimes . . .

There's more than one way to catch a killer-though the methods employed by the NYPD's Ghost Precinct, an all-female team of psychics and spiritualists led by gifted young medium Eve Whitby, are unconventional to say the least. Eve is concerned by the backlash that threatens the department-and by the discovery of an otherworldly realm, the Ghost Sanctuary, where the dead can provide answers. But is there a price to be paid for Eve and her colleagues venturing beyond the land of the living?

Searching for clues about a mortician's disappearance, Eve encounters a charismatic magician and mesmerist whose abilities are unlike any she's seen. Is he a link to mysterious deaths around the city, or to the Ghost Sanctuary? Torn between the bonds of her team and her growing relationship with the dashing Detective Horowitz, Eve must discern truth from illusion and friend from foe, before another soul vanishes into the ether . . . 


"The New York City police department's secret Ghost Precinct investigates crimes committed against spirits in this engaging sequel to 2018's Spectral City... The diverse, lived-in world will draw readers in to this paranormal mystery." - Publisher's Weekly

Please support your local independent or brick and mortar bookstore today! 

IndieBound (Just type in your zipcode to find a local treasure near you! Stores always willing to ship!)


Barnes & Noble

WORD Brooklyn (For signed, personalized copies!) Limited number of 5x7 art prints by Kelley Hensing illustrating a scene from the novel will be included as a thank-you gift with purchase! 

Cheers and Happy Haunting! This is a critical release to ensure the survival of the series, thanks so much for your support! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

THE SPECTRAL CITY is 1.99 across all digital platforms, today only!

Right in time for A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS, releasing in just 2 weeks, THE SPECTRAL CITY is on sale for only 1.99 across all digital platforms thanks to Kensington Books!


“A spooky thrill—lovely and bold, with terrific characters and a glorious gaslamp setting that’s filled to the brim with beauty and peril” (Che

rie Priest, Locus Award–winning author of Boneshaker).
In turn-of-the century New York City, the police have an off-the-books spiritual go-to when it comes to solving puzzling corporeal crimes . . .
Her name is Eve Whitby, gifted medium and spearhead of the Ghost Precinct. When most women are traveling in a gilded society that promises only well-appointed marriage, the confident nineteen-year-old Eve navigates a social circle that carries a different kind of chill. Working with the diligent but skeptical Detective Horowitz, as well as a group of fellow psychics and wayward ghosts, Eve holds her own against detractors and threats to solve New York’s most disturbing crimes as only a medium of her ability can.
But as accustomed as Eve is to ghastly crimes and all matters of the uncanny, even she is unsettled by her department’s latest mystery. Her ghostly conduits are starting to disappear one by one as though snatched away by some evil force determined to upset the balance between two realms, and most important—destroy the Ghost Precinct forever. Now Eve must brave the darkness to find the vanished souls. She has no choice. It’s her job to make sure no one is ever left for dead.
The Spectral City is The Alienist with Ghost Detectives . . . There is texture on every page and it’s a delight to read.” —Jason Henderson, author of the Alex Van Helsing series
“[A] personable cast, snappy prose, and intriguing premise.” —Publishers Weekly 

After picking up or continuing to enjoy THE SPECTRAL CITY, please hop over to our fantastic and unique PREORDER CAMPAIGN for A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS , (Spectral City 2) with this amazing free Gothic art by Kelley Hensing included with purchase! If you're in NYC, be sure to join us at WORD, BROOKLYN Nov. 12 at 7pm for our launch party in conversation with Zoraida Córdova! Please RSVP so we know how much wine and snacks to have for you all!

For paperback pre-orders, signed and personalized via WORD: Click here! Or, after pre-ordering from any other retailer, digital or paperback, put in your order confirmation and mailing info here (mailing addresses will be discarded after the campaign) and you'll get this exclusive 5x7 art, signed bookmarks and more! 

Happy Haunting!