Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: New Fiction Excerpt: Meet Clara Templeton

Hello Dear Readers! Today I introduce you to Clara Templeton. For those of you who have read to the end of The Double Life of Incorporate Things, you will have met Clara and seen her in action. She appears at the end of Double Life in hopes you'll continue with Clara and a whole new cast of characters (as well as cameos from other favourite characters in my series novels) as she is one of two heroines starring in The Eterna Files (Tor, February 2015).

This excerpt is from a work in progress, a novella set in the Eterna Files universe. Please note work in progress status, all work subject to change upon further editorial input and in publication.

New York City, 1880

Clara Templeton sat surrounded by precarious towers of paperwork and random items. This was unwise in her gas-lit office where she liked to keep all her prized, brand new Tiffany gas lamp fixtures trimmed very high to marvel at the bright, exquisite colors and stunning textures and effects the new genius artist wrought on lamp-shades and sconces. But never minding the fact that the whole place could burst into flames with the least tip of a paperwork pile, Clara never felt happier than when she was entirely surrounded by interesting things.

Curiouser and curiouser were Clara’s general states of mind. This hadn't wavered much since childhood, and now at the age of twenty seven, working in a career that was entirely unheard of (especially for one of her sex) she felt now it was her most vital asset.  

Franklin, her partner in the Eterna Commission office, would have thrown a fit at how she was keeping the place, but he wasn’t there and so she had taken the liberty of spending the entire day giddily abandoning his fastidious principles of organization.

Clara was infamous for collecting everything, for throwing nothing away, and making an ornate mess of things. To her credit, she knew where every single thing within the mess was located and could find it in impressive time, if asked. And despite her eccentric flair, she had an eye for d├ęcor, so even though the place looked like the attic of a mad collector and archivist, it had some semblance of style. Her taste in art, at least, was thoroughly cutting-edge. Her golden-framed Pre-Raphaelite sensibility lit by Tiffany glass made the place a treasure of rich colors and bold, iconic sentiment that offset the dark mahoganies of the office paneling quite spectacularly.

Talismans of good luck were kept in an overflowing curio cabinet that she liked to periodically empty and examine the contents of. She often hung the pendants and icons up around her, tacked to her window behind her desk, if she felt in particular need of protection. This was one of those days. She felt that something was ‘in the air’. And when she felt that sense, she guarded her delicate sensitive’s sensibilities with care. Whenever she was alone in the office, she took caution deathly seriously.

Early in working together, the impeccably neat Franklin had burst out, having yet again knocked over one of Clara’s carefully stacked piles in a maze of notebooks and papers; “May I ask, Miss Templeton, why you insist upon keeping everything that comes into your hands? I try very hard for our office not to fall into the state of an unmanageable hoarder’s den, but it’s rather impossible to keep up the pretense, let alone some kind of cataloguing system.”

Franklin was so polite and reserved, and generally deferential to Clara to the point of irritation, it had been odd to see him so fraught, but just as her habits frayed his only delicate nerve, so had he struck upon hers. 

She remembered blinking up at him from behind a precarious stack of ledgers where a small stone gargoyle procured from a recent investigation looked out in scowling protest of his surroundings. In a painfully earnest, childlike voice that didn’t even sound like it belonged to her, she replied; “because all of this means something to one of them. I… don’t know how to let go of any of it.”

Franklin had come to learn just what she meant by that. It meant something to one of her previous lives. Clara had an uncanny sense of how many times her particular soul had made its rounds in various trajectories about the world and through time. And while she tried not to let this life get too busy with all her other ones, sometimes they were terribly sentimental and she simply had to honor the things that reminded them, variously, of home. She was her own living graveyard. While others might find that morbid, Clara found it rather endearing.
 
(End of Excerpt)

I hope this piques your interest in Clara and in The Eterna Files. Stay tuned for future word about how this piece fits into the grand scheme of things and in the meantime, meet Clara and others you'll run into again in future novels in The Double Life of Incorporate Things.

Cheers and as always, Happy Haunting...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Spotlight on Reader Art

For today's Teaser Tuesday, it's an ART SPOTLIGHT!

I love it when my books inspire the artistic imaginations of my readers and they feel compelled to put various mediums to paper and visualize my characters, who are all like children to me. Through the years since the Strangely Beautiful saga was first published, I've received some amazing, truly jaw-dropping art from my readership. What a delight!

Today's featured artist is Nancy Lee. She is immensely talented and I had the pleasure to meet her in person during a writing workshop in Portland, it's so lovely when talented people also have wonderful energies to commend them as delightful souls too. Here's Nancy's DeviantArt profile, if you're on DeviantArt, follow her promptly: http://deepkimchee.deviantart.com/

Here's Nancy's amazing take on my heroine, the ghostly and ethereal Miss Percy Parker, and the hero of the Strangely Beautiful saga, the enigmatic and imperious Professor Alexi Rychman. I happen to think they're spot on, they took my breath away.



*Applause!*

As I discussed in my first Teaser Tuesday, my Strangely Beautiful saga has been out of print due to the collapse of Dorchester Publishing. BUT, it will rise again. If you're interested in this series, you can check your local library for a copy. Don't spend money on an overpriced used copy, instead, my editor at Tor and I hope you'll wait for the re-issued editions, available for pre-order next year. They'll be freshly reformatted and edited, with the glorious art department of Tor/Forge behind them - we've been in cover art discussions and I am SO EXCITED. If you want to make sure you know the moment Strangely Beautiful is back and better than ever in its revised editions, please either sign up to get this blog's updates, follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/leannarenee , on FB: http://facebook.com/lrhieber and / or sign up for my newsletter on my website: http://leannareneehieber.com

In the meantime, listen to the music of Strangely Beautiful THE MUSICAL! Yes, there is a musical adaptation of the novel currently in development! http://strangelybeautifulthemusical.com

If you're a visual artist and feel like taking a crack at one of my characters, let me know and I'll be happy to spotlight you too!

Cheers and as always, happy haunting! We'll see you next Teaser Tuesday for a snippet of my latest work-in-progress!

Merry Christmas to all! - "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:5

Leanna Renee

The Double Life of Incorporate Things (The Magic Most Foul Finale) - Now Available! - Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: A new, free short starring Nathaniel Veil and Lavinia Kent! In which our Gothic friends take Black Friday literally...

Greetings!

As you know, Dear Readers, we spent most of the year serializing most of The Double Life of Incorporate Things via this blog, and now the full novel is excitingly available via Kindle and paperback via Amazon, and also, via Barnes & Noble: paperback AND at last, NOOK, huzzah!

Last week ushered in the new Teaser Tuesday feature of fresh new content for your reading pleasure.

Today I'm directing you over to the fabulous Literary Escapism to be sure you don't miss a new little piece I did in honor of their annual Black Friday feature. H.M.A.M.B. style...

Since you know our infamously Gothic duo, Nathaniel Veil and Lavinia Kent from their Double Life adventures here, join them at Lord & Taylor circa 1881 for a literal "Black Friday" the denizens of New York aren't likely to forget....

Leave a comment there at the bottom of the post per the prompted question and you could win a signed copy of The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart!

Read, enjoy, share, and we'll see you next Tuesday for a new feature on the latest in the Hieber Gothic Victorian Fantasy matrix!

Cheers and as always, Happy Haunting!

Monday, December 16, 2013

DOUBLE LIFE now available for NOOK! And A Goodreads Giveaway!

Happy Monday, folks!

For my dear Barnes & Noble loyal readers, many of whom have been waiting and asking, bless you, despite a slight delay, Barnes & Noble editions are at last up and running!

The Double Life of Incorporate Things is now available for Nook as well as in paperback via Barnes & Noble.

Please Note: This title is not being shelved within Barnes & Noble physical stores. B&N can order it into store for you if you order it, but it won't be sitting there on shelves.

Goodreads users! DOUBLE LIFE has a Goodreads Giveaway happening right now! Put it on your to-read shelf and enter to win a signed copy!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Double Life of Incorporate Things by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Double Life of Incorporate Things

by Leanna Renee Hieber

Giveaway ends January 10, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

As always, the more you can spread the word about a new work, the better chance at a full life it will have, and as this novel sets the stage for my upcoming Eterna Files, your help in it taking wing will make it fly all the higher! So Tweet, share, + and "like" away!

Cheers, thank you for reading and as always, Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Strangely Beautiful: a rare, raw window.

Today's post is about my beloved, award-winning, bestselling Strangely Beautiful saga. As many of you know, my first three novels are out-of-print, due to the collapse of Dorchester Publishing. One can find used copies of Dorchester print books online, but none of the proceeds of second-hand books go to authors. If you're looking to dive into that series, please see if your local library has the series rather than paying overpriced prices for an out-of-print copy, OR wait until the NEW editions, freshly revised, with new scenes(!) and new content, entirely repackaged, release April 2016 from Tor/Forge, my new publisher, available for pre-order now. The series being out of print, in addition to a huge financial loss that I took in unpaid royalties and such, has been devastating for me, something I haven't really talked about publicly. It was like having children taken away along with paychecks. But now that Tor has picked up the series and it will officially back out legitimately in the world again, including the fourth and final book at last, I can relax a bit and hopefully what was a career and financial setback and general turn of bad luck will turn itself back around. I hope.

I posted the following a while ago within a contained circle. Here, nervously, now brazenly public, I let you all in on a little window into my mind, written at a time when Miss Percy's resurrection wasn't certain. She has always lived so vibrantly in my mind since she first waltzed into it nearly thirteen years ago, never had she simply 'quit'. Through all the turmoil, she'd remained gentle, stoic, resolute. Until she simply couldn't any more. And she faltered. Faded. I panicked. Now that I know she is safe once more, I can share this with you, so that you can see and know just how important she is as a character, and the series as a whole is, to me, and, I hope she can be so to you when it comes time for her to shine again in the future.
_
February 2013
--
To my most beloved girl, as you lie upon the hospital bed of my mind, fading of a broken heart as your tale lies in purgatory...
-
My Dearest Percy,
-
Thirteen years ago you burst into my mind and changed everything. You were eighteen. I was twenty-one. With your ghostly visage, your entirely colourless flesh, your pearl-white hair, timid smile, wide ice-blue eyes, trembling hands and a heart so big I could feel it beat across one hundred and twelve years of time, you struck me to the core. You utterly possessed me, obsessed me, and I had to know absolutely anything and everything about you. Your days consumed mine. I came to know the sweetest soul I've ever had the honour to imagine, the purest heart, the most radiant spirit, an Angel come to a ghostly Victorian earth of my dreamy imagining. You, fragile, dear and unique thing, you so unlike anything I'd ever known in this life and yet so utterly familiar to me, you were immediately my best friend, my child, my great love, my pride and joy. You became my favourite thing. 
-
I knew that my life would never be the same for needing, desperately, to tell your tale. Through you I understood my purpose in life like I'd never understood it before: I was a storyteller for your sake. I was here on this earth to tell many tales, but yours most of all. Through you I understood my strange childhood obsession with the years of the 1880s, all my intense, maddeningly certain feelings that I didn't belong in this century, the shadows of my mind, being misunderstood suddenly made sense. All this was so that I could belong with you, translate you, serve you. It was so I could be your voice.
-
It took a long time until you met the world. Sometimes you and I were all we had in the winters of our discontent, in the long dark nights of our soul, two lonely wanderers. We traveled together to many different cities, you saw me through love and loss and heartbreak and drama. You kept me alive in my darkest hours. You were a reason to live. Nearly nine years, countless revisions of your tale, endless hours of work-shopping, networking and all the harsh business that makes art so frustrating. And then, through sheer force of will, very hard work, a lucky break, all the things that it takes, you landed your contract that would put you out into the world. That was in the fall of 2009.
-
You broke onto the scene in a blaze of your special brand of light and garnered notice. Some of the world fell in love with you, some did not. You made your mark, did well, and I was so blindingly proud of you. You were always yourself; sweet, dear, timid, radiant, with a heart so huge the world could so easily break it, and sometimes it tried with harsh words. But nothing broke you. You were stronger than anyone ever imagined. There are many types of strength. Loving with your whole being, loving as a force of nature, that takes more strength than most can comprehend. As you wove your way into the world, so did you weave impossibly deeper into my mind and heart, you continued to be my bedtime story as you had been for over a decade. You and The Guard ushered me into sleep for as many nights as I'd known you, guardians of my psyche and subconscious.
 -
And then every author's worst nightmare happened. Your publisher folded, taking your stories, the rights surrounding them, and a great deal of money owed, down into the underworld, tangled up in difficulties. Much like your mythological namesake. And there you've wandered in purgatory, out of print, difficult to find, with no restitution for you or for me, for nearly three years now. The legacy of your family remains unfinished as other jobs and tales had to be undertaken so I could survive... The situation in which we found ourselves was complicated and there was no easy answer. I've sought to place you where my other novels will be placed, I think you'll be safest there, I await word. But you haven't just been lost revenue during all this. You've been my lost soul. My lost heart. For anyone who think this sounds overdramatic, then frankly that person doesn't know anything about me. I did not go out and publicly make rants about the situation, close friends knew the trauma but I maintained a public face of good humour and hard work. I penned other characters and dramas, trying not to act like my heart was breaking, trying not to seem like one of the most vital parts of my soul was dying in an effort to live and be seen. Those who don't think you're real never got to know you.
-
And you, dear girl, so vibrant in my mind, so alive and with me; my alter ego and best self, you were so brave and strong through all this mess; quietly stepping aside, patient, allowing me to work on other tales. I love all the children I create, but sometimes a mother does have a favourite child.  I hope you saw how many tears I shed for you. I have cried for your triumphs and your bitter disappointments more than the world could ever know. Still, you remained strong. Until you just couldn't any longer.
-
You broke down in my mind, swift and sudden, in a fit that shocked me. Weary of being ignored, you were agonized that your tales were held captive and you lashed out. Righteously angry. You burst into tears and tore around Athens Academy in a sobbing rage until you collapsed, clinging onto me as you fell. I sunk with you onto the marble floor and beloved Alexi and I, the both of us weeping, carried you to the infirmary. 
-
You are so tired, you are so heartbroken that you've just fallen into a deep, deep sleep, a porcelain, ghostly sleeping beauty, and I'm the heartbroken mother sitting at your side, stroking your pearlescent locks as I don't know when I can rouse you again and bring you back unto the world. The promise of your re-publication remains uncertain, and that is partly my fault. I know I could have already put your tales back out for publication myself in this digital age, but I've lacked the funds, time, resources and knowledge to do it properly in order to give you everything you deserve. You warrant a resurrection via the traditional manner with an entire team behind you, before publishing changes to an unrecognizable point. We are old fashioned, you and I. And so it is for this that I hold out hope and prayer as I sit at your bedside in my mind and hold your hand. Now it's my hand that's trembling. Now I'm the one feeling timid and overwhelmed. Where is my radiant heart to light the way without you, dear girl?
-
I miss you so much. I love you more than I have loved any creation. You are still my favourite thing. You always will be. And when I can finally wake you with the promise of your resurrected life, oh how you will rise. Like the phoenix I gave you to love, you will rise just like him, my strangely beautiful girl, and you will shine so, so bright.
-
But in the meantime, hang on, for me, my love, my pride and my joy, my sweetest creature, my greatest treasure, my luminous gift. I don't know if the world needs you, but you need to be in the world, and I need you most of all. Please hang on, for me. There's so much more of this life we need to see together and I don't want to see it without you.

Your grieving author,
Leanna
--

Whew. Well, there you have it.

Now that dear Percy's future is, in fact, assured and she'll be reissued in shiny new editions with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance I feel she deserves thanks to the fine folks at Tor /Forge, I felt I could open up the most raw truth I've possibly ever shared, now that the worst is behind us. Fellow writers, if I can survive an author's worst nightmare, you can face all your demons. I promise you.


You can support STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL and it's bright new future here at Barnes & Noble and also at Amazon. Please do. 

Cheers and as always, happy haunting...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

THE DOUBLE LIFE OF INCORPORATE THINGS: Chapter 27

(For previous chapters, see right side bar. If viewing by mobile, scroll down from http://leannareneebooks.blogspot.com for other chapters)

Dear Readers, as we've crossed into December, today marks the last installment of the serialization to be posted on the blog, however it is not the end of the story! Free serialization has been happening weekly since March, but now that the full novel is available, the Double Life team is letting the rest of the full novel speak for itself in entire completion, in its intended form. For those who haven't already donated, we all hope you'll pick up a copy of the novel. It is now available in print and Kindle formats (Nook / Barnes & Noble links we're told will go live by the end of the week)! (To the Double Life donors who donated $20 or more to the project, your signed books and donor rewards will be shipped/arrive Mid-December). The Double Life team thanks everyone for being a part of this journey. Please enjoy this installment and then the rest, as there's still more story to tell.

Still stay tuned every Tuesday! Because Tuesdays will now become "Teaser Tuesdays" as I release a segment from a forthcoming book or novella, musings on the latest works, insight into the current creative process, or a selection from a work-in-progress. So fresh fiction will still wing its way to you every Tuesday, whatever the current project or teasers for upcoming releases, you'll have exclusive sneak peeks right here, just as you've been the first to read this novel as it's happened! Now I'm expanding the material to a greater range of work. Considering all my series have crossover characters, just think of it as spending time every week with different members of an extended family. An utterly mad and ridiculously colourful extended family...

Now, without any further delay, here is chapter twenty-seven of The Double Life of Incorporate Things' twenty-nine full chapters.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Jonathon and I jogged up the earthen corridor, coughing. The increasing smoke would present a problem indeed if we didn't keep moving.

My whole body ached as we finally climbed the stairs into the cottage. The rest of our compatriots had all found places to collapse ahead of us, draped on the edges of the bed or leaning bent against fine furniture that our sooty, bloody, bedraggled forms looked so at odds with.

Someone had opened the front door to the night, to the forest. Everything outside was still, save for the night sounds of insects and birds. So quiet. Peaceful. We did not turn on more than the one lamp at the entrance. We did not want to see the sharp details of what the night had done to any of us. What it had taken from us.

Jonathon brought a wet towel moistened from an outside water basin over to me and washed the inked cross from my forehead and then his own.

Reverend Blessing had laid out Maggie's body upon the bay window where the moonlight upon her face made her lovely face even lovelier and turned the garish pools of blood all over her dress into grayscale. Mrs. Northe had Maggie's head in her lap, at work in the moonlight, removing the blood from her face, neck, arms, and hands with silken kerchiefs.

I knelt upon the divan, and Jonathon drew close. As he sat I collapsed onto his lap, resting my head in his gentle hands that were shaking so hard. But he stroked my hair anyway. Wherever we landed, we wept. Silently. For a long time.

Finally, Mrs. Northe stirred, gesturing Reverend Blessing over to her side. "Reverend, I'd like to pray with you here, over my niece, if you would be so kind." I'd never heard her speech so gentle, so tired, so grieved.

I rose and moved with him; kneeling before the bay window bier, we prayed over her, said thanks for her, her bravery, and sacrifice. We asked for forgiveness of all of our sins that led to her death, Mrs. Northe having a most difficult time with the guilt of it.

I simply took Evelyn's hand, and she held it. I was well aware it could have easily been me upon those cushions with hands folded over my still breast. I might have done the same, trying to buy us time, but I'd never have thought to do what she did, not so boldly. With great sadness I realized she probably hadn't gotten my letter. I was a fool not to have sent it sooner.

Death brings such guilt to the living, illuminating all the things undone and unsaid. It wasn't fair. She didn't deserve such a death. And yet we didn't deserve such a sacrifice. But if she hadn't done what she did, likely casualties would have been higher. She may have had no choice.

I wondered what had happened in Chicago right before Maggie left. I wondered if she had dreams like I did. She'd shared with me, once, that the demon had visited her dreams. What if she knew it was all as inevitable as I had known? Somehow that gave me comfort, as her actions seemed far too calculated to have been inspiration in the moment.

Mrs. Northe had promised there would be death. But even the most clairvoyant, if too close to the truth, couldn't see it. Not precisely.

"I should have known, I should have seen. It should have been me." Those words she kept repeating numbly in different variations. I shook my head at her.

"That does no good, Evelyn," Blessing murmured. "Accept the facts as they lie. As you live, give thanks for her life. Pray for her undying soul, that will be rewarded in heaven for such selfless acts."

Mrs. Northe nodded and just kept stroking Maggie's hair. That was a comfort, the idea of her reward. I hoped in heaven, for Maggie, there would be lots of balls and pretty dresses and exquisite company, that she'd have no need for gossip or intrigue, merely be loved and cherished by heavenly hosts until I'd see her again in some future day and thank her soul myself. I moved back to rest in Jonathon's arms.

After some time, Brinkman banged upon the iron door from the other side, making us all jump. He called out to us to let him in.

"Most of the wing was saved," Brinkman said as he entered, mopping a sweaty brow. "Thank goodness for stone frames between wings. But you'll need a new dining room, Lord Denbury. I'm off to Scotland Yard, friends," Brinkman said, crossing the cottage in a few stern strides. "I'll fill out the reports and keep your further involvement to a minimum. I'll push for an immediate trial."

"Shouldn't you rest, Mister Brinkman?" I asked.

"Not until I have my satisfaction," he said gravely. "Those wicked bastards have my son. My child. My only joy in this goddamn world. I'd rip out all their throats with my bare hands if I thought I could still find him without their knowledge."

There was a terrible silence in the room at this still unfinished business.

"Let us know how we can help," Mrs. Northe said gently.

"Thank you," Brinkman said, burying his pain. He glanced at Maggie's body. "I take it you knew her. I'm sorry for your loss."

"We'll be praying for your son," I offered. Brinkman managed a slight smile.

"Thank you. Ladies, you were very brave. I doubt the men hidden in those walls waiting for the signal could've done all you did. If it were up to me, I'd have the queen award you a medal, but I doubt we'll be allowed to talk much about this, if any of it, ever again," he said with bitterness. "I'll follow up with Knowles about the properties to make sure any lands and assets seized by the Society are returned to proper owners. This is your estate. You've a grateful family who have been ferried off to the station that would like to return Rosecrest to you."

Jonathon nodded. Brinkman bowed slightly and stormed off. I heard a cry urging on a fast horse. Hoofbeats pounded off and faded into silence. For poor Brinkman, this was just one ongoing nightmare. Suddenly I felt very lucky. I had my joy in this room with me. Maggie's body notwithstanding.

I glanced from Mrs. Northe to Jonathon, to the tall form across the room of Reverend Blessing, dark skin gleaming in the moonlight as he remained in prayerful watch over Maggie's eternal rest, to the brave entwined couple of Nathaniel and Lavinia who had risen to the ultimate challenge. Lavinia was already fast asleep on Nathaniel's shoulder.

I had everyone I needed right here, except Father. Mother lived on in my heart, having always shown herself when I needed her most. Love was like that, taking the form of angels when faced with devils.

As the cottage had neither amenities nor staff, it was not a place we could weather the night. The appetite we'd all lost during the battle returned with painful awareness. But we couldn't be seen like we were. Nathaniel gently roused Lavinia, and we each did as best we could to put ourselves together. We hid our bloodstained clothes under cloaks and rode into Greenwich proper in Nathaniel's fine carriage. All of us were able to fit as Lavinia chose to ride up above with Nathaniel driving. At the back of the carriage, laid out upon clean boards and swathed in thick layers of black fabric, Margaret Hathorn's corpse made the journey back with us.

We went to the nearest inn, a modest establishment, and took over a shadowed corner of the public rooms and ate everything they could lay out for us. Something about the looks on our faces did not invite any comment. It was late, after all. And we were a bedraggled, strange set of compatriots that thankfully no one took exception to. Surely we looked as haunted and as at the precipice of death as we felt.

The gentlemen took turns driving back to London, all of us dozing in and out. That night, in Jonathon's flat, the whole motley crew remained gathered. None of us could bear to be alone or separated because our collective trauma made us stronger.

I cried myself nearly sick. Nothing else would do. The anguish I felt was only matched by a wave of hatred for myself, guilt threatening to drag me under into a mental state that I wondered if I could recover from after the progressive stages of grief. I'd been stronger when I had been trying to soothe Mrs. Northe. Now that reality was truly setting in, I was coming undone.

Someone dying in your arms is something no one can prepare you for.

It is the most terrible thing in the world.

It is the most incredible thing in the world.

Because never are you so aware of your own fragility, of that precarious moment between life and death. One moment here. The next, gone. A fleeting, breathless moment gives over to no breath ever again.         

It was eerie, it didn't feel real, it felt like a thousand knives in my heart and in my eyes, replaying her final moment. Her fine, amazing, brave, incredible final moments. Here I thought I was brave and she was weak. I was a fool, and she was a savior.

I threw up everything that was in my stomach and cried every tear that could be cried and still they came. Jonathon  just continued to bring me water and hold me tighter. But he couldn't hold this away. Sometimes we cried together, for my tears granted permission for his.

Seeing his reanimate mother had to have been one of the worst possible sights a person could ever see. The fact he retained his sanity was a miracle. I was grateful I'd encountered my dead mother again as a ghost, a beautiful spirit helping me from the beyond. Poor Jonathon had been first confronted with his mother's desecration, and I would do anything to have taken that sight away. At least her spirit had won out and helped us, managing to redeem that dreadful blasphemy into a transcendent truth.

Our pain was so severe and so specific, we just held on to each other, knowing we were all we had, companions who had been through every level of personal hell, together, miraculously still alive to speak of it. Though I wondered if we'd ever speak of it again. I wanted to forget everything but the feel of his arms holding me as the sensation made life bearable.

Jonathon just held me until it was inappropriate for him to be in the same room with me any longer. It was only a mere hour or so before dawn. Lavinia and Nathaniel were curled up somewhere, recovering on their own time and terms.

At some point sleep claimed me until I was roused by something bright and cold hovering at the foot of the guest room bed.

Maggie floated before me.

I couldn't be sure if it was real or a dream, but I was very glad to see her spirit, in whatever way it wished to see me.

"Hello, my friend," I whispered. The tears came again. "I don't deserve you."

"Me?" Maggie scoffed. "The friend that almost had you killed back in New York? Of course you did. You do. This was my penance, Natalie."

"No, Maggie—"

"It was, Natalie. It was foretold. Your mother has been very kind to me. She's been showing me the ways of this place, this in-between area where I'm still watching the world but above it. The Angel Walk, she calls it, as she fancies herself your guardian angel."

"She is," I stammered through my tears.

"There are two walks," Maggie's ghost said excitedly. "The angels walk a path. And so do the devils. That's the path the Society was trying to carve open. From here you can see where things have come and where things may go. One life to the next, one body, one soul to the next… So many possibilities." Her voice was filled with a beautiful wonderment. "When you and I meet again someday, I'd like to think we will be better friends."

"We will be," I said through renewed tears. She was staring at me with such calm, such care, such love, the sort of warmth I always imagined an angel or Jesus might look upon me with, a look that knew of terrible suffering, temptation, and pain but chose to stare lovingly instead. "I promise you. If whatever or whoever I am is too blind to see the woman you're capable of being, shake me out of it."

"I think you'll know, next time," Maggie said. "If there's such a thing as past lives, well, we will have learned in the next one."

"We are imperfect creatures down here, Maggie. I'm sure things look so much different up there."

"Perspective." She said, bobbing slightly in the air. "Don't lose yours. There may be storms yet ahead, who knows. You have people who need you."

"We all needed you."

Her grayscale form smiled. "It was nice to be needed for once."

"You were never not needed, we—"

Maggie held up a ghostly hand to shut me up. "Stay safe, Natalie Stewart. Take care of that lord of yours."

"I promise I will. If you can visit again... I hope you will."

Maggie shrugged. "I don't know... I've a lot of exploring to do."

"Evelyn will want to see you. Your aunt is devastated."

"In time." Maggie shrugged. "When she's ready, she'll see me. We see what we need to see when we can best handle it, whether it feels like it or not. I've a letter for you, back in New York. It will explain everything."

"Thank you." I reached out to the chill air before me. "Truly. I owe you so much more than that, but—"

"You're welcome," Maggie said, waving a ghostly hand as if it were nothing. When it had been everything. "Truly."

And she vanished.
--
(End of Chapter 27 - Copyright 2013 Leanna Renee Hieber, The Magic Most Foul saga. For chapters 28 and 29, The Double Life of Incorporate Things is now available on Kindle and in paperback! (Nook / Barnes and Noble editions forthcoming). If you're not caught up on the series, pick up a copy of Magic Most Foul books 1 and 2: Darker Still and the sequel: The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart

Join us next Tuesday for Leanna's Teaser Tuesdays! Cheers and happy haunting!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Book Birthday DOUBLE LIFE!

Dear Readers!
Happy Release Day!

Celebrate Cyber Monday by picking up The Double Life of Incorporate Things, the Magic Most Foul finale, complete, all 29 chapters in novel form as intended- not all of which have serialized here- so come join Natalie and Jonathon as their storyline resolves! Now available on Kindle and Trade Paperback!

(Nook and Barnes & Noble editions to come, there was a delay, but should be up by the end of this week.)

To my Double Life donors of $20 or more, your signed books and donor prizes will arrive by mid-December, so just sit tight!

From the back cover:

"Just when we think our nightmares are over, the Society has invented a new horror. Around every corner a shadow, behind every whisper a demon. If we don't end what the devils began, we will die haunted..."

The finale in the acclaimed Magic Most Foul trilogy: The trauma and the terror of the Master's Society has only escalated for the dashing Lord Denbury and brave, feisty Miss Natalie Stewart, and a new terror has been unleashed in Manhattan. Together with their stalwart friends and unlikely heroes, they take the fight directly to the Denbury estate, where new evils have awakened. But are they prepared for all the sacrifices that shall be asked of them? With their very lives and the sanctity of their mortal souls at stake, Natalie and Jonathon are past the point of no return...


Please help Natalie and Jonathon reach the stars! Your tweets, shares, reviews, it all helps so much! Once a book hits 40 reviews on Amazon, the book receives better promotion and access, so those of you who have enjoyed the serial up to its climax, I'd love whatever thoughts you'd like to leave in an Amazon review!

I'm SO excited to share this full novel with you, I've loved every minute of this Magic Most Foul journey, these characters are so very precious to me, which is why many of them will continue on into my next Eterna Files saga, so be sure to pick up this novel so you can meet the amazing heroine, Clara Templeton, who appears in the very end of Double Life.

Stay tuned this week as I'll be revealing new blog features! Tomorrow marks the last Double Life installment with Chapter 27 out of the novel's 29 Chapters, from then on we'll keep Tuesdays fresh with new Teaser Tuesdays; musings on the latest works, on the artistic process, with excerpts from forthcoming work or works-in-progress. Since all my novels are part of parallel worlds, its like visiting an extended family every week!

Thank you for being a part of my worlds, and for loving the families I've created there as much as I love writing them. You, dear reader, are why I do what I do, to bring my families to yours.

Cheers, blessings, and thank you!

Double Life for Kindle here: http://tinyurl.com/tdloitkin Paperback: http://tinyurl.com/tdloitaz
Barnes & Noble editions to come.

Happy Haunting!