Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Which I Shall Become An Auror: The Auror's Tale

If you've followed this blog for more than two seconds, you probably know that a) I'm an actress by training and trade as well as an author, and b) I'm a huge Harry Potter fangirl. With that in mind, the coolest thing has happened.
Well, in a confluence of amazing events, I auditioned for and landed a principal role in a new web-series called The Auror's Tale. A fan-made webseries set in the universe of Harry Potter, "Auror's Tale" follows the adventures of elite enforcers known as Aurors working in America after the Second Wizarding War. [Not affiliated with JK Rowling, Warner Bros, or Time Warner.] A project of Red Phoenix Productions, the series will be directed by Leo Kei Angelos with a screenplay by Cassandra Johnstone. I will be playing Deputy Kellion, an Auror in New York City's Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I'll be second in command to Chief Munro, seen here at the very beginning of this awesome trailer:

Isn't it exciting? We'll have a lot more forthcoming! Please follow me here and on all my sites, I'll be running DMLE play-by-plays! Please follow the Auror's Tale team: @AurorsTale on Twitter, Like Auror's Tale on Facebook, follow their Tumblr and subscribe to the YouTube channel!

BOOK STUFF: My next author events: I'll be at Lori Foster's Reader and Author Get Together next weekend, then on to Book Expo America! BEA attendees, Please see my BEA Event Schedule for panels and signings. Attention Bloggers, readers, fans: THERE WILL BE ARCS of THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART but only at the NYPL event on Monday night. Librarians and Booksellers, there will be limited ARCs of Twisted Tragedy at the Sourcebooks Booth, please see Sourcebooks representatives at the booth for details. Please note: Registration for the NYPL event is required.

Friday, May 25, 2012

DARKER STILL finals in the Daphne Du Maurier Award!

I AM SO EXCITED to report Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul''s final in the Historical Mystery/Suspense category of the Daphnes! Daphne du Maurier is a huge inspiration to me. REBECCA is chilling and magnetic and helped me along my Gothic road. So to final in something that has her name on it is such a huge honor! And in such great company as this! *muppet dance*

Direct from the Daphne listing:

The results for the first round of the Kiss of Death Chapter’s Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense—Published Division are in. On behalf of KOD and the Daphne Committee, I am pleased to announce the finalists of our 2012 Published Contest:

Category (Series) Romantic Mystery/Suspense:

Helen Kay Dimon – The Big Guns

Paula Graves – Major Nanny

Angi Morgan – .38 Caliber Cover-Up

Julie Miller – Nanny 911

Gayle Wilson – Flashback

Historical Romantic Mystery/ Suspense:

Leanna Renee Hieber – Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul

Katy Madison – Tainted by Temptation

Elizabeth Loupas – The Second Duchess

Sharon Page – Engaged in Sin

Deborah Simmons – Glory and the Rake Glory and the Rake

Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense

Diane Burke – Bounty Hunter Guardian

Debby Giusti – The Captain's Mission

Laura Iding – Lawman-In-Charge

Renee Ryan – Courting the Enemy

Susan Sleeman – The Christmas Witness

Paranormal (PTTF) Time Travel, Futuristic Romantic Mystery/Suspense

Darynda Jones – Second Grave on the Left

Kristin Miller – InterVamption

Jana Oliver – The Demon Trapper’s Daughter

Robin D. Owens – Heart Search

Kristen Painter – Blood Rights

Mainstream/Mystery /Suspense

Linda Castillo – Breaking Silence

W. S. Gager – A Case of Hometown Blues

Julie Kramer – Killing Kate

Elizabeth Voss – The Winslow Incident

Lois Winston – Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun

Single Title Romantic Mystery/Suspense

Donnell Ann Bell – The Past Came Hunting

Allison Brennan – Kiss Me, Kill Me

Cindy Gerard – With No Remorse

Christy Reece – Sweet Justice

Roxanne St. Claire – Face of Danger

Winners will be announced in July at KOD's annual Death by Chocolate Party in Anaheim.
AND this comes right after I found out THE PERILOUS PROPHECY OF GUARD AND GODDESS (A Strangely Beautiful prequel) finaled in the Prism Awards in the Fantasy category!
Good luck to all the finalists, I will keep you posted on the results! In the meantime, please check out the Facebook page, I'm running a contest where one lucky winner will get amazing Steampunk swag!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Expo America 2012 Event Schedule!

My Events and how you can get signed books:

1. Monday, Book Blogger Conference - Networking Luncheon Guest Author (Details here)

2. Monday, 6:30pm -New York Public Library (Main 42nd St. branch) - I'm so excited to be on a panel discussing writing Young Adult literature set in New York City! - ATTENTION REVIEWERS: At this special event, THERE WILL BE A LIMITED # OF ARCS OF THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART! I will not be signing ARCs at the Sourcebooks booth so this is your chance! PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REGISTERED EVENT (Still free, but you have to register.)

3. Tuesday, 3-5pm MEET THE APOCALYPSIES! 2012 debut Middle Grade and Young Adult authors - Join us for an amazing event with a ton of debut YA authors, prizes, teasers, snacks, and more! Details here.

4. Thursday, 1:30 PM, Romance Writers of America (RWA) Booth: -- I will be signing DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul at the RWA booth.

---- Bloggers, Librarians, Booksellers: Please note, there will be a very limited number of ARCs of the sequel in the Magic Most Foul saga, The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, at the Sourcebooks booth at BEA, please see Sourcebooks representatives for details. Again, I will not be signing ARCs at the Sourcebooks booth, so your best bet is to come get one at the NYPL event on Monday! Cheers! I can't wait for BEA!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy World Goth Day! Rhapsodic on Poe Part 2

Hello friends, In my last Waxing Rhapsodic post on Edgar Allan Poe I said I'd share my thoughts on the film The Raven at a later date. What better date than World Goth Day?! A strangely beautiful World Goth Day to all of you! Hug your favourite black-clad soul, (yes, I count, I'm one of that deliciously and delightedly melancholy lot) and do yourselves a favor and play my favourite Goth band, VNV Nation, REALLY LOUD and dance around your house and the city streets like galumphing Tim Burton animation figures today. Remember, I'm one of those Perky Goths so have ridiculous fun with your emo self! By the way, I can't wait to share my upcoming novel The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart with you, because I've created an 1880s Goth club and IT IS FULL OF AWESOME!
All right. So let's talk The Raven. No, it wasn't exactly historically accurate. (At all). But we knew that. Positing Poe as a detective in the last harried, mysterious days of his life is utterly fiction. In reality he was likely far less cogent, probably a lot farther off the deep-end and perhaps a bit less sympathetic. But no one can say his early death was not a tragedy. I would have craved as many more stories and poems as his broken heart and sad soul could have offered us. But, like many gifted persons, his candle simply lost flame.

What I loved about the film was the visual landscape. It was Gothic and stunning as I'd hoped it would be. I enjoyed Cusack's performance. He looked delicious. Bring on the men in tightly-fitted frock coats and billowing black great-coats! I liked seeing Poe as an active rather than reactive figure, I enjoyed the energy and animus the film gave to his character, and I appreciated those who appreciated him. I appreciated that the film dealt with his struggles, vices and those who misunderstood him. I loved being reminded of his creepy stories, I loved his written lines having a new voice and knowing his words will never lose their power. I could have done without the gore, Poe manages gore far more elegantly and delicately than Hollywood. I was pleased in that I did not find the film predictable, I was engrossed and entertained. Did I mention Cusack looked delicious? :)

Whatever allows for us to let Poe further into our lives, and to appreciate him on whatever level we can in popular culture, so be it. Huzzah. Celebrating him on the silver screen is better than relegating him to the shadows in which he lived. He shines brightly in dark splendor in my soul; the light of my muse. I am not covetous of that darkening light and hope it shines for all to see.

None of us should look to Hollywood for definitive accounts. This wasn't posited as the truth, so we must give it leave and license. We look to movies for imagination, and this film hardly lacked imagination and beauty, it was rife with both. I'd like to think Poe would have been greatly amused. (Not to mention he'd probably demand a few drinks and some royalties, rightfully so.)

Should you wish to know where the film derailed from truths, here's a wonderful resource from  "Philly Poe guy" Edward Pettit to help you distinguish fact from fiction.

I enjoy historical, fantastical fiction more than any other genre. I write it, I live it, I breathe it and I'm not entirely accurate either. I make choices for effect and storytelling. The film inspired me to hold fast to my great loves, write more of the Gothic tales I adore, and to continue to honor my muse, Mr. Poe. Evermore.

Join the inimitable Nancy Holder and I on May 26th at Romance at Random and you'll hear her take on the film along with mine, and how Poe influences our work.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Waxing Rhapsodic on Poe, Part 1

When I first found out about the movie The Raven, I was thrilled. I'm not one of those historical purists that fears when Hollywood gets hold of anything. If I were a historical purist, I wouldn’t write historical fantasy and gaslight Gothic works where history is a framework for my own eerie tales, but not a constraint.  
 I was over the moon at the prospect of the film because Poe is my muse and I’ll take any excuse to get more of him in my life. I want him to continue to be popular, to grow in estimation and appreciation, for his historic sites to be preserved. I want interest in Poe to be kindled in a whole new generation. If it takes a somewhat cheesy Hollywood film to do it, sign me up. I enjoyed the heck out of it. And yes, John Cusack was HOT, running around all intense and billowing in black fabric. (Those of you who have read my Strangely Beautiful saga know I like my men in black, billowing fabric.)

When I was in grade school literature class at a small, progressive education program in Ohio, a teacher who I credit as influencing me most, Mrs. Church, introduced me to Edgar Allan Poe and my life would never be the same. Some of my earliest memories are of making up ghost stories to scare my friends, so when I “met” Poe, I met a kindred spirit and his poetry broke open the sky and unlocked my boundless creativity. I always had a fierce inner dark side. This still freaks out my parents a bit, who wonder where it came from. I’m not sure. I had a very happy childhood. But even happy, optimistic, perky people like me can have intense dark sides and can be as equally fascinated with dark and eerie things as we are energetic. I always found strange things to be beautiful (Hence the series title of my first series, the Strangely Beautiful saga) and nothing as romantic or stimulating as a dark and stormy night.

Poe made my world come alive. In his voice I found my own. In his poetry and stories my world-view coalesced. A strangely beautiful world. I adored his poetry, found it deliciously, morbidly romantic, unique and deeply personal. I really couldn’t get enough of it. I’ll never forget my first tattered paperback collection of his stories and poetry- a watercolor raven on the cover- I’ve gone through many editions through the years. This first great literary love affair made me into the Goth girl and Gothic author I am today. I remember hearing about Poe’s sad life, his love for Virginia, and knowing I’d have been his friend (if not his girlfriend) back in the day. (Yes, I know, I’d have gotten fed up with the addiction and drinking, but I wasn’t thinking of that in my pre-teen years.)

My freshman year of high school I was the only freshman cast in the play POE’S MIDNIGHT DREARY, cast as Fortunato the fool who gets bricked up behind a wall. I screamed brilliantly. That childhood love came back full force as I spent rehearsals and performances living in his amazing, twisted work, and I took to writing again. I had been writing stories ever since I could hold a pen or pencil and complete a sentence, so this renewed connection with my muse informed and spurred on my then novel-in-progress, a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. (Don’t ask. It was bad. But it can’t have been any worse than "Love Never Dies”, surely...)

My love affair with Poe kept on burning like a candle in an attic window. Poe lives in the back of everything. I’m still a Goth girl, I’m now a multi-published, award-winning Gothic novelist, and my long term boyfriends have all been black haired with black goatees. Hmm. Just realized that one.
I've a prominent jewelry collection featuring his image as well as a host of ravens on clothes, figures, things in my home. His influence can be seen in small and large ways in my Gothic tales. I’ve a Raven as an important familiar in the Strangely Beautiful saga, elements of Poe crop up all over my work, especially in the Magic Most Foul saga, DARKER STILL and the upcoming THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART. Natalie even feels she's trapped amidst a Poe tale herself. When you credit an author as being your foremost and most formative influence, it’s hard to see all the ways in which that author crops up in your own work. I’m a lot more direct about it in the Magic Most Foul saga than I am in Strangely Beautiful, which is more inspired by classic Fantasy authors than Poe’s more intimate horror and sad romance. I feel his presence like a guiding hand in my upcoming short stories, “Too Fond” for and “Charged” for QUEEN VICTORIA’S BOOK OF SPELLS (Tor 2013). 
I'll share more specific thoughts on The Raven film in part 2 of waxing rhapsodic, but I've got to get back to my word count for the day. I've stories of my own to write and new projects that I hope to announce soon. Stay tuned, on May 26th, New York Times and Stoker Award winning author Nancy Holder and I will be sharing snippets of our mutual thoughts on The Raven as fellow Poe fangirls, and how Poe inspires us, over at Sue Grimshaw’s Romance at Random blog!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Historic NYC: Talking FIVE POINTS at Criminal Element

Come join me over at The Criminal Element as I discuss New York City's most legendary neighborhood, The Five Points, and reference a fabulous book about the neighborhood (Five Points). I mention Five Points briefly in DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, but as I say in my post, I only scratch at the surface of a place that can't be described in a mere few words.

If you're as curious as I am about the upcoming BBC show COPPER, (or if you saw Gangs of New York and wonder if that's really the true story) you're going to want to know more about historic, 19th century NYC. Which is good for me, because that's what I write books about. Come for a tasty historical bite, stick around Criminal Element for more great thriller and mystery news and features.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Apocalypsies Feature: Kathleen Peacock

Welcome again to my Apocalypsies feature, where I ask my fellow YA and Middle Grade debut crew a little about their book and a few totally random (but important to me) questions. Today, welcome debut author KATHLEEN PEACOCK! *Muppet dance!*

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Book Title: HEMLOCK
Release Date: May 8, 2012 - Today!


Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered. Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf. Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Your Fave thing about your book:

The way the characters interact with each other.

Your Fave fluffy animal:

A kitten. Or a bunny. Oh! Can I say Bunnicula?

(Leanna says: "Yes, Kathleen, yes you can. See that bunny up top there? That's Persebunny but sometimes I think she's actually Bunnicula. Which rocks.)

If you were a ghost, where would you haunt?:

A huge old used bookstore with a resident cat. Or each of my ex-boyfriends (if they thought I was PitA while I was alive…).
Your Website:

Yay Kathleen! Happy release day! Hemlock looks amazing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Affordable Musts in New York City

Photo by Greyling Design
Going to Book Expo America? ThrillerFest? Other NYC conventions? There are many book-related conventions in NYC each year and a lot of writers shall soon be descending upon the capitol of the publishing industry. Considering that I live here and spent some time as a NYC tour guide, I was approached last year to write this article for an out of state writing group, so I thought I should share it as many are planning summer trips. Here's a welcome to my fine city and a list of low-cost entertainment ideas to really take in the city that never sleeps.


Leanna's top ten affordable musts in NYC: (In no particular order - please note how very few of these adventures cost money!)

1. Best vista from atop the world: Choose the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center over the Empire State Building. - What's the most impressive building on the whole skyline? The Empire State Building. You can't SEE it if you are IN it. Besides there are a lot of unnecessary distractions with the Empire State ticket. Top of the Rock is simple and efficient, tickets are timed entry for crowd control, it's glass versus the steel cage of Empire, Top of the Rock is all around a better view and experience for your money.

2. A trip to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. You don't have to go to Liberty Island to appreciate Lady Liberty on the waterfront, Battery Park is a lovely park with nice views, places to stroll and street vendors.

3. Ethnic food. Whatever your pleasure, NYC has it, and then some. Don't get stuck eating at chains that you can find everywhere, whether its Little Italy or Little India, there's something unique for everyone. If you are in Time's Square, do yourself a favor and go West to 9th Avenue, (Hell's Kitchen) there are tons of options there. And no, Hell's Kitchen in no way refers to the safety of the area. It's safe. Quite trendy, even. The nickname is a century old.

4. Grand Central Station, 42nd and Lexington Avenue. Just go and take in the interior vista. The Information kiosk alone sports a priceless opal-faced clock. Just walk through, you won't regret it. It's one of the most grand and impressive buildings in the city. Enjoy the beautiful astrological ceiling and incredible arches. Wonderful restaurants there too.

5. Central Park - it's safe, it's beautiful, it's the most important and beloved asset to the city. It's 843 acres of pure man-made natural magic. There's tons of stuff to do inside. The Central Park zoo is adorable and fun, the Conservatory Gardens are gorgeous, be sure to stroll the Bethesda Terrace, perhaps rent a rowboat over the boat pond! You can eat at The Boathouse, it has two restaurants, a pricy nice side and a cheaper other side, perfect options for every mood and budget.

6. The TKTS booth. Want to see a Broadway show? The TKTS booth right in the heart of Times Square is the way to do it if you've time to wait in line, also be sure to check in in person with the theatre box offices of shows you're interested in directly to see if they've any rush ticket or ticket lottery options.

7. A walk around City Hall Park, downtown. NYC's City Hall is a gorgeous building from the early 1800s, and City Hall park is a gas-lit charming space. Gorgeous architecture surrounds City Hall Park, see the unparallelled Woolworth Building (A Gothic styled skyscraper that was the tallest building in the world in 1913) and please visit St. Paul's Chapel, which was the makeshift HQ for rescue workers during 9/11, it has an amazing memorial there and as the chapel is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the city, it has amazing, spectacular history. George Washington prayed there after his inauguration in the city as our first president.

8. South Street Seaport. A fun area of history, museums, shops, cobblestone streets, restaurants with a lovely view of the East River. While you're in the area go up into the financial district just a little bit and try Stone Street for a little downtown glimpse of historic NYC (great bars and restaurants).

9. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. This iconic bridge, the most beautiful in all of New York, (and I think the world) will provide you a stunning, breathtaking view of the Manhattan Skyline as you interact with one of the world's great wonders of engineering, completed in 1883 this massive suspension bridge was the tallest man-made structure in the world when it was completed.

10. Saint Patrick's Cathedral and Saint John the Divine Cathedral. Whether you're in midtown (St. Patrick's) or up by Columbia University campus (St. John) you must at least visit one of these stone wonders of Gothic architecture, they are truly breathtaking buildings and also integral to the history of NYC.

New York City is the safest big city in the country. Be alert, but don't be scared. It's a city to be utterly treasured. See you in my adopted hometown I love so much! P. S. The Subway is the easiest and cheapest way to get around town. Also, not scary. Just remember, trains go uptown or downtown and familiarize yourself with the system like you would any transit.

In town for BEA - Book Expo America? I'll see you on Monday at the Book Bloggers Convention Lunch, on Thursday at the RWA Booth at 11:15 signing DARKER STILL, and TBA at the Sourcebooks booth signing THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART!

If you have stumbled across my blog as a tourist looking for tips, I hope you'll check out my novels, as all of them feature a historical setting with fantastical intrigue!