Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Upcoming Appearances, Dark Tales from Elder Regions and Updates!

My Darling Readers,

I've been quiet here on the blog as I've been deep in drafting The Eterna Files Book 2, but as we're gearing up for The Eterna Files launch on Feb 3, 2015, the Tor Books team and I are so excited about the book and launch, please stay tuned for our book tour and launch events!

My 2015 Convention schedule includes Featured Guest Appearances at: TempleCon (RI), The Steampunk World's Fair (NJ), The International Steam Symposium (OH), MistiCon (NH), Authors After Dark (GA) and many more! I'll be touring Florida with my beloved Alethea Kontis in February for multiple signings!

I've exciting new work releasing this month, welcome to DARK TALES OF ELDER REGIONS from Myth Ink Books. My short story "Roebling's Monster" headlines this creepy anthology and I'll be doing my first reading of the story and a signing this Saturday, December 6th at 11am at WINTERCON at Resort World Casino in NYC! I'll have all my books available for sale and signing!

In other news, I've teamed up with writer, illustrator, producer, Mason, DJ and all around Renaissance man Thom A. Truelove on several projects for fiction and for the screen, one of which is a novel focusing on "The Visitor" who appears in the Eterna books and her fascinating trajectory and unique way of living past, present and future at once. Please follow his blog to see what he's up to and get his perspective on what we've got in store in the coming years.
Stay tuned for more Eterna Files excitement! And if you weren't the chosen winner of this blog's ARC contest, enter to win a copy of THE ETERNA FILES by entering's SWEEPSTAKES!
Cheers and as always, Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meet THE ETERNA FILES - Advanced Reader Copy contest!

Hello friends!

I am so thrilled to have received my beautiful Advanced Reader Copies of THE ETERNA FILES today from Tor, so there simply must be a contest to receive an ARC of your very own!

Check out how Tor Books featured THE ETERNA FILES at New York Comic Con this year!
About the book: (From Barnes & Noble) - And YES - It's available for Pre-Order!

"Imagine The X-Files meets Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series and set in Victorian London and New York City—welcome to The Eterna Files, written by Leanna Renee Hieber, “the brightest new star in literature”(

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes. 
Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.
Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain." (Releasing 2/3/15 in hardcover and digital, both formats available for pre-order across all platforms)


Just leave a comment below discussing one of the following: what do you think of the cover? The description? For those of you familiar with my work, now that I'm with Tor Books and will be shelved in adult fantasy, with this being my first hardcover release, what do you think of this new look? Those of you for whom reading my work would be new, what are your favourite things about Gothic / Historical / Paranormal / Fantasy? (Contest open to US addresses only, please, winner will be chosen at the end of October via Random . Org)

Cheers and, as always, HAPPY HAUNTING!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DragonCon 2014 Schedule!

Dear Dragon Con attendees! I'm so thrilled to be returning again for the annual tradition, promoting my latest and forthcoming novels! Here's my exciting SCHEDULE, come say hello and bring a book of mine you'd like signed!

Title: Bending Historical Tradition
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: Augusta 3 - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: A discussion ranging from blood herbivores to water pistol protection f...rom blood drinkers to vampires herding humans in a post-apocalyptic world.

Title: Supernatural History
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Augusta 3 - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: Zombies, bunnies, and voodoo: see how the paranormal and the "normal" coexist in Alternate History worlds.

Title: Princess Alethea's Traveling Sideshow
Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: A707 - Marriott (Length: 1)
Description: A motley band of talented (and costumed) authors offers an entertaining hour of readings, musical numbers, and more.

Title: Folklore & Mythology in UF
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Chastain ED - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: Our panel of authors discusses how they employ folklore and/or mythology in their work.

Title: Skye of the Damned: The Making of a Web Series
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Chastain ED - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: Two episodes of this web series about vampires and fallen angels in NYC will be screened, with the creator and actors on hand for a Q&A.

Title: Melding the Past with the Supernatural: History in UF
Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: Chastain ED - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: Not all Urban Fantasy takes place in contemporary times. This panel of authors discusses how they use historical settings in their work.

Title: Crossculture in History
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Augusta 3 - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: Non-English and non-American cultures in history, with a focus on Africa and India.

Title: The Crypto-Historians: Screening
Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1)
Description: This Steampunk TV series chronicles the adventures of a band of time travelers as they struggle to protect mankind's destiny, with Q&A to follow.
LEANNA'S SIGNED BOOKS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT LARRY SMITH BOOKSELLERS, Booths 103-105, facing the dealer table area in the Americas Mart expo area. Cheers!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today at the Taco Church: In Which Tequila Makes Leanna (think she is) Genius

Hello Dear Readers,

Today is my day to blog at the Holy Taco Church, a site for recipes and authorly love. Today I talked about the backstory of my piece "Charged" featured in Queen Victoria's Book of Spells (which is up for a Locus and a World Fantasy Award for best anthology!).

Peruse, be amused.

Cheers and happy haunting!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Meeting George Takei, my Skye of the Damned debut, and you can PRE-ORDER Eterna Files!

Greetings, Readers!

Apologies for being quieter on the blog front than I'd like. Deadlines, travel, projects... But there's a lot of excitement in the works. I've joined the East Coast team of Jimmy Diggs' House of Diggs production company, which is such a thrill. His projects are very exciting and the wealth of experience he brings from various franchises like Star Trek is inspiring, I am thrilled to be on board as contributing talent in various capacities as a writer, consultant and performer.

The amazing and unparalleled George Takei came in to the media studio where I work to promote his new film To Be Takei, telling his inspiring story and just generally being Oh My wonderful. While he was in the studio I got a chance to pass along regards from Jimmy and our East Coast wing of the HOD team, as George has been a big inspiration to us all.

And Episode 5 of SKYE OF THE DAMNED is out now! Come see me be Danae, sassy Queen of the Dark FAE as an epic fight scene erupts at a wake...
Here are some of my favourite screen shots:

More updates soon on THE ETERNA FILES - which is now AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! All of the Magic Most Foul saga, especially culminating in The Double Life of Incorporate Things, has prepared us for the intriguing characters and insidious horrors of THE ETERNA FILES, coming 2015 from Tor, this is my first hardcover release so, dear reader, I'll be very grateful for your pre-orders and your support in this exciting new venture.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Out of the Deadline Cave and Into the Taco Church...

Greetings, Dear Reader! Those of you who follow my goings on know that I've been a bit under a rock on  major major book deadline(s). I've come out briefly for things like one day at the Steampunk World's Fair and one day at Book Expo America, but the most important thing of late has been getting THE ETERNA FILES ready for your delectable consumption come this fall with a teaser novella and early 2015 with book one's magical release, as I shift my writerly career into the hands of Tor Books, a transition I am very excited to make.

I've also been working background on the HBO show Boardwalk Empire lately, I'm so proud I've worked every season of the show. ANOTHER TREAT was the thrill of seeing myself featured in the James Gray film The Immigrant, a 1920s period drama that's a really amazing film. I'm sitting next to Marion Cotillard (Ewa) as she watches Jeremy Renner (Orlando the magician) wow the Ellis Island audience with his performance. My hair is in a bun, I'm in glasses, and you see me several times in those shots and I'm really thrilled, as working that particular Ellis Island scene as well as working several days on the whole production, was a really wonderful experience, especially as a historical novelist, their eye to detail and care for us as a group was great.  

I'll ALSO be featured in the upcoming episode of the Urban Fantasy web-series full of kick-ass fights and general genre fabulousness, SKYE OF THE DAMNED, episode 5, in which I play Danae, Queen of the Unseelie FAE. I know, ME? Queen of the dark fae? No. That so doesn't suit me at all. *grin* So stay tuned for that episode launching next week!

If you haven't caught up with my books and want some insight into THE ETERNA FILES, as I'll be taking some of the darkest plot threads of the Magic Most Foul saga and making it all A WHOLE LOT CREEPIER (I know, it's hard to do, because it's damn creepy already, but in my coming works, the creepy expands on a far grander scale), please check out the Magic Most Foul series and in book 3, The Double Life of Incorporate Things, I introduce some of my Eterna Files stars.

ETERNA will launch a teaser novella with Tor this fall and we'll have an early 2015 debut, so STAY TUNED! (And catch up on Magic Most Foul. It certainly isn't a prerequisite, however if you like Gothic Victorian Paranormal Fantasy, well, then, you're in the right place as that's entirely what I do.)


The amazing Kevin Hearne, who might be one of the most utterly delightful gentleman on the planet, as fabulous an author as he is a human, has organized an amazing author group that I'm very tickled to be a part of. Follow our religious love of food (particularly Tacos and Margaritas) alongside the goings on of our books. I'm holding down the Vegetarian quotient of the Holy Taco Church as Our Lady Pico de Gallo and will be offering up some of the ways I taco it up without dead carcass. My first post goes up June 12th, but please check out the site and our fabulous authors and sign up for our mailing list.

If any of you are in the Phoenix Comicon area, a great deal of "The Church" will be in attendance so come see us! I'll have all three Magic Most Foul saga books available via the wonderful Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore to sign over in our Author Alley, if you have stock of any Strangely Beautiful editions that are now out of print (But not for long as everything begins it's new and shiny re-issue next year thanks to Tor!) feel free to bring them along and I'll love to sign those too! Cheers!

Here are my favourite BEA pictures taken by the lovely Alexis Daria! The first is of me side by side with my beloved Alethea Kontis, we celebrated 5 years of being Kindred Spirits this BEA, and Alexis got the next picture of me during my signing at the Science Fiction / Fantasy Writers of America booth. Cheers and happy haunting! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

In Which Leanna Sings Opera

Dear Readers,

While you may or may not know I am a trained performer on stage and screen, some of you also may or may not know that I'm a singer. In between my book releases, I thought I'd do a little sharing of things I do that aren't related to my books, but still related to storytelling and performance.

Presenting Part 1 of my husband's operetta he composed; WHEN I THINK OF HOME, with text by his mother Carolyn Wille-Rivera. Carolyn wrote this text while living in Puerto Rico dreaming of her childhood up north. Presented and also performed by the talented Orfeo Duo on violin and piano, presented as a part of Upper Manhattan's "Oh What A Neighborhood" concert series.

I'm the one singing. ;)

Blessings and enjoy!

For more about Marcos & La Guagua, check out his website!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Novelists' rebuttal to "The Novelist"... A humorous answer to Elle Magazine.

When Elle Magazine did a spread of a wardrobe feature of a "Novelist" (with a total price-tag of about $7k)... Some of us novelists reacted, (read: laughed), and author Lynne Kelly gathered our responses. Here is our rebuttal. I promise it shall amuse, enlighten, and entertain.

The Author's Wardrobe For Real

You'll note my offering sticks out like a great, black hole. *snicker* I am infamous for my Victorian Gothitude. But even all my corsetry combined would not add up to a $7K outfit (which would wipe out more than one of my advance checks in one fell swoop). No, the working author is not living Sex and the City style, that's Hollywood. (No way could Sarah Jessica Parker have afforded that beautiful Manhattan apartment on a columnist's salary alone). We're living, working, struggling artists, and while I'd not trade the author's life for anything in the world, let's be real about it.

But, writing aside, all this does make me think I need to start my Gothic Style Guide feature I've been meaning to do for quite some time...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour! Eterna Files, YA and more: In which Leanna explains why she does what she does...

Thanks to YA author Lynne Kelly for getting me involved in the Writing Process Blog Tour! Here we answer some basic questions about our process. The questions may be basic, but writing a book is far from it, and every author's process is as unique and as individual as the array of books throughout history. I love talking shop, so here goes....

1.      What am I working on:

Book 2 of The Eterna Files, a Gaslamp Fantasy saga set in featuring two rival teams of secret agencies between New York, each tasked with finding the ‘cure for death’ on behalf of their respective governments. A teaser novella for the series launches this fall and book 1 launches February 2015. Close on Eterna’s heels, my acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling Strangely Beautiful saga (also Gaslamp Fantasy in nature) re-releases. Both series are with Tor/Forge. I’m having such fun with The Eterna Files, which takes and runs with all the themes I’ve been working on throughout my career; the spaces between life and death, the fine lines between faith, belief, spirituality and doubt, the arcane, the magical and the unfathomable mysteries of the human heart. I’m so in love with infusing the paranormal into a ‘realistic’ Victorian world and I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to do so book after book. Some of my Magic Most Foul characters will appear in Eterna, and in the finale of the series, The Double Life of Incorporate Things, I introduce two of Eterna's stars. I love weaving all my characters through different series to show them all from different angles.

2.      How does my work differ from others of its genre:
I love this question because it’s in my particular brand of Victorian Gothic Fantasy that I truly hope to make a lasting mark. Readers and reviewers tend to compare my books to 19th Century Gothic authors rather than contemporary authors, mainly because my style borrows so heavily from my Gothic forefathers and foremothers. While I don’t utilize the density of 19th century style, between my themes, interests and the bent of my language, my work is entirely entwined with a dark, dramatic, dare I say ‘strangely beautiful’ tradition.
What I attempt, while honouring and valuing my Gothic forefathers and foremothers, is to allow for my female characters to have a broader range of experiences and agency in my work. Most women in the traditional Gothic are victims and/or trapped by their material confines of the age, of expectations, mores, roles and more. The women of my novels are tasked with saving themselves and others, rather than being a less dimensional plot device. 

3.      Why do I write what I do:
This is closely tied to how my work differs from others of its genre. I feel called to voice the Victorian Era that I love so deeply, but to do so via a modern lens, and allow for voices that would have been marginalized by the constraints of a classist, excessively patriarchal society. I do so not because I think our society ‘knows better’ than the Victorians (we have just as many skeletons in our modern closets as they had in theirs, in some ways more insidiously considering the pervasiveness of modern technology), but I do have current freedoms and platforms a Victorian version of myself would have chafed heartily against. So much of the freedom, laws and safety we take for granted today were changes born of the constraints, injustices and traumas of 19th century pedagogy, changes that people fought and died for.
And yet, we live in a new gilded age in terms of income inequality and the rapidity of technological advancement mirrors the industrial revolution in an uncanny way. There are beautiful ways to parallel the past and the present and those connections keep me coming back time and time again to the themes of my work and the fascinating complexities of the Victorian era and the resilient human spirit throughout time.
4. How does my writing process work?
*Chortle* I am entirely haphazard. Such a pantser. While I have to know a general arc and trajectory of where I'm going, every book is as mysterious to me as the last. Every book is new, every book's process feels like I'm back to square one and every time I wonder if I can cobble a book together out of the quilt pieces laid out before me. The only common theme is that I write non-linear, out of order, I write the scenes that compel me and keep me up at night. (Beloved characters are the anti-sleeping-pill).
I write what I want to write first, daydream about all the things the book needs, and eventually I put in all the connective tissue, which is the most exhausting part of the process, making all those pieces make sense. That's when it feels like work. The initial process of the book is like taking a vacation into a foreign land and I'm seeing it through the eyes of my characters, it's rather magical, really, but then the connective tissue is where the muscle comes in, and the editorial part of my brain needs to make the hard choices about making sure none of my characters have run away with the storyline too far off the core course, which has happened a few times in my career. That's where critique partners and editorial staff come in so handy, as a book that's only seen your eyes and mind alone just isn't as capable of a story as it is when it's gone through multiple revisions and some trusted viewpoints.  
All in all, writing books is what I love most in life and feel is my purpose in life, and so writing process, for me, isn't just something I do, it's something I live. And I hope you'll enjoy my books!

DARKER STILL (Magic Most Foul book 1:  )

I tag my darling Alethea Kontis, award-winning, NYT Bestselling author and certified Princess on this tour, catch her responses next Monday on her blog!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Leanna's "Like" Contest for an Amazon Gift Card and Books!

My Dear Readers!

I am so excited to be gearing up to bring you The Eterna Files this fall, and so thrilled to be published by Tor/Forge. My new series continues my exploits in the Gaslamp Gothic; another Victorian Fantasy saga that builds upon a great deal of the themes I've been exploring in all my novels, with a large and colorful cast of characters (with cameos of Strangely Beautiful and Magic Most Foul characters) sweeping across 1880s New York and London. Quirky men and women battle, spy, worry, invent, plot, scheme, exasperate and adventure as a race for the "cure for death" brings far more troubles than either city could have imagined. Eterna Files book 1 will launch in February of 2015, but a teaser novella will release digitally this fall to sweep you all into the world! The Strangely Beautiful saga will re-issue in new, revised and improved editions soon thereafter!

In the meantime, I'm continuing to build my audience and reach, as my new partnership with Tor/Forge blooms. As you may know, this is a hard business. And I've certainly suffered some hard knocks with the closing of my first publisher. I fight tooth and nail to stay solvent, stay noticed, stay out in the marketplace and continue to stay true to all of my visions. But I truly can't do that alone. I can't do that without an audience, or a connected fan base. You, dear reader, have always been so vitally important. Here's a chance for some mutual reciprocity.

If you like my work, there are very quick, easy, free ways in which you can help support me. Little ways with big impact! A strong presence online garners stronger support from publishers and vendors, so the more reviews I have, likes on my Amazon Author Page, GoodReads traffic, for example; all this really adds up in helping an author navigate the vast sea of readership. In the end, it is all about the numbers, people. But I don't expect you all to do a lot of clicking and liking without entering you to win a prize! It's only fair; help me, help you.

Here's how it works. Below you'll find the RAFFLECOPTER form to enter. I'm focusing on raising the "like" level of my Amazon Author Page and Goodreads Profile, as well as garnering some more reviews for my most recent works.

Enter the Rafflecopter below to be registered to win! Three winners will be chosen in April. Prizes are a $15 Amazon Gift Card, and a chance to win one of my books of your choice! (Out of print Strangely Beautiful titles not available)  

Cheers and thanks and happy haunting! Please tweet this post and tell your friends!

Again, these stories could not happen without you, dear readers, thank you for your time and support!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Anthology Announcement! And Appearances Update!

I'm very happy to announce that my short story "Roebling's Monster" has been selected for inclusion in Myth Ink Books' horror anthology: DARK TALES OF ELDER REGIONS: NEW YORK

And as this is Teaser Tuesday, here's a draft of the first paragraph:

Roebling’s Monster
Leanna Renee Hieber

Anything that is wants to be loved. In whatever way they know how. Even monsters.
New York, I have done so much for you. I will do so much for you still. I can hold you up and keep you safe but you must forgive me first. I am a mass murderer and I am asking the city’s clemency before it’s too late for me to be redeemed. You are, each one of you, my judge and jury and I need you to know me. I can no longer live so boldly in your sight if you remain blind to the truth of the whole of me. You think you see me, every day, but I can’t go on like this, pretending to be noble when you don’t know the whole story.

(End of selection)

Read the Myth Ink Books press release about the anthology and check out some of the other fabulous talents that are included!

Also, those of you close to my hometown of Cincinnati Ohio, I hope you'll join me for the Steampunk Empire Symposium, April 25-27, where I'll be reading from and signing The Double Life of Incorporate Things as well as previewing my upcoming Tor saga The Eterna Files!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Week at Goodspeed With My Musical

I’m going to attempt to describe my week at GoodspeedMusicals as part of the Johnny Mercer Foundation’s Writers Colony. It’s hard to put into words, because it comprises a lot of things; emotions, dreams, energies, talents and surprises coming together in what was one of the more magical weeks of my life.

Something you need to understand about my life, dear reader, is that it just doesn’t stop. I’ve 7 rotating freelance jobs. The largest and foremost of these is of course as an acclaimed author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels such as the Strangely Beautiful saga, my recent Magic Most Foul saga and my forthcoming Eterna Files saga from Tor/Forge as well as a bunch of recently released and forthcoming anthologies. My various other jobs are as a floor director for a small television studio in Manhattan, a background extra and/or stand-in on shows like Boardwalk Empire, a private tour guide, an artist’s assistant, a workshop presenter/teacher/public speaker, and last but certainly not least, the book (script) writer for the musical adaptation of my debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.
As you can imagine, with seven rotating jobs, a husband, a bunny, Family, dear friends, co-running Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, singing soprano in church choir, busy isn’t the half of it. And I love it all. But I don’t get the chance to just be one thing and focus solely on one project or task.
But beautifully, Goodspeed let me be just one thing for one rare week: The book writer of a musical. Strangely Beautiful the musical was invited onto the incredible Goodspeed campus in East Haddam, CT for one uninterrupted week in immaculate artist housing in a charming neighborhood interwoven with gorgeous 19th century architecture. I was in heaven. I was surrounded by very talented peers. (Check out this Broadway World press release to see my incredible company. As you can see, those invited have racked up tons of awards and accolades, that Prism Award listing is mine. ;) ) My team of Nicholas Roman Lewis (Music & Lyrics) and Kenny Seymour (Music & Lyrics) and yours truly had a large house all to ourselves with a wide living room and a piano and a whole week to think and dream and finish our show, getting it ready for the next step; putting it on its feet for a full workshop production.
We were joined by adept dramaturge “Uncle Lee”, Clifford Lee Johnson III of Manhattan Theatre Club fame, who was our guardian angel through the week guiding our morning check-ins over coffee and bagels and our evening presentations of whatever we’d been working on that we wanted to share with our peers to collect feedback. He spoke with my team early in the week and gave us really useful insights, several of which led to my entirely restructuring act 2 in a fit of streamlining and simplifying for the purposes of tightening dramatic effect; showing a moment rather than telling it, always a helpful fix, and the show is better for it.
I went into the week unsure about how I would be received, as my literary resume favours being a novelist over that of being a musical book writer / playwright, but theatre is where I began, a BFA in performance was my degree and my first professional venture, and plays and adaptations of 19th century literary work were my first publications and professional presentations. I spent the first 8 years out of college working the regional theatre circuit as a professional actress and tinkering around with one act plays that garnered acclaim in various festivals about the country. So I know theatre, it’s in my blood. My novels are very theatrical. Still, that does not automatically make a script writer for a musical. However, I’ve a talent for adaptation and I know my characters better than I sometimes know myself and I have no issues with changing up the logistics of the story entirely to make it work for the stage. That’s the key: flexibility and willingness to see other alternative ways to tell the same kind of story but in a different medium. Willingness to cut favourite bits, favourite characters, emotional moments and plot threads. A musical is a distillation. And I’ve been loving the process of making a new sculpture out of the clay of my series.
My peers throughout the week at Goodspeed were so incredibly generous with their thoughts, kind, and crazy, crazy talented. The staff at Goodspeed were all delightful and similarly helpful. The focus and the level of professionalism was second to none.
Here were a few of my favourite things:
1. Getting a chance to be Percy for a week. In the evenings we presented some of our work to our fellow writers and creators and my team and I traded off songs and parts but I got to be Percy, my dear girl, my favourite character I’ve ever written (shh, don’t tell the others!) and just live in her odd skin for a while and bring her to life for other creative professionals. I’ll not play her in the show (come on, folks, if the novelist AND the script writer also plays the lead gal it looks a little bit like a vanity project and that’s not what we want), so this delighted the actress that still thrives within me. I do miss performing and will accept opportunities when something comes my way, however none can come in the way of my novels. My books must remain the star of my life. But this particular indulgence was such a treat.
2. Hearing new songs come to life before my very eyes and ears. Nothing so magical as that first brush with new creation.
3. Getting entirely snowed in. This helped focus. And it became like a magical snowy fairyland.
4. Everything I mentioned about how beautiful the campus and the people of Goodspeed were.
5. My insanely talented fellow writers and the supportive environment we created.
6. On the last evening, a literal (drunken) horde of writers and musical directors from two different programs converging on one house and performing a rousing (it was horrible), howling rendition of One Day More and Lily’s Eyes in which the musical directors applauded every key change.
7. Making new friends and new projects. Hey New York City, come see me perform on March 31 at Bobby Cronin’s amazing show where the proceeds benefit animal shelters! (Bobby and Wade were highlights of my trip, Ican’t wait to see their show, Sunset City, take flight.)  
8. Sitting at the table or piano day after day with my team and making the bones of a show really start to sing, literally and figuratively.
9. The Goodspeed Opera House was built in 1876. My era. My people.
10. Did I mention how much I enjoyed the people I worked with? Goodness do I love talent and do I love when it all comes together and you can see that talent making collectively better and better art day by day. There’s nothing so enlivening as that, and Goodspeed was the perfect setting to revel in that for a week. Can you tell I’m in withdrawal?
For more about Strangely Beautiful The Musical, come visit! Follow the show on Twitter. On Facebook.
For the books the musical is based on, the books are currently out of print but not for long. In the meantime, check your local library and hang tight until Tor / Forge re-issues all of them in brand new, revised, shiny, exciting, refreshed editions! Strangely Beautiful characters do show up in The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, as all my series have crossover characters!
Cheers and happy haunting!

Gorgeous Goodspeed Opera House
The charming Goodspeed campus


A picturesque snowfall, perfect for a writer retreat!

Unaware of a photo being taken, Kenny explains to me the Exorcism underscoring. I appear appropriately intense.

The Strangely Beautiful Team: Nicholas Roman Lewis (L), Yours Truly, and Kenny Seymour

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Release Tuesday! Announcing SCRIBBLING WOMEN - For Charity!

Today's post is announcing my involvement with SCRIBBLING WOMEN and the Real-life Romance Heroes Who Love Them - NOW AVAILABLE and already an Amazon Bestseller!
I'm so blessed to be a part of this anthology with amazing group of award-winning, bestselling authors! Please visit the Scribbling Women website to see the full list of contributors, this anthology, only $2.99, entirely benefits Women In Need, a fantastic charity that supports women in transition. Read about why my husband is a darling hero to me.
About the book:
"In Scribbling Women and the Real-Life Romance Heroes Who Love Them, twenty-eight romance fiction writers from diverse subgenres reveal their real-life stories of how they met, wed and love—and are loved and supported by—their spouses and life partners."
Buy the book, warm your heart, support a great cause!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Live from Goodspeed Writer's Colony! A scene from Strangely Beautiful the Musical!

For today's Teaser Tuesday, I'm sharing a page from our work-in-progress show, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, the musical based on my debut novel. I'm here this week at Goodspeed Musicals Writer's Colony sponsored by The Johnny Mercer Foundation.

The Strangely Beautiful team of Nicholas Roman Lewis, Kenny Seymour and I are so thrilled to be here to work on the show in a conducive, supportive environment.

So here's a scene from our show! Nicholas and Kenny handle the songs and lyrics, due to my background as both a professional stage actor and playwright, I'm blessed to be writing "the book" (the script) of the musical, so here's how I've adapted one of the early scenes from the novel into an early scene in the show! Enjoy!

Music: Kenny Seymour
Lyrics/Music: Nicholas Roman Lewis
Book: Leanna Renee Hieber

(Lights up on a bloodied street, detectives over a body – a recent “Ripper” murder. Headmistress Rebecca Thompson looks on, stricken. She is elegant and severe. At her elbow is stern, stoic, striking and formidable Professor Alexi Rychman, leader and second in command of the Guard. Alexi’s gaze and mind wanders. They observe at a distance)


Two, Alexi. Now two women. Mutilated, like nothing the Grand Work has ever seen.

(Turning to her)

We deal in spirits. Possessions. Poltergeists. This is something remarkably…. different. We had no warning, no Pull to summon our powers. We’ll have to wait.


Wait? It always surprises me when patience wins you.


It's been nearly twenty years since The Goddess' prophecy. She still isn't here. If hadn’t patience, my dear Headmistress, I’d have gone mad long ago.


Each year the Balance further favors the restless dead we fight. Waiting so long for the Seventh, are you sure you haven’t missed her along the way?

Nothing "heavenly" has been "placed in my path". And there's been no portal to the dead. Nothing of the sort. I’ve felt nothing in my heart. She has not arrived-


(scoffing) Your heart. Prophecy has nothing to do with love. How many times-


(Sharply) How many times have I said it would? Why must you always fight me?


Why must you look for prophesied love when it…


When it what?


(Beat. Deflecting from herself) When it is all around you!


A bond of love is implicit in Prophecy, Rebecca, though you claim otherwise. I’ve made my life choices accordingly, difficult as that has been-


No, convenient- you’ll wait for Prophecy like an arranged marriage, like one of your algebraic equations, Professor.  But I warn you, if she becomes your love affair rather than the business of the Grand Work, it’s a grave danger. Mortal hearts make mistakes. Mortal hearts are cruel, unpredictable things…


(Beat.) Are you finished?


(Staring at him, pained, grieved.) We’d best get back to Athens, we’ve new admissions. You have students to terrify.


(As if he likes that idea)
So I do, Headmistress. So I do.


Follow me on Twitter @LeannaRenee where I'll be tweeting the whole experience day by day.

Stay tuned next week right here for my thoughts about this wonderful week. Already on day one we've seen amazing work from our fellow Colony writers and the staff here is THE BEST. They are truly fabulous. The wonderful reputation of Goodspeed precedes them and they do not disappoint. This is such a great thing to be in process on as the Strangely Beautiful saga is in process for it's re-release / reissue in new editions from Tor/Forge, so there's such life in this saga, and as these characters and these books are so very dear to my heart, this is surreal and incredible to see it have a different, three-dimensional life. What a lucky thing.

Cheers and happy haunting!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: More Art and Strangely Beautiful Musical News!

Today I shine the spotlight on another wonderful example of reader art I have received through the years! This amazing rendition of Miss Percy Parker, replete with a line from my Strangely Beautiful series, is by the talented artist and writer Cas Johnstone

Have a favourite literary character you’d like to see transformed and interpreted? Cas takes commissions! I bid you:
Follow Cas on Tumblr 
On Facebook 
Cas' fabulous Etsy shop and art commission page


I am so thrilled to report that The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, the musical, has been accepted into Goodspeed Musical’s Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony program this year! My fabulous team of Kenny Seymour, Nicholas Roman Lewis and I take off for Connecticut next week to work under Goodspeed’s encouragement and care as we develop the show further. Revised, new editions of the Strangely Beautiful saga novels 1-3 will be available for pre-order from Tor/Forge some time this year, so we ask that you stay tuned for more information on that front.
About the Writer’s Colony at Goodspeed, from the Johnny Mercer Foundation website:

"The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals is the first of its kind in the country dedicated solely to the creation of new musicals. In partnership with Goodspeed Musicals, in East Haddam Connecticut, the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony offers established and emerging writers the unique opportunity to research, develop, and create new musicals in a long term residency program devoted exclusively to musical theatre writing.

In keeping with Johnny Mercer’s lifelong commitment to and legacy of collaboration and nurturance of fellow songwriters, the Writers Colony will provide a sanctuary for composers, lyricists, and librettists to embark on new musical theatre work or to devote a substantial amount of time to a work-in-progress in an environment rich with creative energy. For four weeks each year, 14 to 20 writers will be immersed in this stimulating environment with the singular purpose of allowing the writers to write. JMF board member, Jonathan Brielle, serves as Producing Writer in Residence for the Writers Colony."

We're so thrilled to be a part of this! 

- About Strangely Beautiful, The Musical

- Listen to music from the show 

- Like the show on Facebook

- Follow the show on Twitter

Next week’s Teaser Tuesday will report live from the Writer’s Colony with an excerpt from the show!

Cheers and happy haunting!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Spotlight on The World of Tomorrow Is Sadly Outdated

Hello Dear Readers! I hope your New Year is splendid thus far!

For the next month I'll be spotlighting some of my lesser-known works with sample chapters and information. Today is all about The World of Tomorrow Is Sadly Outdated, a novella that is available in digital across all digital platforms! It is a parallel narrative between 1888 and 2088 where the past saves the future... Here are the first three chapters!

Leanna Renee Hieber

New York City

            “Shall we?”  Evan Halford grabbed one brass wheel with both hands.  His partner, Samuel, grabbed the other. 
             Together they turned the wheels to open the Receptor’s valves.  It woke with a pumping hiss. Evan stepped back, grabbed the gloved hand of his wife, and murmured a prayer. At his “amen” there came a tiny flicker of light.
            Grace Halford stared at the Receptor’s vast screen and her breath seized in a tightening squeeze, as if someone had drawn her corset strings too tight. The Receptor took up half the attic wall of their brownstone townhouse, surrounded by metal tubes that hissed like a nest of snakes; a glass-headed gorgon with a body of whirring belts, cogs, pistons and levers. 
A point of light on the screen grew into a sepia square, expanding until the whole panel was a rectangle of amber.  Text flashed before their eyes.  It was tomorrow’s headline from the Eagle.  The screen flickered.  All three held their breath.  The image stilled and remained. 
They stared at tomorrow.
Evan scooped Grace up in his arms, her skirts rustling as he twirled her around. She’d worked so hard for this moment, she wanted to feel joy. And yet…
            “Oh, my darling Grace, we did it!”  He gave her a smacking kiss before turning to Samuel, who stood tall and austere in his modest suit.  “Samuel Stein, by God, you genius you,” Evan cried, clapping him on the back.
            Samuel’s cheeks reddened.  He nodded, peering closely at the screen to divert further attention.
            The information on the screen continued to hold Grace’s breath captive. In hoping to see tomorrow, she’d hoped she’d see a better day. But faced with it, she realized that looking into the future meant you might not like what you see.
            “But darling, Evan, please look…”  Grace asked.  “There will be a tornado in Brooklyn tomorrow.”
            “Let a hurricane come! We located the current!” Evan cried.  “There’s Tesla’s Alternating, Edison’s Direct, and yes, by God, there is our Temporal Current!” He danced off to open champagne.  The rolled cuffs of his dress-shirt loosened as he flailed.
            Grace pursed her lips.  “We should alert someone-”
            “No force of ours could stop a tornado,” Samuel murmured, glancing at Grace before looking away.
            “True, but-”
            Samuel’s raised hand stopped her.  “The pact, Grace.  We cannot stop, or alter time, only watch it.”
            Grace folded her arms, knowing full well the hours they had labored over the moral quandary of undoing time, and the hard-fought decision to let it ‘be as it would’.  They were innovators alone, seeking glorious answers to improbable questions, questing to tap into the Current, not to see if the Current could make them God. Shoulders tensed with worry, the capped sleeves of her blouse neared her ears. She didn’t want to regret their miracle the moment it lived. But it had been such a dream until now.
The Receptor flickered again then guttered.
            Samuel frowned. Moving to the behemoth, he tightened gaskets around the screen before dropping to his knees. His head disappeared behind the massive wiring that surreptitiously leeched off the new 14th street electric lamps, drawing stolen current into their townhouse, up to their attic, to light the screen and extend up the tallest lightning rod in Manhattan.  At least, that’s how Evan had explained the spire to neighbors staring horrified at their rooftop when he installed it: “You must understand, my dear Grace has a simply absurd fear of lightning…” 
Samuel put a vise on a fray of copper wire and pressed a sequence of valves like a trumpet.  Puffs of steam jetted from the corner vents, tiny brass lids lifting and settling. The screen flickered to life again.  More headlines.  Grace squinted at the text, compelled to look even though she was torn between dread and fascination.
“There’s a seal in the corner.  New York Public Library.  There will be a public library?  How splendid!”  She leaned closer, her coiled muscles easing. “And a word I don’t recognize. Inter-net.”
“Inter-net!” Evan said the foreign word with relish.  “I set the Temporal dial to pick up the earliest dates, closest to our time.  It must be picking up our location too!” 
There was a loud pop, a flying cork and Evan busied himself with delicate champagne flutes. He tried to pass the bubbling flutes to Samuel and Grace, who both stood rapt in future newspaper stories, time clicking forward day by day as the Temporal Current fed into the Receptor.
            “Come,” Evan insisted.  “There will be plenty of time to examine the history of the future.  We’ve worked too hard not to have a moment of triumph.  We’d best celebrate since no one else will do so.” He forced the drinks into their hands.  “A shame, that.  Tesla and Edison get to have their little war over their currents, and here we are with something infinitely more exciting with ours-”
            “Not again, Evan.  We’ve discussed the dangers if the world knew,” Samuel said sharply. What few words Samuel said, he meant, and what he meant was generally sensible.  He and Grace, from the start, had lobbied Evan to secrecy and drove home the necessity of their laissez faire actions towards future knowledge.  
Staring at her husband, Grace melted, finally accepting the champagne and toasted his glass.  A hard-featured, thin man, Evan’s rarely absent smile kept his sharp face something engaging and elegant.  His hair mussed, a sheen of anticipation glistened on his broad brow and his blue-grey eyes were lit. Grace wondered for a moment if the electricity they were siphoning mightn’t be wired right into her husband. His energy, smile and his mind were the reasons she’d fallen in love with him, and all of these qualities were on full display. She didn’t want to embarrass Samuel by kissing her husband deeply and so she decided to move to Samuel instead, toasting his glass with a polite nod, her doubled taffeta skirts swishing as she walked.
Evan bounced to Samuel’s other side, his enthusiasm contagious. “Quite a long way from sewing machines, eh?”  Evan grinned.
Grace recalled the first time she’d ever heard Samuel’s name. It was years ago when Halford Garments hadn’t a single malfunction on its machines for an unprecedented year.  When Evan finally asked if anyone knew why his Singers managed such uninterrupted perfection, a young German seamstress pointed to the then fourteen year old Samuel and said simply, “Why, he fixes them all, Mr. Halford, and has done since he started working here.  You haven’t noticed?”  Evan made Samuel a partner in the company that very day. Evan was a fair owner, unopposed to the unions so many of his competitors rejected, and he made Grace proud. She too took pride in the company, as many decisions had been made off her own advice.
            “Machines. I trust sewing machines,” Samuel murmured, wincing when he saw news flicker across the screen that there would be yet another Garment District fire before the decade was through. An even worse one in 1911. Grace put her hand to her mouth at the death toll.
            “Evan, you’ve got to help the unions with safety protocols-”
“I hope you’ve a way to hold this information, Evan,” Samuel interrupted, blinking back tears that had come to his eyes, “lest the future flicker away before we’ve examined it.” 
Blocks of text and occasional illustrations ticked by like seconds on a clock face.
            “Of course!” Evan exclaimed, beaming like a child. “Look here, I installed this yesterday.”  Evan pointed to a round glass ball where a bright bulb flicked on and off in rhythm.  “A print of each will be stored.” He pointed to a wooden tray below the screen where, one by one, papers fluttered to their rest.  “An amalgamated history of the future, here, provided she keeps humming.” Evan carefully patted the corner of the Receptor’s thick screen.
            Samuel grimaced.  “A book of Revelations.”
            Evan batted his hand.  “You’re a Jew.  You don’t believe in that book.”
            “But he’s right about its power,” Grace said, understanding some of her own dread. “This cannot become some Nostradamus prophecy-”
            “I pledged that nothing would leave this room. Do you not trust me? Truly?” Evan’s eyes flashed. 
Grace moved to him, wanting to reassure his earnest, too-easily-hurt feelings. “Your excitement, my dear, is all that worries us, since it’s a difficult commodity to contain.  Not lack of trust.”
She kissed his warm temple, wanting to set unease aside for joy and camaraderie.
But the room was no longer ruled by a loving husband, wife and a dear friend.
The room was now ruled by the Temporal Current, and it would not be denied.
An uncomfortable silence passed as they stared back at the screen, frozen.  The only movement in the room became the tick of falling, revelatory pages and the rising bubbles of their champagne.

The Borough of Brooklyn

New York City still smoldered.  Swaths of smoke and wisps of steam hung suspended in the stagnant air, hovering ghosts breathing shallowly.  So many ghosts.  Nearly all that was new fell away in the Meltdown, and only the old remained. 
The skyline looked as it might have in the distant past, when the gothic Woolworth tower was the tallest in the world; looming mighty over downtown Manhattan.  Except in that glittering past there wouldn’t have been rubble, hanging wires, corroded plastics or broken glass. 
Woolworth stood defiant against a modern world that had never replicated its sumptuous terra-cotta exterior.  A world that had left it, and everything like it, for dead.  How ironic that it was now one of the few survivors.
None of the Brooklynites said a word as they rowed closer, gliding over the empty East River.
Thirteen year-old Jack Barton stared up at the jagged Manhattan skyline and thought about the pages and pictures he’d seen of old New York when he was training as an Innovator.  It used to be so beautiful; churning with manufacturing and alive with industry.  He salivated to think of those times, and how useful they would be to his people now. 
Many glass and steel buildings stood; but only those that had immense metal around their windows to deter the destruction of the Formula.  Downtown was now a foreign land, a well-resourced and unpredictable foe.  The once bustling financial district was now filled with impromptu orchards, cultivated within those towers of glass and steel to produce uncontaminated food, protected by shelter.
            A man in metal armor, helmet and goggles came into view at the top of the haphazard, makeshift barricade along the crumbling Manhattan shore.  Anything that was protruding, sharp and unwelcoming, whether it was glass, pikes or beams, had been positioned out like poised weapons. “Halt or we’ll shoot!”
            The group of rowboats bobbing on the East River bank bumped the edge of the rusting ferry terminal at the tip of the island.  Their passengers looked up into the barrels of shotguns trained on them.
            The Brooklyn battalion raised their hands.  Jack watched as Borough President Frank Taylor, a blue and orange baseball cap slung haphazardly on his metal helmet, clambered from the front of the rowboat onto the jagged shore, keeping his arms raised.  Jack’s father, John, was close beside.
            “We don’t want violence, we just need help, our resources are strained to the limit.” Frank’s bass, authoritative voice echoed in the tense quiet.  “Let’s join forces. We’re all struggling for survival-”
            “Nothing joins or takes from Manhattan.  Boss’ orders.”
            Jack watched as his father took his turn and clambered up onto the bank beside Frank.  “And who’s boss in Manhattan?” John Barton asked.
            “Steven Nevin. Husband to Jeanette Halford of the Manhattan Halfords.”
            “Then I would like to meet with Mr. Nevin,” John said.  He began to climb further up the vicious barricade spilling from Manhattan’s edges into the river.
            A shot rang out. John screamed, falling back, blood pouring from his leg. 
            “Dad!” Jack screamed, rushing out towards his father. 
Frank dragged John back into the boat and was pressing down upon the wound, pulling thongs from his armor to fashion a tourniquet.  Dimly, Jack recognized the dreadful clicking sound of more readied ammunition above them.
            “Hold your fire!” A firm, young female voice declared.  Jack looked up.
            “Says who?” the guard demanded.
            “Says me,” she replied, undaunted. She strode towards the guard, ripping off her helmet.  A stream of blond curls spilled down her shoulders.  She was a striking young beauty in contrast to the ugly destruction surrounding her.  Piercing blue eyes flashed with defiance. “I am Ellen Halford Nevin.”  She lifted her arm, emblazoned with a red and white Halford crest.
            “Miss, put your helmet back on or you’ll get Formulaburn!” another guard chided.
            “I was making my point. I want you to listen to me.” She replaced her helmet, goggles and metal facemask.
            “I’m not the one with a problem listening.” The guard gestured with the barrel of his gun at the Brooklynites below.
            Jack tore his eyes away from Ellen, likely his same age, and again tended to his father who hissed in pain.  The wound was shallow, the bullet having grazed the flesh. But a small cut could kill a man these days.
            Ellen looked down.  She was a small, metal covered body against a backdrop of useless, goliath skyscrapers.  She could’ve looked insignificant.  But she didn’t.
            “Here, you’ll need this.” She threw a canvas bag down between the pikes.  Jack caught it.  Inside were a few emergency medical supplies; rare, lifesaving treasures.
            Jack removed his helmet and facemask and stared up at her.  His hands shook but he masked apprehension with a clear voice that had just dropped within the year.  “Thank you, Ellen. I’m Jack Barton. I hope someday we can all be family.”
            A curt nod was her only reply. Jack put his protective gear back on.
            “Miss, please, tell your father it doesn’t have to be this way,” Frank Taylor growled as he pressed John’s leg. “We can’t survive separately forever.”
            “I’m afraid we’re going to try,” Ellen said sadly, and turned away.  Her armored form disappeared through the ranks of other metal-covered bodies that parted as she passed.

Manhattan 1889

            Evan stared at the Receptor, an amazed laugh tickling his throat.
            Grace looked up from her sewing.
            “There will be a World’s Fair,” he gurgled. “In Queens County, of all places! Queens!”
Putting down her embroidery hoop, she came closer. It would appear that in just nine years, the rural Queens County would become a part of Metropolitan New York City.  And forty one years after that, what was currently a ragged string of small towns would host a fair. A World’s Fair, in Flushing. Who would have ever thought... 
            “Goodness, what is all this?” Evan exclaimed, tracing the screen with a fingertip.  The World of Tomorrow they call it. Fascinating! Automobiles. Oh, Grace, just look at what this company, General Motors, has in store for us in forty years!”
            Staring at the pictures of the exhibition models; tiny vehicles on long stretches of roadway, like insects gliding endlessly along angled veins of leaves, Grace felt immeasurably sad. She frowned. 
            “How dreadful. People going their lonely way in those… pods… Isolated.  Sterile. Where has our city gone? Just these cement tracts?”
            Evan’s face twisted.  “Darling, must you be so damned sour about this?  Perhaps we should have tapped into the past’s Temporal Current since you don’t like what you’re learning about the future.”
            Grace sighed.  “True, I don’t. I’m sorry love, I don’t meant to dampen your excitement, but sometimes you don’t understand what you have wished for, or the consequences of those wishes, until they stare back at you.”
            Not to be dissuaded, her husband gazed at the screen in wonder.  “I think it’s fantastic.”
            Grace pursed her lips.  “I wonder what will come of it.”

(End of Excerpt)

Praise for World of Tomorrow
 "I finished this novella at exactly the correct time, because I needed this. I needed to grasp that silver thread and hold it fiercely in my hand, to cup it gently in my palm and whisper, "See? This is our future. Our present. Our past. These are the kinds of heroines who really lived, who are living, who will rise in days to come. These are the women we need so desperately. These are the women WE ARE. Imagine a world where not only *can* women save the world, but that they MUST. Buy this. Get it. Read it. Absorb it. And then go out and create that world. That is what Leanna is giving us here: a gentle pride of the past, a small hope for the future. It's a precious gift. Don't waste it." -- Kiaras at Waiting for Fairies 

See you next week for more free fiction material!

Cheers and happy haunting...