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 waitingforfairies.com 

See you next week for more free fiction material!

Cheers and happy haunting...


Friday, January 3, 2014

My interview with Bookish and a shout-out from Delilah S. Dawson...


In a Book Expo America interview with the fine folks at Bookish, I discuss why I loved writing Twisted Tragedy, the lure of the Gothic, and why I can't help but use theatricality in my work.
Thanks, Jessi and Bookish, for the interview!


If you don't know how fabulous Delilah S. Dawson is, well, remedy that immediately. She did a wonderful post about her New Year's Resolution: BE WEIRDER. In which I am honoured to be mentioned. Yes. Because I am WEIRD. *Proud* Check it out.

Cheers and happy haunting!