Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Playlist for Wishing Cross Station ~guest post by fantasy author February Grace



I'm happy to have guest author February Grace here today to share her music list she listened to when writing her exciting new release, Wishing Cross Station.







Whenever I’m working on a new book, one of the first things I’ll do is to start to build a playlist of songs to listen to while I’m writing.

Sometimes, individual characters end up with a playlist of their own; but in the case of Wishing Cross Station the playlist evolved into something that told the tales of each of the characters in turn, much like the book itself does.

The music crosses genres and decades; some of the songs are covers of melodies written in the 1940s, or in the case of one particular hymn that plays a key part in the story, way back in 1825.

Artists range from Hootie and the Blowfish (who open the playlist with the song “Time”) and go on to include vocalists like Enya, Celtic Woman, Josh Groban and Jeff Lynne; as well as instrumental, orchestrated renditions of songs such as “Yellow” by Coldplay and “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane.

All of the songs weave together, and helped me to tell Keigan Wainwright’s tale: that of a 21st Century college student who finds himself trapped 135 years out of his time, back in the harsh winter of 1880.

Here’s the book’s blurb to tell you more about the story:
A dark fantasy romance from the author of GODSPEED and OF STARDUST…
Don’t stay a moment longer than you have to. Don’t say too much. Don’t pollute the timeline.
When nineteen-year-old college library page Keigan Wainwright is sent to pick up a private donation of books for the school’s collection, he has no idea where one of those books will take him, or what it will take from him.
Retracing a powerful man’s footsteps through the past, Keigan finds himself caught in the same dangerous trap: falling in love with a woman he was never meant to know, and uncertain he will ever find his way home.

Here is a partial list of the songs I listened to while working on the novel: focusing on ones that were especially key in the development of the story or the characters’ emotions (while deliberately omitting some that are key to the story’s conclusion…)

Time: Hootie and the Blowfish
DeoraAr Mo Chroi : Enya
Minstrel Boy (Instrumental): The Corrs
She Moved Through the Fair: Celtic Thunder
Marble Halls: Enya
Maid of Culmore: Celtic Thunder
Miracle: Vertical Horizon
MiMancherai: Josh Groban with Joshua Bell
Midnight Blue: Electric Light Orchestra
We Might as Well Be Strangers: Keane
Mlk: U2
Watermark: Enya
Wherever You Will Go: The Calling
Wishing: Electric Light Orchestra
Time and Again: a-ha
Calling All Angels : Jane Siberry and k.d. lang
Return to Me : October Project
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow: Sweet Talk Radio
Suspended in Time: Olivia Newton-John
The Night Sky: Keane
… and on it goes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into some of the songs I listened to while writing Wishing Cross Station. It’s a unique, character-driven story of love, loss, and longing, and one I hope will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

~February Grace


About the Book

TItle: Wishing Cross Station

Author: February Grace
Genre: Fantasy
A darkfantasy romance from the author of GODSPEED and OF STARDUST…


Don’tstay a moment longerthanyou have to. Don’t say toomuch. Don’tpollute the timeline.

Whennineteen-year-old college library page KeiganWainwright is sent topick up a private donation of booksfor the school’scollection, he has no ideawhereone of thosebookswill take him, or whatitwill take fromhim.

Retracing a powerfulman’sfootstepsthrough the past, Keiganfindshimselfcaught in the samedangerous trap: falling in love with a woman he was never meanttoknow, anduncertain he will ever find his way home.


Author Bio

February Grace is anauthor, poet, and artist fromSoutheast Michigan. In previousnovels, she has introduced readers tocharacterswithclockworkhearts, told of romantic modern-dayfairygodparents, andreimagined a legend, centuriesold. Now, in her fifthnovelwithBooktrope, readers will board the special at WISHING CROSS STATION andembark on a trip through time. She is more thanmildlyobsessedwithclocks, music, colors, meteorshowers, andsteam engines.

Links
Twitter: @februarygrace
*~*~*
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tea Leaf Tales: Always believe in the magic of portals

As a child, Astrid had always looked for portals to take her to other lands. This passion continued into her young adult years, when workday stress made her daydream of moss-covered worlds where fairies where quick to throw their wonderful charms on kindred souls. But Astrid had stepped forward many times only to face disappointment, sigh, and turn a good-natured eye to the lovely new expanse or secluded garden room that failed to open its magic to her.
Lately, times had been harder than hard: she'd lost her job, and the rent was due. Downtrodden after being turned away from the fifth interview in as many days, Astrid let her mind wander as she rode the bus to an edge of town she'd never visited. The quiet seclusion of an abandoned park called to her, and she hopped off at the closest stop. Along a weedy path through the park, a crumlbing archway came into view, where she paused and held her breath.
Dreams faded, Astrid shook her head and turned away, but a glint of light dappling fresh green growth on the other side of the arch caught the corner of her eye, and a whisper tugged at her ear calling her name on a soft breeze. She tiptoed to the opening and rested a hand on a stone, which creaked under her light touch and made her jump. Golden threads wove through the tattered magic in her heart, and she inched a foot across into the glittering glow, a smile rising on her lips.

Tea Leaf Tales is a series of original ten-sentence short stories by Marsha A. Moore, relating to photos/scenes that resonate with her. 
*~*~*
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Midsummer's Eve Party—a joyous moment of change

 The Tradition of Midsummer


Tonight marks the eve before the Summer Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere. During this time, magic and wonder abound.

It marks one of the eight sabbats for witches—Litha. The name "Litha" derives from the Old English phrase for June, meaning "before Midsummer."


On this longest day of the year, light and life are abundant. At mid-summer, the Sun God has reached the moment of his greatest strength. Seated on his greenwood throne, he is also lord of the forests, and his face is seen in church architecture peering from countless foliate masks. 

(Image from Astral Aspects www.astralaspects.biz/ishop/7...83.html)

The Christian religion observed this day as Jack-in-the-Green to the Feast of St. John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet.





As a solar festival, bonfires would be lit at Midsummer Eve. People would jump the fire, and later spread the ashes on the fields as a blessing, as well as fertilization. In Celtic celebrations, wheels (symbolizing the Sun) were lit and rolled down hills.


Castle_an_Dinas_midsummer_bonfire_2009

This is a good time to give offerings to your allies and to faeries or energy beings who may help you, or who share your environment. This promotes goodwill, and increases the harmony of your home. As an offering, food is usually appreciated. Traditionally, milk and bread would be offered.

A Moment of Change


Midsummer is a time of change.

There is a story in pagan lore of the Oak King, God of the Waxing Year, and the Holly King,  God of the Waning Year. The Oak King represents the dark half of the year, and his twin, the Holly King, the light. The Summer Solstice (Litha) marks the battle that declares the Holly King the victor, and the light half of the year begins. Then the second battle of the year will happen on the Winter Solstice (Yule), when the Oak King will win, and the dark half of the year will begin. The brother kings, while at odds with one another, form two halves of a whole.

(photo reference: The Oak King & The Holly King, Anne Stokes)

With this battle, midsummer is also a moment to realize mortality. Though the life force of summer is still powerful, we can see the end zone—the limits of growth and the inevitability of decline. This balance is necessary. Without it, the Sun's heat would continue to grow and tax all life. The balance is maintained even by death. Litha offers the opportunity to re-evaluate our perception of death. We often think of death as an ending. Yet, it is also the beginning of something wonderful to follow!

Summer Solstice heralds the best part of the year, although spiced with the bittersweet sorrow of the year that is, in fact, winding down.

I invite you to face this paradox, and celebrate the joyous cycle of life!

Here are a few ideas for your celebration:
  • Go berry picking. Have the children chose their best berry and throw it back into the berry bushes as they thank the Goddess and the bushes for the fruit.
  • Burn your remnants of your Yule Tree or Wreath in the bon fire or try using Wreaths of Vervain and Mugwort which were burned in ancient times at the end of the festivals to burn away bad luck.
  • Leave out milk and honey as an offering to the Fae folk
  • Have a mock battle between the Oak and Holly King.
  • Hang a bundle of fresh herbs out to dry and use them to spice up a Litha feast of cooked summer vegetables
  • Jump the balefire
  • Have an outdoor breakfast picnic to welcome the Solstice
  • Stay up and watch the sun go down on the longest day of the year!
  • Draw a picture of the sun at sunrise and sunset
  • Try a fire divination, stare into the coals of your bonfire as it settles or look for forms in the leaping flames.
  • Create a ritual to bring healing and love to Mother Earth
  • Dispose of those qualities that trouble you: project them into a burn-able (bunch of dry twigs, paper, etc.) and thrust the mass into a cleansing fire
And click on this image to visit the main page of the tea party to find more ways to celebrate!
*~*~*
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What I Found in Rome ~guest post by Michelle Hiscox author of A New Day at Midnight #giveaway

It's wonderful to have Michelle Hiscox here today as my guest. She's sharing about a vacation site that inspired her new paranormal romance, A New Day at Midnight. The place that inspired her was Rome, one of my favorite spots too. My husband and I were there in 2012, and I can imagine how it prompted Michelle's book. Be sure to check out her new release as well as her great giveaway contest at the end of this post.

WHAT I FOUND IN ROME
By Michelle Hiscox

I started writing my paranormal romance, A New Day at Midnight, in 2006. It wasn’t until I visited Rome in 2011 that I got to see the very place I pictured the father of Merik Hearne, my main character, standing. While much of the novel takes place in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, Rome represents a place of great change for the Hearne family. Below is just a sample of the inspiration I found in Rome, a localedisplaying both the light and darkness of the human soul…

1.     THE COLOSSEUM 

The Roman Colosseum, or Flavian Ampitheatre, was commissioned by Emporer Vespasian in AD 72 on the site of the Nero’s palace, a ruler whose fondness for cruelty and excess led to his demise. The Colosseum had a great impact on me when I visitedand despite the historical significance of the site, I couldn’t wait to get off of those grounds.

Roman gladiators fought many battles in the Colosseum, and they were usually slaves, prisoners of war, or criminals. Combats were attended by the rich and poor, often with the Emperor watching over the bloodshed. The cries and curses of the audience resonated within the walls, and cheers for the victor often reached a deafening roar.Contests occurred one after another, and when the ground became soaked withblood, a layer of sand was thrown over it and new contests began. Humans and animals fought and died within the confines of the Colosseum, and all in the name of entertainment.

The suffering that took place here was palpable; I could hardly bear to look at the cells they kept the people in before combat, or the cages they kept the animals in before they set them out to destroy each other. For me it was a place of sorrow much more than one of simple fascination.

2.     TIVOLI

Tivoli, particulary Villa d’Este, is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in person. My favorite picture is of the woman hanging her sheets to dry from her apartment window, as the image encapsulates the medieval hill town that Tivoli is. It’s like stepping back in time. Several mothers stood outside the old stone school, strollers in hand, chatting, until the bell rang and their children ran out, throwing themselves into their mother’s arms. I’ve never seen a place so tranquil yet so full of life.
Villa d’Este is teaming with Italian gardens, fountains, grottos, nymphs and a variety of attractions featuring plays on water. There are caves, waterfalls, and unparalleled elements of art and history, all magnificent and waiting to be discovered by the enthusiastic traveller. Hanging gardens and terraces dominate the landscape, hinting at elements of an ancient world. In contrast to the Colosseum, the beauty and light in Tivoli shone through any darkness.
Tivoli inspired the gardens found behind Rosehearne Manor, the stone and marble monolith built by my brooding hero, Merik Hearne, in an unconscious quest to reclaim the love he lost. Intricate plots of flowers, especially roses, adorn the back of the manor in a labyrinth lit by torches.
3.     MONUMENT TO ANNITA GARIBALDI
 
 

I felt awe when I reached the monument of Annita Garibaldi, a woman who representsall of the strength and courage I hoped to emulate with Hannah Worthington, one of the main characters in my novel. The love she shared with her husband, Giuseppe Garibaldi, is what romantic legends are made of. Below is a brief explanation of what this amazing woman overcame to find her way back to her husband.

In the Battle of Curitibanos, Giuseppebecame separated from wife Annita, who was captured by the rival group. In captivity, the guards told Annita that Garibaldi had died.Distraught for her husband and the child they were expecting, Annita asked if she could search among the dead in battle. When she didn’t find him this gave hope to Annita, who after a while crept up on a camp horse, mounted it and escaped at a gallop. The soldiers chased her with the ordered to return her dead or alive. They shot and killed her horse, but not Annita. She escaped, came upon the river Canoas, and waded across. The soldiers thought she would not survive and left her for dead. Annita spent four days wandering without food or drink in the woods until she found a group willing to provide her with food. She contacted the rebels and was reunited with Garibaldi in Vacaria. A few months later their first child, Menotti, was born. – Wikipedia Content 2015

4.     THE DOMUS SESSORIANA & THE RELICS

 Image Source:www.domussessoriana.it

The DomusSessoriana is located within an archaeological site that includes the ruins of the Temple of Venus and Cupid, which in times past housed Councils of State, and the magnificent Castrensian Amphitheatre, built in the time of Emperor Heliogabalus. - www.domussessoriana.it

Now a hotel, the DomusSessoriana looks out on the city of Rome, and provides a gathering place for citizens stopping for a rest on their walks or taking their dogs for a stroll. I stayed in the hotel, but the magic wasn’t to be found inside of the rooms, it was everywhere.A church within the walls of the hotel held far greater treasures than a comfortable bed, it contained the Relics.


The Relics of the Passion of Jesus comprise three fragments from the Cross, a Nail from the crucifixion, two Thorns from the Crown and a piece of the Title of the Cross. The authenticity of the relics has been the subject of various studies down through the centuries, but ithas been confirmed by historical and scientific studies that some of the Relics now reside within the Basilica housed by the DomusSessoriana. – www.domussessoriana.it

I am not, by nature, a religious person, but when I stepped into the home of the relics, I found something I didn’t realize I’d been looking for. For a moment, I found peace, a reprieve from much of the weight that life can pile on, or which I placed on myself. Through tears I prayed, and for a time it seemed as if God were listening. Even as a writer, I can’t truly describe what I encountered there, but I know some of thatemotion flowed through me and into my writing.


My time in Rome changed me, and it enhanced my connection to and understanding of a place I wrote about but had never been.I’m not sure if I, orA New Day at Midnight,would be quite the same if I hadn’t explored those ancient grounds.

A New Day at Midnight

The Hearne Family Saga
Book 1
Michelle Hiscox

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Bookkus Publishing
Date of Publication: February 14, 2015
ISBN: 0991709497
ASIN: B00TGOODU4
Page Count Print – 264       
Page Count Electronic – 268
Word Count: 92,691

Cover Artist: Bookkus Publishing

Book Description:

When Merik Hearne finally lays claim to the woman that betrayed him, she inspires much more than his need for revenge—but is her love worth dying for again?

Condemned to play host to a demon, the scarred Romani leader has amassed a fortune with only one goal in mind—to possess Hannah Worthington, the traitorous beauty that has eluded him for over a decade. With an exchange of coin, everything he has been striving for is within reach but nothing is as he imagined. The tender, sharp-tongued woman he encounters tests the bounds of his convictions and he is torn between the promise of reckoning and longing for a love that once destroyed him.

Exchanged for a purse of gold and informed she is to be a slave, Hannah vows she has not survived a lifetime of loss only to wither under the likes of Merik Hearne. And she will do everything she can to make sure he knows it. Despite his overbearing manner, his fierce scars, and her own determination to escape him, she begins to see that something beautiful might lie beneath…something that belongs only to her. She must discover the angle from which the great lord plays before his dark desires consume them both. 

As they struggle to find truth amid pasts marred by sorrow and secrecy, they are unaware that a vengeful apostle orchestrates the rise of a forgotten god—and the end of their chance at a life together.

Available at  Amazon   Amazon.ca   Amazon.co.uk  BN

 Excerpt

Hannah realized Merik had left her doors unlocked. Again. Did he believe she would stay now that she knew his true name and nature? She dare not utter the real question plaguing her, but it invaded her mind nonetheless.
Is he right? A large ember escaped from the iron latticework in front of the fire, landing on the rug at her feet. She watched it smoulder.
Smoke curled up in delicate tendrils, disappearing before reaching the high ceiling. She stared for several long moments, willing the flame to grow, to consume her. It held the colour of Merik’s eyes, burning gold and crimson. A small flame flickered to life, hungry for progress until she stamped it out with the heel of her foot.
Rising from the fire to flop on her bed, she stopped short as an echo rang through the hall. Certain her battered senses played tricks on her, she pulled back her covers to lay down but heard it again.
Whether it was a call of rage, grief, or agony she could not distinguish. It came from Merik’s quarters, echoing deep within the shadows of the hall. Padding to her door, she warred between anger over his treatment of her and the desire to ease his pain.
She could not ignore the fact he’d told her the truth. Pulling a robe about her shoulders, she kicked off her charred slipper. Without consulting her mind, she made the decision with her heart. She rested her hand on the door, opening the barrier between her and the unknown.
“Shit. Shit, shit, shit. What am I doing? I can stay in my rooms. There is hardly any need to go out there.”
Another tortured cry rose in the air, strengthening her resolve to help Merik.
Lighting a candle, she forced herself to go into the hall. Another cry rang through the air, and as she got closer to Merik’s chamber, she finally understood what he was saying. Her name.
“I’m coming, Merik.” Running to his room, she entered through the open door to see an empty chamber. Desperation overrode the fear hammering her heart against her chest. The room smelled of blood, of sickness. Could Vetala even get sick? Could they die?
“No, please no, not again. Merik? Merik, please call my name.”
He groaned. As she followed the source of the noise, the candle shook in her hand. The hot wax stung her flesh when she stopped several steps in front of a half-open door set in the wall.
“Merik?” The smell of death clung to the entrance and she gagged. The candle wobbled in her hand. She steadied it, saying a quick thanks to God it did not go out. She could not bear to go forth in the darkness without light. Setting the candle on the floor, she swung the door wide. The candle flickered as she picked it up. Fear twisted her guts and no matter how she tried, she could not stop her hands from shaking. She took another step.
“Merik?” It took her eyes several moments to see more than a foot from her face. When she saw him in the dim light, she gasped. He now stood in front of her. It took her several more moments to realize he was not standing of his own volition, but rather restrained by chains embedded in the stone wall. When he lifted his head, she covered her mouth to stifle a scream.
Eyes of molten gold and crimson stared back at her. His jaw and facial bones were distended, his hands curled into claws. The changes were much more severe than the few instances she attributed to the loss of her mind.
“I…I…” Stepping back toward the entrance, her gaze never left Merik’s. She turned her back on him to commence a rather spineless retreat, but could not get her feet to cooperate.
“Hannah?” The voice held much more than pain. What? Desperation? Hope? She could not move as her heart and mind waged war. Despite his appearance, she knew beneath the angled bone protruding from his flesh, his distorted face, and the fangs visible in his mouth, Merik stood in front of her. The man she met a decade before. The man looking at her with the same single focused intensity with which he always did. The man she loved.
Taking another step and hearing nothing but her own harsh breathing, she took one more.

About the Author:

Michelle Hiscox is a Paranormal Romance fan and author who hails from Drumheller, Alberta. The dinosaur bones buried in the hills of her hometown inspired the first stories she ever wrote, and she feels blessed to walk those same hills with her daughter today. Crocus flowers and dust bowls full of cactus never fail to inspire.

While her little girl and husband provides many welcome distractions to writing, it's something she always finds her way back to. Michelle is the proud, and slightly crazy, owner of two dogs and three cats, all animals she loves more than she reasonably should. She's been reading voraciously since she was a child and, one night, pulled her nose from a book to start writing her own.

Amazon Author Page –http://www.amazon.com/l/B00VO2K990

Tour giveaway

5 print or ebook copies of A New Day at Midnight (winner’s choice, print available to US and Canadian Shipping Only)
*~*~*
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Postcard no. 2, Paris, 1894: The Nightclub from Hell ~ Guest post by M.J. Rose about The Witch of Painted Sorrows #giveaway


It's a pleasure to have author M. J. Rose here today. She's sharing a postcard of Paris from the year 1894 to give you a few clues about her exciting new release The Witch of Painted Sorrows. Be sure to enter her fantastic giveaway contest at the end of this post.

Postcard no. 2
Postmark Paris, France 1894

We waited until midnight to visit the nightclub called Hell.  We’d heard that they enacted rituals there. Deep underground, on certain nights of the week, it was said there was carnage. On other nights miracles were preformed.

Like everything else in Paris that year, the sexual innuendos that swirled were as powerful as the perfume the courtesans at the table next to us wore.  The two women were both dripping in pearls, whispering and pointing. I looked at the man they were singling out. He was too thin and too ugly but he had the most brilliant blue eyes. 

They said he had almost died and that a woman had brought him back from the dead and he was still under her spell. When I asked they who had that ability they said  Sandrine knows… but has never told anyone.

That name again! Sandrine! Who is she? Where can we find her?

*~*~*
The Witch of Painted Sorrows
M.J. Rose

Genre: Gothic – Erotic

Publisher: Atria/S&S
Date of Publication:  March 17 2015
ISBN-10: 147677806X
ASIN: B00LD1ONBC
Number of pages:384

Book Description:

New York socialite Sandrine Salome flees an abusive husband for her grandmother's Paris mansion, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is closed and under renovation. Her grandmother insists it's too dangerous to visit but Sandrine defies her — an unexplainable force is drawing her home.

There she meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing architect, who introduces her to the City of Lights — its art world, forbidden occult underground, nightclubs — and to her own untapped desires.

From a mysterious fire at the Palais Garnier opera house, to a terrifying accident at the Eiffel tower and classes with Gustav Moreau at the École des Beaux-Arts, Sandrine's experiences awaken her passions. Among the bohemians and demi-monde, Sandrine uncovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter.

Then more ominous influences threaten — her husband is tracking her down and something insidious is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She's overcome by the spirit of La Lune, a witch, a legendary sixteenth-century courtesan, and an unsung artist in her own right, who exposes Sandrine to a darkness that could be a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine's "wild night of the soul," her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love and witchery, and not until she resolves a tragic love story and family curse will she be free of the ghost's possession.

Effortlessly absorbing and richly imagined, with sumptuous detail and spellbinding suspense, The Witch of Painted Sorrows conjures the brilliance and intrigue of Belle Époque Paris and illuminates the fine line

Available at    Amazon   BN   iTunes    IndieBound
Excerpt

Paris, France April 1894

I did not cause the madness, the deaths, or the rest of the tragedies any more than I painted the paintings. I had help, her help. Or perhaps I should say she forced her help on me. And so this story—which began with me fleeing my home in order to escape my husband and might very well end tomorrow, in a duel, in the Bois de Boulogne at dawn—is as much hers as mine. Or in fact more hers than mine. For she is the fountainhead. The fascination. She is La Lune. Woman of moon dreams, of legends and of nightmares. Who took me from the light and into the darkness. Who imprisoned me and set me free.

Or is it the other way around?

"Your questions," my father always said to me, "will be your saving grace. A curious mind is the most important attribute any man or woman can possess. Now if you can just temper your impulsiveness..."

If I had a curious mind, I'd inherited it from him. And he'd nurtured it. Philippe Salome was on the board of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art and helped found the American Museum of Natural History, whose cornerstone was laid on my fifth birthday.

I remember sitting atop my father's shoulders that day, watching the groundbreaking ceremony and thinking the whole celebration was for me. He called it "our museum," didn't he? And for much of my life I thought it actually did belong to us, along with our mansion on Fifth Avenue and our summerhouse in Newport. Until it was gone, I understood so little about wealth and the price you pay for it. But isn't that always the way?

Our museum's vast halls and endless exhibit rooms fascinated me as much as they did my father—which pleased him, I could tell. We'd meander through exhibits, my small hand in his large one, and he'd keep me spellbound with stories about items on display. I'd ask for more, always just one more, and he'd laugh and tease: "My Sandrine, does your capacity for stories know no bounds?"

But it pleased him, and he'd always tell me another.

I especially loved the stories he told me about the gems and fate and destiny always ending them by saying: "You will make your own fate, Sandrine, I'm sure of it."

Was my father right? Do we make our own destiny? I think back now to the stepping-stones that I've walked to reach this moment in time.

Were the incidents of my making? Or were they my fate?

The most difficult steps I took were after certain people died. No deaths were caused by me, but at the same time, none would have occurred were it not for me.

So many deaths. The first was on the morning of my fifteenth birthday, when I saw a boy beaten and tragically die because of our harmless kisses. The next was the night almost ten years later, when I heard the prelude to my father's death and learned the truth about Benjamin, my husband. And then there were more. Each was an end-ing that, ironically, became a new beginning for me.

The one thing I am now sure of is that if there is such a thing as destiny, it is a result of our passion, be that for money, power, or love. Passion, for better or worse. It can keep a soul alive even if all that survives is a shimmering. I've even seen it. I've been bathed in it. I've been changed by it.

*********

Four months ago I snuck into Paris on a wet, chilly January night like a criminal, hiding my face in my shawl, taking extra care to be sure I wasn't followed.

I stood on the stoop of my grandmother's house and lifted the hand-shaped bronze door knocker and let it drop. The sound of the metal echoed inside. Her home was on a lane blocked off from rue des Saints-Pères by wide wooden double doors. Maison de la Lune, as it was called, was one of a half dozen four-story mid-eighteenthcentury stone houses that shared a courtyard that backed up onto rue du Dragon. Hidden clusters like this were a common configuration in Paris.These small enclaves offered privacy and quiet from the busy city. Usually the porte cochère was locked and one had to ring for the concierge, but I'd found the heavy doors ajar and hadn't had to wait for service.

I let the door knocker fall again. Light from a street lamp glinted off the golden metal. It was a strange object. Usually on these things the bronze hand's palm faced the door. But this one was palm out, almost warning the visitor to reconsider requesting entrance.

I was anxious and impatient. I'd been cautious on my journey from New York to Southampton and kept to my cabin. I'd left a letter telling Benjamin I'd gone to visit friends in Virginia and assumed that once he returned and read it, it would be at least a week before he'd realize all was not what it seemed. One thing I had known for certain—he would never look for me in France. It would be inconceivable to Benjamin that any wife of his could cross the ocean alone.

Or so I assured myself until my husband's banking associate, William Lenox, spotted me on board. When he expressed surprise I was traveling by myself, I concocted a story but was worried he didn't believe me. My only consolation was that we had docked in England and I had since crossed the channel into France. So even if Benjamin did come looking, he wouldn't know where I'd gone.

That very first night in Paris, as I waited for my grandmother's maid to open the door, I knew I had to stop thinking of what I had run away from. So I refocused on the house I stood before and as I did, felt an overwhelming sense of belonging, of being welcome. Here I would be safe.

Reviews

April Indie Next List
March Library Reads List
Big Spring Books – Amazon
#1 Historical Fiction for 2015 - Goodreads

"This bell époque thriller is a haunting tale of obsessive passions." —People Magazine

"Provocative, erotic, and spellbindingly haunting...will have the reader totally mesmerized cover-to-cover....a 'must-have' novel." —Suspense Magazine

"A haunting tale of erotic love.... M.J. Rose seamlessly weaves historical events throughout this story filled with distinctive characters that will keep the reader captivated to the end." —Examiner.com

"Rose has a talent for compelling writing, and this time she has outdone herself. Fear, desire, lust and raw emotion ooze off the page." —Associated Press

"Haunting tale of possession." —Publishers Weekly

"Rose's new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris — lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting." —Kirkus

About the Author:

New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com

The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization's co-president.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.


Tour giveaway

3 $25 Amazon gift certificates
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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her COON HOLLOW TALES of paranormal romance and her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.