Win The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

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**The giveaway has ended. Thanks for participating!**

Going through True Blood withdrawal? Join us every Friday for a recommendation of something to read, watch, do, or listen to during the hiatus until season 3.

Miss Percy Parker is as pale as a ghost, and she should know: her best friend while growing up in a convent was the ghost of a long-deceased gentleman. Percy isn’t a child any longer, though, and her strangely beautiful appearance combined with a gift for visions and speaking to ghosts is about to catapult her into the adventure of a lifetime.

I picked up The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker on a whim one Monday afternoon at my local bookstore. The glowing text on the cover caught my attention, and the blurb on the back added to the intrigue. By late Tuesday night, I’d finished the book and had to get online and look up the author to see what else she’d written and find out if there were more books about Miss Percy. Author Leanna Renee Heiber’s website told me that this was her debut novel and, hurrah!, the first in the Strangely Beautiful series.

Beautifully written with elegant, lyrical passages that delight my English Lit major soul, Ms. Heiber’s debut combines a love of mythology, Gothic Victorian novels, paranormal romance, and science fiction in one novel. I couldn’t put it down, and everyone I’ve passed my copy to has stayed up nights to finish it. We highly recommend The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker for True Blood fans during the hiatus; just don’t blame us when you get addicted to yet another series! We had the opportunity to ask Ms. Heiber a few questions about the novel to share with you, and we’ll be giving away three signed copies of the book below.

True-Blood.net visitors can also purchase the book online at Barnes & Noble for at a special rate of $4.89 until the end of October by clicking here.

Five Questions with Leanna Renee Heiber

True-Blood.net: Can you sum up The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker in 10 words or less?
Leanna Renee Heiber:
Ghostly, Gothic Victorian Fantasy with tender passion and epic myth.

Leanna Renee Hieber

Leanna Renee Hieber

TBN: It’s clear from the novel that ancient mythology is a passion of yours. What prompted that passion?
LRH:
Playing Pandora in a grade-school play sort of started that love-affair. I made her box of evils with cellophane and fishing wire so when I lifted the box, the evils would seemingly levitate out. We’d been studying Greek Mythology that whole grade-school year, and I found myself most interested not in the big flashy Gods, but in stories like Persephone, Pandora, Iris and the Rainbow, Cupid and Psyche, in all the monsters, the Underworld and in the epic quests. I was far more interested in the Underworld than in Olympus. Even then I had an extremely clear vision of what the Underworld was in my mind: wet, dark, grey stone filled with grey-scale wraiths, a compelling and intriguing place yet terrifying in the depth of its shadow. That vision serves now as inspiration in the Strangely Beautiful series. I should be clear, however, that I take great liberties with my own version of events and only take a small portion of the Mythological canon into my tales.

TBN: We love the retelling of the myth in Miss Percy, updated for Victorian times. How did you get the idea for this series?
LRH:
I’ve loved the 19th century since I can remember, an odd obsession to have as a kid, but the Victorian Era has been such a muse to me that I’ve never questioned it. I started my first novel when I was 12 (also a Gothic novel and also set in 1888) so this setting hasn’t let me go for the greater part of my life. The Victorians were very interested in classical themes as well as spiritualism, so the pairing of the late 19th Century, ghosts and myth seemed very natural to me.

When Miss Percy slipped into my mind about 9 years ago, she couldn’t have had worse timing. I was a performance intern for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, working very long hours on several plays at once. But I knew the moment I dreamed her up that my life would never be the same. And it wasn’t. She was so compelling to me, sweet and timid yet passionate, with untapped inner power- looking just like a ghost and yet she wasn’t one- that I had to find out everything about her. She appeared to me like the visions I grant her, slipping into Professor Rychman’s finely appointed office, dressed in Victorian garb and speaking of ghosts. Her heroic counterpart, Professor Alexi Rychman, is all my literary love affairs wrapped into one hero. Dark, intense and brooding, yet fiercely loyal and secretly aching to be loved. When I wondered further about Miss Percy’s interaction with ghosts in addition to her ghostly pallor, the answer was a Mythological one. Percy is, after all, just her nickname. Mythological forces will become more prominent as the series progresses, as well as Fantasy conventions amidst my beloved Victorian backdrop. I’m a cross-genre girl, and this is a cross-genre book.

As for the influences surrounding me when she became my muse – I’d recently become obsessed with Harry Potter, was re-watching all my favourite Jane Austen movies, had discovered a new love for graphic novels by Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, and rediscovered my old love for 19th Century Gothic novels. And Shakespeare was in my mind 24/7. Throw in a few re-runs of The X-Files and a healthy appetite for a good ghost story. And from the confluence of these forces out stepped something Strangely Beautiful.

TBN: It sounds like you have a lot of literary interests. What kind of books do you read and who are your favorite authors?
LRH:
I read across all the genres I adore, so that means Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal, Graphic Novels, Suspense, Mystery, Horror and, of course, the 19th Century Gothic novels that have so heavily influenced me. It’s absolutely impossible for me to pick a favourite so forgive the list. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, King, Dickens, Stoker, Poe, Hugo, Gaiman, Elizabeth Peters, Anne Perry, Sherrilyn Kenyon, C.L. Wilson (the list goes on and on)… And bless you, True Blood, for turning me on to the exceedingly talented Charlaine Harris, who had been on my To Be Read pile forever and I needed a nudge.

TBN: We knew you were a kindred spirit! Who is your favorite True Blood character and why?
LRH:
Well, all the characters in this world are so interesting. But my vote goes to Sookie because she’s my favourite type of heroine for so many reasons. She’s got a huge heart, she’s endearing, she’s unique in her environment and surrounded by all sorts of danger, she has incredible men to help her, and incredible powers of her own that she tries to hone, navigate and use to her own advantage and in the service of those she loves. If Sookie were in Victorian England, I’d like to think her and Miss Percy would have been good friends.

Win A Signed Copy!

In conjunction with Ms. Heiber and Dorchester Publishing, we’re giving away three (3) signed copies of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker! Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment below telling us your favorite mythological being from any form of ancient mythology (Greek, Roman, Native American, Asian, etc.).
  • Be sure to include a valid email address so we can contact you if you’re a winner.
  • Comments must be posted by 11:59PM PT on Thursday, October 15, 2009 to be eligible.
  • Three (3) winners will be chosen at random from all eligible entries and notified via email.

Good luck and be sure to check in next Friday for our next recommendation and giveaway!

Fan of the Southern Vampire Mysteries since 2001, and co-admin of True-Blood.net since 2008. Team Sookie!

46 Comments

  1. Isis_Nocturne

    October 9, 2009 at 10:12 am

    My favorite mythological being is Hades, because the best known tale of his is not necessarily the true one. There is a lesser known version of the Hades and Persephone myth where their relationship was a problem for Persephone’s mother because the two were in love.

    My email address is linked to my login for my post here, but just in case… It’s Isisnocturne1369@mac.com

  2. Brian Gregory

    October 9, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Tetramorph. originated from the Jewish prophet Ezekiel who whilst in exile in Babylonia circa 550 BCEAs for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. i see a new computer game! haha

  3. Jeanelle Eros

    October 9, 2009 at 11:18 am

    favorite mythological being from any form of ancient mythology: i’m a big fan of Janus, god of openings and closing from greek&roman mythos.

  4. Regina

    October 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    My favorite is definatly Pandora. In Greek mythology, she was the first woman formed out of clay by the gods. When I was young, my absolute favorite book was an illustrated copy of Pandora’s Box. I must have read that story a bazillion times.

  5. Stacy W

    October 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I favorite is Aphrodite, the goddess of love, desire and beauty. What more could you ask for? LOL

    stacy.walker03 AT yahoo.com

  6. Jasmine

    October 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    My favorite mythological being is Hestia. I love how she was portrayed in the Percy Jackson books.

  7. Julia S.

    October 9, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I love centaurs!!

  8. Edie

    October 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Unicorns!

    I already have Leanna’s book and love it.

  9. Erin

    October 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    My favorite myths have always been celtic. I love Halloween! I loved the stories my grandmother would tell about SAMHIEN, the celtic new year.

  10. Ron E.

    October 10, 2009 at 1:19 am

    My favorite mythic beings are mermaids.

  11. Billi Wagner

    October 10, 2009 at 4:02 am

    I’d say my favorite is Psyche, personification of the soul and wife of Eros (cupid) Aphrodite was so jealous she sent Eros to make her fall in love with the ugliest man on Eather, but he accidentally pricked his own finger with the arrow and fell in love with her himself. She had a hard time after that with her mother-in-law (who hasn’t), but eventually got her happily ever after. Congrats Leanna on the second printing of Miss Percy Parker and the recommendation here. I can tell I really need to read this book!

  12. Ladytink_534

    October 10, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Satyrs, kelpies, brownies, and the Sidhe are some of my favorites.

  13. Lila

    October 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Odin, the chief god of Norse mythology. He’s not much to look at but is associated with wisdom, war, magic, poetry, prophecy, victory and some consider a shape shifter.

    This god has some amazing abilities.

  14. adele benscoter

    October 10, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Pegasus: A winged horse born from the blood of Medusa after her head was cut off, and the father, Poseidon. Pegasus was captured by Bellerophon to aid in the attack of the Chimaera. Once Bellerophon had killed the Chimaeras, he tried to ride Pegasus to Olympus. He didn’t make it and fell to the earth. Pegasus did make it, and was captured by Zeus to carry his thunderbolts. Pegasus is kept in the stalls in Olympus.

  15. voodoochick05

    October 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I would say that Apollo is my favorite, he is the God of Music and the God of Healing. He also drives the sun across the sky with a chariot and four horses. He sounds like a pretty interesting guy to me!! He is also, the God of Light and the God of Truth, who cannot speak a lie.

  16. Kate

    October 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    My favorite mythical creature is definitely the vampire because they can be such complicated characters in novels with many layers and depths to their personalities and beings. Vampires always seem to be fighting that animalistic nature they possess and try to find reasons to cling to their humanity.

  17. Susan Ellington

    October 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    My favorite “myth” is that of Lilith. She was the first woman (before Eve), made out of the earth alongside Adam. She was fiercely independant and refused to ‘bow’ to Adam, so she was cast out of the garden and replaced by Eve, who was made out of Adams rib?!
    Three angels were sent to kill her- one was killed, another seduced and the last let live to return to God to tell what happened. She was the original Vampire, succubus, and real woman *wink wink*
    And this was just the beginning of Liliths’ story 🙂

  18. Leanna Renee Hieber

    October 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Hey Mel and Liz and fellow True Blood fans!

    Thanks again for championing the Strangely Beautiful series! Thanks for this lovely post and thanks for your glowing, kind words on your latest radio show!!

    I’m loving hearing everyone’s favourite Myths, Gods, creatures, stories, etc – it’s really wonderful to hear what stands out and strikes everyone. Thanks for sharing!

    My favourites are Persephone – for reasons which will be obvious when you read the Strangely Beautiful series, Pandora’s story fascinates me, as does Iris and the rainbow, and…

    Billi – I have to single you out as you’ve mentioned my final other favourite – Cupid and Psyche! What an amazing story. And thank you for your kind words about my book, I hope you enjoy it!

    I think some of the creatures in Myth are as scary as any modern horror movie, the stuff in the Odyssey and the Iliad is just plain creepy. And awesome. 🙂

    Keep these great creatures and beings coming!

  19. Deedra

    October 11, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    My favorite is Persephone 🙂

  20. Laura in TX

    October 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Helen of Troy. Wahoo!

    123yes456@gmail.com

  21. Michelle

    October 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    My favorite would definitely be Hestia. She gave up her place as one of the twelve Olympians in order to maintain peace and I feel such a connection with her because of that. While I was reading the Percy Jackson series (which I know is a children’s series, but I absolutely LOVE them) I was so excited when Hestia was brought into it! She isn’t as well known as many other Greek figures, but I think she plays such an important role.
    I had not heard of “The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker” but I am very excited to read it. I have been looking for a new book and/or series to read for a while! Thanks for the book suggestion!

  22. shelly li

    October 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    My Favorite Mythical creature is Medusa, gotta love a lady with snake hair
    anyway-TTFN Shelly

  23. Clarica

    October 12, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    My favorite mythological being is currently the shape-shifting coyote from Patricia Briggs’s series about Mercy Thompson, and thanks for reminding me because another book came out by her that I’ve missed!

  24. Muse

    October 12, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I enjoy Greek Mythology. The one that I keep to heart is Sisyphus. He was a human who envied the gods, hated death, and loved life. Therefore, the gods condemned him to rolling a boulder up a mountain, once it reached the top he would then have to watch it roll back down again.

    This is sometimes a modifier for life. You have to believe that Sisyphus is happy and sad. Just like life.

  25. Anne

    October 13, 2009 at 12:38 am

    I have to agree that my favorite Greek Mythology involves the story of Persephone – its a sad and poignant myth and I like how the story explains the seasons to Persephone’s meal of 6 pomegranate seeds while she is with Hades. Seems like there was quite a bit of stealing and kidnapping young maidens in the old Greek Mythologies. I especially enjoy the stories of Hera catching Zeus in his dalliances and how she often times unleashed her anger on the poor subject of his temporary infatuation.

  26. stacy

    October 13, 2009 at 11:18 am

    My favorite mythology creature would be Lokie. jokes and plays games with people lives. It says that he does these things to enertained the gods.

  27. heather

    October 13, 2009 at 11:31 am

    My favorite has always been Hermes. Not sure why. I’ve taken university classes on mythology and he remains my favorite.

  28. Cathy

    October 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I’m a real home-body, so my favorite is Hestia, Greek Goddess of home, hearth and cooking! Cheers, Cathy

  29. Saranna DeWylde

    October 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    It’s hard to choose a favorite. I love the idea of Circe who turned men into pigs.

    blackenedquill (at) aol (dot) com

  30. Nancy Coffelt

    October 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I think I was a wolf in another life, I have 6 dogs and two malamutes and they may not be mythical to anyone but the Inuit, but they (and wolves) are magical to me!! Thanks for the great podcast!!

  31. Jessica

    October 13, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I think that the Muses are one of my favorites. They were known for their music and the enjoyment that it brought to others. Names such as Melpomene, Terpsichore and Calliope are commonplace here in New Orleans and we definitely don’t have a shortage of music in this city!!

  32. Jill

    October 13, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Venus, the Roman godess of beauty & love is one of my favorites. A world without either of them wouldn’t be nearly as much fun!

  33. Kim

    October 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Favorite mythological creature would have to be the phoenix. Reborn again from the ashes with continuous second chances.

  34. Leanna Renee Hieber

    October 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Ooh,

    More great answers!

    Michelle –
    And I agree, I’m drawn in by Hestia’s story – Thanks and I hope you enjoy the book and will become a part of the Strangely Beautiful family as the series progresses!

    I love the votes for Persephone, indeed, Anne, the details of the story are very engaging to me. And three cheers for the Muses too, absolutely Jessica, New Orleans is full of muses for sure!

    Saranna,
    lol – there are moments I wished I had that power. 🙂

    Jill,
    Indeed!

    AND,

    Kim,

    I do feature a new idea on the Phoenix myth in The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker so thanks for mentioning it! I agree, the rebirth of second chances is such a beautiful metaphor!

  35. Janel

    October 14, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    My favorite mythological being is the Athena because she is so many things at once, wisdom, warfare, and handicrafts. I like to think that she is the epitome of womanhood in her versatility and strength.

  36. Hope

    October 15, 2009 at 10:21 am

    There are so many amazing creatures to pick from. I would pick them all if I could but to save time I shale pick fairies to narrow it down. There is so many flavors of fairies and not just good or bad or Seelie or Unseelie. Like pixies, brownies, elfs and the list just goes on and on. They have amazing gifts and talents and they all seem to have some kind of mischief streak in them like a part of child innocents that never dies away.

  37. Sarah

    October 15, 2009 at 11:28 am

    To only pick one! I can’t! Demeter, a mother’s love and heartache that brings us winter? Pandora? The first woman in Greek myth made from clay with an insatiable curiosity? Lillith? The first woman in Judeo-Christian tradition who was tossed out of Paradise for being “uppity?” Prometheus? Who risked the Gods’ wrath to bring us fire? Thor? Who my dad told me when I was little that thunder was just Thor throwing his hammer to protect us from giants? Coyote/Loki? Who knows the rules but doesn’t play by them because that’s a losing game?

    I did have a turtle I’d named Athena when I was younger, since it looked like a tank and she was the Goddess of Wisdom and War, two seemingly paradoxical things to favor. I’ve never figured that one out. I think I’ll go with her.

  38. Jenna

    October 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    hmmm, Medusa. Some mornings I would like to turn people into stone just for looking at me.

  39. Nicole

    October 15, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    My favorite mythological being is probably Persephone, she was the queen of the underworld after all. 🙂

  40. Marusha

    October 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Medusa. Gotta love the snake hair. Also, my family used to call me that when I was younger.

  41. Linda

    October 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    My favorite is from Navajo Mythology. Here is a description better than I could give.

    “According to legend, Changing Woman changes continuously but never dies. She grows into an old woman in winter, but by spring, she becomes a young woman again. In this way, she represents the power of life, fertility, and changing seasons.”

  42. minnie

    October 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    My favorite is the Tomte/Nisse from Scandinavian Folklore. They are gnome-like creatures that took care of a farmer’s home and children,and protected them from misfortune particularly at night when they were asleep.

  43. doppelganger92

    October 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    My favorite is Eris, the goddess of discord.

    Vgamequeen92@tmail.com

  44. stacia

    October 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    One of my favorite is a genie because they give you three wishes and who does not want what they wish for. Altho most genies trick you and your wish comes out different than you expected. There are so many good ones that it is hard to chose one there are vampires,wares, fairies, all kind of monsters mummies, and many more so you can use so many in stories and have fun reading and watching them.

  45. Lisa

    October 16, 2009 at 8:02 am

    My favorite is Athena.

  46. Mary Lou

    October 16, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Not sure it counts really, but the Elves from Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings) have always intrigued me.