About the Haunted London Blog Tour:
Thanks True-Blood.Net, as always, for being so wonderful to me and to this series, I cannot, cannot thank you enough!
This is the third release-week celebration of my Gothic Victorian Strangely Beautiful novels and the Haunted tour is now tradition. Here I introduce the real, documented London haunts who “ghost-star” in the books. (Archives at www.leannareneehieber.com). Special thanks, as always, to Richard Jones, www.haunted-london.com, for being my foremost ghostly resource!
About this prequel novel:
The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess features a young Beatrice Smith grappling with her duties as leader of The Guard of spectral police, while a faltering Goddess of beauty and light sacrifices all for a snow-white child of destiny to be born into the gilded Victorian Age. For all involved in the making of delicate Prophecy, the answers to divine questions lie in passionate, imperfect mortal hearts.
The Strangely Beautiful books are Gothic novels, so prepare a capital D for Drama, set your sights on ghosts and myth, prophecies and fraught perils, all manner of intense characters, and come along for the ride!
Tour Stop One: Hampstead Heath – we’re back to one of my favourite places!
The grand, rather Gothic estate of Professor Alexi Rychman sits between Hampstead Heath and Highgate Cemetery, two places of vibrant spectral activity and many a Strangely Beautiful scene. I had the opportunity when returning to London last fall, to again drink in and stroll about the Heath, pick some wild blackberries, and revel in my Hero’s rugged home landscape. And fitting for my hero, the landscape can be a bit forbidding. This 800 acres of relatively untamed moorland is in reality just several stops up the Northern Line from central London, yet can feel rural and wild. The wind can quite take the area in its open clearings, looking out over London away and below. Even in midday there’s thick shadow in the forested areas. Swimming ponds dot the Heath and while there are plenty who will partake of ponds, some have mentioned hearing disembodied footsteps. It’s posited that those who committed suicide in those waters are the source of the sound, repeating their last steps. Between a leering phantom gentleman in a coat who might follow along fellow behind uneasy pedestrians before disappearing, or spectral Highwaymen on horseback from the 17th and 18th centuries, the heath has plenty of ghosts!
Excerpt from “The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess”:
Here’s Beatrice and her second as they’re en route to Highgate Cemetery by way of Hampstead heath: From The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess:
“Highgate,” Beatrice said as they took their carriage seats, though Ibrahim knew their destination. “Shall I call the others? It isn’t much.” Ibrahim blinked. “It may not be much, but we’re not very good.” “Not here we aren’t. You’re right, we need all the help we can muster.”
She closed her eyes and trusted that Ibrahim was doing the same, reaching out. She allowed for the Pull to take over her body and felt it ripple, a sensation unifying all six who were connected. The others would follow the call if her message could find its way through the thick London fog that kept confounding them.
“How long can we—?”
Ibrahim finished her thought. “I daresay, if it’s this difficult on this shore, The Grand Work will kill us.”
It was uncanny. For one who seemed so indifferent, he had an odd way of knowing her thoughts to answer her questions. Swiftly, thoughts of personal danger were overshadowed by questions of intimacy. She pretended to stare out the window, hiding her agitation. Suddenly she wasn’t worried about how long their little coterie could withstand the forces of the Whisper-World, she wondered with sudden fright if there were psychic abilities he’d been granted that he hadn’t told her about. He was so quick to finish her sentences; was he as quick to know her secrets? That she’d thought of him in quiet, private hours when she lay in lacy robes mere metres away from his rooms?
She was a fool. Unknown horrors were afoot, and she was worried that a man indifferent to her might have some preternatural sense that she wasn’t indifferent toward him? Absurd.
“That’s grim of you.” Straightening her posture, Beatrice recalled herself to the conversation. “The Work will kill us, you say? We’re not in tip-top form here in London, but we’re not utterly outclassed.”
“But don’t you feel a great storm coming? Increasing havoc of the gods wreaked upon their pawns below?”
“Oh, I always feel a great storm coming.” Beatrice chuckled. “It’s my doom. I’m falling back into the melancholic patterns of my childhood. Once a Hamlet, always a Hamlet.”
“This is hardly about woman’s frailty, Miss Smith,” he argued. “Or Shakespearean hubris.”
Beatrice grimaced at his tone, her eyes wide and her nostrils flared. “Must you have no humour in you whatsoever?”
“I’m talking of grave danger. My Instinct feels it and has since Cairo. You remember my trepidations. They have not lessened. You might make light of me, but you don’t feel what I do. I lie with them pressing like a demon down upon my chest, compressing the air in my lungs—”
“But your Instinct remains unclear! I do not deal in abstractions, Mr. Wasil-Tipton. Corporeal or incorporeal, I deal in what stares me down face-to-face. Until you give me more than ‘a feeling in your bones of inclement weather,’ I cannot sit entertaining your apocalypse-mongering.”
“And you!” She turned her fury out the window to the mad-eyed ghost of a highwayman who was loath to leave the Hampstead heath he haunted and rode alongside their carriage, brandishing a phantom knife he once used to relieve travelers of their purses or lives. “Find another maiden to frighten; you’ll not get a rise out of me.” She blasted the spectre with blue fire, and his ghost horse reared and charged away. For a moment she regretted the action, but the carriage driver, thankfully a man who had no evident sensitivities, seemed not to notice anything amiss.
– (End of Excerpt)
Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a Strangely Beautiful series book of your choice! The tour continues until 5/10, schedule available via the website!
To read our review of The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, go here.