Guest Author: Leanna Renee Hieber

Literary Escapism is excited to welcome Leanna Renee Hieber to the floor today. Leanna is the author of the much talked about The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.  I have been hearing a lot of great things about this new tale.  My copy just arrived on Monday and I can’t wait to dive into it.

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death….

Make sure you stick around because we not only have an exclusive excerpt from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, but we’re also giving away a copy of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker to a lucky commentator.
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My vote goes to the Ghosts…

Everyone has their paranormal favourite, right? My favourite: Ghosts. I’ve youthful memories of inventing elaborate ghost stories at girl-scout camps and slumber parties in rural Ohio. At an exceedingly early age I fell in love with the English accent and adopted it around the house. I flounced about in multi-layered skirts with corset-like things I’d wrapped around my middle. Fitting I’d write epic Victorian ghost stories set in London, yes?

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Setting:

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death….

Top 10-reasons why Ghosts are my #1 Paranormal convention:

10. I like transparent things.

9. I know that there is more to this world than I can always see.

8. Romanticism. There’s such a wonderful mythos and intrigue about ghosts. They are of the Gothic and belong to the Gothic, where I feel I best belong too.

7. You know they’re around by the cool draft. Fun foreshadowing.

6. Can be either terribly sweet or terribly scary. And you just never know. Their unpredictability is what keeps me coming back for more.

5. Ghosts are imminently relatable beings. We recognize them in us, they were once us, and many of us have seen them and know they exist. I sure do.

4. They’re often looking for something. Finding out what that is can be great fun.

3. The possibility of possession is a fascinating and terrifying subject to me.

2. Because I write series books: They’re a wonderful way to introduce a character who you’ll revisit in life! (I’m working on Book III, the prequel, and it’s terribly convenient that we’ve met the heroine as a ghost in Book II!)

1. There are no obstacles. Walls, doors, windows be damned. They can be wherever you want them to be, whenever you want them to be. This is fabulous or horrible, depending on if you’re the author or the Ghostbuster.

Now I’d like to share one of my favourite haunts in the book, a ghost who becomes Percy’s friend.

From The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

Alone in the library at all too late an hour, Percy sat down to her studies and didn’t notice the sudden chill on the air, nor the pale hovering figure beside her until it spoke. “Ah, Newton …” cooed the wispy, feminine voice.

Percy jumped slightly. She looked up to find a young woman much like herself both in pallor and age, but with the distinct difference that this young woman was transparent and floating. The female spirit glided backward, obviously startled to see Percy’s eyes meet hers.

“Yes, I can see and hear you,” Percy clarified, familiar with the reaction. Many spirits spoke to mortals. Few received a reply.

“Indeed! Most exciting!” exclaimed the spectre. Tightly spiraled curls floated about a face cherubic save for dark, sunken circles around the eyes. The frayed dress was dated; the open neck of the gown hung loose on a frail frame. “My name is Constance .”

“Hello, Constance . I’m Percy.”

The two girls nodded, knowing they could not take hands.

“Percy? That’s a woman’s name, is it?” the spirit asked.

Percy smiled. “It stands for something ancient.”

“You do not look a bit ancient.”

“Well, I’m not,” Percy admitted.

“No, but you do look like one of us. How did you learn to see my kind?”

“I’ve always had the ability,” Percy explained. “But I’ve dared not speak of it, else I’d be thought mad.”

Constance batted Percy’s stack of books with a hand that passed right through. “Mortals know nothing,” she scoffed. “I thought I knew everything when I sat at that table. On the other side, you realize how little you really know.”

“Really?” Percy breathed.

“Indeed. I now know the most important lesson: not everything can be explained. When I was alive, I thought I understood the whole of science, life, God … Went quite mad because of it.”

“Is that why you travel this hall?” Percy asked.

“My body lies in a tiny plot behind. I come into this room looking for something”— Constance made one floating turn around the table—“but I cannot, for the death of me, recall what I seek. Here I drift, looking for a once-insignificant item that now means peace.”

“And you think you’ll find it in this hall?”

“I spent inordinate amounts of time here when the academy first opened, years ago,” the ghost explained. “The first in the area to let young women attend a full curriculum. My family disowned me when I told them I wished to become a scientist. No daughter of theirs would become educated beyond eligibility, doomed to a field meant only for men! I was a revolutionary, here by the grace of the founder …” Constance trailed off. “Ah, well. I shall keep looking. I don’t have much choice.” Her hollow face took on a hopeless expression, and she glanced around, her ethereal curls quivering in a nonexistent breeze. “It’s something over there, perhaps,” she murmured, and began to fade.

“I hope you find whatever you seek, Constance .”

The spirit looked her in the eyes. “Same to you, Percy of the spirit flesh.” The ghost faded a moment then brightened, as if an afterthought increased her link to the world of the living. “And do be careful. London is going absolutely mad.”

Percy shivered. “How so?”

Constance failed to answer; she simply disappeared. The lamp grew brighter and the air warmer.

Thanks Literary Escapism for the opportunity to be here and to talk about my favourite subject matter!

I hope everyone will join me for my Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour and Book Giveaway as I tell a bunch of different ghost stories around the Cyber-campfire. I’ll also be launching a contest for cool prizes on release day: 8/25 – Details at my website.

You can preorder The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker from: Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon. Watch the Book Trailer here.
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Thank you Leanna for visiting Literary Escapism.

Contest Time! We’re giving away a copy of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker to a lucky commentator and it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is: Tell us your favorite ghost story.  Whether it’s one you heard as a child or a great piece of fiction. Remember, you do have to answer the question in order for your entry to count. The contest is open to everyone, so everyone overseas can join in the fun as well.

As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it (#litesc), share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer (all in the same post please). The more places you share it, the more entries you get.

For more entries, purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com.  Each purchase is one entry and it has to be through the LE Link.

Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and you’ll get an additional entry. Make sure you leave a comment so I know that’s why you’re joining. Only new readers to the group will be considered.

For an additional entry, subscribe to Literary Escapism’s newsletter in the sidebar. This is for new subscribers only.

I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer. All entries must be in by midnight on August 25th.

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

18 Comments

  1. Thanks for all the sharing and tweeting of this post!

    I love your favourite ghost movies and tales! A Haunting in Connecticut is one of my favourites too! (Well, I love “Ghost” as well!)

    And I like the book recommendations too! Keep those favourite ghost books coming!

    If you want more ghosts and more chances to win, be sure to check out my Haunted London Blog Tour, schedule and details at http://www.leannareneehieber.com

  2. This book looks fabulous and I love the colors of the cover!
    I think the ghost story that sticks with me the most is one of the first I ever read – – a tale called “Mirror of Danger” about an English girl who goes to live with cousins after her grandmother dies and manages to meet the ghost of Alice, a girl from the Victorian era. I loved the ghost aspect of the story, as well as the Victorian connection. It was a young adult book (for the time) but I’ve always remembered it.

    I have put a link to this contest on my blog, I have joined the Facebook page and signed up for the newsletter.

    Many thanks for the opportunity!

    http://www.psychoticstate.blogspot.com

  3. A ghost story? Hmm! Well, my favorite ghost story is one that actually happened to me. My house is haunted, you can hear someone moving around upstairs when I know for sure no one is home, and doors in my house (bedroom doors, mostly) will just open themselves, or close themselves. I’ve gotten used to this, it’s never been a problem. And one day, when I was little, I was having an awful day, and I walked into my room, and one of my big teddy bears (the kind where you press the paw and it’ll play a tune) moved a little, to get my attention, then it’s music started playing. Now I think I would be scared if that happened, but when I was little, I just felt better.

  4. When I was a young mother (my baby was 10 months old, I was 19) we lived on a huge piece of property in an old house on the outskirts of town. One day I kept hearing a baby crying. I kept checking on my son, but it wasn’t him-he was asleep in his crib. The crying went on a few times that day, but it wasn’t my baby. After awhile, I learned to differentiate between the sound of the baby, and my son’s cry. This happened off and on until we moved out of the house (not the reason we moved). The first day that I heard the baby cry, I was a little freaked out and started walking the property to make sure it wasn’t a baby, you know, just left somewhere. The only thing I found was an old brown medicine bottle with a teeny cork inside of it. The bottle reads: “A.Lancaster’s Indian Vegetable Jaundice Bitters Col. Sam Johnson Proprietor, Richmond VA 1852 ” The letters are part of the glass, no label is on it. Some of the letters are worn almost smooth. I’ve never seen a bottle like this before or since. I still have the bottle, and every once in a while I still think about the sound of that baby’s cry, it was so real. At the same time, nobody else seemed to hear it- so after awhile I stopped mentioning it to people.

  5. Hmm…favorite ghost story? Loved the Vincent Price movies done from Edgar Allen Poe’s books – House of Wax gave me nightmares but I loved it. My absolute favorite though was the Pit and the Pendulum.

  6. My favorite ghost story is Ghost Story by Peter Straub… The boys in this fraternity all fall in love with the same girl, but she is the girlfriend of one of them. One night the boyfriend invites his friends over to her apartment, they are all drunk and she’s quite put out that her boyfriend would bring all his drunk friends to her apartment. One thing leads to another and there is an accident. She falls and hits her head. They all think she’s dead, puts her in a car and shoves it into the local pond… but before the car goes completely under the water she awakens and her horrified face is seen against the window. All the young men panic. And it is their life long secret… until she comes back… There was a movie based on this book and it is great!

    Please enter me in your giveaway!
    quzy [at] mac [dot] com

    Thank you!
    Great post! And Leanna’s book sounds wonderful!

    Suzanne

  7. I saw a ghost. I was home alone. I woke up during the night and saw a woman standing looking at me from the foot of the bed. I wasn’t scared at all and felt comforted that she was looking after me. I remember just thinking *oh it’s a ghost* and thinking that it was my Dad’s Grandmother. She died long before I was born but a couple of my cousins look alot like her. I went back to sleep.

    lynda98662 at yahoo dot com

  8. I don’t know if this will count because it’s so recent, but I loved Nicole Kidman’s ghost movie THE OTHERS. It had such a wonderfully creep, haunting vibe that lasted throughout and the film managed to be terribly unnerving w/o once resorting to gore or violence.

  9. Lori, Neat! I’ll have to look up the Mirror of Danger – sounds awesome! Glad you like my cover as much as I do! :) And Suzanne, I’ll have to read “ghost story” – Peter Straub is great!

    Morning, Mardel, those are two distinctly awesome stories.

    Indeed I love Edgar Allan Poe!

    Lynda,
    You were as calm as I was when something similar happened to me. I really wasn’t scared, more just trying to discern if what I was seeing was really there or my imagination. It was there.

    I haven’t seen the Others, glad for the recommendation, I like not having the gore, definately.

    Thanks for the ghost stories, they’re wonderful!!!

  10. I would so love to win this – sounds fantastic!
    and one of my favorite ghost stories is (aptly titled lol) GHOST STORY by Peter Straub ~

  11. It is hard to chose a favorite, but one that I always loved from back in the day is the from the SCARY STORIES books(remember those) about the woman who comes to the door asking for help and ends up being dead but i cant recall the title of the story

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