Friday, November 11, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A day of days ...

Three years ago, I proposed to Her Highness the Missus in the gazebo of the Port Orleans French Quarter resort in Walt Disney World. Naturally, she said yes, and we began on a whirlwind adventure that culminated in the middle of September 2009.

That day in 2009 was Sunday, September 13.

At 2 pm Eastern time that day, I said "I do" to the most amazing, funny, and smart woman I'd ever met. She's since become my best friend, my partner in the crazy, and a source of constant amusement.

Today marks two years since that fateful day, and I love her more each day that passes. She's done nothing but push me to take leaps I hadn't thought of before.

So Happy Anniversary to my gorgeous wife .... and here's to hoping I get to say that for a lot more years.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An important event

A very, very important event happened today a number of years ago. An event without which I would've been significantly lessened as a person (despite my contention that I survived 25 years just fine).

This "event" to which I refer is the birth of Her Highness the Missus. Like Harry Potter, born at the end of July, she's become a special fixture in my life. And though she doesn't have a lightning bolt scar on her forehead, she's got a bit of magic of her own.

So here's to the woman who was brave (or foolish) enough to agree to marry me. Happy birthday, sweetheart.

Monday, May 9, 2011

GUEST POST: The Perilous Prophecy Haunted London Blog Tour with Leanna Renee Hieber

About the Haunted London Blog Tour: The Haunted tour has become tradition to celebrate release week of my Strangely Beautiful series of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels. Here I introduce the real, documented London haunts who “ghost-star” in the latest book. Special thanks, as always, to Richard Jones,, 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. -- I write 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!

Today’s ghost: The Ghostly Duelist of the Camden Arms

In the 1840s Colonel Fawcett died in a bloody pool at the Camden Arms Inn, the fallen loser in one of London’s last historical duels. Presently there’s a Brewing Company on the site of the Camden Arms. Many a patron said he was seen in a rear staircase of the building, thought to be near his exact place of death. He hasn’t been seen some time, but pub expert Mike Lewis was reported as saying about the matter; “Just because he hasn’t been seen for a while doesn’t mean he’s not there.”

Here’s how I allude to this story in a latter chapter. From The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess:

Back in London, Alexi and his Guard were ghost hunting. It was a rough case. The Pull had brought them to a grand inn outside the city proper, a stone edifice ringed with lush rose bushes and a tended lawn.
            The storm was merciless, rain soaking them as they worked. Alexi wound fire around the irascible spirit of a man who’d died in one of London’s last legal duels, but his was not the only spectre braving the storm. The sky was lit with a horde of luminous dead, all swaying, mouths open, as if offering proclamations or warnings. Not that the Guard could hear their wailing cries.
            “Alexi,” Rebecca called in alarm. She stood under a portico with an open notebook. She furiously scribbled down every particular of the situation, as was her custom.
            She pointed to the stone foundations lined with red rosebushes. “The roses.”
            “What about them?”
            Her face was ashen. “They were white. When we arrived, these roses were all white.
            Throwing a definitive punch of blue fire to stun the duelist spirit into submission, Alexi bent to touch the deep red blossoms. They were wet. He brought his fingers to his nose and took a step back. All the roses were covered in blood.
            Josephine the Artist cried out. “Is this a sign of Prophecy?”
            Alexi set his jaw. “Everything in our age is a sign of Prophecy.”
He touched his blue fire-kissed palm to the open bloom, and the blood streaked to reveal a still-white petal beneath. As he made contact, the crimson began to roll away as if repelled. Too oily to be human, the gore dripped to the earth.
            “So shall we heal the world,” Michael intoned, staring at the subtle miracle. “Through blood and fire.”
            “So long as the world is not too awash in blood,” Alexi retorted. “Every power has its limits.”
He glanced at the sky filled with clustered dead and wondered at the Guard’s ability to maintain balance. They felt dangerously close to a fulcrum. With such omens, he couldn’t be sure of long-term success, even though the duelist’s spirit appeared mollified. He used his cerulean fire to kiss clean the bushes.

-- (End of Excerpt)

Leave a comment for your chance to win either a download code or a print copy of one Strangely Beautiful book from the series (winner’s preference)! Follow along the rest of the tour for more ghost stories and chances to win! Tour schedule available via the Haunted London Tour page of my website: where you can also find the archives from Haunted Tours past! I also hope you’ll join me for the launch of my new MAGIC MOST FOUL saga of Gothic Victorian Paranormal novels set in 1880s NYC with Sourcebooks Fire. DARKER STILL (Magic Most Foul #1) hits the shelves 11/11!

Thanks so much Free the Princess for hosting me! Happy Haunting!

Leanna Renee Hieber

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Special Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes Anthology Announcement

All right, so you may or may not recall that a few months ago I announced the The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter: A Steampunk's Shakespeare Anthology, which I'm co-editing with Lia Keyes and Jaymee Goh.

I mention it again now because we've been getting some questions lately about when we're going to announce which stories have been accepted and which ones have been rejected. We've discussed this question, naturally, and we decided that we're going to wait until after the submission deadline has passed before we start announcing the line-up of stories that will be included in the anthology.

As you'll recall, said submission deadline is 12 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on 30 May 2011. That means everyone who's submitted thus far has roughly another month until we start announcing who we've chosen to include in the anthology.

I know this is a long time to wait, especially for those who submitted something to us earlier in the year. However, the consensus is that this is the best for everyone involved, because we want to give all the writers who expressed interest in submitting a fair chance to send their story in.

Mind you -- we're reading all submissions as they come in, so the announcement of the list may come pretty darn quickly after the submission deadline passes. So watch this space, and the one over at to see the final story list sometime in June or July.

Friday, April 15, 2011

GUEST POST: The Dangers of Steampunk – Don’t Forget the Punk

Sophie Playle is living the impoverished aspiring writer’s dream. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing and works as a freelance editor to pay her library fines. Her writings can be found at This article originally appeared on Sophie's website.

Steampunk celebrates the aesthetic goodness of the Victorian era – and herein lies the problem. When steampunk becomes all about the way things look (a pretty parasol here, a cog-powered machine there), and the theory of advanced technology is applied to the creation of a superpower/empire, the genre is in danger of losing the most important part of its namesake: punk.

Paul Jessup addresses this danger in his article ‘The Future of Steampunk‘ which can be found on his excellent blog, Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review:
Novels not only give us a bit of escapism, but are also inspirations and blueprints to our thought process and our moral centers. [...] Steampunk as escapism that tells us Empire is grand! [...] We need to see more books with an anti-Empire bent, about anarchists trying to overthrow the evils of Colonialism and the wrongs of a Monarchy. Or even more books taking place in worlds that don’t have Empires.
Steampunk has been criticised for ignoring the bad elements of the Victorian society, such as child labour, slavery, extreme poverty, imperialism, racism… etc, simply because of the want to romanticise the era.

C Scott Morris adds to the discussion:
I don’t think Steampunks romanticize imperialism. One of the key features to the genre/subculture is ‘punk’. Rebellion.
Steampunk does not ignore the negative side of the period, nor does it embrace it. With Steampunk, and it’s sister Cyberpunk, there is a feeling of dystopia, of tyranny and repression, and Steampunk rebels against it. Steampunk is away of saying that all those negative things from the past are still going on now, and we don’t like it.
So where is this impression coming from? Could it be that by revelling in the aesthetic elements of Victorian times, people are essentially romanticising the era? Can such a leap be made, from the appreciation of artistry to the acceptance of out-dated values? Perhaps Jessup has a point: despite the innocence of escapism, are steampunks inadvertently attaching themselves to these values?

But wait. As Morris says, we mustn’t forget the ‘punk’ in all of this. There is a difference between Victoriana and steampunk.

Steampunk is not there to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at the prettiness of the 19th century. The whole point of setting the genre in the past is to highlight the same terrible issues that are still relevant today. Just as dystopian fiction is usually set in a parallel future society to hold a mirror up to our own, steampunk is set in a parallel historical society to say ‘learn from the mistakes of the past – look what could have happened. Look what is happening now.’ If the steampunk book you’re reading doesn’t have this element to it, perhaps it isn’t steampunk.

(image from ectoplasmosis)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dark Days in Bright City at Nevermet Press

I was surfing Twitter a few weeks ago, as I'm apparently doing every day now, when I happened across an account for Nevermet Press. Now, this was interesting to me because Nevermet Press had put out an open call for a collection they call Stories in the Ether, which is going to be a series of short pieces posted on their website and then collected into a multi-format eBook in 2012.

I asked Nevermet Press editor Jonathan Jacobs if they accepted reprints, and upon his confirmation that they did, I sent him along "Dark Days in Bright City." If you've been hanging around this blog for some time, then y'all already know that "Dark Days" is the story I sold to FISSURE Magazine back in November and also serialized on the blog a few months after that.

However! I got the word two weeks ago that Nevermet Press planned to include "Dark Days in Bright City" as part of the Stories in the Ether series, and guess what? It's live on the Nevermet Press website today! Go over there and read it, everyone -- there's also going to be ART with it.

I'm very, very excited about this because the folks at Nevermet Press are amazing to work with. They've also got their finger on the pulse of RPG gaming, which is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Look out, because I might write some stuff for that part of their site in the future. I'll let you all know!