‘Tis the Season Sales

All three of the Bienvenue Press Christmas charity anthologies are currently marked down to 99 cents on Kindle. While in my series world, each of my short stories can be read alone, and you’ll also get other themed holiday stories from several authors in the collections.

Hometown Heroes features the Fortitude/Possession Chronicles tie-in short story “Courtship and Courage” set in December 1898 on Dauphin Island, Mon Louis Island, and in Mobile. It takes place a few months after Fortitude ends and it’s your chance to see more Captain Joe Walker and Claire before their Possession Chronicles years. Proceeds from sales of this collection involving everyday heroes benefit Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue.

Finally Home features The Possession Chronicles linked short “Grace Shadowed”, set in Mobile during December of 1906, close to the end of Tendrils of Passion (the Christmas after the hurricane). The main characters are Dr. John Woodslow (one of the Mystics of Dardenne members) and Grace Anne Marley (Lucy’s ex-best friend). This anthology features characters rescuing four-legged friends and benefits regional animal rescue organizations along the Gulf Coast states.

Homeroom Heroes is where you’ll find “Natural Selection in Life and Love”, another Possession Chronicles short that also ties into my forthcoming Malevolent Trilogy. It’s set over the holidays in 1912 Mobile. Find out who captures Sean Spunner’s heart in this tangled romance inspired by an event from my family history involving a progressive principal/teacher who happened to be my great-great grandfather. Sales from this anthology benefit Acadiana Writing Project in Louisiana.

If you don’t have these anthologies in your collection, now is a great time to load your digital readers for the holidays and help out some great organizations in the process.

P.S. You can also preorder Barren Devotion right now and lock in the sale price, saving three dollars.

New Release and Digital Sale

Yes, back-to-back blog days. I didn’t want to squeeze this information at the end of the already long post about the cathedral, so I waited. Get ready for two digital reading tidbits.

The Kindle edition of Stormy Pieces is now available. It’s the fifth in the Pieces series–anthologies by Mobile Writers Guild. I have a short story in each of the books.

My offering in Stormy Pieces is “Dashing Through the Snow”, set during the record six inches of snow Mobile received February 14-15, 1895. Yes, it’s linked to The Possession Chronicles, but you can read it alone. It’s my oldest setting to date, but still in my favorite era. All the stories, poems, and even a play in this anthology relate to storms in some way though the collection covers an eclectic mix of genres and style–as all the anthologies do. (My story is a historical coming-of-age romp.)

Also news-worthy is a digital sale of Bienvenue to the Chateau Rouge.

This anthology by Bienvenue Press (publisher of The Possession Chronicles and the second edition of Fortitude) features romances written by several PB-published authors that all take place in Jolie St. Amant’s vampire-owned hotel in New Orleans, the Chateau Rouge. It first published in May 2020, but if you missed it, now is a great time to add it to your Kindle collection.

If that sounds familiar, but the cover doesn’t quite look like you remember, it’s because it received a little update. The stories are all the same, the anthology just received an overhaul on the exterior.

2020 original cover v. the updated 2021 art.

My story in this anthology is my first-ever co-writing project, “Revelry’s Requiem”. Jolie St. Amant is a HUGE Claudio De Fiore fan and wanted him to come visit her characters in New Orleans. Because of that, we had to travel back in time compared to the other stories. I suggested Mardi Gras, 1911, right after Scarred Memories took place so I could utilize Claudio’s cousin, Valentino as well because Claudio wouldn’t willing get involved with vampires, but his frisky cousin would.

We took turns writing the scenes, but as in my own projects, the characters didn’t stick to the original outline. The story brought us new twists, giving it that organic, character-led feel. Once you read it, you’ll be able to catch the nods to “Revelry’s Requiem” I plant in Claudio lines within The Possession Chronicles, though you’ll never hear the details of what happened in the main series. (But every time he mentions New Orleans, you’ll know who/what he is thinking of.) If you like vampire stories or Claudio, give this book a try.

Setting Locations of The Possession Chronicles: Part 2

After being delayed several times, here is the official post about The Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception as it relates to The Possession Chronicles. As a refresher, here is the link to the post with the Part 1, which has a bird’s eye view of the downtown Mobile area–including the cathedral. That post followed several others about the historic homes that serve as inspiration for the characters’ houses. Check those out here and here.

All the modern photos on today’s blog post were taken by me within the past five years, with the exception of the photo with me in it, which was taken by my friend and writing buddy Joyce Scarbrough.

A vintage postcard image of the exterior.
A recent front facing, taken from Cathedral Square.

The cathedral is close to 200 years old and is an iconic part of Mobile’s eclectic architecture. The building isn’t tall compared to the modern skyscrapers now populating the area, but see how it dwarves the automobiles in the photo above. As noted in the acknowledgements in Perilous Confessions, Cathedral Square was not in existence during The Possession Chronicles timeline. The park across from the cathedral was completed in the 1990s–a purposely chosen twisting of history to suit an author’s needs.

The back of the cathedral during the timeline of Perilous Confessions and Mosaic of Seduction.
Circa 1900. Power lines and horse dung–Old Mobile.
Note the building on the right, directly across from the church. It was not a park.

My favorite location on the cathedral grounds is the portico. It is truly awe-inspiring to stand on it. I’ve written a lot of scenes there, including in my first novel, Fortitude.

Aunt Norah puts on a feast for dinner and she and Mama enjoy the evening together. After supper, Kevin and I accompany them to The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. We pray and light candles and then congregate on the portico of the cathedral amid a gathering of women with their best fans warding off the heat. A few men use their hats to cool themselves too.

“This must be what it’s like to be near God. I feel small, like I don’t matter,” Kevin whispers to me.

“You matter, so don’t worry about feeling like an ant.”

“I never said a bug.” He looks like he’s been holding a burden of his own and is ready to lay it at the door of this massive church.

-Fortitude

One of my favorite photos of the portico. I had a 16x20in print made.

On the sixteenth of May, Eliza held her brother’s arm as they ascended the steps to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Mobile for the noon wedding Mass of Edmund Albert Easton and Mary Margaret Fitzgerald.

Circling a column like Folly in his approach, Sean’s golden eyes sparked mischief. “Have you come to celebrate escaping Edmund’s clutches?”

Laughing, Eliza offered her hand. “You know me well, Sean.”

Mosaic of Seduction

From 2016. For size reference, I’m six feet tall. The columns and portico are HUGE.

Catholics were well represented from the early days of Mobile’s rich French and Spanish beginnings and it was the Mobile Catholics who started the first carnival “Mardi Gras” in the country–which I touched on in this 2020 post. The prevalence of Catholics in Mobile is what caused me to use their faith for the majority of my characters. According to several Catholic readers I’ve heard from, I portrayed “Catholic guilt” well.

Vintage postcard of the interior.
The modern interior–lots of gilt splendor.

The cathedral wasn’t made into a Basilica until the 1960s, when the basement crypt for the bishops was added. I don’t have any information on the basement from before it was updated for that, so I used my imagination for the basement scene in Haunted Remains.

The spiral stairs leading to the basement crypt/chapel.

Did I cover the highlights you were expecting? Tell me if there is anything else you want to know and I’ll do my best to answer the questions. For more information, you can also check out the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception’s website.

And, in case you missed last week’s cover reveal, here it is again–with the cathedral.

COVER REVEAL for BARREN DEVOTION

This weekend brought a happy surprise. My publisher commissioned the cover art for Barren Devotion, the next novel in The Possession Chronicles. The cover–along with all the others in the series plus the newest edition of Fortitude–was created by Ashley at Redbird Designs. She’s super talented and easy to work with. This time around, she merged my chosen background image (the actual cathedral in downtown Mobile that the characters attend) with the model (representing Melissa), added the stormy sky element to allow the lettering to shine, and did a lot more touches that make it ooze Gothic vibes.

I’m beyond pleased with it and excited to be able to use an actual setting location for the image for the first time. (No, I haven’t forgotten I promised a post about the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It was on schedule for this week, but is now bumped to later in the month to allow this indulgence.) Take a look at the series. One more book to go after this one.

Here’s the synopsis for Barren Devotion. If you aren’t caught up on the series there will be spoilers. If you’ve read through Haunted Remains, including the sneak peek of the prologue for Barren Devotion, this won’t be too traumatizing.

_______

While World War I has the globe in turmoil, the Melling and Davenport clans have their own unrest. After the shattering loss of their youngest child, Frederick and Melissa mourn in their own ways, but Melissa’s isolation leads to further heartache that stretches the bounds of repair.

Father Claudio De Fiore is always first in line to comfort, but his moments with grieving Melissa Davenport eclipse his vows to the church. Will he go too far when the previously independent woman buckles under her sorrows?

Longtime friend and employee to Lucy, Naomi Joyner has witnessed everything amid the turbulent life of the Eastons and Mellings. Trapped between the draw of her first lover and being a loyal companion to declining Lucy, Naomi must decide if she wants to continue with the never-ending drama of the Mellings.

Find out who will survive the war years in this formidable installment of The Possession Chronicles.

_______

Yes, Melissa, Claudio, and Naomi are the point-of-view characters this time, but there are plenty of scenes with Alexander and everyone else–including the Dauphin Island characters. Who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Free Fortitude

 Couldn’t we all use a little extra grit and determination right about now? I know I could.

As a timely gift, my first published novel (now in its second edition), FORTIUDE, is available as a FREE download on Kindle this week. This coming-of-age novel features Claire O’Farrell and her Dauphin Island family, as well as her Creole best friend and Buffalo Soldiers amid the backdrop of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Sadly, those themes are relevant to current events, with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast and acts of war all over the news in recent weeks.

Fortitude is often claimed as a reader favorite from all my novels. It’s geared for ages twelve and older, so it can be shared with younger relatives and friends. I’ve spoken to several schools and at writing events for upper elementary grades through high schoolers about it. It’s even on the small but mighty “Best History Books” list for Grateful American Kids for its historical accuracy and reader engagement–a true honor. (Out of only about fifty books listed, Fortitude is up there with the likes of Newbery winners, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Maya Angelou!)

And, of course, I’ll remind you that Fortitude does tie into The Possession Chronicles. If you’re reading the series, you’ll want to dive into Fortitude because a relation to Claire (and Joe) plays a sizeable roll in the forthcoming final novel of the series.

So grab your free download of Fortitude this week and tell a friend! It’s a great read to discuss in book clubs or one-on-one. And, as always, I’m happy to answer any questions about it–just reach out.