‘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.

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?

Setting locations of The Possession Chronicles: Part 1

To follow up my two previous posts focusing on the homes of the characters in The Possession Chronicles, I’m going to take a few weeks to showcase other setting locations. First off, here is a 2018 aerial view of downtown Mobile, Alabama. It’s taken from the north, looking south–so the opposite of a map if you pull one up to see more. Mobile River is on the left/east (see the cruise ship–there’s a terminal for it on the riverfront).

I’ve marked some key streets and locations–some of which no longer exist, but I’ll note them below.


A: The historic Courthouse (no longer there–it’s now Mardi Gras Park. The current “Government Plaza” is the large building two properties to the right.)

B: Battle House Hotel (still at the corner of Royal and St. Francis, rebuilt from the 1905 fire–it really happened as it did in Perilous Confessions).

C: Bienville Square (with the fountain, still there!)

D: Marking the spot between Melling and Associates (obviously a fake business, but a real location with an updated building currently there) and the Aethelwulf Club, the exclusive men’s club inspired by a real one–mentioned most often in the short stories.

E: Alexander’s “duplex” (on St. Francis Street, private home, still standing)

F: The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (It was made Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception about sixty years ago–and as such, now has crypts for the bishops in the basement.)

G: Temperance Hall, sight of Mardi Gras masquerades and more (torn down in 1923, new building in its place)

BONUS: The three main roads that run eat/west are marked:

Government Street–the courthouse was on it and the Mellings’ mansion would be about a mile to the right/west off the photograph.

Dauphin Street–a major shopping area and trolley line in the day (still shopping and entertainment/arts district–similar to the French Quarter in that other Southern city that also celebrates Mardi Gras though Mobile started it).

St. Francis Street–often mentioned (Melling and Associates, the duplex, etc. are on it)

(Conti Street runs between Government and Dauphin Street, but it isn’t notable to the plot lines in the series.)

BONUS FYI:

Frederick’s house would be three blocks down/north and three blocks right/west from “G”, but State Street is off the map.


The Eastons’ house is about 3 miles to the right/west from the cathedral–between Dauphin and Government streets off Catherine St.

The original location of Trinity Episcopal (Frederick Davenport’s congregation)–it’s now several miles to the west down Dauphin Street after being moved brick by brick–was at the corner of St. Anthony and Jackson Streets, right about at the bottom right corner of the photograph.

Monroe Park, no longer in existence, would be a mile or more south, on Mobile Bay, after Mobile River meets the bay. Location of several dates/outings for characters. It had the roller coaster, Yacht Club pier, and more.

Now, which places would you like to learn more about? I’ve already had a request for the cathedral, so I’ll share about that next time for sure.

P.S. Here’s a teaser for the next novel in The Possession Chronicles. The expected release date is December 14, 2021, so plan to add it to your winter reading list. There are several holiday scenes in it and nothing says “Merry Christmas” more than dysfunctional family drama, right? And yes, that’s Mobile’s cathedral in the image. Cover reveal for Barren Devotion coming soon!