Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour day 7 (Plus a Giveaway!)

A big welcome today to Leanna Renee Hieber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Percy Parker!! I just started her book and I already love it. I am thrilled to be included in the Haunted London Blog Tour! London is one of my favorite cities and my husband and I always visit Cleopatra's Needle when we go there! Welcome, Leanna...

From the Back Cover:
"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…"

Thank you, dear Tome Traveller, for asking me to haunt your blog today, I’m thrilled to be here at such a gorgeous site as this.

Today our Haunted Tour leads us to Cleopatra’s Needle – Victoria Embankment, WC 2

For those of you just joining us, the purpose of this Haunted tour is to celebrate the release of my Gothic Victorian Fantasy Romance debut, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. This Tour will introduce you to some of the real, documented London haunts who “ghost-star” in my book. When Professor Alexi Rychman and his Guard of spectral police make their rounds, it is to any number of London phantasms. Since these characters are familiar to The Guard, I don’t get to tell their full story in the book, but here on the tour I can give them their due. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of the novel, first in the Strangely Beautiful series!

Cleopatra’s Needle at Victoria Embankment, WC2

The obelisk known as “Cleopatra’s Needle” first towered outside the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis, having been erected by Pharaoh Thotmes III in 1450, BC. It was moved to Alexandria in 14 BC, then becoming “Cleopatra’s Needle” as it was brought to London in 1878 where it has stood a tall sentry on the banks of the River Thames. More suicides happen near this obelisk than at any other spot along the river. The dark granite itself seems to moan. Londoners out for a foggy night’s stroll along Embankment have seen shadowy figures hurl themselves towards the river but no sound or splash is heard.

I used the Embankment area in what has now become a deleted scene! This is Exclusive Content!

Deleted scene from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker:

Later in the evening, Alexi felt far too restless to return to Hampstead, knowing he would only pace about his vast estate. He longed to walk dim city streets instead.

Something dank hung in the air as he made his way towards the Thames; a moisture beyond English climate alone. An elder wetness clung to his fine black clothes and impeded his lungs like a toxicant.

Dread filled him as he passed immaculately coiffed ladies and gentlemen, glittering in finery and laughing lightly as they drifted out of the Savoy, just three blocks from where a small child stood shivering on a church stoop, asking two pence for the dirty handkerchief he held in his dirtier hand. Alexi felt sure the boy was far more attune to what London had become than those who flitted about in their hansom cabs, intentionally ignorant of those who peered out from the shadows…

Those accustomed to the great city’s darknesses, surely, were the people who felt the same ugly wet air that Alexi breathed, the same cloying anxiety that still caused one to glance twice and jump at abrupt noises.

Dark eyes staring out over the water from an Embankment parapet, Alexi watched the countless spirits float over the river that had seen more woe in its days than he cared to imagine. The dim, wavering luminescence of the dead gave the Thames the odd quality of a silent ocean, the dead like lapping whitecaps atop the water. They were all looking at him. They all, perhaps, expected something of him.

The finely tuned instrument inside Alexi’s blood that alerted him to specific spectral disturbance was at a loss. The feeling he’d had of late was an unknown and dangerous variable. A man of order, though The Grand Work defied conventional reason, there was an odd science to it that he relished. But his instrument was clouded by a heavy foreboding, a helpless inevitability that something terrible was coming and he had no way to stop it.

The Professor didn’t need another handkerchief but he bought the sullied one from the disheveled child anyway. Looking down on the boy, framed in the shadows of a gothic arch, guarded by a vacant-faced stone saint who could do nothing at the sign of trouble, Alexi was greatly saddened. There was something in the child’s eyes that knew as well as he did that the nights were ripe for terrors.

I’m indebted to Richard Jones, founder of the fabulous Discovery Walks of London and author of the fantastic compendium “Haunted London” and “Walking Haunted London” published by Barnes & Noble Books, a main resource for my research. Visit him at Come visit me at to find out more about The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and follow along on the rest of the Haunted London Blog tour! I hope you’ll also pick up the book and love it as much as I loved writing it! Be sure to comment to be entered to win a signed copy!

To enter, just leave me a comment here with the title of your favorite classic ghost story. This will be a short giveaway, enter thru midnight eastern time on September 4th (My Mom's birthday, Happy Birthday, Mom!!). Winner will be drawn at random and must have a US mailing address. (FYI-For those of you who read or have read the book, Leanna is hosting a great contest on her website - enter here through Sept. 16). Good luck everyone! And a big thank you to Leanna for stopping by today!


ccqdesigns said...

I LOVE ghost stories. Of course A Christmas Story with Ebenezer Scrooge always scared me when I was young. Lately, I loved Second Glance by Jodi Picoult. That was a great ghost story.

emjay79 said...

I am so glad Alexi bought the handkerchief from the little boy! I was feeling so sorry for him.
This scene is fabulous, don't know why it is deleted! but, I guess you can't put everything in, or it would be thousands of pages (which I, frankly, would not mind in the least.)
My favorite classic ghost story is a Christmas Carol, although I have the book already so don't need to be entered. :)

Sandra K321 said...

Ah, it must be too early in the morning because not that many are coming to mind, except Edgar Alan Poe's Fall of the House of Usher.
Happy birthday to your mom!

Marie Burton said...

Gothic Victorian Fantasy Romance .. A wonderful mix! My favorite story is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Irving, an odd and chilling story. And if that scene was deleted the rest of the published work must be awesome. Looking forward to the review, thanks for the guest post! marieburton2004 at yahoo dot com

Searcher said...

Most recently read and loved is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman but the scariest hands down is The Shining by Stephen King.

Congratulations on the release of your book.

Fingers crossed...Looseends AT Snet DOT net

Alleykatt said...

I have to say that reading A Christmas Carol as a child was my first introduction to a classic ghost story. Gave me the heebie jeebies! It is now a favorite movie as an adult (the version with George C Scott as Scrooge)

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

penney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
throuthehaze said...

I enjoyed reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I don't recall reading a 'ghost story.' This one sounds good.

karen k

holdenj said...

Turn of the Screw by Henry James always gave me the willies when I had to read it for school.

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com


Steph Su said...

Oh dear, I don't know if I've read a lot of classic ghost stories, so probably the only few that stand out in my mind are Jane Eyre (what? it's ghost-like!) and Hamlet. I have Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier on my shelf to read though!

stephxsu at gmail dot com

bermudaonion said...

I was thinking that I don't have a favorite classic ghost story, but after reading everyone else's comments I realize that I love A Christmas Carol as much as everyone else. I've never read a Gothic Victorian Fantasy Romance before that I know of. I'm totally jealous that you and your wonderful husband get to go to London! It's on my bucket list.

Morning Glow said...

I, along with some others on here, think A Christmas Carol with Scrooge is probably my favorite.

Admittedly, I like the muppet version the best. So much better than the book.. the book doesn't have cool songs OR Kermit!

teabird said...

A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle - I just love that book!

teabird17 AT yahoo dot com

I'd love to read your book!

Anonymous said...

I had said on a previous post that 'the haunting' bu shirley jackson was my favorite ghost story but like others here, i have to add 'a christmas carol' to the list as well.

'strangley beautiful...' is a fantastic book. i really got into it yesterday and had to put it down several times because i don't want it to end. the relationship between 'the guard' is perfect! funny at times, serious at others.

traveler said...

What a lovely giveaway. I am captivated with this novel. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill is my favorite ghost story. The ultimate setting and wonderful writing.

scottsgal said...

Definitely Dickens A Christmas Carol is my favorite ghost story

msboatgal at

etirv said...

The most memorable is A Christmas Carol!


Leanna Renee Hieber said...

I'm so pleased to see familiar faces and new ones here on my Haunted Tour - thank you all for being a part of it!

A lot of you are commenting on one of my very favourite ghost stories, A Christmas Carol - a future part of the Strangely Beautiful series will actually mirror a bit of Christmas Carol, stay tuned.

Sorry my dear, thank you for loving the scene, but it had to be deleted for time, word count and pacing. But I do love the gentle moment there with Alexi-- this scene turned into the scene in Whitechapel instead.

I also LOVE Henry James, I'm very glad Turn of the Screw was mentioned. Poe too!

Morning Glow,
So glad you're here,
The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favourite movie of all time!!!!!!! (along with Die Hard and Sense and Sensibility) :D You are SO RIGHT, I love Dickens but it's so much more wonderful with Kermit!!!

Glad you mentioned Twain - I love him. He lived in what is regarded as the most haunted house in NYC for a while. Likely was inspired there. :)

Thanks also, my Tour attendees, for mentioning new names and new book titles for me to read! I love it!

Your words make my day. Truly. Thank you.

The Woman in Black is WONDERFUL - have you seen the stage play? One of my favourite productions of all time. Haunts me, quite truly, to this day.

LoveMyCoffee said...

Wow, this sounds like it's going to be a great series.
The Shining is a must read for spooky.
Count me in for this one.
I follow.


Beth said...

I haven't really read many ghost stories but I have read A Christmas Story so I'll have to say that too. Thanks for the great giveaway - book sounds very good!

bridget3420 said...

My favorite ghost story is Sleepy Hollow.

Happy Birthday Mom!!


Kimberly B. said...

My favorite is the Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde. It's one of those rare stories I read as a kid with no notion that it was by a famous author!


the ghost and mrs meurer (spelled wrong) is my fav of all time.

donnas said...

Great story. I have heard of this story before and think its fascinating.

My favorite classic ghost story is A Christmas Carol. But for more modern works I like Ghost Story by Peter Straub.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Beth said...

I'm not sure if it qualifies, but I loved Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Classic ghost story? Hm...I like Macbeth, but also The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


Lisanne624 said...

Well, like most others, I love A Christmas Carol -- well, anything by Dickens, really! As for "true" ghost stories, I love to read about the Bell Witch!

lahlstedt (at) gmail (dot) com

Cherie J said...

Favorite classic ghost story would have to A Christmas Carol by Dickens.


Zibilee said...

I am going to be echoing the others who have said A Christmas Carol. I have read other ghost stories, but that one really stands out to me, and has been my favorite for years. Please do enter me in this giveaway, it looks like a really neat book.


LuAnn said...

Classic ghost story: It must be Telltale Heart or any of the other ghastly stories by Edgar Allen Poe.

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

Elizabeth said...

I love the poem Sam McGee by Robert W. Service. I used to have my class memorize it by stanzas and perform at our 6th grade campfire.

Linda said...

I love historical fiction, but am not normally a fan of ghost stories. I do like Dickens' Christmas Carol; and the historical aspects of this novel sound intriguing.

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Hello again my new Tour attendees! Thanks again to the familiar faces and new ones!

I'm SO thrilled to see Poe and Dickens fans here! Christmas Carol is one of my favourite stories of all time.

I'm particularly excited about the Dickens part because...

I recently found out I get to take part in a holiday novella for 2010 in which I get to merge my Strangely Beautiful world with an homage to A Christmas Carol - and a focus on Rebecca and Michael.

Thanks again for dropping by!

The Tome Traveller said...

I'm with all of you on A Christmas Carol. But for classic creepy I love The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Great news, Leanna! I'll be looking forward to reading that. Can't wait to see what develops for Rebecca & Michael!

Janel said...

I love A Christmas Story too, but I also recall some fun Nancy Drew ghost stories (always with people pretending to be ghosts).


Anonymous said...

A Christmas Carol is the first that came to mind. Thanks for entering me.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

M. said...

I love books the push the genre envelopes! And what a great, compelling title. This sounds really unusual and worthwhile.

Classic ghost story....hmmm. Does 'The Telltale Heart' count?

I'm a follower.

mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

heatherzilla said...

My favorite ghost story is Sleepy Hollow.


I Heart Book Gossip said...

Great post, please count me in.

+1 follower
+1 blogged

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.