Sunday, August 23, 2009

Special guest Leanna Renee Hieber

We have a winner! Congratulations to Beth Caudill who was poster number 6. Beth your number was drawn by Cody, my doxie. He then proceeded to eat it before I could check it. Which meant I had to go back and see which number was gone. Anyway Beth wins a copy of Leanna's Book. Send my your address and Leanna will get it out to you.

I'm very excited to host my dear friend, Leanna Renee Hieber today on the Chatelaines. Leanna's first book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker comes out tomorrow. and she's here with her Haunted London Tour. This book is getting great props from everyone and I heard it personally from her editor that this story is extra special. So rush right out and get it as soon as your favorite bookstore opens tomorrow. And Leanna is giving away a copy to one lucky commenter right here on the Chatelaines.

The STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL Haunted London Blog Tour Day 2!

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker:

“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…”

I’m thrilled my Haunted London Blog tour now brings me to The Chatelaines!

Thanks, lovely ladies, for having me here, I couldn’t imagine being in better company than here with many friends, fellow Dorchester Authors, et al!

Today we meet:

The Man in Gray

Theater Royal, Drury Lane, WC 2

This Tour celebrates The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in a Gothic Victorian Fantasy series which releases TOMORROW from Dorchester. Here I introduce you to 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 I can give them their due. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of the book!

One of my favourite “Ghost-stars” is The Man in Grey…

Drury Lane has a veritable resident troupe of ghosts, the most famous of which is the “Man in Grey” who appears in a grey riding cloak, a white ruffed shirt a powdered wig and a three-cornered hat. He appears young, though he has a bit of a limp as he floats along. Surprisingly he’s seen during daytime hours. Like many ghosts, he has a well-practiced routine. Seen by countless stage professionals from famous actors to management, he always haunts the same course in the upper circle, crossing to vanish through a particular wall. Entire casts have seen him go by above as they’ve been rehearsing on the stage. Occasionally he will sit in his a favourite seat: end seat, fourth row at the centre of the upper circle before later vanishing through the wall.

As to this man’s identity, it isn’t known for certain. But a discovery during 1870s renovations of the theatre surely holds a key to the mystery. A skeleton was found in a recess behind the very same wall where the ghost always vanishes, his remains shrouded in gray cloth with a dagger in his ribs. It’s suspected that during the reign of Queen Anne he was murdered by a spiteful rival, caught in the middle of some actress’ love triangle, and his murdered body was stowed away in the hidden space behind the wall. He’s supposedly a good omen of a successful show, though he has been known to push actors into their places, making him a theatrical legend and star in and of himself.

How does the “Man in Grey” become Strangely Beautiful? From The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker:

Alexi snatched the sherry from Rebecca’s hand. “Whenever you heathens can regain a modicum of sense, it’s time for a meeting,” he stated coldly. This quieted the group enough for him to continue. “There now. Sanity has returned to La Belle et La BĂȘte, but I’d best speak quickly as I fear its presence is fleeting. But before we begin … could someone go and remind our grey friend down the street not to push the actors into their places quite so hard? Since the discovery of his dead body during the renovations, his ghost has become increasingly meddlesome, causing many complaints.”

He waited a moment for one of his companions to volunteer for the routine policing of Drury Lane’s most infamous specter. Then: “Fine, you lazy fools, I’ll go. Considering your present behaviour, I’d not trust one of you to admonish this spiritual hooligan. Clearly, I ought to do it myself. But I warn you: sharpen yourselves.” He turned and promptly exited, his long black cloak billowing behind him. Throughout his exodus, a few more bars of the Fifth Symphony were hummed.

Outside, Alexi took a deep breath. Irrepressible chortles and a smattering of “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind” could be heard erupting inside.

“Infidels,” he muttered, taking the alley toward the Theatre Royal at a purposeful clip. “Will they forever be children?”

---- (End of Excerpt)

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 tour! I hope you’ll also pick up the book! Be sure to comment to be entered to win a signed copy!


Leanna Renee Hieber


LaTessa August 24, 2009 at 6:08 AM  

Great post Leanna. The more info I glean about your book and the world you created, the more my interest piques.

My CP has slowly, but surely, gotten me interested in the ghostly supernatural (most via Ghost Hunters-LOL). Great idea to have Ghost Star appearances, I will be sure to turn in daily to for additional ghosts star info.

And congrats again on your release. I plan to run right out and pick up my copy tomorrow.

emjay79 August 24, 2009 at 6:54 AM  

Yay! A theater ghost, the best kind;)

Edie Ramer August 24, 2009 at 8:29 AM  

Leanna, I'm catching this post late. That excerpt was so much fun! The background information is cool, too. That's the kind of research I like doing.

CheekyGirl August 24, 2009 at 8:35 AM  

Love the background info! On a recent trip to London we did a ghost walk and it was very fun to hear all the stories.

Anonymous August 24, 2009 at 8:44 AM  

Love the information!! I love books with a fresh new story line, and I look forward to picking a copy of my own when it comes out.

Beth Caudill August 24, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

Love ghost walk tours. Just did one with FF&P at Washington. Congrats with the release.

Melinda August 24, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

Wonderful post Leanna. I love to read about ghosts. I truly believe in them. Must get your book

Walk in peace and harmony,


Leontine August 24, 2009 at 9:41 AM  

I can't wait for my copy to be delivered and I can wander in to your world! Enjoy your tour Leanna.

EmilyBryan August 24, 2009 at 9:42 AM  

Just the title is enough to sell me. Quite a lilt to it!

As a former operatic soprano, I've been in enough theatres to believe they have a 'presence' of their own. You've hooked me.


C.L. Wilson August 24, 2009 at 9:42 AM  

Beth, I think was was on the same DC ghost tour with you - great fun! And several of my "sensitive" friends definitely reported seeing things at the octagon house. (I'm as spectrally sensitive as a rock apparently - but I enjoyed the tour all the same)

Leanna - your book is wonderful, but then, you already know how much I loved it :) Wishing you great things and may the books fly off the shelves.

Cindy, don't enter me in the drawing. I'm just here to support Leanna and the Chatelaines.

Margay August 24, 2009 at 9:51 AM  

This sounds like an interesting book - gotta love those ghosts!

Razlover's Book Blog August 24, 2009 at 10:05 AM  

Congrats on the new release!

Great post and I love to learn about the facts and history about the book.

Love the pics and the history about The Man in Gray.

Leanna Renee Hieber August 24, 2009 at 10:22 AM  

Hey everyone! Glad you love hearing about ghosts as much as I do!

Thanks hon, I cannot WAIT for your world!!!

Emjay, my love,
Theatre ghosts ARE the best kind!

Yep, this was my fave research, and Richard Jones has contacted me personally and is SO nice!! It's so cool when a hero of yours turns out to be simply wonderful in person.

Glad you experienced that too!

Wish I could have gone on that, sounded like fun.

I'm a believer too! thanks!

I am SO pleased. You know I played Leontine one year in college, in the Triumph of Love. A favourite role of mine.

Hello Lollie dearest! Thanks! (I sing soprano too, not professionally, but in choir) And yes, those building sure do house spirits! "Ghost lights" for a reason!

I love you so much.

Margay and Raz,
Thank you so much for stopping by!

Carol L. August 24, 2009 at 10:29 AM  

I really look forward to this book. Nothing like a good old Ghost tale to further the excitement. The pin shown on your web site looked really nice. Nice meeting you Leanna. :)
Carol L.

Virginia August 24, 2009 at 11:50 AM  

Hi Leanna, I have been hearing so much about this book and I can't wait to read it. I will have to put it on my wish list for sure. Congrats on your new release!

etirv August 24, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

The title and book cover are winners already! Leanna is another new author I'd like to read!

SharonJM August 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
SharonJM August 24, 2009 at 12:43 PM  

Leanna, love the post, makes me wonder if the ghost of the 'gray man' will be visiting the group to remind them of their manners.
See on the tour.

Sewicked August 24, 2009 at 2:28 PM  

Okay, I have got to get this book, but beyond the fact that it sounds like a great read. There's a game set in a fantasy version of Victorian England & this book will sooo help me get in the mood to play.

And if you have a chance, go on the Williamsburg, VA ghost walk after dark. It's wonderful and much of the way is lit only by the guide's lantern.

HODGEPODGESPV August 24, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

i have got to get thru mail faster. i keep falling behind...but i didn't miss the ghost story and that's a good thing.

Cindy Holby August 24, 2009 at 2:43 PM  

Wow thanks everyone for stopping by. I can't wait to read Strangely Beautiful myself. We'll be taking comments through the night. Make sure to stop back next Monday when I announce the winner.

Jazz August 24, 2009 at 2:44 PM  

I love that you have them rehearsing Hamlet in a book about ghosts! Great reference.

Heather D August 24, 2009 at 4:42 PM  

I am seeing this book every where lately... well in the blogsphere. It sounds wonderful!!

I love anything haunted. We take a Haunted Walking tour in every city that has one... Ok it has only been three cities (Savannah GA, St. Augustine, New Orleans LA), but we love them all the same.

Leanna Renee Hieber August 24, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

Glad you're liking this as a teaser! That's what I hoped for!

yay, I'm glad you've seen it! Hope you enjoy!

Thanks, I'm a big fan of the cover, I think it suits the story very well.

Alas, he doesn't leave his theatre but there shall be plenty more interactions where that came from! Thanks for touring with me!

Cool! What's the game? I'd LOVE to take that Williamsburg tour, thanks for mentioning it!


Thanks for giving me your day here! You are so generous and kind and not to mention kick-ass.

*grin* You see a lot of Shakespeare in my book. Comes from the fact I was working 12 hour days touring 3 shakespeare productions at the time I started working on it. Surprising how the references fell into place. Good to see you again!

Thankfully the word is being spread. :) All those cities sound like awesome places to do Ghost walks, I'd especially love to do New Orleans. Man, I need to travel more.


Amy Kathryn August 24, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

I love how you are giving a haunted london tour at the same time as your blog tour to promote the book. What a great concept and very enjoyable way to become acquainted with the book and its characters.

Lil August 24, 2009 at 6:18 PM  

How neat that you are incorporating ghostly legends in such an interesting way. Am very curious about your book.

Patricia Barraclough August 24, 2009 at 7:16 PM  

Heard about your book yesterday and can't wait to read it. I emailed the info on it to a friend of mine and she is looking forward to it also. London during that time period was a very interesting (and dark) place. The whole Jack the Ripper "event" leaves so many questions and impressions. Kim Lenox has a series I'm reading set in this time period. I'm looking forward to reading your book.
Good luck with the release!

M. August 24, 2009 at 7:24 PM  

I'm intrigued by this book for the great title alone - let alone the various crossover genres it seems to touch on. I wish you mega sales and great buzz, Ms. Hieber.

Mitzi August 24, 2009 at 8:07 PM  

I have never read a story like this. Sounds great!!! I don't mind ghosts as long as they are the friendly variety. Hehehe.

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot com

donnas August 24, 2009 at 8:50 PM  

Great post. That is so cool. I can only imagine being pushed into my place on stage.

Thanks for sharing.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Pam P August 24, 2009 at 10:10 PM  

Fun learning more, and meeting ghosts, along your tourk Leanna. Getting more and more intrigued to read this book. Congrats on the release!

EmilyBryan August 25, 2009 at 3:34 AM  

Wow! I'm so glad to see so many of you turning out for Leanna here. Her debut sounds stunning, doesn't it? A definite must-read.

I'd also like to put in a little plug for my friend Gerri Russell, whose TO TEMPT A KNIGHT is out now! She's at today (Tuesday) giving away a copy and a Scottish Templars T-shirt! Please join us!

Leanna Renee Hieber August 26, 2009 at 12:33 AM  

YAY! I'm SO thrilled to see that you all are enjoying ghosts as much as I love telling ghost stories! Thank you so much for your interest! The Blog Tour continues!

Beth Caudill August 26, 2009 at 12:11 PM  

Yeah. I won. :)

Can't wait to read about Miss Percy Parker.

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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