Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Shiny Things - Guest Post by Laura Bickle

Birds love shiny things.

Crows and ravens, especially. There was a recent story in the news about a little girl who had been feeding crows, and the crows began bringing her gifts: bits of wire, broken earrings, screws, buttons, and little glass gems. These must have been very precious to the crows, but they were willing to make offerings to the little girl who kept them well fed.

Ravens retrieve a lot of unusual stuff in my new book, DARK ALCHEMY. As the familiars for a group of undead cowboys, the Hanged Men, they act as spies, retrieving shiny bits of information for their keepers. They hoard a great deal of useful clues about the goings-on around the ranch: the location of buried bodies, the paths that trespassers take, and portents of supernatural danger. They guard the Alchemical Tree of Life, the Lunaria. In the evenings, when they come home to roost, the tree is covered in chattering black leaves.

And the ravens of the Hanged Men are also special in another way – they are part of the Hanged Men. Gabriel, their leader, can parse of bits of his body and consciousness into a bird. That bird can then escape danger, winging up into the blue sky. He’ll be without a hand or a foot until the raven comes back, but he can partition his consciousness into dozens of birds…all of them searching for precious bits of intelligence about the lost secrets of alchemy that are buried in this land.

A bird is never what he seems. His black eyes take in the world beneath him, searching for shiny things. What he finds may be as useless as a bottle cap, or it might be the key to unlocking the secret of eternal life.


Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs, also writing contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams.

Her most recent book is DARK ALCHEMY, described as “Stephen King’s The Gunslinger meets Breaking Bad.” The latest updates on her work are available at www.laurabickle.com.

Dark Alchemy releases today!
Find buy links and read more about Dark Alchemy here


Laura Bickle said...

Thanks so much for the chance to stop by, Sullivan! *hugs*

Demented Wench said...

I believe you had me at "undead cowboys".

Laura Bickle said...

@Demented Wench, I had SO MUCH FUN with the undead cowboys! I figured..."Hey, why not?" :-)

miki said...

i did fed a couple of ravens but they did not grant me gifts and now they don't come ( i think someone cut their tree)- but i do hope they will come bnack
now i'm quite curious about this book and i'm glad to learn that it will be released later as print book

Laura Bickle said...

I hope they come back, too, miki! I'm sure that they appreciated all you did for them. :-)