Friday, 16 October 2015

The Underworld: Seen and Unseen - Guest Post by Laura Bickle

Today one of my favorite authors visits my blog for a guest post about her upcoming release Mercury Retrograde

The Underworld: Seen and Unseen
By Laura Bickle

No one really plans a trip to the underworld. Nobody gets to pack a lunch and remember to bring rain boots.

It just happens, and it’s happened to Petra Dee. She’s a geologist, skeptic, and the daughter of an alchemist. She’s not entirely sure that she believes in the spirit world, but she’s arrived in what sure looks like an underworld landscape: bricked streets in a vast cavern converging in a center point, lit from overhead with glowing lichen. The bricks are carved with alchemical symbols she doesn’t recognize, and well-worn paths lead away into the darkness.

She thinks this might be bad news. Topside, she fought with a venomous basilisk and got a nose full of venom. That could be bad, bad enough to make her a permanent resident in the underworld. Her ethereal body feels like it’s dissolving, and she’s wondering what’s happening to her physical body on earth – she might have been reduced to a gooey stain on the ground.

Fortunately, she’s not alone in this adventure. Her spirit guide, Sig, is with her. He’s a coyote – maybe The Coyote, with a capital “C,” though he’s not spilling the beans – and he seems not disturbed in the slightest. He’s actually pretty happy to see her other companion in the underworld, a man that Petra’s been trying to find for years: her father.

Well, he’s not as she remembers him. He looks the same from the neck up, but he’s wearing a cloak over a suit of bones (which Sig keeps trying to gnaw). Her dad’s been stuck here for many years while his body’s sitting in a wheelchair in a nursing home, speechless and unaware of his surroundings in the material world. But he’s sure got a lot to tell Petra now, from accusing her to mucking about with alchemical texts she doesn’t understand, to criticizing her approach to the basilisk. The spot in which they find themselves is the Umbilicus Mundi, the navel of the world. It’s where all roads meet, and is the place where she stands the best chance of survival.

In order to escape, Petra must bring back to this spot an artifact that resonates with her, and she will be judged accordingly. In her travels, she confronts five artifacts: a crystal, a feather, a sword, a chalice containing a fish, and a cage containing a bird. Each is not what it seems, and carries with it an unseen intelligence.

Which one would you pick as your get out of hell free card? And why?


Something venomous has come to Temperance …
It's been two months since Petra Dee and her coyote sidekick Sig faced off against Temperance's resident alchemist, but things are far from quiet. When an Internet video of a massive snake in the backcountry of Yellowstone goes viral, a chase for the mythical basilisk is on. Monster hunters swarm into the area, and never one to pass up the promise of discovery, Petra joins in the search.

Among the newcomers is a snake cult on wheels―the biker gang Sisters of Serpens. Unlike some, the Sisters don't want to kill the basilisk―they want to worship it. But things get complicated when the basilisk develops a taste for human flesh that rivals the Sisters' own murderous skills.
Meanwhile, the alchemical tree of life is dying, and the undead Hanged Men of Temperance who depend on it know the basilisk may be their last chance for survival.

With time running out for everyone around her, Petra will be forced to decide who survives and who she must leave behind in this action-packed sequel to Dark Alchemy.

“This wonderfully unusual Weird West novel combines the best of contemporary fantasy with metaphysical magic and mayhem, and even a bit of romance.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Buy links:

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - iBooks - HarperCollins


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 work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.


Blodeuedd said...

I so need to read that first book ;)

Laura Bickle said...

Thanks so much for the chance to come by and say hello! :-)

Sullivan McPig said...

Is that a hint? ;-)

Sullivan McPig said...

Is that a hint? ;-)