Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Sidekick - Guest Post by Laura Bickle + giveaway

A big warm welcome today for one of my favorite authors: Laura Bickle

The Sidekick: Not Always What He Seems
By Laura Bickle

When I was writing NINE OF STARS, I wanted my protagonist to have an animal sidekick. Petra Dee is the daughter of an alchemist, but she’s a geologist who doesn’t practice any magic. She finds herself drawn to an old Gold Rush-era town that was founded by an alchemist a hundred and fifty years ago. Some of that alchemist’s failed experiments still wander the countryside: undead cowboys, basilisks, restless ghosts. Given the magnitude of these threats, I needed to give her a stalwart companion to fight the monsters.

Sig showed up at Petra’s doorstep in search of lunch meat, and Petra has adopted him. He behaves pretty much as an ex-feral dog might: he’s shy around strangers, possessive around food, and loves his blanket. He’s very attached to Petra, and really doesn’t give other people the time of day (unless there’s a food bribe involved). He’s a good source of unconditional love, and he manages to anchor Petra in the daily bits of life.

But the more I wrote about Sig, the more I realized that there was more to him than I originally intended. He has a nose for trouble, and he seems to be able to track magical creatures with uncanny precision. In the prequel book, DARK ALCHEMY, he dug up a magical compass for Petra. He’s able to make friends with wolves, and not immediately become dinner.

When I was looking at Sig through the eyes of wolves, I realized that he might be more. He might be THE Coyote with a capital “C,” come down to earth in a fur-suit for his own purposes.

In that case, he has his own agenda beyond lunch meat and fuzzy blankets. What does he want? How involved is he in the magical mysteries of Temperance, Wyoming? Whose side is he on, other than his own? He certainly knows more than he’s telling.

And it made me realize: Sig is probably not Petra’s sidekick. Petra is Sig’s sidekick. To what end, I’m not entirely sure. But I can’t wait to find out!


Nine of Stars

From critically acclaimed author Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy) comes the first novel in the Wildlands series, NINE OF STARS. Longmire meets Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson in this exciting new series that shows how weird and wonderful the West can truly be.

Winter has always been a deadly season in Temperance, but this time, there’s more to fear than just the cold…

As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has faced all manner of occult horrors – especially since her arrival in the small town of Temperance, Wyoming. But she can’t explain the creature now stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, butchering wolves and leaving only their skins behind in the snow. Rumors surface of the return of Skinflint Jack, a nineteenth-century wraith that kills in fulfillment of an ancient bargain.

The new sheriff in town, Owen Rutherford, isn’t helping matters. He’s a dangerously haunted man on the trail of both an unsolved case and a fresh kill – a bizarre murder leading him right to Petra’s partner Gabriel. And while Gabe once had little to fear from the mortal world, he’s all too human now. This time, when violence hits close to home, there are no magical solutions.

It’s up to Petra and her coyote sidekick Sig to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural being hunting them all – before the trail turns deathly cold.

“Bickle is well on her way to establishing her work as a cornerstone of her genre.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Following the prequels Dark Alchemy and Mercury Retrograde, Bickle’s series launch mixes alchemy, folklore, and Native American traditions with a wintry Western landscape that will intrigue fans of the Weird West subgenre.” – Library Journal

“Full marks to Bickle for being unafraid to shake things up on this still relatively new, but consistently engaging series.” – RT Book Reviews (4 Stars)

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and 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. The latest updates on her work can be found at



I'm giving a print copy of either Dark Alchemy, or Mercury Retrograde to one reader of my blog.
(see my two previous posts for info on the books)

- Leave a comment on this post
- Leave a way for me to contact you
- You have until December 26, 2016 to comment, a winner will be randomly selected soon after.

Open to anyone who lives somewhere bookdepository ships to and is legally allowed to enter this giveaway

Pearl Cast Before A McPig is not responsible for books that get lost in the mail.


Laura Bickle said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today! Many *hugs*!

(Sig and Sparky are playing together, BTW)

Debby said...

I love the titles of your books. I would love to read one. I have not as yet and need to change that
debby236 at gmail dot com

Laura Bickle said...

Thanks, Debby! I tried to pick titles that would fit in with the alchemy theme!