Guest Post and Review: Whistle Down the Wind by Sibelle Stone

I am very excited to have my guest today.  Sibelle Stone is the author of Whistle Down the Wind.  This new paranormal romance brings a little bit of history and a lot of paranormal to a wonderful romance.  Be sure to check out my review of Whistle Down the Wind following Sibelle Stone’s post.  Without further ado here is Sibelle Stone….

I’m delighted to be here visiting with the Book Maven. We have a lot in common. I was a Social Studies teacher long, long ago and lived in Philadelphia for a while. We also both love books. My day job working for one of the busiest libraries in the country keeps me stocked up on advance review copies and books, books, books.

I’m here to talk about inspiration. Specifically, what inspired me to write the first book in my Mystic Moon series, Whistle Down the Wind.

I love writing about America, and my favorite time periods are from the colonial period to just after the Civil War. I’m especially drawn to the period when the colonies were part of England. It’s a fascinating time to me, with a wild, open country to explore and settle. There are sad stories of exploitation of the native peoples, the horrors of the slave trade and wars between world powers for domination of the continent.

At the same time, we see some of the most important statesmen to ever lead our nation design a revolution, create a constitution that still governs us more than two hundred years later and provided a blueprint for a new kind of government. That amazes me.

Like many authors, I started with a story question. I’d been reading about the European witch craze, in which thousands, (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of women were charged with practicing witchcraft, tried and executed. My story question became: What if a woman was arrested for practicing witchcraft, and she truly had magical powers?

I decided to set the story in the Restoration period when Charles II had just been restored to the throne of England after years of exile. It was a time when science was gaining some traction, but fear and superstition still permeated society. King Charles founded the xx, but at the same time men and women in England were still being tried and hanged as witches.

But, I didn’t want my characters to stay in England. I put them on a ship, (forcing Catlin and Griffin together) and sent them to Jamestown Virginia. And I put the villain on the ship with them.

The title of the book comes from my research, as I discovered witches who controlled the weather were accused of “whistling down the wind”. In my family of elemental witches each sister controls an elemental being related to her magic. Catlin controls sylphs, who are fairly-like beings who help her wield her magic.

I’m looking forward to releasing the next book in the Mystic Moon series later this fall. Embers at Dawn will be eldest sister Aelwyd’s story. I can hardly wait for readers to discover more about this charming, magical family.

Review: 

Whistle Down the Wind is an awesome historical paranormal romance.  It begins with the arrest of Catlin.  Catlin is arrested for witchcraft which was very prevalent at the time.  While being questioned she meets a handsome rogue that comes to her rescue.  Griffin is there waiting for his best friend to finish questioning a supposed witch.  Just when the questioning gets to a rather violent point Griffins best friend is forced into a rather severe coughing fit.  This is a warning that his end is near and Griffin rushes his friend out only to realize the prisoner is gone.  As he is rushing his friend in his sickened state to his couch he is approached by Catlin, the escaped prisoner.  She promises to heal him in exchange for help escaping.  Griffin agrees because he wants his friend healed at any cost.

Catlin is now in a precarious position.  She must show she is truly a witch in front of a noble man.  He gives his word to say nothing about what happens as long as she heals his friend.  In an elaborate ceremony she miraculously heals him with the help of her sylphs.  Griffin is in awe of the ceremony and this woman who stands in front of him.  He feels drawn and compelled to her.  Catlin feels the same way toward Griffin and they continually find ways to be alone, even under the watchful eyes of her sister.  All of this leads to an elaborate plan to have Griffin escort Catlin to Jamestown and Catlin in turn must fight the evil that is plaguing her.  She finds this on the boat and eventually on the mainland.  Catlin and Griffin’s story begins with a jail and ends with freedom in the New World.  How they get there is the best part.

I loved this book.  I really enjoyed all of the characters especially the sisters.  I thought is was a good take on the witch hunts and the New World.  I have never read a book that actually brought you to the New World and still incorporate the paranormal.  I really look forward to the next book and Aelwyd story.  She deserves a happy ending too.  I hope its with who I think it will be, but not sure if that is possible.  Overall, this was a very enjoyable book and I would highly recommend it for anyone who has read Lydia Dare’s books or Deborah Harkness’s books.

I would like to thank Sibelle Stone for stopping by today and ABG reads for letting me host a spot on the tour.  For more information about Whistle down the Wind you can go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.

Author Bio:

Sibelle Stone is the pseudonym for award winning historical romance author Deborah Schneider. Sibelle writes sexy steampunk and paranormal stories, filled with mad scientists, dirigibles, automatons, and creatures that would scare the panties off Deborah. In her spare time Sibelle enjoys dressing up in Victorian ensembles, modding play guns into something that looks a bit more sinister and wearing hats.

Synopsis:

Title: Whistle Down The Wind

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Number of Pages: 278

Publisher: Moon Valley Publishing

Formats available for review: E Book 

 

Arrested for using her magical powers to protect herself, Catlin Glyndwr faces the hangman’s noose. Descended from a long line of elemental witches, she can control the wind and weather. But the worst thing that can happen in 1664 England is to be charged with practicing of witchcraft. Especially when the accusation is true. Sir Griffin Reynolds is visiting his closest childhood friend before embarking on a secret mission for King Charles II to the New World. When his friend becomes deathly ill while interrogating a beautiful woman accused of witchcraft, Griffin accepts her offer of help. In exchange for her freedom, she’ll heal his friend.When Griffin and Catlin embark on a journey to Virginia to save the colony, they succumb to the temptation of a white hot passion that blazes between them. But a Dark Druid stalks Catlin, and if he can’t possess her and her magic — no man will.A beautiful witch discovers there’s more than one way to be wicked.

               

Author Profile: Katherine Howe

I decided to do this week’s author profile on Katherine Howe since I just finished her new book The House of Velvet and Glass.  I was intrigued by Ms. Howe after reading both of her books.

Ms. Howe was born in Houston, Texas.  She is very academically accomplished.  She has degrees in Art History and Philosophy from Columbia.  She also has degrees in American and New England Studies from Boston University.  I was not surprised upon learning this.  Having been a History teacher myself I could recognize someone who has a working knowledge of history.  You can’t just research this for a book.  Ms. Howe knows her history and it shows in both her books.  I did find it very interesting that she is related to two persecuted witches from the Salem witch trials, Elizabeth Proctor and Elizabeth Howe.  Elizabeth Proctor survived her encounter with the trials.  This was no doubt an influence on her choice of topic for her first book, the Salem witch trials.

Ms. Howe’s writing brings history to life.  I enjoy history immensely and I enjoy a good historical fiction.  It is hard to find a book that includes both historically accurate events and persons with the story that flows so well you forget that it is fiction.  Ms. Howe does this.  You can tell as a reader that Ms. Howe uses aspects from all her academic background.  She is poetic and philosophical at times all the while painting history beautifully.  This balance is very hard to maintain. She is an exquisite writer and it shows from her very first sentence in The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.

Here is an excerpt from Katherine Howe’s first book, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane:

CHAPTER ONE

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Late April
1991

“It would appear that we are nearly out of time,” announced Manning Chilton, one glittering eye fixed on the thin pocket watch chained to his vest. He surveyed the other four faces that ringed the conference table. “But we are not quite done with you yet, Miss Goodwin.”

Whenever Chilton felt especially pleased with himself his voice became ironic, bantering: an incongruous affectation that grated on his graduate students. Connie picked up on the shift in his voice immediately, and she knew then that her qualifying examination was finally drawing to a close. A sour hint of nausea bubbled up in the back of her throat, and she swallowed. The other professors on the panel smiled back at Chilton.

Through her anxiety, Connie Goodwin felt a flutter of satisfaction tingle somewhere in her chest, and she permitted herself to bask in the sensation for a moment. If she had to guess, she would have said that the exam was going adequately. But only just. A nervous smile fought to break across her face, but she quickly smothered it under the smooth, neutral expression of detached competence that she knew was more appropriate for a young woman in her position. This expression did not come naturally to her, and the resulting effort rather comically resembled someone who had just bitten into a lime.

There was still one more question coming. One more chance to be ruined. Connie shifted in her seat. In the months leading up to the qualifying exam, her weight had dropped, inexorably at first, and then precipitously. Now her bones lacked cushioning against the chair, and her Fair Isle sweater hung loose on her shoulders. Her cheeks, usually flush and pink, formed hollows under her sloping cheekbones, making her pale blue eyes appear larger in her face, framed by soft, short brown lashes. Dark brown brows swept down over her eyes, screwed together in thought. The smooth planes of her cheeks and high forehead were an icy white, dotted by the shadowy hint of freckles, and offset by a sharp chin and well made, if rather prominent, nose. Her lips, thin and pale pink, grew paler as she pressed them together. One hand crept up to finger the tail end of a long, bark-colored braid that draped over her shoulder, but she caught herself and returned the hand to her lap.

“I can’t believe how calm you are,” her thesis student, a lanky young undergraduate whose junior paper Connie was advising, had exclaimed over lunch earlier that afternoon. “How can you even eat! If I were about to sit for my orals I would probably be nauseous.”

“Thomas, you get nauseous over our tutorial meetings,” Connie had reminded him gently, though it was true that her appetite had almost vanished. If pressed, she would have admitted that she enjoyed intimidating Thomas a little. Connie justified this minor cruelty on the grounds that an intimidated thesis student would be more likely to meet the deadlines that she set for him, might put more effort into his work. But if she were honest, she might acknowledge a less honorable motive. His eyes shone upon her in trepidation, and she felt bolstered by his regard.

“Besides, it’s not as big a deal as people make it out to be. You just have to be prepared to answer any question on any of the four hundred books you’ve read so far in graduate school. And if you get it wrong, they kick you out,” she said. He fixed her with a look of barely contained awe while she stirred the salad around her plate with the tines of her fork. She smiled at him. Part of learning to be a professor was learning to behave in a professorial way. Thomas could not be permitted to see how afraid she was.

The oral qualifying exam is usually a turning point – a moment when the professoriate welcomes you as a colleague rather than an apprentice. More infamously, the exam can also be the scene of spectacular intellectual carnage, as the unprepared student – conscious but powerless – witnesses her own professional vivisection. Either way, she will be forced to face her inadequacies. Connie was a careful, precise young woman, not given to leaving anything to chance. As she pushed away the half-eaten salad across the table from the worshipful Thomas, she told herself that she was as prepared as it was possible to be. In her mind ranged whole shelvesful of books, annotated and bookmarked, and as she set aside her luncheon fork she roamed through the shelves of her acquired knowledge, quizzing herself. Where are the economic books? Here. And the books on costume and material culture? One shelf over, on the left.

A shadow of doubt crossed her face. But what if she was not prepared enough? The first wave of nausea contorted her stomach, and her face grew paler. Every year, it happened to someone. For years she had heard the whispers about students who had cracked, run sobbing from the examination room, their academic careers over before they had even begun. There were really only two ways that this could go. Her performance today could, in theory, raise her significantly in departmental regard. Today, if she handled herself correctly, she would be one step closer to becoming a professor.

For the rest of Chapter One you can go to Barnes and Noble and look  under The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  I would highly recommend reading both The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass.  You will not be disappointed.  Now, I will be sitting here waiting for her next historical venture.  I can’t wait!

For more information about Katherine Howe visit her website at katherinehowe.com.  For more information about her books you can go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any other book retailer.

***You can also check out my book review of The House of Velvet and Glass for more information regarding that book.

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