Welcome Cecilia Dominic to Writer's Wednesday!
Thank you so much for hosting me today, N.J.! I’m really excited to be able to share Aether Spirit with your readers. Although it’s the third in the series, it can be read as a standalone novel. If you do want to catch up, now is a great time to do so because the first book in the series, Eros Element, is currently on sale for 99 cents at all ebook retailers.
This was a fun book to write because the heroine is a neuroticist, or psychiatrist specializing in neuroses, in an alternate history 1871. I’m a psychologist for my day job, and I love medical history, so I got to do some fun research to make Claire believable. Her love interest, Chackwick Radcliffe, is biracial, so he has a lot of challenges of his own professionally.
Claire and Chadwick have a history, but she was in a steamcart accident, and the trauma, head injury, and manipulation by some of Europe’s leading psychiatrists have caused her memories of him to be erased. Aether Spirit is a second chance love story and the tale of a young woman who fights to reclaim her past and herself. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it!
Forgetting her is impossible. Remembering him could kill her.
When Chadwick Radcliffe arrives at Fort Daniels to assume the position of medical chief, the prejudice against his mixed heritage is no surprise. But he never expected to encounter the one woman who’s beyond his reach—medically and emotionally.
A steamcart accident stole three years of Claire McPhee’s memories, and now as she helps soldiers cope with combat-related neuroses, she secretly hopes to find the key to filling that gaping hole.
There’s something vaguely familiar about Dr. Radcliffe, but every time she comes close to determining why, he pushes her away—and her hypnosis-induced memory blocks explode with pain.
Chadwick knows the Eros Element can heal, but its unintended side effects are too dangerous to risk using it to bring Claire’s memories out of the shadows. But with the key to the Union’s victory buried in Claire’s mind, Chadwick and Claire are forced to push past the boundaries others have placed on them—even if rediscovering their love risks their lives.
Warning: Vast amounts of Victorian mental health geekery and copious amounts of tea were poured into the writing of his book. No matter how pretty the aether is, the author cautions readers not to try using it to manipulate others’ emotions. The side effects could be atrocious.
Claire sat straight up when she heard a voice ask, “What is that awful noise?” She looked around but couldn’t see anything amiss in the room. A whine in her ears made her press her fingers to them.
“Is someone there?” she asked. Her hands shook, but she finally lit the lamp on the bedside table. The cheerful yellow decor struck her as jaundiced, not happy, and she tried not to let her mind stray to the fact that the room had belonged to a young woman who died.
No, her mind was going to think those spooky thoughts no matter how hard she tried not to have them. Claire thought about what to do. Disturb Mrs. Soper in her room? With what? A strange voice asking a question that might have been Claire dreaming, although she was fairly certain she hadn’t been asleep. She turned the switch on the side of the lamp to douse the light and curled up on her side. She was almost asleep when the voice woke her again.
“The noise, Miss. Don’t you hear it? It’s coming closer!” A hand shook Claire by the shoulder, and through her nightgown, its fingers felt like icy death.
Claire scrambled away from it and over the side of the bed with a thud. She couldn’t recall how later, but she made it into the hallway and stood—with her robe and shoes on—face-to-face with Mrs. Soper.
“Thank goodness you’re awake!” She grabbed Claire’s hand. “We need to get to the back of the base, quick. We’re under attack, and their shells don’t go that far. Or they won’t unless they surround us, but our boys won’t let that happen.”
Claire blinked the fog from her brain. A low rumble like that of thunder turned into a screeching and an explosion nearby. The entire house shook, and tinkling told Claire it had been close enough to shatter the windows.
“They’re attacking us? In the middle of the night?”
“Yes, and we’re going after them right back. Don’t you worry. Our boys’ll get them.”
“Are you sure we can make it to the back of the base?” Another explosion nearby made Claire clutch the banister so she wouldn’t fall down the stairs.
Mrs. Soper gestured for Claire to follow her. “There’s a tunnel. The general had it built so his family would be safe when this happened. We’ll end up in the hospital.”
Claire nearly stopped. She was in her nightclothes, for goodness’ sake. But she didn’t have much of a choice. Being fully dressed wouldn’t help her if she ended up dead.
“Hurry, Miss.” The voice was at Claire’s elbow now. “Hurry, or the Rebs’ll get you.”
“Do you hear that?” Claire whispered to Mrs. Soper, who led her by the hand across the living room.
“Yes, and just be glad she likes you. Others haven’t been so lucky.”
Her words gave Claire as many goose bumps as the ghost had, but she had no choice but to follow and hope the spirit would continue to be helpful. They ended up in a broom closet with a false back that Mrs. Soper made open by tugging on a mop.
“There’s a torch just inside. I’ll come behind you and close the door.”
Claire looked into the gloom. She lit the torch with a match from a tin, and a dirt passage like a mine tunnel spread out in front of her. Its downward slope ended in darkness, and she hesitated.
“Go on, now. I’ll be right behind you.”
Claire took a step but stopped when a male voice called out.
“Mrs. Soper! Doctor McPhee! Where are you?”
“It’s that fool Longchamp,” Mrs. Soper said. “Go on, child. The tunnel goes just one place. Let me take care of him, and I’ll come find you at the hospital.”
“But…” Claire spoke to the door, which closed in her face. She fumbled the torch but managed to catch it without lighting herself or her nightclothes on fire. She turned to see the young woman who had given her directions at the women’s quarters, and pressure stuffed her ears again. She now recognized the nightgown and head wrap as belonging to an invalid.
“It’s all right, Miss. I won’t hurt you.” She smiled, but her teeth had the crooked yellow appearance of a corpse’s. “Follow me.” She turned and walked down the tunnel.
Claire didn’t want to, but she was trapped. She looked down. Wrapped around her hand were golden filaments like the ones that had spread between her hand and the aether orb in its glass cage. She heard a voice whisper, “Trust” in her ear.
With a deep breath, she stepped down the passage. The ground shook, and a jumble of rocks fell where she had just been standing. She held on to the wall to keep from falling, and the torch extinguished.
“Corn biscuits and gravy!” she swore into the dark. Even the ghost had disappeared.
The word “Trust” came from the darkness again, and a faint light flickered in the tunnel ahead. Claire squinted at its golden glow, too far for her to make out exactly what caused it, but she walked toward it. What else could she do? There was no way to go but forward. She hoped that what she walked toward would be less harmful than what she had escaped.
Other books in the series:
Noble Secrets, a prequel novella – also currently on sale for 99 cents
A dangerous man from her past.
A handsome duke in her present.
Secrets that threaten their future.
Discover the Aether Psychics series, in which science has no limits and love overcomes even the highest boundaries, in this 94-page prequel novella (no cliffhanger).
After tragedy hits and danger moves in, Pauline Donahue flees London, searching for sanctuary and a way to start over. A job at a small university provides the escape she needs. Keeping recalcitrant professor Edward Bailey on task after a shattered heart renders him broken and destroyed becomes her daily routine. But when the same vicious man from her past sets his malicious sights on Pauline, her safe haven comes crashing down.
Duke of Waltham, Christopher Bailey, never counted on the gentle commoner, Miss Donahue, to save his brother--and himself--from broken pasts and a lifetime of mistakes. But she does just that. As their love blossoms, danger closes in, threatening Pauline and Christopher's lives. Together, they are forced to face their biggest fears, revealing secrets that could ruin them both.
Eros Element, Book One (currently on sale for 99 cents electronically)
If love is the ivy, secrets are the poison.
Aether Psychics, Book 1
After enduring heartbreak at the hands of a dishonest woman, Edward Bailey lives according to scientific principles of structure and predictability. Just the thought of stepping outside his strict routine raises his anxiety.
Adding to his discomfort is Iris McTavish, who appears at his school’s faculty meeting in place of her world-famous archeologist father. Worse, the two of them are to pose as Grand Tourists while they search for an element that will help harness the power of aether.
Iris jumps at the opportunity to prove her worth as a scholar—and avoid an unwanted marriage proposal—while hiding the truth of her father’s whereabouts. If her secret gets out, the house of McTavish will fall into ruin.
Quite unexpectedly, Edward and Iris discover a growing attraction as their journey takes them to Paris and Rome, where betrayal, blackmail and outright theft threaten to destroy what could be a revolutionary discovery—and break their hearts.
Warning: Allergen alert! This book was produced in a facility that handles copious amounts of wine, tea and baked goods. May contain one or more of the following: a spirited heroine, a quirky hero, clever banter, interesting facts both made-up and historical, and lots of secrets. It is, however, gluten free.
Samhain Publishing: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5545/eros-element
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eros-element-cecilia-dominic/1121969555?ean=9781619230002
Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cecilia_Dominic_Eros_Element?id=hR51CQAAQBAJ
Light Fantastique, Book Two:
At the Théâtre Bohème, danger decides who takes the final curtain call.
Aether Psychics, Book 2
Hailed as the most talented actress of her generation, Marie St. Jean has something more to her ability than mere talent. She loses a bit of her soul to each role. When the ghostly spirit of the theatre promises her an easy fix, she’s tempted by the chance to finally live a normal life.
Unfortunately, the man she’s drawn to is the last one to settle for normal. But with the Prussians surrounding Paris, there’s no escaping that temptation, either.
Violinist Johann Bledsoe thought he’d left his disgrace in England, but a murder outside the Théâtre Bohème makes him wonder if he’s been exposed. Another reason not to stick around once the siege ends, even if Marie fascinates him.
More murders, steam-powered ravens, and past and present secrets bring them closer to discovering just what lurks within the theatre, and who threatens from without. The only way to save themselves is to reveal their darkest shames—and use the Eros Element in a way that has already driven one man to the brink of madness.
Warning: Processed in a facility where wine is used as currency and dessert is a reward. If you dislike French cooking and attitudes, move along. Things are cooking in this book, and it ain’t Julia Child.
Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=A-FxCgAAQBAJ&rdid=book-A-FxCgAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_atb&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_atb
Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she's fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn't stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she's been told, is a good number of each.
You can find her at:
Web page: www.ceciliadominic.com
Wine blog: www.randomoenophile.com
If you would like to join her mailing list to find out more about her and for sleep and wine tips, sign up at: http://eepurl.com/bjz2yf