The Night Watchman Express
An underground factory a terrifying laboratory, and the eerie whistle of the Night Watchman Express…
Miriam has only her guardians' son for company, and she and Simon dislike each other from the start. But they must find a way to trust each other, or they will end up on the sinister Night Watchman Express.
Full of danger, suspense, betrayal, and a hint of romance, this steampunk adventure is for readers of all ages.
In The Night Watchman Express, Miriam and Simon were kidnapped and thrown on the strange train... Now in Book Two of The Crown Phoenix series, they arrive at the terrifying destination known as Devil's Kitchen.
There they will face human experiments in a laboratory known as The Infirmary.
There Miriam will be forced to work in an underground factory.
There Simon is held in a luxurious prison by jailers who are as beautiful as they are deadly...
And their courage will be tested to the breaking point.
The Lamplighter's Special
Lizzie and her beautiful sister Ninna are forced to work in a huge Manor and on a steamship to support their family.
They are caught up in several mysteries:
The squire’s oldest son cannot leave the attic An old typewriter seems to move time and space A passenger hides in a secret room A beautiful visitor is plotting against them
And Lizzie discovers that she has a strange, new ability.
She and her sister must discover the secrets of The Lamplighter’s Special before their enemy catches up with them.
by Alison DeLuca
Characters who are perfect are, well, boring. If someone is a robot with perfectly groomed hair even in a high wind, why should I care? And how could I possibly relate?
As a writer and a reader, I adore character flaws. I love how personalities boil over, how the brain goes awry. It is a way to be paranormal without sparkly skin.
In my Crown Phoenix series, I had a host of characters with flaws. Here they are with short explanations of what went wrong in each case:
1. Miriam – My main heroine comes first. She has a terrible temper, and since she is an orphan in Edwardian England, she is furious at how her life changes overnight without being able to have any say in what happens to her. Guardians arrive in her house and hire a governess for her. She is tossed out of her bedroom and forced to sleep in the attics. She must wear black. To all this, she reacts with tantrums and even violence – she burns important papers and throws cricket balls at her uncle. (He still bears a huge bruise on his shin.)
2. Simon – The son of the guardians, his flaw is that he is a bit too perfect. He’s handsome, rich, and good at sports. With all of this comes a fast eye for pretty girls and a tendency to impatience when he encounters weakness. Simon is ripe for a loud quarrel with Miriam, and the two clash almost at once. It is only after some very exciting, dangerous adventures that Simon discovers that beauty isn’t always a good thing, and weakness can be, in the right circumstance, a real strength.
3. Lizzie – She appears in the third book of the series, and her affliction is a physical one. She is very near-sighted and desperately needs glasses. As a maid in a large, tumbledown manor, something like spectacles is an impossible luxury. To describe the book from her point of view, keeping her limited sight in mind, was a joyful challenge for me as an author.
4. Toby – Lizzie has to wait on him, and he is the eldest son in the manor. After his mother died, however, he found that he was unable to leave his room. His agoraphobia confines him to the attics, and Lizzie is his only real contact with the world.
5. Lizzie, again – Lizzie goes through something called the Passage, a “hole” in time and space opened by the Crown Phoenix. This causes some very major changes – she finds that after the Passage she can sniff out emotions and feelings in others.
6. Matilda – Lizzie youngest sister, she has been affected by her brother’s disappearance and her parents’ dependence on a tonic that is a fearful opiate. As a result, she becomes obsessive about keeping clean, and she washes her hands so often that they bleed.
7. Kyoge – He’s strong, tall, intelligent, and handsome. What could be the matter there? Nothing, beyond an advanced sense of Place and Duty that forbids him to make any advances to the woman he loves, since she is on a higher level of society. Everyone, including the woman, knows that he is perfect for her – will he be able to overcome his own belief system and upbringing to be able to grasp happiness?
8. Riki – She is very close to my heart. Riki is a wild child, one of those kids who was born and immediately began to plague her parents night and day. She won’t listen or behave until she meets the one boy who won’t put up with her nonsense.
9. Mana – She is largely perfect. Intelligent, dignified and beautiful, she would be an accepted member of Society – if she weren’t a woman of color in Edwardian England. She must rely on her own wits and a bit of magic to negotiate the Upstairs and Downstairs of a large country house.
There are others, but these were my favorites. I loved these characters as they came alive for me, and the reason they were so vivid in my mind was, I think, due to their lovely, beautiful flaws.
About the Author
Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.
You can find Alison here:
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Twitter - http://twitter.com/ - !/AlisonDeLuca
Google + http://bit.ly/ADGoogle
Author Central: http://amzn.to/ADeLucaAuthorCentral
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