Please make welcome to the Tavern my good friend and talented author Judith Sterling! We're celebrating her new book release, Trip the Light Phantasmic (The Gothic Gwyn Mysteries, Book One)! If you recall, Judith was a regular on Medieval Monday a year ago. Now she's on a journey with her new series. I'm enjoying this story immensely!
Grab a cup of cider and let's take a peek into Judith's new book...
Gwyneth Camm has just inherited her great-aunt’s house in Salem, Massachusetts, along with an extensive collection of gothic romance novels. As a PhD student who prefers “serious” books, Gwyn has always avoided pulp fiction. Now, in honor of her beloved Aunt Ethel, she gives one of the gothics a try…and promptly falls asleep.
When she wakes, she finds herself inside the story, thrust by forces unknown into the heroine’s role. There’s magic afoot, and the only way back to her own life is to play her part and solve the mystery.
When fiction becomes fact, anything can happen…
Sneak preview from Trip the Light Phantasmic ~
I stepped out into the crisp, fresh air of an autumn evening and inhaled deeply. To my eyes—and lungs—the terrace was Heaven, illuminated by electric lights whose glow reached partway down a wide stone staircase. Darkness hid the rest of the grounds and whatever else lay beyond.
I turned to my savior as he closed the doors to the dining room. “How can I thank you enough?”
“By telling me the real reason why you wanted to leave.” He closed the distance between us. His broad shoulders looked sturdy, dependable.
“I’m not sure you’ll like it.”
“I still want to know.”
“I’m sensitive to cigarette smoke. I was okay with it for a while, but then I had to get out of there.”
He performed a little smile. “You sound just like…”
I held my tongue, expecting him to elaborate, but the wait was wasted. “You were saying…”
He shook his head as though shaking off a memory. “Never mind. Why didn’t you tell the truth?”
“I didn’t want to seem rude. But I suppose I did anyway.”
“You’ll have to forgive Mother. She’s had her share of tragedy.” He took a deep breath, then sighed. “She was once a prima ballerina…world-famous. Until she married my father. They were happy for a time. Then she had an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down.”
He nodded. “Being confined to a wheelchair is…difficult for her, perhaps harder than for most.”
Out of nowhere, an icy gust swiped me. I shivered and rubbed my bare arms.
“You’re cold.” He removed his jacket and placed it around my shoulders. Though haunted by the smell of smoke, it infused me with his warmth and an odd sense of intimacy. He lingered behind me.
“Thank you.” Twisting around, I looked up into his finely chiseled face and detected a hint of interest.
His pupils expanded. “It’s the least I can do.”
Oh yeah? What more could you do if I let you? Best not to think about that.
A slight movement at one of the windows caught my eye. Penny, the maid, watched us from inside the house. Before I could acknowledge her presence, she dropped the curtain, hiding herself from view.
Okay. That was interesting.
Edgar followed my gaze. “What is it?”
“We had an audience.”
“Penny was watching from that window.” I pointed to the one in question.
“Ah, Penny. I’ve known her a long time, and she’s a curious girl. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if she had company.”
I turned to face him. “Meaning?”
“This house has many eyes, and they’re always watching. You’d do well to remember that.”
Dude, you just upped the creep factor by half. “I’ll try.” I doffed his jacket and handed it back to him. “Thanks for this. I’m going now.”
“My room. I know it’s early, but—”
“You’ve had a long day.”
You have no idea. “Yes. Should I go back through the dining room?”
“Better not. Roland will still be smoking. Go through the drawing room, over there.” He indicated the other set of French doors. His eyes held understanding, and if I wasn’t mistaken, regret. “Good night, Gwyn.”
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Meet the Author
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Through gothic paranormal mystery (The Gothic Gwyn Mysteries), medieval/time travel romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) and young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), she loves to whisk readers away from their troubles and remind them of the hidden magic all around us.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
Connect with Judith here ~