Sunday, February 14, 2021

Tears and Crimson Velvet - Guest Post by A. L. Butcher

Today we host a guest blog from fellow Heroika and Heroes in Hell author, A. L. Butcher. She has a new entry out now for her Legacy of the Mask series of short stories (Historical Fantasy). Tears and Crimson Velvet is the sequel to Echoes of a Song, and you'll hear from a key protagonist in this guest post.  This is also part of a blog tour via Silver Dagger Book Tours and includes a giveaway (info/ below).

A L Butcher's character Lise Giry gets interviewed. Learn more about the character, and the historical fantasy exhibited in the award-winning Legacy of the Mask short story series:

Lise Giry, how did you find yourself in your current predicament/on your current adventure?

Years ago, I took pity on a young man – he was caged like a beast, beaten, starved. He was a prisoner, because of the face he wore. Never had I seen the like of him – thin and wiry, ugly as the devil, but his voice… oh that voice. The moment I heard Erik sing my soul rejoiced, for it was a heavenly sound. No mortal should be able to sing like that – not even the greatest of the Opera singers. It was so full of joy, and yet so terribly sorrowful. That day I heard the Angel of Music and brought the Angel of Death to my door.

Can a man be an Angel and a devil in one? Yes. He is the best of men, and the worst.

I found him in my husband’s barn, cold, bleeding and desperate. I should have turned him in, but I did not. I brought him food, tended his wounds and clothed him. I could not know than how that act of Christian goodness would shape my life. I could not know who he would become, or indeed, who I would become. No one had ever been kind to him. His life was pain, darkness, hatred and fear. Poor Erik.

Erik was my secret, my first lie. After my husband died, I was left with nothing, my stepchildren saw to that. My daughter and I would have starved, but ‘opportunities’ appeared, like working at the Opera House. I thought about him, not every day. Not then. I wondered what had happened to the frightened boy I had helped, sometimes I heard fantastic stories about a wizard who built palaces for kings, and sang like no one else.

What is your moral code? How does it compare with the general moral code of your area?

I was raised as a Catholic. France is a religious country, and it is expected one follows the teachings of Jesus. I pray to God, he doesn’t listen, but I pray nonetheless. Do I believe, truly? I believe in angels – for I have met one. He is terrible, enchanting, captivating and mysterious. I used to believe no one is beyond redemption, no one is truly damned – and now I question that. I have spoken with an angel in hell, a man truly damned.

To others I am the prim and proper dance mistress of the Opera Populaire in Paris. I live quietly, I tell no tales, do not gossip, attend Mass and don’t flaunt my body – although at my age that would be a sin indeed.

In truth I live a lie and have done for many years. The secrets I keep could bring a man to the executioner or could have saved a man’s life. The truth I know is not that of others.

How many crimes have you committed?

I have harboured a murderer, fed him, clothed him. I have remained silent whilst the bodies pile up. I have been complicit in extortion, theft, deceit, and even kidnap.

Sins – many of those have been committed. Every day he lives. Every day I live.

What is your greatest achievement? 

My daughter, Meg. She is a talented dancer, and despite our hardships and our strange life she has done well.

What is your greatest failure? 

I could not save his soul.

If you could live your life again would you make the same choices? 


Have you ever loved/been loved? 

I loved my father, I loved my husband, in a way, and I loved Erik.

Tell us about your family. I have a daughter Meg. 

My other children are with their father in heaven. I have no family other than that.

How does your society deal with those on the edges? Do you approve of this?

Those who are poor, infirm or disfigured often find themselves at the mercy of others. There are those who are different, feared, hated for no reason other than they ARE different. I wonder what Erik would have become if he had not bore the face he had. If a man lives in shadows, he becomes a ghost.

Women, especially widows, often find life a struggle. It’s a man’s world – and we must conform or be outcast. Many resort to crime to feed hungry bellies, I have seen failed dancers, abandoned my patrons, often pregnant, starving in the streets or selling their bodies for bread.

Giveaway & Blog Tour

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

  • $20 Amazon giftcard,
  • Free Audible edition of both books (UK, US, DE),
  • Signed print copy (or large print - winners choice) of either book,
  • Free copy of Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales (fantasy) in either ebook, signed print edition or audible.
  • 1 winner each!

 About the Author

British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as 'dark and gritty' and her poetry as 'evocative'. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.

Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror, including the Legacy of the Mask series. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.

She also curates speculative fiction themed book bundles on BundleRabbit - for the most part the Here Be Series

Alex is also proud to be a writer for Perseid Press where her work features in Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Heroika Skirmishers - where she was editor and cover designer as well as writer; and Lovers in Hell - part of the acclaimed Heroes in Hell series.
Awards: Outside the Walls, co-written with Diana L. Wicker received a Chill with a Book Reader's Award in 2017.

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