No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 5 teaser

An oil lamp by the door burned low and threw soft black shadows around the stock room. A rustling in the corner grabbed Vi’s attention and she stood rooted to the spot. The occasional rat was to be expected, but this sounded much bigger. She reached out and turned the screw on the lamp to feed it more wick and flame blazed to life. The rustling grew frantic, accompanied by a yelp and the unmistakable thud of a human skull meeting wood.

Vi’s heartbeat dropped back to normal and she kicked the crate nearest to her. “God dammit, you two! You scared me half to death.”
The round face ringed and mussed yellow curls a serving girl called Caroline peeked out from behind a wooden carton. “It’s just me, Miss Viola. Just…um…looking for some rum!” She grabbed one of the bottles in front of her and tried to look innocent.

“Uh-huh. So what you’re telling me is that when I go through that door, I’m going to find my bartender behind the bar, right where he belongs?”

“Well, see,” the waitress sputtered, “Jimmy went out a couple of minutes ago to—”

Vi sighed. “Jimmy?”

“Yes, Miss Viola?” squeaked a male voice from somewhere behind the stack of boxes.

“I want you back behind that bar in five minutes.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Caroline had the good sense to look guilty when Vi shifted her gaze to include her. “But then this never happens again during working hours. Understood?”

“Yes ma’am,” the couple chimed in unison.

Vi reached to take the bottle from the blond woman. “Also, this is bourbon. I trust you can tell the difference when you’re serving the customers.” She winked and leaned in for a conspiratorial whisper. “Five minutes. Make them count.”

“Yes ma’am!” Caroline giggled and disappeared behind the crates again.

With a shrug, Vi turned down the lamp before leaving the stockroom as she’d found it. “Newlyweds.” She sighed and looked at the whiskey in her hand. A little hair of the dog might be just what the doctor ordered.

Read the full Chapter 1 and learn more about reading the full book early as a Patreon supporter.

Just ONE WEEK Left if you Want the Inside Scoop on the Edwardian Ball in New Orleans! – New Rewards Added

Time is running out …

I was offered the chance of a lifetime, but I can’t take advantage without your help.

As the new US Editor for Steampunk Journal, I’ve been given the opportunity to report on the Edwardian Ball, a fantastic charity even taking place in New Orleans on March 25. But beyond the Journal, I am writing a series of books and several of them take place in New Orleans! (Read a teaser or the full Chapter 1)

This is an incredible opportunity for me to conduct research to give my books and the setting the full, rich treatment it deserves. I have lived in or visited many of places where Vi travels during the course of Mistress of None, but the Big Easy isn’t one of them. I chose it for its history, and it’s reputation as one of the world’s “Most Haunted” cities.

Not only will I report on the Ball for Steampunk Journal, but I plan to bring all kinds of wonderful historical tidbits and spooky facts about New Orleans to followers of PhoebeDarqueling.com. But only if you help me get there next weekend! If you can see it in your heart to forego just ONE coffee, I can take this important journey down my writing path.

marco-sanchez-edwardian-ball-2017-187

Visit the campaign page

Butterfly Shadowbox
Yours for a $50 pledge to my Kickstarter campaign!

I will also be offering prints of your favorite photos from the event, the Steampunk Journal report in your inbox early, and one of a kind works of art like the shadowbox you see here, but you get to see your name on both Steampunk Journal and PhoebeDarqueling.com!

Burlington Arcade

IMG_0570While I was in the Piccadilly area for the market I also did some serious window shopping. There are so many lovely stores and window displays in this posh neighborhood! I didn’t really have anything in mind, but as soon as I spied Burlington Arcade I had to take a stroll down this lovely little pedestrian thoroughfare. I am not sure if it was all the shiny watches glinting at me from across the street, or the top-hatted man in the portico, but I had a feeling I would find something relevant there for my Steampunk wanderings.

I was surprised when I entered to find a high ceiling complete with beautiful skylights hidden behind the curving façade. The natural light was great for looking at the new and vintage jewelry and watches, but terrible for taking pictures due to the glare on the almost unbroken string of glass display cases that line the lane, which means I don’t have much to illustrate this post. So here is a little history instead. (Adapted from http://www.burlington-arcade.co.uk/the-arcade)

Lord George Cavendish was a prominent politician during the late 1700s and early 1800s, and he had a garbage problem. Ruffians were always throwing trash like oyster shells and other refuse over the wall to the grounds of Burlington House where he lived, so he decided to finance the building of a shopping arcade to fill the alleyway. Officially, his reasoning was to offer “gratification to the public” as well as “work to industrious females” but really he was just tired of all the rubbish. When it opened in 1820 only 4 of the 47 leaseholders were women, but the prevailing convention at the time was to address even male shopkeepers as “madame”, so I guess he sort of kept his word.

Victoria CrossThere are several shops of note that still have their polished doors open to the public even now. For instance, Hancocks is a fabulous jewelry store, and back in 1856 was commissioned to design the Victoria Cross, the highest award given in the commonwealth military.

If you are in the Piccadilly area, I would definitely suggest a stroll down this historical pedestrian street.