Friday, February 1, 2013

Shattered Circle Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway!

Shattered Circle
(Persephone Alcmedi, #6)
by Linda Robertson
Published January 29, 2013
Published by Pocket Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback ~384 pages

It’s tough being a modern woman, but Persephone Alcmedi has it worse than most. Being the prophesied Lustrata has kicked her career as a witch into high gear, and juggling a wærewolf boyfriend who is about to become king of his kind and a seductive vampire who bears her magical Mark isn’t easy either.
Still, Seph’s beloved foster daughter, Beverley, is causing more trouble than these two men put together. The young girl’s been playing with a magical artifact that’s far more dangerous than she realizes. Now Seph must summon help from a mystical being so potent that even vampires fear him . . . and the cost of his aid may be more than she’s willing to pay. Seph, Johnny, and Menessos face threats from all sides—and a few from within. Will the forces of destiny cement their tenuous supernatural union, or shatter it forever?

Shattered Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, #6)

     {Johnny}turned off Ontario onto South Roadway and walked past the impressive ionic columns and huge arched windows of Tower City Center. Ahead was the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.
     When he passed through the revolving door and neared the lobby, the opulence stunned him. Vaulted ceilings with huge chandeliers harkened back to a bygone era. He actually stopped and did a full circle to see it all. Then he noticed that the concierge was watching him closely. He wondered if the man was simply doing his job, or if Aurelia had paid him to be her eyes and ears. Johnny made sure to approach the elevators with the key card visible in his hand. It would show that he belonged here. When he stepped into the elevator car he stared at the floor until the doors had almost shut. At the last second he shoved his hand between them, forcing them to reopen.
     He expected the concierge to have grabbed the phone and alerted someone to his arrival . . . but the man had simply let his gaze trail over to the television where a rerun of M*A*S*H was playing.
     Johnny felt foolish. He couldn’t be paranoid like this.
     He punched the button for the top floor and had to insert Aurelia’s card.
     The elevator rose swiftly and deposited him in a small lobby with a placard indicating the direction of the various suites. He followed the arrow to the left and promptly arrived at the proper door. He slid the key into the lock and saw the little handle light flash green as he pulled it out.
     He turned the knob and pushed the door open on a darkened room.
     Immediately, he knew he wasn’t alone.

Guest Post by Linda Robertson:

Why the heck did you pick Cleveland? 

Urban Fantasy books are most often set in either a closed world or an open world. Meaning that no one knows about the non-humans among them, or everyone knows. In my stories, I wanted to split the difference. My creatures all crawled out from under the bed twenty years prior to the story opening. This means everyone knows about them yes, but not everyone is okay with it. The political/social unease of that backdrop has been a lot of fun to play with. My characters are powerful, but that doesn’t mean they get to be comfortable.
Cleveland seemed a perfect milieu. Not only was it geographically close to me and easy to do research in, but Cleveland is a dichotomy in and of itself. It is wonderful and terrible wrapped up in one tidy package that leaves me lots of room to play--I’ve used real locations in the books where I could. Some are gloriously beautiful like the Cleveland Trust Bank. And some are just plain dirty and dingy like the wærewolves’ scrubby bar (renamed to protect the—ahem—innocent) that smells largely of cigarettes and faintly of piss.
Let me give you a little actual data to help you can this city like I see it.
It’s steeped in history. Founded in July 1796.  Erie Canal started 1825, completed 1832. It was the hone of Sherwin Williams, Standard Oil Company, and Olympian Jesse Owens. Home of Winton Automobile Manufacturing…they sold their first car in 1898 to a man in Pennsylvania after he saw their ad in Scientific American. Wikipedia claims Cleveland had the first submachine gun in 1915. (There are plenty of cool little nuggets like Eliot Ness as Safety Director and Rockefeller’s influence and such, but I don’t want to bore you.)
Despite all of that, Forbes has been historically unkind, calling Cleveland: #11 highest taxed city; #8 most overpriced city; #5 least family friendly city; #4 worst city for carbon monoxide;  #3 worst city for jobs; and the #1 poorest city as well as being a list-topper with the fewest graduates per school.  
So while Cleveland has many examples of beautiful and unusual architecture, a high ranked orchestra, major teams in baseball, football, basketball and hockey, top rated hospitals, a zoo, great restaurants and cultural activities…it also had an exodus of people—as in the fastest rate of population decline for the decade (2nd only to New Orleans and there was no Katrina here).
So all in all, Cleveland, which grew quickly from a frontier village into a major manufacturing hub, has good bones, good roots, and a solid foundation in innovation. But it has also suffered through crooks in office, high crime rates and being generally derided in recent decades. It has scars, but it carries on.
Sounds like a good character to me.
Here are two places in Cleveland that have a particular resonance for me.

The Cleveland Arcade. Glass Atrium/Circa 1890 This was one of the nation’s first indoor shopping areas. It’s five stories tall, has four balconies, and is topped by a beautiful glass skylight stretching 300 feet and uses 1,800 panes of glass. John D. Rockefeller was one of the men who financed its construction. 

The Hope Memorial Bridge. Circa 1932. Statues at either end are called the “Guardians of Traffic.” The figures hold either a truck, a cart, a locomotive or a Conestoga wagon.  

There’s too much to really list here, but my website has more photos on the MY CLEVELAND page of some of the actual places I’ve used in the series. (Botanical Gardens, William G. Mather steamship/museum, Cultural Gardens, May Co. building, etc.)

About the Author:
In addition to writing the Persephone Alcmedi series for Pocket Books, Linda is the mother of four boys, and plays guitar in an almost-all-girl rock band in Mansfield, Ohio where she now resides in her childhood home. She enjoys flavored coffees, chocolate, and a good margarita…but not at the same time.
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