Monday, 16 September 2013

Fortune Teller Blog Hop: Gothic Cavalcade

I've jumped back on the Blog Hop train, and this time I've packed a crystal ball...

Today, we visit a fortune teller, thanks to my novella, Gothic Cavalcade. In this excerpt, the main character, Althea has arrived at the Masquerade Carnivale, and is being shown around by the mysterious Byron and Mother. Mother then whisks her away to see the carnival's resident gypsy.

An Excerpt from Gothic Cavalcade

After breakfast, Mother and Byron escorted Althea on a leisurely stroll around the encampment, to show her the carnival. Byron linked arms with her and mother’s hand rested on her shoulder as they walked.
“It is not a large carnival, as you can see,” Mother’s soft voice chimed in Althea’s ear, “but we are a close group and we take care of each other. Soon, it will feel like home.”
Althea frowned. Odd, but she did feel strangely comfortable here, as if she belonged. She gazed out at the multi-coloured array of tents and caravans, at the dazzling stripes and spangles decorating their world, and at the sound of laughter and affection. Life thrived around her with shouts and chatter, barking dogs, and tethered horses munching hay. To her right the jugglers tossed bright orange balls high into the air, to the left she gawked as jesters with painted faces strutted about on stilts. Althea softly giggled. She wanted to lose herself in the gaiety and the colours, and submerge everything in the ornate vibrancy of her surroundings.
“It’s so beautiful here. So uncomplicated and spirited. I think I could be happy here.” She cast a quick glance at Mother. “If you still want me to stay?”
“Of course we do, child.”
“It’s a wonderful place, Althea.” Byron threaded his fingers through hers and squeezed her hand. “I’m glad you’re going to join us.”
“We are all pleased.” Mother put her arm around Althea’s shoulders and gently pulled her away from Byron. “But I am afraid I must steal her away for a moment. There is somewhere special I want to take our Althea.” Mother stepped between the pair. “You will excuse us, Byron?”
“Yes, Mother.” Byron tilted his head with a grin. “I’ll find you later, Althea.”
Althea found herself being ushered along, winding between caravans and rehearsing performers until they entered into a violet coloured tent, dyed with images of silver moons and festooned with miniature golden bells.
Pale light from an oil lamp lit the dim interior. It was a delicate and inviting place, the furniture adorned with amethyst silks and plush velvet cushions of mauve, embroidered in gold.
“This is Drusilla, our gypsy fortune teller.” Mother introduced Althea to a dark-haired, dark eyed beauty seated behind a round wooden table with a crystal ball sitting atop it.
“Hello.” Drusilla replied softly, ducking her head and avoiding Althea’s eyes.
“You must forgive Drusilla, she’s a bit shy.”
“That’s understandable.” Althea smiled and tried to make conversation. “Can you really tell someone’s fortune, Miss Drusilla?”
The girl looked up. “Oh, yes. I can see a person’s fate.”
“In this?” Althea touched the cold glass of the crystal ball.
Drusilla giggled. “Oh no. That’s simply for display. Sit down, I’ll show you what I do.” She waved her hand at the chair opposite her and Althea sunk into its purple softness. Drusilla reached out and grasped her hand, turning it palm up. Drusilla lightly traced her finger over Althea’s skin, making her shiver.
“You have a troubled life, tragedy and pain fill you. You are afraid and you blame yourself for making a terrible choice in years past. That choice has cost you something.” Drusilla paused and Althea caught her gaze, staring into her deep violet eyes. She felt ensnared for a moment, as if she had fallen into a cavernous pool and might drown. Then Drusilla broke their connection and continued her reading.
“I see safety ahead, and resolution." Drusilla paused again and frowned. “But not without conflict. Something is coming, something unfinished...” She abruptly stopped talking and let go of Althea’s hand.
“Is there a difficulty, Drusilla?" Mother’s voice broke the strain in the air.
“No, no, it’s simply, well, events will be bumpy for you, Althea." She smiled, attempting a half-hearted grin.
Althea felt a quiver of dread, but tried to laugh it away. “I’m used to bumpy.”
“But it will all work out in the end, won’t it Drusilla?" Mother asked softly. “It will all be agreeable when it is done?”
“Yes, Mother. All will conclude as it should.”
Althea looked at them both, confused, but Mother gave her no time to question Drusilla. Mother pulled her to her feet and shepherded her out of the tent.
“I think it is time we found Byron again. Don’t you agree, Althea?”
Althea smiled at the thought and let herself be led away; all uncertainties were lost by her desire to see Byron once more.

The Masquerade Carnivale is coming to call...

A woman escaping her wretched past stumbles into the strange world of a supernatural carnival.  Does her fate lie there, or with the captive life she left behind?

The Masquerade Carnivale is beckoning... will she answer?

Gothic Cavalcade is available on,, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers.

This Fortune Teller Blog Hop was organized by Kayla Curry.
Don't forget to check out the other blogs involved, who knows what they'll foretell.

Kayla Curry (Host)
Alyssa Auch
S. M. Boyce
N.R. Wick
Steve Vernon
A. F. Stewart
Linda Taylor
Tami Von Zalez
Quanie Miller
Ellen Harger
Deborah Nam-Krane
Erin Cawood
Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba
Wendy Ely
Laure Reminick
Jen McConnel


Unknown said...

Sounds like Althea's got some trouble headed her way! Good luck with this novel!

A. F. Stewart said...

Quite a bit of trouble. Thanks for stopping by.

LST said...

Hey! Now I want to know more about Althea before this! What other world is she from ... a prisoner? And this weird Mother, too. Good hook, A.F. Thanks for sharing. -- Linda

A. F. Stewart said...

It's set in our history, but the Masquerade Carnivale has some definite otherworldly properties. Be sure to enter the contest for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Sarah Butland said...

Awesome teaser! Thanks for sharing and best of luck with your launch and continued success.

Thank you for writing and reading,

Sarah Butland
author Arm Farm, Brain Tales and Sending You Sammy

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sarah.

Ellen Harger said...

Fun carnie setting. It's very mysterious and you set a good tension.

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks Ellen.

A. F. Stewart said...

Not certain why no one entered the Rafflecopter contest; perhaps more instruction was needed. But I decided to give away a copy anyway to one random commenter.

And the winner is: Ellen Harger. I'll need an email to send you the prize, so I'll be in touch or you can email me.

Jan Hersh said...

Is posting a comment entering the contest? If so I'm in. I am enchanted with your descriptive writing and the mystery of this book.
It's compelling. And now I have found your blog as well.

A. F. Stewart said...

Jan, the contest ended yesterday and was a Rafflecopter thingy, but I'd be happy to send you a Smashwords copy. There's going to more contests next month too, here and on Facebook. I launch my new book, Fairy Tale Fusion, and there's the Halloween themed, Coffin Hop.

Anniina Huuskonen said...

For me this is interesting novel.Well last time i also went to some fortune teller and she really make me happy for telling all good stuff.

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