Today on Paws 4 Thought we are hosting the No Rest For the Wicked blog tour:
Peter was lucky enough to be born above what would later be called the Mason-Dixon line. Unlike most people of African descent in the US in 19th century, he was taught to read and write. He was involved in the Underground Railroad from a young age, and later recruited by the nascent Pinkerton Agency to act as a spy during the Civil War. His partner and best friend, Patrick Jones, died in the line of duty, and Peter had the undesirable task of bringing the news to his widow, Viola “Vi” Thorne. Though he made Jones a promise to look after Vi, he soon discovered she was quite capable of taking care of herself.
Vi’s first impulse was to “shoot the messenger”, and it took awhile for the two to become friends. The corruption and chaos of the war left both of them embittered. Rather than attempting to settle into a quiet life again after the fighting ceased, the pair set off down the Mississippi and ran a series of successful confidence games under various pseudonyms. Eventually, they even developed their own coded language, which came in handy when Vi posed as a medium. That was a particularly lucrative grift, until the day a real ghost answered their ad and Vi’s repressed psychic abilities manifested.
As the law began to get close to catching up with Peter and Vi, they decided to pull one final job after receiving a hot tip from a ghost about a Confederate general who had embezzled funds. Peter dared to hope that Vi returned his growing affection, but when it was time to make their escape, she never arrived.
She thought that was the end of their friendship. But four years later and deep in hiding, Vi received a message using their code: “The child is called Ignorance.”
From No Rest for the Wicked by Phoebe Darqueling
The pages were now worn and dog-eared, and Peter’s crimped scribbles jumped out at her from the margins as she thumbed through the pages. The line about a child called Ignorance came from somewhere in the second half of the story, but that was the extent of her recollection. Her eyes flitted across the page while her lips took the shape of half-formed words as she read about the two children hidden in the robes of the ghost of Christmas present;
This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their
degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is
Doom, unless the writing be erased.
“I see that written which is Doom.” Vi’s mouth went dry as she whispered the words, her heart doing acrobatics in her chest. The words “beware,” “Doom,” and “erased” leaped off the page and threatened to choke her. No doubt about it, Peter was sending her some type of warning, but a warning of what? He shouldn’t even know where she was, let alone what might be
threatening her. The churning bile in her gut tried to creep up her esophagus as a thought blossomed—maybe Peter was the threat.
Find out more about Peter and Vi in No Rest for the Wicked, available now from Black Rose Writing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can read more character spotlights, excerpts, reviews, and interviews on the No Rest for the Wicked tour page.
Other people just think they’re “haunted by the past.” In Vi’s case, it’s true.
Clairvoyant Viola Thorne wants to forget about her days of grifting and running errands for ghosts. The problem? Playing it safe is dull. So when a dead stranger begs for her help, Vi jumps at the chance to dust off her hustling skills. The unlikely companions are soon tangling with bandits, cheating at cards, and loving every minute.
Then she finds out who referred him, and Vi has to face both a past and ex-partner that refuse to stay buried. Though she betrayed Peter, his spirit warns her of the plot that cost him his life. Vi’s guilty conscience won’t let her rest until she solves his murder. Though she’s spent her whole life fighting the pull of the paranormal, it holds the key to atoning for the only deception she’s ever regretted—breaking Peter’s heart.
Plus, do you like free books? You can get a free copy of The Steampunk Handbook by signing up for Phoebe Darqueling’s email list. Find out more
Phoebe Darqueling is the pen name of a globe trotting vagabond who currently hangs her hat in Freiburg, Germany. She’s an equal opportunity Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly fan, but her favorite pastime is riffing on terrible old movies a la Mystery Science Theater 3000. In her “real life,” she writes curriculum for a creativity competition for kids in MN and edits academic texts for non-native English speakers. She loves all things Steampunk and writes about her obsession on SteampunkJournal.org. During 2017, she coordinated a Steampunk novel through the Collaborative Writing Challenge called Army of Brass, and also loves working with authors as an editor. Her solo novels Riftmaker and No Rest for the Wicked debuted in 2019. You can find her short stories in the Chasing Magic and The Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales anthologies so far, and she’ll be featured in an upcoming collection called Cogs, Crowns, and Carriages in November 2019.