THE HALLOWMAS TRAIN Goodreads Giveaway!!!
Here’s some news to brighten your day. Previously available under separate cover, Bells of Prosper Station and Black Springs Abbey are now available in print and e-book versions as a two-in-one, THE HALLOWMAS TRAIN.
For an additional pandemic day-brightener, I’m giving away 100 copies of THE HALLOWMAS TRAIN! Head to goodreads.com and enter by May 23 for a chance to win! Click the link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/323201-the-hallowmas-train for details #giveaway #bookgiveaway #freebooks #goodreads”. Giveaway is available in USA only.
Bells of Prosper Station With Hallowmas approaching, time travelers, Azur Moonstorey and companions, exit Creekside’s station library to board the midnight ghost train bound for nineteenth-century Prosper Station. Their mission: to rescue Azur’s sister from the lairs of psychic vampires in eerie Vapourlea.
Black Springs Abbey Five years after returning from captivity in the eerie dimension of Vapourlea, Hilma Moonstorey is still beset by anxieties and insecurities. Encouraged by young police constable, Garth Mayfield, to take a position at a dilapidated abbey on the outskirts of Black Springs, Hilma soon discovers that the abbey houses not only elderly nuns but ghosts and dark secrets.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the abundance of Victorian and Edwardian history in THE HALLOWMAS TRAIN.
Bells of Prosper Station “There’s someone downstairs,” whispered Dilly.
“Probably Charlene,” mumbled Azur sleepily.
“The servant? But it’s only six o’clock.”
“I thought I heard voices,” said Mabel, entering the room in her nightgown. “I was up checking on the twins.”
“We were wondering if we heard Charlene downstairs,” said Azur.
“I hope so. She has to prepare breakfast and make our lunches for school,” replied Mabel. “She never seems to get all her work done.”
“She has a long day,” noted Dilly.
“Not really,” said Mabel. “Mama lets her leave at nine each night instead of ten like most people do. She only stays later if there’s an evening social, and then she sleeps over because it’s late by the time the guests leave. Of course, we haven’t had any parties since Papa died.”
“How many days a week does Charlene work?” asked Dilly.
“Why every day, of course.” Mabel laughed at the absurdity of the question before adding, “But she gets two hours off on Sunday mornings to attend church. And every afternoon – unless we have company over – she has two hours to amuse herself as she wishes.”
“Does everyone work seven days a week?”
“Labourers and clerks get one day off,” explained the girl. “Is it not the same where you come from?”
Black Springs Abbey In earlier times Black Springs Abbey was a finishing school … of sorts:
As in most of the abbey, the floors of the two-storey high entrance hall were of wide polished oak planks, worn but painstakingly polished. Hilma recognized that she was on the other side of the heavy front doors she had noticed on her arrival. From this perspective, however, sunlight illuminated the door’s stain glass transom window in vibrant jewel colours.
Hilma’s gaze moved from the lovely window to a magnificent oak staircase winding upward out of sight.
“Our sleeping quarters are on the floor above,” said the abbess. “There are seventy cells on the second floor and fifty on the third. Of course we only use a few of them now.”
“Cells?” wondered Hilma aloud.
The abbess laughed. “That’s what we call our little rooms,” she explained.
“Like rooms in a college dorm,” said Hilma.
The abbess nodded.
“There must have been a lot of people living here once,” said Hilma.
“At one time, there were a hundred sisters, including postulants and novices, and there were always between twenty and thirty girls.”
“Oh, it was a boarding school.”
“It was a home for unwed mothers,” replied the abbess.
“Really! Did the townspeople know?”
“A few of them did. But in those days, families went to great lengths to keep their daughters’ delicate conditions secret.”
“How long did the girls stay here?”
“Most of them were here for about a year and a half. Their parents brought them here as soon as they learned of the pregnancy and they remained for a year after the delivery to continue their training.”
“They were taught child care,” said Hilma approvingly.
“Oh no, dear,” said the abbess. “The babies were adopted out within days of their births.”
“So what training did the girls get?”
“I know it sounds archaic now, but unwed mothers were called penitents in those days to encourage them to develop spiritually. They worked alongside our postulants and novices inside the abbey as well as outside in the gardens and barns.”
“I don’t suppose the… penitents were paid,” said Hilma.
The abbess looked at her in surprise. “Of course not,” she said. “They were reimbursing the abbey for room, board and maternity care, all the while learning a variety of practical skills to prepare them for marriageable futures.”
The Hallowmas Train is historical fantasy set in the oil heritage regions of Lambton County. The former, set in the nineteenth century, is tinted with urban and steam punk imagery while the latter strays into the supernatural form of ‘ghost story’.
Bells of Prosper Station Suddenly, Azur felt something unseen brush against her as a seductive voice quietly intoned, “Lovely lady, how kind of you to visit.”
She froze in fear, holding her breath. Then cool fingers caressed her face. She gasped.
“Who’s there?” she whispered.
The silence that engulfed her was more terrifying than the mystery voice or the chilly touch.
“Help me, somebody help me,” she whimpered.
“I’m here,” said an agreeable male voice.
A tall being with dark almond-shaped eyes stood before her. Attired in soft leather leggings and tunic, he had blue skin and shoulder-length black hair.
Azur regarded him wordlessly.
“I am Zhiab,” he said.
“Was it you who touched me?” she asked.
“No,” he assured her. “I am a guardian.”
“Yes, a Novapetrol.”
“Oh, thank heavens,” she said. “My grandmother told me to look for you if you didn’t approach me first.”
“You must take shelter until the dawn,” said Zhiab.
“Several guesthouses are nearby.”
“Will you take me to one?”
“You must do this yourself,” he said kindly.
“You’re not leaving!” she cried.
Zhiab nodded slightly. “I will come when you are in peril.”
“I’m in peril now!”
“Only if you don’t take cover.”
Black Springs Abbey “We’ll take the back way to the second floor,” said the abbess leading the way through the kitchen.
One storey up, the stairs paused at a small landing before continuing to a third-floor. Glancing upward, Hilma noticed a girl with long brown hair gazing solemnly down at her from the third-floor landing.
Momentarily distracted, Hilma failed to notice that the abbess was holding the second-floor door open, waiting for her to enter.
“Hilma?” prompted the abbess gently.
“Sorry, Mother Abbess,” murmured Hilma, reaching to take the door.
When the abbess and her visitor exited the second floor onto the backstairs, Hilma noticed that the girl she had seen previously no longer stood on the upper landing. She asked the abbess if anyone lived up there.
“The third floor has been vacant for many years and is just used for storage,” said the abbess.
Details about the availability of The Hallowmas Train in print and ebook form will be forthcoming so you can add it to your summer reading.
I love your stories, Gloria. Hope all is well with you.
Miss you, Lorna. Hope you’re safe and well.