Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: The Seraphim's Song by Barbara Casey @GoddessFish

The Seraphim's Song

by Barbara Casey

GENRE: Fiction/Mystery


BLURB:


Book 5 – The F.I.G. Mysteries



Many changes have taken place at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women while Carolina and Larry were on their honeymoon in Frascati, Italy, on the Granchelli farm. The newlyweds have been given a larger bungalow; Ms. Alcott, niece of the founder of Wood Rose, and Mrs. Ball, assistant to the headmaster, have moved into a bungalow together; and Jimmy Bob, caretaker and night watchman at Wood Rose has moved from his family home down the road a bit into a small bungalow on the orphanage property with his hound dog Tick, as well as his new cat and her litter of kittens. Most important, thanks to the persuasive powers of Ms. Alcott and Mrs. Ball, the F.I.G.s have been given a forever home at Wood Rose.



Summer is coming to an end and the F.I.G.s will soon return to the universities to complete their special projects. They are starting to feel anxious, and the coping mechanisms they have used their entire lives are starting to work overtime. Dara’s thoughts turn to an unknown language, possibly from another world; Mackenzie focuses on the relationship of math to music; and Jennifer keeps hearing the note of B flat minor and is drawing dark swirls on her canvas board.



Deadly forces and natural disasters are unleashed into the world when Milosh, the evil young man who placed a curse on Carolina when she searched for her mother, steals an ancient artifact—a “key”—from an archaeological site near Puli, China on the Yellow Sea where he is working. This artifact, when paired with a certain note—B flat minor known as the Seraphim’s song—opens a portal that enables man to communicate with the gods.



When the key gets lost in a storm, Carolina comes into possession of it through Jimmy Bob’s dog, Tick, and when she does, she hears Lyuba, her gypsy mother, tell her that time is running out. The F.I.G.s and Carolina must go to the forbidden cave on the Yellow Sea, the place where the early gypsies are believed to have settled before travelling into Europe. For it is there where the key must be returned before all is destroyed.


Excerpt:

The category 5 hurricane named Luoli raged through the night and by morning there was still no indication of it letting up. Wind speeds were being recorded above 157 miles per hour, the highest strength indicated on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. No one slept in the safe area of the dormitory basement and tempers were starting to show in small ways.

Dr. Connoly, professor of physics and chemistry, got into a rather loud verbal exchange with the two new professors over the last package of peanut butter crackers that was left on the food and drink table. Clyde Benson, weary of Dr. Sullivan’s mindless ramblings of aliens, hurt her feelings when he crossly told her it was all a bunch of claptrap and to just shut up. Others simply withdrew, as though into a shell, wishing they were invisible, preferring to just be left alone.

Then, as quickly as it had appeared, it disappeared. All inside the safe room and outside became quiet and still. The wind stopped wailing, the rain stopped falling, thick clouds thinned and darkened skies cleared, and the leaves on the trees once again turned upward toward the heavens and the sun shining brightly in the sky. The fearful noise of the howling destructive winds and unrelenting downpour of rain was suddenly replaced by an eerie unbroken silence. Then, within moments, the silence was also replaced, and the happy sound of singing birds could be heard.

Everyone in the basement was eager to leave the safe area and see what damage had been left by the storm. And they wanted to return to what had been normal in their lives as quickly as possible—before Luoli.

Outside, they were amazed to find only some broken limbs scattered haphazardly around the wide grassy area of lawn. Other than that, there appeared to be no damage to any of the buildings or even the vehicles owned by the faculty and staff that had been parked by each of the bungalows.

First and foremost in Carolina’s mind was to help Jimmy Bob look for Tick. “The girls and I will drive around the area to see if we can find him,” she told Jimmy Bob. “You might want to take a good look around your family home. He might have gone there since it is a place he knows.” Before she and the F.I.G.s could get into her car, however, they were surprised to see a police patrol car slowly approaching with blue lights flashing.

The patrolman was Hank Pollock, a long-time friend of Jimmy Bob’s who occasionally visited Wood Rose and had helped out at various fund-raising events for the orphanage throughout the years. Walking in front of the patrol car carrying in his mouth what appeared to be a very large muddy bone was Tick. Slowly and deliberately, unscathed and completely ignoring the vehicle with its flashing blue lights behind him, Wood Rose’s guard dog didn’t stop until he got to Carolina. Then, somewhat ceremoniously, he dropped the dirt-covered object at her feet.

Jimmy Bob was beside himself with joy as he tearfully knelt down hugging his much-loved canine who had somehow managed to survive the strongest, most terrifying hurricane in recorded history.

I saw him up on the road headed this way and tried to get him in the vehicle, but he didn’t want to ride I guess,” Hank said. “I think he was afraid I was going to try to take that bone he had in his mouth away from him.” He watched the dog for a moment. “Looks like he wants you to have it,” he said glancing at Carolina.

Jennifer gasped as the pain in her chest returned. Then the musical notes of a tone poem that only she could hear rapidly filled the blank measures, treble and bass clef, she saw in her mind. Just beneath the musical notes, loud and insistent, refusing to be ignored, was the relentless, continuous undertone of the key B flat minor. The “aum.”

Dara looked up into the sky and envisioned words, symbols, and pictures of unknown origin, from another universe—another galaxy, yet she felt she knew their meaning. She understood.

And flashes of mathematical formula involving units, intervals, and spacing of the solar system penetrated Mackenzie’s mind as she removed her calculator from her belt and began entering mathematical equations representing what she saw.

Carolina squeezed her eyes shut; the tone of B flat minor was almost deafening. Then, because the vibration of the earth was so strong, the four young women knelt to the ground holding each other to keep from falling.

Jimmy Bob and Hank steadied themselves. “Must be having an earthquake,” Hank said looking around. No sooner than he said the words, it then stopped.

As Tick continued to watch Carolina, she suddenly heard her mother’s voice—soft, but clear and urgent. It is the key, daughter. You must protect it and return it to the cave.

The F.I.G.s couldn’t hear Lyuba—only Carolina could hear her—but they knew. Carolina had been given the key, she must keep it safe, and she must return it to where it belonged.

They also knew, because they were females of intellectual genius, that Carolina was in danger, and they didn’t know what to do to stop it. They didn’t know how to help her. And this more than anything terrified them.


Interview with Barbara Casey

    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

    I had a memory of an orphanage from when I was in college that never left me. Years later, when I was doing research on another book, I came across information about the Voynich Manuscript. For some reason I connected the two things – the orphanage and the Voynich. The result was The Cadence of Gypsies and the F.I.G.s.


    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    I didn’t necessarily have any goals or intentions when writing The F.I.G. Mysteries other than the F.I.G.s and other characters simply wouldn’t leave me. They had the stories, and I needed to tell them. Each book in the series reveals answers that these three orphaned girls are seeking: Why were they placed in an orphanage? – Who were their biological parents? – Why were they geniuses? – Why were they so different from everyone else? In this latest book – The Seraphim’s Song: Book 5 in The F.I.G. Mysteries – the answers they seek extend beyond the personal and intimate and delve into the realm of why they were brought together at the same orphanage, why they have special abilities, and what their purpose is.


    What was the hardest part of writing this book?

    The three F.I.G.s – Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer, and Carolina, their mentor who is more like their big sister, have been residing in my mind for several years now. Their stories and the difficult things they have had to deal with through The Cadence of Gypsies, The Wish Rider, The Clock Flower, The Nightjar’s Promise, and now The Seraphim’s Song has been extremely emotional at times. But I love working through their problems, and in the end, I know it will be alright.


    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I have learned so much in researching the themes I wanted to expose the F.I.G.s and Carolina to. Things like gypsy culture, ancient Chinese beliefs, the secret area beneath the train tracks at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, stolen art during World War II, extraterrestrial life, and so much more are themes woven into the personal and emotional stories of the F.I.G.s as they search for their answers.


    Where there alternate endings you considered?

    Not at all. Before ever starting to actually write a book, I do the research, I decide on my main characters, I define the beginning and ending, and I benchmark certain things that will occur between the beginning and ending. So I never question how the ending should turn out because I already know.


    Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

    Probably one of the most interesting is when a film director expressed interest in The F.I.G. Mysteries. When he contacted me he told me that he had read Book 1 in the series – The Cadence of Gypsies – and was taken by the information I had included about the Voynich Manuscript. He then explained that his father had owned an exclusive shop in New York that sold valuable artwork and antiquities, and that at one time he had the Voynich Manuscript in his inventory. Right now there are two film directors considering this series, so fingers crossed.


    What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

    I tend to navigate toward mysteries, and I especially enjoy some of the British authors.


Nancy, I want to thank you for your interest in my work and your wonderful questions. All my best to you and your bloggers. ~Barbara

Barbara, First, I would like to welcome you to The Avid Reader. I would also like to say your welcome and thank you. Nancy


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.

Barbara has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Several of her books have been optioned for major films and television.

Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Barbara wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Barbara’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).

Barbara is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with three cats who adopted her, Homer – a Southern coon cat, Reese – a black cat, and Earl Gray – a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.


Websites - Author ~ Agency


 

Giveaway:

$20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC



Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


5 comments:

Barbara Casey said...

Thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest. I am looking forward to spending time with you and your bloggers. All best. ~Barbara

Sherry said...

Sounds like a good book.

Barbara Casey said...

Thank you, Sherry. Glad you stopped by.

Barbara Casey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

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