Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Music Shall Untune the Sky by Lou Kemp @GoddessFish

Music Shall Untune the Sky

by Lou Kemp

GENRE: Magical Realism


It’s 1865 and three close friends; the immortal magician Celwyn, the automat Professor Xiau Kang, and Bartholomew, a scientist and widower from Sudan, set out on another adventure as they travel to Singapore to fetch the professor’s wife. Prepare to explore a world reminiscent of our own yet filled with magic and steampunk!

Their private, magically enhanced train, the Elizabeth, is carrying them through the countryside when they witness the purposeful crash of a hot air balloon next to them. Jules Verne emerges from it and joins their party. As they continue east, the danger following the author shadows their train, and the murders begin. When they arrive in Singapore, Captain Nemo uses a unique method to trick Professor Kang into climbing aboard the Nautilus.

Music Shall Untune the Sky is a steampunk fantasy filled with murder, magic, and adventure.


The sun rose, glinting off the ornate cornices and brass crossbeams of the Prague Opera House. A murder of crows hovered over the top of the dome; their plaintive cawing as articulate as words.

Francesca is most angry. Somehow, she knew Christina had died.” Kang shielded his eyes against the glare. “I believe she is the loudest one with the long neck.”

Celwyn sat beside him on the rim of the fountain, shivering under the shadow of the dome and too shocked over Christina’s death to even cry. He’d only begun to know her and her inner beauty. Later he would ask himself if he was the reason she had been killed or because the witches of Prague had a longstanding feud with vampires., The way Christina was murdered would make it worse. Too exhausted to stand, he watched the crows for a moment.

Agreed. She has every right to be angry at Delgado and the rest of them.”

The magician couldn’t help glancing across the street to the Vltava River running swift and dark through the city. In the last few hours, he had made sure Delgado would never hurt someone he loved again; but in the end, he had been too late to save Christina.

The sun rose higher, spreading light over the city. The aroma of cooking fires reached them as the residents prepared to greet the day, and a forlorn siren wailed in the distance, competing with the cawing of the crows who circled, pecking at the magically enhanced net dangling from the spire.

Interview with Lou Kemp

    How many books have you written and which is your favorite

    Although I have many stories in anthologies, I’ve written about 8 books (3 of the Celwyn series published, the rest to be published in late 2023 and in 2024. My favorite is Sea of the Vanities, due out in the spring. It is a companion book to the Celwyn series that takes place in the same time period at sea near Cape Horn. Chronologically, it would be the first appearance of Celwyn.

    If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

    Book 3, The Raven and the Pig, can be considered the sequel (due out late spring 2023). The story begins where Celwyn had been attacked and is dying, and his immortal and nasty brother (Pelaez) keeps him alive until Captain Nemo and the Nautilus can transport him to someone who can save him.

    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    Of the books, so far only Farm Hall and Sea of the Vanities can stand alone. They contain characters from the main Celwyn series. In Farm Hall, Pelaez is doing his best to bedevil MI6 and alternately comfort or terrorize Hitler’s recently liberated scientists. Sea of the Vanities is a sea adventure that takes place near Cape Horn (due out spring 2023).

    Book 7 of the Celwyn series will feature a new character, Swango. The adventurers are aboard the Nautilus, and heading toward the southern coast of Spain to recover the remains of Captain Nemo’s wife. The story of Swango is told along the way.

    How did you come up with the title for your book?

    I knew the ending before I began. Here is the last lines of John Dryden’s poem, Song for St. Cecilia’s Day, from which it is taken:

As from the power of sacred lays
        The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
        To all the bless'd above:
So, when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And musick shall untune the sky.”

    How long did it take you to write this book?

    To write it, maybe a total of 3 weeks. To edit it, forever.

    What does the title mean?

    The dead shall live, the living die,
    And music shall untune the sky.”

    In my mind, it is a reminder that we are as alive as we are dead, and that music will change it all.

    What did you learn when writing the book?

    A bit more about how I had to plan for the other books to come (which I hadn’t thought enough about yet, just half listening to whiffs of ideas). I had to lay the framework for things that would happen. An example is that Thales, who healed Celwyn as he lay dying, will make a very important appearance at the end of book 5, and make another demand of Celwyn that will change his and everyone else’s world.

    What surprised you the most?

    That at times of extremes in the book I cry when I reread some scenes, and look forward to rereading others. The first time I read the end of book 2, it was tearful. I cheer when I read the forest scene in book 3.

    Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?

    Yes, it would be a spoiler to say who and where, but it does not occur until book 5. I had to do so because the plots for the next few books demanded it.

    What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

    It is easy: as soon as I think of them, I am them. The character that I enjoy making the dialog for the most is Professor Xiau Kang when he is frustrated with Celwyn’s antics. I find Celwyn’s ability to relate to the orphans a growing experience for both Celwyn and myself.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Early work was horror and suspense, later work morphed into a combination of magical realism, mystery and adventure painted with a horrific element as needed.

I’m one of those writers who doesn’t plan ahead, no outlines, no clue, and I sometimes write myself into a corner. Atmospheric music in the background helps. Black by Pearl Jam especially.

More information is available at LouKemp.com. I'd love to hear from you and what you think of Celwyn, Bartholomew, and Professor Xiau Kang.


2009 The anthology story Sherlock’s Opera appeared in Seattle Noir, edited by Curt Colbert, Akashic Books. Available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. Booklist published a favorable review of my contribution to the anthology.

2010 My story, In Memory of the Sibylline, was accepted into the best-selling MWA anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris. The immortal magician Celwyn makes his first appearance in print.

2018 The story, The Violins Played before Junstan is published in the MWA anthology Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry. The Celwyn series begins.

Present day My new publisher, 4 Horsemen has reissued book 1 of the Celwyn series: The Violins Played before Junstan. The remaining books in the series; Music Shall Untune the Sky, The Raven and the Pig, The Pirate Danced and the Automat Died, The Wyvern, the Pirate and the Madman will debut, beginning in 2023 -2024. The companion book, Farm Hall, will be reissued in 2023 where readers will see more of Pelaez, another immortal magician and Celwyn's brother. Another companion book, The Sea of the Vanities is due out in 2023.


$25 Amazon/BN GC

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


Jolanda said...

Congratulations Lou!

Marcy Meyer said...

This story sounds really interesting. I enjoyed the excerpt.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Stormy Vixen said...

I enjoyed reading the interview and getting to know a little about you, Lou and the excerpt is great! Music Shall Untune the Sky sounds like an exciting book for me to read and I like the cover! Good luck with your book and the tour!

Thanks for sharing it with me and have a wonderful day!

Sherry said...

Looks like an interesting book.

Bea LaRocca said...

Thank you for sharing your interview, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading Music Shall Untune the Sky. I like the book cover art and I am guessing that a steampunk version of a hot air balloon is how the characters are traveling? I wanted to ask if you have ever taken a hot air balloon ride yourself? I would love to but my fear of heights gets in the way!

Lou Kemp said...

Bea, I'm sorry to be so late in replying. The balloon is manned by Jules Verne and he crash lands it next to the magically enhanced train they travel on. Yes, I've been in a hot air balloon and remember loving it and that it ended too soon. If you have more questions, you can also leave them at my site, LouKemp.com. Thank you!