Guardian of Monsters
Sleuths of Shadow Salon
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural Private Investigation Thriller
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
Date of Publication: August 6, 2023
Number of pages: 236
Word Count: 65k
Cover Artist: Christian Bentulan
Tagline: Supernaturally on the case! Celestine LeBlanc and Luna Finley are the Sleuths of Shadow Salon.
Guardian of Monsters (Sleuths of Shadow Salon, urban fantasy PI series, Bk 1)
Celestine, witch and wolf shifter has a talent for prophetic drawings. She’s shocked when she draws her landlord Ray with his eyes gouged out and a strange winged-mermaid leaning over him. Later she finds an eyeless Ray dead on the sidewalk. All she wanted to do was open a gallery, but first she must apprehend his killer. In a note she found after he died, Ray revealed he wasn’t just a leather-smith but a supernatural pirate mage. Years back, his Jekyll crew trapped the evil Demon Three Eyes clan. Ray had feared they’d escaped, were stalking him, and would soon wreak havoc on Savannah.
Oryn, a fellow student in Celestine’s continuing ed art class, is a fae and a thorn in her side, when he asks nosy questions about the case. Yet, she’s drawn to him when he’s her masseur at the spa she frequents, and he’s clever at brainstorming leads regarding Ray’s case. He insists his air magic could come in handy.
When pirates in Ray’s old crew are murdered, their body parts stolen, Celestine puts more horrifying clues together. She’ll need everyone on board, including Oryn and Luna, a mermaid asking to show her sea-glass sculptures at Celestine’s new gallery—the very same mermaid in Celestine’s tragic drawing of Ray. Otherwise, the lethal monstrosity Demon Three Eyes is unleashing on Savannah will destroy the city and everyone in it.
This series may appeal to fans of Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris.
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Mics were thrust in her face as she stepped toward the front stairs.
“How do you feel about Ray Bartello’s murder?”
“Do you have a statement for the press?”
“Is it true that your drawing predicted Bartello’s death?”
“Why would you draw him eyeless?”
“Are you the murderer?”
She waited until that last crappy question—more an accusation—to say anything. Then she stared at the reporter. With scalding rage contained in a deceptively quiet hiss, she said, “Ray Bartello was a good friend of mine. I’m heartbroken by his passing.”
She glanced at Oryn for moral support. His slightly narrowed eyes seemed to say, Go slow, you don’t owe them. She agreed. After the supernatural attacks, she was not going to hint that she knew a damn thing, because the more that bad entities knew she was trying to figure out the case, the more they would try to maul, even kill her. Oryn gave a faint nod, his eyes tinting green. She went on.
“I know nothing about how this happened. You could camp here for days, and I still couldn’t tell you more. The proper place to provide any tips or leads is to the Savannah Police.”
As she pushed through the group, Oryn walked slightly behind her, since the reporters were busy photographing them together, no doubt fuel for salacious media.
“How do you know Miss LeBlanc? Are you dating her?” some ballsy reporter asked Oryn. He didn’t answer.
“Did you know Ray Bartello? Did you or Miss LeBlanc have a fight earlier on the day he was found?” asked another.
“Can you tell us anything more about the case?” asked a third.
Oryn face wrinkled in disgust. “Look, Miss LeBlanc needs peace. She’s said what she can. Yes, we’re friends, not that it’s your business,” he added sharply. “You may as well go get some sleep. Camping out here won’t get you what you seek.” He swept his arm around
Celestine, and they hurried up the stone stairs leading to her place.
Oryn stopped on the stoop while Celestine unlocked the door. “So, I’ll see you at class tomorrow? Will you be okay?” he asked. “If you want, I can cast a few air wards around the house so you can get a worry-free night’s sleep. Otherwise—”
“It’s not your job to protect me,” she said, gazing up at him and realizing how very much taller he was, next to her five-foot, seven-inch frame. Good goddess, the man must be six and a half feet tall if he’s an inch.
Witchy and Supernatural Power of the Feminine Fun Facts!
Compiled by Author Catherine Stine
Before people had hospitals and surgeons to fix people, they had midwives and herbalists. When babies or moms died in childbirth, or the herbal fix was insufficient to cure what we would now know was a fatal disease, who do you think was blamed? The same women who delivered babies and gave expert herbal remedies! In a fearful and ignorant world, they were labeled as witches, or agents of the devil.
Ironically, in ancient Rome even though women were housebound with zero political power, the most revered, influential people were the high priestesses presiding over the oracles, such as the one at Delphi. These women were said to be able to predict the future, wield supernatural powers and have innate knowledge of the divine realms. Greek citizens would go on pilgrimages to seek out their womanly wisdom.
In Chaucer’s and Boccaccio’s European middle ages (mid 1300s) people were expected to be devout in their Christianity. Many believed literally in the devil and the power of witches. Interestingly, as devout as they were to the going religion, they also prayed to the sprites and night nymphs of their recently dropped Pagan beliefs. They also believed in Fortuna, or the wheel of Fortune: that fortunes rose and fell by the whirl of a wheel, often portrayed by a beautiful woman, Fortuna. How’s that for supernatural female power!
During the Victorian Era in 1899 Charles Godfrey Leland published a book called Aradia or Gospel of the Witches. This Aradia goddess, the incarnation of Diana/Artemis was going to bring magic to the Victorians and hopefully free women from the oppression of the times.
Tamsin Blight 1798-1856 was a famous English witch healer, able to remove curses or spells from a person. She was also said to have put spells on those who displeased her. She was also known as Tammy Blee and Tamson.
In the 1920s and 30s there was a craze for psychics, card readers, and mediums who claimed they could communicate with people’s dead relatives. Harry Houdini, the famous magician, ironically made it his life’s work to try and debunk these folks. Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes series was a huge believer in the supernatural. He had heated debates with Houdini.
The Tarot fascinates me. I collect cards for their variety and amazing images. They are thought to have originated all the way back in ancient Egypt, as a cosmic source of wisdom and divination of the future. The Egyptian word TAR means royal and ROmeans royal – thus the royal road to wisdom. Later, in northern Italy, a complete deck for card playing and gambling was devised. In France in the 1700s, a “cartomancer” named Jean Baptiste-Alliette created the imagery in the decks we often see today. There are cups, swords, wands, and pentacles. And the Major Arcana cards that hold great symbolism, such as the hermit, the world and the death card (which can also mean rebirth!)
Here’s a playlist I created for the spooky season with all things supernatural. Enjoy!
I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
You Make me Feel Like it’s Halloween – MUSE
Wake the Witch – Karliene
Alice Underground– Avril Lavigne
Season of the Witch – Donovan
Heartless – The Fray version
Black Magic Woman – Santana
Hunting for Witches – Bloc Party
Heavy Like a Witch – All Them Witches
Do You Believe in Magic? – Lovin’ Spoonful
About the Author:
Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal, urban and historical fantasy, all with romance and suspense. Witch of the Wild Beasts won a second prize in the Romance Writers of America’s Sheila Contest. Other novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books. She lives in New York State and grew up in Philadelphia. Before writing novels, she was a painter and fabric designer. She’s a visual author and sees writing as painting with words. Catherine loves spending time with her beagle Benny, writing about supernatural creatures, gardening and meeting readers at book fests. Learn more at catherinestine.com
1 signed paperback of Guardian of Monsters with stickers and a bookmark.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”