Hello Book Lovers of Bloglandia!
That’s right, The Uncanny Raven Winston has flown the coop and is now landing on the shelves of book retailers around the globe. Talk about your long-haul flights!
Even though it seems like we just did this, let’s crack open another bottle of champagne, raise our glasses, and offer up a cheer of…
“Happy Release Day to The Uncanny Raven Winston!”
Now, in case you’re new here, this is the second book of my Cassie Black Trilogy which is full of snarky humor, paranormal mystery, piles of pastries, and loads of magical mishaps.
So if you haven’t read the first book, The Undead Mr. Tenpenny, stop right here, go get a copy, read it, then come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
(Cue waiting Muzak)
Done reading? Good because this trilogy is meant to be read in order and, while you might enjoy the silly fun in The Uncanny Raven Winston, you could end up feeling a little lost if you haven’t read the first book.
As for the book itself, The Uncanny Raven Winston was a tough one to write. I think because it’s a “bridging” novel that connects books one and three, which meant carefully layering in little hints and foreshadowing. And it took many brush strokes (aka “drafts”) to get all those layers properly sorted. Ugh.
Still, despite the hard work, it not only has one of my favorite new characters (Nigel, the Yeoman Warder), it also has my favorite cover of the trilogy. I mean just look at this goofy guy!
Videos are Coming!
Since there’s already loads to cover today, I’m saving the launch videos for tomorrow. Don’t worry, unlike last time, I only did two quick videos for this launch. Did I just hear a collective sigh of relief?
What Readers Are Saying
I could tell you how great this book is, but that might come across as a bit weird. Instead, here’s some comments from your fellow Cassie Black fans….
- “Cassie Black, won me over in the first book of this series, and she doesn’t disappoint in this one!!!” –Goodreads Reviewer
- “[a] charming follow-up to The Undead Mr. Tenpenny. More, please!” –Sarah Angleton, author of Launching Sheep
- “Loved it! Great ending. I love a good cliffhanger.” –J. Tate, Eugene Reviewer
Ready to Get Your Copy of The Uncanny Raven Winston?
Good, because it’s time for me to sell you stuff
Here’s how to find The Uncanny Raven Winston…
EBOOKS from my Payhip Bookstore can be found at https://payhip.com/b/1XyN
Note: If you purchase (or have purchased) The Undead Mr. Tenpenny through me, you will receive a 15% discount on The Uncanny Raven Winston.
EBOOKS from Amazon, Apple Kobo, and plenty other retailers. Just select your preferred shop from this universal book link: https://books2read.com/CassieBlack2
PAPERBACKS from Amazon…
- Follow the Books2Read link above,
- Tap the Kindle icon,
- Select the “paperback” option on the book’s Amazon page.
- Or go directly to your region’s Amazon store and enter the book’s special Amazon number: B091WCSWX3
PAPERBACKS from other retailers (such as Barnes & Noble, Target, or local bookshops). Just search for or ask for the book by its title or by its ISBN: 978 139 343 4801
HARDBACKS from certain Amazon stores (US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain).
- Follow this Books2Read link,
- Tap the Kindle icon,
- Select the “paperback” option on the book’s Amazon page.
- Or go directly to your region’s Amazon store and search for the book’s special Amazon number: B0922VB6HM
Apologies for all those numbers, but it really is the most reliable way to find the exact book you’re after.
About the Book
There’s nothing like an evil wizard to ruin a perfect good trip to London.
Ever have one of those weeks? You’ve taken an overdose of magic, you’ve just melted a twelve-year old girl, and Magic HQ has sent a letter “requesting” you come by to discuss your magic control issues.
No? Just me then?
I don’t want to go. I’ve got a boss in a wheelchair (my fault), a zombie cat who demands his treats on schedule, and no interest in sorting out the quirks of another magical community.
But when someone slips me information tying my parents’ disappearance to HQ, I can’t pack my bags quickly enough.
I’m soon destroying historical displays, befriending befuddled ghosts, and focusing more on uncovering the truth about my past than on figuring out how to rein in my magic. Which, since HQ has a test for me that if I fail… Well, best not to think about that.
This second book of The Cassie Black Trilogy squeezes you through a magic portal, lodges you in a hidden corner of the Tower of London, and plunges you into a tale of mysterious mishaps, peculiar ravens, and TV-binging trolls.
If you like contemporary fantasy with unforgettable characters, snarky humor, and a touch of paranormal mystery — or if you’ve ever wondered what those garden gnomes are really up to — you’ll find it hard to pry yourself away from The Uncanny Raven Winston.
Alrighty everyone, like I said, I’ll be back soon with those launch party video (whether you like it or not). In the meantime, if I haven’t already lured you in to buying the book, you’ll find a little taste below to entice you.
Happy reading and happy birthday Raven Winston!
Go On, Try a Sample…
Note: If you haven’t read The Undead Mr. Tenpenny, this might contain some spoilers for you
Prologue – The Report
“Report in from the Yanks, sir.”
The grey-haired woman glanced up at the stout, somewhat hairy man who’d just stepped into her office.
No, she thought upon noticing his hands had only four digits. Not a man. A troll. Judging by his lack of a bulbous nose and with ears that didn’t stick straight out from the side of his head, he was only half troll, but he still possessed that frustrating troll trait of being difficult to train out of a habit. Once a troll got an idea stuck in his or her head, it was near impossible to get it back out.
It’s what made them excellent guards. You simply told them to keep whoever they were meant to guard alive, and that task became their primary focus even if some of them went about it in unconventional ways. However, this sticky-idea quirk was also why you always had to be careful when working with them.
“I’ve told you before, I’m not a sir. Ma’am, mum, even just Olivia would be fine.”
“Yes sir, mum,” he said, mumbling the two titles together.
Olivia Waylon rolled her eyes, and even though she made a great effort to hold it in, let out an exasperated sigh. It was too early in the day for this, and someone — probably one of the pixies they hired as cleaners — had hidden the cords for all the electric kettles, which meant Olivia was not only having to deal with a pile of troubling information that had surfaced about the Starlings, but also with a dim-brained half-troll without the benefit of caffeine from the tea department of Fortnum & Mason.
No witch should have to endure so much before ten a.m.
Olivia pushed back from her desk. The chair’s wheels stuttered over the stone slab floor.
“What is it?”
Before the troll — she thought his name might be Chester, but she wasn’t certain — could begin, a man entered her office. He was in his mid-thirties and slim with cheek bones so sharp they could slice cold butter.
“Ah, you’ve heard the report, then?” Rafi said, taking a seat in one of the chairs before Olivia’s desk.
“Chester, why haven’t you told her?” he asked, speaking in a tone of mock scolding as he twisted his lithe frame around to grin at the troll. “Never mind, tell her now.”
“The Mauvais is back,” Chester said as flatly as if delivering a weather report.
“Damn, Chester, you could’ve eased into it,” Rafi chided. Olivia caught a hint of Rafi’s sandalwood scent as he turned back to face her.
“Sorry,” said Chester. “That was the report, though.”
Olivia’s dark cheeks had paled to an odd shade reminiscent of a paper sack left in the sun too long. Did this have anything to do with the information she’d just received on the Starlings? The single sentence from Chester – and the lack of any tea – left her head pounding. She rolled forward, put her elbows on the desk and began rubbing her temples.
“Never mind, then,” Rafi told Chester. “Go to the next person on your list and relay the news.”
“Yes sir. Goodbye, sirs.” Chester gave a little bow and touched his three fingers to his forehead in a salute.
“You do know we’re only supposed to use them as guards,” Olivia criticized as soon as Chester’s heavy footsteps could be heard thumping down the hall.
“I know, but I keep thinking there’s more to them. I mean, with their level of dedication to a job it just seems with the right training…” Rafi’s words trailed off under Olivia’s it’s-not-going-to-happen stare.
“So, what’s this about?” Olivia asked. She couldn’t shake the idea that whatever Rafi had to say had something to do with the file humming under her fingers. Her throat went dry and she swallowed hard to relieve it.
“Turns out some American girl—” Olivia scolded Rafi with her eyes. “Sorry, a young American woman woke up the watch, brought some dead people back to life, and this alerted the Mauvais’s senses as to the watch’s location. He’d already been on the hunt for the watch, but we assumed he lost the trail when Corrine Corrigan shut down her messenger portal.”
“That was an inconvenient fiasco.” Olivia watched Rafi’s face. He met her scrutiny with a patient, level gaze. “There’s more, isn’t there?”
“The Mauvais got the watch.” The words rushed from his lips in a tumble of syllables as if, like ripping off a bandage, he could make delivering the news less painful if he did it as quickly as possible.
Olivia burst up from her desk. “What the hell, Rafi?”
In rapid, angry strides, she paced the office from one stone wall to another. With each step she mentally listed everything that needed to be put into place immediately. When she realized her head was going in circles with tasks, she stopped at the desk, hovering over Rafi like a hawk over its prey.
“The Mauvais has the watch? Don’t you think that’s what you should have led with? The wizard who wants to rule us Magics and enslave the Norms has regained the incredibly powerful, the insanely dangerous object that could allow him to do that very thing. And you send me bloody half-troll Chester with the news? Why are we not on full alert?”
“First off, if I can’t call her girl, you can’t go around pointing out Chester’s impure bloodlines in such a disparaging tone.”
Olivia no longer wanted tea. Who cared if it was only ten a.m., she needed scotch.
“Sod the bloody semantics, Rafi. We need to activate all the defensive tactics we have ready.”
“No, we don’t.” Rafi leaned back and put his feet up on the edge of Olivia’s desk. He wore a grin that made Olivia want to scream. The only thing that held her back was that she hated revealing the tiny drop of banshee blood she carried in her veins. Well, and the fact that she could kill Rafi with her scream. Although her fingers were twitching with the temptation to wrap around his long neck, she held back the urge. Instead, she shoved his feet off her desk.
“Need I remind you I have the authority to set your hair on fire?” Olivia said through tight lips. “Which I will do if you don’t explain things more clearly right this very second.”
“The Mauvais had disguised himself. He got his hands on the watch, but the watch is useless because the girl absorbed all the power out of the watch. Supposedly she’s got a knack for magic even though she only started training a few weeks ago.”
The lurch within Olivia’s stomach had nothing to do with hunger. Well, a little bit due to hunger. Too many things were snapping together.
“Where did this take place?” she asked, although she was willing to bet she already knew.
“Portland community. Busby Tenpenny, he was one of the people she brought back.”
“Young woman,” Rafi corrected.
“Whatever. She doesn’t happen to be named Starling, does she?”
“No, Black. Cassie Black.” With a heavy exhale of relief, Olivia dropped into the chair opposite Rafi who added, “But she is the daughter of a couple Starlings. Name got changed somewhere along the way, I guess.”
Once again, Olivia pressed her fingers to her temples and worked them in small circles.
“What’s her name matter?” Rafi asked, his voice full of confused worry. Olivia was one of those people who were never shaken. She was a steadfast rock who radiated confidence and authority without being overbearing. For her to show this much distress made him wish he’d left Chester to deliver the information.
“Because I just received a stack of reports from various sources indicating Simon and Chloe Starling may still be alive.”
“She’s their kid?” Rafi asked, awe replacing his concern for his boss. “The people who got the watch from the Mauvais in the first place?”
“And based on the information I’ve just received,” she said, tapping the folder in front of her, “they could indeed be alive. If they are, they would be in extreme danger. Until you and Chester came in, I’d been thinking we might put a team together to sift through the files, sort out their exact location, and extract them.” Rafi’s mahogany skin went a shade more in the direction of pine. Olivia raised a hand as if wiping a slate clean. “Sorry, not extract as in extraction. Although, that may have already happened. I mean, extract as in get them out. Rescue them. If we can. They deserve our care after what they did for the community at large.”
“How can they not be dead after all this time? It’s been what? More than twenty years, yes?”
“Close to twenty-four. If they are alive, it won’t have been a thriving existence. They’re nothing more than pawns to whoever has them. Likely kept just enough alive. Again, assuming these reports aren’t false leads, if the Starlings aren’t dead it’s quite likely they wish they were.”
“You’re thinking the Mauvais has them.” Chills went up Rafi’s arms.
“I haven’t had time to sort out what I’m thinking, but from what you’ve just said, if this daughter of theirs has tricked the Mauvais and it turns out they’re being held by him, he’s going to use them to get to her. He’ll dangle them in front of her then throw them away once he has what he wants. What I don’t understand is why wouldn’t he just go after her directly? What good do the parents do him?”
“He tried.” Rafi’s voice carried a hint of amused pride. “He was trying to get the watch, but she beat him.”
“Her years of training have really paid off. Remind me to commend the Portland community.” Rafi, an enigmatic grin lighting up his face, shook his head emphatically. “What?”
“I just told you. She wasn’t trained. I mean, she was, but only for a couple weeks. Before that, she had no idea she was one of us. Think about it,” Rafi said, clearly impressed, “barely trained and she beat him. Of course, she had been hopped up on donuts, but it’s still impressive.”
Olivia’s stomach growled at the mention of food. She stood up, flipped open the report cover, and looked at the photo of a lanky, dark-haired woman. Barely trained and she had survived going toe to toe with the Mauvais.
“But you said the Mauvais had the watch. That doesn’t sound like she won.”
Rafi’s face beamed like a pre-teen gushing over the latest boy band. “She pulled all the power from the watch into herself. The Mauvais got the watch, but it’s nothing more than a decorative trinket now. He’ll be fuming once he finds out.”
Barely trained and she now held the watch’s power within her. Olivia closed the folder. “We need to call her in,” she said with stern decisiveness.
“Are we locking her down or inviting her to work with us?”
* * *
The Uncanny Raven Winston can be found on most major retailers.
* * *
Let’s Stay in Touch!