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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Guest Post: Laura Bickle - Top Five Reasons Why It’s Terrifying in Temperance + giveaway

Top Five Reasons Why It’s Terrifying in Temperance 
By Laura Bickle 

Temperance, Wyoming, is a terrifying little town. Founded by an alchemist nearly a hundred and fifty years ago, it sits at the edge of Yellowstone National Park. Time may have forgotten this one-stoplight town, but failed alchemical experiments wandering the backcountry haven’t. Here are the top five reasons why it’s terrifying in Temperance:

5. The Tree of Life has been burned to the ground. The Alchemical Tree of Life exists in Temperance, an oak tree that’s stood for centuries on ranchland. It was the source of life for more than a dozen undead cowboys, the Hanged Men. The tree was burned by the ranch owner, Sal Rutherford, handing down a death sentence to the Hanged Men. Before they died, the Hanged Men murdered Sal in revenge.

4. There’s only one Hanged Man left, and he’s hit with a bad case of mortality blues. Gabriel Manget inexplicably survived the burning of the tree, but he’s lost his power. He’s unable to shapeshift into ravens, and is just as susceptible to bullets as the next guy. In a fit of mortal sentimentality, Gabe married geologist Petra Dee. Before he could settle down in Temperance, he’s been abducted by the new sheriff in town, Owen Rutherford. Owen now has control of the ranch and wants revenge for Sal’s murder. Gabe is hoping that Owen will be content with torturing him to death and not seek blood from his new wife.

3. Petra Dee, the daughter of an alchemist, is dying. She’s acquired an incurable case of leukemia from her time working in the petroleum industry. She’s used every scientific and magical method at her disposal to cure herself, and has struck out. With nothing left to lose, she’s determined to find her missing husband before she shuffles off this mortal coil. And the way it’s going, it’s going to happen at the wrong end of a gun.

2. The new sheriff in town has made a deal with the devil. Actually, he’s made a deal with a power worse than the devil. Muirren is a flesh-devouring mermaid, imprisoned in the catacombs beneath the ranch. Owen Rutherford has let her loose, and no fisherman or boater on the rivers of Yellowstone are safe from her grasp.

1. There are those in Temperance with long memories, those who will call up horrors from an age long past. The bartender of the town bar, Lev, is not what he seems. He’s a domovoi, a spirit of place. He’s buried his magic and gone about his business after a lifetime in the shadow of man’s worst violence. But someone has darkened his door with a message from his past, a message that will force him to create a monster that the world has not seen for a thousand years.
Temperance faces foes that threaten to tear it apart from the very underworld on which it sits. Who will be left standing when the dust clears?

Witch Creek (The Wildlands Series Book Two) 
by Laura Bickle Feb. 27, 2018 
Genre: Dark Fantasy 
Publisher: Harper Voyager 
ISBN: 978-0062567314 
Number of pages: 384 
Word Count: 88,160 
In the backcountry of Yellowstone, evil moves below the surface . . . 

Following Nine of Stars comes the next chapter in Laura Bickle's critically acclaimed Wildlands series. 

As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has battled supernatural horrors and experienced astonishing wonders. But there’s no magic on earth that can defeat her recent cancer diagnosis, or help find her missing husband, Gabriel. Still, she would bet all her remaining days that the answer to his disappearance lies in the dark subterranean world beneath the Rutherford Ranch on the outskirts of Temperance, Wyoming. 

Gabe is being held prisoner by the sheriff and heir to the ranch, Owen Rutherford. Owen is determined to harness the power of the Tree of Life—and he needs Gabe to reveal its magic. Secretly, the sheriff has also made a pact to free a creature of the underground, a flesh-devouring mermaid. Muirenn has vowed to exact vengeance on Gabe, who helped imprison her, but first . . . she's hungry. Once freed, she will swim into Yellowstone—to feed. 

With her coyote sidekick Sig, Petra must descend into the underworld to rescue Gabe before it's too late . . . for both of them. 

Peering through the cattails, she saw a man with a fishing pole, standing on an outcropping. He seemed alone, caught in a bit of reverie, gazing at his line skipping along the surface of the water.

She dipped below the surface of the water, toward the shiver of the fishing line. With green-spotted fingers, she lifted the struggling fish from the hook. The line jerked away.

The man swore.

Muirenn lifted her head above the water.

“Holy shit.” The man stumbled backward. “I didn’t realize you were swimming there . . . I . . .”

His expression changed from embarrassment to curiosity as he looked at her. The pupils of his eyes dilated. “Who . . . are you?”

Muirenn gripped the fish close to her chest, giving a small smile.

The fisherman crouched on the rock, setting his pole beside him. “Wow. You’re uh . . . green? Is that real?”

Muirenn cocked her head and slipped forward a bit in the water. The edge of her tail skimmed above the surface.

“Is that like . . . one of those tails that the girls have at that park in Florida? For a movie or something?” His suntanned brow wrinkled. “No. That’s real,” he decided. “You, um . . . want the fish? You can have it.”

She was within arm’s length of him. She released the squirming fish into the water.

“You wanted to let it go? Look, I . . .”

The man talked too much. She swam closer, tentatively.

The fisherman looked at her, at her dappled skin and the dark rust hair spreading into the water. She wouldn’t ordinarily have been so bold. The weight off her tail was going to her head. She let him take in the black of her eyes, the gills on her throat. He gazed in wonder, and his fingers twitched to a small square piece of plastic on top of his tackle box.

“Can I take your picture? What . . . are you?”

A smile played across her lips, and she spoke to him in a silvery voice. “I’m the Mermaid.”

“Wow. I . . . wow. I’m, uh, Norm. Do I, like, make a wish or something?”

“You can, if you want. I’ll listen.”

She reached up with delicate fingers to touch him. Her fingers brushed the pockets of his fishing vest, playing with wonder over the bits and baubles there meant to lure the attention of fish. The man forgot about his camera and stared, transfixed.

Muirenn reached up for his collar . . .

. . . and dragged him down into the water.

He splashed and flailed. She brought him down—down to the bottom of the creek. It wasn’t so far, but it was far enough for a land dweller. He couldn’t fight her for long. He thrashed until his lungs grew heavy with creek water. He convulsed as the lack of oxygen reached his heart and filtered up to his brain. And then he stopped.

Muirenn grinned, showing row upon row of shark-like teeth. She ripped off his arm and began to chew. It had been so long since she’d had anything but the errant fish that wandered into her realm . . . this was a meal worth waiting for.

The creek ran red.

Red as the idle red-and-white bobber drifting on the surface of the water.

About the Author:

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

Tour Giveaway 

5 copies of Nine of Stars (book 1)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I haven't read the series yet but I was wonder if you went to Yellowstone to research the setting. I would love to read a book set there. Living in Ohio it is pretty much the same ol', same ol'. One day I hope to take a trip there.

    1. I did! I went on a trip with my husband and was completely enchanted. I decide that there *had* to be magic there! :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! I had a blast writing a creepy mermaid. :-)

  3. the book sounds good thanks for your giveaway

    tiramisu392 (at)

  4. Thanks so much for hosting me today! I appreciate it!