When I saw this cover and discovered such a unique story world, I jumped at the chance to participate in this book tour. Today, Mollie E. Reeder has stopped by to share a glimpse of her story with us. So without further ado, please welcome, Ms. Reeder!
Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages! I’m Mollie E. Reeder, author of The Electrical Menagerie, a steampunk adventure featuring robots, magicians, and flying trains (also possibly murder… but you didn’t hear that from me).
In The Electrical Menagerie, illusionist Sylvester Carthage and his producer Arbrook Huxley run a one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow full of inventions and magic. Entering a cutthroat royal talent competition is the only way to save their show from bankruptcy, but it means going head-to-head against the best entertainers in the realm — all of whom have their own reasons for wanting to win. One such competitor is rival magician Andromeda Skyhawke.
Andromeda has a compelling backstory that emerged through the course of the book, and I loved writing about her, but I didn’t get to write any scenes from her point-of-view. For my guest post today, I wanted to share a glimpse into the world of The Electrical Menagerie, and I thought exploring the first audition from Andromeda’s point-of-view was just the way to do it.
Illustration by Randi Lynn Jackson (IG: @randilynn_jackson)
Meet Andromeda Skyhawke!
Andromeda Skyhawke: Talented young illusionist Andromeda Skyhawke finds herself entangled with the Electrical Menagerie when she goes head to head with Carthage & Huxley in the royal competition. Andromeda’s short and often difficult life as a young woman has forged in her a wry wit and a fierce determination, but pitted in rivalry against The Electrical Menagerie, Andromeda wavers. Is it a rivalry that spells the end of whatever simmers between her and the beguiling charm of Arbrook Huxley?
Andromeda Skyhawke stared into the looking glass and tried to see what everyone else saw.
Her hands were shaking, and she gripped the edge of her dressing table to steady them. The electric bulbs lighting the mirror washed her in a somehow grimly golden glow. Months of preparation, hours of rehearsal — years, truly, of toil — would culminate in a single audition.
A single, life-changing audition.
Through the curtains, she could already hear the audience. Voices mingled together into a single, indistinct hum, the same warning sound a beehive made. Music floated somewhere overhead.
Was it too late to run?
Prepare to be astonished — that’s what it said on the posters. Right underneath her portrait.
They’d be astonished, alright, if she never arrived to her own show. That would be a most spectacular vanishment.
She imagined, momentarily, what it would be like to entertain the stage fright and simply walk away. Out of the tent. Off of Astoria Isle. Back to obscurity.
But the thought of obscurity turned rancid in her belly. She’d worked too hard, left too many precious things behind, to walk away from the opportunities that loomed ahead. Even if she was nervous — even if she was terrified — she couldn’t turn back now.
She dug her nails into the grooves of the dressing table and stared into the mirror.
A stranger looked back.
Where was the little girl she remembered? The one whose small hands shook? The one who never cried, even when she skinned her knees — too afraid the other children might laugh?
There was a woman in her place. A beautiful woman, with pearls in her ears and quartz pins in her hair. A grown woman, swathed in a dress that concealed the knotty scars across her knees, dusted with powder that hid her freckles. A grown woman, eyes rimmed with unspent tears.
Still terrified the other children might laugh.
Her picture was on the posters. That was her name, printed in holo-ink for everyone to see. She was the Mistress of Illusion.
But when would any of it start to feel real?
When would the applause seem genuine — the attention feel deserved?
When would Andromeda Skyhawke no longer feel like an impostor, and start feeling like herself?
She closed her eyes and pulled a desperate breath.
A single, life-changing audition. Her entire life laid before her, full of possibility.
She opened her eyes.
Yes, she was terrified of fame.
But she was more terrified of its opposite.
She couldn’t run away.
“Whatever happens,” she vowed to her reflection — to this strange, grown-up thing she’d become — “I won’t turn back.”
“Five minutes,” called her manager from the doorway.
She straightened from the dressing table. She didn’t need five minutes — she was ready.
The fear wasn’t exactly gone. The stage was terrifying, but it was inescapable. The spotlight summoned her like a match summoning a moth.
She was Andromeda Skyhawke, Mistress of Illusion.
And she’d never let them see her cry.
About the Book
The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.
Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.
To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen.In this stardust-and-spark-poweredempire of floating islandsandflying trains, a shot at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroatworld of critics, high society, and rival magicians —but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.
Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxleytell each otherthat may cost them everything.
“Dazzles from start to finish. In Carthage & Huxley, Sherlock & Watson fans will find another dynamic duo whose ready wit and sizzling banter(and inevitable personality clashes) never fail to delight. You’ll be calling for an encore performance.” Gillian Bronte Adams, author of The Songkeeper Chronicles
“The stuff thatfandoms are built on.” Kyle Robert Shultz, author of Beaumont & Beasley
Purchase on Amazon
About the Author
Mollie’s first job was with a major theme park, where she operated a roller coaster, fixed parade floats, and helped Scooby-Doo put on his head. Now, Mollie is a movie producer and the author of character-driven science fiction/fantasy novels for adults who never outgrew imagination. Her favorite things include Jesus, dinosaurs, and telling cinematic stories that blend glitter and grit.
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Explore the world of The Electrical Menagerie by entering to win this Celestial Isles prize pack, which includes: “High Victorian” playing cards by luxury playing card company Theory11, handmade galaxy mug by DeVita Designs, Science & Engineering Themed Pocket Notebook Set by CognitiveSurplus, and a tin of Electrical Menagerie themed tea (over a $50 value)! (US only.)
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, June 4th
Tuesday, June 5th
Wednesday, June 6th
Thursday, June 7th
Friday, June 8th
Saturday, June 9th
Monday, June 11th