guest today is Rachael Stapleton. Hello! Welcome back to Writing in the
Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here again.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can
we get it?
Temple of Indra’s WITCH, the fourth book in the Time
Traveling Bibliophile Book Series just released in February. Temple of Indra’s LIES, the third
book, released the month prior. Please go check them out on Amazon. As
well as the new branded and rewritten versions of Books One and Two: Temple of Indra’s Jewel and Temple of Indra’s Curse.
Bohemian Murder Manor.
“Someone’s dead in bed.”
Mallory Vianu stated, as she propped her elbows on the iron wrought railing and
gazed out over the lake and gardens of Caravan Manor. The resort offered
fifteen bedrooms, which were almost always occupied, a carriage house and two
caravans that were located on the property for guests who desired more
“Bull,” declared the cranky old woman behind her.
“It says so right here.” Mallory turned and pointed to the website’s header.
“Someone’s Dead Inn, Bed & Breakfast.”
“Bull,” declared the cranky old woman behind her.
“It says so right here.” Mallory turned and pointed to the website’s header. “Someone’s Dead Inn, Bed & Breakfast.”
of them. LOL. Some of my favorite authors from the past: V.C Andrews, Heather
Graham, Danielle Steele, Jackie Collins, Diana Gabaldon and Jana DeLeon. Right
now, I'm reading a lot of Indie authors (mostly mystery) and I'm really loving
I am a bit of both. I begin with an
overall theme or premise and go from there. I do outline, but not extensively.
Once I’ve written the bones of it down, I tend to write my chapters randomly.
Setting is a huge motivator for me. I’ll get an idea for where the scene is
taking place and then I drop my core cast of characters down into it,
presenting them with a mysterious event or a key plot point.
I think it then I write it (at least part of it), so there really is no stone
left unturned at the moment. I have about five almost finished novels on the
Wow, that's great!
looked over your website and I love the Dostoevsky quote, "If you love everything, you will perceive the diving mystery in things." Would you say that you bring the same approach to mystery in your Time Traveling Bibliophile Series?
Yes, definitely. I have a lot in common with my
Now...what project do you have planned next? Or is that a secret?
I have several in the works. I
tend to work between two projects at a time, depending on what scenes I dream
up. The Bohemian Murder Manor is my favorite right now.
"All around the Vianu house,
the killer chased the people. And after them in double haste, Pop! goes the
weasel. It’s birthday time and to celebrate Nana and Mallory Vianu of the
family-owned-and-operated lakeside Bohemian Manor Resort have hired an outside
event planning company to run, Night of the Occult, a murderous mystery game
festival. It will be an unparalleled weekend in the Victorian mansion—where for
a change—even some of the employees get to take part in the clues, costumes,
and red herrings."
Great! We look forward to it! :)
Is there anything you'd like to add? Any special advice for your fellow writers?
Join a critique group and edit other
people's work. It will strengthen your own writing.
There’s a BLOOD MOON on the Rise…
Sophia Marcil closed the book
on magic long ago, when she married Cullen O’Kelley and opened her
beloved shop in Dublin. She’s taking life one page at a time until an
old acquaintance darkens her doorstep and reminds her of a grim
prediction made sixteen years ago—one that involves her daughter, her
grimoire, and that threatens time travel once more. Since cursing Sophia
more than five-hundred years ago, the witch has become disillusioned
with life and she’s ready to return to 1494, where her enmity began.
Sadly, her attempt to open the portal goes up in smoke, taking Sophia
with it. Cullen believes his beloved time-traveling bibliophile could
still be alive, but a local historian warns she may still be in
jeopardy. The answer to her whereabouts lies in a fifteenth-century
castle—all he has to do is navigate time using the grimoire. Of course,
he’s not the only one searching: Sophia’s daughter is determined to tag
along, and she’s leading the witch right to them. Cullen is desperate to
save his wife from the noose, but is a deal with the devil necessary?
The witch claims there’s no time like the present to re-write the past,
but can the woman who once cursed them be trusted to hold the pen?
Dublin, Ireland, 2031
It wasn’t quite nine in the morning but Dublin’s
Creative Quarter was already buzzing. I waved to my neighbor who ran the café
across the lane and stepped inside Mysterious
Adventures in Ink. The bell above the door jingled and my business partner
and best friend, Leslie Lovari, shifted her position on the ladder in front of
the book shelves.
“Happy Tuesday!” she sang out in her bubbly yet monotone voice.
“Maybe for you.” I grimaced. My head ached and my body was in a
pre-caffeine fog, aggravated by the cat carrier I juggled along with two
vanilla chai lattes and a container of cold eggs.
“Better put those down before you have an accident,” Leslie said.
I took her advice, then dragged the table of featured books outside,
and flipped the sign to open. Leslie, now hanging dried herbs from the rafters,
looked cute and perky in a floral slip dress. Ever since I’d met her, she’d
been fascinated by three things—plants, books, and food—so I wasn’t surprised
to see a half-eaten sugary cupcake in her hand.
“What are you eating?”
“Choco-coco. You should try it.” She licked the last of the shredded
coconut from her fingers.
“You know I don’t like sweets.” I swallowed hard, worried that my drool
might betray me. Besides who eats cupcakes for breakfast? My inner adult
prevented such behavior; mind you, with Alana working at the Cupcake Shoppe
part-time, I had been indulging a little too often, which was strange,
considering I’d never had a sweet tooth before.
I turned away from the treats and surveyed the inside of the shop. I’d
modeled it after a bookstore from London circa 1920. It was a throwback to the
Victorian era with wide-planked floors, velvet drapes, and antique shelves.
“Something wrong, Sophia?” Leslie asked, climbing down the ladder.
“I have a headache.”
“Again? Try letting your hair down.”
I carefully plucked the elastic loose, freeing my long dark hair from
its messy bun. “I can’t even remember what it feels like to sleep through the night
“You’ve been getting those headaches for a month now. Did you try the
“I did. I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment soon.”
Leslie gave me a sympathetic look and made a beeline for the cat
carrier. “Come here, girl.”
She didn’t pretend to like animals but she loved my black cat, Daphne,
which was why I bothered toting the feline along twice a week—Leslie’s shared
The jangling of the bell brought our attention back to the front of the
store. My teenage daughter, Alana, had burst in, cheeks flushed, holding a
white-and-pink bakery box.
“Mum!” she barked, mobile phone glued to her ear.
“Ah, praise the almighty. I thought ye’d gone deaf.”
I frowned and shook my head. At least she had graciously taken the time
to pause and acknowledge me—a rare occurrence these days. “Very funny, Alana.”
“Well, I was callin’ after ye like a mad woman…oh, hey, Les,” she added
sweetly. “Mrs. Walsh sent these over.”
I made a mental note to ask Leslie about the voodoo she obviously
worked on my daughter. It was the only explanation I could come up with on why
she was nice to her and not me, since we both bossed her around.
“Are those the new mint buttercreams?” Leslie demanded.
Alana nodded. “Peppermint patties. There’s a lemon tart in there for
I looked at the counter where Alana had set the bakery box next to the
last one. The Walsh’s slogan daintily sprawled across the top: A little magic in every bite.
I rolled my eyes. “Rather like heroin. These things are more addictive
than cigarettes and coffee.”
“Definitely,” Leslie said with a grin. “But don’t worry, I’ll share.”
I turned to Alana, who was now furiously texting somebody. “What is it
you wanted, dear?”
“Hannah needs me at the shop—back in two shakes.”
I shook my head, looking at the Grandfather clock next to the
stained-glass window. It was ten past nine. “Weren’t you just there? Besides,
you’re supposed to be working here.” Alana was far from lazy, but she’d been
bailing on her shifts at the bookstore ever since she started working for the
Walshes’ bakery. “What does she need?”
“How should I know?” Annoyance flashed in Alana’s young eyes. “She said
she needs to show me somethin’.”
“That’s vague. Something as in…porn, drugs, a new dress?”
I could tell Leslie was fighting to keep from laughing.
Not my daughter, though. She rolled her eyes and more than likely
readied her insults.
“Fine. Go! But I want you back…” I looked up at the jingle and realized
she was already gone.
“Grrr…What is it with that damn sugar shop?” I asked, turning to
Les. “I just don’t get it. Why would she
rather spend her time sweating over those hot ovens?”
“Is that a real question?” Leslie mocked. “Hell, I’d live there if I
could and I’m part-owner here.”
“Yeah, well, you’re a sugar addict with a tape worm. Alana’s like me,
she doesn’t even like sweets.” I paced the length of the store and almost
tripped over an empty box. I looked up and saw more. “What’s with all the
“Come here and I’ll show you.” Leslie led the way to the back of the
store and handed me a book titled Doorway
to the Occult.
“It’s a book on the ancestry of the Ouija board,” I said, stating the
She looked at me with a guilty grin. “Welcome to our new Witchcraft
I picked up another and read the title aloud: “The Truth about Wicca. This one looks expensive.”
“It was an online request.”
I frowned. “It’s a little early for Halloween.”
“Maybe some people are genuinely interested in the occult year-round.”
She stroked Daphne, who gave a little purr in return.
I shrugged. “Still, you thought that warranted a dedicated section?”
Normally I didn’t question Leslie’s decisions. She was an amazing
business partner, but there were a lot of new books and we needed to spread our
“The book looked interesting so I ordered a copy for the store in
addition to the client’s requests and boom—in came this whole shipment. I
called the distributor. Apparently one of the warehouse staff made a mistake
and it wasn’t worth the money to ship them back so we got a free load of books
on magical traditions. Our lucky day, right?”
I acknowledged her with a lift of my chin. “It does cramp the space, but
I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. They’ll sell in October.”
“I’m going to move amulets back there. That should draw some of the
“We’re relying on amulets to draw people? Is this in the official
Leslie barked out a laugh, which was actually more of a squeal given
Leslie’s pitchy voice. She walked to the front counter and grabbed one of the
“I think you need this.”
I held my hand out, accepting it gratefully.
“I was thinking more along the lines of merchandising, smarty pants.
It’s June. People will want the amulets for Solstice to read the future. If we
place the amulets near the books, then maybe customers will be inclined to grab
a book, too.” She set Daphne on the
Peeling back the plastic tab on my cup, I inhaled the sweet, vanilla
scent of the latte. My headache finally subsided and, feeling relaxed for the
first time in hours, I allowed myself to believe that today would be better.
Apparently not: a dark shadow darted in and out of my peripheral vision,
setting the cat in motion. Daphne sprang onto the counter, knocking over a copy
of The Satanic Bible.
“What the hell was that?” I bent to pick up the thick, black book, and
spilled a few drops of my coffee down the front of my shirt.
Leslie scoffed. “Relax. The bird is on the outside of the glass. The
delivery guy said it followed the truck here. It’s been hanging out since
She handed me a damp cloth and I dabbed at my chest. Luckily my shirt
was dark and patterned.
“Why is it just hovering there, beating its wings against the glass?”
As if on cue, the bird landed on the window sill.
I took the first sip of my latte, closing my eyes and waiting for the
caffeine to power my bloodstream. The cat mewled at the bird as if she could
reach it through the glass, making my head pound again.
“That’s enough, Daphne. Come here!” I scolded, which might have worked
if she’d been any other animal, but she was a declawed black diva. I turned to
Les, who sighed, and clapped her hands fiercely together, calling the cat’s
name. Daphne sprang down from the shelf and purred at Leslie’s feet.
Clearly Leslie’s magical voodoo charm extended to more than just angry
“There you are, pretty girl,” Leslie said, bending over. “Now you leave
that birdie alone,” she told her, in a tone that brooked no argument.
“It’s a black bird,” I said, eyeing it through the window.
“You own a black cat, but you have something against black birds?”
“I-I mean it’s a raven. Aren’t they a sign of death?” I was growing
“No . . . I don’t think so.” She shook her head. “They were cursed for
not returning to Noah’s ark…but…actually…they are associated with darkness.”
I frowned, not that Leslie noticed; she was now frantically searching
through one of the new piles; on the prowl for a book to quote from, I was
sure. Her nerdiness knew no bounds. If she wasn’t reading a book, she was
usually writing about what she’d read in her journal. It was an endearing and
yet predictable quality.
“Here it is. Both witches and the Devil were said to take the shape of
a raven.” Leslie picked up another book, this one black and gold, “The raven
symbolizes the void—symbolic of the black hole which draws in all energy toward
itself and releases it in new forms.”
“That doesn’t sound terrifying at all.” I snorted. “No reason to fear
the random void sucking energy that’s stalking our window. Speaking of which,
why aren’t all of the drapes pulled back? Are we afraid of the light? Should I
expect a section on vampires next?”
“Actually, that’s not a bad idea. We could do it for Halloween and use
that beautiful castle painting that Alana did to add ambiance,” Leslie scoffed.
“Transylvania and all it has to offer.”
“Don’t you dare,” I protested. Still, I did like her idea. We’d joked
about doing a Halloween castle tour forever. Unfortunately, we hadn’t gotten
around to it yet. Maybe this year. “We’re at capacity now.”
“I know, I know. Time for a break! You want a cupcake?” Leslie said,
getting to her feet.
“No, I’ve got my coffee. I overdosed on those cupcakes last night. Mrs.
Walsh,” I said through gritted teeth, “loves to send my favorite kind home with
Alana after her shifts.”
“That bitch! How dare she try to be nice?” Leslie mocked.
“Oh, there’s more to it than that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember how I told you Cullen’s Da has a new girlfriend?”
Leslie’s mouth kicked up in a reluctant smile. “Mrs. Walsh?”
“Yep.” I returned her smile.
“Cullen can’t expect his dad to remain celibate.”
“Celibate, no. I think what Cullen objects to is the fact that the
woman is Alana’s employer. She’s widowed and so Móraí introduced the two, coincidentally after one of Alana’s
“What does Alana think?”
“How should I know? She barely speaks to me.”
Leslie wrapped her arms around me. “She’s still giving you a hard
“Understatement of the year—I’m officially in the running for worst mom
in the world.”
“Oh please, don’t be so dramatic. You’ll never beat out that reality
mom who encouraged her daughter to pose nude.”
“That’s a relief,” I said sarcastically.
“Alana’s turning sixteen, that’s all. Teenagers know best,” she said
with a chuckle.
The beating returned but it was now coming from the other window. I
crossed the store and pulled back the heavy velvet curtains. Behind them was a
pair of eyes, and I jumped back, startled.
“No more caffeine for you,” Leslie said.
I stepped away from the window, just as the door jingled. In walked the
woman I’d seen through the glass.
“Sophia! It is you.”
“Hello?” I said, taken aback.
Daphne scrambled down from the shelf and shot to the back of the store,
in a hurry to catch whatever imaginary creature she was chasing. I drew my
attention back to the front. This woman looked familiar.
“Mysterious Adventures in Ink.
What a clever name.”
“Have you forgotten me already?”
What people are saying about Rachael Stapleton's books:
This book has a little bit of everything in it – mystery,
suspense, romance, time travel and mysticism. It is bound to appeal to nearly
This book was so good I bought all three and can’t
wait to see what is next for Sophia as like any great book it left you wanting
to know more.
Wow! That was such a unique book.
~Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales
This was a fun read, and I’m looking forward to the rest of
~The Book’s the Thing
The author has a great way of story telling that will grab
the reader from the start of the book and hold their attention until the end.
~Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales
~The Book’s the Thing