Friday, 10 May 2019

A Walking Shadow by Elizabeth Ireland - Extract

In 1871, Lillian Nolan accepts a small role in Macbeth, and finally fulfills her dream of becoming an actress. That is until the renowned, but venomous, female star of the production is murdered onstage opening night. When her enraged spirit haunts the theater, Lillian is shocked to discover she can communicate with her. Offered a Faustian bargain in which she will be given talent and expertise way beyond her ability in exchange for uncovering the killer, Lillian can’t resist.
Her quest for the truth causes her to descend into the Underworld, the den of inequity below the streets of Chicago. What Lillian finds soon embroils her in a battle between her passion for performing and control over her own body as it all plays out in a supernatural game of good and evil.
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Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.
Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”  
The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.
8. Lillian Nolan, protagonist and reluctant sleuth, is only able to escape from the notorious Underworld of Chicago in 1871 with the help of the spirit of the murdered actress, Irene Davenport:

I beat on the door again. I heard only laughter.
That laughter fed my outrage which, in turn, seemed to fuel Irene’s presence. I backed away, looking for a chair, something, anything, to pick up and throw at the door. Irene moved in front of me. I could feel her energy beat and burn, the level of her fury creating dim pulses of shadow in the dark room. The door started to shake, warp, and then all at once, it blew off of its hinges and flew into the outer room.
Ann stood there, shock and surprise plainly written on her face. I paused in the doorway and I could sense Irene in front of me, moving toward Ann.
“What the hell?” Ann shouted.
The chair, the table, the small desk, the lamp all started to tip and rock as I walked forward. The other women in the room immediately scattered and disappeared into the rabbit warren of tunnels around us, but Ann held her ground.
Irene. It was all Irene. It was so cold now, so very cold. A mist rose in the air in front of me and coalesced into an indistinct form. The freezing air spread out in front of me.
I continued walking forward. I could tell Ann felt the cold, too. Her breath came out in clouds. She was speechless, her face a mask of fear. Irene's diary was still in Ann’s hand, and as I focused upon it, a stream of cold air blasted directly at her, forcing her backward and throwing her onto the floor. The diary flew up into the air, straight at me, and I caught it.
Ann turned an even paler shade of white and she screamed. She picked herself up and headed straight at me. In my mind I heard a voice—it was Irene’s and it said, “Run.”

Author Bio
Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.
She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.
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