You be the judge of these covers for The Order of the Dark Rose
I’ve been taking a long hard look at things lately with The Cursed Mage Case Files. Sales have been pretty good, but there still seems to be something of a disconnect with readers. .With that in mind, I’m looking for the cause of any problems where readers might not connect with the current book.
First on the list is the cover. Today, you get to help choose whether the cover should be changed by voting in the poll at the end. Click your favorite and let me know:
#1 – The Original
#2 – The Print Variation – this is one based on a print variation that I never used:
#3 – Bright Gold Panels – just playing around with the colors, not the artwork:
#4 – Rose Panels – my wife prefers this one as a rose theme:
Please feel free to share this around. The more votes and interaction there is with the post, the better I understand reader preferences. Also, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Read an excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose and find out more about the book, including the exciting news – paperback has arrived!
Good morning everyone! Along with another excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose this week, there’s additional news for the book – paperback has arrived! This book has been well-received already and so it’s wonderful news that print has arrived. Along with the excerpt and the added reading format, it’s also time to share the print cover.
As a matter of note and also a reminder, there are two former excerpts linked just below which highlight Wish often being caught in the middle of magic to his danger as originally discussed in the character highlight post for Wish entitled: A Wish and a Prayer.
Let’s move on to the newest excerpt from the book which is a little longer today just because of the paperback release:
The blue hood of my companion’s coat framed her lovely face in the warm light of the foyer like an artist’s painting. Her fragrance set my thoughts alight, and I longed to kiss her ruby lips. Her presence left me light-headed. “May I take your coat, Lady Stroffage?”
“No. I prefer its company, if you don’t mind the damp remains of the weather.” The melody of her voice entranced me anew, like a trained singer at a show. Her demure smile seemingly invited me closer to her full lips. The porcelain hue of her oval face, slightly flushed at the cheeks, drew my attention. The glimmer in her dark eyes spoke of a lady of wit and charm. Lady Stroffage withdrew the hood, which revealed her brunette tresses coiffed in a thick weave of curls, some of which hung about her neck enticingly.
What a glorious day for meeting such a client, regardless of the rain. More than four months with few useful cases and cold leads regarding the Watcher or the assassins. Without direct link between the two and nothing of Manny’s witness, we left the Kantar unpaid for more than a month, and his supply of needles dwindled to just a few. This and actually taking some of Cyrus Lofton’s work might send us toward solvency. But a beguiling lady of wealth promised better prospects for more than one reason.
I cleared my throat and drew my mind back to the matter at hand. It had been too long since a rendezvous with any of my lady friends. Perhaps a step up might be in order. This lady smiled at me often on the trip to meet Manny. I imagined that a bit of heroic effort to solve her problem would put me in her good graces. I cleared my throat a second time. With a wave of my hand, I directed Lady Stroffage to the stairwell. “Just this way, then.”
We soon arrived at Manny’s door, where I peeked in at him. Good, he was hard at work on some project, not engrossed in one of his crazed information binges. Better yet, he still appeared in his regular form, as it were, rather than a child or doddering old man.
I opened the door wide and led our lovely new client into the room. “Manny, we have company.”
My business partner never looked up from his table where he examined some of the magic residue collected wherever he travelled. He whirled away and searched for a book on his crowded shelves. “Just a moment, and I shall attend, Wish.” He withdrew a book from a shelf and flipped through the pages without pause as he muttered to himself. With his back still to us, Manny partially turned and tossed the book on the table without paying much mind to our new client.
The lady offered me a smile at my hesitant glance.
I dipped my head and returned the lady’s sunny expression with one of my own. “Manny, she’s here about an item that needs—”
“Another moment or two, if you will, Madam.” Manny reached high on the shelf and retrieved another book. He flipped through the pages with quick glances and muttered sudden approval. He turned to us and caught sight of me and our new client, one eye comically covered by his Seeing Stone strapped about his head. “Now, this may well hold the—.”
A moment of stunned silence passed as Manny gaped.
“Lady Stroffage, if I may present Mr. Mandeheim, my esteemed part—”
Manny’s book fell from his hands and slammed to the floor.
The sudden noise whirled my head toward him in surprise.
Manny fumbled with the numerous casters on the table before him. He finally found the one he wanted and ducked below the level of the tabletop, his arm extended and the wand pointed directly at our new client. As casual as the intense gleam in his eye, he peered over the table behind which he crouched. “Wish, now would be a good time to run.”
It was now my turn to gape. “What?”
Lady Stroffage set about tugging at the fingers of her gloves as she removed them. A casual smile spread upon her face, and a twinkle danced in her eyes.
“I’ll deal with this one. Just run before you get hurt.” Manny’s wand never wavered. Neither did his voice.
I stepped between him and the lady with a determined set of my jaw. At least, I thought so. My knees wobbled at the sight of what I took to be a lethal wand pointed at me. I’d rather be fleered. I worked some wetness into my mouth and found words. “Manny, this is a client, Lady Stroffage, who is in need of our services.”
“I know exactly who she is, though the name is an obvious fake.”
“And who is she, then?”
“I know her mainly by reputation and description. A dubious woman of unsurpassed beauty. Am I not correct, Ms. Vyara Vladimirova Bliznakova?”
Lady Stroffage cleared her throat, and her melodious voice sounded from behind me. “An insult and a compliment in the same sentence, but no appreciation. One wonders how you recognized me. If it weren’t for such talent, perhaps I should find another—”
“That won’t be necessary, Lady Stroffage.” My eyebrows dove into my line of vision at my frown. Vyara what? “We can handle the search for your missing item.” To Manny, I added, “It’s a magical item. An heirloom.” My eyes fixed upon the wand pointed at me.
“Indeed, I’m sure it’s quite magical. Likely dangerous. Wish, this is a most dangerous woman. Perhaps the most dangerous in this entire city. You should run.” He reached for another wand on the table.
My frown deepened. Two wands? Who did he mistake Lady Stroffage for?
The distinct poke of something in the small of my back sent a chill along my spine. My frown disappeared as my eyes widened. I gasped.
“You should have run, Mr. Ackford. Except I’m actually here on business to recover something I’ve lost.” The melodious tone fluttered with the same beauty as before while the wand prodded my back.
That’s a fun little excerpt that underscores how Wish frequently finds himself in trouble. Find out why and how he gets out of danger in the book:
The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files:
An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.
The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without criminal activity. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.
Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. The limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.
Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.
Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…
Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.
A mixture of gaslamp fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-like cases, The Order of the Dark Rose is a sleuth private detective mystery set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.
Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him?
Click one of these buttons for more information (print at Amazon only at this time):
About the Author:
Multi retailer Bestselling Author, Fantasia Reviews Book of the Year Author 2017 & 2018
U. S. author, P. H. Solomon grew up with a love of books including fantasy. Always interested in odd details, history and the world around him, P. H. has found an outlet in writing where he mixes a wide range of interests from the regular world, history and anthropology into his fantasy books.
His epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, brought a fresh viewpoint to the genre where magic, myth and mysticism mingle. Described by readers as a “mixture of the classic fantasy past with new ideas.”
The latest series, The Cursed Mage Case Files is a mash-up of classic Sherlock Holmes, The Dresden Files and Harry Potter into a unique fantasy world where magic is both an arcane practice and a technological power to be harnessed. Join Mandlefred Mandeheim and Wishton Ackford as they team up to investigate magical mysteries.