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New Release: Wake The Dead – Sophie Whittemore

Wake the Dead - Sophie Whittemore

Sophie Whittemore has a new queer paranormal book out (ace, demi, trans, lesbian, gay): Wake the Dead.

An ominous presence awakens in the small town of Gamin.

Fairies murdered by crazed monsters. Magic that makes immortals lose their minds and their heads (literally). Whispers of a vendetta against the fairy crime lords who own the infamous Kraken Club.

One ace siren detective, Lili, is dragged back into defending her turf…and hopefully, she doesn’t die this time around.

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The world is a chrysalis waiting, desperately, for something to happen. And when things happen, that means chaos follows. And when chaos follows, someone inevitably writes something akin to the Book of Revelations.

The Book of Revelations is nestled between the thumb and forefinger of the wandering priest sitting with one leg crossed over the other in the lobby of the Sweeney Inn. A glass cup beads, crying condensation, at his side. He has stubble he probably dreams will, one day, become a beard.

He really shouldn’t have a beard.

I shouldn’t be thinking like that. There could be a mind reader in this very room. Gamin attracts those types more than most places. It attracts the magical like rats to disease. It’s the magic river that does it, the magic hiding us from the human world. So, case in point, there very well might be a mind reader in this very room.

Hey, asshole, if you’re reading my mind, and I smile as I think this, fuck off.

The round-bellied, redheaded, and altogether-too-good-for-her-own-good witch beside me, Patty, scowls at the priest bearing the Book of Revelations. Specifically, she scowls at the mud caking his shoes. “He’s dragging it all over the place.” She watches the floor, how his legs swing across it. “I don’t care if he’s a priest. If he muddies the ground—” She ties her frizzy red hair back from her round face, making me wonder if she really will sock him. Her absolute kickass attitude never ceases to amaze me, and if fate took other chances, I would not hesitate to make her my dream girlfriend.

“He’ll meet his Maker?” I finish for her.

She smirks, leaning her chubby, freckled arms against the front desk. She’s about to answer when the man gets to his feet and crosses toward us. He’s not too tall, about my height, with dark hair, thick brows, and skin that glows like a penny in the sun.

“Welcome to the Sweeney Inn,” Patty declares, a little glint of pride in her eyes. A businesswoman growing comfortable in her power suit. Her brother, Jason Sweeney, keeps the books. Patty leads the running of this place, and she runs such a tight ship that her orders even make me weary at times.

Together, they run the (Evil) Eye Inc., your friendly neighborhood necromancy corporation and local coven business. Being younger, they’ve moved a lot of the business online with tech-wizard friend Erik Borden doing most of the magical for-your-eyes-only monster coding.

You heard me.

Witches are getting into the Silicon Valley big tech startup business.

What’s the world coming to?

I look around the lobby again and notice a tiny ghost rat scurry in one of the corners, still carrying the piece of poisoned cheese that ended its life.

It’s a work in progress.

“Your name?” I ask the handsome stranger, my pen poised over the check-in book.

He points to the paper and pen. “Really, no computer?” He has crooked bottom teeth, but it doesn’t detract from the glow in his smile.

I shrug. “I’m old, therefore, I’m old-fashioned.”

He leans in a little closer at that statement. The Roman collar, a clerical collar, at his neck peeks out. “You look hardly twenty.”

“Many people have told me that. Well, mostly people.” Patty casts me a withering look at the inside joke. I point to the book. “Name?”

“One room.” He falters at how far I’ve already skipped in the usual check-in process. “And my name is Adam. Adam Way.” He pronounces it “Aadom.”

“Father Way?” I ask.

He nods. “As you say.”

Oh, a poet. I hate poets.

“What brings you to Gamin?” Patty takes the crumpled bills he pulls from his wallet, watching him just as suspiciously as I do. This wouldn’t be the first time a stranger tried to pull the wool over eyes. There was a ghūl just last week who tried to party with a selkie during a bachelors’ party…ugh, the teeth on that one, I assure you it was—

“Training.” He fixes his collar.

“For?” Patty shifts over, pressing his change into his open palm.

“The town’s priest—” I’m honestly surprised this town still has priests considering the string of murders that occurred a few months ago. “—he asked me here for a very special reason. He wants me to become a purifier. No, that’s not quite it. You will think it’s silly, like the movies.”

“I assure you”—and here Patty and I grin in unison—“we’ll believe in anything.”

“I am training to become an exorcist. I’m afraid my family back in Lebanon still hope I can become a lawyer or a scholar or something. Fight for justice. Get married again instead of chasing after some spiritual quest.” He lowers his head and looks conspiratorially at me. “But I’m sure your parents act the same way.”

I sign off on the rest of the book, checking off prepared rooms, and reach for a keycard for him from under the desk. “I don’t have family back anywhere. I came from, well, I suppose now it’s Iran. But I left home a long time ago. My home, the home I knew…it’s long gone. It’s history.”

“You left to go where?”

“Wandering the world. Traveling extensively.” Murdering. Thieving. Gathering an army of the damned, but who’s counting? That was old Lili. Now, I’m changed. I’ve grown soft.

Adam takes his keycard and nods at that. “I’m sorry. Without family, it must be hard.”

I close my eyes and think of the strange little community I’ve recruited here in Gamin. Patty and Jason Sweeney, necromancer siblings. Byron the ghost and his boyfriend, Erik Borden, a techno-wizard (literally). Detective Ikiaq, a shapeshifter as old as I am.

And Jo. Jo Kim. My gangshi, soul devouring partner. Forever asleep because of a mistake I made, chasing after an oracle punk who turned out to be an angry Greek goddess with a murderous chip on her shoulder.

But instead of telling him all that, I say, “I found my family. Eventually.”

He looks another moment into my eyes with his dark ones, his hand matching my complexion, the shade of the sun that made me when I wandered the world as a goddess of Sumer, the demonic opposite to Eve in Eden. His hair’s clipped back, perhaps a deterrent for his sex appeal as a priest, but it does a poor job of it. A gathering of ladies at a bachelorette party nearby whisper about how they’d “want the priest to come to the party before the wedding and not after.”

Even the slight case of sideburns only serves to accentuate his tense jaw, his teeth gritted in nervousness. Everything about him is tightly wound, a watch ticking in a gentleman’s pocket, waiting to spring.

Those are always the most fun to break.

“Of course.” He nods. The gaggle of ladies behind him giggle as he turns around and raises his hand in what could be a wave, a blessing, or both. “We all need family in these trying times. The world seems to be on fire, if you’ve read anything of the news or heard the gossip lately.”

“We didn’t start the fire!” Patty quips, already launching into a half-hearted humming of Billy Joel.

“You act older than me sometimes,” I gripe at her, biting my tongue back as I note Adam’s curiosity. Patty and I may both look twenty-one, but I’ve seen empires fall eons before she even learned they existed. Or before she existed, for that matter.

Adam, smiling, clutches his room key and his Bible in hand, his simple faux leather soles shuffling against the lobby floors as he turns toward his room. “Funny. My room number is 177. One more seven, and I might be considered blessed.” He bows a little toward me, the movement stiff, his eyes a little too curious for my comfort. “But it was a blessing to meet you, Lili.”

As he turns around, I’m cursing beneath my breath. What is he, a mind reader?

“How in the nine Hells did he know my—?”

Patty stops me by pointing at my lapel, where my nametag reads my printed name, “Lili,” alongside “concierge” beneath. “Cool it, Sherlock. Not everything has to be the start of some mystical case file with you. What is this, a TV show?”

She picks up a stack of newly printed Gamin town maps from beneath the desk and goes to restock the sad little pile next to the magazines by the door. Funnily enough, the maps mention town destinations like the riverfront, historic town hall, and hiking in the woods.

The pamphlets say nothing about the dead bodies of sirens, the cursed waters that make you forget your memory, or the string of serial killer murders that, somehow, flew under the radar thanks to a fair bit of magic.

Monsters make great bedtime stories but horrible advertising.

Author Bio

Sophie Whittemore is a Dartmouth Film/Digital Arts major with a mom from Indonesia and a dad from Minnesota. They’re known for their Gamin Immortal series (Catch Lili Too) and Legends of Rahasia series, specifically, the viral publication Priestess for the Blind God. Their writing career kicked off with the whimsical Impetus Rising collection, published at age 17.

They grew up in Chicago and live a life of thoroughly unexpected adventures and a dash of mayhem: whether that’s making video games or short films, scripting for a webcomic, or writing about all the punk-rock antiheroes we should give another chance (and subsequently blogging about them).

Sophie’s been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and makes animated-live action films on the side. Their queer-gamer film “IRL – In Real Life” won in the Freedom & Unity Young Filmmaker Contest (JAMIE KANZLER AWARDS Second Prize; ADULT: Personal Stories, Third Prize) and was a Semifinalist at the NYC Rainbow Cinema Film Festival.

Their prior works include “A Clock’s Work” in a Handersen Publishing magazine, “Blind Man’s Bluff” in Parallel Ink, a Staff Writer for AsAm News (covering the comic book convention was a dream), and numerous articles as an HXCampus Dartmouth Correspondent. Ultimately, Sophie lives life with these ideas: 1) live your truth unapologetically and 2) don’t make bets with supernatural creatures.

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