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Featuring a guest post from Emily-Jane Hills Orford, author of scifi/fantasy Beauty and the Beast

cover of Beauty and the Beast by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Priya, a name that suggests beautiful. Amell, a name that suggests all powerful. One is a beautiful young lady; the other a beast. Their paths have crossed before, only Priya doesn’t remember Amell from her past. Or does she? And what does it all mean? The Amell she meets is part beast. So are the others at Castle Mutasim. Is she one of them, too? How can this be? What manner of creature would experiment on other living creatures, to mutate them into something bizarre and, sometimes, downright dangerous? Priya has to know. She wants to know. And she wants to make things right.

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An Excerpt from Beauty and the Beast

“Amell,” she screamed. “Amell. Help me.”

She was pinned in a hunk of metal, the world around her growing darker by the minute. And it was cold. Bitter. Bone-chilling. A soft tongue licked her cheek. Whines and a warm breath slipped into her ear. Bear. Her three-year-old mutt, a Border Collie-Black Lab mix. Black and white. Full of love and mischief. Her strength in a time of need. Like right now.

She had rescued Bear. A puppy tossed in a dumpster. Left to die. The two were inseparable. Now, she was failing Bear. And they would die.

One final scream, “Amell.”

“I’m so sorry, Bear,” she whispered.

As she slipped into oblivion, she felt a fog of confusion slither through her brain. Who is Amell?

Interview with Emily-Jane Hills Orford

-What inspired you to become a writer?

A vivid imagination (as my grandmother called it) and the gift of the gab (also my grandmother’s words). My family was full of storytellers. Gran especially. I wanted to carry on that tradition, only I wanted my stories to be written down as well as shared.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

Play the baby grand piano with Priya in the grand conservatory of Castle Mutasim.

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

Priya is in love with two men, but she can’t choose between them. And, both men are actually mutants, like she is, like her brother Amell is, too.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

I’m a teetotaler, so we’d hit the nearest specialty tea venue. Having lived in Victoria, British Columbia, for several years, I have fond memories of the best tearooms in the city. The opening scene of Priya having tea with her friend is taken from these fond memories. Yes, I’d love to have tea with Priya in one of Victoria’s specialty tearooms. Like the one used to set the scene in “Beauty in the Beast”:

            “Priya was enjoying her favorite apple spice tea, a specialty at the tea room the two ladies frequented in downtown Victoria. Situated on the harbor, overlooking the incoming boat traffic and the majestic Empress Hotel, which also served tea, primarily the English versions like Earl Grey, the two shared their favorite table by the window, soaking in the view.”

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

First of all, I wouldn’t be in a tavern. Perhaps a tearoom. If challenged by a dwarf, or anyone else, for that matter, I would probably just walk away. I’m a peacemaker at heart, not a fighter.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Horror. Why? I don’t think I could be convincingly gory. The closest I could get to this genre is my “Piccadilly Street” series, which has a very friendly resident ghost. There are some ghastly battles in these books, but nothing horrific. Even this recent book, “Beauty in the Beast,” has it shares of battles, but this is about as gory as I can get:

“Because you are their ultimate creation, Priya,” he sputtered. His body gave a violent shudder, as if he were fighting the inner workings which were enforcing their control on all he did and said. “You…” he was about to say more, when a wail escaped his lips and his arms flailed recklessly. The glass tomb shattered and he stepped out with ease, eyes glowing red, tubes fluttering around him like loose feathers. “Priya.” It was no longer Wayne’s voice, but rather something unearthly. “Priya. Come to us.”

“She stepped back. Assessed the approaching zombie-like creature and screamed. Amell was beside her within minutes as she continued to watch in horror the growing power as it approached.”

About Emily-Jane Hills Orford

author Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Emily-Jane Hills Orford is a country writer, living just outside the tiny community of North Gower, Ontario, near the nation’s capital. With degrees in art history, music and Canadian studies, the retired music teacher enjoys the quiet nature of her country home and the inspiration of working at her antique Jane Austen-style spinet desk, feeling quite complete as she writes and stares out the large picture window at the birds and the forest. She writes in several genres, including creative nonfiction, memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction.

Find her online:


Emily-Jane Hills Orford will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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