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Friday, November 30, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway with Alison DeLuca, author of the Crown Phoenix Series

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Alison DeLuca's Crown Phoenix Series Virtual Book Tour hosted by First Rule Publicity.

About Alison:

Alison DeLuca grew up on an organic farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Her parents were British, so in the summers she went to stay with her grandparents near Dublin.

There was no stereo or TV there, so Alison, her sister, and her cousins spent the summer inventing stories and plays for each other. “This gave me the ability to entertain myself with my own imagination in any situation,” she says. “We used to be taken to tea with great-aunts, and we were expected to sit on an uncomfortable couch and not move or say a word. It was possible to endure it because I was watching my own little stories play out in my mind.”

After graduating from West Chester University, Alison became a teacher of English and Spanish, teaching students from kindergarten up to college level. She loved teaching, and it was with reluctance that she left the classroom to be a fulltime mom when her daughter was born.

While she was teaching and raising her daughter, Alison took every free minute she had to write. The Night Watchman Express and The Crown Phoenix Series were the result.

She is currently working on the final book in the series, as well as several other projects.
Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Alison!

Alison has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her.

The Third Wheel
By Alison DeLuca

In my book The Night Watchman Express, there is a girl and a boy. And then there is another boy – the third wheel.

Miriam and Simon don’t like each other, but there seems to be a bit of tension between them that could go a completely different way. Meanwhile, Neil is friends with both, but he is a background figure. Until, that is, he goes out on his own adventure.

As I introduced Neil, he was a way to show that Simon, the rich, good-looking, spoilt only son had a good. In an upper-class school, Neil was poor and wore glasses. He was tall, and thin, and he had no friends except for Simon.

As the action progressed, I really began to like Neil. He and Simon had a great friendship; they made fun of each other like any boys would (except for the fact that they lived in the Edwardian era.)

A grin spread over Simon’s face. He picked up his own pillow and threw it at Neil’s face.

“What? What happened? What?!” Neil sat up in bed, looking wildly around the room.

Simon fell on the larger bed where he had slept the night before, overcome with his own wit. “It was me, you idiot!” he gasped. “You should have seen –” Words failed him, and he doubled over again.

Neil got out of bed, trying to look as dignified as one possibly can in pyjamas. “Oh, very funny – if you are six years old,” he said.

So, when Miriam and Simon got kidnapped on the sinister Night Watchman train, it was Neil who got dispatched to help them. In a twist of events, he ended up on an island, where he ran into an entirely new cast of characters.

As he negotiated a very difficult, energetic girl called Riki as well as a harrowing rescue, I found that I liked Neil more and more. He was intelligent and humble, but he wouldn’t put up with nonsense either. He had a great sense of humor, and he brought out the best in Riki.

“Where did you learn to speak English so well?”

“We all learn English,” Riki said around a large wad of sweet roll. The crumbs blew out of her mouth as she spoke. “So you’re poor, huh?”

“Yes, I told you that already. Stop going on about it, would you?”

She swallowed. “Well, don’t worry. When you and I get married, you’ll be rich.”

Neil shot to his feet and dropped his sandwich onto the beach below, where it was picked up by a triumphant gull. “When we what?” he repeated in a strangled voice.

“When you marry me.” Riki smiled at him and swallowed the last of her sweet roll.

He huffed, catching his breath, and finally managed to say, “Oh, no, I’m not marrying you. No-ho. Mhp-hm.”

She looked up at him in astonishment. “You mean, you don’t want to marry me? Why not?”

“Because,” he responded, “you are, without a doubt, the rudest, most ill-mannered girl I have ever met in my entire life.”

In fact, he and Riki began to develop their own relationship. Despite (or perhaps because of) his poor background he was a very strong character. He was able to convince stubborn individuals such as Riki’s father and brothers.

I’ve had very different reactions to the section in Night Watchman about Neil. Some people are perplexed about the change. Others love the story about the poor son of a fisherman, who is only able to go to school because he has a scholarship, and who chucks it all to go and help his friends.

He is the third wheel – and yet the Express couldn’t move without him.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Alison! 

About the Series:

Book One – The Night Watchman Express

Miriam Pearson’s father has died. Her guardians, The Marchpanes, take over her house and her father’s company. The strong-willed girl instantly clashes with their son, Simon. The Marchpanes hire a governess, Mana, to take care of her. Mana is black, and has magic powers. She and Miriam eventually become friends. With Simon and Neil, his friend, they uncover a plot by the sinister Barbara Cantwell to use Miriam’s father’s company for evil means.  Barbara is very beautiful, and at first, Simon is very attracted to her.

Once Barbara realizes that Miriam and Mana are on to her scheme, she forces the guardians to fire the governess.  Mana is hustled out of the house by the Marchpanes, but Miriam, Neil and Simon follow her to the Night Watchman Express.  However, Miriam and Simon are captured and put on the Night Watchman, bound for a sinister destination. Mana is loaded onto a boat headed to Big Star Island.

Neil manages to steal a boat and follow Mana’s captors to the island. A native girl, Riki, rescues him and brings him to her house.  She is spoiled and her mother has no control over her, but Neil manages to become her friend.  Her father forces him to stay with the family so Neil can be Riki’s companion and manage her wild behavior.

Neil learns about Atol, the king of the island, who seized power after the last monarch was killed. Atol is plotting with Barbara Cantwell to force the islands to produce drugs instead of bolemor wood, and he is also shipping his people out for use in human experiments.  Neil discovers that Mana is the rightful queen of the island, and is being held by Atol. Neil and Riki manage to rescue Mana, and they head back to the mainland to look for Simon and Miriam.

Book Two – Devil’s Kitchen

Miriam and Simon are imprisoned on the Night Watchman Express, heading for the Devil’s Kitchen. It is a huge, dirty factory where the prisoners process the drug imported from the island.  Simon tries to fight the guards and is hauled away to a huge, strange house belonging to Barbara Cantwell.

Miriam is forced to live in a cell and work underground under the fearsome Headmistress and Headmaster, who run the factory. Meanwhile, Mana and Neil arrive and start searching for their friends.

Simon wakes up in Barbara’s house and undergoes torture.  He manages to gain her trust by pretending to be on her side.  Eventually he is rescued by Mana. Miriam is about to be punished by the Headmistress and Headmaster when Mana and Simon arrive and rescues her.  Barbara tries to kill Mana but is foiled by Simon.

Mana regains her kindgdom, and Miriam regains her home and future control of her father’s business.

Book Three – The Lamplighter’s Special

Miriam, Simon, Neil, and Riki reunite on Lampala for the summer holiday. They are happy to be together but wonder what has happened to Neil’s family.

Neil’s sisters, short-sighted Lizzie and beautiful Ninna, are forced to work in the Manor House to help take care of new guests.

The guest arrives, a lovely lady called Miss Wilkinsl. She and her brother have a mysterious obsession with the Crown Phoenix.

Lizzie meets Toby, the oldest son who cannot leave the attic. They become friends. Lizzie is also forced to work in Miss Cantwell’s rooms, where the dresser, Siddons, tortures her with violence and overwork. Siddons locks Lizzie in a room, and Toby finally emerges from his attic to rescue Lizzie.

Toby fixes The Crown Phoenix.They all board a ship called The Lamplighter’s Special and sail to the island. On the way, the typewriter works some strange magic and they arrive in a matter of hours instead of weeks.

Lizzie, Ninna, Toby and Priam discover there is a person hidden below deck in the boat.

Miss Cantwell takes the four children to the island and strands them there. They are rescued by Miriam, Neil, and Mana.

Miss Cantwell threatens to blow up the islands with the Crown Phoenix. She is captured. The rest return to the boat and head back to England, but Toby’s agoraphobia returns.

Grand Prize: Kindle Fire HD 7" loaded with all three Crown Phoenix novels (US Residents only).

Runner-up Prizes:

Fairy Steampunk Pendant (International)

Steampunk Clock Pendant (International)

2 $50 Amazon Gift Cards (International)

All three Crown Phoenix novels in Softcover signed by Alison, in a beach bag filled with swag! (International)

To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants

10/15 - A Book Vacation - Review
10/16 -The Independent Review - Review

10/17 - Splash of Our Worlds - Review
10/19 - Bloggin’ As Author, Librarian, and Geek! - Review
10/20 - The Bookworm Daily - Guest Post
10/21 - Unabridged Andra - Review
10/22 - Author Interrupted - Review
10/23 - Earth’s Book Nook - Guest Post or Character Post
10/24 - Kayla’s Reads and Reviews - Review
10/25 - The Red Headed Bookworm - Review
10/26 - Author Interrupted - Review
10/27 - My Chaotic Ramblings - Guest Post or Character Post or Character Interview
10/28 - Written by Brittan - Review
10/29 - Library Girl Reads and Reviews - Guest Post or Character Post or Character Interview
10/30 - Lost Inside the Covers - Review
10/31 - Author Interrupted - Review
11/01 - The Roaring Mouse - Interview
11/02 - Illusions of Intimacy - Guest Post or Character Post or Interview or Character Interview
11/03 - A Few Words - Review
11/05 - Motherhoot - Guest Post
11/06 - Fictional Candy - Character Post
11/07 – Carrie Cullen – Review
11/08 - Lost Inside the Covers - Review
11/09 - Window on the World - Review and Interview
11/11 - Books,Writing,Tea- Review
11/12 - Bunny’s Review - Guest Post or Character Post or Interview
**11/13 – Fighting Monkey Press – Special Tour Event
11/13 - Walking on Bookshelves - Guest Post or Character Post or Character Interview
11/14 - Kara Loves Reading - Review
11/15 - Book Reviews and More - Review and Interview
11/16 - Momma Joan Explains It All - Guest Post or Character Post or Character Interview
11/17 - Wickedly Bookish  -Review
11/19 - Jade Kerrion - Guest Post or Character Post or Interview or Character Interview
11/20 - Split Horizons - Review and Interview
11/22 - Lost Inside the Covers - Review
11/23 - Best in Fantasy Blog - Character Post
11/24 - Cabin Goddess - TBA
11/26 - Miraculous - Review
11/27 - Workaday Reads - Review
11/28 - Alchemy of Scrawl - Review
11/29 - Stuck in Books - Guest Post
11/30 - Darlene’s Book Nook - Guest Post or Character Post or Character Interview
12/01 - The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia - Review
12/02 - Mary’s Cup of Tea - Review
12/03 - Miraculous - Review
12/04 - Reader Girls  -Review
12/05 - Bee’s Knees Reviews - Review
12/06 - Reading Away the Days - Review
12/07 - Book Lover’s Hideaway - Review
12/08 - Full Moon Bites - Guest Post or Interview or Character Post or Character Interview
12/09 - Sapphyria’s Book Reviews - Guest Post or Character Post
12/10 - Miraculous - Review
12/11 - Celtic Lady’s Reviews - Guest Post
12/12 - Night Owl Reads - Review
12/13 - Book and Movie Dimension - Review
12/14 - Jess Resides Here - Review and Excerpt
12/15 - Ali’s Bookshelf - Review
12/16 – Me and Reading – Guest Post


  1. Thanks so much for featuring me today, Darlene! I had a lot of fun writing the post, and I love the way you have laid it out. Gorgeous!

    1. It's my pleasure, Alison! Thanks for the lovely compliment!

  2. Thanks for sharing this series, and the authors post was interesting.

  3. I'll need instructions on how to post for First Rule PR on Twitter. I don't use Twitter much, but I'm always willing to learn. But I'm having a cornea transplant Dec. 5 and won't be quite functional the rest of December. The earliest I can reasonably expect to read and type normally is January.


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