Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Desmond and Garrick by Hayden Thorne

Desmond & Garrick Part 1
It’s 1815. Garrick Mortimer is a scholar extraordinaire, an underemployed and starving genius, who agrees to sign on as tutor to Desmond Hathaway, the youngest son of a vampire family living in Yorkshire. Desmond, heartbroken by another boy’s callous treatment of him in school, rebels against Garrick’s attempts at educating him and does everything he could to chase Garrick away, which proves to be a greater challenge than he first thought.

When Desmond’s older brother returns from Italy for a visit and brings with him a small group of talentless and self-absorbed poets, life in Dryden Abbey turns upside-down, mainly when Desmond meets Leigh Blaise Sherbourne, a sullen vampire poet.

Throw into the mix a desperate mother’s plea for grandchildren, a family-owned torture chamber, a cottage-abbey-and-quarter-castle, and a grumpy family magician, and Garrick finds life in the Hathaway household to be a great deal more than he bargained for.

Desmond & Garrick Part 2
As the vain and self-absorbed poets continue their campaign of destruction in Dryden Abbey, Garrick finds himself struggling in the classroom, with increasingly distracted pupils eroding all of his hard work and reducing him to using all things dead and decaying in order to keep Desmond and Lavinia’s minds on their lessons.

Meanwhile, with Phillip Priestley’s unexpected appearance, Desmond’s world unravels as infatuation, lust, confusion, and revulsion drive him into wilder mood swings. Mr. Sherbourne’s coldly distant yet attractive presence in Dryden Abbey further complicates things, prompting Desmond to do something he never thought he’d ever do: reach out to unlikely allies for help.

In the midst of the wild goings on around them, Garrick and Desmond will realize that the chasm separating them as distinct species will not only teach them important lessons of understanding and acceptance, but also forge a stronger bond of friendship than they expected.

Desmond & Garrick Box Set
Complete Books 1 & 2 in collection.

Desmond & Garrick Part 1
Desmond sat in the ruins and waited and felt himself slowly die of embarrassment because he could see Lavinia watching him from her bedroom window, laughing and pulling faces and even sketching him. Mr. Guiderius also frowned and turned all shades of red from his bedroom window as he gaped at the sorry scene. Meanwhile Melpomene Vasilakis sat amid the abbey’s scattered rubble, scribbling non-stop. She’d brought a few quill pens along with a little bottle of ink, all of which sat on a conveniently flat-surfaced stone beside her.

Every so often, she’d stop to share the lines she’d just written, which, because of the distance between them, she was obliged to read in a loud voice, which Desmond knew could be heard by all of Yorkshire, completing his shame.

“Trapped, so trapped, I feel inside / With this cursed thing I call the mind --” Desmond noted she pronounced cursed as ‘cursed’ with two syllables. “It haunts and rules my very soul / Some peace, though little, I cannot find ...”

Desmond swallowed, nodding. “That’s -- quite good, Mrs. Filbert,” he said. “Oh, begging your pardon -- Melpomene, ma’am.” He thought he saw Mr. Guiderius shudder violently. For all the gentleman’s expressions of outrage and horror, however, it appeared as though Mr. Guiderius couldn’t pull himself away from the grisly spectacle -- drawn to it, Desmond realized, the same way that a really horrific carriage accident would draw morbidly curious onlookers. So the family magician stood at his bedroom window, gaping and helpless.

“Why, thank you!” Melpomene said, grinning. Then, as though catching herself doing something unfashionable or illegal, she quickly wiped the smile off her face and sighed, her expression shifting with amazing speed from pleasure to unbearable distress. Her posture, just a moment ago straight and alert, suddenly drooped till she looked like a wilting flower amid the wreckage of a long-vanished abbey. “I strive, as you know, to do my best to capture the blackest and profoundest emotions that a human heart is capable of. I’m obliged to you, young Ganymede, for appreciating my efforts.”

“My pleasure, I’m sure,” Desmond grumbled, drumming his fingers against his leg. How much longer did he have to put up with such a humiliating moment? He exhaled loudly. At the very least, he thought, his parents weren’t around to witness his tragic fall.

“Why, Desmond! Are you helping dear Mrs. Filbert with her artistry, my dear?”

Desmond’s heart dropped. “Oh, damn.” Withering, he glanced around and found his parents, along with some mortal visitor, whom Desmond suspected was hired to do more damage to Dryden Abbey’s grounds, standing amid the ruins.

“Where did you come from?” he demanded, his voice coming out in a high-pitched whine.

“Why, we’re giving Mr. Smedley a brief tour of the grounds,” his mother said with a bright grin.

Desmond blinked. The itch on his backside returned, and it damned near killed him not to break his pose despite his ever-spiraling mortification. It was all he could do to shift a little, but it did nothing to ease his ordeal. “Whatever on earth for, Mama?” he asked, frowning. “We’ve no more walls for him to tear down!”

“A graveyard, Desmond,” his father said with a look of pleasure that equally matched his wife’s. “Your mother and I have decided to plant a graveyard in the eastern side of the grounds. Mr. Smedley’s been kind enough to go over the possibilities and some of the problems of strewing the ground with gravestones.

Desmond & Garrick Part 2
Garrick walked at an idle pace, occasionally looking up from his book to observe his pupils, who were currently lost in their lessons. It was a miracle, to say the very least.

For that day’s activities, Garrick had proposed Lavinia and Desmond examine plant life that was common in churchyards, and for the day’s excursion, he’d taken them to St. Lucy’s. When he’d suggested it earlier that day, the two visibly lit up, their energy returning. They’d appeared in the library with slumped shoulders and slightly dragging steps, after all, and after Garrick’s announcement, they nearly dragged him out of Dryden Abbey and if they could, would’ve turned themselves into bats and carried him off to St. Lucy’s.

Now brother and sister were in the churchyard, climbing yew trees or falling on hands and knees and peering into the weeds or through shrubbery.

“Lord, Mr. Mortimer,” Desmond said as he sat on one of the branches of a yew tree, “I think churchyard trees are the luckiest trees to be planted.”

“And why’s that?”

The boy’s grin brightened. “Because their roots are absorbing all those organic things that come from mortal bodies buried here. Don’t you see? That grave over there…” Desmond pointed at the nearest gravestone. “I’m sure the poor wretch buried in it has long been tree meal.”

Garrick stared at him, unable to think of anything to say, but Desmond didn’t seem to be aware of it as he continued to prattle on about, literally, mortal food.

“So -- I’d imagine that the trees growing in churchyards are a great deal healthier than trees that you see anywhere else. That’s quite the diet, don’t you think?” He paused, a momentary frown darkening his features. Then he pressed a hand against his stomach. “All that talk of food has got me hungry. May we have tea when we go back, sir?”

“I’m rather put off the idea of sustenance at the moment, Master Desmond, but I see no reason why you and Miss Hathaway can’t enjoy some,” Garrick said, his own stomach turning.

Desmond nodded, looking unnaturally cheerful, as he leaped down from the tree and ran off to explore another part of the churchyard. “This is a brilliant lesson, Mr. Mortimer!” he cried, his words echoing a little. “I wish we did this from the first day you demanded our presence in the schoolroom like condemned prisoners on their way to the gallows! And we don’t have to write anything down!”

Desmond vanished around the corner, but he kept calling out. “Oh, here’s a tree that looks unusually fat! How many corpses has it absorbed in its trunk, I wonder?” He followed that with a loud cheer. No doubt he was about to clamber up its branches or fall on his knees to peer carefully at the tree’s roots, determined to find traces of human remains in its physical make up. “If I were to cut off a branch, Mr. Mortimer, do you think I’ll find blood in it?”

“I should hope not, for God’s sake!” Garrick called back, now completely nauseated. “And do keep your voice down, Master Desmond! This is a graveyard! Have a little respect for the dead!”

“Pfft! They’re dead! Why would they care if they can’t hear us? Look at this root!”

“Oh, this is hopeless,” Garrick muttered, sighing and grimacing. He remained at the spot where his pupil had left him, waiting for the nausea to go away. Eventually it did, and he went back to reading his book, grateful for the diversion that could only be had from Latin text.

Author Bio:
I've lived most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area though I wasn’t born there (or, indeed, the USA). I’m married with no kids and three cats, am a cycling nut (go Garmin!), and my day job involves artwork, crazy (read: incomprehensibly fun) coworkers who specialize in all kinds of media, and the occasional strange customer requests involving papier mache fish with sparkly scales.

I’m a writer of young adult fiction, specializing in contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, and historical genres. My books range from a superhero fantasy series to reworked folktales to Victorian ghost fiction. My themes are coming-of-age, with very little focus on romance (most of the time) and more on individual growth with some adventure thrown in.


Desmond & Garrick Book 1

Desmond & Garrick Book 2

Desmond & Garrick Box Set

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