Hi guys, we have Cornelia Grey popping in with the tour for her new release The Empty Hourglass, we have a great guest post, a great excerpt, and a fantastic giveaway, so enjoy the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
The Empty Hourglass
Thomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.
Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.
The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.
Hello! I’m Cornelia Grey—welcome to the Empty Hourglass blog tour! At various tour stops, I’ll be sharing some secrets about my writing process, sources of inspiration and future projects!
Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card and the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series—Devil at the Crossroads and The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice. Thank you for joining me on the tour!
Piedmontese Chestnut Soup
On a couple of occasions, while reading through The Empty Hourglass, you’ll notice the characters mentioning (or munching on!) roasted chestnuts. It is not a casual choice… it’s a tiny homage to the place I come from. I grew up in a small Italian village near the Langhe hills, in the North-West, which are known for their wines. Typical foods from around here include mushrooms, truffles, pumpkin, goat cheese, sausage and salami, hazelnuts and chestnuts, which I’m especially fond of. It’s incredible the variety of dishes people were able to concoct using nuts, which were very nutritious and, most importantly, free. Apart from the more traditional roasted chestnuts, they can be ground into chestnut flour and used to make pasta, bread, cakes, pasta sauce, sweet creams; they can also be candied and turned into Marron Glacés (for which both my grandmothers have a weak spot!).
Since The Empty Hourglass is set in a small village in the mountains, I wanted to make a little reference to the traditional food of my own hometown. And I thought perhaps I might interest you in a little, super-simple recipe that was all the rage with local grandmothers in the past—a chestnut soup with rice and milk.
- 300 gr of dried chestnuts
- 300 ml of milk
- 100 g of rice
- ½ liter of milk
- Laurel, rock salt, black pepper, butter
Boil the dried chestnuts in salted water for about 10 minutes, then dry them.
Pour milk, a couple of laurel leaves and some water in a pan, bring to a boil and add the chestnuts. Once they are soft, add the rice and cook it for 15 to 20 minutes.
Before turning off the fire, add a bit of butter and pepper and stir well. Serve piping hot.
Quick and simple! And, as you will find out, incredibly nutritious. Boiled chestnuts have an interesting powdery texture, and I really recommend trying it out.
Also, if you can read Italian or perhaps with the help of Google Translate, you can find more chestnut recipes on the popular cooking blog ‘Giallo Zafferano’: http://blog.giallozafferano.it/ricetteconamore/tag/castagne/
He could do this.
Thomas raised his unsteady hand, reaching for the doorbell rope . . .
And the door exploded in his face, flying off its hinges. It shattered into a spray of splinters as Thomas dived to the side, landing heavily on his elbow, rolling onto his back in time to see a blurred, metallic shape career out the doorway, tearing away the frame, leaving a jagged hole where the massive wooden door used to be.
Screams were coming from behind it, the sound of running footsteps as a woman shrieked and a man’s deep voice yelled from inside the house. “Come back! By Jove, somebody stop that thing!”
Thomas’s eyes went wide. It was a machine, an agglomeration of mechanical arms and pipes surrounding a rounded, steaming container, the vapors hissing furiously as it sprayed a jet of boiling hot liquid all around. Tea, judging by the scent. He scrabbled to his feet as the thing stopped, spinning around as if seeking a target for its fury. Then it seemed to focus on the elegant hansom parked nearby. It started toward it, and Thomas had a split second to take in the driver’s frightened eyes, the way the carriage was so close to the edge of the cliff, the size and impetus of the tea machine . . .
Without even thinking, Thomas sprang forward. With a flick of his wrist, the thick, sharp screwdriver snapped out of his sleeve, and he brandished it like a weapon, his brain spinning frantically as he assessed the tea maker. The brass boiler, the junctures, the coils of wire, mechanical limbs cutting the air, and right there, at the center of it was a steaming and shrieking valve, barely able to contain the pressure.
Right there. If I knock that valve off and let the steam out . . .
The tea maker raised up on its legs, aiming its boiling-hot jet at the carriage, and Thomas dove under it. He rolled, coming up below its belly, and he slammed his hand forward, the tip of the screwdriver hitting the base of the valve, knocking it off with surgical precision.
The effect was instantaneous. The machine stopped moving, the wheezing and hissing dissipating as it deflated. A spray of boiling steam erupted from the broken valve and missed Thomas by an inch, singing his eyebrows. He covered his head to protect himself should the machine fall on him, but the thing just slumped, folding in on itself and remaining still and silent, a last trickle of tea spilling all over Thomas’s clothes.
There was a moment of silence, then the shrieking resumed, coming from the plump, middle-aged woman who was running out of the shattered doorway in a flurry of green velvet. “This is outrageous! We will never buy such a devilish creature! We would never allow a thing like that in our home. You are nothing but a madman!”
A short man tottered after her, adjusting his monocle with pudgy hands, an expression of fascination on his face. He studied the slumped machine, completely ignoring Thomas underneath it. “But come on, Poopsy Doodles, darling, maybe we could—”
“Not another word! Get in this carriage right now, Hector, or God help me I’m leaving you here!” the woman yelled, wriggling to climb through the too-narrow door. Casting a dejected, apologetic look behind him, the husband followed suit, and within moments, the hansom came to life.
An olive-skinned man hurried out the door after them, adjusting his round, golden glasses on his thin nose, not even sparing a glance at the broken tea maker. Or to Thomas, who was still on the ground beneath it.
“Mr. and Mrs. Hildebrand,” the man called to the couple, “please don’t make any rash decisions, this was just a . . . a minor malfunction that I can assure you will never—”
The door was slammed in his face, and the woman shrieked something through the window—something that sounded like, “Over my dead body that thing will come in my house, you rascal!”—and the hansom took off at full steam, leaving the man standing there in his rumpled pinstripe trousers and vest. He scratched his head, then sighed and took off his crooked glasses. He wiped them with the hem of his button-down shirt, muttering a disconsolate, “What the hell.”
Meanwhile, Thomas had rolled out from under the machine, clothes soaked and tea dripping down his neck, and he’d been torn between examining the thing, and watching the scene that unfolded right before his eyes. Here he was with his dusty shoes, tea-soaked clothes, and his meager luggage resting small and lonely at his feet, anxiety and trepidation fluttering wildly in his stomach. When had this become his life?
The man noticed him then and turned toward him, wide-eyed. “Who the hell are you?”
– Read more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-empty-hourglass (Just click the excerpt tab)
Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.
After graduating with top grades, she is now busy with internships: literary agencies, publishing houses, and creative departments handling book series, among others. She also works as a freelance translator.
She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.
Connect with Cornelia:
- Website: ccom
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/Cornelia_Grey