Friday, September 24, 2021

Frosted Roses Release Tour: Welcome to Innsjøby + Gilded in Ice RELEASE DAY!


Hello, everyone! We took a little break there, but Frosted Rose number three releases today, and guess what it is? My own Gilded in Ice, the sequel to The Midnight Show, is officially out and available for purchase! If you preordered the ebook, that should have arrived on your Kindles today; if you've been holding out for the paperback or if you never got around to preordering, you can buy it now on Amazon (or borrow it on Kindle Unlimited)! Also, if you've been wondering about the tour giveaway, we had a little delay with the Rafflecopter, but it's been posted now on the main tour page.

Anyway. Back to Gilded in Ice. The setting of the Bastian Dennel, PI mysteries, the city of Innsjøby, is one of my favorite locations that I've created. While not as expansive as some of the worlds I've built, it's colorful and full of life and just a lot of fun to spend time in. So, for today's post, I thought I'd let y'all have a tour — And who better to show you around the City of Stars than the fellow who has to know its ins and outs better than almost anyone? Bastian, it’s all yours . . . as soon as we get through the book blurb, anyway.

About . . .

Gilded in Ice

Bastian has two new missing person cases. One is cold. The other is his own sister.

Since his success solving the Midnight Show disappearances, Bastian Dennel is sitting pretty. And with the new high-profile cold case that just got dropped in his lap, he’s pretty sure things will stay that way for a while. But when he finds out his sister has gone missing without a trace, he’s determined to find her and bring whoever’s responsible to justice — even if his only lead is a stray cat with a knack for vanishing unexpectedly.

Kona Dennel’s plans have already been upended, so when the talking cat she’d befriended asked her for help breaking an enchantment, she didn’t see any reason not to say yes. She didn’t expect to be trapped in a frozen mansion or to be drawn into conflict with a mysterious lady of the fair folk. Even the cat is hiding more secrets than she realized. It’ll take a skilled detective to untangle this web . . . but since Bastian isn’t here, Kona will just have to do it herself.

Secrets abound, and the one creature who knows the truth isn’t talking. Can Bastian and Kona outwit a fae who’s been at this for centuries? Or will thawing out the long-frozen truth drop them in over their heads?

A magical mystery reimagining Snow White and Rose Red and East of the Sun, West of the Moon in the jazz-age world of The Midnight Show.

Find it on: Amazon || Goodreads

The Frosted Roses

The Frosted Roses are six retellings of the Snow White and Rose Red fairytale, each one fantastical and magical. You don't want to miss any of them! You can learn more about the books and find the full tour schedule on the tour page.

The Frosted Roses are the result of the 2020 Arista Challenge. The Arista Challenge is hosted by Kendra E. Ardnek; it invites fairy tale authors to come together in community as they work on unique retellings of a selected fairy tale.

Welcome to Innsjøby

You know, most tourists don’t come to my door. They go somewhere more upscale — the theaters, the clubs, the music halls. I don’t know why the author didn’t send you there — Miss Temitrope could’ve shown you around. Or the Alkinsons, if you wanted a local. I hear the younger Alkinson knows how to show people a good time.

What? You’re here to see the whole city? Then I guess I’m your man after all. I wouldn’t say I know Innsjøby better than anyone, but I’ve spent a whole lot of time walking its streets and pointing my flashlight in its dark corners. Comes with the job. What job? I’m a private eye. Bastian Dennel’s my name, if you didn’t know. Some of you look like you recognize it. I guess you must’ve heard about my last case. 

No, I’m not taking questions. I got enough of that from the newshawks. And if you really want to see the whole city, we need to get moving. Hopefully, you all brought good walking shoes; we have a lot of ground to cover.

The Old City

So, right now, we’re the part of town most locals call the Old City, when they’re not calling it something less polite. This is where my office is — though you should know that since you all got dropped off at my door — and where you’ll find plenty of other businesses respectable enough that the upper class want to use them, but not respectable — or profitable — enough to pay rent up on the Lake Side, along with the homes of the people who run those businesses. And there’s a Fateweaver or three living in the area too, though I’m not going to invade their privacy by taking you all to meet them. In my line of work, you need to keep all the friends you can.

Conveniently for me, there’s plenty of public buildings in this part of town too. There’s the city library — that one, the big brick building — 

Don’t interrupt. I know everything around here is brick. But there’s only one big brick building, and I was going to say, the one with the tall windows and the gryphon statue. It’s not even twenty minutes’ walk from my house; if I’m by myself and leg it, I can make it here in ten. Convenient when I’m working a case that requires a lot of research and I don’t leave until they kick me out at midnight.

No, we don’t have time to stop right now. And I’m pretty sure you won’t have time to do much reading — fine. Twenty minutes, since we’ll be spending so much time on the streetcar, and I can’t play tour guide the whole time. You’re as bad as Roselle. Well, go. History’s to your right, towards the front of the building. Books on magic are about halfway back from that. The adventure novels Roselle likes are in the back left corner. Don’t ask me where anything else is; you can figure it out from the signs.


Right. Everyone satisfied with their reading material? Good. Don’t lose it, and get it back to me before you leave. I’m not paying a fine because someone decided to become an interdimensional book thief. 

Moving on! The courthouse is that way — you can see the dome from here. I’ve spent plenty of time there too, looking over records. It’s one of the older buildings in the city — not the oldest, but close. It’s anyone’s guess how long it takes before having to do repairs after every bad storm — and we get a lot of bad storms — outweighs historical significance and they decide to build a new one. That’s what happened to most of the original buildings in this part of town, or so I’m told. After a while, it’s easier just to tear things down and use the materials to build something new. I’d stop so you could see it, but you all wanted to go to the library instead.

Anyway, the headquarters for the city politiet is a few blocks past the courthouse. Still close enough to be convenient, though I don’t work with the brownshirts often. The cases I get tend to be the ones people don’t want to take to the government officials, especially not when the department leaks worse than the faucets back in the tenement.

Here’s the streetcar stop. Lucky us, looks like the next car is due in about five minutes. Let’s hope there’s seats available; I don’t think anyone wants to stand for half an hour.

The Corner

Right, everyone off. Yes, you too. If you try to say “one more chapter,” I’m not responsible for where in the city you end up. 

Anyway, here we are. Southeast corner. Some people just call it the Corner and everyone knows what they mean. We won’t spend much time here — there’s not much to see. Factories, stores, markets, tenements — not many houses in this part of the city, not when tenement apartments are cheaper to build and to rent out and anyone who owns a shop usually lives above the store. 

It’s not a bad area, don’t get the wrong idea. I grew up here, first above one of those stores and then in a tenement. My family’s still here — what? No. We’re not stopping by my family’s apartment. Why would I — You’re all complete strangers to me. I’m not taking you to meet my family. What kind of sap do you take me for?

Like I was saying, the Corner isn’t all that bad. No more dangerous than anywhere else in the city. Probably actually safer, since not many people have anything worth killing for and no one here is famous. Most of the people are decent. They’re out to earn an honest wage. Or honest-ish. If I had to take a guess, I’d say most of the lower-quality skee in the city is brewed somewhere in the Corner. There’s plenty of people who’ll take a risk in exchange for a little extra green every month, even if it’s from one of the Families. 

So, not the best area. But not the worst. If nothing else, it was home for a while. 

Right. Enough sappiness. Here’s our next streetcar stop; time to move on. Get comfortable. We’re headed to the far side of the city. 

The Lake Side

First things first: don’t ask me why all the city’s fat cats decided to put their mansions on the steepest hills in Innsjøby. I don’t know the answer, and I don’t want to know — whatever the reason is, I doubt it’s a good one, especially since it’s also right in the path of the worst storms off the lake. I also don’t know why this part of the city is called Lake Side when there's more city between it and the lake.

I’ll give them this, though: the view’s great, looking out over the lake like you can from the top of some of these rises. There’s a few places downtown that can match it, but not many — especially not looking out from the top of Sjöutsikt Avenue, where you turn in and the whole city’s spread out under you, and you turn the other way and there’s Lake Onondaga spreading out to the horizon. With a view like that, the mansions don’t seem as grand, do they?

Sure, they’re still pretty upscale, with all that gilding and marble everywhere you look. Some are more tasteful about it than others. Some people know that layering on the glitz is asking for trouble. And then there’s some people who are rich and powerful enough not to care. Just about everyone pretends not to know that at least one leading member each of the Dàguóan and Daoinoic Families who have a house up here. Until someone finds a charge that’ll stick, it’s safer that way.

Anyway — wait. What do you have there? What are you doing — is that a camera? Give that to me. Were you not listening to what I just said? Don’t take photos of houses that might belong to people who can make you disappear without a trace. Not unless you have a good reason. No, art is not a good reason.

Oh, for the love of — come on. We’d better ankle before someone gets the wrong idea. 

Downtown Innsjøby

I’ve heard there was a time when downtown Innsjøby meant the Old City. That’s definitely not true these days. In the Old City, sure, you have the courthouse and a park or two and a few older theaters. But the heart of the city curves around the Lake Side district in a half-moon of lights and music that's almost enough to make me wish I could afford the rent up here. Listen, you can even hear it from here — there’s at least a dozen orchestras in theaters and concert halls warming up for the night, plus a musician or two or at least a record player in every club and eatery. It’s how the city got its nickname.

What, you thought Innsjøby was called the City of Stars for the view? Not in the slightest. Well, maybe at one time. But these days, it’s because most of the anyone-who’s-anyone and anyone who wants to be anyone when it comes to the arts comes here to do their craft. It’s one of the best things about the city, if you ask me, even if I don’t usually have the coin to go to any shows except the free ones in the park. 

Of course, even here, not everything's on the level. You'd be surprised how many places, even some of the most upscale joints, hide star shops, serving the weakest wines mixed with juice upstairs and slinging fairyshine and every other kind of skee underneath it all. People expect those places in the Old City, and they're right to. People expect them in the Corner, but they're few and far between down there — not enough people with mazuma to spend. And, of course, anywhere you get the Families and the fat cats and the fair folk all together, you get trouble.

What? Can we visit one? Look, lady, I don't know who you take me for, but I'm a respectable private investigator. Not the kind of guy who loafs around star shops —

All right, first of all, could you say that a little more quietly? I have a reputation to maintain. Second of all, if this “Red Lily” establishment exists, which I’m not saying it does, it’d be in the Old Town, not downtown. Third, you’re all out-of-towners. Don’t flirt with trouble, especially not trouble I’ll have to clean up. Look, let’s just see if we can find somewhere for dinner and a good show for cheap before you have to catch your train out of here.

Dinner’s been taken care of by the tour, huh? Let’s see what you have — Yeah, I’d say it’s been taken care of. Reservations at the Ologba Pọ and enough mazuma to cover dinner for everyone. You’re lucky; it’s Dayo Temitrope’s night to perform. There’s not many better singers in the city.

Why are you looking at me like that?

You really are as bad as Roselle, aren’t you all?

Don’t even say a word. Let’s get a move on so we can catch D — Miss Temitrope’s first set. You have to admit, with her singing and the Ologba Pọ’s meals, there’s not many better ways to finish out your welcome to Innsjøby.


How did y'all enjoy your tour of Innsjøby? Ready to spend more time there and read Gilded in Ice? Where in Innsjøby — whether it's a location mentioned in the tour or one from The Midnight Show — would you most like to visit? Please tell me in the comments! And don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops and enter the giveaway!
Thanks for reading!

September 24 Tour Stops

 Character Spotlights:

Rachel Rossano - Bastian
A Splash of Ink - The Cat
 Fantastical Notions - Kona

Guest Posts:
Dreams & Dragons - Welcome to Innsjoby
Laura A. Grace - The Flavors of Innsjoby
Ellwyn's Blog - A Day in the Life of Roselle
Live. Love. Read. - A Day in the Life of the Cat

The Arista's Directory
Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors
C.O. Bonham
Blooming With Books
The Lost Review of Odd Books + Mini Interview!
Light & Shadows
Paper, Ink, & Lizard

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