Lord Monroes Dark Tower and giveaway with Elf Ahearn

“What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art.”

Augustus Saint-Gaudens

A streak of madness runs through my family. Evidence can be found in early documents such as the obituary of a cousin who spent her life as a showgirl on the Vaudeville circuit. The obit writer befriended her when they met in a park where my cousin sat on a bench with her feet clad in paper bags. “Why the funny footwear?” the writer recalled asking. My cousin replied that paper bags kept the ants off her feet.

A great uncle used to empty my grandmother’s ice box to fit the bodies of dead rodents and birds. He was a scientist and it never occurred to him that milk, meat or vegetables were more valuable than his specimens.

And then there was my grandmother, a Broadway actress, who apparently enjoyed dramatic scenes on and off the stage. Angry with my father over some minor transgression, she would lean against the door frame, throw her hand to her forehead and exclaim, “Oh darling, darling, how could you!”

Well, the blood of my forebears runs deep, and madness has touched my family in ways that make for more than entertaining anecdotes. Following the death of my father, for instance, my sister sort of came apart. She had a tiny house by a running stream, yet she wanted to keep everything he owned, and he’d collected a lot. She buried the front of her cottage in tarps that covered boxes and boxes of stuff. You couldn’t find the entrance, and when you did you had to walk sideways along a path about a foot wide.

Inside her little house it was no better—floor to ceiling boxes with more junk piled on top clear to the rafters. I took a picture. The only way you can tell what’s up or down in that shot is by focusing on a mask hanging on the wall.

When I wrote Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower, the second romance novel in my series about the Albright sisters, I decided to tap into the mindset of a hoarder. As with all works of fiction, I took that mindset and stretched it as far as it would go. The result is Abella, the villainess of the story who keeps the hero and heroine apart. Instead of a typical Regency where destined couples squabble over misunderstandings, this book is a psychological thriller garbed in hats, gloves and décolleté. It is dark and suspenseful, though it ends happily, as does the story of my sister. She no longer hoards, but lives an interesting life full of harmless, entertaining quirks.

Since you are a “manic” reader, I’m assuming a bit of the loon lurks in your soul, too, so you might enjoy an off kilter Regency with a dash of dementia.

Now tell me, what’s the craziest darn thing you’ve ever seen or heard? There’s a free download of Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower for the best answer. Giveaway ends @12am est 11-23-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. 


Two years of bewildering silence have passed since Claire Albright met powerful, brooding, Lord Flavian Monroe. On the brink of her debut he suddenly summons her. Can her knowledge of healing stop his ward from hoarding?  Embroiled in a desperate attempt to curb the child’s madness, Claire cannot understand Flavian’s burning kisses yet cold demeanor. Will she reach his heart before his ward’s insanity undoes her chance at love?

When he was fourteen, Flavian made a mistake so devastating it ruined all hope for happiness. Years later, he’s still paying for his sin. But before his ward’s troubled mind destroys his home and family, he must see Claire once more. Vowing to keep their relationship professional—she the healer, he the guardian—he finds the bonds of his resolve snapping. Somehow, he must content himself with memories of her . . . but he cannot resist . . . one final embrace . . .




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Elf Ahearn—yes, that is her real name—lives in New Yorkwith her wonderful husband and a pesky (yet irresistible) cat. Learn more about her at elfahearn.com or like her on Facebook.


This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Boy what a great question to ask! Craziest thing I’ve seen or heard. I once went into a crypt in Dublin where a 300 year old mummified noble woman’s remains were partially exposed in her coffin. If you rubbed her bony ring finger you apparently got good luck. And you bet your bottom, I rubbed that finger! It was incredibly cool. But seeing a mummfied remains of a someone that close in a crypt where Bram Stoker grew up was pretty darn cool and a little crazy!

  2. I actually had a friend discussing ‘what they wanted done with their remains when they passed away.’ ( I know stimulating discussion to have at a dinner date)…anyway, my friend insisted that when she died, she wanted to be buried in a house. I looked at her and said; “Do you mean a mausoleum?” And she shook her head and insisted that it be a house. She thought crypts were too scary…and I, well I thought the whole conversation was rather creepy. : )

  3. I can’t even begin to think of the craziest thing I’ve eve seen-probably two well dressed older women having a fight at the supermarket and one taking off her shoe and whapping the other across the head with it!!
    I can’t wait tot read this Elf! Tweeted

  4. I was walking to work one morning and suddenly a camel appeared beside me! Ha! Of course, I’m in NYC and was walking close to Rockefeller Center where they were preparing for some show with animals. Still, it was funny to be walking along a city sidewalk with a camel by my side.

    Great post, Elf!

  5. Oh, Elf, I love the sound of this one! I can relate to the hoarder too. My mother-in-law was one before we moved her into assisted living. That was 3 years ago and we are still clearing out her stuff!

    As for the craziest thing I’ve ever seen or heard…well there was a naked man running down the center median. Does that count?

  6. Great story that touches on issues that are not usually found in Regency. I loved it. Good luck. I can’t wait for the last book in the series.

  7. Hey Lauren,
    What fantastic comments I’m getting! I love the Gothic-y crypt story Lauren. Rub her 300 year old boney finger. Yikes.

  8. Christi,
    I think I like your friend. Buried in a house makes sense if you kinda think about it — brutal on real estate values though.

  9. Okay, this trying to respond to each one of you looks strange on the Website–at least from this view, so en masse these are some awesome stories. Older women fighting with a shoe, Nancy? Amazing. Turning to see a camel sauntering up 6th Ave., phenomenal, Miss Peachy, and Collette, a naked guy on the meridan! Perfect!

    Once I was driving on a back road in the morning and I saw this guy running around in his white BVDs. He was chasing cows out of his garden with a stick. We just looked at each other and laughed.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by!

  10. I’ve seen so many crazy things I can’t think of even one right now. Great post, Elf. I tweeted.

  11. Thanks for tweeting me, Ella. YOu’re the best!

  12. The story sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to read it.
    The craziest thing I have ever seen was when my bulldog was “playing” with a mountain lion in my backyard. He thought the big kitty was fun, I on the other hand was freaking out. Luckily neither was hurt and the mountain lion was later released back into the wild.

  13. OMG Stephanie,
    That is crazy! I once wrote a newspaper article about a cat who chased away a bear, but I’ve never heard of a mountain lion/dog encounter that turned out well.

    A few years ago National Geographic did a spread on animals playing. They had a series of pictures of a husky romping with a polar bear.

    I guess wild animals have figured out that for a good time, you can always trust a dog.

  14. Sounds like a gothic, Elf. I love gothics!


  15. It is Jane! It’s a psycho-thriller-y Gothic in a Regency setting. A three in one.

  16. I work in a bookstore so I hear a lot of crazy this. The best one is a guy looking for nonfiction books on werewolves. As I’m taking him to the new age section he tells me that he is a werewolf and if he doesn’t eat rare meat he will turn. So it’s a good thing he ate some the night before he found his wife in need with another guy or he would have turned and killed them both. With a straight face I pointed to the section he wanted and ran to the break room to laugh and tell everyone to watch out for the werewolf cause I didn’t know when he ate rare meat last.

  17. Shawna,
    That story is AWESOME! and I thought I’d found a wierd one when this guy came into a clothing store I used to work for and asked for a blouse. “And it’s for me!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.

  18. Congrats, StephanieF! Elf selected you as her winner. Please check your email & get back w/ me.

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by. Hope to see y’all often!

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