Many changes have taken place at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women while Carolina and Larry were on their honeymoon in Frascati, Italy, on the Granchelli farm.
Welcome to one of the May 18th stops on the blog tour for The Seraphim’s Song by Barbara Casey with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
The Importance of Jimmy Bob
One of my favorite characters in The F.I.G. Mystery Series gets introduced in Book 1 – The Cadence of Gypsies. Jimmy Bob Doake is the night security guard at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, and it is his responsibility to make sure nothing irregular happens during the “witches’ hours,” as he calls late night.
Jimmy Bob managed to complete the 8th grade, but dropped out of school after that in order to help his parents with his younger brothers and sisters. In spite of this, as an adult, he has the soul of a poet; and it is during those late night hours that he pens his thoughts onto paper.
Jimmy Bob provides comic relief to some of the more emotional scenes involving the F.I.G.s and Carolina. But he also offers inspiration and hope because he is such a good and decent person trying to do the best he can with what he has. His old hound dog, Tick, does the same thing in his own way. This is never more evident than when in The Seraphim’s Song he somehow finds an ancient artifact during a category 5 hurricane and takes it to Carolina and the F.I.G.s.
Jimmy Bob is very much a permanent fixture at Wood Rose, and I bring him back in The Wish Rider and The Clock Flower, Books 2 and 3, as well as The Nightjar’s Promise—Book 4 in the series, and now The Seraphim’s Song. With the problems of campus politics, jealousies among students and professors alike, and rampant distrust of Carolina and the F.I.G.s, it is Jimmy Bob who sees things with a clear eye and pure, nonjudgmental heart. As Carolina and the F.I.G.s’ search for answers takes them to Italy, New York City, China, and the tombs of a Jewish cemetery in Virginia, it is Jimmy Bob and his faithful companion Tick, and more recently added to his little family, a rescue cat he calls Carol (in honor of Carolina) and her new litter of kittens, who give the reader a sense of permanence and security—and of acceptance.
It is so nice to visit with you again. Thank you for inviting me and for your interest in the F.I.G.s. My best to you and your bloggers. ~Barbara
About the Book
The Seraphim’s Song
The F.I.G. Mysteries Book Five
by Barbara Casey
Published 19 April 2022
Hungry Goat Press
Page Count: 196
Many changes have taken place at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women while Carolina and Larry were on their honeymoon in Frascati, Italy, on the Granchelli farm. The newlyweds have been given a larger bungalow; Ms. Alcott, niece of the founder of Wood Rose, and Mrs. Ball, assistant to the headmaster, have moved into a bungalow together; and Jimmy Bob, caretaker and night watchman at Wood Rose has moved from his family home down the road a bit into a small bungalow on the orphanage property with his hound dog Tick, as well as his new cat and her litter of kittens. Most important, thanks to the persuasive powers of Ms. Alcott and Mrs. Ball, the F.I.G.s have been given a forever home at Wood Rose.
Summer is coming to an end and the F.I.G.s will soon return to the universities to complete their special projects. They are starting to feel anxious, and the coping mechanisms they have used their entire lives are starting to work overtime. Dara’s thoughts turn to an unknown language, possibly from another world; Mackenzie focuses on the relationship of math to music; and Jennifer keeps hearing the note of B flat minor and is drawing dark swirls on her canvas board.
Deadly forces and natural disasters are unleashed into the world when Milosh, the evil young man who placed a curse on Carolina when she searched for her mother, steals an ancient artifact—a “key”—from an archaeological site near Puli, China on the Yellow Sea where he is working. This artifact, when paired with a certain note—B flat minor known as the Seraphim’s song—opens a portal that enables man to communicate with the gods.
When the key gets lost in a storm, Carolina comes into possession of it through Jimmy Bob’s dog, Tick, and when she does, she hears Lyuba, her gypsy mother, tell her that time is running out. The F.I.G.s and Carolina must go to the forbidden cave on the Yellow Sea, the place where the early gypsies are believed to have settled before travelling into Europe. For it is there where the key must be returned before all is destroyed.
Dara, being the tallest of the F.I.G.s and the most aggressive, spoke first. “O.K., let’s think about what Lyuba said—exactly.”
Carolina repeated the message just as Mrs. Ball and Miss Alcott had relayed it: They must seek safe shelter. When the leaves twist on their stems away from the heavens to face the earth, they must hide. You must hide. Everyone is in danger.
When the seraphim sings, a key will be given to her; she needs to listen for the seraphim’s song. She needs to watch for the key and protect it from evil. She must return it to where it belongs.
“The storm must be the danger,” said Jennifer, “but what key?”
“I have a key to my bungalow and my car key,” said Carolina. “I don’t think that is what Lyuba means though.”
“A seraphim is an angel referenced in the book of the Prophet Isaiah in the bible,” offered Mackenzie, picking up on the words seraphim’s song. “It is the angel that allows people on earth and the gods in the heavens to communicate, and it is a copper color.”
“In Hebrew the word seraphim means burning or fiery,” added Dara.
“That must refer to its color,” said Jennifer.
“How can I protect it and return it to where it belongs if I don’t even know what it is?” Carolina was still thinking about a key.
“And what does Milosh have to do with it?” Dara looked at the others. They had no answers, only questions.
Outside the storm continued to rage. Wind battered the three-storied stone building; beyond the stone walls, trees toppled and structures collapsed; and streets flooded from the relentless down-pouring of rain. But Carolina and the females of intellectual genius, deep in thought, no longer noticed.
Suddenly Jennifer jumped up and grabbed the canvas board she had been drawing on with her charcoals. The last image that had come to her was an object of some sort, cylinder in shape, and an unusual shade of yellow. She showed it to the others. “This is what I am working on now. These are the images I have been seeing.” She pointed to the dark swirls and the yellow cylinder. “What if it isn’t a regular key as we think of it—like a door key—but something else, like a metaphor?”
Dara immediately began thinking of phrases where the word “key” could be used. “Like keyed up, minor and major key, key out, key to happiness, key to success…”
“Or, key to information,” said Jennifer looking at her charcoal images. “What if it is some sort of object like an ancient artifact that deciphers information?” She cocked her head, listening. “And I keep hearing the key of B flat minor. At least that is what I think it is because it is slightly off tune.”
“Yeah,” said Mackenzie. “Maybe it is something that connects language, math, and music,” which might explain why her thoughts lately had focused on the relationship between musical scales and mathematical equations. “The ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians and even Mesopotamians were known to have studied the mathematical principles of sound, and the Pythagoreans of ancient Greece were the first researchers known to have investigated the expression of musical scales in terms of numerical ratios. They believed that all nature consists of harmony arising out of numbers.”
“Lyuba said I must watch for the key, so that means I must not have it yet.” Carolina looked at Jennifer. “I have been hearing that musical note as well. It is the same sound as ‘aum’ that is used in meditation and religious practices all over the world. Maybe that is the seraphim’s song.”
“And the vibrations… Have any of you been feeling the vibrations?” asked Dara.
Carolina, Mackenzie, and Jennifer all nodded.
About the Author
Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.
Barbara has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Several of her books have been optioned for major films and television.
Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Barbara wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Barbara’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).
Barbara is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with three cats who adopted her, Homer – a Southern coon cat, Reese – a black cat, and Earl Gray – a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.
Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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