Posted by: reneewildes1 | September 3, 2019

Guest Blog: Author Julia Byrd

TourBanner_SoilAndCeremony (1)

GENRE: Gothic romance



A history of loss and a terrible stammer have led gravedigger Benjamin Hood to a life of isolation.

When a rash of untimely deaths sweeps through his small English village, he cannot stand by in silence. To uncover the truth about the lives lost, he takes up a long-neglected role of responsibility among the townspeople.

As Benjamin questions the victims’ families, he finds that beautiful widow Juno Stephens has preceded him in each case. She makes no secret of her odd midnight ceremonies and dark powers of persuasion. The villagers are whispering about a woman bearing a lethal hex.

Is Juno the source of danger in the village, or a victim of it? Benjamin must resist her beguiling ways and decide if he can trust her…until another death sets his smoldering worries ablaze.

Cover_SoilandCeremony (2)



“Juno. I want to understand why Colney summoned you. I want to know what any of this has to do with you. I’ll help you, too, if I can.”

She stared into her bowl. “Why?”

Why? The unvarnished truth was too brutal. If you want me for your dark purposes, I’m afraid I will not turn away. After a long moment, I leaned forwards to balance my elbows on my knees, then spread my hands open like a supplicant. “I’m a helpful man.”

Her gaze slanted to rest on my hands. She considered. “Check your right trouser pocket.” The shadow of a smile passed over her lips.

From my pocket, I extracted a folded note card of Juno’s creamy stationery. “When did you put that—never mind. Someday I’m going to catch you in the act, and then you’ll have to pay.”

“I certainly hope so,” she murmured, a wicked gleam in her eyes.

I turned my attention to the note. It was the same piece of paper I’d slipped to her earlier, with a new addendum written at the bottom.

I hope you can do what pleases you. Ben.

Are you free at midnight tonight? I’ll be at your cemetery, and I promised to
show you what I can do. –J.

I nodded and returned the page to my pocket. “Will I learn something about…all of this?”

“Oh, yes,” Juno said. The tone of her voice shaded darker, and a muscle hardened in her jaw. “After the events of today, you’ll see firsthand.”


AuthorPicture (7)AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Julia lives and writes in Chicago with her handsome dog and scruffy husband. She tells people she enjoys books, wine, baking, and architecture as plausible cover for her secret double life.

Amazon buy link:
Soil and Ceremony is available FREE to members of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program and the book is on sale for only $0.99.



Julia Byrd will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What proved to be a big challenge for you when writing this story?

    • Hi Christi — good question! I wanted to portray a character with diverging religious beliefs (or unbelief) without making her unlikable. I also fretted quite a bit over certain victims of crime in the story–you’ll know what I mean when if you ever read it. I don’t like tossing in random violence without real meaning or skipping the emotional impact on the affected families. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thanks for hosting!

    • Agreed, thanks Renee!

  3. Thanks for sharing the great post!

  4. Sounds like a good book.

    • Thanks Rita!

  5. What were your favorite types of books growing up?

  6. What prompted/inspired you to write this kind of story in what I am assuming is Victorian times, based on the cover.

  7. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

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