Search
Close this search box.

BVC Announces Hounding the Moon by Irene Radford writing as P.R. Frost

Hounding the Moon by Irene Radford writing as PR FrostHounding the Moon
Tess Noncroire Adventure #1
Irene Radford
writing as P.R. Frost

There have been no validated demon sightings in 50 years because they all hang out at SF/F conventions winning costume prizes.

Tess Noncroiré, lost her husband of three months in motel fire. In a fever of grief, she drives blindly into the desert and disappears for a year. She emerges fifty pound lighter and a fully trained Sister of the Celestial Blade Warriors, trained to combat demons. An interdimensional imp, Scrap rides her shoulder. In the presence of a demon or tremendous evil, he transforms into a celestial blade, the only weapon capable of penetrating demon hide.

Two years later, Tess has nearly forgotten her time at the Citadel, but she wrote a bestselling fantasy novel about her time there. She and Scrap, when traveling to Science Fiction/Fantasy Conventions, land in the middle of a native legend come to life. The Pacific Northwest tribes must protect a specially woven blanket that incorporates human dignity, honor, and courage woven in the ancient way. Each night while the weaver sleeps, her dog must rip out her daily weaving. If the blanket is ever finished the world will end and humanity will die.

The old weaver is murdered and the dog searches among adolescent girls of shamanistic descent for someone to take her place.

The demons have other plans for the blanket.

Can Tess keep the new weaver and her hell hound safe while negotiating a dodging the devious manipulations of potential lovers and a possessive research assistant/anthropology professor who doesn’t know how to shut up?

Tess Noncroire Adventure #1

REVIEWS

“Readers who crave the fantasy equivalent of a summer movie will welcome Frost’s debut, which introduces Tess Noncoiré.”
—Publishers Weekly.

“Frost’s fantasy debut series introduces a charming protagonist, both strong and vulnerable, and her cheeky companion. An intriguing plot and a well-developed warrior sisterhood make this a good choice for fans of the urban fantasy of Tanya Huff, Jim Butcher, and Charles deLint.”
—Library Journal.

“Featuring a courageous, witty, and downright endearing female protagonist reminiscent of Laurel1 K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse, this is a fast-paced supernatural-powered thriller that blends Native American mythology, paranormal romance, and dark fantasy with the oftentimes wildly eccentric culture of science fiction/ fantasy fandom.”
—The Barnes & Noble Review.

“This is a fun, fannish romp full of sarcastic quips and supernatural action.”
—Locus

____

Irene Radford is a founding member of Book View Café. You can find many of her books, both reprints and original titles, at the café, including her earliest books being released throughout 2023 and 2024. She has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. Editing, as Phyllis Irene Radford, grew out of her love of the craft of writing. History has been a part of her life from earliest childhood and led to her BA from Lewis and Clark College.
Mostly she writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. Look for her writing new historical fantasy tales as Rachel Atwood, a different take on the Robin Hood mythology in Walk the Wild with Me, from DAW/Astra Books and the sequel Outcasts of the Wildwood. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Lately she ventured into Steampunk as Julia Verne St. John.

If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can follow her on Facebook as Phyllis Irene Radford.

Buy Hounding the Moon in the BVC bookstore

Read a Sample

Prologue

“What yous think yous doin’ here, imp?” the head Kajiri Sasquatch demanded. Three of his comrades bore down on me with fangs bared and paws clenched to hammer me back into my own dimension. Two brown and one red. All of them ugly as a twenty-year drought and twice as mean.

“Just passing through,” I quipped, keeping my eyes on those sledgehammer fists. Rapid transit for imps requires popping into the guarded chat room, the entryway to all the portals to all the dimensions.

I edged around the vast expanse of whiteness, keeping my back to the barriers and the myriad doors that opened up from here. Each door led to another dimension. All of them warmer and more comfortable than my own. But I had other reasons for trying to escape my home. First I had to get by the Sasquatch—dedicated and loyal, they made excellent sentries.

You’d think I could pick a better day when something smaller and less excitable than a Sasquatch had guard duty. And Kajiri are the worst of any species: half-breeds out to prove themselves better than both species that spawned them.

The lead guard had more smarts than his three cohorts combined. He (very obviously and blatantly male) turned his big black body to keep me in sight. He couldn’t swivel his neck, so he had to move his entire skeleton. His buddies, one of them female with pendulous breasts covered in matted red fur, took a few seconds, that felt like minutes, to figure out that I had moved.

I fluttered my little wings as if I expected them to support me in flight. Fat chance of that. My wings are as stunted as the rest of me. My bat-wing ears might do a better job, come to think of it.

Big Black lunged for me. I hopped to the left. He sprawled on the stone floor with a roar.

The three dimwits finally turned in the right direction. I feinted into a fairyland filled with inviting floral perfumes and pretty little beings who giggled a lot.

Big Red reached for me with a fist the size of a turkey platter. She was faster than I expected. My tail crimped in her grip.

“Yeaow! That hurts, lady,” I protested, trying to yank my appendage free.

“No imps in fairyland,” Big Black said.

Red hauled me out of the fairyland doorway and flung me against the portal back to impland. The freezing temperature of home nearly burned my belly and my nose when I thumped against the doorway. Mum had firmly closed it against me.

Blood oozed out of my nose and from scrapes on my tail. I groaned. If my wings had been big enough to support me, I could have eased my landing. Not a proper imp at all. Not even any warts to make me cute.

“Need some help opening the door, imp?” Big Black lumbered over.

“Jus aw ’ittle,” I said, trying to breathe through my mouth and talk at the same time.

“You talk funny for an imp,” Big Red said, arms akimbo.

“Ya’ boke my nothse.”

“Well, that’s what you get for trying to sneak out of your home dimension, imp. No trespassing. That’s what we’re here for, to keep unauthorized personnel from moving between dimensions.” Big Black pronounced each word carefully as if he’d memorized his mission statement.

“I can see that.”

“When we’ve served enough guard time, we’ll get twenty hours’ home time in the dimension of our choice.”

“And if you believe that, I’ve got some sunshine in the rain clouds of Oregonia I can sell you.” Duping demons into doing guard duty is the primary entertainment of the powers that be in most dimensions. Fulfilling the promised free time never happens. Can’t have demons roaming freely. Have to keep them in their ghettos so they don’t contaminate the rest of the universe.

No being in their right mind would let a bloodthirsty demon run free. We keep them in the worst corners of the bleakest dimension for a reason. Like maybe they’ll die off.

Big Black bent down to pull aside the leather flap that marked the portal to impland.

I darted between his legs and slid through the nearest doorway, right into Earth, the land of humans. This time I kept my tail tucked between my legs so Red couldn’t grab it.

I just hoped they wouldn’t track the trail of blood I left behind. Or, worse, let Mum know where I’d gone.

My day had begun just as weird as it ended.

“Out!” Mum had screamed at me for the umpteenth time that day. That week. That decade. “Look at you. Fully two hundred years old and no bigger than a twenty-year-old. You’re just a scrap of an imp and will never amount to anything.”

Hence my name. Scrap. She’d named me something else at birth, but no one remembered what it was. Likely she’d recycled the name to one of my one hundred two siblings. Most of them still lived, much to my torment and dismay.

Her tirade went on for a few hours as she swatted me with her broom. She only uses her broom to discipline her multitude of offspring, never to clean anything. Not my mum. She’s a proper imp who likes living in a refuse heap.

I hopped ahead of her from couch to corner to dining table. But finally she managed to herd me out the door. All the while my siblings laughed hilariously at me.

Of course, if I’d had enough of a wingspan to properly fly, I might have eluded her. But then, if I had a proper wingspan, she wouldn’t be kicking me out of the old garbage dump—I mean homestead. The fact that it was a dimensional garbage dump piled high with the detritus of a dozen different realms doesn’t mean I need to insult Mum’s cozy home.

I kind of liked growing up playing amid broken refrigerators, some skeletons dragons had discarded, and a few hidden demon artifacts. I spent many happy hours every day arranging them in some kind of order. Only my sibs took equal delight in messing things up again.

Most imps can’t abide tidiness.

“We only have respectable imps in my family. All a proper size, of course! Fit warrior companions by their first century,” dear old Mum called after me. Her angry skin, nicely blotched with warts, shifted from normal gray green to an ominous vermilion. In a minute she’d transform into something ugly.

Uh-oh, I was in real trouble now. I tried to hide by going transparent. But I can’t do that in my own dimension, and Mum can always find one of her one hundred three offspring, no matter what color or shape they are. Just so long as they live, she can find them.

So that left me out in the cold and having to make my own way across the dimensions. When I say cold, I mean cold. When-hell-freezes-over cold. Nothing-ever-decays-here-so-let’s-dump-anything-that-might-prove-useful-later cold. Hence impland is also the garbage dump of the universe.

We got stuck there because the same internal combustion engine that allows us to change color at will also generates heat.

We can generate enough body heat to cultivate vast quantities of mold in our otherwise cold and damp home. Mum cultivates it. I eat it, cleaning her walls on a regular basis. Mold is quite a delicacy. My family eats it because they have to. Fuel for their bodies, you know. Not a lot of energy left over to go out across the dimensions and find ourselves a warrior to meld with. So a lot of us get kind of trapped there.

Not me. Free from Mum’s tyranny so I didn’t have to obey the rule that says you have to be at least four feet tall and have a wingspan twice as wide before you can survive a portal transfer, I took off for parts unknown.

That’s when I first saw Tess. Teresa Noncroiré to those who haven’t met her. She’s absolutely gorgeous, and strong, and intelligent, and all the things a heroine is supposed to be.

But that’s now. And she still doesn’t know this about herself.

She was dissolving into a puddle of tears, forty pounds overweight, and wearing her emotions on her sleeve the first time I saw her. In the Pacific Northwest where they grow great mold.

And I couldn’t do anything to help her. She hadn’t been infected with the imp virus yet. I wasn’t big enough to transmit the disease to her.

But I knew in that first moment, as she walked away from her husband’s wake, held in a rustic bar in a timber town on a mountain, that I loved her. I knew in that instant that she was going to make a formidable Warrior of the Celestial Blade. She was going to kick some demon ass and knock the uppity Sisterhoods on their ignoble butts.

But that’s a long story. Let’s cut to the chase. She managed to stumble into the infection, survived it, and emerged . . . well, she and I both emerged.

Outcasts.

Not exactly ready to confront anything the dimensions could throw at us. But we were stuck together like glue.

That’s when life started to get interesting.

Buy Hounding the Moon in the BVC bookstore

Authors

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *