Guest Post

Dark Victoriana | Brotherhood of Secrets | Christie Stratos

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Last summer Christie Stratos chatted to us about her first story in this collection of dark victoriana, Anatomy of a Darkened Heart.

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Christie again and she is chatting to us about her inspiration and how this expands her creative boundaries.

First, here’s more information about Brotherhood of Secrets which is the second story in the collection:

“Brothers in the art of keeping secrets.” This is the mantra Mr. Locke’s carefully chosen five employees must repeat together every day before starting work.

If you won’t tell them your name for Locke and Keye’s ledger, they’ll find out. They have their ways—and many of them. Yes, these talented locksmiths can make a new lock and key set for you. They can even make a special padlock for a diary you never want to share with anyone. But just remember: when they make the lock, they keep a key—and it’s only a matter of time until they use it.

Day by day, each of these young, single, alone-in-the-world workers is being molded into the family they crave. A family in which each member has his use toward an end he doesn’t even know exists.

How do the brotherhood and the town’s secrets interlock? Only Mr. Locke holds the key.

Brotherhood of Secrets is available to purchase from:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble | Smashwords


Antiques Auctions for the Creative Mind

By Christie Stratos

When I was a kid, the idea of sitting through an auction, especially one that had antiques, seemed terribly boring. I couldn’t imagine anything I’d want to do less. My parents took me anyway, and I discovered a whole new world of inspiration despite my initial lack of interest. I couldn’t help it! Where else can you find a decanter ewer set that looks like it’s straight out of a fantasy movie, newspapers from the Civil War, and Frank Sinatra dolls from decades ago, all in the same place? Every time I go to an auction, whether it’s assorted antiques, jewelry only, exclusively ephemera, or anything else, there’s always plenty to inspire me.

One time I discovered a hardcover book that turned out to be a whole bunch of Victorian era magazines bound together, and they helped me research my two historical fiction novels.

I collect old keys, and I’ve found so many unusual ones at auctions—stashes of very old keys with unusual shapes—which gave me the creative spark for some of the locks and keys in BROTHERHOOD OF SECRETS.

Assorted old keys Brotherhood of Secrets Christie Stratos

Those items are related to my current works in the Dark Victoriana Collection, but the greatest thing about being exposed to so many objects from different time periods is that (1) they can change the direction of my stories, and (2) they give me brand new ideas for totally unrelated books and short stories. I can’t even tell you how many notes I have in my phone, notebooks, and random scraps of paper.

Looking creatively at the variety of unique things I find at antiques auctions constantly helps to expand my creative boundaries. Seeing each thing not as a simple object but as something in the middle of a story is like a workout for my writing skills. And when I want to move on to a new project or take a break from my current work in progress, I’ve got plenty to work with!

Whether you’re a writer or a crafter, where do you find your inspiration?

I’m inspired by colour palettes and nature 🙂

Christie StratosChristie Stratos is an award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. She is the author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Brotherhood of Secrets, the first two books in the Dark Victoriana Collection. Christie has had short stories and poetry published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Andromedae Review, 99Fiction, and various anthologies. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies.


Connect with Christie Stratos



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Family comes first! I'm married with two son's in their 20's and have a little more time now to follow my passions. I love my role as an Inclusion Lead in KS2 and I'm passionate about early help. I'm a member of Bournemouth's Early Help Operational Board working alongside others to instigate change and growth. I'm also passionate about my love of reading, being out in nature and creating with crochet. I've been blogging for eight years at Jera's Jamboree.

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