Teas to Drink with My Stories

I drink an inordinate amount of tea. Once I discovered Adagio teas, I loved the idea of blending teas to represent the characters in my stories. Adagio allows you to try a sample tin of each tea, which is what I’ve photographed here, or to buy a 3-ounce pouch or a 5-ounce tin.

In The Alondra Stories, Alondra DeCourval is a witch who often considers the astrological influences of the foods she eats as a way to gain or ground energy.

She blends her own teas as if she is compounding medicine. I decided she would be best represented by Ceylon tea, blended with black currant, blackberry, raspberry leaves, and rose petals. It’s sweet, full of perfume, and strong.

Her tea is for sale here: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147040

On the Adagio site, Alondra’s tea is paired with her guardian Victor’s tea, which means you can buy the two of them together for a discount.

Victor Lockwood is a psychic doctor who has traveled the world helping to free the living from otherworldly creatures. He belongs to a lodge and works for the British Museum.

Victor’s tea is based on two kinds of Earl Grey, blended with vanilla and orange peel and accented with lavender and blue cornflowers. His tea is here: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147041

Stella is Alondra’s closest friend. She appears in the stories “A Curiosity of Shadows,” which was collected in the Alondra’s Investigations chapbook, and in “Guardian of the Golden Gate,” which appeared in Strange California.

Stella works at Curios & Candles, a magic shop in San Francisco’s Lower Haight district. Her tea was inspired by chai: Ceylon black tea, with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and orange peel.

It isn’t overly spicy like some chais, but has a nice warmth to it. Stella would drink it with honey and oat milk, but I prefer it black. Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147035

Stella’s tea is paired with Elizabeth’s.

Elizabeth Stewart is the owner of Prospero’s Books in North Hollywood. She appears in the story “The Fatal Book,” which was collected in Alondra’s Investigations.

Elizabeth was inspired by my friend, longtime-bookseller Martha Allard, so her tea was inspired by Martha’s favorite. It’s a green tea with ginger and the subtle flavor of lemons and mandarin oranges.

Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147039

Marie Jackson is a voodoun priestess who rents her carriage house apartment in New Orleans to Alondra. Her tea comes straight from the pages of the story “Last-Born,” which was originally published in The Ghost-Breakers in 2005. It was republished in Alondra’s Investigations.

Marie’s tea is an herbal blend of chamomile flowers, rooibos, vanilla, lemon balm, with lemon grass, lavender, and marigold petals. It’s pretty to look at, smells good, and tastes great. Best of all, it’s blended to give you sweet dreams. Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147038

Marie’s tea is paired with Simon’s, since they both appear in “Last-Born.”

Simon Lebranche first entered Alondra’s life in “Valentine,” when she was stalking him to steal his heart. That story was reprinted in my new collection, Unsafe Words.

Simon next appears in “Letter from New Orleans,” in which Alondra tells him about her ghostly experiences in St. Roch Cemetery.

Finally, he turns up in “Last-Born.”

Simon’s tea is Ceylon black tea with strawberries, blueberries, peach and apple pieces, and marigold petals. It’s one of my favorite teas. Here’s the link: https://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=147042

The teas are available individually, in ‘ships with a discount off the 3-ounce pouches, or in handsome reusable 5-ounce tins.


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The Angel’s Lair

It started out as a birthday present. I decided I would write a story for Brian’s birthday. I didn’t get it finished on time (typical) so I sent it to him a scene at a time, one each day, until it was done. It was scary and exhilarating to send what were basically rough drafts, straight out of my head, to someone else. Knowing that Brian was on the other end of the screen, awaiting each new installment, was really inspiring. I couldn’t disappoint him by missing a day.

That was how “The Angel’s Lair” was born. It was intended to be a short story, tied up with a bow, presented as a gift.

Brian surprised me by jumping in with a continuation of the story. There was a chapter 2, then a chapter 3, then I was eager to jump in again with a chapter 4…and suddenly we were writing a book together.

We kept writing and writing and the book kept getting longer and longer… Eventually, I broke it apart into 2 books: Lost Angels and Angelus Rose, which came out earlier this year.

One of my goals for the year was to make a video of me reading “The Angel’s Lair.” Laura Blackwell at The Story Hour was kind enough to indulge me. The video is up now on the Story Hour Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Story-Hour-102109784794285/videos/656488545031376

(Ignore the video image. That’s Mike Allen, who read a killer story about ghost spiders after I finished. It’s the right video — and you should listen to his story, too!)

If you’d like to read “The Angel’s Lair,” it’s available for free as an ebook on Bookfunnel: https://BookHip.com/ZNLMLL

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Reading tonight!

Tonight (11/11) at 7 pm PST, I’m going to be reading on Story Hour!

I’m going to read “The Angel’s Lair,” the short story published in Sins of the Sirens when my writing career began. That story became the first chapter of of my succubus/angel series Lost Angels and Angelus Rose. Come hear how Lorelei met Azaziel live on Facebook or on Zoom: https://www.storyhour2020.com/

Joining me will be Mike Allen, publisher of Mythic Delirium Books. Mike is reading “The Cruelest Team Will Win,” a story that caused some freaked out reaction when he read the opening passages at the first symposium for The Outer Dark in 2017.

Our host will be Daniel Marcus.

It’s free and should be fun!

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Another Morbid Week

It’s been another week of Unsafe Words invading the internet.

Fang-tastic Books encouraged me to make a playlist to accompany my story collection. The playlist itself is on Spotify:

The explanation of why I chose the songs I did is up on Fang-tastic Books: https://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/2020/10/playlist-unsafe-words-by-loren-rhoads.html

The Paranormalists had me by their blog for an interview about Bradbury and Poe’s influences on my writing and what I’m looking forward to reading next:

Reader’s Entertainment interviewed me about my lack of boundaries between horror, science fiction, and fantasy: https://readersentertainment.com/2020/10/13/are-there-boundaries-between-horror-dark-fantasy-and-science-fiction-an-interview-with-loren-rhoads/

Midnight Musings surprised me with a reading of an excerpt from “Here There Be Monsters,” the first story in Unsafe Words:

And for something completely different, Creatively Green asked me to talk about my Pandemic Garden: https://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/2020/10/in-garden-with-loren-rhoads-inthegarden.html

Oh, and here’s another snippet of the Ghost Magnet interview, this one about Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris:

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The Weekly Morbid

The essays that I’ve been scrambling to write have started going up to celebrate my favorite season of the year.

First up is an essay at Horror Made. I’m really proud of this one. I pulled together a list of 15 books, both novels and story collections, that inspired the stories in Unsafe Words. My influences range from Huysmans to Ellison, from Carter to Morton. Check it out:

Some things are scarier than Halloween. I talk about one at the Horror Writers Association blog.

Halloween Haunts: Scarier than Halloween


I like to spend my birthday in a graveyard, and I’ll tell you why:

Birthdays in the Cemetery


I have also done a bunch of interviews lately:

J. Scott Coatsworth interviewed me about going to the gross anatomy lab to research “Valentine” in Unsafe Words:

The Book Junkie Reads interviewed me about the Lorelei and Alondra stories in Unsafe Words:

Supernatural Central interviewed me about how the Haunted Mansion Retreat inspired “Here There Be Monsters”:

Nina Soden interviewed me about Angelus Rose:

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