WordCrafter Book Blog Tours Presents Sara W. McBride and The Haunted Palazzo

Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard is a collection inspired by Venetian history. The fictional character, Alexis Lynn, wrote these stories in the novel Will Write for Wine by Sara W. McBride, but they are fun stand-alone adventures to be enjoyed with an excellent glass of Italian wine.

Be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY

listed below! 


Credit: Photo by Alessio Furlan on Unsplash

What inspired the story, “The Haunted Palazzo?”

This story was so much fun to write. I’ll confess a secret. It was originally a chapter in the book Will Write for Wine, but I pulled it out because it slowed down the pacing to have this crazy ghost-busting side-bar happen in the last few chapters. If you read Will Write for Wine and you think, “Wait a minute. What happened to the idea of Alexis and Jennifer spending a night in a haunted palazzo?” Then this is the story you’ve been waiting for.

Every palazzo in Venice has a ghost story, as does every campo, canal, and calle. The book in the story that the two main characters read while passing the time with a bottle of wine, Venetian Legends and Ghost Stories, A Guide to Places of Mystery in Venice, is a real book, and where I learned about the feud between the two Venetian factions of the nicolotti and the castellani.

The parish records of Venice are extremely well preserved and filled with secret marriages, which weren’t so secret. The marriage and specific motivations I created for this story are fictitious, but marriages between the two opposing factions often occurred. There was even a church with separate entrances created for each faction so that weddings could be attended without brawls breaking out.

Something humorous I learned while researching this story and Venice’s smelly infrastructure of sewage chutes and tunnels, is that both Edgar Allan Poe and Wilkie Collins wrote stories set in Venice, but about palazzos with extensive basements. From what I’ve researched, and from the many issues with flooding that Venice suffers, it would be impossible for a basement to exist. In Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Cask of Amontillado, 1846, the two characters “passed down a long and winding staircase” below a palazzo and travel through an extensive tunnel system seeking the vault with the infamous wine cask. Poe never specifically says the story takes place in Venice, but the characters are speaking of “Italian vintages,” it is during the “supreme madness of the Carnival season,” and specifically uses the word, “palazzo.” So I’m guessing he intended it to be Venice.

In The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice, written by Wilkie Collins in 1878, the Venetian palazzo in the story that is converted into a hotel has underground dungeons that play a prominent role in the novel. If you enjoy a good gothic ghost story, this short book is great fun. However, I doubt that any palazzo in Venice has an underground dungeon, but I haven’t been in all of them, so I might be wrong. It is conceivable that a dungeon might be cut into the petrified pylons that support the buildings of Venice, but it would probably cause structural support issues and would probably flood. Everything floods in Venice.

It excites me to think about well-known authors being so enchanted with Venice that they set their stories in the magical city, but never had the opportunity to travel there. It also makes me a little sad. Poe and Collins would have loved Venice and all its glorious hauntings!

Have you ever found a basement in Venice? Write me at Sara@puckpublishing.com.

Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard
“If you’re wondering about the story that made Manu so angry he banished me from Venice, it’s in here.” –Alexis Lynn

Get ready for a fun evening of stories inspired by Venetian history. Thrill to the adventures of money-laundering plague nuns, a pregnant Renaissance man, a demonic Doge at the Devil’s Bridge, and other tales of ghosts, art, and love. 

Following in the footsteps of Lord Byron’s obsession with Venetian history, Alexis Lynn wrote these stories in the novel, Will Write for Wine. We proudly share these standalone stories with you over the objection of her paramour Manu, a modern-day Casanova and illegitimate descendent of Lord Byron himself. 

So, pour yourself a glass of your favorite vino, let your dog or cat curl up at your feet (or let your cat do whatever it wants), and settle into these mostly … partly … somewhat true tales. 

In vino est fictio.

Will Write for Wine
Alexis Lynn is tired of living for others. She chucks her twenty-year scientific career, and possibly her marriage, to write full time in Venice, Italy. But when Alexis gets involved with a flirtatious Venetian, a man who champions her writing, events spiral out of control. The old Alexis knows she should salvage her marriage, but the new Alexis is quickly falling for the charms of this modern-day Casanova. And she doesn’t know which Alexis will prevail. This is going to require a whole lot of wine.

Be a WINNER! Sara W. McBride is giving away 2 eBooks! One of each of the two featured books here in this post.  Will Write for Wine and Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard! COMMENT on this post AND visit the Rafflecopter Link below to ENTER!

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link


Author Bio

Sara W. McBride, like many modern-day biological researchers, invents new swear words to sling at million-dollar machines while locked in a dark hole of a decaying academic hall. This has caused her to witness ghosts and create a romantic fantasy life within her head, which she now puts down on very non-technological paper with her favorite Jane Austen-style quill pen. 

 Her first novel in the Alexis Lynn series, Will Write for Wine, and the companion short story collection, Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard, both set in Venice, Italy, were recently released by Puck Publishing. She’s hard at work on the second Alexis Lynn novel, a Regency mystery series, and a haunted play. She strongly feels the world needs more haunted plays.


21 responses to “WordCrafter Book Blog Tours Presents Sara W. McBride and The Haunted Palazzo

  1. Reblogged this on Writing to be Read and commented:
    Day 6 of the WordCrafter “Will Write for Wine” & “Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard” Book Blog Tour finds us over at “Annette Rochelle Aben” with a lovely guest post by author Sara W. McBride about her inspiration for her story “The Haunted Palazzo”. Join us to learn more about this author and her wonderful books.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sara W. McBride

    Hi Annette, thanks so much for the lovely post. I’m excited to be a guest on your blog. What’s your favorite ghost story or novel?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. D.L. Finn, Author

    Another great post. I look forward to reading your stories. I loved visiting Venice a few years back and never saw a basement. Thanks for hosting, Annette 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sara W. McBride

      Hi Denise, I’m sure someone has carved out and cement-lined a basement somewhere in Venice, but I can’t fathom how it would not get frequently flooded and require frequent maintenance from all the salt damage. LOL! I think it’s safe to say that Venice is one city that will never offer a catacombs tour. Thanks for stopping by the post! – Sara

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hi Annette and Sara, the point about marriages between opposing families in this guest post is well made. That seems to have been quite common in Italy given that both Dante Alighieri and Shakespeare mention it in certain of their works. The comment about underground tunnels being unlikely in Venice was also interesting. I have read the story by Poe.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What an interesting post, and from an author I am not familoar with. Thank you for the introduction, Annette, and best wishes to Sara!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. SOunds like some great summertime read. Thanks Annette

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Sara W. McBride

    It’s hard to be in Venice and not get inspired, or haunted, or seduced, or gain buns of steel from all the stairs. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Annette and Sara! Sorry for my late arrival. Yesterday was a whirlwind and I didn’t make it over to this stop until now, but your did a wonderful job on the post set-up, Annette. 🙂

    Sara I envision you traipsing all over Venice looking for basements in every building as you explore the city! Lol. Thanks for sharing your inspirations with us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Wrapping up the WordCrafter “Will Write For Wine” & “Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard” Book Blog Tour | Writing to be Read

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.