Sigil House Productions is pleased to announce that our first title will be published in Autumn 2022! The Secret of the Sunken Temple is a World War II-era occult M/M romance adventure featuring a shy archaeologist, a globe-trotting adventurer, and a long-lost sacred treasure. Oh, and magic, godly avatars, star-crossed love, naiads, sea monsters, and — yes — Nazis! (Because every adventure romance needs some really nasty bad guys.)

The cover is being created by the wonderfully talented Paula Arwen Owen. (No, that’s not the real cover posted above.) We look forward to sharing that art with you by the end of the summer.

Interested? Sign up for a free digital copy! We are giving away one hundred — yes, one hundred! — digital copies. All you have to do is promote the book through your social media accounts and/or review it on retailer sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Check out the preview below. If you like what you read, reach out to us at sigilhouseproductions@gmail.com and request your free review copy!

***

Khers Theoú
A.D. 393

They were coming.

Gorgo watched from the steps of the temple, across the marble altar, across the headland, to the waters in the east. The fleet was small — only a dozen vessels — but it was filled with priests and soldiers eager to loot and burn. They flew under the banner of the Emperor, bore his seal; the sad, petty little man, hidden away in his palace in Byzantium.

The Rome of the East, they were calling it.

A new Rome for a new faith.

Gorgo snorted, watching as the first of the ships disappeared from her sight beneath the headland and pulled into the bay far below. 

They would need to gather their weapons, disembark, climb the long path up the face of the cliff, winding back and forth.

She still had time. Not much. But enough, if the God was listening.

The wind gusted, catching the long thread of crow feathers woven into her hair. Turning, she pulled her shawl up around her shoulders and retreated into the heart of the temple, weaving in and among the pillars until she reached the wide open space of the interior. The marble was cool beneath her bare feet, and the soft patter of her steps echoed from the walls.

She was alone.

Gorgo looked up at the towering statue of the God.

No. Not alone. Never alone.

She drew a long, deep breath.

Faintly, she could hear shouting from the bay far below, and curses, and the rattle of swords against shields.

Her steps slowed and she came to a stop in front of the idol. It soared above her, the height of five men. Loosely-curled hair, painted a deep black. Crystal eyes that caught the sunlight. A golden cloth, carefully sewn and dedicated by the priestesses, draped over one shoulder, angling across his chest to be gathered in a skillful knot at His hip. He held a lyre in one hand, the strings of real animal gut so that they caught the wind and seemed to sing, so gently. In his other hand, held aloft for all to see, a statue of His beloved.

Hyakinthus.

Gorgo drew another long, deep breath.

The shouts and curses were getting louder.

She cast a speculative glance at the treasures piled around the feet of the God. Bags of gold and silver coins. Cups and platters and amphorae. Chests of necklaces and bracelets and earrings, all finely wrought and studded with red and blue and green gems. Loaded into a wagon and moved out of Sparta in the dead of night, only hours before the Emperor’s priests and soldiers raided that temple.

Then on to the next temple, and the next, and the next, until she reached the edge of the world, and had nowhere else to run.

Perhaps if she tossed all of this down the cliff. Just offered it all to them ….

But, no. The soldiers might be distracted by the shinies, but the priests would not be. They did not seek the coins and jewelry.

Even louder now.

Gorgo knelt, pulling a single, plain chest across the floor. There was nothing remarkable about it, which was precisely the point.

Flicking the latch, she pushed up the lid, her breath catching as it always did when she laid eyes upon the Treasure.

Gently, she wrapped her hands beneath and around the crystalline sphere. It fit snuggly in her palms. Gently, she lifted it from the chest, surprised, again, at its warmth.

Inside, a bit of earth, a tangle of bone-white roots, and a single, perfect, undying flower.

His beloved. Lost, but restored, reborn, resurrected into a new form. The first flower to bear his name, white petals perfect and elegant, streaked and dotted with the golden tears of the God.

Gorgo rose to her feet. Balancing the crystal globe in one hand, she lifted the other and tore the thread of crow feathers loose from her scalp. She grit her teeth against the sudden sting of pain, feeling blood well across her skin.

That would not be the only blood shed today.

She wound the feathers round and round the sphere, loose, not too tight. The globe seemed to warm even more against her palm.

She held it up high, almost rising on her toes. Then she spoke the invocation, calling to the God to hear her, to listen, to heed her words and act.

“Apollo! Heavenly Crow! Chthonic Rat! Musician of the Spheres! Immortal Light of Day and Mind! Atheists threaten your sacred precinct. Bandits who will rob and destroy, desecrate your icon, burn your beloved! I call upon you, Apollo, Lover of Hyakinthus! Protect your temple and your beloved. Save them from these wretches who would wipe your name from the holy earth, and the minds and lips of men. Save them! Save them! Save them!”

The strings of the lyre shivered.

Outside, beyond the altar, she could hear the mad scramble of booted feet up the cliff, the priests exhorting the soldiers to climb faster, faster, faster ….

The ground twitched.

Gorgo spoke the Words, then, bending the wind and the memory of the feathers to her will.She lifted the sphere higher still, rising onto her toes. The wind wrapped around her, tugged at her dress and shawl and hair. It slid up her arm, serpentine, and wrapped around the feathers and the crystal globe.

The feathers remembered. They fluttered and twisted. Jumped, pulled, and lifted, riding the wind. Up. Up. Up. The globe lifted free of her hand, the feathers rustling. It spun slowly as it rose, round and round, up, up, up.

Screaming outside.

The ground twitched again, then shuddered. The sunlight trembled. Stone creaked. Rock shredded and shrieked.

The sphere settled in Hyakinthus’ outstretched hands.

The lyre sang, and the earth cracked open wide. 

[Want more? Sign up for a review copy through sigilhouseproductions@gmail.com, or purchase a copy at all major retailers in Autumn 2022!]

[Written by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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