Violins Played Before Junstan


Violins Played before Junstan

(The Celwyn Series Book 1)

by Lou Kemp

GENRE: Fantasy (magical realism)

While on a mission to avenge the death of his lover, the immortal peyote-eating magician Celwyn is hired to deliver an automat, Professor Kang, to a priest. But Celwyn quickly learns that everything the priest told him was a lie. Now his ship, the Zelda, is stuck in a horrific storm and Celwyn knows he must reconsider his allegiance if he is to steer his vessel in the right direction and continue his quest.


The place was half full, the gas lights dim, and as quiet as it would get. Just inside the door sat a priest who boldly regarded Celwyn, as if he knew him, yet Celwyn would have remembered the little elfin ears, long black hair, and vaguely Asian eyes. The eyes glittered an invitation. 

Oh, really? The magician thought it odd to discover a priest in a saloon—in his experience they were more likely to drink their whiskey by candlelight in the church vestry, elbow-to-elbow with the spiritual mice. Curious, he placed his top hat on the table and settled into the chair opposite the priest. 

Beads of sweat decorated the bald head of the bartender as he rushed forward with a shot of whiskey on a tray. He deposited it in front of Celwyn and whirled to run back behind the bar. 

The priest aimed a thumb at the publican. “Well-trained. Just like a seal at a waterfront show.”   

Celwyn paused and then picked up his glass. He recognized that voice. A fortuitous coincidence? A few blocks away, St. Marks provided excellent places to eavesdrop, such as a false wall behind the altar. This morning the Monsignor of St. Marks and this same priest had discussed some unusual incidents occurring during Mass. It was not a coincidence that the same man should be sitting here.

About the Author:

Early work was horror and suspense, later work morphed into a combination of magical realism, mystery and adventure painted with a horrific element as needed.

I’m one of those writers who doesn’t plan ahead, no outlines, no clue, and I sometimes write myself into a corner. Atmospheric music in the background helps. Black by Pearl Jam especially.

More information is available at I'd love to hear from you and what you think of Celwyn, Bartholomew, and Professor Xiau Kang.


2009 The anthology story Sherlock’s Opera appeared in Seattle Noir, edited by Curt Colbert, Akashic Books. Available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. Booklist published a favorable review of my contribution to the anthology.

2010 My story, In Memory of the Sibylline, was accepted into the best-selling MWA anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris. The immortal magician Celwyn makes his first appearance in print.

2018 The story, The Violins Played before Junstan is published in the MWA anthology Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry. The Celwyn series begins.

Book 1, The Violins Played before Junstan reissue with the publisher, the 4 Horsemen on 10-17-22. The 4 Horsemen will publish the remaining books in the series beginning with Music Shall Untune the Sky, The Raven and the Pig, The Pirate Danced and the Automat Died.  The companion book, Farm Hall continues the story of Pelaez, another immortal magician and Celwyn's brother will also be available.

Q&A With the Author
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Letting my imagination run free, doing whatever I wanted with the main characters without regard to following rules. It is a mix of many genres and as unpredictable as I can make it--- that is my gift to anyone reading it.

Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?

Yes, book 6 of this series is under construction, about 1/3 of the way through in a very rough draft.  It continues the adventurers’ stories, taking them to Spain and to Swango, an old friend of Celwyn’s, that will make them wish they had never found him again. It is also Celwyn’s first exposure to time travel and lands him in Nazi territory with a beautiful Gestapo agent who begins to hunt him.

Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?

In addition to book 6, I’m planning another companion book.  The Celwyn series begs for them because there are so many openings branching off the main plots. Having Pelaez make another appearance by himself after Farm Hall (due out in 2023) is one of my main ideas.

How long have you been writing?

Since the age of eight, and actually selling a story at twenty-one with a horror story based upon one of my cousins.

Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Please send me questions and your thoughts on my website. Is there too much of Celwyn and not enough of the automat?

I’d like to hear what you think and if there is anything you want to see occur in the series.


Lou Kemp will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sounds like a great fantasy read. I enjoyed the author Q&A

  2. Good morning! A big thank you to Literary Gold for hosting. I think of all the blog names I've seen, this is one of my favorites. The address uses the chemical element too :) For any questions please visit my site at Also, a big shout out to Goddess for their expertise in managing my book tour. Did you know book 2 of the Celwyn series debuts on Jan 23rd?

  3. Really nice cover and excerpt, looking forward to reading this.

  4. An immortal magician does sound intriguing.

  5. I enjoyed reading the Q&A, Lou, I also enjoyed the excerpt and Violins Played Before Junstan sounds like an excellent fantasy read for me!

    Thanks for sharing it with me and have a marvelous week!

  6. I love the cover. It’s very intriguing!

  7. Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays


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