Thanks to The Romance Studio
Welcome to 1924, a time when youth was fast and fleeting, and the young people of the time pushed the memories of terrible war into the deep recesses of their minds in order to PAR-TAY! England didn’t have Prohibition like the United States, just a law that required food to be served along with liquor. Youth flocked to nightclubs, movie theaters, and daytime dances in order to have fun. The madcap elite of the day were called the Bright Young Things.
If I Had You is set around a Grand Hotel with an attached nightclub, the decadent Russian design bringing aristocrats, film and theater people, and travelers of all sorts to its doors. Not only that, it’s attracted the attention of Russia itself, and the new Soviet government is using the hotel to house trade delegates…or are they saboteurs, intent on bringing down the British government?
Into this glittering party arrives Alecia Loudon, a young woman ready to work as a secretary to theater people by day and live as a flapper by night. She wanders the hotel in the wee hours, listening to jazz and watching out for the handsome Russian night watchman who also prowls the corridors…
If I Had You is the first novel in the Grand Russe series. Book 2, I Wanna Be Loved By You is out next Valentine’s Day, and Book 3 will be out next September. Fall in love…in the 1920s.
The terrorist attacks in Belgium today settle on me uneasily as an author of historical fiction. As I blithely changed the timeline on my work in progress , I wondered what historical events I might be missing that might distract the characters in my novel, or even affect them. Characters live in larger worlds than our plots. For instance, my current hero is from Sicily. What might have been happening in his hometown during that week I just added to my story because I realized my plot timeline was too tight?
The other issue that concerns me is how I write about circumstances like what happened in Belgium today. My upcoming series (debuts 9/27/16), The Grand Russe Hotel, is concerned with Russian immigrants in England. Most of them are solid citizens trying to restart their lives after the Russian revolution, but some are Bolsheviks hoping to disrupt the British government. There are bombers and bomb threats and even actual bombs. Danger for all, a very real situation. As I writer, I need to make sure to keep the emotion tangible. It’s not just a plot. My characters need to feel the fear that is present in Europe today in the midst of so much sorrow, uncertainty, and despair. I must remember to keep my world of 1925 London three-dimensional. The terrorists of 2016 are different than those of 1925, but the emotions of those living through the experience are the same as those suffering today.
If we want readers to bond with our characters, understanding the mindset of people in crisis is very important. And if we can give our characters happy endings despite the traumas they live through, hopefully it can give readers a feeling of closure and hope that all is not lost, no matter how dark the sky that day.
Recently, the historical romance market hasn’t been all it could be. Early in my career, I wrote contemporary romance, but about six years ago I mostly turned to writing historical, first Victorian, and then 1920s romance. I’ve had a blast, releasing contemporary only in sexier Anh Leod titles like Tempting Josie and Wet Christmas (In Christmas Nookies, an anthology). I haven’t wanted to chase the market, even though I’ve been encouraged to return to contemporary.
I plotted out a standalone contemporary. I plotted out an eight-book contemporary arc using my favorite tropes. I even started book one, but I wasn’t feeling it. I kept going with a passion project set int the 1920s. But then, something changed.
I was offered an opportunity to write something contemporary, and for some reason, that idea set my creativity on fire. It had roots in the kind of historical fiction I was writing, in terms of location and characters. And, I could bring in a naughty pleasure I’d been enjoying in my relatively non-existent free time. That’s a reality TV show my father hooked me on called The Curse of Oak Island. It’s about a treasure hunting team working in Nova Scotia.
When I combined this opportunity with a treasure hunting hero and a reality TV setting, all of a sudden I had a novella I plotted in a couple of days, and a book I was drafting less than a week later. The timing was right and this time, I had a new found love for a contemporary project.
I love this story! It will be out in July, so it will be a while before I share much about it, but I wanted to tell the story of its birth. Sometimes, when we can’t drum up enthusiasm, it’s because we haven’t quite landed on the right idea yet. It’s there though. Just take a look at what currently is interesting to you. The answer might be hiding in your hobbies, favorite shows or books, in the garden…wherever you might care to look.
Coming this month with my newly revised Anh Leod story, Aphrodite’s Necklace:
Coming in March…Trifling Favors…book 7 in the Redcakes series
So, you’re living with someone else, a partner, children, friends, etc. and you’ve started down this new diet journey, cluttering your countertops and refrigerators with new food items and appliances. How do you make them okay with it?
As you know, my smoothie quest is wrapped around a search for better immune support. I have yet to talk my child into so much as trying a smoothie, but my husband has just come on board. It took about 2 1/2 weeks to achieve this, mostly by accident!
What I did was offer him a taste of every smoothie I made. Since most of them aren’t disgusting, he lost his fear of them. I also kept preparing meals, instead of just forgetting him, though the leftovers have really been piling up. Then, I started preparing light meals with light smoothies, and we’re having them both for dinner. Now, he’s ready to start the smoothie-as-a-full-meal revolution with me!
Meanwhile, I’m reviewing The Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier (3rd edition) so I’ve been using it to find the complementary light meals to go with the light smoothie. Tonight is going to be an eggnog smoothie to compliment a Welsh Rarebit. Last night we had an apple sausage omelet with a mango veggie smoothie.
What combinations sound like a good idea? Any hints on keeping your home front enthusiastic?
I’m proud to be a part of Jo Beverley’s team behind this fantastic video! You can’t help but enjoy the music she found. Curl up and read a historical romance this autumn…
Enter the giveaway for an Amazon gift certificate!
September 15: Susana’s Parlour
September 15: Coffee Books and Art
September 16: SBM Book Obsession
September 17: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
September 18: Bunny’s Review
September 19: Long and Short Reviews
September 22: A Cup Of Tea and A Big Book
September 23: It’s Raining Books
September 24: Punya Reviews…
September 25: Welcome to My World of Dreams
September 26: Cynthia Gail
September 26: Deal Sharing Aunt
It’s Pumpkin Spice season and here is a lovely quick bread recipe to try! I try to make most baked goods wheat-free so that my husband, who is intolerant of wheat, can enjoy it too. With the brand of wheat-free flour I use, the taste is so similar to wheat that no one ever notices.
1 3.4 oz Jell-o brand Pumpkin Spice pudding box
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix or similar
4 tablespoons butter
1 tsp vanilla
350 degree oven. Cook for one hour or until a tester comes out clean.
Butter/oil a loaf pan.
Melt the butter. Mash banana. Mix these ingredients together with sugar, then add all other ingredients. Pour into pan.
Eat immediately or store in plastic wrap covered by a foil layer in a cool place. The smell is fantastic when you open the wrapping to take another slice!