Tomorrow (Jan. 27th) is the official release day of LORDS OF DESIRE, which includes my novella Swept Away. I'm *so* excited about this novella, mostly because it marks the beginning of a new phase in my career (the switch from Regency-era to Edwardian-era, not to mention the second pen name!), but also because I'm delighted to have a story in an anthology alongside Virginia Henley, Sally MacKenzie, and Victoria Dahl.
So....the Edwardian era. We've discussed it here before--I think it's a shame that the era has mostly been ignored by the romance industry, mostly because it *is* so romantic a period. It's really the last hurrah of the 'old ways' before World War I ushered in modernism.
But The Great War, looming off on the horizon, does present challenges as an author. Even though my books end long before the start of the War, I'm always cognizant that it's coming. I gave the hero of Swept Away, John Leyden, a limp. Why? Because I wanted to make sure that John would remain safe from the War--in my mind, at least.
Other concerns have come up in the manuscript I'm working on now (for A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, Oct. '09) requiring me to move some events that were to occur in Germany to Switzerland, instead. Any further details would be spoilers, but again, it's because I'm thinking ahead to my characters' futures, long after my book ends. It's strange, because I never had these extraneous considerations when writing books set during the Regency era. Maybe this is why authors have, for the most part, stayed away from this era?
Anyway, here's a brief excerpt. Hope you enjoy it!
“He’s like Mr. Rochester and...and”--Christobel searched her mind for a proper literary example--“and Mr. Darcy, all rolled into one brooding, supercilious parcel.” Yes, that was it. Precisely. “Without the redeeming characteristics, of course,” she added with a sigh.
“Come now, Christobel,” her mother scolded. “Don’t be so dramatic. Mr. Leyden isn’t as bad as that.” She paused, chewing on her lower lip as she often did when dissembling.
Christobel gave her mother a knowing look. “Isn’t he?”
“Well, even if he is,” she relented, “he’s Jasper’s cousin and you must endure his company with good grace. I won’t have you acting childish and snippy—”
“I’ve never been anything but pleasant to Mr. Leyden, Mother. But goodness, you must admit he’s a terrible bore.” In all the years they’d been acquainted, she’d tried to see past his deficiencies--his brooding silences and arrogant attitude coupled with his common birth and an ever-so-slight yet discernible limp--to find something to admire. Yet for all her trying, she’d found nothing in his character to merit more than a passing interest.
This never failed to puzzle her, as he was exactly the type of specimen she was often drawn to. Never could she walk past a starved dog or a bird with a broken wing and not take such a creature into her heart, to see to its care and comfort as best she could. Yet for Mr. Leyden, her brother-in-law’s most devoted cousin, she felt nothing more than a vague annoyance.
Perhaps, Christobel realized, it was because Mr. Leyden made his disapproval of her so very evident. How many evenings had she suffered beneath his stare, his brow raised in censure as he watched her across the room while she laughed and coquetted? As if such activities--laughing and coquetting--were inappropriate behaviors for a young lady of her situation.
Christobel sighed heavily as she glanced out the train’s sooty window, the autumn colors blurring into a glorious canvas of reds and golds. What else was an unmarried girl to do at a house party but flirt and enjoy oneself? She shook her head, plucking absently at the folds of her skirt, wishing the train were taking her anywhere but to Edith and Jasper’s home—and Mr. Leyden’s unavoidable company.
There you have it, the opening paragraphs...just a teaser, but I hope it's enough to whet your whistle and make you hurry to your local bookstore tomorrow, LOL! If you'd like to check out another excerpt from the anthology, you can read one here at Sally MacKenzie's web site.
And then, if you can't possibly wait another day, here's a link to buy from Amazon or BN.com!