Writing: Planning Your Garden w/ Karen Bovenmyer

April 7, 2017

Planning Your Garden with Karen Bovenmyer

 

I’ve had trouble outlining for years. I took classes on outlining. I attended conference sessions on outlining. I spoke at length with successful authors about outlining. Out of desperation, I even taught a novel outline college-level course three times, hoping I would internalize the lessons. It did not happen until I’d written over a million words. At last, after undergraduate and graduate degrees in creative writing, drafting ten novels, and guiding hundreds of students through the outline process, I’ve finally discovered why I struggle so much with outlining. I’ve learned to lean on my strengths and hybridize the strengths of my writing style (discovery or gardener) with the strengths of the outliner or architect style. First, you must know which is your natural mode, then employ very specific tools to create well-rounded, satisfying fiction.

 

What kind of writer are you?

The first step is to figure out what kind of writer you are so you know which tools to try. Here’s a short quiz—on a scrap of paper, write numbers of the remarks below that fit you a little, sort-of, or a lot.

  1. 1. I struggle to write endings.

  2. 2. My writing group says they can’t connect to my characters.

  3. 3. I dislike editing a story I’ve finished and often feel lost when it’s time to edit something really big, like a novel.

  4. 4. The blank page is overwhelming.

  5. 5. A detailed outline is overwhelming–I don’t know where to begin, nor do I care about writing the story anymore.

  6. 6. I spend a lot of time researching and don’t ever get around to writing.

  7. 7. My endings happen too fast and my writing group complains that they wanted more processing time with the character at the end.

  8. 8. I had to cut four chapters about two meticulously-researched secondary characters’ families because everyone said they didn’t matter to the main story and were unnecessary.

  9. 9. I had to cut thousands of words because I realized that entire section wasn’t going to work anymore because I had a better idea after writing it.

  10. 10. My writing group says my characters’ decisions seem forced/unearned.

 

Look at the numbers you wrote down. I believe the odd numbers are observed traits of discovery writers. I think the even numbers are observed traits of outline writers. If you have more odd numbers than even ones, try the discovery/gardener writer solutions. If you have more even than odd, try the outline/architect writer solutions.

 

Solutions for Discovery Writers

If you’re a discovery writer, you tend to need a character to attach to. You tend to play with different beginnings and find a character’s voice that compels you. You’re not sure what’s going to happen in the story—you spin out the yarn and see what happens, watching the story grow as you go, like a gardener. You tend to edit as you write, to get your words and thoughts in line, and after, say 10,000 words or so, you know the characters well enough that the story gets legs and sort of writes itself. Your critique group is annoyed by your abrupt endings, because, as soon as you think of how to end the story, the story loses all interest for you so you end it and get out quick. Editing a big story is a lot of work—you’re not sure how to begin, you only know something in the story isn’t working, some beat or plot point comes at the wrong time and you’re not sure how to fix it. You know that writing an outline would save you time and help you keep your story on track, but every time you try to write one first, you’re not quite sure how to begin and/or lose interest partway through.

 

Personally, I’m very much a discovery writer, and I’ve found the following very helpful:

  1. Start writing the story right away, using a prompt or a question you’re asking yourself, or having just read some provoking fiction or watched a movie that left you feeling unresolved. Write until you feel good about what you’re working on and you’ve got a reasonable idea of who the character/what the voice is.

  2. STOP. No, seriously, stop.

  3. Sketch out a very loose seven-point outline (I like to use Dan Wells’ Story Structure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcmiqQ9NpPE). Don’t go overboard. Just write seven general things that form the shape of the story as suggested by the character/voice/happenings of the first few paragraphs. This can be a sentence or even a single word.

  4. Go back to your draft and start writing again. If the story’s a short one, finish it and then look back at your outline. Rewrite the outline to more accurately reflect your story. If the story is a long one, after each chapter/section, take a look at your outline and adjust it to fit what you have written, inserting potential future things that might happen based on what the text is suggesting. DO NOT GO INTO DETAIL. As a discovery writer, going into detail threatens to suck the fun out of drafting. After you have the seven general main points laid out and you feel interested by their possibilities, return to drafting. When you’re done with the whole thing, correct your outline.

  5. Write a summary of your story. This will help you figure out where your story is going wrong so you can address that in edits. Call a friend and tell them your story’s plot. Write down any inconsistencies between what you said to your friend and what you actually wrote. This can guide you toward stronger choices in revision.

  6. Force yourself to write a long enough ending. Remember your reader loves your character. They want to know how the character emotionally reacts to what happened to them and have a sense of what happens after the story ends.

 

Solutions for Outline Writers

From what I’ve observed in friends and students, outline writers feel lost without an outline, just like discovery writers feel lost without a character—just starting a story and seeing what happens can be overwhelming and feel alien. For readers, an architect’s characters can feel flat and disconnected, or worse, unnatural, because there isn’t enough growth happening for the character while the architect fills in the events around the bones of the outline. Another danger of too much outlining is to continued structuring and world-building until the story is “perfect” which keeps you from starting writing at all. Also, a meticulously-researched world is tempting to use in ways that are boring for readers or too much information that distracts from the main story points.

 

My outliner students have found some of the below useful:

  1. Write down five things you know about your main character. Resist outlining these five things into story-form.

  2. Write down five events that have happened in your main character’s life before the action of the story. Write down how the character reacted to each of those events. This helps you start connecting to and understanding who your main character is.

  3. Stop the outline you just started that places those events in time and turns them into story. You won’t need them, they are just to help you understand your character’s reactions.

  4. Pick a very strong emotion: Joy, Anger, Love, Grief, Surprise, Fear, Trust, Anxiety—anything that is easy for you to picture and feel. Have your character describe one of the settings or an important object in your story while feeling the emotion strongly without mentioning the emotion. This will help you attach your character’s emotions to the world and the story.

  5. Don’t let yourself outline too deeply. Get down the main story points you need to feel comfortable starting, and then go ahead and start writing. Adjust your outline as you go. If you start to wonder if your character is nuanced and natural, stop and repeat step two and step four.

  6. Don’t add in world-building details you researched that distract readers from the main character’s emotional journey—only use the ones that feel relevant and fit well with the character you now know so much more about.

 

Learning what kind of writer you are, discovery or outline, or a mix of both, can help you learn your strengths and hybridize the discovery/gardener and outliner/architect styles. If you’re testing somewhere in the middle of the two, try using tools from either list and see what results. Pay careful attention to when you are bored or getting bogged down and anything that makes you stop writing. It’s important to listen to your muse—write what you enjoy in the way that keeps you productive, but use tools to head off problems your critique groups have reported to you. As you master this balancing act, you’ll be able to plan your garden to grow in natural and beautiful ways and create nuanced, satisfying fiction and save yourself a lot of time editing.

 

Check out Swift for the Sun today!

 

Swift for the Sun by Karen Bovenmyer

 Blurb:

Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gunrunner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost he is a survivor.

When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave Sun instead.

Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.

 

About Karen Bovenmyer: 

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She currently serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine and is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writer’s Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her science fiction, fantasy, and horror novellas, short stories, and poems appear in more than twenty publications. Though she triple-majored in anthropology, English, and history for her BS from Iowa State University in 1997, Swift for the Sun is her first published work of historical fiction.

Website: karenbovenmyer.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/karenbovenmyer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karen.bovenmyer
Twitter: @karenbovenmyer

Contact (Gothika 5): It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!

October 27, 2016

It's a bird! It's a plane! with B.G. Thomas, an author from Contact (Gothika 5)

Look! Up There in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane. It’s a… UFO!

For centuries we have been looking up in the sky and seeing strange, unexplainable objects. In 214 BC “an appearance of ships had shone forth from the sky” was seen in Rome. In 776 something bearing “the likeness of two large flaming shields, reddish in color” appeared in the sky over the Frankish Empire. In 1561 the sky over Nuremberg was filled by cylindrical objects, and red, black, orange, and blue-white disks and globes came out of them. The history books are filled with such reports.

It was in the 1940s that the phenomenon reached new heights and one of these flying objects was dubbed a “flying saucer.” There have been hundreds of sightings since.

And some come with some pretty convincing evidence.

It is contact with such ships and the beings within that is the subject of the new Gothika anthology, aptly named Contact. And believe it or not, contact with such beings can be the root of great romance. To prove it, four Dreamspinner authors spin tales of love….

I’ll prove it!

ABDUCTED by Jamie Fessenden

One night, Marc receives a frantic call from his friend, Cody. When he arrives at Cody’s isolated farmhouse, Cody is filthy, half-starved, and under the paranoid delusion that aliens are abducting him and implanting things in his body.

Marc agrees to stay one night, as long as his friend will go to the hospital in the morning. But Cody isn’t mentally ill. Aliens have been abducting him, and in the process of trying to stop it from happening again, Marc is abducted himself. But that’s just the beginning of his nightmare.

Marc learns of two alien races at war. To make matters worse, the Alzhen have Marc and the evil Karazhen have Cody. Marc’s only ally is Dalsing, the Alzhen security chief he feels an unexpected attraction to. They’ll have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to rescue Cody… and prevent the creation of a deadly biological weapon.

REFUGEE by Kim Fielding

When World War II ended and army medic Walter Clark returned to Chicago, he discovered that although home remained the same, he had changed. Unable to fit comfortably into his old life, he spent a year gradually making his way west. Now he’s gone as far as he can—the shore of the Pacific—but old memories make ocean views intolerable. He turns inland and finds himself in the hidden hamlet of Kiteeshaa, Oregon, where the locals are surprisingly friendly and the café serves food exactly like his grandmother used to make.

Martin Wright runs the Kitee Motor Court Inn and offers Walter a place to stay for a few nights. Later, Martin offers him a great deal more. But while Martin is a delight, he also harbors secrets—and there’s something not quite right about Kiteeshaa. No matter how far the two men have traveled, they can’t run away from their pasts.

MY FINAL BLOG by F.E. Feeley Jr.

George has never stood out. In fact, the only thing that’s ever been special about him is his sexuality—a source of torment throughout his high-school career. Like many others, George found solace and an outlet for his creativity online. Through his blog, he met kindred spirits, allies, and even someone special—though the only thing George knows about his longtime friend is their screen name: Universal47.

George never pushed for more, but over the years, he couldn’t help developing feelings for Universal. He’s always been there when George needs him most, and when George finds himself trapped in an abusive relationship, Universal steps up once again to help him break free. But the ordeal has left him devastated, and he needs more from Universal. George threatens to cut off contact unless Universal reveals his identity. The truth might be much more than George is ready to accept.

UNUSUAL ATTENTION by B.G. Thomas

Until recently, Adam Brookhart has led what he considers a relatively uneventful life. His biggest problem is that he can’t let his guard down and allow himself to get close to anyone, emotionally or physically—until he meets Shane Farmer.

Shane lives in a small town many miles from Adam and is his complete opposite. In fact, he’s just about the last person Adam can imagine himself in a relationship with. But Adam is drawn to the man, and neither distance nor their differences can keep him away.

Late one night, while driving home from Shane’s house, something very strange happens. Adam loses two hours of time and has no idea how or why. But as he digs for clues, the answers he finds are totally crazy… and the man he is falling in love with might be crazy as well.

I dare you not to be drawn in and contacted yourselves by these wonderful stories.

And before you say, “I don’t like anthologies,” remember this: these are novellas, not short stories. There is plenty to these stories and plenty to sink your mental teeth into, as well as invest your heart.

And you can find all four of these stories in Contact, coming on October 24th from Dreamspinner Press!

Check out Contact today!

Contact (Gothika #5) by Kim Fielding, B.G. Thomas, F.E. Feeley Jr., and B.G. Thomas

Dreamspinner
Amazon
Amazon UK
Kobo
ARe

About B.G. Thomas:

B.G. is a novelist and blogger. Every day last year he made and entry in his blog. “365 Days of Silver,” where he found something every day to be grateful for. You can find it right here: https://365daysofsilver.wordpress.com/

B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to conventions since he was fourteen years old and has been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was child; it is where he finds his joy.

In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all. He submitted his first story in years and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days.

“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”

Visit his website and his author blog at http://bthomaswriter.wordpress.com/ where you can contact him. He loves to hear from readers and is always quick to respond. You can also find his Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bgthomaswriter

O, Research, What Art Thou? With Tinnean

April 8, 2016

O, Research, What Art Thou-

Greetings, everyone! I’m Tinnean, and I’ve been published by Dreamspinner since February 28, 2011. (I remember the exact date, since that was also the day I retired as head photo tech at my local Walgreens, thereby missing all the release day activities.)

The book that’s being released today is Whither Thou Goest, the second book in the Finding Home series, and the sequel to Call Me Church. Both take place during the Great Depression, and more specifically in 1933-34. While these stories are historical, they actually occur in an alternate reality. (Let’s face it—you’re not going to find saber-toothed tigers or wooly mammoths in this day and age!)

Whether I’m writing a contemporary or a historical, or even if either is set in an alternate universe where there are paranormal inhabitants or prehistoric beasts, I make a point of researching my story to within an inch of its life. It was interesting scouring the History Channel for Prehistoric Predators, which enabled me to include short-faced bears, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers. The flying creatures were based on Haast’s eagle, which has its own Wiki page. Haast’s eagle was originally much smaller than depicted in the book—I took some liberties. *whistles innocently* I also relied on Roy Chapman Andrews’s book, All About Strange Beasts of the Past, something I’ve owned since I was a mere tot.

Research is enormously satisfying. As writers know, you can start looking into one thing and suddenly find yourself somewhere else entirely. Since this story wandered into the territory of ancient Rome, I ended up finding sites that have Roman and Greek names from approximately the first century A.D. Watching I, Claudius was a fun way to refresh myself on Robert Graves’s take on Roman history and was no hardship at all. Messallina, (alternate spelling) wife of the emperor Claudius, made a perfect villainess for my story. Marcellus, who led the Romans to the relative safety of Calvariam Insula—the island the occupants on the other side of the mountain range called Iwi Po’o—had a post in Pompeii, which was still thriving in 43 A.D. At that time, the eruption of Vesuvius was still thirty-six years in the future.

I remember my mother taking me to an automat similar to the one Church took Johnny to, (I refused to finish my cheese sandwich because someone was looking at me) and reading up about it was fascinating.

Horn_&_Hardart_automat
From: Wikipedia

It also helps for me to have a visual. Every once in a while, family or friends will send me emails that contain pictures, and I’ll say, “This is perfect as Iwi Po’o.” Although, of course, the island would have to be a good deal larger.

Aogasima

Credit: Wikipedia

Iwi Po’o is beautiful, but it’s also deadly. Would you be willing to travel with Johnny and Church and visit this island?

Or, “This is what Johnny’s Island of Many Waterfalls looks like!”

Elakala_Waterfalls_Swirling_Pool_Mossy_Rocks

Credit: By Forest Wander from Cross Lanes, USA – Elakala Waterfalls Swirling Pool Mossy Rocks, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8025248

In Call Me Church, the first book of Finding Home, people had taken shelter in Central Park’s “Hooverville” so named after the president who’d been in office when the stock market crash signaled the start of the Great Depression. These people also suffered the attack by Chetwood’s Kitty, the sabertooth he brought back from Iwi Po’o. This is what Central Park looked like in 1930, when a shanty town was set up there.
(enter picture labeled Central Park 1930)

Right now I’m working on Book 3 of Mann of My Dreams. My characters pay a visit to Savannah, where they meet the family introduced in Best Laid Plans. And let me tell you: just because the action is set in 2003, that doesn’t mean there’s any less research. ;-)
Louis L’Amour once said something that has always stayed with me: When I write about a spring, that spring is there, and the water is good to drink. I’d like my readers to be able to trust that have my facts straight. (no pun)

Check out Whither Thou Goest today!

WhitherThouGoestFS

Blurb:

Johnny Smith meets Church Chetwood during the dark days of the Great Depression. He knows Mr. Chetwood can’t be his forever. Why would the handsome and charming director want to stay with a young man who has nothing but his body and skills in bed to offer? His Mr. Chetwood can have any women—or man—he wants, but Johnny is going to keep him as long as he can.
When they have to leave suddenly on the SS August Moon to evade the process servers trying to find Church, Johnny is glad they’ll have more time together. But the crew rises up against the good Captain Johansen, urged on by a stowaway who wants the August Moon for himself. Johnny and Church, together with the captain, the cook, a wireless operator, and the little girl Johnny saved from prostitution, are cast off into a small lifeboat—and doomed to the open sea. Their other option is to try to land on the island where Church once discovered a saber-toothed tiger. The problem is, the last time Church was on this island, twelve men paid the price with their lives. Will Johnny, Church, and their friends make it out alive this time?

Bio:

Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.

It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.

While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.

A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband and two computers.

Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.

She can be contacted at:
Email: tinneantoo@gmail.com
Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @tinneantoo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tinnean
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tinnean/e/B004QS65KQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1391469662&sr=1-2-ent

Once Upon a Time… with Rowan Speedwell

March 10, 2016

ONCE UPON A TIME...

Hi, I’m Rowan Speedwell, and I’m delighted to announce that my novella Night and Day is being re-released by Dreamspinner. I hope that y’all are as happy as me, because I love yez and want you to be happy! So sit back and I’ll tell you a little story….

 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who looooved fairy tales, and started studying history so she could find out where and when those beautiful castles were… only to find out that the only fairy castles in the world were built by a crazy man named Ludwig of Bavaria barely more than two hundred years ago. But that was okay, because by then the little girl had discovered that the stories history told were much more interesting than fairy tales.

In her pursuit – she was literally the only person who received a Master’s degree in the Department of Humanities, Division of History from the University of Chicago in 1981 (everyone else was in the Social Studies department, blech) – she learned about culture and art and science and philosophy and music and literature and all the good stuff, not just dates and places and names. And she learned about mythology, and how the true stories of mythology – particularly Greek mythology – told you more about the people and places and times as any dull ol’ Social Studies book (blech).

Particularly when she graduated from Edith Hamilton’s Mythology to Bulfinch’s Mythology, and then stuff got really good. The things those gods got up to!

Night and Day plays with the gods, although the names have been changed to protect the innocent – assuming we can find any. It’s based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I don’t know if you know that story, but basically it’s this: Orpheus was a brilliant musician, who Apollo and Dionysus, both gods of music, fought over because each wanted him to be their worshipper. Apollo won out, but Dionysus (or Bacchus, if you know that one better) wasn’t going to let the insult go. Ain’t that just like a god? Sheesh. Anyway, the only thing Orpheus loved more than music was his wife Eurydice. Sadly, she died, and was taken away to Hades. Orpheus went after her, because you apparently can do that sort of thing in mythology, and was brought before Hades himself and his own wife Persephone. He played for them and the music was so beautiful the two promised him anything he wanted, so of course he asked for Eurydice back.

But there was a catch. (Usually is with these god guys.) He had to lead her out of Hades (Hades being both the place and the god, as anyone who’s seen Disney’s Hercules would know) but couldn’t look at her. So he did, and just as he stepped out of the tunnel from Hades, she stumbled and cried out, and he looked at her instinctively – but she was still in the tunnel, still in Hades, and so she faded back into the darkness.

Poor Orpheus went mad with grief, wandering the wild places. And Dionysus’s groupies, a bunch of crazy women called Maenads, who ran around drunk on Dionysus’s grapes (he was also the god of wine) wearing animal skins and eating raw bunnies, came upon him and tore him apart. There may have been cannibalism involved. So Dionysus got his revenge.

Of course Nate Pederowski is a tougher character. He’s survived the First World War and the loss of his lover, and the loss of his career and family and pretty much all illusions he might have still had. But unlike Orpheus, the music keeps him going. And just because there’s some strange stuff going on in the Starlight Lounge, it doesn’t mean he’s going to give up. Even if his new lover has a tendency to catch fire in sunlight, and a local gangster is trying to lure him away, and the clubfooted chef has a volcanic temper, and people around Nate are just a little bit weird. But he gets by and even starts to see a future…

Until he meets the Maenads…

(Insert evil laugh here.)

And maybe, maybe, we might find ourselves at the Starlight again someday. Because I love me some myths and magic.

What’s your favorite myth? And why?

Email: rowan.speedwell@gmail.com
Twitter: @rowanspeedwell
Facebook: Rowan Speedwell
Website: www.rowanspeedwell.com

Check out Night and Day here!

NightandDayFS

Blurb: 

Nate Pederowski is about as far down as he can go when he’s tipped to a job as a singer in a speakeasy. Dishonorably discharged for being queer, broke and homeless during the Great Depression, Nate is embittered and lonely. The club’s handsome owner, Rick Bellevue, and his sister Corinna are wowed by Nate’s voice and offer him the job.

But the Starlight Lounge is much more than an ordinary supper club, and Rick and his sister much more than just the owners. It’s not ’til Nate gets caught up in a gangster’s plot that he discovers just what secrets they’re hiding. Nate’s life is going to change in ways he can scarcely imagine, let alone believe.

 

Release Party Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked – Behind the Laptop

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedHi there. Brita Addams back with you for the final hour of my release party for Beloved Unmasked.

I’m often asked what inspires my stories, so I’d like to share a few things with you about Beloved Unmasked.

First, I never name a book, or hardly ever name a book until I’m finished writing. Every now and again, a title will come to me while I’m writing, and those are blessed moments.

Beloved Unmasked’s title will be obvious to readers once they get into the book, so I won’t share that here, but I would like to tell you about how the book was born.

A year ago, my sister told me that an elderly woman she and a friend cared for had passed away. Deloris had lived a colorful life, had traveled all over, and had settled near her son in North Carolina. Before that, though, Deloris had been a psychic in New Orleans, at the famous Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, for more than twenty years. Sis told me that Deloris’s walls were lined with pictures of people she’d read the tea leaves for, including Tony Curtis and Kevin Costner. Those two, she was apparently particularly proud of.

I’d wanted to do a story set in New Orleans, having lived there for many years, and the psychic angle intrigued me–until I dove into my research. Given that Deloris could no longer give me her insight, the research was merely bland recitations of encounters with psychics. Then I tried to fit my characters into a mold that, frankly, didn’t fit the story. After three months of battling with myself, I scrapped the psychic angle and the characters I had created. They will however, at some point, come to life, as I have a story in mind for them.

The one thing that kept turning up was Storyville and with my inquisitive mind, I wanted to know all there was to know about that period in New Orleans history. I read five different books, a gazillion websites, and interviews conducted with musicians and former residents of Storyville, and settled on the path I wanted to take with the book.

Amid tears and laughter for six months, I wrote the book in two POVs. Then I submitted it to Dreamspinner. They accepted it and then began the wait for production. I have to give kudos to my editor, Desi, who always knows what I want the finished product to be. She is deft not only at those insane commas, but at seeing the big picture. In the first editing email I got from Desi, she suggested I do two things: Make the book from Pic/David’s POV, and change the second main character. She enumerated her reasons and in doing so, confirmed for me what I had felt uneasy about all along.

Spence, David and EmileI did indeed rewrite the second half of the book and oh, my, am I glad I did. The story is all the richer for having taken her advice.

To the left you’ll see how I work. This picture was taken during the writing of Beloved Unmasked. You can see my inspiration for Spence in the white shirt, with Pic/David inset. I’m a visual writer, so I always print out pictures of my character and have them in front of me. Then I give the links to the pictures to cover artist, Anne Cain, and she incorporates them into my lovely covers.

While my desk might look chaotic, it is very organized. I keep index cards for each character and you’ll see a few of them scattered about. Notes, notes, and more notes on yellow pads, and of course, my coffee cup. All part of the writing prescription.

On the stand behind David and Spence is what I call my writing bible. It contains tons of information on craft, alternative words, emotions, you name it, it’s there.

What you can’t see, is to the left I have a white board which I use as a story board. Right now, I’m loading it up with index cards for the next book in the series, Without Question. You’ll meet Emile in Beloved Unmasked, and WQ is his story. I’m not sure I’ve ever written a more compelling secondary character, but he does deserve his own story. I’m about 25k in at the moment.

I hope you enjoy Beloved Unmasked. The era is fascinating and I hope you’ll find the characters compelling as well. They still live with me, months after I finished writing BU. For more BU Trivia, check out the post on my blog on October 19th. Who says we don’t put ourselves into our work?

Mens-Black-Leather-2

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

bitmoji-1704664567About the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

 

 

Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

 

Beloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One

A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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I’ve had a great time at this release party and I hope you have too. But we aren’t done! The party continues all this week, from October 16 to the 23rd on my blog. Each day, I’ll post an interesting post about Storyville, and you’ll have opportunities to win that New Orleans-themed gift pack. I look forward to seeing you there.

You can find me at the following places. Stop by, say hello and let’s chat.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Excerpt from Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked

October 16, 2015

In this hour, I’m giving you a sneak peek into the world of Beloved Unmasked where my character, Pic, lives. This excerpt also introduces you to Spence, a scampy male prostitute.

 

 Beloved Unmasked jpeg hires

With each stair, Pic’s curiosity built. Spence often boasted a surprise and gave him a piece of filched cake from the kitchen. But there was the time he had Pic hide behind a curtain while the most gorgeous man he’d ever seen wore Spence out. Pic lost count of how many times Spence howled, “Yeah, Daddy.” Not to mention the nights Pic had spent peeking through the crack in the mahogany armoire.

On those nights Pic’s cock stayed hard until Spence relieved him. Spence often promised that when the time was right, he, in all his magnanimity, would personally oversee the popping of Pic’s cherry, and the promise was all Pic had to show for his patience.

After each of those nights, in the darkened attic, Pic pulled out every drawing he’d ever done of men and beat off three times in an hour. Only then did the fear drain from him at the realization that a wife and kids were not in the cards for him.

Halfway up the stairs, Pic’s instinct to go home nearly turned him around. His gritty eyes demanded sleep. He’d gotten up early and would have to again because he had work to do around the house. Sapphire needed her room cleaned and insisted he do it.

Pic took a step back, but Spence opened the door, his prick in hand. “What in hell takes you so long to climb a flight of stairs? Aren’t you interested in your surprise?”

“Sure I am, but you gotta give a workin’ man a break.”

“You’ll get a big, long break when you’re dead. Get up here.”

Pic trudged up the steps, summoned by the call of cock.

The lingering smell of sex and stale cologne drew him into the massive room Spence called home. Lots of space, and he paid one of the younger girls to polish his furniture every day, which left the room with an underlying aroma of lemon oil.

“Tonight you are in for a treat. I’ve arranged your first time, just like I promised.” Spence bounced with excitement.

Pic gave the room the once-over. “Really?” He shook his head. “I don’t know. Here?”

Spence put a hand on his hip, though the other never left his cock. “Perhaps you’d prefer the parlor downstairs, with witnesses. Yes, here, with only me and the man I personally selected for you.”

“I don’t know, Spence. Maybe it’s too soon.”

“You can’t decide if you wanna get laid or not? What kind of red-blooded American man are you?”

Pic shrugged. “Don’t you remember your first time?”

“Sure I do, and I was a damn sight more eager than you are. Listen, take a drink, and you can ease your mind into the idea that I’m not letting you out of here until you become a full-fledged pansy like me.” Spence ran his long slender fingers down Pic’s face. “I want to set you on the right path. Your partner is a perfect candidate, and he’s eager to help the cause.”

“I’ll take the drink.”

Spence clapped and giggled. “Excellent.”

With an exaggerated sway of the hips, he sashayed to a bootleg liquor–laden table he’d set up near the window.

“I always love coming to your room. So much more comfortable than my cot in the attic.”

“I rather like it myself. I do have a flair for décor, don’t I?”

Spence turned his back, so Pic ambled about. The walls held an overabundance of framed pictures, not just pages from magazines taped to the wallpaper. One was of an older Queen Victoria, adorned in black, her face a mask of sadness. Spence had a thing for England and dreamed of one day visiting Kensington Palace, birthplace and once home of his favorite queen.

The heavy green draperies that hid the bed cost someone a pretty penny, as did the fine lace canopy over Spence’s four-poster.

“There you are, a good vintage, from yesterday. It’ll water your eyes when it hits the bloodstream, but guaranteed, it’ll loosen you up.”

Pic took a sip of the clear drink and wrinkled his nose. “Whoo! That shit is potent.”

“Told ya.” Spence cupped Pic’s crotch. “Speaking of potent. Have I got a treat for you.”

After another sip, Pic put his glass on a nearby table. “What kind of treat? Something better than that shit I hope.”

Spence ran his fingers beneath Pic’s lapel. “You, dear boy, will have your cherry popped by an esteemed attorney.”

Pic raised his hand to ward yet another of Spence’s wild notions. “No.” He leaned in closer. “I’m not baring my ass for some grizzled old fart on his last leg.”

“Au contraire, ma petite pomme de terre.” Spence chuckled and pulled back the heavy drapery. “Does this look like a grizzled old fart to you?”

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Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

I’m very excited about the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked

 

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

 

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

 

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

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Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

 

About the author:

Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter.

Find Brita at any of the following places:

Website

Blog 

Facebook 

Twitter 

In the final hour of the Release Party for Beloved Unmasked, I’ll have a “behind the laptop” view of the book and some tidbits of Beloved Unmasked Trivia.

Release Party – Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams – Storyville Photos

October 16, 2015

Welcome back! I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this post.

A gentleman by the name of John Ernest Bellocq, known during his lifetime as E.J., was a photographer for shipping lines in New Orleans before he took an interest in photographing the many sights in the famed red light district known as Storyville. You can read more about Bellocq on October 2img0020th, as part of my week of Storyville posts on my blog, but here, I’d like to share some photographs taken by Bellocq between 1897 and 1917, the year Storyville closed.

A great many of his subjects posed nude, but I haven’t included any of them. With so little known about Bellocq, we know even less about the women and men he photographed. After Bellocq died in 1949, New Orleans folklore says his brother, a Catholic priest, destroyed or damaged a great many of Bellocq’s glass negatives. One representation of the damage is below in the photo of the woman on the chaise. Leo Bellocq scratched out the faces of many of the women and /or smashed the negative. His motives might seem obvious, but they will forever remain with him, as he never divulged whether he had indeed attempted to destroy is brother’s work.

Do you see something in the faces of his subjects? Remember, though, they had to remain still for several minutes during the picture taking, so what you might see is, “Hurry up and take the damn picture.”

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On the left is a picture of a nurse at the hospital where the Storyville prostitutes were sent when they contracted a venereal disease, commonly called “the gleet”  which ran rampant through the nineteen square blocks of Storyville. It claimed many a life, despite prevention methods.

The other two are unnamed women. The middle photo appears on the cover of Al Rose’s book, Storyville New Orleans.

From Al Rose’s Storyville New Orleans:

a270d92d8669b0f8eb175f237fd2a490The most popular hard liquor in Storyville was Raleigh Rye. Striped stockings were expensive and could be afforded only by the high-priced bawds of Basin Street. Opera length, the hose were sold by traveling salesmen who, with a tricky demonstration, made them seem run-proof. They cost six dollars a pair and lasted one or two washings.

Also from Al Rose’s book re: picture on the right:

A prime attraction at Minnie White’s place at 221 North Basin Street was Marguerite Griffin, who 12cf4a3d037f9fe9f60f32f8ce01c3f2could not only handle the conventional duties of a storyville tart, but also knew the lyrics of countless bawdy ballads. Note on the wall hangings: The pillow above her head reads, “Daisies won’t tell.” The risque signs read, left to right, “Oh! Babe, please come,” “Oh! Dearie, I give U much pleasure” (affixed to a Mardi Gras pennant dated 1910,) and “Dearie, U ask for Marguerite.”

For more photos and more on E.J. Bellocq, visit my blog on October 20. There I’ll have some photos that inspired scenes in the book as well as many others.

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Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment about the post or the book (not “I’m in” or the like,) and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

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Here’s some of the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

I was delighted that I was asked to review Beloved before release. I really enjoyed the story. Brita is the only historical author who can suck me in early enough that I’ll read the entire book. :) (4 Stars – Brenda Cothern)

Absolutely amazing. (Lorraine Lesar - Threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com)

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Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

Beloved UnmaskedBeloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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Next hour – An excerpt from Beloved Unmasked.

Release Party Beloved Unmasked by Brita Addams – Can you speak Yat?

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedWelcome to my release party for my New Orleans-based historical, Beloved Unmasked. I thought we’d have some fun this hour, and this topic does relate to the book. (Good thing, right?)

There are characters in BU that speak what natives of New Orleans nowadays call Yat. I’ve “citified” it a bit, because in its purest form, one might think they are listening to a foreign language. But it is something to hear and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

As a young woman from an Upstate New York farm town, (replete with her own pronunciation problems) I ended up in New Orleans at the age of 22, due to a Navy transfer for my then-husband. While it wasn’t Italy as we requested, New Orleans became home. We figured a couple of years and then we’d move on, as we had left Iceland for the Deep South.

Many years later, I’m still in the area, sans the sailor, and married for the last 35 years to a certified, bona fide New Orleans native. He is N’Awlins to the bone. Yes, that’s the way natives pronounce it. He doesn’t speak much Yat anymore, because college beat that out of him, but every now and again, his upbringing creeps through. It’s in the blood. He’ll ask the kids “Where y’at?”

I will confess to thinking my mother-in-law was wholly uneducated when I first heard her speak. She was Cajun through and through, as was her mother. The eaves on the house were “the ease.” You don’t boil, you berl. You don’t wash dishes in the sink. No, in N’Awlins, every kitchen has a zink. And of course you don’t fry those scrumptious shrimp in oil, but rather, earl.

Here’s a few head scratchers and some of my all time favorites, courtesy of Gumbo Pages:

AX – ask

BANQUETTE – The sidewalk. Pronounced <BANK-it>.

BERL – To cook by surrounding something in hot, bubbling 212°F liquid; the preferred method for cooking shellfish.

BOBO – A small injury or wound. (this one grated on me because my mother always said boo-boo)

BOO – A term of endearment, frequently used by parents and grandparents for small children, even small children who happen to be 40 years old … Believed to be Cajun in origin.

BRA - A form of address for men, usually one with whom you are not acquainted. Usually used in this manner: “Say, bra …” Ostensibly an abbreviation for “brother.”

BRAKE TAG – An inspection sticker on your car, proof that you’ve passed the required annual safety inspection.

CATLICK – The predominant religion in New Orleans. And, according to some Baptists, all Hell-bound.

CEMENT – A standard English word, but with a special pronunciation. Locals say <SEE-ment>, not <s@-MENT>.

DA – The.

DAT – That.

DAWLIN’ – A universal form of address. Women use it to refer to both sexes, men use it toward women.

DEM – Them.

DERE – There. As in “Dere ya go!”, an expression of encouragement or acknowledgement of having done something for someone else.

DESE, DOSE – These, those.

DIS – This.

DODO, MAKE DODO – Sleep. (pronounced dough-dough)

DRESSED – When ordering a po-boy, “dressed” indicates lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and MYNEZ, on it.

ERNGE, URNGE – An orange-colored citrus fruit.

ERSTERS, ERSTAS – Oysters.

INKPEN – A ball-point pen, or any kind of pen, really. Always heavy emphasis on the first syllable … “Lemme borra ya INKpen, awrite?”

MUFFULETTA - A quintessential New Orleans Italian sandwich, of ham, Genoa salami, mortadella, Provolone cheese and marinated olive salad on a round seeded Italian loaf. Invented at Central Grocery on Decatur in da Quarter. Locals pronounce this <muff-@-LOT-@>, and will tend to just abbreviate it as “muff”. But if you ask a member of the Tusa family (the proprietors of Central), they’ll pronounce it in elegantly proper Italian as <moo-foo-LET-ta>. (You haven’t lived if you’ve never eaten one!)

NUTTINONIT - A po-boy that is not dressed, which only contains the main ingredient(s).

ON DA WES’ BANK, ACROSS DA RIVUH, OVA DA RIVUH – On the West Bank of the Mississippi River, where such places as Algiers, Gretna and Marrero lie. Interestingly, the West Bank is due south of New Orleans (except for Algiers, of course). Make sense? Thought not.

PECAN – A nut indigenous to the South, and beloved in New Orleans as an ingredient in pies and pralines. Pronounced <p@-KAWN>, not <PEE-can>.

PO-BOY – The quintessential New Orleans lunch, a sandwich on good, crispy New Orleans French bread. This definition doesn’t begin to describe what a po-boy is all about, so if you really don’t know you need to get one soon. Take a moment to read a little bit about po-boys.

PRALINE – A sugary Creole candy, invented in New Orleans (not the same as the French culinary/confectionery term “praline” or “praliné”) The classic version is made with sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and pecans, and is a flat sugary pecan-filled disk. Yummmmm. There are also creamy pralines, chocolate pralines, maple pralines, etc. Pecan pralines are the classic, though.

This is one of THE most mispronounced New Orleans terms of all.

 

It is ***N O T*** pronounced <PRAY-leen>.It is pronounced <PRAH-leen>. Got it? Good.

SHOW, DA SHOW – The cinema. The movie house. The local motion picture emporium. Where works of cinematic art (or crappy flicks, depending) are shown. True New Orleanians never say, “I went to the movies”, they say “I went to da show.”

SILVER DIME – A small coin of U.S. currency, worth ten cents. Always pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, <SIL-vah dime>, even though they haven’t been made of actual silver for over 35 years.

SUCK DA HEAD, SQUEEZE DA TIP – The technique for eating crawfish. If you’ve never done this, have someone demonstrate.

SUG – A term of endearment used primarily by Yat females. Pronounced <SHOOG> with a soft “oo” as in “book”. (I changed the spelling in the book to shug, so non-natives would know how to pronounce it.)

“THROW ME SOMETHIN, MISTA!” – The traditional (nay, required) request of a Mardi Gras paradegoer to a Mardi Gras parade rider, so that the rider will shower said paradegoer with cheap trinkets like beads, doubloons or cups (actually, the cups are highly coveted, more so than the doubloons are these days, apparently).

TURLET - Ya standard flushable porcelain waste disposal unit found in every bat’troom, referred to by English speakers as a “toilet”.

So there you have a primer in Yat. Fun, huh? Imagine this one here plunked down in the middle a all dat. A shock to my system. But I got used to it and picked up a few.

 

 

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I’m  excited about the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

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Beloved Unmasked

 

Cherished One: Book One

A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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So in my best Yat, y’all come back chere, and see what I got in stow fa ya next hour. Hows about some pitchers taken in Storyville? Y’all’d like dat? Show ya would. Pass back in a while.

Meanwhile, pass on by Dreamspinner for a copy of Beloved Unmasked. Dreamspinner has it on sale at 25% off through October 18.

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville.  Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

Release Party for Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked

October 16, 2015

Beloved UnmaskedI’m Brita Addams, and I’d like to welcome you to the release Party for Beloved Unmasked. I’ll be here from Noon until five o’clock with posts about fun things to do with the book, New Orleans, and Storyville.

Each hour, I’ll give away a backlist book, Beloved Unmasked is not included. Your comments have to be more than “I’m in.” Let’s chat.

Beloved Unmasked has been a long time coming and I’m very excited to get it into readers’ hands. A year ago, I thought this book was going to be something completely different. I’ll tell you about that in my second post.

This is third Tarnished novel and the first in the Cherished One series. Why the new series within the Tarnished world? Well, because first, Beloved Unmasked takes place in New Orleans, where the other two are set in old Hollywood. But more than that, Cherished One will be a series about men who feel unworthy, who have had tough starts to life, had things done to them that leaves them leery of anything that makes them happy.

In Beloved Unmasked, David starts life as Picayune. No real name and no surname. His mother, a Storyville prostitute, is a bitter piece of work, who hates him and shows her disdain in ways that shape who Pic thinks he is, starting with his name. But he has something she doesn’t have, and that’s hope, which makes him vulnerable in a way she isn’t.

I intermingle my characters with real life personalities. Pic’s love of  music is nurtured by Joseph “King” Oliver, a famous New Orleans musician in the early 1900s. King was what people of the day called a professor, a musician who played piano. King, like Jelly Roll Morton and others, plied their trade in the brothels that lined Basin Street. Their job was to entertain the customers, while the ladies softened them up. Everybody won. The girl had the john tip the professor and the john got heaven in return.

While Pic doesn’t play at the brothel he grew up in, he carries his lessons with him. Music provides solace and joy for him. But music isn’t the only thing that keeps Pic going. He has a soft spot for his friend Spence, a male prostitute at Miss Gert’s. We meet Spence as he calls to Pic from his second story window. I can’t begin to tell you what a joy Spence was to write. To this day, my family knows what I mean when I say, “I’m channeling my inner Spence.”

Like many of my characters, Pic evolves over the course of the book. We see him grow, much as Jack Abadie did in Tarnished Gold, and as he grows, he blossoms. A secondary character, Emile Dauterive, a lawyer some years older, takes Pic under his wing, helps him change his name, and from there—well, you’ll have to read Beloved Unmasked to find out.

New Orleans is heartbeat of this book, much as the French Quarter (different than Storyville,) is the heartbeat of New Orleans. I love the city, having lived in the area for many years. There is no other city in the world with the uniqueness New Orleans has. The language, a mixture of English, Cajun French, and what the natives call Yat—as in Where y’at? is an experience not to be forgotten.

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Come back during my release party, and I’ll give you a taste of Yat. LOL

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment about the post or the book (not “I’m in” or the like,) and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

Mens-Black-Leather-2

Here’s some of the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked:

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

I was delighted that I was asked to review Beloved before release. I really enjoyed the story. Brita is the only historical author who can suck me in early enough that I’ll read the entire book. :) (4 Stars – Brenda Cothern)

Absolutely amazing. (Lorraine Lesar - Threebooksovertherainbow.wordpress.com)

Mens-Black-Leather-2

Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

Beloved Unmasked

Cherished One: Book One
A Tarnished novel

Blurb:

Born to a spiteful prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district in New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, meaning “of little value,” or, as his mother reminds him, “nothing.” In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a life-changing meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.

As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. While he pursues a law degree, letters from Spence connect David to his hopes for the future. After staggering news at war’s end, David must find a way to move forward. Under the tutelage of his benefactor, David’s career prospers, but specters from Storyville threaten all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

The past holds both pain and love. Will facing it head-on destroy David or give him everything he’s ever dared dream?

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Next hour – What was the original book going to be about? And I’ll give you a taste of Yat.

Jana Denardo: The Inner Workings of a Demon Hunting Team

August 16, 2015

Probably the best way to get to know the boys is to let them tell you what it’s like to be part of a Soldiers of the Sun team, especially one waiting to be assigned a new member so I’ll let them take it away.

Caleb – I’m the leader of the group and it’s something I take seriously out there. I expect all the members to be their best but ultimately I’m the one who has to make the toughest choices. It’s good though because I can trust Agni and Temple to do what they do best. They have never disappointed me.

Agni – Good to know. Sometimes the hardest part is remembering a team only works when we work together. I don’t have the ego that says I can’t take orders. I’ve seen teams like that and they are usually quick to lose a member. I worried a little about that when I first met Temple since he’s so loud and always in motion. I worried about nothing. The hardest part of dealing with Temple is getting him to exercise. He’d rather just depend on his big gun to get him out of trouble.

Temple –You’re such a wet smack, Agni. It is tough working in a team sometimes because your teammates pick on you until you think about feeding them to the demons.

Caleb – Temple, Agni, must you?

Temple – Of course we must. To be fair, the teasing isn’t out there in the field. I know I can trust them. My biggest fear there is accidentally plugging my partners. That chopper of mine puts out so many bullets, it’s a real danger. And I’m really worried about our new partner. We know nothing about him.

Caleb – General Taglioferro hasn’t even told me yet what to expect. I think our new partner will be another long range fighter like Temple as Agni and I do better close up. It always helps to have a balance in styles.

Temple – I’m also worried about the new partner finding out about us pitching woo. That could kill the team instantly.

Agni – Always so positive but you make a good point.

Caleb – We’re careful. I don’t think we have much to worry about there. Temple might just have to put the kibosh on his flirting for a while.

Temple – With you two, yes of course. But does that mean I can’t flirt with the muffins?

Agni – Could we stop you?

Temple – Absolutely not!

Caleb – We knew that.

 

Jana: With that, I’ll leave these three to get back to work. Let’s do the novel giveaway now to top off the night. We all have our favorite character tropes and group dynamics. Temple allowed me to combine characters of two like working with, the sarcastic wit and someone trying to cope with a rough childhood. I also love working with diverse groups which is what I could do with this team. So what are your favorite sorts of characters? I’ll leave the giveaway open til morning. And sorry for not sharing pictures of them. Half way through the pictures stopped showing even though they were fine earlier even if I had to use more than one method. Ah technology.

Thanks for being here with me tonight!

Soldiers of the Sun – eBook http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6759

Soldiers of the Sun- paperback – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6760