1927 and Now

January 16, 2015

I’m Elizabeth Noble and I’ve confiscated the Dreamspinner Blog to talk about my latest release A Barlow Lens.

The story this book tells takes place in two separate, but interconnected timelines. The story begins in the present with Val and Wyatt, two men preparing for their wedding. When Wyatt is asked to consult on a cold-case murder, he and Val get a look back at what life was like for another gay couple Tom and Philip. The majority of the story takes place in Cleveland, Ohio which looked a lot like this in 1927.




This is part of the neighborhood Tom and Philip lived in. This business and building no longer exist today. The neighborhood I’ve used while telling the story is the same one I live in now. It was also the neighborhood where my grandparents spent much of their youth. While A Barlow Lens isn’t a historical novel, I have tried to make the sections written in that time line as accurate as possible. One of the characters in the book, a small time gangster named Archie is loosely based on stories my grandfather told me about one of his older brothers.

Tom and Philip read the Cleveland Press newspaper and back then it looked a lot like this.









Do you like novels that give you a little bit of history but aren’t necessarily historical novels or are you a purist?

Don’t forget Dreamspinner is offering a 25% off coupon code for all my books now through Monday. The code is Noble0116 (case sensitive).

Here is an excerpt from the 1927 portion of the story:


TOM MANNING stopped just inside the heavy, wooden door and stomped the snow from his boots. He shrugged out of his overcoat and waited for his eyes to adjust to the lower lighting. A shiver worked its way down his spine. There was a fire, the room was warm, but it still took his body a few minutes to acclimate to the temperature without his coat. He turned to the right where one of the large coatracks stood next to the door and added his coat to the ones already there. Taking his hat off, he shook snow from the fabric and wiped one hand over his hair. He gave his head a little shake to clear off any excess snowflakes.


A radio in one corner provided music. Despite its scratchy reception, there were a few couples swaying on the dance floor. Tom had become a regular in this particular juice joint, even though it was far enough from his small apartment in the West Park section of Cleveland that it took planning and a little time to get there. That was just fine by Tom. It made the Canary, this joint’s name, safer. Most cops wouldn’t bother coming this far north and west, and if they did, there’d be plenty of warning. At least Tom hoped so.


The first few times he’d come there, he had worried about who might see him. Then he realized that if someone saw him, they’d come to the Canary for the same reason. This particular speakeasy catered to a select and secretive group of men and women.


Tom slid onto a stool and smiled when the bartender sashayed over with a plate of sandwiches thick with meat and cheese on freshly baked bread.


“We got a new shipment in this week. Care to give it a try, honey?” The bartender, Billy, flipped a towel over his shoulder and put his hand over Tom’s for an instant. He tipped his head at a table on the other side of the room. “He’s been asking after you. I’ll get you two of what he’s having.”


“Appreciate it,” Tom said. He twisted on the stool to get a better look at the man at the table. The man had dark hair and was built like a bull. His big hands cradled the glass of bootleg, and that sent a spark coursing right through Tom to his balls. Beefy hands that handled a glass gently. What would they do to Tom’s flesh?


Thanks to Billy and his need to be in everyone’s business, Tom might just find out.

5 Responses to “1927 and Now”

  1. Angela says:

    Just recently i´ve read On wings of song by Anne Barwell, Semper Fi by Keira Andrews and Winter Hearts by Alexander Fyn. I´ve always hesitated in reading historical books i thought they would be a bit dry to read and i didn´t think i could connect to the main characters and their story.
    I was wrong although all three books are a bit historical they are not to much i really liked them all and it was nice to read a romance with a bit of history.

  2. H.B. says:

    I actually do like reading books that don’t completely focus on historical details. I mean there needs to be some aspect present to make it a historical read but I wouldn’t want an author to spend like 5 pages just talking about the significance of a place or event. I would like it present to make me think and kind of push me to look up more info myself if it was interesting enough to catch my attention but I wouldn’t want it shoved in my face.

  3. Trix says:

    I definitely prefer the ones with some historical touches here and there…it’s kind of fun to have that “wristwatch moment” (what Mike Myers always called the moment in ’50s historical movies where the guy in a toga looked at his watch), like in steampunk.

  4. Waxapplelover says:

    I’m a purist and love when something is accurate for that time and place. Of course, same sex relationships were not openly discussed or accepted during much of history. This makes it difficult to have a realistic HEA, and I love my HEAs, so I’m willing to overlook some inaccuracies if it’s not too egregious. :)

    waxapplelover (at) gmail (com)

  5. Su says:

    Even though I enjoy history, I also enjoy fantasy and have read steampunk and alternate history fiction. Even so if I am reading historic fiction without either a fantasy element then I do prefer the history aspect to be more accurate. For instance I read one book which a character declared that they were a RAF pilot before the RAF were even established or the early planes used for such a purpose.

    Historic fiction uses a certain amount of artistic license, where characters are invented who did not exist at that time and for those that did, unless it was written down or witnessed, then words and actions are also invented to suit the purpose of the tale.

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