When Opposites Attract… with Nancy M. Griffis

April 20, 2015

Nancy Griffis

Hello Hello! I’m Nancy M. Griffis and my novel, A Most Unusual Wedding, is out today! I’m very excited to be here talking about my latest release with all of you!

Wedding stems from a short story that was published in a charity anthology a few years ago. It centers around Lord Leo Harris and Master Leathersmith Gerald Smithson and their (if I may say so) adorable love story in an alternate Victorian London where magic, aka power, runs rife through the population. Most things in the book echo the real London of the time but to two major things: the power and same-sex pairings being nothing unusual. If you’ve read A Most Unusual Courtship (the prequel, available FREE at Dreamspinner), then you know why, but if not, back in Greek times, same-sex unions were blessed by the Gods and the world simply never went back on that.

Leo, god love him, is as fine a dandy as you’d ever want to know, and shows it in his extremely colorful wardrobe and rakish sense of humor. But he also has that steel of spine that comes from having gotten everything he’d ever needed. He’s a lord, he’s heir to the family fortune and political power, a middle child of three, and has great powers within himself. He could have turned out an absolute horror, but for a good heart, a lovely family, and incredibly inquisitive mind.

Gerald, on the other hand, is a quiet, sweet man who is as steadfast as the day is long in summer. He’s an only child raised by his grandfather, Daniel, after his parents were killed in a terrorist bombing when he was ten. He’s been significantly hurt by mages in his past and so distrusts them all and refuses to do business with any. The lone exception to this is his best mate, Harry Bickley, who’s away most of the time at sea in Her Majesty’s Navy.

I have a wee excerpt below from Courtship that shows the moment Leo and Gerald meet that I think you’ll enjoy.

A friend asked me how in the hell I came up with the idea for Wedding which cracked me up. It wasn’t that I so much came up with it that Leo started yammering in my ear about getting married. Incessantly. Right while I was in the middle of another project. And because he’s such a brat, he got what he wanted when I put down the other novel and started outlining Wedding. Why yes, all writers are crazy to a certain extent, if you didn’t already know that. ;o) Of course, it couldn’t just be about getting married - that would be far too sweet for one of my books – so I did come up with the plague to slow things down a bit and then, well, someone besides Leo was utterly taken with Gerald (he really is the sweetest man) and things kind of went downhill from there for the poor boys.

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So here are a couple of questions for you readers out there…

What’s your favorite time period for a magic-based novel? Or for any novel, really. This is my first historical novel and the research was both intimidating and fascinating. I believe I’ve come down with the itch to do more novels in other time periods (not related to Leo & Gerald) but I’m curious if there’s a common zeitgeist time period.

When you read books with magic in them, do you prefer fully spoken spells, spells in other/made up languages, or does it not matter? I posted this question to my flist while writing and am wondering if the world at large echoes their responses. :o

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Alrighty! I’m going to head out now that I’ve taken up your precious time. I truly hope you enjoy Courtship and Wedding, because I just adore my guys and want everyone to love them. Oh! And in case you’re wondering, I’m hard at work on the sequel, A Most Unusual Honeymoon, (A murder mystery for the guys! wheeee!) and hoping to finish soon so as not to keep you all waiting too long.

Thanks for stopping by! This is Nancy, signing off.

 

***

LEATHER ALWAYS felt and smelled like home. From the time Gerald was a small boy leaning against his father’s knee, he’d been surrounded by the crafting of it. Instead of learning his letters, he’d learned good cuts from bad. Instead of playing with boys outside in the busy London streets, he’d stayed inside and watched every cut his father had chiseled or sliced into. His education had eventually included basic reading and maths, but originally consisted of tanning and cutting and creating works of art from all forms of leather.

All his childhood memories encompassed leather in some form, but the most bittersweet had been witnessing his parents don butter-soft leather cuffs on their tenth anniversary. Gerald had peeked through the stairway rails as firelight cast a golden warmth over the room and his parents kissed gently, the cuffs shining and soft on each right wrist.

His childhood had come to a horrible end two days later when his parents had been caught in the blast of a terror attack on Her Majesty’s Theatre.

“Gerald! You done yet, lad?”

Gerald snapped out of the sad thoughts that were just as heartbreaking sixteen years later. He set down the anniversary cuffs he’d been working on and looked up. His grandfather was still strong enough at eighty-three to bellow from the third story of their London home, as annoying as the habit was. “Almost, Granddad! Be up in a few minutes!”

The shop door opened, jingling the bell above it, and in walked a dandy if ever Gerald had seen one. He had the strong features and perfectly straight teeth that were hallmarks of the gentry. He was handsome, no doubt, with lively blue-gray eyes. The fine cotton trousers, satiny shirt, perfectly creased morning coat, and elegant leather boots certainly completed the portrait of a gentleman. The cluster of red and black plumage on the man’s hat made Gerald want to roll his eyes at the puffery.

Before the man could do more than doff his hat to reveal honey-colored hair and smile in greeting, Gerald said flatly, “I serve no mages in this shop, my lord.”

The man paused, head canting aside as he asked, “How do you know I’m a mage?”

“The door was locked.”

“I see. Well, you don’t even know what I’m going to ask of you.”

“I need not know, my lord, to know that I do not serve your kind.”

“My kind?”

“Arrogant mages with no sense of obligation to pay for what they order.”

“I see.” A smile hovered again over the man’s mouth, and then he said, “So if I were to pay you ahead for the work, would that change your mind?”

“It would not.”

“Not even a little?”

The teasing tone prompted Gerald to frown. “My lord, there are many excellent leathersmiths in London.”

The lord walked closer and spun his hat between his palms. “Ah, but you are the best; everyone says so. I need the best.”

Gerald stood to his considerable height. As expected—like most men—the lord came to Gerald’s shoulders. Those blue eyes widened in surprise as the man craned his neck to look up and meet his gaze. Gerald said firmly, “I serve whom I wish, and those of power do not number among them. Good day, my lord.”

The man’s mouth twisted into a moue of disappointment, and he heaved an overly dramatic sigh. “Well. If you’re going to be petty about it and tar everyone with the same brush, then I’ve no choice but to go elsewhere. At least for now.”

Gerald didn’t reply, instead choosing to sit back down and wait for the man to leave. The man again twirled the hat between his palms and then set it atop his head before leaving. Mayhap it was painting all mages alike, but he’d dealt enough with them in the past to maintain his present loathing.

Untrustworthy sods, all of them.

As soon as the mage closed the door behind him, Gerald stood and walked over to lock the door again, then tugged on it to be certain. He returned to his work counter, packed away the anniversary cuffs, and swiftly tidied up the small shop before jogging upstairs to his grandfather’s apartment on the third floor. He reached the door just as it opened, and he intercepted his grandfather before he could descend a single step. If Daniel walked down three flights of stairs, Gerald might end up carting him back up, depending on Daniel’s mood.

Green eyes twinkled up at him and his grandfather said, “It’s about time you came up, you great lout! Where’s me tea?”

Gerald chuckled, then said, “Where it always is, Granddad, waiting to be made in your kitchen. Settle yourself down on the sofa, and I’ll get it started for you.”

Daniel Smithson hadn’t reached his great age without knowing how to take advantage of any kind of situation. That didn’t preclude him from being an excellent grandfather; it just made Gerald’s life a bit livelier. As the old man had taken him in at the tender age of ten without a single complaint, though, Gerald was more than happy to put up with his machinations.

“Saw a pretty thing leaving the shop just now.”

Except for his matchmaking ones, Gerald thought with a sigh. “He’s a lord and a mage, Granddad. I sent him packing.”

Daniel settled down onto the comfortable sofa with a groan and wagged a finger at him. “You’re too fussy by half, my lad. If a lord like that were t’pay me that sort of attention in my day, I’d have lapped at his silver spoon. I’m not getting any younger, Gerald. You’ll need lookin’ after, once I’m gone, no matter your independent ways. It’s not right, livin’ alone all yer life.”

Gerald set the kettle on to boil, slid the half-eaten meat pie into the oven, and turned the dial to warming. So convenient, these new ovens. A small bit of magic spelled to the item itself—no mages necessary—and baking was no longer a hazardous thing where Gerald could accidentally set the kitchen afire. “I need no looking after, Granddad. And besides which, you’ll outlive us all.”

Daniel cackled a bit. “There is that, my lad, there is that.”

 

***

Nancy M. Griffis: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/nancy-m-griffis

Buy A Most Unusual Wedding here!

2 Responses to “When Opposites Attract… with Nancy M. Griffis”

  1. Susan says:

    Loved A Most Unusual Courtship! I like Victorian London, thanks to steampunk, but it works great for magic too. Other fun time periods include the Renaissance in Italy and all the ancient time periods (Egyptian, Greek, Roman).

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you liked Courtship! Oooh… the Rennaissance. Now there’s an idea! Hope you enjoy Wedding, too! :D

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