Charleston and Cigarettes

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BeadedMaskHappy Sunday, everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Martini Club, but I’m so happy to be here now.  I’ve been settling into a new home in Santa Fe, working on several projects, and enjoying all the new martini clubs here (if you’re ever in Santa Fe, Secreto is great!)  Today, I am reposting an old article from my other blog (Risky Regencies) about an earlier 1920s story I wrote, which served as the launching place for Rebellious.  The Girl in the Beaded Mask starred Jessica’s older sister Lulu, and in that story I just pictured Jess like one of the mischevious younger cousins in Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love (one of my favorite books ever).  She turned out to be so much more!

If you’d like to read Girl, it’s available here–and I will also give a free download to one commenter on today’s post!

“There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” –The Great Gatsby

Ever since I read my first F. Scott Fitzgerald story in school (A Diamond As Big As The Ritz) I’ve been in love with this era. I love the gorgeous clothes, the music, the fancy cars, the cocktails, the sense of wild new freedom. But the 1920s were also so much more than that, a period of extreme and swift change after the horrors of World War I (which wiped out almost a whole generation of young men, and changed the way society worked in Europe forever). There is so much scope for drama and beauty in a story, not to mention beaded gowns and t-strap high heels. So I was practically jumping up and down when Harlequin gave me the go-ahead to write Lulu and David’s story.

Another thing I love is a good friends-to-lovers story, which Girl sort of is. Lady Louisa “Lulu” Hatton has been in love with David Carlisle for as long as she can remember. He was friends with her older brother and often visited the Hatton home, and he always loaned her books, took her swimming–and then danced all night with other girls. Until the war. Her brother was killed and David horribly injured. He’s turned into a recluse, never leaving his country manor, but she’s heard he will attend the infamous Granley masquerade ball, a wild, debauched spectacle beloved by all the “Bright Young Things.” So of course Lulu devises a way to sneak off to the party and find him, make him see how much she loves him, how much he has to live for–from behind her beaded mask.

Since I switch up time periods in my writing, I always try to immerse myself in whatever the setting of the next WIP will be, even for a short story like this one. Reading books of the era (non-fiction, primary stuff like diaries, even novels), watching movies set in the era and digging around on-line for images gets me in the right mood for Elizabethan, Regency, Georgian, whatever, and I had so much fun with the 1920s. (Did you know there was a version of Gatsby with Toby Stephens aka Mr. Rochester as Gatsby?? And Baz Luhrman’s newer, er, colorful version with Leonardo DeCaprio and Carey Mulligan…). Here are a few of the books I found really useful, if you’d like to look into the era more closely yourself:

Ronald L. Davis, ed: The Social and Cultural Life of the 1920s
Stuart A. Kallen, ed: The Roaring Twenties
Nathan Miller: New World Coming: The 1920s and the Making of Modern America
DJ Taylor: Bright Young People
Humphrey Carpenter: The Brideshead Generation
Mary S. Lovell: The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family (often a bit later than the 1920s, but very useful for seeing how a certain segment of English society lived in the period; also lots of fun!)

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A Good Kind of Tired

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I took up golf a while back, although it’s been forever since I played. I remember once after an 18 hole round, I stopped by my mom’s to pick up the kids. She asked if I was tired, and I said, “Yes, but it’s a good kind of tired.” Her expression turned wistful and she smiled and said, “That’s what your dad used to say after he finished a round of golf.” He’d passed away a few years before, and I regretted that I hadn’t taken up golf while he was still alive, but I felt a special connection to him in that moment. Even though we’d never played together, we’d ‘sort of’ shared the golfing experience. He ‘got it’ as only someone who’d walked in our shoes (golf shoes in this case) could.

I attended a writer’s retreat this weekend. It was in Oklahoma City, so no traveling involved, but some members of my OKRWA writer’s group gathered for workshops, brainstorming, general writer talk, and lots of laughter and fun. (And a little bit of wine. And shots. Although I won’t say what kind of shots. Or who drank them. I’ll let HER tell you about that.)

I shouldn’t be exhausted, since it was a lot of sitting around, I am, because I didn’t sleep in my own bed, I’ve been hauling stuff around, and I visited my mom in the nursing home, visited my friend and her daughters, and went to the grocery store before finally arriving back at my house.

I’m also experiencing a bit of the warm fuzzies, because there’s nothing like hanging out with others who share a passion for writing. People who understand all the little idiosyncrasies and twisted thoughts that come along with it. (Well, I might have pushed the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ twistedness, especially when I told a few anecdotes about my three macabre-minded children. But I don’t think I scared anyone too badly.)

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I’m so glad I attended the retreat, and I wish more of our group could have made it. We had a wonderful time. I feel inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle my next story. And yes, I’m tired. But it’s a good kind of tired. And I’ll take that kind of tired every time. 

How Does Your Writing Retreat Go?

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9452967753B603E25Sadly, one of our Martini Club 4 members moved out of state. And, sadder, she is not with us this weekend as we plot out our 1940s stories.

Happily, she’s happy. Sadly, I’m REALLY hungry. —- ( 2 hrs later. ) I’m much better.

So our retreat was supposed to be in Dallas this weekend at the imagesinfamous Adolphus Hotel. This is where we were supposed to stay:

I’ve really got to stay there someday!

RO-8725121065306099291y6471_GOur room was to be a junior suite. Nice, huh?

Instead, we decided to stay in the Oklahoma City area and do our plotting / brainstorming at Alicia’s quaint home. And now we’ve had pizzas and brownies and, of course, wine. And are back to the grind. Without, Amanda. But we are busy sending emails back and forth and sadly/happily I need to get back to Meggie and Harry’s daughter, Audra Faye. She’s a bit “Pampered”.

Happy Reading.

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