I’m moving house, without recourse to pantechnicon or piles of boxes. Just my virtual house. It’s much easier.
I won’t be here any more, but you can catch up with all my news, plus continue the saga of 1888 at my website http://justineelyot.com/.
Just follow the signs…
“I can’t believe as that can be real, Miss. Surely it must be a hoax?”
“Oh, Molly,” scoffed Florence, “far superior intellects to yours have proven them genuine dinosaur skeletons. If you wish to go and tell the distinguished Professors that they are wrong and a skivvy is right, then you have my blessing to do so.”
Molly pinched her lips and said nothing. Florence had a cruel tongue on her sometimes; it came of being a spoilt madam, she supposed. She had even tentatively suggested as much to Sir Rupert during one of their trysts but he had frowned and rejected the accusation.
“Young ladies are precious things,” he had told her, his hand sliding slyly down past the elastic of her bloomers. “We must treat them as such. Florence has been brought up to expect the very best, and by God, she shall have it. Please excuse my blasphemous language. Oh Molly, what a tight little cunny you have.”
She shook the disquieting memory from her head, concentrating instead on the icthyosaur skull on the plinth before her. Florence could wait for her illicit friends in silence then.
This arrangement suited Florence very well. Her pulse was galloping and she was so nervous she could barely focus on any of the exhibits in the echoing Hall, let alone discuss them with the semblance of erudition. She took yet another turn around the frigid chamber, fists clenched fiercely until she heard skirts swishing towards her and the bell-like voice of her old friend cutting through the rarefied air.
“Flo! How wonderful that you could make it. I have been longing to see you.”
“Jess! How have you been? I have been thinking of you every day.”
The two girls embraced, sizing each other up as they did so. Florence noted that Jessie was most unconventionally dressed again, in some kind of sweeping purple velvet thing underneath several fringed shawls. She looked rather gipsyish and mystical, almost as if she should have a crystal ball stowed away somewhere under all the layers. Jessie, for her part, observed that Florence seemed to have taken even more care than usual with her appearance; her hair was ringletted within an inch of its life and she had apparently relieved the town of Cologne of its entire supply of eau. And furthermore, she was trembling slightly, her proferred cheek icy cold.
“You seem very nervous,” commented Jessie. “Come and sit down.”
They took a viewing bench before an enormous replica of a tyrannosaurus, leaving Molly to wander blithely around the room alone.
“Jessie, will he come?”
“Oh, Florence. Has he captured your heart so quickly?”
Florence looked away. “Of course not. But I do enjoy our…literary discussions.”
“My love, you have met him twice, and one meeting was much too brief even for discussion of the weather, let alone the great works of the English language. He is a handsome and charming young man; I believe he has turned your head.”
“Oh, Jessie…please don’t tease me.” Florence’s voice sounded thick, as if tears were not far away, so her friend allowed the subject to drop.
“Flo, we’re planning a marvellous party for next month. I do hope you’ll be able to come.”
She stared at Jessie vividly. “Is it in the daytime?” she asked tentatively.
“Well…no. It’s an evening party; it will probably go on all night. Do you remember Roland, the young musician you met at Swanson’s?”
Florence nodded, a vague memory of a reed-like dark-haired boy blurring in her memory, once she had squeezed past the enormous totemic presence of Alex there.
“The premiere of his cello concerto is to take place at the new Royal Albert Hall on the sixth. There will be a huge party at Swanson’s to celebrate. Everyone will be there; it will probably go on until dawn. I’m sure Alex would love you to come. He is the host, after all.”
Florence caught her breath. More than anything in the whole world, it was now imperative that she should go to this party. If she had to knot her bedsheets together and climb out of her second floor window, she would be there.
“Oh, if I can be there, Jess, I will, I swear. Papa seems distracted these days; it is a little easier to slip out of the house without his noticing. I’m sure I will soon run out of pretty trinkets to bribe our coachman with though.” She giggled, the life returning to her pale face.
“That’s the spirit, Flo! Freedom, pleasure and love!”
“Freedom, pleasure and love,” echoed Florence faintly, then her heart leapt and a filter of explosive colour seemed to cross her eyes as they processed the entrance of Alex into the chamber. For a moment, he stood beneath the arch, peering around, noticing Molly first and smiling at her before turning to the two confederates and strolling languidly over.
“Ladies,” he opened, making a deep and formal bow. “What an unexpected delight to find you here.”
Jess snorted. “Unexpected my eye,” she mocked.
Alex raised an eyebrow at her. “Have you seen the pterodactyl’s teeth, Jess? They are said to be quite fascinating, and enormously sharp.”
She humphed and took the hint, swishing off over to Molly.
Alex took her place on the bench, turning to face Florence, who had lost the power of speech and was staring furiously down at her lace-edged handkerchief, fiddling with its border.
“Vyvyan should be here to paint this,” he said softly. “Such life amidst these old dead carcasses – beauty amid the beasts.”
Florence made a sound that was half-laugh, half-hysterical blurt.
“Sweet Flossie, are you afraid of me? Can you not look at me? Come…look at me.”
Florence was genuinely concerned that she might be blinded by the glaring white light of his presence; the preceding days had seen her build her image of him higher and higher until he seemed like an insurmountable peak of brilliant perfection, surely too divine to be taken in by a dullard like her. She had pestered Molly to buy her a volume of his poetry from the booksellers, and had sighed with awe on reading his voluptuous verse. Alexander Winterton, the author of Villanelles in Violet, a genius of his time. And yet she still knew so little about him on a practical level. Was it enough to know the secrets of his soul, through his golden words?
She felt his fingers lightly on her chin, pulling her face up and towards him.
“But you aren’t pleased to see me?” he lamented. “I have dreamed of this, and now you are going to send me away?”
“No,” stammered Florence. “Please don’t go. I am pleased to see you. I…hardly know how to act…I have never…”
“I understand,” he murmured. “You have never loved before?”
She shook her head, unable to say the biggest of words.
“Nor I,” he assured her, which brought speech stumbling to her lips.
“But your poems…the lady in My Heart is Dry…?”
Alex laughed delightedly. “You have read my poems? Oh, Flossie, now I am mortified. What a foolish milksop you must think me. Ah, well, I will not deny that I have had boyish infatuations. But you, Florence, you are not one of them.”
“How can you say this? You hardly know me at all.”
Alex took one of Florence’s white-gloved hands in his, stroking the flap until his thumb burrowed underneath to her sensitive wrist.
“Love does not require introductions, Flossie. Love does not sit making smalltalk over a glass of sherry, or ask for details of family background and annual income. Love enters like a brigand and throws you over its shoulder, robbing you of your mind and your manners. It takes possession of you, it bends you to its will. It is an unprincipled blackguard, Flossie, and it will have its way.”
Flossie stared at him open-mouthed, flushed at his passionately spoken words and the exquisite touch of his skin on her wrist. The blood was coursing through her, rushing to her head, draining from her face…oh…she was going to…
“Flossie! Angel!” Alex fell to his knees, panicking as his inamorata slid to the floor in a dead faint.
Jessie and Molly rushed over to lend their assistance.
“Here, let me unlace her corset,” offered Molly. “She always makes me pull those stays far too tight, especially today. Sir, if you wouldn’t mind leaving the room for a moment…”
Alex wandered off to the neighbouring gallery while Jessie fetched a screen to conceal the ailing young lady.
“There is sal volatile in her reticule,” Molly advised, working hard on pulling the ribbons through the eyelets in the whaleboned satin beneath Florence’s dress.
Jess rummaged through the little bag, eventually finding the small bottle of smelling salts Molly had mentioned.
“What on earth can Alex have said to bring this on?” she wondered aloud.
“He is a very fine gentleman, ain’t he,” said Molly wistfully. “So kind. And so handsome.”
“Careful, Molly, or you’ll be another slave to his charms,” said Jessie drily.
“Well, I wouldn’t be the only one, would I?” said Molly, with a significant upward flicker of her brown eyes.
Jessie stared, stony-faced. “He is very popular,” she said blandly.
Molly returned to her task of freeing Florence’s constricted ribs from imprisonment, blushing furiously. Jessie wafted the unstoppered vial beneath her childhood friend’s delicate nostrils, waiting for the breath to become less shallow and the peaches return to her cheeks.
Eventually Florence’s eyes burst open and she moaned with mortification at finding herself beached on the cold tiled floor with her gown unbuttoned at the back and her corset quite undone.
“Are you all right, Miss?” asked Molly tentatively. “You fainted.”
“No, oh no, where is Alex? Has he gone?”
“He is just outside, Flo, do you want me to bring him in?” offered Jess.
“Oh no! How can I face him now? Oh dear, oh dear, he must think me quite ridiculous! Please don’t let him come back!”
Jess stroked Florence’s ringlets. “Dearest, he will be devastated. You know how much he has wanted to see you.”
“It is impossible! He cannot! You must send him away! Molly, go and tell him so. Oh!” She placed her hand on Molly’s black-clad arm, arresting her flight. “But tell him I do want to come to his party. And to please not think ill of me.”
Jessie helped Florence to recover herself while Molly rushed out to the botanical gallery, where Alex was musing on the life cycle of the acanthus.
“Molly,” he hailed her. “How is she? I am afraid I have said something to offend her!”
“Oh, she will be well,” said Molly, lowering her eyes shyly to the level of the exhibit. “She is very embarrassed, though, at fainting in your presence. She does not want you to stay.”
“Oh!” Alex exclaimed in disappointment. “But when shall I see her?”
“She says she will come to your party next month.”
“But that is weeks away! I must see her before then.”
“I am afraid we are all going away to the country for a short visit. We will not be back until the end of the month.”
“Where? Where will you be?”
“At Lord Hunter-Fox’s residence. Fawkelands; do you know it?”
“Yes,” said Alex slowly. “I know it. Thank you, Molly. You have been a great help.”
He bent to give her hand an impetuous kiss before striding away towards the exit. Molly tittered and held her hand against her breast for a moment or two, before returning to assist her mistress.
Is this it? Can it really be over? Today I wave a sad farewell to the Noble Romance Authors Blog Tour – there’ll be tear-stained handkerchiefs all over the blogosphere.
But first! Let’s be of good cheer, because I have a truly terrific guest to welcome today, and I know you’re going to agree with me. I’m thrilled to welcome the lovely Bianca Sommerland, who is going to talk about the relationship between her stories and music. Welcome, Bianca!
Sometimes, when I’m writing, it seems impossible to get into the right frame of mind. Music helps. Like most authors, I have playlists to suit different scenes. Lovey dovey songs for romance, tear jerkers for sad scenes, and–my favourite—songs that get your blood pumping for action scenes. These playlists work no matter what story I’m writing, because romance is romance and a brawl is a brawl.
But when things get real dark and intense, the tune changes. Because, in my mind, the emotions involved in those scenes are never the same. I can spend hours, even days sometimes, searching for the right song because nothing else will get me in the right mindset to write.
Then I find a new song and it’s like the last puzzle piece snapping into place.
For one story, the song was Counting bodies like sheep, by A Perfect Circle. It’s dark and kinda creepy. On repeat it made the words flow like the tears of lost souls. The prose was disturbing, as intended. I hadn’t been able to get that into character in awhile.
Another story had me hunting until I discovered Within Temptation. Sharon den Adel, the vocalist, has a voice so haunting you feel chills up your spine as she holds a note and hope dies. It’s very hard to write a happily-ever-after when I’ve written a scene that’s required her particular brand of darkness. Quite often I need to take a big step back from the story and listen to something upbeat before I decided killing the entire cast is a very good idea.
To me, good writing is like method acting. How do you write a truly emotional death scene without feeling a thing? How do you write love between two characters if you’re indifferent about them? How do you write fear if you’ve never experienced it, or–at very least–don’t find some pleasure in making victims of your characters.
I don’t think you can. I could be wrong, I mean, some actors manage to front emotion on a whim.
Most of their scenes are pretty transparent though. Scenes in books written by writers who pump out books with no heart don’t bleed like the books of writers who really care. I love those books. I want to write books like that.
In the end, I believe music speaks to me in the same way I want my scenes to speak to my readers. If a song can make me smile, laugh, scream, or cry, then I can transfer that emotion to my characters.
So I’d like to take a moment to raise my glass to those talented singers out there that use melodies to move us all. I wouldn’t write half as good without them. Cheers!
For more of me, go here: http://imnoangelauthorsblog.wordpress.com/
For the next stop in the tour, click here: http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/
Thanks, Bianca, for a fascinating post. You’ve made me want to check out Within Temptation. And here, for all you interested people, is the cover and details for Bianca’s latest story.
Lydia awakes, bound and blind, to the whispered urgings of a man who has his hands on her. His words confuse her at first, but she soon understands they are both in the middle of a performance that will determine whether she remains in captivity or dies. The crowd must be entertained, and her cellmate makes sure it is.
Forced submission is not the only horror Lydia endures. She has no memories of life before her imprisonment, and Joe, her cellmate, is her only comfort as the powerful creatures that hold them captive torture and debase her. Together, she and Joe cling to the will to survive long enough to break free and seek revenge. Their desire to sustain one another triumphs over their wardens’ efforts to destroy them. There is no pain, no suffering, that can tear them apart.
Beyond their cell, their love is tested. Can they hold strong in the face of the challenge of the new powers they have gained along with their freedom?
Special Content Alert: BDSM, forced sex, graphic violence, menage, dark erotica
Comment away – you could be one stop away from winning that hundred dollar Eden Fantasys voucher – then head off to Sarah Ballance’s blog, where you’ll find Mindy Mackay. And thank you for all your support!
Can it really be the last week of the Noble Romance Authors Blog Tour? So many prizes given, new friends made and interesting conversations had – but next week it will all be over *sob*.
But – until then – let’s enjoy our swan song, and a wonderful interview with Indigo Skye, in her second guest appearance on my blog. She’s welcome any time – Indigo gives great interview!
1. Welcome to the blog – can you tell me a little bit about how you came to be a Noble author?
It all started with Scarlet! I got to know the author Keta Diablo through her posts on the Scarlet forum. She works with Noble Romance, as well as several other publishing houses, and has been very supportive and encouraging. We corresponded, and she granted me an exclusive interview on my blog to help promote her book, Where the Rain is Made. Keta read one of my short stories, “Cherry-Boy,” and passed it on to Jill Noble. This got my foot in the door-without an agent-and I submitted my manuscript for Her Captive Muse soon after. Keta was instrumental in helping me ready my manuscript for publication. She and the editors at Noble did a fantastic job of helping me make my story the best it could be.
2. My theme for 2011 is music. Is music important to you in your life and your writing?
My Muses love to listen to the blues. The words flow better when there’s music in the background. Music makes its way into my stories and my dreams.
3. Do you have a song that sums up the situation or relationships of any of your characters? (feel free to post if there are no copyright restrictions)
I think the song that sums up Brendan Delaney’s relationship with Morgan Roan is “Sweet Dreams,” by the Eurythmics. Annie Lennox’s vocals are amazing, and the lyrics really resonate with Brendan’s situation. “Some of them want to abuse you/Some of them want to be abused…”
Oh, that’s a big favourite of mine too, along with Love is a Stranger.
4. Do you listen to music while you write? Or have you ever been inspired by a piece of music to write a story?
I enjoy listening to all types of music. When I’m editing or working furiously to meet a deadline, I want something with a driving beat, so I’ll spin punk, rap, or hip-hop. I’m obsessed with The Stooges’ album, Fun House- a little Iggy Pop is better than a shot of espresso. If I’m working on a new creative project, I want something mellow in the background, so blues or jazz suits my mood when I’m in The Zone. I love Robert Johnson’s voice- I can always work with him around.
5. What songs do you consider especially romantic?
“Wish You Were Here,” by Pink Floyd. “Lilac Wine,” by Nina Simone.
6. What songs get you in a sexy mood?
Fiona Apple never fails to turn me on. She has such a sexy, intense voice, and her music is amazing. I’m currently spinning a bootleg Morphine CD that was recorded at a Detroit show- perfect for slow, sweet love-making on a Sunday morning! Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral is a great album to get me in the mood for something kinky and wild.
Mmm, Nine Inch Nails…You have great taste, Indigo!
Here a little bit more about Ms Skye and her good works:
Indigo Skye is a writer and photographer living in the American Southwest. Her first novel, Her Captive Muse, was released by Noble Romance Publishers in January. Her work has been widely published online. Last fall, her short story “True Confession” was published in the anthology Uniform Behavior. A full list of her published works is available on her blog, Indigo Skye: Ink and Art- http://indigoskyeinkandart.blogspot.com.
Contact Information for Indigo Skye-
Buy Links for Her Captive Muse- https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=235 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004RYVKOU
When Brendan Delaney answered an ad for an artist’s model, he was looking for an easy way to earn some extra cash. But Morgan Roan wanted more than just a model. Soon, Brendan finds himself caught in a web of deception and desire, lust and betrayal—her captive muse. What price pleasure?
Buy Link for Uniform Behavior-
Hurrah for a fellow Uniform Behaviour author! Thanks for stopping by, Indigo.
Leave a comment for a chance to win big, then take your tapping fingers over to H C Brown’s blog, where Bianca Sommerland is waiting for you.
It was a great day in my life.
Rounding the curve of my cul-de-sac in the London Borough of Merton, I noticed a police car parked up by the gasometer. Not an unusual site in my corner of the urban jungle, but it was only as I passed by that the reality hit me. That police officer on the pavement was no ordinary police officer. It was….TONY STAMP!
Tony Stamp from The Bill.
As it happened, it was only the first of many sightings of cast members from my favourite police drama. ‘Sun Hill’ – usually made out to be a lawless patch of East London – was actually pretty close to where I lived, in the shadow of the Colliers Wood Savacentre. I was practically a resident of ‘the Jasmine Allen’, the infamous badlands of the manor.
Tony Stamp was not my favourite character, but he was a totem of ‘old’ Bill days. When the show started in the mid-80s, it was a solid slice of unglamorous police life, twice a week for half an hour. By the time it was cancelled last year, it had turned into some kind of hyper soap, full of ex-Hollyoaks pretty-pretties, all of whom were involved in affairs with murderers, or murderous drug deals with colleagues, or…meh. Sun Hill was the worst police station in the world. I knew the rot had set in with the bizarre Gabriel Kent storyline, in which Mark from Eastenders played out a bonkers Oedipal drama with the formerly super-normal June. I couldn’t love it like I used to after that.
I loved the old days, though, when whole half-hour episodes could consist of two constables eating pork pies in a squad car and moaning about filling in their timesheets.
And there was eyecandy! Lots of it. So here are some of my favourite Bill boys, just for the memories…
Wide boy detective, never out of trouble, but a bit of a twinkle in the eye…Phil Hunter!
A good man in a tough job – top boss Adam Okaro
My great Bill love, I gather one I might have to fight several other women for, the swoonworthy Smithy
And – aha, now I remember why I was writing this post! – an oldie but goodie, and the model for Adam in Cat and Mouse, the dodgy geezer PC Ramsey
I miss those boys in blue.
“May I take your cloak, Madam?”
For a moment, Molly failed to realise that the obsequious uniformed man to her right was addressing her. ‘Madam?’ She was Miss at best, and more usually ‘Oi, you, girl’.
But then, so caught up was she in the pleasure of masquerade that she hardly took in the surrounding scenes until Sir Rupert extended the crook of his arm once more for her to take, drawing her into the red and gold room with its hum of conversation and the constant clink-clink-clink of coins tossed on to green baize.
Knots of finely-dressed gentlemen huddled around tables, engrossed in games of cards or dice, while tight-bodiced, feather-coiffed ladies fawned at their sides, very clearly a few degrees shy of respectable but none the less glamorous for that.
A gentleman played popular tunes on the piano in the corner while other low-decolletaged women floated about the room with silver salvers of champagne glasses. In darkened booths at the back of the room, private conversations and flirtations were taking place among people whose silhouettes were only just discernable.
Molly’s eye moved away from them and up towards a huge and ornate golden chandelier that bathed shimmering light over the scene. She was used to the opulence of the Smythson home, but she still never failed to be impressed by magnificent surroundings, and she turned to Sir Rupert and beamed excitedly.
“Oh, Sir, what a fine place this is!”
“Hush, Molly, you must call me ‘darling’ while we are here – no standing on ceremony, dear girl. All who patronise this establishment understand the virtue of discretion.”
“Then they will think I’m….your wife?” Molly’s incredulous tone drew a chuckle from her titled lover.
“Oh, I don’t think the people here labour under many illusions, Molly. But they all have exquisite manners and would not dream of voicing any suspicions in the open.”
“Oh.” Molly thought this through, finally realising that her status as Sir Rupert’s mistress would be tacitly understood but never mentioned.
Sir Rupert took a glass of champagne for her and ordered himself a vermouth cocktail before escorting the saucer-eyed servant girl over to one of the more popular tables. Molly had never before seen this manner of game – the men placed coloured discs on a numbered grid before a wheel was set spinning and a ball thrown on to the whirligig, jumping and dancing between the ridged partitions until it slowed and stopped, to the accompaniment of elated shouts or despairing groans.
She watched it curiously for a few minutes, enjoying the fizz of the champagne but noting with a hint of alarm that the ball never seemed to land where Sir Rupert wished it to. Then her attention wandered across the room, back to the shadowy booths, wherein sat mysterious personages….oh. Crossing the room purposefully towards one of the unoccupied sanctuaries were two familiar figures. One was that Jessie’s fella – the painter – such a distinctive man, with his hair so long he had tied it in a black ribbon. With him was Florence’s dreamboat, the Greek Godlike Alex. What were they doing here?
Molly touched Sir Rupert’s elbow. “Begging your pardon, S – darling, I need to powder my nose.”
Sir Rupert waved an impatient hand at her without moving his demented gaze from the roulette wheel, and Molly slipped away, concealing herself behind a Chinese silk screen in the corner of the room, close to where the two young men had taken their seats.
“The strongest liquor you have,” Vyvyan was saying to the waitress who hovered close to them. “I have need of fortification tonight.”
“A whiskey for him and a red wine for me,” clarified Alex, and the waitress swanned away. “Seriously, Stanford, don’t you think you are taking this a little too much to heart?”
“You didn’t see it,” moaned Vyvyan. “It’s not like Jessie to…do that kind of thing. Yes, she is a hedonist and a sensualist, but only among friends, Alex, you know that. She told me so many times that she only intended to sell her smile and her company, but if you’d seen the look on her face…” Vyvyan paused to shudder. “It was the face of a woman who had sold her soul.”
Alex’s voice cut in, low and assured. “Oh, that’s very poetic, Vyvyan, but shouldn’t you remind yourself why she is doing this. Every farthing she makes from this enterprise is for you – to support you, to keep the fire burning in your grate and the inspiration flowing from your brush. She loves you, Vyvyan, and everything she does is for love of you.”
There was a lull in conversation while the drinks were delivered, and then Vyvyan spoke again, in a broken tone. “You didn’t see her, Alex. If you’d seen her….”
Alex heaved a sigh. “You have had an unpleasant shock; you will recover. Do not go too hard on Jessie. But who is the man concerned? Did he give her a name.”
“Oh yes, he gave her a name,” said Vyvyan, now querulous and spoiling for a fight. “Hi, girl, another whiskey here! But the name was not his. He works on behalf of an Archduke Heinz-Werner from some tinpot Prussian fiefdom. Have you heard of him?”
“Heinz-Werner,” said Alex thoughtfully. “Lower Teutonia, I think.”
“Mmm, yes, I think so. Apparently the exalted Archduke himself merely requires Jessie’s company, but his emissary took it upon himself to…to…sample the goods.” Vyvyan spat out the last words, then took up the glass that had been refilled.
“So the man concerned was a foreigner? Well, you know, perhaps its some filthy germanic custom…”
“No, no,” blurted Vyvyan. “Now you’ve mentioned it, that’s a rather rum thing. He didn’t sound in the least German. He sounded very English.”
“Oh.” Alex absorbed this piece of information before casually remarking, “Jessie’s a spirited girl; if she’s as tigerish in life as she is in bed, she’ll have Heinz-Werner eating out of her hand…what was that?”
It was this sentence that had caused Molly to drop her champagne glass; its tinkling shatter was plainly audible to the young men in the booth, even the by now rather befuddled Vyvyan.
Alex left him to embark on his third double Scotch and leapt up, peering around the screen to find a very abashed and red-faced Molly wringing her hands there.
“Molly? It is Molly, isn’t it? What on earth are you doing here?”
Molly scarcely knew where to look; she was filled with confusion. Could she admit to Alex that she was here with his flame’s father? But if he was sleeping with Jessie, what was he doing with Florence? Should she be angry with him, friendly with him, afraid of him? It was all to much to consider at once.
Alex grabbed her wrist and pulled her into the booth, where Vyvyan was slumped, head on arm, moaning indistinctly into his shirtsleeve.
“Molly, I don’t know what you’ve heard or why you’re here but…I must ask you not to tell Florence anything.”
“Why not? She is my friend. Why would I not tell her such a very important thing?”
“Ah, Molly, but it is not important, not at all. Jessie and I have had a friendly arrangement in the past, but you must understand that my intentions towards Florence are entirely serious. And honourable. Do you believe me?”
Alex’s earnest agitation struck Molly as sincere. She nodded, her brown eyes huge.
“I hope I can trust you, Molly,” he said. “Let me get you a fresh glass of champagne.” He hailed a waitress and replaced Molly’s drink. “Molly, I am a young man about town, and sometimes I have behaved in ways that might shock you. They would certainly shock Florence, I imagine. But I am not a bad person, and now that I have met your mistress, I have resolved to change my ways. I am a reformed character. I mean to make myself worthy of her, Molly. You would not dash a man’s hopes, would you? I sense that you are a kind and gentle girl, Molly. Am I right?”
Molly, still blushing furiously, simpered into the champagne bubbles.
“I hope you mean it, Sir,” she said softly. “Miss Florence’s heart would break if you was toying with her.”
He smiled, a row of perfectly even white teeth dazzling her with their uncommon uniformity.
“I shall make her my wife before the year is out, Molly. But you must swear that you will not speak a word of this to her. We have plans to meet tomorrow and I would prefer that she heard it from me!”
Molly was stunned. Why, they had met twice – could Alex really be considering marriage? Well, he was a poet, she supposed, and they were all for that wild love-at-first-sight malarkey. Still, she could not help feeling a tiny bit envious of Florence, to have such a handsome and passionate man at her feet.
“So then, Molly. May I ask what a sweet young thing like you is doing in a….” he lowered his voice to a whisper, blue eyes twinkling, “…gambling den?”
“Oh…well…I, er…I ought to get back to my…friend, begging your pardon.”
Alex homed in on Molly’s discomfiture, following the line of her anxious eyesight to rest on the somewhat dejected figure of Sir Rupert Smythson.
“And is your friend the gentleman over there with the fine waxed moustache?”
Molly was silent, in an agony of shame.
“Molly, surely he is Sir Rupert? Florence’s father?”
“I’ll bid you goodnight, Sir…” Molly made to rise, but Alex halted her, closing her forearm in one strong hand.
“Just a minute, sweetness. Don’t look so frightened. There, now. I mean you no harm. Sit down.”
She sat back down, hiding her face in her hands to conceal the unwanted beginnings of tears in her eyes.
“Molly, Molly.” Alex’s voice was gentle, if a little cajoling. “I fear for you, dear girl. Smythson is a rat; he will let you down. He doesn’t deserve you. Please find yourself a new place, Molly, before he gets the opportunity.”
Molly looked up, her face damp and stunned. “You know him?”
“Most people in London at least know of him,” averred Alex. “A gambling womaniser, Molly. A weak and foolish man who would be in the gutter without the patronage he has benefited from. Find yourself a good, honest man, Molly, and escape his clutches as soon as you can.” Alex reached over, brushed a stray lock of hair from her brow and she suddenly, instinctively grasped his wrist and held on to it as if it were floating debris on a treacherous sea.
“Don’t let him ruin you,” whispered Alex, before unclasping her and watching her scurry back to her illicit lover.
“Oh, you’re back,” said Sir Rupert vaguely, his brow furrowed and one eye twitching slightly. “I’m down, Molly. A long way down. I have no more left to wager.”
“Should we go?” she asked shyly, needing to get to bed to turn over that extraordinary conversation in her head.
“Go? Gad, no. It’s not yet midnight. Come over to one of the booths and sit on my knee, eh? I have need of a sweet pair of lips to rest my mind. And yours are the very sweetest I know.”
The compliment knocked the rebellious wind from Molly’s sails and she tripped obediently after the morally bankrupt baronet for a little slap and tickle in the dark.
Today’s guest is having quite a week – J S Wayne is juggling Noble Author Blog Tour posting with promoting his new release, Angels Would Fall, which came out on Monday, so I’m very pleased he was able to take some time out to chat with me about how music fits into his writing life. Thanks for coming, J S!
My father is, among his many other talents, a professional musician. To be more specific, he plays the piano. Through nearly my entire childhood, he augmented his salary as the manager of a piano store with paying gigs playing alongside a percussionist and a brass player as part of a trio. I used to needle my father about having OCD with regards to his playing and practicing. I didn’t appreciate the immense amount of time and study it took him to become as good as he is, and I didn’t understand the practice he had to devote to keep his skills sharp. But I do now.
They were reasonably successful on the local scale, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights he would load up and head off for the ninety-mile round trip to Central City, South Dakota from Rapid City. The rest of the week it was a good thing he worked in a music store, because it afforded him a great deal of practice time he might not otherwise have had.
Because of his and my mother’s musical tastes, I grew up exposed to a very broad range of musical styles and forms. It’s because of that inoculation from a young age that my own musical tastes are as diverse as they are.
Today, music is very important to me in every facet of my life. My writing, particularly, demonstrates this influence. Those who are closest to me have a pretty good idea of what I’ve been listening to based on the work I turn out. I roam a vast spectrum of music, from the bleeding-edge Top 40 radio hits to classical, from movie soundtracks to songs that haven’t had airplay on any serious level since 1976.
As just about every writer does, I have my own set ritual for getting ready to write. This invariably consists of the following steps:
1) Ensure the presence of caffeine in dosages that would kill a small child, typically in the form of Mountain Dew. If I have Stok creamers to lace it with (look it up), all the better.
2) Verify that I have a clean ashtray, cigarettes, and a lighter that actually works. There is very little that I find more irritating than being in the middle of a scene that’s flowing well and then having to stop because I haven’t had a cigarette in three hours and the fourteenth typo in three seconds makes me want to hurl my laptop through the (closed) window.
3) Assemble a writing mix. This is the most delicate part, to my way of thinking. The wrong song at the wrong time could blow the entire mood of the piece, depending on what I’m trying to convey at the time. Having Insane Clown Posse’s “Hokus Pokus” or Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness” showing up in the middle of the XXX-rated love scene I’m about to delve into could be just as disastrous as Paula Cole’s “Feeling Love” or Melissa Etheridge’s “Angels Would Fall” wandering into the middle of a blood-soaked vampiric rampage. I have to really think about this part. Mark Twain said: “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” This is no different; the music rules the mood of my writing.
4) Listen to my “blanking” song. This is the melody that effectively makes my mind a suitable palette for writing. I have several different versions of it, ranging from two and a half minutes all the way up to a nearly fourteen-minute megamix of my own creation, depending on my mood, how much chill I need, and what I’m trying to do. The song? “Unicron’s Medley,” off the 1986 animated Transformers movie soundtrack. The fourteen-minute version also incorporates other tracks from the score by the amazing Vince DiCola. (And good luck finding it anywhere but on my MP3 player, because it ain’t gonna happen.)
5) Sit down, shut up, and do the damn writing.
Since I’m sure someone’s going to ask, some of the perennials on my writing list, in no particular order, are AC/DC, Montgomery Gentry, Insane Clown Posse, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Belinda Carlisle, TATU, Garbage, Juice Newton, Melissa Etheridge, Duran Duran, Tina Turner, Disturbed, Vanessa Williams, Metallica, Paula Cole, and ZZ Top. These are the artists who inspire me to produce the writing I do, at its top level and peak form.
But it all comes back, ultimately, to a guy who has sat at a different kind of keyboard and hammered those keys for over fifty years. The naysayers, the good deals that never quite materialized, and chasing the dream: He’s been there, done that, and has every iteration of the T-shirt and matching coffee cup ever produced to prove it. If you see him, he goes by Wayne. If you’re lucky enough to watch him tickle the ivories, you’re in for a real treat; you’re witnessing a master at work.
To me? He’s Dad.
I want to give a huge thank-you to the incomparable Justine Elyot, for allowing me to be here and spend the time. It’s been fun, y’all!
Until next time,
Cheers, J S – and thanks! Now, I know you’re going to want to know more about his new release, so here is the cover and some details.
Take one more, ferry her along. Soulbearer Moradiel recounts his duties while collecting his latest assignment, nurse Ariel. Tragic accident–seems simple. But in the RN’s final moments asleep at the wheel of her speeding car, stirrings grip Moradiel’s angelic heart. Stirrings so forbidden that to simply give voice to them is to risk expulsion from his Heavenly abode.
Out of time and faced with the most difficult decision in his eternal existence, Moradiel finds himself torn between saving the only woman he’s ever loved or throwing the balance between Heaven and Hell into chaos. Duty or desire? Moradiel must choose . . .
Another way to sample J S’ writing is to read his story in the Blog Tour anthology, Red Roses and Shattered Glass – Espiritu Sancti is powerful f/f gothic horror – find out more details here.
Well, it only remains for you to comment, then skip away into the verdant fields of Indigo Skye’s blog, where you will find the fabulous H C Brown. Press that button!