More than 200 authors are taking part in five days of fun and prizes. Visit the participating blogs and leave a comment and your contact email on that day’s post. Be sure to visit every blog on the list and comment each day to increase your chances of winning the grand prize: a $100 Gift Card to EdenFantasys.com (an adult toy store), and a 10-book bundle of ebooks.
What’s more, every author is offering additional prizes on their blogs. Mine is an ebook copy of Loving Leonardo – An unusual polyamorous, bi, Victorian love story with a touch of interactive art history. It’s a win win!..or maybe even a win win win…. :)
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People ask how I came to write Loving Leonardo. In many ways this story is a social statement, for love is a very large emotion with room to spare. Believe it or not, this story came out of America’s mid-summer politics. The news was filled with women’s issues and talk of “progressives”. Where had I heard “women’s issues” and “progressive” before? The Suffragettes. Before I knew it, I’d written a very American and very unorthodox Victorian progressive named Ellie.
Here’s the blurb:
Bound by limits dictated by society, Art Historian Nicolas Halstead lived a guarded life until a tempest in the form of Elenora Schwaab blew into his world. At first Nicolas can’t decide if the audacious American is simply mad or plotting blackmail for not only does she declare knowledge of his homosexuality, she offers him a marriage proposal.
After Ellie tells him of a previously unknown work of Leonardo da Vinci, a book of erotic love poems and sketches dedicated to the artist’s long-time lover Salai, Nicolas joins her in a race to save the book from destruction. Along the way they encounter Historian Luca Franco and discover a comfortable compatibility that comes to redefine their long-held notions of love. The trio embarks on an adventure of sensual discovery, intrigue, and danger. Little do they know Leonardo da Vinci’s book is far more than meets the eye.
After the first three chapters I realized these characters might go beyond this story and solve crimes a la Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles. On a whim, I chose their names to go with that idea – Nicolas Halstead and Elenora Schwaab.
The main observer in this romantic tale is Nicolas Halstead, a man of means forced by society to wear a disguise. He’s the narrator here and it’s through his perspective that we see and feel his world. An art historian by profession, Nicolas can’t help but compare life to art. Because of this, he leaves many references to artists and artworks scattered throughout the pages.
Why did I create an interactive art history scavenger hunt in an erotic romance?
Thinking on that now, I suppose it’s because I grew up in Chicago. The city is famous for its museums and renowned Art Institute and I spent a lot of time in all of them. I’ve seen paintings in the Art Institute that so captured my fancy, I can picture them with clarity all these years later. Because artworks have the ability to evoke an emotional response as well as capture a moment, I’ve put art references in this story. If my readers would like to see what Nicolas sees when he mentions artworks, do look them up. This interactive bit of art history isn’t necessary to the story, though to see what he sees will certainly add color to the tale. The titles and artists mentioned are not randomly picked off a list. I chose each carefully to reflect the moment and emotion I wanted to convey.
Where does Leonardo da Vinci fit into this tale?
I’m a huge informational reader and one person I find particularly fascinating is Leonardo Da Vinci. Because of his bastardy, Leonardo was denied traditional education. Self-taught for the most part, Da Vinci immersed himself in the world to learn. What else could my characters do but the same? Da Vinci was an artist. Nicolas is an art historian. Da Vinci was a philosopher. Progressive Ellie was a student of philosophy. Da Vinci was a grand inventor, much of his knowledge based upon processes that came before him. Luca is a historian. Before I knew it, these three were having the most amazing discussions! Certainly love had to follow such compatibility.
But no one likes a novel without a story in it. The Victorian era had a seedy side few people realize. It wasn’t enough just to have three people fall in love in a very unorthodox manner, I added obstacles and roadblocks to make the journey rough.
And for balance – I created a conscienceless adversary who’d do absolutely anything to get what he wanted. Yes, I freely admit I enjoy shaking the snowglobe.
Loving Leonardo – The Quest comes out early 2013. From there, my three lovers might have more stories to tell.
See you tomorrow for day 2!