I have stories in two box sets this holiday season, and both step outside of the Georgian/Regency world I’ve been creating.
One is for the Bluestocking Belles’ third holiday box set, and I’ve mentioned it before. It’s set in New Zealand, in 1886, during the volcanic eruption that tore apart New Zealand’s burgeoning tourist industry. Watch for more about Forged in Fire in the coming months.
Today, I want to tell you about the other set. The Speakeasy Scribes are publishing an anthology of short stories, and an interesting mix it is. Mostly historical, some with elements of paranormal or horror, some contemporary or close to, and one (mine) future dystopian.
The integrating concept is a tavern where people on the political and social fringes meet to talk, drink, read books, and foment reform. Or possibly rebellion. The Final Draft Tavern existed in London from the Norman Conquest until it moved to Boston, and it is in Boston that we see it at the end, but a Boston transformed by the onset of a new ice age.
More than the tavern’s longevity is odd. There’s something strange about some of the women of the family that has owned it for a thousand years. And something stranger about the cat.
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After: William Hogarth
Scandal, or the threat of it, is a useful tool in historical romance—and in many other types of fiction. Indeed, much of history revolves around what happens when people try to avoid scandal, or when a scandal breaks.
Today, I’m looking for an excerpt to do with scandal: past, present, possible, imagined, or actual.
Mine is from A Midwinter’s Tale, my box set story for the Speakeasy Scribes. It’s the scandal that wasn’t, because they managed to keep their secret.
Tee would have loved to have sisters, or at least known the ones her mother told Uncle Will about. Two older sisters, and a brother who was her twin, and who escaped with her mother. If the escape was real, and not just a kind story Uncle Will made up to comfort a grieving toddler.
After all, it could not be true. Her mother could not have walked out of the twentieth century into a tavern in nineteenth century Boston and then skipped two hundred years to frozen Jogenheim. That was Uncle Will’s story—his pregnant great grandmother had made a double time jump, first to the past and then to her future, where she gave birth to twins. Tee and her brother.
When the PED tried to scoop her up to add to the breeding pool, Tee’s mother and brother stepped through the tavern door into history, leaving Tee to be raised by Will, who was her great nephew and also sixty years older than her.
Tee snorted. More likely, her mother escaped the breeding pool long enough to have Tee, was then locked up, and would arrive once more on their doorstep when her breeding days were over. Breeders who coupled with unlicensed males or hid their babies lost their freedom of movement. Everyone knew that.
If they caught Tee, they would lock her up, too.