Whether your Thanksgiving was large or small, by now, you’re probably sick of leftovers. You’re probably sick of the holiday commercials already, which I could hear blasting from my father-in-law’s television all weekend. Another reason the husband and I are glad we cord-cut earlier in the year. Way fewer ads to deal with.
But as the festive mid-winter retail sales opportunity descends upon us, it’s time to look beyond 2020. A new year means new projects and fresh stories to tell.
First up in the Just a Touch of Scandal series is Simon Mercer’s pursuit of the woman he loved and lost through his father’s machinations. Now the Earl of Chalton, he’s determined to woo and win Eleanor Weir, now a widow. The course looks smooth from Simon’s viewpoint, but it’s not so smooth for Eleanor. Her husband’s death was sudden, unexpected, and traumatic, and her in-laws are still dealing with the aftermath. They are not ready to see another man step into their son’s place and be a father to his child. Eleanor is only just re-entering society herself, and she finds she’s not the same woman Simon fell for five years ago. Easy for the Earl is expected in Spring 2021.
Also in the series will be Lord Hamish MacDonald’s tale. He is recovering from the injuries he sustained fighting Napoleon, but while his leg was saved, his career in the army is still in doubt. Then there are his feelings for his nurse, Mrs. Petherbridge, a woman who is not suitable for the second son of a marquess. What Hamish doesn’t realize is Mrs. Petherbridge is not who she appears to be and holds her own secrets. Secrets that could drive them apart. Here’s where the fun comes in. I knew Mrs. Petherbridge has secrets, but I don’t know what all of them are yet. For me, the joy of shaping a story is the discovery. I’m hoping to unveil this one in late summer/early fall.
Those are the ones firm on the schedule. But there’s a short story I need to plot for a summer anthology. I’m also sketching out a new series set in the late 1880s/1890’s about the American heiresses (and their mothers) who set out to find titled English husbands in need of wealth to keep the home fires burning in their great estates. I’ve always adored the look of the clothes of this era, though it feels strange to have enough structure on your rear to support a tea service. To find yourself dressed in such a gown and sweep through a hotel lobby on your way to a ball is a unique experience. The gown you see here was ordered in 1888 by Esther Chapin, whose great-granduncle was George Washington.
But it’s not just the clothing which attracts me, but the culture clash. English society and American society were very different creatures. Sometimes differences were insurmountable, but sometimes well-match unions occurred, such as the peer’s son who married a ranching heiress. The two of them lived happily on her father’s ranch, with him learning the business. I’ll do a blog post about them at some point. Currently, I’m ensconced in the research stage, which means my holiday wish list is filled with books to fill the holes in my library. I’m the type of person who loves getting books for Christmas.
Research isn’t just happening for the 19th Century, though. I unearthed a book from my shelves entitled Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age by D. J. Taylor. I picked this up over a decade ago using a Borders coupon (remember Borders?) and added it to the TBR pile. Now I’ve got visions of jazz-age beauties, midnight treasure hunts, and disapproving older relatives as those who came of age during World War I try to find their way in this brave new world. There are stories to come from this, though when and in what form, I’m uncertain.
What about you? Any period you love, that makes you excited when you see a new book set in that era? I’m excited to see more things set in the 20s coming out. I’m looking forward to Denny S. Bryce’s Wild Woman and the Blues. It won’t be released until March, but if you click on the title, you can download a free sample now.
Once you’ve done that, hop on over to join Leslie Hachtel and see what she’s cooking up for 2021.
Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy.