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Whose Blood? Author post

Cambions Blood DIGITAL - Whose Blood? Author post
Haunted by guilt, behind on her rent, and facing professional disgrace, Lily must figure out how to survive in the wreckage of her former life. To make ends meet, she accepts a contract job she never wanted but can’t seem to avoid—hunting another demon murderer. This time, the victims are human, and a shadowy government agency will reward Lily with a way out of her dire financial straits. If Lily doesn’t solve the case before…
CambionsBloodTourBanner 1 - Whose Blood? Author post

Half-succubus attorney Lily Knight has blood on her hands.

The Cambion Series: Writing Resources, Research, and Finding Inspiration in Folklore

Thanks for having me as a guest writer on your blog! You asked me to talk about the resources I use for writing my Cambion series and how I research my stories. You also asked about the myths and legends that inspire my writing, which is one of my favourite topics. Nerd mode, engage!

Writing Resources: Emotions, Saving the Cat, and Finding the Right Words

As far as writing resources, two reference books I use quite a bit are The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi and its companion, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus. I consulted these a lot when writing CAMBION’S BLOOD. They really helped me deepen my character’s internalizations and emotional expressions, which is especially crucial when writing in first person.

A lot of my writing resources are online. For instance, there are a couple of blogs that explain the Save the Cat beat sheet and corresponding manuscript percentage milestones that I visit often while revising. This helps me with pacing and structure, so my plots don’t lag or rush too much. I also use Thesaurus.com constantly when I’m drafting. Surprisingly, it’s not usually for synonyms as much as for when I can’t think of that word that’s on the tip of my tongue.

Research: The Internet Is Full of Things (But Not Everything)

The same is true for research: I do much of it online. When I need specialist knowledge to fill in details, my first instinct is to go directly to Google. This can be risky, because I have a tendency to fall down research rabbit holes for hours, but I at least come out the other side full of weird facts and sometimes they even make it into my books.

Since my urban fantasy series is set in a real place—modern San Francisco, California and surrounding areas—I consult Google Maps and Google Earth a lot. Google Earth is especially amazing for writers, I think. You can get an instant visual feel for an area using it, with a level of detail you never would have had access to even ten or fifteen years ago without visiting a place yourself. It’s one of the best things about living in the Internet age.

I’ll look up pictures of settings too and find home listings that match what I envision for my characters. It’s funny—after my first book came out, a friend told me that she didn’t think my character could afford the apartment I had her living in, but I had specifically researched it to make sure! I knew the street she lived on and everything, even though that never made it onto the page. Lots of details never do!

It’s true, though, that Google Earth can’t match going directly to a place and experiencing it. I live in Sacramento now, which is a couple hours east of San Francisco, but I grew up in Northern California, so I know the setting well—it’s ingrained in some of my earliest memories. But recently I took a weekend trip with my husband just north of the Golden Gate with the express purpose of doing research for Book 3 in my series. I had a lot of fun exploring some spots I wanted to write about and taking pictures for later reference.

The things you can’t get from Google are still important, like the way the air smells and feels, the energy of a place, the character of a neighbourhood, soundscapes, the weather patterns. It’s inspiring to get that local colour and it always adds something. I also love to have the excuse to travel, so I’ll never say no to the opportunity to visit one of my book settings. It’s a good way to convince my spouse that we need to take a vacation, too!

Folkloric Inspirations for the Cambion Series

I love to research folklore, legend, and myth to help me find inspiration for my supernatural plotlines and characters. The idea for my main character came from folklore surrounding incubi, succubi, and cambions. When I set out to write urban fantasy, I didn’t want to write about traditional vampires or shifters, so I turned to this slightly less well-known type of supernatural character.

A cambion in folklore is a half-demon, typically with a demon father and human mother, usually the product of a human liaison with an incubus or succubus. As one character points out in CAMBION’S BLOOD, Merlin was probably the most famous legendary cambion, said to be the child of a mortal woman and an incubus. Merlin’s heritage gave him powers of insight and shapeshifting, along with potential immortality, and my character has some similar abilities, though she’s no wizard.

The term “cambion” originally meant a “changeling,” like a fairy child placed in a stolen human child’s cradle. Later it came to mean a hybrid entity, a child of two worlds, with the connotation of a bad or wild seed. That’s the meaning I adopted for my main character, Lily, while subverting the idea that a cambion is necessarily evil.

According to some stories, cambion children were hard to feed sufficiently and sensitive to touch. Those details inspired some of Lily’s basic conflicts: she craves human life energy which she can absorb through touch. At the same time, touch can be extremely fraught for her, because the quality of the energy she takes affects her. She had a traumatic early life with a human family that ultimately rejected her due to her half-demon nature.

Some other folklore that I use in my books include apocryphal legends about fallen angels who bred with humans, the Nephilim. Lily references these legends and her near-namesake Lilith when she swears by the “mother of monsters,” a phrase she got from her incubus mentor and former lover, Ariel. As a note, Ariel’s name is derived from that of the archangel Uriel or Auriel, but also from the Shakespearian character Ariel, a trickster spirit of the air. (No relation to the Disney mermaid.)

In CAMBION’S BLOOD I also delve more into some Celtic and Irish myths, but I can’t talk too much more about that without spoilers. I hope your readers found this background interesting, and I hope you’ll check out my books so I can explore more interesting myths and local places for the next one!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Fulmer Author Photo - Whose Blood? Author post

Erin Fulmer (she/her) is a public benefits attorney by day, author of urban fantasy and science fiction by night. She lives in sunny Northern California with her husband and two spoiled cats. When she’s not writing or working, she enjoys yoga, taking pictures of the sky, playing board games with friends, and napping like it’s an Olympic sport.

CAMBION’S BLOOD, the second book in her Cambion series and sequel to her debut urban fantasy CAMBION’S LAW, is out June 7 from City Owl Books

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Where is the monster? Author Interview

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Sometimes the most enchanting monsters are the ones you can’t see, only feel… I am a survivor. For the past ten years, I’ve been forced to give every part of me to sinister vampires in a feeding community. But when I touched an ancient book and recited a spell out of sheer desperation and zero arcane knowledge, a dark entity came to me. Rescued me. Mrak helped me escape. I have no idea what I’ve…
MonsterInsideTourBanner - Where is the monster? Author Interview

MONSTER INSIDE is the first of a M/F paranormal monster romance duology.

Our Author Tells All

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about?
    1. What appealed to you about it?
    1. Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Monster Inside is the first of a dark fantasy monster romance duology—that’s a mouthful! Basically, there’s a heroine who’s had a really crappy, traumatic past, a shadow demon that saved her but isn’t totally corporeal yet, and a pact that binds them together, but is never real enough compared to Aisling wanting her monster to be there in flesh and blood. It’s a quick read, but it’s equal parts dark and spicy and even hopeful, to some degree, as Aisling works through what’s happened to her to create a future she decides. She doesn’t always come out as the “good guy” though! I think that’s the most interesting aspect of it. Writing a world where no one is actually “good” and everyone just falls on a sort of mostly gray scale of things has been very fun and refreshing to explore. It’s darker than I normally write, but that’s also what made it different and fun for me—and hopefully for readers as well!

  • How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?

That varies series by series! For Monster Inside, I actually had the idea for it (a woman who’d escaped a vampire feeding community with a shadow demon attached to her) back in 2018. But it wasn’t until recently that I thought I could expand upon it enough to write a series. Then there are plots like my other new release, Oath-Breaker: Angel of Death and Demons Book One, that came to me in a single night, blurb and all!

  • What do you read when you are ill in bed?

Old favourites are my go-to when sick. Which is mostly that mid 2010’s paranormal and urban fantasy, both the more popular titles and some lesser-known novels.

  • What is your favourite genre?

Fantasy is by far my favorite genre, but I’m not sure I could pick a sub-genre. I love writing paranormal romance, but I love everything from paranormal to urban to epic fantasy and everything in between.

  • Which of your books / series are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of Monster Inside and this duology. It’s far outside my normal comfort zone and it’s taken me to some interesting spaces and character mindsets to explore.

  • What music – if any – do you think inspires you to write? Is it different for each novel or the same?

Instrumental is where it’s at for me, especially piano music. I can’t write to anything with words, but I do love matching up scenes with instrumental music like a movie!

  • Were you inspired by any folk stories? If so which ones? And what was it about them that inspired you?

Definitely! My first series is named after Atlantis because I am a sucker for sunken city stories, particularly Atlantis. I love mythology and drawing inspiration from myths and legends! There is always just so much in them and they’re epic and inspiring.

  • Should monsters /criminals be given a second chance? Can they be reformed? What is the best type of prison for them? (you can include paranormals here)

The romantic in me says yes, some can be for sure, and those stories can make for some amazing reading!

  • What about turning your best seller into a film or TV series – would you want to write the script or be on the production team?
     

OMG yes, that would be amazing. I dream of this, to be able to work with a team like that and create something—whether it’s my work or not. I think that would be a lot of fun!

Author Bio

River Starr writes books that help you escape, especially fantasy romance full of magic and supernaturals. Favorite things: coffee, wine, chocolate, and a heavy dose of books to chase away the dark… or invite delicious darkness in.

Author links:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRiverStarr

https://www.instagram.com/authorriverstarr/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20463942.River_Starr

River - Where is the monster? Author Interview
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Medical Claiming: Author Guest Post

1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? I liked the idea of a viral video that has the story wrong. In today’s social media age, we see videos go viral daily. It’s often a snapshot of one person’s day and I wanted to play with the idea of what might happen if two colleagues went viral and then fake dated.
2. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? It depends. I know that isn’t super helpful, but it depends on what I need for the medical parts of my book. This was set in NICU setting and I have a good friend who had a premature baby, who is now a healthy and happy six year old. She let me pick her brain for this one and that personal information helped me bring this book to life.
3. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted? I was rejected twice before I sold my first book, Unlocking the Ex-Army Doc’s Heart. This is my sixth medical romance, but I want to state that while I was rejected twice before I sold my first book, I have two books that have been rejected in other genres since. Publishing doesn’t end the rejection cycle. It is just part of this business.
4. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? Again this is a it depends moment. There are pros and cons to both indie and traditional publishing. If an author wants to traditionally publish, that novel should not be independently published. Most trad publishers won’t take a previously published book. If you want complete control, Indie is for you. But that means you have to front the costs. Also choosing one to start doesn’t mean you are stuck. I know many hybrid authors, who indie publish some and trad publish some.
5. What do you read when you are ill in bed? Category Romance. I love a short category read that just puts a smile on my face. If I am not feeling well, that is what I need.
6. Do you have any pets? I have two furry co-authors. My golden retriever, Abby, and my pittie, Bucky. They are both in my upcoming seventh medical romance, The Vet’s Unexpected Houseguest. Neither are overly helpful with stories, but they are super cute!
7. Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this? I do! I love people watching. It’s one of the best things about being an author, is that I can call it research instead of just being nosey. I once listened to a rather painful breakup while I was on a plane. Unfortunately, my headphones were broken and there was no place to go to give them privacy. I think whole section of the plane wished they were anywhere else! That is not something I have ever incorporated.
8. Do you write at home or away from home? If at home, what does your space look like? Are you a tidy person? In the before times, I used to write at the local library or coffee shop. Over the last two years, I have gotten comfortable writing at home. I have a little office in my bedroom, but I often write in my living room with noise cancelling headphones on, so I can be with my family.
9. How many books did you write during Covid19/Lockdown? I have written six in the last two years. I used my writing as a distraction from the world around me. I know other authors that really struggled to get words on the page. I think both were valid.

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Any Wicker needed? Author Interview

DruidDreamsTourBanner 1 - Any Wicker needed? Author Interview

Don’t get me twisted though… I’m Sloane f*****g King, and I’m no damsel in distress.

Author Interview – lots of fun!

MF - Any Wicker needed? Author Interview
  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about?
  2. What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
  3. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
  4. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?If you need specialist knowledge to write a book, how do you obtain it? For instance, do you interview people? Go to the location? Use Google Earth? Apps?

I didn’t choose Sloane. Sloane chose me. And when she started talking, it was listen or be driven crazy. Honestly, boredom will always be my fallback answer. But it’s so much more than that. She spoke to me emotionally; we both struggled to open ourselves up to others. I wanted to work through that, and so did she. Or maybe she was me… Though I’m the opposite of a badass.

As for why I think this story is different? I think that has to do with my approach. It’s a chronicle of the past, so it’s in past tense, but you’re very much present in the moment. Sloane has a way of sucking you into her world and not letting you go. Taking time away from her was harder than giving birth. I’m not even joking.

** This, though… This answer will forever be my answer. > I don’t write down topics to research or give myself time to consider them. I feel moved, so I go with the flow. I adapt to the character who takes up residence in my mind, and I tell their story as they tell it to me.

The only things I do research are simple things that will often get cut from the book, anyway. Instead of 600 types of swallows (the bird) in Japan or the patterns in currents around small islands… I research super weird topics with Sloane. Because she’s murdery. And yes, I know that’s not a word, but I’m using it. I can tell you about the weather in Northern Ireland, explain the engine specs of an Audi R8 Coupe, talk for days about cutting the jugular, and even go in-depth on the details of a charred… person. We get gory in our search history.

** This is also still true. > I try to veer away from heavy research, because I’m like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I hop into one black hole, and then I pop up all over the place, constantly reminding myself that I’m going to be late.

  1. Do you write at home or away from home? If at home, what does your space look like? Are you a tidy person?
    1. If away from home – where and why?

I write at home. I’m far too ADHD to write anywhere else, because… distractions. You can find me holed up in my corner office with a great view. The view is the laundry I’m neglecting to get For the Ghastly and Beautiful finished. And the corner office is quite literally the corner of my bedroom. My space is both tidy and chaotic, just like me. I’m an organized train wreck of a dragon, sitting atop my horde of paperbacks and stationary.

** Good news and bad news… I got that laundry folded and put away, but there’s more now. And I finished a different book. So I’m back to writing in For the Ghastly and Beautiful. I laugh while my deadline approaches. Catch me next week with no sleep and ten-pound bags under my eyes.

  1.  Do you keep a timeline and character traits pinned up on your wall? On post-its?
    1. If not how do you remember important items about your characters like height, weight, colouring, likes and dislikes etc?

Ohhh, man, do I! Not on my walls, and certainly not on post-it notes… But I have both digital and paper series bibles for everything. Each character I’ve ever mentioned in my solo series have sections of their own that include physical, mental, and emotional details… And so much more. I’m talking zodiac and enneagram, family trees, friend connections, past addresses and jobs… I profile them until I—Okay. I’m basically stalking fictional characters. Let’s call a bowl a bowl.

** Ask for pictures. I swear… I know all the things! Favorite candy, holiday traditions, shoe size… I’m a total stalker.

  1. Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this?
    1. What is the funniest thing you have seen that you have incorporated into a book?
    2. Or do you add some traits from your family and friends into your characters?
    3. How many of the accidents – funny or otherwise, or bad experiences in your stories are based on your own experiences? Or those of your friends?

** Okay, maybe I should stop referring to myself as a stalker before someone takes me seriously.

I love to watch people—in a non-stalking way. I also enjoy picking apart tics and traits from the people I know to include as bits and pieces of my characters. Often, I’ll ask them questions to see how they would respond to situations that my characters are in. This has been extremely helpful in a non-pnr story that I’m working on. But I’m not allowed to talk about that just yet…

  1. What music – if any – do you think inspires you to write? Is it different for each novel or the same?

My music tastes are eclectic. On my spotify account, you’ll find public playlists for every book/series that I have published. I have a dozen hidden playlists that I’m building for future books. Music is definitely a big inspiration for me. While writing, I listen to the corresponding songs… So right now, I’m listening to a playlist specifically for Ada and For the Ghastly and Beautiful. And I’ll listen to it until I’m done with the book.

The songs are usually mood setters, but aren’t exactly tied to any one scene or chapter. Some songs remind me of only one character, while others help put me in the mental state the characters are in. This means in the Where the Mongrels Are playlist, you won’t find nearly as many chaotic, fight-worthy songs as you will in The Chronicles of Sloane King or The Chronicles of a Toy Monster playlists.

** Wow… Yes. All this… The Chronicles of a Toy Monster has some interesting music choices on it, but I didn’t build it alone. Now, the playlists for The Chronicles of Sloane King? Those lists are all over the place. From rock to classical, rap to a country song or two… But I love every single one of them.

  1. How easy is it to write a good sex scene? Or baking scene? And do you have to have experienced these things, do you think, to write about them successfully?

** Preach, MF. Tell them how much you hate the writing of the spice…

I’m getting better, though. It’s been rough. Pun intended.

I hate writing sex scenes. Let’s just get that out of the way now. But I strive for them to be believable, even if I am writing paranormal and we’re breaking desks or something. The amount of times I’ve been in a position, fully clothed, to get the angles right is freaking ridiculous. It’s just… way better than the stick figure drawings that I make!

Do you have to have experience? To me? Yes and no… I can explain how to bake a cake or what it tastes like without actually making or eating it. That’s where research comes in.

But I think you’d need at least the fundamental knowledge of the feelings of sex to make it believable. I don’t know, though. Someone may come along and challenge my way of thinking.

  1. Is it easy to write humour?

** I feel like this is insightful AF… But that’s probably just me.

Uhm. Maybe? I’m not intentionally funny, not often anyway. And I think everyone has a different definition of humor. I’m dry, sarcastic, and dirty, so that’s what I find funny. Recently, I read a review that said sexual innuendos were childish… and that made me snort. Some characters are just that way, you know? And when they’re so set in their own definitions of humor—no matter how vastly different from the next character—it makes writing their brand of humor as easy as breathing.

  1. What about ‘snark’? Is it good or bad?

I love snark. Better yet, I AM snarky.

I think it can be both good and bad, depending on when, where, and why it’s used. Ada and Sloane are snarky with some of their mates, but Sloane is that way with her antagonists as well. She uses it to bait… Ada uses snark to distract herself.

My kids use snark to make me lose my mind.

See? Good and bad, depending on the circumstances.

** Snorts at myself.

Onyx is snarky, too… But not as much as the others. It’s a part of me that will always make it into my books and be intertwined into my characters.

  1. Were you inspired by any folk stories? If so, which ones? And what was it about them that inspired you?

Okay. This question is tricky, but also very valid.

I highly enjoy folklore and myths of all kinds. While you won’t find many, if any, in the Mongrels world… They are deeply woven into The Chronicles world. Unintentionally at first, but the more I wrote the more I realized that I could twist tales into the characters I had. I’ve warped Greek mythology and Irish folklore, and even ideals of Death and his flaming horse into my stories. There’s plenty of little nuggets. Some people find them; others don’t.

** Find them! For Sloane’s sake. Find them. I love when people are like, “Holy shh, I just caught that.”

Also… If you’ve read Sloane’s story, you’ll totally get the Sloane’s sake thing.

  1. What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?
    1. Which of your books / series are you most proud of?

This hits home for me in an emotional sort of way. There are many things that I’m proud of, such as my children and their accomplishments, or my family… But finishing that first book is high on my list.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a writer and a storyteller. Publishing was something that my dad encouraged me to do. When I lost him, I lost myself. Writing brought me back, but it wasn’t an easy journey. I started with poetry; this helped me express emotions that I didn’t understand. Then one day, Sloane slapped me in the face so hard it was a near physical feeling.

As far as something that I’ve done? I’m most proud of myself for finishing my first book. Second comes hitting the publish button. I’ll always be proud of Druid Dreams, because that book brought me back to myself.

** Aww. This hasn’t changed… But I’m also proud of my latest book, too. And my growth as a person.

  1. What is your favourite genre?

Well… Uhm… Reverse harem, obviously. Paranormal or contemporary, and in every trope I can get them. But secretly? Or not so secretly… I love sci-fi non-romance.

** Accurate. I haven’t read a M|F book since Annette Marie closed Guild Codex: Demonised. Demonized? I’ll have to look it up. But the point still stands… Although… I have some dark contemporary M|F books on my TBR.

  1. What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?

The Time Machine by HG Wells

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Odyssey by Homer

  1. What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

Mmm… I think my mom still has a few things. I might as well. But that requires me to pull down the boxes in the top of the closet, and I’m not much up for reminiscing right now.

** Ooooff. That statement hits harder after losing another close family member.

  1. Do you have any pets?
    1. If so, what are they?
    2. And what are they called?
    3. Do they help you write? Eg our cats like to sit on my desk/computer and play with my mouse.
    4. What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing?

I do have pets; an English Mastiff named Woody, an American Bully named Pink, and a black cat named Saint. They’re… somewhat helpful. Woody’s bed is near my desk, and I can always tell if I’m going to have a good writing night by how loud he’s snoring. If he sounds like a train, then I’m good to go. But if he’s quiet, then I might as well shut it down and go to sleep. Pink and Saint just hang out, being distractingly cute.

** False. Saint is an as$. I mean, he’s still cute… But he brought a bird into my house last week. We are not on speaking terms.

  1. If you could be an animal, which animal would you be? Give three reasons. You may NOT choose to be a dog or a cat.

Oh! A flamingo… or a Buffalo. I don’t know why I’d choose the latter. Maybe because they’re docile until they’re not? They look really soft, too. And they have purple tongues.

But a flamingo? They’re graceful… and no matter how hard I try to stand on one leg for hours at a time, I can only handle about eight and half minutes before I fall. Also, I wonder if eating algae would make me turn pink or just make me sick. And they’re migratory, so no cold weather. That last one is the only reason I need, just saying.

** Yeah. I definitely want to be a buffalo today. I still don’t know why though.

  1. How many ‘packs’ should a hero have? Are 8 too many and what might a character lick off them? Why?

Five or seven! Hear me out… When that lower ab is just one thick muscle, it makes the perfect plate. Have the upper abs nice and cut, ridges and all… That’s fine. But I like that one wide lower ab for a multitude of reasons, ranging from caramel syrup to a salty brim for tequila shots. Just not at the same time.

Wait… I see this was for character reasons… But I stand by my answer.

** 100% still stand behind this. I would also like to add icing and a crushed cupcake to this. I know it’ll be messy, but that’s half the fun.

I cheated and added on to my previous answers… But I can just say… It was amazing to read back on this and see what I was thinking. It’s been a long time since I answered something so honestly. And the chaos above is the genuine me.

AUTHOR BIO:

M.F. Adele resides in the outskirts of the Rocket City in Alabama. She lives in her overactive imagination, often fueled by caffeine and no sleep. When she isn’t writing, M.F. is outdoors with her family, obsessing over spicy margaritas and cigars, or reading books by her favorite authors.

If you’re looking for M.F. Adele, you can find her on social media in her group:

M.F. Adele’s Hellacious Hybrids.

M.F. loves to interact with her readers, hear character theories, and share embarrassing stories.


Author links:

https://www.mfadele.com/

https://www.instagram.com/mfadele.author/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20144608.M_F_Adele

https://www.facebook.com/MFAdele

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And she travels -like the wind? Author Interview

How has the pandemic affected writing? Rebecca explains.

Writing and publishing during the Covid-19 pandemic is exactly like living through it–lots of frustrations but opportunities for gratitude.

Online resources have long been helpful research tools for any modern author, but now they are absolutely vital. Trade of a Lifetime and the entire Trade Wind Series is set in Victorian England. In the last few years, I’ve scoured historical and modern online maps and virtual museum collections, researching everything from period jewelry and clothing to birth control methods, recipes, trade routes from China to England, food preservation techniques, and the cost of a bridge toll for a two-horse carriage in 1850 London.

As thankful as I am for the modern convenience–no, necessity–of the Internet when researching, it is an imperfect replacement to the in-person experience of travel. We all long for the days of traveling as freely as we did prior to the pandemic. I especially look forward to returning to the UK to visit the many sites I write about. A website can show me the location of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, but there is no replacement for walking the grounds and watching the time ball drop at 1pm. Visiting London’s streets by using the streetview function of online maps cannot compare to the inspiration I found during my last trip, pre-pandemic.

Woven into the Trade of a Lifetime tapestry are details about the main character’s (Clara’s) church in Mayfair, Grosvenor Chapel, built in 1730, and the building at Soho Square that houses her charity. Certainly some of the information came from online, but it was wandering the neighborhoods on foot and daydreaming that truly sparked various plotlines. I spent a day in the Charles Dickens Museum–located in one of his former London homes–and that treasure trove of mid-Victorian customs has informed the series a great deal, and in a way that simply looking at photos or reading about it would not have.

Another impact of the pandemic is that it allows us to contemplate the suffering in the past with greater understanding and empathy. Living in the age of antibiotics, antivirals, and vaccines, just a few years ago, it seemed difficult to convey to readers in developed countries just how vulnerable to infectious disease the average person was only one hundred fifty years ago.

Coincidentally, prior to the pandemic, one of my Trade Wind manuscripts featured a vicious respiratory virus that swept through London. I remember wondering whether readers would find it difficult to relate to, or even question, just how frightening a “simple” virus was as it ravaged the population. That book will be published this year, and I anticipate that most readers will assume that I was inspired by Covid to include that plotline! As difficult as our lives have been the last few years, we also have a great deal to be grateful for–and there is no better reminder of that than reading about the medical practices in the 19th century, let alone earlier! 

On a final note, more than ever, we all want and need connections with others. Reading about love and passion is more than a guilty pleasure; it renews and lifts our spirits and reminds us of the importance of meaningful relationships. Writing emotionally-rich stories with plenty of primal lust has helped sustain me through these times, and I genuinely hope they pave the way to a wonderful, if temporary, escape for my readers, as well!

Read the Trade Wind Series

Book 1 (full-length novel): Trade of a Lifetime – updated in 2022 with an epilogue
Book 2 (novella): Finding Harmony
Book 3 (full-length novel, coming 2022): Terms of Trade
Book 4 (sequel to Trade of a Lifetime, coming 2022): Love Unbound

Author Bio

Romantic by birth. Author by choice.

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Rebecca has lived on both U.S. coasts and is currently in between. She’s resided in three European countries, including in a national capital and a quiet town with a fifteenth-century church.

Between daydreams, Rebecca nurtures two curious kids. Mr. Aubrey is really Dr. Aubrey, a dashing professor and her supporter-in-chief. Her constant indoor and outdoor gardening projects exist in various stages of life and death. She has detailed plans for her next book, bake, and cocktail–and a vague notion of what’s for dinner.

Rebecca is also a lawyer and proud graduate of Smith College. She writes luscious contemporary romance as Lana Siren.

Author Links

https://rebeccaaubrey.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22000146.Rebecca_Aubrey

https://www.lana-siren.com

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