Near the beginning of A Willful Romantic (GQ Book 3), Henry and Martin go ice skating on the Lake in Central Park with their friends. This clip from 1902 is a good example of what I was picturing when I wrote the scene.
There was a signal to let people know the ice was ready for skating in Central Park: a red ball raised from the bell tower. Was it on a stick? Did it levitate? I haven’t a clue. For skating in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, they would fly a white flag with a red ball/circle from the streetcars to alert the public, so this red ball thing is pretty consistent. I have to say, the red ball=ice connection isn’t really an obvious one to me.
I have Henry and his friend Freddie Caldwell (and Martin and Tom, of course) go downtown to buy skates for the slaves, and what I had in mind was Modell’s, a sporting goods store that’s been around since 1889, with a store in Lower Manhattan dating from that time. I don’t know for a fact that they carried ice skates, but there’s no reason to think they didn’t.
(I was pretty good at rollerskating, but I’ve never gotten the hang of ice skating, and I have no idea what the difference might be.)
A Vital Chemistry (Ganymede Quartet Book 3.5) FREE
First love, new love.
On Valentine’s Day, Martin prepares to tell Henry he loves him. It’s not appropriate for a slave to burden a master with his feelings, but Martin doesn’t think Henry will mind. He won’t let himself hope for Henry to return the sentiment, but the truth is that he feels loved. He knows how that feels because he was loved before—by his friend Richard at Ganymede.
Martin treasures his memories of Richard, but he’s glad to be with Henry here and now. There’s a vital chemistry that draws Martin to Henry, and it’s unlike anything he’s experienced before. There’s more between them than Martin thought possible between master and slave, and he wants to believe it will endure, but he worries Henry will someday fall for a free man. Can Martin trust in Henry’s love?
This story is told from Martin’s point of view and runs parallel to events that take place in Chapter 12 of A Willful Romantic (Ganymede Quartet Book 3).
Love is everything, but sometimes it’s not enough.
At the dawn of 1901, Henry Blackwell is gathering the courage to share his feelings with his companion slave Martin. Henry is in love, and he’d do anything to make Martin love him in return. In anticipation of making such a declaration, Henry works to be a better person, the sort of man whose love is worth having.
But simply having love returned isn’t enough. Henry wants unreasonable things, impossible things. He wants his love for Martin to be accepted and acknowledged, even admired, by the world at large. He desperately wants there to be a place in the city where he can behave as he likes with the person he loves. Practical Martin doesn’t approve of Henry’s romantic notions and urges caution. Henry struggles between keeping Martin happy and pursuing his dream of acceptance.
This is the third of four installments in the Ganymede Quartet, continuing the story from A Proper Lover (Ganymede Quartet Book 2).
So, in addition to the series I’m currently putting out, I’ve got all these notes and fits and starts of future stories, and I can’t help but notice that certain things come up again and again.
Tall, dark and handsome.
Severe Nordic blonds.
New York City.
People who are perhaps a little neurotic.
The GQ books do indeed include all these elements by the end of Book 4.
It’s not as if these common themes are a surprise to me, of course. I’m well aware of my obsessions. These elements don’t all show up in every single story, and my expanded casts have a wider variety of hair and skin colors, but the above tend to be the features of the stories I tell myself.
The Mr. has a fantastic idea for a contemporary paranormal story that would require writing burly, macho dudes doing stereotypically male things, and it would probably sell really well, and I might end up writing it after all, but right now it seems so far out of my wheelhouse. I keep wondering where would I put the flamboyant people and the descriptions of outfits?
If you write, what do you know to be your common threads? If you’re a reader, what details or themes make you want pick up a new book?
If I had goals for 2014, they were along the lines of “write books” and “publish books,” and I met those goals, so yay! me. This year isn’t going to be terribly different, really, but I know more about accomplishing those goals, which theoretically ought to make the process easier.
Finish Ganymede Quartet series. This means the main books plus their accompanying Martin stories. GQ Book 3+Martin story will be out in March 2015. Book 4 will be out in June 2015. I don’t have a schedule for finishing the side stories that will either extend the series timeline or tell side characters’ stories, but I currently have over 20 (!!!) stories extensively outlined (and one basically finished), so I fully expect I’ll complete some of those by the end of the year.