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Welcome back Emery Lee who is with us today to talk about her latest release, Fortune’s Son. Emery visited us last year with The Highest Stakes, an incredibly well-researched debut set in the Georgian racing world.

Lee brings the atmosphere of the Georgian era to life with lush descriptions that beg the reader to see, hear, feel and touch it all….suprising twists and turns that are reminiscient of Fielding’s Tom Jones or Defoe’s Moll Flanders — Kathe Robin, RTBookReviews
Emery is giving away a signed copy of Fortune’s Son to one lucky commenter chosen at random.
Welcome, Emery! Tell us about Fortune’s Son.
Fortune’s Son is the story of a complex and tumultuous romantic relationship between two people who despise and buck the world they live in but must maintain themselves in it nonetheless. Philip is a young adventurer, the disowned black sheep of an aristocratic family and Susannah Messingham is beautiful widow left upon her husband’s death with little means to support her extravagant lifestyle. While at an upscale gaming house she observes Philip winning at the tables and sets out to use her feminine wiles to persuade him to teach her. Philip, however, is not as malleable as she had hoped…

How did you come up with the idea for Fortune’s Son?
Philip and Susannah (Sukey to her intimates) are major secondary players in my first novel, The Highest Stakes, and characters who almost stole the book! Although part of their complex relationship is portrayed in my first book, I realized at the end of it that there was so much left to tell about them. How did they actually meet? What really drove them apart? Will they every have a happy ending? I had to write their story because they demanded that I do so!

What is risky about Fortune’s Son?
Honestly everything! Philip and Sukey are gamblers – people who rely on Lady Luck for even their daily bread. They are so very different yet mirror one another in many ways. She harbors a secret scandal and Philip is constantly at war with his family. She’s a widow with a social position to maintain and eight years older than Philip, who is virtually penniless, yet, the attraction between them is undeniable. Although clearly evident from their first meeting, they both fight it tooth and nail, but it is bigger than they are. In the end, however, love prevails and they are both shown to make tremendous sacrifices for one another.

Did you come up with any interesting research while writing this book?
Tons of stuff and almost all of it is in the book! I wanted to build the Georgian world as it has never been depicted in a romance novel – the sights, the sounds, the places and events that were part of my characters daily lives. This included everything from the play house to pugilism matches. I also incorporated many real historical figures into all of these scenes to make them more vivid. Two of my favorite scenes are Philip and George at the cockpit and the scene where Lord March tells Philip and George about his famous carriage race, a true event that I used in the resolution of my story.

You really love the Georgian period. Can you tell us why?
My very long answer to this question can be found in my blog post “Why I Love the Georges”, but the short and sweet response is:

“Why the clothes, dahling!”

What is next for you?
My very next release is actually an erotic historical romance novella, A BREACH OF PROMISE, from Ellora’s Cave. I’ve written it under the pseudonym Victoria Vane because it’s so unlike any of my other work in tone, style and sensuality level. It’s very light and witty but also very sexy, a story I like to think of as kind of Heyer-esque but with lottsa heat! My next Emery Lee project (PG13 again) is very exciting. It’s a full length romantic historical novel, working title, CHASING VENUS. Set in the mid- Georgian period, it involves science, discovery and high seas adventure between a couple who could not be more diametrically opposed to one another if they tried. For readers who relish conflict in a romance – it’s sure to deliver!

Diane, here, again. You’ve all read lots of historicals. Name any game of chance that was popular during the Georgian period. Or ask Emery a question. Make a comment for a chance to win a copy of Fortune’s Son.

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One of my favorite TV shows is I Survived… on the Biography Channel. On this show a person sits against a black background and tells their story of survival. There’s no reenactment, just flashes to photographs and videos of the locations where the story took place. It is surprisingly effective. Some people tell stories about surviving the elements, a snowstorm, the ocean, the jungle. Others tell stories of surviving abduction or assault by robbers or strangers. Too many stories are told by women who survived attempts to kill them by husbands or lovers.

This weekend I came across an “I Survived” story in a book I’m reading, London’s Sinful Secret: The Bawdy History and Very Public Passions of London’s Georgian Age by Dan Cruickshank. This book tells about the Georgian and Regency sex industry, the world of courtesans and prostitutes in which young and innocent girls were enticed or trapped by shrewd bawds.
In 1753, eighteen year old sevant Elizabeth Canning was abducted by two men and taken to a house where a gypsy woman tried to coerce her into prostitution. Elizabeth refused and was imprisoned in an attic room and given only bread and water to eat in an effort to wear down her resolve. The gypsy woman threatened to cut her throat if Elizabeth tried to escape. After 28 days, Elizabeth managed to remove a board from a window, to climb out and jump to the ground and to find her way back home. Her ordeal outraged the citizenry. The authorities made an effort to locate the house where she was imprisoned. Elizabeth identified the house and the gypsy woman who was arrested.

Here’s where the story turns strange in a way that could only happen in this era. The gypsy woman vowed her innocence and soon the citizenry were taking sides. Who was guilty and who was innocent? The gypsy had an alibi and Elizabeth’s story had inconsistencies. Ultimately, the gypsy was acquited and Elizabeth was convicted of perjury and was transported to New England.

But Elizabeth survived even this consequence. She eventually married a great-nephew of the governor of Connecticut and had five children.

This story was much more complex than I’ve described here, with Henry Fielding and others involved, but even if Elizabeth’s story was not as she described (and never wavered from), she had survived something. Her condition when she escaped was “deplorable.” Her hands and face were black, her ear was injured and bleeding. She was dressed only in a shift and petticoat.

I love survival stories. I love hearing about how people can endure the unendurable and make it through. We humans can be a tough lot, whether we live in Georgian England or in our modern, sometimes dangerous world.

This weekend, as the events of the Tucson shooting were unfolding and the fate of Congresswoman Giffords was uncertain, I thought of I Survived…. and the stories of so many people who had managed to survive shootings, stabbings, shark attacks, subzero temperatures, etc. Perhaps if they could survive, so would Giffords and the other injured victims. I pray so, and I pray for those who did not make it. My heart goes out to their families.

Do you like survival stories? Do you know of a good one?

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My husband the music expert is currently amusing himself with this book, Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven’s Time, by Nicholas Slonimsky. On the cover, GB Shaw wields his mighty weapon and Beethoven receives a direct hit.

It makes for some fascinating and cringeworthy reading. Here, for instance, is a Viennese critic’s comment from 1804:

Beethoven’s Second Symphony is a crass monser, a hideous writhing, wounded dragon, that refuses to expire, and though bleeding in the Finale, furiously beats about with its tail erect.

More animal symbolism from a Paris critic of 1810:

Beethoven, who is often bizarre and baroque, takes at times the majestic flight of an eagle, and then creeps in rocky pathways… He seems to harbor together doves and crocodiles.

Whereas The Harmonium, London, in 1823, took this no-nonsense approach:

Opinions are much divided concerning the merits of the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven, though very few venture to deny that it is much too long.

And moving right along, in my Internet search for more music criticism articles, I ended up here, which is appropriate in a way:

By 1815 London had expanded beyond its medieval walls and the populace had grown to 1.4 million. People began to generate waste at an unprecedented rate. [italics mine]

Now I don’t believe the author of the article, Night-Soil Men, the Human Waste Collectors of Georgian London, meant that, uh, personal production increased, although that was certainly the first thought that came to my mind. Anyway, read the article for everything you always wanted to know on this topic. Isn’t the internet a wonder?

I’d also like to direct you to a fabulous site, Georgian London, a terrific, smart, well-researched resource. I was thrilled to learn that the site owner, Lucy Inglis, will be speaking at the RNA Conference in July, on “Trades for 18th-century women.” Can’t wait! And I’m speaking on a panel about writing for UK and US markets.

I expect you’ve seen the news about the discovery of the world’s oldest shoe (5,500 years old, found in Armenia).

And since I’m encouraging explorations online, please drop by my website to read an excerpt from Jane and the Damned.

What strange internet searches have you performed recently? Where did you start? Where did you end up?

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