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Welcome Miranda Neville to the Riskies! She’s giving away two copies of her novella P.S. I Love You. See below on how to enter.

Savinien_de_Cyrano_de_Bergerac  Borrowing from history, myth, fairy tale, or other authors’ works is a time-honored tradition. The Greeks and Romans did it. Shakespeare did. And I have done it.

Cyrano de Bergerac was a seventeenth century French soldier and writer. Judging by the portrait shown here he did, indeed, have a big nose. He is best known through the 1897 drama by Edmond Rostand. The love story in the play is invented, though based on real people.

In case you need reminding, Cyrano loves Roxane but believes he his so ugly she can never love him. She confides that she loves Christian. Christian, his handsome BFF, is bit of a boob and quite inarticulate. Expected to woo his lady by letters, he had Cyrano write them for him. Roxane falls in love with the letters and marries Christian, though she has found his conversation a little disappointing in the flesh. When the latter is killed in battle Cyrano doesn’t tell the truth but preserves the memory of his friend in Roxane’s heart. Only on his deathbed does her reveal that he was the author of the letters and thus the man she loves.

The play has been translated, revived, and filmed numerous times. Roxanne (with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah) and The Truth About Cats and Dogs are movies based on the plot. According to Wikipedia the story has been adapted as an Indian musical, a porn movie, and numerous other iterations.

MirandaNeville_PSILoveYou800I therefore make no apology for appropriating Cyrano for my novella P.S. I Love You, part of a quartet of connected stories in At the Duke’s Wedding with Caroline Linden, Maya Rodale, and Katharine Ashe.

The thing that always annoyed me about the original story is that Cyrano and Christian are so bound up in their bromance it never occurs to them that Roxane deserves to know the truth and make up her own mind which man she prefers. (Mind you, Rostand’s heroine is a bit drippy. Sign of the times, perhaps.)

In my Regency version the protagonist is the badly scarred Christian, Earl of Bruton (Cyrano not being a likely name for an English aristocrat), Christian became Frank (secondary character name), and Roxane was Anglicized to Rosanne.

Handsome, dumb Frank fell for Rosanne at a hunting party and received permission from her father to write to her. Panic-stricken, he has his cynical cousin Christian dictate the letters. Rosanne and Christian fall in love through correspondence and they all meet at a ducal house party where complications ensue. Where I depart from the original is the way Rosanne, smart girl, figures out the deception and takes control.

What are your favorite romances that steal from the classics? Do you know of another romance version of Cyrano de Bergerac? I feel sure mine was not the first.

You may read an excerpt from P.S. I Love You here. The novella is currently 99ç at Amazon, Nook, iBooks and Kobo. AtTheDukesWedding-Cover2The full anthology At the Duke’s Wedding (which I highly recommend: the other stories are great) is at the same retailers. (Amazon, Nook, iBooks and Kobo)

Miranda Neville is the author of nine Regency historical romances and several novellas. Her next book is Christmas in Duke Street with Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, and Shana Galen, coming in October. WebsiteFacebookTwitter
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I’m normally the type who keeps all Christmas activities strictly confined to the six weeks or so between Thanksgiving and Epiphany. I never Christmas shop before Black Friday. I wouldn’t dream of putting decorations up before the first Sunday in Advent. But this year I spent a good chunk of February and June with Christmas on the brain–I was writing Christmas novellas!

My February project will be a Carina release in 2014. Since that’s so far away, and it doesn’t have a release date or title yet, all I’ll say about it for now is that it’s the story of star-crossed lovers reunited after a five-year separation at a Regency house party…with wassailing and mistletoe and a thick coat of snow on the ground.

But my June project, Christmas Past, releases in less than two weeks, on November 25!

Christmas Past cover

As the title hints, it’s a time travel story. The heroine is from my own adopted hometown of Seattle in 2013–only in her version of the present, time travel has been invented and is largely used for medical and other scientific research. Sydney is a PhD student in historical epidemiology, making her first trip to the past to collect blood samples from soldiers in Wellington’s army for her mentor’s study on the epidemiological impacts of the Napoleonic Wars.

Time-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquist’s first mission sounded simple enough—spend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellington’s army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new life—and embrace a new love—two centuries before her time.

Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful “Mrs. Sydney” from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his present—by his side.

I had a lot of fun writing this story, particularly going back and forth between Sydney’s contemporary voice and Miles’s Regency voice–and I’m so used to shifting into Regency vocabulary and diction the instant I open a manuscript file that Sydney’s was far more challenging to achieve!

When writing my Christmas novellas, I found myself imagining reader busy with everything that makes November and December such a joyous yet challenging time of year. Maybe she’s flying home to her family and wants a good story to take her mind off a crowded, turbulent flight. Maybe she just put her pies in the oven and wants to put her feet up and read while her house warms with the aromas of pumpkin and spice. Maybe she’s snowed in, unable to make it to work or school, and is elated to finally have time to escape into fiction.

What about you? When do you read holiday novellas? What are some of your favorites? And when do you put up and take down your decorations?

Christmas Past is now available for preorder from multiple sources, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play.

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