As this is being written, I’m sitting near the pool at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, where the annual writers’ conference with Dreamspinner Press is just wrapping up. I’m in the shade, of course, because I’m a vampire, but I can see the sunlight, so that counts, right?
I live a very solitary life – by preference – but it does one good to periodically get out and mingle with people who take writing much more seriously than I do. Plus we get some excellent speakers on stuff like marketing and character developments and this year, crime scene investigation from a forensic specialist (if you ever meet Damon Suede’s husband Geoff Symon, get him to tell you the maggot story. It’s hilarious).
I am, of course, late getting this to my next stop on the blog tour. I plead Florida…
Douglas Adams once said “I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound as they go by.” I try to make them, I really do. But they’re sneaky bastards. And I’m easily distracted. So I owe a big apology to Gay Book Reviews for being so late with this, after their being so kind as to host it. Mea culpa…
Fortunately for me, I didn’t have any trouble with the deadlines for Night and Day, since most of it was already published before, in Dreamspinner’s Myths & Magic: Legends of Love anthology. The trouble is, no one reads anthologies, so when it went out of print, I approached Elizabeth, the owner of Dreamspinner Press, and she kindly agreed to republish my story as a stand-alone.
One of the first books I added to my now-redonculous library was a hardcover edition of Edith Hamilton’s classic Mythology. It was a Christmas present from my parents. The grammar school I attended had a Great Books program that introduced students to important literature, and I had read some Greek mythology and loved it, so the ‘rents gifted me with the Hamilton. (Bulfinch’s was considered, but they thought it would be too difficult for even a precocious eleven-year-old like me. It was eventually acquired, of course…)
So when Dreamspinner announced the call for stories with mythic elements, I was ready. I had toyed with a story some years earlier about a down and out singer trying t get a job during the Depression but hadn’t gotten past the first few pages. Dusted off and recast with a male lead, I set the speakeasy up with a couple of fading gods and monsters, and the story … happened.
I frequently gripe and whine about how hard writing is, but every once in a rare while, magic happens. I hardly ever reread my books once they’re published because they were so hard to write, I kind of hate them by the time they’re done.
I’ve reread Night and Day at least twelve times. I don’t remember writing it. I vaguely remember some of the research: life in twenties and early thirties, different sun gods and moon goddesses, music, music, music – but not the actual writing.
The story itself is based on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Orpheus was a mortal musician of such blazing talent that he was beloved by both Apollo and Dionysus – two very different gods, but both patrons of music and poetry. But Orpheus’s loyalty was to Apollo. Dionysus got his revenge eventually—Orpheus went mad after the loss of his wife Eurydice and is torn to pieces by Dionysus’s crazy women followers, the Maenads. (Greek mythology is not pretty.)
Nate, my main character, doesn’t go crazy after losing his beloved Bertie, but his life is definitely in a downward spiral. He doesn’t believe his good fortune, but he does believe in Rick, the bar’s owner—and what more does a god need than one true believer?
Title: Night and Day
Author: Rowan Speedwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 9, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 52
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Nate Pederowski is about as far down as he can go when he’s tipped to a job as a singer in a speakeasy. Dishonorably discharged for being queer, broke and homeless during the Great Depression, Nate is embittered and lonely. The club’s handsome owner, Rick Bellevue, and his sister Corinna are wowed by Nate’s voice and offer him the job.
But the Starlight Lounge is much more than an ordinary supper club, and Rick and his sister much more than just the owners. It’s not ’til Nate gets caught up in a gangster’s plot that he discovers just what secrets they’re hiding. Nate’s life is going to change in ways he can scarcely imagine, let alone believe.
As you begin Night and Day, Rowan Speedwell effortlessly pulls you into 1933 and the Starlight Lounge, an elite private club. There’s a blue velvet tufted door with a rhinestone in the midst of each tuft, men wear white tie and tails with fedoras and brilliantined hair, the decor is white leather and silvery metal and glass. Told in first person present tense, we follow along as singer Nate Pederowski auditions for a job as a band singer, crooning Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” …
“The song is smooth and rich as wine, and thick with hopeless longing. Once you’re in the music, you can open your eyes, but you don’t see anything; you’re blind with love and passion. It’s as pure as a homecoming and hot as sex; it’s everything you need and have lost and found again. You let the passion burn through you until there’s nothing left ….”
Rick Bellevue, the club owner, hires Nate on the spot and they soon begin a passionate relationship (which is mostly alluded to, hence the 2 star rating for heat level). Without giving away too much of the plot, Nate soon realizes that Rick and his sister Corinna are not what they appear to be (brush up on your Greek mythology!) At around 50 pages, the plot is lean and tightly focused and the book definitely hold your interest throughout. The ending seemed a bit abrupt, but then again I was so enraptured by the first half of the book and the way Speedwell took us into Nate’s very soul that I could have happily read another 100 pages in that vein.
If you enjoy paranormal or fantasy M/M romance, you’ll enjoy this book. Even if you are not a fan, give this book a try. The story is beautifully written with an unusual and captivating plot.
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An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time… wait a minute… Hmm. Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math. She is good at pretending, though.
In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry. She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.