I leave The Laramie Series behind with mixed feelings. Lily’s Sister, the first of the six books in the series, came out in 2006 and the final book, Smiling at Heaven, will be out this fall. Right now Smiling is being scrutinized by a woman that doesn’t miss much (if anything) and the manuscript will eventually float back to me more red than black. Then I’ll review every suggested change, make the changes that seem right to me and the sense of the story, format it for Kindle, and that will be that.
I already realize that I’m ready to do something else [or maybe nothing else.] While the series has been a good friend to me and its characters are like family, I am ready to move on — move on in every possible literary way.
In September I will introduce a new series called “The Penwarrens.” Light-hearted and shamelessly romantic and meant to be read for no serious reason whatsoever, “The Penwarrens” is a trio of novels set in Victorian England. They hold no history lessons (but my research of the time is still pretty solid, I think), no moral imperatives, no lessons to learn, and no real-life women. They are written in traditional 3rd person voice not 1st person and none of them is longer than 175 pages. They will not make you think deep thoughts but I hope they’ll make you laugh and touch your emotions once in a while. I also hope that when you reach the last page you’ll say, “Well, that was fun!” because I can tell you they were a lot of fun to write. A far cry from The Laramie Series in many respects, but if I’ve done them right, I hope you’ll find “The Penwarrens” just as enjoyable and just as satisfying in their own small way. That said and with full disclosure, if sprightly little romance stories aren’t your thing, DO NOT BUY any of the books in this series.
“The Penwarrens” is a tribute of sorts, both love letter and thank you note to Georgette Heyer, whose novels have carried me through 50 years. Heyer — she of the witty dialogue and the snappy repartee and the dense vernacular of Regency England. An author able to write hopelessly, wonderfully romantic stories about characters the reader really cares about in sometimes ridiculous situations, and all that with only one staid kiss at the very end. Georgette Heyer was an author that knew how to use words — even archaic words (rap on your Kindle screen all you want, their meanings won’t show up, and – shades of elementary school! – the reader may have to use context to figure out words incomprehensible to contemporary minds.) Ms. Heyer tapped into the imagination and into the heart – tapped on the funny bone, too. We will not see her like again and it is our loss.
Book I of “The Penwarrens” titled Claire, After All is available on Amazon and in the Kindle store now, and Listening to Abby and Jubilee Rose are hot on its heels.