So if you know me at all you know one thing about me - I was born and raised in New Orleans. So when the Amber Allure PAX came up with the theme "Gothic", I had to jump on it. New Orleans is "et up" with Gothic, from the houses, to the people, to the very mists rising from the river. And for me, there was one small island of homes in New Orleans that screamed Gothic to me - the houses lining Coliseum Square. I'm not sure how Trace Zaber (Renaissance man and cover artist extraordinaire) managed to find the very house I thought of when describing the DuCote mansion, but he did.
So I knew where I had to set my story the moment I saw "Gothic PAX" on the signup sheet. And I knew I wanted to revisit the old trope of the governess who comes to the mansion and falls for the handsome, yet mysterious master of the house - only with my own gay twist on it.
And so, Coliseum Square is my offering. It's out now, from Amber Quill Press - Amber Allure, part of the 5 book PAX, along with authors, Deidre O'Dare, D.J. Manly, A.J. Llewellyn, and Darcy Abriel, all fabulous authors, and it's on sale for the first week for 35% off!!
I grew up reading Gothic stories in my neighborhood library, The Nix. That's right, in Nola, even the libraries have names. And mine was glorious, what a library should be, all wood floor, ceilings about twenty feet high, long ceiling fans to stir the hot summer air, and tall shelves of books. I remember the wooden card catalog, pulling out the deep drawers and hunting through the little cards for the next book to read. The check-out desk wrapped around on corner of the building, and in my youth, it seemed enormous. And the librarians? Women who knew everything about every author and book. They were my idols.
Long after I grew up and moved away, I went back to Nola and it just so happened The Nix was celebrating a birthday. So I dropped in. Can you imagine my amazement when one of the old librarians remembered me as a kid? Of course, I spent just about every day in the summer there, reading all the books I could get my hands on. I only had to walk about six blocks to get to it, so nothing stopped me. I'd go to the Nix, then take my books down the street and get a hot fudge sundae at the Schweghartz's drug store ice cream counter. (It was summer, remember?) Or I'd go out of my way and hit the Plum Street snowball stand a few blocks away for an orchid crème vanilla snowball (lovely gray lavender color).
As a teen, going to the library was part of my life - and reading Gothics and mysteries and semi-romances ate up a large part of my summers. I'd get my books home, and curl up on the huge glider sofa we had on the screened in front porch, and dive into a book.
From Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and every single Mary Stewart book, I immersed myself in their worlds. Little did I know I was surrounded by my own Gothic world - New Orleans, its homes, people, and its atmosphere? And who knew when decades later (don't worry about how many) I put all of that into my books. My Hearts of New Orleans stories at Amber Allure are a testament to my love for my hometown and the gay men who inhabit it from the past to the present.
I hope you'll join me there. Take a trip with me to New Orleans. Ride a riverboat, rock along the streetcar tracks, or rumble over the cobblestones in a horse drawn wagon, but however you travel, come with me. Lots to see and do. And lots to eat. It's N'awlin's, dawlin'.
Lynn's books can be found at her publisher, or at Amazon.
Follow her on Twitter @lynnlorenz and on Facebook Lynn Lorenz
Coliseum Square by Lynn Lorenz is now available at Amber Allure.
If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all, and that's multiple chances to win!