This week our mission was to interview and/or review a fellow author. I decided to chat with Alicia Dean, an Oklahoma author who amazes us all with her energy. In addition to being a working mom who churns out books at night, she is the driving force behind Authors Helping Authors, my go-to group for promoting, editing, and sometimes just venting.
Alicia and three friends are in the midst of promoting a brand new series of novellas set in the 1920s – a fascinating era that is not often featured in romances. I had the pleasure of previewing two of these books, and have plans to read the other two while I’m on my spring break this week. But I’ll turn things over to Alicia so she can tell you more about the Martini Club 4!
AD: Thank you so much for inviting us to your wonderful blog!
A few years ago, I joined three of my writer friends—Amanda McCabe, Kathy L Wheeler, and Krysta Scott—in meeting each Friday evening (unless something extremely important kept one of us away, and trust me, it had to be IMPORTANT) for Martinis and various other libations, at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma. In time, we came to dub our gathering the ‘Martini Club.’ We unwind, vent, chat about writing, laugh, and strengthen an already strong bond of friendship. It’s not only fun, it’s beneficial. As all writers know, no other friend besides a writer friend truly understands us. (We also have an honorary MC member, Cindy Sorenson. Although she is a writer, she declined to write one of the stories, but she has been invaluable as far as brainstorming and beta reading. So, what else could we do…we named a character after her in the series!)
During one of these gatherings, one of us, and I can’t remember who, made an offhand remark about writing stories centered around the Martini Club. The idea blossomed from there, and the ‘Martini Club 4’ series was born. We thought it would be fun to set our first MC4 stories in the 1920’s, but we intend to write more in other decades in the future. During the planning, plotting, and writing, we have had a few weekend retreats that were loads of fun, and some were even productive. J What a joy to do something that I love so much—writing—with a group of ladies that I love so much!
PK: Are the stories related?
AD: Yes, the stories are definitely related. They are actually intertwined to a degree. The four heroines in our stories came over on a ship from England to New York. The other three knew one another before, but they met my character, Eliza, on the docks. The girls share a flat in New York and have some cross over scenes in all four stories.
PK: How did you split up the duties as far as editing, formatting, uploading, cover art, etc?
AD: We’ve all just pitched in based on our skills and ideas. Meeting every week for drinks gives us plenty of opportunity to bounce ideas off one another and make decisions, as do the out of town/in town weekend retreats we’ve done. We all shared in the editing. We did sort of a hand off type round of reading one another’s stories. We’ve all read them all at various times, but for our final critique before they went to our beta reader and editors, I read Kathy’s, Kathy read Krysta’s, Amanda read mine, and Krysta read Amanda’s. Then, we passed them on to J Lynn McKay and Cindy Sorenson for a final, beta read/edit. Kathy and I have done the formatting and uploading because the two of us have experience in that area. Krysta and I chose Steven Novak as our cover artist and Kathy and Amanda chose Kelly McBride. I’d worked with Steven before, and absolutely adore his work.
PK: Have you begun working on the next set of books?
AD: The next set is still in the discussion stage, but we know they will be set in the 1940’s. We also know they will be related, but not as closely intertwined. It was tricky making the time frame and location/situation of the characters in all four stories match, so this time, we’ll probably have the stories take place consecutively.
Without further ado, I’d like to present the four novellas in our Martini Club – The 1920’s series.
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The entire series can be found at this link on Amazon:
Rebellious by Amanda McCabe
Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster?
Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city’s most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger…
Rebellious is available at Amazon:
You can contact Amanda at her website.
She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans…
After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.
Former boxer Vince “The Fist” Taggart dreams of marrying, having a family, and living a quiet, peaceful life. But when a girl he’s known since childhood disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza is the key to finding his missing friend.
Ruined is available at Amazon.
Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger…
Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend.
Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior.
Reckless is available Amazon.
Blurb: Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?
After escaping an arranged marriage, Lady Charlotte Leighton lands on a new shore, determined to realize her dream of opening her own bakery. But her plans are shattered when her former fiancé follows her to New York. Now, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.
Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his efforts to find a murderer are jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect. While he’s certain Charlotte Leighton is keeping secrets, instinct tells him she’s not the murderess he first believed.
Ruined is available at Amazon.
Patricia’s thoughts: I’ve read the first two books in this series (Rebellious and Ruined) so far, and I can tell you these stories are every bit as exciting as they sound! Even though these stories are short, each of the main characters endured enough hardships and emotional growth to create a fully formed character arc and keep me reading. The backdrop of New York City in the era of flappers and gangsters provides a fascinating setting, and I can’t wait to sit down and read the third and fourth books. I have the feeling I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next set of projects from the Martini Club!