Holly Breckenridge: December 10

As you know, following my new pattern, I’m trying to put up a new story or novel for pre-order such that it will go live on the 10th of every month until the heat-death of the universe. (Challenge accepted.)

For December, it was my chance to put out the first piece of what will eventually be a long and terribly fun to write novel/story series, one of these days.

I went to bed one night at the usual time. Laid there for a bit, until a voice told me get my ass out of bed, because she had something she wanted to say. I have learned not to argue, if I really want to sleep.That turned out to be the first chapter of the new (longer than short at 9,500 words) story: The Adventuress.

This one is set in Edwardian England, roughly 1909 CE. Purely historical action, without any magic or mad science, because she wanted it that way. Not urban fantasy, nor contemporary. Just action-adventure for a young woman suddenly thrust into the greater world by the need to betray her own husband before his dastardly plans could be unleashed.

However, early 20th Century Great Britain was not a time for a liberated woman. So she must die, and be reborn as someone entirely else. In this case, a family friend with interesting connections arranges for her to become Mrs. Hollis Breckenridge, supposed widow of Captain Hayden Breckenridge, VC, 2nd Dragoon Guards.

But she must leave England, possibly to never return. To do so, she must train herself, both physically and emotionally, becoming this other woman, this survivor. She must become an Adventuress, in an era that doesn’t even know the term.

Researching Holly has been and continues to be fun. There will be more stories. I have no idea how long they will be, or when I will have time to write them, but I have plotted out a set of events for her over her next several years, taking her to Paris, Istanbul, Irkutsk, and Tokyo, at a very minimum.

Because this is the era just before the beginning of the First World War, there is a plethora of history books I can mine for “what the world was before” (or: The Proud Tower, for those of you who know the reference). And buying all these books is suddenly a business expense! (This is important because I don’t spend a lot of time reading science fiction or fantasy any more. But history and biographies are always fun. Currently, I’m almost done with “Admirals: The Naval Commanders Who Made Britain Great” by Lambert, in my planning for more Jessica and Nils and Petia in the future.)

The other fun thing about Holly is understanding how women’s fashion and cultural upheaval go hand in hand. The Edwardian era was a time for loosening the bindings of the Victorian era, both physically and metaphorically. The corset begins to disappear. Women go from an exaggerated and overly-decorated hourglass to a long, skinny flapper girl over the next 20 years.

She is liberated, in all ways, and begins to take her place alongside men.

The rest of the 20th Century can be seen as swings of a generational pendulum, from the flapper to the 50’s Housewife. The 60’s. The 70’s. The 80’s. The 90’s. Each changed the way a woman looked. And I get to study that and understand the fashions and the looks (because I plan to start making clothes one of these days, on a very small scale).

Fashion is also an interesting thing to study, because, starting in 1900, what men wear becomes fixed. In those twelve decades, very little changes. Wide/Narrow lapels. Two/Three/Four buttons. Pinstripes/Solids/Corduroy.  Vest or not. Ties in a variety of flavors and shapes, or none. Slacks. About the only thing interesting these days, per Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm), is the sorts of fabrics designers are working with, but that is IT. Everything is the same silhouette, the same dreary.

Kind of insulting, speaking as a guy, that I have about one percent the options that my wife has, culturally speaking as a westerner. But Holly is about to transcend England, and not from the fine salons and cars of English culture. She’s going to be going into the souks, the khasbahs, the marketplaces that make up the rest of the world. And I have to study all of it so I can get the details right.

That’s the best part: Research.

So you’ll have the first part of Holly’s new life. And I promise that there will be more. She is too alive to wait around forever for me to get to her, but Jessica and Javier are still taking precedence.

So I think many of you will enjoy Holly. Pre-order available on all the usual sites. The story drops December 10. I’m looking forward to your thoughts. (I already know what Maggie thinks. She’s one of the reasons I decided to publish it now, and not at some later date.)

shade and sweet water


West of the Mountains, WA