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Lessons Learned While Writing “Dance Hall Days”
– Twitter can make anything happen. Seriously, this anthology exists because a few of us were talking on Twitter one day about romance in the workplace. Someone said we could pitch it to Dreamspinner. Someone else started a Google Group.That was at the end of January. Eight months later, here’s our fabulous book! Man, the Internet is magical, isn’t it?
– Research for historical books is a black hole that can suck you in and spit you out weeks later muttering about undergarments and gas stoves, electric street lamps and tax laws. Only a handful of the twenty-seven zillion bits of information I acquired that made it into this story, leaving me with pages and pages of notes and a bone-deep admiration for historical romance writers. I’m shocked we don’t find their bodies deep in the stacks at the library, crumbly piles of bones bent over old books, having fallen victim to “I’ll just read one more thing” syndrome.
– If you are lucky enough to have a brilliant British romance novelist read your ms. In order to help you “take the American out”, she will change all of your asses to arses, and all of your cocks to pricks. She will also eventually note in the comments that she stopped flagging them halfway through, because there were so many instances that she was starting to feel like a pervert.
– I almost never use Find & Replace All, because I’ve always imagine the chaos I could accidentally wreak upon an unsuspecting manuscript. Almost never. Right before we submitted the ms. of ALL IN A DAY’S WORK, I realized that I hadn’t changed those asses to arses. In a hurry, I used Find & Replace All for the first time ever. A week later, long after our submission had been made, I glanced at my ms. only to recoil in horror as I realized that all my “glasses” were now “glarses” and so on. Note to self: speed kills.
– I am a giant chicken. This short story was inspired by a post on British historian Matt Houlbrook’s blog. Matt wrote a brilliant book called Queer London, and one of the stories he tells is of a police raid that happened on a real life drag dance hall in London. I have talked to Matt a little on Twitter and he has expressed excitement at the idea that an historical study could spark a romance story, and I promised to send him a copy of the book so he could read it. But now I’m so nervous! I have been forgetting to send him the book and I only just figured out that’s because I’m worried about what a historian will think of my love story. However, I clicked Send this morning. “Dance Hall Days” wouldn’t exist without Matt Houlbrook’s research and his generous sharing of it online. I’m terribly grateful for his fantastic work! Now, fingers crossed he’s also a romantic at heart…
“Dance Hall Days”
Bouncer Frank Armstrong has been watching drag performer Laurie Hale for months—watching him mesmerize the audience with his beautiful voice and shy charm, and watching him fall for the honeyed words of wealthy men who come to the ballroom slumming. One night, Frank finds Laurie suffering his latest heartbreak and decides to clean him up and give him some advice, but Laurie is in no mood for a lecture. An anti-sodomy raid puts a halt to Frank’s speech, and while the two of them hide from the police in a secret storage closet, they acknowledge the attraction between them. But it will only blossom into more if Laurie can convince Frank a dance hall songbird can be as strong as the man who guards the door.
Eight short stories about finding love—or a hot hook-up—at work. All but one are contemporary, with the outlier being a 1930s historical that will give you a new perspective on dance halls. From newlyweds who can’t keep their hands off each other in the office to Revolutionary War reenactors who spice up Washington’s Army to high society spies engaged in dangerous espionage, no one will suggest that the characters in All in a Day’s Work give up their day jobs!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amy Jo Cousins writes romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. After years of being employed as a commercial real estate developer, a welding teacher, a spa manager, a bookstore music buyer, a barkeep, and an HR guru, she’s absolutely certain that being a writer is the best job ever, and writing happy endings for her m/m romances is one of her favorite things to do. Amy Jo lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series. You can find her online at amyjocousins.com, on Twitter at @_AJCousins, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmyJoCousins.