Title: GREEN CARNATIONS
Entry Nickname: Unnaturally Dyed Boutonniere
Word count: 93K
Genre: Adult Historical LGBTQ
GREEN CARNATIONS is a 93,000-word LGBTQ adult historical fiction appealing to fans of Mackenzi Lee's Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and Cat Sebastian's M/M historical romances.
Under its glittery surface, Belle Epoch Paris is a brutal place where an illustrious name or a fat bank account are almost the only means of advancement. His illegitimate birth leaves Brit expat FIN TIGHE with neither. So he schemes to find investors for Gustave Eiffel's pet project: a 300-meter tower that will dominate the city's skyline. If Fin raises money, his commission will earn him a fortune, and if he's lucky, some protection. Because his evenings spent in the clandestine gay community might be legal through a loophole in the Napoleonic Code, but they're anything but safe.
Then a hurricane-force charmer named GILBERT DUHAIS knocks Fin off course. Gilbert is wealthy, connected, and--Christ wept--seductive as hell. Not only does he sweep Fin off his feet, he introduces Fin to every nouveau riche speculator in the city. But Gilbert's capriciousness isn't the only thing keeping Fin up at night because somehow, Gilbert's privy to the secrets Fin ran away from in his native Yorkshire.
When a dear friend is murdered, clues indicate that Gilbert might have hijacked Fin's life for duplicitous--even deadly--purposes. Fin must untangle what he believes are disparate threads of his past and present before they become his noose.
I lifted my glass to hide my unshakable imbecilic smirk in another drop of wine. The terrace wasn’t empty, but I had my choice of seats facing the general direction of the river, towards the Champs du Mars. Not that I could see it over the mansard roofs of my neighborhood’s apartments, but I knew where it was. I wasn’t the most creative man; my talents were concrete; numbers and measurements. Dependable things, unable to be changed on a whim. But when I lifted my gaze up toward the waxing moon, I could almost make out the iron lacework tower that might change my life.
Would change it.
And Monsieur Eiffel would ensure I'd be well-compensated.
The expanse of butcher paper serving as a tablecloth begged for some scribbles, and I pulled a pencil from the pocket under my green-tinted boutonniere. With a flourish, I wrote out the sum I could have done in my head when I was six, let alone one-and-thirty, but I needed to see the answer in writing. Twenty percent.
Good Christ. I giggled, and I never giggled. Giggling was for small children and overenthusiastic young girls. Yet, there I sat, in a crowded restaurant, and something I vaguely recognized as joy burbled out.
My head whipped up at the unfamiliar male voice. I could count on one hand the people on earth who called me Fin rather than Finley or Tighe, and none of them would hover around a perfectly bourgeois establishment like this tonight—or any night.
Title: Upstairs at the Café Pequod
Entry Nickname: How to Not Be a Nazi
Word Count: 80k
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Upstairs at the Café Pequod will appeal to fans of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. The story centers around a little-known piece of French history, a Nazi war atrocity so obscure that I have spoken with European Theatre veterans of the Second World War who have never heard of it.
Kristian Molenaar's childhood has not instilled him with a sense of faith in humanity, and what little he has left as an adult has been all but destroyed by his years stationed in Nazi-occupied France. An unwilling conscript in the German army, he is finally jerked out of months of helpless apathy when he comes to the aid of Virginia Morgan, the proprietress of a tiny village café. The two strike up an unlikely friendship, growing closer as the war drags on. Against the odds, a fledgling romance begins... but Virginia, Kristian soon learns, is much more than a simple café owner, and the dangerous secret she hides could spell certain death for them both- and, quite possibly, for Virginia's entire village. Set against the backdrop of the Nazi massacre of Oradour-Sur-Glane and told from alternating viewpoints, this is the story of a fiercely independent woman who learns that to love and to need someone does not make a person weak, and of a man who learns that the silence of the everyday citizen is truly evil's greatest and most effective accomplice.
When I stumbled across an article about Oradour-sur-Glane, while reading about the French Resistance, I was absolutely dumbfounded. Six hundred and forty-two innocent civilians slaughtered by the Nazis? An entire village wiped off the face of the map for no reason at all? How had I, in my own extensive reading about the Second World War, never heard of this? I knew, immediately, that this was a story that needed to be told. This novel is extensively researched, its supporting cast populated with people who really lived in Oradour before its destruction. The climax is meticulously constructed around the eyewitness testimonies of the tiny handful of people to have survived the massacre that day.
First 250 Words:
Kristian has been coming to this cozy corner café nearly every night for over a week, and with each visit, he notices something new about her.
It begins with her hair, with the way that long, errant strands are continually escaping the knot at the base of her neck, the way bright red tendrils work their way out of her kerchief to brush the sides of her face. She’s forever huffing a breath out of the sides of her mouth, blowing the disobedient curls back and off of her cheek, when her hands are too full of dirty dishes to tuck them behind her ear.
Just as noticeable as her hair is her height- or, rather, her lack of it. She is positively tiny, not much taller than the oldest of the children who scamper into her café on their way home from school, digging in their satchels to scrape up enough pocket money to buy a cookie or two, hoping that she’ll take pity on them whenever they come up short (which, from what he has seen, she almost always does).
Later, he notices the smaller details: the girlish smattering of freckles dusting her nose, the intense blue of her eyes, her tiny waist under her apron, her slender eyebrows that arch so expressively, both in amusement and in annoyance.
He doesn’t yet know her full name. He has only heard the local townsfolk refer to her as “Mademoiselle Morgan,” which intrigues him, because Morgan is not a French name.