Gaudy Night: A Different Kind of Love Story

By Jennifer Hallmark

For any of you that know me at all, it’s no secret that the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction” is one of my favorite genres to read. I think it has something to do with my dad and I watching PBS together on a little black and white television, timeless stories about Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Lord Peter Wimsey.

But what does that have to do with our month of love stories? For crying out loud,  it’s Valentine’s Day. The perfect time for an epic romance. I understand. And for a book to be extra-special to me, there has to be an element of romance. I need the hero and heroine to feel the spark between them, for them to agree and disagree, fight and love. Add to that, the main characters working together to solve a mystery and it can’t get any better.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers combines all of the above and more. Our hero, slash crime solver, Lord Peter Wimsey, loves Harriet Vane, a woman he saved from being falsely accused of the murder of her lover. Harriet is sick of all men and won’t even pretend to love Lord Peter. But he never gives up pursuing her. (I love that!)

In this tenth book by Dorothy Sayers, the third to involve Miss Vane, Harriet goes back to her old Alma Mater, Shrewsbury All-Female college as part of a journey of self-discovery. She raises all the questions: Who am I? Why have I struggled? What do I really want to do in my career? Who do I love?

Harriet’s bravery to attempt this inner journey while trying to solve a mystery at the college creates a wonderful story. Peter’s ability to let Harriet find her own way without his help is masterfully written and makes me enjoy his character even more.

To me, what makes this novel work is the chemistry between Harriet and Peter. They both are learning about themselves and each other and the world they live in that is moving toward World War II. Dorothy Sayers dives deeply into their inner thoughts and makes it all so real I feel like I know them. That’s great writing.

And the perfect ending with all the ooh’s and aah’s, the romance, the kiss. I’ve read the book countless times, sometimes just skipping around to my favorite parts. It might just be time to read it again.

If you have time, read all of Sayer’s books starting with Whose Body? and you’ll find the experience of reading Gaudy Night even richer.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click to tweet: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. Mystery or romance or both? @InspiredPrompt #amwritingromance #ValentinesDay

Do you like mystery and romance combined better than romance alone? I’d love for you to share a favorite mystery/romance with our readers. 

Love Stories and Why They Work

By Jennifer Hallmark

Who doesn’t have a favorite love story? I mean a book or movie that can be brought out on any given day to cause a happy sigh of contentment, one that can be viewed or read over and over?

Our culture loves romance and great stories and happy endings. What makes a good romance work and how can we as writers tap into this mystery? During February, we’ll look at many books that the Crew at Inspired Prompt enjoy and discuss them. Books like Jane Eyre, Lorna Doone, and Gaudy Night.

What? You’ve never heard of Gaudy Night?  Author Dorothy Sayers combines romance, mystery, and a journey of self-discovery, three great storylines to me. So, don’t miss my personal post on Valentine’s Day. It could be a new favorite for you.

Enjoy the discussion this month and please stop by and leave a comment. We want to know what books you like and also the kind of story you are currently writing. We hope to share ideas in crafting your work-in-progress that could one day become a classic love story…

Click to tweet: Our culture loves romance and great stories and happy endings. How can writers tap into the mystery of a classic love story? #WritingCommunity #amwriting

To kick off the month, share your favorite love story, book or movie, in the comments below…

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Davalynn Spencer

Hello, friends of Inspired Prompt! Welcome to 2020 and our first interview of the year. We’re excited to have Davalynn Spencer with us, who holds the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction.  Want to know more?

Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, she writes romance for those who enjoy a Western tale with a rugged hero, both historical and contemporary. She teaches writing workshops and plays the keyboard on her church worship team. When she’s not writing, teaching, or playing, she’s wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Learn more about Davalynn and her books at https://www.davalynnspencer.com Sign up there for her newsletter and receive a free novella.

Click to tweet: “So if writing is truly someone’s dream, I tell them to never quit. No matter what, don’t stop. Don’t let the ideas and images dry up, even if no one else reads them. Keep the words of life flowing; you’re bound to be washed and refreshed by the stream yourself.” Author Davalynn Spencer #WritingCommunity #romance

We took a moment to ask Davalynn a few questions and also about her new book…

For starters, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Davalynn: I take great delight in creating stories that touch a reader’s heart, and when I hear from someone who mentions a particular scene or dialogue that blessed them, well, that’s an answer to prayer.

The downside to writing is the “business” aspect of it. Authors today are expected to be the head of sales and marketing, the president of product development, and the director of distribution. I prefer to spend my time rearranging words on the page so they weave their way into readers’ hearts. But business is part of the deal.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer concerning craft? How about marketing?

Davalynn: I am not a numbers person. Numbers are not in the alphabet, therefore I’m not a fan. However, numbers are sprinkled throughout the territory, and some of my income has been reinvested in learning the ins and outs of advertising in major markets.

However, I’d much rather invest in craft, and I do this by buying and reading well-written books and attending writers’ workshops. This is a venture that has paid off in a surprising way because now I’m teaching some of those workshops.

If you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Davalynn: As a college writing professor, I tell my students to do more than make a living – make a life. It’s nice when these two sides of the career choice end up on the same coin, but it doesn’t always happen. Most writers must maintain a “day job” (or night job) so they can pursue their goal of putting words on the page that entertain, inspire, and encourage. So if writing is truly someone’s dream, I tell them to never quit. No matter what, don’t stop. Don’t let the ideas and images dry up, even if no one else reads them. Keep the words of life flowing; you’re bound to be washed and refreshed by the stream yourself.

Thanks so much, Davalynn, for dropping by!  We appreciate you offering an e-book of A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection for one blessed person who leaves a comment…


A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection

Two sweet tales of mishaps, memories, and emotions that test the mettle of two Western couples in the Colorado high country at Christmas.

 Just in Time for Christmas

Abigale Millerton is seventeen with a ranch to run, a fear of heights, and a cowboy intent on stealing her heart.

 Snow Angel

As a four-year-old, Lena Carver lost something precious at Christmas. Twenty years later, she’s about to lose her heart.

Purchase through Amazon an easy download or paperback edition of A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection, click here.

Reading and Exercise

Hope y’all have a Merry Christmas full of love, joy, peace, and hope!

(And of course, reading) 🙂

Click to tweet: Reading and exercise. Can the two go together? It depends on how you look at it.  #amreading #Christmas

Writing Prompt:

Take the photo below and write a flash fiction story (under 1000 words) of what comes to mind.

If Tomorrow Were Christmas

 

bright-christmas-christmas-decor-716738 (1)

 

Corrie Ten Boom – Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.

 

If tomorrow were Christmas and the presents weren’t wrapped,

The pies needed filling, the gingers weren’t snapped.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the stockings lay limp,

the fire didn’t roar, the tree mostly bent.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the cards had no stamps,

The turkeys sat frozen, the lights had no amps

Would Christmas still come if nothing got done?

 

If tomorrow were Christmas and the hymns were not sung,

The flights were delayed, the wreaths never hung.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the snow didn’t fall,

The stores wouldn’t open, the kids couldn’t call.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the bells didn’t ring,

The pudding went flat, there were no carols to sing.

Would Christmas still come if nothing got done?

 

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it bring?

Rushing and stressing, or worshiping the King?

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it hold?

Feasts for our bodies, or feasts for our souls?

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it be?

All about Jesus, or all about me?

Yes, Christmas would come if nothing got done.

 

For presents and singing and eating and such

The myriad of things, on which we spend so much

Are tidbits and pieces of the true celebration

Of God’s only Son; man’s hope and salvation.

So, open the presents and hang the wreaths

Call the kids and enjoy the feast.

For Christmas Day has come to us; it’s nothing we have done.