Teaser Tuesday: the Work in Progress

Here’s a little sneak snippet from the work in progress– one you’re not going to see in the finished book.

One of my biggest problems as a writer is when to make my characters stop talking. They do go on. And on and on. And the on and on flows so naturally that I have trouble reining them in and making them get on with the story.

After sixteen books, I’ve learned that, sometimes, I have to cut conversations I like. It’s never fun, but it’s necessary. Because otherwise my characters would talk themselves and me into a corner.

So here’s a little bit of conversation that just bit the dust in the current WIP.

To set the scene, it’s 1894 London. Georgie Evans, an actress in a burlesque version of Twelfth Night (Eleven and One Nights, now showing at the Ali Baba Theatre!), has accompanied one of her fellow cast members out to dinner with an English rake and his American friend.

The English rake’s name? Sir Hugo Medmenham. And if any of you wonder if he bears any relation to a certain character in The Temptation of the Night Jasmine…. Yes. Yes, he does.

At this particular moment, Medmenham is putting the moves on Georgie’s friend, Kitty, which leaves Georgie to deal with the American, Bayard Van Duyvil– who isn’t behaving at all as she expects.

“Sorry, I only work with borrowed words.”

“Will you say me a sonnet, then?” Van Duyvil sounded genuinely interested, but then they all did, didn’t they? Until they had what they wanted.

“For the right price,” said Georgie, with calculated crudity, “you can have all of Hamlet.”

“Bodies and all? That’s a grim prospect.”

Not everyone got a comedy or a romance. “A sad tale’s best for winter.”

Van Duyvil frowned. “That’s not Twelfth Night, is it?”

“A Winter’s Tale.” She’d played Perdita, pursued by a rather lascivious bear. Never mind that Perdita and the bear never shared a scene in the original; the audience enjoyed the sight of scantily clad Perdita fleeing an orsine embrace.

“But it’s nearly spring now.”

He’d been gammoned, poor man. The cost of a dinner and all he would get at the end was words for his trouble, and twice-used words at that. It was his friend who would go home to a warm bed at the end of the night, at least, if the way Kitty was leaning on his arm was any indication, while Van Duyvil would be left to sport the blunt.

“Don’t expect a thaw to set in any time soon.” And then, in case he didn’t understand, “I’m only here as chaperone.”

More on the Work In Progress soon! And now back to the bits that are– hopefully!– going to stay in the book….


  1. Sheila on January 12, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Fun! Looking forward to more.

  2. Freya Shipley on January 14, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Fantastic! Twelfth Night is my favorite play, and I yearn continually for Twelfth Night – related historical fiction. I can’t wait!!!

    (I hope you don’t mind my mentioning: the play is properly *The Winter’s Tale*, rather than *A Winter’s Tale*.)

  3. Lori Radulovich on January 18, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I really enjoy when your characters come to life during these witty conversations. When I read your books, I see the scene and the characters talking to each other. An excellent writer gets me so caught up in the dialogue that I often find myself not aware of where I am, just as your books do, Lauren. Thank you. Can’t wait for this new book!

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