Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Preview: "Unmentionable: The Men Who Loved on the Titanic"
This is the post Edwardian story I've been working on and posting about for the past six months: UNMENTIONABLE: THE MEN WHO LOVED ON THE TITANIC. With the 100 year anniversary approaching of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, I wanted to write a love story about what might have happened between two men who were in love in those days.
Because the word "gay" didn't exist until later in the century (in this context), and because the love between two men wasn't discussed at all, ever, I wanted to write a story about what might have happened if there were two men in love aboard the Titanic. I'll never know this for sure. In those days homosexuality was considered a flaw or a mental illness, but I would bet there was at least one homosexual couple in love, living in silence, sneaking around to protect themselves.
Here's the unedited blurb and excerpt. I'll post more when the cover comes in and the edits are finished. We're shooting for a March first launch right now, but that could change. I can promise it will be launched before April 14th, which is the 100th anniversary of the sinking.
One hundred years ago on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg on its way to New York. Though it had been considered unsinkable by all standards, it went down in the cold waters of the Atlantic, taking with it stories of love and romance that weren’t discussed openly in those days. This was especially true with stories of love between two men. One of those hidden stories of the Titanic dealt with the unyielding love and strong romance between a young man named Liam and his older lover, Oliver. Because Oliver was a wealthy business man in America with a great deal of notoriety, the only safe way to bring Liam aboard the Titanic was to dress him in fine women’s clothing and claim he was Oliver’s shy, distant cousin returning to America for the first time in many years. They finally begin to relax when they realize that everyone on the ship believes Liam is a woman, until that fateful night on April 14th when destiny intervened and changed their lives forever.
“I absolutely refuse to wear dainty, frilly undergarments and a corset on the Titanic,” Liam said. To emphasize his feelings, he punched a wall next to a tall bookcase. A brass candlestick tipped and landed on the floor. “And I’m not wearing women’s shoes. This is absurd, Oliver. I’m a man, not a woman.” Then he kicked the baseboard.
Oliver Prendergast crossed to where Liam was standing and picked up the candlestick. He placed it back on the shelf and then set both palms gently on Liam’s bare bottom. They were both naked in Oliver’s bedroom, in the tiny hidden flat Oliver had been renting in London for the past six months so his staff wouldn’t find out about his young male lover, Liam Singleton. Oliver moved his palms up and down Liam’s buttocks and said, “There’s no other way, my love. Discretion is extremely important right now if you’re going to return to America with me.”
Liam turned so fast his penis slapped against his thigh. He sent Oliver a glare and said, “Why can’t I just go as part of your staff? I don’t mind acting as your valet, or whatever way you want to describe me. I just want to be a man, not a woman.”
Oliver turned and walked to the window. He ran his fingers through his dark brown hair and took a deep breath. “Because that would be too conspicuous, my love. We don’t have enough time to set up a new plan. Everyone knows I never travel with more than three staff members. And what would I tell my staff? They’d suspect something immediately if I brought in a handsome young man now, and I can’t take any chances in my position. I’ve already booked a first class suite on the Titanic and I’ve told everyone I’m escorting my shy female third cousin back to America. People would ask too many questions if I changed plans now. They’d wonder what happened to my cousin.”
“This is insane,” Liam said. “No one is going to believe it. And I’ll be the one who winds up getting in trouble.”
“Trust me, it will work,” said Oliver. “I wish there were another way.”
When Liam heard the low disappointed tone in Oliver’s voice, he slowly walked to the window and leaned into his back. Although there was about a twenty year age difference, Liam had never met a man who could satisfy his needs and emotions the way Oliver did. At forty-one, Oliver was just as good as any man in his twenties or thirties; if not better…he didn’t have any inhibitions or insecurities. But more than that, no one had ever been so devoted to Liam in his entire life. So he put his arms around Oliver and kissed the back of his neck. “I’ll do this for you. But I’m not going to like it. And I’m not wearing anything dainty or frilly. I’ll wear one of those long corsets to cover my groin, but that’s it. The thought of dressing up as a woman is bad enough at any time. But to have to spend that entire time crossing the Atlantic on a ship dressed as a woman kills me.”