Friday Fanfare Welcomes:
Alicia Dean – Ruined: Martini Club 4 – The 1920s
How did the writer’s journey begin for you?
I’ve wanted to write all my life, and I wrote my first romance at age 11. I put writing aside when I married and raised my three children, but in 2001, I took a writing class with Mel Odom, and my inspiration and drive was renewed. I published my first novel in 2007, and I now have 24 published works.
Award-winning, multi-published author Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who happened to share the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.
Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.
Tell us three things about you-the writer-readers wouldn’t typically know.
- I always use celebrities as the model/inspiration on which to base my main characters.
- My first few drafts are always a hellacious mess, and it takes several passes to polish my work before it’s ready to share.
- Each time I begin a story, and several times while I’m writing it, I am racked with self-doubt and I often struggle to get even a sentence down, let alone an entire scene.
It all began when…
When my three writer friends and I, who gather each week at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma, decided to write stories centered around a place like the ML.
Where did you get the premise for this book?
I knew that each of our heroines were running from something in England, and I decided my girl was running from a lecherous Earl. My mind went to the irony of her escaping his lechery, only to end up a prostitute.
What stands out about this story that made writing it different for you?
Mainly that it was in the 1920s. I had never written anything other than contemporary (well, about the same time, I wrote a 1957 short story, but other than that, all my books are contemporary). I really had a blast researching the time period. I love the colorful terminology, the spirit of independence and change, and the creative ways people managed to skirt the whole prohibition thing.
Were there any difficult challenges or special subject matter you came across while writing this book?
It was difficult to not only write my heroine as British, but to keep the 1920s feel and accuracy. I ran across some fascinating stories during my research, a few of them ended up in the book.
What about this book would make us want to read it more than others of similar taste?
I think the uniqueness of my heroine being a prostitute would be compelling. But, also, the fact that I wrote this as part of a series with my three writer friend, and it’s fun to see how our stories are separate, yet interconnect from time to time.
What do you want readers to take away from this book?
I want them to feel as though they stepped back in time and were thoroughly entertained.
Tell us about the finished book. Is there anything special we might not know after reading it?
I used Robert Redford as my inspiration for Vince Taggart, and I used an actress unknown to me, Jamie Alexander, who seemed perfect for Eliza. When I finished the story, I was kind of sad it ended. I really loved visiting that time period, and I wanted to do more.
She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans…
After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.
When Vince Taggart ’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.
The ballroom was magnificent. Sparkling chandeliers hung from the ceiling like diamonds dripping from the sky. Grecian columns with golden draperies strung between them bordered the entire room. Paul Whiteman’s orchestra was performing on a platform stage set within a rectangular alcove at the western end of the room. Meggie would be joining them soon. What a fabulous opportunity for her. All her dreams were coming true.
Why her, and not me? Why can’t my dreams come true?
She nearly gasped in horror at the unbidden thought. Her cheeks warmed with shame. How could she be envious of Meggie? She deserved every happiness in the world. Just because Eliza had made poor decisions and ruined her life, it didn’t mean she couldn’t be happy for her friends. She blinked back tears. She was happy for her friends. Really, she was.
She clutched a champagne flute in her damp palms, praying she could get through the evening without being forced on a ‘date.’ Across the enormous dance floor, Oscar stood conversing with two men. Please don’t let either of them choose me…
Where can readers find you and your books?
Is there anything else you want to share or add?
The four of us have a fun blog where we post every Sunday, and all four books are currently on sale for 99 cents. You can find the blog and the books on Amazon here:
Please check out and ‘like’ our Facebook page:
The entire series can be found at this link on Amazon:
There you have it. Check out Ruined by Alicia Dean!
Thank you for visiting the Ranch.
Bad, BAD me! That last week in February got so busy I just now remembered I promised a copy of this series to a commenter. *slaps hands* I’m so sorry about that! But, Random.org chose MJ Schiller as the recipient! Congrats MJ!!!!
Man-oh-man am I excited to introduce you all to these four fabulous writers, and ladies I consider friends, today!!! All but one are previously published, so a special welcome and congrats on your debut, Krysta Scott!!!
I’ll get right to it and turn the round pen over to these four friends who wrote a series together over months of martinis. Ladies, you’re up! 🙂
Martini Club 4 – The 1920s
A few years ago, myself and three of my writer friends—Amanda McCabe, Kathy L Wheeler, and Krysta Scott—began meeting each Friday evening (unless something extremely important kept one of us away, and trust me, it had to be IMPORTANT) for Martinis and various other libations, at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma. In time, we came to dub our gathering the ‘Martini Club.’ We unwind, vent, chat about writing, laugh, and strengthen an already strong bond of friendship. It’s not only fun, it’s beneficial. As all writers know, no other friend besides a writer friend truly understands us. (We also have an honorary MC member, Cindy Sorenson. Although she is a writer, she declined to write one of the stories, but she has been invaluable as far as brainstorming and beta reading. So, what else could we do…we named a character after her in the series!)
During one of these gatherings, one of us, and I can’t remember who, made an offhand remark about writing stories centered around the Martini Club. The idea blossomed from there, and the ‘Martini Club 4’ series was born. We thought it would be fun to set our first MC4 stories in the 1920’s, but we intend to write more in other decades in the future. During the planning, plotting, and writing, we have had a few weekend retreats that were loads of fun, and some were even productive. J What a joy to do something that I love so much—writing—with a group of ladies that I love so much!
Today is release day, and we are all so excited!
Four young English women discover friendship, romance, and danger in 1920’s New York City…
- Jessica: An aristocratic reporter with a penchant for trouble, she encounters sexy, mysterious Frank Markov, owner of an elegant new speakeasy and a man with secrets she’s dying to uncover. ~ Rebellious
- Eliza: She fled England in pursuit of a better life, but her illusions are shattered when she falls prey to a scoundrel who draws her into a life of prostitution. When she meets Vince Taggart, a former boxer in search of his missing friend, she finds hope and the promise of love. ~ Ruined
- Margaret: Her impulsive nature lands her face-to-face with gangsters and bootleggers. Even more disarming is her undeniable attraction to the enigmatic Harry Dempsey. ~ Reckless
- Charlotte: Her dreams of owning her own bakery crumble when blackmail and murder land at her feet. Is the dashing detective her ruin or her salvation? ~ Runaway
Excerpt: (from Reckless by Kathy L Wheeler)
Meggie couldn’t believe it. She, Jessie and Lady Charlotte Leighton, or Charli as she preferred now that she was embarking on a new life too, were just blocks from walking up the gangplank to freedom. A new start. No more innuendoes from her mother and brothers. If they could just make it to the ship without Charli giving them away.
“Don’t look so terrified, Charli.” Meggie tried to curb her irritation. Charli couldn’t help being so shy. “This is an adventure.”
Jessie looped her arm through Charli’s. “You’ll see. We’ll have a grand time. You won’t have to marry that stodgy Lord Brigdon. In no time at all you’ll be baking, not just the best scones Americans have ever tasted, but the best cakes, and pastries for the most lavish parties imaginable.”
Meggie had to give Charli credit as she tried smiling through her fear, yet not quite managing the feat.
“I’d just feel better if we’d brought a maid or…or some companion.” Her voice trembled.
Meggie was careful to keep her tone gentle. “You know we couldn’t have dared trusting anyone.” They hadn’t boarded the Empress of India yet. Not all danger lay around the London docks. Samuel’s dukedom could stifle their plans as effectively as murder.
Thick fog hovered low in the early grey morning skies. A shudder skittered up Meggie’s spine. “Let’s hurry,” she said, broadening her steps.
Activity picked up the closer they grew to the water, along with the stench. All conversation stalled, and Meggie gripped the handle of her bag as they made their way briskly down the street.
“No!” The voice reached through the dense atmosphere a mere block from their destination.
“Come on, love. I’ll be gentle,” the words slurred heavily.
“What are you doing?” Charli whispered, her voice as alarmed as the girl Meggie was trying to discern through the soupy sky.
“We have to help,” she whispered back.
“Oh, Megs.” Jessie rolled her eyes—Meggie could hear it in her voice.
At least Jessie would understand. If Meggie hadn’t stopped she had no doubt Jess would have.
“Let me go. Let. Me. Go.” The panicked pitch rose two octaves.
“She’s over there,” Meggie said. “In that doorway.” Meggie lifted her skirt and ran, briefly picturing her mother’s horror. Jess and Charli’s footsteps pounded behind. She followed the frightened sound, pausing before an abandoned shop.
A tall, lanky man hunched over a girl who tried to crouch away, his hand gripping her breast.
Meggie dropped her valise. The sound carried in the quiet street. “There you are, you silly girl. You scared us, getting separated like that.”
Luckily, the girl lost no time in picking up the ruse. She shoved away the brute’s hand and brought up her knee. His pained high-pitched cry erupted. To Meggie’s surprise, he stumbled, tripping back and falling into a fetal position. A remarkable move, really. Something to ask the cheeky girl about later. Meggie grabbed her hand, snatched up her bag and took off, the other girls quickly following.
A half block from the ship, Meggie bent to catch her breath, taking in the girl’s matted hair and dirt-streaked face.
“Thank you, milady.” Her lips trembled though she put up a brave front.
“The name is Meggie. This is Jess—” She indicated with one hand. “And Charli. What’s yours?”
“Well, Eliza. The docks aren’t safe for a girl alone. Where are you going?”
“The same as you I imagine.”
“You’re going to America?” Excitement spilled from Jessie. “That’s brilliant.”
The girl’s gaze flitted away. “Um, uh, y-yes.”
Charli frowned. “Alone?”
Meggie narrowed her eyes on her wrinkled frock where something suspicious streaked across the bodice. She prayed it was mud. This girl was in trouble, something Meggie and Jess were no strangers to. “You’ll come with us.”
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly—”
“Of course you can. We need a fourth, besides.” That settled, Meggie took her arm once more, leaving Jess to handle Charli. “We’re on an adventure.”
The entire series can be found at this link on Amazon:
Please check out and ‘like’ our Facebook page:
I, for one, have already got my copies on my Kindle, thanks to pre-ordering weeks ago! But I am offering a set of all four books to one lucky commenter who can tell me what they like best about the roaring 20s. The clothing styles? Debonaire men? The risque-ness of simple things we now take for granted?
Also tell me what format you prefer in your comment. (mobi or PDF)
I’ll choose a name Sunday and announce the winner Monday in this same post. All I ask in return is that the winner leave a review of all four combined, or each independently, on Amazon, BN or Goodreads–all three would be even better! Or if you blog, you can just review them there and share the link for me in comments here, or email the link to me at calisa(dot)rhose(at)gmail(dot)com once you’ve read the books.
Remember to contact me once I call your name (winner) so I can get your books to you! If I don’t hear from the winner by the end of 48 hours I will choose another winner.
Above all, don’t forget to check next week to see who won. It could be you Random.org chooses! 🙂