Today I am so pleased to welcome Liv Rancourt to Joyfully Jay. Liv has come to talk to us about her latest release, Lost & Found. She has also brought along some great giveaways. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Where does a story come from?
Every so often I look at my own books and try to figure that out. For example, my upcoming holiday novella grew out of a combination of the publisher’s theme (holiday crafts) and the fact that my favorite fabric store (and all-purpose really cool place) closed last spring.
Don’t ask me how I pulled Bo & Jon out of that mess of ideas, because I really can’t tell you.
I wrote much of Lost and Found during NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. I found the initial seed in Nijinsky’s heartbreaking life story. So much genius was wasted by a society that couldn’t accept who he really was. Or maybe he just didn’t have the language to describe his real self. Either way, he stopped dancing because of mental illness, and he died way too young.
We were all robbed of the art he didn’t live to create.
With Nijinsky in mind, I put together a Pinterest board and filled it with images of dancers and of Paris in the early 20th century. (You should check it out; there’s some really cool stuff.) I read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein. I read a book on the history of Montmartre and another on the history of Paris, and I dug into on-line information about World War 1.
And out of all that I spun a love story about an American army doctor who suffered severe mental trauma as a result of the war, and a dancer who’d had to leave the Ballets Russes after polio robbed him of the strength in one leg.
I suppose if I dug back through my notes, I could figure out when Louis first hit the page and how I knew Benjamin had returned to Paris to find Elias, because I sure as heck don’t remember where those things came from now. I could drill down, but I probably won’t Shining too bright a light on things kind of takes away the magic.
Magic? Careful, Liv. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Let’s just say I’m content to focus my attention on the story in front of me, rather than worrying about how it got there. I hope you’ll check it out, too. Lost and Found will be released on 10/4/19, and from now until after GRL on 10/20/19 it’s priced at only $2.99 – regular price will be $4.99. Keep reading for an excerpt and make sure you enter the giveaway I’m running for a $25 gift card. Happy reading!!
(Benjamin & Louis were forcibly invited to attend a performance of the Ballet Russes…)
I, however, had reached my limit. Taking Louis by the arm, I gave her a taste of the military officer who’d been decorated on the battlefield. “Pardon, mademoiselle, but my friend is unwell and needs some air.”
“But you have not seen the second dance!”
Oh Christ. There’s more? I glanced at Louis. “Perhaps another time.”
She opened her mouth, but again I raised my hand. “Please. If you would like to see Louis, he keeps rooms on the Place du Tertre. We’re in the café L’Oiseau Bleu most evenings, but for tonight, we’ll say à bientôt.”
Before she could respond, or, worse yet, Louis could argue with me, I pivoted and drew him up the aisle toward the door. We reached the street before he spoke.
“You just set off a bomb in a box of snakes.”
I slid my gaze to his. He wasn’t smiling, but his sunken cheeks no longer had the color of a cadaver. “You were about to collapse.”
“Perhaps”—he shut his eyes and smoothed a palm over his hair—“but you were brave to cross Janine.”
Snorting, I put on my hat and took his arm. “What’s the quickest way back to Montmartre?”
“Wait.” Pulling away, he looked me straight in the eye. “You know by now where my preference lies, non?”
Surprised both by his change of subject and the sudden intensity of his tone, I nodded cautiously. “I’m not sure.”
He dropped his head back until he stared up at the heavens. “Benji…mon ami…I’m going to be very brave, and very direct, but you must promise me something.”
The nickname felt more intimate than the heat of his body next to mine. “Of course.”
“You must promise not to hit me, because I think that would hurt.”
His smile had an edge to it, one I did not like. “I would never hit you.” To reinforce the point, I clasped my hands behind my back.
“You’ve never mentioned a woman, a lover, and then I felt your, ah, interest…” He paused until I had to look away. Yes, I knew what he meant, but hearing him speak the words out loud made it hard for me to breathe.
“Shh. Calm down.” He put a hand on my arm. “No one will know what I’m saying to you right now.”
I took a wild look around. He was right. The lights from the Théâtre still burned, but we’d moved a block or so away. Our immediate area was empty of people.
“So now for the bold… I find you very attractive.” The intensity of his gaze made my heart slam in my chest.
Something in my face must have moved him, for he smiled and shook his head. “Tonight…seeing these old friends, was hard.” He gave an eloquent shrug. “I need some comfort, mon ami. Can you give me that comfort?”
The ground opened up under my feet, and I stumbled, even though I was standing still. Sadness infused his smile. “No, I see that you cannot,” he said. “Please, forget I said anything. I’ll just…you go your way tonight, and I’ll go mine.” He took one step, and another, his cane scraping on the cobblestones.
“Wait,” I said, scrambling for a way to hold him. “I’m not an idiot. I know what you’re asking me.”
He raised one eyebrow, harshly skeptical. “And what are you prepared to do about it?”
I had no earthly idea. “If I was going to do this with anyone, I would do it with you.”
Whether or not he heard the truth in my words, he must also have heard the fear. He bowed, the motion as elegant and graceful as anything we’d seen on stage. “I’m flattered by your…I’m not even sure. Interest? Honesty?” He took a few more steps, never taking his eyes from my face. “Have a good night, Benji. Tomorrow, we’ll try again to find your friend.”
Elias. How could I have forgotten him?
Louis spun around and strode off, the clack of his cane landing like blows on my heart. I wanted to yell, to demand he stop.
But he was right. I couldn’t do this mysterious thing he needed. I was a eunuch, castrated by fear. Disgusted with myself, I chose the opposite direction and walked quickly into the night.
A dancer who cannot dance and a doctor who cannot heal must find in each other the strength to love.
History books will call it The Great War, but for Benjamin Holm, that is a misnomer. The war is a disaster, a calamity, and it leaves Benjamin profoundly wounded, his mind and memory shattered. A year after Armistice, still struggling to regain his mental faculties, he returns to Paris in search of his closest friend, Elias.
Benjamin meets Louis Donadieu, a striking and mysterious dance master. Though Louis is a difficult man to know, he offers to help Benjamin. Together they search the cabarets, salons, and art exhibits in the newly revitalized city on the brink of les années folles (the Crazy Years). Almost despite himself, Benjamin breaches Louis’s defenses, and the two men discover an unexpected passion.
As his memory slowly returns, Benjamin will need every ounce of courage he possesses to recover Elias’s story. He and Louis will need even more than that to lay claim to the love – and the future – they deserve.
Liv Rancourt writes romance of all kinds. Because love is love, even with fangs.
Liv is a huge fan of paranormal romance and urban fantasy and loves history just as much, so her stories often feature vampires or magic or they’re set in the past…or all of the above. When Liv isn’t writing she takes care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether she’s at work or at home. Her husband is a soul of patience, her kids are her pride and joy, and her dogs – Trash Panda and The Boy Genius – are endlessly entertaining.
Liv can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at her website (www.livrancourt.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/LivRancourt). She also blogs monthly over at Spellbound Scribes (https://spellboundscribes.wordpress.com/). For sneak peeks and previews and other assorted freebies, go HERE to sign up for her mailing list or join the Facebook page she shares with her writing partner Irene Preston, After Hours with Liv & Irene. Fun stuff!
Liv has brought a $25 gift card (winner’s choice of Amazon or B&N) to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
Liv is also giving away an ebook copy of Lost & Found to one Joyfully Jay reader who leaves a comment below. The contest ends on Saturday, October 5th at 11:59 pm ET.
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