- N. N. Light
Juliana: Book 1 of the Juliana Series by @vandawriter is a KU Event pick #lgbtq #historicalromance
Title: Juliana: Book 1 of the Juliana Series
Genre: Lesbian Historical Romance (1941-1944)
She went looking for fame, and found her true self, instead.
New York City, 1941. Alice “Al” Huffman and her childhood friends are fresh off the potato farms of Long Island and bound for Broadway. Al settles into a normal life with her friends and a boyfriend. It all changes when she meets Juliana.
A singer on the brink of stardom, Juliana is everything Al isn’t: glamorous, talented, and queer. The farm girl is quickly enthralled, experiencing thoughts and feelings she never realized were possible. Al finds herself slipping between two worlds: the gay underground and the “normal” world of her childhood friends. It’s a balancing act she can handle until the two worlds begin to collide.
In a city bursting with change, can Alice find what she was looking for all along?
Juliana: Book 1 is a captivating work of LGBT historical romance. If you like, spell-binding storytelling, characters you can’t help but fall for, and taking a walk through 1940s New York City then you’ll love the first book in award-winning writer’s Vanda’s Juliana series.
Buy Juliana to discover a sexy, funny, and deadly serious world today!
Did you have your acting lesson with Mrs. …?”
“Mrs. Viola Cramden. Yes, I did. I’ve had quite a few lessons with her. You know, she’s been to Paris. Uh, before Nazis took them over, of course. Imagine, Paris! Have you ever been there?”
“Yes, I have.
But Mrs. Cramden is kinda funny. She’s got this pillow on top of this chair that you have to sit on while you’re waiting for your lesson and it says, ‘Passion is at the bottom of all things.’ “
I waited for Juliana to laugh, but she didn’t. Instead, she looked confused.
“Well, you’re sitting on it with your bottom, and it says ….”
“It’s not that funny.”
“No, you’re right, it is. Ironic.”
“I shouldn’t have said ‘bottom’ in front of you. Now I did it again. I’m sorry.” I covered my eyes with my hand.
“It’s all right. Really.”
“There are certain things you don’t say where I come from. I guess country people and city people are different. Mrs. Cramden says I need heat.”
Juliana laughed out loud, almost choking on her tea. I liked making her laugh.
“I’m becoming more impressed with your Mrs. Cramden by the minute.”
Juliana put her hand on top of mine; I felt the warmth of her touch climb up my arm. I was relieved that there was one person in the world who didn’t think Mrs. Cramden was a nut or that I was for taking lessons with her.
“But I don’t get to do too much acting,” I said. “Only exercises. I leaned toward her. “Did you ever feel like you didn’t deserve certain words? Words that were so beautiful they shouldn’t even be spoken.”
“I don’t think I understand what you mean.”
I leaned back on the couch. “Nothing. I didn’t mean anything. You’re a really good singer.”
Juliana took my hand in hers. “You sing, too, don’t you?“ Let’s sing. Together.”
She hurried into the music room, her heels clicking marvellously between the two rugs.
“We’ll have no false modesty here.” She played some chords on the piano. “Come,” she called to me and I couldn’t just hide out on her couch so I forced myself up.
“You say gramophone like Mrs. Cramden.”
“I was raised in Great Britain. Maybe Mrs. Cramden was, too. I made this phonograph record about eight months ago. No one bought it.”
“But I’m sure if you keep trying ….”
“Do you mind if I play it a little? Sometimes I like to harmonize with it, and it has a whole orchestra backing me up that sounds better than just the piano.”
“Oh, yes, I’d love to hear it.”
“Let’s dance,” she said.
“No. I, uh, I don’t dance very well.”
“I’ll lead. Put your arms around my neck,” she instructed. I did, and she pulled me close to her. Our bodies were touching, and my heart was pounding. She sang right to me, her perfume floating over me like a Sunday morning haze. This glamorous movie-star type was singing to me. I could barely catch my breath. She moved me over the rug. “See? You’re doing it.”
I let my feet go wherever she moved them. Things I’d never felt before were …. I felt breathless and giddy and …. She lifted my chin with her finger and sang right into my face and ….
“The way you’re looking at me,” she said. And she kissed me. Right on my lips. Her tongue slid into my mouth, and then my tongue met hers and a vibration shot into my stomach and down to that place you’re not supposed to talk about. I’d never felt a kiss there before. I didn’t want her to stop.
She pulled away ever so gently. “I’m afraid that’s all for tonight, sweetie.”
She took a deep breath and sighed, “As much as I’d like you to stay, you have to go home now, dear heart.”
She went to the closet and got my coat and hat. She placed my hat on my head and my coat around my shoulders. I listlessly put my arms into the sleeves as she buttoned me.
“Oh, I got lipstick on you.” She took out a handkerchief and lightly rubbed my mouth. “There. I think I got it all.” Her hair smelled of warm lemons. Guiding me out she said, “When you’re ready, come see me again.”
I think she may have pushed me out the door. My body still hadn’t started moving on its own yet.
Buy Links (including Goodreads):
Universal Link: www.vandawriter.net/Juliana
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V.N Writer wrote her first novel in eighth grade, with encouragement from her teacher, Mr. James Evers, who said, "My children will read your words." She went on to win an Edward Albee Fellowship among other awards. In playwriting. One of her plays, VILE AFFECTIONS, was a finalist for the National Lambda Literary Award. V.N Writer, as Vanda is currently writing a series of novels about LGBT modern history that is NOT for LGBT folks only. These are books about people surviving and rising though some very difficult and dark days. However, they are not gloomy books. The characters are filled with spirit and lots of humor.
V.N Writer also recently completed the standalone Lesbian Contemporary Romance, Who Stole My Hula Hoop?
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