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From Here to Fourteenth Street ~ Diana Rubino

Please help me welcome today’s guest, my author friend Diana Rubino, with a fascinating look at her latest release…

 

FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET Now on Audio with the soothing voice of narrator Nina Price

Read About FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET and how Vita Found Love and Success Against All Odds

It’s 1894 on New York’s Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. Vita goes from sweatshop laborer to respected bank clerk to reformer, helping elect a mayor to beat the Tammany machine. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption, Vita’s father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. As Vita and Tom work together against time and prejudice to clear her brother and father of a murder they didn’t commit, they know their love can survive poverty, hatred, and corruption. Vita is based on my great grandmother, Josephine Calabrese, “Josie Red” who left grade school to become a self-made businesswoman and politician, wife and mother.

An Excerpt:

As Vita gathered her soap and towel, Madame Branchard tapped on her door. “You have a gentleman caller, Vita. A policeman.”

“Tom?” His name lingered on her lips as she repeated it. She dropped her things and crossed the room.

“No, hon, not him. Another policeman. Theodore something, I think he said.”

No. There can’t be anything wrong. “Thanks,” she whispered,  nudging Madame Branchard aside. She descended the steps, gripping the banister to support her wobbly legs. Stay calm! she warned herself. But of course it was no use; staying calm just wasn’t her nature.

“Theodore something” stood before the closed parlor door. He’s a policeman? Tall and hefty, a bold pink shirt peeking out of a buttoned waistcoat and fitted jacket, he looked way out of place against the dainty patterned wallpaper.

He removed his hat. “Miss Caputo.” He strained to keep his voice soft as he held out a piece of paper. “I’m police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.”

“Yes?” Her voice shook.

“I have a summons for you, Miss Caputo.” He held it out to her. But she stood rooted to that spot.

He stepped closer and she took it from him, unfolding it with icy fingers. Why would she be served with a summons? Was someone arresting her now for something she didn’t do?

A shot of anger tore through her at this system, at everything she wanted to change. She flipped it open and saw the word “Summons” in fancy script at the top. Her eyes widened with each sentence as she read. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.”

I hereby order Miss Vita Caputo to enter into holy matrimony with Mr. Thomas McGlory immediately following service of this summons. 

How FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET Was Born

New York City’s history always fascinated me—how it became the most powerful hub in the world from a sprawling wilderness in exchange for $24 with Native Americans by the Dutch in 1626.

Growing up in Jersey City, I could see the Statue of Liberty from our living room window if I leaned way over (luckily I didn’t lean too far over). As a child model, I spent many an afternoon on job interviews and modeling assignments in the city, and got hooked on Nedick’s, a fast food chain whose orange drinks were every kid’s dream. Even better than the vanilla egg creams. We never drove to the city—we either took the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train (‘the tube’ in those days) or the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

My great grandmother, Josephine Arnone, “Josie Red” to her friends, because of her abundant head of red hair, was way ahead of her time. Born in 1895 (but it could’ve been sooner, as she was known to lie about her age), she left grade school, became a successful businesswoman and a Jersey City committewoman, as well as a wife and mother of four. She owned apartment buildings, parking garages, a summer home, did a bit of Prohibition-era bootlegging, small-time loan-sharking, and paid cash for everything. When I began outlining From Here to Fourteenth Street, I modeled my heroine, Vita Caputo, after her. Although the story is set in New York the year before Grandma was born, I was able to bring Vita to life by calling on the family legends and stories, all word of mouth, for she never kept a journal.

Vita’s hero Tom McGlory isn’t based on any real person, but I did a lot of reading about Metropolitan Policemen and made sure he was the complete opposite! He’s trustworthy and would never take a bribe or graft. I always liked the name McGlory—then, years after the book first came out, I remembered that was the name of my first car mechanic—Ronnie McGlory.

I completed the book in 1995, and my then-publisher, Domhan Books, published it under the title I Love You Because. The Wild Rose Press picked it up after I gave it many revisions and overhauls. My editor Nan Swanson did a fabulous job making the prose sparkle.

Changing the Title

When I proposed the story to Wild Rose, I wanted to change the title, since it went through so many revisions. I wanted to express Vita’s desire to escape the Lower East Side and move farther uptown. I considered Crossing 14th Street, but it sounded too much like Crossing Delancey. After a few more hits and misses, the title hit me—as all really fitting titles do.

A Bit of Background—What Was 1894 New York City Like?

The Metropolitan Police was a hellhole of corruption, and nearly every cop, from the greenest rookie to the Chief himself, was a dynamic part of what made the wheels of this great machine called New York turn. 

The department was in cahoots with the politicians, all the way up to the mayor’s office. Whoever wasn’t connected enough to become a politician became a cop in this city. They were paid off in pocket-bulging wads of cash to look the other way when it came to building codes, gambling, prostitution, every element it took to keep this machine gleaming and efficient. They oiled the machine and kept it running with split-second precision. The ordinary hardworking, slave-wage earning citizen didn’t have a chance around here. Tom McGlory and his father were two of a kind, and two of a sprinkling of cops who were cops for the right reasons. They left him alone because he was a very private person; he didn’t have any close friends, he confided in no one. He could’ve made a pocket full of rocks as a stoolie, more than he could by jumping in the fire with the rest of them, but he couldn’t enjoy spending it if he’d made it that way. They knew it and grudgingly respected him for it. He was here for one reason–his family was here. If they went, he went. As long as they needed him, here he was. Da would stop grieving for his wife when he stopped breathing. Since Tom knew he was the greatest gift she gave Da, he would never let his father down.

Meet Vita: An Interview With Vita Caputo, Heroine of FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET

Vita, we know you and Tom overcame astronomical odds to stay together. It’s like Romeo and Juliet. I can imagine how torn you felt when you wanted to be with Tom, but didn’t want to defy your father. Tell us, what was your family and homelife like when all this was going on?

Well, I loved my father and brothers more than anything, and didn’t want to defy them. Yet at the same time, I felt they weren’t respecting my wishes. I was in love with Tom, and they hated him for two reasons, which to me, were irrational—he’s Irish and he’s a cop. But you have to understand their underlying reasons—cops always gave Italian immigrants a hard time on the Lower East Side. They didn’t give Italians a fair shake. Many of them were bullied, arrested for crimes they didn’t commit—and of course if you know my story, you know that the police framed Papa and my brother for the murder of Tom’s cousin, also a cop. I can understand their hatred of the police force for this heinous act. But not the entire police force is corrupt. Teddy Roosevelt, the Commish, certainly wasn’t, and Tom certainly isn’t. But when you face this hatred and injustice every day, it’s easy to be bitter. Our homelife, before I met Tom, was the usual Italian household—we struggled to make ends meet and didn’t have much, but I always made sure we had more than enough to eat, and to share with those who had less. I went without new clothes, shoes, coats, to buy groceries so we wouldn’t go hungry. We argued over petty things—like who left the stove on—but we always made up in the end. We were very affectionate, and gave each other a lot of hugs and kisses. We sometimes felt the world was against us—and at times it was.

What did your childhood home look like?

Did you ever see the classic Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners? They had a walk-up flat in Brooklyn. Well, ours was on Mott Street in Manhattan, but our flat looked much like that—it was called a ‘railroad flat’ because all the rooms were in a row—kitchen sitting room, bedrooms in back. We shared a toilet on the landing. But compared to other Mott Street tenements, we had it made—we had indoor plumbing. No bathtub, but a sink with running water. We didn’t have to go to a backyard privy. The bedroom was partitioned off by a curtain that I’d made—one side was mine, the other side my brother’s. Papa and his wife Rosalia had another bedroom to themselves.

What is your greatest dream?

To be a Senator or Congresswoman, but I’m happy enough as a committeewoman for now.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

I wish I could be calmer and slow down. I do too much—run the household because I refuse to hire help, raise our 3 kids, work and invest our savings. I follow the stock market and purchase stocks that have long-term growth potential. What’s stopping me is my drive to get ahead.

Who was your first love?

Tom, of course. My father tried to throw me together with ‘a nice Italian boy’ Roberto Riccadonna whose family owned a music store and was ‘well off’ – but he was arrogant and controlling. He threatened me when I told him I wasn’t interested in him. He and Tom got into fisticuffs when I found Roberto under my boardinghouse window singing “O Sole Mio” with a mandolin. He had a nice voice, but Tom was hardly impressed.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

When Papa and my brother Butchie were arrested for the murder of Tom’s cousin Mike. It tore me into pieces, because Tom didn’t want to believe Papa and Butchie were the killers, but evidence pointed to them. We made it our quest to find the real killer, and we did. It created a huge rift in our relationship of course, but we overcame that as we got through all the other hardships and prejudices that tried to keep us apart. 

What was your first job?

I started out as a sweatshop worker sewing ‘shirtwaists’ (blouses), and now I’m a committeewoman, with a view to being New York City’s first female mayor.

What’s your level of schooling?

I left school at 16 to go to work in a lampshade factory.

Where were you born?

Sassano, Italy, near Naples.

Where do you live now?

Greenwich Village, in a brownstone on East 14th Street.

Do you have a favorite pet?

They’re all favorites, two mongrel pups, Charlie and Shirley, two cats Romeo and Juliet, and assorted goldfish whose names we can’t keep up with!

What’s your favorite place to visit?

Coney Island, to sit on the beach, frolic in the ocean, eat those delicious hot dogs and fried dough, and stroll the boardwalk!

What’s your most important goal?

To see my three children become successful, respectable citizens. Doing all right so far—my daughter Assunta (Susan) owns a clothing store, my son Virgilio (Billy) writes Broadway musicals and my youngest Teresa (Tessie) wants to be a baby doctor.

What’s your worst fear or nightmare?

That the stock market will crash again or some other disaster will plunge us back into poverty.

What’s your favorite food?

My homemade lasagna with my grandmother’s sauce recipe (it’s a secret)

Are you wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between? 

We’re finally members of the solid middle class.

What’s your secret desire or fantasy?

To sing in one of my son’s musicals.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I’d buy my own airplane and give the rest to charity.

A Review From Romantic Times:

Immigrant Vita Caputo escapes New York’s Italian ghetto and secures a job in a Wall Street bank, along with a room in a Greenwich Village boarding house, thanks to Irish police officer Tom McGlory. With her new beginning, Vita even joins the Industrial reform movement.

Tom is an honest cop, with little interest in women until he meets Vita. When Tom’s cousin is murdered and Vita’s father and brother are arrested for the crime, the two team up to investigate and soon discover that they are falling in love.

Vita and Tom face economic problems, prejudice, and cultural differences. Ms. Rubino’s research is obvious.—Kathe Robin

From Rhapsody Magazine:

FROM HERE TO 14th STREET by Diana Rubino is all that and then some. Everything about this book is what writing should be–original and wonderfully executed. Bravo!—Karen L. Williams 

From Book Nook Romance Reviews:

Diana Rubino has done a masterful job of researching the life of Italian and Irish immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York, its society and politics and crime. She paints a vivid picture of the degradation immigrants of Italian descent suffered, particularly at the hands of the earlier Irish immigrants they succeeded. Barred from all but the most menial jobs, forced to live crammed into the worst slums, she makes it easy for the reader to understand why many of them turned to a life of crime and violence. Not only can the reader see what Vita and Tom see, they can smell it, hear it, and taste it.

Vita is a delightful heroine, as full of vivid life as the city she lives in. Stubborn, determined to escape the ghetto in which she lives and make something of herself, she never loses her commitment to and love for her family. That very devotion, however, threatens her growing relationship with Tom, since the Irish and Italians are the Capulets and Montagues of 19th century Manhattan. Although she cannot help falling deeply in love with him, she knows that her father and brothers will never permit her to spend her life with him. And, in a departure from the usual super-masculine hero, Tom is a sensitive, secret poet as well as a cop.

If you like vivid characters and a book that carries you effortlessly back to an earlier time, FROM HERE TO 14th STREET is a good choice. –Elizabeth Burton

MORE ABOUT THE LOWER EAST SIDE:

One fascinating place to visit is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum

at 97 Orchard Street, once an actual tenement. They have tours describing life as it was back then, with each floor of the building decorated (if you want to call it ‘decorated’) to depict each time period when immigrants lived there.

I read a lot of books to research this story. One book I remember reading as a kid is How The Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis, a photographer and reformer of the time. The photos in his 1901 book vividly illustrate the poverty and deprivation of the times, for adults and children alike.

ABOUT ME:

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. I live on Cape Cod with my husband Chris. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre. Visit me at www.dianarubino.com, www.DianaRubinoAuthor.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor, and on Twitter @DianaLRubino.

Purchase FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

getbook.at/FromHereTo14Audio

 

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Working with a Voice Artist by Jessie Clever ~ Historical Romance: To Save a Viscount

I am especially pleased to introduce today’s guest. I have had the pleasure of working with Jessie Clever, proofreading and editing some of her work. Her books are fantastic! Historical is not my preferred genre, but her stories definitely kept me engaged. Her characters and premises are unique and compelling. She has a knack for bringing you into the story, the setting, and makes you want to keep turning pages.

Today, she is sharing an interesting article about working with a voice artist on an audio book. I had the experience myself, and it was quite an adventure. Please help me welcome Jessie with her take on the process….

The Voice in My Head: Working with a Voice Artist to Bring Your Story to Life 

As an author, I jumped on the audio bandwagon with unstoppable glee.  I could not wait to turn my Regency romances into audiobooks in order to reach the voracious audio listeners I knew I was missing.  My main goal in writing has always been to share my stories with those who crave them, and romance readers are an exceptional bunch.  We are always looking for more, and audio has allowed me to reach even more wonderful readers.

So when I first approached this business of audio recording, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I used an online service called ACX that allowed me to audition voice artists for my manuscript.  Now, I’m sure like many of you, when I read something, a certain voice appears in my head.  Depending on the book.  Depending on the genre.  Or depending on my mood at the time.  The story has already taken on a voice before someone reads it aloud.  So the auditions became something for which I was not prepared.

None of the auditions sounded like what the story sounded like in my head.  They got it all wrong!  That was not how Jane sounded.  She was not a cranky old lady.  She was very much a debonair, refined lady of the ton much like Maggie Smith’s performance on Downton Abbey.  Nora was not whiny and weak.  She was demure and controlled.  Her very voice spoke to her struggles as a character.  My unstoppable glee was quite quickly, well, stopped.  I didn’t like the “sound” of this business at all.

And then I received one more audio file from a voice artist outside of London.  (That is the magic of the Internet, isn’t it?  We creatives get to collaborate with folks from around the world while sipping coffee in our bathrobes.)  I reluctantly clicked the play button on this audition, steeling myself to hold back the disappointment that I knew would be coming in waves.  But then—What was that?  That clear, concise voice.  Those softly rounded consonants.  That contrasting crisp voice of authority and surety that said nothing more than dignified.  That.  That right there was the voice!  That was Nora.  That was Jane.  That was even rascally Alec, the Earl of Stryden.  Yes!  Finally, I heard it.  The thing I didn’t even know I was looking for.

The very voice in my head.

The one that had tripped along silently as the Black family spun their tales of espionage, war, and romance.

How could it be?  How had this amazing, talented person “heard” what I heard?  How could she have interpreted these characters so precisely as I had?  It didn’t seem possible.  But as I finally came to understand, this is the mark of a truly talented voice artist.

I immediately accepted the audition of this brilliant artist, and so began a journey I will treasure as a very special part of my writing endeavor.  Rachael Beresford took on the Black family and their many misadventures, their trials and tribulations, their passions and joys.  She took these characters that until then had only existed in my head and pulled them out, fluffed them up, and made them like real, tangible things.  Now when I heard my stories performed back to me, it is as though I could reach out and give Jane a hug.  (And oh, what a wonderful thing that would be!)

Once Rachael completes the narration, I receive the files for review.  That is one of my favorite times as an author.  I covet that time.  I treasure it.  I curl up in said bathrobe, steaming cup of coffee in hand, and click play.  And Rachael reads me a story.  A story completely unlike the one I wrote.  That, too, is the magic of a talented voice artist.  The story becomes something else.  Something more.  It is no longer the black and white text you’ve carefully created on the page.  It’s suddenly alive and three-dimensional.  The characters shape the sounds that until then had only been black lines on a page.  And that’s just it.  They’re sounds.  The characters are suddenly human.

While I relish reaching the end, I’m saddened to no longer have the anticipation of discovering the story again through Rachael’s performance.  I usually listen to her narration all in one sitting, because I cannot bear to interrupt it.  Once approved by me, the files are whisked off into the ether of the web, and Audible and iTunes suddenly have a packaged audiobook ready for hungry readers.  It looks so mundane, that thumbnail of the final product.  But beneath that quiet exterior, magic awaits.  And more, as a reader, you know it’s there.  Waiting.

That is the power of a talented voice artist.  That is the magic that only a true narrator can weave.   As an author, I would advise other authors not to settle on the first audition if it doesn’t seem quite right.  Somewhere out there is the right narrator for your story.  You need only wait and listen.

To celebrate the release of the final book in the Spy Series on audio, I am giving a copy of the audiobook of the first book in the series, Son of a Duke, to a random commentor on this blog post.  Just answer this question: audiobooks – do you love them or hate them?  And if you love them, what is an audiobook that you fell in love with instantly and forever just from the sound of the artist’s voice?

 

Blurb:

When an assassin threatens England’s spy network, Lady Margaret Folton must find the killer before it’s too late. Hardened from being forced to witness the murder of her British spy parents by French revolutionists, Margaret approaches this mission like any other, with steely determination and a resolute focus on the necessary outcome at the cost of all else.

Commodore John Lynwood, newly returned from the Mediterranean, finds himself granted the title of viscount in honor of his service during the war. Plagued with a string of good luck throughout his life, the title serves as another reminder that Jack has done nothing to earn the glory and prestige that comes with his position, and he’ll be damned if he’ll enjoy such an honor.

But when Jack is accidentally granted a title meant to be used as bait to lure the assassin into the War Office’s trap, Margaret must face the tragedy of her past and decide which is more important: the assignment or love?

The books in the Spy Series:
1/2. Inevitably a Duchess (A prequel novella)
1. Son of a Duke
2. For Love of the Earl
3. A Countess Most Daring
4. To Save a Viscount

Excerpt:

London

August 1815

He had grown so accustomed to the sound of gunfire that he did not hear the shot that was meant to kill him.

This would have worried Richard Black, the Duke of Lofton, if he had had time to think on it.  But as the situation inherently required immediate action, prolonged and abstract thinking on the subject was neither prudent nor wise.  So he refrained.  Instead, he wondered whom it was that smashed into him at incredible speed, sending him tumbling backwards off the walk along the Thames and into the bitter, black water below.

He had been meeting his contact there along the water at an unholy hour, and darkness had lain all about him.  The exchange had gone as planned, and he now held the knowledge that he knew would prove key to his current assignment with the War Office.  But as the inky water of the Thames closed over his head, he wondered if he would ever get that information to the necessary people.

And then as the last of the light disappeared, he thought of Jane, his wife.  His Jane.  He did not think of her in specific instances or certain memories that lay in his mind.  He thought of her in pieces.  Her smell.  Her laugh.  The sound her hair made as she brushed it at night.  The way she always laid her hand on top of his whenever they should find themselves sitting next to one another.  Her amazing talents with chestnut roasters.

He would have laughed if such an action would not speed up the inevitable drowning that suddenly became all too real, flushing thoughts of Jane from his mind.  His arms began to push against the water as his feet began to pulse, driving him toward the surface.  Only he did not move.  Whoever it was that had slammed into him still held him about the waist, dragging him deeper into the water.  He began to struggle, the need for air and life and Jane surging through his veins in a way he had never felt before.

And then a hand brushed against his cheek, and slender fingers came to rest across his mouth.  He wanted to open his eyes, but he knew it would do no good in the black water.  But he let the feeling of his attacker’s hand brush against his skin, the shape of it press into his face, the narrowness of limb and the delicate arch of bone.

It was a woman who held him beneath the water.

And he stopped struggling.

 

Goodreads Link:

http://bit.ly/1mUg1km 

Purchase links:

Now available on audio!

Also available at these etailers –

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1tddN6P

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/YXK6dd

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1zHa0gJ

Nook: http://bit.ly/1otXb34

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1pjfhe7

Google Play: http://bit.ly/10FAmFc

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1qCRsu2

About the Author:

Jessie decided to be a writer because the job of Indiana Jones was already filled.

Taking her history degree dangerously, Jessie tells the stories of courageous heroines, the men who dared to love them, and the world that tried to defeat them.

Jessie makes her home in the great state of New Hampshire where she lives with her husband and two very opinionated Basset Hounds.  For more, visit her website at jessieclever.com.

Connect with Jessie…

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1foelMH

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1IM6UPJ

Instagram: http://bit.ly/1HYaQdM

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/KZQ4TQ

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1fge8x9

Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/2kKoZcH

Get a free book when you sign up for Jessie’s Newssheet http://eepurl.com/cpHMa1

 

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