Dayna Leigh Cheser
is proud to present the
for her newest
Historical Romance novel,
book three (of five) of her TIME Series.
The Grayson Family Saga continues.
The first time she appeared was during the Hargrove’s ball.
Like a dream, the specter floated from the shadows.
Conversation ceased. All eyes looked her way.
Her slim body emphasized the simple, yet elegant, cloth-of-gold gown. The white silk cloak emanated a soft, subtle glow in the flickering candlelight. Concealed under the cloak’s hood, and the veil that shrouded her face, she teased the imagination with her sensuous movements.
Ladies’ fans labored furiously; the gentlemen smiled their approval.
She floated slowly around the room, as if on air, with the cloak drifting behind her.
Then, as suddenly as she’d appeared, she slipped into the shadows and was gone.
Motionless, the Lords and Ladies stared at each other in silent amazement.
Questions bubbled to the surface. Who was she? Where had she come from? Where did she go?
Several men jumped into action, racing out into the night, but soon returned. They’d found no trace of the mystical entity, ‘Lady Mysterious’.
Before I gave any thought to the cover design, I had written into the book Adelle’s favorite get-away location, a large willow tree near the confluence of two gentle streams, not far from her home. There, she could find some peace and quiet … away from the hustle and bustle of her world which included a home, children, and a charity – bringing London orphans out of the city during the dangerous, disease ridden summers. While not exactly ‘summer camp,’ she hit on the idea when, as a new resident of London herself, she was advised to get out of town during the summers. It didn’t seem right to her, leaving those children behind. Then, she named her first child Willow. So the willow tree theme was there. All I needed was a model with black hair, dark eyes and at least quasi-Victorian garb. That was not an easy task. It took month’s of searching.
In Chapter Nine, Adelle meets Lord Hastings
… I looked up at him, and again, he winked, his light blue eyes, dancing in the candlelight.
“So, have you heard the gossip about ‘Lady Mysterious’?” My breath caught in my throat. He knew. Somehow, he knew.
Deanna saw my distress and took over the conversation. “Only what we’ve heard through the grapevine, or read in the papers. A woman shows up at the balls, dressed scandalously, unannounced and uninvited, walks about the room, then leaves, without a trace.”
“It’s not quite that simple,” Lord Hastings said. “‘Lady Mysterious’ arrives, and waits until all eyes are on her.” He glanced at me, then continued. “Then, she wanders about, taking care to not get too close, and, as you said, she leaves. And, you’re right, even in light snow one evening, no trace of her was found outside the ballroom. But, I must tell you, she’s quite lovely. Her gown is quite scandalous, as you said, Lady Deanna, but many of the ladies have copied it, to one degree or another. I’ve gotten close to her a couple of times. I almost had her in my arms when she disappeared.”
I had to know. “Disappeared?”
“Hmm. She didn’t run or walk away, she … vanished. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I know she’s not a figment of my imagination. Too many other people have seen her, including Lord Grenfell who saw her disappear, too. There have been many fine inventions in recent years, but we know of no machine capable of doing such a thing.”
I relaxed a bit. He’d seen us disappear, but he didn’t understand how it could happen. And, from his conversation, he didn’t know who ‘Lady Mysterious’ was, but was interested in finding out because he thought she was lovely. And he had yet to see an inch of her skin.
I must have had a puzzled look on my face because Lord Hastings said, “What do you find so puzzling, my dear?”
Think fast. My mind raced to answer his question.
“Why would someone do this? She spent a considerable amount of time on this, between the gown you mentioned, and her overall plan, if there is one, but to what end?”
“Lord Grenfell and I have discussed this at length but can come up with no reason to put on such an elaborate show. Perhaps you ladies can assist us, give us a woman’s point of view. Why would a woman go to such lengths for no apparent reason?”
I took a deep breath and glanced at Deanna. She was leaving this question for me.
“I’m sure I don’t know, Lord Hastings. I’m afraid I don’t understand how the mind of a common trollop works.”
He raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “A common trollop? What makes you say that?”
“Well, she’s parading around in a scandalous gown, showing up unescorted, and uninvited. No real lady would do such things, am I right?”
“Well, yes, that’s true, but what if she were, in fact, a lady?”
“Then, we’ve come full circle to the ‘why’ again. Why would any lady risk her reputation like this? There’s also her family’s reputation, not to mention her husband’s, if she’s married.” Lessons learned.
Lord Hastings summed up the assumptions so far. “So, we’ve pretty much agreed, then, that the lady in question isn’t a lady. We can also rule out someone using this as a ploy to get inside the big houses of London to see what they might steal since she’s only inside the ballroom, which is a public room in most houses. Besides, if someone were looking to find things to steal, getting themselves hired as house staff would give them better access and opportunity.”
“You have given this a lot of thought.” I was impressed.
“I have, ma’am, and will continue to do so. We don’t know when or where she’ll turn up next, but I plan to be prepared.”
“I must know who she is. She reminds me of my late wife. It’s quite maddening.”
“Lord Hastings, correct me if I’m wrong, but is not the costume this ‘Lady Mysterious’ wears covering every inch of her body?”
“That’s true, but there’s something about the way she walks … the way she holds her head.”
Mixed emotions flowed through me. Of course, his wife walked the way ‘Lady Mysterious’ walks. It’s why I practiced the walk for days, so it looked like ‘Lady Mysterious’ was an aristocratic woman. But he wasn’t interested in me. He was enthralled by my alter-ego, and only because she walks like his dead wife. I wiped the beginnings of a smile off my face when I saw him looking at me.
“You, my lady, are an enigma. I look at you, and see the look on your face. I’m sure, at that moment, you know something about ‘Lady Mysterious’. But, the next time I look at you, it’s clear you know nothing.” He shook his head.
I’m so glad to be a part of your cover reveal for Adelle’s Time, Dayna. I’ve just made a pitcher of iced tea so since we’ve got some lovely May weather, let’s sit outside in the sunshine and chat. I’m dying to know more about you and what makes you… shall we say, tick.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember NOT wanting to write. I can’t remember not loving to read, and the two go hand-in-hand.
How long does it take you to write a book?
‘Janelle’s Time’ was 10 years in the making, but ‘Moria’s Time’ was released about 13 months later. ‘Adelle’s Time’ will be released in June, about 9 months after ‘Moria’s Time.’ The last 2 books in the series will, I think, both be in 2015 – ‘Logan’s Time’ early in the year and ‘Clarissa’s Time’ later in the year.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
When I get up in the morning, usually plus or minus 7:30 AM, I tend to do stuff around the house, or go shopping. I’m usually done with that before noon. Then, I spend the afternoons and often into the evening, if there’s noting else on the agenda, on the computer where I’m not always writing, but I almost always doing something writing-related.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Plot and story lines come from my head, mostly, but I research a lot, too. With the first book, I sat down to a blank screen and started writing. I knew the time-frame, and the locale, but not much else. The rest of the series was based on and expanded upon the earlier book(s).
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote ‘Janelle’s Time’ in 2002-2003. I was 54-55. When I finished the book, I put it on the shelf for a number of reasons, and didn’t bring it out again until 2009 when I more-or-less retired and finally had time to devote to the publishing process.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Oh, all sorts of things. My husband and I are restoring an old motor home right now, with hopes of using it to trade in on a newer and bigger one so we can ‘hit the road’ for a while, now that we’re both officially retired. Right now, I’m squeezing in time to sew the curtains for the motor home. We take in RV shows all over south Florida. I love to read, but haven’t done a whole lot of it lately, mostly a time problem.
What does your family think of your writing?
Actually, not a lot. It’s not that big a deal. Most of us are writers in one way or another so there’s nothing particularly remarkable. I’m the only published novel writer, though.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written two books that have been published, with a third coming out very soon. There are 2 more in the series before I move on to another project. My favorite book is usually the one I’m working on at the moment, but the next one I’ll be working on, ‘Logan’s Time,’ will probably be my favorite-favorite. I also have a published short story, too.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Like most kids, when I was little, I wanted to be something different every week. But, as I got older, more and more focus was on writing in some way. I’m happiest when I’m writing.
On the non-writing side:
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?
I am not freaked out by bugs – or any critter – if I seen it/them first. If it/they surprise me, I might make some sort of remark (not printable here), but I don’t screech, hide, climb on chairs, and/or run, nor do I kill, if I can help it. I’m more apt to capture and release (outdoors).
Do you get road rage? What pisses you off the most about other drivers?
Sometimes I get upset or frustrated with traffic in general and some drivers in particular, especially if I’m in a hurry, and might make a remark – to myself – about the bad drivers. I do not, however, get ‘road rage.’ That doesn’t usually end well.
Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your cover reveal for Adelle’s Time with everyone here at Celtic Connexions. I wish you much success with it and all your other novels, too.