Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Friday, April 28, 2017

#NewRelease #Announcement: A #Symphony Of #Heart Strings By T.E. Hodden!

T.E. Hodden:
My story, A Symphony Of Heartstrings, is a return to familiar territory to me. Not just because it is short, romantic, and has a fantastical slant, or because it plays around with the rules and conventions of the Romance Genre (a game some would say I over indulge in), but because in a more literal sense, it is set in London.

I should explain. I grew up in Kent, an hour and a bit from London by train. I can not pretend to be a native to the city, but I have visited, as a tourist, for job interviews, and for work. I have visited often enough that I should have had the sheen dull, and to start to lose the feeling of being awed. But I never quite have. Even as London becomes more familiar, I always know I am just passing through. I have to admit, I am just a little bit in love with the city. It lends itself to Romance.

Symphony is the tale of the man behind the scenes of every Romance you ever read. For hundreds of years he has roamed the city, plucking on the invisible web that binds us all, encouraging all the little coincidences that make the right people bump into each other. In essence it could be in any city. But for me it had to be London. It would be folly to try and explain all the locations and influences in one short blog spot, so instead, I hope you don't mind if I concentrate on just three aspects of the city, that make it resonate quite so perfectly for the genre.

1: Cities in Cities, and wheels within wheels.

You probably know that when we talk about London, we are mostly talking about Greater London, the Metropolitan area. The City of London itself is a square mile, the Square Mile in fact, called the City, and is essentially the financial centre of the UK. Tradition has it that London was founded by an escapee from classical mythology called Brutus. As the city has grown it has consumed other cities, like Westminster, along with towns and villages. Like very many other cities around the world it is this tapestry, this patchwork of influences, that makes London beautiful. Like other cities, it is not just the streets that have their own identities, there are many different cultures within London, from many corners of the world. They have had time to put down roots, and to be woven into the fabric of the city. London is not a city of chimney sweeps and cockneys, it is not a city of one identity, it is a city of people, and of peoples. It is a complex knot of history, culture, myth, legend, and stories. If you try to learn about Jack the Ripper, you will end up learning about sweatshops and Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. Try to learn about tea, and you will learn about The East India Company, and the Empire.

Start walking from the Houses of Parliament, along the banks of the Thames, and you will see landmarks that are testament to the railway, the Great Fire, the City Of London, the Arts, the Docklands, and a relic of Ancient Egypt. Speaking of which...

2: Free Museums.

There is a reason why so many stories have dates in Museums in London. There are an awful lot of museums, and some of the greatest are absolutely free. You can walk into the British Museum, the Science Museum, or Natural History Museum, and some others, and just start exploring. You have to pay to see some exhibitions, but there is a lot you can see without spending a penny. (You should of course make a donation, or buy something from the gift shop, but... the simple pleasure of history is free to you). They are a legacy of the Victorian age, and more specifically to Prince Albert. He had a grand vision of an area of the city purely for informing, and educating the population. Some would argue that London itself is a museum. There are buildings of all ages, from many different periods, rubbing shoulders and jostling for space. There are strange monuments, statues, blue plaques, and buildings that are scattered through the city. Stray into a park, and you might find concrete dinosaurs, or an observatory. Wander around the river, and you will see a renovated sailing ship, or a retired battle ship. In dark alleys you might find an antique lamp post, or some curious relic of the building of the Underground.

3. The Underground.

I know people who hate the Underground railway system. I love it. I love that many of the stations fit a modern system in antique buildings. I love how quick it is, and I love being able to get from the centre of the city all the way out to Ealing Broadway. I love the map, I love the design, and I love the trains. I hate rush hour with a passion, and will do anything to avoid the crushing crowds, and if I am completely honest, I would rather walk than take a train. But, when you have to use transport, in London I will descend into the labyrinth rather than take a bus or a taxi. I can't quite put a finger on it. I have no reason to assume the trains in New York, or Paris, will be any less charming, or any more comfortable, and lets be completely honest here: Travelling the underground is a "warts and all" kind of experience. But it's one of those things. To me it is one of the threads that makes the city complete. Without it, London would not quite feel the same.

So, there you have it. Three threads in the tapestry, that help make the city fit my story. It is a cliché to say that the city is a character. But it is worth considering things become cliché because they are so often true. I have absolutely no doubt that many of the writers I have the honour of occasionally chatting with, will feel exactly the same about the cities they inhabit with their fictions. I can not claim, and would never claim, that London is any more of a character than Edinburgh, or Paris. I have seen the character of those cities for myself, and I know how vibrant and beautiful they are. I know how well they lend themselves to the stories of others. No. London is not a bigger or better character, it is just one that I know a little of, and that resonates for me.

I hope I have allowed that character to shine through some of my works.

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