Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Characters Who Travel the Romantic Road - #1 Igor Telchev



Romantic Road by Blair McDowell

My latest novel of romantic suspense, Romantic Road, is being released on January 28th, so I thought this might be a good time to introduce you to my characters, and how they came to be.

I know my characters intimately before I start writing my story. To me both characters and setting precede plot. Although I write detailed descriptions of each character, I seldom refer to these as I work my way through my story. When I finish the last pages of a book and go back to reread them, I find that the characters have almost always conformed to my original vision of them. I think this is because they become very real to me, as real as my next-door neighbors or even as my own family. I know what their political leanings are, what their religion is, where they grew up, where they went to school, even if these things have no part in the plot of my book. They speak to the kind of person my character is.

I know whether they love dogs, what kind of scent (if any) they wear, what clothing they prefer. When I speak of my characters to my long suffering partner, it never occurs to me to think of them as creations of my mind.
Over breakfast I’ll say, “Lacy’s just stolen a car. Where can she get rid of it, near Vienna?
I’ve been told, “You have way too many people in your bed!  Perhaps. But this works for me.
The following series of blogs are studies I wrote on each of the main characters in Romantic Road.  Sometimes, along the way, the character changed on me, but most are remarkably close to the way they are portrayed in my story.
 
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First, let me introduce you to the man responsible for the whole dangerous series of events that make up Romantic Road

Igor Telchev

  
Robert Donadoni
Igor Telchev Igor was a brilliant author, who made the New York Times non-fiction best-seller non-fiction list five times.  A Russian who came to the U.S. some thirty years ago, Igor is dead when the story begins.  However, his spirit hovers over every page.  Even in death he is larger than life.
Igor was a man who loved life. Highly intelligent, he loved good food, wine, and vodka. He loved good music and fast cars. But most of all, he loved woman. All women, everywhere. And they loved him back. Such was his charm that, once a love affair was ended, the woman involved remained friends with him for life. 
He didn’t look like Don Juan. He was a bit overweight. He had a great shock of prematurely white hair that defied order and piercing blue eyes that seemed to look into a woman’s soul.  Every woman who met him wanted him.
Igor made love to many women, but was never really in love with them. He fell in love for the first time at fifty, with Lacy, who was just twenty-two.  He married her within six weeks of meeting her.  
His heart attack, just three years later, left him impotent and afraid. Sex had always been a defining characteristic in his self-image. In the last two years of his life he was afraid his sexual prowess was gone forever. He was desperate that he’d lose Lacy, his last chance at happiness.  In his depression he buried himself in work. He decided to write an expose about his years working as an undercover agent. He became absorbed in this task to the exclusion of everything else. He realized there were people who wouldn’t want this manuscript see the light of day, so he took precautions.  In the end the book killed him. Someone didn’t want it written.  

Next I’ll introduce you to the woman he married and whose life he endangered.
 
 
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My latest romantic thriller, Romantic Road, is available now for sale on Amazon.   
 Click here for the link to purchase.

This romantic thriller is a mix of hair raising suspense, romance and a sprinkling of humor. 
http://www.blairmcdowell.com/Romantic_Road.html

 Excerpts from Some of the Reviews for 'Romantic Road':

Escape Rating A - Marlene Harris, EscapeReality.net

"Like her other books, the story in this one operates on more than one level.  The suspense is edge of the seat, while Lacy's inner journey makes her a sympathetic and fascinating character. If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat suspense with a heart-pounding romance wrapped around a story that also makes you think, read Romantic Road, or any of Blair McDowell's marvelous stories.".....More


4 Stars out of 5 - Melanie Adkins, Have You Heard My Book Review

"This book is a terrific suspense/romance book. I loved that it covered so much of the world in telling the story. I felt as if I were viewing the sites myself, not second hand.  I could relate to the female main character. I've had friends who went from "nobody" to "Mrs. Park Avenue".  I loved the uniqueness of it as well.  It touched me deeply.  You'll enjoy this easy read." ....More

Celia Lewis, Pres., Romance Writers of America, Greater Vancouver Chapter
"A challenging love story, a deadly dangerous secret, a mysterious quest from New York through Europe, the latest story from Blair McDowell has it all!... I love romantic suspense, and this story was very fascinating to me, not least because of the unusual locales, adding an exotic flavour. I'm already wanting to read the next story by Blair McDowell!" 

To read more about Romantic Road, as well as my other novels, please visit my website:

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Review of 'Death In the Floating City' by Tasha Alexander

Death in the Floating City (Lady Emily, #7)Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This ninth book in a series by Tasha Alexander featuring her characters, Lady Emily and her adoring and handsome husband, Colin Hargreaves, is by far the best to date. I thoroughly enjoy series in which the characters grow and develop further in each book. Donna Leon’s Brunetti, Camilleri’s Montalbano.

In Tasha Alexander’s light regency romances, one cannot expect the depth of a Leon, but that being said, Alexander’s research on the setting of this book, 19th century Venice, and the convoluted mystery she weaves in that enchanting city make this book hard to put down. It is by far the best of the series, all of which feature, at some level, murder and mayhem mixed with a hearty dose of romance between the heroine and the man she marries early in the series.

The heroine is an interesting character from the beginning of the series because she is widowed and independently wealthy and therefore free of the constraints imposed on married women of the period. A Greek and Latin scholar, she marries again only when she meets her intellectual match and is assured her freedom will not be impinged upon. An unlikely character in the 19th century, but an appealing and somehow quite believable one.

It is said the reading fiction requires the “suspension of disbelief”. It is not difficult in any Tasha Alexander novel to suspend disbelief. We would like to believe that a character like Lady Emily could exist in the 19th century. That she could meet with murderers and solve mysteries and end up alive and in the arms of her delightful and brilliant husband.

Tasha Alexander’s novels are all soundly entertaining and Death in the Floating City is the best yet.



View all my reviews
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My latest romantic thriller, Romantic Road, is available now for sale on Amazon.   
 Click here for the link to purchase.

This romantic thriller is a mix of hair raising suspense, romance and a sprinkling of humor. 
http://www.blairmcdowell.com/Romantic_Road.html

 Excerpts from Reviews of 'Romantic Road':

"This book is a terrific suspense/romance book. I loved that it covered so much of the world in telling the story. I felt as if I were viewing the sites myself, not second hand.  I could relate to the female main character. I've had friends who went from "nobody" to "Mrs. Park Avenue".  I loved the uniqueness of it as well.  It touched me deeply.  You'll enjoy this easy read." ....More

Celia Lewis, Pres., Romance Writers of America, Greater Vancouver Chapter
"A challenging love story, a deadly dangerous secret, a mysterious quest from New York through Europe, the latest story from Blair McDowell has it all!... I love romantic suspense, and this story was very fascinating to me, not least because of the unusual locales, adding an exotic flavour. I'm already wanting to read the next story by Blair McDowell!" 

To read more about Romantic Road, as well as my other novels, please visit my website:

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Review of 'Lady Audley's Secret' - a 145 Year Romantic Mystery

Lady Audley's SecretLady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a historical romance by Tasha Alexander, I read about a character engrossed in a work by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, a popular nineteenth century author but one I had never heard of. My curiosity was aroused so I went on Amazon to see if this 145 year old work was available for my Kindle. To my amazement it was. I was able to acquire, not just the book in question, but the complete works of this prolific woman author, complete with scholarly annotations. So far I have read only one of the myriad works in the collection, but I shall read them all. They are a most interesting study for anyone who reads or writes in the romantic suspense genre. While not strictly speaking “romance” there are strong romantic elements. The annotator of the collection states they were the forerunners of the mystery and suspense novels of today. In their day they were marketed with “lurid yellow covers” and were sold cheaply. However cheaply they may have been sold, it is a recorded fact that 'Lady Audley’s Secret' made both M.E. Braddon and her publisher very rich. The work went on to become a stage play and was, in the time of silent films, even made into a movie.

The story is told in the voice of the nephew of Lord Audley, whose supercilious moralizing, which probably pleased the audience of the day, drove me nearly mad. His character is, to me, thoroughly unlikable, while the “villain” of the piece, poor Lady Audley whose only proven crime was marrying a second time when she believed and hoped her first husband who had deserted her, was dead. She is pursued and persecuted by said nephew.

This is not, of course, the take that would have been placed on the story when it was written during good Queen Victoria’s reign. It is a viewpoint from the 21st century by a woman who is appalled at this recorded position and treatment of women in the 19th century.

It is an interesting read. I recommend to those who enjoy reading mystery and romance, and, even more, to those who write in those genres.


View all my reviews

 ..................................................................................................
My latest romantic thriller, Romantic Road, is available now for sale on Amazon.   
 Click here for the link to purchase.

This romantic thriller is a mix of hair raising suspense, romance and a sprinkling of humor. 
http://www.blairmcdowell.com/Romantic_Road.html

 Excerpts from Reviews of 'Romantic Road':

"This book is a terrific suspense/romance book. I loved that it covered so much of the world in telling the story. I felt as if I were viewing the sites myself, not second hand.  I could relate to the female main character. I've had friends who went from "nobody" to "Mrs. Park Avenue".  I loved the uniqueness of it as well.  It touched me deeply.  You'll enjoy this easy read." ....More

Celia Lewis, Pres., Romance Writers of America, Greater Vancouver Chapter
"A challenging love story, a deadly dangerous secret, a mysterious quest from New York through Europe, the latest story from Blair McDowell has it all!... I love romantic suspense, and this story was very fascinating to me, not least because of the unusual locales, adding an exotic flavour. I'm already wanting to read the next story by Blair McDowell!" 

To read more about Romantic Road, as well as my other novels, please visit my website: