I’ve been telling the story on Facebook and Twitter about a small part in Sweet Melissa, another one of those autobiographical details, this one about my dear Aunt Linda. When I was a young girl, she ran away and joined the circus. I thought it was the most romantic thing ever. Now, probably, she was the girl who made cotton candy, but when I took my character to see her aunt, retired in Gibsonton, Florida, where all the circus performers used to winter, I started to spin more than cotton candy for Aunt Linda.
Especially when, in the Sarasota museum, I found this postcard that looks exactly like Aunt Linda in all her make up. She was no bareback rider. She was no tightrope walker. But that’s her face.
There’s more to Aunt Linda and me (and Melissa and her own version of my aunt) but the circus angle has hooked me from the time I was a little girl. What a thrill to sew our life stories into our fiction. And what a thrill to say Sweet Melissa is still FREE for a few more days.
First, my novella Sweet Melissa is free for five days here. Melissa’s is the story closest to “true” of all my novels. I did hitchhike across the country when I was about Melissa’s age, ran into some shady characters, was almost raped, and that ghost of my grandma saved me on a concrete set of church steps about a million miles from home.
Oh and just like Melissa I lost my virginity to the man I loved. Okay, maybe not just like her. I had to add that in because it seems to me people pretend teens don’t have sex anymore at least in the YA I read (I love YA except come on you know they are doing it!)
Some other things are true–like my Romany heritage,which I didn’t know much about beyond my great-grandmother got her family through the Depression by reading tea leaves. And there were, like, rumors. My own mom claims to be psychic. I read tarot cards but I am not particularly intuitive. The cards are symbols and you read them in patterns. That’s not magick to me. Interesting, but not strongly influenced by my Rom descendants.
I’ve always been interested in Gypsies, though, so I did my homework and that part of the ritual and lore of my people in this book is correct as I could make it with the help of many experts. That said, the time/space travel is not for real. Even though in his song “Sweet Melissa” Greg Almond does claim “the gypsy flies from coast to coast.”
I love Almond’s song and having a free book for you this week. Hey and it has zoomed up to #40 on the New Adult charts in just a day. Lucky Gypsy lady.