THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE #Novel #Inspiration: #Victorian Heroines

Why do women who break the rules always seem to suffer in Victorian novels?

BookStackDon’t get me wrong. I love the classics. The Awakening, Madame Bovary, Vanity Fair, The House of Mirth, and Washington Square are just some of my all-time favorites. I love the richness of the era, the lush writing, and the unique challenges created by that stratified society.

What I don’t love is that heroines who go against the grain don’t seem to get a happy ending.

It isn’t fair, and I don’t even think it’s true. Women — and men, too — who have the courage to follow their heart and their dreams can be happy. In fact, those are probably the only people who will ever find true happiness.

When I began writing the story that has become THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE, I didn’t know exactly how it was going to end, but I knew this: The woman who broke the rules and followed her heart was going to get a happy ending.

I’ll share more inspiration tomorrow. In the meantime, check out my Inspiration board on Pinterest.

 

 

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The Girl on the Midway Stage Novel Inspiration

THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE is a lush historical novel rich with authentic period detail, discovery, and romance that will sweep you up in Dora’s struggle to understand herself, her quickly changing world, and her own unique journey to happiness.

Book photos by DeAnna Cameron.

THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE #Novel #Inspiration: Cajun Creole Cuisine

I’ll be honest, the thing that initially drew me to New Orleans was the food. It’s also what I turn to whenever I’m missing that great city and can’t hop on a plane.

Really, it has become a bit of an obsession. I collect regional cookbooks, I’ve taken Cajun/Creole cooking classes, and I’ve hovered over many, many pots of roux, striving for that perfect dark chocolate color.

My family also throws a Mardi Gras party for 80 to 100 people every year, and I spend days planning the menu and preparing the food. Yeah, it’s a little over the top — but I love it.

So, it was probably no surprise to anyone who knows me that some of that Crescent City cooking made its way into this novel.

It was also my way of showing (instead of telling!) a little of Dora’s appetite for the spicy things in life.

One of my all-time favorite recipes is a chicken and sausage gumbo that I’ve tweaked over the years. If you’re a fan of this cuisine, too, I hope you’ll give it a try. Or better yet, share your own recipe with me in the comments!

Bowl of gumbo

A hearty bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo.

CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO

Yields 6 to 8 hearty servings

Ingredients
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 dried red chili peppers (more if you like it spicy!)
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces andouille sausage, diced
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Crystal Pepper Sauce, to taste.
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces frozen okra, chopped
  • Cooked rice

Heat the oil in a dutch oven and brown the chicken on both sides, a few pieces at a time. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm.

Lower the heat and add the flour slowly and stirring constantly. Cook over a low heat and stir constantly until the roux turns a rich, dark brown. This usually takes from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your heat level. Be extremely careful not to let the roux burn.

Add the chili peppers, onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, and sausage to the roux and cook about 5 minutes and stir constantly until the vegetables are softened. Pour in the broth and stir well. Add the bay leaf, Crystal sauce, the chicken. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is sufficiently tender.

Add the okra and cook just until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve in a bowl over rice.

COOK’S NOTE: I usually use red bell peppers instead of green bell peppers, because that’s what I tend to have on hand. Tabasco can be substituted for the Crystal sauce. Add more broth if the gumbo is too thick.

See you back here tomorrow for more #novel #inspiration!

ENTER TO WIN A FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK!

The Girl on the Midway Stage Novel Inspiration

THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE is a lush historical novel rich with authentic period detail, discovery, and romance that will sweep you up in Dora’s struggle to understand herself, her quickly changing world, and her own unique journey to happiness.

Gumbo photo courtesy of duplass via depositphotos.com.

Horse-drawn Carriage

THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE #Novel #Inspiration: New Orleans

I’m a northern girl (Montana) who has lived in Southern California most of my life, but a special part of my heart will always belong to New Orleans. The first time I went was years and years ago with a friend, and I fell in love with the place. I go back as often as I can to experience the unique culture, the music, the food (the food!!!!), the architecture, the history — I even went once to get married, but that’s another story…

The French Quarter is especially dear to me because of its strong connections to history. One of my favorite things to do when I’m there is to walk those narrow streets at dawn, before the crowds are out, because on those misty mornings I can best imagine what it might have been like 100, even 200 years ago. It’s about as close to time travel as I’m probably ever going to get.

So, when I began to think about the kind of woman who could get caught up in the heady excitement of Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair and could also develop a kinship with the Egyptian dancers, I knew she had to have roots in New Orleans — roots that would play an important role in the story and an even greater role in her personal evolution.

I’ll share more inspiration tomorrow. In the meantime, check out my Inspiration board on Pinterest.

Or, enjoy some French Quarter views.

 

 

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ENTER TO WIN A FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK!

The Girl on the Midway Stage Novel Inspiration

THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE is a lush historical novel rich with authentic period detail, discovery, and romance that will sweep you up in Dora’s struggle to understand herself, her quickly changing world, and her own unique journey to happiness.

New Orleans photos by DeAnna Cameron.

THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE #Novel #Inspiration: The Legend of Little Egypt

Where did I get the idea for THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE?

I’ve been a fan and student of the art and history of belly dance since the day I walked into Angelika Nemeth’s Introduction to Middle Eastern Dance at Orange Coast College more than 20 years ago.

For nearly as long, I’ve also been intensely curious about how this beautiful and exotic dance migrated to the United States. Not long after I enrolled in that first dance class, I began to research the dance’s history (if you’re interested in that sort of thing, too, you can find my reading recommendations HERE).

Little_Egypt_DancerIn that research, one of the performers referred to time and again is a dancer named Little Egypt. I tried to find out more about her, but the deeper I dug, the more mysterious she became.

Legend has it she was a dancer who got her start at the 1893 World’s Fair and later gained fame in vaudeville. That fact hasn’t been documented, though. In fact, Sol Bloom, the man largely responsible for organizing the Midway Plaisance — which is the section of the fair where the Egyptian Theatre operated — disputes it. He states in his 1948 autobiography that no dancer by that name ever performed at the fair.

Such a mystery! Honestly, I found it too compelling to ignore and couldn’t help but try to dream up an explanation. Those daydreams, my friends, became the basis for this novel.

I’ll share more inspiration tomorrow.

In the meantime, check out my Inspiration board on Pinterest.

ENTER TO WIN A FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK!

The Girl on the Midway Stage Novel Inspiration

THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE is a lush historical novel rich with authentic period detail, discovery, and romance that will sweep you up in Dora’s struggle to understand herself, her quickly changing world, and her own unique journey to happiness.

 

 

Enter The Girl on the Midway Stage Goodreads Giveaway

It’s not out for a couple weeks yet, but you can enter a giveaway for a signed copy of THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE over at Goodreads. Check it out!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Girl on the Midway Stage by DeAnna Cameron

The Girl on the Midway Stage

by DeAnna Cameron

Giveaway ends October 10, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The Next Thing and a #CoverReveal

What’s been keeping me so busy this summer? I’m glad you asked! It’s incredibly exciting, actually. A few months ago, I received the rights back from Berkley on my debut novel, THE BELLY DANCER, as well as its follow-up, DANCING AT THE CHANCE. Whoo-hoo!

I’m now in the process of re-editing, reformatting, and re-everything-ing with both of them, and I’m nearly finished. I’m so close to finished with THE BELLY DANCER that I’m excited to announce it has a brand new title. Say goodbye to THE BELLY DANCER, and say hello to THE GIRL ON THE MIDWAY STAGE. Also, it will be Book 1 in my newly formed Dancer Chronicles.

And there’s a publishing date: September 6. Just a few weeks away! I still have more work to do, but I thought you might like a peek at the new cover.

The Girl on the Midway Stage by DeAnna Cameron

 

Do you like it? I hope so! I’ll have more to share about it soon, but in the meantime, I hope you’ll head over to Goodreads and add it to your To-Read list 🙂

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31434182-the-girl-on-the-midway-stage

Thanks and happy reading!