The mysterious ways of the universe

I’m in the middle of writing Magdalene, book 3 in my series.

If you’re passingly familiar with Christian myth, it should be quite clear where I’m going with this.

But let me tell you a little about my main characters.

Mitch Hollander, PhD, metallurgical engineering; founder and CEO of Hollander Steelworks, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is also a widowed Mormon bishop who served half an 18-month mission in Paris, France. He likes fast cars and ZZ Top.

Cassie St. James, MBA; Vice President-Restructuring Division, Blackwood Securities. In a previous life, she was a high-dollar hooker. She is divorced, lives in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has four adult children (all of whom live with her), engages in strategic revenge, and possesses a latent penchant for silliness.

So I was on the search for a special little gift that Mitch could give Cassie that meant something but was not expensive. After all, what do you give a woman who can buy anything she wants?

Naturally, I turned to books because I have a vested interest in people buying books (product placement!). I decided that Mitch might have a special book that he may have acquired on his mission and is probably in French. Naturally, I googled, and then headed over to Wikipedia where I stumbled upon a list of French novels. I doggedly worked my way through them one by one, read the synopses, then picked one based on a vague similarity of the plot to Cassie’s past.

I wrote it into my book as if I’d read the thing (but hadn’t), then decided I probably should read it. And it freaked me out. Big time.

The book? Angélique, the Marquise of Angels by Anne & Serge Golon, first published in 1958.

Unbeknownst to me, this was a huge hit in Europe and apparently a big hit here. I’d never heard of it, never stumbled across it in the intellectual drunkenness of my youth (that actually amazes me).

The book is heroine-centric, so it’s all about Angélique. The parallel I found between Angélique and Cassie was that they both had arranged marriages. The similarity stopped there.

Angélique didn’t know her contracted husband, feared him at first, then grew to love him.

Cassie knew the man she was to marry, adored him from afar and was eager to marry him, and then quickly realized that her marriage was a sham.

Cassie is familiar with the story via film, so she has no problem making this parallel and had, in fact, written a paper on it during her undergrad years.

What doesn’t show up in the plot summary is a description of the hero’s “unusual way of life.” Joffray (the hero) is described as “scientist, musician, philosopher.” I didn’t think much of it. Mitch is a scientist with his own lab, true, but he’s also a CEO and I’ve always thought of him in those terms.  He’s not a musician. He’s not a philosopher. At heart, he’s a blue-collar steel worker who loves steel enough to reinvent himself and the industry; steel is his life’s work.

Turns out that Joffray’s science is metallurgy. That was freaky.

Turns out that Joffray is hung out to dry, religiously speaking, for reasons that have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with power, politics, and money. That was even freakier.

As I got deeper and deeper into the book, I felt like I’d entered the Twilight Zone.

Then I got to the end. Angélique plunges out into the cold night, penniless and powerless, to exact revenge. That is so Cassie. I nearly expired from the freakiness the universe had perpetrated upon my person.

I couldn’t have picked a better novel if I’d written it myself.
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PS: Yes, I know Mary Magdalene wasn’t a prostitute.

PPS: In the mid-1980s, missions were, in fact, only 18 months long for men.

16 thoughts on “The mysterious ways of the universe

  • February 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm
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    Dude would have been very unhappy if Moriah had expired. Dude hopes Moriah has a much longer shelf life.

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  • February 24, 2010 at 6:20 pm
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    .

    At least it was a good experience. Could’ve been horrifying.

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  • February 24, 2010 at 9:27 pm
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    I look forward to reading the book just to find out why she had four adult children who were ALL still living with her! (So be sure you explain that, LOL)

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  • February 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm
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    LOL@FADeb. . . Shit happens. Have you not been paying attention? *grin*

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  • February 24, 2010 at 10:00 pm
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    LOL @Deb. Because Cassie is a bit of a touch with regard to her children. *ahem Deb and haggis*

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  • February 24, 2010 at 10:03 pm
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    At least it was a good experience. Could’ve been horrifying.

    I didn’t think of that. You’re right!

    In other news, my ILL request for the DVD of the 1964 film was just canceled. *sigh* I am sad. I might have to *gasp* purchase it!

    Also? God CLEARLY wants this book to be written.

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  • February 25, 2010 at 7:42 am
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    Dude denies being “a touch”

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  • March 6, 2010 at 7:53 am
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    Dropping by to check when I can read the third book I noticed you offered the other two as download for a bit (hoped it was a buy incentive for the third) – then saw this post which means the third one isn’t out yet, woe.

    Angelique was so huge it was a major German book club selection – all the books of the series – every library had it.

    Angelique and Shanna by Woodiwiss, as a matter of fact, were my introduction to sex ^^. My parents had a book club subscription so they had them, and they hid them away in their wardrobe, so of course I read them.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 8:19 am
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    Dude is enjoying his read of the first draft of Magdalene. Dude notes there is much less sex in book 3.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 1:45 pm
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    @Estara Shanna *swoon* Still love it.

    Sorry about the false alarm, though. The giveaway was a spur-of-the-moment experiment, and I’m still kind of digesting what it might all mean. My partner did go, “Um, that woulda been better right before Magdalene,” but it was too late. I didn’t even think about it.

    Reading Angelique was wonderful, I have to admit. It hearkened back to a tone/literary style I haven’t read in a while. It was kind of like coming home, yanno?

    As for the much less sex in Magdalene, I have to admit that as I’ve written it and then started to really tweak it, it’s turned into not-a-romance-novel.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm
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    @ Dude: I can live with that ^^. I still utterly love several of my Georgette Heyer’s and quite a few other romances that are fade to grey – and it’s not as if the whole erotic romance subgenre didn’t exist now – especially in the ebook area – if I desperately need sexxoring with my happy end and true love ^^.

    Moriah’s characters are just so meaty in their emotions and relationships and views. And I think she has improved within the first two books as a writer (in the first book I found a few instances that made me go TSTL!, not many even there though – and of course I read the Proviso after Stay), so I expect that to happen with the third as well.

    Curse the people with an inside-connection making other readers mouth water!

    @Moriah: so is it a family soap opera now (which the Proviso was, too, considering … and Stay – just not with a very nice family)?

    As long as you’re not going the generations way (100 years of the same family in one book but different protagonists) – and from what you say you’re staying with the core group of two people and their children – that should still be plenty fascinating. And it’s still the story of how those two get together, isn’t it?

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  • March 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm
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    To be fair, the fact that no sex happens until 2/3 of the way through Magdalene (and Dude only just got there) doesn’t mean that it’s not classic ME. LOL

    I look at it the way I did in Stay: people with a relatively healthy sexual attitude. All the people in Proviso (except Justice and Sebastian) had some sexual angst going on because of the way they were taught or things that had happened in their lives. Not so with Vanessa and Eric, and also not so with Mitch and Cassie.

    I don’t close the door on much, but in places it does take a back seat to normal everyday working lives of professional people–and then… Heh. Dude hasn’t gotten that far yet. I don’t know how he’s going to take it, but my alpha readers tell me it’s VERY powerful.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm
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    @Moriah: Well, sex in your books is nice, but really – I don’t read you for that ^^.

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  • March 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm
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    I’ll be darned. I read the Angelique books years ago and then my mom just sent me the first 3 about a year ago so I re-read them. I’ve never run across anyone else who’s read them!

    (I don’t read Moriah’s books for the sex, either, but it is always entertaining.)

    Reply

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