Monday, February 15, 2016
Monday Morning with Heidi Cullinan and Clockwork Heart
Absinthe is a distilled, highly alcoholic spirit derived from botanicals and herbs, its most distinctive flavor being anise, which is also the most dominant flavor in black licorice. Traditionally absinthe has a natural green color, often quite bright, but it needn’t be bright, or even green. It originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century but became popular in late 19th and 20th century Paris, particularly in the bohemian artist culture. It’s nickname is often “the green fairy.”
Contrary to popular belief, absinthe is no more addictive than other spirits, nor is it particularly hallucinogenic. For a long time the chemical compound thujone, present in trace amounts in absinthe, was blamed for being the hallucinogenic component, but the truth of the matter is any highly concentrated alcohol consumed in high volume will poison the body and can result in a sensation of being in an altered state. For a long time absinthe was banned in the US and much of Europe, including France, but in the 1990s a revival brought it back into popular consumption. Hundred of varietals are available today all across the globe.
Because I wanted a more concentrated effect in Clockwork Heart, I invented a habit of lacing absinthe with cocaine. This isn’t a historically accurate habit, and of course is dangerous, but since at the time they were also drinking cocaine in other beverages, I don’t think it’s at all a difficult reach to imagine the bohemian culture giving the green fairy a boost.
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Love, adventure and a steaming good time.
As the French army leader’s bastard son, Cornelius Stevens enjoys a great deal of latitude. But when he saves an enemy soldier using clockwork parts, he’s well aware he risks hanging for treason. That doesn’t worry him half as much, however, as the realization he’s falling for his patient.
Johann Berger never expected to survive his regiment’s suicide attack on Calais, much less wake up with mechanical parts. To avoid discovery, he’s forced to hide in plain sight as Cornelius’s lover—a role Johann finds himself taking to surprisingly well.
When a threat is made on Cornelius’s life, Johann learns the secret of the device implanted in his chest—a mythical weapon both warring countries would kill to obtain. Caught up in a political frenzy, in league with pirates, dodging rogue spies, mobsters and princesses with deadly parasols, Cornelius and Johann have no time to contemplate how they ended up in this mess. All they know is, the only way out is together—or not at all.
Warning: Contains tinkers, excessive clockwork appendages, and a cloud-sweeping tour of Europe. A little absinthe, a little theft, a little exhibitionism. Men who love men, women who love women, and some who aren’t particular.
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.