Venice in the Moonlight Paperback: $6.99 (US) at CreateSpace and Amazon
The Gypsy Casts a Spell (short story): Available for free.
A Story of Vengeance, Forgiveness, and Love
After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti is banished from the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. She returns to her hometown of Venice and her only kin—a father she hasn’t spoken to since her forced marriage. Her hope of making amends is crushed when she learns she is too late, for he recently has died under suspicious circumstances. Grief-stricken, Marietta retraces her father’s last night only to discover someone may have wanted him dead—and she may be next. When the prime suspect turns out to be the father of the man she is falling in love with, Marietta risks her future happiness and her life to avenge the death of a man she once hated.
Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.
Excerpt – Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna – Copyright 2013
Nico shrugged in the French wingback chair they had placed by the fireplace for his portrait. He looked regal in a black silk suit trimmed in gold and a waistcoat of burgundy and gold leaf-patterned brocade. It seemed Raul had excellent taste in men’s fashions.
Marietta rolled her eyes before she settled in a chair behind the easel. “Please keep still while I draw.”
“May I talk?”
“I’d rather you didn’t.” Looking at him was going to be enough distraction. She didn’t need to listen to him also.
He ignored her request. “I have to ask—why Palladino?”
Marietta blew out an exasperated breath. “I can’t sketch you properly if you talk.”
“You could have chosen any man at the Consul’s villa. Casanova himself expressed interest in you, yet you leave with that pig.”
“It’s not what you think.” She compared her drawing to Nico and frowned. His shoulders were no longer in the same position.
“You didn’t have to suffer the man’s dismal lovemaking. What were you thinking?”
“We did not make love,” she replied through clenched teeth.
He continued as if not hearing her. “You’re the first woman in years that he didn’t have to pay, though he would never admit to his need for courtesans. I just don’t understand how you could find him appealing.”
“We did not make love.” She practically shouted it this time. “I’m not attracted to Palladino or any other man for that matter.”
This silenced him, gratefully, but only for a few moments. “Well, in that case, I know of a few courtesans that can accommodate you. I am told they are quite beautiful and skilled.”
Marietta threw down her charcoal and marched over to him. She grabbed his shoulders and repositioned him. “That is not what I meant and you know it.”
He smiled up at her innocently. “I didn’t mean to offend you, but you have refused my charms, so what should I think?”
She glared at him for her own benefit, knowing it would have no effect on the man. “You need to stop talking and moving.”
When he didn’t respond, she said, “That’s better.”
He lasted almost fifteen minutes. “So, what kind of man are you attracted to? Perhaps, I could suggest a few potential lovers.”
“How about one who has fewer conquests than fingers and toes? Or one that values honesty and fidelity over all else? Do you know any like that?”
From the thoughtful look on his face, he took this as an earnest question. “I’m afraid a man like that will be hard to find in Venice, especially this time of year.”
“Well, then, I guess I’ll have to go without.”
“How depressing. What will you do for amusement if you don’t take a lover?”
Marietta rubbed at her temples and decided she deserved more than the coins she’d already been paid. “There’s more to life than pleasuring oneself.”
“Yes, Signore, really.” She placed her stub of charcoal on the easel’s tray and rolled the stiffness from her neck and shoulders. “That is all for today. I have another appointment.” It was a lie, but she felt the need to rest and the bed in the corner was tempting her tired body.
Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so when a psychic told her she would write a book, she felt obligated to give it a try. She combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.
Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m from Wisconsin. I’m married with two teenage girls. We live in a village next to a beautiful lake. I spend most of my free time cheering on my girls in their various sports and musicals. We have a sassy yellow lab that rules the house – despite my best efforts to dominate her!
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Venice in the Moonlight is my second novel. I love history and happy endings, so when I decided to write fiction, it made sense to write a historical romance. My husband and I traveled to Venice before we had children and I loved the city. I read about its history and the book, A Venetian Affair by Andrea Di Robilant, to get an idea about the time period. I also read Casanova’s memoirs – he wasn’t as nice of a guy as the movies make him out to be. Anyway, the plot kind of fell into place after that.
How do you create your characters?
I try very hard to make sure my heroine is smart and strong. I don’t like them to be too pretty. Same with the hero. He has to be damaged in some way. Sometimes I have an actor or actress in mind in regards to physical characteristics. In the case of my hero, Nico, I had to search the internet until I found an Italian model. For my first novel, Cera’s Place, I imagined Viggo Mortensen as the hero. Yum.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I started out as an Engineering major in college, but English came easier. I later switched to Journalism, which was a better fit for my concise style of writing. After college, I got into technical writing. One day, my girls asked me what I had wanted to be when I grew up. I said a fiction writer. They asked why I wasn’t doing that. I said because technical writing pays the bills. However, I didn’t want them to think I gave up on my dreams, so I started writing fiction at night. Maybe someday it will be my day job.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I usually write in my home office, though I have a laptop, so I do travel around the house. It depends on what else is going on in the house at the time. I generally need it quiet to concentrate.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I pick the location first and then read the history of the city or region. That often generates some subplots.
What do you like to read?
I read some young adult and lots of romance. I am currently reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Get a good editor – one that will be brutally honest with you. I learned so much from the editor I worked with on Venice in the Moonlight. You cannot edit your own work.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love connecting with readers. If anyone wants to drop me a line, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.