What’s Your Story — Dancing and Give-Aways!

Today, I’m celebrating with my editor Dina Sleiman of White-Fire Publishing. Her newest novel “Love in Three-Quarter Time” released last week with Zondervan. It is currently available for your e-reader at the VERY good price of $3.99. I started reading it over the weekend. It makes me think of Jane Austen and…well…really, isn’t Jane Austen enough?

To celebrate, I’ve asked Dina to share her story for how she figured out the setting of her newest novel. Also, I have a give-away! Details below.

The Setting for Love in Three-Quarter Time

Stories come to authors in all different forms. Really, the impetus for this story first came from my agent who asked me to write a historical romance novel set in America during the 19th century. From there we narrowed down the setting to Virginia or Pennsylvania, the two states I know the most about. Then after several weeks of prayer, the initial idea came to me in the form of the title, Love in Three-Quarter Time. So I knew it would have something to do with the waltz.
I wanted it to take place when the waltz first came to America. However, I could only find absolute documentation that the waltz was officially accepted in England in 1816, when it was included in a ball given by the Prince Regent, and that it was well established in America by 1830. From there I chose 1817, figuring some daring Americans probably tried shortly after their British counterparts. And by choosing this time, I was able to give my book that popular Regency flavor.Next I needed a place for my story. It seemed that it should start in Richmond and move to a gorgeous Southern plantation home nearer the frontier. So I created the fictional White Willow Hall just off the famous Three Notch’d Road which ran through Charlottesville, Virginia. I decided my plantation would be set in rolling hills with a weeping willow, lots of flowers, and a small pond out front. For the architecture, I thought my Beaumont family might have chosen something similar to the nearby Monticello. Oh! And I would include a few scenes at Monticello for an added historical touch.

So I went about writing my book, mostly from my imagination and my memories of Charlottesville. I did some online research. But it wasn’t until I had already completed the first draft that I had an opportunity to visit while I was in Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book. It was quite a feat to figure out where Three Notch’d Road ran today, but with the help of the ladies at the Monticello gift shop, I finally figured it out. Then of course it was farther than expected, and I was running out of gas, and my GPS kept taking me to old country gas stations that weren’t open…. Suffice to say, it was the next afternoon before I skipped out on the festival and managed to explore Three Notch’d Road west of the town.
And it was so worth it!!!! I found a plantation about 3 miles west of town, right where it belonged, that fit my description almost precisely. The willow and pond were more to the right side than in front. The house did not have a rotunda, but the size, red brick, white pillars, and verandas all matched! You can’t tell in the picture, but there are about two sets of rolling hills between me and the house. The plantation would have existed at the time of my story, although the house was built a few years later. I was so excited that I went back after the festival with my travel companion, author Christy Barritt, to snap some pictures.
But don’t forget those few scenes at Monticello as well. I had actually found great online tours, photos, and videos. So there weren’t too many surprises for me. I was, however, oddly shocked that it sat on top of the only mountain in the area. Duh! Thus the name. But I didn’t realize there were any mountains that far east. My favorite place at Monticello was a spot where I had already set a pivotal scene. This lovely little garden pavilion where Constance and Robbie shared a passionate kiss for the first time in five years.I had so much fun with the setting of this story. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Big thanks and congratulations to Dina!
Now, if you’d like to be entered into a drawing to win a beautiful necklace, please leave a comment below. Hmm…maybe share a time you had a special dance with someone or what your favorite kind of dance is. Or, you could always just tell us “hello”! I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday morning. I’ll mail this necklace to the winner.
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60 thoughts on “What’s Your Story — Dancing and Give-Aways!

  1. I’d have to say my most favorite dances would be with my poppop and my father at my wedding. Both men gave me away that day. And both men have since gone home to be with the Lord. I look forward to downloading Dina’s new book. 🙂

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  2. More beautiful jewelry from Susie! Love this one. Have I mentioned how musical I am?? 😉 I play piano and organ (and clarinet, though I don’t even know where mine is right now…hm…closet?). I listen most to classical and, my favorite, Big Band. LOVE swing and Big Band music! Every Friday night our local station has Big Band on from 6-9, and that’s our family dance time. We all clear off the living room floor and do our best imitation at swing dancing. Well, except for my hubby, who has no sense of rhythm, LOL–he sits and reads and cheers us on. =)

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    • Susie might not have known, but I’ve heard you play. Pretty amazing. I’m a closet piano player. I’ve never had talented fingers, but I’ve written songs that have been produced, and I taught all three of my children to play. Youngest child really took to it, so we’ve moved him to a professional instructor now. Oldest gravitated to the drums, and middle prefers electric guitar.

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    • Roseanna! That’s great. I didn’t know that. I play piano, too. But not all that well. I also play guitar (my old girl ‘Pearlie Lou’ is a good old guitar). But, really, singing is my musical love. I’m classically trained and rarely get the chance to perform anymore (although, I don’t know that singing in church can be called performing).

      I want to join in on your swing dance parties! That sounds like so much fun!

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      • They are fun, Susie! And it sounds like we’re kinda opposites–I sing some but was never trained. I’m adequate–can carry a tune and be a strong alto–but not exceptional in voice. Piano is (or was, back when I played every day instead of just at church every week) my forte. If ever we all get together, I’ll play, you sing, and Dina can dance!

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  3. What a lovely necklace. And what a wonderful place for Dina to use as one of the settings of her book! Makes me want to go visit Monticello and the other historic homes nearby. And that pavilion scene sounds great!

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  4. Wow, that necklace is so beautiful !!! Reading this made me decide, I will get the book, the Pavillion scene got me !!! 🙂

    Rosemary Foley

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful novel! I can’t wait to read it! I’ve always wondered how authors do their research and create the places we envision in our minds. Thanks for sharing with us! Congrats on your new book!

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  6. This comment is from Sandi Rog (she had some difficulty with wordpress)

    Loved reading this post. Dina is an awesome author, so I know this book will be good. I already read her Dance of the Dandelion, so I’m excited to know she’s got more books out! Yay! And I LOVE the necklace. I’m afraid I don’t have any romantic dance stories, other than the ones I’ve played out secretly in my room when no one was looking. Hubby and I once took ballroom dancing lessons, and he was quite good at it. But yeah, that wasn’t very “romantic.” lol

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  7. My newest hobby is ballroom dancing. I don’t have a favorite dance, but I sure love to go and just find myself in another world. It is some thing I have always wanted to do, and about 4 years ago I decided to get out of my comfort zone and go for it! Being a single gal isn’t easy, but it is now my favorite past time. I will definitely have to look into her book!

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  8. What a beautiful necklace. I don’t have a favorite dance because I am hopelessly clumsy. I do, however, love to watch other people dance. I think the waltz is especially beautiful. 🙂

    To all who haven’t read this book – it is fabulous! Dina, I love the pictures of the locations you visited for research.

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  9. Dina is a friend of mine who I’ve watched go through the process of becoming a published author without losing the beauty of her art; I even got to read one of the early manuscripts of “Dance of the Dandelion.” Naturally, I picked up her book the day it came out, and just finished it yesterday. What a wonderful read! Though usually a reader of fantasy and adventure, it was refreshing to read a well-done Christian romance, and one that touched me so deeply in the spiritual sense. The stirring reminder of passion for God and one’s spouse (or future spouse in the case of the book) changed me as I read.

    Thank you, Dina! I love to see your new endeavors and accomplishments!

    Oh, and I’m a musician, so how fitting would that necklace be? 😉

    Blessings!

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  10. Susie,
    As a Regency author, I will always love the waltz the best. I picture it in every Regency novel I read and write. I’ve never actually learned to do it though. I had an uncle who was the best dancer I ever saw. He would glide through our family wedding receptions like he was walking on air…never bumped in to anybody. I LOVED to watch him. Then one day he asked ME to dance with him (I must have been 16). I said, no, I was so scared he would be appalled at my dancing. He took my hand, and he waltzed me through the most wonderful dance ever. I still can’t do it. I apparently need a VERY strong leader. But the waltz is in me somewhere!

    I’d love to win your lovely necklace. What a special giveaway!

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  11. For all of my friends who stopped by to comment today, I want to mention that you also need to keep an eye out for Susie’s amazing novel, Paint Chips, when it comes out early next year. It was my first big editorial acquisition, and I love it. I would call it literary women’s fiction. It’s very powerful.

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  12. I come from a long line of women who LOVE to dance. I never could understand those folks who can sit through a rousing musical number and never once tap their feet or at least wiggle a little! My earliest dancing memory was when I was 4 in 1970. My teen cousins were babysitting my brother and I and they were teaching us the “swim” dance! We LOVED it. My brother and I called it the Octopus as we would tangle our arms up & down each other like we were tangled up in seaweed. My most precious dancing memories though are of my mother and I dancing at a favorite campground pub. Back then…early 70’s, you could take your kids to pubs. My mother and I would do the jitterbug to whatever song came on. She most recently did the jitterbug with my 24 year old son at his wedding. Did I mention she won a jitterbug contest when she was 14 with my father! : ) …Dancing is definitely in the blood. Oh…and I’ve even been “sort of” dancing with the author…Miss Dina, herself…at a DC Talk concert! You go, Dina! Keep on writing about your passions!

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    • Thanks, Kim. She failed to mention she has also danced on our church worship dance team with me a few times. Oh yes, I’m outting her 😉 And several of her children are great dancers, so she passed along the gene.

      In my family only one of my four grandparents was really into dancing, but he also won contests in his youth. All of my kids are great dancers. One of my favorite dance memories is when my two year old son was dancing on a dinner boat cruise at my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. There was a big group of African Americans there for a different event, and they kept stopping to watch him. They said, “That little white boy can dance!” Sadly, he’s the only one of the three kids that hasn’t stuck with dancing, although he’s still happy to boogie on down at a party.

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  13. One of the most lovely things at our wedding was our first dance three couples the bridal party and the bride(me) the only one who had really ever done it was fun but embarrassing all at the same time 🙂 I also love with my daughter the first time she balanced and took a couple of steps was watching the movie Burlesque dancing to one of the songs 🙂

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  14. Wonderful! I personally don’t think you can get too many Regency Era stories, so I am excited to hear of this book. My husband and I visited a plantation on our honeymoon in SC and had such a great time. But about the dancing…Our first kiss was on the dance floor (so romantic) while swaying to the music. Even now, when we dance around the living room, my husband will mention that first kiss and our teenagers just roll their eyes 🙂

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      • Oh, I know! How scandalous that would have been and totally ruined the girls reputation. So glad I wasn’t dancing with my husband back then 😉

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  15. I’m coming late to the dance … no pun intended 🙂 The setting for your story sounds so rich with textures. I’m eager to read it. Although my parents never enrolled me in dance classes, I fell in love with ballet when I watched The Red Shoes as a child. Rhythm is in my bones, and when the music is going I can hardly sit still. One of our daughters has a degree in dance. So Dina’s book sounds soooo intriguing. Can’t wait to read it!

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    • I didn’t realize you had a dancing daughter. How nice. Mine is a great dancer, but she’s too practical to want to major in dance. She is, however, teaching ballet for the first time this year. And I do have some ballet in the book as well.

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