• Reading At Vroman's

    Please join us at Vroman's Bookstore on Sunday, January 25th, at 4PM. It's at 695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101

    I'll be reading a section from the book, answering questions, and signing books.

    See you there!!

  • A New Audrey Simmons Book

    I've begun a second novel. No title yet but it turns out, quite by accident, to be a sequel to "What Many Men Desire." Although I never intended to write another Audrey Simmons story, I slowly became convinced that, as one reader complained, her story wasn't complete at the end of "...Desire."

    So the new book takes up Audrey's life after she's been in London for a while. After nearly going broke, she finally gets a job in fashion. Before long she's recruited--head-hunted we would say today--by a French fashion house, and moves to Paris!

    Her career is on a steep trajectory. Also, she's fallen in love and, finally, has lost her virginity. Things are looking very positive for her, except for one thing: Nazi Germany is on the rise and, very soon, the Second World War will sweep across Western Europe. Well, actually, there are two problems she has to deal with--I'll let you find out what the second one is when the book's done.

    The outbreak of war traps Audrey in Europe. There still isn't much of a commercial airline industry at the time and passenger travel by sea, across the Atlantic, is curtailed by German submarines.

    It will be a few months before the novel's finished so don't rush me. But WW II is about to come down around Audrey's head and I'm eager to see how she handles it. I hope you are too.



  • Why Did I Write This Book?

    Probably the thing I get asked about this book most often is, “Why did you write it?” The answer is not at all straightforward.

    Some years ago, I stumbled upon a handful of xeroxed pages, bearing the title, “Bad Women (and Men).” They turned out to comprise a chapter from the memoir of a Mr C. W. R. Winter, who was Chief Electrician for the Queen Mary from when it first sailed, back in 1936.

    Under this intriguing title, Mr Winter tells us about a cadre of classy, beautifully turned out women, who were on board to take advantage of a concentrated pool of wealth--the men in First Class on this, the world's most celebrated ship. They were often the ship's most beautiful and elegant women; they were engaged in the world's oldest profession.

    The existence of such women in this venue shocked me—I was completely taken aback upon learning that such shenanigans went on amongst these highbrow folks and in this rarified atmosphere. Yes, beneath those fine gowns and gems and pearls lurked hearts whose sole interest was sexual commerce, and lustful men were there who were eager to do business with them. This simply did not fit my image of life aboard a grand liner.

    Once I recovered from my shock, I realized this was a story worth telling and I set out to do that. Before long, I had invented a young woman to be my surrogate. I put her in the position of an eager but naïve voyager having these facts thrown in her face--thus Audrey Simmons came into existence.

    In the title, "Bad Women (And Men)", "And Men" is not a reference to the customers of these women. Here, Mr Winter refers to yet another instance of "commerce;" a handful of men who made their living at sea--as gamblers. Like the Bad Women, they mined the rich ore in First Class, taking full advantage of the need of many of these plutocrats to feel they were top dog. White Star/Cunard made efforts to warn their customers about the gamblers, posting signs in the lounges. Mostly the gamblers played poker and, true, some of them were cheaters. But the best of them were just very good players, wallowing in a sea of wealthy dilettantes.

    Interestingly, the liner companies posted no warnings about prostitutes.


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Between The Lines

Welcome to the blog for "What Many Men Desire"

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