Today I’m highlighting author Edale Lane’s novel Secrets of Milan, book two of the Night Flier Trilogy.
Publisher: Past and Prologue Press
Release Date: Thursday, May 28 2020
Format: Paperback, eBook
Is This Book Romance?: Yes
Story Type: Novel, 75,000 words
Cover Artist: Enggar Adirasa
Genres: Historical, fantasy (alternative historical)
Pairings: FF, side romance mf
LGBTQ+ Identities: Lesbian
Tropes: Superhero saves girl
Keywords/Categories: Renaissance, continuing saga, mystery, action
Is This Part of a Series?: Yes
Series Title: The Night Flyer
Position (Number) in Series: Second
Necessary to Read Previous Books: No, But It Doesn’t Hurt
Warnings: Fighting and battle violence
Book Blurb: The Night Flyer had brought Florentina and Madelena together but now threatens to drive them apart. While Florentina searches for a mysterious underworld organization that has attempted to murder the woman she loves, Maddie struggles to deal with the danger Florentina is courting. Her brother, Alessandro, has become the most prominent merchant of Milan, but the Night Flyer uncovers a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.
Secrets of Milan is the second book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like drama and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and s romance that deepens into true love, then you’ll want to continue the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy today!
Non-Exclusive Excerpt: Turning her attention back to the pulpit, Maddie determined to listen to the homily. When they returned home, she would invite Fiore to her room to try to explain the emotions she had been struggling with and to reassure her and ask forgiveness. It was time to put everything right and stop letting fear rule over her life.
Madelena had just cleared away the mental replays to concentrate on the service when a most unusual occurrence diverted her complete attention. Florentina had scooped up Betta and Matteo and was pushing her out of her seat toward the aisle. “Run,” she commanded fiercely as she jerked her chin at the door.
For an instant Maddie was too stunned and confused to move, but for only the blink of an eye. Florentina–the Night Flyer–had the most excellent instincts and if she was bolting out of Epiphany Mass, imminent danger surrounded them. “Get out now!” Florentina shouted as she continued to push Maddie down the center walkway.
There were likely murmurs and stirring among the congregation members at the outburst, but Madelena, heart racing, dashed ahead with a glance over her shoulder to see her tutor with one child under each arm a mere step behind her. The sudden noise was deafening, but it was the shock wave from the blast that sent them all flying. Maddie hit the floor hard amid screams and the sounds of breaking glass and crashing bricks. Smoke began to fill the chapel, and someone stepped on her hand in their haste to evacuate.
“Remain calm!” a tenuous voice intoned as panic broke out in earnest.
“Mama!” Maddie pushed up to her scraped hands and bruised knees and turned toward Betta. The wide-eyed, frantic child clutched her arms around her mother’s neck.
“I’m here, baby; I’ve got you,” she comforted and reached a hand to Matteo. “Are you both alright?”
“Florentina saved us,” Matteo said in astonishment. “We aren’t hurt; don’t be afraid, Mama.”
“Keep moving,” Florentina insisted as she stumbled up to the trio. “Out the door, now.”
Madelena did not argue, but with somber eyes fixed on Fiore’s gave her a nod. Carrying Betta in her arms, she forged on through wreckage and stampeding parishioners toward the open doorway. Florentina followed, holding tight to Matteo’s hand. Once past the archway, they collapsed on the steps.
“Are you injured?” Florentina’s voice was drowned in concern. They were all covered in pink brick dust with small scraps of debris having showered over their hair and clothing.
“No, just some bruises from falling. What about you?” Maddie turned her gaze to Fiore who sat an arm’s length away leaning against the exterior wall of the church.
“I’ll live,” she replied queasily. “My back feels as if it’s on fire and my head is pounding like a chorus of drums.”
“My children,” Maddie uttered in disbelief. “You saved them, and me.”
With smudged face and disheveled hair, Florentina raised radiant eyes to hers. “Si. You may not love me anymore, but I am still devoted to you and to them. I would lay down my life to save any of you without hesitation.”
Panic of a different sort grabbed hold of Madelena’s soul, threatening to undo her. “Is that what you think?” Grief clouded her verdant gaze, and her mouth fell into a gape of horror.
“What am I supposed to think?”
“I am so sorry!” Tears swam in Maddie’s eyes. “That is not the problem; it never was.” Quite the opposite, she thought.
“We love you, Florentina!” Betta declared and left her mother’s lap to hug her tutor. “How did you know the church was going to fall down?”
“It didn’t just fall down,” Matteo stated as he took his turn to embrace his mother.
“No, it didn’t,” Florentina confirmed exchanging a look with Madelena and then it clicked.
Even greater shock swept over Maddie’s features, turning them pale as death. “A bomb? Someone bombed the church?”
“Someone did indeed, and I need to go back and help. People are injured and some may even be dead.” Florentina started to push to her feet but collapsed on the step again with her head in her hands. “Seems I’m a bit dizzy still.”
“You don’t have to do everything,” Maddie said and reached a hand to tenderly stroke her head. “Look, some city watchmen have arrived and the fire brigade will be here any minute. You alerted everyone and saved lives, including ours. How did you know?”
“Paying attention,” she answered with difficulty. “Knew something wasn’t right, then glass breaking, saw the bomb… was on our row… two of them.”
“Fiore, don’t try to talk now,” she instructed. “I’ll secure a carriage to drive us home and then I’m going to inspect you for injuries.”
“It’s only a few blocks,” Florentina dismissed. “I can walk.”
“That may be, but we aren’t sitting here waiting for tomorrow, and that’s about when you’d be able to walk home,” Maddie declared.
“I’m scared,” Betta said in a small voice as she snuggled back against her mother again. “Church is supposed to be a safe place.”
Matteo took her hand in his as he settled on the spot between Florentina and Madelena. “Don’t be scared, Betta,” he said with assurance. “I’m right here.” Then with his other hand he patted Florentina’s shoulder. “Thank you. I’m glad you are the smartest person in Milan and that you’re with us.”
“I’m glad I’m with you, too, Matteo,” she replied and offered him a weak smile.
Maddie could tell by her pained expression and weakness that Florentina had absorbed some measure of shock from the blast. She was also certain that without Fiore’s lighting reflexes they would all be seriously wounded or dead. Feet rushed past the spot where they sat; men called out, women screamed, children cried. She looked around, between those coming and going, to see a gigantic hole in the side of the brick facade, broken windows with smoke trailing out, and a body lying on the ground. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard.
“Make way for the fire brigade!” a man shouted.
Madelena pushed to her feet and reached a hand for Fiore. “Come now,” she instructed. “We have to move out of the way. Let’s get you in that carriage and home.”
Exclusive Post – A Few Questions for the Author:
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I do have a very full-time job as an over-the-road truck driver, but I consider myself to be an author who drives a truck, rather than a truck driver who writes books. This up to 70 hour per week job impacts my writing in several ways. I do not have as much time to write as I would if I was a full-time author, but it allows me more time to write than I had when I was a school teacher. Since I live alone in an 8×8 box, whenever I am not driving I have little to distract me from writing – except for marketing and continuing education. Driving also supplies me with money to promote my books and to start my own small press. Additionally, driving across such a large country with so many different climates and landscapes gives me great images for painting scenes in my works. However, my goal now is to write and sell enough books that I can turn in my keys and become a fulltime author.
What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
I have had many kind, encouraging, and wonderful comments from readers and cannot be certain which of them was the most heartfelt; however, I can relate the one that touched me the most. A straight beta reader for this book said when she had finished, “Who knew? Never thought of looking in the lesbian romance section. Turns out, it’s just romance.” I am proud of our LGBTQ community and I write for and about our community, but I admit I have a broader goal. I believe that if readers from the general population start picking up our books and upon reading them come away with, “It turns out it’s just sci-fi, it’s just fantasy, it’s just horror, it’s just romance,” then when they look at us they will say, “they’re just people,” and maybe that will have the same effect as Ellen or Modern Family has had from the TV perspective. If society at large begins to see us as regular human beings instead of some weirdo-strango alien abomination, then maybe we will finally no longer have to worry about persecution and exclusion. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
I really enjoy writing Florentina because I was a teacher for twenty-four years, and I love demonstrating what a good teacher is like. But in book two of the series, I engaged very emotionally with Don Benetto. He was the villain in book one, but now he realizes that unless he makes some changes, he will lose the only thing he has left – his family. Change is very difficult for anyone. That is why while it is true that people can change, they seldom do. In order to become the husband and father he knows he should be, Benetto must do battle with his own instincts, thoughts, and emotions – his “old self.” It is a daunting proposition.
What’s your core motivation in this book?
Secrets of Milan continues the Night Flyer tale as Florentina works diligently to uncover the secret society she believes is behind the assassination attempts on Maddie’s life; what she finds is not what she expected. Typically, the middle episode of a trilogy is more introspective than the first book introducing the characters and plot, and the action-packed finale that answers all the questions and puts the world right again. While there is plenty of action in Secrets of Milan, we also examine themes such as the pitfalls of guilt and fear, the blurring of right and wrong, and candidness versus secrecy. Characters and relationships grow and mature in this act of the saga. And as always, I strive to educate and inspire as well as entertain in my work.
What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?
I was first, and am still, a musician. Starting with the piano, I moved to French horn and sang in my church choir. In high school, band was my life, and it was my dream to become a band director. I graduated with a degree in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1982 never to stand on the podium lifting my baton to give the downbeat. Life got in the way, but I did spend many enjoyable years as a church choir director and playing my French horn in the Mississippi Wind Symphony.
What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names?
Today, my Australian Shepherd, Skye, is lying with her head on my knee as I type away here in the bunk of my big-rig cab. Other times it is my eldest dog, Mikah, keeping me company.
Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
I’m a historian – the past, of course! The future would be cool, but I wouldn’t know anything there, such as how to operate the technology, speak the jargon, etc. But by visiting the past I could find out if we got it right or not. Historians are more aware than most that what we think we know about history is not the way it truly was at all. So by visiting the past I could discover things we only thought we knew and use it all in my next historical lesbian romance novel.
Describe yourself using a song.
Imagine: Somewhere Over the Rainbow… What a Wonderful World! (Ok, so I had to use three. Sue me!)
What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
Chaos in Milan, Book Three of the Night Flyer Trilogy – what else? I finished Secrets of Milan sooner than I thought I would have, but I also have a Melodie Romeo title that I am re-releasing this summer, so I am looking at December 2020-January 2021 for Chaos in Milan, but who knows? I have the entire book (minus the research) in my head; I just need time to write it down. However, my day job is busier than ever trying to get you people some toilet paper, hamburger, and chicken!
Author Bio: Edale Lane is the penname used by Melodie Romeo for LGBTQ fiction novels. She is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida.
Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has had short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, Less Than Three Press, and Past and Prologue Press.
Edale Lane’s first novel, Heart of Sherwood, is an historical retelling of the Robin Hood story supposing that the hooded outlaw had been a woman: https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/heart-of-sherwood1/
In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna.
Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4
In 2019 Melodie founded Past and Prologue Press. Please visit her website.
Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.Ipaged.co/
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/melodie.romeo
Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/edalelane
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melodieromeo/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edale-Lane/e/B07GRFPDRZ
Giveaway: Edale is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter HERE via Rafflecopter: