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[Juliana 02.0] Olympus Nights on the Square, page 1part #2 of Juliana Series
Olympus Nights on the Square
Juliana Series - Book 2: LGBT Life in the Early Post-War Years (1945-1955)
COPYRIGHT 2017 VANDA
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance my original characters have to a person, living or dead, is merely coincidental.
All rights reserved. This book or parts of it may not be reproduced in any form, except for short citations needed for articles or reviews.
Cover Model: Annie-Sage Whitehurst
Director of Photography: Ray Allen Fritz
Photographer: Chelsea Cuverwell
Edited by: Danielle Ozano, Chief Editor, Write My Wrongs, LLC
Library of Congress Number: 2017910173
Table of Contents
Want Free Books?
Praise for the first volume of Juliana (Book 1)
What I’m Doing and Why
How We Got Here
Get JULIANA (Book 1: 1941-1944)
Reviews are Important
Behind the Scenes of a Book: The Well-Deserved
About the Author
Want Free Books?
Vanda is giving away Juliana (Book 1: 1941-1944) & a brand new novella.
The novella is exclusive to her VIP readers group.
Details can be found at the end of OLYMPUS NIGHTS ON THE SQUARE.
Praise for the first volume of Juliana (Book 1)
“What a pleasure it was to read Volume One! I love the author’s vision. Her research brought the settings alive. Once upon a time, I would have pursued Juliana myself. She’s a fully developed character. I look forward to seeing her in future volumes”—Lee Lynch, author of Rainbow Gap & The Swashbuckler.
“Juliana is the opening act in a series of stories that will cover, discover and recover LGBT history … Vanda’s clean-shaven style in Juliana amplifies the creative ways in which lesbians and gays in the 1940s compartmentalized their identities like meals in an automat … I can’t wait for the next edition of yestergays’ news to come out”—Allison Fradkin—Curve Magazine
“In Vanda’s engaging novel, in the summer of 1941, Alice Huffman arrives in New York City with dreams of making it as an actress. Though stardom proves elusive, Al connects with a new circle of friends in the entertainment business, and she’s immediately enchanted by Juliana, an enigmatic lounge singer.
“As World War II begins, Al and Juliana cross paths repeatedly and a complicated relationship develops. This romance provides a fascinating entry into New York’s gay community during a rarely explored era”—Publishers Weekly
“Vanda creates a historical novel about a time period in which we know very little about queerness—WWII … Vanda’s narrative, prowess of timely language, and setting and character development lend a poignant message: to be queer was to be anti-American.”—July Westhale, Lambda Literary Review.
“Vanda’s research includes not only attitudes, specific places and the music of the times (that in itself is fun), but the lingo, the slang, the clothes will put you right in the groove”—Sandra deHelen, LgbtSr, author of LGBTQ thriller Till Darkness Comes and the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson mystery series.
“Juliana is a captivating piece of history and romance, a time capsule that captures all the tumult and thrill of wartime America in the early 1940s”—Indie Reader
“Imagine the first songbird crush you had—for me it was K.D Lang—and then, imagine that person seducing you. Put on some Irving Berlin songs of the 1940s and let the magic begin”—Roberta Arnold, Sinister Wisdom
“Juliana is a masterful work of historical fiction that leads you through the early 1940s with substance and style. It is an LGBT coming of age story, a tale of sexual awakening (and as such, should be reserved for more mature audiences) that really opened my eyes to some of the truths of gay history.
“The author makes very effective use of period language to set the tone and the scene, and even though some of the language may be offensive or hard to read, it is valuable to understand this time in history”—Braver, On-line Book Club.
2017, Saints and Sinners, Finalist, Emerging Writer Award.
2017, Juliana was shortlisted for the Chanticleer International Book Award: Goethe Novel Award
2016, Juliana received an Indie Reader Approval Sticker.
What I’m Doing and Why
I'M WRITING THE story of gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals, questioners, and those who claim no gender at all because I must. These are my people. I’m writing it because this history, and hence, LGBT culture, is in danger of being lost.
Many younger people, gay and straight, are not aware of the battles that were fought to get to the level of acceptance that gays enjoy now. LGBT history did not begin with Stonewall. Too many people only know of that one event, and nothing of what led to that explosion. They don’t know there are people walking around today, damaged, still carrying the scars of what went on before. They don’t know of the pain that some carried to their grave.
A study completed 60 years after World War II found that almost 15% of closeted LGBT veterans had attempted suicide. (Paolino, 2017) 1
My series of novels will show what occurred in the decades before and after Stonewall. The Stonewall riots were not the end of the story, either. Gays were not suddenly embraced after the riots happened. There were decades of struggle still ahead.
Despite this being a long struggle for rights and dignity, it’s not a sad story. Just like every other minority group, LGBTs have always had their own culture, their own language, their own traditions, and their own inside jokes. They’ve also had their own unsung hero
I began this series in the 1940s with Juliana, Book 1, 1941-1944. This current volume begins with the early Post-War years (1945-1955). Future books will cover the later decades. The same characters will move and grow through each new time period. Gradually, new characters from different generations will add their own perspectives to those who began the series.
And, as always, history is never simply history: Past truly is Prologue.
* * *
A few weeks ago, I was presented with the opportunity to promote my book on a particular site. I began filling out the form by answering the usual questions: my name, the title of my book, etc. I then came to some questions that were not so usual. “Are there gay or lesbian characters in your book?” “Are these characters minor characters?” “Are these characters major?”
I thought such questions were odd, but I answered them. At the end of the form they said they couldn’t guarantee that my book would be featured on their site. This is the case with many free sites, so I didn’t think much of it. They also included a statement saying that if my book wasn’t chosen, they couldn’t tell me why.” This was unusual. Then, I noticed that one of the genre choices listed for their site was “Christian.”
It now came as no surprise that my book was not chosen to be featured, and I told them this. It’s funny, though. I’ve been around long enough to remember a time when the word “Christian” meant “loving.” That was a long time ago.
The second reason I must continue to write this series becomes clear with the next scenario. Two weeks ago, a friend walked out of a Greenwich Village gay bar in the late evening. He was accosted by three guys, who called him “faggot.” One guy beat him up badly, while the other two stood nearby, laughing and repeating “faggot.”
Knowing this history is important for both gay and straight. It’s already starting to repeat itself.
1 Before Stonewall, there was Juliana: Historical Novel Explores LGBT Life During WW2, The Verge of Jordan, May 29, 2017
How We Got Here
A SMALL NUMBER of you, in your reviews, were concerned that Juliana (Book 1: 1941-1944) might be considered “racist,” “homophobic,” and “ableist.” It’s good that you were concerned. It shows how far we’ve come, even though we haven’t come far enough. Yes, there is homophobia, racism, and ableism in the first volume of Juliana, but that doesn’t mean the book is homophobic, racist, or ableist. When Al refers to her fiancé, Henry, as “crippled” in Book 2, she is not insulting him; rather, she is using the terminology of the nineteen-forties. Hence, her language reflects the time in which she lives, not the time in which the book was written. This is history; I can’t change the facts.
If you thought Juliana (Book 1) had homophobia and racism in it, then be prepared for Book 2. Let me paraphrase Margo Channing (Bette Davis) in the 1950 film, All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts; it’s going to a bumpy book.” In Olympus Nights on the Square, you are likely to run into every horrifying “ism” you can imagine. There will certainly be racism and homophobia, but there will also be anti-semitism, transphobia and sexism. This is the reality of our world’s history. As the Ghost of Christmas Past in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol told Ebenezer Scrooge: “These are the shadows of things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me.”
Still, I think it would be a grievous error to sit back congratulating ourselves on our enlightened views while denigrating those who went before. The people from the past struggled with issues that needed to be struggled with. There would be no PC language or PC thinking today if it hadn’t been for them. Have we resolved all the issues of our past? Of course not. History isn’t a series of dates; it’s a process that we’re all a part of. We’re creating history right now. Which way it goes depends on us.
My Spiritual Mom
Karen L. Sands
WHEN THE GERMANS surrendered in May of ’45, we knew the war was almost over. Juliana and I went to Times Square to watch the lights return. I wore a simple day dress. I couldn’t wear trousers outside my apartment anymore. Everything was going back to the way it used to be, but wearing dresses … I just felt funny in them, like they weren’t quite me. I didn’t remember feeling that way before the war, but now ... Juliana looked gorgeously feminine as usual, in her white cotton dress with the blue flowers splashed across it. She always knew exactly the right thing to wear for looking like herself. We still couldn’t get nylons, but the air felt cool against our bare legs, so it was okay.
The square was choking with people. It was an ordinary, dark night with all the lights dimmed or off. Hundreds of us waited for them to come back on after they’d been off for more than three years. Juliana and I stood sandwiched between a huge marine with tattoos on his hands and a broad GI with a smile filled with too many teeth. We couldn’t move, but it didn’t matter.
An electric charge ran through the crowd, uniting us. It seemed as though we waited forever that night. Then, one by one, the lights popped on. There was the Four Roses ad, and the Pepsi-Cola ad in red, white and blue, and the lights on storefronts, hotels, movie theaters, and Broadway theaters. The whole world was suddenly ablaze, making the night into day. It was the light Manhattan was famous for, but had been snuffed out for too long a time.
A group of foreign soldiers broke into “God Bless America.” Army hats and cheers flew into the air. Sailors and GIs pulled women into their arms and kissed them. Hitler was dead and his Nazis defeated. The United States of America was the greatest country in the whole world!
The big marine with tattooed hands grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. I spun out of his arms toward Juliana who’d just been released by her own GI. We ran toward each other filled with love and freedom and … stopped. We couldn’t do that.
THE SOLDIERS WERE coming home. They hurried to cast aside uniforms and don civvies: jackets with wide lapels, pants with wide legs, everything as wide as the air. They married the girls who’d been waiting for them and moved into prefab houses, while Bill Levitt tore up the potato fields in Long Island to build his first Levittown for the rest of them.
All along MacDougal Street, signs decorated the buildings—Welcome Home, Leon; Welcome Home, James; and Welcome Home, Smitty, but there was no, Welcome Home, Max. No one but me knew he was even home. He’d practically snuck back in, not wanting anyone to see him, and had been hiding in my place for the last couple months like a criminal. His crime: enlisting in the army when his country needed him.
We stood at the bottom of the stairwell of what had originally been Max’s basement apartment; Virginia had lived there now for the past two years while Max was away fighting in the war.
“Max, I don’t belong here.” I backed out of the stairwell. “You can do this by yourself.”
“Stay right here.” Max pulled me back. “You’re the one who told her I was home.”
“I had to. She thought you were dead. How long did you think you could avoid her by hiding in my apartment?”
“I would’ve told her I was home. In a year or two. She thinks of me as someone important. The way I used to be. The army … Did you know before they shipped me off to that hospital, they put me in a cage in the middle of the camp with others—like me, in their own cages. Oh, God.” He turned his eyes away from me.
I squeezed his arm. “It’s over, Max.”
“She’s gonna understand.”
“Should I knock?”
“I think so.”
He knocked. “I always imagined I’d be in uniform when I saw her again. She liked me in uniform. I liked me in uniform.”
When the army gave him that blue discharge, they took away his uniform and gave him a cheap shirt and a pair of pants
The door creaked open.
“Virginia,” Max said in a gasp of terror.
“Max.” Any anger she might have held toward him wasn’t there. She wore a satin shirtwaist dress with a blue paisley pattern, and by the length—to her calves—I knew she bought it before the war. She hated the knee-length skirts the war board mandated for saving material. Her brown curls were swept onto her head in the popular updo.
“Are you truly here?” She touched the side of his face lightly as if afraid he was an apparition that would soon fade.
Max smiled. “I’m here, Virginia.”
“Come in. You too, Al. I’ve made some iced tea.”
“I’ll help you,” I said.
“You sit. It’s already prepared.” She scurried from the room.
Max and I sat on his familiar overstuffed chairs. The place smelled of flowers instead of his stale cigarette smoke. While Virginia went for the tea, I watched Max’s eyes scan the room. “Different, isn’t it?”
“I’d say so. Where’s my David? She’s got her African violets where he should be. And the other statue, the one I had on the piano.”
“Shh,” I whispered. “They’re perfectly safe. I put them in your bedroom.”
He sighed. “How could I have been so stupid?” he whispered.
by Vanda have rating 5 out of 5 / Based on50 votes