It’s my great pleasure to present the woman behind next year’s tweets, our new Social Media Maven, Denny S. Bryce. To be honest with you, I felt like I already knew Denny when I read her Deb Ball application. She’s very active and well-respected in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, of which I’m a member (and you should be, too, if you write women’s fiction or crossover romance or suspense). And, as you’ll read below, Denny is already an award-winning author, even before her debut releases. I can’t wait to follow here right here this year.
Denny S. Bryce is an award-winning author and three-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, including twice for WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES, her debut historical fiction novel coming on March 30, 2021. She also writes book reviews for NPR Books, feature articles for FROLIC Media, and conducts debut author interviews for A Mighty Blaze.
A former professional dancer and ‘bad’ actress, she spent over two decades running her marketing and event management firm. A fan of genre-TV, she is currently obsessed with The CW’s The Flash, which is in line with past obsessions, which fed her love of writing fanfiction. Her fandoms included Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, the BBC’s Being Human, and of course, Outlander_Starz.
A member of the Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Novelists, Inc., she is a frequent speaker at author events. She also is relocating from Northern Virginia to Savannah, GA. You can find her on Twitter @dennysbryce.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
Jobs: Yes, I’ve had a few. But I wouldn’t call any of them strange – or at least not too strange. I was fairly aggressive about earning my own money from a young age. So, after a few lemonade stands went bust, I worked at a department store in high school that sold children’s clothes. I’ve worked at McDonald’s behind the counter (working the fry bin) and a decade or so later at the corporate offices in Oak Brook, IL as a marketing specialist. But one job that sticks in my mind is my stint as a waitress at Windows on the World located on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. I was a professional dancer in New York City, and like most of us, working parttime as a waitress. I recall one night, there was a thunderstorm, except the clouds and lightning were below us. In other words, we could look down at the storm raging below.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to reading.
Of course, I am excited to read the debut novels of the 2021 Debutante Ball Class. I also am part of a group called the 2021 Debuts. There is a fantastic number of books that will be happening this year, and hopefully, I’ll be able to get them from my TBR list to my completed list! There will be a lot of reading and book writing during the next 12 months!
Tell us about one of your proudest writing moments.
Although not in my debut genre, which is historical fiction, one of the most surprising moments of my writing career so far—was being named an RWA Golden Heart® finalist in 2014. The now-retired contest had been around some thirty years and offered a means for unpublished authors to participate in a national competition. I received a telephone call from an author (I can’t remember her name because I was too busy screaming) one March morning and spent the rest of the day running around in circles, with more screaming. In July of that same year, my manuscript won in the Romantic Suspense category! I was stunned. But more importantly, the experience pushed me to learn more about my craft (which I’m still learning). I also got a better understanding of the commitment you must make, I believe, to writing books if you are set on publication.
Tell us about a book that made you cry.
First, a confession: I don’t cry when I read books. Well, not until recently. Yes, this is one of those cautionary tales (I think) whereby as soon as you draw a line in the sand, you erase it! And it’s not that I haven’t read tear-worthy scenes or books, but I’m not a crier except when I’m watching So You Think You Can Dance or The Voice. But I did choke up reading, The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton – a novel I adore but one scene caught me off guard (surprised me in a very good way), and I burst into tears!
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I love to travel. And yes, I miss travel tremendously during the past several months of the pandemic. But my travel to conventions to beef up my craft and meet with other authors is essential (Of course, ZOOM helps!). In 2019, two conventions were standouts: the Historical Novel Society North America conference in Washington, DC, and the Writer Unboxed Un-Conference in Salem, MA – I am keeping my fingers crossed that both of these conferences, which only happen every other year, can convene in 2021.
Jazz-age Chicago comes to vibrant life in Denny S. Bryce’s evocative novel that links the stories of an ambitious chorus girl and a modern-day film student, both coming to grips with loss, forgiveness, and the limitations—and surprises—of love.
“Why would I talk to you about my life? I don’t know you, and even if I did, I don’t tell my story to just any boy with long hair, who probably smokes weed.You wanna hear about me. You gotta tell me something about you. To make this worth my while.”
1925: Chicago is the jazz capital of the world, and the Dreamland Café is the ritziest black-and-tan club in town. Honoree Dalcour is a sharecropper’s daughter, willing to work hard and dance every night on her way to the top. Dreamland offers a path to the good life, socializing with celebrities like Louis Armstrong and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. But Chicago is also awash in bootleg whiskey, gambling, and gangsters. And a young woman driven by ambition might risk more than she can stand to lose.
2015: Film student Sawyer Hayes arrives at the bedside of 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour, still reeling from a devastating loss that has taken him right to the brink. Sawyer has rested all his hope on this frail but formidable woman, the only living link to the legendary Oscar Micheaux. If he’s right—if she can fill in the blanks in his research, perhaps he can complete his thesis and begin a new chapter in his life. But the links Honoree makes are not ones he’s expecting . . .
Piece by piece, Honoree reveals her past and her secrets, while Sawyer fights tooth and nail to keep his. It’s a story of courage and ambition, hot jazz and illicit passions. And as past meets present, for Honoree, it’s a final chance to be truly heard and seen before it’s too late. No matter the cost . . .