Tuesday 10 July 2012

'Tuesdays in July Locations' visits Pittsburgh

Oakland, Pittsburgh

I'm delighted to welcome Alana Lorens today to 'she said, he said' as the second author to feature in my Tuesdays in July theme of how locations are used in novels. If you've never visited the city of Pittsburgh, like me, you're in for a treat. 

This is your chance to get a little bit acquainted with the city where her Pittsburgh Lady lawyers series is based.

It Really IS Location, Location, Location 

Some authors can instill a sense of place into their work so that the setting almost becomes a character. The Overlook Hotel in The Shining. The stark moors in the books of the Bronte sisters. Hillerman’s desert or Faulkner’s swamps. 

I agree that setting is important, but I tend to use mine as a familiar background more than a player in the tale, trying to connect with readers through shared reference points. In my Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series, the first two books of which have just been released, I try my best to put the action somewhere that people who’ve visited or even watched a TV show about the city might be familiar with. For me, when I can connect with an author doing it right by placing me in a spot I know and they know, too, it gives me a solid ring of realism. 

For example, in SECOND CHANCES, Inessa Regan takes an unaccustomed afternoon off, and ends up on the Allegheny River riding the Gateway Clipper, a sightseeing boat. http://www.gatewayclipper.com/  Anyone who’s ridden that ship around the city’s Three Rivers would instantly recognize her exhilaration. 

She and the book’s hero, Kurt Lowdon, also participate in what is a ritual for many Pittsburghers by watching July 4 fireworks over the city from the Mount Washington Overlooks. 

They also visit half a dozen other places, like Robinson’s IKEA, the Shiloh Bar and coffee heaven (aka The Beehive on East Carson Street). 

Most importantly, though, these are all places I’ve been, too. I’m not leafing through Google Images and winging it. That’s how you get things like the old Miami Vice show where one of the cops reported that he was driving north on the Rickenbacker Causeway when we ALL knew it ran east-west. I’m still stunned my ex-husband never had a coronary about that, as worked up as he used to get. 

CONVICTION OF THE HEART has several scenes set in the courtrooms of Allegheny County, and the police station where hero Nick Sansone is a struggling lieutenant. He and lawyer Suzanne Taylor attend a Moody Blues concert at the beautiful Benedum Theatre in the story—how exciting to discover several months after I turned the manuscript in that the Moody Blues were actually coming to the Benedum this spring! http://culturaldistrict.org/production/31787/the-moody-blues

This fall, novella THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, which is partially set in the Steel City, has its couple visiting local eatery Primanti Brothers for its famous sandwiches with the fries and coleslaw already on the bread, and drinking locally made brew.   http://www.primantibros.com/
Again, anyone who’s tasted that will know just what our lovers are experiencing.
What about you, dear reader? What details of setting draw you into a story? 

old brick building on Mt. Washington
*Competition time*

CONVICTION OF THE HEART (release date June 8, 2012)
And SECOND CHANCES (release date June 19, 2012)
The first and Second books of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer Series!
Come by the following blogs, or live booksignings, and leave a comment to be entered in a drawing—at the end of the tour, Alana will give away one ebook copy of each book and one paperback copy of each book—Four lucky winners! Check out all the websites at http://alanalorens.com

The Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh 

 Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN in 2010, THE ELF CHILD in 2011, and THE ELF MAGE in 2012. 

Her newest release (as Alana Lorens) is 
CONVICTION OF THE HEART http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=137&products_id=4877 , in the Crimson Rose line from The Wild Rose Press, her sixth published novel, which will be followed in July 2012 with 
http://www.amazon.com/Second-Chances-ebook/dp/B008CVY09Q/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1341880121&sr=1-2 , a women’s fiction with romantic elements story. 

The Wild Rose Press is also publishing her contemporary romance novella THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE later this summer.

When she’s not busy writing, practicing law or teaching, she takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.
Trailer for CONVICTION OF THE HEARThttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a84IZoH-JKw
Trailer for SECOND CHANCES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEMtSxd6FQQ

(I enjoyed your great trailers, Alana!)

Thank you so much for sharing a bit of Pittsburgh with us today, Alana. Your photographs make the city look so enticing. Good luck with the rest of your tour, and my bet wishes for great sales!



  1. Pittsburgh is a great city--thanks for the chance to come by, Nancy! Always great to visit with my sister Roses.


  2. I love to have fellow 'The Wild Rose Press Roses' visit, too. I'm glad to learn a little bit about,Pittsburgh, Barbara. I've never been there, yet, but it looks a great city. Best wishes with your series.

  3. Fascinating. It looks so much different than where I live, rural north Florida, it could be a foreign country. Thanks for sharing, Barbara.
    Nancy, this blog is a great idea. I don't go on vacations, so this gives me an opportunity to see other places.

  4. We just got back from a road trip out west in our motor home--12 states in three weeks. But the photos are gorgeous, especially in Montana and Idaho.... :) I love traveling, armchair or otherwise!

    1. That sounds like a lot of travelling, Barbara. It's definitely worth it when you reflect later and look at the photos.

  5. Hi Babs,
    My daughter lives in Mount Washington. She likes Pittsburgh, but I always get lost. I've walked around on East Carson, but it seemed like it was more for the younger crowd. Good luck launching two books at once.

  6. Thanks for popping in, Kathy. I think many city areas are like that-ie they seem to be populated by a younger crowd. But then, where I live, older people have gravitated to the outskirts of the cities or have gone very rural.

  7. Mount Washington is easier to walk than to drive, for sure!


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