Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

All About My Heart Beats Faster in Past Times

* What's this Story About?

*About the Illustrations

* Are the People in the Story Real?

 What's this Story About?
A demanding career, plus a passion for music and ballet, leaves Larissa little time to feel she's missing out on romance. So it’s a surprise when she finds herself dreaming of an intensely romantic encounter with a deep voiced, Russian man in the knee-high boots and embroidered tunic of another era.

Of course Larissa's had a lifelong passion for all things Russian. An evening spent with Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty”, must have served as an invitation for that fantasy fellow to invade her nighttime visions. Surely that dream’s got nothing to do with the mysterious gift card her best friend Judy sent in the mail, along with the ballet music.

Or does it?

Before she knows it, that card turns out to be a curveball, pitching Larissa back through time, to the twilight of Romanov rule in the glittering world of Imperial Russia.


Stop by the Kindle store and download a free sample of this richly illustrated story.

Fans of time-travel, adventure romances, from the pens of Diana Gabaldon and Jude Deveraux, will enjoy this often humorous, time travel tale.

About the Illustrations
This story first began to emerge from a collage I created for my art journal. That illustration combined several photos that my friend Judy shared from her collection of photos she'd taken on her six (!) trips to Russia,  along with images I created myself. I created other pictures as the story evolved. The images drove the tale and the tale required illustrating. 

Some of my favorite illustrations for this story include a charcoal sketch and colored pastel drawn by my mother, author-illustrator R.H. Shimer,  in the 1950's and 60's.

Are the People in the Story Real?
    Larissa's relationship with Judy is such an important part of the story. Is Judy real?


   This story developed the old-fashioned way, from a pen pal friendship, made on the Web.

    My new buddy and I, first met over a discussion of favorite wildflowers. I was voting for trillium, and Judy favored California Poppies. A few clicks later, and we had become Facebook friends. We soon found that we had quite a lot in common besides our love of the out-of-doors.

The first thing we learned, was that we're both crazy about Photoshop. Judy uses it in her graphic design business, and I use it to create illustrations for my stories and online art journal. Soon we were logging on to trade photos, share illustration techniques, and critique each other's work.

It wasn't much longer before we found we share a love of all things Russian. We had both studied the Russian language in college. For three years, I had used the language in my work as a software applications developer. Judy had made six trips to Russia to further the development of a sister-city relationship in her home town in Oregon. This lead to further photo sharing, and lots of Facebook joking in phonetic Russian, about everything from our dogs to our favorite time portals.

Though we've only known each other a little over a year, it seems like Judy and I have always been close friends. We both like to tease each other about imaginary experiences we've had together in the past times of a parallel universe.

I was already working on another story in my series, "The Simple Romantic Travels Through Time", when I realized that I wanted to honor all the fun Judy and I have had together, by writing a time travel romance story based on our friendship and our favorite country. After all, I knew exactly what kind of experiences we would have had if we really had grown up together. And, since we're both extreme romantics, I knew that the story had to be a romance.

Of course a little romance never hurt any story. 

"My Heart Beats Faster in Past Times" is a romance story, but it's also a tale about an enduring friendship, because that's the kind of friendship I've always had with Judy, ever since we were little girls together.