Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Will Write for Wine & Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard. I want to welcome Sara W. McBride who is sharing her inspiration for the story Masked Kiss, in Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard.

Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard is a collection inspired by Venetian history. The fictional character, Alexis Lynn, wrote these stories in the novel Will Write for Wine by Sara W. McBride, but they are fun stand-alone adventures to be enjoyed with an excellent glass of Italian wine.

Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard

“If you’re wondering about the story that made Manu so angry he banished me from Venice, it’s in here.” –Alexis Lynn

Get ready for a fun evening of stories inspired by Venetian history. Thrill to the adventures of money-laundering plague nuns, a pregnant Renaissance man, a demonic Doge at the Devil’s Bridge, and other tales of ghosts, art, and love. 

Following in the footsteps of Lord Byron’s obsession with Venetian history, Alexis Lynn wrote these stories in the novel, Will Write for Wine. We proudly share these standalone stories with you over the objection of her paramour Manu, a modern-day Casanova and illegitimate descendent of Lord Byron himself. 

So, pour yourself a glass of your favorite vino, let your dog or cat curl up at your feet (or let your cat do whatever it wants), and settle into these mostly … partly … somewhat true tales. 

In vino est fictio.

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Will Write for Wine

Alexis Lynn is tired of living for others. She chucks her twenty year scientific career, and possibly her marriage, to write full time in Venice, Italy. But when Alexis gets involved with a flirtatious Venetian, a man who champions her writing, events spiral out of control. The old Alexis knows she should salvage her marriage, but the new Alexis is quickly falling for the charms of this modern day Casanova. And she doesn’t know which Alexis will prevail. This is going to require a whole lot of wine.

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Inspiration behind Masked Kiss

Guest Post by author Sara W. McBride

Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash

What inspired the story, “The Masked Kiss?”

I wrote the story, “The Masked Kiss,” as a fun lark into the Regency romance world, another genre I really enjoy. I had been researching the tragic history of the falsely accused and wrongly executed Venetian patrician, Antonio Foscarini, and thought it might be fun to create a character named after the tragic figure. What does it do to your self-esteem to be named after someone who is wrongly executed and then exonerated less than a year later? The Venetian government said, “We’re sorry about the whole execution thing. Yep. We were wrong. Whoops!” And then to name your child after that guy? It’s like naming your child, “Mistake.”

I suppose it could also be viewed as naming your child after someone honorable and wanting to honor the ancestor who was wrongly hung upside-down, executed, and dragged naked through the piazzas and calles of Venice. But my character doesn’t see it that way. Or maybe he does? What do you think?

But why is my character, this young British aristocrat even in Venice? On April 11, 1814, Napoleon’s reign as King of Italy—Yes, that was a real thing—finally ended and a week later Venice was returned to Austrian rule. Over the next year, culminating with the fall of Napoleon at Waterloo in June 1815, the Austrian’s successfully chased out the remaining French soldiers from the various lagoon islands and palazzos. Venice was once again available to host wealthy British partiers and became a required stop on the Grand Tour for young aristocrats.

Venice was actually under Austrian rule from 1814 until it was incorporated in the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. Weird right? No part of Venice feels Austrian. Anyway … (This is how I write. I get sucked down historical rabbit holes and end up with a story.)

Anyway … Young British aristocrats liked to party in Venice, particularly during Carnevale, which is when I’ve set this story. At one point in the story, I make a reference to England’s famous poet and partier, Lord Byron, sleeping in his gondola. Lord Byron arrived in Venice in 1816 and it was rumored that when his Venetian mistress was angry with him, she locked him out of the house. On such nights, he often slept in his gondola. Sounds rather pleasant to me.

San Stae church is the opening and closing location in the story. The silence and elegance of the place makes it a favorite location of mine in Venice. I have often sat in the church and written a story while staring up at the bust of Antonio Foscarini. And that is indeed how this story started.

“The Masked Kiss” is the only completely fictitious story in the collection, but it’s inspired by true romantic impressions of a crescent moon over lantern lit gondolas passing beneath bridges between San Stae and Ca’ Pesaro.

What if one of those gondolas stopped and called to you?

Stories I Sole From Lord Byron’s Bastard is a series of short stories inspired from history, all set in Venice. I love learning about the history of various places and boy, did I learn a lot about Venetian history as well as art. The stories range from a diabolical devil to an artist who steals his master’s mistress, a ghost story, a wonderful female artist who has to dress up as a man to paint and even a story about smuggling. There is some humour and some seriousness, but all are entertaining. Each story starts with an epigraph from a letter from Lord Byron and after the story the author includes notes from history and her inspiration. I do not read a lot of anthologies, but I enjoyed this entertaining and educational book.


Sara is offering a chance to win a digital copy of each book, Will Write For Wine & Stories I Stole From Lord Byron’s Bastard. Leave a comment and click on the rafflecopter image below to enter for a chance to win.

Author Bio: Sara W. McBride, like many modern-day biological researchers, invents new swear words to sling at million-dollar machines while locked in a dark hole of a decaying academic hall. This has caused her to witness ghosts and create a romantic fantasy life within her head, which she now puts down on very non-technological paper with her favorite Jane Austen style quill pen. 

Her first novel in the Alexis Lynn series, Will Write for Wine, and the companion short story collection, Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard, both set in Venice, Italy, were recently released by Puck Publishing. She’s hard at work on the second Alexis Lynn novel, a Regency mystery series, and a haunted play. She strongly feels the world needs more haunted plays.

Visit her webpage at:

To follow this book tour, hop on over to Kaye Lynn Booth’s blog at