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BLOG TOUR: A Barlow Lens by Elizabeth Noble

Welcome to our stop on Elizabeth Noble’s blog tour for A Barlow Lens! We have so many exciting things to share with you today, so thanks for stopping by. We have an excerpt, our review and a giveaway, but perhaps most exciting of all is a guest post from Elizabeth Noble herself. We asked her to share some thoughts on how she develops the backstory for her characters, and we hope you’ll find her remarks as interesting as we do.  Thank you for joining us, Elizabeth!


Thank you for hosting me today!

Today I was asked: In A Barlow Lens, history factors prominently into the story, particularly Wyatt’s past. I’m curious if you feel that you’re always aware of a character’s past while writing his story? Some writers say they flesh out an entire backstory prior to starting a novel while others say the backstory evolves with the character.

What a great question.

I don’t so much flesh out an entire backstory, but I do know quite a bit about the characters. I keep separate notebooks in OneNote for each story and every main character gets a page. I have pictures as inspiration for what the characters look like, facts about them and their occupations. As I think of details that make the character interesting I make note of them. Since I know the broader facts, as I write the book I can fill in the specifics that make a character interesting. I know what their hobbies are, their passions and what food they like. The most important thing to know about the characters is the past life events that shape who they are ‘today’. Those highlights I’ve worked out and I know how the story is shaped because of them. A character’s background determines how he/she will interact with the other characters in the story.


Cover Artist: TL Bland
Cover Artist: TL Bland

While planning a future with his partner, Val, Wyatt’s past refuses to be forgotten. Wyatt’s old friend asks him to look into the mysterious death of her uncle in a fire back in 1927, when men were silent, tough, and did not love other men—except when they did. Working with Val, Wyatt digs up clues uncovering the truth behind the tragic school fire and the one responsible. The story of Tom and Philip slowly reveals itself, and Wyatt and Val realize nothing is as simple as they originally believed. As their trail heats up, an old enemy of Wyatt’s decides he’s waited long enough for revenge. If Wyatt can’t tie everything together, history might repeat itself.

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Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Mystery, Thriller
Series: Circles, Book 2
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Book Length: 32,000 words




Once they were back at their hotel, Wyatt ushered Val into their room, not bothering with the light. They were high enough up there was no need to close the drapes, and light from the city cast a soft glow over them.

As Val unbuttoned his suit jacket, Wyatt stepped up behind him, placing his palms on Val’s shoulders, then rubbing lightly up and down his arms a few times. “Let me give you a hand.” Wyatt eased the jacket off and kissed the side of Val’s neck, nudging his head to the side as he did so. A low moan rumbled out of Val’s chest. Wyatt dropped the jacket on a chair and slipped his hands under Val’s shirt, caressing Val’s skin with his fingertips.

When he reached Val’s tightening nipples, he rubbed small circles until Val’s hips jerked. Val shuddered and pulled in a quick, shaky breath, making Wyatt smile. Val’s tie and shirt joined his jacket. Wyatt ran his hands over Val’s torso before returning them to Val’s shoulders. He lightly traced the scars on Val’s shoulder with first his finger, then his tongue.

Val’s surgery to repair the damage done in the course of stopping some seriously dangerous people who had been trying to force jockeys to throw races, had left several scars. They weren’t red, raised, and angry anymore. Val never complained about them hurting, but the marks were still puckered and darker than the surrounding skin.

“You know,” Val whispered between dragging in a breath and panting it out again. “That first time we went out to dinner, I was so worried you’d think I was some uncouth, country hick because I don’t know about wine and art. And that I was too young to bother with.”

“Hmm, do you know what I worried about when I was thirty?” Wyatt scraped his teeth across Val’s shoulder blades.

“N-no. What?”

“Getting a sweet piece of hot ass,” Wyatt said in a low voice.

Val laughed. “Well, you’re sort of slow. Took you long enough. Worth the wait?”

“Oh, hell, yes.” Wyatt maneuvered Val to the bed.


For a series I always expect to be about horse racing, it never really is. The Triple Crown is merely a convenient, exciting backdrop for the mystery and drama Elizabeth Noble brilliantly pens. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of horse racing, but it’s not what steals the show.

For all that A Barlow Lens isn’t about horse racing, it’s not really about astronomy either, as the title implies. How’s that for misleading? Don’t worry, it is relevant, and you’ll see exactly how while you’re reading.  It’s actually pretty neat the way the lens correlates to this intricate story.

Enough of what this book isn’t, let me tell you what it is: an incredible story that grabs your attention and forces you to work to separate the truth from the lies. Noble creates a complex, multi-faceted mystery that takes place in two distinct times – present day and about 90 years in the past. On the surface I expect Wyatt’s past to have an impact on what happens to him and Val, but the second mystery unfolding in the past is a fantastic surprise. I love the chilling way Noble slowly reveals the details of these two eerily similar plots, bouncing back and forth from the present to a past Wyatt and Val are investigating. It’s clever the way she builds and relays information in a duality that leaves  you intrigued without being confounded. Think flashbacks or the way your favorite show cuts to a different character just when it’s getting to the good part. Sometimes when Noble changes time periods I want to howl in frustration, but I never fail to be drawn back in by what comes next.

I can see why this book is labeled as a standalone but recommended to be read in series, because without Run for the Roses, you really miss out on a lot of Val and Wyatt’s story.  You definitely won’t be lost if you jump right in for this second story, but I strongly suggest backtracking to read the first as well. You don’t want to miss out on a fantastic book; Elizabeth Noble’s excellent storytelling and talent for mysteries are totally worth it.




Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess named Rosie, and two cats, Murphy and Yeti. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening, winter and summer sports (go Tribe!). When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.

Two of Elizabeth’s books have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards.



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