Posts in the Historical genre

Guest Post

Guest Post: “Things I’ve Learned From Great Writers” by Amy Lane

So, in my past life I taught English—and loved it. I still make forays back into a classroom as a volunteer, but I do miss the familiar greeting of my friends in the giant English anthologies. Their work in my life—and their words in my mind—were as regular as the seasons, and I got great at making their lives interesting and relevant for my student body.

When I started writing, I realized that I had learned an awful lot about fiction and publishing from the greats—their lives and words had been there all along. Here are some of my favorite lessons, passed on to you:

19th century --- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet. Early portrait. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet. Early portrait. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Emily Dickinson—I’ve learned a lot from the Belle of Amherst—this is only a tiny corner of what she had to teach me.

Lesson: Your editors are not evil—they really do have your best interest in mind.

How I learned it: Much has been made of Emily Dickinson’s editors, and how the six poems she published during her lifetime were horribly maimed before they were printed.  Those editors were trying, in their way, to get Emily’s work out to the people. The changes they made—though not literarily awesome—were there to help for public consumption. But Emily wasn’t looking for fame, she was looking for greatness (undoubtedly achieved) and the changes hurt her heart too much to continue. After her death, editors who saw that literary greatness went through her preciously tied bundle of poems and edited them with the delicate, precise cuts of that guy who carves masterpieces on the head of a pin.  The results were the fey, ethereal, profound works that we teach high school students today.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Writing Above the Covers” by Jenn LeBlanc

The Trouble With Grace Jenn LeBlanc

We’ve all heard the old outside the box analogy. I’m twisting it just a bit—because I can. Publishing in general likes to box everything because that makes it easier for marketing strategies. To put it in the most simple terms, they want to know which shelf to put it on in the bookstore.

I don’t fit very well on the shelf in the bookstore. I tend to write beyond the box, and above the covers. I don’t want to hold my characters back because they need to fit on a specific shelf. Writing character driven stories is my jam, my peanut butter, my sourdough and my candy. In doing so I don’t follow a lot of trope rules. What that means is that I have characters you’re not likely to meet in other stories interacting with some that you probably would.

That’s what I love to do most, and why most of my stories are time travel. Taking a modern day professional Dominatrix and tossing her back into stuffy old Victorian England and then…What happens next? An awful lot, as it happens.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Five Things To Love About The Gilded Age” by Joanna Shupe

Magnate Joanna Shupe

When I explain that I write romances set in the Gilded Age many people ask, “Wait, when is the Gilded Age again?” Understandable since history classes focus mostly on Tammany Hall and financial scandals that bear a striking resemblance to the end of Trading Places.

I get it. Crooked politicians are old news to us, and forgettable presidents with boring names (HELLO, Ulysses, Rutherford, Grover, Chester?) aren’t exactly memorable. But wait! Did I mention robber barons? New York’s rigid Knickerbocker society? New money vs. old? Electricity and railroads? The era is rife with conflict and turmoil, the perfect setting to throw in a pair of opposites and watch the sparks fly.

That’s what I did in my new release, Magnate. Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire. He loathes New York’s “high society” types, the ones who never let him forget his past.

Elizabeth Sloane can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York’s most accomplished brokers—but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits.

These two could not be more different, and serve as just one example of the various groups that collided in the Gilded Age. That melting pot is one reason that helps make this era so unique.

What else makes the Gilded Age stand out?

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Guest Post

Guest Post: 5 Tips for Getting Lucky in Love from Amy Sandas

Luck is No Lady Amy Sandas

With this year’s RT Convention taking place in beautiful Las Vegas and the fact that my latest historical romance, Luck is No Lady, is set at an exclusive gambling hell in regency London, it seems like a perfect time to talk about getting lucky.

Lucky in love, that is.

The internet is flooded with tips and tricks for winning big at the casinos, but some would say love is the greatest gamble of all. There is certainly a lot of risk involved in matters of the heart and the pay-out can be hugely rewarding or equally devastating. So, I thought I would share my tips for getting lucky in love.

#1 – There Are No Rules

In gambling, you must know the rules of the game if you expect to develop a strategy and play with any success. When it comes to love, however, there are no rules. Many readers may recall a book that came out some years ago that detailed the rules of dating and finding love. In my opinion, no one else can decide what is right and how love should proceed. The only rules associated with love are those that are meant to be broken.

In Luck is No Lady, Emma Chadwick is a woman who always plays by the rules of English regency society. Anything less than a strict adherence to social decorum could result in a loss of reputation and ruin her younger sisters settled into proper marriages. It isn’t until Emma starts breaking those unwritten rules that she has a chance at love.

#2 – Know Where to Go

This little gambling tip suggests that going off-strip in Vegas gives you better odds than remaining amongst the crowds in the posh casinos along the main drag. This could be true in love, as well. You never know where you might encounter someone who makes your heart skip a beat.  Take a chance every now and then and do something out of the ordinary, go somewhere new.

Often, love will find you where you least expect it. As Emma discovers, maybe even in the halls of a notorious gambling hell.

#3 – Learn to Read Others

This is vital in poker where winning relies on being able to read the other players as much as it relies on the cards you are dealt. Learning the habits and tells of the others at the table assist in seeing through bluffs and deceptions.

Whereas poker is about deception, love is about truth. But it can require just as much attention to discovering what lies behind the façade someone else presents to the rest of the world. Taking time to get to know a person’s true self provides a much better chance at winning their heart.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Gay 90s” by Kate McMurray

Ten Days In August Kate McMurray

Last time I was here, I talked a little about what it was like to be gay in the 1920s. My new novel, Ten Days in August, is set in 1896. So what kind of difference does going back in time thirty years make?

The 1890s were a rough time for LGBT people. There was new scholarship on homosexuality and an increased recognition of it in some medical circles, but in the U.S. and Europe, prosecution for sodomy was on the rise. “Gay” as we think of it now wasn’t really a thing yet; men who we’d call gay or bisexual now often married women but hooked up with men on the side. In New York, men could go to find other men in dance halls and clubs, particularly those in what is now the East Village, along the Bowery or tucked into Bleecker Street. Men of the 1890s had their own version of the hankie code, too—men seeking men could identify each other by certain markers: a red ascot, dyed blond hair, a certain way of dressing.

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Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Jen Wylie, Julia Quinn, and Kae Elle Wheeler

Looking for a weekend escape? We’ve got something for everyone with these steals for books by Jen Wylie, Julia Quinn, and Kae Elle Wheeler!

Tales of Ever by Jen Wylie
Tales of Ever by Jen Wylie

A few months ago, I was a normal girl. Life sucked, and just like everyone else, I took the simple things for granted. At least until I got this new power, a “gift” my mom called it. Apparently, I’m a firestarter. I didn’t want to be. I didn’t ask to be. It would be cool if it wasn’t so dangerous and I knew how to control it. When an uncle I’d never heard of showed up to take care of me after my mom died, I should have been grateful. As it turned out, my whole family isn’t normal and more than a little bit crazy. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.

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TV Recaps

TV Recaps: Downton Abbey Season Finale—The End of an Era


Downton Abbey FinaleIt was very hard sitting down to write this recap because it means admitting that Downton Abbey has come to an end.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I bawled through most of this episode even though I had seen it already (I bought the DVD weeks ago). Oh, I have had my issues with this series over the years, the almost too fast pace, the arrests of both Anna and Mr. Bates, Mary’s romantical problems (I was rooting for Charles Blake), Edith’s streak of bad luck, Barrow’s schemes, I’m going to miss this series. I loved this show so much that I bought the British DVD’s and watched the episodes before they even aired on American TV (I have a problem with delayed gratification). Hold on to your hats, because this going to be a long recap given that the finale was super-sized.

Edith announces to the family that she is moving to London and putting Marigold in school. The magazine is doing very well and she enjoys working.  While Robert worries about Edith living alone, Edith replies that she is a spinster and that is what they do, live alone. Ah, Edith, as optimistic as ever! On the way to London, Edith stops off at the Dowager’s to inform Spratt that they are expanding his column in the magazine. Spratt informs Edith that he’s “full of ideas when it comes to combining comfort and elegance, milady.” Of course, Denker is eavesdropping outside the door, the better to get the goods on Spratt.  Why she hasn’t used the information about Spratt’s nephew, I’ll never know.

Downton Abbey Finale 2

While in London, Edith heads to dinner at the Ritz with Aunt Rosamund, only to discover Bertie is already seated at the table. Aunt Rosamund discretely exits while Bertie pleads his case with Edith.  When Edith informs him that he broke her heart, Bertie tells her that he’s no good without her.  He still loves her and wants to marry her. He spills the beans that Mary helped arrange this little get together much to Edith’s surprise. It’s nice to know that now Mary is happy, she can allow her sister to have a little happiness of her own.  Edith reminds Bertie about Marigold. She wants to know how her future mother-in-law is going to feel about her.  Bertie hems and haws before finally admitting that maybe they should just keep that between themselves. Despite her misgivings, Edith agrees to marry Bertie.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Origin of the Spare Heirs” by Elizabeth Michels

The Infamous Heir Elizabeth Michels

A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far, far away…I wrote a blog post.

Alright…it was only 5 years ago, and I was sitting at my kitchen table, but that doesn’t sound nearly as dramatic.  At the time I ran a blog with a writer friend. We would blog about the journey to publication and our lives.  But occasionally, just for fun, we would write a scene unrelated to anything we were working on. I wrote a scene about 4 young ladies who snuck away from a house party to see a gypsy fortune teller that was camped on the edge of the estate.  The ladies in that scene were Sue Green, Evangeline Green, Isabelle Fairlyn, and Victoria Fairlyn. Little did I know that four books would grow out of that blog post.  Sue’s book is already on shelves as Desperately Seeking Suzanna, but I still wanted to write about these other 3 ladies.  And then there was the younger sister of the duke from my first book…

Basically I had 4 single ladies in need of some gentlemen.

If I began with the heroines, how did this 4 book series become the Spare Heirs?  Let me explain.

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Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Pamela DuMond, Keary Taylor, and Sara Ramsey

Need a mid-week pick-me-up? We’ve got you covered with these amazing titles from Pamela DuMond, Keary Taylor, and Sara Ramsey.

Part-Time Princess by Pamela DuMond

USA Today Bestselling author, Pamela DuMond, pitched the real life Erin Brockovich story to ‘Hollywood,’ where it became the smash hit movie.

Now she brings readers Part-Time Princess a LOL Romantic Comedy, the first book in the hilarious LADIES-in-WAITING Series!

Two Princes are in love with Lucy. Too bad she’s an imposter… Lucy’s a down-on-her luck cocktail waitress desperate to find a job to keep her beloved uncle at Assisted Living. Lady Elizabeth hires Lucy to impersonate her for “ten days tops”, while she completes her pressing personal business in the States. The goal: keep Prince Cristoph of Fredonia’s wandering eye in check until the real Elizabeth can return.

In the mother of all makeovers, Elizabeth’s people transform Lucy into a reluctant ‘Lady’, and she travels to Fredonia for her top-secret job. What could possibly go wrong?

Sexy, bad-boy Prince Nicholas of Fredonia, Cristoph’s younger brother — that’s what goes wrong!

Nick has a romantic history with the real Elizabeth and wants to pick up the action with her impersonator, Lucy. She’s wildly attracted to him, but must resist—she can’t lose this paycheck!

Elizabeth’s wild, party hard, well-intentioned Ladies-in-Waiting take Lucy under their wing, and get her in more trouble. Dreamy Nick’s courting her hot and heavy, but Prince Cristoph proposes marriage.

What’s an imposter girl to do?

A modern day, sexy tale with romance, twists and turns, laughter, a few tears, and a Happily-Ever-After ending (just not the way you expected it!)

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Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Claudy Conn, Renee Bernard, and Jennifer Haymore

Gorged on post-Valentine’s Day sweets? Here’s some treats that won’t lead to a stomachache from Claudy Conn, Renee Bernard, and Jennifer Haymore!*

*Heartache , however, is entirely possible.

Journey by Claudy Conn

What would you do if you wanted a normal life and another one was thrust into your hands?

What would you do if you had attained success and relative (if not complete) happiness and you were pushed onto a path that clearly designated it as ‘no return’?

What would you do if he, the man of your dreams walked into your life and you knew, absolutely knew, that one day he would leave because he was from another realm with secrets you couldn’t discern. Would you seize the moment?

Riley Doogan decided to seize the moment, and it cost her all the normalcy she had ever hoped to have in her life and that life was now fraught with terror.
Part one of Riley’s journey takes us on waves of passion and exploding tides of adventure, just the kind she had never wanted to have. She had wanted the ‘white picket fence’ the dog, the children and a good, loving man. What she got was bloody hell and a passion she had never thought even possible!

Revenge Wears Rubies by Renee Bernard

From an acclaimed author known for her “sinfully sexy” romances comes the first in a tantalizing series of erotic passion set in Victorian London…
Galen Hawke desires nothing but revenge against the woman who betrayed his dearly departed friend. Instead of mourning the loss of her fiance, Haley Moreland is merrily celebrating her upcoming nuptials to another man. Now, Galen has one mission: to seduce Miss Moreland and enslave her heart. And when she is completely his, he will destroy her…
With her family on the brink of financial ruin, Haley knows she should be grateful for her providential betrothal. But then she meets the dangerously handsome Galen, whose wicked touch makes her long to abandon all logic. If Galen’s promises are sincere, the match to a family of noble blood and strong financial accounts could be the remedy her family desperately needs. And if he isn’t sincere, one last chance to taste the passion he ignites before settling into a life of convention is equally alluring…

Highland Heat by Jennifer Haymore

With blood still drying on the front lines at Waterloo, Lady Grace Carrington helps an injured soldier to a British medical tent. Though she believes she’s pulled him to safety, in fact she has put them both in grave danger: Because when his brilliant blue eyes meet hers, the passionate Scottish sergeant kisses her in a way that leaves her breathless and trembling. As the obedient daughter of an earl, Grace shouldn’t be tempted by someone so far below her station. But as a red-blooded woman, she longs for so much more.

As far as Duncan Mackenzie is concerned, getting stabbed in the arm was the best thing that ever happened to him. When he wakes on the battlefield, the sight of Grace’s lovely face sets his soul aflame. As an enlisted man and a farmer’s son, however, pursuing his guardian angel means facing the wrath of London society, not to mention his own superiors in the British Army. Aye, but he’d risk all that and more just to keep her in his arms.