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Escape into an exotic world

BY CATE MASTERS

TwiceInABlueMoonWhen you think of an exotic setting, you probably think of somewhere tropical. Maybe you imagine a couple on a beach under the moonlight, with hot sand as a blanket beneath their feet.

But warm locales aren’t the only romantic places. So imagine instead two people in a colder place, surrounded by snow in a pristine wilderness.

My Devotion to Romance

BY RHENNA MORGAN

UnexpectedEdenI’ve been a devoted romance reader for as long as I can remember. There was a tiny stretch of time in college when I focused on only fiction fantasy (i.e. no guaranteed romance or happily ever after), but it didn’t last long. Six months, tops.

Simply put, romance books are my drug of choice. My escape. My coping mechanism for when I need to disconnect form reality long enough to reboot.

Stepping Onstage

BY JULIA TAGAN

StagesOfDesireI worked as an actress for several years before turning to fiction, but when it came time to write about theater in Regency-era England, I was stymied. I knew what it felt like to step onstage in front of hundreds of people, so I could easily relate to the nerves that my heroine feels, but the concrete details eluded me.

The heroine of Stages of Desire, Harriet Farley, was born into a family of traveling actors and lived on the road until she was twelve, when she was sent off to be a companion to a duchess’s daughter. For the past six years, she’s been pretending to be a proper young lady, though at heart she’s a rough-and-tumble kind of girl.

Harriet is on the road with a ragtag bunch of performers for much of the novel, in a quest to find her father and save him from debtor’s prison, so I knew I’d need to do some serious research into the life of actors in the early 1800s.

Luckily, I live just down the street from the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center in New York City. There, I came upon entire shelves of books on London theater in the early 1800s, with lots of fun stories and gossip. The most amazing find was the volume “Strolling Players and Drama in the Provinces,” which provided details like how much actors were paid (not much), what kinds of costumes they wore when arriving in a new town (scarlet, with gold trim and lace) and where they performed (courtyards, inns, barns and even cowsheds).

I learned that the phrase “taking the town” comes from the troupe’s method of getting a show up and running after arriving at a new location. This required bribing the authorities for permission, hiring out the place of performance and finding accommodations for the actors. Most importantly, they needed to make sure wealthy folks attended the shows, as they tended to be the most generous patrons.

From this small book, I was able to create an entire world for Harriet and her theater company, down to the faded gold trim on the costumes.

What are some of the details from historical romances that have surprised you?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julia Tagan lives with her husband and goldendoodle in New York City. A journalist by training, she enjoys weaving actual events and notorious individuals into her historical romances. Her favorite activities include walking her dog in Central Park, scouring farmers’ markets for the perfect tomato, and traveling to foreign cities in search of inspiration.

Website: http://juliatagan.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/julia.tagan

My Quest to be Organized

BY REBECCA ZANETTI

MarkedFirst, a big thank you to Romance Divas for having me over here today to celebrate the release of Marked from the Dark Protector series. I have a nice sheet listing the blog stops right in front of me, and it occurred to me that the busier I get, the more I’d like to be organized. Notice that I didn’t say that I actually am organized, just that it’d be nice to get that way.

Reality Meets Fantasy

BY COLLEEN SHANNON

FosterJusticeFoster Justice was my first completed romantic suspense with no paranormal elements if you don’t count a very wise horse LOL.  Actually Chester was a spot on match for one of the horses I owned prior to my divorce when I lived on a ranchette outside Austin.  He was a sorrel quarter horse who used to be a rodeo cutting horse and he was very comfortable bossing around fractious cows.  We were transporting a steer one time in our trailer with our horses and the steer panicked and literally started bouncing off the walls.

Hockey & Romance

BY CHARLENE GROOME

ColdAsIce
I’m a sucker for heroes with sexy bodies and confident attitudes. Make them hockey players and I’m all over it. There is something about a well-groomed, muscular male living a successful life that fits the fantasy. There’s a status to pro athletes. These men are passionate individuals who care a lot about what they do in a game and what they do for their team. They work hard to get to the highest level and continue to be the best in their career.

Marriage in Ancient Rome

BY GINA DANNA

LoveandReckoningWe are familiar with the idea of marrying for love. In the world of Romance stories, historically speaking, we find that is rarely the case. We’ve been exposed to arranged marriages, one for elevating one of the families’ status or to settle a vendetta or to join warring sides. Marriage is usually a religious affair, involving banns being read, licenses bought, priests for the ceremony plus so much more. And divorce? Another beast, usually so heavy with legal protocol along with it not working in a historical romance story, it is ignored.

Applying The Art of War to Writing

BY SHAWNTELLE MADISON

undermyskinUntil a few years ago, I hadn’t taken the time to read the classic book on The Art of War, the ancient book by Sun Tzu on military tactics. To be honest, the thought of reading it seemed boring. All this time I thought to myself, would I really need to apply troop formations and battle plans? For my latest YA sci-fi release, Under My Skin, I studied the text for my book. My heroine, Tate, lives in a world where the affluent members of society use the bodies of teens to live forever. In an auction, an evil military official buys her and enters her mind. Long story short, a battle ensues between the two in her head for control of Tate’s body. The book plays an important role in how her enemy thinks and she learns a lot about life in general. I did too and I want to talk about applying a few points from the text into how writers could use it.

Achieving Your Goals!

BY DIANA COSBY

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.” —Mark Twain

anoathtakenDreams are visions of what we can become.  But, dreams are also an invitation to doubt, to wonder if you’re good enough, or to ponder if you have what it takes.   When I retired from the Navy, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a published author.  After 100 rejections, I quit counting as I figured I knew how to achieve a rejection.  Then, after 9 ½ years, I finally sold.  The journey taught me many things, which I’d like to share with you.

Animals as Characters

BY COLLETTE CAMERON

TriumphandTreasureI’ve tried writing a book without animals of any kind. So far, I’ve failed; quite miserably actually.

Despite my best efforts, creatures of some sort creep in. I’ve used lots of dogs: dachshunds, boarhounds, spaniels, a one-eyed sheepdog, and other animals too: a three-legged cat, horses, a bad-tempered bull, blind mule, chickens, and an owl with deformed feet named Sophie, to mention a few.