Tag Archives: history

Catching up

I know I’ve been away much too long. I won’t be out of the loop from now on, but as they say, ‘life happens.’ I’ll do my best to give you a brief snapshot of where I’ve been during my time away from the blog. I’m only really starting to recover from all the excitement. Great thing is, there’s much more ahead.
Last month passed in a blurr. I was getting ready for my first-ever RWA National conference, (which was absolutely amazing). I caught up with members from The Greater Detroit chapter – my local chapter. I met some wonderful people, my fellow GIAMers, some fellow conference newbees, and Harlequin Romance Senior Editor, Kimberly Young in my hotel elevator. Ms. Young wasn’t wearing her nametag, but I recognized her voice from the podcasts on the Eharlequin website. By the way, those podcasts are chalked full of great stuff! If you’re a writer, and targeting Harlequin, definitely check them out.
While at conference, I spent time with chaptermate Renee Alexis and my roommate and pal, Jodi Redford I wish I had photos of the three of us at Animal Kingdom. If you haven’t yet been to Disney, IMO, you need to experience its allure and fantasy-like ambience firsthand. It really is a magical place. You don’t have to be a kid to have a good time. I’m sorry though, that I wasn’t able to check out the Magical Kingdom and meet some of Disney’s finest.
As for the conference,
RWA did a fabulous job coordinating all the workshops. The presenters of the many workshops I attended during the course of the conference provided me with a plethora of new material to add to my creative and business arsenals. I’ll mention two here, because it’s over two weeks later, and I still remember them. *g* Margie Lawson and the Carina Press spotlight with Angela James who did an excellent job giving the audience a clear picture of Carina and its mission. As a side note: I’ve just finished up Angela’s editing course with Savvy Authors If you haven’t yet taken it, you need to hurry up and get your spot for her next available class! She presents her lessons with no fuss, no frills added but with plenty examples to get her point across. And I loved that! Go ahead. I’ll wait. *g* Back to conference recap.
The Wednesday night literacy book signing, alone, was very interesting. I sat with Jodi Redford who was signing. To our left was Deanna Raybourn who is so down-to-earth and so nice to chat with. I had fun making small talk with her when she wasn’t busy with her readers.
Keynote speaker, Nora Roberts and Awards Lunch-in speaker, Jayne Ann Krentz are wonderful presenters who impressed me with their incredible amount of knowledge and sound advice, while making me laugh along the way.
The Golden Heart and Rita ceremony left me on the edge of my seat. I can’t imagine how anxious the nominees must’ve been. It was an emotional evening at times for me. I found myself tearing up when one of the winners, (any winner) would become emotional. I especially loved when Julia Quinn was inducted to the Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame after winning her third Rita in the category of best Regency Historical Romance with What Happens In London. And my fellow blogger, G. Jillian Stone not only won a Golden Heart, she also snagged an agent. 🙂 Go Jillian!
Since I’ joined RWA in 2006, I learned quickly that the Rita and GH ceremony along with the literacy book signing are infamous with members. Each year, up until now, I’d read others accounts of the conference and events there, and I’d wonder what it would be like to attend and experience them for myself. They were both pretty awesome! After attending this conference, I’ve gained an even greater appreciation for the romance genre, and writing in general. I’ve sharpened my own focus, expanding my dreams while narrowing my goals to the more practical few that I can control.
After returning home from Orlando, , I dove right into my family reunion, the MacInnis family reunion. My relatives from all over Canada flew in for the four-day event. I met second and third cousins, and wives/husbands/children of those cousins it made my head spin. But I had a lot of fun doing it. I heard the Harlequin party was a blast, but trust me, no one can party like my family. *g*
Next up for me, in September, is the year-long mentorship class with Lori Wilde I’m extatic for this course to start. This course looks like it’ll be a blast.
Well, there’s my not-to-concise recap. I hope those of you who attended conference had a fun time just as I did.


Let Jodi Redford Light Your Fire With Her New Release

New Release by Jodi Redford
Well, just as I promised last week, here’s this week’s new release info. 🙂
Out from Samhain Tuesday, June 29, is a new hot and kickass release from Jodi Redford And to celebrate her new release, Jodi is offering to one lucky person who leaves a comment, a $5 gift card to My Bookstore And More
Be sure to check out Jodi’s contest page. To celebrate her new release, she’s giving away an Advanced Reading copy of Light My Fire! There’s also some other cool prizes, but you’ll need to check out her contest page for the rules. But hurry, because the contest ends tomorrow.
Be sure when you leave your comments here to include your email address so Jodi or I can contact you. Best of luck, everyone! We’ll draw the winner on Sunday!

Light My Fire by Jodi Redford (Out this coming Tuesday from Samhain.)
Double the firepower, triple the heat.
Aiden Fortune’s orders are clear: Find the woman, claim her as a sexual
sacrifice-and share her with his horndog twin brother. Distasteful as it is,
the Drakoni council insists the ancient custom be honored. Or Aiden will be
One glance at Dana Cooper, and Aiden is thrown into the dragon version of a
tailspin. Claim her? Hell, yes, he’ll claim her. Problem is, she has no idea
her father signed away her destiny at birth.
Dana has dated enough whack-a-doodles to fill an insane asylum. Two gorgeous
men claiming to be dragons? Par for the course. Until they give her a
tantalizing glimpse of their inner beasts, which makes her think she’s the
one headed for a padded cell-for actually considering their offer of the
hottest sex of her life, for life.
Her resistance melts away under the onslaught of two men who pack enough
heat to set off smoke alarms in a six-block radius. Especially when she
realizes she’s falling for Aiden. But with a town full of dragon hunters and
an enemy lurking in the shadows, surviving a week of Aiden and Jace’s
double-teaming will be the least of her problems.
Warning: Contains two smokin’ hot dragons and their not-so-unwilling
sacrifice. A few wardrobe malfunctions and inappropriate use of
paintbrushes. You might want to have your local fire department on speed

Another new release by Jane Beckenham

For the next two weeks, I’m very excited to share two new releases from two of my good friends and fellow authors. This week,
Jane Beckenham
has a new release out with
Red Rose Publishing
which I’ll share with you in a moment, along with an excerpt to whet your apitite. Next week, I’ll be sharing info on a new hot number by
Jodi Redford
On with this week’s new release!
In Love With The Sheikh
Desert Rose Anthology
Jane Beckenham
Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Interracial/Multicultural
ISBN: 978-1-60435-723-3
Cover Artist: Missy Lyons
Editor: Zena Gainer
Word Count: 49,380
Release Date: June 17, 2010

Desperate to discover her past, Lilly Duprés outbids Sheikh Kalim Raschid for an antique brooch. Her triumph is short lived. She can’t honor that bid. Accepting an offer to solve her financial embarrassment, Lilly discovers Kalim has every material thing yet spurns what she most desires. Love. Family. To belong.
After a lifetime spent watching his father hurt his mother, Kalim has vowed he would never imitate his father. But Lilly breaches his defenses leaving him vulnerable.
Faced with something he never wanted, Kalim must choose his future, and Lilly must accept her past, until life and love can come full-circle.

Replenishing Your Creative Well

Burnout can, and does happen to the best of us. Sitting around day after day, not stretching mentally or physically isn’t in any way healthy. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. [G]
I’d love to sit and write twenty-four seven if I could. With the hundreds, heck, thousands of story ideas I’ve jotted down in some shape or form, plus those jockiing for center stage in my head could keep me busy for years. I don’t write nonstop, but when I do write, I’m more focused on my task because my creative well is full.
How do I replenish my well, you might ask? How do I reduce the amount of stress in my life? How do I manage not feeling burnt out creatively and physically?
I take the time to smell the roses and engage my other senses in the world around me. I listen to music. Read a book, (or several.) I go to a movie or have lunch with friends. I love sitting and talking with my grandma in her backyard. Or taking a drive on a breezy evening with the windows down to clear my mind.
I love to sing – always have. Putting on music or singing with others helps take my mind off my problems.
Doing house work allows me to step away from the computer, while still allowing me to focus on the problem at hand. Dusting, vacuuming or doing the dishes doesn’t take much brainpower. These chores help break the monotony of my day. When I’m ready to get back to work, I try to have healty snacks at my side, such as cold water, (not caffeinated drinks), nuts, fruits and vegetables. I’m still working on cutting back starches. One thing I’ll never stop eating is chocolate. [G] As far as I’m concerned, chocolate should be given its own food group. [G]
Sitting still while trying to figure out a crucial plot point won’t get you far. However, taking a brisk walk, a run, riding a bike, doing some light weight lifting, going for a refreshing swim on a hot day might just get those creative juices flowing once again.
It’s been well-documented that physical activity is bennificial. Here’s a link to the Mayo Clinic to one such article:

Seven Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

Exercise can improve your mood, self-esteem and self-confidence. It can boost your energy level. Ever have those days where you’re just so dead tired, you just want to eat then fall straight into bed? Try taking a walk instead. You’ll sleep better and deeper that night.
One disadvantage of being sedentary for too long is packing on those extra pounds. Exercise can help manage weight and even combat certain chronic diseases.
Just for fun, I won’t give you the second to last benefit listed in the article. LOL I’ll let you discover that particular bit of info all on your own. [wink wink nudge nudge]
If you have a group of friends to exercise with, all the better. You’ll get the benefit of social interaction along with a good workout. I’m a writer, not a hermit. I have to sometimes fight my desire to lock myself in my creative cage – to shut others out. Friends aren’t just good to go on a jog with. They’re good to bounce ideas off of or to simply spend time with.
When I’m having trouble putting new words on the page, sometimes I just need to sit and take in the quiet around me. It’s very difficult, but there are days where I can go without writing a single word. And rather than beat myself up for not writing anything new, I’ll go about my life, and when I’m not expecting it, an idea will reveal itself. When it’s time to go back to work, I’ll be ready and raring to go.
Stress can be found everywhere you look in some shape or form. What’s important is how we choose to manage it. I hope I’ve given you some helpful tips on how I handle stress and burnout. Now I’d like to hear what your methods are. How do you handle stress? Do you have a hobby or activity you enjoy that helps you unwind? How do you combat burnout? Feel free to share, and happy creating!

Using Music As Inspiration

There are some days where I have to drag myself to my desk to plant my butt in my chair. Days when writing a few words seems like an impossible and monumental feat. Granted, those days are few and far between, but they’re still unpleasant. I can only wipe the counter so many times and make sure my black Lab has enough water in her bowl. *g* I need to put my butt in my chair, open my WIP file, (one of them anyway), and write.
Lately I’ve been hooked on all things Historical, particularly movie adaptations of Jane Austen novels. The very popular Pride And Prejudice, (2005 version) and Sense And Sensibility, (1995 version). The musical score can really set the mood and tone for a specific film, or provide inspiration. Either way, there’s much enjoyment to be had.
These film scores, and others, (The Duchess), for example have really given me some wonderful ideas for future stories. I don’t know how this happens. I usually don’t write with music in the background as I find it pretty distracting, particularly music with lyrics. I’ll want to sing along. When that happens, I lose my focus. Oh sure, I get ideas from song lyrics, but I haven’t always listened to classical music. I’ve always found it to be lovely, but until I initially thought of attempting to write while playing something instrumental in the background, it never occurred to me that it could add something truly magical.
Purely instrumental pieces not only keep me focused on what I’m writing, but they add a certain excitement, a richness to my scenes that until recently, to me, weren’t present.
With a waltz playing in the background, my senses are much sharper as I write. In fact, I can’t type fast enough to keep up. I can see the ballroom overflowing with bejeweled ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finest. The skirts of the ladies swirl as they glide in the arms of their handsome partners across the polished floor, the crush, along with the smell of so many bodies crammed into one room can sometimes put me in the thick of things, so vivid is the setting to me. And all this because of music. Mabye this sounds silly, but that’s amazing.
I’m curious to hear from those of you who write with music in the background, what are some of your favorite songs, soundtracks and albums that inspire you? Who are some artists you can’t write without? Whether the mood of your scene is dark, soft, menacing, dangerous, do you put together a playlist or soundtrack for your WIP to match those moods? And if you don’t quite know what song could fit a specific mood, where do you find the perfect music to complement a particular scene? I’m interested in adding to my growing list of film scores, so please don’t be shy in sharing. 🙂

Interview And New Release With Jane Beckenham

Today’s chat is with New Zealand author Jane Beckenham. Jane writes both contemporary and historical romance and next week (Tuesday May 25th) sees her 10th book released. HE’S THE ONE is being released by

Abbey: Jane. Tell us a bit about He’s the One.

Jane: Well, HTO is set here in New Zealand, actually in Auckland where I live, a city known as City of Sails, because we’re surrounded by harbor on both sides, the Tasman Sea on one side and the Mankau Harbour on the other. I wanted to write about a heroine who was a wedding planner, I think because secretly it’s a job I would love to do. And my hero, well he is just pure hunk material. He owns vintage cars, and in particular a red Mustang. When I was out ‘doing lunch’ with authors Eve Summers and Melody Knight one day, this guy drove up and parked beside us in his red mustang. He walked right by. Oh it was drool heaven!

Reviews so far have been great….

Review from Single Titles…. “Jane Beckenham scripts
a beautiful tale woven with remarkable insight to
the emotions of a new couple finding their way. He’s
the One reminded me a lot of the emotions you feel
when you find someone special you’re attracted to.
I thought it believable and felt like I had stepped into the
story with Taylor and Cade. Curl up with a festive drink
and spend the day enjoying this remarkable story.”
Read more….

And from Romance Junkies… HE’S THE ONE by Jane Beckenham is a unique story. So many parts of the plot had this reviewer laughing out loud. The chemistry between the characters is strong enough to keep the reader turning the pages. I would recommend this book for the romantics out there that are looking for a fun, simple read to relax with.

Here’s the blurb: Taylor Sullivan doesn’t trust Cupid, but she plays one for a living. As a successful wedding consultant, she creates a couple’s ultimate fantasy—even though she’s never managed to create her own. And when her clients start asking her for wedding night advice, she’s sensible enough to know when to enlist help.
Cade Harper knows two things about women. They either abandon him, or use him as a walking bank. He doesn’t do commitment, and marriage is a dirty word—witness the string of broken hearts he’s left in his wake
Warning: Contains explicit, straight-to-the-heart sex between a hopeless romantic heroine and an abandon-all-hope hero. No need to dress up for this party—just curl up with a glass of bubbly and a box of tissues!

Abbey: He’s The One is quite quirky, I mean the opening line is out there.

Jane: The opening line Virginity is overrated came to me one night while I couldn’t sleep. My poor heroine is a virgin and her clients (the brides) keep asking her questions about sex she can’t answer. Like a sensible business gal she decides she’s going to learn a new skill!

Abbey: What do you think books set in New Zealand bring to your work.

Jane: Well I’d like to think I can bring a sense of NZ life and culture. I mean we’re upside down and when the northern hemisphere is deep in snow for Christmas, it’s summer here and all about bbqs and the beach. I think that is why I tend to set a lot of my stories around summer time, so I can showcase our different worlds. New Zealand has some spectacular native plans one of which is the Pohutukawa and is our ‘NZ Christmas tree” For example my book Always a Bridesmaid was set in Rotorua and the Ureweras – in the very heart of Nzs North Island, an area steeped in Maori culture and myth and legend which featured in the book. It’s also an area my husband and I lived in over 25 years ago.

Abbey: Do you write every day?

Jane: This is where I cough and splutter and hang my head. I should be, in fact I usually do, but at the moment I’ve been a tad slack and had some time off. I’ve even discovered the joys of window cleaning – which is incredibly sad and pathetic. But I’m slowly getting back into it, now the writing well is getting refilled with some down time, not something I do easily!

Abbey: Since you set a lot of your books in New Zealand, tell us a bit about life there.

Jane: Well NZ is a special place and of course if you saw the Lord of the Rings movies, you will have noticed a lot of our landscape. We’re 2 islands, (the North Island and South Island – not very original I know) though there is a tiny third one way at the bottom called Stewart island. Our native language is Maori and we’re officially part of Polynesia. We have a sub-tropical climate and a population of only 4 million. A nation for outdoor activities, anything from surfing and sailing to bungee jumping and skiing. Plus of course Rugby which is our national sport.

Abbey: What’s next on the writing front?

Jane: He’s The One is being released on 25th May from Samhain, then in the coming months I have a Regency, A Traitor’s Heart and a sheikh story – In Love With the Sheikh being released from Red Rose Publishing.
I have a couple of other contemporaries I’m fine tuning, plus an historical set in the late 1600s (in France/England) which is in edit mode too. No rest for the wicked.

Abbey: Thanks Jane for popping in to chat to us. How can readers find you?

Jane: Thanks for having me Abbey. You can check out my web site at Jane Beckenham.com and I am on twitter

It’s Abbey again. So Jane’s been kind enough to gift to one lucky commenter a pre-released copy of He’s The One. 🙂 So if you’d like a chance to win, leave a comment. 🙂 I’ll draw the winner on Sunday.

Just for Fun

I had a really busy weekend but a great Mother’s Day. I hope all you moms out there did too. Therefore, this week I thought we would just have some fun. I found some fun little quizzes and trivia for you. The first few are for the paranormal lovers out there and the second half for the historical fans. I hope you enjoy them. Next week I will tackle something a little more serious. What that is hasn’t come to me but it will.

Paranormal Quizzes:

Lords of the Underworld Quiz (Which Lord is Perfect for You)


Which Immortal Is Your Soul Mate?


Black Dagger Brothers Quiz


Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark Trivia


Vampire History Quiz


Shifter Trivia


Historical Quizzes:

What Regency Heroine Are You?


Which Austen Heroine Are You?


Which Literary Heroine Are You?


Georgian Costumes: Regency to Romantic Quiz


Historical Romance  Writing Formula Quiz


Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake

ONE MAN’S THOUGHTS: Life Lesson From Literature

I want to share an epiphany I had recently. During a conversation with an acquaintance of mine we were discussing the nature of human beings, politics and the world in general. One particular point that came up was the idea that man is inherently good. That people as a whole, in any civilization, are fundamentally decent folks no matter what rules of that society maybe. To my own surprise I found that I argued that most of us are worthy individuals when separated from exterior influences. In short, I believe that people from any society and any era all have a fundamental desire to be good— and I can prove it.

Great fiction from any culture, from any point in history, has certain elements in common. The reason they have elements in common is that some concepts have a universal appeal to us and hold our attention. Books that retain a reader’s attention do well; books that speak to us about the human experience are the ones that endure. Such as the Odyssey, Lord of the Rings, and any Shakespeare play are epic examples. Each culture and time period has it’s own hallmark writers that capture the imaginations of many readers, but follow the same rules of success. Even those stories that are never famous that touch us in someway usually do so because they reflect something we admire.

What is it these stories all have? Heroic characters faced with incredible obstacles.

Even if the book doesn’t depict the Cyclops trying to prevent the hero from completing his journey home, there are always barriers the main character must deal with. Sometimes a tale of someone falling in love, battling cancer or surviving a disaster is more moving because it we can identify with it. Whatever the situation, we enjoy reading about a noble cause.

For the sake of my argument it doesn’t matter what genre appeals to you, what matters is these stories feature someone overcoming his or her circumstances. That is how people learn and we all have a need to see others succeed by becoming more than what they were. No one cares to read about a character that doesn’t learn anything and merely acts for their self-interests.

Allow me to phrase it another way.

I once attended a writing conference and the speaker explained that heroes are always more interesting than villains. Villains never grow. They seek power or to do wrong because they believe they are entitled to whatever they want. They are villains because they will do anything to obtain their goals. They don’t learn or change and that makes them a poor choice for a lead character. Heroes on the other hand must overcome adversity by learning about themselves and those around them. Exciting drama is the unfolding struggle, both internal and external. What captivates a reader is venturing through that process with the heroic character and experiencing their adventure through them— it always has and it always will.

If that is what makes a successful story, if that is what has always made a successful story, then it is my assertion that this universal attraction to overcoming adversity through the betterment of an individual means we all have the basic moral principals. What is considered admirable qualities among the ancient Greeks is admirable to modern America and everyone in between. This goes for all cultures, for I’m certain that if you were to read ancient Chinese tales, American Indian legends, or ancient Egyptian stories they would feature characters that performed great deeds against evil forces. In the end literature reveals the soul of a culture and mankind as a whole.

Happy writing!

Michael Matthews Bingamon

The Importance of Nurturing Friendships And You

This past Tuesday, I attended my local Romance Writers of America’s chapter meeting. Due to personal commitments – work, family and life in general, I’ve been unable to attend any prior meetings this year. Normally when I enter the room, I feel this underlying thrum of energy, which was still very much present, but there was something else in the air too. I felt like I’d come home from a very long absence, and waiting for me were all my friends. It was as though I’d never missed a meeting.
While away, I’d forgotten how much interacting with everyone there really fed my creative spirit. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy sitting around chatting before the meeting came to order. And, I’d forgotten how, after every meeting, I’d walk away feeling enriched and invigorated by all I’d learned. I didn’t realize, until after the meeting adjourned, how much I missed well…everything.
This meeting was no different. I left feeling positive and uplifted by our speaker and I was so happy to see many of my friends again that I haven’t seen in a few months. I had a blast catching up with everyone. I loved celebrating with those who made a sale, or who had great news to share.
I think sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the many responsibilities we all have, we forget how doing the simplest, smallest things for ourselves can be more beneficial than we realize, and we take many things such as friends and acquaintances for granted. We have obligationns to family, work, household chores, and kids. If we write, our writing alone can take up dozens of hours each month. And if we’re published, add promoting to that, and for some, that takes up even more time.
When all is said and done, where does that leave us? We need to get away, to do something for ourselves that is unique to who we are.
I joined Romance Writers of America four years ago, and made some great friends along the way. I have many online friends who, like my local RWA chapter mates, enrich my life just as much. But there’s something to be said about personal interaction.
I love seeing the excitement of someone reaching a career milestone. Everyone there can share in that member’s euphoria, or give a hug when someone is struggling through hard times.
This month I was glad to climb from my little bubble and venture to somewhere familiar. Lately, I’ve allowed myself to get rapped up in the craziness that is my life, and I neglected doing something so simple, yet so fulfilling.
So whether you’ve missed your local organization’s meeting, catching up with friends over coffee, calling an old friend or acquaintance, renewing an old friendship, or just taking time for yourself, don’t do what I did. Take that first step, and set aside everything crazy in your life for a few hours. Put you first. Keep those friends you hold dear close. In your own way, show them you care. You never know what could happen. Your experience could be just as rewarding. 🙂

How Saying No Won’t Kill You

I always marvel at people who can have their fingers in ten or more pies and never break a sweat. They make volunteering appear effortless, and they should be applauded for giving so much of their time and expertise. I am not one of them. Does this bother me? Since I’m the type of person where saying no is difficult, yes, it can, but I am learning where to draw the line, and just say NO.
There are always volunteers needed, in particular, with writers. If not enough help is found events such as workshops, conferences, contests, RWA and it’s chapters, critique groups, book reviews, various Yahoo loops would not run smoothly or at all. So when do you finally say no, and how can you do it without feeling guilty for believing you let others down?
Part of being a writer is being able to write. The more time you give to others, the less you have to dedicate to your own work. Once your published, you’ll have even more to add to your plate. Things such as promotion, networking, revisions, and galleys will need your time and attention. They WILL need to be done.
Do you sometimes feel rushed or stressed out about not having enough time to get everything done? You not only have demands of your family, day job, and other outside obligations to meet, but the jobs you volunteered to fulfill that revolve around your writing. Do you wonder where the time goes? Hours can pass, and you’re still checking emails? Or you’re playing catch-up with critiques, or cutting it close to finish judging those entries for the three contests you agreed to judge?
Keep track of what you’re doing with your time. Keep a log or a journal, where you record what you do on a particular day, and how much time you spend on such things as email, critiques, moderating workshops or Yahoo loops, fulfilling your responsibilities as a board member of your chapter, presenting workshops, coordinating or judging contests, and contacting speakers for workshops or conferences. Do this for a week, then look back and see how much time you spent not writing.
If it was email that hogged your time, unsubscribe from those groups where you’re just lurking and not participating. If its critiques, tell your partner or group, instead of doing ten a week, you’ll do three, or how ever many you feel you can handle. Same with contests. Critiques and contest entries take time and effort. The feedback you provide is important, and if you can’t give either the time they deserve, than cut back. Your critique partners or those contest entrants shouldn’t be short-changed just because you felt rushed to get them off your to-do list.
Am I sounding harsh? Maybe. But honestly, if our goal is to help other writers, are we really meeting it by hurrying to do all that needs done? Instead, are we doing them more harm than good? Think about this when you feel the urge to volunteer. Can you REALLY dedicate the time that’s needed?
Force yourself to be more selective when the opportunity to volunteer arises. There are always benefits to offering your time. You can make new friends, find new critique partners, network with editors and agents, promote yourself and your books if you’re published, and if you’re pre-published, you can still get your name out there.
If you’re asked to help out with something, and you honestly don’t feel you can take the time, then just say so. You don’t have to explain why, or apologize, a simple, “I’d love to, but I’m not able to right now” will do just fine. Let the coordinator or organizer know to keep you in mind, and contact you when the next opportunity comes around. You might be able to help out then.
It’s difficult at first, to say no, when you’re so used to saying yes to everyone around you. Once you become more selective and yes, selfish with your time, it becomes easier. It feels wonderful and rewarding to help other writers learn and grow, but when you find your own work suffering as a result, it’s time to make a change. Your time is precious, so treat it like the gem it is.

Armor makes the Man (well his horse anyway.) Part 3

So imagine being large and strong enough a man to support the weight of all the armor needed for a knight to protect themselves on the battlefield. From head to two covered in leather, mail or Plate. Most of the times a combination of all three were worn. Not to mention being strong enough to then still wield a large weapon and shield. Now imagine that same knight needing a horse to carry him and the armor the horse needed.

Needless to say the normal horse wasn’t going to do the trick. The knight would need a large warhorse or charger to sustain his own added weight as well as that of his rider. The horse needed to be a special breed that would pay heed to commands given by leg command, as the knight needed his hands free of reigns to fight and hold his shield.

The horse also needed to be able to fight as well, the brutality of war insisted that the horse be able to trample victims and bite and kick to on command when needed. (Nothing like a strong Hero who has complete control of his steed to try and control our stong heroine)

Armor for the horse is called Barding and usually was made of leather or plate. The Barding covered neck, chest and body. Head armor helped to create a sense of fear in the enemy’s as they were made to look mythical and monstrous. The formal coat of arms worn over the armor was called the trapper.

These horses would have stood over 20 hands tall or well over 7 feet. There colors would have ranged from black, grey, bay or brown, pictures from the time show white tufts of hair around the lower legs. The actual warhorses were the ancestor of today’s draft horses, like the Clydesdales but its believed the actual horses used are now extinct.

Most Knights would have had at least two horses one for the long rides out to the battlefields and one for the battle itself.

If you enjoyed this blog please check out the other two installments all meant to help the historical writer with basic information. Next weeks blog is on weaponry.

Where did that muse go…

So I have to admit that this week, I have a case of major writers block. Not only with my Novel writing but also with my blog. Nothing seemed interesting nothing seemed to flow and nothing and I mean nothing seemed to fill this sheet of paper with ideas.

I guess this week for me my muse started celebrating St Patty’s day early and had a pint to many so forgot where to find me. I can except that I suppose we all need a vacation now and then. But it really would have been nice if she had left me a replacement for the week so that I could have accomplished something. I have sat at this computer day after day and walked away feeling confused and frustrated.

So what did I do about it? I sat down with a few of my favorite Historical Writers and hoped that that would bring the muse out? IT DIDN’T but I did enjoy rediscovering why I love Historical romances so much.

First, there is innocence about them, 99% of the time the heroine is innocent. I love the awakening that happens in Historicals, the way the Rake or Rogue takes there time bringing out the inner temptress in her. I write erotica this is my way of getting away.

Second, the Hero is usually larger then life the supreme Alpha male in need of a strong woman (He just doesn’t know it yet)

Third, I am a sucker for History.(Not that anyone who has read one of my blogs would be surprised by this)

So now I think I will curl up with a few new authors I have been meaning to read Like April Dawn, and hope there muse will take over for mine.

Happy St. Patty’s day to all and if someone sees my muse please tell her to lay off the Green Beer and come home.

A History – Places to research – 18th century

I’ve talked a bit about research books and I will go on to talk more about them in another post. This post is about websites.

Good places to find information on the web are hard to find. Sometimes you don’t know if the information you are getting is accurate. Especially on websites with no educational background. This is why I recommend double checking any info you get from the internet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen contradicting information on lay websites, then found the correct info on encyclopedic or educational websites.

Stuck for names. Baby name sites often have great lists of names and some will even tell you when the name was first, or most often, used.

Need help with speech patterns? Ideas of daily life and politics? You can find a number of 18th an 19th century correspondence. Here

Need more help with speech pattern, behaviors, and rules of society? You can find books from the period to read online.

Educational sites often have dictionaries and informational pages, like this one, and this one.

There are many other well written and informative sites as well, just be sure to check the credibility. Don’t be caught with emails and letters coming in about some small historical inaccuracy because you neglected to do the proper research.
April Dawn
-Author of Crushing Desire and
Bound by Love available now through Breathless Press and Allromance.


Miss Independent…

Is your heroine a woman a head of her time? Or is she on the cusp of something great. Most of us want strong women as our characters but when and how do they fit through history. Until Modern times and with that I mean to about the 1970’s you can almost follow the amount of power and independence women had but the hem of their skirts.

Don’t believe me?

Ok through most of history woman have had very little power. Yes there were the exceptions Elizabeth and Victoria being very powerful queens for their time. Yet they had to fight for that power tooth and nail. And their skirts dragged the ground. (I am placing most of this in the time frame of the middle ages on,)

In the late 1860’s ,when women gained the right to vote in England only if there were no men in the family to do so, we saw the brief rise in the hem line. Not in evening wear, but some day wear was now over the ankle. I know…scandalous.

By the 1920 the hem line has been slowly rising. Many women still wear longer gowns but it is considered fashionable and acceptable to wear the dresses with higher hemlines. The hemline peaks at the mid calf until the time the woman of America get their vote in August 1920 catapulting the hemline above the knee.

The great depression brought an end to the flapper dresses moving the hemline back under the knee. It also was a step back for women from the freedom they had felt in the 20’s. When World War 2 happened women out of necessity came out of their dresses and into pants to work in the factories. Women were earning a paycheck and supporting the war effort at home. When not at work women some women remained in pants but those who preferred Skirts found their hem line back up to the knee.

When the men returned from war women came out of pants and back into their skirts. The image of the perfect 50’s housewife may come to mind. Most skirts hemlines fell back to mid calf as women lost jobs and went back into the kitchen. Again women lost a great deal of their independence in the process.

In the 1960’s everything changed the Pill was FDA approved, though it was illegal to use in some states. Women took a huge step into gaining a true independence. The miniskirt was created.

The hem has fallen and risen since then but over all Women had maintained there independent foot hold. We still fight against glass ceiling and still have battles to be won but we can now dictate our own hem line.

Although women’s power suits today do usually involve a short skirt, just a thought.

Excerpt – Forever Yours

Today we have Jackie M. Smith with a sweet little excerpt from Forever Yours.

Jackie writes historical romance and this is her first novel.

Liz was happy and grateful for this moment with Philip. Laying her head against his chest, she felt so warm and secure in his arms. All her memories of the times spent with him flowed back. She held back the tears threatening to leave her eyes.
“Are you warmer?” Philip asked, not letting her go.
She nodded, tensing, awaiting his kiss without realizing she lifted her face in invitation.
“I’ve missed you so much, Liz.” The words were little more than a whisper.
Disappointment washed over her as he kissed her brow then stepped back. “I’ve missed you too Philip.” She looked into his heavenly blue eyes.
“I’m surprised seeing you here of all places.” He smiled, taking her hand and sat on the bench a few feet away. No one saw them.
Indeed, she felt as though they were the only two people in the world. She felt her heart race when his warm muscular thigh brushed against hers. And he held her hand in his large one. She stared at their joined hands. Never did she feel so nervous with Philip. All this was very unknown and frightening. “Do you think we’ll be fighting soon?” She asked, changing her train of thought.
“Soon. With the battle in the Atlantic, they need more ready pilots.” He held her hand in his and looked at her with serious eyes as she remained silent. “Liz. Promise me you’ll be careful when it’s time for you to on missions. I know I can’t stop you, so promise me you’ll take care.” Philip’s tone was firm but soft.
She nodded without taking her eyes away from his. “I promise. And you do the same.” She was so afraid to lose him.
Philip nodded as they sat in silence a little while longer. She wished so much Philip kissed her. But he didn’t. He held her in silence. And he never said how much he missed her. It was for the best he said nothing. If he told her how he missed her or loved her, she may fall into his arms and forget her dreams. And she wasn’t ready to sacrifice her chance in the Royal Air Force for more than friendship with Philip. Or was she?
She lifted her head and his eyes met hers. He stared into her eyes for a long while. And she felt herself melt on the spot. What was wrong with her? She stared at his tempting lips and wished he would kiss her. Instead, she felt his hand cup her cheek and his thumb traced her lower lip, leaving a trail of heat. He didn’t kiss her but the intimate gesture sent waves of warm sensations all over her body. His eyes stared into hers with intensity. And her heart drummed in her ears. Anticipation alerted all her senses. “Liz.” The low rasp in his voice sent another wave of sensations through her body. She bit her lower lip and closed her eyes for a quick moment.
Philip sat so close; she could feel his hot breath caressing her cheeks. Her heart jumped in her chest when his lips touched her cheek and the delicate skin near her ear. “Liz,” he whispered again in her ear. A new sensation centered in the special place in her lower belly. She saw stars behind her eyelids and waited for Philip’s next move. Will he kiss her? She didn’t know. His hands kept her warm against the cool air. Indeed, she felt a bit over warm and unsure of her body. Philip never touched her in such an intimate way before. His lips lingered near her ear. And his hot breath sent shivers along her skin. She turned her head ever so slowly and met his eyes. She could see his eyes darken. He cupped her cheeks and leaned his forehead against hers. Their lips brushed together. Voices in the background brought them back to earth. Philip broke his embrace, leaving Liz breathless.
Quickly, she regained her composure before someone saw them together. She glanced at Philip and his face didn’t show any trace of emotion. “I should go,” she said, swallowing hard against the lump in her throat. Tears threatened to leave her eyes. Before he said a word, Liz removed Philip’s jacket from her shoulders and walked toward the camp.

Find out more at her website.
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Ava Delany

Ava Delany