Sat. 02-06 - Collette Cameron, Regency Romance author, is our guest!!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

People to See and Places to go!

Places to go! People to See! 

By: Marcia King-Gamble

Thanks to several years spent in the travel industry with airlines and cruise lines, there are way too many favorite places to mention. The ones I have mentioned hold special memories for me, and even now the travel bug  bites.

Those following my posts know I was fortunate enough to join the late, great Pan Am right out of college. I flew for two years then went into management.  It was a young woman’s dream being able to get on and off  planes and see sights I could never afford on my own. Travel has been the best finishing school ever.  It taught me about, food, wine and different cultures. To this day most of my disposable income goes to the mandatory trip or two.

Top of my favorite list is New Zealand, but that’s already been done by the very fortunate author, Bronwen Evans, who happens to live there.  It truly is a special place, and while it’s been a few years, I still recall the gorgeous water views, the exotic landscaping,  and the charming Tudor homes.  I would move there in a Northeast minute. The restaurants in Auckland serve the best New Zealand lamb I’ve ever had and it’s not uncommon for a total stranger to visit your table as you're dining. No agenda,  they just want to say  “hi.” 

Hong Kong is another city high on my list. It’s a magical place with a lot going on.  It’s the fashion capital of the world and the place you can still pick up some reasonably priced pearls and custom tailored clothing . An evening out on the town is a memorable experience. I’ve heard some of the most talented rock and R&B bands there.  Restaurants cater to every mood and palate.   But that’s not all Hong Kong offers, if you’re looking to spend a day of sun, fun and relaxation, there are several beaches to choose from on both Hong Kong and Kowloon. No one should miss the sunset harbor cruise


As you can tell,  I'm a huge fan of Asia. Another favorite city is Bangkok. There are some really cool hotels there, and if you're into being pampered this is the place to be. Spend a half a day at a spa for a massage, pedicure, manicure, and hot oil treatment, all for a fraction of what you would pay in the USA. 

One of my favorite purchases is still a brass noodle vendor stand.  Back then they were $15.00,  not so any more, but still reasonable. The piece makes for a unique place to hold soaps, shampoos or wash cloths, though some friends have turned them into mini-bars.

Venice is another wonderful treasure and a place you shouldn’t miss. It is perhaps one of the most romantic cities in the world and the most mysterious. The hotels are expensive, but the food is mouthwatering good.  

If you’re  an adventurous sort and don’t mind taking a 20 minute Vaporetto ride, then go to Lido where less expensive hotels are. Lido was once known for its famous brothels.  It’s a beach community with charming villas where you can stay without breaking the bank.

Near and dear to my heart is the island I was born on – St. Vincent.  I always knew it was beautiful and a special place, but now having visited most of the world, I have come to appreciate it even more. My island paradise (all of 150 sq. miles,) has so much to offer. No wonder the Grenadines (owned by the mainland) have become the “It place” for so many of the rich and famous. 

Here’s where Kate Middleton and Prince William stay when visiting Mustique.

To sum up, there are  many more beautiful places waiting to be explored, but in the interest of time , I will save them for another day. Here  in the USA my go to place is the Jersey Shore which is the setting of my  recent book... Monmouth Beach,  New Jersey rocks! 

Like me on Facebook and escape to an exotic place with one of my books!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Types of Regency Romance

There Really are More Than One!
By Collette Cameron

When I started writing Regency Romances, I thought I knew what I was doing. Notice the emphasis on the word thought. Heck, I didn’t even realize that what defines the Regency Era is controversial.

The narrowest definition of the Regency Era is the period between 1811 and 1820 when the Prince of Whales ruled as Prince Regent because King George III’s madness made him unfit to rule. Some argue that Regency Romances must take place within this time frame and be set in England while adhering to the social norms, mannerisms, and values of the period.

A broader definition, often call the Extended Regency Era, was the period from 1777 or 1779, depending on the resource, and ending either with the death of King George IV in 1830 or the British Reform Act in 1932. Some claim it extended clear until Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837.  

You’ll note that one time frame is a mere nine years, while the other encompasses over four decades. Is one right and the other wrong? One more authentic or accurate?

A notice at the entrance to the Regency galleries in the National Portrait Gallery reads:
 “As a distinctive period in Britain’s social and cultural life, the Regency spanned the four decades from the start of the French Revolution in 1789 to the passing of Britain’s great Reform Act in 1832.”

Obviously, by this definition, the term encompasses a broader period than the near decade the regent ruled in proxy. However, the definition of Regency Romance extends beyond the feel of the Regency Era too.

In fact, there are five genres that fall within the scope of Regencies.

Classical Regency Fiction: Novels actually written during the nine-year Regency period. Jane Austen’s works fall into this category.

Modern Regency Fiction:  Stories written at a later time about the Regency period.

Traditional Regency Romances: These novels are “sweet” with no explicit sex and are usually set between 1800 and 1820. (Yes, that’s outside the official Regency Era).

Regency Historicals: The setting is in Regency England (or provinces controlled by England) but the prose, characters, and plot extends beyond the usual genre formula. Characters may behave according to modern values rather than Regency values.

Sensual Regency Historical: Often written as series, they contain explicit sex, some erotic in nature.

The difficulty Regency authors and readers encounter when writing novels or searching for stories to read, is that, often, there is no distinction between the latter four. Retailer categories are limited, and all types Regencies tend to be lumped together. That can lead to mixed reviews.

I’m curious if you agree with the five types of Regency Romances. Do you think there should be other types? Fewer?  How does a reader know the difference?
Bestselling, award-winning Historical Romance Author, Collette Cameron, pens Scottish and Regency Romances featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intrepid damsels who reform them. Mother to three and self-proclaimed Cadbury chocoholic, she’s crazy about dachshunds, cobalt blue, and makes her home in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. You'll always find animals, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, too many flowers, or too many books. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list. To learn more about Collette and her books, visit

Friday, February 5, 2016

Favorite Places and Book Covers

I’m Judith Ashley and I write romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

Usually I write my monthly blog post several weeks ahead of time but for some reason that didn’t happen this month. I kept waiting for inspiration, some fantastic idea, etc. to come to me and nothing happened. So, here I am the morning before you read this sitting at my computer with a vague idea of something to write. Here goes!

Book covers!!! Specifically the covers on my books.

I’m putting together the cover images for the last two books in The Sacred Women’s Circle series and so setting is on my mind. Setting is about place. Where does the story take place? What is magical about the place? What role does the setting play in the story?

The covers for Lily and Elizabeth are directly related to those stories. Lily Hughes spends time along the California coast. Elizabeth Elliott sees visions of the sacred grove and those visions draw her to Ireland.

However in Diana the setting on the cover is designed to show the reader the stark emptiness of her life but there is hope. See the crocus?

Ashley is one cover that really doesn’t show setting. It does show dragonflies which are very important to the story.

Hunter's cover evokes movement and water. Hunter is a dancer and much of the story takes place on the shore in Rhode Island.

Right now I’m working on the cover for Gabriella. While the story begins in a cabin in the woods in Oregon, much of it takes place in Italy, in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I think I’ve found the elements – a beautiful urn on a railing with the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. Adding to that a lighthouse and the background is complete.

For Sophia I’m looking for gardens. When I go back to look for more pictures I’m narrowing it down to Victorian Gazing Ball in a garden and see what that brings.

What’s important in creating the covers and in writing the stories is that you, the reader, can ‘see’ yourself there. Feel the dampness of the sea soaked wind on your face. Smell the plethora of scents from the blooming garden. Sigh with relief in the cool of the forest on a hot summer day.

My covers also have overlays—muted images overlaying the stronger picture of the setting. These overlays are connected to the sub-title of each book. Lily’s subtitle is “The Dragon and The Great Horned Owl”. Can you see the overlays?

In addition, in the upper left-hand corner you’ll see a circle of crystals. Something is different about that circle of crystals on each cover. Can you see what that is?

Three comments will be chosen at random from all comments with the correct answer AND the additional requested information that follows. Each winner will receive a free e-book of her/his choice from The Sacred Women's Circle series. In addition to the 'right answer', your comment needs to include the name of the book you want, the file format (mobi for Kindle, e-pub for everyone else) and your email address.

You can learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow me on Twitter: @JudithAshley19 

I’m also on Facebook.

© 2016 Judith Ashley

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Youngest Country On Earth

I was asked to share my favorite place this month, and I’m going patriotic. I live in New Zealand and while I’m not blind to the cons of living at the ends of the earth, at the moment I’m pretty happy to be tucked down here out of the way. We’re quite happy to have most of the world forget we are here!

New Zealand (or Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud, because it is usually cloudy), truly is one of the most picturesque and photogenic places on earth (I’m trying not to be bias). NZ is a small island nation of just over 4.5 million people, made up of two major land masses (North Island and South Island – aren’t we original) and a number of smaller islands including Stewart Island located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are divided by a 22km stretch of water called the Cook Strait, which is a 3 hour ferry ride but most people hate it as it’s usually a rough crossing.

New Zealand is located approximately 1,500km east of Australia (no you can’t walk to Australia when the tide goes out. It’s a 3 hour plane ride) and about 1,000km from the Pacific Islands. Due to its relative remoteness and being water locked, New Zealand was one of the last countries to be found and settled in mid 1850’s.

We have some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, from vast mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes to sweeping coastlines. It is a natural playground for thrill seekers and adventurers and those who simply want to visit for the culture and landscapes, mainly because you can be on a beach in the morning, and skiing in the afternoon.

While the land masses of the North Island and South Island are similar, approximately two thirds of the population lives in the North Island and the remainder in the South Island. The majority of New Zealand's population is of European decent while Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, is the most ethnically diverse in the country and has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. Auckland has about one third of the population (over 1.3 million), followed by the capital city of Wellington and the South Island city of Christchurch (each has approx 400,000).

I live in the wine making region of sunny Hawkes Bay, a population of only 55,000 people. Blessed with a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate, Hawke's Bay is one of New Zealand's warmest, driest regions.

The landscapes of Hawke's Bay begin with the high, forested Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges. From the mountains, the land steps down towards the coast, flattening out to become the Heretaunga Plains. A number of wide rivers run swiftly to meet the blue Pacific Ocean.

New Zealander's are affectionately known as "Kiwis". The name derives from the kiwi, a flightless bird native to New Zealand. It is also the national symbol. Kiwi's are characterised as rugged, industrious problem solvers and people who innovate. Kiwi's are great travellers themselves with many exploring and making an impact on the world (sport, business, politics, etc). Younger New Zealander's often travel to England for working holidays before settling back in New Zealand and any New Zealander can travel and work in Australia indefinitely.

English is the predominant language in New Zealand. After WWII, Maori were discouraged from speaking their own language in schools and workplaces so it really only existed as a community language. Nowadays it has undergone a revitalisation and is declared one of New Zealand's official languages with immersion in schools and tertiary sectors. Many places throughout the country have dual English and Maori names.

The climate varies between the North and South Islands and is quite complex. The general climate is mild and temperate however areas in the far north experience warm subtropical temperatures while the far south is much cooler. Alpine conditions ensue in mountainous areas. In the South Island, a North West wind – known as a Nor'Wester – can see heavy rainfall on the West Coast and a hot dry wind in Canterbury on the East Coast less than four hours drive away.
Visitors are advised to come prepared for all types of weather, as the temperature can change quite rapidly during the day.

For a small nation, New Zealand has dominated the playing field in many areas. The major sporting code is Rugby Union (more commonly known as Rugby).  The All Blacks are the world ruby champions and are known for performing a Maori war dance called the Haka before each game. It’s a challenge to the other team. Other codes include netball, cricket, soccer and rugby league.

The one thing I’m really proud of is that NZ was the first country to give women the vote. On 19 September 1893 the governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

New Zealand has also achieved highly in track and field, rowing, yachting and cycling. Mountaineering also features with Sir Edmund Hillary conquering Mt Everest in 1953.

Not only is New Zealand up there with their sporting prowess, but Kiwi's are also responsible for some of the most famous inventions of all time. Adventure sport pioneer AJ Hackett introduced the Bungy Jump to the world in 1986 and Sir William Hamilton pioneered the Hamilton jet in 1954. The waterjet is the most advanced and innovative marine propulsion system in use today. Other credits include the referee's whistle, the eggbeater, electric fence, disposable syringe and the national dessert – the Pavlova, a fluffy meringue of goodness.

Other famous New Zealander's include Lord Rutherford who managed to split the atom. Sir Peter Jackson is a New Zealander most famous for his direction of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Burt Munro broke several world land speed records in the 1960's, one of which still stands today. These iconic New Zealanders are just a handful among many more putting this beautiful country on the map every day.

I hope one day you’ll think it worth it to get on a plane and travel for between 12 and 24 hours to get here! Pop in and say hello!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Favorite Place(s)... Some of the Time

By Robin Weaver

When I first attempted to identify “my favorite place,” I sat on my couch, snuggled under a blanket watching the snow fall. For a brief moment—that was truly my favorite place.
Let me clarify.  I live in one of those Southern states where even the mention of snow sends us into a Chicken Little it’s-not-a-snowfall-it’s-a-falling-sky-panic. All was not dire, though.  All  falling sky events immediately prompt a cancellation of work. Yep. Favorite Place identified.

Only… What if the power went out? How could I have a favorite place with no internet? Ye, gods! And shouldn’t a favorite place include Bon Jovi music? Preferably a private concert? Now we’re talking.

Since my brain quickly leaped from an actual favorite place to the realms of fantasy, I decided my most-beloved location should include a hunky guy under my blanket? With big shoulders and... a sense of humor, and... mesmerizing eyes, and...

Then I came back to the reality. I had no groceries in case the sky really did fall! Yikes.  Thus I sent my darling daughter on a grocery run. Perhaps I should mention that my daughter’s favorite place is anywhere there’s an abundance of salsa.  See what she acquired for our "we’ll never be able to leave the house again, 'falling sky'" weekend.  

Sigh.  And I thought I’d been quite specific about needing bread. And  coffee.

My idea of a favorite place was rapidly disintegrating. Which made me realize how a favorite place is highly dependent upon your mood. And who you’re with. And a host of other factors. For example, I love the beach, but not in Charleston on a 102 degree day. Nor when the temperature hovers near freezing. I also love the mountains, but not if my motion-sickness soul has to travel there via a back seat, sans Dramamine.

But I’m sure I’m taking this theme of favorite place to the wrong—well, place. Thus I’ll attempt to rein in my renegade brain and focus on some actual favorites.  I loved Switzerland. And sitting in a deck chair watching the tide come in beneath a full moon was pretty terrific.  But the hospital where my daughter was born ranks as one of those magical places, too.

So my favorite place? Please don’t ask this schizo-writer a question like that.  At least not before I find some bread. And coffee.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Let Me Introduce Myself by Kristin Wallace

Hello to all the authors and readers on Romancing the Genres. My name is Kristin Wallace, a USA Today Bestselling Author, and I just joined RTG at the start of the year. Rather than jump in with a theme-topic post, I thought it might be a great idea to tell you a little about me by interviewing… myself.

Kristin: How about we start with some personal stuff?

Kristin the Author: As I said, I’m Kristin Wallace, and I live in Miami, Florida. I have a BA in Theatre from Florida State University, and a Masters in Advertising Copywriting from Miami Ad School. Copywriting has been my “day job” for over 15 years. I’ve worked on accounts like the Miami Marlins, Sir Pizza, Sea World, Discovery Networks, The Peabody Hotel, plus a lot of hospitals and health-related topics. Last May I left the full-time job and I’m currently writing books and doing freelance copywriting through my company, Write Notions, Inc. 

When I’m not working on a book or an advertising project, I sing in my church choir and play the flute in a community orchestra. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, Florida Romance Writers of which I was the president TWICE. 

Kristin: Can you tell us a little about what you write?

Kristin the Author: Yes, I would love to. I write inspirational romance, sweet contemporary romance, and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. (That’s my author tagline). I have to include lots of humor in my books so you’ll find great, snarky heroines with lots of sass. I have drama and some tears, too, but I just can’t do 300+ pages of angst. I also love writing stories with positive messages of healing, forgiveness and a forever love. 

Kristin: What have you written so far? How many books do you have published?

Kristin the Author: I have 5 published novels and 1 novella. I have two series going right now. Covington Falls Chronicles is my inspirational series. These are funny, sweet & poignant tales set in a fictional Southern town. The other series is a women’s fiction/romance set in a fictional town in Florida (yes I like fictional towns so I can make everything up) called Shellwater Key Tales.

Kristin: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Kristin the Author: I had the great epiphany that I was supposed to be a writer when I was about 25. I had always been a voracious reader, and had dabbled with writing, but suddenly I knew it was what I had to do. Unfortunately, I had no idea what to do so I got nowhere. I ended up putting the writing aside to go back to school (to study copywriting). I graduated and worked for several years before realizing the writing bug hadn’t gone away. I tried again…and in 2013 I published my first book, MARRY ME.

Kristin: You said you were a voracious reader…what were your favorite books? And who are your favorite authors now?

Kristin the Author: I devoured  books. The Little House series, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Judy Blume, the Chronicles of Narnia. Later, I started reading the Sweet Valley High books. Eventually, I discovered romance novels and it was a true love affair.

As for books I like now…Just like I write with lots of humor, I love to read humor. I adore Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgans, Jill Shalvis, and Rachel Gibson. I’m also a big fan of historical romance and I love Julia Quinn, Loretta Chase, Julie Anne Long, and Sarah MacLean.

Kristin: What are you working on right now?

Kristin the Author: I’m working on Book 1.5 of the Shellwater Key Tales series that I hope to publish in March. It’s a tie-in to book one, basically the same story from another character’s POV. I’m also working on a completely new contemporary series. It is also set in Florida. It’s about this heiress (who has never married or had children) who dies and leaves her fortune to her pet pig. She chooses three women who are the descendants of the family and they must compete for custody of the pig (and the money, of course). Right now I’m calling the series, The Heiress Games.

Kristin: How can we find out more about your books? And how can people connect with you?

Kristin the Author: For books info, check out my website: Kristin Wallace Author

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