Mar 07 - Regency Romance Author Vivienne Lorret

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Modern Type Heroines in Historical Romance

Modern Type Heroines in Historical Romance

My latest book, A Touch of Passion, book #3 in my USA Today Bestselling Regency Disgraced Lords series (24 March 2015 $2.99) has a heroine well ahead of her time.

Lady Portia Flagstaff set up a successful cider business and is able to help fund a nearby orphanage.

Cider has been a staple of the British hearth for nearly a thousand years, if not more. In 55 BC, the Romans upon their first travels to what they called Britannia found the native population already living there making a type of cider in what is present day Kent from the apples they already had. In the present day, the United Kingdom drinks the most cider in the world. It is very common to find on tap in pubs and at the local liquor shop as well as available from smaller labels.

With such a successful business behind her, Portia doesn’t wish to marry unless it’s for love, and unlike most women of her class, she doesn’t need to. Therein lies the reason why women still struggle for equality, even today. Financial security.

In the Regency period woman were purposely kept financially dependent. Those in the upper classes could
not work even though they were usually better educated. They were expected to remain financially dependent on fathers, brothers, husbands etc.

People laugh at the saying that prostitution is the oldest profession, but usually that’s all that poorly educated women could do.  This is why women were not encouraged or allowed (unfortunately, in some regions of the world this is still true) to be educated.

Look at these appalling stats:

·       Over half a million women continue to die each year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes. Usually in poverty ridden areas.
·       Rates of HIV infection among women are rapidly increasing. Among those 15-24 years of age, young women now constitute the majority of those newly infected, in part because of their economic and social vulnerability.
·       Gender-based violence kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer. More often than not, perpetrators go unpunished.
·       Worldwide, women are twice as likely as men to be illiterate. As a consequence of their working conditions and characteristics, a disproportionate number of women are impoverished in both developing and developed countries.
·       Despite some progress in women’s wages in the 1990s, women still earn less than men, even for similar kinds of work.
·       Many of the countries that have ratified CEDAW still have discriminatory laws governing marriage, land, property and inheritance.

Often I’m critized for writing such ‘modern’ type heroines, but I want to show that strong women can make a difference. Afterall, that is what women have been doing all through the centuries. Each era has had their trailblazers or women would not be where we are today.
Yes, we still have a long way to go, in some areas of the world more than others, but I’d like to think it is women like Portia who make the world think about things like inequalities.
Here is the blurb for A Touch of Passion.
In the latest Disgraced Lords novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, a vivacious thrill seeker clashes with her dutiful defender—causing irresistible sparks to fly.
Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.

After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart.

Read more and find buy links at

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Favorite European Food

When I was younger, I had the good fortune to live in West Berlin. Yes, before the wall came tumbling down—did I mention I was much younger?

One of the most amazing things about the fascinating city was the food. In addition to the expected German (Deutche cuisine), the divided city hosted an international mecca of restaurants. I later went to China, but tasted my favorite Chinese food on the Kurfurstendamm. While Italy didn’t make my travel itinerary, I can’t image any better pizza than the yummy, gooey, slices discovered at the Italiana. The French Sector boasted delights that would make Julia Child drop another turkey and the English Nafi served tea and biscuits that made a girl feel like a duchess.

Most of the German food left me wanting more flavor, but one Berlin fast food still ranks as one of my favorite foods. Ever. This culinary delight is currywurst and pomme frites. You probably guessed pomme frites are French fries, but if you’ve never tasted currywurst, it’s like nothing you ever imagined. Although currywurst is a sausage, the treat can’t be compared to an ordinary bratwurst and the curry doesn’t really taste like curry. Fried pork is cut into slices and topped with a ready-made ketchup seasoned with curry and the other spices. The result: heaven for the mouth.

Supposedly, currywurst was invented by Herta Heuwer. Our fraulein supposedly absconded with ketchup and curry powder from a British soldier. She mixed these with other spices (and they must be amazing spices to make ketchup and curry powder taste so delicious) and poured it over grilled pork sausage. And voila, perfection. If you ever get the opportunity to order this treat, make sure you tell the vendor to leave the pomme frites plain—otherwise, s/he’ll put mayonnaise on your French fries.

It’s been twenty years (alack, alas) since I tasted this concoction, but if a fast food joint could replicate the treat I remember, a fortune could be made. During the passing time, I’ve become a semi-vegetarian, but if the Golden Arches or that funny-looking king decided to serve currywurst, I might just have a lapse.

What about you? Any foreign foods that delight your palette?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sneaky Characters by Paty Jager #cozymystery #writing

When I started writing mysteries I told myself I'd be more disciplined and make sure I knew all the red herring characters and the murderer. I didn't want to have a mystery that went off on different paths. I wanted to make sure I stayed on a logical trajectory.

Knowing I wanted a logical path while creating the story, I made a character chart. By listing my murder victim and all the possible killers and their motives on a chart it would help me introduce the characters to the story and using their motives make the reader and sleuths think they've found the killer only to find a reason they didn't or a stronger motive in another character.

This is the chart I made for the first mystery, Double Duplicity.
Red Herrings

Paula Doring, owner of the Dowing Art Gallery

Ted Norton,  owner of Dimensions Gallery

Paula had just wooed his second best client to her gallery and it wasn’t the first time.

Naomi Norton, Ted’s wife and co-owner of Dimensions Gallery
Believed Paula had something to do with her sister’s suicide
(sister was in love with Oscar Rowan)

Shandra sees Naomi leaving the area.

Oscar Rowan, disgruntled Artist
He was sleeping with Paula with hopes of being her featured artist at the summer event. It is his statue’s spear that is the weapon

Sidney Doring, soon to be ex-husband, part owner of Huckleberry Lodge
He was furious with her affairs and the stipulations in the divorce papers. Killing her saves him money and a messy legal battle.

Juan Lida, Paula’s assistant
Jealous type, knew of her conquests but she promised once the divorce was final she’d bring him on as an equal partner.

If you've read Double Duplicity you know that some of the motives changed as I wrote the book and the person I picked to be the killer changed. The murderer ended up being a character that was added to the book as I wrote it.

So the second book I told myself I would make sure I stuck to my chart.

I didn't.

As the story progressed it made more sense to make the killer be someone other than the person I picked in the beginning.

Same with book three that I am just about finished writing. I was so carefully picking my red herrings, the why's of the character's motives, and again, the murderer has turned out to be someone different.

I've deduced that what happens is; as the story unfolds and subplots and character traits are revealed the motives and the reasons for the characters to act the way they do doesn't always gel with what I started out with. But that's the fun of writing. The characters come to life and the next thing I know they are behaving differently than I'd anticipated.

I'm sure I'm not the only writer who has sneaky characters. And I'm sure there have been books where the reader has thought the character would act one way then realized when the character didn't that it was set up that way, but they hadn't noticed until that one act.
Writing into the Sunset

Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Interview with Medieval Scottish Romance Author Claire Delacroix

Why Scotland? or What drew you to write Scottish Romance novels?
I've written medieval romances set all over Europe, but after I traveled to Scotland, I knew I had to use it as a setting. I loved visiting all the castles, both ruined and maintained. The land is also very beautiful and the rich history is inspiring, too. I love to include folk tales in my books, as well as fantasy elements, and Scotland has a wonderful history of stories about the Fae. 

When writing Scottish Romance novels, besides the story, what is it you want to convey about Scotland and that time in history to your readers?
Throughout the medieval era, all over Europe, there's a persistent notion that more is going on in the world than what we mortals notice. Many cultures tell stories of otherworldly beings, of gods walking amongst us or even of the intervention of the divine in our world. I love that sense that so much is possible, and also that much of what's happening is hidden. The idea of worlds parallel to our own is fascinating. In my most recent Scottish-set medieval romance series - The True Love Brides - the family at Kinfairlie was caught up in events in the realm of the Fae, because their holding of Kinfairlie is said to be a portal between the worlds. I finished that series with The Warrior's Prize, which was published in December.

What about research? Do you love it or is it a necessary evil?
I have a degree in medieval history, so you can probably guess the answer to that! I'm at my happiest with piles of research books on and around my desk, and maps spread across the floor of my office.

What can we expect on the book shelves in 2015?
This year, I'm starting a new medieval romance series called The Champions of St. Euphemia. A group of Templar knights set out together from Jerusalem, entrusted with a parcel to deliver to the Temple in Paris. They very soon discover that the parcel is sufficiently valuable that someone will kill for it, and realize that they know very little about each other, and the women who have joined their small party. There are four stories in this series, following their journey across Europe to end with a wedding in Scotland. The Crusader's Bride is the first book and it will be out in June.

You can read an excerpt on my site or download the first chapter from my online store, right here.

I also have a new Scottish medieval romance boxed set publishing on February 24. Kinfairlie Knights includes three full length Scottish medieval romances, each of which is first in a series. The Rogue, The Beauty Bride and The Renegade's Heart are all included, and it's specially priced at just 99 cents through March 18.

I'm planning to write the story of the last sibling from Kinfairlie (that's Ross) and launch a new series set at Inverfyre in the Highlands, after the Templar series is done. That might just squeak into the 2015 release schedule, so stay tuned!

Tell us a little about your writing process for example are you an inveterate plotter, a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants author, organic, or some mix of them all.
I'm naturally a pantser but 20 years of working with publishers has convinced me of the merit of a synopsis. I now write the first sketch of the synopsis (maybe a paragraph) then the first chapter of the book. That gives the characters a chance to speak up and interact, and gives me a sense of the story's strengths and weaknesses. Then I finish the synopsis (8 - 10 pages double spaced) and then I dive into the writing of the book itself. One thing I do that is apparently unusual is that I revise continuously - whatever is behind me in the book manuscript has to be clean for me to envision what's next. In that way, by the time I write the last scene of the book, the rest has been edited and revised multiple times. I usually write the last scene, read it once, then spell check and send it to my editor. From what I understand, not many authors write that way, but it works for me.

Claire Delacroix is a pseudonym used by bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke. Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, #1 Kindle Bestselling, KOBO Bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ Bestselling Author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.
Deborah has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself,

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and of Novelists Inc. She is an avid knitter, and lives in Canada with her husband.

To learn more:
Twitter @Cooke_Delacroix

Friday, February 27, 2015

Like, Lust, Love--Where Do They Fit in Romance Novels?

By Linda Lovely

Can you lust after someone you don’t like? Can you love someone yet dislike that person? Can you like and lust but not love? These are questions all authors should ask as they plot their books and consider the best ways to add conflict or increase tension if they’re writing novels that include romantic relationships.
The Power of Lust
In fictional romances, one of the tropes is a heroine who lusts for a hero she despises. She gets all tingly the moment he enters a room. It’s as if he’s a force field. She tries to fight her attraction but she’s powerless to squelch it. Of course, if the book is a romance, she eventually discovers the hero is not despicable, and she falls in love (usually before she satisfies her lust). The issue of “like” may or may not be fully addressed.

Okay, given the right circumstances, I can suspend disbelief and buy into this oft-used plot device. Our hormones don’t always listen to reason. While “like” is a thinking/logic idea, lust (and love) occur at a more subconscious level and sometimes defy logic.  So it’s not hard to imagine lusting after someone you don’t like—especially if your dislike is based on assumptions and hearsay. In this case our logic—the reason we don’t like someone—may be flawed. Thus, the enemies-to-lovers trope can be believable if done correctly.

However, there is a point where I draw the line. If the heroine has actually witnessed (or experienced) a man doing something detestable, say backhanding his mother or kicking a cat, I have a harder time believing her lust “force field” wouldn’t break down.  (Unless, of course, we later learn an alien being killed his mother and is inhabiting her body or the kicked cat is a shape-shifter.)  
Like Versus Love
A friend of mine, a mother, confessed to me that she loved all four of her children equally, but she couldn’t help liking two of them a lot more than their siblings. Love of family members—whether they’re likable or not—is another trope in fiction. This is the blood is thicker theory. Of course, what’s called “love” in this instance may actually be better described as clan loyalty.

But, I couldn’t love a man I didn’t like and respect. So, if I’m writing a romance, the hero has to win the respect of the heroine before she can truly love him. In my case, the hero also has to be able to make the heroine laugh in order for her to fall madly in love. Okay, that’s a personal peccadillo.
Like, Lust and Love
I do think it’s possible to really like someone and yet find it impossible to take that next step to love. As noted earlier, like is a function of logic. Lust and love not so much. This reality offers lots of fictional opportunities. Movies like “Four Weddings and a Funeral” do an excellent job of exploring such disconnects among friends when one longs to move her/his relationship to the next step only to find the sentiment isn’t shared.

That’s why if I’m reading a romance, I want the whole kit and caboodle—like, lust, love—to convince me that a hero and heroine will actually have a happy ever after (HEA).

Do you agree?      

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Has the magic evaporated? Drifted away on the wind now that the Valentine’s Day chocolates are all eaten and the dead roses have been taken away with the trash? Of course, the real romantic may have saved a rose petal or two, pressed them between the covers of a book to savor and recall the romantic gesture at a later date. The cynics amongst us might say that Valentine’s Day is commercialized rubbish, but not the true romantic. To them, Valentine’s Day equates to romance.

Without romance the world would be a sad and lonely place, and I don’t think I am alone in thinking this way.  Tens of thousands of women who read romance books know the truth. Love makes the world go round. No matter whether the story finishes with death or birth, happiness or sadness, as long as, in the mind of the romance reader, the ending is satisfying to them, they are happy and ready to buy their next romance book.

Some of the best romance books I have read had me crying at the end, but I didn’t feel cheated because under the right circumstances, and as strange as it might seem to some, a sad ending makes for a grand finale. I guess a comic ending would work well for some, but not for me. I want the emotion to tug at my heart, fill my eyes with tears and cause my heart to pound. Have me worried sick that the hero and heroine will never get their happily ever after ending after all the angst and suffering they have gone through. I would feel cheated, betrayed even, if an author did that to me.

In keeping with our guest bloggers for the month of February – writers of Scottish romance, I thought I would mention my novel, Savage Possession. It is set in frontier Australia, but has a decidedly Scottish flavor.


A sweeping tale of love's triumph over tragedy and treachery in frontier Australia.

A mistaken identity opens the door for Martin Mulvaney to take his revenge on the granddaughter of his mortal enemy.

An old Scottish feud, a love that should never have happened, and a series of extraordinary coincidences trap two lovers in a family vendetta that threatens to destroy their love, if not their lives.


“For God’s sake, Sam. What’s wrong?”

“Your, your, Storm is named Elizabeth,” Sam said in a harsh whisper. “Elizabeth Campbell, old Fergus’ granddaughter.”

“What!” The statement was like a mule kick to his stomach and Martin almost doubled over with shock.

“No! She can’t be,” he rasped.

“Didn’t you see the resemblance?”

 “What’s the matter?” Storm asked in a panic stricken voice.

Martin ignored her distress. “You’re a Campbell,” he snarled, advancing towards her with deadly intent. “Get out of my sight.”

“But, Martin,” she pleaded, “what have I done?”

“Done?” He gritted his teeth to stop himself grabbing hold of her. “You’re the granddaughter of my mortal enemy.”

“Stop it,” Sam intervened. “Go to your room, girlie, until we sort this mess out.”

As she fled, Martin hurled a string of curses at her.

“I’ve made a whore out of Fergus Campbell’s granddaughter. Better than killing the old bastard.”  He gave a harsh bark of laughter. “I heard somewhere he doted on those twins of his. I ought to grab her by the scruff of the neck, drag her to the Black Stallion and tell everyone in the public bar what a talented little harlot I turned her into.”  He enjoyed the idea for a moment.

“Listen to me, son.”

“No. You listen to me. I’ve waited years for a chance to destroy old Fergus. He ruined my life. Oh, revenge will be sweet. Took a stock whip to me once, did you know that?  I want that Scottish Highland pride ground into the dust. I want him to be so humiliated he’ll want to crawl off somewhere and die.”

“What about the girl? You said the gypsies abused her.”

“They did, but she’s a whore, a Campbell whore.”

“You can’t blame her for what happened years ago. Bury the past for the love of God,” Sam pleaded. “This thirst for revenge will destroy you.”


Margaret's Website: 



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hot and Cold Running Releases

by M.L. Buchman

One of things I think I enjoy most about being an author is finding out about strange places and people. Writers cover a wide spectrum from "I just make it up as I go" to "I want to get as much right as I can" to nutcases like me who are total research hounds!

"Bloodhound Trials Feb 2008 -79" by John Leslie - Flickr: Wikimedia
Okay, maybe I'm not that bad.

This habit of asking: "What's over there?" has led me to innumerable odd places over the years, an ice & snow climbing class on Mt. Rainier, hiking in the wilderness of a half dozen states, flying and jumping out of airplanes (though not the same one), and bicycling around the world for a year and a half to name a few.

All of that experience gives me the jumping off points for my stories that lead me to yet stranger research corners. And sometimes it is the juxtaposition of those corners that is the most fun.

This month I have an ice-bound short story and a blazing wildfire novel. Writing those back to back was particularly amusing because, as a writer who is a research hound, I immerse myself in the environment.

To write Heart of the Storm I drew on dozens of climbing texts that I've read (mostly when I was younger and it would scare my parents to death--I then started building plastic model motorcycles which really freaked them out, though I've never owned a real one), winter climbing blogs, equipment sites, and my own experience riding my bicycle around the base of Mt. Rainier (a 14,000' peak in Washington state that's at the center of this story).

To write Wildfire at Larch Creek I was abruptly back in my Firehawks world of wildland firefighters, specifically the smokejumpers. For that tale, in addition to all my prior research into wildfires I was off into mircoclimates in the valleys around Denali and just how do the small village survive out in the Alaskan bush, I also went reaching back to the tiny town where I spent six years as a kid in upstate New York (1,200 people and 10,000 head of dairy cow).
This is pretty much the whole town; the school and gas station take up the other side of the street.
(image from Google Maps--new sidewalks! Very cool!)

A Night Stalkers short story (click for more info)
How Michael and Mark came to fly together.
A Firehawks / Larch Creek romance (click for more info)
Two-Tall Tim finds returning home is never easy on the heart,
especially when true love awaits.

They were certainly fun to write!

Also look for (or pre-order), the next Night Stalkers novel coming March 3rd!!

A Night Stalkers novel (click for more info)
Delta Force Colonel Michael Gibson gets his Night Stalker...for life.
Perhaps I should have titled this blog, "A Bro-mance and Two Romances" or maybe "Cold, Hot, and Steamy Releases!"  I do so love writing! 

Now I'm off to research...but that would be telling!