Gothic Shivers (or Romance with a Dash of Horror!)
Crumbling manor houses, gloomy corridors, ghostly apparitions and eerie secrets. Just a few of the reasons why gothic romance has enthralled readers for over two centuries
Gothic romances are all about setting, uncertainty, and an element of creepiness that makes the romance all the sweeter. The hidden story is as important, perhaps more important, than the explicit. Think ghostly shadows rather than chain-saw wielding serial killers. Fingertips of nervous and sensual excitement are trailed down the spine in equal measure. The dark atmosphere is integral to the suspense, and the most frightening elements are often implied rather than stated outright. Our heroines have a tendency to ignore common sense and explore dark houses or stormy cliff-top castles, but they are also brave, loyal, and determined. The gothic heroine will fight for the man she loves, even if she has a sneaking suspicion he may be trying to kill her. Our brooding heroes are misunderstood by everyone, including the heroine at first (see above). Read More
Gothic Shivers (or Romance with a Dash of Horror!)
I love travel, and I’ve been fortunate enough to actually have lived or visited many of the places I’ve written about. The problem is that my knowledge is modern. So, in order to move my characters from one place to the next, I have to research what the city, town, or area was like back in the Regency era. Sometimes this is disappointing. For example, When Huntley and Caro visited Ulm, Germany, the city was not beautiful with the high spire of the cathedral. Instead, city was war damaged, the walls were in ruins from being bombarded, and the spire was still around forty years away. However, what was almost exactly the same, was Innsbruck, Austria. It had not suffered from the war, and many of the same buildings in the town today, existed in 1817.
Innsbruck was an elegant town with tall painted houses. Their hotel was a few blocks from the river and right in the middle of the main shopping area. They were shown the most luxurious quarters they’d had thus far on their journey. Tall ceilings were decorated with carved, brightly painted beams. A large bed with royal blue and gold hangings stood against one wall. From the windows, he glimpsed the Inn River and the snow-covered mountains beyond.
They’d arrived in time for luncheon, which Huntley had ordered served in the parlor adjoining their bedchamber.
“What do you think?” he asked as he set down his serviette. Read More
Special Sneak Peek!
Coira MacDugall paid with her life for her attack on the Highland Healer. But her victim did more than heal Coira's fatal wound that awful night. Now drowning in the unwelcome emotions of others, Coira wonders if her new empathic ability was meant as a gift or a curse.
Logen MacDugall must discover who killed three previous lairds if he hopes to survive for long in the position. He believes Coira’s new sense can help him root out the conspirators, but after her disastrous time in the Highlands, the last thing she wants is to get involved with another laird.
Logen must help Coira gain control of her talent in time to save him and their clan from those intent on destroying MacDugall. Can Coira accept that this laird truly loves her? Or will her memories lead her to madness again? Read More
For me, research and writing historical romance must include real history, not just background. It’s a character in each of my books in the Agents of the Crown trilogy. For me, the historical setting is important to get right. I am constantly weaving in historical events and real historical figures into the romance. I don’t just refer to the food and dress of the period, but also what was actually going on that was of great import, the attitudes of the people and who was involved.
Typically, I begin with an idea, a scene or a character. For my latest novel, a seafaring pirate adventure, WIND RAVEN, it was the sea captain, Jean Nicholas Powell, an arrogant Englishman who gave up on love (and virgins in particular) some years ago. Now he loves only his ship, his crew and his life at sea. For this man, I needed a worthy heroine, a woman he would come to respect who would defy convention and give him a major run for his money.
Enter the American patriot, Tara McConnell from the shipbuilding family of privateers who made the Boston Clipper ships, those “sisters of the wind” that helped America successfully run the British blockades in the War of 1812. Tara, who grew up on her father’s ships, has nothing but disdain for the English, even though the war has been over for several years. Yet she was forced by her father to spend a year in London with her aunt, a dowager baroness, and to have a Season. Read More
Redeemed By A Rebel: Prologue
St. Louis, Missouri
The iron pressed against Jake Anderson’s back was almost as cold as the
rain pouring out of the night sky.
“Knock on the door,” demanded his brother Zach, his voice angry and on edge.
Jake did as he was told and pounded on the front door, hard enough to be heard over the din of the rain.
“What the hell?” said his eldest brother, Liam, when he opened the door.
“Jake? Zach? What are you two doing here? It’s the middle of the night.”
I love to read romance and have ever since I read my first chaste, sweet, Harlequin as a young teenager in the 70’s. Way back then my favorite books were set in Australia and usually involved a wealthy widower and the nanny who won his heart. Sigh. Then somewhere along the way I chanced across a slightly steamier historical romance and was instantly hooked. I do read other genres as well, but historical romance, particularly those set in the Highlands, is my go-to when I want a relaxing, enjoyable, escape.
For years I dreamed of being an author and writing my own romantic novels. I even majored in English for a while at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) until I was overcome by a wave of practicality and transferred to Salisbury University for a BS in nursing. I was an oncology nurse for many years but eventually I was able to merge both skill sets and become a successful medical writer. While I dwelt in the world of early drug development, I still dreamed about my novels. I built plots and characters which were just waiting for me to breathe life into them. Read More
Women on the Edge in 19th Century England!
How would you have coped as a woman in the socially-constrained world of 19th Century England? Would you have been prone to fits of the vapors and needing regular dosing with Laudanum? Or would you have fought the constraints? Riding your horse astride? Voicing your own opinions?
How to create a feisty historical heroine, who we as romance readers expect, is one of the challenges of writing historical suspense. Lady Henrietta Harcourt in A Code of Love is a brilliant linguist but she has to hide her talents. Ladies weren’t supposed to demonstrate or discuss their intellectual interests or achievements. Read More
Write what you know! How often have we heard these words at writer’s conferences or read them in articles and blog posts? It is one of those hoary platitudes trotted out when some industry individual wants to sound . . . what? Particularly wise, experienced, worldly, can’t think of anything better to say? I’m really not sure because I can’t imagine being limited to writing what I know. My life hasn’t been terribly exciting. It has been personally and professionally rewarding, but it is not the stuff of a thrilling read. I have written about murder, incest, espionage, and other crimes. In all cases, I have been neither perpetrator nor victim. It is through research that I have gained insights into things about which I know little through my own life experience.
It is hoped that all writers, especially those of historical fiction, pay as much attention to researching their subjects as they do to crafting their stories. Nothing irritates readers of historical fiction more than finding blatant errors in the facts and details. With the advent of the Internet, there is really little excuse not to maintain accuracy whenever possible. Read More
"Now we're stuck in this room together," Mr. Steffington said. "Why could you not have been my sister as we were at the Duke's Arms last night?"
"But you are mistaken, Airy. I wasn't actually your sister at Duke's Arms."
"You know what I mean." Her gave her an I'd-like-to-gag-your-mouth-with-a-used-handkerchief look.
Catherine attempted to out stare him.
Mumbling something incoherent beneath his breath, he looked away. Her gaze followed his to the four-poster bed.
"Of course, I shall sleep on the floor," he said. Read More
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas and acclaimed authors Jo Goodman, Alison Kent and Kaki Warner present novellas about rugged men of the West and the women who want them.
Callie has done a lot of crazy things, but it’ll take one more to prove she isn’t nuts: find a husband, fast!
I've always loved writing anthologies. BOOTS UNDER HER BED is my thirteenth and
my favorite so far. Who knows, maybe I identified with Callie because, after all, writers often worry about their sanity from time to time. We walk in more than one world. We talk to people who aren't there and we fall in love with characters who love only between the covers of books.
I wanted to open my story with a girl, Callie, who is desperate to marry, so desperate that she'll do anything to find a husband. So the story opens with Callie and her best friend searching the alley behind the saloons for a man who will agree to two things: 1) marry her and 2) not commit her. Read More
- Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
- Seductively Yours by Laura Clarke
- The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
- Marrying for Money by Lynn Coppersmith
- Heart of a Highlander by Emilia Ferguson
- Worth of a Duke by K.J. Jackson
- To Love a Reckless Lord by Collette Cameron
- To Love A Highlander by Donna Fletcher
- Lady Betrayed by Tamara Leigh
- The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen