The Outrageous Wishes of This #MFRW Historical Romance Author

dandelion-nature-flora-white-51426.jpegIn case you do not know, I am a fan of Outlander both the novel series and the TV series. As a fan, I follow both Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan (on social media not in some stalker way). Well, Sam is an outdoorsy kind of man who climbs Munros (Munros are mountains in Scotland that are over 3,000 feet). The view from them is spectacular. One of my wishes is to climb or as they say, bag a Munro with Sam Heughan and raise money for charity. 

You see that wish isn’t crazy because of the company I want to have on the climb but the fact that I have fibromyalgia and arthritis. For me, walking from my bed to the kitchen in my NYC apartment is like a trek. I have to nap after I take a shower. I feel as if I have the flu every day of my life. So, climbing over 3, 000 feet is a test and a wish that seems an impossibility.  But oh, to see Scotland from that view…Heaven, Paradise…

pexels-photo-54300.jpegDo you watch late-night tv? I do. My favorite host is Conan O’Brien. I have loved that lanky, red-head since he hosted the Late Late Show. Conan has whole episodes where he travels to a country or region. A recent one was his trip to Israel and Palestine.  In one segment, he went to the Dead Sea and just floated in the milky blue waters. And I was so jealous. The water is so dense with salt that you cannot sink. People say the waters and salts are great for aching joints (that’s me) and for the skin (also me since I have skin). So, the next wish is to swim in the Dead Sea. 

Another love of mine is fashion. I love —haute couture—the skill, ultra lux fabric, and the designs…I think I need to fan myself. Naturally, that moment to don a creation has to be a high-fashion, Vogue-esqe fashion shoot.  I can see it, me posing with my hair perfectly styled, make-up flawless and diamonds and precious jewels shining under the lights and complimenting the most fabulous haute couture gown with a swooping train that cascades down the Grand staircase in the MET Museum.   Fashion Heaven.

After those three wishes come true, I’m flying to France and to Versailles. My mother had this porcelain doll dressed in 18th-century fashion, she had blonde hair and I just knew she was Marie Antoinette. I fell in love with Versailles (much like other people have) But I do not just wish to visit. I wish to stroll through Versailles by myself. As a child, I love to lay on the floor as an adult I still do. Imagine laying down on the floor in the Hall of Mirrors…or strolling through the rooms with the sounds of your footsteps and creaks and groans of the royal palace and no other noise. No one to distract you as you wander from room to room, up and down staircases or through the gardens with the sweet scents and soft air carrying the buzz of insects.

My last wish is a simple one and one of two that will come true one day. I wish to sit outside a home that overlooks the  North Sea on one of the Shetland Isles and look out to the horizon and become hypnotized by the surroundings.   Nothing more than that. 

Simple wishes I hope are fulfilled in my life. What about you? Do you have anything you wish to do? ♥

Don’t forget to visit other blogs. Maybe you’ll be inspired.

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How Do I Love Thee?

elizabeth-barrett-browningElizabeth Barrett Browning wrote those most famous words that are still whispered when our own words of love fail to be spoken.

I had read those words when I was a young girl who had never been in love and who was more of a tomboy than a young lady. But that one question had me wanting to feel a love like that and to one day have someone love me with such emotion that one simple question poured with that sentiment. Of course, I read the rest of the poem then I read it again. Then I had to learn more about the author named Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Elizabeth Barrett and I shared only two things in life but her story and poems have always stayed with me. Elizabeth was the eldest of twelve children. She was a smart child who read at four and started writing poetry at six years old. At 15, she fell seriously ill and the laudanum prescribe had adverse effects on her health.

In 1838, Elizabeth published her first collection of poems. Her most prolific years were between 1841 and 1844. These poems would change her life.

Her 1844 volume of poems were read by another writer named Robert Browning. Her words stirred him so that he had to write to Elizabeth. Robert wrote, “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett.”

Robert Browning was six years younger than Elizabeth and a poet in his own right as well a playwright. Though he did not have the success Elizabeth had, he had some promise. robert-browning-9228980-1-402

For nearly two years, they communicated through letters, falling in love in the pages until they finally met in May 1845.  Elizabeth couldn’t believe that this strong, worldly man loved her— a woman of frail health and older than himself. Their courtship was carried out in secret since Elizabeth knew her father would disapprove. During the two years of their courtship, Elizabeth wrote the most famous question though they were not yet published.

However, in 1846, Robert and Elizabeth married in a private ceremony at St. Maryleborne. And in September 1846, Robert spirited his wife away to the warmer climate of Italy and many believe that benefitted his bride and prolonged her life.  Mr. Barrett disinherited her as he did all his children who married without his consent. However, Elizabeth kept the Barrett surname as was required of all the children.

Now in Italy, Elizabeth suffered numerous miscarriages but in 1849 she gave birth to a son named Robert Barrett Browning or Pen Browning as he was known. Besides, their child, Elizabeth published Sonnets from the Portuguese.  This book republished her earlier poems and also included the poetry from their courtship. Elizabeth thought them too personal but Robert convinced her to include them and she included Sonnet 43.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old’s griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breadth,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

In that same year, Elizabeth was a candidate for poet laureate after Wordsworth’s death and was a rival for the position with Tennyson, who would claim it in the end.

On June 29, 1861, the love story ended with Elizabeth’s death in Florence. Robert continued to write but most believe his best years of his writings were years he shared with his wife. Robert died on 12 December 1889.

*Once a month I will be telling the love story of a true historical couple.

 

 

Tea, Books and Five Great Authors

  1. Tea books.jpgEdith Wharton.

    When I first read The Age of Innocence, I was a pre-teen girl who hid the book from others. I really don’t know why I did, exactly but I remember feeling as if the book was my own secret world that would be shattered if I shared it with another. As I read those words, I melted into that book. The words scratched at me, leaving me bloody and exposed. And once I closed it, I looked at everything different, felt everything different. New York City (my hometown) was different to my eye and finally, I understood the stirring emotions within me. I was changed.

    Jackie Collins.

    I read Jackie Collins long after I knew who she was. I knew she was Joan Collins sister but to me she was the cooler sister. She was everything Joan Collins was and what I in my imaginings wanted to be but Jackie was more–she was a writer. I always thought she could teach something–what that was I never knew and will never know. Maybe I’ll see her in heaven.

    J.K. Rowlings.

    Sure, I love her tweets. But I love the truth she always shares. She has a great talent but I love the strength and bravery she has displayed in her life. I’ve had my hard times too but she doesn’t use them as an excuse or a reason to pity her. She turns it and says what I do is not unknown and isn’t certainly lightning in a bottle (though Harry Potter certainly is). I love her realness.

    Mary Shelley

    I cannot say why exactly Mary Shelley made my list. Of course, she is interesting in her own right and that certainly adds to it. But she has always intrigued me. Everything about her feels…compelling but there is more. I just know that there was so much more to her that we know. We could learn something about her and pull back the layer and there is much more to intrigue us. I would like to know that.

    Agatha Christie

    Mrs. Christie had an eventful life in a time where women were not much more than wives and mother (though she was both). She was a nurse, best-selling author of all time and she traveled the world. She even disappeared for a short while and no ones know what exactly happen. But if you are a Doctor Who fan, you know the answer. I would like to see her strength, learn to have more of my own and how to keep going during those moments when I’m sure that I suck.

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Ten of the Hottest Actors in a Historical

I love♥ nothing more than a handsome man then add talent—*fanning myself* I can swoon. So, here is a list of some HOT, Talented men. This list may be numbered but these men are not arranged in order of their hotness.

10. Jacob Collins-Levy from The White Princess

Jacob Collins Levy

9. Alexander Ludwig from Vikings

Alex Ludwig Viking

8. Francois Arnaud in The Borgias

Francois Arnaud Borgias

 

7. Richard Rankin from Outlander

Richard Rankin Outlander

6. Sam Heughan from Outlander

Samheughan Outlander

5. Toby Stephens from Black Sails

Toby Stephens Black Sails

4. Kit Harington from Gunpowder

Kit Harington Gunpowder

3. George Blagden from Versailles

George Blagden Versailles

2. Jason Momoa from Frontier

Jason Momoa Frontier

1. Tom Cullen from Knightfall

tom cullen shirtless knightfall

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10 Romance Novels To Read

If you are anything like me, your TBR pile is as tall as the Statue of Liberty and much like the lady, you have a book in your hand too. But that doesn’t stop me from purchasing new books.
This is the list of the books (kindle e-books) that are on my list. They are in no particular order though the books are numbered.

  1. Brides of The Border by Kathryn LeVeque

    Brides of the border

2. War of the Roses Brides by Ruth Kaufman

Wars of the Roses Bride

 

3.  The Thief’s Countess By Cecelia Mecca

The Thief's Countess

 

4. The Silent Duke by Jess Michaels

Silent duke

 

5. It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke by Maya Rodale

It's hard out here for a duke

 

6. A Wager Worth Making by Rebecca Connolly

A wager worth making

7. The British Knight by Louise Bay

The British Knight

 

8. Saving Scarlett by Emily Bishop

Saving Scarlett

9. Secret Daddy by Kira Blakely

SEcret Daddy

10. A Cowboy for Christmas

A Cowboy for Christmas Ebook Cover

Tell me if you have a book that I should add to my TBR pile. I should be writing my next Highlander romance but that doesn’t mean I can’t escape with a good book too. Happy holidays!

10 Best Season 3 Outlander Scenes

Season three of Outlander has ended and we must wait until 2018 for season 4. In the meantime, let’s recap the season with some the best moments. These were hard choices for me to make since Ron Moore and all involved with Outlander produce a great show. But here are just 10 of some great moments.


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10. Claire and Jamie reuniting.  Not in Edinburgh but in Carribean. I can’t find my remote when it’s on the bed but these two find each other.

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9. In the book, I love when Jamie is seasick. That affliction makes him more human. So, seeing poor Jamie green…brought me happiness.

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8. Meeting Young Ian. He is such a part of Jamie and Claire’s lives so seeing him was a wonderful moment of the season.

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7. Claire can handle her liquor. And one of the great scenes this season was her drunk on turtle soup and then her taking advantage of Jamie (not that we can blame her)

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6. One of the most heartwarming scenes was during Fergus’ wedding. When he’s asked for his surname and Jamie says *weeping*

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5. Jamie putting on his specs to see pictures of his daughter. I don’t know why but I loved it.

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4. Jamie dumping Willie’s mother in the mud. I actually clapped at this scene.

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3. Meeting Lord John Grey. He plays such an important part of Jamie’s life that seeing him is like meeting up with an old friend.

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2. Being reunited with the characters we all love.

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1. The best scene of Season 3

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Do you agree with my choices? Did I leave out one of your favorites? Tell me.

 

November Romance Releases

November is upon us. Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas is nearing as we draw out sweaters and mittens and boots. During the holiday season, we all need a moment to ourselves—an escape. And what better way than with a romance novel. Here are two that are heading your way.

BETWEEN YOU AND ME

Book blurb:

As the only daughter of the wealthy Harrison clan, Tess Harrison has everything—except the baby she longs for. With no husband in sight, she escapes to her family’s retreat in Aspen, Colorado, visions of sperm donors dancing in her head. Instead, she finds Logan Carter. When the ruggedly handsome manager of the Harrison ski house offers to be her baby daddy in exchange for her playing his girlfriend, Tess is breathless to begin the charade. After all, the brokenhearted heiress knows better than to fall in love . . .

She would be Logan’s dream girl, if his dark past had left him with any dreams. Now the brooding bachelor’s only hope is to satisfy his mother’s dying wish to see him happily paired off—and give lovely Tess the baby she longs for.  But when he and Tess opt to make a baby the old-fashioned way, he’s fighting hard against the longing to hold on to the elusive Harrison beauty forever . . .

Available on November 28, 2017

Amazon link: Between You and Me by Jennifer Gracen

 

SECRET DESIRES

Margo Simmons is ecstatic when she inherits her uncle’s Manhattan apartment and a handsome sum of money. To her chagrin, there are strings attached. She must be gainfully employed in a job for a year. Everything in Margo’s life has complications. When she meets the man of her dreams, she anguishes over how to fulfill her secret desires for a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife and afraid to open his heart again. To replace her fractured childhood growing up with a distant stepfather, Margo becomes the guardian of an elementary student who longs for connection and closeness. As the story evolves, readers will see how these individuals unite. Secret Desires is written from the heart and speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.

SECRET DESIRES was released in February and is available now.

 

 

October Romance Releases

 I Knew You Were Trouble by Kay Blake
Release Date: September 22, 2017

 He seemed to be nothing but trouble.

Ally had something to prove. She wanted a new start. So, she took a job across the country to be the personal photographer to this up and coming rock band called Runnin on E. What she didn’t expect was to be captivated by the lead singer of the band Ethan Avery. Ethan’s blond hair, blue eyes and a voice that can melt the panties off of any woman spelled trouble. Big trouble. And after what she left behind she couldn’t afford any more.
But sometimes temptation is just too hard to resist.

Music was my only solace until I met her.

From the outside looking in, Ethan has everything. He’s the lead singer of the new rock band Runnin on E’. He has devastating good looks and women. Lots of women. But Ethan has his demons. He hides them behind the lyrics of his songs. New found fame is nice, but Ethan wants something more. He wants someone who knows there’s more to him than what meets the eye. And that someone is Ally. She’s beautiful. She’s different. She sees him. All of him. And now he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anything.
Can he leave his past demons behind and have the future he never thought he deserved?

 Breathe You by Kay Blake
Release Date: October 26, 2017
A marriage on the rocks and one weekend!
Bree met Mason when he saved her from what could have been an unfortunate situation. They became friends, lovers, and then husband and wife. After being separated for almost a year, they take up the suggestion of their marriage counselor to go away together for the weekend to try and reconnect.

Can these two work out their issues, and save their marriage?

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0765BYJH7  

Leather and Gold by Gemma Snow

At My Lady’s Pleasure series (Book 1) Historical Erotic Romance (BDSM)

Emmeline Westington Wright, widowed duchess of South Framley, sent Captain Alexandre Pierron Simonnet to the Americas eighteen months ago, presumably in search of her errant brother, the Marquis of Fulton. But when Captain Simonnet returns to South Framley and the duchess’s Roseburn estate, she must admit to herself that the errand was nothing more than a way to keep the devilishly handsome and tempting captain far enough away where she will not succumb to her desires. They are the kind of desires she has only ever indulged with her late husband, William, hidden away in a darkened room, below the prim and proper halls of Roseburn.

Her lust for Captain Simonnet has not diminished in the past months, instead growing stronger and more potent until she invites him to meet her in the rose garden at midnight. There, she shows the captain all of her secrets, that hidden room, her own desire to cede control, to be taken care of–by him. As she had hoped, Alexandre is familiar with her lifestyle and sets down the rules, before laying her over his lap and giving her all that she most desperately craves–or almost all.

Because despite herself and her raging need, Emmeline knows that her want goes deeper than a salacious affair. She has known Captain Simonnet, William’s best friend, some ten years now, craved him for three. Tonight, in the light of their pleasures and vulnerabilities and moments of profound trust, she might just admit to herself that she wants more than a single night or a week or a month–she might just want a life together.

Buy Links:

Loose Id: http://www.loose-id.com/leather-and-gold.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Gold-Gemma-Snow-ebook/dp/B076FSTYLB/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/leather-and-gold  

A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5 – By Alice Orr

A hot car and a hot guy can get a girl into trouble.

Maybe that’s what Amanda Miller needs. But how much trouble is too much trouble? Dead bodies on the riverbank? A possible kidnapping? Sexy detective Mike Schaeffer might save the day. But who will protect Amanda’s heart?

Alice Orr is known for Delicious Suspense Spiced with a Love Story.

She does it again in A Time of Fear & Loving.

Buy a Time of Fear & Loving HERE.

Alice’s Website – www.aliceorrbooks.com

Alice’s Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter

Alice’s Twitter Page – https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks

A Golden Scotland

With the release of my novel The Marriage Alliance happening on Tuesday, August 15, I think this is the time to share some historical facts of my romance novel’s setting. The Marriage Alliance is set in 1256 Scotland. This era is a time when all seemed bright for the nation. No one knew that darkness would swoop in and cast the nation in a war.

In 1249, seven-year-old Alexander’s father died. Many sons lost their parents however, this boy was not another farmer. He was the Prince of Scotland. In July, Alexander sat upon the Stone of Scone and became the King of Scots. Some historians consider this period in Scottish history as the Golden Age. There was relative peace in the nation (though it was the Middle Ages so it wasn’t exactly peaceful) and the throne was secure.

At this time, England and Scotland enjoyed a close bond because of the relationships between the nobles of both nations. Many Scottish nobles possessed estates in England including the King of Scotland. To keep this ties knotted, Alexander married the daughter of the English king, Henry III. In December 1251, Alexander traveled to York to be knighted and celebrate his marriage to Margaret.

Henry III asked Alexander to do homage. But the young king understood the politics at play and replied, “I had come to marry not to answer so difficult a question.” Thankfully, this young king had loyal nobles in his government so he was able to reach his majority without a grab for his crown. The king had plans to grab some land–some islands off the coast of Scotland.

Alexander became the leader of a nation that was smaller than the Scotland we now know. At this time, the Hebrides, Shetland, and Orkney islands fell under Norwegian rule. To fulfill his father’s dream, Alexander first tried diplomacy to win the isles yet that failed. So in October 1263, the Battle of Largs happened.

The Battle of Largs is not considered a proper battle, more a series of skirmishes that occurred on the beaches of Largs.  The King of Norway and his fleet sailed to the western coast of Scotland. The Scots were helped by a gale that crushed the Norwegian fleet. The King of Norway failed to secure the isles and soon sickened and died. After this, the Hebrides became part of Scotland.

By 1275, the Queen of Scotland Margaret and sister to Edward I of England (also known as Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots) died. Margaret was much loved and has a religious following in the nation. Now a widow, Alexander had no reason to marry again. He had three children, an heir, spare, and a daughter who was married. Soon, death came for them all. David, the youngest son, died first then his daughter died in childbirth though her daughter (known in history as Maid of Norway) survived. Then on the 17 January 1284, his heir and namesake perished.

With all three children lost, the king had to marry again. He was still a young man so the nobles were not worried that more children would one day come.  He married Yolande, Comtesse de Montford, daughter of Robert, Comte de Dreux.

Five months after their marriage, the king was in Edinburgh to meet with his council. While he was in the royal burgh, the weather took a turn for the worst. That did not stop the king from setting out to the royal castle named Kinghorn located in Fife.

Though the storm was a northerly gale with heavy snow and led to a very dark night. He was able to sail across the Firth of Forth. The men in his party begged him to stay the night instead of continuing in his travels. He continued onward.

In the darkness, somehow the King of Scotland fell to his death. His body was found at the foot of the hill the next morn. The spot is now called the King’s Crag. He was 36 years old.

His wife was pregnant but she soon miscarried and the Maid of Norway died on the crossing to Scotland. The Wars of Independence would soon rage.  If Alexander had rested his head instead jumped into his saddle then Scottish and world history would have changed.

The Jane Austen Novel that Matters

July 18, 2017 is the bicentennial anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. I have read her books, seen the movies and read her letters. She has inspired me to write Regency and learn about the royal navy and even imagine strolling the streets of Bath. I have numerous copies of her novels.

But there is one book that twists my heart with a mere mention of its title and that is Persuasion. Jane’s last novel, which was published after her death in December 1817.

Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen for two reasons. The first reason I love this book is its theme–a second chance at love and the second reason is the dishy, perfect hero Captain Fredrick Wentworth.

No doubt, you must have read the novel (if you are reading this, it is likely that you are a Jane Austen fan) so I will not go into the plot. With Fredrick’s return and Anne’s family’s fortunes dwindling, both Anne and Fredrick now have a chance for second love. Their love has never died after a denial and eight long years. As I read Jane’s words, I cannot stop from imagining Fredrick out at sea, heartbroken and carrying that pain. And when he returns he is now a man of fortune and gets the chance to show Anne what she denied.

We all have wanted to do that and some have had the chance to do it. And Fredrick does what many have done and acted as if he is not pained by the sight of her. Though, he is unaware that she too had been tormented by what could have been.

Captain Wentworth leaving Anne the love letter.

When Fredrick learns Anne still loves him, he takes his chance. And oh, the way he declares it, tears fill my eyes and my throat closes up and my bottom lip shakes.

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan–Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes?–I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others.–Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in 

F.W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening, or never. 

Reading this novel, I feel the love between Fredrick and Anne as well as the longing. These emotions seep from the ink and soak into my skin and fill me. I can’t stop myself and must always hug it to my heart.

Then I can’t help but wonder–As Jane neared death, did she yearn for a second chance at love? She must have. We all do.