Romancing History: A Romance Author’s Love of the Past

The first romance novel I had ever read was a historical.  I can tell you I was hooked. Nothing matter more to me than getting my next book. Instead of doing school work, I was reading. Luckily, I still managed to pass my classes.

So when it came to writing a novel, I—of course—had to write a historical romance. I have written a couple before I actually had my first novel, The Marriage Alliance,  published then came Claiming the Highlander. 

I have always loved history. To me, history is the way we can time-travel—experience the different lives and times. While I’m writing my novels like my medieval Highlander novels I am a clan chieftain raiding my enemies lands or I am a Scottish heroine struggling to stay alive against an evil English baron trying to kill me (my next novel The Laird’s Right, which is coming soon).

I have loved history since childhood when I would stare at my mother’s porcelain doll dressed as Marie Antoinette. My child’s imagination would transport me to 18th century France.

As I started school, I wanted to learn all about the past. The details from fashion, food to even the mundane like how they stood. I swore that I could somehow become them and once knowing the information, I naturally turned to writing.

Because I just didn’t want to know it. I wanted to lay down these characters’ I concocted so that they could exist. And history is written down to be shared. You heard of method acting well I’m a method writer.

I love traveling to the Highlands of Medieval Scotland.
And to Regency England.
And Montana Territory in 1870s.
And 16th century Scotland.

I hope you will join me on one of my travels. Sign up for my newsletter at Mageela Troche

Tell me what is one of your favorite time periods. Where would you escape?

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Type The End Time To Celebrate

Typing The End is a great feeling. I have written—most likely a novel that has taken me months and hours of being on my computer and more hours of scrolling through Pinterest. But the end has arrived.

I am no longer writing. I have written. So comes the celebration, right.

A bottle of champagne? pexels-photo-571250.jpeg  A trip to a sandy beach?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, I don’t do either one.

For my two medieval Scottish Highlander Novels,  The Marriage Alliance and Claiming the Highlander, I have celebrated their completion by doing two things.

First, I take a couple of days off. I watch TV, lay in bed, anything to rest my brain so I can recharge because I have other projects I am working on and cannot waste time. But creativity is important so I can work on my next project.

The second thing I do to celebrate is a manicure.

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While I am writing, I don’t bother doing my nails. So by the time I finish a manuscript my nails look like some monster’s and not the hands of a lady (as my mother and grandmother would say). When I step out of the nail salon with my nails perfectly painted, and my hands wonderfully massage, my need to is fully recharged. Then it is back to my computer to do this all over again, which will be happening soon with

Then it is back to my computer to do this all over again, which will be happening soon with The Laird’s Right and Highland Scandal. Yeah, my hands look scary and that manicure image has me drooling.

Yeah, my hands look scary. I can’t wait for my manicure.  *stares at image with longing*

Now tell me what do you plan to celebrate and how you plan to do it.

 

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Release Day

Today is the day. Claiming the Highlander has hit the virtual shelves. Claiming the Highlander is the love story of Caelan and Brenna. You first met Caelan in The Marriage Alliance.  He is a man of few words and now we get to learn about his life. Historical Romance 03:06:18 Claiming The Highlander_Cover Art

So get your copy now at Amazon 

 

Yeah, I heard it before (Worse writing advice this #MFRW author heard)

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If you are anything like me then you have received a great deal advice in your life—Some of it good, some of it bad, some unwanted and others much desired. One piece of writing advice that was the worst for me was “write what you know.

NO! I do not want to write what I know.

Writing for me is about escape into another life, world, person. I read that way too. I want to experience so many lives—the hopes, the loves, the aches and the dreams.

What I know is my everyday life and while some people love to explore everyday reality,  that is not my thing. I want to fall in love with the handsome duke, dance at the ball, and be a lady-in-waiting to a Tudor queen.

What is the worst advice you received? Do share so we can complain about it then stick out our tongue at it.

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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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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.

 

 

 

The “Write” Tune

Some writers loved to write in silence. Me–I can’t do that. The silence makes me sleepy. I like to write to music.

What music do I choose?

I always love to do a playlist for each book I write. For my Summer 2017 re-release of The Marriage Alliance, my playlist is an upbeat one. The one song that really got my juices going is Still into You by Paramore.

Another song that inspired me was this one. I have loved this song since the 90s and have always stirred my heart. That’s exactly what an author wants when writing.

The last song that really helped me when I was writing The Marriage Alliance was this great one. This is exactly what every heroine wants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Does She Do it All…Writing Style? A MFRWAuthor Tells You How She Deals.

Since I started pursuing my writing as a career, I’ve heard many authors talk about the challenges of writing and family. See, I don’t have that problem. I have no husband or children. I have a lovebird. My time to write is all my own. 

My family has always supported my desire to be an author. My mother brought me books, notebooks and never bothered me when I was writing. In fact, she encouraged me, telling me to go and write when I complained that I was bored.

But wait a minute–Don’t think that I am sitting at my computer all day long, pounding out stories and doing whatever I want whenever I want. That isn’t my life. You see I deal with chronic illness–Lupus and Fibromyalgia, to be exact. My body rebels against what I want it  to do. Either I’m too tired or stiff or I just feel beat up, tossed about and thrown to the wolves to be gnawed on. A thought pops into my head then explodes into nothing before I can capture it. My hands and fingers feel like they are wrapped in tape and can’t bend.

So, what does this have to do with family surviving your writing? I’m sure you heard that term life-work balance. I learned that that concept is utter crap. Life is about priorities. Maybe your child is ill with a raging a fever. You focus on that. Perhaps, your husband has vacation time. You focus on that. Maybe your elderly parent is ill. You focus on that. Having your family survive your writing is about priorities. You do what you can when you can.

Having your family survive your writing is about priorities. You do what you can when you can. If you make your writing one of your priorities, respect your writing time (even if it’s for 15 minutes) then your family will too.

But that isn’t the only thing you can do to have your family survive your writing–the next thing is to ask for help. Share what you wish to accomplish with your loved ones, let them know you need help. Remember that isn’t a weakness.

My advice–make a list of all your responsibilities and another list of what you wish to accomplish. For a week, jot down how long each task takes you. At the end of the week, determine where your time went, what was a waste and what could others do to help. Then use that time for writing.

Because you are not a writer if you don’t write. And I want you to write.

 

Beginning again

I have passed GO and collected my 200 dollars and now is the time to start my new manuscript. Starting a new work can stir up many feeling–excitement, stress, impatience and worry. Right now, my mind is racing with all the possibilities that can happen between my hero and heroine. I know that it will be a happy ending but like the saying it’s not the destination but the journey. So, I’m getting my ticket ready and my bags packed and off I go to bring my characters to their final destination.