Nov 112015
Poppy Installation at the Tower of London, August 10th, 2014.

Poppy Installation commemorating the centenary of WWI at the Tower of London, August 10th, 2014.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. Armistice Day. End of the war to end all wars.

Veteran’s Day.

My uncle turned 91 this fall and served as a WWII Marine. He’s always out every Memorial Day with the VFW selling poppies and impressing upon today’s youth (yup, that would be anyone younger than him!) the significance of the poppies and Flanders Fields. He’s genuinely disgusted when someone doesn’t know the importance of either. So if you’re asked to buy a poppy, be patient and appreciative for all the sacrifices our veterans have made over the years.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, May 3, 1915.

My uncle was just 18 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. His brother (younger by almost two years) lied about his age and went into the Navy right after. My uncle refuses to go to DC through the Honor Flight program. I had to take photos of the WWII Memorial while there to send to him. He doesn’t want any thanks or special recognition for what he did (a sentiment many vets share, they were just doing their duty to their country), but he believes in not just marking the cost of freedom, but that the poppies serve as a reminder.

Lest we forget.


National WWII Memorial, Washington, D.C. April 2011.

May 292015

Graphic: #WhyIReadHistoricals over images of an old print, an old clock face, and an old sailing ship.This post was originally published on Feb 10, 2012 as “Why I Love Historical Romance”, but I’m dragging it back out because the Historical Romance Network is celebrating all the sub-genres of Historical Romance today on social media with #WhyIReadHistoricals and #WhyIWriteHistoricals and these reasons are all still valid for me.

My accountability group was talking about why we write in a particular genre and what attracted us to it. Also, we were asked if we like to read any genres we don’t or can’t write? Why? And would we like to try a different genre? I’ve already answered the “Why Romance” question, but I’m not sure I’ve ever covered Why Write Historical Romance and Regency Romance in specific.

#WhyIReadHistoricals: How I found them & Why I stuck with them

I grew up reading a variety of historical romances pilfered from my mom’s stash: Kathleen Woodiwiss, Kat Martin, Rosemary Rogers, Shirlee Busbee, Virgina Henley, Johanna Lindsey, and many, many, more. I’ll freely admit I was looking for escapism and a bit of the bodice ripping excitement promised by the covers. It was a slightly different kind from what I was finding in Science Fiction and Fantasy in that this was real world stuff, not wholly made up! Westerns/Colonial American, Medievals, Regencies… all were fair game. I never read the contemporary romances then. Probably because they all had boring object-centric covers instead of those wildly passionate clinches.

#WhyIWriteHistoricals: Why settle into the Regency Era?

The romantic notions of titles and balls, the escapist fantasy, the slower/different pace of life, along with the layers and intrigue in the rules of society intrigued me. The descriptions of men’s fashions, especially the mysteries revealed when a man removes his cravat. While I love me some eye-candy, there’s something to be said for leaving things to your imagination too.

They’d also just done away with the powdered wigs, patches, and panniers of the Georgian Era. Not practical and not attractive, in my opinion. Medievals were too much fantasy compared to the historical reality of fleas, sandy grit in the bread, women being literal property. In the Regency that last hadn’t changed legally, but the authors were showing their heroines more as partners than dependents. Victorian Era was too hypocritical for me in many of its attitudes around sex. I never really got into Edwardian Era books because anytime they drive up in a car or the phone rings, my immersion is shattered. Yes, I love Downton Abbey, but yup, the phone and the cars were jarring at first there too. I suspect my problem is more with books where the setting isn’t firmly established in the beginning and those things sneak up on me.

What else do I read besides Historical Romance?

What don’t I read? The most represented genres on our shelves (well, the ones *I* read anyway) include Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, some Contemporary Romance, some Romantic suspense, historical time travel, a handful of chick lit mysteries, and a selection of urban fantasy. Again, it’s usually the escapist aspect that draws me to these genres, something removed from my ordinary world. But I always circle back to historical romance of one flavor or another.

If not Historical Romance, what else might I try to write?

Maybe contemporary romance, Urban Fantasy or some fantasy, but it’d probably be flavored in some way by the historical aspect and it’d likely still have lots of romantic elements. But for now, I’m focused on the current crop of characters in my head who all reside firmly in Regency London.

If you’d like to join the buzz please consider posting your reasons for reading or writing historical romance using either of the hashtags (#WhyIReadHistoricals and/or #WhyIWriteHistoricals) on your social media. The more the merrier!

Your Turn: What’s YOUR favorite genre of book to read and why?

Apr 052015

eggs2I realized this morning just how much I missed all the fun of holidays that comes with having younger kids now that mine are on the upper side of their teen years. The joy and wonder are not as easy to draw out these days. There’s nothing worse than a jaded teenager, right?

Does this mean I’m ready to be a grandmother?

Oh, hell no!


I’m happy to sit and look at old photos from when my kids got caught up in those moments of joy. Easter egg hunts used to be one of my favorite things about Easter at my grandparent’s with my cousins. There were so many great hiding places there. And I tried to continue that sense of fun and wonder for my kids often getting up at the crack of dawn to go hide eggs before they woke up and found their baskets. It was always a challenge to make sure there were enough easy to find ones, but not TOO many so they both had a chance.

Anyway, times change and I hope they’ll pass the magic along one day, but for now, I’m gonna go hug them and embarrass them with sloppy sentimental mom-kisses. =)


Mar 152015

Cover image for Lady Vice (A Furies Novel) by Wendy LaCapraToday, we’re celebrating Wendy LaCapra‘s debut release, LADY VICE, the first in her Furies trilogy from Entangled Publishing. I met Wendy through The Beau Monde chapter of RWA® and have been following her publishing trajectory for a while now. She’s one of the sweetest people I know and so willing to reach out and help others. I hope you come to love her and her work as much as I do!

by Wendy LaCapra

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Nov 242014

Cover of Sally Orr's debut novel, THE RAKE'S HANDBOOK: INCLUDING FIELD GUIDE.Today’s guest is a fellow member of RWASD and the Beau Monde. Please welcome, Sally Orr who is celebrating her debut novel which released on November 4th!

I’ve gotten to know Sally over the last several years and love her wonderful sense of humor, so I wasn’t surprised when Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks took an interest in her manuscript that was a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist and the next two books in the series as well. Sally’s website describes her writing as “Romping Regency-Era Romance” — yup, a match well-made!

by Sally Orr

ISBN: 978-1492602118
Continue reading »

Nov 012014

Some people think you need a machine like H.G. Wells’, or Dr. Who’s TARDIS to travel through time. Others believe all you need is to stumble into a faerie ring.

Me? I think all you need is a good book!
Today, the Historical Romance Network is celebrating National Author’s Day and the end of Daylight Savings Time today with a special #FallBackInTime event on Facebook and Twitter as well as Tumblr and Google+ to share their love of the historical romance genre. So if your social media is flooded with pictures of romance books, don’t grumble and ignore it, TRY one!

I had trouble picking just one book, so I chose Lynn Kurland’s A Dance Through Time because I felt it best fit the spirit of the ‪#‎FallBackInTime‬ hashtag. Time travel, thematic title and a great read! However, you can see from the shelves behind me, that my historical romance keeper shelf (6 ft bookcase, 40″ shelves, double stacked) is overflowing! Somehow, browsing through my kindle reader isn’t as fun as running my hand over the spines on this shelf.

The variety within the historical romance genre these days is amazing. From Medieval, Vikings, Scottish Highlands, Elizabethan, Georgian and Regency, Victorian, the Wild West and Colonial America, Edwardian, WWI, The Roaring 20s, WWII, to ancient Egypt and ancient China (GO read Jeannie Lin now!)! You can escape almost anywhere you’d like and find plenty more to read along the way.

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So, what do I like about Historical romance as opposed to other subgenres of Romance? I like the slower pace of life and the distance and perspective shift away from the craziness that invades my everyday life. Everyone in those long carriage lines as everyone arrives at the balls are patient and the drivers aren’t stupid or rude, they’re just part of the process. Unlike the drop-off lines at school where I swear I need a doctor’s note to show my kids that I’m not allowed to go in there because of the effect on my blood pressure. You’d think by high school these people would know what was expected of them and it’d be calmer and more orderly. Not!

Anyway, I digress…

I tend to read a lot of Regency set romances because I like the fairy tale aspect of the balls and the titled men. Oh yes, and the cravats! Mustn’t forget those! But honestly, I’ll read a bit of everything. I started out reading fantasy and science fiction in the very early 80s, and naturally also found my mom’s stash of romance novels. She read a lot of cowboys, Native Americans, Dukes, Earls and Viscounts. The worlds that historical romance opened up for me were very similar to the fantasy and science fiction I was reading, but also very different. There was a guaranteed feel good ending. The Happily Ever After. Now she also read mysteries and contemporary romances, but those didn’t spark for me then. I like mysteries, but they’re not my first choice unless they’ve also got a good love story attached!


I hope if you don’t read historical romance, you’ll give it (another?) try! And if you read a book you enjoy, regardless of genre, post a review to help spread the word or drop them a note through social media and make their day. It’s a fabulous way to thank an author!

If you need a recommendation, check out my post: 13 Repeatedly Reread Books or my Historical Romance Shelf on GoodReads or check out my Interviews section!

Oct 262014

The Historical Romance Network, a group of over two hundred historical romance authors, are working to raise the visibility of the genre, to understand & breakdown misconceptions about the genre, to show the relevance of historical romance to the modern reader, and to help readers find the excitement these stories hold.

Next weekend when many in the U.S. is thinking about setting their clocks back and getting an extra hour of sleep, the Historical Romance Network is hosting an event to raise awareness and show off the variety available within the genre. On November 1st between 10am and 12 pm CST (or as close as you can!) post a selfie or a shelfie with your first, favorite or newest Historical Romance and include the hashtag #FallBackInTime! There’s something for everyone! So come and escape to the pleasures of the past!

Flyer for Historical Romance Netowork's #FallBackInTime Event on Nov 1st

May 292014

I’ll be teaching my SECRETS OF A RESEARCH NINJA online course next month for my local RWA Chapter in San Diego. It doesn’t matter if you’re a romance writer or even a writer at all, the class is open to everyone! So, if you’d like to improve your google-fu, this is the class for you.

Secrets of a Research Ninja

Everyone’s Googled something at least once, right? But there must be ways to make your searches more efficient, effective and accurate, because no one wants or needs pages and pages of endless irrelevant results.

Would you rather spend more time writing than on a frustrating search for that proverbial needle in an ever-growing haystack?

By the end of this two week class, you will:
– write better basic Google searches,
– recognize good & bad results,
– use advanced Google searches,
– learn about specialized Google searches, and
– have resources other than Google to use.

*Please note Google does not give all countries, Canada for instance, the same access to some options or advanced search methods covered in the course.

Online Course: 2 weeks of MWF Lessons & some light homework

Date: June 16 – June 27, 2014
Cost: $20.00 (RWA-SD members) / $25.00 (non RWA-SD members)
Open to: All

Click here to Register.

Hope to see ya there!

Mar 252014

It has been said that the romance community is the most supportive and generous of all the genre communities and I have seen the evidence many times over in different situations.

Last week one of our beloved authors, Jackie Barbosa, lost her seventeen-year-old son in a car accident. Although most of us will never be able to understand the depth of her and her family’s pain, Jackie’s loss is also our loss and we grieve for her and with her.

Today, in support of Jackie and her family, I’d like to introduce you to some Jackie’s books. One of the first stories of hers that I read was one of the Lords of Lancashire series, THE LESSON PLAN. I loved the way everything is blended seamlessly into the story: the emotions, the history and that wicked naughtiness that makes her heroes spark.

Jackie Barbosa's THE LESSON PLAN cover

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The next one I read was BEHIND THE RED DOOR. This was much spicier than my usual fare, but the excellent storytelling kept me turning pages and rewarded me with three great novellas that I might have missed out on otherwise.

Jackie Barbosa's BEHIND THE RED DOOR

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Jackie also has two free historical short stories available — THE REIVER and NINE LADIES DANCING (part of the 12 Days of Christmas Anthology) — so you can get to know her wonderful writing with no obligation. Of course, I hope you fall in love as I have and explore her full catalog.

Jackie Barbosa's THE REIVER cover12 Days of Christmas Anthology cover

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I had the treat of hearing Jackie read from SKIN IN THE GAME, one of her contemporaries, last fall at the San Diego Lady Jane’s Salon. The wry humor, the sexual tension and the details that made this female football coach believable were all present proving she is at home in this genre as well and her writing strengths shine here as well.

You can find information about her and her many books on her website:

My heart aches for this very talented author and amazing woman who is always so generous with her time and knowledge of publishing. And while buying a book and leaving a positive review if you enjoyed it may not seem like much, it can really lift an author’s spirits and I hope you’ll join me in sending some good thoughts and light in these dark times for Jackie and her family.

A memorial fund has been set up in her son’s name. Details to donate can be found on The Season For Romance website. Any and all donation amounts are greatly appreciated.

Mar 022014

Fragrant Rain 09/52: Photo of a raindrops clinging to a climbing vine of flowers by Kristen Koster on

Fragrant Rain

We’ve been getting some much needed rain here in SoCal for the past several days. The intermittent downpours haven’t dampened the scent of these pretty little pink flowers that bloom right outside my kitchen window making it seem like we’ve had a quite fragrant rain come through. Usually a steady rain here makes everything smell either squeaky clean and fresh or it brings out the deep, rich, earthy smells. So this heavy floral scent is a noticeable change.

I’m not sure what kind of flowers these are exactly, but when you walk outside and the breeze blows the right way, you get hit with a wall of fragrance, even from 15-20 feet away. It’s a heady sweet scent to match their girly pink blooms. The fence that they’re growing on has been taken over by it and they’re threatening to consume the bird feeder hanging there as well.

Hopefully the rain will help rather than hinder (in the case of recent burns areas where they’re experiencing mudslides and flooding) in the long run. Of course, lots of spring rain generally leads to lots of underbrush growth that then dries up after 5-6 months of no rain and provides lots of tinder in the fall. Vicious cycle.

I also noticed I’ve been forgetting to put my EXIF info for my photos this year. I’ll try to go back and add them at some point, but in the meantime, you can click on the photo to go to Flickr’s site and click on the … icon and choose EXIF info to see which camera, exposure, aperture, focal length and ISO Speed is used in each shot. It’s something I should pay more attention to in the shots I feel work, but I’m usually much more appreciative of the serendipitous successes than ones that I try to manufacture.