header('Cache-Control: max-age=259200'); Fiction Archives – Kristen Koster
Sep 072016
 
Finalist Badge for 2016 Pages From The Heart Unpublished Author, Historical Category

JACK OF HEARTS by Kristen Koster
2016 Pages From The Heart Finalist
Unpublished Author, Historical Category

You know how they say you can’t win the lottery if you don’t play? That holds true for a whole lot of things in life. If you don’t put yourself or your work out there, how can you expect any recognition?

A couple of months ago, I submitted the first 25 pages of JACK OF HEARTS to two RWA Chapter contests. I got the scores back for one of them a while ago and had one really glowing set where the judge loved it. The other two judges were far more critical. So, I figured the other contest would come back with similar scores.

Surprise! It’s a finalist in the unpublished category for historical romance! The name of the game is subjective. But I’m still doing my happy dance over here. I have definitely realized a couple things based on the feedback. I can worry less about whether I have a “voice” or not (even if *I* can’t recognize it). And I still need to work on pacing issues.

One of the other things I’ve learned from contest feedback is that individual comments may or may not be accurate, but if several people say the same thing or question how you’ve worded or presented something… pay attention! It’s too easy to get wrapped up with the story you KNOW in your head and be unable to see what’s coming across from what’s on the page to brand new readers (who don’t already know and love you).

Anonymous judges are probably going to be kinder than random strangers reviewing your work on Amazon or GoodReads, so take a step out of your comfort zone. Take a chance on yourself and your work. Get some fresh eyes on that puppy — it might just open yours to what you need to tackle next to take your writing to the next level.

Keep your fingers crossed for me and JACK… the winners will be announced in early November!

$5 Friday eReads

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Mar 112016
 

$5 Friday eReads: What can I read for under $5 this week?$5 Friday E-Reads are my way of sharing some good deals on the great reads I’ve read fairly recently. I’m going to try to bundle a set of 5 books that I know total $5 or less at the time of posting. I kinda like the 5 books for $5 or less idea too, so if one book costs $4.99, expect to see 4 freebies too!

It’s Friday again! Let’s see what ebooks we can buy for $5 this week!

Another mixed bag here in that there’s an excellent craft book on sale in the kindle edition, some great Regency Romances — maybe a bit on the tame side this week– and one not so tame Contemporary Hockey Romance. I hope there’s something in there that catches your eye.

Have you found any great reads lately? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for new stuff to read… I just need more time to read everything!

-Kristen

$5 Friday eReads

What can I read for under $5 this week?

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Dec 202015
 

Cover image for 3 YULETIDE WISHES, an anthology by Deneane Clark, Alanna Lucas and Charlotte RussellThere’s less than a week until Christmas Day and if you’re like me, you’re not done shopping yet! If you’ve got a reader of Regency Romance on your list, we’ve got something that might just be a perfect fit. Join us in celebrating the holiday release from Boroughs Publishing, 3 YULETIDE WISHES, an anthology by Deneane Clark, Alanna Lucas and Charlotte Russell. I know Charlotte and Alanna through The Beau Monde chapter of RWA® and I hope to get to know Deneane Clark better in the future. I’m looking forward to some holiday reading after downloading this to my e-reader and I hope you will too!

3 YULETIDE WISHES
an anthology by Deneane Clark, Alanna Lucas and Charlotte Russell

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#WhyIReadHistoricals and write them too!

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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?

Interview with Historical Romance Author Wendy LaCapra

 Interviews & Guest Posts  Comments Off on Interview with Historical Romance Author Wendy LaCapra
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!

LADY VICE
by Wendy LaCapra

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Interview with Historical Romance Author Sally Orr

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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!

THE RAKE’S HANDBOOK: INCLUDING FIELD GUIDE
by Sally Orr

ISBN: 978-1492602118
Continue reading »

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!

Nov 052013
 

In Britain, today is Guy Fawkes Day. You might recognize him better as the face of Anonymous or that fellow in V for Vendetta. There’s a reason for that.

This post was originally published here on 11/5/2010, but I think it bears repeating in the current political and economic climates. People are unhappy and they’re always looking for someone to blame. Most will not take it upon themselves to act for the better of all, but some will take it into their heads that Fate has tapped them on the shoulder and they must act. Unfortunately, these aren’t the type of actions that will help. Many of us enjoy the right to vote. Some harder fought to gain than others. If you’ve got an upcoming election, exercise your right. If you don’t, take advantage of the opportunities to contact your elected officials and let them know how they’re doing and what needs doing in their area.


Guy Fawkes Day: Conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot: November 5, 1605
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

I’d never heard of Guy Fawkes’ Day/Night while I was growing up in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. And, Bonfire Night was the night before Homecoming when an effigy of the other team was offered up as a ritual sacrifice to the almighty football gods. I do remember my mother often saying “Remember, remember, the 5th of November” on that day and seeing references to it in the Regency and Victorian romance novels I read over the years, so I was curious to what this holiday was all about since it’s cropped up in pop culture recently with movies like V for Vendetta and thanks to 4-Chan many different groups of protesters have adopted the traditional Guy mask as a show of solidarity and a way to preserve their anonymity.

So when I asked my 13 year old daughter, if she knew what today was, I got a blank look. So, in explaining how Guy Fawkes was the fellow who was caught in connection with the Gunpowder Plot, she was highly amused by some of the traditions the British have kept in celebrating this holiday.

“So, that was around the time of the Declaration of Independence?” She’s studying the American Revolution and Constitution currently, so she tries to relate everything to that. Nearly two hundred years earlier, the Gunpowder Plot planned to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605 in an effort to not just protest his stance on Catholicism but to assassinate King James I. November 5th was chosen because it was the day Parliament was scheduled to reopen and the King would be present.

“People celebrate this? Why? How?” The idea was that they were happy to have avoided the disaster and also serves as a warning to Parliament to keep the desires of the people in mind as they make their decisions and laws. In England and several former British colonies, like Australia, the night is marked by bonfires, burning effigies of Guy Fawkes or other current political villains, and fireworks.

“What?! Fireworks? Really? Silly Brits.” Remember, it was also to serve as a warning of what could have happened had it not been uncovered. She was unconvinced, claiming it was rather ironic to celebrate preventing a catastrophic explosion and fire by setting off intentional ones. And then I mentioned that in one town, Ottery St. Mary in Devon, they celebrate by carrying flaming barrels of tar through the streets and how the people carrying the barrels had passed the tradition down through their families. Such a stretch for her modern imagination.

“Don’t they celebrate Halloween?” These days, it’s becoming more popular to celebrate with trick or treating, American-style, but in the mid-1600s, Oliver Cromwell’s puritanical rule abolished All Hallow’s Eve and many other traditional celebrations and feasts that he associated with pagan ways. Many of the traditions such as the bonfire on November 1st was simply shifted to November 5th and stayed there. Despite the fascination of the occult, paranormal and gothic romances, the people of the extended Regency period, which gave birth to some of our most familiar Halloween icons: Frankenstein and the headless horsemen, would have been more familiar with bonfires celebrating Guy Fawkes Night and burning a “Guy”.

Guy, guy, guy
Poke him in the eye,
Put him on the bonfire,
And there let him die

“A guy? A real one?” No, not a real person! Sort of like a scarecrow dressed up to look like Guy Fawkes. Kids would make these, and in the weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, they’d sit out with them by the side of the street begging, “A penny for the Guy?” so they could defray their expenses in making this annual effigy. The practice eventually evolved into asking for money to be spent on fireworks, but modern sensibilities worry that the money will be misspent on more dangerous things and sales of fireworks to children have been limited.

So, I’m not sure I explained it well for my daughter, but she did get a taste of a different culture than the one she’s used to and I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate it into a plot. But then I wonder if I could do it justice, not having experienced the tradition firsthand. Some day, maybe.

Upcoming Class: Secrets of A Research Ninja

 Writing Life  Comments Off on Upcoming Class: Secrets of A Research Ninja
Sep 262013
 

It’s not to late to sign up for Secrets Of a Research Ninja, Class Starts Monday

You can register with PayPal, don’t know why it chose that text to “call out” as important.

Hope to see you there!

Aug 022013
 

Cover for HERO'S REDEMPTION by Georgie LeePlease welcome Georgie Lee to the blog today to celebrate her recent release of her Regency novella, HERO’S REDEMPTION. I met Georgie through my local RWA San Diego chapter because we both had an interest in Regency Romance and she’s also a member of The Beau Monde chapter. If you can’t guess from her bio picture below, she’s a wonderfully animated person and a veritable whirlwind of energy when you get her going on topics she’s passionate about.

HERO’S REDEMPTION
by Georgie Lee

eISBN: 9781426895913

Blurb:

London, 1817

Devon, the Earl of Malton, is a hero for his deeds at the Battle of Waterloo. But he suffers terrible nightmares, and drinks himself to sleep most nights. A habit he vows to break when he awakes one morning to find a woman sharing his bed, no memory of how she got there, and her angry brother at his door.

Cathleen is mortified when her wastrel brother and his greedy wife propose a blackmail scheme involving the earl, but as a penniless war widow she’s at their mercy. She goes along with the plan and sneaks into Devon’s bed one night, and ends up comforting him through a night terror.

Charmed by her beauty and kindness, Devon determines that rather than pay the blackmail, he will offer his hand in marriage to Cathleen. Although she is deeply attracted to the stoic earl, Cathleen cannot understand why Devon would want to marry her. What she doesn’t know is that Devon owes her a debt that can never fully be repaid…


Georgie’s a fan of many historical eras from Ancient Rome to the Golden Age of Hollywood, but let’s find out a bit more about her and why she writes in the Regency Era.

1. What drew you to writing Historical Romances in general and specifically to setting stories during the Regency Era?

I’m a history buff who loves many different eras from ancient Egypt to early America but I’ve always been drawn to British history. Jane Austen is responsible for leading me to focus on the Regency in my writing. I love Jane Austen because she captures the spirit of a very specific era with great insight, humor, wit and intelligence. Her characters are well-developed and with foibles, heartbreaks, challenges and triumphs that everyone can relate to. And, even after almost 200 years, Mr. Darcy is still very dishy.

2. What’s the strangest bit of historical trivia you’ve picked up in your research?

I’ve learned a lot of strange things, but one of the strangest is that the Sears catalogue used to sell morphine and a syringe, back when it was legal.

3. These next few questions assume that time travel is possible. I know you’ve written novels in several different time periods from Ancient Rome to Regency England to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Which era in time would you pick to visit?

Choosing just one time period is tough, but I have to pick ancient Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. She was the most powerful female ruler in Egypt and they were co-rulers for some time. Once she died, Thutmose became one of Egypt’s greatest Pharaohs. It would be wonderful to see the dynamics that made her reign possible, to watch her rise to power and to know why, so many years after her death, Thutmose decided to remove her from the historical record. Also, I’d love to know more about the ancient Egyptian’s daily lives. Although we know a great deal about their funerary practices, very little is known about their daily lives. I would love to see the court of Pharaoh, to see how he and the noble women spent their days.

4. What modern conveniences would you miss most? What would you miss least?

The modern convenience I would miss the most is modern medicine. The one thing I would miss the least is TV. I just don’t watch it as much as I used to.

5. What would be the hardest for you to adapt to in the Regency Era?

The lack of plumbing and bathrooms. I really like running water and flushing toilets. It is so convenient.

6. Where would you fit into the society?

Oh, I would definitely fit in right at the top, maybe not as Queen, but definitely as a Duchess (hey, this is all make-believe so why not aim high, right?)

7. How long have you been writing? What advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning novelist if you could? Would this advice differ from what you’d say to an aspiring author now?

I grew up writing many different things including poetry, short stories and screenplays. I wrote a short story for a contest in sixth grade. At the time, I was fascinated by Greek mythology so I created a myth about the Greek gods and the creation of the silver swan constellation. The story won first prize.

I began my professional writing career at a small cable TV station in San Diego where I wrote marketing videos and public service announcements. I’d always dreamed of being a screenwriter, so I moved to Los Angeles and earned my MA in screenwriting. Despite my best efforts, screenwriting success proved a little elusive (OK, a LOT elusive). I’d always read romance novels and so I thought to myself, heck, I can write a romance novel. So I did. The first draft wasn’t pretty, but I learned a lot during the revision process. That story went on to become Lady’s Wager, a Regency romance and my first published novel.

The best advice I would give myself as a beginning novelist is to learn to plot. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I’d forced myself to become a plotter sooner. The best advice I can give to aspiring authors now is to keep trying and don’t give up. There were many years where I was writing and nothing was being published and then all of a sudden, one day, all the hard work began to pay off. It’s a long term career so you can’t let setbacks make you give up.

8. I know you also love the Golden Age of Hollywood and even have a novel set there. Tell us a bit about your Hollywood experience and what are the biggest differences between writing for the screen and writing for novels that you’ve found?

Ah, the Hollywood experience. I have so many whacky stories from when I worked in La-La land, there isn’t a blog post long enough to write them all. However, I also have a lot of great stories too, like the time I accidentally met Enya, my favorite singer. It was the only time I’ve ever been star struck.

The biggest difference between writing for the screen and writing novels is detail. Screenplays don’t demand a lot of detail about setting, characters etc, so when I made the switch from screenwriting to novels, I had to learn to add details and not leave them out.

9. How do you balance your writing life and with being a wife and mom?

Making time to write is key and those writing times are usually first thing in the morning when the house is quiet and I am, for the most part, awake. I’m also an opportunistic writer and I will sneak in writing time during naps, quiet play and in the evening.

10. Are you reader? What are some of your favorites?

I am a voracious reader of non-fiction history. It’s where many of my ideas for historical romances come from and something I’ve always enjoyed. I have a large library of non-fiction books covering subjects from ancient Egypt to medicine, Regency England and classic Hollywood, to period costume and dance. There are very few topics or times periods that I am not interested in reading about.

I also read a lot of fiction, but when it comes to favorites, I lean towards classics authors such as Oscar Wilde for sharp witty dialogue, W. Somerset Maugham for great insight into characters and D.H. Lawrence for well-developed internal monologue.

11. What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a writer?

The most challenging part of being a writer is marketing. However, I am really good at walking up to strangers holding a Kindle and handing them a card for my book. I have done this numerous times, much to the embarrassment of the person I’m with.

Photo of Georgie Lee, Author


About the Author

A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.

Her first novel, LADY’S WAGER, and her contemporary novella, ROCK ‘N ROLL REUNION are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. LABOR RELATIONS, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and STUDIO RELATIONS, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Her Regency novella, HERO’S REDEMPTION from Carina Press released on July 29, 2013, and her Regency novel, ENGAGEMENT OF CONVENIENCE is coming from Harlequin Historical on October 1, 2013.

When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit www.georgie-lee.com or http://georgielee.blogspot.com for more information about Georgie and her novels. She can also be found on Facebook, GoodReads, and Twitter.

Buy HERO’S REDEMPTION: Amazon | Carina Press