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Archive for the ‘Victorian England’ Category

 
by Evelyn Q. Darling
Romance Reporter At Large
 
Mirror, mirror on the wall…who is the fairest princess of all?
Why, Kate Middleton, of course.

All eyes are on the lovely Kate as she weds Prince William with single girls all over the world wishing they were in her shoes.

And that they could give up their 9 to 5 jobs to be a princess.

I mean, it’s not like a princess has to work for a living. It’s all fancy balls and pretty clothes and dashing around with her handsome prince, right?

No more fast trips to the market with a purse full of coupons or emptying your Spam box or cleaning your bathroom.

Imagine lounging around the palace all day, eating chocolate truffles and texting your friends about how you have nothing to do but shop…

Hold it.

As Kate is sure to find out, being a princess is a full-time job.

In past weeks, this reporter has explored how to interview your romance heroine for a job, but what if that job is for a princess?

Just what does a Princess do anyway?
 
Here is a Princess Primer for all you Kate wannabes to have under your pillow when your Prince Charming pops the question:

1. A princess must never forget that her job is service to her people. Duty and compassion are also important. Okay, so that means being nice to everyone you meet, including your mother-in-law, the Queen.

2. Don’t go around the palace snapping photos of the royal family on your cell phone and putting them on your website. Definitely not.

3. When addressing the queen, you say “Ma’am” as in jam. What pet name you call your Prince is between you and him…and remember, palace walls do have ears…

4. You must appear well-groomed and proper at all times. Which means no funky sweats, no sloppy flip-flops and for heaven’s sake, make certain you’ve removed the Royal Nail decals of you and the Prince before the big day.

5. And finally, when the Prince gives you that first official Royal Kiss on the palace balcony, wear smear proof lipstick. No lipstick on the collar for the future King!

And by all means, practice, practice, practice the “royal wave.” You’ll want to have it down perfect when you’re Queen!

Evelyn Q. Darling is the alter ego of Jina Bacarr, author of The Blonde Samurai: “She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Jina Bacarr is also the author of The Blonde Geisha ,Cleopatra’s Perfume, Naughty Paris, Tokyo Rendezvous, a Spice Brief, and Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs

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by Evelyn Q. Darling
Romance Reporter At Large

We all remember when Cinderella eased her dainty toes into a slipper made of clear glass. She went from being a commoner with a borrowed gown sewn by clever little mice to a dazzling princess and the happily-ever-after ending we all dream about.

Or was it a stiletto?

It couldn’t have been a ballet flat, could it? What type of shoe do romance heroines wear in the land of fairy tales?

Or better yet, what if the fairy tale is real?

Mmm…this reporter is anxiously awaiting to see what shoes Kate Middleton will wear on her upcoming wedding day when she marries Prince William. Classic white satin pumps would be the elegant choice with princesslike appeal.

But there are so many choices available to this modern-day Cinderella.

What do you think?

I’ve put together some shoe suggestions with the pros and cons:

Stilettos: Kate and William are both tall; she could get away with it, but what will the Queen say? Off with her head?

High-heeled sandals: It’s spring in London, but bare toes for Kate in Westminster Abbey could be a chilly proposition.

Boots: snug, button-up or laced white boots with a curved heel would be very Victorian and flirty–and definitely wouldn’t come off Kate’s slender foot. It’s a possibility…

Ballet flats: Cute, comfy and dreamlike. Like a ballet sequence with Kate as the elegant white swan captivating everyone…including her prince.

Sky-high wedgies: Kate is a clever fashionista, but this edgy look may miss the mark with British fashion reporters who like a more upmarket look.

Athletic shoes: no, no, no!

Cleopatra roman sandals: very sexy if Kate gets a great pedicure and fit for a future queen.

Classic satin pumps: Sophisticated lady with “people appeal” like Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana. Kate can’t go wrong here.

Let’s hope that after the ceremony when Kate climbs into the fancy landau royal carriage with the sumptuous red interior, she won’t lose her slipper.

But then it won’t matter, will it?

She’ll already have her Prince Charming…I mean, William.

So, what type of shoes does your romance heroine wear?

Evelyn Q. Darling is the alter ego of Jina Bacarr, author of The Blonde Samurai: “She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

 Jina Bacarr is also the author of The Blonde Geisha ,Cleopatra’s Perfume, Naughty Paris, Tokyo Rendezvous, a Spice Brief, and Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs

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I decided to dig through my old pix of Ireland and see what I could find for the wearing o’ the green.

No, this wasn’t my mode of transportation in Ireland, but it looks like a fun way to see the countryside!




Anyone for diving off this cliff?



Here are some pretty pix of Ireland taken over various trips…just for the Irish of it!
Next time you put your heroine in a castle, remember to add central heating.
The sign says “Stop Check Point.” This was before the Belfast Agreement was signed…
Happy Patrick’s Day from my

Irish Maid Doll!
 
 
 

 

And in case you missed it last St. Patrick’s Day or you’d like to read it again, here’s the link to my erotic short story: A Naughty Victorian Lady tells the tale of a naughty Irish maid on St. Patrick’s Day

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By Evelyn Q. Darling
Romance Reporter At Large

February is National Snack Food Month. From greasy potato chips to chocolaty M&M’s, we all love snacks, which makes this reporter wonder: What does a romance heroine snack on between the sheets?

(I know what you’re thinking, but this reporter is not going there.)

You can’t ignore it. Snackin’ is a way of life in the 21st century with snack sales going over the $60 billion mark annually. Yes, that was B as in billion. (Who eats all those Doritos anyway?)

So this reporter was wondering (while she was snacking on peanut butter cookies), what heroines in various romance genres might be inclined to snack on. Think about it: what you give your heroine to snack on today would be different than in the Victorian era.

Crumpets (soft and spongy) dripping with honey were all the rage back in the late 19th century, served with afternoon tea and milk, while a hip modern heroine might snack on a vanilla yogurt parfait topped with granola. (Victorian heroines didn’t worry about calorie overload. They could always cinch in their corset an extra inch or two. A modern heroine doesn’t have that luxury.)

Or if your heroine is a vampire, blood oranges.

How ‘bout a zombie heroine? Zilch, nada. (What do zombies eat anyway?)

If you’re writing a romantic comedy, why not have your heroine throw caution to the wind and indulge in tortilla chips with spicy salsa or gourmet popcorn with real butter.

If your heroine’s a gun-packin’ mama, how ‘bout Snickers and black licorice sticks for fast, on-the-go snacks that she can sink her teeth into while she chasing after the bad guys.

Steampunk? You must have black tea for that British feel, then add red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a touch of fantasy.

And finally, erotic. (You thought I forgot?) Bananas, baby. Big, long, juicy bananas.

Need I say more?

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Meet EVELYN Q. DARLING, Romance Reporter at Large, in her first blog today:

In the past, creating a job for a romantic heroine usually meant she was either a governess, a nurse, or in the early twentieth century, a “typewriter,” better known as a secretary.

Take a letter, Miss Jones…

To all writers of romance novels.

Dear Miss, Ms. or Madam:

It has come to this reporter’s attention that several of you have veered away from writing about governesses in dark, gloomy manor houses and pert, red-cheeked nurses and turned to writing about heroines who carry guns, sport black leather and can take a man down in fifty seconds flat.

Really.

What happened to the days when all a heroine had to do to get her man was flutter her black lace fan and bat her soot-caked eyelashes? (Ample cleavage didn’t hurt either.)

It was so much easier when all a writer had to worry about was how many flounces graced her heroine’s gown or the number of hooks on a corset. (A heroine’s age at marriage also determined the size of her waist: if she wed at 18, she aspired that her waist remained at 18 inches.)

And if all else failed, there was always the “smart” heroine who wrote novels, solved mysteries or planted her delicate boots on foreign soil and showed her moxie by becoming a globe-trotting adventuress.

Sigh. Ah, for the good ole days before our heroines decided they wanted equal rights between the sheets. And on the job.

Now to create the modern heroine, a romance writer has to know the difference between a Glock and a Sig Sauer (the latter sounds like a deli sandwich).

Be able to “street speak” in urban fantasies, suck blood without smudging her lipstick in vampire thrillers and shape-shift into an exotic creature with all her parts intact.

So I’m asking all you romance writers to drop me a line and tell me what “dangerous professions” for a heroine you’ve seen in recent novels or in a novel you’re writing.

What’s new for a heroine in the 21st century in the world of “9 to 5” that you haven’t seen or written about before?

I’ll be eagerly awaiting your answers.

Who knows?

Maybe we can start a new trend: Dangerous heroines in tight corsets and red high heels who live in an abandoned subway tunnel and belong to a secret society of lusty Victorian vampires who feed on handsome firefighters.

Then again, maybe not.

 Best regards,

 Evelyn Q. Darling

Romance Reporter At Large

Artwork by Jina Bacarr

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I love historicals. Reading them, writing them.

And creating the perfect heroine. But is she a blonde, a brunette or a redhead? We writers wrestle with this question every time we put fingertips to keyboard. Sometimes the character is so clear in our minds, we know for certain she’s a natural blonde (and if she isn’t, well, we won’t tell–it’s up to the hero to see if the collar matches the cuffs).

Imagine if Scarlett O’Hara was a blonde…

Do you remember the vivid opening scene with Scarlett surrounded by the redheaded Tarleton twins? Her beautiful dark hair provided a rich halo around her face and provided a contrast against her white organdy dress with flounces and flounces of ruffles. The red belt cinching in her tiny waist was the perfect accent piece to complete her outfit.

Was this what Margaret Mitchell envisioned when she wrote “Gone With the Wind?”

In a word, no.

Ms. Mitchell describes a “green flowered-muslin” dress, not the white one. Although in the film, Scarlett does show up at the Twelve Oaks BBQ in a similar dress (who can ever forget the scene in the film when Scarlett throws a porcelain bowl across the room not knowing Rhett is lying on the couch out of her pov and he pops up with the line: “Has the war started yet?” Pure classic romantic attraction).

Which brings me to the question: how important to you as a writer and/or reader is the heroine’s hair color?

Her clothes?

Do you enjoy reading descriptions of what she’s wearing? Do designer labels intrigue you or turn you off?

I must admit I enjoyed designing my heroine’s wardrobe in “The Blonde Samurai” about a Victorian heiress who weds a British lord then falls in love with a handsome samurai.

Here is what Katie O’Roarke as Lady Carlton wore at a grand dinner:

“…Which was why I chose the color red. A defiant color, bold and perfect. I relished how the velvet gown in crushed strawberry hugged my body, the small cap sleeves sliding down my bare shoulders while the tiered soft bustle swayed behind me, the long train sweeping over the muted Oriental carpets. A long row of pearl buttons gave off an opaline luster, racing down my back like a game of dominoes.”

Tell me what you think about whether or not a description of the heroine’s hair color and her wardrobe enrich the story for you.

Frankly, my dear reader, I do give a damn…

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Click here if you missed Episode 1 of “A Naughty Christmas Carol.”

EPISODE 2:

When we left Sir Harry, he had no Christmas spirit. No wreaths, no caroling, none at all. He refused to help the poor as his lady love, Lady Florentine requested. Worse yet, he ordered his mistress Nellie Rose to his residence on Christmas morning for his own pleasure, ignoring her request to visit her sick mother who lived near the docks in East London.

Then Sir Harry is visited by the ghost of Lord Buckley, the Master of Whippingate…

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