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Archive for the ‘Victorian’ Category



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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Welcome to A Naughty Christmas Carol, a holiday story video told with pictures and words.

The idea for the story came from the heroine in my Harlequin Spice novel, The Blonde Samurai, nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award. The Blonde Samurai is the story of Katie O’Roarke, an Irish American heiress who goes to Victorian London to wed a British lord.

It’s 1873 and Katie O’Roarke is headed to Japan as a virgin bride after marrying Lord Carlton. There she falls in love with a handsome samurai, but not before she spent a Season in London, far from the woods of her Pennsylvania home. As Lady Carlton, she was privy to the comings and goings of the British aristocracy and their fascinating and often incorrigible mores.

Here is one such story she heard whispered in Mayfair drawing rooms, a holiday tale called A Naughty Christmas Carol.    

In Episode 1, we meet Sir Harry,” though that is not his real name, as a young man. It’s Christmas Eve and he’s being very disagreeable with Lady Florentine, the gentlewoman who loves him, and his mistress, Nellie Rose, a fine lass whose mum is sick, as he makes his way to Madame Moiret’s bawdy establishment on York Street…

Join me next week for EPISODE 2 of: 

“A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL”

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Backstory:

When Lady Carlton–Katie–wrote her memoir, The Blonde Samurai, she inscribed it in first person. But for her own pleasure, she was curious about what Shintaro thought about her, a Western woman who had come to Japan as a virgin bride in 1873.

She decided to find out.

By asking him.

During the late afternoons when a titillating breeze cooled the day and the passing of time stopped for the drinking of tea, Katie and Shintaro sat under the flowering cherry blossoms and warmed their hands around tiny tea cups and talked about their first encounter at the Imperial Palace.

What follows next is the third of three episodes of “Tea with My Samurai,” depicting this scene that appears in Katie’s memoir but instead told from Shintaro’s point of view as he related it to her during their teatime conversations.

Lord Shintaro speaks of the first time he saw Katie outside the emperor’s Imperial Palace in Tokyo (spelled Tokio at that time).

(Katie’s POV of the same scene appears in “The Blonde Samurai” on pages 154-156.)

 To read episode one, click here

To read episode two, click here.  

 

PART 3:

Then another performer entered this outdoor Kabuki play, undoing the samurai’s fun with the beautiful female.
    A portly Englishman.
    Wiping his forehead with a tissue and panting as he struggled to catch up to the woman.
    Legs spread apart, Shintaro stood watching the man make the long walk up to the gate, bowing and calling out in the language native to the samurai. The man was a go-between, he decided, acknowledging  the intruder’s language fluency when he did his best at introductions.
    Shintaro grunted again, then barely nodded. He had no doubt the woman understood his lack of a low bow indicated his superior status to her. Tapping his fingers on his scabbard, he waited to see what she would do next.
    To his surprise, she mimicked his gesture then turned her back on him.
    By the gods, she was insane.
    His left hand went to his short sword stuffed into his sash belt. He squeezed the handle tight. Had they encountered each other on a country road, he had no doubt he would have carried her off and seduced her into his futon. Stroked her pale flesh with loving caresses and licked her full breasts before biting on her hard nipples and arousing her until she begged him to fuck her.
    Protocol prohibited him from doing so at the gate of Imperial Palace.
    Eyes flashing, he barely controlled his rage. He could not understand this particular madness that made the woman defy him so openly. She must be taught a lesson. Here. Now.
    Without another thought, he grabbed onto the long train of her dress and pulled on its velvet folds, the nearness of her tempting him to rip it off her and run his hands up and down her nude body.
    To his delight, she stopped short and lunged backward, nearly losing her balance.
    Would the gods deliver her into his arms? he wondered.   
    A seedless cloud passed overhead, casting a shadow over the scene, as if the deities ignored his primal need. Instead the Englishwoman regained her balance, but not before dropping her parasol. It clattered down on the hard ground behind her. She ignored it. Instead she turned and glared at him, but he wouldn’t let go of her dress. Laughing, he pulled on it hard, so hard she couldn’t move.
    “Release me at once,” she yelled, hands on her hips, then she said words in English he didn’t understand, though he imagined they were of a defamatory nature since the go-between, fanning himself with his hat, apologized many times over for her. 
    Shintaro grinned wide at her, enjoying watching her helpless. For a moment, he forgot he was samurai and she was gaijin. Foreigner. That he was most likely under surveillance by his enemies at court. Men who would see him ruined.
    They were two people caught in a game of attraction that sparked a passion in him. In her, too. He could see it in her eyes, defiant yet curious. His mood changed. Such a game was dangerous. Both to him and to her. For reasons he didn’t understand, he cared about what happened to her.
    Reluctantly, he let her go. Lips parted, she looked back at him, questioning, then, with a quick movement, she picked up her parasol and raced toward the pavilion with the Englishman close behind her.
    Shintaro remained still for many minutes, his hand still on his sword. The moment between them had passed, but not the feelings she had aroused in him. Hot, tempestuous. She was a firebrand. Yet he knew the gods would not look kindly upon him if he dared to meet her again.
    He gritted his teeth. Never again would he allow himself to get close to her. But it was already too late.    
    That moment at the palace gate he knew his fate.
    Shintaro burst out laughing as only a condemned man could when he knew his time had come, for he was condemned never to forget her.

–end–

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