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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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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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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 second 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 Part 1, click here.

 

PART 2:

    How dare the woman defy him.
    Didn’t she know he was samurai?
    That he followed a moral path of chivalry carved on the scarred flesh of the warrior class? Unwritten but stronger than words printed upon parchment.
    And as a great warrior, he could claim the head of his enemy with a single stroke of his sword. Her head, if he so desired.
    A sword he must keep sheathed, he thought. A sword drawn would find its mark, as would his cock if he seduced her with his wit and charm.
    Then she would know who was master.
    He looked her up and down, thinking.
    She also interested him in a manner not ruled by his cock. Bending like bamboo but not breaking. She stood strong like a samurai woman.
    And that intrigued him more.
    He could see by the look in her light-colored eyes that she was not as frivolous as the wives of the Englishmen he met at court. Fanning themselves and tittering about like noisy crickets. Insipid creatures who were frightened of him and lowered their gaze when he, a proud samurai warrior, walked by them. 
    This brazen Englishwoman had dared to look directly at him when she encountered him racing through the tall great gate. A gate leading to the pavilion on the grounds of the Imperial Palace.  
    And she kept looking at him.
    He retained his silence in spite of her. As samurai, saying nothing meant more than words. Such was the power of Bushido, he knew, the way of the warrior. A discipline in self-control that was forged since childhood. His deeds of courage–and love-making, if he dared to so acknowledge–were forged from this credo. He was master of his own fate and hers, and would speak when it damn well pleased him.   
    Still, he was excited by their chance meeting, though he chose to disguise it. He made no move to disengage the lacquered scabbard of his long sword poking what he’d heard called a bustle. He was tempted to rip off the strange silken tail bobbing up and down on her rear end.
    It was her pussy he wanted.
    “Who do you think you are?” she yelled at him in English, picking up her long skirts and facing him.
    By the gods, she was magnificent.
    As was the way of his countrymen, he merely smiled. He did not give her any indication he was familiar with her language.
    Why spoil the game?
    “Not looking where you’re going,” she continued. “Like a chicken hawk in search of his prey.”
    He grunted loudly, his forehead beaded with sweat, his hand still on his sword, but it remained sheathed.
    His anger did not. He yelled words at her in his native language never uttered outside the walls of Yoshiwara. Words meant to frighten her by the sheer timber of his voice.
    They did not.
    She kept her composure, though he noted a slight twitching around her lower lip. He grinned. Her defenses were weakening.
    He breathed out, a familiar urge eating at him. The gods would surely condemn him if he proceeded with mindless lust.
    That didn’t stop him.
    He moved toward her.
    I will have her.
    And the gods be damned.

  

To be continued…
  
  
The Blonde Samurai: She embraced the way of the samurai.
Two swords. Two loves.
 
“Told from the heroine’s first-person point of view, this memoir-style novel is a witty and wonderful story, full of strongly defined characters.”
                                        –Romantic Times Book Reviews 4½ stars Top Pick!
 
A Fresh Pick of the Day from FreshFiction.com

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I had no idea what I’d find when I went through an old chest belonging to Lady Carlton, the heroine in my Spice novel, The Blonde Samurai.” A chest decorated in makie or sprinkled pictures, a process using gold and silver flakes and powder captured in lacquer to present narrative imagery.

Inside its velvet depths I discovered tortoise shell combs, a folded up obi or sash embroidered with golden threads, silken red cords and scrolls of rice paper glistening with the dew of times past.

 As if the words were written yesterday instead of the late 1870s.

Flowing, cursive handwriting graced the thin paper woven with serpentine tails and tells the story of the fiery first meeting between Lady Carlton and her adored samurai, Lord Shintaro.
 
(As for their sensual encounters, you’ll find plenty of lovemaking and exotic sexual acts in “The Blonde Samurai,” e.g. wakame sake, drinking sake from between the thighs of the beautiful heroine.)
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 over the next three posts are episodes of “Tea with My Samurai,” depicting this scene that appears in Katie’s memoir, but told here from Shintaro’s point of view as he related it to her during their teatime conversations.

They’re straightforward, interesting and quite naughty. 

Sip your tea slowly.

You’re in for a treat.

 
Best,
Jina
The Blonde Samurai: She embraced the way of the samurai.

Two swords. Two loves.
 
“Told from the heroine’s first-person point of view, this memoir-style novel is a witty and wonderful story, full of strongly defined characters.”
                                –Romantic Times Book Reviews 4½ stars Top Pick!
 
A Fresh Pick of the Day from FreshFiction.com

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.) 

Part 1:

He was a man condemned.

Not by the barbarians from faraway lands trying to influence his beloved emperor, a boy not yet a man, to outlaw the way of the samurai, but by a woman.

An Englishwoman, no less.

In a red hat. With a long black ribbon tied in a big bow under her chin. A chin raised in defiance of him, a samurai lord and the master of his clan. Racing past him as if she couldn’t wait to meet her lover.

There, look at her. She was as wanton as the tayû, the highest paid courtesan, to a daimyo, lord, from times past who could turn away a customer if it so pleased her.

He envied the man meeting her, whoever he was, for her great beauty reminded him of the perfect cherry blossom. Always stunning, always elusive. Fleeing on the wind before he could capture it in his palm.

Clenching and unclenching his fists, Shintaro barely contained himself from grabbing her and holding her close to him. Smelling her strange scent that reminded him of cut lavender. Fresh and laden with a sweet fragrance, yet spiced with the perfume of her desire.

Aroused by her, he breathed in deeply. A raging burn erupted in his groin, disturbing his harmony. Something he never allowed to invade his mind. He could do nothing but look at her. Want her. Think of spreading her thighs and setting his mouth upon the moist folds of her lower lips, nibbling on her, imagining her taste upon his tongue.

He also enjoyed the custom of sampling a woman’s elixir as it dripped from between her bare thighs and into a sake cup he held in one hand, while fingering her with the other. A custom he enjoyed often with the courtesans in the Green Houses of Yoshiwara.

He grunted. This woman possessed the same tempting lure as the courtesan and must be put in her proper place.

He yearned to strip off her petticoats and whatever godless garments she wore underneath and let her passion rule her. He’d find her nude and wanting as he pressed his lips against the swell of her breasts.

He cocked an eyebrow. An interesting idea, though another problem faced him. He had never undressed a gaijin, foreigner. It presented a challenge to him. His usual move was to slip his hand under the kimono of a beautiful courtesan to fondle her bare breasts. A favor he enjoyed when the woman bade him sit on her right side. A way of showing her interest without words, since her kimono crossed left over right.

This Englishwoman gave him no such invitation. It only made him want her more. He sneered at her. He knew of but one way to bare her flesh to him.

Slice off her clothing. With his sword.

Piece by piece.

He reached for his weapon.

To be continued…

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by Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke, heroine of The Blonde Samurai”  

I take up my pen today not to write my romance, but to impart to you news, important news that has reached me in my place of solitude where I deign to call myself a novelist.  

Morning sunlight, wiggling through the petit-point pattern on the lacy curtain, hovers over my shoulder to see what I’m writing.  A red-breasted robin fluttering about on the window sill holds its breath, pen scratchings fill my ears. 

I am beside myself with excitement, spilling blue ink on my gown and smudging the fine rice paper upon which I write with dirty fingerprints, but I know you shall forgive me for word has reached me that my memoir, The Blonde Samurai, has found its way to faraway shores. 

To Italy.  

A place where– 

The romance of carnival and exquisite masks enchants the eye.  

The sacred mount of the holy saints restores one’s faith. 

The musical language of the arts and literature delights the ear and enriches the soul. 

I must recount to you how pleased I am that the story of this Irish-American lass and her samurai has made its way to such a grand place. 

Here then is the visual and audio presentation in Italian of the publisher’s synopsis of “Bionda Samurai” (available May 13th).  Grazie!

 


=====

Postscript:  I have also included the English translation for you:

“During the latter part of the nineteenth century, a beautiful and fascinating American woman named Katie is about to release her memoir with more than a hint to scandal, a scandal that will unleash an uproar in Society. 

“She is determined to recount her adventures in every detail, from the electrifying moments to the salacious, her life ruled by her insatiable appetite for all things sensual.  Her story takes us from London to Japan, where the journey takes you through a maze of raw and vivid eroticism. 

“Tantalizing and provocative scenes of sensuality await you in Japan.  This is the return of class because Jina Bacarr (author of The Blonde Geisha” and “Cleopatra’s Perfume“) puts forward with her usual skill a story that is unique and has earned her millions of readers around the world, her themes more endearing and bold with provocative situations raw and sexy but always romantic. 

 

The Blonde Samurai
She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

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Peccati e Piacere (Sins and Pleasure) is coming to a bookstore near you!  Today!!!

If you live in Italy.

So why am I so excited about this book? Because it’s what they call in Italy a Special Edition“-three books in one!! And my book is one of them.

The Italian version of my first Harlequin Spice, The Blonde Geisha, is included in this Special Edition published by Harlequin Italy along with other two novels written by fabulous authors Gena Showalter and Kayla Perrin.

I had the opportunity to sit next to Kayla at the RWA Conference in Atlanta in 2006 and sign copies of The Blonde Geisha and later in 2008, I signed books with Gena Showalter at the BEA (Book Expo) in Los Angeles.

I’m so excited about this special Italian edition of our books that I put together a short video promo in Italian about Peccati e Piacere.” 

Here is the English translation:

Many women today do not want to be just prey. Tired of waiting for the right man, they take on the role of the hunter. Pleasure is at hand, you just have the courage to grasp it …Six women can no longer deny their hunger for seduction and transgression: they decide to unleash their claws, whether engaged in the mysterious and fascinating profession of geisha or pampered by masseurs in Las Vegas, Naomi, Kathlene, Lishelle and the others are determined to experience exciting emotions and indulge in their uncontrollable impulses. Engaged in their passion, danger is lurking …

So what are your sins and pleasure

Ciao, ciao!

Jina

The Blonde Samurai
She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

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