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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Revenge IS Sweet! by Marianne Stephens

RAISE your hand if you've never considered a way to exact revenge and "get even" with someone. If your hand is up, you're either very forgetful, have a selective memory, going through a "senior moment". It's part of human nature to feel mad and want to even the score...even for a "saint" like me!

Dating, romance...and being dumped or used. All stuff we go through in the game of love. Initially, you feel hurt and are embarrassed by questions like "Where is ...?" asked by friends and family. You may make excuses, tell fibs, change the subject so you don't have to admit a breakup has occurred.

Most times, you go on and finally tell people
your version of the story. Doesn't matter if it's exactly true, but its something you'll stick to and feel better about yourself for saying. You can analyze and justify it in your head, and that's how you cope.

More power to you. Getting rid of a loser, even one you thought you loved, is better than being with one. I'll now tell you
my story of revenge against an ex-boyfriend, the first and only time I ever "got even".

If you believe that, I have a bridge in New York I'd like to sell to you!

I dated Ron in college for months. I knew he was on academic probation but he didn't seem to be able to pull up his grades. Ron finally got word that he'd flunk out if he didn't leave, so he quit school. We were to spend his last weekend at the college together before he headed home and either went into the military or found a job.

We had plans; lots of couples stuff to do starting on a Friday night. He called me an hour before coming over to my dorm to let me know that an "old ex-girlfriend" surprised him by coming from a nearby college to say goodbye so if I didn't mind, he'd see her that night and see me the next day.

What could I say? Annoyed but trying to be reasonable, I agreed. We'd have all day Saturday to spend together. And, we'd spend Sunday morning before his bus left since he had to vacate the dorm that day.

Saturday morning came. He called again. His "ex" was still there, and wouldn't leave until late that night. Would I mind waiting to see him until Sunday?

Hell, yes, I minded. I remained calm as wheels in my head started turning. Ron apparently was dumping me for his "ex" and I didn't matter to him. Crushed at first, anger swiftly took its place and the word "revenge" planted itself in my brain. I had to do something to "get even".

Once again...but this time through gritted teeth...I agreed to his suggestion. But I was already formulating a plan in my head, one that would get the message through to his "male-ego" brain. Maybe he'd take note and not pull this type of "dumping" act on another female.

His plan was to leave at 11:00am on Sunday. The bus only came twice on Sundays...11:00am and 11:00pm. We were to meet after church at 10:00am at a spot on campus we liked to go to for coffee. We'd then go back to his dorm and I'd help him carry his stuff up "the hill" and into town to the bus stop.

I never went to meet him. He called at 10:15 and I said I was on my way. He called again at 10:30 and I told him the same thing. His final call came at 10:45. It was too late for him to catch the morning bus, but now he'd spend the rest of Sunday with me and take the 11:00pm bus. Since he had to vacate the dorm at noon, he figured I'd let him leave his stuff in my dorm room and help him carry it to the bus stop that night.

Now was my turn
. I knew I'd delayed him from taking the earlier bus. I knew he'd have to wait 12 hours for the next bus. I knew he'd have nowhere to store his things. With a nonchalant tone in my voice, I told him I would be busy the rest of the day but wished him a happy life and promptly hung up. I had visions of him lugging his stuff to the bus stop and sitting there all day...and that was my act of revenge. I had to quell the curious streak urging me to go "peek" and see if he waited there hopefully full of regret.

That's my version...and I'm sticking to it! So, what's your tale of revenge or "getting even"?

photo: Flickr: mohammedazix's photostream

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

To be or not to be romantic: favorite and least favorite

I have issue when it comes to favorite romantic movies, books and plays. So many of the classic "love stories" end miserably. I do not care for those. I'm sticking with movies today and giving a few of my favorite and least favorite big-screen romantic fiction.

Favorites (in no particular order):
  1. Much Ado About Nothing (Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh)
  2. The African Queen (Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn)
  3. Key Largo (Bogart and Lauren Bacall)
  4. White Christmas (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Cyd Charisse and Rosemary Clooney)
  5.  Gross Pointe Blank (John Cusack and Minnie Driver)
  6. The Mummy (Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weiss)
  7. 50 First Dates (Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore)
  8. An American in Paris (Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron)
  9. The Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Edwards and Jane Seymour)
  10. Leap Year (Amy Adams and Matthew Goode)
Ones I Hate (also in no particular order):
  1. Romeo and Juliet (any version)
  2. West Side Story
  3. Love Story
  4. Dr. Zhivago
  5. Casa Blanca
  6. Gone with the Wind
  7. A River Runs Through It
  8. Somewhere in Time
  9. Wuthering Heights
  10. Roman Holiday
So do you agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think. Since March is my birthday month, I'll give a free download of my recent re-release, SEA CHANGE to one random commenter.

In other news: The first 4 books of the Gaslight Chronicles are on sale this month at all e-tailers. Get Steam and Sorcery for 99 cents, Photographs and Phantoms free (It's always free!) Kilts and Kraken for $1.99 and Moonlight and Mechanicals for $2.99.

Finally,I have another old title being released Supernova Indie Publishing on March 19! I co-wrote this book almost ten years ago with the fabulous Lacey Thorn. We're both delighted to see it get a second life.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Don't Get Your Bloomers In A Wad

Posted by R. Ann Siracusa

March is Woman’s History Month, a time dedicated to highlighting “the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.” The names and accomplishments of many women such as Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, are well recorded in history and studied in school. While these women deserve the legacies they have earned, it’s important to shed some light on the many women whose names you might not know but who also helped shape the future of our nation and our society. 
Not everyone – man or woman – with noteworthy accomplishments gets credit for those achievements, however remarkable they may be. Therefore, I’ve chosen to blog periodically about lesser-known women who have made a mark on history.
Amelia Jenks Bloomer was a noted Women’s Rights advocate, but that isn’t the only aspect of her life worthy of note.

She was born in 1818 in Homer, New York, and grew up in a family of modest means, attended a local school, and lived an average somewhat unremarkable childhood. In her later teens she taught school for a short time. At seventeen, she decided to move in with her recently-wed sister in Waterloo, New York. A year later she took a position as live-in-governess for the Oren Chamberlain family in Seneca Fall, NY.
Like I said, nothing remarkable.
In 1840, at the age of twenty-two, she married Dexter Bloomer, the owner of a local newspaper, The Seneca Falls County Courier. Her husband not only encouraged her to write for his newspaper, but gave up drinking as part of the Temperance Movement because she was such an avid supporter.

At thirty, Amelia attended the first women’s right convention held in Seneca Falls in 1848. Although she didn’t actively participate in the conference, a few months later founded her own newspaper, The Lily, for women by women.
The Lily started out as a vehicle for the 300 women of the Seneca Falls Temperance Society, but in a few years had it expanded to a circulation of 4,000 readers and had a broad mix of contents ranging from cooking to social issues and advocating women’s rights. Thus, Amelia Jenks Bloomer became a well-known women’s rights advocate and the first woman in the US to found, own, operate, and edit a publication for women: her claim to fame and her mark on history. So far, so good.

The manner in which a name becomes attached to an idea or physical product it often not clear cut and can be misleading. Amelia Bloomer is no different. She did not invent the idea of women wearing pants or split skirts. That goes way back, and I’m not going there, but Amelia did advocate the idea that women should wear more comfortable clothes for everyday activities.

In 1851, a temperance activist Elizabeth Smith Miller started sporting an outfit that she considered more rational for the day: loose trousers gathered at the ankles, like women’s trousers worn in the Middle East and Central Asia, topped by a short dress or tunic. Miller showed off her new duds to her cousin Elizabeth Cady Stanton, another women’s rights activist and a friend of Amelia Bloomer.
Stanton found the new fashion sensible and becoming, and started wearing it. She talked it up to her friend Amelia Bloomer whose publication had actively promoted the idea of a change in women’s dress standards that would be more comfortable and less restrictive for regular activities.
Amelia Bloomer in the Bloomer Costume - Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesPhoto source:          

Amelia believed women’s clothing should accommodate the individual wants and needs and promote health, comfort, and usefulness, making personal adornment a secondary factor. She not only adopted the new fashion, but made design modifications and promoted it enthusiastically in her magazine which, by now, had wide readership among women.
Articles on the clothing trend were picked up in The New York Tribune. The fashion was immediately dubbed "The Bloomer Costume" or “Bloomers” and proved to be quite popular with women.
But not so popular with men. Much of the male population found much to disparage about the entire women’s rights movement and condemned anything connected. Over the next ten years the design concept took so much criticism in the press and harassment on the streets, that the suffragettes and Women’s Rights advocates, including Bloomer, stopped wearing it.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton wearing the Bloomer costumePhoto source:
The following is a link to a cartoon typical of those published (by men, no doubt) making fun of the style:
Amelia Bloomer didn’t come up with the idea, but her designs and promotion of the outfit in her magazine brought it to the attention of American women and the press, and I, for one, believe we owe her a debt of gratitude and recognition for popularizing the concept that women deserved to be more comfortable in their clothing.

By 1850 women’s fashions were relatively conservative compared to the overdone fashions seen in the Victorian era. Simple day dresses and bosom-flattening corsets were the order of the day. Amelia Bloomer and her friends wore such fashions.

This is what a woman went through to just get dressed in the morning. Don’t forget, not everyone had maids and servants, and many women had the same kinds of responsibilities as women do today such as washing clothes, caring for children, cooking dinner, and cleaning house. Doing all that in full skirts and corset couldn’t have been comfortable even in an everyday working dress. Source of photos: 
◄1. Dressing consisted of donning various layers of apparel. First she put on leg coverings called pantalettes. After all, the legs needed to be covered should the skirt rise enough to expose the legs. On top of that went a light but long shirt called a chemise.
► 2.  Over that went the tight corset stiffened with wood, ivory, bone or whale baleen to create an hourglass figure (even when one wasn’t there to start with). Often corsets were pulled so tight the woman had trouble breathing. The corsets were also responsible for back problems, curvature of the spine, and headaches.
3.  That still wasn’t enough! Over that women wore petticoats to fill out their skirts until the “crinoline” or “caged petticoat became the French fashion in the 1850s.
◄4.  With a caged petticoat Instead of several cloth petticoats, the ampleness of the skirt resulted from a stiff frame with hoops made of cane, rope, spring steel and whale baleen sewn into a petticoat or over one or two petticoats. Try bending over in that if you want to show some leg and your behind.
5. Over the hoop the woman would put on

another couple of
petticoats, and finally the dress with wide enough skirts to present a fire danger. Not joking. That was a
real problem.
No wonder Amelia Bloomer advocated for changes in women’s fashion. It is not hard to intuit, however, where the idea came from (besides other cultures). Take another look at the first layers: pantalettes and chemise. Women in the 1850s, at some time or other, must have walked around the room in the first layer of undies and felt the difference.
Here's all you have to do. Using fabric for outer garments for the chemise and pantalettes, belt the waist of the chemise (but not so tightly), fluff out the skirt and add a petticoat or two, and take in the ankles of the pantalettes (so they can’t push up on the leg) and -- Ta Da! You have the Bloomer outfit.Photo source:
The Basic concept is not that different from styles still popular in the 21st century, although some of the designer fashions would probably send Amelia Bloomer leaping out of her grave screaming … along with some of the rest of us.
Amelia Jenks Bloomer is recognized as an eminent figure in the US suffrage movement, a forward thinker and advocate of change – both political and sartorial – some decades before Women’s Rights movement gained its drive. She encouraged women to think for themselves, but her name will always be remembered in relation to introducing the American public to the idea of women’s trousers.   

Travel to Foreign Lands for Romance and Intrigue




Saturday, March 9, 2019

Making A Dream Come True #RB4U @melissa_keir

Making A Dream Come True

We all have dreams. We set goals, whether to lose weight or become a best-selling author. But what about when a dream isn't yours? Have you ever set out to help someone else realize their biggest wish?

I am fortunate to be able to make my mother's dream come true. Back in the early 1980's, she wrote a romance novel. The woman who introduced me to the world of swashbuckling alphas and the feisty women who tamed them, had a dream of becoming an author with her books on the shelf next to her idols. 

After writing her story, she sent it off to publishers who returned her book with encouraging words but a polite 'No Thank You'. She kept all those rejections but put away the manuscript, letting her life move in a different direction.

Her life took a tragic turn and she passed in 1998, never seeing her dream come true. When my father downsized, my sister discovered my mom's manuscript and gave it to me. Reading through it, I had a huge smile on my face. The typewritten pages and her handwritten notes and edits reconnected me with her. But the story had some major issues. It lacked dialogue and had a great deal of head-hopping. There were also problems with some secondary characters who were little more than stereotypes. But how to keep her story while making the changes??

Over weeks and weeks, I typed her story into a word document, making changes along the way. I added character actions, rather than 'said' and took out the stereotypes. But how much of the original story to keep? Should I keep the head-hopping? It felt like the books I used to read by Johanna Lindsay. 

With the help of an amazing editor, we trimmed down the point of views and created a finished product, I'm sure she'd love. Finally, I am able to bring her dream to life and share her talents with others. 

Eighteen-year-old, Andrea “Andy” Lawrence has enjoyed freedom since the death of her mother. Her eyes change color with her moods, especially when her legendary temper sparks. When her father sends her to her aunt and uncle in Richmond to experience big city living, Andrea will need her stubborn determination to navigate backstabbing women and her drunk uncle.

Travis Winfield Scott enjoys his freedom as a rake and scoundrel, charming all the women while investigating which Southern gentlemen are shipping ammunition and stirring up the Native Americans. Settling down is the last thing on his mind until he comes face to face with spirited Andrea Lawrence.

Can Andrea learn to temper her freedom with society’s rules or will she lose the one man who truly understands her heart? Will Travis solve the mystery of who wants to incite the Natives, or will his passion for the spitfire win his heart?

Follow this sweeping love story spanning Virginia to New Mexico after the Civil War as two headstrong personalities clash.

Available in Ebook and Print

Until Next Month,

Friday, March 8, 2019

The scavenger hunt is only the beginning… by Joanne Jaytanie

Have you ever participated in a scavenger hunt? It’s a game, a way to pass the time – right? Riley Rawlings grew up participating in scavenger hunts. It was her family’s favorite game. 

Now, Riley is all grown up, and the scavenger hunt she currently finds herself embroiled in isn’t just a game with a pretty trinket awarded to the winner. 

This time everything is on the line. Her mother’s legacy, secrets from the past, discovering who is a friend and who is foe, and even her life. 

Instead of including a short excerpt here, I’ve added a link for you to download the first four chapters of Salvaging Truth.

I hope you enjoy the adventure.

Join Riley on the hunt of her life.

Until next month...

     Joanne's Website     

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