Monday, December 09, 2013

More Old Photo Inspiration


Sometimes I run across the occasional hottie while researching for my historicals. 

This one is Anton Chekov, one of my husband's favorite writers. 
I just think he'd look at home in a western romance. 



And another favorite. I like this one because they're both wearing tartan trews. 
Bonus points awarded for plaid if they're Scottish men. ;-)



This is from a post originally published September 23, 2012. I just think this guy is worth reposting. 





Right now I'm really crushing on this guy. The 1800s clothes, the proud angle of his head, and that wild hair. Swoon!

I think I could manage to write something about him! This is a face that surely launched a few sighs in the salons. "Tea, wine, or me?"

I discovered him at: http://17sixteen.wordpress.com/tag/men/

Another great place for man candy of yesteryear is http://mydaguerreotypeboyfriend.tumblr.com/page/2

I also collect crushes on the images of dead poets like rich people collect debt. Byron, Shelley, Keats. Le sigh. Poe, too--but for his romantic words, NOT the daguerreotypes of him. (Sorry, Edgar!)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Tasty Summer Reads Hop



I'm so thankful Codi Gary invited me to the hop!!! Treats & romance? Yes, please!!! 

Here's how the hop works: every author along the hop invites other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or WIP (work in progress) and a tasty recipe that ties into it!

I've just sent my latest story to my editor, so the title is still a secret! But here's what I can tell you. It's a Medieval tale of two mortal enemies, along with otherworldly creatures, murder, revenge, & redemption…oh, and they just happen to be lovers, as well.


Here are my five questions:


1)When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty?
Both! I eat trail mix. I love mixing raisins and whole natural almonds, but I can't eat them out of a bag or I'd weigh a billion pounds!

2) Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants or jambes?
Half and half. I start with a premise--usually a big conflict. Then I create character files on Scrivener along with a very loose plot with a few key points. The rest I let happen organically. Writing historical is great for pants-plotting. The research and characters really drive what happens.

3)When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it?
Recipe!!! I'm a disastrous cook. I love to try, but I'm really awful. I need exact instructions. LOL. However, I can measure pretty good without cooking tools. I have skills, people!

4) What is next for you after this book?
A Western romance and a YA. I have three series started, so I'm working on the next books in those series. ;-)

5) Last Question...on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land?
7 or 8. My current couple is more adventurous than any other couple I've written. I like very, very sensuous. (Mom, don't read this one!!) But I've yet to dabble in erotica.



My Summer Recipe:


Clarrey, or Spiced White Wine with Honey (recipe borrowed from Tasty Trix)


I love, love, love wine!!

Ok, so it's a little hard to find great treats with a connection to the 12th century. Oh sure, there's mulled cider and roasted (*insert meat name*) with (*insert herb name*), but for summer? Not so much! Food simply spoiled during the summer in those days. However, they loved their honey and wine, and that's something I'll gladly embrace. 


Ingredients:
  • 1 750 ml bottle of sweet white wine. *
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp each of cinnamon, ginger or galingale, and cardamom 
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • cheesecloth
Slowly bring the wine and honey to a boil, skimming any scum off of the surface.  Turn off the heat, add the spices, cover and let sit for 24 hours. The next day, using a ladle, strain the drink through 2 or 3 layers of cheesecloth. The spices will have left a rather nasty scum on the bottom; try to scoop up as little of it as possible. Bottle the strained wine and let it sit for about a month - though it's really good right away! A tinted bottle helps keep the light's harmful effects out.

I've tagged my writing pals Angela Campbell, also posting this Monday, and Viv Lorret, posting on Wednesday. Click their names to learn more and share recipes.

Enjoy the hop!!

--Sandra
author of "Her Christmas Knight" from Five Golden Rings: A Christmas Anthology

Monday, June 10, 2013

History's Most Romantic Couples

This month my husband and I celebrate our 24th anniversary. We've had our ups and downs through the years, but all-in-all we've enjoyed our happily ever after. Some of my favorite couples from history transcend time with lasting love. They had issues, dealt with them, overcame, and remained together through it all.

As far as literary couples, I'm crazy about Percy and Mary Shelley. Mind you, Percy cheated on his first wife (who later committed suicide), but his poetry was filled with romantic longing. He encouraged his second wife, Mary, to write and inspired her novel, Frankenstein. After his short life (he drown in a boating accident while on vacation), Mary still loved him dearly and held a candle for him until the day she died.





There are so few enduring couples in entertainment, but a few stood the test of time. One of my favorite couples was Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.  They were married 35 years, and Johnny was holding her hand when she died. He credited her for keeping him off drugs.




In history, I adore George and Martha Washington. They endured despite their struggles through war and politics. Martha kept all of the letters her husband wrote her and burned them before her death rather than letting anyone see their private words. I'd love to read them, but I understand her wanting to keep his memory to herself.


I think what makes these couples work is that they understood each other so well, and there was a perfect balance of give and take. If there is too much of one person doing all the giving or taking, the relationship is doomed. No competition here, just encouragement. A partnership. Now that's romantic!







Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Appeal of the Outlaw



"Stand and deliver!"


Ever since reading the legend of the outlaw Robin Hood, pirates and highwaymen have been favorites of mine. In modern times, I'm sure I wouldn't find anything romantic about a criminal, but as historical figures in novels, I find these rogues extremely alluring. I'm sure I'm intrigued by the dangerous lives they lead, often with double identities. I also love the bad-boy persona, and the confidence they carry themselves with. I mean, who can resist the swagger of an alpha hero with nefarious skills?

My top five outlaw heroes:


1. Sebastien from Heather and Velvet by Teresa Medeiros

  • My copy is worn and well-loved. Sebastien is my favorite outlaw ever. He's a hungry soul and craves the redemption that he thinks will only come from money, but he's not greedy or cruel. From the Goodreads blurb: The courageous beauty and her sensuous outlaw ignite fires of passion that blaze from the storm-swept English countryside to the wild moors of Scotland...forging unbreakable bonds of love.
2.  James Mallory from Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
  • The classic combination of girl disguised as cabin boy and a former pirate. The black sheep of a proud and tempestuous family, the handsome ex-pirate once swore no woman alive could entice him into matrimony. But on the high seas his resolve will be weakened by an unrestrained passion and by the high-spirited beauty whose love of freedom and adventure rivals his own.
3. Sebastien from The Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen
  • A newer pirate romance with a kick-ass heroine. Raeven Russell is out for revenge, but now she’s not so sure she wants the dashing captain to change his wicked ways.
4. Alex Savege from Captured by a Rogue Lord by Katharine Ashe
  • Another recent title with a couple who have hot chemistry. His kiss was irresistible, his caress unforgettable, and he hides a devastating secret. A Robin Hood upon the sea, Alex Savege is the brazen pirate Redstone, seizing the yachts of spoiled noblemen to settle an old debt. Serena needs a hero, but her heart is in the gravest danger --- for it is soon to be captured by a man as skilled at seduction as he is at plunder.
5. Pierce Deforte from Bride of the Wind by Shannon Drake
  • My favorite pirate ever and a classic Fabio cover. The daughter of a wealthy Virginia planter, innocent Rose Woodbine curses cruel fate for leading her to the court of the British King Charles -- and into an unwanted marriage with handsome and dangerous Lord Pierce Deforte, a man she dares never love.His soul searing desire for the stunning Rose had once blinded Pierce to the treacherous machinations of his enemies. Now banished from his beloved England, he lives the life of a pirate -- seeking vengeance on those who betrayed him... including the beautiful temptress whom he once held dear. On a storm-tossed sea they are united once more -- he, no longer a noble, but the notorious brigand called Dragonslayer. And she, one his bride, is now his helpless prisoner -- forced to submit to his fury, his will...and the blistering, sensuous need that chains her captive heart.

Outlaws will always be in my TBR list and on my keeper shelf. Got any other outlaw heroes to recommend?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Inexperienced Heroines


I've always been a little naive. Although I write sensual romance, I'm embarrassed to admit I'm one of the last people in the room to get a dirty joke or catch sexual innuendo. Here's a recent example. My husband had an appendectomy and was having some pain in his side a few days later. He used a bag of frozen peas as a cold compress, which I offered to put back in the freezer after a while. Here's how the convo went down:

Me: Do you want me to freeze them before they lose their pea-ness?
Him: I don't think they have one.
Me: (silence)

Yep. I'm the slow one. This explains a lot about why I enjoy romances with innocent heroines. Don't get me wrong. I also like experienced ladies ( i.e. Beth Ackerley from The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie) who cut right to the chase, but in historicals, I can sympathize more with virginal heroines. Everything is new for exploration and the hero is more worldly with lots to share with his lovely new partner. It makes for great tension, as long as the writer treats the situation in a way that hasn't been done ten thousand times. 

I think writers can make an inexperienced heroine still sizzle for today's readers as long as she's smart, independent, and a balanced match for the hero. I love to watch the character make the complete arc from innocent to vixen.

Inexperienced or experienced? Do you have a preference? 

I'm hosting my first Goodreads giveaway for a signed copy of MOONLIGHT MADNESS my Renaissance time travel romance.  And yes, the heroine is innocent. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Moonlight Madness by Sandra Jones

Moonlight Madness

by Sandra Jones

Giveaway ends March 03, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win
Blurb:

While visiting Wales, Rance Kingsley, Viscount Waldenham, receives a warning that his daughter will soon be kidnapped by Spanish enemies. Before he can aid her, Rance tumbles into a mysterious portal to the future. His only hope is to find his soulmate, the key to returning. However his curse continues when all signs point to Tess Hartman, a straight-laced teacher, as his match.

After a cheating boyfriend, the only male Tess wants in her life is Dante, a troubled teen she would like to adopt. To bond with the boy, Tess brings him on a class field trip to Britain. But the Shakespeare experience becomes too real when sexy, eccentric Rance seduces her.
When Tess falls for Rance's kisses and travels with him across four centuries, she's convinced he's made a mistake. How could she love a man who deceived her, separating her from everything she cares about, a man with MOONLIGHT MADNESS?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Celtic Myth of the White Stag




To enter to win a free e-copy of my time travel romance, MOONLIGHT MADNESS, or one of my backlist, add a comment on my Happy Endings Giveaway post.


The White Stag

I'm researching for my next medieval romance set in Wales, and I ran across a myth I'd forgotten. I used to be obsessed with Robin Hood, the TV show on PBS, and one of the things I liked best about it was the ethereal deity, Herne the Hunter, who offered sage advice to Robin. Herne was always depicted as a man with antlers, shrouded in mist. 

The Welsh and other Celts worshipped another deity in antlers, known as Cernunnos. His image is seen on Celtic artifacts, and he was the god of nature or fertility. One myth associated with Cernunnos is the white stag, which is said to be his animal form. In real life, these stags occur very rarely and are usually prized by hunters. 

The Celtic Welsh believed seeing a white stag symbolized the transgressing of a taboo. I'm definitely hoping my hero or heroine sees a white stag in the near future! 

Read more about MOONLIGHT MADNESS or my other books set in Wales at my website



Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sandra Jones's Happy Endings Giveaway

Happy endings romance giveaway hop
I believe in happy endings!!!!!!!! 
 #HEGIVEAWAY

Welcome to Legendary Romance's stop for Reading Romance's HAPPY ENDINGS Giveaway Hop!

I only read romance with a happy ending. For that reason, I'm giving away a free e-copy of my new release 
MOONLIGHT MADNESS, or the winner's choice of any of my backlist (print included) 
(I guarantee there's a happy ending ;-))




What exactly is a happy ending? Comment below with your idea of a happy ending to win! Then visit one of the next stops of the HAPPY ENDINGS Giveaway Hop! Enjoy and good luck!