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RWA Chapters — A Great Place to Meet Aspiring and Published Authors

Check out this great interview about the Yosemite Romance Writers–one of the many fantastic RWA chapters where aspiring writers and published writers get together to talk craft, marketing, and everything that matters to the writing process.

My Divinely Decadent Duke–an Interview of His Grace, Gordon Sedgewick of Althorn

My Divinely Decadent Duke is the second book of The Duke Series by Sandra Masters. Today, we have an interview of His Grace, Gordon Sedgewich of Althorn. To set the stage, here is a description of the book:

Orphaned and abandoned by family, Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love. Beautiful and innocent, she attracts the attention of a renowned rake, the Duke of Althorn. When her security is threatened, she offers him a proposal for an arranged marriage in exchange for his guarantee of safety for her and her ward. After her first taste of desire in his arms, she finds the sexual attraction irresistible. Finding herself in a family way, she leaves his home, unsure of his love.

The Duke is at first enraged by the brazen behavior, yet he sees Cassandra as a captivating caregiver for his mother and impossible to resist. He agrees. The arrangement becomes inconvenient because love and sex enter the equation.

Will she believe her husband truly loves her and return to his waiting arms?

Will the Duke admit his love and use his rakish skills to woo Cassandra back to his bed?

INTERVIEW

Q. Your Grace, when you first met the former Lady Cassandra, what did you think of her?

A.  To start with, I sat in a wing back chair sipping a liqueur in front of a warm fire in the drawing room of a manor house where I attended a ball. I was startled by a conversation between a man and a woman who had entered the room totally unaware of my presence, The bounder had just summarily broken their engagement in favor of someone who had a higher status than she. I looked for a moment when I could interrupt and leave their presence, but that didn’t happen. A book flew across the room, as well as a paperweight of sorts. He left rather quickly. I stood up, announced myself, and offered my handkerchief and my glass of spirits. Do you know what she said? Something like, “Is this my night to meet nothing but scoundrels?”  But she did take the cognac and my handkerchief. That is how I met my future wife.

Q.  What happened then?
A.  Kindly remember I was an acknowledged rake and proud of it. The last thing I needed was a woman who needed comforting, like a wounded puppy. I’ve a fondness for such creatures. Imagine my surprise, when she took the arm I offered and we walked out of the room, only to meet her now ex-fiancé’. She excused herself for a moment and walloped him with her fist. Bravo, I thought. Great spirit. He wasn’t going to get the best of her. She and I then left him to nurse his cheek, and we joined the others at the ball.

Q. When did you meet again?
A.  Two weeks after that evening, I was on my daily walk on Brighton Beach and I saw an enchanting woman peering through a telescope and when she looked toward me, we recognized each other immediately. The lilt of her warm greeting pleased me. One thing led to the other, need I say more?

Q. Tell us something we may not know about you?
A. I was the second son of my father, therefore, not the heir. That suited me fine. I loved my brother. We were schooled together and then we were tutored at home. We learned the dead languages of Greek and Latin, and not too much else. The fate of second sons was a choice of the divinity or military. I cared for neither but did convince my father to allow me to travel to Barbados and learn about the sugar plantation and factories we had there. The good thing is that it showed me a different part of the world and commerce. The bad thing was that I contracted malaria and after four months on the island, I had to be transported home because foreigners were susceptible to the disease that could kill. Kalinya, a native woman I cared about, arranged for a witch doctor to ink me with a tattoo of a lion so my ancestors could protect me.
Tomas, my good friend from school days, went with me and therefore had the opportunity to transport me back home to England where I barely survived the ocean journey.  Without realizing it, my island life was left behind. Then everything changed.

Q. What happened?
A. My mother greeted the ship with footmen, a physician, solicitor, vicar, and a tutor whom I recognized. That somber sight could have sobered a drunk. I wondered why she was outfitted in black. Tomas assisted me to the carriage. When she saw me, she broke into tears. My father was dead, and three weeks later, my brother died in a carriage accident. That left me as the sole heir to the Duke of Althorn. There I was, totally unprepared for my dynastic responsibilities. My carefree life was over. I could never see Kalinya again. I did apply myself after my health returned, but it was a lonely existence. So I sought out former school chums, and I freely admit, we got into mischief in many ways. My mother tried to talk sense into me, but it was to no avail.

Q. You are a well renowned duke, honored by all. What caused you to change your ways?
A. To say I loved my family would be an understatement. All I had left was my mother, whom I adored. When she fell and sustained an injury, I determined it was time to remember who I was and to emulate my father in all things. Above all, he was an honorable man. Honor became my personal signature. Now, I do not expect anyone to believe I became a saint. Not true by any means, but I was discreet. I did believe that personal integrity, respect, dignity and pride would distinguish my dukedom from others. My mother’s illness was the catalyst to my epiphany. I became aware Cassandra and her ward, Alicia, were also friends of hers, who visited my mother annually. I should say technically that Alicia was her brother’s ward, but the little girl belonged to Cass in every sense of the word. I never really cared to notice, until one day I was at home, when I overheard a conversation between Cassandra and the professional caregiver as to the unkind treatment she rendered my mother. As I listened, I realized this was not the compassionate aid my mother required, so I summarily terminated the nurse. I had to start the search again for I had terminated at least four others.

Q. You speak of your reputation, were all the allegations true?
A. I did acquire notoriety with the ladies, a small part was deserved. The other was conjecture, fodder for the scandal sheets, and wishful thinking. If I had all the liaisons attributed to me, my manly parts would have fallen off from overuse. Beg your pardon, Lady Masters, for my risqué banter. I am a model husband now, ever in love with my wife.

Q. How did the romance progress?
A. Rather quickly. It was clear I had an interest in her, but she came with a ‘package’, her ward, Alicia, a tow-headed blonde who resembled Cassandra. The unkind talk of the town was that the little girl was the issue of a liaison gone wrong. Cassandra was the sister of the earl, so she was semi-accepted in society. While there was no proof of such indiscretion, tongues wagged. The simple truth was that Alicia was the daughter of her best friend who died in childbirth. Cass, that’s what I sometimes call her, agreed to honor (there’s that word again) her promise to raise the child as her own. That’s courage I admired considering her circumstances..

Q. What caused you to propose?
A.  I didn’t. She offered me a business arrangement. She’d care for my mother if I would offer protection for her and little Alicia. In other words, it was a marriage of convenience. No mention of love or sex. I refused the proposition twice out of pride. Then I recalled how difficult it was for her to make such an offer to someone like me. My arrogance repelled me. One day I officially offered and we did marry. We now have two sons, two dogs, Runt and Giant, and there were a few puppies, also. And yes, then there was the traitorous mother dog who went everywhere with Cass, my dowager mother, and the children who frolicked on the beach. I was captivated from the start.  If you wish to know anymore, I suggest we reschedule.

Q. I say there, Lady Masters, I’m getting thirsty. Are you going to offer me a libation?
A. You have such a wicked smile. It makes me sigh. So sorry, your grace, kindly allow me to pour your favorite, since I know what it is.

Q. Your grace, I assume if readers want to know anything further, they should read the book My Divinely Decadent Duke?
A. Absolutely, I’m sure you can use the proceeds to fund future stories.

End of Interview

About Sandra Masters

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ at the age of fourteen, retiring from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency period and never looked back.

Sandra wrote her first book at the age of fifteen and since then she has always traveled with pen and paper in hand. She loves to write. Romance is at best a gift and her passion is the Regency period. Admittedly, she would prefer to be the sister of a duke or an earl…perhaps even a princess? Or the other endless possibilities of a widow. Hmmm.

Not being able to time travel, she now writes about what she loves and it has been worth every headache and heartache. She has been blessed with a great content editor, Cindy Davis, a lot of helpful The Wild Rose Press staff.

For a new author, it was nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. However, her first love will always be for Regency Romance. There are five books in process in her DUKE series. ONCE UPON A DUKE is available from Amazon and the Wild Rose Press. Her new second release, MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE will have its worldwide release on January 29, 2016.

Her third book, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, is the prequel to her fourth book, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, which is a multi-cultural romance story of a young couple defeating all odds.

P.S. Sandra love bears of all sizes and shapes. However, she prefers to view the real life ones from afar.

kris BANNER USE THIS

Guest Post — TATTOOS – All You Never Needed to Know

by Sandra Masters

Sandra MastersNot sure why exactly, I became fascinated with tattoos and did an immense amount of research. I even thought of getting a tattoo myself, but felt at my age, I didn’t want the pain, so I opted for washable tattoos.  What fun! I appeared at a writers group with an Egyptian type tattoo just below my neck. It was a great conversation piece. Move over, Nefertiti.

My second book MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE, was released January 29th featuring the cover below. My duke originally did not have a tattoo, but as the hero in the book called to me, this author decided he would have a tattoo inked on him by a Barbados witch doctor to protect him from evil. He has a Lion Clan tattoo. Thanks to RJ at The Wild Rose Press and my graphic artist, Debbie Taylor, my cover is picture perfect.

Book CoverThe history of tattoos goes back centuries and is referred to in the bible. It was common around the world, especially in China, Japan, Asia and Polynesia. It spread throughout Europe like wildfire. It already held a place in Central America and Australia. In fact, some anthropologists claim that the history of tattoos may date back as long as 15,000 years. Certainly, we know that many of the ancient civilizations used tattooing techniques.

Throughout history, tattoos have been used as:

Signs of status and place in society
Magical amulets against evil (My novel’s reason)
Punishment
Reminders of a religious belief
Adornments for the sake of beauty
Gang members to establish identity

lionBetween 1766 and 1770, Captain James Cook made three voyages to the South Pacific. When Cook and his men returned home to Europe from their voyages, they told tales of the ‘tattooed savages’ they had seen. The word tattoo itself comes from the Tahitian tatau and was introduced into the English language by Cook’s expedition (though the word ‘tattoo’ or ‘tap-too’ , referring to a drumbeat, had existed in England since at least 1644.

It was in 1769 that Cook first noted his observations about the body modification and is the first recorded use of the word tattoo to refer to permanent marking of the skin. He recorded it in his Ship’s log book. This method is a painful operation and is performed but once in their lifetimes.

anchorCook’s Science Officer and Expedition Botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, returned to England with a tattoo. Banks was highly regarded as a member of the English aristocracy. Cook brought back a Tahitian Chief whom he presented to King George and the English Court. The talk of many in society was the tales of the “tattooed savages.” Many of Cook’s men, ordinary seamen and sailors, came back with tattoos, a tradition that would soon become associated with seamen and men of the sea in the public’s mind. In the process, sailors and seamen re-introduced the practice of tattooing in Europe and it spread rapidly to seaports around the globe.

In fact, many tattoo artists held permanent residences in the ports of England, Spain, France and Italy. It is claimed there was a tattoo artist in every major port city.

Some Popular Symbols:

  • swallowAnchor: Refers to a someone who has sailed across the Atlantic
  • Dragon: Refers to a sailor that has served in Asia
  • Fully rigged ship: Represents traversal of Cape Horn
  • Golden Dragon: Means a sailor has crossed the International Date Line
  • Harpoon: Refers to a member of the fishing fleet
  • Rope around the wrist “Hold Fast” across the knuckles” Represents a sailor who was a deckhand
  • Swallow: Obtained when first setting out to sea. It was considered good luck.

By the 19th century, tattooing had spread to British society but was still largely associated with sailors and the lower or even criminal class.

dragonIt is said that aristocratic and royal families of Europe may well have been the first celebrities to indulge in the taste for tattoos. The royal court was fascinated and the Tahitian Chief’s tattoos were admired. The Chief was presented to King George V and he himself got inked with the “Cross of Jerusalem” when he traveled to the Middle East in 1862. The Dukes of Clarence and the Duke of York were similarly tattooed in Japan while serving in the British Admiralty solidifying what would become a family tradition.

In later years, Lady Randolph, Winston Churchill’s mother, sported a snake tattoo around her wrist, and for formal occasions, had a specially made diamond bracelet to cover it when she was in society. Winston Churchill also had a tattoo!!

Hope you enjoyed knowing more than you’ll have to about tattoos worldwide.

SANDRA MASTERS

Pre-Order My Divinely Decadent Duke Before Midnight January 22 for Only 99 cents

MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE By Sandra Masters

  • One committed handsome rake with a need
  • One beautiful naïve woman with an equal need
  • Can their mutual needs form an arranged marriage of convenience?
  • And when the marriage turns inconvenient, does love enter into the equation?

NINETY-NINE CENTS for the Amazon e book – Last chance up until midnight tonight Jan. 22nd, thereafter $5.99

Wireless delivery on world wide release date January 29th.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

A small token of appreciation to my wonderful readers so I’m spreading the love. Have to say, though, I’ve never created a duke I didn’t fall in love with and this one is so special.

–Sandra Masters

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Orphaned and abandoned by family, Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love. Beautiful and innocent, she attracts the attention of a renowned rake, the Duke of Althorn. When her security is threatened, she offers him a proposal for an arranged marriage in exchange for his guarantee of safety for her and her ward. After her first taste of desire in his arms, she finds the sexual attraction irresistible. Finding herself in a family way, she leaves his home, unsure of his love.

The Duke is at first enraged by the brazen behavior, yet he sees Cassandra as a captivating caregiver for his mother and impossible to resist. He agrees. The arrangement becomes inconvenient because love and sex enter the equation.

Will she believe her husband truly loves her and return to his waiting arms?

Will the Duke admit his love and use his rakish skills to woo Cassandra back to his bed?

Heart to Heart Contest for Unpublished Writers

The San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America chapter has announced that it is open to entries for its 2015 Heart To Heart Contest for unpublished writers. Entries are to be made electronically only. The top three finalists in each category will have their entries read by a literary agent, a traditional publishing house editor and an e-publishing editor. SFA-RWA will announce the winners, and certificates will be awarded to the top winner in each category.

Categories

  • CONTEMPORARY — Novels set in the present
  • EROTIC — Novels in which sensuality constitutes a strong element in the romance
  • HISTORICAL — Novels featuring romance in time periods other than the present. Most editors consider as historical books set prior to WWI
  • PARANORMAL – Novels that mix the elements of paranormal, time travel, futuristic or fantasy
  • YOUNG ADULT — Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward the young adult reader — may contain paranormal, time travel, futuristic, or fantasy elements

Eligibility

“Open to all writers unpublished by an RWA-approved publisher as of the entry deadline. Prospective entrants may be published with a non RWA-recognized publisher. However, they may not enter books/manuscripts that have been professionally edited or have ISBN numbers.”

Timeline

  • August 31, 2015 — Deadline for submissions (electronic only)
  • October 5, 2015 — First-Round Finalists Notification
  • November 6, 2015 — Final Round Winners Announced

Guidelines

“Enter the scene(s) in which the hero and heroine meet for the first time or for the first time in the book, if previously acquainted, up to a maximum of 15 pages. Each entry may only be entered in one category. However, you may submit as many different entries as you wish. Each new entry must have a contest entry form and payment.”

More Information

Go to the Heart to Heart Contest Web Page for important additional information.

Aspen Gold Finalists Announced

Heart of Denver Dollarphotoclub_69342724

The finalists in the Aspen Gold Contest for published works, sponsored by Heart of Denver Romance Writers are:

Contemporary Romance

  • Robin Perini for Secret Obsession
  • Bev Pettersen for A Scandalous Husband
  • L.A. Witt with Aleksandr Voinov for Lone Wolf

Erotic Romance

  • Peggy Bird for Unmasking Love
  • Kathryn Loughran for Funny Girl
  • Alexis Walker for Passion of Sleepy Hollow
  • Sabrina York for Devlin’s Dare

Historical Romance

  • Collette Cameron for The Earl’s Enticement
  • Deeanne Gist for Fair Play
  • Jess Russell for The Dressmaker’s Duke

Romantic Novella

  • Kerri Carpenter for Flirting With the Competition
  • Manda Collins for Once Upon a Christmas Kiss
  • Margaret Mallory for The Gift

Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance

  • Mary Behre for Guarded
  • Zoe Forward for Protecting His Witch
  • Sharon Kay for Wicked Flames

Romantic Suspense

  • Toni Anderson for A Cold Dark Place
  • Toni Anderson for Cold Light of Day
  • Kaylea Cross for Hunted

Romantic Short Story

  • Christi Barth for Never Too Late
  • Marci Boudreaux for Forever Yours
  • Colleen Collins for The Ungrateful Dead

Single Title Romance

  • Christi Barth for Up To Me
  • Janet Gover for Flight to Coorah Creek
  • Nancy Herkenss for The Place I Belong

Young Adult Romance

  • Callie James for Innocent
  • Callie James for Student Bodyguard for Hire