Tag Archive | historical fiction

Guest Author Cari Davis – Happily Ever After: Reality or Myth?

Cari DavisI’m pleased to welcome my friend, fellow author and critique partner Cari Davis. Cari writes suspenseful historical romance set in the exciting years of the California gold rush. Welcome, Cari.

Last month, my brother married a terrific lady who I am lucky to have as a sister-in-law. The two are so perfect for each other that it’s hard to not believe they were meant for each other. This wonderful union started me thinking about the proverbial Happily Ever After (or HEA) and my love/hate relationship with romance novels.

I spent many years doubting the existence of real HEAs. I was convinced that the whole concept was a myth perpetuated by Disney films and romance novels. And, yes, I was one of those people. I turned my nose up at the mere thought of reading romances. But can you blame me? My mom and dad got divorced when I was four, and between the two of them, I’ve had five stepparents. If that weren’t bad enough, when I looked around at my friends’ parents, I saw even more broken families or couples that stayed miserably together for the sake of the kids.

Yet, despite the jaded cynicism, there lurked a rose-colored-glasses optimist. This Little Miss Pollyanna in my psyche seemed to always steer me in the direction of stories with happy endings and the occasional dreaded romance novel. (Whenever I was caught reading said novels, I was quick to explain that I had run out of better books to read.)

When I started writing and realized all the stories in my head were love stories, I was forced to admit the truth – I love romances and the promise of the HEA. I was also forced to take a long hard look at what I believe and why. How could I write believable characters with believable happy endings unless I did indeed see the reality of HEAs?

After stripping away the emotional baggage of coming from a broken home and burning away the illusion of everything being light and happy, I was left with the realization that both good things and bad things happen. There are relationships that end in divorce or are cut too short by tragedy. There are people who settle for an unhappy relationship because they’re afraid of being alone. There are people who are desperately seeking Mr. or Mrs. Right. But there are also people who have found their soul mates as well as people who have found their HEA in a life of being single.

It has taken a long time, but I have finally learned that regardless of where a person is on the spectrum, HEA is within their grasp. Sometimes it means making difficult but necessary changes. Sometimes it means just altering how you perceive things. Instead of seeing the glass is half-empty, allow yourself to see that it’s half-full.

I’m going to go on a bit of tangent, but I promise it’s related. Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In August of 1963, he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and shouted out to the world his dream – his vision of a perfect world. A utopian world. All these years later, have we achieved his dream? Of course not. Is the world a better place because he stood up for his dream? Absolutely.

Since then, through the perspective of time, we can look at all the ways in which we as a nation have failed. Or we can look at all the ways in which we’ve succeeded. It’s the same in our personal lives. Do we wallow in our bad luck and misfortune? Do we succumb to settling for less or accept that tragedy is inevitable? Or do we find the courage and strength to dream, to hope, to love?

And that, my friends, is what a romance novel is all about. That is why, despite my embarrassment, I’ve always been drawn to a good romance, and why I’m compelled to write them. They are a lesson on how to choose happiness despite the obstacles, a map to finding our own Happily Ever After.

Welcome Guest Author Merry Farmer

It’s my pleasure to host author Merry Farmer on the blog today. Merry writes historical romances set during one of my favorite time periods, the 1890s. Welcome, Merry.

Merry Farmer  If I had a dime for every time I sighed and thought that I was born about 125 years too late, I would be wealthy right now.  There’s just something about the 1880s and 1890s that sings to my soul.  It was an exciting time to be alive, full of innovation, invention, and progress.  People of the twenty-first century don’t realize how advanced and comfortable life really was at the end of the nineteenth century.  That’s one of the reasons I was inspired to write the Montana Romance series.

There are a lot of misconceptions about how exactly people lived in the 1890s.  Those who haven’t studied history tend to think it was a backwards time of ignorance, repression, and inconvenience.  The truth couldn’t be further from that notion.

By the 1890s advances in transportation had opened up not only the American West, but the whole world.  People could travel from coast to coast in a matter of days, and Fool For Love [e-book cover]_smallacross the ocean in just over a week.  Fool for Love begins in London, and three weeks later the characters are in Cold Springs, Montana.  Yes!  You could do that.  Furthermore, by 1896, when this novel is set, not only were ships constructed that could travel that fast, many of them were equipped with refrigeration.  We think of imported food as a modern concept, but by the 1890s it was already a reality.

You know what else existed by the 1890s?  Electricity.  Yep.  The proverbial light bulb was able to go off over someone’s head when they had a good idea because Edison had invented the first successful incandescent light bulb in 1879.  By 1896 they were a household item.  Well, if the town in which you lived had the infrastructure to support all of the new technology.

Granted, just because the technology for a wealth of new inventions – ready-made clothing, automobiles, typewriters, elevators, etc. – existed, that didn’t mean it could be found everywhere.  One of the things that appeals to me so much about the 1890s is that while so much of the world was moving faster and achieving more, life still had a slower pace.  People read books.  They visited while playing cards or sewing.  Meals were prepared with care and savored at the table instead of in front of the television.

Not everything was perfect and rosy.  A woman’s work was still never done and most modern appliances with which to do it automatically were still a few decades away.  Cooking, cleaning, and laundry all still had to be done by hand with rudimentary machines.  But by this era women’s rights had already come a long way.  Women could hold professions, like teaching, working in business, or even as doctors, and more opportunities were opening every year.  By the beginning of the twentieth century some states in the US had already given women the vote.

Our Little Secrets_smallYes, I have a special place in my heart for this era of our history.  I hope it shines through in the lives that my characters live.  Michael and Charlie, the hero and heroine of the first Montana Romance book, Our Little Secrets, are quite advanced for their time – Charlie has graduated from college and Michael imports goods for his general store from all across the country – but they are still a part of their time.  Eric’s trip to London in Fool for Love would have been unthinkable a few decades earlier, but by the 1890s he could have made that trip several times in his lifetime.

I may run the risk of my readers scratching their heads and wondering if the things I write about in Our Little Secrets and Fool for Love could really happen, but with a little research they’ll be able to see that yes, they could.  I love the 1890s and enjoy giving people a glimpse into a world that is not as unfamiliar as they might first imagine.

To learn more about Merry and her books, check out these links:

Social Networking links:

Website: http://merryfarmer.net

Twitter: @merryfarmer20

Facebook: www.facebook.com/merryfarmerauthor

Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Merry-Farmer/e/B006RATLFC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1366067537&sr=8-2-ent

Book links:

The Loyal Heart

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005R4K75W

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005R4K75W

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-loyal-heart-merry-farmer/1106051739?ean=2940011541537

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92993

The Faithful Heart

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006PUDD44

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006PUDD44

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-faithful-heart-merry-farmer/1108068341?ean=2940032960553

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/117240

The Courageous Heart

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009Z1AATQ

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009Z1AATQ

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-courageous-heart-merry-farmer/1113712615?ean=2940015912661

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/250038

Our Little Secrets

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0087KI4T4

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0087KI4T4

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/167282

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/our-little-secrets-merry-farmer/1111649170?ean=2940033267514