Joanna Shupe: Gilded Age For Dummies

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Relax! I don’t think you’re a dummy. I mean, I almost locked my keys in my car yesterday while the engine was running. So who’s really the dummy here?

Now, onto the Gilded Age.

This is a tiny pocket in history roughly between the Civil War and World War I. Most people remember the Gilded Age from history classes through long boring lectures about Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, and scandals I can’t pronounce.

But stick with me. I promise you, I have the attention span of a squirrel and the Gilded Age is FASCINATING.

First, let’s talk innovation. Telephones, telegraph, skyscrapers, elevators, electricity? GILDED AGE. Not all were American inventions (most were), but they were perfected here. Why? In the Gilded Age, the U.S. economy DOUBLED IN SIZE. Business was booming. Europe didn’t have nearly the amount of money we did, so most of the technological innovations took off in America.

Oh, and did I mention AUTOMOBILES? Yeah, those were Gilded Age, too (though late in the time period, and they weren’t accessible to anyone but the rich. Don’t worry, the Gilded Age had a lot of rich people.)

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So that leads me to the wealth. Did you see the part about the U.S. economy doubling in size? America became the leading world economic force during the Gilded Age. Steel. Railroads. Oil. Textiles. Coal. All run by financial powerhouses, with household names like Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Morgan, Astor.

There were no laws governing fair trade or anti-trust in those days, so it was every man for himself–literally. And with the amount of money at stake, it’s no wonder there were frequent corruption scandals.

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Lastly, the ladies. You had the socialites, throwing parties for their monkeys and elaborate costume balls where they dressed in electric gowns, but you also had new independent young women coming into the cities from the farms. They held office jobs and worked in department stores. These women weren’t forced to marry straight out of the family home and start pumping out kids. Instead, they earned their own income, rented their own rooms, and dated young men.

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Believe it or not, the bicycle craze helped, too. A bicycle allowed women more freedom in getting around. It was cheaper, and certainly more independent. Clothing was altered to assist in cycling: “Cycling required a more practical, rational form of dress, and large billowing skirts and corsets started to give way to bloomers — baggy trousers, sometimes called a divided skirt, cinched at the knee. Although bloomers first appeared decades earlier, and a major social battle was waged over their propriety, the cycling craze practically mandated changes in women’s attire for any woman who wanted to ride.”

Women mobilized in the Gilded Age. They began to speak out on issues like voting rights for women, temperance, equality, poverty, and education.

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So that’s a few reasons why the Gilded Age is totes awesome-sauce, as my daughters might say. And hey, I have a brand-new Gilded Age romance out today. If historical romance is your jam, I hope you’ll give MAGNATE a try!


Magnate compIt’s 1888 in New York City, where wealth and power are king, and one man is determined to rule — no matter the cost.

Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire and now holds court in an opulent Fifth Avenue mansion. His rise in stations, however, has done little to elevate his taste in women. He loathes the city’s “high society” types, but a rebellious and beautiful blue-blood just might change all that.

Elizabeth Sloane’s mind is filled with more than the latest parlor room gossip. Lizzie can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York’s most accomplished brokers—but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits. But love and business make strange bedfellows, and as their fragile partnership begins to crack, they’ll discover a passion more frenzied than the trading room floor…

Pick up a copy of MAGNATE here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

xo

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Quint needs your vote!

My publisher, Kensington Publishing, has its annual HERO v. HERO Tumblr contest up and running this week. Lord Quint, Damian Beecham, from THE LADY HELLION is up for BEST HERO in the competition today. He needs your vote!

VOTE HERE: http://kensingtonheroes.tumblr.com/post/141070733464/the-viscount-vs-the-earl-which-high-class. (Also, you can vote more than once. Just sayin’.)

As a reminder, Quint is:

  • a genius
  • sexy
  • able to woo in 7 or 8 different languages
  • a great fencer
  • a (recent) lover of dogs

Need I say more? Sophie, Quint, and I all thank you for your vote!

New Release! TYCOON: A Gilded Age Novella

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I am so excited to announce the release of TYCOON, a novella in my “Knickerbocker Club” series. The heroine, Clara, is a perfume counter girl and she crashes into the life of Ted, a financial tycoon. Clara is spunky and fun, a mix of innocence and brash independence that I think would’ve been common of girls at that time. And our hard-working hero has no idea what to do with her. 🙂

Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes the journey is more pleasurable than the destination . . .

Standing on the platform at Grand Central Station, Ted Harper is surprised by a fiery kiss from an undeniably gorgeous damsel in distress. He’s certain she’s a swindler who’s only after his money, but he’s never met a woman so passionate and sure of herself. Disarmed, he invites her to spend the journey to St. Louis in his private car—perhaps against his better judgment…

Clara Dawson has long known how to take care of herself, but the savvy shop girl is at a loss when she witnesses—and becomes entangled in—a terrible crime. Desperation propels her into a stranger’s arms at the train station, but she hadn’t expected Ted to offer her the protection she so badly needs—nor did she expect their chemistry to develop more steam than the engine of the train. He’s everything she never thought she could have, and she’s everything he didn’t know he wanted. But as her secrets begin to unfurl, their fledgling romance could be in danger of derailing before they arrive at the next station…

Want to read an excerpt? Or pop over to my Facebook page for all my writing-related details, giveaways, and general awesomesauce.

TYCOON is .99 at all e-retailers:

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

xo

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Dual Femme Release: AT THE SPY’S PLEASURE and THE LADY HELLION

It’s a dual Femme release! Tina and Joanna are excited to share release dates. Here are the blurbs of our books:

AT THE SPY’S PLEASURE by Tina Gabrielle

Book II in The Crown’s Secret Service Series

At the Spy's Pleasure - Cover

London, 1821

After years of marriage to a selfish man who preferred gambling to his young bride, Jane, the widowed countess of Stanwell, now seeks what she was long denied—a satisfying lover. Naturally, a lady needs a list of eligible candidates, which doesn’t include the dangerously handsome (if far too arrogant) Gareth Ramsey…until he steals a sinful kiss from Jane’s all-too-willing lips.

Reputed as an arrogant barrister, Gareth’s real occupation is as a spy in the service of His Majesty, and the suspect of his mission is on Jane’s list of possible lovers. With her life in danger, there’s no safer place for Jane than with   him—and in his bed. But Jane is as distracting as she is infuriating, and keeping her by his side while he pursues his mission might just endanger them both…

Want to read an excerpt? CLICK HERE

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THE LADY HELLION by Joanna Shupe

Book #3 in the Wicked Deceptions series

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Lady Sophia Barnes doesn’t take no for an answer. Especially when she’s roaming London’s seedy underground…dressed as a man.

A rabble rouser for justice, Sophie’s latest mission is to fight for the rights of the poor, the wretched—and the employees at Madame Hartley’s brothel. She’s not concerned about the criminals who will cross her path, for Sophie has mastered the art of deception—including the art of wearing trousers. Now her fate is in her own hands, along with a loaded gun. All she needs is instruction on how to shoot it. But only one person can help her: Lord Quint, the man who broke her heart years ago. The man she won’t let destroy her again…

The last thing Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint, needs is an intrusion on his privacy, especially from the beautiful, exasperating woman he’s never stopped wanting. A woman with a perilously absurd request, no less! For Damien is fighting a battle of his own, one he wishes to keep hidden—along with his feelings for Lady Sophia. Yet that fight is as hopeless as stopping her outlandish plan. Soon all Quint knows for certain is that he will die trying to protect her…

Want to read an excerpt? CLICK HERE.

“Shupe invites readers to sit back and enjoy the terrific chemistry between the unconventional Lord Quint and the exasperating Lady Sophie in the conclusion to the Wicked Deceptions trilogy. With emotional intensity, poignancy, passion and murder, they won’t be disappointed.”
— RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars

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New Release! THE HARLOT COUNTESS

Today is the release of my second historical romance, THE HARLOT COUNTESS. This is the second book in the Wicked Deceptions series.
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Here’s the blurb:

Maggie, Lady Hawkins, had a debut she’d rather forget—along with her first marriage. Today, the political cartoonist is a new woman. A thoroughly modern woman. So much so that her clamoring public believes she’s a man…

FACT: Drawing under a male pseudonym, Maggie is known as Lemarc. Her (his!) favorite object of ridicule: Simon Barrett, Earl of Winchester. He’s a rising star in Parliament—and a former confidant and love interest of Maggie’s who believed a rumor that vexes her to this day.

FICTION: Maggie is the Half-Irish Harlot who seduced her best friend’s husband on the eve of their wedding. She is to be feared and loathed as she will lift her skirts for anything in breeches.

Still crushed by Simon’s betrayal, Maggie has no intention of letting the ton crush her as well. In fact, Lemarc’s cartoons have made Simon a laughingstock…but now it appears that Maggie may have been wrong about what happened years ago, and that Simon has been secretly yearning for her since…forever. Could it be that the heart is mightier than the pen and the sword after all?

Want to read an excerpt? CLICK HERE.

“Steady pacing, delightful characters and an ability to build steamy sexual tension make for a lively love story.”
— RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars

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Creative Researching

Remember when you were in school, and you had to write a research paper? The boring, labor-intensive , and (now I’m showing my age) endless searching through the card catalog for resources for a non-fiction article, usually the day or two before the term paper was due? Yeah, me too.File:Copyright Card Catalog Files.jpg

What was it about those assignments that we hated? The stress? The solitude of researching, when all we wanted was to hang out with our friends? The fact that we had no interest in the subject matter, that it was a necessary evil, that someone was “making” us do it?
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One Year Anniversary Contest

That’s right. The Violet Femmes blog will be 1-year old in November.

One year ago, four romance writers attended the NJ Romance Writers conference. After many wonderful workshops, good food, and a bottle of wine, concept for The Violet Femmes blog was born.

We’d like to take this opportunity to announce and welcome our newest Femme, Jenna Blue. Jenna has guest-blogged with us and we’re thrilled she’s officially joining The Femmes. Stay tuned for a fresh look to our blog coming over the next month.

In conjunction with NJRW’s Put Your Heart In A Book Conference (10/12-10/13), we’re starting our celebration a little early. If you’re attending the conference, stop by the Goody Room and look for our special gift. Visit The Violet Femmes website 10/12-11/16 and enter our anniversary contest. You can get to the contest link from the upper right-hand side bar or directly by clicking the image below:

Thank you for following us over the past year. We look forward to many more exciting topics and guest posts over the next year!

Hugs from The Violet Femmes,

Maria, Michele, Joanna, Jaye, and Jenna

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