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

Purchase on Amazon

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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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Housekeeping and Editing…Two Challenging Tasks!

I admit I’m not much of a housekeeper. I know mothers that excel at having a well-kept home. I’ve stopped by to drop my kids off at scheduled play dates or even unexpectedly to sell Girl Scout cookies and have been invited into homes that are often tidy and beautiful. I do clean, but more often than not, there are toys strewn about, and my office/playroom is well…just plain messy.

MessyDesk

One rainy afternoon, I was mumbling under my breath while cleaning out closets when my hubby walked in and said, “What’s the big deal? Think of it as cleaning up your manuscript after the first draft.” I dropped the trash bag stuffed with kids’ clothes intended for Goodwill, and looked up at him in shock. As an engineer and introvert, he’s definitely on the quiet side, but sometimes he blurts out very helpful and insightful things. I started thinking and came to the conclusion he was totally on point.

So what do cleaning the house and editing your book really have in common? It turns out to be a whole lot.

Read the entire manuscript in one sitting

Get the feel for the story. Resist marking the pages and making notes in the margins. Just read for the content. This will reveal overwriting, sections that need more explanation, or unfinished plot points. It’s similar to walking through the house and noting what needs to be cleaned, which closets need to be organized, and how big of a task you have ahead of you.
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Author Tina Gabrielle shares the romance novel that changed her life

The Femmes are pleased to welcome author Tina Gabrielle to our blog today. Tina is a member of Romance Writers of America, NJ Romance Writers, and Liberty State Fiction Writers. Today, she’ll share the author and book that influenced her early love of romance reading and writing.

Tina Gabrielle, an award-winning author, is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. After multi-publishing for a prestigious Law Journal, she fulfilled her dream of writing fiction. She is the author of In The Barrister’s Bed, In The Barrister’s Chambers, Lady Of Scandal, and A Perfect Scandal from Kensington Books. To enter her monthly contests for free giveaways visit her website at www.tinagabrielle.com

For a chance to win a signed copy of IN THE BARRISTER’S CHAMBERS and a NJ Romance Writer’s tote bag, leave a comment during this week. Good luck! Tina will be commenting on the blog through Tuesday and then is off to RWA Nationals in Anaheim. Don’t forget, anyone commenting the month of July will also be entered in The Femmes monthly contest.

And now…Welcome Tina!

First let me thank the Violet Femmes for inviting me to blog. It’s wonderful to be here!

I’m Tina Gabrielle, and I write rich Regency historical romances full of passion and emotion for Kensington Books. My current Regency Barrister series is about four sexy barristers and the women who wreak havoc in their chambers and steal their hearts.

I started reading romance at an early age—too early now that I’m a mother myself! I remember a fateful family vacation in the Poconos. Both of my older sisters found summer romances, one sister with another vacationing boy and the other sister with a waiter at the hotel. I was much younger, in an awkward phase of braces and a bad complexion, and left behind. So I picked up my oldest sister’s romance and read in secret.

Ah! I was hooked!

It was Julie Garwood’s The Bride. I dreamed about her Scottish hero Alec Kincaid for a year thereafter and fell in love with brawny Highlanders and historical romance novels. I recently repurchased the book, and it still enthralled me and kept me up reading all night.

How did it change my life? I read all types of fiction, but I write historical romance, and I credit Julie Garwood’s book for inspiring me. I’ve since attended engineering school and law school and my love of reading for pleasure helped me through years of academia. I often picked up a romance and let my fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry me away. So I owe part of my success—academic or as a romance author—to fiction and romance in particular.

My fourth historical romance, In the Barrister’s Bed, was released by Kensington Books in July 2012. It’s the second book in my award-winning Regency Barrister Series. Here’s a sneak peek at both Barrister Books:

IN THE BARRISTER’S BED (July 2012) 

A Hotly Contested Claim

A bastard by birth, James Devlin lives on his own terms—until a twist of fate reveals that he is the true Duke of Blackwood. Though the brooding bachelor swears to hold on to his freedom, he does intend to take back his childhood home. But once at Wyndmoor Manor, he discovers an arresting adversary in Bella Sinclair. Her hot-blooded claim to his home is amusing…and arousing. Which is why he isn’t leaving until he takes possession of everything—starting with the bewitching Bella…

A Sensual Surrender

Bella is furious when the Duke barges into her home, declaring it rightfully his! The willful widow is not about to give up her haven without a fight, no matter how determined the Duke is—or how sensual the battlefield. But once she’s sharing a house with the beguiling barrister, she is in danger of losing everything—one deep, slow kiss at a time…

IN THE BARRISTER’S CHAMBERS (September 2011) 

Courting Danger

Lady Evelyn Darlington’s first love was the law. But since a woman scholar meets nothing but ridicule from men, she has given up and chosen a future husband. Randolph seems adequate for the task: to provide intelligent conversation and not annoy her too much. Of course, before they can be engaged, she’ll have to do something about the murder charge hanging over his head. If only London’s top barrister wasn’t Jack Harding, object of all her unattainable girlhood fantasies…

And Seducing Scandal…

Jack Harding remembers Evelyn well—but the idea that the gorgeous woman standing before him is little Evie, the professor’s daughter, is incredible. He knows better than to enter a business relationship when he wants to pursue pleasure. Yet however desirable she is now, Evie is still Evie—stubborn, smart, and never willing to take no for an answer. Even though proving her fiancé’s innocence might just cost her her own…

So tell me: Who is your favorite type of historical hero? A kilted Highlander, a Regency rogue, or a cowboy? Comment for a chance to win!

If you want to keep in touch with Tina, you can find her at:

Tina Gabrielle – www.tinagabrielle.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

Thanks, Tina, for visiting and have a great time in Anaheim!

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