A Gentleman and a Rogue

Thursday, February 25, 2010

California Tidbit Thursday - Lake Tahoe



Here's another California place I've never been, but would like to go to - Lake Tahoe. The opening shot is Lake Tahoe from Space. Pretty, cool, huh? Now just imagine a line right down the middle. To the east is Nevada, to the west is California. The big California cities near the lake are: Tahoe City and King's Beach, both are on the northern side.

Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake. It is 1,645 feet deep, making it America's second-deepest freshwater lake, (Crater Lake, in Oregon, being the deepest at 1,945 feet deep.

The lake was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern lake being shaped during the Ice Ages. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. On the Nevada side of the lake you'll find plenty of Casinos. Tahoe is known for winter sports including Skiing and snowboarding.





THE COMSTOCK LODE

The Comstock Lode, a silver deposit just 15 miles (24 km) to the east in Virginia City, Nevada was discovered in 1858. From 1858 until about 1890, logging in the basin supplied large timbers to shore up the underground workings of the Comstock mines. The logging was so extensive that loggers cut down almost all of the native forest. In 1864, Tahoe City was founded as a resort community for Virginia City, the first recognition of the basin’s potential as a destination resort area.

No wonder why Nevada is the Silver State.

MANSIONS ON THE LAKE:

Lake Tahoe is also the location of several 19th and 20th century homes of historical significance. Vikingsholm was the original settlement on Emerald Bay and included an island teahouse and a 38 room home.



The foundation was laid in 1928, but the building was constructed in 1929 by 200 workers. Vikingsholm was built by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight as a summer home. Some parts of the structure contain no nails or spikes, as a result of old-fashioned construction methods. Most of the building was made from materials found at Lake Tahoe.

Mrs. Knight is primarily known for building Vikingsholm, but she and her husband were primary backers of Charles Lindbergh's non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. Tours are given of the home for a nominal fee.

Vikingsholm, along with the "Tea House" on Fannette Island and Emerald Bay, is a part of Emerald Bay State Park. Emerald Bay has also been declared a National Natural Landmark.

INTERESTING NOTE: Squaw Valley, near Tahoe City, was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Heck, I wouldn't mind going to check out this gem - in the summertime. hehe
Smiles
Steph


Info for this article was taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikingsholm

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beyond the Story - Royal Pretender



I'm very excited to announce that my historical romantic fiction, "Royal Pretender" is available in The Cupid Diaries, released by Classic Romance Revival this month. History has given us some inspiring romances from Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browing, to the turbolent Charles and Diana, love has endured, love has failed. Love brought a man to ruin with Henry VIII and love endured through to paint a shining example of its positive power with George VI and his Queen, Elizabeth (in World War II)

Surprisingly, in a time were arranged marriages were the norm, George II and Caroline of Ansbach were allowed to fall in love before they were married. It was a story I discovered over 20 years ago, but it is a story that has deeply resonated with me.

I was stationed in Germany in 1988. In July 1988, I won a trip to go to Berlin. While I was waiting at the train station in Bremerhaven I had brought a book with me. It was a book I had received in a care package and it was called, "Queen in Waiting," by Jean Plaidy. Jean Plaidy was a pen name for Victoria Holt and I grew on Holt's Gothic Romances. I thought I'd give the book a try.

I devoured it. I also discovered the world of historical fiction was fascinating. I went out and bought every book Jean Plaidy ever wrote.

Plaidy, of course, wrote historical fiction. While the events are true, she took literary license to paint the scenes. No one really knows how George acted when he first saw Caroline, but it's so much fun as a writer to picture the scene, to write it, to enjoy it – to paint it to the accuracy you believed it happened.

The history behind George II's story and Caroline is unique. George I wanted his son to be in love with the woman he married. He didn't want his son to suffer through an unbearable marriage as his had been. When his mother suggested Caroline of Ansbach, George I sent his son to Ansbach in disguise to meet the woman to see if he could fall in love.

Caroline was beautiful and enchanting. (If not a little melancholy) George II fell in love immediately and eventually sought her hand in marriage. She accepted of course.

I wanted to give their story my own romantic treatment so I wrote Royal Pretender. I hope you enjoy it!


I hope you visit Classic Romance Revivial and check out the Cupid Diaries - there are some lovely stories in there which capture the essense of romance and love. Here's a link to the site: http://www.classicromancerevival.com

Smiles
Steph

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Post - What I'm reading


Hi all - I'm very excited about Tami Dee and "Dawn of a Viking Sunrise."

I just finished Tami's "Under A Viking Moon" and it was a great story. I wanted to read the sequel and last night I had a chance to start. I went through 7 chapters like nothing. I couldn't put the Kindle down.

Dawn of a Viking Sunrise is about Rosie, Kat's best friend from book 1. Rosie (in 2009( has been hunting down the Viking time traveling pendants since Kat has been gone. She acquired the pendant Leif had, but is looking for Kat's. Enter Prof. Fisher - her evil history professor. He's got the other pendant and tries to steal the one Rosie has. Rosie and Prof fight and during the fight, they time travel back to Denmark and then Scotland.

During the first trip, Rosie briefly meets Davyn Noddersson, Leif's brother. In the second trip, she lands in Scotland only to meet Davyn again, but this time he is Laird McCarty. For Rosie it's a shock. The man she was dating in the future, was named McCarty. (he was a cop and he is dead now, shot while chasing a doped up teenager)

Davyn is the uber alpha male, but he's got his hands full with Rosie. He also has both pendants.

What happens next? I don't know, but the first chance I get, I'm picking up the Kindle!

Kudos to Tami for creating such fantastic characters.
Smiles
Steph

Monday, February 22, 2010

Excert Monday - Across The Fickle Winds of History




The Set up: Olga has asked Paul to escort her to a ball. She has just met him, but feels an incrediable attraction to him.

******

We went back to the dance floor, and I discovered he had a stamina
no other man had. It seemed almost unnatural, and I grew winded a
second time before he took me upstairs to the second floor to get some
air. We looked down over the railing, admiring the dancers.

He stood close to me, his hand in the small of my back, his hard
body pressing ever so slightly into mine. His wonderful musky scent
drew me closer to him. Oh, how my heart beat loudly in my chest! I
prayed he could not hear it and I felt myself skirt the line between my
shyness and flirtatiousness.

“Would you like another drink?” he asked.

“Thank you, but no, Paul, I’m fine,” I replied. We spoke in his
native English and I noticed no unusual pauses in our conversation,
although I must admit, I had a very proper accent compared to his.

“Tell me about you, Olga. How is it Tatiana takes such command
when you are alone, but here, in front of all, you clearly assert
yourself?”

“I do what is expected of me, and since I am the oldest, a lot is
expected of me,” I answered.

“But the throne is not expected of you,” he remarked. I turned to
face him and caught an unusual look in his eye, as if he were studying
my reaction.

“No, it is not, but that does not mean I will live a sheltered life,
either.” I suppose my tone was a little harsh.

“I apologize if I have offended you, Princess.”

“That is the second time you’ve used the word “princess,” Paul. I
suppose that would be the English word for my title, but in Russia, I
am known as a grand duchess,” I explained.

He leaned close to me. “Olga,” he whispered with such a ravenous
smile, I thought I would faint. Then he put his hands on my upper
arms and his warm, honey brown eyes locked onto mine. “I have no
right to make such a bold statement to you, but the moment I saw you,
I felt drawn to you.”

His words hung like the lightest feathers in a breeze, and he brought
up a hand to my hair, teasing my ringlets. “You’re so gentle, so kind,
so sweet. I think of you as my princess.”

I took his hand and led him to the nearest balcony, wanting to be
away from prying eyes. With the glass door shut behind us, I pulled
him to the darkest corner the balcony had to offer and put my hands on
his waist, looking up into his eyes. My heart pounded in my chest as
my breathing became deep and ragged.

“What spell have you woven over me, handsome stranger? You
have been on my mind since the moment I saw you. And what will
happen when this evening ends? Will you go home the way you
came?”

********
Across the Fickle Winds of History is available at Http://www.lulu.com
4 Stars, Shannon Yarbourgh, Lulu Book Reviews

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Moments in Time - That First Valentine

My First Valentine



I'm an author at Classic Romance Revival and today's post is in support of their Valentine Blog Carnival so I hope you enjoy and share some of your memories.

My first Valentine? Well, he wasn't a high school Sweetie. I was awkward and shy in high school. I did have a date to the prom, but he was a friend and I had to ask him. Sniff…

I met my Valentine in Germany of all places. I was 22 years old and I went to Butzbach, Germany for an Army Leadership Class in October 1990. It was four weeks of intense training. There was this tall, blonde hair, hazel eyed guy sitting in the back who liked to chew. I thought he was drop dead gorgeous – and he would never notice me. I was average height, average weight with a mop of untamable curly hair.

We hit it off. Kinda - tease me unmerclessly about my New England accent.

We waited for each other in the chow line. We shined our shoes together out in the back. We hung out during training exercises. When it came time for our weekend pass, we went on a date.

After we graduated in NOV 1990, we went to Bad Hersfeld and continued dating. On Christmas Eve he asked me to marry him. Of course I said. Our 1st Valentine's Day was 1991. He went chasing vendors in the rain to get me a bouquet of roses. I did up the 1 bedroom apartment we shared and got him an Oingo Bongo CD. (I told you I was a bit awkward) Sigh...He was my first Valentine and I'm still married to him today.

Drop me a line and leave me a post about your first Valentine. You'll be entered to win a $6.00 GC to Desert Breeze Publishing and I'll announce the winner on 19 FEB.

If you get a chance, head on over to my website and sign up for my FREE newsletter. All you have to do is go to http://sgcardin.tripod.com and on the first page scroll all the way down to the bottom and fill in the form. I'd love to have you on my Newsletter list.

I'd love to hear about your first Valentine.
Smiles
Steph

Because this blog post is in conjunction with Classic Romance Revival blog carnival, there is a grand prize - a 5-ARC package from Classic Romance Revival authors – which will be drawn from visitors commenting on the most blogs. To qualify for the grand prize, you need to register for the contest. Please visit the Classic Romance Revival blog to find details of all the blogs and to register:

http://www.classicromancerevival.com/blog/?p=1671

Saturday, February 13, 2010

California Saturday - Yosemite National Park

A Photo by Ansel Adams, taken in Yosemite.

I've never been to Yosemite, nor has my husband, but it’s a goal of his to take the family camping there as soon as our youngest, Joe, now three, is old enough.

Not quite understanding his passion, but accepting it, I decided to scour the Internet for interesting tidbits about the park to share. I have to admit, I found some gorgeous pictures.

Oh – silly me. For the longest time, and I don't know why – I used to confuse Yosemite with Yellowstone. I guess it's because I'm not native and I thought the "Y's" were interchangeable? Trust me, my DH has set me straight.

Yosemite is a national park in East Central California, kinda' below Lake Tahoe. It's over 760,000 acres and reaches the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The park includes granite cliffs, waterfalls, low valleys, and giant sequoia groves. I'm interested in the giant sequoias myself. There are three groves, the Mariposa, Tuolume, and Merced. The oldest standing sequoia is thought to be over 1800 years old.


HISTORY

Before the California gold rush, the Paiute and Sierra Miwok Indians lived there. Then the Gold Rush hit, bringing in a lot of White people to the area. Eventually, the Indians were resettled. (That's the nice way of saying that the Whites forcefully moved them to reservations near Fresno. Personally, I find that chapter of American history appalling, and I have a deep respect for the Native American Indians here in America.)

TIDBIT: The famous photographer, Ansel Adams visited Yosemite.

REALLY COOL TIDBIT: The Wawona Tree was a giant sequoia over 227 feet tall and 90 feet round! It was believed to have been over 2,300 years old. Unfortunately, it fell in 1969 under a heavy snowfall.


President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill on June 30, 1864, allowing for Yosemite park land to be preserved so the public could visit and it was to be managed by the state of California. The park, during this time, came under the protection of the 4th Cavalry Regiment, US Army.

President Theodore Roosevelt visited the park in May 1903. In 1906, he passed a law allowing the Federal Government to take over the park's management from California. It's probably a good thing, but for the last ten years, California can barely manage it's own government.

COOL NOTE: Yosemite was formed by glaciers. Glaciers are responsible for dramatic landscapes, tall mountains, and deep lakes.

Yosemite is opened year round, but much of the park is closed from late autumn to late spring due to snow. I can't wait to go!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What I'm Reading Tuesday - Not Just Make Believe


I love Sandra Sookoo. Shshshs... Don't let Sandi know I'm a BIG fan. haha. No, seriously, This is the first book I've read by Sandi and I am enjoying it very much.

Not Just Make Believe was released in DEC 2009 by Desert Breeze and it was a book I wanted to read right away, but I couldn't get to it until now.

In the novel, Andrea Petercheff is an assistant manager to a fancy hotel in Indianapolis. The story takes place during the Christmas season. What I love about Andrea is that she's not your typical heroine. She's 5'4', 170, and has a very defensive attitude, but I think that's just her mask she presents to the world. Inside, she's a softie, but it's going to take a lot to bring that out.

Andrea gets "assigned" to watch a 9 year old who is a terror - Piper - while her guardian, Uncle Max goes across the pond on business. And Piper is a pistol. She keeps Andrea on her toes.

Uncle Max comes back early and to Andrea's shock, he finds her intriguing. Andrea tries to put him off, but they share quite a kiss when the elevator gets stuck.

Mind you, I'm still readiing, so I'm anxious to find out what happens next.

What I love about this book is how strong the first person perspective is. It's quirky, human, endearing, and fun, capturing difficult situations in a lighthearted way.

I'm not finished, but I highly recommend this book - even when it's not Christmas.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Excerpt from Across the Fickle Winds of History




SET UP: Tatiana and Olga have encounter with Father Gregory.

********

As I looked up, Father Gregory Rasputin stepped out of a dark corner, his wide, round, hypnotic eyes riveting both of us to our spot in the hall.

“Tell me, girls, what brings you here?” His voice smoothly purred,
and he clasped his hands in front of him.

As usual, he was unkempt,his hair was greasy, and his simple brown cloak was dirty. We were used to his appearance.

“I just wanted to check on Mama,” I replied softly.

The rise and fall of his chest was rhythmic and strangely soothing. His lips curved ever so slightly as his eyes seemed to drift over my figure. It was as if he was looking at me for the first time.

“I talked to the Empress earlier. She understands, Olga. I want you
to know she was taken by surprise by your father’s decision. I must
admit, I was as well. I did not expect this.”

His voice caressed me like a gentle ocean wave. Father Gregory
had always been kind to us girls, and certainly, he knew what to do to
heal Alexi, but father did not approve of him – especially when he
spent time around our mother. Tatiana and I had already agreed Father
Gregory was harmless, speculating it was father’s natural jealousy,
seeing another man around our mother, which had sparked his dislike.

“I understand, Father Gregory.”

He smiled that crooked smile of his, revealing his chipped teeth.
He truly was not an attractive man – certainly not the type to attract
my mother in a sexual way. His rough hands lightly began to stroke
his long, untamed beard.

“You know everything, Father Gregory,” said Tatiana, wrapped up
in the same gentle spell I had fallen under.

He walked over to Tatiana and placed his hand on her shoulder,
leering at her. “Sweet duchess, I see only what the Lord reveals to me. I would
even venture to say he is as surprised at your sister’s new status as we
all are,” he continued. “This was truly unexpected.”

I cocked my head as I looked at him with curious eyes. “And does
the Lord show you the future, Father Gregory?”

He turned to face me. “The Lord touches us all in his way, sweet
Olga. This is an honor you are very deserving of. Your mother is
proud of you. She confessed it to me.”

“Then why…?”

“Love will make a woman feel things they never felt before –
including heartbreak. I, of course, took that heartbreak away from the
Empress with the counsel of the Lord, replacing it with forgiveness.”

“You are a good man, Father Gregory,” said Tatiana.

He backed away from her, and I wrinkled my nose at the light
stench that came from his clothes.

“Um,” he purred, raking his eyes over both of us. He looked at us
strangely, perhaps imagining us as different people before his eyes
widened. He was prone to having visions and I wondered if he was
having one now. “Alexi wants me.”

“How do you…?”

“Know?” he said. “I have shared a part of my soul with him and
him with me. Good evening.”

With that, he turned around and left. Tatiana and I went back to our
room.

*********

You can purchase a copy at http://www.lulu.com

4 Stars, Shannon Yarbourgh, Lulu Book Reviews
3 Stars, Aimee Merzon, ForeWord Clarion Reviews