Why I read romance—Michele Stegman


Why I read romance.
                  I love to read. Always have. My mom told me that even as a baby of less than a year old, if she wanted to keep me busy, she set me on the floor with some magazines and books. I grew up reading science fiction and historical fiction. Then I discovered romance—historical romance–and fell in love with reading all over again.

                  I love to learn history, which was my major in grad school, and it is so much fun to learn it from a really good historical romance author. I spend a lot of time looking things up and reading about them further when I read a good historical romance. And I can usually tell, even without looking things up to check, whether or not the author has done her research or if she is just throwing in an occasional “gown, tunic, chain mail, or castle” to make her book sound like it is set in the past.

                  Yes, I know times were grim a few hundred years ago. And still were by the late 1800’s. But historical romances are not about the grimness. They are not about the fact that most people didn’t reach adulthood with a full set of teeth or that bear baiting and cock fighting were accepted fun sports and that everyone thought a good drawing and quartering were excuses for a day off work. They are about two people falling in love. They are about sweeping capes and plunging horses or clean, gentlemanly pirates. And best of all, they always have an HEA, a Happily Ever After.

                  OK, so I loved fairy tales as a child. Er…still do. And maybe, as some have said, romances are fairy tales for adults—because they have that HEA. But fairy tales had messages and so do romances. They often teach us what a real man is like and how a woman should expect to be treated. There are stories about triumph over tragedy and treating the earth well. It isn’t just history we can expect to learn from a romance.

                  But in the pages of a romance, the learning is easy—and fun. And at the end, you are uplifted. You close the cover with a smile.

                  If you read my latest book, Conquest of the Heart, I hope you will be uplifted—and learn just a bit of history.




Blurb

Her people conquered his country. How can they overcome the distrust they feel to find love? 

Madeline wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she has fallen in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?
Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king , is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in?


Excerpt

She did not cry out or pull away. She opened her mouth farther, inviting a deeper taste of her sweetness, an invitation that this time, he did not ignore. She swayed against him, and the combined heat of their bodies seemed to melt them together, fusing them into one. 


Somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind he marveled at how well their two bodies fit together, curve to cavern, hill to hollow, swell to depression. He started when her hand touched the bare flesh of his back, and again when her other one was also laid upon him, was utterly lost to dignity when they moved over his skin.

His own hands began to explore, almost, it seemed, of their own volition, but he drank in their findings, savoring the slope of her shoulder, the long curve of her back, a cresting buttock. His hands found it all, gliding over her, sending searing sensations to him to feed his hunger for her. But it was an insatiable hunger, a hunger that grew with each touch, each caress, each play of tongue on tongue.

One of his hands searched upward from her waist, climbed the mound of her breast, and was rewarded by a hardening nub at the peak. He pressed closer, wanting that union of flesh with flesh that could not be accomplished through layers of silk and linen. He pressed against her and she stumbled back a step. He turned her so that her back was to the oak and ground into her, tongue thrusting, loins pressing in a frenzy to intermesh.


Her hands moved with an equal searching frenzy across his back, kneading, clawing, wanting, urging him on. He grabbed at her skirt, trying to lift it, but the fullness of it defeated him, slithering back into the path of his groping hand, blocking him from his goal of bared thigh and hip and belly. He heard her moan and its plaintive note lent him new resourcefulness.

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Historical Romance


A lot of work goes into writing any book, but I think it’s safe to say that there are some genres of romance that are more difficult to write, just based on the amount of research that has to be done. Historical books pose a threat to any writer, because not only do we have to procure a good story but we also have to make things historically correct, else we get hung out to dry with the rest of wrong-doers (haha).
My novella, Forbidden Angel, is set in a concentration camp at the end of WWII. Here are some of the tactics I used when it came to making my story historically correct
-I didn’t limit myself to the characteristics of one certain concentration camp (example: Auschwitz). Instead I did research on all prevalent camps, like—Dachau, the extermination camp Sobibor, and of course Auschwitz. I took the knowledge that I learned about camps like these and used it to create the setting for the characters in my novella.

-I also did a lot of double checking, which is probably one of the best tactics to use. Don’t trust anything you find online, unless there are multiple sources that back it up, especially when it comes to Wikipedia. It’s very useful, but not always correct.

This time period is a rather difficult to capture since this is such a tragic event in our history. It is hard to portray something like a romance within the walls of a place where happiness isn’t a common denominator; especially between the Jewish people being held prisoner and the Nazi’s holding them captive. This was a big reason that I chose this story, because it was a challenge. A relationship between these two people seems nigh impossible, based on the circumstances that bring them together.
It’s funny because when I read books about paranormal heroes who are known killers of hundreds, and are proclaimed evil, I don’t think twice about it. When it comes to a German Nazi soldier, it’s hard for me to think of any qualities he could have where he can redeem himself. (Funny how that works, right?) Writing Sarah and Aurel’s story was definitely a challenge for me, especially since I had a hero whom I disliked at first, but grew to love in the end.
With all of that being said, I hope you will check out my debut novella, Forbidden Angel. Available now from Breathless Press!

Forbidden Angel
Timeless-Historical Romance
Buy Link
Blurb:
When captured by the Nazi’s, Sarah finds herself in a concentration camp that not only brings her closer to death…but closer to love.
Sarah Brenner, a young Jewish woman, is terrified when she finds herself in the heat of a railcar bound for a work camp in Nazi Germany. For years she, along with her mother and sister, had hidden from the SS, but no one could hide forever. Her hatred for those who have enslaved them is ever-growing, especially when they arrive and she encounters the shockingly handsome Nazi doctor who can’t seem to keep his eyes—or hands—off her.
Aurel Rothstein is not your everyday concentration camp physician. The endless prisoners and lack of care he’s allowed to give have made him numb to the work he so coveted. It isn’t until he comes face to face with a beautiful prisoner that his heart becomes involved with his job—a forbidden and fatal move to any Nazi.
When a vile soldier takes direct interest in Sarah, she will be forced to make a choice that will change her life forever: ignore the pull toward the handsome doctor or give in to the forbidden passion he awakens with only a look. Either way they both risk everything…
Excerpt:
The doctor was kissing her. She was kissing him back. Sarah had been afraid when he’d carried her to his office. The word “experimentation” terrified her, but he did nothing of the sort. He’d actually fed her and given her some water. He even made her something to take back to her family. He was being so kind, and when his gaze smoldered and he said something about inspecting her body, she’d easily melted for him.
There was something wrong with her. She shouldn’t be feeling this way, but the moment his rough hands caressed her achy back, she was lost to her nerve endings. Never before had she felt such desire from the mere brush of fingertips against her skin. The pain in her back immediately ceased, and all she could feel was pleasure.
His kiss was soft and tentative at first, as if he was afraid he’d scare her away, but she kissed him back and reveled in the groan of defeat he gave. He ran his hands deliciously over her hardened nipples, teasing them, tracing where his mouth had kissed just moments before.
He’s a bad person, her mind kept trying to tell her, but she ignored the warning. Something about this man just felt so right.
“What’s your name, angel?” he asked as he broke away from her lips. Did he just call her angel? She pondered this pet name for a moment before he leaned in and nipped her neck.
“Mmm, I’m no angel.” She truly wasn’t. She was selfish just like any other person.
“Yes, you are, angel. Your name?”
“Sarah,” she murmured as he traced his tongue along her sensitive collarbone. Never in her life had anything felt this good. She’d been with one man before they stopped going into public. She didn’t dislike the sexual acts she explored with him, but they felt like nothing compared to this.
“If I am an angel, then so are you.” Sarah temporarily forgot his actions outside of this room, the other things he did. Only an angel could bring forth sensations this exquisite.
“No, that I am not.” His voice rumbled like a hurricane.
“Okay, a dark angel then, but still an angel.”
About the Author
Megan D. Martin is a content editor at Breathless Press, and loves her job more than a normal person should. She was born and raised in a small Texas town, where she still resides with her delightfully rotten son. She enjoys decorating her home with strange things that do not match, playing her old school Nintendo Entertainment System, and buying fish for her many fish tanks. Forbidden Angel is her debut novella. To learn more about Megan and her writing check her out on these social networking sites: