Once Upon An Ordinary Life by Katherine Bone

“Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life… love comes along and brings you a fairy tale.”

I adore this quote. So much so I have it in my office. What fascinates me about this saying is the fact that no matter what your circumstances are, love will always find a way. Most days, I like to take this theory a step further.  I’m fascinated by historical societies, brotherhoods, and times past that become his story, her story— our story, supporting the ordinary element in a fairy tale.  Why?  Fairy tales are possibilities.  And historical romance deals best with cultural norms, majestic settings, and how multiple possibilities come into play.

How is this relevant to what I write? Fairy tale love, my friends, is the most formidable love in existence. It’s adventure at its finest. Men in shining armor.  Chivalry.  Clashing steel and battling wit.  A plethora of experiences that bridge humanity and forge a bond with generations that have come before and have yet to be born. Love and protection is a specialty of my favs— the Alpha males.  Those hunky heroes I adore, dukes, viscounts, earls, pirates, officers and highwaymen.  Formidable men rivaling no other.  Loyal men willing to hack down enemies, trudge through black forests, and risk stepping into quicksand to avenge family and/or comrades, or rescue a lady love.  These are hard, determined men, unwilling to bend until the right woman locates the chink in their armor and melts the steel encasing their hearts.  Their devotion is hard won, but is a great reward.

Where do you find them?  Alpha heroes can be inspired by fairy tale men like King Arthur, Lancelot, Hawkeye, Legolas, and Edward Cullen or modern-day actors like Jared Padalecki, Simon Baker, Rupert Penry-Jones, Richard Armitage, and (insert deep sigh) Chris Hemsworth.  But no matter who they are or what they look like, these hard-edged heroes are the basis of legend and lore.

They have interesting names like Percival Avery, Marques Stanton, 7th Duke of Blendingham.  They’re part bad boy like swashbucklers Thomas Sexton and Garrick Seaton, Viscount Northrop.  They’re loyal and determined to make King and country proud like Simon Danbury and Lieutenant Henry Guffald.  These are the men of Nelson’s Tea.  They epitomize the scope of yummy Alpha goodness.

The Brothers Grimm perfected scripting fairy tales which formed the fabric of society, mannerisms, and etiquette today.  When it came to alpha males, they said it best.

“Some men are born to good luck: all they do or try to do comes right—all that falls to them is so much gain—all their geese are swans—all their cards are trumps—toss them which way you will, they will always, like poor puss, alight upon their legs, and only move on so much the faster. The world may very likely not always think of them as they think of themselves, but what care they for the world? What can it know about the matter?”   Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm, The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

So what’s in a fairy tale?  Ordinary lives altered.  A threshold crossed.

What’s at the heart of a fairy tale?  Love.

Storytelling at its most basic is his story, her story, our story rich with human failings, struggles, and success— the elements of an ordinary life we can all relate to.

Do you believe in fairy tales?  Can you name a character fitting the alpha mold, one who’s inspired you or lives in your fantasies?

Katherine Bone
Rogues, Rebels & Rakes
DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT 10/29 at Crimson Romance
www.katherinebone.com

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Why I Write: Behind the Scenes with Katherine Bone

Writers write.  That’s what we do best.  If we weren’t writing, I imagine we’d be telling stories or acting them out one way or another.  Writers are more like unfulfilled actors, sporting a bit of stage fright.  And so, imagine, if you will, a library with no writers in sight.  Hard to envision, isn’t it?  Lord knows, I’ve spent my fair share of time doing research.  But hey, just go with it.  Pirate!  In the middle of the library, children gather round in expectation that one of their favorite stories will be told.  The reader, a volunteer or library worker, sports a black eye patch and a beleaguered pirate hat.  Her mouth is quirked to the side with a brilliantly portrayed, “Arrrr, matey.”  Laughter abounds!   Yep, that would be me.  😉

Thankfully, I don’t have to appear occasionally at libraries because I write.  You see, I adore tales of adventure, mayhem, heroism and romance.  Just to be clear, pirates encompass all these and more.  Why?  Because.  They.  CAN.  Pirates, or the men and women, who become one for one reason or another, buck against systems to live by self-imposed guidelines or codes.  They don’t follow society’s dictates because they CHOOSE not to.  And if that means hanging from a gibbet, then make merry.  At least pirates lived life with no regrets, an occasional stash of gold, and a good supply of rum.  Well, I figure, so CAN I.

Writing about pirates is the real treasure.  Everybody loves a bad boy.  Bad boys are playgrounds for heroines who fight diligently to keep from falling head over heels in love.  Henry Morgan, Jean Bart, William Dampier, Captain William Kidd, Thomas Tew, Edward Drummond, John Roberts (the real Dread Pirate Roberts), and Edward Low were the best of the bad roving the seas.  (I wrote an article about them.  If you want more information, you can find it on my website: www.katherinebone.com.)  Sadly, all met wretched ends.  But as a writer I CAN take tidbits of these characters, meld them into stories with adventure and romance at the heart, twist motivations, add in vengeance, sprinkle a bit of mayhem, and voila!  Story gold!  Worth their weight in rum, wouldn’t you say?

This is why I write.  I write to take a reader somewhere they’ve never been.  I CAN take a reader back in history, or somewhere extravagant, and wield classic storylines into a Celtic knot without having to worry about dangling from a gibbet.  I CAN break the rules.  I CAN defy convention.  I CAN create passion or snuff it out.  I CAN take two people with nothing in common and entwine their fates like hemp rope.  I CAN and DO because I write.

Yes, I’m what you might call a modern day pirate.  I don’t attack off the coast of Somalia or pirate books on the Net.  I’m not limited to libraries or stages.  I HAVE pages and pages of empty white space at my disposal and a compass, my muse, pointing to what I want most— a bestseller.  Characters appear and guide me through the looking glass on the wildest journeys, sailing me to unknown horizons.  In the meantime, I’m supplied with a hearty dose of rum and treasure is dangled before me— hunky alpha heroes, my specialty.  Drink up me hearties, Yo ho!

Yes, “It’s a pirate’s life for me.”  Why do I write?  Because I CAN and CHOOSE and DO.  And guess what?  You CAN too!  Now, gird your loins and pack up your effects.  Set your eyes on that horizon and set sail for sights unknown.  Write because you CAN.  DO it because you CHOOSE.  Pirate!

As a writer what are rules you like to break?  They’re more like guidelines anyway.

As a reader, what instances can you pinpoint where rule-breaking works?  Snaps compass.  And really bad eggs.

Katherine Bone

DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT 10/29/12

Written in Red: Rogues, Rebels & Rakes

Ooh!!!   Written in Red sounds incredibly apropos to what I write: jaunty pirates, action/adventure, charismatic rogues and the rebels who defy them.  That’s my tagline, you see.  Rogues, Rebels and… those exasperating Rakes that make you swoon.  Add in a snub at convention, a pinch of defiance, a dram of rum (forgive me, I digress), a tad sword fighting, fisticuffs, a dash of vengeance and mayhem galore, and my writing is what it is … written in red — ink, that is.

Yes, it’s a writer’s life for me.

And while I would love to be drinking rum and kicking back my heels, living the carefree life (It’s five o-clock somewhere, right?), these alpha males of mine, scoundrels through and through, have their own obscure code.  They don’t make it easy.  No.  They make me work hard.  They come angst-ridden, with redemption issues, a quest for vengeance or a relentless drive to prove themselves worthy.  And if that means writing me into a corner, they’ll do it, especially if a beautiful heroine is involved.  A good alpha does love his opposite, you see.  Especially if said damsel is in distress.

So what’s a writer to do when a hero sails in with backstory, drama or trauma, and the need to protect his lady love?  Well, as I have learned, few choices are safe enough to pursue in these cases.

These come highly recommended:

  1. Stare at blinking curser until completely hypnotized and you forget where you are like Jack did in Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End, while in Davy Jones’ Locker.
  2. Stare down the muse or try to drink her into a swoon, when you know you can’t drink a wench under the table.
  3. Stare out the window and observe Captain Jack doing something he vows you’ll never see again.
  4. Stare at hundreds of emails calling for immediate attention, which leads to a voyage through Facebook, sort of like a dead monkey skittering off with a cursed doubloon, and then on to Twitter and Pinterest (where abundant pictures of Jack have been stashed).
  5. Stare at contract.  (Feet skidding to a stop!  Jack says, “Keep your eyes on that horizon, mate.”)

No matter how you handle 1-4, #5’s cut direct should do the trick.  Make sure #5 is something that will take out the wild pirate-obsessed glint in your eye, like ice cold water on a passed out seaman’s face.

Indeed, love stories are meant to be written in red, that indelible color of blood ties, commitment and passion.   And like the bonds formed between each character envisioned in your mind’s eye, writers are meant to live a writer’s life.

So, mateys.  Forge ahead.  Write the stories that fill your heart to overflowing.  Imagine alpha males pitting wit and brawn against a wicked foe.  And when you get stuck, begin with step 1 and work your way to step 5 over and over again.  Jack will thank you for it!

Katherine Bone

DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT Coming October 29th

www.katherinebone.com

Meet the Lady in Red… Katherine Bone

1. Introduce yourself, please (name you write under). Hi everybody!  (It’s time to partay! Make sure the rum isn’t gone!)  My name is Katherine Bone and I write Regency & Contemporary romance. After all, who doesn’t want to read about a sexy ne’r-do-well or a hunky aristocrat challenged to protect, respect and cherish the only woman with the power to upset their world? I love stories of Alpha males and heroines driven to the brink of exasperation, characters with wit and verve, and action/adventure stories that satisfy. That’s why I write with an emphasis on Rogues, Rebels and Rakes. My first book is the first in the Nelson’s Tea Series.  Nelson could not go without his tea, but neither could he do without his mercenaries, a group of first sons serving England without detection by his enemies or the ton.  DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT is a Regency romance set in 1804 and will be an October 29th release at Crimson Romance.

2. Tell us some more about yourself. You want to know about lil old me?  Woot!  My story is fairly simple. My ancestors were Alpha heroes. I was born and raised an Army brat, so it stands to reason my Prince Charming wore a military uniform too. (There’s nothing like a man in uniform, is there?) As a child and commander’s wife, I experienced opportunities I never dreamed possible. As a mother, more often than not, raising four children on her own, I can proudly say I have two sons serving in the Air Force and Army, and two daughters who’ve also fallen in love with men in uniform. These days, Charming and I eagerly await visits from our children and grandsons, though they seem too few and far between for my taste. <g> In the interim, with roots in the south and adventure to be imagined, I cherish Charming and cuddle my Maine Coon, seeing the world through my character’s eyes, one story at a time.

3. What’s your secret passion?  Hmmm… are you sure you really want to know? <g> Okay, I confess I do have quite the thing for Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and the Phantom of the Opera (Gerard Butler). My Maine Coon is even named Christine Daae. (Hey… she was an orphan. 😉

4. Tell us one thing about yourself you’d never change. (Introspection.  Yay!)  I don’t want to change the young woman that lives inside my head. She’s an untamed, goofy girl eager to believe the best in people. The older I get, the more stable and adventurous my inner Kathy becomes. Deep down, I’m still that 19 year old girl expectantly waiting for awesome to happen.

5. If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live?  Woe!  Fabulous questions here on the Lady’s in Red, though I don’t know if I can only pick one. I’ll give this a try. My spirit longs to be standing on the moors with bagpipes echoing on the wind. My heart aches for the English coast, the tall white cliffs of Dover or the waves stripping the rocks at Land’s End. And there is that vixen who’d love to share the Black Pearl with Jack on the crystal seas of the Caribbean while he gazes into his compass and tells me to keep my weathered eye on that horizon.  (Why is the rum always gone? he’ll ask.)

6. Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live?  I’ve heard over and over again, write what you know. That’s never appealed to me. I love the mystery of a world I can only imagine, heroes and heroines who defy social convention, who are confident enough in themselves to make a stand with integrity and honor. It’s a simple idea really. We are the same people today as we were in the 1800’s. All that has changed are fashion, the political scene, and the landscape. What better way to experience history, then to imagine it!

7. What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class?  Poetry. In 9th grade, one of my Haiku’s was published in our annual yearbook. I’ll never forget how tickled I was it had made the cut. And so, throughout my teens and while raising my family, I continued to write poetry until I built up enough confidence to write my first book.

8. Why do you write romance novels?  I write romance because love is the greatest gift of all. I write romance because while Charming was away on TDY, and I cared for our children alone, I found comfort, companionship, friendship, and the all-encompassing love that bridges both the real and imagined world. Plain and simple, romance novels kept me sane when loneliness had taken its toll. Romance novels helped me deal with the frequent separations Charming and I endured and gave me hope that one day my dearest husband would be back at my side and I would have my happily ever after.

9. What else do you write?  I’ve dabbled in Post Civil War, Paranormal, Western and Native American genres. I’ve also recently completed my first contemporary, LOST TREASURE, CAPTIVE PRINCESS which will be a 2013 Crimson Romance release.

10. What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience?  I think the one thing that stood out for me was the idea of never giving up.  Always remember to be flexible.  You must be able to bend so the wind doesn’t break you.  You must buoy yourself up so the sea doesn’t drown you.

11. Do you identify closely with one particular character? I identify with Lady Constance Danbury the most. She’s a Duke’s daughter who will stop at nothing, including facing her worst fear — drowning — in order to sail to Spain and plead for her Aunt’s assistance in saving her father’s dwindling reputation. As a daughter, sister, mother or friend, I would do anything for those I love.

12. The best part about my writing life is: Getting to live through my characters, of course.  Through them, I get to chase adventure, focus my eye on that imagined horizon, and bask in the knowledge that just over the edge something extraordinary awaits.

13. The worst part about my writing life is:  Here’s where writing gets hard. The worst part of a writer’s life is maintaining a level of confidence. Contests, critiques and relationships gone wrong tend to sap out a writer’s joy. A writer must protect his/her integrity in order to champion his/her imaginative spirit. Remembering this is hard when writers are faced with daily barrages of negativity. Winston Churchill gave the best encouragement to anyone facing defeat. I wear a silver bracelet with his engraved quote on my wrist to remind me every day to “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” If I had given up on Percival Avery or Lady Constance Danbury when everyone told me to, DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT wouldn’t be a Crimson Romance October release.  (Thank you, Jennifer Lawler and Crimson Romance for believing in me!)

14. Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.  My next book will be the second book in the Nelson’s Tea Series, THE ROGUE’S PRIZE.  The book follows Captain Henry Guffald’s adventures as he meets his match in a female pirate with her own agenda, an agenda in conflict with his own. THE ROGUE’S PRIZE will be a 2013 release.