The 7 Do’s of Summertime Historical Reenactments/Renaissance Festivals

by Tami Dane on August 17th, 2011

1. My NUMBER ONE, ALL TIME MOST IMPORTANT SUGGESTION: Wear clothing made from natural fibers, whether you’re wearing garb or contemporary clothing. Take my word for it–natural linen, cotton, and/or summer weight wool is MUCH cooler than any polyester fabric, even the lightest weight. has a wonderful selection of pure linen and linen-cotton blends available for extremely reasonable prices. A piece of advice: roll over the raw edges of your linen fabric to keep them from fraying. And, of course, pre-wash/pre-shrink before cutting out your pattern.

2. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. I think this one is pretty self explanatory. Wouldn’t you agree?

3. Organize your day so that you do/attend activities that expose you to full sun early  in the day or much later in the evening. You’ll never catch me sitting in the audience of a 2:00pm joust at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. That sun is a killer.

4. Eat light meals to keep your internal body temperature down (and keep that corset from feeling like an overly-friendly boa constrictor). Also, avoid the temptation to over-imbibe. That ale might taste good going down, but alcohol increases your risk of dehydration.

5. Chose your day wisely. The ideal day to attend a historical reenactment is overcast and cool. I’d much rather deal with a little drizzle than full sun and 90+ degree heat.

6. Bring your own shade. Buy and carry a parasol. It’ll make a fashion statement and help you stay cooler. Inexpensive paper parasols can be purchased for an extremely reasonable price at many Renaissance festivals.

7. Tuck a bodice chiller, filled with ice, in your corset.


Perth Pewter Bodice Chiller

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of ice-cold pewter against your skin when it’s really hot. If you can’t find one, a linen rag soaked in cold water and wrapped around your neck will help you cool down in a pinch.


Bored Kids? A Cure for the There’s-Nothing-To-Do Blues

by Tami Dane on June 27th, 2011

Free bowling for kids. Two games. Every day.

Sure, I’m not much of a bowler (understatement–I’m the world’s WORST bowler), but my kids jump at any chance to get out of the house and do something different. I’m guessing yours will too.

Want more info? Go to

How does it work? You, the adult, registers for a free account online (email addy is required) and select a local bowling alley. Then, after supplying name, address, email and phone, you add your children (also provide birth month and year). Print coupons (one per day per child) and take to the bowling alley that you’ve selected during registration.

Oh, and you’ll have to click past at least a dozen pop ups advertising a special family package deal for $24.95 that allows up to four adults to bowl with the kids (shoe rental not included in the price).

That’s it! For the cost of shoe rentals, you can provide your kids with hours of fun at your local bowling alley. Not a bad deal at all.

While you’re sitting there, letting the kids burn off some energy, you can kick back and read a book on your Nook/Kindle. ENJOY!

Ah, the joys of grandchildren…

by Tami Dane on June 23rd, 2011

A week’s supply of bottled water. Check.

Medical emergency kit. Check.

Stash of healthy munchies. Check.

No, we’re not going on vacation or preparing for a hurricane. We’re preparing for a three-day visit from Mikey. An (almost) two year old
walking, climbing, reaching, pulling, tripping, falling disaster-waiting-to-happen. Why, oh why are boys that age so determined to do themselves bodily injury (I’m guessing Darwin would have something to say about it)?

I’m telling you, despite his best efforts, we are hellbent on keeping him injury free.

Does anyone know where I can buy a padded body suit? Size 2T. With matching crash helmet?

In all seriousness, I’d like to remind all grandparents–who haven’t had a 2 year old around for a few…decades–of a few safety tips:

1. Houseplants look yummy to a toddler (which blows my mind, since most of them won’t touch spinach). And dirt is a tempting dessert. Unfortunately, many varieties of houseplants are poisonous. And plant food isn’t all that great for Little Johnny either. Keep them up, out of reach. And when I say up, take into account the fact that the average 2 year old boy is a fearless climber and will think nothing of standing on tables or scaling your bookshelves like a rock wall.

2. Safety gates are a grandparent’s best friend. They can be used to either contain a busybody in a kid-proofed area of your house, or keep him out of a non-kid-proofed area. Seriously, they’re worth their weight in gold. Buy at lot. You can never have too many.

3. Lock everything. Cabinets (especially ones with dangerous cleaners or chemicals in them) and doors. Toddlers just LOVE playing with doors. They also love going out them. That’s not a good thing, especially if you live on a busy street.

4. Forget about accomplishing anything. A toddler is going to require your undivided attention. Period. So prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Tivo your favorite shows. Take an extra long shower and loofah, shave, and lather to your heart’s content. Cook meals ahead of time and refrigerate/freeze then reheat later. Better to spend  your time playing with Little Johnny than cooking noodles anyway.

5. Check your floors, tables, shelves for anything smaller than a silver dollar and put them up. Same goes for anything fragile. It’s a commonly known fact that a toddler will be drawn to a rare/valuable keepsake. And his first impulse will be to throw it against the hardest surface he can find.

6. ENJOY! Before you know it, Little Johnny will be six and a half feet tall and will be introducing you to your first great-grandchild 🙂

Authors, are you agented? Trying to find an agent?

by Tami Dane on June 3rd, 2011

A MUST READ blog post:

Read about three dangerous, potentially career-threatening contract clauses. This post will have you digging out your old contracts to see what you’ve signed…

Win a Kindle for your kid!

by Tami Dane on June 2nd, 2011

Win a Kindle for your kid…so they’ll leave yours alone!

Do you love your Kindle? Do you have kids who love it too? Well, now you can win them one of their own loaded with the hottest Indie Middle Grade and Young Adult books. All you have to do is sign up below.  Additional entries can be obtained by Tweeting (#kindleindiependence) about the event, and ‘Liking’ the event on its Facebook page.

The winner will be chosen on July Fourth. Be sure to check out the participating books and authors.


Grand Prize: 1 FREE Kindle with all authors’ books loaded on to it.

First Place: 1 FREE copy of each eBook

Second Place: 10 FREE eBooks of their choice

Third place: 5 FREE eBooks of their choice


Enter HERE:


Now Reading

by Tami Dane on March 2nd, 2011

Prom Nights From Hell

Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Meg Cabot, Lauren Myracle, Michele Jaffe

In this exciting collection, bestselling authors Meg Cabot (How to Be Popular), Kim Harrison (A Fistful of Charms), Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), and Lauren Myracle (ttyl) take bad prom nights to a whole new level—a paranormally bad level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don’t hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper—and he isn’t here to tell you how hot you look.

From angels fighting demons to a creepy take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, scary fun.

Amazon Page

Have you read it? Did you love it? Hate it? I’d love to hear!

Speed Dating with Deidre Knight: A writing contest

by Tami Dane on November 24th, 2010

Do you have a completed manuscript?

Are you looking for an agent?

Do the words The Knight Agency give you happy tingles?

Now’s your chance to have your work read by Deidre Knight, agency president and founder.

From the Knight Agency Blog:

What are you asking Santa for this year? A cashmere sweater? Flat screen TV? What about a gift that keeps on giving well into the New Year and beyond – literary representation?

Knight Agency president and founder Deidre Knight is on the hunt for a fresh, unique voice to add to her personal client roster. Are you the one she’s looking for? Find out by joining us here on The Knight Agency blog for “Speed Dating with Deidre.” Beginning Tuesday, November 30th, Deidre will whittle down the first 125 entries to one lucky winner.* The contest opens at 8:00am ET right here on the blog, so set your alarms!

Oh, and there’s a special bonus, one randomly drawn winner will receive a first chapter critique from Deidre – drawn from all entries.**

Get all the details at The Knight Agency Blog.
Good luck!

Call For Submissions: Cleis Press

by Tami Dane on November 15th, 2010

Corsets and Clockworks: Steampunk Erotic Romance
Editor: Kristina Wright
Publisher: Cleis Press
Publication Date: Fall 2011
Submission Deadline: February 15 (earlier submissions preferred!)
Payment: $100 per story and 2 copies of the book, on publication

I am looking for romantic erotica that reflects the excitement, fantasy and rebellion of steampunk. Not sure what steampunk is? Think Victorian elegance and aesthetics meets futuristic invention and exploration. But it doesn’t have to be Victorian (or Edwardian) era—it can be any time period, real or imagined, that blends elements of science, history, fantasy and technology. The one thing the genre has long been missing is romantic relationships and erotic encounters. Steampunk erotic romance is shiny brass and crushed velvet; mechanical inventions and romantic conventions; sexual fantasy and kinky fetish.

The steampunk world includes steam engines and scientists, corsets and clockworks, aviators and airships, alchemy and anachronistic technologies—not to mention those damned goggles and gadgets that everyone always references when talking about the genre! Steampunk is a spirit of high adventure that bridges the past and future. It captures the imagination in ways that make the eyes go wide and the heart beat a little faster.

What I do want:
 Stories that embody the essence of steampunk and pay homage to the genre.
 Stories that fetishize steampunk elements.
 Time travel, alternate histories, “second” or parallel worlds and non-traditional steampunk settings.
 Stories that are lush, wicked, sexy and romantic.

What I don’t want:
 Stories that throw in everything but the steampunk kitchen sink.
 Stories that are pure camp. A little campy fun is okay, but don’t overdo it.
 Fan fiction or slash fiction. Do not steal another author’s characters, please.
 Stories that are more about the technology than the characters.

Steampunk often defies definition, but here are some examples of books, television shows and movies that are considered steampunk or contain elements of steampunk:
 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (comic book series and movie)
 Wild, Wild West (60s television show and 90s movie)
 Sherlock Holmes (the recent movie)
 H.G. Wells’ Time Machine
 Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
 Katie MacAlister’s romance novel Steamed!
 Joss Whedon’s Serenity (television series) and Firefly (movie)
 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (movie, technically dieselpunk)
 Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere
 The Prestige (movie, technically gaslight romance)

There are many more, but hopefully this gives you an idea of the depth and breadth of steampunk. (Author Cherie Priest does an excellent job of defining steampunk on her website The Clockwork Century:

I want stories with strong plots, good character development and scorching hot sex. This collection will feature primarily heterosexual relationships, but stories may include lesbian and bisexual elements, triads, polyandrous relationships or group encounters.

Stories should be written with a female audience in mind and I have a preference for female point of view. No incest, bestiality or underage characters, please. According to Romance Writers of America, a romance must include two key elements: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying, optimistic ending. So be sure to give me a steampunk story that is erotic and romantic!

Submission Guidelines: Unpublished stories only, no simultaneous submissions. The desired story length is 2,500-5,000 words. Double-space and indent the first line of each paragraph. Do not put extra spaces between paragraphs. Include your full contact information (legal name/pseudonym, mailing address and phone number) and a bio of 50 words or less written in the third person. Please paste your story into the body of your e-mail and attach it as a Microsoft Word .doc file.

Payment will be $100 per story and 2 copies of the book upon publication. Contributors retain the rights to their stories. I will notify contributors of their acceptance in June 2011, but please note that Cleis Press has final approval over the manuscript.

Send your submission to with Submission: Story Title in the subject line. Please direct any questions to the same address.

About the editor:
Kristina Wright’s ( first anthology, Fairy Tale Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women is nominated for a Reviewers’ Choice Award by RT Book Reviews and was featured hardcover alternate of the Doubleday Book Club. Her second anthology, Dream Lover: Paranormal Stories of Erotic Romance, will be out in May 2011. Kristina’s erotica and erotic romance fiction has appeared in eighty print anthologies, including With This Ring, I Thee Bed (Harlequin Spice); Bedding Down: A Collection of Winter Erotica (Avon Red); Nice Girls, Naughty Sex (Seal Press); three editions of Best Women’s Erotica (Cleis Press); four editions of Best Lesbian Erotica (Cleis Pess); six editions of the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica (Running Press) and the erotic romance collections Seduction, Liaisons and Sexy Little Numbers (Black Lace). She received the Golden Heart Award for Romantic Suspense from Romance Writers of America for her first novel Dangerous Curves, which was published by Silhouette Books. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Passionate Ink. She is also a book reviewer for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and the book club moderator for the Naked Reader Book Club at She holds degrees in English and Humanities and teaches English Composition and World Mythology at the community college level.

Harlequin hosts SYTYCW week!

by Tami Dane on November 1st, 2010

Does your imagination run wild with vivid characters? Have you ever dreamed of becoming a USA TODAY bestselling author? Well, our editors want to make those dreams come true. We are hungry to find talented new writers for Harlequin Books. Through podcasts, blogs, and discussions with our expert editors and current authors, we’re going to help you understand the appeal of the romance genre. And there’s a special daily challenge with feedback that will give some great insights into crafting the perfect story. So for the next week, come by to hone your skills and get started on the path to publication. So you think you can write? Here’s your chance to show us!

Nov 1 Nov 2 Nov 3 Nov 4 Nov 5
Why Write a Romance Novel? Starting Your Book Submitting Your Book Revising Your Book Making the Sale
9am Kick-off welcome on the Harlequin Blog and a special hello from all our offices! First Chapters The Editor’s Perspective Stories for the Soul
10am Why Write Romance? Succeeding as a Romance Writer Harlequin Ed Critique Challenge 1 Results Harlequin Ed Critique Challenge 2 Results Fiction Can Be Murder… Harlequin Ed Critique Challenge 3 Results Harlequin Ed Critique Challenge 4 Results Sales from the Past Year
11am Harlequin Editorial Critique Challenge 1 Announcement Harlequin Editorial Critique Challenge 2 Announcement Harlequin Editorial Critique Challenge 3 Announcement Harlequin Editorial Critique Challenge 4 Announcement Harlequin Editorial Critique Challenge 5 Announcement
12pm 200 Books and Counting Choosing Character Names Just What the Doctor Ordered Multicultural Writing the Word on the Street
1pm The Harlequin What’s My First Line Challenge The Best Sex I Ever Had…I Wrote Mailing it Off Writing Visual-If When Harry Met Sally Was a Book Harlequin Has the World Covered
2pm USA TODAY List Here I Come! Counterpoint to Sexy Yes, you should have margins! Paranormal Plots You Can Sink Your Teeth Into It’s a Family Affair
3pm How I Became a Romance Writer What Editors Look For What’s the Difference? Mainstream vs Category The Last Word
4pm Book of Your Heart vs Book You Sell The “Aha” Moment – The End of Predictability in Romance Writing Books on Writing
All Day Writing Around the World What’s Your Routine? Meet 50+ Editors Who Want to Buy Your Book! Change is Good: Why Revisions are Necessary Questions

Find out more at:

Call for Submission: Samhain “Just Romance” Anthology

by Tami Dane on November 1st, 2010

Forwarded with permission.

Samhain is dialing down the heat and focusing on the romance for a Springtime “Just Romance” Anthology.

I’m excited to announce an open call for submissions for a new anthology for Spring 2011. The theme is Springtime, and in keeping with that theme, I’m looking for stories that focus on blossoming romance rather than full-blown sexual relationships, chemistry rather than combustion, the spark of attraction rather than the blaze of passion.
The stories can have closed-door sex scenes, glossed-over sex scenes, or characters who are waiting until after the book is over. There can be as much romantic and sexual tension as the book can handle, but no explicit language, and all stories must end with a happily ever after or happy for now.
I’m open to all sub-genres of romance, and all types of sexuality: m/f, m/m, f/f and combinations thereof.

The anthology will include novellas from 20,000 to 25,000 words in length and will be released individually as separate ebooks in May 2011 and will be combined as one print title for mid 2012 print release.

Submissions are open to all authors, published with Samhain or aspiring to be published with Samhain. All submissions must be new material—previously published submissions will not be considered. Additionally, manuscripts previously submitted, whether individually or for past anthologies, will not be considered either. Please be aware that manuscripts submitted to this anthology cannot be resubmitted at a later date unless by invitation from an editor. However, submissions with merit for possible publication at Samhain will be passed to interested Samhain editors even if not chosen for the Springtime Just Romance Anthology.

To submit a manuscript for consideration please include:
The full manuscript (of 20,000 to 25,000 words) with a comprehensive 2-5 page synopsis. Please include a letter of introduction/query letter in the body of your email, and attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate MS Word or rich text files. Full manuscripts are required for this as it’s a special project.

Also, when you send your files, please be sure to use the naming convention Springtime_Title and Springtime_Title_Synopsis.

Submissions are open until November 1st, 2010 and the final decisions will be made by November 30th, 2010. Please send your submission to and include Springtime Anthology in the subject line.

Questions can be addressed to Imogen Howson at Also, if you would like fuller details of the heat level we’re seeking for this anthology, please contact Imogen.

Please note, we are not accepting multiple submissions for this anthology. However, if you already have a manuscript under consideration as a general submission with Samhain and would also like to send in a submission to this anthology, please do so.