Diane Kalas, Inspirational Historical Romance Author

“But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works." Psalm 73:28 (KJV)






Saturday, March 31, 2012

From Diane's Antique Book Collection

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . . COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE - Part 1 
A Lady’s Position. A lady’s choice is only negative – that is to say, she may love, but she cannot declare her love; she must wait. It is hers, when the time comes, to consent or to decline, but till the time comes she must be passive. And whatever may be said in jest or sarcasm about it, this trial of a woman’s patience is often very hard to bear.

A Gentleman’s Position. A man may, and he will learn his fate at once, openly declare his passion, and obtain his answer. In this he has great advantage over the lady. Being refused, he may go elsewhere to seek a mate, if he be in the humor, try his fortune again, and mayhap be the lucky drawer of a princely prize.
            To the gentleman seeking a partner for life, we would say – look to it, that you be not entrapped by a beautiful face.

“Regard not the figure, young man; look at the heart.
The heart of a woman is sometimes deformed.”

Conduct of a Gentleman Toward Ladies. A gentleman whose thoughts are not upon marriage should not pay too exclusive attentions to any one lady. He may call upon all and extend invitations to any or all to attend public places of amusement with him, or may act as their escort on occasions, and no one of the many has any right to feel herself injured. But as soon as he neglects others to devote himself to a single lady he gives that lady reason to suppose he is particularly attracted to her, and there is danger of her feelings becoming engaged.

Conduct of a Lady Toward Gentlemen. Neither should a young lady allow marked attentions from any one to whom she is not especially attracted, for several reasons; one, that she may not do an injury to the gentleman in seeming to give his suit encouragement, another, that she may not harm herself in keeping aloof from her those whom she might like better, but who will not approach her under the mistaken idea that her feelings are already interested. A young lady will on no account encourage the address of one who she perceives to be seriously interested in her unless she feels it possible that in time she may be able to return his affections. The prerogative of proposing lies with man, but the prerogative of refusing lies with woman; and this prerogative a lady of tact and kind heart can and will exercise before her suitor is brought to the humiliation of a direct offer. She may let him see that she receives with equal favor attentions from others, and she may check in a kind but firm manner his too frequent visits. She should try, while discouraging him as a lover, to still retain him as a friend.
            A young man who has used sufficient delicacy and deliberation in this matter, and who, moreover, is capable of taking a hint when it is offered him, need not go to the length of a declaration when a refusal only awaits him.

Premature Declaration. It is very injudicious, not to say presumptuous for a gentleman to make a proposal to a young lady on a brief acquaintance. He may be perfectly satisfied as to her merits, but how can he imagine himself so attractive as to suppose her equally satisfied on her part? A lady who would accept a gentleman at first sight can hardly possess the discretion needed to make her a good wife. Therefore, impatient and impassioned young man, nurse your ardor for a while unless you wish to ensure for yourself disappointment.

Love at First Sight. No doubt there is such a thing as love at first sight, but love alone is a very uncertain foundation upon which to base marriage. There should be thorough acquaintanceship and a certain knowledge of harmony of tastes and temperaments before matrimony is ventured upon.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

From Diane's Antique Book Collection

A visit to a 19th century physician . . . Corseting, or Tight Lacing

“The most mistaken and pernicious practice in the world is tight lacing; it distorts the ‘human form divine,’ and causes destructive organic diseases, which never can be remedied, thus curtailing life, and disfiguring beauty. All the statues and paintings of the Romans and Greeks have left us of Venus, the ideal model of female perfection of figure, represent her with a full, round waist, as nature makes the most finished workmanship of her hands.


We hope this barbarous custom of murdering these fair proportions of the body will soon be heard of no more. There may be cases in which lacing is required to brace the enfeebled chest and limbs, but never to the degree of the fashionable system of excruciating the body into an hour glass, practiced by some young ladies, under the mistaken notion that they render themselves more fashionable, or that they may hear the marvelous exclamation uttered by some would-be exquisite or fool, that he can span round her waist.

In one of the annual reports of the Register General, on births and deaths, the following passage occurs: ‘In the year 1839, thirty-one thousand and ninety English women died of Consumption. This high mortality is ascribed partly to the in-door life they lead, partly to the compression, preventing the free expansion of the chest, by costume, or dress.’

Mr. Coulson, in his popular work on Deformities of the Spine, we select the following complaints and diseases, all caused by tight lacing: Headache, Giddiness, Pains in the Eyes, Earache, Apoplexy, Bleeding at the Nose, Inability to suckle, Scirrhus and Cancer in the Breast, Adhesion of the Lungs to the Diaphragm, Asthma, Spitting of Blood, Palpitation of the Heart, Water in the Chest, Cough, Abscesses in the lungs, Consumption, Loss of Appetite, Squeamishness, Flatulence, or Wind, Rupture, Sickness, Bad Digestion, Fistula, Jaundice, Calculi, Diseases of the Kidneys, Hysteria, and Eruptions. To these consequences are added, in respect to mothers, unhealthy, ugly children, and monstrosities, besides some other horrors, for which we refer to Mr. Coulson’s Summary.

Corsets are designed, partly as under-clothing and partly to display the general outline of the figure, or as it may be said, to give effect to the bust. These objects of their use may be gained without recourse to tight lacing.

On the subject of displaying the figure, a certain degree of display of the female form is not incompatible with correctness of manners. But there is a limit which, we believe, can not be exceeded without immediate detriment to public morals, and positive offense to delicacy. There was a time when a mode of dressing to display every personal charm was peculiar to an unfortunate class of beings, regarded as lost to all the modesty and dignity of the sex; but it is a melancholy truth, that this distinction between the lost and the reputable, no longer exists in our great cities, where leaders of fashion, and celebrated beauties, claiming the highest rank and character, are most remarkable for the solicitude with which they prepare their lovely persons to be gazed at and admired in all of the proportions by the passing crowd.

We sincerely hope that but a short period will elapse before they will strictly respect the boundaries established by good sense and good taste, around the lovely purity inherent in their sex.”


Gunn, M.D., John C., GUNN’S NEW DOMESTIC PHYSICIAN: HOME BOOK OF HEALTH, Ohio, Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Company, 1859

Saturday, March 10, 2012

From Diane's Antique Book Collection

Etiquette on entering a carriage: “If you enter a carriage with a lady, let her first take her place on the seat facing the horses; then sit opposite, and on no account beside her, unless you are her husband or other near relative. Enter a carriage so that your back is towards the seat you are to occupy; you will thus avoid turning round in the carriage, which is awkward. Take care that you do not trample on the ladies’ dresses, or shut them in as you close the door.”

Etiquette on riding with ladies: “In riding with ladies, recollect that it is your duty to see them in their saddles before you mount. And the assistance they require must not be rendered by the groom; you must assist them yourself.”

Etiquette on meeting a lady out riding: “If, when riding out, you meet a lady with whom you are acquainted, you may bow and ride on; but you cannot with propriety carry on a conversation with her while you retain your seat on horseback. If very anxious to talk to her, it will be your duty to alight, and to lead your horse.”

Etiquette assisting a lady to alight from a horse: “After the ride the gentleman must assist his companion to alight. She must first free her knee from the pommel and be certain that her habit is entirely disengaged. He must then take her left hand in his right and offer his left hand as a step for her foot. He must lower this hand gently and allow her to reach the ground quietly without springing. A lady should not attempt to spring from the saddle.”

Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Interview with Award winning author, Anne Greene


Hello Anne: I'm so pleased that you agreed to be my first author interview. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of Scotland for Masquerade Marriage and reading about your hero and heroine who come alive on the pages. It's safe to say, I am a fan forever. 
Tell me a little about yourself.
I delight in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. I writes both historical and suspense novels. My hero husband, Army Special Forces Colonel Larry Greene, and I have visited twenty-five countries. A visit to Scotland resulted in my book, Masquerade Marriage. A Texas Christmas Mystery is set in my home state of Texas. I make my home in McKinney, Texas. Two of my four children live nearby. Tim LaHaye led me to the Lord when I was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is my Pastor. In 1990, I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas. My highest hope is that my stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus.

How long have you been writing and when did you first realize you were called to write inspirational fiction?
I didn't start writing until my children were in school. MASQUERADE MARRIAGE is my second published book, and A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY is my third. I've been writing about ten years. Reading was my escape in my growing up years, and I always wanted to be a writer. I graduated from the University of Texas summa cum laude with a degree in Literary Studies, but worked as a photographer and as a Real Estate Agent before diving in full-time to write. When I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, the journey to writing got easier. Because of the ACFW annual conference, I met editors and agents. I knew from the beginning I could only write inspirational fiction. Only with inspirational fiction can I have both a strong spiritual message and a meaningful personal issue for readers to think about.
How did Masquerade Marriage come together? Do the characters come first in your mind or the setting and historical event?
During a long visit to the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland I became intrigued with why Highland Clans no longer occupied the Highlands. You'll find the surprising answer in my book MASQUERADE MARRIAGE. I'm of Scottish ancestry as are so many Americans, and bagpipes music makes my heart sing. I fell in love with the awesome country and the friendly, complex people. So, being a writer, of course I had to write of what I knew. I love the clear fresh air, the handsome people, the amazing openness of the country, the castles, and the Scots violent, adventurous history. In the next few years, I plan to add Cailin and Fiona's love stories to Megan's legendary love. In this series, the setting and the historical event of the Battle of Culloden, which changed the Highlands forever, came first as a story idea.
I also write contemporary suspense novels like my book, A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY. I have a sassy detective novel and a cowboy suspense set in my home state of Texas in the works.

How is the sequel to Masquerade Marriage coming along, and what is the title?
I am about finished with the first draft. Brody and Megan, in love in Masquerade Marriage, are also in the second book of the series. The working title is MARRIAGE BY ARRANGEMENT and tells the story of Cailin and Lord Avondale's legendary love. The third book in the series will tell Brody's sister, Fiona's love story, as well as update Megan and Cailin's life.
Texas Christmas Mystery is an ebook and a contemporary. How do you find promoting an ebook as compared to a paperback?
Interesting question. A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY has only been available for two months and I've done very little promoting. Ebook sales are on fire at the moment and the book is priced right. Also, many fans of Masquerade Marriage already enjoy and know my writing so they buy the ebook. For book signings, I have paperback books of the ebook for a slightly higher price that readers can purchase. I love ebooks myself. I love almost instantly seeing the book on my kindle after I buy it. I think the difference is more about promoting a second book as compared to promoting a first. The second book is easier because readers already love my writing.
I don't know yet if there will be a difference in the historical and the contemporary in regard to sales. Most authors stick to one genre, but I write historical and historical romance because as a girl, I didn't like history - until I read my first historical novel. Then I was hooked. I know many people today don't enjoy history, and my goal is to open up the glories of the past to them. History was modern life lived with all its heartache, joy, and excitement in a world very different from our own. I bring these different worlds into vivid, living color, and give a painless dose of history along the way. And I write romantic suspense because I like to see good triumph over evil with fast action, surprises, and discover who did it and why.

What was your writing goal behind the storyline of MASQUERADE MARRIAGE? Of A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY?
That God is in control. No matter how awful the circumstances in a person's life, God doesn't let anything happen to you outside of His perfect will. My books also have an underlying theme of redemption.
I love to write about redemption in every form. Second chances, forgiveness, grace, finding God's will, and finding and walking with the Savior. I love the grace of God, and His unexpected ways of showing His love. The spiritual theme of my books come directly from the characters and whatever problems they struggle with. My contemporary also relates to finding your God-given talents and niche in life.

Any advice for developing writers?
Definitely join a writing group like American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith, Hope and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. They have classes, critique groups, and you get to meet other peculiar people similar to yourself. Writer's contests provide good feedback. The craft takes years to learn for most writers. Every element is important. But, I think the writer's imagination is the most important. Her voice, what makes her who she is, and what she is passionate about. Of course, even the most talented writer must learn about characterization, plot, vivid words, and all the other ABCs of writing style. And writers groups are great for that.

Would you share your biggest challenge in writing?
I may only have a single occurrence or a single setting when I start. Then the story just emerges, like watching a movie. I think I wrote so many stories in my head before I became a writer that I never have trouble deviating from the course. I have no patience with either plot outlines or character sketches. Plots and characters are the fun things that come from writing the book. Each chapter brings me a new discovery. I am a very definite seat of the pants writer. I have tried plotting out a book in advance, including storyboarding, and that doesn't work for me. Very soon into the first draft the characters take over and direct the book. The process is quite exciting.
But the hardest part of writing might be that first, all-important chapter. So many things must be included, and yet the pacing has to keep the reader's interest. Or, the biggest challenge might be writing the synopsis for a proposal before the book is finished. Still, I like the whole process. I like becoming the characters and living in the settings. I like the adventure of finding out whats going to happen. I love working with words. I like to rewrite and polish. I like it all.

But my least favorite aspect of writing is the publicity part. It's not enough for a writer to tell an awesome story, the writer must also sell that story to readers and get her name known. That means book signings and making public appearances. That's hard for most writers who would prefer to be sitting quietly at home rather than being the center of attention at some store or library.
What do you like to read for pleasure?
I love history - and mystery. These are the types of books I enjoy, both to learn something new and to exercise my puzzle-solving bent. All my books include suspense and mystery, even the historical romances like MASQUERADE MARRIAGE. My books always include adventure, romance and suspense with a large does of characters learning their most important lessons.

Has MASQUERADE MARRIAGE won any awards?
Yes, MASQUERADE MARRIAGE won the 2011 New England Readers Choice Award for Inspirational Writers, won the 2011 Laurel Wreath Award for Published Writers, the 2011 Ancient Cities Readers Choice Heart of Excellence Award, won third place in the 2011 Readers Choice Maggie Award for Published Writers, and 3rd place in the 2011 First Coast Romance Writers Published Beacon.

 To see Anne's pictures of her travels and a few of her paintings, visit her Web site: www.annegreene.com You may purchase Anne's books at: www.PelicanBookGroup.com
Thank you, Anne, for being my guest author interview. This has been fun and so informative.
ANNE IS OFFERING AN EBOOK OF MASQUERADE MARRIAGE TO ONE COMMENTER, AND AN EBOOK OF A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY TO ANOTHER.