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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Aspiring Author Joan Kayse!!!

Happy Thursday Everyone!

Are you thinking, "Hey, that name sounds familiar!"  Well, it just might!  If you consider yourself a Romance Bandit, or have visited their site once, you will recognize her name.  That's where I found her in my search for historical romance authors.  Yes, no one corrected me then, but last week's guest, Christine Wells, is also a Romance Bandit.  

Why Joan Kayse, she's not published?  Well, that doesn't matter here because someday, she will be.  How do I know?  Read the excerpt on her website for The Barbarian's Soul and tell me she doesn't have talent and a future as a romance writer.  Personally, I don't think that you will.  She already knows how to get you hot and bothered and then, leave you hanging!  I can't wait to read the rest of it!   

Okay, okay, I'm getting to it.  I know, you want to meet her and see what she has to say, so without keeping you in suspense any longer, here's Joan Kayse!  Take it away Joan!  

Joan KayseFirst, I would like to thank Carrie for inviting me to visit the Moonlighters today.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

That, my friends has been my motto since the day I decided to get serious about all these stories flying around in my head. I’ve even considered having it tattooed somewhere on, er…my person.

My name is Joan and I write Roman historicals.

Kind of sounds like a 12 step program, doesn’t it? Well, it felt like it in 2001 when I began to explore the alternately astounding, energizing, frustrating, beat your head against the wall, raise your fist with fervor world of romance writing. That was the year I attended my first RWA conference in New Orleans. It was there that I met my first challenge in writing a non-Regency, non-Scottish historical. “I write Roman historicals” I stuttered, still not quite used to actually SAYING I was a writer. Oh, the looks of pity, the soothing “Oh, sweetie…really. Look at the market” responses. Would have withered some. Me? Just made me all the more determined to do just that.

Understand I was a baby writer then, having only been focusing on publication for a little over a year, after my mother passed away and I hit that “evaluate your life” phase of grieving. After all, she bestowed on me my creative mind and passion for the things I love. I grew up reading and loving romance, especially historical romance. Why not write one?

Roman Image 1While I adore all types of history, Rome in all of its infamous, magnificent, decadent glory is my favorite period of all. I have no logical explanation for it. I mean the closest I got to studying it was taking two years of high school Latin. Substituting Latin words in the refrain of “Willie Go Round in Circles” was about all I took away from that. Oh, and a major crush on Mr. Powell the teacher J

But I KNEW from the first day I sat down to flesh out THE PATRICIAN’S DESIRE that I would be telling three heroes stories and they really, only could take place in Rome. Take a little bit of alpha, a touch of wounded (or in Bran’s case…a LOT of wounded) and a smidgen of an all consuming Empire that threatens their very existence. Throw in vibrant heroines that meet them toe to toe and voila….a series was born.

My fellow Banditas over at The Romance Bandits have created an elite contingent of gladiators. Demetrius, Lucien and Marcus are great guys (and mix a mean margharita) but there were more than gladiators and tribunes living and loving in 52 CE.

Jared. A merchant prince from Alexandria born of a Roman patrician father and a Hebrew merchant’s daughter whose very heritage damned him in both worlds. His salvation lies with the woman who betrayed him into slavery. (THE PATRICIAN’S DESIRE).

Damon. A Senatorial spy, subject to the will of others, betrayed and used his entire life from the moment his father sells him to pay a debt into adulthood when the machinations of a powerful government official leads to his near crucifixion. A woman with the face of a goddess stays the executioner’s hand only to throw him back into the intrigue and conspiracy ridden patrician world where he fights to keep her alive. (THE PATRICIAN’S FORTUNE)

ShieldBran. Ex-gladiator fighting to retain his very soul after being forced to kill for the perverse pleasure of the Roman mob. He does not trust. He does not hope. He does not live. He only hates and endures and despises the Roman world until a raven haired beauty shatters the wall he’s built around his heart. (THE BARBARIAN’S SOUL)

Damon described my passion for the time period best:

They reached the bottom of the affluent Palatine neighborhood and turned toward the center of the city. Damon set a quick pace, navigating the twisting thoroughfares with ease. He knew this city like a man knows a lover. A boiling cauldron of arrogance, greed, and excess, Rome was the focal point of the civilized world, though Damon was certain a majority of the Empire’s conquered regions would hotly argue the point.

The crowds began to thicken as they continued down the Via Sacra and approached the two enormous pillars marking the entrance to the city center. Damon eyed the carved statues of Rome’s legendary founders, Romulus and Remus, circling their circumference. There were dozens of similar statues scattered around Rome, adorning public buildings, heralding a general’s successful campaign, an emperor’s benevolence, but this one had always been his favorite.

The famous twins faced each other, swords tightly clutched, expressions reflecting the stoicism of a conquering race, prepared to defend the nation they’d founded. Romulus’ free hand rested on the head of the legendary she-wolf who had suckled the abandoned infants. An omen the ill fated Remus, murdered by the brother who named an Empire, should have heeded. Take care who you trust. A lesson Damon had learned good and well. With Kaj flanking him, Damon stepped through the stone arch into the Forum.

The market was well designed. A large open area provided ample room for pedestrians and shoppers to go about their business. Weavers, jewelers, bakers, oil merchants, and pottery makers vied with tavernas and wine shops for their share of the citizens’ coin.

Street philosophers chalked their thoughts on the sides of buildings, some accompanied by unflattering drawings. Candidates for political offices spouted grand promises from stone block perches while those who had already been elected bustled about the business of government. Temples dedicated to one god or another stood wall to wall with brothels where, Damon mused, you were more likely to get your prayers answered than kneeling at an altar.

The city pulsed with life and Damon reveled in it. This was where he’d first experienced life after Jared had granted him his freedom. He closed his eyes for a moment, savored the sounds of bartering and badgering, inhaled the scent of spices and perfumes and—he cocked one eye open and looked at the painting of a pork hind gracing the side of a building—the butcher’s shop. The Patrician’s Fortune.

My manuscripts are making strides, finaling and winning many prestigious contests. THE PATRICIAN’S DESIRE was a 2006 Golden Heart finalist. Yes, you heard correctly. A Roman historical finaled in the Golden Heart. Jared also placed well in PASIC’S Book of Your Heart where booksellers and librarians granted him perfect scores. Damon has also done well winning the grand prize of the 2007 Suzannah against mixed sub-genres, pubbed and non. Most recently he won first place in Chicago North’s Fire & Ice. Bran, determined NOT to let those Romans get ahead just finaled in Georgia Romance Writer’s The Maggie. Not too shabby for a barbarian.

I don’t quote all these wins to brag though I am proud of every achievement…steps, tools, validation…but to reflect that there is room for variety in time periods in historical romance fiction. Yes, yes I still hear the “market” cliché, I hear that readers only buy the two popular time periods. Yes, the do…if that is all the selection offered to them. And hey, I don’t disagree. There are marvelous, new Regency historicals out there, among them my own fellow Banditas, Christine Wells and Anna Campbell. But variety IS the spice of life.

Roman Image 2So, my fellow countrymen. Give me your rakes, your Scots, your dukes and marquis.

Give me a Roman.

So, what about you? What are your favorite time periods? Are you open to exploring new ones?

55 Moonbeams (comments):

jo robertson said...

Joan, what a great article and lively boon for "different" historical periods. I love the Roman period, have since I read JULIUS CAESAR in high school, went on the major in history.

I'm so eager for your books to find the right editor so I can read them! They sound so wonderful and exciting.

Yes, we're due for more time periods! Now that we've inched well into the 21st century, I'm thinking that early 1900's will find its niche among readers.

Christie Kelley said...

Joanie, I can't wait to read these books! Your Romans sound so awesome. It will happen. And hopefully soon!

Joan said...

Hey Jo and Christie! (Waving madly)

These ladies are Banditas too so they know Romans....margharitas anyway :-)

Thanks to Carrie for inviting me and wow....what a wonderful intro. I read it then looked around thinking "Who? Me?"

Carrie said...

Yes you Joan and we're not playing a game of "Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar!"

Tawny said...

Ahh, JoanieT - you rock the Romans. So sexy, so fun to read. I'm itching for the day I can enjoy them between the pages of a book and am so glad you're determined to stick it out and make this happen. Isn't that the true secret behind success? Sticking with it until it happens?

I have just one question for you, though.

Ahem...where's the tattoo going to go?

Joan said...

LOL, Carrie...I make a mean chocolate chip cookies and some Banditas have been known to go after them...just sayin'

Joan said...

Aw, Tawny you little West Coast Bandita....leave it to you to ask the naughty question.

Where? I'm giving Jared/Damon/Bran the choice *BEG*

Thanks for the shout out. Determination..yeah, another gift from my Mom. "My Romans" as we affectionately call them in the lair are just as determined to conquer the publishing world as their ancestors who built an Empire. (Note: No agents or editors will be hurt in the forging of this Empire :-)

Molly Daniels said...

I love reading about ancient Rome! Have you read Lindsay Townsend's Flavis's Secret?

Good for Jared! Keep up the good work and looking forward to reading your work!

And I'm a shameless chocolate chip cookie monster...

Carrie said...

Oh yeah, me too! Nice to see all the new faces here today! I hope that you enjoyed yourself enough to return for future visits! And it's always nice to see our regulars!

I'm having fun right now and from the looks of it, so are all of you, so I'll let you get back to the Toga Party!

Molly Daniels said...

I just checked; Lindsay's books are at BookStrand, Fictionwise, and All Romance Books:) So submit to BookStrand and see what happens!

Unknown said...

Hi Joanie!

You know, what's so awesome to me in reading your excerpt is that you have the voice for this time period. I'm not sure how you did that, exactly, since you're ahead of the curve here by writing ancient Rome, but honestly, I was completely taken in by those visuals. Wow.

I will read just about any time period, though I admit that I haven't really enjoyed what I've read of the 20th Century. But I think that's probably the particular books I've read, and not the time period.

Love Regencies, but I love medievals even more actually. Heck, I love them all. I have NOT read Rome. It's a nice change, too, from the same London/Scotland/Wales setting which has become so familiar.

I don't think it will be long before you sell girlfriend.

Carrie, so nice of y'all to host. Beautiful home you have here!

Molly Daniels said...

(Head slap) My series (looking for publisher) is about college life in the mid-late 1980's. But I like almost anything.

Carrie said...

Thank you Cassondra!

Everyone please, find a seat, grab a drink and settle in for some fun because this party sure shows no signs of stopping until the wee hours of the morning! But of course, when in Rome!

In the immortal words of John Belushi, "Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!" - from Animal House I believe....

Molly Daniels said...

What the hell was that song...

"Twist and shout"...grr...can't think of the words! BRB...YouTube, here I come!

Sheila Deeth said...

I'd have to say Rome was always one of my favorite periods - probably influenced by all the Roman remains in Britain. We were thoroughly hooked on Rome on DVD.

Joan said...

Eeekkkk! Chocolate Chip Cookie Monster in the house!

Quick! Damon....hide them.

Hah! There, Molly'll have to fight Damon for them....

Lucky girl :-)

I haven't read Flavis' Secret. Sounds fascinating. Must add to shopping list

Molly Daniels said...

Not Twist and Shout...just Shout!

"Well you make me wanna shout
Kick my heels up and shout
Throw my hands up and shout
Say you will, come on now, say you will..."

Molly Daniels said...

Oooo...running jump tackle...GOT 'EM, Halloween Oreos instead...Take THAT Damon:)

Joan said...

Toga Carrie?

Hmmm...that was quite a cumbersome garment in non college party days of the Empire. Lots of rules, social significance. Patrician freemen would have slaves whose sole purpose was to fold and drape it properly.

I prefer loincloths myself.....


Joan said...

Hey Cassondra! (Psst...another Bandita)

Carrie and company DO have a lovely blog home don't they? Lots of decor....I spied a cabana boy or two in the back....Carrie was helping them put on togas...

She's been back there a long time.


Joan said...

Hi Sheila!

Ooooo...WHEN I finally get to England, one of the first places on my list is to visit Bath. I've seen pics of a restored Roman bath there and would love to go and close my eyes and imagine Bran bringing me soap and....


Joan said...

Look out D!!!! Molly's searching for cookies!!!!

Gird your toga!!!

Carrie said...

Yeah, I know about the loin cloths, but the men around here are just too dominant to wear anything less than a toga. I was lucky enough to get Dante to help out here, so whatever concession was necessary and don't get me started on Brandon and Drake.

See the problem was we couldn't really find loin cloths to fit them and when you add in their height (roughly 8 feet tallish)...well let's just say that we wanted to make sure that everyone's attention was able to focus on you today, as you are the guest of honor!

BTW - Thanks Margay for loaning Dante out today! He's been such a great...angelic helper!

Joan said...


Um, sorry....I just got a look at Brandon, Drake and yummmmm..Dante.

I can see why finding loincloths in, size...could be an issue.

I'll be glad to take them shopping

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Well, well, well, a ParTAY! for you my Joanie T! Grins.

Swinging over from the Lair to say how'do to the MLM gals. *Waving* It's so lovely to see such a nice set up. All that Roman grandeur must spoil you, JT. :>

Well, now. Dante. I'm likin' THAT.

Hey, Joanie, about those cookies. I told you the check was in the mail. *whine*

In all seriousness, I love these books and from what I've read you have it all - a great "voice", fab characters and a setting that set the standard for what an Empire should be. It's only a matter of finding the Right Editor on the Right Day and BLAMMO, Rome is gonna ROCK the Romance world at your hands. Grins.

BTW, Tawny, when you wrote you were itching to enjoy the Roman boys between the pages...Oh, the visual...

Joan said...

Jeanne said: BTW, Tawny, when you wrote you were itching to enjoy the Roman boys between the pages...Oh, the visual...

LOL, I KNOW Duchesse! I had the same visual only I was the one between the, pages :-)

Oh, they HAD sheets back a manner of speaking. Damon especially enjoys the silk ones his patrician lady favors :-)

Thanks for the accolades! My boys have fought hard and stand at the ready to rock lots of worlds....

Speaking of rocking worlds, Jeanne..(another Bandita..we're everywhere)is the author of Dark & Deadly...a fantastic RS read!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Joanie!
And BIG HI to the MLM gals who were so nice to help me kick off my blog tour a couple of weeks ago.

AH ROME! What can I say? It is my FAVE city in Europe and quite possibly the world. And yet, I have not one drop of Italian blood that I know about...

Joanie, your Romans are FABULOUS! All those contest wins were NOT a fluke, and it really is just a matter of hitting the right editor at the right moment. Me and the rest of the Banditas will be at your side cheering you on!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Joan!

(waving from Montana)

I love to read anything that's well written - and I enjoy a change of pace when it comes to historicals. Your Romans give me both.

I can hardly wait for them to find their publisher and hit the shelves, so I can buy them.


Anonymous said...

Huh. I really meant to sign that...

That last post was from Leslie Lynch (as this one is, as well.)


Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hello Miss Joanie!

I've been looking forward to your debut guest blog with the Moonlighters! They have excellent taste. :)

You know, that little snippet from Damon's story has wetted my appetite for something Roman. Gee, I wish your book was in print so I could run out and buy a copy!

Favorite time periods huh? hmmm. I do like the Regency period, but I like my books a bit on the darker side from that time period, so I read Anna Campbell's books. For Victorian period books that sound different from all the others out there, give me Lorraine Heath's Scoundrel of St. James series!

But my favorite time period and place? American. Any time from oh 1620-1940! In particular the old west circa 1880's. Oh wait....THAT's what I write! hehehe

But I truly love American historicals and would love to be forced to buy tons of them!

Helen said...

Hi Joanie

Congrats on all of your wins in the contests I know that you will be published soon and then I will get to read these fantastic books.

For many years I only read historical romance and medieval but over the years my eyes and heart have been opened to many genres and many countries and eras. Nowadays I will read the blurb on the back and listen to recomendations and I will buy the book there are very few that I have not really loved.

I love the fact that you authors take me on wonderful adventures around the world and to different time periods and I am loving every miniute of it.

Can't wait to read your books.

Have Fun

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Jeanne said:BTW, Tawny, when you wrote you were itching to enjoy the Roman boys between the pages...Oh, the visual.....

I so thought she was gonna say "enjoy the Roman boys between the sheets...

Er... yeah, that's where my mind went!

Pat said...

Great blog, Joan. The books sound intriguing. The last Roman Historical I read was by Francine Rivers and that was years ago. Hope the market finds you soon!

Joan said...

Hi AC!

Thanks for swinging over! AC is in the midst of a mega blog tour herself for The Treasures of Venice!

Oh, I know my Banditas will be there. In fact, I've instructed them that when I publish and win the RITA that they are to all dance down the aisle like that JK Wedding YouTube...

Joan said...

Hello Montana *g*

Leslie is my FABULOUS president of Louisville Romance Writers and a fantastic writer herself!

Thanks for the shout out. You do know when Jared/Damon/Bran are pubbed we ARE having a toga party...complete with sangria :-)

Joan said...

Hey Suz!

Thanks...I have a taste for Rome myself *g*

( I'm craving Fazoli's)

Anyway, I like American historicals also from Revolutionary, colonial, civil war onto the wild west.

And as some of us know...certain parts of the West were wilder than others :-)


Christine Wells said...

Hi Joanie!! Fantastic article. You are such a talented writer, it must be only a matter of time before someone in the publishing world discovers your brilliance!

Thanks for the mention--you're so lovely!

Romans Rock!!

Joan said...


So good of you to stop by. When my Patrician series is published you can bet I'll get copies right over there to you in Oz!

Joan said...

Hi Pat!

Good to see you. I actually read, I think the first book, of Francine Rivers on the advice of a friend. She did a GREAT job of capturing the feel of the Roman Empire.

Hers centered on the spiritual/inspirational side of the time as do some well done stories based on gladiators.

That's kind of turned into a vague stereotype. Oh, yes...there were spiritual conflicts (Christians/lions) and the excitement of Gladiator but there were lots of other heroes and heroines living their lives and trying to survive...and love.

Joan said...

Christine! Another favorite person of mine from down under!

Oh, no problem mentioning YOUR brilliance. Wicked Little Game had me at page 1.

And're right. Rome DOES rock!

Carrie said...


Okay, what mischief has Drake been up to?

Last thing I remember was telling him to be careful with...well...then he started massaging my shoulders, telling me I worry too much and the next thing I know, it's a couple of hours later and he's nowhere to be found.

Drake, I tell you, loves women just a bit too much I'd say....

Joan said...

Oh, he does, Carrie...he does


(Jared, Damon, know you don't have anything to worry about...I love you best)

A little to the left there, Drake

Trish Milburn said...

Joan, I can't wait until your Romans make it to bookstore shelves. I feel like I know these guys. I, too, feel like there are wonderful books out there in the top time periods, but I love it when I find great ones that stand out not only because of the writing quality and storytelling but also because they're different in setting.

I'm a big fan of Colonial historicals, and while there are some out there, they are nowhere near as common as I'd like.

Carrie said...

Joan - did you notice how Drake's hands have that warming effect? Yeah, he's got lots of other "special" talents too!

I like this people just keep stopping by! It's a good thing Brandon is a government figurehead, so he can keep the cops off our backs - unless some of you ladies want them there?

Joan said...

Hey Trish, you multi pubbed Bandita you!

Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the shout out. A good story is a good story and sometimes I think "trends" can leave a lot of them out in the cold.

I love Colonial. Pamela Clare has a GREAT series of books set in Colonial times....Ride the Fire is one plus the McKinnon brothers. FABULOUS books.

Drake is giving you a hand for your good taste...but I need THAT back....

Joan said...

Special talents?

{secret smile}

Oh, yes....yes I did.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Joan, it's so good to have you on our blog today! My favorite time periods are the Regency and the late Victorian period (1890's). And yes, I am working on stories set in at least one - if not both - of these time periods.


Joan said...

Hey Margay! I know MLM is your home but I first knew you as a BB

Thanks for coming by!

Lots of great stories in Regency and Victorian. I like Victorian stories. The fashions especially...the beginnings of new inventions coming into the world.

Becke Davis said...

Joan - I'm eager to read these! Who cares what's in fashion, a good book is a good book, and these sound great!

I loved The Gladiator, so I'm sure to like these, too. I'm so glad I saw this post!

Joan said...

Hi Becke! Great seeing another BB here! Thanks for coming by.

I loved Gladiator also...and HBO's ROME. I have a T-shirt with ROME in gold on it. Wore it home from DC. As I boarded the plane, the attendant asked if I was headed to the right place.

I looked down and it and said "Yep, there's no place like ROME"


Hey! Jared and the boys liked it

Joan said...

All roads lead to Rome....

That's the way the saying goes but there is one side street that leads to my bed.

Time to say goodnight. Thanks to everyone who came by today and a big thank you to Carrie and the Moonlighters for having me!

pjpuppymom said...

Hi Joanie! I'm so sorry I didn't make it over here yesterday but I didn't know you and your Romans were here until this morning! (sob) I just know the day will come when we'll all be rockin' the lair with a launch party for one of your guys. Keep the's going to happen!

Can't wait to see you in a few weeks and cheer you on at the Maggie's!


Molly Daniels said...

Wow...when I finally forced myself away from the 'puter, there were only 27 comments! Now this one makes #53! Great day ladies:)

Tierney O'Malley said...

Hey there Joan,

Wow! Awesome work. With your caliber, I am positive that your name and books will get noticed--soon.


Becky said...

Romance historical fiction sounds awesome. I am a huge historical fiction buff- especially if romance is involved :). I love reading historical romance books that involve other countries- just finished one myself about China during the opium wars ("My Splendid Concubine" by Lloyd Lofthouse). I learned a lot of history that I wasn't ever aware of. I am ready to learn roman history- I can't wait to check out your books!