Hiya, Wrangers! It's our pleasure to welcome author Jessi Gage to the blog today. Take it away, Jessi!
Thank you for having me, Kristina and the WW crew! I'm so excited to guest blog for Word Wranglers today, because this is where it all started for me, in a pitch session with Lyrical Press editor Piper Denna a little over a year ago. To celebrate the release of my very first novel, Wishing for a Highlander, I’m talking about one of my favorite topics today, time-travel.
Time-travel romance is a much loved genre with diehard fans. My first foray into the genre was Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. One of the things I love the most about the genre is that it's not just the Neanderthal men we send our women hurtling through time to fall in love with who are challenged. The women are often challenged too, challenged to embrace a supportive role when they were raised to be the star of their own lives, challenged to choose between love and the goals they once had for themselves, challenged to envision new goals that center on the one person they realize they can never live without.
But before you can have the fabulous epiphany moment where the hero and heroine make astronomical sacrifices in order to be together, there are always some challenges to overcome. Here are a few of my favorites:
Poor Cell Phone Reception
Nina Bangs’ Pleasure Master is one of my all-time favorite time-travel romances. One of the quirkiest, funniest parts of the story was that the time-traveling heroine’s cell phone still worked! She could call her hair-dresser best friend and discuss her strange predicament. Even the historical Highland hottie gets in on the phone action, withstanding a verbal lashing from said best friend. It’s a hoot and a half.
So when you time travel, bring your cell phone if you want, but chances are, it won’t work. Just so you know.
“I doona understand ye, lass?”
“Haud your weesht!”
“What is it ye be blathering about, now?”
Part of our fascination with the time-travel genre is that we love men with accents. One nice thing about fiction is we can often get around the likelihood that our hero and heroine would have no idea whatsoever what the other is saying. We can fudge the dialect (because, honestly, who’s going to know since no one reading our books was alive then and probably only a few will be linguistic purists who will take offense at our ignorance). We can insert a magical device to aid with translating. We can make the hero or the heroine a language genius who can learn a new language by the immersion method in a handful of days. We could even do what Maggie Shayne does in Miranda’s Viking, and make the modern-day heroine an expert in the hero’s time-period, complete with a working knowledge of his dead language...and so on. (By the way, Maggie Shayne is one of the few authors I know about who have brought an ancient hero into the modern-day world. The reason you don’t see that much is a topic all its own, worthy of a whole separate blog post.)
So make sure to keep your translation dictionary or your magic translation stone on you whenever you anticipate time travel might occur.
Nothing puts a damper on a hot and heavy interlude in the laird’s private chambers like a sexually responsible heroine asking the question, “So, uh, do you have a box of condoms in that antique armoire?”
How do we get around our modern sensibilities when it comes to sex with historical heroes? Really, this topic covers double the ground, because not only are we concerned with the possibility of unwanted pregnancies, but our modern-day heroines (and the heroes that want to boink them) should be concerned about STDs as well. For the purpose of today’s discussion, I’m going to focus solely on birth control, because I have yet to meet a romance hero or heroine with an STD. Not that it couldn’t happen, just, it’s not the norm.
While some may find it forgivable in fiction, especially escapist fiction, for birth control not to come up at all, there are plenty of authors who have dealt with the issue in creative ways that don’t throw the reader out of the story. In Outlander, Claire has reproductive issues that make it unlikely for her to get pregnant. Outlander also touches on some herbal anti-contraceptives. I found those sections fascinating and educational as well as entertaining.
In Wishing for a Highlander, my heroine Melanie is conveniently (though not so conveniently for her) already pregnant. That’s right, I send a single and pregnant woman hurtling through time. And I’m not the only one. Diana Gabaldon does it too, though I won’t put out any spoilers by revealing who or when in the series.
My favorite method of dealing (or not dealing) with birth control is having the hero and heroine be married before they do the wild thing the first time. That’s in no way meant to imply that pregnancy outside of marriage is undesirable. But in the time-travel romances I’ve read where marriage precedes wild-monkey, screaming-awesome sex, there is often an attitude of well, if it happens, it happens, and it’s okay because we’re totally in love.
So, definitely, bring a several-month supply of your contraceptive of choice whenever you time-travel unless you’re okay with creating a love child with your historical hottie.
To celebrate becoming a contracted author a year ago on this very blog, I’m giving away two ecopies of Wishing for a Highlander. All you have to do to get your name in the hat is leave a comment below (include your email address so I know how to contact you if you win). You may choose to answer the following question, but you don’t have to; just saying “hi” will get your name in the hat:
What one item would you absolutely refuse to time-travel without? My answer: My strawberry flavored Chap Stick
I’ll select and notify the winners on Sunday 3/17. Any comment left between now and then is fair game.
Thanks again for having me, Kristina and the WW Crew! It's always great to connect with a fellow Lyrical author.
Below is the info on Wishing for a Highlander. Proceed at your own risk—CAUTION: May contain a virginal Highlander with a monumental baseball bat of love under his kilt.
While examining Andrew Carnegie’s lucky rosewood box, single-and-pregnant museum worker Melanie makes a tongue in cheek wish on the artifact--for a Highland warrior to help her forget about her cheating ex. Suddenly transported to the middle of a clan skirmish in sixteenth-century Scotland, she realizes she should have been a tad more specific.
Darcy, laird in waiting, should be the most eligible bachelor in Ackergill, but a cruel prank played on him in his teenage years has led him to believe he is too large under his kilt to ever join with a woman. He has committed himself to a life of bachelorhood, running his deceased father's windmills and keeping up the family manor house...alone.
Darcy's uncle, Laird Steafan welcomes the strangely dressed woman into his clan, immediately marrying her to Darcy in hopes of an heir. But when Steafan learns of her magic box and brands her a witch, Darcy must do what any good husband would--protect his wife, even if it means forsaking his clan.
WARNING: A pregnant museum worker, a sixteenth-century Scot, and a meddlesome wishing box.
Size might have its advantages when it came to fighting, but those few boons fell far short of making up for the problems it caused. Being the biggest and the strongest had gotten him into far more trouble than it had gotten him out of. Swallowing his regret for how careless he’d been with her, he sought to determine whom she belonged to, whom, saints forbid, he might owe.
“Whose wife are ye, then? Not a Gunn’s or I wouldna have had to rescue you from one.”
“I’m not married,” the lass said. “And thank you for the rescuing, by the way. I can’t believe I dropped the dirk. Stupid.” She shook her head.
His heart warmed at her thanks. He didn’t hear many kind words from the lasses and would take what he could get, even from a dishonored woman who had caught a bairn out wedlock. Oddly, he didn’t think poorly of her. Whether it was her worried brow, her guileless, soft mouth, or her vulnerable size, he had not the heart to condemn her.
He didn’t even mind so much that she found him distasteful for his size, although talking with her now, she didn’t seem overly upset to be in his arms. He endeavored to keep her talking, keep her distracted from her disgust.
“Ye never answered my first question,” he said. “Who are you? And where are ye from if ye’re no’ English?”
“Ugh. I don’t know. Is there an answer that won’t get me burned at the stake or locked up in a ward for the hopelessly insane?”
Like most things out of her mouth, that had been a peculiar answer. “Ye could try the truth,” he offered, slowing his pace since he heard Archie’s voice not far off.
“No,” she said flatly. “I couldn’t. At least not the whole truth. How about we just go with my name, Melanie, and with the honest fact that I’m a long way from home and I have no idea how to get back.” Her green eyes pierced his. “I’m afraid you might be stuck with me, Darcy Keith.”