Romancing the Hop

Romancing the Hop (August 31 to September 3, 2012)

This contest is now over.  Congratulations to Melissa for winning an ebook of my contemporary romance The King Maker.  All winners of the hop are announced here:

Masquerade Balls

Whenever romance authors want to add a little spice to a story they often put a scene set at a masquerade ball. It works in Nicole Jordan’s novel To Bed A Beauty to stun the Duke of Arden when he discovers that the sexy Little Bo Peep he has his eye on at a courtesan’s masquerade ball is the sister to his best friend’s fiancé and the woman whom said friend picked out for the duke. The surprise hooks the reader into a sequence of situations that blossom into a warm romance.

Masquerade balls are an effective way to bring together two strangers and steer them towards a romantic interlude without needing to follow the protocol of linking them through a mutual friend, a commonality in their avocations, or in a business arrangement. It’s ironic that with masquerade balls where the individuals are disguised, somehow the characters guard is down and they can reveal vulnerabilities which otherwise would be kept hidden. Masquerade balls are an effective tool in romances for the characters to find true love.

These costume parties can be traced as far back as 14th century France as a favorite pastime of the ducal court of Burgundy. King Henry VIII of England was notorious for holding masquerade balls at court as were the Italian dukes of the Renaissance period. The participants were encouraged to dance in pairs as a live orchestra performed music amidst a carnival-like setting.

The magic of masquerade balls were depicted in literary works such as Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when Romeo sneaks into the Capulet’s masquerade ball and first falls in love with Juliet, and again in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” about a figure who is exactly what his costume purports him to be, the Grim Reaper. A masked ball is also the pivotal scene in “The Phantom of the Opera” when the Phantom spies the lovely Christine Daaé, and is the first Act of “Don Giovanni” describing Don Giovanni remains masked from the women whom he sets to conquest at the ball.

Today, masquerade balls are synonymous with Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Halloween costume parties. Like their 14th century counterparts, modern masquerade balls create an ambience for its guests to partake in fantasy games. There is something magical about masked balls where the unexpected can happen, which makes them excellent tools for romance writers to use when figuring out how to bring together two strangers and engage them in a romantic interlude.

Post a comment (please include your email address in the post) and enter to win a free ebook copy of my book The King Maker.   If you are signed up at, you can borrow The King Maker for your Kindle or Nook here:

From now until September 10, 2012, Champagne Books is offering 50% off their ebooks using coupon code BTS4FALL and free shipping for print books using coupon code FREESHIP during checkout. The King Maker can be found here:

Also by posting a comment, you will be entered to win one of the three prizes offered during the Romancing the Hop contest. After posting a comment, go to

or click on the jpeg below to move onto the next blogger. Good Luck!!


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