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Creole Defined: Not An Exact Science

It’s unexpected fun when a book title raises questions, i. e., Creole Son, my novel about painter Edgar Degas’s time in New Orleans. When people ask me to define Creole, I say it’s probably not what they think but lots more besides. Few ethnic terms are more misunderstood. The word comes from the Portuguese/Spanish criar meaning “to breed” and was applied to those born and bred outside the mother country. They were called criollos, which morphed into Creoles. The two most famous Creoles are probably Empress Josephine, born on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, and Simon Bolivar, a Spanish Creole born in Venezuela. Degas’s New Orleans-born mother Celestine made him half Creole. Creoles can also be of Portuguese, Italian...

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Belle, Book & Kindle

What a difference a few decades make. Back in 1979 when I was contracted to write historical romances as Maggie Lyons (see “her” story in my blog, “Romancing the Unknown”), I knew zip about the genre. Luckily I was given a tip sheet by my publishers regarding what to do and, more importantly, not to do. My heroines were supposed to be chaste as well as chased, and a big taboo was sex before marriage. If and when anything finally happened after 300 pages of foreplay, it was to be discreet. Think Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster on the beach in From Here to Eternity or a train going into a tunnel. You get the picture. In 1999 when I was asked to write more Maggie Lyons books, the rules had changed. Seriously. It was no surprise that readers...

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