Considering how much I love to travel, I think today’s guest blogger and I must have been separated at birth! Please welcome Michelle Monkou, whose book, Carnival Temptress is part of The Revelers Series with Marcia King-Gamble. Coming in March! (And a giveaway, too — keep reading!)
Let me confess…travel documentaries, romance books with exotic settings, and reading about a country’s history are my favorite past times. You see, I love to travel. From the age of three, I’d left my birthplace of London, England and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Guyana, South America. I say that was when the travel bug bit and I have been under the influence, ever since.
While I’ve made it a rule to travel, as much as possible, and as long as the budget allows, sometimes, I have to enjoy the beauty of new locales through the Travel Channel. The Caribbean has been one such place that has held a special allure for me. Each island has its history and mystique that make it different from all the others. Along with the weather, cuisine, natural beauty, the Caribbean also has traditional celebrations—Carnival—that give a signature flare.
Carnival has a long history that goes beyond the wild revelry of music and dancing in the streets. The islands of Trinidad and Tobago produce one of the largest Carnivals annually. The tradition dates back to the late 1700s with influence from the French, they do know how to party LOL. The Africans participated after the passing of the Emancipation Bill in 1834 with massive street celebrations.
Calypso music was the backbone of these festivities. In contemporary times, the musical genre, marked by drums and the steel pans, allows for wit, satire, and innuendo to be expressed without repercussion. Different flavors have been added to the Calypso beats reflected by the multi-ethnic population that came to the islands, as early as the 1800s as indentured servants. Now a hybrid of Calypso, called Soca, has emerged that has a more upbeat tempo. Each year, contests for the best Soca band are all part of the fun.
Spectacular costumes of beads, sequins, and feathers are a natural part of the celebration. Slaves were known to copy in their own style the lavish costume balls of their French owners. As a result, characters of the fete were created, many still in play in the modern Carnival. Once the parade begins, each band is led by a king and queen in the over-sized, large costumes. Physical stamina is definitely part of this job since the big contraptions require extensions and wheels to carry it through the streets.
Each Caribbean island has its own calendar schedule. In Trinidad and Tobago, the schedule is based on the pre-Lenten schedule on Monday and Tuesday, ending in the early hours of Ash Wednesday.
Can you tell that I absolutely love the Caribbean? What exotic (or simply romantic) location tickles your fancy? And until you get there, how do you satisfy that craving: documentaries, movies, romance books, etc. Please share, I’d love to hear your travel dreams.
Michelle Monkou recently celebrated ten years (Nov. ’02 – ’12) of writing romances and looks forward to many, many more years to come. She writes contemporary romances with Harlequin Kimani Romance (December release of Racing Hearts) and publishes her earlier titles (Secrets, Scandal & Seduction AND Finders Keepers), alongside new stories all in e-book format for Kindle and Nook. Michelle’s latest release, Carnival Temptress, is Book 1 in The Revelers series. The series is a collaborative effort with Marcia King-Gamble of sexy, saucy romantic tales in Carnival-themed settings. For further information, please check her website; her Twitter; her Author Facebook Page.
Thanks so much to Michelle for coming by! And also for generously offering to give away two book to two lucky commenters randomly selected. So be sure to drop her a line below!
Congratulations to Shelia Goss and Beverly Jackson for winning the contest!