Give Me a Challenge and I’ll Write a Book

The Shrew That TamesGuest blog by Michele Stegman, author of The Shrew That Tames

Archimedes said to give him a lever and he’d move the world. For me, it’s give me a challenge and I’ll write a book.

The Shrew That Tames was written because one of the Breathless Press’s authors challenged us to write a story based on one of Shakespeare’s plays. The time was tight, but I accepted the challenge.

I decided to retell The Taming of the Shrew. That play has always been a sore point with me. I hated how Petruchio treated Katharina. And I didn’t like that she knuckles under to him at the end. I hated that he was a wastrel and a drunkard, and no one ever considered her feelings.

The Shrew That Tames is set in the Regency period. My hero, Peter, is in need of money through no fault of his own, although few people believe it. He could use an heiress’s cash, but he doesn’t absolutely need it. He is determined to restore his estates on his own. Kathryn, my heroine, is tired of being chased by men simply for her money. And, just like in Shakespeare’s play, she doesn’t want to be ruled by any man. But there are deeper reasons, too. She is an intelligent, independent woman who wants a man who will be a true partner to her, who will share her scientific and intellectual interests, and who will not pigeon-hole a wife into society’s expectations.

In The Shrew That Tames I made a few new twists on the old tale, and the story turned into a novella. Breathless Press accepted it, and March 14th is the release date!

What plot twist or unusual character would you like to see in a book? Challenge me and I just might write it!


What’s an impoverished aristocrat to do when a beautiful heiress asks him to marry her?

Katherine is an heiress who uses her shrewish tongue to keep fortune hunters away. What is it about Lord Ashfair that leaves her speechless?

Although in need of money, Peter Monroe, Marquis of Ashfair, has resolved to restore his ravaged estates on his own. How can he convince Katherine that he wants her, not her money?

Buy: The Shrew That Tames


The evening of the Harrington’s ball, Ashfair and Sir Anthony escorted the Driscol sisters and their mother to the event. Bianca was besieged at once, and her dance card filled quickly.

Katherine stood to the side, watching her sister’s card fill.

Ashfair bowed over her hand. “Will you do me the honor of adding my name to your card, Miss Driscol?”

She clutched her card tighter, her head up. “Really, my lord, you do not have to dance with me simply because you are my escort.”

His brow went up. The men in this town were all fools if they would dance with such a lovely woman only to edge closer to her money or her sister and not herself. How many times had she been hurt because of it? “You are right, of course. I have to dance with you because I want to see what it is like to hold you in my arms. There are two waltzes this evening. Please put my name beside one of them. And if you will honor me with a second dance, the quadrille would be nice.”

As she added his name to her card, he bent to whisper, “I wish I could dance more than twice with you.”

“You are entirely too forward, my lord.” He heard her set down. However, he also saw the blush that tinged her cheeks. He tried not to smile, but he was beginning to enjoy teasing a blush into her cheeks.

Katherine had a smattering of attention, mostly, Ashfair thought, from those hoping to win Bianca’s approval. He was amazed Katherine could be so easily disregarded. True, she could wield a waspish tongue, but every set down she rendered was, in his opinion, well deserved.

At last they began the quadrille, and Ashfair led Katherine onto the dance floor. As they went through the forms of the dance, he noticed that she became transformed. Her features softened, she gracefully floated, and pleasure sparkled in her eyes.

“You love to dance!” he exclaimed.

Laughing, she agreed. “I always have.”

The movements took them apart for a moment. When they came together again he said, “A smile or two from you and your dance card would be full.”

Her mouth pursed. “And be forced to endure every crack-wit fortune hunter in the place with sweaty hands and a penchant for writing bad verses to my eyes?” She shook her head. “I’d rather be a wallflower.”

Surely by now she knew he was one of those fortune hunters. He pulled her close. “You are dancing with me.”

She tossed her head. “You do not have sweaty hands, my lord.”

“And so far, I have failed to write a single ode to your eyes. What a dastardly escort I am.”

“Yes, terrible.” She laughed.

Buy: The Shrew That Tames

Bio: Michele Stegman loves history and lives it every day in her 1840’s log cabin filled with antiques. She spins, weaves, tats, and also dabbles in art and music. She enjoys making things from “scratch,” including bread, crackers, and soap.

Website and blog:


Buy: The Shrew That Tames

Review: The Iron King (Iron Fey, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa

I am in love with the Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Her novel is full of sumptuousness. Its details and world building are lavish and exciting. Her characters draw you in like Satyr pulls in unsuspecting humans to dance until they collapse from exhaustion, except in Kagawa’s case you come out happy and anticipating the next installment.

If I had to guess, the future of the story will involve a love triangle. At the moment I am 100% completely for Team Ash. He’s the type of character I just love to love. He’s aloof, slightly moody, hard to figure out and of course the more forbidden love interest, being an Unseelie prince. He’s Winter to Meghan’s Summer. The best thing about him? He’s unwilling to give up where others would quit without a second thought.

Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) is the other love interest and as he’s yet to declare his feelings toward Meghan (if he truly has any of the romantic sort) I am afraid I’m not rooting for him. However, he is an excellent character and would make a good hero, far better for Meghan than Jacob Black for Bella Swan. He’s the merrymaker, the best friend, and the one most likely to fully have Meghan’s interests at heart.

Meghan is a great heroine. She rises to the challenge of rescuing her younger half brother from the fairy world and faces each obstacle with determination to not let it be the thing that stops her from completing her self imposed mission. Her greatest weakness is in fact her greatest strength. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to save those she loves (kind of like Harry Potter in that respect) and is unwilling to leave her friends behind. It will get her into trouble, but it’ll also be her salvation in the end.

This is just one novel from Harlequin’s new Teen line and honestly, they hit the nail on the head when it comes to young adult romance. Iron King was perfect in all aspects. I have no complaints other than that it ended and I must wait to read Iron Daughter.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

[phpbay]iron king kagawa, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]