The Crazy World of Romance Fantasy

by Morgan Karpiel

Will the real Fantasy Tour Lady please stand up? Ah, that would be me. This is my fist blog ever (OMG) and I’m writing it from the scenic city of Krakow in Poland. For those of you who may instantly think of cold-war era high-rises, graffiti and rusty railroad tracks, it’s time to shrug off that oppressive Tom Clancy fog.

Krakow is a happen’n place, with an imperial castle and the largest medieval town square in Europe. The cobblestone streets of the old city are packed with gourmet restaurants, trendy bars and boutique stores. And, oh yes, tourists . . . That’s my business. My partner (Jurek) and I are tour operators for Krakow, Zakopane and Slovakia. Our tours, however, are not just about castles. They’re about romance.

I must confess, I’ve been on my share of vacations. Invariably, the best thing about them was the romance novels I was able to read along the way. I’m a complete romance fanatic and an aspiring author (RWA GH Finalist 2009), so my attention span for things non-romantic is tragically short.

Give me a white sandy beach and I’m going to want to see a tanned and half-naked hero silhouetted against the sunlight. And, of course, it would be better if this hero wasn’t just loitering, but was on some kind of mission, like saving his accident prone, scientist ex-girlfriend from the Columbian drug lords who are forcing her to create new cocaine compounds that will destroy the world. Yeah, okay . . .

So when I moved to Poland in 2005, I went castle crazy. There are castles all over the place here, just the like the ones I had read about in my beloved historicals. Also, the Carpathian Mountains are just a short drive away, offering even more castles, along with giant caves and waterfalls, and freaky little villages straight out of vampire lore.

And then there are even more amazing places, like the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which offers giant underground chambers carved like cathedrals from glittering salt.

It should have been enough just to see these places, but the old fantasies crept in. I wanted to see them in the context of a romance novel, complete with interesting characters and a story. Thus, the concept of Fantasy Tours was born.

I partnered up with Jurek Postawka (Jerry to his English-speaking friends), who had been running tours in Krakow and the surrounding areas for three years. Jurek is the guy who can get anything done. He knows everyone and he has this way about him. You know, like the Taoist Way? It can be described as sort of an ultra-calm, ultra-intelligent mentality with just a hint of dry humor.

That’s Jurek on the left.

So we brainstormed. Then we made calls. Then we drew other people into the mix. Now we’ve created a company that combines romance novels and vacations. We don’t just take our guests into the castles. We take them into a story, complete with characters and authentic settings.

It was a lot of work and the work continues, but it’s a great job. One of my duties is to train the actors associated with the shows. Did you know that male actors will take off their shirts on command? They will, in fact, take off just about everything and stand there looking bored while you costume them. Fortunately, there’s never much time to admire the view.

Our primary spot for costume rental is the opera warehouse downtown and it’s only open for a few hours each day (and closed altogether on Tuesdays). The rush to assemble the actors for a rehearsal, get to the costume rental and then to the location makes every trip an adventure.

Then, once we’re on-site, getting the actors to behave is another challenge. On our recent castle adventure, we had a hard time getting our knight (Allen) to take his role as a wary soldier with a secret past seriously. Imagine that.

Jurek helped the situation by volunteering his sister Helen to be our “tourist”. She accepted the task with some reluctance but, after fifteen minutes of hand kissing and role playing with our hunky actor, she melted into smiles.

We still have occasional problems with Allen’s comedic flair, but at least he keeps us laughing.

Our lead vampire, on the other hand, has no problem setting a grave tone (ha ha) for our vampire rehearsals. Jacek (pronounced Yat-sek) is a tall blonde with a deep, silky voice and a sharp accent. He takes his role as the vampire Krzysztof Radwan Reja very seriously and conjures up all kinds of demons in those blue eyes of his.

Lastly, our duke-in-training, Austin, has been dutifully preparing for his role as the eccentric aristocrat. On the tour, he hosts a grand regency dinner and makes use of a unique set of props, namely a ripe peach and quill feather pen.

“Do you know how to seductively eat a peach?” I asked him during the audition.

He raised one eyebrow and replied in his crisp British accent, “you mean like finding the pit with my tongue and being especially nice to it?”

What can you say to that? Nothing. You can’t say anything to that because you lose your breath on the spot, which is exactly the feeling we want.

So that’s all for now, folks. I hope I provided an adequate introduction for our crazy tour troupe and I hope to see a few of you on our tours this summer! There will be more to blog about next month as we’re continuing with Austin’s education and it should be great fun (with breathless moments and peaches galore).

Please also feel free to visit us at our website at or contact me directly at


  1. I truly enjoyed your article and thanks for sharing with me. I am always amazed how things can be done either by words or actions and how they get to be interesting. I truly loved this write up. susan L.

  2. Morgan welcome to the Divas. What a fun article! And may I say you are a VERY lucky woman. What fun! Your romance fantasy tours sound like such an amazing idea. You can sign me up! LOL. :D

  3. I love this article, about as much as I do that Duke and his wickedly talented peach eating lol Fantastic!

  4. Thanks for the article, Morgan! Austin sounds like one peach of a guy!

  5. What an amazing concept! It's beyond cool!

    Note to self; add this to cool things to do list!

  6. This sounds incredibly cool, Morgan. What a fun job! You must have a blast every day. Austin sounds like he came ready-made for the duke role - what a lucky find!
    Oh, and welcome to the divas! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures.

  7. Loved this post - what a way to look at an untapped market. You rock!

    And I love the soldier who won't obey. LOL!


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