There are all sorts of programs out there for creating HTML emails, most use a WYSIWYG program and follow the "strict guidelines" for designing HTML email.
Yes. Adobe have a pretty good explanation of HTML email being created in GoLive...
Adobe GoLive & HTML Email
Search for "create html emails" in your favorite SE. You'll find a host of results that are all relevant to what "you are missing".
Yes. Based on questions to date, I might suggest that you utilize a third party service to handle your email campaign management until you've fully understood the Pros and Cons of sending HTML email. It is not all that it is hyped up to be. In fact, HTML email in this day and age may be more of a negative than a positive.
Ever notice that when you receive HTML email in Outlook that all the images are broken? And, you have to right click to allow those images to be downloaded? That is one of the main Cons that you'll be faced with. There are many security issues for recipients when receiving HTML email.
With a third party service like Constant Contact, many of your concerns will be null and void. You can send both HTML and Text versions which is the suggested method. You'll also be able to track the effectiveness of your email campaign, who opened it, which links were followed, Opt-Outs, Spam Reports, etc.
HTML email requires a "back to basics" mindset. A few tables set to 80% width. All absolute URI references. Inline Styling is mandatory. No fancy schmancy stuff. Keep it very simple. The more HTML you have, the less likely it is going to get read. Anything with images and/or anything that requires the user to allow content from the Internet to be downloaded presents issues.
Something I've done over the years and continue to do is send plain text email with links to expanded content online. This gives me the ability to add more content to my site and at the same time provide an online archive of my email campaigns. I do it every day with great success.
I also use that same mentality when setting up HTML emails using Constant Contact. I keep things simple, very minimalistic, and provide links to an expanded more visual presentation if the users wish to see that. There are also many other Pros to this approach. You can now get people out to your site and have much more control over tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns.