Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
***All photos accompanying posts are either owned by the author of said post or are in the public domain -- NOT the property of History Undressed. If you'd like to obtain permission to use a picture from a post, please contact the author of the post.***

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Entangled Summer Carnival Photo Booth!

Step right up to the Entangled Summer Carnival Photo Booth! Who doesn’t wish they could step back in time and dress up in some of those fantastic fashions? Our Scandalous and Select Historical authors are talking about which historical figures they would dress up as for our historical photo booth. Let us know who you would want to dress up as and snap a photo of yourself for your photo album.

I have a passion for collecting stories of eccentric women throughout history who dared to step outside the dictates of society. If I were to dress like any of these women, I would choose the most willful one of the bunch. Daughter of an earl, Lady Hester Stanhope (12 March 1776—23 June 1839) was niece to William Pitt the Younger. She acted as his secretary while he was prime minister of England. The government knew that Lady Hester Stanhope was the brains behind Pitt, so upon his death, she was awarded a lifetime pension, which she promptly used to pursue an outrageous life in the Middle East. Off she went by sea, only to have her ship crash on the rocks in Rhodes. She lost everything but the clothes on her back, and had to borrow from the Turks. That's when she discarded tight corsets and heavy layers of fabric and took on their manner of dress—the men’s dress, that is. Thereafter, Lady Hester never wore anything but robes, turbans, and slippers while she tramped about in the desert, slept in the tents of Bedouin sheikhs, traipsed through Turkish palaces, and learned to smoke a water pipe. Oh, and for a while, she took a British lover twelve years her junior. I simply had to weave unconventional Lady Hester Stanhope into my series Those Magnificent Malverns, so I created an eccentric grandmother who’d been Lady Hester’s accomplice on those scandalous desert journeys.

If I could dress up as a historical figure, I’d pick Lady Jersey of the Regency period. She’s perfect for me because I write Regency period historical romances. Lady Jersey was one of the patronesses of Almack’s, the exclusive club where young ladies hoped to find a desirable marriage match. Gaining a voucher to Almack’s was like a Quest for the Holy Grail. Only the patronesses—a select group of ladies—decided who could cross the club’s threshold. For a night at Almack’s, I’d love to dress as Lady Jersey in an exquisite ball gown. My dream gown would be cerulean blue crepe with short sleeves over a slip of white satin. The bodice would be cut low and adorned with silver beading, and the hem would be delicately embroidered with silver flowers. My hair would be in the Grecian style with soft curls around my face and the back pulled into a chignon and decorated with a simple wreath of white flowers. A diamond necklace, diamond drop earrings, two diamond bracelets, long white gloves, and white satin slippers would complete the outfit. Who wouldn’t feel beautiful wearing this for a night out?

I would dress as Anne Bonny, a pirate in the 1700s. She disguised herself as a man and sailed the seas with her lover, Jack Rackham. Anne was a strong woman who fought alongside her brethren as an equal. She was tough and demanded respect—although she dressed as a man, many knew she was a woman. You could almost say she was a pioneer in feminism before the word actually existed. What a woman!

If I could dress up as any famous historical figure it would have to be Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. I’ve always found this woman fascinating, and strong of character, and the fact she’s related to Diana, Princess of Wales is just another boon against her name. For a woman who married at just 17, she became one of the most famous, and at time scandalous figures of the Georgian period. She partook in political speeches, was a leading fashion icon (which many tried to emulate) and gambled away what we would consider small fortunes. She fell in love with a future prime minster of England and had love affairs. Who’d not want to dress up as the Duchess of Devonshire, if only for a day.

Though Catherine the Great is often remembered for her scandalous personal life, her accomplishments as the Empress of Russia were remarkable, which is why I choose to dress up as her. Well, that and the amazing gowns and jewels she owned. Catherine wasn’t a native of Russian, but just six months after marrying the Emperor, with the help of her loyal guard, she was able to oust her husband and become the empress. During her rule, she triumphed over several uprisings, greatly expanded Russia’s territory, and was an enlightened ruler who wrote several books, was a champion of the arts, and was responsible for amassing much of the treasures that are housed in the Hermitage Museum. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the rumors about her engaging in inappropriate activities with a horse are not true. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Superstitious Minds

In the age of sail, superstition was prevalent with sailors and pirates alike. These bizarre and wild false beliefs are fascinating and great fodder for storytelling. From movies like Pirates of the Caribbean to pirate romances, bits of maritime myths can be found. While today’s mariners have science, technology, communication, and knowledge, sailors of old relied heavily on superstitions and folklore to guide them safely across the vast, powerful oceans.   
Red skies at night, sailor's delight; red skies at morn, sailor be warned
One recurring belief was that women on board were bad luck. They distracted men and kept them from their shipboard duties.  If passions were high, dropping an anchor with a woman may occur on the gun deck. Such coupling might have led to the term “son of a gun.”
Seagulls and albatross were believed to carry the souls of dead sailors. Killing one of these birds was considered very bad luck. But these birds flying above the masts in groups of three was a sure omen of death.
Flowers were considered unlucky to have on board as they could be used for a funeral wreath. Therefore, many sailors believed flowers on a ship also meant someone would die on the voyage.
Bananas were the fruit of death. Having bananas on board caused a ship to disappear. But there is truth behind this superstition. Bananas stored in hot hulls fermented quickly, releasing toxic fumes that became trapped below deck. Anyone in the hold would fall victim to the lethal gas. If that weren’t enough, add the venomous spiders that hid among the banana bunches. One bite and it was lights out. No wonder bananas were feared.
Here are a few fun mariner beliefs:
Beautiful thief + Sexy Libertine = Wicked fun
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  • No whistling on board. The action stirs up the wind bringing storms.
  • Naked women on board were considered lucky as they shamed the seas into being calm (think figureheads). I know, this is a direct conflict to not having women on board. Pfftth–men.
  • Don’t set sail on Fridays – Christ was crucified on that day.
  • A shark following a ship was a death omen. (We’re gonna need a bigger boat. Na-na-na-na-na-na-ahhhh!) Conversely, dolphins swimming with the ship meant good luck.
  • A bell ringing by itself surely meant someone was about to die. (Sheesh, choppy waters must be a bitch.)
  • Wine poured on the deck would bring good luck. (Tongue splinters.)
  • Rats leaving a ship meant the ship is doomed.
  • Cats, especially black ones, were considered good luck. Cats were also thought to be indicators of weather by their behavior.
  • A silver coin placed under the masthead would ensure a good voyage. (Kind of like a bribe, I’d say.)
  • Avoid redheads. I’m guessing being a sailor was a hard occupation for gingers.
  • An anchor tattoo will keep a man fallen overboard from drifting away from the ship.
  • Gold earrings keep a sailor from drowning. It also ensured payment across the River Styx. (Boy, mariners sure were into bribery.)
  • A baby boy born on a ship was good luck. It is suggested that a boy born on the gun deck was also referred to as a “son of a gun”.
  • Never say pig – it’s bad luck and brings strong winds. It’s also bad luck say good-bye, drown/drowning, good luck, or to mention rabbit, hare, or fox. (The captain’s name in Blood And Treasure is Fox – tee hee.)
  • Don’t disrespect the sea. Never throw a stone overboard as that will surely create capsizing waves.
  • A stolen piece of wood linked into the keel will cause the ship to sail faster. (Because no one wants to be caught stealing.)
Like any sea dog worth her salt, I incorporated bits of maritime superstitions and myths into all the books in my Romancing the Pirate series—some obvious and some sneakily inconspicuous—to add flavor and authenticity. They were great fun to write, too. Yes, that was a shameless plug. I am a saucy wench, after all.
About the Author

Jennifer is the award-winning author of the Romancing the Pirate series. Visit her at www.jbrayweber.com or join her mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Welcome back to History Undressed, our regular first Tuesday blogger and author, Kathleen Bittner Roth! Kathleen Bittner Roth! 


Kathleen Bittner Roth

You must love reading historical romance or you wouldn’t be reading this, right? Ever since I swiped my mother’s romance novels off her night stand, historical romance has been my favorite—which is why I chose that subgenre when I began my writing career. If you’ve read any of my novels, it doesn’t take long to figure out that I include at least one very unusual woman in every story, one who dares to dance outside the perimeters of society’s stringent dictates. In Portrait of a Forbidden Lady, (Those Magnificent Malverns series—each book is also a stand-alone), we have such daring ladies in spades. All the Malvern women have a rebellious streak. They think nothing of leaving their side saddles behind to ride astride, be it bareback or using a man’s saddle. They’ve also raced straight through the corridor of their fabulous estate, in the front and out the back a time or two. Why not? Their wild brothers did it first.

I do a lot of research for my stories which is how I discovered that ladies of high breeding, when residing at their country estates, often dispensed with side saddles and borrowed or had made, more fitting (and certainly more comfortable) male attire. Empress Elizabeth of Austria was a famed horsewoman who rode astride whenever she could get away with it. 

But these Malvern young ladies aren’t the only daring women in this series. Their grandmother is the most unique, bazaar woman of them all and oh, did I have fun creating her! I fashioned her after Lady Hester Stanhope. Niece to William Pitt the Younger, the unmarried socialite acted as his hostess and personal assistant when he was England’s Prime Minister (he was a bachelor). Noted for her beauty, intelligence and conversational skills, Lady Hester did such a smashing job serving her uncle that upon his death, the government awarded her a lifetime pension, which she promptly used to pursue a scandalous life in the Middle East, dressing in male attire and taking on a string of lovers, one twelve years younger than her. I created a friendship between Lady Hester Stanhope and the Malvern grandmother, and let her share some of the rebellious lady’s escapades in her youth.

If you haven’t read Portrait of a Forbidden Lady, good news! It’s on sale until August 13th for .99! 
Pop over to Entangled Publishing where a Summer Carnival is in progress with lots of sales going on. Below are just a few of them at 99 cents: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/

Those Magnificent Malverns novel by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Lady Georgiana Cressington is living a nightmare. Coerced by her father into returning to her childhood home, the young widow becomes a pawn in another of his heartless games. Her return to Summerfield Hall reunites her with the man she once loved before their hearts were shattered by a devastating betrayal.

Sir Robert Garreck, an artist knighted by the queen, lives in a mansion near the family estate Georgiana’s father won in a crooked card game. Rob sets out to regain Summerfield Hall to keep Georgiana’s son from inheriting Rob’s rightful home. However, when he and Georgiana are thrown together, he craves the forbidden lady he never stopped loving. Facing danger and a long-hidden truth, Georgiana and Rob try to claim the powerful love they once had.

A Love on the High Seas novel by Tamara Hughes

With her son’s life in the balance, Catherine Fry is forced to locate and steal the priceless Ruby Cross of the Knights Templar. She knows who has it–it’s just a matter of coercing Thomas Glanville, the handsome and incredibly stubborn captain of the ship she’s captured, into telling her the exact location. Fortunately, Catherine knows that there are many ways to get a man to talk…

Captain Thomas Glanville has the cross and he’ll be damned if he’s going to hand it over now that he finally has the means to buy a ship of his own. He’s at the mercy of a fiery woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. But Catherine has no idea who she’s dealing with–and Thomas has his own means of charming a woman into his mercy and his bed…

It's in His Kiss novella by Ally Broadfield 

Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title. 

Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.

Kathleen Bittner Roth thrives on creating passionate stories featuring characters who are forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love. Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. However, she still keeps one boot firmly in Texas and the other in her home state of Minnesota. A member of Romance Writers of America®, she was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest. Find Kathleen on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest and www.kathleenbittnerroth.com.

PORTRAIT OF A FORBIDDEN LADY is book two in Those Magnificent Malverns series: A young widow returns to her childhood home after a forced absence and faces her first and only love, but despite their powerful attraction, danger compels her to remain his forbidden lady.  ORDER YOUR COPY!

THE SEDUCTION OF SARAH MARKS is book one in Those Magnificent Malverns series: When a proper Victorian miss awakens next to a handsome stranger, she must rely on the man's benevolence as she struggles to regain her memory and hold onto her heart. ORDER YOUR COPY!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Welcome back to History Undressed, one of our regular Tuesday bloggers, Tara Kingston!!!

Bold...Brilliant...Brave...Heroines Throughout History


by Tara Kingston

Greetings! I’m Tara Kingston, historical romance author and lover of all things Victorian. I’m fascinated by history through the ages, especially the bold, brilliant women who helped shape our world, and I’m delighted to be a monthly contributor to History Undressed. I’ll be sharing facts about daring women through history—some famous, some not so well-known, but all remarkable with their own unique contributions.

Today’s post takes a look at several Victorian women whose accomplishments paved the way for female journalists and editors. In an era where women still didn’t have the right to vote, these American women smashed barriers in journalism.

Sarah Josepha Hale ~ The editor of America’s first women’s magazine, Boston Lady’s Magazine, Sarah Josepha Hale became the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1837, a position she would hold for four decades. During Hale’s years as editor, the popular publication featured topics such as women’s education and women’s employment in addition to engravings and fashion plates. In addition to her achievements as an editor, Mrs. Hale was the author of the children’s poem, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and her letter to Abraham Lincoln influenced the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863.

Sara Payton Willis Parton ~ Using the pen name Fanny Fern, Parton published columns in a variety of publications. By 1855, she was the highest-paid columnist in the United States, earning $100 a week for her publication in the New York Ledger. She also published books, including two novels, and was a co-founder of Sorosis, a New York City club for female artists and writers.

Margaret Fuller ~ A prominent literary critic at the New York Tribune in the 1840s, Margaret Fuller became America’s first female foreign war correspondent in 1848.

Amelia Bloomer ~ An advocate for dress reform, women’s rights, and temperance, Amelia Bloomer launched her own newspaper, The Lily, in 1849.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett ~ African-American journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett, became co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech in 1892. Later, she became a co-founder of the NAACP.

Jane Cunningham Croly ~ Using the pen name Jennie June, Jane Cunningham Croly wrote columns for publications including the New York World, and later became a magazine editor. In an era when women left their careers after marriage, Mrs. Croly continued to work even after she became mother to five children.

Next month, I’ll be taking a look at investigative journalists such as Nellie Bly and Ida Tarbell. Nellie Bly’s adventures provided inspiration for the heroine of my soon-to-be released historical romantic thriller, When A Lady Deceives. I can’t wait to share more about that story and the life of the real-life investigative reporter whose daring exploits made her a pioneer in journalism.

Enjoying some summer reading time? Check out my Secrets & Spies series. The three books in the series are available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Here’s a link to the first book in the series: Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies on Kindle

Here’s a little about the story:

A heart's destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.

Emma Davenport was a model senator’s daughter: prim, proper, but hell-bent on escaping the dreaded fate of spinsterhood that awaited her under wartime Washington’s all-too watchful eye. She was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her. Not even the daring renegade who steals her from a train transporting her to a forbidden marriage. Her heart tells her this mysterious desperado is a dangerous man, but the pleasure of his touch is a more potent threat than any weapon.

Union Army Major Cole Travis is a highly trained operative, as skilled with deception as he is with a gun. Keeping a beautiful traitor from her rendezvous with a treacherous scoundrel shouldn’t be a challenge for the battle-seasoned spy—but he’s not the only one after his tempting captive. Emma Davenport must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs. Drawn to this woman whose innocent allure may be just another weapon in her arsenal, Cole risks his neck to shield her. Soon, however, protecting her from his own heart’s desire becomes another story entirely.

To Read More About these pioneering female journalists and editors:

All photographs are in the public domain.

About The Author:

Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern belle-out-of-water in a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own love story with her real-life hero in a cozy Victorian. The mother of two sons, Tara's a former librarian whose love of books is evident in her popping-at-the-seams bookcases. It goes without saying that Tara's husband is thankful for the invention of digital books, thereby eliminating the need for yet another set of shelves. When she's not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys cycling, hiking, and cheering on her favorite football team.

In a world where a man’s loyalty doesn’t depend on the color of a uniform, danger, intrigue, and passion are facts of life for the men and women of Tara’s Secrets & Spies series, historical romances set against the backdrop of the Civil War. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer of History Giveaway!

Summer of History (1)

A couple of things I love to do is introduce my readers to other great books in the genre. So what's better than having a chance at winning one of my books this summer? How about a chance to win books and prizes from 18 other top writers of historical fiction today? Best of all, it's just in time for you to kick back, put your feet up, and enjoy the warm weather with a great book. Pick five books that you'd like to win!

If you haven't yet had a chance to read my book, PRISONER OF THE QUEEEN, now is your chance to enter to win a free copy!

Kindhearted Katherine Grey knows well the peril of being born with royal blood. As Henry VIII’s grandniece and one of the heirs to the English throne, her noble birth has doomed her to live among the schemers and seducers of the king’s court—barring her from the peaceful life that she truly desires.

After her sister fails to keep the throne, and a new queen rises to power, Katherine finds herself surrounded by adversaries. Since Queen Elizabeth sees her as a threat, and court conspirators see her as an ally, Katherine is forced to play a game she knows she cannot win. And when she reunites with the man she truly loves, Katherine has even more at stake. With treachery at every turn and the life she dreams of within reach, Katherine must make an impossible choice: Will she submit to the queen’s authority, or will she pursue love no matter the cost?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

NEW RELEASE! Ever My Love: The Lore of the Lucius Ring

I'm thrilled to announce the release of EVER MY LOVE, and so excited to be a part of this collection! 

An infamous pirate... A revered Captain... A dangerous heist... A sizzling proposition...

Meet Captain Titus Graves and Lady Antónia Burke in BREATH FROM THE SEA, the Tudor segment!

I’ve always been fascinated by female pirates, and being of Irish heritage, I was so thrilled to finally bring one to life! In Breath from the Sea, my heroine, Antónia, is the granddaughter of Grace O’Malley (Granuaille), one of the most infamous female pirates in history. She was Irish, and did in fact meet with Queen Elizabeth I, gaining a pardon for her son, Viscount Mayo, along with a stipend! She played both sides of the coin in the Irish rebellion. Her daughter did marry the Demon of Corraun, who is my heroine’s father (though there is no record of his children, convenient for me!).

I do hope you enjoy this story, and how a bit of history has been weaved in with our legend of Theodosia and Lucius!

The heart of a legend. The only chance for love. 
The hope that the Fates will be kind before time runs out.

The long-awaited sequel to the original multi-genre USA TODAY bestselling collection, With Dreams Only Of You: The Legend of the Theodosia Sword, has finally arrived. Welcome to EVER MY LOVE: THE LORE OF THE LUCIUS RING, a multi-genre new material collection unlike any other romance collection available today.

Six of the top authors in their genres bring you this powerhouse collection based upon the common thread of a cursed ring, passed down through the female line descended from Theodosia herself. Only a woman may bear the burden of the ring said to curse she who wears it. When the owner of the ring finds love, the stone remains crimson and assures her life-long happiness. But if she does not find love by her twenty-fifth birthday, the ring will turn dark and she will be forever cursed with loneliness.

Join the descendants of Theodosia as they grapple with a family legend that follows them through centuries of hope, heartache, adventure, and romance in seven amazing segments:

In ancient Rome - The ring, and its curse, begin with the beautiful Theodosia.

Medieval England - The ring finds its way into a notorious outlaw's possession only to curse the woman he loves.

The Scottish Highlands - The ring escapes with a little girl... and the curse follows.

Tudor England - The ring once again becomes the prize for the lawless when an infamous female pirate tries to steal it from a Queen’s Naval Captain.

Georgian Era - Twin sisters vie for the ring - and for the Duke of Axminster.

Regency England - The ring enters the proud and proper Regency set where the curse finds new life.

Modern Times - Mistaken identity, soul mates, and the last chance for the ring to fulfill its destiny.

Seven unique and powerful brand-new stories take the legend of the Lucius Ring through the ages. Discover how each woman finds her own love, peace, and happiness. The ring that can tear them apart is also the one that binds them.

The heart of a legend. The only hope for love... will each lady find her destiny before time runs out?

Read it!