Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Castles of Ladies of the Stone

I'm so excited to announce the release of the Ladies of the Stone anthology, and today on History Undressed, each of us are sharing with you the castle(s) in our story, and a historical image of each!




Ladies of the Stone

From within the soul of a special stone, the embodiment of the heart of Scotland, a protector is selected. A woman with a pure heart and the ferocity of a warrior is called to the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye upon the death of the previous protector. However, nature has a way of balancing itself, and so with each call to a Protector comes the call of an evil force, set on using the stone for their own purpose.  These are the stories of the Protectors of the Heart of Scotland, the stone they seek to keep safe and the love that strengthens and emboldens them.


The Highlander’s Quest


By USA Today Bestselling Author, Eliza Knight

Her mission was to protect the young boy king. He’s uncovered a plot to destroy Scotland. Together, they must fight a powerful enemy who hides behind a traitorous veil of secrecy…


Dunfermline Palace

Eilean Donan Castle Ruins 



In The Highlander's Quest, Julia Sutherland (heroine) has grown up at Eilean Donan, one of my favorite castles in all of Scotland! She travels to Dunfirmline Palace on a mission, where she meets the hero Alistair Campbell. Both of these castles have prominent stage time on the page.

Eilean Donan is famous for its bridge. It is situated on Loch Also, and in the distance, you can see the Isle of Skye. I took the picture of Eilean Donan on a trip there in 2015. Dunfirmline is in Fife, and was the preferred residence of many a Scottish king, it is on my list of places to visit next time I go!

Cassandra

By USA Today Bestselling Author, Madeline Martin
Together their power is brilliant. But when destiny rivals the safety of family and the whole of Scotland hangs in the balance, can their love survive the required sacrifice?

Edinburgh Castle


In my piece, Cassandra, King Edgar of Scotland resides in Edinburgh Castle and is demanding the stone for himself. In order to ensure Fergus brings it to him, the king has been holding Fergus' son captive since the day the boy was born.

The Protector's Promise

By Author of the Bestselling Border Series, Cecelia Mecca
Two bitter enemies. One sacred vow. Will the passion that flares between them consume everything they love?


Camburg Castle



The inspiration for Camburg Castle in 'The Protector's Promise,' coming April 24th in the Ladies of the Stone anthology, is The Earl's Palace which I visited last summer. Although Camburg Castle is set along the Anglo-Scottish borders in the Western Marches of England, the inspiration castle is way up north in the beautiful island of Kirkwall, Scotland.

Although the layout of Camburg and The Earl's Palace is similar, fortunately, our hero Sir William is nothing like Patrick, Earl of Orkney. When he wanted the castle for himself, the earl fabricated charges against the previous owner of the palace in order to have him tried and executed. But his acquisition was not without consequences, and he was later executed himself for treason.

The Highland Guard and His Lady

By Award Winning Author, Lori Ann Bailey
To protect Scotland, she must eliminate her greatest enemy. But when the challenge begins, will he forgive her for destroying his family?


Holyrood Palace



Home to Mary, Queen of Scots, Holyrood Palace sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In The Highland Guard and His Lady, Leslee MacKinnon is a guest of Queen Mary, there to decipher an old text and seek out a long lost item. 

Her plan is to return home to the Isle of Skye as soon as her mission is complete, but she doesn't count on meeting the Highland Guard who captures her attention or the nemesis who might be the downfall of Scotland.

Want to read the anthology? It's on sale now! 

Check out the video trailer for the anthology!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Rachel Wall - The American-born Female Pirate

Rachel Schmidt was born in Carlisle, in the Province of Pennsylvania, around 1760. At the age of sixteen, her family visited Harrisburg. She wasn’t much for farmland, but she loved the waterfront. And so she was drawn to the docks along the Susquehanna River. It was there she was harassed and attacked by a group of girls. A man by the name of George Wall, a fisherman that had been a privateer during the Revolutionary War, came to her rescue. It wasn’t long before she fell in love and eloped with her hero.

The couple moved to Boston where Rachel took a job as a servant. George was gone for stretches of time as he worked on a fishing boat. Life was rough and the lure of easy money had become too much. George had a taste for plunder and he convinced her to join him in piracy.

Together they devised a plan. George, Rachel, and several cohorts borrowed a schooner and set out to make a living off fishing. That is until the weather turned stormy. Then they set a unique trap. They dropped anchor off the Massachusetts coast in the Isle of Shoals to weather the squalls and then set their boat adrift feigning trouble. Once they spotted a passing ship, Rachel would stand on the deck send distress signals, luring would-be saviors to a ghastly fate. They boarded the vessels, killed the sailors, and pillaged everything of value. The aiding ship was then sunk, a tactic which made it appear as if the sailors perished at sea during the storm.

Their trickery worked well for many months between 1781 through 1782. Some reports estimate they took twelve boats, killed up to twenty-four crewmen, and amassed about $6,000 worth of loot.

But like all good things, it came to an end. The sea is an unpredictable mistress. And whether by surprise or faulty seafaring calculations, a particularly nasty tempest waylaid the little band of pirates. George and another crewman were washed overboard and their vessel had been badly battered.  Rachel and the rest of the survivors were picked up and returned to Boston.

Now widowed, Rachel returned to working as a servant. Her story didn’t end there. She’d become accustomed to the wealth of pirating. While she no longer prowled the coastline, she did return to stealing, although on a smaller scale as a petty thief along the docks. Seven years later, she attempted to snatch a bonnet off seventeen-year-old Margaret Bender’s head and reportedly tried to rip out the girl’s tongue. She was caught and arrested.

Rachel’s request to be tried as a pirate was denied. At her trial, while she confessed to piracy and theft, she maintained her innocence that she had never killed a man. This did not sway the judge and she was found guilty. On October 8, 1789, she was hung.

Rachel Wall was purportedly the first American-born female pirate and the decidedly last woman to be hanged in Massachusetts. And over a bonnet!

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.

Friday, April 6, 2018

New Historical Fiction Release Spotlight: MY DEAR HAMILTON by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


I'm super excited to share with you all a special excerpt from, MY DEAR HAMILTON by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie! I'm currently reading this book right now and loving it! Review forthcoming!


Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

 

Order your copy of MY DEAR HAMILTON today!

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A Founding Father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

 
E
XCERPT:


The night before our wedding, the ball at our house was attended by all the best of Dutch Albany society. The Van Rensselaers and the Van Burens, the Ten Broecks and the Ten Eycks, the Van Schaicks and the Douws, and so many others. Neither snow nor ice nor howling wind seemed to deter our New Netherlander friends and neighbors from coming out to the Pastures for the celebrations.

Amidst boughs of holly and the light of countless candles, the grand hall on our second floor hosted festivities that included food and drink, dancing and music, and games and toasts. We danced minuets, cotillions, and Scottish reels until my feet ached and my heart soared. Alexander never seemed to tire, and I determined to keep up with him through every bar and set. I danced with Mac and my brother-in-law, Mr. Carter, a man eight years Angelica’s senior, whose business supplying the army for once permitted him time to join in the festivities. But Alexander could never wait long before declaring himself impatient and claiming me again.

My fiancĂ© appeared more at ease than I’d ever seen him before, and perhaps that wasn’t a surprise, as these days of rest and merriment were the first break from military service he’d had in five years. Indeed, his eyes sparkled as he asked, “May I steal you away for a moment?”

“By all means.” I’d been hoping for a quiet opportunity to give him my gift. He took my hand and led me around the edge of the dance floor as we were stopped again and again by well-wishers, until we finally escaped down the stairs and into the cooler air of the dimly lit sitting room, which afforded us a modicum of peace and privacy. There, Alexander asked me to wait. And while he ducked away I seized the moment to pull my gift from its hiding place in the cabinet next to the fireplace. Alexander returned before I’d barely completed the task—and held a large sack of his own.

“Whatever is that?” I asked.

He grinned and nodded at what I held in my own hands. “I could ask the same.”

I smiled. “A wedding gift for my husband.”

He feigned a frown and stepped closer. “Your husband, madam? Do I know him?”

Playing his game, I said, “Oh, you know him very well, sir. And your gift is for?”

He came closer yet. “For my wife-to-be. And before you ask, indeed, you know her well. She has a good nature, a charming vivacity, and is most unmercifully handsome”—he arched a brow and closed the remaining space between us—“and so perverse that she has none of those affectations which are the prerogatives of beauty.”

How did he always manage to set my world a-tumble with his words? “Oh, you must be a lucky man, indeed. I hope you’ve shown her your appreciation.”

He barked a laugh. “You saucy charmer!”

I sat in the chair closest to the fire so that I could see by the greater light there, and Alexander pulled up a chair of his own so that our knees touched. With a nervous smile, he placed the heavy sack onto my lap. I untied the its string and worked the coarse cloth over the solid object inside. Impatience rolled off him so forcefully that I had to tease him further by taking great pains to slide the sack evenly off, a little on this side, and then a little on that.

“And to think someone once told me you were the Finest Tempered Girl in the World,” he said with a chuckle.



✭✭✭ ORDER MY DEAR HAMILTON TODAY✭✭✭ Amazon | B&N | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo | Autographed Paperback

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Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie’s MY DEAR HAMILTON – Blog Tour Schedule:
April 2nd
Books A-Brewin' – Excerpt
April 3rd
My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt
Smexy& Fabulous – Excerpt
April 4th
Always a happy ever after –Review & Excerpt
Ficwishes – Excerpt
Quirky Lady Bookworm Reviews – Review & Excerpt
SJAT's Books and More – Review & Interview
April 5th
Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt
Literature Goals – Excerpt
April 6th
Books After Fifty – Excerpt
History Undressed – Review & Excerpt
Under the Covers Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
True Book Addict – Excerpt
Zili in the Sky – Excerpt
April 7th
3 Degrees of Fiction Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Evermore Books – Excerpt
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
April 8th
BookCrushin – Interview
Liz's Reading Life – Excerpt
Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt
April 9th
Book Bug Blog – Review & Excerpt
Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt
April 10th
Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt
My Fictional Escape – Review & Excerpt
Oh, for the Hook of a Book – Review & Interview
April 11th
Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt
April 12th
Denny S. Bryce – Review & Excerpt
Good Drunkard – Review & Excerpt
Ruth Downie – Interview
Margie's Must Reads – Excerpt
April 13th
A Bookaholic Swede – Review
Creating Herstory – Review & Interview
Historical Fiction Reviews – Review & Excerpt
April 14th
Book Nook Nuts – Excerpt
Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt
Leigh Anderson – Review
Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt
Teatime and Books – Excerpt
Two Girls with Books – Review & Excerpt
 
About Stephanie Dray: Stephanie Dray is a New York Times bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into multiple languages, illuminating women of the past so as to inspire the women of today. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital.      

Stephanie Dray Website |Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter | Dray & Kamoie Website


About Laura Kamoie: Laura Kamoie is a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction, and the author of two nonfiction books on early American history. Until recently, she held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction under the name Laura Kaye, also a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels.            





Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pirates Ships - What’s in a Name?

Pirates were pretty good at brand recognition. No, really. Consider the following. Pirates didn’t attack prey haphazardly. Despite popular belief instilled by books and movies, pirates would rather use scare tactics and nasty reputations than engage in a sea battle. Battles used valuable resources such as
ammunition. Crewmen could be hurt or killed. The prize could be damaged or sunk, defeating the purpose of plundering goods, stealing treasure, or seizing the ship for their own. So when they sailed upon a quarry, it was preferred the victim surrender before no quarter was given.

The first indication a pirate ship was closing in would be their colors. The flags pirates hoisted were recognizable, often red or black and depicting skulls, bones, blood, swords, and even an hourglass, a warning to their prey time was running out. When a Jolly Roger snapped in the wind, there was no question the ship claimed no country and that danger was on the horizon.

It would only make sense that pirates would also use branding with the names they chose for their ships.

Sam Bellamy's flagship

While some pirates never bothered with renaming the ships they seized, most christened their newly acquired vessels with names that held meaning. Many ships were named according to their profession—adventure, fancy, ranger, fortune. Some monikers were meant to boost fear—revenge, delivery, rover, triumph. Others made political statements. It has been suggested that Edward Teach (1680-1718), famously known as Blackbeard, was a Jacobite sympathizer and had named his flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge in support of England’s deposed Queen Anne.

Here is a list of other notable pirates and the ships they captained.

  • Jeanne de Clisson (1300-1359) - The Black Fleet, Revenge
  • Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) - Golden Hind
  • Peter Easton (1570-1620) - Happy Adventure
  • Henry Morgan (1635-1688) - Satisfaction
  • William Kidd (1645-1701) - Adventure Galley, Adventure Prize
  • Thomas Tew (1649-1695) - Amity
  • Laurens DeGraaf (1653-1704), Anne Dieu-Le-Veut (1661-1710) - Tigre, Francesca, Fortune renamed Neptune
  • Henry Avery (1659-1699) - Fancy
  • Charles Vane (1680-1721) - Lark, Ranger
  • Benjamin Hornigold (1680-1719) - Ranger
  • Richard Worley (?-1718) - New York’s Revenge

    The Golden Hind (replica)
  • William Moody (?-1719) - Rising Sun
  • Robert Sample (?-1719) - Flying King
  • Bartholomew Roberts aka Black Bart (1682-1722) - Royal Rover, Fortune, Good Fortune, Great Ranger, Little Ranger
  • Edward England (1685-1721) - Royal James, Fancy, Ranger
  • Jack Rackham aka Calico Jack (1682-1720), Mary Read(1685-1721), Anne Bonny (1697-possibly 1782) - William
  • Stede Bonnet (1688-1718) - Revenge renamed Royal James
  • Sam Bellamy aka Black Sam (1689-1717) - Whydah Galley
  • George Lowther (?-1723) - Delivery
  • Christopher Condent (1690s-1770) - The Flying Dragon
  • Edward “Ned” Low (1690-1724) - Rebecca, Fancy, Rose Pink, Merry Christmas
  • John Gow (1695-1725) - Fortune
  • Ching Shih (1775-1844) - a whole fleet called the Red Flag Fleet
  • Jean Lafitte (1780-1823) - Dorada 
It’s interesting to note how many ships possessed the same or similar names. Is that because of brand recognition? Possibly. No sense in changing what works. Huzzah! 

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, March 6, 2018

Water of Life aka Whisky by Madeline Martin

Welcome to History Undressed my good friend and fellow author, Madeline Martin!

One of the fun things about writing historical romance is all the interesting things we learn in our research. While writing the Earl of Benton, I decided to have Alistair Johnstone be a former smuggler of whisky prior to accepting his English earldom.
Scotch whisky, commonly referred to as “uisge beatha” literally translates to “water of life”. Not being a whisky drinker myself, I’d have to disagree because it kind of tastes like straight rubbing alcohol to my ignorant palate.



But I digress. Whisky was distilled for centuries without issue until England and Scotland were crammed together under the same crown and a tax was placed upon malt (an integral ingredient in whisky). While some distilleries legally paid the fees associated with the malt tax to ensure their goods were operating on the right side of the law, many, many more operated illegally.
In fact, so many were in operation that at night, a trail of donkeys could be seen lugging barrels behind them to sell in other locations. Excise men were put to task by the English to catch these thieves and  see them brought to justice, though many of their run ins ended up in bloody shoot outs.

As time went on and the excise men became more abundant, the whisky smugglers got creative. Some built casks to look like a man sitting behind the cart driver with a head fashioned from leather – completely undetectable in the darkness. And still others had steel casks made that would fit over a woman’s shoulders, the round part of the barrel easily giving her the appearance of being with child. Ironically the immense weight of the 2 gallons it held gave the women a rather stiff/waddling gait that made the rouse  entirely believable.
In the Earl of Benton, I got a little creative with what one might do when being tasked with having to smuggle twenty gallons over the Scottish border and into England. It was fun figuring out how to make it work, especially when his lady companion couldn’t know!
In 1823, the distillation of whisky was fully legalized and only required the payment of a mere ten pounds. This was such a miniscule amount that whisky running became almost nothing and the excise men were no longer needed.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

HIS ACTIONS COULD BE TREASON...
Alistair Johnstone’s days of running whisky come to an abrupt halt when he inherits an earldom. After years of living in Scotland and denying his English heritage, he now must return despite his mother’s bitter contempt and his own lack of desire. When his mother’s attempt to run whisky goes awry, Alistair is forced to step in and save her by doing one last whisky run – however, if he’s caught, he will face a traitor’s death.

SHE IS RUNNING FOR HER LIFE...
Emma Thorne’s uncle is trying to kill her and so far has failed, thank goodness. But with only one month until she reaches her majority, inherits her fortune and is released from his guardianship, she knows she is not safe. Emma escapes to a nearby estate where she stumbles upon a house party being held by the Wicked Earls’ Club and finds herself at the mercy of the most extraordinary earl. One who could save her or see her condemned.

PERHAPS THEY CAN SAVE EACH OTHER.
When innocent lies become reality and danger follows them every step of the way, could love be the answer to both their problems, or will their passions be their undoing?
    



WANT TO READ IT?


Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/eobamz
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Print: http://hyperurl.co/eobprint


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Madeline loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, and working out (to support her love of wine and Nutella). As she is unable to have pets herself due to allergies, she has acquired a plastic Halloween skeleton named Nick and a small robot named Meccano - both of whom are dressed up regularly by the minions.

She loves connecting with her readers, so feel free to follow her on any one of her social media platforms, or send her a message :) 
    

FOLLOW MADELINE!

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor/
Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
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