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.***

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writing Contest Open for Entries!


Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh!

We have four categories for unpublished authors and published authors with unpublished  manuscripts.

* Historical
* Fantasy-Futuristic-Paranormal
* Contemporary
* Young Adult/New Adult

Our contest due date is May 10th. Finalists will be notified by June 15th and winners notified by August 1st–Winners will be announced at the CHRW Annual General Meeting at RWA National Convention in San Antonio, TX in July 2014.


The competition is open to RWA members ONLY.

Manuscripts must be unpublished and un-contracted in any form, including self-publishing. The manuscript rights must belong to the author and be available to contract, should a final judge wish to offer publication.

The GC entry must be a full-length novel (more than 40K). Novellas or Short stories will not be accepted.

Manuscripts must be completed by the time results are returned. Entrant must retain all rights to the entry and not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party by the contest entry deadline.

If your manuscript is accepted for publication during the time of our contest (dates will be specified) you must notify the contest coordinator; your submission(s) will be withdrawn from consideration and your entry fee(s) returned.

Please Note:

  • Previously entered manuscripts may be entered again, but no previous winningmanuscript shall be re-entered, even if revised.
  • You may submit multiple entries so long as you pay an entry fee and submit a completed entry form for each submission.
  • You may not enter the same manuscript in more than one category. *Entry fee per entry: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.
CHRW reserves the right to discard all electronic entries and return fees if a minimum number of three (3) entries are not received in any category. Entrants will be contacted before the entries are returned and given the option to place their entry in another category if it is eligible. We may also refuse an entry that does not follow the rules stated here in the guidelines.

All Payments are Electronic through PayPal. The easy link is here:

If you wish to go directly to PayPal, please use Paypal address: treasurer@celtichearts.org

Entry fee: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.

All entries will be read and scored for the first round by two trained judges and one published author, and the lowest score dropped. The three entries with the highest total scores in each category will move to the final round. An editor/agent will judge the final round and select a winner from the finalists in each category.


Future, Fantasy & Paranormal: Romance novel where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).

Contemporary: Includes, single title, long and short romantic fiction with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.

Historical: Romance novel set primarily before 1945 — any location. Please specify your time period and setting in your entry.

Young Adult/New Adult:  Romance novels in which young adult or new adult themes constitute an integral part of the plot. *Romance subplot not required*


Entry Composition: No Synopsis required! Your entry must have the following:

1.     An email “cover page” which includes the author’s real name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address, submission title, category, manuscript word count and PayPal confirmation # should be submitted in text of the e-mail. Do not include the cover page in the same attachment as your manuscript.

2.     The beginning of your manuscript, including prologue, cannot exceed thirty (30) pages. Standard manuscript format must be followed:
  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced in a standard font and size 12-point.
  • The TITLE of the manuscript, the category, and any subcategory should be placed on the top left hand side of the entry. The PAGE NUMBER should be on the top right side of the entry.
  • We will not accept entries that have colored, or designer fonts. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME ON THE MANUSCRIPT.
3. Manuscript must be in a .doc or .rtf file format.
NOTE: Your entry must not exceed thirty (30) pages total.

Contemporary Category - contempcat@celtichearts.org
FFP Category - ffpcat@celtichearts.org
Historical Category - historicalcat@celtichearts.org
Young Adult/New Adult Category - yacat@celtichearts.org

Final Round Judges


Angela James – Carina Press
Kerry Buckley – Carina Press


Laurie McLean – Forward Literary, Inc
Beth Miller – Writers House
Leis Pederson – Berkley Publishing


Julie Mianecki – Penguin Books
Alissa Davis – Carina Press
Elizabeth Bistrow – Penguin Books

Young Adult/New Adult

Nicole Fischer – Avon Press


The FIRST PLACE winners in each category will receive a $50 dollar cash prize and a commemorative pin.

The SECOND and THIRD PLACE winners in each category will receive free workshops through Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

For questions please contact the contest chair, Alisa Walker at: contests@celtichearts.org

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New App: Poems by Heart from Penguin Classics


NEW YORK, NY – March 15, 2013 – Penguin Group (USA) presents a memorization game that will challenge you with classic poems from master wordsmiths (including Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and more) with the April 4th release of Poems By Heart from Penguin Classics. The app features 24 poems you’ll come to know by heart while racking up high scores and achievements. With recordings you can share online and email to your friends, Poems By Heart includes two new and exclusive dramatic readings and all-new original art for each poem, with two poems available for free. The app will be available in the App Store for the iPad and iPhone on April 4th.

The works of John Keats, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and fifteen other iconic poets are featured in Poems By Heart’s verses of adventure, romance, and horror, all carefully selected and edited by the experts at Penguin Classics. Using brain-training techniques to make remembering poetry easy, the resulting fast and responsive game doubles as a tool to stay mentally fit in a fun way. “Poems By Heart makes it simple to memorize timeless verses while immersing yourself in a fun interactive game,” says Penguin Classics Editorial Director Elda Rotor. “This app combines beautiful design with an experience that expands your mind’s ability to retain language.” With seven in-app purchase packs of poems available in the app’s poetry store, Poems By Heart lets players share their progress online as they build their skills along five different stages and twenty ranks of success.

Users can confront a haunting, ominous raven, discover the ruins of an ancient, forgotten kingdom, and learn the secrets of true love—all in one app. Poetry experts, literature lovers, and novices just hoping to brush up on their Shakespearean sonnets will all find what they’re looking for in Poems By Heart from Penguin Classics. From the American Romance of Edgar Allen Poe to the nonsensical whimsy of Lewis Carroll, this app from Penguin Classics offers you the tools needed to strengthen your memory while creating and recording memories of your own.


About Penguin Group (USA)

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

About Penguin Classics

For more than sixty years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world, providing readers with a global bookshelf of the best works from around the world, throughout history, and across genres and disciplines. We focus on bringing together the best of the past and the future, using cutting-edge design and production as well as embracing the digital age to create unforgettable editions of treasured literature. Penguin Classics is timeless and trend-setting. Whether you love our familiar black-spine series, our Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions, or our Penguin Enriched eBook Classics, we bring the writer to the reader in every format available.

Monday, April 7, 2014

COVER REVEAL! What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen

In late 19th century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous
motto:“Give the lady what she wants.”

His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer, and led to an infamous love affair.

The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watched the flames rise and consume what had been the pioneer town of Chicago, she couldn’t imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world was about to change. Nor would she have guessed that the agent of that change would not simply be the fire, but more so the man she met that night…

Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store.  He and his powerhouse coterie— including Potter Palmer and George Pullman—usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.

But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago was transformed into the Gleaming White City of the Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893.

Praise for Dollface

“Intoxicating....Fans of Boardwalk Empire will love Dollface.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Sara Gruen

“A lively, gutsy romp of a novel that will keep you turning pages.”—Karen Abbott, New York Times Bestselling Author of Sin in the Second City

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Today is Tartan Day!

Today is Tartan Day--a celebration of Scottish heritage.

On April 6, 1320, the Declaration of Arbroath was signed--a declaration of Scottish Independence.

At the time of signing, the Pope recognized Scotland as ruled by Edward I of England (aka Longshanks) in 1305. The Declaration claimed that Scotland was to be an independent country and proposed to lift the excommunication of Robert the Bruce (placed by the Pope in 1306 when Robert stabbed John Comyn to death on the altar at Greyfriars--John was the son of the previous ruler of Scotland), naming him the monarch of the country, but also declaring that they never wanted to be under English rule.

The people of Scotland had this to say within the declaration regarding Robert the Bruce: "To this man, in as much as he saved our people, and for upholding our freedom, we are bound by right as much as by his merits, and choose to follow him in all that he does."

Tartan Day is celebrated all around the world with festivals, music and a love of Scotland and its culture. The pic to the right is Sean Connery celebrating Tartan Day in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Enter for you chance to win!!!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Highlander's Temptation by Eliza Knight

The Highlander's Temptation

by Eliza Knight

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, March 28, 2014

Video of the Week: Mary Tudor Song

Its been awhile, history lovers! Let's get our video on :)

Get ready readers! My book, MY LADY VIPER (Tales from the Tudor Court) releases in May 2014!!!

May, 1536.  The Queen is dead.  Long live the Queen.

When Anne Boleyn falls to the executioner's axe on a cold spring morning, yet another Anne vows she will survive in the snakepit court of Henry VIII.  But at what cost?

Lady Anne Seymour knows her family hangs by a thread.  If her sister-in-law Jane Seymour cannot give the King a son, she will be executed or set aside, and her family with her.  Anne throws herself into the deadly and intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined at any price to see the new queen's marriage a success and the Seymour family elevated to supreme power.  But Anne's machinations will earn her a reputation as a viper, and she must decide if her family's rise is worth the loss of her own soul...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I Write What I Do

Typically I reserve this blog for historical articles and guest authors, but since my dear friend and historical author, Stephanie Dray posted a blog on her writing process and asked me to join her in sharing my own, I thought it would be fun for readers to see how it all works in my head by answering just a few questions!

1) What am I working on?

I am just coming out of deep edits/revisions for my upcoming Tudor historical fiction novel (non-romance) that is releasing May 1st! MY LADY VIPER, has immersed me in the court of Henry VIII and the life of Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset. I'll be going on a blog tour with this book starting May 5th! I'm excited to get this book out in the open. Its been such a thrill to write. Lots of ups and downs, angst, tragedy, emotion. Just amazing to me the amount of drama that actually took place in history.

After I finish up edits and send it off to the formatters for release, I'll begin working on my new Highland romance series, HIGHLAND WARS. This is going to be a huge project with lots of world-building, drama, and of course, heroes we fall in love with and heroines we'd love to be!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well for starters, with my historical fiction novels, I've chosen heroines who have yet to have their voices heard. Diving into their heads, I bring their world to life and work through what is known from them in history and give the reader an explanation for it. For example, Anne from MY LADY VIPER, is known as a viper, a cold woman, who people don't like so much. I've taken her side, and though I use creative license (after all its fiction!), I like to think that I've helped shed some light on why she was thought of this way, and I've redeemed her. The follow up to this book is PRISONER OF THE QUEEN, the story of Anne's daughter-in-law, Katherine Grey who also happens to be the sister of the 9 days queen, Jane Grey.

As far as my Highlander romances go, I focus a lot on the relationship between the hero and heroine, building on how two people who shouldn't be together, end up together. I love that after facing the odds, they can still surmount the insurmountable and find a way to be happy. I tend to add a lot of humor and realism to the books. Readers can connect with the characters, their problems and fall in love with them. I like to think I've created historical characters that modern readers can relate to. And of course, there is a lot of conflict and sizzling-hotness, too!

3) Why do I write what I do?

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. I'm obsessed with history. I could spend hours, days, weeks, immersed in research, episodes on the History Channel or wondering the halls of a museum or monument. I like to sit outside, in the middle of a forest or field, close my eyes, touch the earth and feel what it was like to live back in those days. Since time-travel has yet to be invented, I've taken it into my own hands--through writing. I live vicariously through my characters and I love every minute of it.

I write both historical fiction and historical romance. Historical fiction is wonderful because I can go back in time and create the world that a real historical figure lived in and see it form their perspective. The stories are often heavy, dark and yet, I find a way to make them persevere so that in the end, we are satisfied. With historical romance, though my secondary characters often are true historical figures, I like that I can make up people and put them in eras and events that I have fun researching, and also make them fall in love. I think a common theme you'll find in all of my books--literary and romance alike, is that my characters often triumph over adversity. My heroines are independent women striving to live in a world where women are often oppressed.

4) How does your writing process work?

This is a tough question! Because it works differently for each genre.

One thing both my historical fiction and romance have in common, is that I find the characters first. They and their conflicts come to mind, and then I start to research. I research where they lived, what they ate, what they wore, what events were happening at the time, etc... I build their world. I use note cards or a notebook and do a plot outline/scene breakdown (this can all be put together as my synopsis) Then I write.

When I write historical fiction, I write less words in a longer amount of time... So I get in about 1200-1500 words a day, about one scene, not one chapter. I write very detailed in this first draft. I like to really concentrate on getting all those details write, and building a believable world, dialogue that moves the story along, action. Once I've finished, I print it out, read through it and use plot-boarding to make sure all my characters/plot points make sense and complete themselves. Then I revise. Send chapters off to multiple readers and revise again. Print it out and read again (yes I recycle!), then its off for copy edits. And then I read it again :)

When I write historical romance, I write about 2500-7000 words a day. I write a fast draft--so when I get to the end, the word count is really on 1/2 of the finished product. I like to get all the key plot points written down, the bare bones of the story. Then I go back in and fill it in. Then I revise and send off to beta readers. Once I get crits back, I make those changes, print it out, and then revise edit again. Then its off to the editor!

I think the longest process is the revising, because there are so many ways to improve a story, and before sending it off into the world, you want it to be perfect!

I've decided to pose these same questions to a few of my writer friends! Check out Vonda Sinclair's post here! Check back for more links soon.