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.***

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Winner of A LADY'S CHARADE!!!

As promised, I am announcing the winner of the signed print copy of A LADY'S CHARADE!

Using random.org organizer, the winner is....

Robin!!!!

Congrats Robin :)








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To purchase this book...


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Thanks for entering my contest! 

Cheers,
Eliza

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Historical Romance Review: A Gentleman Never Tells by Amelia Grey

I am a fan of Amelia Grey's Regency romances, so when I had the opportunity to read A Gentleman Never Tells, I was very excited about it.

Book Info:

When a lady is in a predicament...


Beautiful, clever and courageous Lady Gabrielle thwarts the shackles of her arranged betrothal by kissing a stranger in the park. But who is this man? Finding herself stuck in yet another forced engagement Gabrielle needs another strategy that isn’t so dangerous.

A gentleman may find himself in deep trouble...

Viscount Brentwood is walking in the park early one morning when a beautiful, enchanting young lady walks out of the mist and into his arms. Now Brent has no choice but to marry the delightful Lady Gabrielle.

Unfortunately his intended bride has other ideas, and the determined Viscount finds himself plunging into one scandal after another.

A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS

The Rogues' Dynasty #4
Mass Market Paperback
ISBN-10: 1402239750
ISBN-13: 978-1402239755
Released in July 2011

My Review...

I have read Ms. Grey's other books in The Rogues' Dynasty series, so I was excited to see some secondary characters previewed previously brought more to life: such as the twins who look just like Sir Randolph. But these are not the main characters of the story, rather the twins' older brother, Lord Brentwood.

This story started off with a bang! An intriguing plot and a hero and heroine who sizzled not only with their clandestine kiss, but their witty banter. The banter continued throughout the story, and kept the pages flipping. A cute story, with an interesting secondary plot of dog-knapping. Lots of sensual kisses, some funny twists--loved the scene with the "orbs"!! And you will too, but I'm not telling you what its about, you'll just have to read it!

The ending was satisfactory in that Gabrielle and Brent do get together despite her, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, type motivation, and her nasty ex-fiance's schemes. The mystery of the missing dogs is resolved satisfactorily and actually helps the characters to grow and change which I enjoyed. I did have some tears toward the end, there is a sad moment, which if you are a dog lover, you will cry too! But there was one thing that I wished had been different--Rosabelle, Gabrielle's selfish sister. I did not like that she had what appeared to be a happy ending. She did nothing but torture her sister the whole book, and Gabrielle just took it. Gabrielle had such a strong backbone, I didn't understand why when it came to her sister she let her walk all over her. It was reminiscent of Lydia from P&P, the way she was so selfish and willing to do whatever it took to get her way. I wish her ending had been more like Lydia, that after walking all over everyone, she wasn't so pleased with herself. My dislike of her sister did not detract from the story however, but rather had me itching for Gabrielle to rat her out--which I will not tell you whether or not that happened else it would spoil the story!

Another great story by Ms. Grey! Cheers to you!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Cleopatra Undressed with Guest Author Colin Falconer

Today on History Undressed, I'd like to introduce you to a new guest, Colin Falconer, author of historical fiction. Mr. Falconer is going to tantalize us by stripping away some layers on the history of Cleopatra, the main character in his fascinating re-release, WE WERE GODS ONCE. Prepare to enjoy yourself... I most definitely did!

CLEOPATRA UNDRESSED
by Colin Falconer

If it wasn’t all true, it would be hard to believe: thirty years before Jesus, an eighteen year old princess tries to take over the world? Outrageous. But that's what happened.

She was Queen Cleopatra the Seventh but really - there is only one. She has been variously portrayed as virtuous suicide, exuberant lover, professional courtesan, scheming manipulator, and femme fatale. Shakespeare made her a cruel and lazy siren, (his genius was drama not history!) George Bernard Shaw’s made her a man-eater and Elizabeth Taylor convinced everyone she was her.

Hollywood has certainly never had any doubts about who Cleopatra was. In the thirties Cecil B de Mille offered the role in the movie to Claudette Colbert with the words: "How would you like to play the wickedest woman in history?"

Was she history's wickedest woman? Probably not. But she was certainly a woman with what we would call today - cojones. She took on Roman military and political power at the apogee of its power. If she had succeeded – and she very nearly did – the world today might look a very different place. God might really be a woman - called Isis.

It is true that she scandalized the Roman world, but much of what was said about her at the time was mostly misinformation used by her enemy, Augustus, to rally his fellow Romans against her. He used her to turn the tables on Anthony, who was his rival for power in Rome, leaking rumours about her bathing in asses’ milk and having sex with her slaves in order to make Anthony look ridiculous. And it worked; worked so well in fact that his propaganda still informs most popular opinion about her, even today.

She was certainly not the sexual virago of legend. I hope you're not too disappointed but she did not copulate with crocodiles, (it's dangerous and probably not that much fun) or with her slaves (beneath her dignity). In fact, it seems she only slept with two men all her life, and both of them were husbands. Well, not her husbands, admittedly - but in fairness, she did marry them later.

The real Cleopatra was a consummate political animal, a woman far ahead of her time; she had the marketing acumen of Lady Gaga, the ruthlessness of Margaret Thatcher and the charm of Lady Diana. Extraordinary.

Yet we don't really know what she looked like. But surely, you say – she looked like Elizabeth Taylor? With a bob, and a beauty spot, reclining on an antique sunbed?

Well, no.

Some historians speculate that Cleopatra may have even been blonde. As she was part Macedonian, there's a fair chance, so to speak. I toyed with the idea of having Cleopatra as a blonde in WHEN WE WERE GODS, to show that I had done my research and to distance myself from the movie. (Also so that Scarlett Johanssen could play the role in my film. Or, at least, in my fantasies.) But my publisher said to me: you can't do that. (Have a blonde Cleopatra, not have fantasies about Scarlett Johanssen.) They said: Cleopatra is now far too deeply ingrained in our consciousness as a bobbed brunette, it will jar in a reader's imagination.

She may not even have been that beautiful. There are few existing likenesses of her extant. (A coin from the period shows her in profile, and it’s a pretty terrifying image too, not unlike Mike Tyson.) There are only two ambiguous accounts from her contemporaries; Plutarch was at pains to describe her 'pleasing personality' - which is damning with faint praise - and only Cassius Dio lauded her looks, but did he say that because he had to?

And anyway, does it really matter? In the context of her story it was her spirit not her looks that really mattered. Despite overwhelming odds, she almost became ruler of the entire western world using her intelligence and her daring. In the end she scandalized the Romans not because of her sexual conquests but because a woman almost beat them at their own game. She was truly one of the most extraordinary women in history.


WHEN WE WERE GODS, is now re-released on Kindle US, Kindle UK and for all other formats on Smashwords for $2.99. For free excerpt click here.


Colin Falconer has been published widely in the UK, US and Europe and his books have been translated into seventeen languages. He invites you to join him at http://www.colinfalconer.net/

Saturday, August 20, 2011

GIVEAWAY!! A Signed Print Copy of A LADY'S CHARADE

Happy Weekend!!!

I am excited to announce that my medieval romance, A LADY'S CHARADE is now available in print!  AND I am hosting a giveaway here on History Undressed for the next week!

Leave a comment with your email address, and on Saturday, August 27th, I will draw one winner and ship the book!

The book has received great reviews, and I am thrilled to see that on Apple iBooks it has (*as of this post) 156 reviews with an average rating of 4 Stars!  Thank you, thank you! to all my lovely readers who have been enjoying this book. I had so much fun writing it, and I'm glad to be able to share Chloe and Alexander's story with you!

Below I have posted the entire Chapter One of A LADY'S CHARADE for you to read.

About the book...

From across a field of battle, English knight, Alexander, Lord Hardwyck, spots the object of his desire--and his conquest, Scottish traitor Lady Chloe.

Her lies could be her undoing…

Abandoned across the border and disguised for her safety, Chloe realizes the man who besieged her home in Scotland has now become her savior in England. Her life in danger, she vows to keep her identity secret, lest she suffer his wrath, for he wants her dead.

Or love could claim them both and unravel two countries in the process…

Alexander suspects Chloe is not who she says she is and has declared war on the angelic vixen who's laid claim to his heart. A fierce battle of the minds it will be, for once the truth is revealed they will both have to choose between love and duty.

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To purchase this book...


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“The secret whispers of each other's watch:
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face…”
Excerpt from Shakespeare’s, Henry V, Act 4, Prologue


~ Chapter One ~

South Hearth Castle
Border of Scotland and England
September, 1415

Allure! My lady! Ralentir!”

Chloe laughed when she turned around on her speeding horse to spy her French maid. Poor Nicola clutched the hood of her headdress with one hand, her hands scrambling to maintain the reins of her horse, and her bottom bounced up and down at a rather humorous pace.

She conceded her old nurse and slowed her horse to a trot until Nicola could catch up.

“My lady, shame on you. You know better than to ride with such… such… imprudence!”

Oui.” Chloe chose to concede once more. There was no point in arguing with the woman. Especially when she was sure Nicola would only have the last word.

But she just couldn’t help riding hell bent for leather! They’d been waiting on the coast of France for nearly a fortnight before the ship could safely take them across. Then an entire week had been spent cramped inside a small ship’s cabin, with the swaying and rocking of the vessel. She felt like the nearly three weeks past had been consumed by sitting still, and now that they’d reached Scotland she only wanted to be free. To feel the fresh, clean, crisp air wash over her skin as she rode at break neck speed toward home.

Nicola gave her a disapproving look, but nodded anyway, silvery blonde curls falling out of her headdress. Whether or not she believed Chloe’s apology was sincere, she was accepting of it, it seemed.

They were not alone of course. A dozen of her father’s guard surrounded her, none of them willing to contradict anything Chloe said. Why? She wasn’t sure. Mayhap because she’d been on the continent for so long, they knew not what to expect of her, or perhaps it was simply that they too wanted to reach home. And yet again, it could be that her father had told them not to argue with her. Whatever the reason, she was glad they’d let her have a bit of fun for however fleeting it was.

Chloe turned to the guardsmen who appeared to be in charge. “How much further?”

He looked about himself for a moment before turning back to her. “South Hearth is not much further, mayhap another day. Shall we make camp now, my lady?”

Chloe narrowed her eyes. “South Hearth?”

“Aye, my lady.”

“We are not going to Fergusson lands?”

“That we are, my lady.”

“But you said South Hearth. My family has not held South Hearth for…” She trailed off remembering the last time she’d been at the border holding. Jon had been alive then.

“Nigh on five years now, my lady, but his lordship, your father, has once again proven we Scots shall prevail.”

So, her father had taken siege of the castle again? A lot had happened since she’d been sent to serve the French queen five years ago, at the age of thirteen. She couldn’t say she was surprised, or really upset about it. In fact, she was a little elated. South Hearth was home. She’d grown up there. Hadrian’s Wall was her playground. But the fact remained, if her father had retaken the castle—someone would want it back.

“Let us make camp then.” Chloe tried not to giggle at the look of pure relief that crossed her nursemaid’s face. The woman’s rump must be burning.

The following morning g they set out at a slower pace, just after sunrise. They broke their fast with pears and cheese as they rode, all of them eager to reach South Hearth walls. As the sun rose high in the sky, the turrets of the keep were visible over the crest of a hill.

Home.

Chloe broke out into a wide smile, and ignoring the protests of Nicola and her retainers, she prodded her horse into a canter down the road toward the gate. When she arrived, the guards not far behind her, and Nicola bouncing her way painfully down the hill, her smile faded. Guards circled the top of the battlements. The drawbridge was up, the portcullis down, and gate door closed tightly. They expected trouble.

Just as she’d thought. Someone would most definitely be coming to take back the castle. But when was the question.

Before she could open her mouth to order the men to open the way for her, they did so. Calls to her escort were tossed over the walls, and the men she traveled with answered back. As the gates opened, the sounds and smells of the city assaulted her senses. Loud clanking, banging, shouting. Smells of cooking, rubbish, and animals. It all mixed together, and she longed for the French chateau of Queen Isabeau with its pretty smells, and enchanting music.

They rode into town, up the rode past merchants, peasants, clergy and guild workers toward the keep stairs. South Hearth had seemed such a grand place when she was young. Now it only seemed a fort of sorts, not a home.

“My child!” A tall woman atop the steps to the keep came rushing forth.

Chloe recognized her mother immediately. “Maman!” She sped up her horse until she reached the bottom of the keep stairs and then ignoring the hands offered by the guards, leapt to the ground and into her mother’s arms.

It’d been two years since she’d last seen her mother. The Lady Fergusson, had stayed with her for her first few years in service to the French queen, her mother’s cousin, before returning to her husband in Scotland.

Chloe breathed in her mother’s scent, and tried to blink away the sting of tears in her eyes.

“Come, inside. You must be in need of a bath and something to eat.”

Chloe nodded. As they reached the tops of the steps, Nicola finally drew up to the courtyard, a harried looking knight beside her. The maid had probably given the man a good tongue lashing, only because Chloe herself wasn’t there to receive the punishment.

“It is so good to be home.”

Oui, I am glad you finally arrived. We were beginning to worry. Your father and I expected you over a week ago.”

She threaded her arm through her mother’s as they made their way up the spiral staircase to the upper chambers. “There was a storm, and the sea was not safe. We had to wait nearly two weeks before boarding the ship.”

“Ah, I see. At least you have arrived safely. If you hadn’t come by tomorrow a search party was going to be sent out.”

Chloe gasped. “Did you not get my missive?”

“Missive?” They stopped walking and her mother turned toward her, her brows drawn together in concern.

Oui, Maman. I sent a message to warn of our delay.”

“I received no such warning.”

A chill ran up Chloe’s spine. Had her missive been intercepted? Chloe shook her head. As bad as it was, she dearly prayed the messenger had simply pocketed her coin and spent his time leisurely perusing some bawdy French coastal tavern. She’d seen plenty of the wanton women lining the docks, lifting their skirts to show not so pretty calves.

“I shall ask your father about the missive. No matter, let us not dwell on it.”

Her mother led her to her old chamber, the furnishings surprisingly the same. Those who’d occupied South Hearth after them had not bothered to change it. Her dark polished oak wardrobe was still against the wall. She walked in and ran her hand up the post of the large bed, then sat on the chest of carved oak with roses at the end. The tapestries were even the same. She gazed with nostalgic wonder at the bright blues, golds, reds and greens woven into a picturesque scene of a knight saving a damsel outside a fairy tale castle. She’d spent hours staring at the scene, picturing what her own husband would be like.

“After you’ve had a chance to rest, please come to the great hall. Your father would like a word with you about your future.”

Chloe turned a quizzical look on her mother, who had the foresight to look guilty. “My future?” Her mother’s countenance could only mean their plans would not be seen well in her own eyes.

Oui.”

“Please, maman, can you not explain?” she pleaded with her mother. She’d only just returned home. Could her mother not just tell her?

“The great hall, ma cherie.”

Chloe hurried through her ablutions, feeling refreshed from her journey and donned the rich blue and gold brocade gown Nicola picked out for her. She rolled her eyes to heaven with frustration at how slow the maid took to plait her hair before donning the matching blue and gold headdress. Her gold braided girdle fitted over her hips, the ends of the tied cord coming halfway down her thigh. She tucked her dirk in place, put on her slippers, and batted Nicola’s hands away.

Although her mother had advised her to rest, this Chloe could not adhere to. Her life was at stake. She rushed to the great hall, where the servants were busy setting out goblets, wine jugs and platters of delicious meats, vegetables in delectable sauces, almonds, figs, and large loafs of bread with steam still rising from their crusty shells.

Her mother stood beside her father who sat in his great chair at the center of the trestle table, her hand on his shoulder.

“Papa,” Chloe said, dipping into a low curtsey.

“How is it that you were only in France for five years, yet you came back with a French accent?” Despite his rebuke, her father smiled, although it was rough around the edges.

“If it pleases, I will try to refrain.”

“You are a dutiful daughter, are you not?”

Oui—I mean, yes, Papa.”

The baron had changed little in the five years since she’d been gone. He was still strong, fit, and the way he looked at her, still wished she’d fallen instead of her brother Jon. For all his anger at the turn of events though, beneath his hard exterior, she thought she saw a spark in his eyes. Pride perhaps. Pride for her. At least, she could hope that’s what it was.

“Sit down,” he ordered, his hand sweeping out to indicate the chair beside him. Her mother took her cue, and sat on his other side.

“I am pleased you have returned safely.” He awkwardly patted her hand.

“As am I. It is good to be home.” Chloe kept her gaze in her lap.

“Glad, I am, that you feel that way. South Hearth belongs to the Fergussons. It always has, and we will never let some Sassenachs take it from us again!” At this, he pounded his fist on the table.

Chloe jumped at the sudden movement, but quickly recovered herself.

“As for you, daughter, you will be married.”

“Married?” Chloe couldn’t keep herself from responding, or from the horror that invaded her voice. She didn’t want to marry. Not yet anyway. She hadn’t been home more than a few hours. There’d been no time to meet any of the eligible bachelors, make her choice. But from the determined set of her father’s jaw, she could easily surmise, there wouldn’t be a choice. The picture of her own knight sweeping her off her feet reared up and then started to fade away.

“Aye. You will do your duty.” His statement left no room for argument.

“My duty.” Chloe let the words roll off her tongue. How bitter and rancid they tasted.

“My second in command, Angus is in need of a wife. Since Jon, my son and heir has passed on from this earth, I naturally want to make sure the Fergusson clan is in capable hands. Your duty as my daughter, and only child, is to marry whom I choose for that purpose.”

“Angus.” Chloe tried to remember the man, and then there he was, melting from the woodwork it seemed as he suddenly appeared at the table.

He was old, nearly her father’s age. Still built like a warrior, but old none the less. His face was cruel. Lines etched into the corners of his eyes and brow. But no lines around his mouth. He didn’t smile much.

When she met his eyes—cold watery brown eyes—he nodded.

“Angus, you remember my daughter, Lady Chloe?” her father asked, without even so much as looking at Angus or herself.

Angus didn’t say a word, just nodded again.

The man sat down, and the meal began. She watched as he stabbed at a piece of meat, the movement almost like he was stabbing at her heart. There was no talk of wedding plans or even a date, and for that, Chloe was relieved. Mayhap she could push it far enough off, that the man might perish. What a perfectly horrid thing to think! She berated herself and immediately said a prayer for the man’s health.

After that, Chloe tuned out the conversation, and no one made any comments to her either. When the meal was complete, she snuck out the buttery door and headed for the family chapel. No one deigned to stop her, and even if they did, she would have pushed past them. Her father was going to force her to marry the cruel, old, Angus. From the look of him, he would be rough with her, unkind. Not a match she would have chosen for herself if they were the two last people on earth, and humankind’s survival depended on it.

Duty. Honor.

Angry tears welled in her eyes. She’d always thought she had a good sense of honor and duty. But never in her life had they been put to the test. Not until now. At the French court, all the men she had interaction with were romantic, handsome, not rigid and cold.

She entered the chapel and went to kneel before the altar. She crossed herself and began her prayers. Prayers for strength. Prayers for salvation. Prayers for patience. Prayers that her parents might change their minds.

When she finished, she exited the back of the chapel and headed for the family crypt. Would Jon’s tomb still be there? Had the heathen’s who’d taken South Hearth from them before destroyed consecrated grounds? She was relieved when she found his tomb, undisturbed. Carved with his name, birth and death dates, their family motto, beside several other Fergussons. She dropped to her knees and let the tears fall.

“Oh, Jon!” Her head feel into her hands.

If only her brother were still here, still alive. He would have been able to talk sense into her father. Not make her marry his second in command, simply because he didn’t want to lose a battle.

Then again, mayhap Jon would still be there if it weren’t for her.

She wiped her tears away with the length of her sleeve and tilted her head to the heavens. She stared up at the graying sky. Jon had been her best friend, her confidante. He’d taught her so much, loved her for who she was.

“Help me,” she whispered to the sky. “Show me a sign that you are there. That you can hear me!”

But there was nothing. And she was sitting on the ground in front of his tomb talking to no one.

With a heavy sigh she stood and ambled her way back to the keep.


Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a signed print copy of A LADY'S CHARADE!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guest Author, Beth Trissel on INTO THE LION'S HEART

Welcome back to History Undressed Beth! I have always enjoyed reading your books and I look forward to reading your new release, INTO THE LION'S HEART.  Thanks for visiting with us today!

Presenting INTO THE LION'S HEART by Beth Trissel

I’m delighted to celebrate the release of my first English historical romance, Into the Lion’s Heart, with the gracious Eliza Knight at her lovely blog.  I believe this is my third visit to History Undressed, but it won’t be the last.  Into the Lion’s Heart has the honor of launching the new series The Wild Rose Press is debuting called Love Letters.  Authors were invited to participate, so I’m doubly honored.  The premise behind this theme is that a letter must be the cause of bringing the hero and heroine together.  At 96 pages, Into the Lion’s Heart is an easy but satisfying read.  However, I did as much research for this story as I would a full novel.

The connection I feel to the past and those who’ve gone before me is the ongoing inspiration behind my historical romances, including the time travels in my ‘Somewhere’ series.  I’ve done a great deal of research into family genealogy and come from well-documented English/Scots-Irish folk with a smidgen of French in the meld, a Norman knight who sailed with William the Conqueror.  One family line goes directly back to Geoffrey Chaucer.  And there’s a puritan line with involvement in the Salem Witch Trials—my apologies to Susannah Martin’s descendants--but that’s another story.  With Into the Lion’s Heart, I more deeply explored my British ancestry.

Captain Dalton Evans
Set in 1789 England, the story opens with the hero, Captain Dalton Evans (fought in the American Revolution) journeying to Dover to meet the ship carrying a distant cousin, Mademoiselle Sophia Devereux, who’s fleeing the French Revolution.  *Pause here to note all the research the revolution took, not to mention Georgian England in general, Cornwall in particular, rum smuggling, stage coach travel and sailing in the late 18th century....you get the idea. But I digress. Back to Dalton who’s irked with his mission, not only because he finds it tedious, but he resents the French, partly as a result of their aid to the Americans during the war and some of the Frenchmen he fought during that lost cause.  Plus he thinks French aristocrats are arrogant.  However, the young woman he rescues from the sinking ship is nothing like he expects and rocks his world.

The Scarlet Pimpernel
During all the copious research, I discovered this is a fascinating time period on both sides of the channel.  I’m already hooked on The Scarlet Pimpernel, having read all the books in that series several times and watched every film version (ask about my favorites) and am drawn to other novels and productions set in this era, such as the rich epic series, Poldark--read the books and own the Masterpiece Theater production.

Poldark
As to the language ‘thing,’ my youngest daughter, Elise, who recently graduated summa cum laude with a double major in art and French, was a huge help with the sprinkling of French words and phrases.  And she can debate with anyone who begs to differ with her translation, why she chose a particular verb or whatever.  My French is weak, so I’m going with her and will just say it’s a beautiful language.  I hope you enjoy the story.

Blurb:
As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he’s conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn’t immune to her artless charm, either.

Cecile Beaumont didn’t choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn’t expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.~
Excerpt:
Choking on the brine, she thrashed to right herself. Dalton spat saltwater from his mouth and fought to regain his seat while pulling her up with him. Not his most dignified effort. She was the devil to get hold of—kept slipping away. He grabbed her again, only to be knocked back down and rolled with her in the swill on the bottom of the boat.
Damn and blast! Tom and another man hoisted them upright in the prow.

“Thanks,” Dalton grunted, biting his tongue in the presence of a lady. “All right?” he shouted at her, and shifted her securely onto the seat beside him.

“Oui!” she sputtered when she’d recovered her breath.

She shook all over—must be chilled to the bone. They’d be fortunate if she didn’t catch her death, probably bruised too from tossing about in the skiff. The sooner she was safely housed indoors by a toasty hearth, the better.

Keeping an arm around the sodden woman, he peered into a striking pair of charcoal-gray eyes set above a pert nose and framed by fine dark brows.

She parted trembling, bluish lips. “Merci Monsieur—Que Dieu vous bénisse—Les saints nous bénis en préservent,” she stammered, thanking, blessing him, and calling on the saints.
Dalton was tempted to call on them himself, but her outpouring took him by surprise.

Not content with acknowledging his aid, she turned to Tom, crouched on her other side, and blurted similar gratitude—nearly incoherent in the tumult raging around them. Tom gave a nod through gritted teeth then bent his head over the boat and heaved the contents of his volatile stomach.

She tilted her head at Dalton, eyes crinkled in sympathy. “Mal de mer,” she said, using the French for seasick.~

Into the Lion’s Heart is available at The Wild Rose Press and other online booksellers.

For more on my work please visit my website: www.bethtrissel.com

My blog is the happening place: http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

Leave a comment today and your email address for a chance to win an ebook copy of INTO THE LION'S HEART!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guest Author Tara Kingston on Pirates, Privateers, and Hollywood

Today on History Undressed, I'd like to welcome Tara Kingston back! Pirates have always fascinated me, and Hollywood certainly does a great job of perpetuating that fascination. Thanks for stopping by Tara and giving us a closer look!

Pirates, Privateers, and Hollywood
by Tara Kingston


As I begin this post, I need to make two confessions. First, I’m a movie buff. I admit it. I’m hooked. A good movie is one of my favorite things in life. And second, I love pirate movies. Not just pirates, actually. Pirates, privateers, sea captains…love ‘em. Maybe it’s no coincidence I married a sailor. Something about the lure of the sea gets me every time.

Pirates and privateers throughout history were both feared and celebrated. Jean Lafitte, a hero in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, was a smuggler and pirate (he claimed to be a privateer rather than a pirate, though the American government charged him with piracy). Transforming from pirate to patriot, he offered Andrew Jackson his assistance against the British in exchange for a pardon for his crew in 1814. The National Park Service maintains the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve in southern Louisiana as a lasting tribute to the pirate and patriot’s contributions to our country’s history. Blackbeard, the infamous English pirate captain of Queen Anne’s Revenge, died off the coast of North Carolina in a fierce battle with Royal Navy forces in 1718. Tourist shops in the Outer Banks of North Carolina stock souvenirs with Blackbeard’s name and visage and references to the notorious pirate abound throughout Outer Banks villages nearly four hundred years after his death.

Given the ongoing fascination with pirates and privateers, it’s little wonder Hollywood has used the swashbucklers as subjects for dozens of movies. Of course, the Hollywood pirate is quite a bit more handsome and appealing than I imagine the actual buccaneers really were. I suspect many of them looked a good deal more like Captain Barbossa than Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean fame.

Speaking of Captain Jack, he’s my all-time favorite Hollywood swashbuckler (big surprise, huh?). Even though he wears more eye makeup than I do, I can’t resist him. Of course, Johnny Depp has a lot to do with that, but the pirate persona in general is so appealing. Who wouldn’t want to be swept off for a few days on a desert island with a man like that? Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan became pirates in their own right, adding to the Hollywood caveat that good pirates are gorgeous and bad pirates are…well, you can figure that one out…

The Princess Bride is another favorite…who can forget The Dread Pirate Roberts? If you’re a classic movie buff, Errol Flynn’s Captain Blood was memorable…Flynn might have been before our time, but on film, he’s still as handsome as ever. Cutthroat Island was much maligned, but Geena Davis’ turn as a daring female pirate was a refreshing change, in my opinion, and Matthew Modine was certainly worth a look or two (or three or four…).

My love of pirate movies partly inspired my Ellora’s Cave debut, Claimed by the Captain, is the story of an American privateer who’s seized his enemy’s daughter as payback for a devastating act that destroyed his family. Here’s a little about the story:

Jason Kane lost everything to one man’s treachery. Thirsting for vengeance, the ruthless privateer abducts Catherine Farrell, daughter of the swindler who destroyed his family. Intending to extract the debt owed him from his tempting prisoner, he plans a cold-blooded conquest. Aroused by his captive’s sensual beauty, he claims her with seductive persuasion. As he plunges her into a world of pleasure, her passionate surrender sparks a deep longing in his heart and soul.

Catherine Farrell lived the sheltered life of a prosperous merchant’s daughter until Captain Jason Kane made her a pawn in his quest for retribution. Claimed by the captain, she finds herself at the mercy of a man who will settle for nothing less than complete domination. His tender mastery awakens Catherine’s passions and stirs her heart. If only she can convince him that love is far more satisfying than sweet revenge.



For an excerpt and to learn more about Claimed by the Captain, please check out the Ellora’s Cave site.

So, what’s your favorite pirate movie? Leave a comment by Friday, August 5 for a chance to win a free e-book of Claimed by the Captain.

After you’ve done that, please stop by my website, http://www.tarakingston.com/. Leave a comment there (again, by August 5) for another chance to win. I’m on Twitter and Facebook. Hope to see you there!