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.***

Monday, January 30, 2012

Guest Blogger Pete Markovic on Guy Fawkes: History with a Bang!

Today on History Undressed, I'd like to introduce you to a new guest blogger, Pete Markovic! He's written a fascinating piece for us on Guy Fawkes aka Guido Fawkes, a man of the Renaissance era.

 

Guy Fawkes - History with a Bang!

by Pete Markovic

Guy Fawkes
by Cruishank
Guido Fawkes born 13 April 1570, in Stonegate, Yorkshire, England, his short life of 36 years ended on 31 January 1606, at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, England.

Guido Fawkes, became a popular Spanish soldier belonging to a group of outmoded English Catholics, who plotted against the English Government in 1605.

His father Edward Fawkes was a notary of the religious courts. Records show that Guido Fawkes with his wife became the father of a son Thomas on 6 February 1591; it has not been established as accurate as removing the records leaves no evidence that the birth took place.

According to legend, Fawkes left England in 1593 or 1594 for Flanders and became a member of the Spanish army headed by Archduke Albert of Austria, who went on to become the ruler of the Netherlands.

The Gunpowder Plot

The Conspirators - Guy Fawkes is 3rd from the Left
by Crispijn van de Passe
The Gunpowder Plot was an intricately planned attempt blow up the houses of Parliment and to carry out the assassination of King James of England; he failed miserably. The plot to blow up the government building of Westminster might have failed, but his legend is decidedly much in the news, celebrated on November 5 each year in Britain.

The plot to blow up the government building of Westminster might have failed, but his legend is truly much in the news, celebrated on November 5 each year in Britain.

Consequently the perpetrators of the plot where destined to hang. When it came to Guido Fawkes’ turn at the noose, he jumped to his death from the top scaffold saving himself the suffering and humiliation of hanging.

From the Britannia History website about the death of Guido Fawkes:


“Last of all came the famed devil of all, Guy Fawkes made his end upon the gallows and the block, to the great joy of all the beholders that the land ended of so wicked a villainy”.

Sitting amongst his tools and elements of destruction waiting until the time was right.

Guy Fawkes Night



Guy Fawkes Night at Windsor by Paul Sandby
On November 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes, caught in the cellar of the British Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder was consequently tortured and executed.” However, it was a failed execution in that he committed suicide.

Excitement grows, and the pennies collect towards the purchase of fireworks to be taken to the annual gathering and finish off around the bonfire carefully built with a space on the top, for the effigy of Guy Fawkes some even going so far as supplying him with a chair. However, historically, his legend lives on, and the annual burning and celebration of his death and failed attempt to blow up the House of Commons in Westminster.

His death is celebrated with a bright display of colorful fireworks and a burning effigy, and it is uncertain why such a person to be celebrated in such a way. When it all boils down to it, what are they celebrating? Is it the failure of the fire, the attempted assassination, or, the actual object and mystery of it all?

The author


Peter Markovic is a freelance writer and publisher of audio books online. He is passionate about reading and may be found on his book discussion forum

Friday, January 27, 2012

Guest Author Mia Marlowe on Writing Historical Romance

Today I'd like to welcome historical romance author, Mia Marlowe to History Undressed! Today she'll be talking with us about writing historical romance and a bit about her new release (along with Connie Mason), SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER. Leave a comment and two lucky winners will receive a print copy of Ms. Marlowe's new release! (US and Canada only)


Thanks for having me here. Part of why I write historical romance is because it allows me to feed my history addiction. I love the research portion of my job. I always find something surprising, horrifying, or delightful. Today we’re in the horrifying realm because there’s a scene in SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER where my heroine Elspeth is going to be burned as a witch. I have a personal interest in those who were falsely accused of consorting with the devil because my 13th great-grandmother, Sarah Towne Cloyce was imprisoned during the Salem Witch trials. (You can read all about it on my blog:   http://miamarlowe.com/blog/2010/10/a-witch-in-the-woodshed/ )



Unfortunately, when one was accused of witchcraft in the 16th century, there was no such thing as being held innocent till proven guilty. Confessions were often forced with torture. And the tests devised to prove innocence usually resulted in the death of the accused. For example, water was considered a pure element which would reject a wicked soul. So if a bound person was tossed into a pond and floated, they were “rejected” by the water and therefore, proved to be evil. The person who sank and drowned was deemed innocent.  Talk about a no-win scenario.



In Sins of the Highlander, Elspeth Stewart is given a public trial since she’s the daughter of a laird, but she’s found guilty all the same. In the following excerpt, Rob MacLaren has sneaked into his enemy’s stronghold in the hope that he can free her.



Sins of the Highlander excerpt:



              The atmosphere was more suitable to a fair than a burning. Enterprising merchants had set up stalls ringing the bailey to sell foodstuffs and other goods. Children scampered between the stalls, light-fingered urchins lifting a sweetmeat or two. Everyone seemed in high spirits.

               But at the far end of the bailey, Rob saw the stake, already ringed with faggots. A path had been marked with ropes, leading from the stake to the tallest tower at the opposite end of the courtyard. Elspeth would walk that way to her death. His gaze swept up the tower.

A small figure stood at an unshuttered window. A woman. Her long brown hair fluttered in the breeze like a banner. The distance was too great for him to make out her features, but he knew instantly who she was.

               “Oh, God. Elspeth,” he whispered. “Dinna jump, lass.” 

               Drummond had placed her in the tower chamber with that hope in mind, Rob was sure. He held his breath until she stepped away from the window and out of his sight. His relief was short-lived.

               What was one man, or even two, against so many?

               “I thought I could . . . I dinna see what’s to be done,” Rob said, suddenly bone-weary. They’d ridden without stopping except to rest the horses in order to make it here in time. Now he realized what Hamish had probably known all along, but was too good a friend to say.

It was all for naught. There was no help coming from any quarter. All they could do was watch Elspeth die.

But he didn’t have to let her burn. A desperate plan formed in his mind. If Rob could find a longbow and stake out a position with a clear shot, he’d have one chance to put a shaft in Elspeth’s heart before the flames reached her. Then he’d bury his boot knife in his own chest. It would be a small matter.

His heart would already be dead.



Hope you enjoyed that short excerpt. If you’d like to read more of this story, I invite you to click over to my website http://www.miamarlowe.com . While you’re there, be sure to enter my website contest. The drawing for a NEW KINDLE will be held January 30th! I love to connect with readers. You can also find me at http://facebook.com/miamarlowefanpage and http://twitter.com/Mia_Marlowe . Hope to see you in cyberspace!

A question for all of you: What is your favorite time period/setting for historical romances and why?


SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER
BY CONNIE MASON & MIA MARLOWE – IN STORES JANUARY 2012



Abduction

Never had Elspeth Stewart imagined her wedding would be interrupted by a dark-haired stranger  charging in on a black stallion, scooping her into his arms, and carrying her off across the wild Scottish highlands. Pressed against his hard chest and nestled between his trong thighs, she ought to have feared for her life. But her captor silenced all protests with a soul-searing kiss, giving Elspeth a glimpse of the pain behind his passion—a pain only she could ease.



Obsession

“Mad Rob” MacLaren thought stealing his rival’s bride-to-be was the prefect revenge. But Rob never reckoned that this beautiful, innocent lass would awaken the part of him he thought dead and buried with his wife. Against all reason, he longed to introduce the luscious Elspeth to the pleasures of the flesh, to make her his, and only his, forever.



With two clans against them burning for battle, they must find a way to join together—body, breath and soul. Or both will be made to pay for the Sins of the Highlander.



ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Connie Mason is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels. She was named Storyteller of the Year in 1990 and received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews in 1994. She currently lives in Florida. Mia Marlowe is a highly acclaimed new voice in romance whose debut novel released in Spring 2011 from Kensington. She lives in Boston, MA. Together, they are working on a new Regency romance series for Sourcebooks Casablanca, the first of which will be in stores in early 2013. For more information, please visit  http://www.conniemason.com/, http://miamarlowe.com/ and follow Mia on Twitter @Mia_Marlowe.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Historical Romance Review: His Destiny by Diana Cosby

I've been on a historical romance novel kick lately. This week is Highlanders. Today's review is of Diana Cosby's novel, HIS DESTINY, book 4 in the MacGruders series.

ABOUT THE BOOK...


THEIR SECRETS WILL DRAW THEM TOGETHER

As one of England's most capable mercenaries, Emma Astyn can charm an enemy and brandish a knife with unmatched finesse. Assigned to befriend Dubh Duer, an infamous Scottish rebel, she assumes the guise of innocent damsel Christina Moffat to intercept the writ he’s carrying to a traitorous bishop. But as she gains the dark hero’s confidence and realizes they share a tattered past, compassion—and passion—distract her from the task at hand…

BUT THE TRUTH MAY TEAR THEM APART

His legendary slaying of English knights has won him the name Dubh Duer, but Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder is driven by duty and honor, not heroics. Rescuing Christina from the clutches of several such knights is a matter of obligation for the Scot. But there's something alluring about her fiery spirit, even if he has misgivings about her tragic history. Together, they'll endure a perilous journey of love and betrayal, and a harrowing fight for their lives…

Kensington/Zebra Books
ISBN-13: 9781420109924                       
Released in October, 2011

MY REVIEW...

I have not read any of the three previous books in this series, and I think it was probably important to do so. There were many references to the characters in the previous books, and while the author did give some clue as to their background, I was mainly left in the dark--which wouldn't have been a problem if I had read the others. So my recommendation would be to read the other books first.

I was completely psyched to pick up this book. The heroine--Emma Astyn--is a medieval kick-ass mercenary. I've never read a book where the heroine was a mercenary in this time period, and I love that idea! She did exhibit many mercenary-like moves which were impressive and I was totally rooting for her. Her background was tortured, and I enjoyed watching her grow and change as the book progressed. I did however, expect a bit more from her in the mercenary department. I would have liked to see more ass-kicking, more espionage, especially when she's in the MacGruder castle. The fact that in this time period a female mercenary was rare, she could have completely taken advantage of that, more so than she did.

I also had issues with how quickly they fell for each other. It seemed their love developed mostly from their individual emotional internal conflicts and their physical attraction. To me it felt off that these two things would bind them together rather than really getting to know one another better.

That being said, this was a great fun read. There was a lot of action. A lot of conflict. Some really hot love scenes. I loved how it all tied together, and the premise was unique. The author really tied a lot of the historical current events into the novel--and they played a big part.

I will also give the readers a bit of a hint--and this is not a spoiler--Dubh Duer in this book means "dark hero". This is hinted at in the blurb and in the book, but to some it might not be readily evident.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Special Continuation of LADY SEDUCTRESS'S BALL!

Happy Wednesday!

Today is my day to post at Romancing the Past–Carina Press’s historical author blog.

I’m brining you a special treat in light of Valentine’s Day which is less than three weeks away! Hope you’ll stop by for a chance to reunite with Tristan and Olivia :)

Click here to visit!

Cheers,
Eliza

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weekly Video... Sort of... A Game Really

This week's video is not really a video, its a game!

You all know what a fan I am of Horrible Histories, well their website has GAMES!!! I played the Gong farmer, and got lots of poo splattered on me head, I did.

So, this week, I want you to play :)

Horrible Histories Gong Farmer Game

Sorry for the time suck, but you will have fun!!!

Cheers,
Eliza

Monday, January 23, 2012

Guest Author Meggan Connors on Divorce and Divorce Ranches in Nevada

Today I'd like to welcome to History Undressed, guest author, Meggan Connors! Today she's here to talk with us about a fascinating topic--divorce. But not your usual run of the mill divorces... Enjoy!

Divorce and Divorce Ranches in Nevada
by Meggan Connors

In the era between 1920 and the early 1960s, divorce was still taboo in much of the country. But in one state—Nevada—divorce was seen as a way to bolster a flagging economy.

               The state of Nevada is known for being a hotbed of sin, a reputation that continues today ("What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" anyone?). From gambling to prostitution to divorce, it seems as if nothing sacred. Divorce first became popularized in the state in 1920, when Mary Pickford came here in order to obtain her divorce from her first husband, actor Owen Moore. In most of the country, there was a waiting period for divorce. Not so in Nevada, where the only requirement was that one had to be a legal resident. At that time, that meant one had to live within the confines of Nevada for a period of six months.

               In 1931, that rule would change.

               In order to bolster the economy during the Great Depression, the legislature changed the residency requirement—one only had live in Nevada for six weeks in order to be considered a legal resident. That meant after six weeks, one could obtain a divorce. It was in that same year that gambling was officially legalized.

               That's right, both divorce and gambling were viewed as a means to make money.

In most parts of the country, there were only a few reasons why a person could be granted a divorce, but in Nevada, there were nine. The most popular of these reasons was mental cruelty, which had a broad interpretation. For example, mental cruelty could be something as minute as "she talks to me while I'm reading," (The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler).  This, coupled with the loose residency requirements, led to Nevada becoming the divorce capital of the world.

               Many people seeking divorce would come to the Reno area and rent apartments or stay in hotels, which was a boost the local economy, as it fueled jobs for full-time residents. At the same time, many people—mostly women—would come out and stay at so-called "divorce" or "dude" ranches. Nevada law only required that one spouse needed to be a legal Nevada resident, and therefore, the men stayed home and worked, while their soon-to-be ex-wives took a long vacation in Reno. In fact, it became so popular to come to Reno to stay in a divorce ranch that an entire lexicon sprang up around it. Women came to get "reno-vated" or to "take the six week cure." 

               And when a woman "went Reno," it meant that she ditched the dress, donned Levis, and flirted, danced, and gambled her way to a quickie divorce.

               So, what did these women do while at the divorce ranch? What was the lure of staying at a divorce ranch rather than a hotel in town? Part of it was that these ranches offered a "frontier" experience. One of the most famous ranches, the Flying M E, located in Washoe Valley, offered a range of activities, from horseback riding to fishing and swimming in the pool. A typical day at the Flying M E might include horseback riding in the morning, followed by a trip into town for a visit with the lawyer, and then cocktails and a communal dinner. Afterwards, guests might go back into town for a night of gambling and drinks. While ranches like the Flying ME catered to their divorcing clientele, they were not strictly for divorcees. Many people, including Hollywood stars, went to the higher-end ranches such as the Flying M E for the exclusivity, privacy, and the western experience they offered.

               On the other end of the spectrum, some divorce ranches offered a more rustic experience, with cabins that had neither running water nor toilets.

               There was a little something for everyone seeking a divorce, with accommodations for every budget.

And given the number of wedding chapels that sprang up in and around Reno, and the ease with which one could obtain a marriage license, if a lady played her cards right, she could leave the state as she was when she arrived—a married woman.

The biggest difference?

The man she was married to.



Back Cover...

When her father loses her in a poker game, Lexie Markland is sent to work in the household of Nicholas Wetherby for one year to pay off the debt. Innocent, but not na├»ve, she is savvy enough to know she must maintain her distance from this man, who frustrates her with his relentless teasing but whose kisses bring her to her knees. Because although she may be just another conquest to him, it’s not just her heart in jeopardy should she succumb to Nicholas’ considerable charms.

Since his brother's death almost a year before, nothing has held Nicholas’ attention for long—not women, not booze, not even an excellent hand at cards. Nothing, that is, until he meets the woman he won in a drunken night of poker. Intrigued by his prize and her chilly reserve, he makes it his mission to crack Lexie’s cool demeanor. But even as passion explodes between them, the question remains: will Nicholas be able to take the ultimate risk...and gamble on love?


Meggan Connors' debut novel, The Marker, is available through Amazon & Barnes and Noble

Author Bio...

After discovering that her degree in English Literature/Linguistics and German didn't lend itself to gainful employment in her hometown, Meggan Connors decided to pursue a graduate degree in the very practical field of Speech Pathology (she really liked school). However, being an author was always her true calling. She now pens novels of love and loss, of high stakes and risk-takers, and is forever being surprised when her characters decide to take control of "her" book.

Meggan makes her home in the Wild West with her lawman husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Sacramento Valley chapter. When she's not writing, she can be found playing with her kids, hiking in the mountains, or reading a book.


Visit Meggan online:

Website
Facebook  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Guest Author Calisa Rhose & A Bit of History on the '60's

Today on History Undressed I'd like to welcome a new guest author, Calisa Rhose. She is a wonderful sweetheart and a new voice for your reading pleasure!

Hello Eliza! Thank you for inviting me here today to talk about my debut book, HOME. It’s a thrill to be here after working so long to publish. When I met you I was a hopeful taking your month-long editing class with a group of awesome writers. Thanks to you we are still friends and keep in touch daily. Thanks to your class (I HIGHLY recommend Edit Your Book in a Month with Eliza Knight!!!) several of us have become published authors in the last sixteen months! So when I sold it felt natural to visit the blog of the one who helped make this day possible. You. You are Queen Eliza to the Divas. Lol

HOME is set in 1967 during the ending years of the Vietnam war. I didn’t plan that. It’s just how the story and characters presented to me. I knew so little about that time, I was a tiny tot of 5 years at the time. So it took some research and concentration to stay in that era while I wrote. My heroine is a gypsy but I wanted her to be a modern woman (of her time) and still have that gypsy style in her clothes. I’m not sure I completely pulled that off, but I hope I did.

I wanted Poppy Tippen to wear a Poodle skirt in at least one scene. Was that possible, feasibly? Off to the internet I went. Research showed that these were popular in the late 50’s and early 60’s. BUT- I was happy to discover that YES! they still wore Poodle skirts in the mid/late 60’s though they retired soon after. So when reading HOME, and I hope you will read it, you can see if you notice the scene when Poppy wore a Poodle skirt. Hint: I didn’t call it that in the book.

So what else could my heroine wear that revealed the times? Stirrup stretch pants were big then. Tight pants and tighter sweaters and high heels. In one scene I took one of Sandy’s famous outfits from Grease and altered it to fit my book. You might recognize that one as well. Poppy liked to dress modern so she wore the tight pants and high heeled pumps. She also wore a sexy off-the-shoulder top. Could she get away with that back then? Most girls might have been considered ‘loose’ if they revealed that much skin, but don’t forget- Poppy is also a gypsy. They wore off the shoulder peasant blouses, so I incorporated her heritage with a bit of flamboyant era style. Did it make her a bad girl? G.y.p.s.y. She already wears that stigma so what she wears won’t change of fix that about her. But I also needed to know other facts of the year/era. Did I mention HOME was set in August? So what else happened during that year besides in August ’67 Bonnie and Clyde released in theaters 1967? Here’s some fun facts you may not realize.

The first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa.  ~ http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/christiaan-neethling-barnard


Mar 6th - Jimmy Hoffa enters Lewisburg Federal Prison

Apr 19th - Beatles sign a contract to stay together for 10 years (they don't)



Photo From:
http://www.elvispresleynews.com/ElvisWeddingPhotos.html
May 1st - Priscilla Beaulieu & Elvis Presley wed in Las Vegas

May 11th - 100,000,000th US phone connected

Jun 12th - Supreme Court unanimously ends laws against interracial marriages

Jun 27th - The world's first ATM is installed in Enfield, London.


Jul 17th – The Monkees perform at Forest Hills, NY. Jimi Hendrix is opening act

Jul 22nd - Jimi Hendrix quits as opening act of the Monkees' tour

Aug 3rd - 45,000 more US soldiers sent to Vietnam 



It was also in 1967, Oct 21st- that seventy thousand gathered at the Washington DC Moratorium for the infamous Vietnam war protest demonstration. I didn’t check, but that may have been the largest group to gather for one cause, in one location in the USA in history. Though there were other demonstrations during the war, that one is most remembered and protestors traveled from all over to attend.


*~*~*~*

BLURB:

What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?

Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?

Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?



Get your copy of HOME at The Wild Rose Press and on Amazon.



Small-town country girl Calisa Rhose lives in a semi-remote area of Oklahoma with her husband, five dogs, one cat and one horse. All of her three daughters and their families live within throwing distance. She’s a member of RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. She intends to nurture and continue to grow as an author with the help of her family and supporters.



Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com

On twitter @Calisa_Rhose and Facebook @Calisa Rhose

She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at calisa.rhose@gmail.com


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time Travel Fun! By Terry Spear

Welcome back to History Undressed, guest author Terry Spear!  Today, she's talking about one of my favorite genres: Time Travel. And she's taking us on an adventure! I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did! On lucky commenter (USA Only) will win a copy of Ms. Spear's book, A GHOST OF A CHANCE AT LOVE.


Time Travel Fun!
By Terry Spear

So you want to time travel back to the 1870’s? Good for you. Let’s go!

Wait! First, there are rules. No taking back stuff that wasn’t made in the earlier time. You don’t want to upset the known world back then, do you?

Years ago when games were first being made for the computer, I played a neat time travel game where the player could take back items, like a comb, that had been made in ancient times. But anything that was a more recent development, the player would lose if she took it with her on the journey. It was amazing to me how early some items had been made, and how recent others were.

So when we take this trip back to Texas in the 1870’s, remember this:

No cell phones, no laptops, no flip flops or T-shirts. No pants, no shorts, no bikinis or halter tops either. Hide those pierced ears, or any other piercings you might have! Tattoos are out. Unless you’re a pirate. No bras, no pantyhose, no silky panties either.

Still with me?

It’s hot in Texas and what do we have to wear?

Long dresses, petticoats, corsets, and pantaloons, short boots and stockings.

Are you still coming?

Remember your parasol, a fan, and fringed purse for the ride.

Don’t wear much makeup or you might be taken for a lady of ill repute.

And for goodness sakes, if you’re a grown woman, not a little girl, your dress must cover your ankles and your hair must be UP. Very important.

Why? Long hair and bare ankles are just too sexy for men to witness without them…getting ideas.

Yeah, I know, I totally agree how silly this sounds, but I didn’t make the rules!

So we’ve picked out some authentic looking clothes, have our hair up, no nail polish, and makeup is non-existent, to a barely-there look, and we’re ready to go. Right?

Wait! Money!!! Even though bartering was an accepted practice, we definitely don’t have anything to barter with, ahem, that we would be willing to barter with, so money can help. No credit cards, debit cards or writing checks either. Although, sure, checks were written back then, but they wouldn’t look like OUR checks! Did you know that the routing number on checks came into existent after a man stole so many payroll checks and then after they caught him, he helped the banking institution to stop people like him from robbing companies blind by coming up with the routing number?

So we’ll have to find some old money to tide us over. Which can get pretty costly, but we’re game, right?

The money’s tucked into our fringed purse…wait, I know it’s already hot out, but we have to wear some gloves, and we’re off. Well, no, we need smelling salts for when we’re overcome from the heat, the clothes, and the corsets binding us! Then we’re ready!

The great part in going to the past is that there are more men out here in the west who are dying to have themselves a woman.

I won’t say whether they’re a great catch themselves, or how hardy you have to be to last out here, or how much fun you might really have…

Remember, we’re here just to witness how things were done in the old west—not like the movie versions, and then, well, if we can wrangle some hot guy who still treated a woman like a woman and wanted to bring him with us into the future, that might work!

But what if you decided you liked the old way of life, found the rancher of your dreams, a family you could love, and wanted to stay? That could work too! And you might even slip some of those lacy bras and sexy silky panties under your long gowns for when you’re alone with your man.

So anyone game?

Thanks so much, Eliza, for having me, and hope everyone had fun dropping by to see what time travel might be like to the 1870’s in a small western town in Texas!

Terry Spear

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality.”


A Ghost of a Chance at Love

Lisa Welsh only wishes to leave a messy divorce behind for a couple of days stay in Salado, Texas but wakes to nightmares and a cowboy in her bed, and she has no earthly idea how he got there. But the situation gets worse when she learns she's now living in 19th Century Salado. Even more worrisome is the tall dark stranger, and everyone else in town believes she's some woman named Josephine Rogers who is supposed to be dead. Jack Stanton can't believe the clerk gave him an occupied room at the Shady Villa Inn, but worse, he was ready to ravage the woman in that bed-until he realized his mistake. Now the woman he thinks is Josephine claims to be some other woman-and though he could never abide by Josephine's fickle ways, this Lisa Welsh intrigues him like no other. Still, if she isn't Josephine, he figures he best help her find her way back to where she really belongs no matter how much he wants to keep her with him. Together, Lisa and Jack must solve the mysteries and face the troubles in their worlds or they will never be free to share the love that binds them across the ages.


 
About the Author...
Award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense, HEART OF THE WOLF named in Publishers Weekly's BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She's a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors' books. When she's not writing or making bears, she's teaching online writing courses.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lucinda Brant Giveaway!

Today is lucky Monday! One commenter today will win the Roxton Series ebook bundle from Georgian romance author, Lucinda Brant! I love all of these books. Ms. Brant has a special way about her writing. Her characters are unique, fun, interesting, and her writing not only shows her depth and grasp of history, but is sensually sweet and will leave you feeling warm and satisfied!

The bundle includes:

Noble Satyr
Book One
 
France and England in the age of hedonism and enlightenment.
 
A green-eyed beauty is abandoned at the court of Versailles.
 
The predatory Comte de Salvan plots her seduction. An all-powerful adversary snatches her to safety. But is he noble savior or a satyr most despicable?





Midnight Marriage
Book Two

Twelve-year-old Deborah is married off at midnight to sixteen-year-old Julian, the handsome but volatile heir to the Roxton Dukedom, who then disappears from her life. Nine years later, Julian returns incognito to consummate his marriage before Deborah is seduced into bigamous wedlock with his nemesis half-brother. When Deb rescues and falls in love with the wounded duelist Julian Hesham, she does not suspect the stranger with the emerald green eyes to be the Marquis of Alston and her husband. After the honeymoon Deb discovers the appalling truth and that the Marquis of Alston is wanted by French authorities for seducing the innocent daughter of a Farmer-General. Can the handsome stranger with whom Deb spent ten wonderful weeks truly be one and the same as the nobleman Polite Society has branded a rakehell? Will Deborah forgive Julian’s cruel deception?

Can their marriage survive beyond seduction?


Autumn Duchess
Book Three

A beautiful duchess mourns for her beloved.
A sun-bronzed merchant returns to claim a birthright.
Disparate souls in need of love and renewal.
Paths cross and the journey begins...

Set in Hampshire, England 1777, this is the story of Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, and how she emerges from utter despair after the death of her husband and soul mate to unexpectedly find love again.




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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Historical Fiction Deal -- today only!

Today's daily deal at Amazin is HIS LAST DUCHESS by Gabrielle Kimm!  Click here to purchase.


That’s my last duchess painted on the wall…
Seduced by the hot sun and blinding passions of Renaissance Italy, sixteen-year-old Lucrezia de’ Medici sees a gilded life stretching ahead. Her wealthy new husband handpicked her to be his bride, and his great castle in Ferrara will be her playground. But Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara quickly proves to be just as dangerous and mysterious as he is dark and handsome, and the stone walls of the castle seem to trap Lucrezia like a prison.
Only the duke’s lover Francesca seems able to tame his increasing fury, as his desperate need to produce an heir drives him deep into precarious obsession. With her head full of heartbroken dreams, Lucrezia flees from him down a dangerous path that may cost her everything.
Step into the elegant world of the Robert Browning poem “My Last Duchess,” as imagined by Gabrielle Kimm, where she brings to life the passions and people of sixteenth-century Tuscany and Ferrara. It is a chilling story of forbidden love and dark decadence that will haunt you.
“A saucy account of Lucrezia de’ Medici’s ill-fated marriage, inspired by Robert Browning’s poem “My Last Duchess.”
- Kirkus
“Kimm neatly ties up all the loose ends while cleverly setting the stage for a spin-off. Poetry enthusiasts will be intrigued and historical fiction fans will appreciate the authentic Renaissance-era detailing.”
-Booklist
“This strong first novel is marked by well-developed, memorable protagonists and a pacing that quickens and builds readers' anxiety as the story progresses.”
- Library Journal

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Weekly Video: Top Shot: Primitive Weapons

I thought this week I'd bring to you a bit of history.  This is TOP SHOT, if you've ever watched it, its a show on History Channel where contestants have to use varying weapons and hit their marks to win. This clip is from the episode where primitive weapons were used. It gives you an idea of what weapons were used, how they were used and how difficult it was to actually master these weapons.

Enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Historical Romance Review: Tempting the Highlander by Michele Sinclair

I have wanted for some to read Michele Sinclair's books, and so when TEMPTING THE HIGHLANDER, arrived on my doorstep I was thrilled. This was the first book I read in the McTiernays series, but I didn't feel lost. If anything I want to go back and get the rest so I can read them all. TEMPTING THE HIGHLANDER was a fun-filled adventure of a book! I loved the way Ms. Sinclair had each character playing off of how they thought the other character's felt or what they thought the other characters' desired. With so many characters messing with each other, it was hard to see how the ones who loved each other would get together, and I enjoyed watching the story unfold right up to the very end.
ABOUT THE BOOK...

It Begins As A Ploy

When Raelynd Schellden and her sister are caught in the stables with the notorious McTiernay twins, her father sees not scandal, but opportunity. The future of his clan is uncertain, and a double engagement—even under false pretenses— will lend security to his people and protect his beloved daughters from power-mad fools.

And Becomes A Pleasure

But Raelynd's designated intended interests her far less than his quietly powerful brother Crevan, a man born to lead. Though bound by honor and committed to his sworn duty, Crevan cannot resist a taste of Raelynd's crimson lips when offered—and then another and another—until the unlikely couple is entangled in both a public deception and each other's hearts.
Released in September, 2011 w/Kensington Zebra Books
ISBN-10: 1420108565
ISBN-13: 978-1420108569  (available in print and ebook)

MY REVIEW...

I knew of Ms. Sinclair, and respected her, long before I read any of her books. The reason being, she has a fantastic list of research links and resources on her website (www.michelesinclair.com).

With so many characters (and we get to see inside their heads), I was concerned that TEMPTING THE HIGHLANDER was going to get confusing for me. I don't mind multiple POVs or even the use of secondary character POV. But this book had nearly a dozen. Never fear! It was done well, so I was never confused. Ultimately, I think what made it so easy for Ms. Sinclair to transition us from one character to the next was how indivual and unique each character was. They were truly fleshed out with prominent GMCs, prominent and different personalities and traits, as well as varying faults (some of which were used humorously in the plot, and which brought some characters with similar faults closer together!) With this story, despite so many POVs, it is obvious that Crevan and Raelynd are the main H/H. When they are together--even when they are arguing--the sparks nearly fly off the page. Their connection is intense, highly sensual, and deep rooted.

Also of note, I really enjoyed that Cyric was not as bad as they thought he would be. That made this Scottish romance, even better. Readers love to see lots of people get their happy ending. I only wish Craig and Meriel could have gotten together. They got along so well. Perhaps Meriel will end up being in another story? We watched her weaknesses become revealed, and I thought she might take more of an appreciation for her sister and how hard she worked, but in the end, I didn't feel like she did. She was glad to go back to her old ways and have her sister do the work for her.

I have not read a book in awhile that so deeply explored the human condition and our need to protect others with what we think is best for them, instead of really knowing for sure. Great job!

One thing I would have liked to see was more light shone on the fact that Crevan did not sutter when speaking to Raelynd and even in the case when he spoke to her in front of others. Stuttering is often overcome when a person feels very at ease, comfortable and in control. I would have liked to see this explored more.

I enjoyed this book so much, that I am disappointed I didn't read her work sooner! I highly recommend TEMPTING THE HIGHLANDER, and Michele Sinclair as an author. She knows how to weave in romance, history, and truly how to play with a character's head. Her characters are real, vibrant and with faults. They are incredible faults too, which we have to watch them grow and struggle with--but in the end she redeems them, and an HEA is attained. And! I'm hoping Conan's story is coming up next, because I have GOT to see how that turns out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Historial Romance Review: Autumn Duchess by Lucinda Brant

I have always enjoyed reading Lucinda Brant's Georgian romances, and her newest release AUTUMN DUCHESS was no exception!  Brant's books are filled with complex, unique characters that jump off the pages and which readers fall in love with. Her plots are fun, vibrant, filled with humor, and sensuality. I would highly recommend her books to all!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Roxton Series Book 3
Sequel to Noble Satyr and Midnight Marriage
A beautiful duchess mourns for her beloved.
A sun-bronzed merchant returns to claim a birthright.
Disparate souls in need of love and renewal.
Paths cross and the journey begins...

Set in Hampshire, England 1777, this is the story of Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, and how she emerges from utter despair after the death of her husband and soul mate to unexpectedly find love again.

Deluxe Trade Paperback ISBN 978-0-9872430-3-4 (out soon)
Hardcover ISBN (out soon)
Ebook ISBN 978-0-9808013-5-4
Kindle ASIN B005GLFCX8


MY REVIEW:

I loved that in this book, the hero and heroine are both widows, and have both previously experienced love and loss. Also, the hero, is a wealthy merchant not a noble lord, although he has ties to aristocracy. It brings to readers a different story than your typical virgin bride, debonaire lord, romance.

The heroine, Antonia, is the Dowager Duchess of Roxton. She has been in mourning for several years, heart broken over the loss of her husband. Her adult son--the new Duke--is not sympothetic to her plight, and I felt bad for her that she should be treated that way by him. He isn't trying to be mean or disrespectful to his mother, quite the opposite, he is trying to help her and his family, but for Antonia, that is not what she needs.

She finds what she needs in the brusque, straight forward, unconventional hero, Jonathan, who actually comes to introduce himself to her, not only because she is enchanting, but because he needs something from her.  The lands and house she inhabits are actually rightfully his, stolen by a previous Duke of Roxton some hundred years or so before.

But neither of them counted on the intense attraction that stems between them--even if they both try to fight it.

As always, Ms. Brant has done her research and it shows. She brings polite society to life--and throws it on its rear too!  I love how different these characters were and how they thwarted convention.

A great read, you won't want to put down!!!

Visit History Undressed on January 16th! I am hosting an ebook bundle giveaway of Ms. Brant's books, including AUTUMN DUCHESS.

Weekly Video: Horrible Histories' Strange Tudor Laws

It's that time again! Another BBC Horrible Histories video. This week I've posted--Strange Tudor Laws. Quite hilarious!!! Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Passion for History by Anna Markland

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2012! Today on History Undressed, we have a new guest author, Anna Markland, talking about her passion for history. Also, she will be giving away a her new novel, CONQUERING PASSION to one lucky commenter.

A Passion for History
Several years ago, I was teaching a seminar on “How to Write your Own Life Story”. A participant mentioned that the 1891 census of England had recently been made available on line at a website called ancestry.com. Later that evening I thought it might be interesting to look for my grandparents, about whom I knew very little, having only ever met one of them. That decision marked the end of ‘spare time’ in my life. I became completely addicted to the pursuit of my roots, and since that day have had a continuous subscription to the ancestry.com website. I have traced my own family roots back many generations as well as those of my children’s spouses, and even perfect strangers!
Some family lines are easy to trace, others are nigh on impossible. But my journey into history instilled in me an urgent need to pass on the stories of my English heritage to my Canadian born children. This led to the publication of genealogical histories, including Lancashire Heritage (yes, I’m a Lancashire Lass), Celtic Roots, and From Highland, Lowland and Prairie.
Slowly, a desire grew within me to write historical love stories, inspired in part by my cousin, who has been an award-winning romance author for many years. She began her career in earnest after the death of her mother, and, coincidentally, it was the death of my father in August 2010 that provided the spark for my plunge into the world of actually publishing my work.
I digress here—my dad was a typical Lancashire lad, a man who blushed if you spoke the word ‘sex’. Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt comfortable publishing some of my work when he was alive. Who knows? I don’t want to give the impression I am in any way apologetic for what I write about my characters’ love lives. I’m very proud of my writing.
And my books have turned out to be family histories—or should I say the history of one family—The Montbryces—nobles from eleventh century Normandy, who are caught up in the perilous and turbulent events of the Norman Conquest and its aftermath. The first book in The Montbryce Legacy series, Conquering Passion is now available in various digital formats on Smashwords. It is the story of Count Rambaud de Montbryce and Mabelle de Valtesse, an unlikely couple—a chauvinistic Norman nobleman and an independent minded refugee, who together forge the foundation of a powerful dynasty.
A Man of Value is the sequel, about Ram’s illegitimate son, Caedmon Brice Woolgar, who always believed his father was a Saxon martyr of the Battle of Hastings. Will his struggle to come to terms with the new found knowledge of his bastardy destroy his love for Agneta Kirkthwaite?
Bastardy is, of course, something the genealogical researcher cannot avoid. The pages of parish registers are full of entries such as base born child, natural child, and bastard. On the marriage certificate of one of my great, great grandfathers, you can plainly see the word illegitimate written in the space designated for Father’s Name.
If Love Dares Enough, is the third book in the series. Ram’s youngest brother Hugh de Montbryce, is haunted by a deep fear, engendered by his experiences at the Battle of Hastings, that violence arouses him. He avoids women, but is drawn into the life of a Saxon noblewoman, Lady Devona Melton, a victim of abuse at the hands of her Norman husband. Can Hugh overcome his demons and the political and religious implications of abducting the wife of a Norman nobleman?
I have to admit to being a Pollyanna—a hopeless romantic. My books are What If stories. What if there was a Norman Marcher Earl who was more intent on diplomacy than brutality, an eleventh century nobleman in love with his wife? (It’s the “Montbryce Curse” for the men to be in love with the women they marry!) What if the illegitimate son of a Norman could make his bastardy his greatest strength, and sire a powerful family in his own right, based on two great peoples, Saxon and Norman.
I haven’t yet been able to trace my own family as far back as the Norman Conquest, but in some ways, the Montbryces have become my family. I’m almost as caught up in their lives as I am in my own! I’ve used the Legacy Genealogical Software program to create an extensive family tree for them, and have included in it the families who were the stewards of the Montbryce castles for several generations, the Bonhommes and the Cormants. I have a wikispaces page designed to keep track of them all, so that when I get to my fiftieth book, I can look back and sort out who was who! Even my pen name, Anna Markland, belonged to my great, great aunt, who died at fifteen, too young to know the pain and pleasure of falling in love and marrying.


Twitter @annamarkland
Conquering Passion © Anna Markland 2011
A Man of Value © Anna Markland 2011
If Love Dares Enough © Anna Markland 2011