Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Magic of Vienna by Lynn Crain

I'd like to welcome guest author, Lynn Crain, to History Undressed! She's written a lovely post today for us on Vienna.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Leave a comment for your chance to win a $20 Amazon GiftCard and a copy of Lynn's new tale, A LOVER FOR RACHEL.


The Magic of Vienna

by Lynn Crain 


            In May of this year, my husband and I said goodbye to our house, family and everything I have ever known to run away from home to Vienna, Austria. The DH had received a job offer that we couldn’t refuse, so he took it. In short order, much faster than we expected, we were off on the adventure of a lifetime. Our children were grown and this was some needed ‘us’ time was how the DH presented it. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about moving at first but I understood it. I knew this was a fantastic opportunity to live somewhere different and visit all those places I thought about when I was a kid, first in rural Ohio then Nevada. I knew it would be great for my husband’s career.

            One thing I want to say to those who envy me, be careful what you wish for but that would be a lie because it’s all a matter of perspective. When we are young, everything looks cool because it’s different from what we have or where we are. When we’re older, we look at our lives in a new light, wondering what’s the economic impact. My thought process went immediately to my writing and how I could make it better. The historical aspect of this city boggles my mind. The whole town oozes history in more ways than I can count. Let’s take a look at the illustrious history, both good and bad, that make up Vienna. I will only touch upon those areas that I have experienced myself as it is much too much to get into one tiny blog post. At the end, I will give a list of websites that will give you even more detail.

            Vienna’s history started when the Romans decided to place a military camp in the centre of the present day city. This was during the first century and there are various places today where that occupation can still be seen. Places like Michaelerplatz and Stubentor still hold Roman wall remnants. For those willing to go further afield, then a trip to Carnuntum approximately 25 kilometers outside the city is the place to be. There one can experience a Roman amphitheater that rivals the Coliseum. Just recently, the biggest gladiatorial school was located within that area. Here are a few pictures of our day trip to the ruins. We plan to go back many, many times.


The Ruins at Carnuntum


The Ancient Cobbles of a Roman Road



            The early medieval streets and houses followed the former Roman walls and it is thought that at least some of the ancient fortifications were used by the people who settled the area. The first documented mention of Vienna is from 881 when a battle called apud Weniam was fought against the Hungarians. It isn’t clear whether it was the city itself or the river in the passage. Coins from the 6th century have been found near the city center, which may indicate an area for trade. During that time the Lombards controlled the area followed by the Slavs and Avars. There is a mention of a battle against the Magyars in Wenia in 881 that is thought to be another mention of Vienna. The city proper didn’t start to develop more towards the Middle Ages.

            In 976, Margraviate of Ostarrîchi was given to the Babenburg family or basically, a woman was married off to Leopold I who then gained control of the area known as the Eastern March. He received this as a reward for his fidelity to Otto II during the Bavarian rising of 976 and during his time extended it even more at the expense of the Hungarians. The word Margraviate is a heredity title give to those noblemen and women responsible for the border provinces of a kingdom. The history of this group is intense and convoluted and even after I’ve read it five times, it’s hard to keep straight.

            An important time of note is around the Third Crusade. King Richard the Lionheart was discovered by Duke Leopold V, two days before Christmas 1192 in Erdberg, near Vienna. Duke Leopold asked an enormous ransom at the time of 50,000 Silver Marks. With this money, a mint was created and the city constructed walls around the area. Stubentor, which I mentioned above, is one area that those walls can be seen as some parts were built upon the even older Roman walls. It’s interesting to mention that today, I can ride a train to Erdberg as it is a major stop on one of the train lines.

            The time of the Hapsburgs started in 1278 with Rudolph the first and didn’t end until Emperor Franz Joseph the first on his death in 1916, whose 68-year reign was one of Austria’s longest. Franz Joseph shaped the image of Austrian imperial rule and under him Vienna became one of Europe’s most important metropolises of its day. He made the city the center of a multi-national state that extended from Hungary to northern Italy and deep into southern Europe. Everything I see out my flat window has his touch stamped on it along with the history that made his time possible. My building was built during the height of his rule in 1868.

            During Franz Joseph’s reign, Johann Strauss became the King of Waltz and Sigmund Freud founded the psychoanalytical school of psychology. Around 1900, Art Nouveau peaked with such artists as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele as well as the famed architects of Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos. The Ringstrasse was built and museums dotted the landscape. But Austria was also a ticking time bomb with ethnic tensions, making the monarchy an accident waiting to happen. The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 14 in Sarajevo marked the beginning of World War I.

            Standing next to the desk where Emperor Franz Joseph signed the declaration of war was an eerie feeling to say the least. It happened at his hunting lodge known as Kaiservilla, where many events of his life had played out: falling in love, children, the death of his beloved Sisi. It is near Salzburg in a little town called Bad Ischl and is well worth visiting if you ever have a chance. Here are a few pictures then we’ll return to Vienna proper.

 Mountains behind Kaiservilla



The back of Kaiservilla

 The whole of Kaiservilla


Under the trees at the top of the ridge behind Kaiservilla



          In 1916 during the war, Franz Joseph dies. In 1918 after the war was over, the first Republic of Austria was established ending the 640-year-old rule of the Habsburg dynasty. It was unfortunate that the young republic suffered massive inflation, unemployment and near economic collapse. In 1933, the weak coalition government between the Christian-Social and the Social-Democratic parties gave way to Engelbert Dollfuss becoming Chancellor in 1932 of a right-wing government. In 1934, he declared martial law to protect Austria from Hitler but he was killed that same year in July thus paving the way for Germany to take over the country.



           Not much is said by the Austrians about their part in World War II but there are quite a few memorials and museums that bare witness to what happened here and elsewhere in Europe. It took Austria ten years to get back to where they were in 1937. In May 1955, they declared permanent neutrality and became a nerve center between East and West during the time of the Iron Curtain. Austria has been granting asylum to refugees since 1956 and is the host country to many international organizations, such as the UN and the CTBTO, which my husband work for. In 1995, Austria became a member of the European Union and remains so today.



            I live across the street from the Palace Belvedere and the Palace Schwartenberg. Belevedere was once a summer home for the Habsburgs and in particular Prince Eugene. I’m still trying to understand where Palace Schwartenberg figures into all of this but I do know there’s a house on the grounds for rent. We’re actually thinking about checking it out as we love the area. :-) Now the street I live on is named after the Prince and is called Prince Eugen Strasse. That’s just the start of everything: there’s the Hofburg, Schonnbrunn, Carnuntum which is the Roman ruin I mentioned above and deserves more than a day, Stephensplatz, Karlsplatz and more churches like them that you wouldn’t believe. Recently, I saw a Templar church they’ve uncovered under Stephensplatz. I’ve noted that early man lived here as did the Celts. Just reading Wikipedia to get the overview can be overwhelming...but...think of the opportunity for historicals, for contemporaries or for anything a writer can think up. Here’s a few more pictures to show you what I mean.

            While this is the view out my office window, I should make note that not only do I see the guard quarters for Belvedere as well as part of the grounds, but history. If I look a little harder, I’m sure I can see the Emperors and Empresses of a day gone by, of kings and queens and their children as they play on the grounds surrounding the palaces.


Out My Office Window

 Palace Schwartzenberg

            Here’s some pictures of one of my favorite places to visit, Schönbrunn, the palace to rival Versailles.



One of the many gardens

The Neptune Fountain

The summerhouse


Rear view and gardens of Schönbrunn


            Then there’s the museums. Here’s some of my favorites.

The Crown Jewels


The Complete Crown Jewels

  The Egyptian Glyphs

The Sarcophagus

More Egyptian Artifacts


Even more!


            These pictures don’t even begin to do the place justice. I have only touched on the bare minimum of the history I see and feel and touch daily. Sometimes the senses can be overwhelmed by it as I try to picture what it used to be like. I promise to bring you more and more of the historical perspective on living in Vienna, Austria. Yes, this place has plenty for a writer to learn, plenty for me to figure out and understand. Even though the perspective has changed a lot from when I was younger, living the fairy tale can and does have its own perks.

            For more about Austria, visit my blog, A Writer In Vienna, as I try to give all my impressions for living in a foreign country. Some days I revisit history, others I might be taking in a big ride or even a wild ride as my husband and I take to the streets driving here for the first time. Life is always interesting! Don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you need any information concerning the area. If you’re going to be in my neck of the woods, please let me know. I just love visitors!

            You can find me at twitter (oddlynn3) or Facebook (oddlynn3) as well as my website,  and regular blog. Please excuse the dust on both the website and blog as they are currently being revamped. Be ready for their unveiling in Spring 2012. Look for my new short, A Lover for Rachel, from Shooting Star Books for only $0.99 at all ebook outlets. I’ve included the cover art...who doesn’t love a Jimmy cover?



            See you all next time!

      Lynn

Here’s a list to get you started with Vienna. It is by no means inclusive as there are many, many interesting books and takes on life here and how it all began. These are just a few that I used while creating this blog posting.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostarr%C3%AEchi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babenberg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Habsburg
http://www.nhm-wien.ac.at/
http://www.viennaaustria.co.uk/
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Vienna.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innere_Stadt
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_IV,_Grand_Duke_of_Tuscany
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Habsburg
http://www.khm.at/
http://www.austria.info/us/about-austria/history-1140682.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Vienna

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Video of the Week: A Medieval Castle in the USA

A medieval castle in the USA, built as if it were the 13th century--the Ozark Medieval Fortress! This is on my list of places to visit now and in 20 years when its completed!! Have you been there? I see that they have delayed opening to tourists in 2012 for financial reasons... I hope that they receive enough funding to  continue, because I would be thrilled to visit.

Here's the weblink: http://ozarkmedievalfortress.com/

Here is the first video...


And a second one...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Featured Author: Miriam Newman


AVAILABLE IN EBOOK/KINDLE

COMING IN PRINT 2/27/12


Born to a dying queen and an ambitious king, Tia should inherit the throne of her island nation.  Instead, her country is invaded, her parents are murdered and she is sent in chains to the land of an enemy.


Consecrated to her Goddess, sworn to the service of her country, still Tia finds love in the arms of the enemy.


In a time of war, what will she surrender in the name of love?



EXCERPT:

There was only one direction I could look and that was down the road where we had just come.  Now someone else was coming straight up the middle so that people scattered like chickens.  A young, unhelmeted Omani trooper was riding down that road on a fine long-legged gray horse, bawling in a voice which did not doubt its own authority.  Though I couldn’t hear the words, I knew what he was saying—troops were coming and he wanted the way cleared NOW.

I couldn’t clear the road.  I was chained in it and knew my peril.  There was a curve in that road and by the time they saw me, it would be too late.  My only hope was that Frado would unfasten the manacles and push me off the road and for a fraction of a second I actually thought he might do it, if only to avoid trouble with the Army.  He got free of a woman who had been throwing melons at his head when she ran for her life and came back beside me, but he was still in a fury and it was only to punch me in the face.

I heard the gray horse score the cobblestones, launching into a full charge. Sparks flew where his metal shoes beat on the stones as he came like evil incarnate, ears pinned and teeth bared, head snaking as he went straight for Frado.  Fat as he was, Frado could by no means get over the wall on my side of the street and started to trundle to the other side and, with that, the horse was on him.  He was obviously a well-trained cavalry mount and I thought the rider meant to let him savage his target.    

But at the last moment the trooper swung his horse just enough to clear Frado, jerked his foot from the stirrup and kicked the slaver squarely in the back at a speed just under that of a battle charge.  The force was so great that it picked up that mountain of a man like a doll and deposited him face down near the opposite side of the street. My vision had taken on the preternatural sharpness that precedes seeing nothing and I saw in heart-stopping detail the first of what seemed like a hundred horses coming around the curve at a fast canter.  If I had been in better condition, I would have wondered why a number like that was coming at such speed through a country at peace, but just then I was in no condition to care.  I lay there like something thrown on the midden heap.

That point man didn’t have the job, though, because he was slow or stupid.  I heard the noise of his horse coming back and saw a boy no older than myself with a shining mane of chestnut hair already dropping from his trotting mount and running towards me with the horse close behind.  With no time to spare, he clucked his horse over me in the position a war horse takes to shield a fallen rider, dropped the reins and threw himself on top of me.  He was protecting me with his body, arms curled over my head, pulling my face into his chest, so I saw little of what followed, but I heard it:  the tremendous din of all those horseshoes, riders cursing, horses snorting in surprise, and the squealing and kicking of the horse over top of us.  That boy was holding me like a lover and I could feel from his involuntary shudders that he was inches from death, but he never moved and neither did his horse.  The troopers didn’t want to kill their own man and horses listen to each other better than they do to us, so between the efforts of riders and the violence of the gray horse trying to save his rider the line shifted and passed and I was still alive.
          
View the Video:  http://youtu.be/JOLyEv1eHow


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Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet Your Heroes


www.kimberlykillion.com

Today on History Undressed, as part of our week long anniversary, I've teamed up with my good gal pal, Kimberly Killion, to bring you a tasty treat! I want you to meet your heroes!

I've asked three of Kim's Hot Damn Design models, who frequently grace the covers of historical romance novels, some questions!

Don't forget to comment! There will be one lucky winner today--the prize? A pic of one of the models, winners choice!

Read on romance lovers!


Up first on the list is Charles HackmanIf you could go back in time, which hero would you be: a Laird (Scottish Chief), A Duke, a Prince or a Warrior? Warrior like William Wallace.

Sigh, we love men in kilts…Would you rather make love in: a meadow, by a roaring fireplace, on a horse, or on top of a tower? A tower.

That’s hot. Pick your preference: ale, wine or whiskey? Wine.

A man after my heart… What would you want your historical heroine to wear to bed: a corset, a silk nightgown, crotchless drawers, or nothing at all… Nothing.

Phew! I need a fan! 

Hello... John Michael. If you could go back in time, which hero would you be: a Laird (Scottish Chief), A Duke, a Prince or a Warrior?  A warrior.

I love warriors. Nothing better than a man who knows how to handle his—sword… Would you rather make love in: a meadow, by a roaring fireplace, on a horse, or on top of a tower? On top of a tower.

A man who likes to be on top...hawt! Pick your preference: ale, wine or whiskey? Whiskey

A true alpha male… What would you want your historical heroine to wear to bed: a corset, a silk nightgown, crotchless drawers, or nothing at all… Corset

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

Our third and final hero is Billy Freda. If you could go back in time, which hero would you be: a Laird (Scottish Chief), A Duke, a Prince or a Warrior?  Prince

I see a fairytale in the making. Nothing better than a man who knows how to hand his—sword…Would you rather make love in: a meadow, by a roaring fireplace, on a horse, or on top of a tower? Fireplace

So romantic…Pick your preference: ale, wine or whiskey? Wine

Sigh… What would you want your historical heroine to wear to bed: a corset, a silk nightgown, crotchless drawers, or nothing at all… Toss-up between crotchless and nothing.....but I think I'll go with nothing!!
Whew! Sounds like a perfect fantasy!

Thank you to the lovely Kim and her heroes for participating in the fun!

 *~*~*~*~*
www.hotdamndesigns.com
A bit on Kim... Award-winning author, Kimberly Killion, has been hailed by Romantic Times Magazine as an author who writes “captivating romance with excellent pacing and characters who are honorable, intelligent and full of humanity.” Her debut book, Her One Desire (Kensington 2008), was nominated for the romance-publishing industry's highest award of distinction, the RITA® Award. Her One Desire won the 2009 Booksellers Best Award for both Long Historical and Best First Book. In addition, Kimberly’s writing received an Award of Merit in the 2009 & 2010 HOLT Medallion. She was recognized in the 2009 National Readers’ Choice Awards, the 2009 Golden Quill Awards, and the 2009 More Than Magic Contest. Romantic Times Magazine awarded Kimberly’s second Scottish-set novel, Highland Dragon (Kensington 2009), with the K.I.S.S. Award and said this is “a tale to cherish.”

Aside from writing, Killion teaches graphic/web design in St. Louis, MO and she the owner of Hot Damn Designs! The name says it all!

Check out Kim's new book... love her work!

My Cursed Highlander

A proud, tormented warrior...Laird Taveon Kraig would do anything to recover a magical amulet powerful enough to break the curse that has plagued his clan for a hundred years—even marry a woman determined to hate him. But the beautiful—albeit boldly defiant—woman stirs his passion like no other. He never dreamed his quest would involve surrendering his heart.

A blind sculptress… Having survived two ruthless marriages, Viviana Gorini Dè Medici has no desire to take another husband—especially one who wants her most prized possession: a magical amulet that provides her with the gift of sight. Despite her pleas, she is forced into the marriage and sent on a dangerous journey with a man whose charms melt her defenses, whose touch sets her on fire, and whose kiss stirs her body in a way she’s never known.

A wicked enemy… Surrendering completely to an ecstasy that binds their hearts, neither of them foresees the sinister threat waiting to destroy both of their worlds. In a family torn apart by a centuries old curse, will love be enough to save them all?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

They Did What?? by Jennifer Jakes (Victorian-era Vibrators!)

Today, I'd like to welcome guest author Jennifer Jakes (and one of my new blog partners at the up and coming History Ink!). Today's post is FABULOUSLY scandolous!!! I can't even tell you how thrilled I was when she offered to write it!  Leave a comment for your chance to win an ecopy of Jennifer's book TWICE IN A LIFETIME (blurb and excerpt below).


THEY DID WHAT??
by Jennifer Jakes

Have you ever had one of those days – or weeks – where nothing went right? Maybe you’ve been plagued with insomnia, irritability, headaches or melancholy? Never fear, after extensive research I know what is wrong with you. You have Female Hysteria. And the cure? Easy. . .  A doctor manipulated orgasm!

Huh? - you say. Come again? (Pun intended.)

In the Victorian Era – specifically 1837 to 1901 – doctors treated woman by genital stimulation to induce “hysterical paroxysm” or an orgasm. This hysteria was supposed to be a build-up of fluid in the woman’s womb and doctors assumed that since men ejaculated and felt better then it stood to reason ….

But what about the husbands? What did they have to say about this? Well, proper gentlemen of the time were not trained to see to their wives needs – it was not even understood that women had needs. Instead it was much easier to call for the doctor when a woman exhibited symptoms of hysteria. Yes, the doctor could treat the women in their home. The Fainting Couch or Chaise Lounge became popular for the ladies’ comfort during this “treatment”. I wonder what the husband said if a large doctor’s bill arrived each week? But I digress.

Manual stimulation was applied by the doctor simply reaching under the woman’s skirt, but by 1869 a steam-powered vibrator had been invented – no doubt after numerous doctors complained of carpal tunnel! This vibrator’s motor had to be housed in a separate room with the fun part sticking through the wall. By 1889 an electrical vibrator was available – beating out the electric iron and vacuum cleaner by a decade. For years vibrators were used solely by physicians, but as technology improved and the size of vibrators became smaller, they were advertised in such catalogs as Sears and certainly in women’s magazines.

So the next time you hear someone talk about prim and proper Victorians, you can say, “Oh, contraire!”

Be Careful What You Wish For. . .
No-nonsense stuntwoman Isabella Douglas will do anything to stop an unwanted divorce and reclaim the happy life she had, even allow her old friend to concoct a magical spell to turn back time. But when the spell goes awry, Izzy finds herself trapped aboard a 1768 Caribbean pirate ship with a captain who’s a dead ringer for her sexy as sin husband, Ian. Convinced he’s playing a cruel joke, she’s furious – until she realizes he doesn’t know her or believe they’re married.
Captain Ian Douglas does not have time to deal with an insane woman who claims to be his wife; he has to save his kidnapped sister. But as Izzy haunts his dreams and fills him with erotic memories he can’t explain, he’s forced to admit he feels more than lust.
Trapped in a vicious cycle of past mirroring present, Izzy knows they only have days to find Ian’s sister and prevent disaster from striking a second time. If she doesn’t, their marriage will be destroyed again – along with the man she loves.
EXCERPT: TWICE IN A LIFETIME
Her fingers threaded in his thick hair as she traced his mouth with the tip of her tongue. “Kiss me.” 
He hesitated, then groaned and covered her lips in a breath stealing kiss. Hot, wet, silky. Her nipples hardened, ached for his touch, the tug of his fingers, the pull of his mouth.
“Touch me.” She pressed a kiss to his throat, then licked his collarbone. “I need your hands on me.”
He grunted and slid his hands down her back. Rough palms gripped her cheeks, grinding her against his erection. His gaze burned through her as he moved his thigh between her legs.
“Yes. Please.” She tilted her hips, rubbing, needing release more than air. “Oh, God, yes.” Desire roared through her, the ache building. Building. The orgasm so . . .damned. . .close.
A sharp knock sounded at the door. “Captain? The men are ready to go ashore.”
Ian pulled back and swallowed hard, his expression hungry, his heart thumping against her breast.
“Captain?”
“Yes. Yes, I’ll be right there.” His heavy lidded gaze skimmed her body. Possessive. Aroused. Regretful as he set her aside.
Her mind crawled to process what was happening while her body was doused with disappointment. “You’re still going?”
He raked through his hair, then nodded. “We need provisions before sailing for Jamaica. I’ll only be a few hours.” He stepped to the door, but turned and pinned her with a hard stare. “But when I return . . .”
“Yes?” Her heart thumped in anticipation of some explicit description of what he would do to her. Oh, but his tongue was naughty in all the right ways.
“. . . I expect an explanation.”
Izzy drooped against the door, her thoughts racing even though her legs collapsed. This was going to be the shortest second chance in history.
About the Author
After trying several careers—everything from a beautician to a dump truck driver—Jennifer finally returned to her first love, writing. Maybe it was all those Clint Eastwood movies she watched growing up, but in her opinion there is no better read than a steamy western historical.
Married to her very own hero, she lives on fifteen acres along with two beautiful daughters, three spoiled cats, three hyper dogs and one fat rabbit.
During the summer she does Civil War re-enacting and has found it a great research tool, not to mention she has continued appreciation for her microwave and hot water heater.
Her debut novel, RAFE’S REDEMPTION, was a RWA Golden Heart Finalist and Won BEST ROMANCE 2011 at DITHR.
Visit Jennifer Jakes at www.jenniferjakes.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Which Olympian Created the First Horse? by Grace Elliot

Welcome to History Undressed, today's guest author, Grace Elliot. I love the Olympics, and I'm thrilled they are in London this year. But beyond that, I love the history behind the Olympics. Grace has written us a fun post today in that regard. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her novel, Eulogy's Secret.


Which Olympian Created the First Horse?

 by Grace Elliot



Tunnel entrance to
Olympia stadium in Greece
Hello!  My name is Grace Elliot and today I'm going to post about two of the things that fascinate me - history and animals!

I live in the UK and this summer, London plays host to the 2012 Olympics. Any excuse and it's on the news, yesterday it was a cycling event in the new velodrome and tomorrow it will probably be the over-inflated price of Olympic souvenirs. But did you know that the first Olympic games were held around 776 BC?

Apparently this date was arrived at by working backwards in four year leaps from a definitive date written about by Thucydides in 420 BC.

Unlike our games, the ancients held four sets of sacred games which commemorated the daring deeds of their heroes: the Pythian, Isthmian, Nemean and Olympic games. Over the millennia it is only the Olympics that still hold any significance for us today.

The Olympics were so named after a group of twelve superhumans who came from Olympia and were worshipped by the Pisatans. They thought Zeus lived on the top of Mount Olympus with his wife (who was also his sister!), Hera and their family. The ancient Greeks also believed that what Zeus and his family did had influence over their lives and so they were keen to please their gods. They did this by displays of athleticism, and running races to the altar of Zeus, which then went on to become the basis of their festival. 

So that is a potted history of the origins of the Olympics - but I mentioned animals - where do they fit in? Well, many of the original Olympians were associated with animals. First, let's look at Poseidon (Zeus' brother), god of the sea and earthquakes, and consider how he came to create that most magnificent of animals, the horse.

Apparently Poseidon fell in love with Demeter, the goddess of the earth and harvest. However Demeter didn’t feel the same but didn’t want to anger him. She hit on a plan to buy time and agreed to marry Poseidon on the condition he created a new animal that was more beautiful than anything on earth. Demeter felt she was on pretty safe ground because Poseidon's forte was making ugly serpents and sea monsters. As it happened, Demeter was safe, but not for the reason she thought. Poseidon did create an animal - the horse - but was so struck by the creatures beauty and power that he forgot all about Demeter!

Poseidon eventually fathered the legendary winged horse, Pegasus, after a union with Medusa. The story goes that when the Greek hero, Perseus, slew the Medusa, Pegasus sprang from her pregnant body and with one kick of his hoof made the river Hippocrene flow: the waters of which are reputed to inspire the poets.

Bellerophon riding Pegasus
The Winged Horse (1914)
The unbroken Pegusus was given by the gods, as a gift to a Corinthian hero, Bellerophon, for killing a fire-breathing monster that had a lion's head, goat's body and serpent's tail. But Bellerophon needed help to break Pegasus and make him rideable. This assistance came in the form of the goddess Athena who told him where to find the golden bridle which would tame the winged horse.

Sadly, having such a wonderful mount went to Bellerophon's head. He became arrogant and decided to visit the home of the gods at the top of Mount Olympus. The watching Zeus was not amused by this invasion of privacy. He sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus who reared and threw Bellerophon off - and being mortal, the fall to earth killed him.

However the winged stallion eventually became the bearer of Zeus’ thunderbolts and was rewarded with his own constellation in the heavens.

Keeping things in the family, the Olympian Hephaestus [son of Zeus and Hera] became the god of Blacksmiths and Artemis [daughter of Zeus and Leto]  the goddess of the Hunt. Their half brother Hermes [son of Zeus and Maia] a bit of a wastrel by comparison, found an empty tortoiseshell, strung it with strings and invented the first lyre.

So there we have it - Poseidon took time off from making sea-serpents and monsters to create the horse!

Eulogy's Secret...
 


In the four weeks since her guardians’ death, Eulogy Foster has lost everything.
Penniless and alone she seeks the help of her estranged brother, Lord Lucien Devlin. But Devlin turns Eulogy onto the streets, where she is attacked and thrown onto the mercy of a passing stranger, Jack Huntley. As Eulogy seeks the truth behind her birth, she is drawn into the world of art and artists, where her morals are challenged and nothing is as it seems.
Jack Huntley: bitter, cynical and betrayed in love. He believes women are devious, scheming, untrustworthy creatures - and when he rescues a naïve Miss from being raped, his life is about to change forever. There is something about Miss Foster that haunts him and challenges his emotions. But despite their growing attraction, Eulogy will not share her secret, which means he cannot trust her. Caught in a deadlock, both denying their true feelings, events take a sinister turn as someone seeks to silence Eulogy….forever.
Eulogy's Secret: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Grace's other books:

A Dead Man's DebtAmazon US / Amazon UK
  
Cat Pies - Feline Historical Trivia: Amazon US / Amazon UK
Author Bio:
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.
Grace believes intelligent people need romantic fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world and as an avid reader of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her second novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story of greed, blackmail and a stolen identity.

Visit Grace:




HIGHLAND STEAM releases today!

I'm excited today to share with you my new time-travel erotic romance release!

About the Book:


Tragedy strikes in the Highlands, making Drostan the laird of the Comyn clan and in need of a wife to placate his people. His only choice is to trust in magic and travel to the sacred circle of stones…where he must passionately lay claim to the woman Fate brings him.

Briana is lost and alone when magic lights up the night. She meets the man of her dreams, a man who rocks her to her very core with orgasm after orgasm and somehow manages to steal her heart. The problem? The man of her dreams lives eight hundred years in the past.

(~14,500 words)
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Line/icons: Voyager
ISBN: 9781419939747
MSRP: $3.25
Cover Price: $2.49

Click here to read a steamy excerpt and to purchase.

Visit me at Tara Kingston's Blog for a chance to win a copy!
Should be available with Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other etailers shortly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Video: Horrible Histories Slimy Stuarts Historical Master Chef

Welcome to Day 2 of History Undressed's Anniversary Party!  Today is an awesome video, from Horrible Histories (my favorite!).  Enjoy!



Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win today's prize: Regurgitated whale phlegm!  Just kidding :) 

Today's prize is a $10 GiftCard to Amazon. (Winner will be drawn this weekend!)

Cheers!
Eliza

Monday, February 20, 2012

Prostitution in the West by Meggan Connors

As you all know, we love at History Undressed love tantalizing tid-bits! Today we are thoroughly engrossed in guest author, Meggan Connors' post on prostitution!  Enjoy!  (Leave a comment for a chance to win a ecopy of Ms. Connors' book, THE MARKER. As a bonus, I will also toss in an ebook copy of WICKED WOMAN, my alter-ego's old west saloon dolly's tale as well!)


Prostitution in the Old West
by Meggan Connors



When you think of a prostitute in the old west, do you think of a woman wandering the dusty, lonely streets in search of a man to give her a penny for a…ahem…moment of her time?



Certainly, prostitutes in the old west ran the gamut. There were, of course, those women who walked the streets and carried a sheet to lay on the ground. Then there were the women who operated out of cribs—small, apartment-like rooms with a single window. But there were also madams whose fame was well known, and who were actually considered respectable citizens, despite the notoriety of their chosen profession.



From the red light districts of San Francisco's infamous Barbary Coast to the grand brothels of Virginia City, NV, to the mobile cat wagons of Fort Dodge—prostitutes were a fixture in western towns and cities.



These women went by many names: soiled doves, or doves; ladies of the night; scarlet ladies; sportin' women; women of ill repute or ill fame; and demimonde, just to name a few. What they all had in common was that they sold their bodies in exchange for money.



Then, as now, many women fell into prostitution. The majority of women engaged in prostitution were young (most of them were under thirty years of age), with poor educations, largely illiterate, with families that had either cast them out or were not in a position to help them. Some of them were brought into the profession by their husbands or their mothers, or fell into it because they were seduced by their wealthy employers. These women simply didn't have the means to provide for themselves, other than by selling the one thing they had at their disposal.



But prostitution, just like mining and working the railroad, was a dangerous occupation. These women died in childbirth, of disease, and many of them met violent ends. Some of them became addicted to drugs, as they sought a means to drown their pain. Others committed suicide. And, much like today, many of these women ran the risk of being murdered.



As with any other profession, the prices varied depending on the woman's age and assets (young and inexperienced was good, as was attractiveness). On San Francisco's Barbary Coast—once termed "that sink of moral pollution, whose reefs are strewn with moral wrecks…" by the San Francisco Call—American women commanded a higher price than Mexican women and Asian women, while Native American women and redheads commanded a higher price than other white women, as Native American women and redheads were thought to be more amorous than the others.



Still, the average prices for "tossing" one's "fanny" ranged from 25 cents to one dollar.



Yet while the Barbary Coast catered to the lowest of the low, other prostitutes became respectable citizens, and their deaths genuinely mourned (more by the men than the women). One of these instances is the case of Julia Bulette. As one of the first white women to come to Virginia City, NV—and, for a time, the only white woman in the city—she quickly became a prostitute and madam of some renown. Her brothel was a house in the rococo design, and quite fashionable for the era. She bestowed her favors upon the firefighters and the miners of the town, who considered her to be an angel of mercy. She once opened up her brothel to sick miners when they drank contaminated water, and she nursed them back to health herself. Another time, she refused to leave Virginia City for the safety of Carson City when an attack by native tribes seemed imminent. She was often seen walking about town in her sable furs and expensive jewels. Eventually, she became so well respected she was made an honorary firefighter.



When she was brutally murdered inside her house in 1867, it was termed by the Territorial Enterprise (the newspaper which employed Mark Twain for a time) as "the most cruel, outrageous and revolting murder ever committed in this city." Her funeral was overseen by the local firefighters and miners, who followed her in procession behind a black-plumed, glass-walled hearse. Her gravesite is still tended to this day, and her picture hangs on the wall in at least one saloon. When her murderer was apprehended a year later, his execution was witnessed by "everyone," including Mark Twain.



It's no surprise that the oldest of professions thrived in the Old West. Nor is it a surprise that the women involved ran the gamut from vile criminals to near saints (according to local lore—the truth is probably somewhere in the middle). Then, as now, prostitutes came in every price range, from streetwalkers to wealthy madams. After all, where there are men and money—and few women—there will always be those who will seek to take advantage of the situation.



For those women willing to do it, it was a sure way to make a quick dollar.

*~*~*~*~*

Meggan Connors is the award-winning author of historical romance. Her debut novel, THE MARKER, released this past December. Visit Meggan at www.megganconnors.com

About the Book:

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 naïve, 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, the marker he won at the card table, 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?