Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

White Lace & Wedding Cake ~ Victorian Influences on Wedding Traditions by Tara Kingston

Wedding watchers are eager for the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this spring. Many of the traditions the bride and groom may opt to incorporate into their wedding were influenced by Prince Harry’s ancestor, Queen Victoria. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, her wedding was an opulent affair that continues to influence weddings today.

~ Wedding Gowns



While many modern brides are opting to wear a color other than white, pristine white wedding gowns such as the long-sleeved dress worn by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, when she married Prince William, remain a popular choice for twenty-first century brides. White wedding dresses became fashionable after Queen Victoria opted to wear white for her wedding to Prince Albert. In the years before Queen Victoria chose white for her gown, silver was considered the traditional color for royal brides.


~ Lace


In her own words as recorded in her diary, Queen Victoria described her wedding dress as “…a white satin dress, with a deep flounce of Honiton lace, an imitation of an old design.” Creating the lace used in her gown employed more than two hundred people for eight months, bolstering the struggling lace trade.




~ Here Comes the Bride


Countless brides have walked down the aisle to the traditional “Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin. This wedding march was played at the wedding of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Louise in 1889, and remains a popular choice today.

~ Wedding Cake


Elaborately decorated cakes enjoyed at weddings are a cherished tradition that dates back to the Victorian era. Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed three hundred pounds, while her daughter, Princess Victoria, had a wedding cake that was seven feet high. Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, had a wedding cake that was so elaborately decorated it took months to create!

To learn more about Victorian influences on wedding traditions, check out these sources:




Hughes, Kristine. The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 1998.


All photographs are in the public domain.


A note from Tara:

As always, I enjoy researching the fascinating era of Queen Victoria's reign and writing love stores set during that time. My latest release, Lady Evelyn’s Highland Protector, is set during the late-Victorian era in the 1890s. A historical romance with an air of suspense, the story features an English bridesmaid who has traveled to the Highlands to attend her dearest friend’s wedding, only to be swept into danger when she witnesses an attempt at murder. Here’s a little about the story:
Can her Highland bodyguard heal her wounded heart?
A Highlander’s vow...Scottish spy Gerard MacMasters never expected to be playing bodyguard in his mission to catch a killer. Stunning English beauty, Lady Evelyn Hunt, has witnessed a merciless assassin’s escape—now, she’s in danger, and it’s up to him to keep her alive. Yet, he is drawn to the tempting woman. Passion flares, but he knows better than to fall for her. He’s already lost one woman he loved—never again will he put his heart on the line.

She shields her heart...After a crushing betrayal at the altar, Lady Evelyn wants nothing to do with love. Kissing a gorgeous rogue is one thing, but surrendering her heart is another matter. When she stumbles upon a mysterious crime, nothing prepares her for the dashing Scot who charges into her life. The hot-blooded Highlander may be her hero—or her undoing.



To read an excerpt from Lady Evelyn’s Highland Protector:

https://entangledpublishing.com/lady-evelyn-s-highland-protector.html



About the Author:

Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with romantic suspense and adventures of the heart. She lives her own happily-ever-after in a cozy Victorian with her real-life hero and a pair of deceptively innocent-looking cats. When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys movie nights, cycling, hiking, DIY projects, and cheering on her favorite football team.


You can connect with Tara on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at her webpage, www.tarakingston.com. If you’d like updates on new releases, historical romance, and contests, please sign-up for Tara’s newsletter.



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Twelve Pirate Days of Christmas

Let’s get into the holiday spirit, shall we? I give you a remake of a favorite classic Christmas carol. Sing along with me!

The Twelve Days of a Pirate Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
A fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the second day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the third day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the fourth day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the fifth day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the sixth day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Six swords a-crossing,
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the seventh day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Seven sirens singing,
Six swords a-crossing,
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the eighth day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Eight anchors weighing,
Seven sirens singing,
Six swords a-crossing,
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the ninth day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Nine sails a-flapping,
Eight anchors weighing,
Seven sirens singing,
Six swords a-crossing,
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the tenth day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Ten guns a-firing,
Nine sails a-flapping,
Eight anchors weighing,
Seven sirens singing,
Six swords a-crossing,
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Eleven loyal crewmen,
Ten guns a-firing,
Nine sails a-flapping,
Eight anchors weighing,
Seven sirens singing,
Six swords a-crossing,
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, a pirate gave to me
Twelve full kegs of rum,
Eleven loyal crewmen,
Ten guns a-firing,
Nine sails a-flapping,
Eight anchors weighing,
Seven sirens singing,
Six swords a-crossing,
Fiiive golden rings,
Four bags of loot,
Three black flags,
Two treasure maps
And a fine ship to sail the deep blue sea.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New year!

About the Author                                                
Jennifer is the award-winning author of the Romancing the Pirate series. Visit her at www.jbrayweber.com or join her mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and giveaways.



Thursday, November 30, 2017

Haunting Scenes from Scotland Past by Lori Ann Bailey






While doing research for Highland Redemption, I stumbled upon a piece of information that stuck with me, so much so that I felt I had to put it in my book. The cruelty of the instance became part of the motivation for my heroine, Skye, to do her part in protecting her family, even if that meant marrying someone she didn’t know.

Some of you may have heard that the “Red Wedding” from “Game of Thrones” was inspired by true events, the brutal slayings of the MacDonalds by Campbell men in the Massacre of Glencoe. 

Campbell forces had been accepted as guests and given hospitality for several days before turning on their hosts, killing thirty-eight MacDonalds in their sleep and leaving another forty women and children to die from exposure after burning their homes.

This is an example of brutality that has tarnished the reputation of the Campbells. Even to this day, there is a bar, Clachaig Inn, in the Highlands that has a sign above the door stating that it will not serve Campbells.


(https://youtu.be/-UFMx3xE9Ko)

But this wasn’t the tale of carnage that made it into Highland Redemption because it takes place after my story, it’s just the infamous one. The massacre I speak of happened fifty years earlier and although just as gruesome, it is hard to find the truth of what happened in August of 1642.


On Rathlin Island, Ireland, Covenanter Campbell soldiers were given orders to kill the local Catholic MacDonalds because they were relatives of the Scottish MacDonalds, who were seen as enemies by clan Campbell. According to what I’ve read, women and children were forced to watch the slaying of their men, then as they retreated to safety, the Campbells showed no mercy. It is said that anywhere between one hundred and three thousand women and children were driven from cliffs of what is now known as the Hill of Screaming.

From Highland Redemption - Skye’s thoughts, just after she meets her newly betrothed:

Now, she was resigned to a marriage built on a foundation of Royalist unity and the blood of her kin, who were massacred by Covenanter soldiers at the orders of Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck. Alliances with other Royalist clans were becoming more important as tensions rose between those who were loyal to King Charles, and the men, like the Duke of Argyll, who supported the Presbyterian Covenants as the sole religion of Scotland.
Often, she awakened, covered in sweat, when her dreams took her to the horrors she’d heard tales of—hundreds of Catholic MacDonald women of Rathlin Island begging for their lives, and the piercing screams that must have spilled from their lips as the Covenanter soldiers of Argyll’s Foot pushed them over the cliffs to the rocks and surf below.
If she could save others by forming an alliance with another clan, so be it. Despite living with the Cameron clan as a child, she owed her uncle, the MacDonald laird, and their people a debt because they had taken her in and given her a new life. At least her uncle had given her a choice of men.


While spying for Clan Cameron, Brodie Cameron rescues a lass, only to realize it’s Skye—the woman who’d broken his heart. He needs to get her to her uncle as quickly as possible to keep her safe, but every minute he’s distracted from his mission brings the clans that much closer to war. And having beautiful Skye anywhere near him is dangerous, because the price on his head is higher than the one on hers.

Upon being rescued from kidnappers, Skye finds herself staring into the eyes of the man she once loved—Brodie Cameron. She’s grateful to be freed, but has no idea how she’ll resist the lad who has become a braw man. Especially because she’s promised to another, in a political marriage forged to strengthen the Royalist clans against the Covenanters who plot to turn Scotland upside down.



Purchase HIGHLAND REDEMPTION:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2As7N16
B&N https://goo.gl/YPGTzS
Kobo https://goo.gl/9c3pWb
ibooks https://goo.gl/a6fF7w
Amazon Canada https://goo.gl/U2NAi9
Amazon UK https://goo.gl/mb9Et1




Winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Holt Medallion for Best First Book and Best Historical, Lori Ann Bailey writes hunky highland heroes and strong-willed independent lasses finding their perfect matches in the Highlands of 17th century Scotland. Writing about the people and places playing in her head helps her live out her dreams and delve into her love of history and romance. When not writing, Lori enjoys time with her real life hero and four kids or spending time walking or drinking wine with her friends.

Visit Lori at www.loriannbailey.com. Or, follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lori.Ann.Bailey.author