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.***

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Behind the Book: IN YOUR ARMS by Merry Farmer

Welcome to History Undressed, guest author, Merry Farmer. She's here today to talk a little about her new book, IN YOUR ARMS.

Of all the novels I’ve written so far and all of the research I’ve done for these novels (and believe me, I’ve done a lot!), by far the most fascinating discoveries I made were when I began researching the lives of Native Americans after the “Cowboys and Indians” era for In Your Arms.  The entire Montana Romance series takes place in a fictitious town in western Montana near the mountains—an area that is rich in Native American history and culture.  I wanted to show as much of that culture as I could within the context of a romance.

What surprised me the most was not how shamefully the Native American population was treated.  I knew that as Americans of European descent moved west they displaced the native peoples, forcing them to live on reservations or to give up their lifestyles completely.  I knew the long, sad story behind the near decimation of that culture.  All of these things are what inspired me to tell Lily’s story in the first place.

What I didn’t realize was how bittersweet the efforts of missionaries and well-meaning but misguided people were.  I knew that I wanted my heroine, Lily, to have been taken from her tribe as a small child and raised in one of the many Indian schools that popped up back east.  I knew a little bit about the Indian schools, but the reasons why they were built, the goals that they had, and the results of their efforts was even more heartening and heartbreaking than I had imagined.

The white Americans who founded, funded, and ran the Indian schools were coming from a place of genuine charity, thoughtfulness, and good intentions.  They were moved by the plight of the Native Americans and wanted to help them.  The problem was that what they saw as helping them—educating Native American children in European ways, removing all signs of the culture they were born into and making them look like white people, and training them for ‘useful employment in society’—was, in fact, destroying their cultural identity.  It truly was a case of the path to hell being paved with good intentions.

It was bittersweet to learn about what happened to the thousands of children who went through these schools.  Many of them did go on to successful careers in the white man’s world.  Many became teachers, like Lily.  But also like Lily as I have portrayed her, they lost all ties with who they were.  They were turned out into the world in a cultural limbo, no longer fitting in with their past but never completely accepted by the ‘civilized’ world they were trained for.  The result was a generation of people left with huge psychological scars.  Those scars also extended to the older generation, whose children, whose future was taken from them.

It’s heavy stuff for a romance novel!  But at the same time, I was driven to tell this story.  Ultimately, In Your Arms is a story about finding love and finding where you belong when everything has been taken from you.  It is a story about hope and the ability of love to overcome even the most tragic barriers.  It is my deepest hope that I have remembered the young men and women on both sides who endured this painful chapter of our history and that I have done them justice.

In Your Arms is the third full-length novel in Merry Farmer's sweeping, engaging, and extremely historically accurate Montana Romance series. Never one to shy away from difficult or controversial topics while still imbuing her tales with more than a dash of romance and steam, Merry depicts a tale of love, trust, and stubborness against the backdrop of the turn-of-the-century American frontier. "[In Your Arms is] a book that intelligently tackles racial tensions of post-Civil War era...a highly engaging romance between two fiery-spirited individuals...I highly recommend this book to all fans of historical romance." --Mary Chen, Amazon reviewer Get In Your Arms on Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Add In Your Arms to your Goodreads to-read shelf!

About In Your Arms

In Your Arms Merry FarmerLily Singer has never belonged. Taken from her tribe as a child and raised in a white man’s school, she no longer has a place in either world. Teaching has become her life. When that life is threatened by rumors and prejudice after a string of robberies, she must turn for help to the one man who spells disaster for her carefully ordered existence. Will he save her or steal her heart? Christian Avery, Justice of the Peace, is used to having things his way. Cold Springs is his responsibility, and when its citizens blame the local Indian population for the mysterious robberies, it’s up to him to restore order and maintain calm. The one person who refuses to follow his lead is the beautiful, native-born Lily. Her defiance turns his life upside down. But when town gossip shifts from robberies to romance after a foolish indiscretion, Lily’s job and reputation are on the line. She must choose between the only life she has ever known and the only place she has ever felt at home, in Christian’s arms.

About Merry Farmer

Merry Farmer Merry Farmer lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized one day that she didn't have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. She then went on to earn not one but two degrees in History so that she would always having something to write about. Today she walks along the cutting edge of Indie Publishing, writing Historical Romance and Women's Sci-Fi. She is also passionate about blogging, knitting, and cricket and is working towards becoming an internationally certified cricket scorer. Find Merry Farmer on her websiteFacebookTwitter, and Amazon Author Page.

Get the book!

In Your Arms is available on AmazonAmazon UKSmashwordsBarnes & Noble, and iBooks. Don't forget to add In Your Arms to your to-read shelf on Goodreads. Connect with Merry Farmer on her websiteFacebookTwitter, and Amazon Author Page.

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter


CURSES AND SMOKE: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter!

Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Arthur A. Levine Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Genre: YA Historical

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

About the Author

Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of the young adult novel, CLEOPATRA'S MOON (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Many thanks to all who serve and those who served before you. We are free because of the brave.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Love Big Orange...Cows by Nancy Lee Badger

Welcome back to History Undressed, guest author, Nancy Lee Badger! Today she's sharing with us her love of Highland cows. Enjoy!

I Love Big Orange…Cows

by Nancy Lee Badger   

Orange? Thank the Highlands of Scotland for sharing the biggest, hairiest, cold-weather adaptive side of beef with America…the Highland steer. Known as Bò GhĂ idhealach in Scottish Gaelic, these large docile animals are best known with their long horns and shaggy red coats, but are also bred in black, dun, brindled, and yellow. Although this animal, bred for its lean tasty beef, was developed in the Scottish Highlands and the Western Isles of Scotland, the Scots exported breeding stock worldwide. 

Their heavy coats protect them from the harsh climate of Scotland’s Highlands. High rainfall, strong winds, and hilly terrain are no problem. Even countries whose winter climates are even colder than Scotland have seen an explosion of herds. Their shaggy hair protects them during the cold winters, keeping the fat content low. They also have this uncanny skill to find food in steep mountain areas, or to graze on vegetation many other cattle refuse to try. Highland cows have a long history of living with humans, and the early Scots kept the family cow inside their homes during the winter.

I won’t go into the meat-producing aspects of the Highland steer. Instead, I will share photos I took at the recent Loch Norman Highland Games in Huntersville, NC. The festival is held at the Rural Hill Historic Site, a year-round historic village complete with a cabin, corn shed, blacksmith forge, and Highland cows. For the first time since I started attending these games, I was able to get close to the mama and her calf. Not too close, as Highland cows are highly devoted as well as protective mothers. Cows may produce into their late teens, which reduces the need for frequent herd replacement. Financially, they are a good bet.

The dad was brazen and begged for handfuls of corn. Did he notice men dressed in kilts and women in long dresses? Did he care that several fur-wearing men walked by with longbows across their shoulders. Did he worry that marching band members stopped to visit with dirks on their hips? Since bulls can weigh in at almost 1800 pounds, I was glad the sturdy fence was between him…and us.

I mention the cows in my latest release, My Lady Highlander, which is the first book in my Kilted Athletes Through Time series. Here is a short except:

“Are we close to the border?” Bull asked.
Izzy whispered, “Aye. The darkness will aid us in crossing the meadow unseen. If we be lucky, my former ale master has put up barrels of honey ale.”
“Let’s hurry!”
She laughed at his exuberance, slapping a hand over her mouth. Stealth would keep them alive.
When they reached the edge of the meadow, they crouched behind low branches. If the moon, hidden somewhere behind heavy clouds, reappeared before they traveled the distance across the meadow, they would be as visible as the Highland cows, mooing, to their left.
“What’s that sound? A cow?”
“Aye. Highland cattle, so stay to the right and watch yer step.”
“Great. I’ll probably trip, and land face-first in a pile of cow droppings.”
She chuckled.
“That was funny?”
“Nay. I was thinking…” She fingered the potions in her pocket. “I carry a potion bottle filled with what we call cow-cakes.”
“Why the heck did you bring that along?”
“That title be misleading. ‘Tis actually an infusion of giant hogweed, a potion that can burn the skin. ‘Twas the only weapon I could grab when we…were interrupted.”
“Don’t know where you’d use that.”
She shrugged. “Mind yer steps. If ye do step wrong, I shall do my best to get ye a bath.”

For more information on the breed, there are several breeding associations across the United States and Canada, and they can be found online. Please enjoy my photos.

About the Author
Fourteen books later, Nancy Lee Badger still loves chocolate-chip shortbread and wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander. Her stories tempt you with the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, she moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.  

Isobel MacHamish escaped a betrothal in ancient Scotland. She rebuilt her life in present-day New England, yet something-or someone-is missing. Arson, thievery, a stalker, and a handsome caber-tossing athlete turn her world upside down.

Bryce Buchanan saves a pretty woman-twice. Sent back to ancient Scotland-again-he is trapped between the skittish woman, and a man pressuring her into marriage. Battles, swords, a Scottish brownie, and a power-hungry laird make ‘Bull’ want to head home to New England.

To escape her former lover, and his murderous, father, Izzy finds her inner warrior. And, when the handsome athlete shows her what falling in love can bring, she is torn, because keeping her hands to herself, is one battle she will never win.

Connect with Nancy Lee Badger
Blog                                      http://www.nancyleebadger.blogspot.com
Website                                 http://www.nancyleebadger.com
Twitter                                  https://twitter.com/NLBadger
Facebook                              http://on.fb.me/KMGS4z                    
Goodreads                            http://bit.ly/Vd1Usg
Amazon Author Page           http://amzn.to/13ICHLq

My Lady Highlander Buy Links:
Amazon                              http://amzn.to/1i72gLV
Amazon Print                     http://amzn.to/QKTP2Q
NOOK                                http://bit.ly/1j9Eu51
Barnes & Noble Print         http://bit.ly/1qdbe0n

My Honorable Highlander, Nancy’s first book in her Highland Games Through Time series is part of 10 Timeless Heroes: magic & destiny unite lovers across time and space in this epic collection of award-winning, chart topping tales. From sweet to sizzling romances, 10 Timeless Heroes has a little something for everyone. Over fifteen hundred pages!

Amazon     http://amzn.to/RuFTub
NOOK       http://bit.ly/1ntUSi5
KOBO       http://bit.ly/1iydpJu\

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Movie Casting for MY LADY VIPER

Every writer dreams of their book being made into a movie or television series, and I am definitely one of those writers! Even more flattering is the number of readers who've told me they would love to see MY LADY VIPER made into a movie. Watching the characters I've bled, sweat and cried over would be amazing!

If the film rights were purchased by a production company, this is who I'd suggest for the main characters... (Historical figure pics on the left, Hollywood casting on the right).

Anne "Stanhope" Seymour--Lady Viper -- played by Lena Headey

Edward Seymour--Anne's husband and brother to Queen Jane Seymour--played by Eric Bana

Anthony Browne--Anne's lover and a courtier in Henry VIII's court--played by Henry Cavill

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey--my villain, Anne's tormenter--played by Oliver Coleman


King Henry VIII--played by Kevin McKidd

Queen Jane Seymour--played by Rebecca Ferguson

My Lady Viper is available for purchase now in print/ebook/audio.

When Anne Boleyn falls to the executioner’s ax on a cold spring morning in 1536, Anne Seymour knows her family faces peril. As alliances shift and conspiracies multiply, the Seymours plot to establish their place in the treacherous court of King Henry VIII, where a courtier’s fate is decided by the whims of a hot-tempered and fickle monarch.

Lady Anne’s own sister-in-law, Jane Seymour, soon takes Anne Boleyn’s place as queen. But if Jane cannot give King Henry a son, history portends that she, too, will be executed or set aside—and her family with her. In desperation, Lady Anne throws herself into the intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined to ensure the success of the new queen’s marriage and the elevation of the Seymour family to a more powerful position. Soon her machinations earn her a reputation as a viper in a den of rabbits. In a game of betrayal and favor, will her family’s rise be worth the loss of her soul?

Read it on:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Release Day! MY LADY VIPER is now A


My Lady Viper
a Tales From the Tudor Court novel

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

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

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

Praise for MY LADY VIPER

“Author E. Knight proves that though there are a plethora of Tudor novels out there a writer can still create a fresh and unique view of one of history's most treacherous courts, that of England's King Henry VIII. Schemes and scandalous trysts abound in 'My Lady Viper', making for a very captivating read. Racy and deliciously sensual, once started I was hard pressed to put the book down. I eagerly await the next installment in E. Knight's stand-out Tales of the Tudor Courts series!” ~ Amy Bruno, Passages to the Past

“E. Knight breathes new life and new scandal into the Tudors. This is an engrossing historical fiction tale that readers will love!” ~ Meg Wessel, A Bookish Affair

“A brilliant illustration of a capricious monarch and the nest of serpents that surrounded him, My Lady Viper is an absolute must. Intricately detailed, cleverly constructed and utterly irresistible.” ~ Erin, Flashlight Commentary




Coming June 16, 2014 -- Available for Pre-Order