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.***

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cover Reveal: MY DEAR HAMILTON by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

We’re celebrating Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today and you get the gift! Don’t miss the beautiful cover below and a special giveaway, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy today!

About My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (Coming 4.3.2018):

Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest to Form a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…


Pre-Order on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo


To celebrate Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today, we have a surprise for you! Share the cover of MY DEAR HAMILTON and fill out the Rafflecopter below to receive an Exclusive Excerpt!


New York Times bestselling author, Stephanie Dray is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW's Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women's fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation's capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.         

Stephanie’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kaye. Her New York Times bestselling debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.      

Laura’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter Sign-Up


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Terror of South China

We’ve heard of Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Calico Jack, and Henry Morgan—all famous for the piratical exploits and successful in their own ways. But who is the most successful pirate of all time? How about a captain of strength and courage who commanded a fleet of over 300 ships and, according to the varying resources, 20 to 40 thousand crewmen? This captain was also able to forge alliances with other pirate leaders, growing her control to over 1500 ships and 80 to 180 thousand pirates.

Her? Yes, her. Ching Shih must have been one hell of a woman.

Ching Shih was born in 1775 in Guangdong, a province in southern China. Not much else is known about her other than she was a Cantonese prostitute with a floating brothel. Her business acumen must have started at a young age because she climbed the ranks quickly, apparently through her beauty and effective, sultry tête-à-têtes with the wealthy and social elite.

In 1801, she caught the eye of a notorious pirate, Cheng I, who proposed marriage. She agreed on one condition—that she have an equal share in his power and loot. Ah...true love. And so for the next six years, this tag team managed a proper piracy, leading a butt-kicking, scary powerful armada called the Red Flag Fleet. But then Cheng I died. Could have been by a tsunami or it could’ve been murder, no one knows for sure. At any rate, Ching Shih had to do some shrewd thinking and maneuvering to keep her place as the ruler among men.

What’s a savvy girl to do? She began a romantic relationship with Cheng I’s adoptive son and likely heir, Cheung Po Tsai. This while nurturing coalitions and existing loyalties, solidifying her authority with business and military strategies. Beyond making money the old-fashioned pirate ways of attacking ships, pillaging coastal towns, and outsmarting British, Portuguese and Chinese navies, she also dipped into blackmail, extortion, instituting levies, and even offered protection plans for those who provided supplies to her fleet.

But what about the monumental task of governing her growing number of pirates? Her answer to that is the code of conduct she wrote. It was quite harsh, even by pirate standards. By example, anyone who disobeyed an order lost their head, on the spot. Ouch! Ching Shih’s policy on female captives was infamous. Not-so-pretty women, to put it politely, were released unharmed.  Attractive women were auctioned off to the crew as concubines. However, if a pirate outright purchased a prisoner, they were considered married and he was expected to care for her. And he better be faithful, lest he be executed by Ching Shih’s order.

The Red Flag Fleet was unstoppable and Ching Shih’s moniker “The Terror of South China” had been well earned. She simply could not be defeated, not by China, Britain, Portugal, or the bounty hunters hunting her. In an effort to stop the hemorrhaging, in 1810 the Chinese government offered her, Cheung Po, and all pirates prowling under their command a deal too good to refuse. Leave the pirate life and receive global amnesty. But negotiations stalled in regards to what would happen to the reserve of booty as well as the fact the Chinese government wanted the pirates to kowtow before them. Ah, but remember, Ching Shih was a foxy woman. She negotiated an epic deal where most of her followers escaped any sort of punishment and got to keep their earnings. As for the kowtowing, it was solved in a simple matter. The government officially recognized the marriage of Ching Shih and Cheung Po and the two kneeled before them in thanks. Brilliant, really.

Ching Shih and Cheung Po retired from piracy with their riches and had a son together. Cheung Po went on to secure a comfy military post in the Qing Imperial Navy in the same year of their amnesty and Ching Shih opened a prosperous gambling house. Not bad for a couple of ruthless pirates.

The poor prostitute who took over the world as a formidable, wealthy pirate queen lived the rest of her days in peace, dying in 1844 from old age as a 69-year-old grandmother.

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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


By Kathleen Bittner Roth

Mattie Silks was born Martha Ready in Pennsylvania 1845. High spirited and competitive, she had no inclination to work as a schoolmarm, considered the only respectable career for a woman during that era. Instead, Mattie knew a good opportunity when she saw it. She began her career as a madam in a rented flat in Springfield, Illinois where she took in twelve “Upstairs Girls.” Although considered a great beauty, she never resorted to prostitution herself. With a sharp business acumen, she expanded her “pleasure palaces” to include Dodge City, Kansas, and Denver, where she quickly became one of the best-known madams in the west. She took great pride in seeing that her girls were well taken care of. She even designed a Mattie Silks knife, which she gifted to her ladies to wear on their person on the streets of these wild towns.

Demand for women was highest in Denver, Colorado, due to the gold rush. Soon, Mattie’s expensive parlor houses made her fabulously wealthy. So accomplished was she as a madam, her reputation grew. Even the style of boot she wore bears her name. In Denver, she openly feuded with her competition, Kate Fulton and Jennie Rogers. Things got so bad between Mattie and Kate that they wound up in the only known pistol duel between two women. The fight, as it turned out, was not over money, but over a local businessman, Cortez Thomson, whom both women were seeing. When the day of the duel arrived, he stood off to one side, watching the battle take place. They both fired their pistols, but due to Mattie’s bad aim, Cortez got the bullet. He recovered, and ended up marrying Mattie three years later, and proceeded to lavishly spend her money. But such was love, for Mattie’s business continued to thrive, and her investments in real estate made her even wealthier, so she had little care as to how Thomson spent her money because she was having just as good a time spending it herself.

From 1877 to 1897 her brothel was the most successful in Denver. In 1898, Madam Jennie Rogers opened the House of Mirrors and quickly became more successful than any of the competition. But then, Jennie Rogers died, and being the good business woman that Mattie was, she purchased the House of Mirrors for $14,000 and went on to make even more money.    

Mattie Silks passed away in 1929 due to complications from a fall. She was buried beside the love of her life, Cortez Thomson, in the Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.

Kathleen Bittner Roth creates evocative stories featuring characters forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love. Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. A PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Kathleen was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest. 

You can find Kathleen at:

Website:          www.kathleenbittnerroth.com
Twitter:           @K_BittnerRoth
Pinterest          https://hu.pinterest.com/bittnerroth/