Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Showing posts with label Victorian romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victorian romance. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dream a Little Dream by Kathleen Bittner Roth


by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Dream researchers report that our dreams might be our greatest untapped resource connecting us to our subconscious and inner knowing. Think of nightmares as an overblown shout-out from your subconscious screaming at you to pay attention.

Elias Howe (1819-1867), inventor of the sewing machine, couldn’t figure out how to get the threads to lock together. He had a nightmare that he was forced to build a sewing machine for a savage king. He thought the king had given him twenty-four hours in which to complete the machine. Should he not complete his project, death would be his punishment.
In the dream, Howe failed. He thought he was being taken out to a courtyard to be executed. Before him stood a cadre of soldiers dressed in crisp red uniform jackets, white slacks and tall fur hats. They paraded single file past him, each carrying a long, thin spear. In rhythmic precision, they proceeded to stab him, one after the other. Terrified as he was, he noted a hole at the end of each spear.
He had his answer!
In the middle of the night in 1846, Howe awoke from the nightmare and rushed to his laboratory where he quickly created a working machine.
The nightmare with all its horror was his subconscious screaming the answer at him.

Howe is not the only person who’s dreamed solutions to a problem. Dream researchers say people who experience déjà vu most likely experienced a precognitive dream which is why whatever they currently confront seems familiar. These researchers say there are certain symbols that indicate a person is experiencing a precognitive dream (one of them is if the dream contains three round circular objects of some kind). I paid close attention to those symbols thereafter, and since I keep a dream journal, I can recount three precognitive dreams that led to my move to Europe.

Everyone dreams, even though some think they don’t. They simply don’t recall. However, they can train themselves to remember. One night, I dreamed THE SEDUCTION OF SARAH MARKS in its entirety. It was like watching a movie. Although I’ve dreamed bits and pieces of other stories, I’ve never before or since had the pleasure of having an entire story unfold from start to finish. Thus, when Sarah’s story ended up being my debut novel, it held a special meaning to me. Was it destiny? I don’t know, but it’s fun to think it was. I once read that Danielle Steele often dreams her books.
I happen to be particularly interested not only in my dreams, but in those of others. Having spent years teaching a dream recall seminar in a wellbeing center that I founded, I’m used to paying close attention to my dreams, and do so in a particular manner that I’ve taught others with some good results.
We dream in symbols, some archetypal, others personal interpretations that we have to learn to decipher, so if you want to start paying attention to your dreams and how your subconscious is speaking to you, the first and most important thing to do is keep a journal and pen by your bed because you only have about ten minutes to recall everything correctly. You may want to keep a small flashlight as well. In your journal, quickly note the colors, symbols, feelings, and content.
After a while, you’ll likely notice a recurring theme.
Also, when you slip off into that space between wakefulness and sleep, it’s an indication that your brain cycle has dropped into what’s called the theta level. Here is where your conscious and subconscious overlap; the perfect time to repeat an affirmation or “send a message”, if you will. Twenty-one days is how long it takes to create a new habit, so if you use a simple affirmation like, “Easily and effortlessly, I remember my dreams. My dreams give me insight into the direction of my life,” and keep a daily journal (even if you think you got nothing) something is bound to happen. After the twenty-one day period ends, you can give yourself other directives. I like to start with, “Show me what I need to know about such and such.” I get lots of answers to various questions that way.
I do not plot, I write by the seat of my pants, and often use this method for helping me write my stories. When I wrote A DUKE’S WICKED KISS which has a lot of conflict in it, I would often go to bed and drift off with affirmations something like: “Show me what happens next to Ravenswood.” Or, “Is now the time for such and such to happen?”
Learning to trust yourself is a vital aspect of dream recall. Your intuition is always 100% correct, it’s never wrong. You just have to learn the difference between intuitive feelings and human emotion. Like building a muscle in a gym, you don’t go in the first time and expect to walk out pumped up. It takes time, effort and consistency, but there is always a payoff.
What about you, do you recall dreams? Or have you had an experience or result by following the directive in a dream? I’d love to hear from you.

While on a secret mission for the Crown, a proper duke falls for an improper daughter of an Indian royal and British noble. 
Miss Suri Thurston knows the pain of abandonment. Intent on confronting the grandmother who tossed her to the lions, she travels from England to her birthplace in India. Her plans run afoul when she encounters the man who, ten years prior, left a mark on her soul with one stolen kiss. But he is a duke, and far beyond the reach of even her dreams.
The Duke of Ravenswood, secret head of the British Foreign Service, has no time for relationships. His one goal is to locate and eliminate key insurgents involved in an uprising against the British East India Company before it's too late. But when Suri appears in Delhi, his resolve is tested as he finds his heart forever bound to her by the one haunting kiss they shared once upon a time.
With Suri's vengeful Indian family looking for her death, and insurgents intent on mutiny tearing their world apart, can their love rise above the scandal of the marriage they both desperately want?

Read it now!

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/

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Drumroll, Please! Tara Kingston's Gorgeous New Historical Romance Cover...

Pre-Order Now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.

As a regular contributor to History Undressed and a big fan of this blog, I’m so excited to share the gorgeous cover for my upcoming Scottish Historical romance here today. The Highlander Who Loved Me releases December 12 from Entangled Publishing. Set in late-Victorian Scotland, The Highlander Who Loved Me is the first book in my new Highland Hearts series. The stories are romantic adventures featuring rugged Highland spies working for the Crown to safeguard Scottish treasures.

Here’s a little about The Highlander Who Loved Me:

He may be her fiercest ally...or a scoundrel waiting to betray her.

Johanna Templeton is on a life-and-death quest. Swept into an intrigue that rivals the tales she pens, she joins forces with a Highland rogue to find the treasure that will save her kidnapped niece--a prize the Scot seeks for reasons that have nothing to do with ransom. Engaging the Highlander in a sizzling battle of the sexes, Johanna shields her heart.

Connor MacMasters, spy for Queen Victoria, is a man on a mission--keep a legendary gemstone from an evil man. Trailing an American novelist who holds the key to the treasure should've been simple, but Johanna awakens feelings he'd long thought dead. Torn between duty and desire, he wants her in his bed, but loving her would be a fool's game. Blasted shame his heart doesn't agree.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Brief History of the Condom by Kathleen Bitner Roth

Welcome back to History Undressed, our regular first Tuesday blogger and author, Kathleen Bittner Roth! Today she's taking us on a fascinating little jaunt with the history of condoms!


by Kathleen Bitner Roth

Condoms show up in contemporary romance novels these days as an integral part of the love scene. The term “No glove, no love,” seems to appear everywhere. As it turns out, my research on the condom indicates that we’ve been chanting little mantras like that for thousands of years.  

The Grotte des Combarrelles Caves in France have paintings on the walls dating back to 11,000 BC showing the use of condoms. As far back as the 1400’s the Chinese used condoms made of oiled silk paper or lamb intestines. In the 1500’s an Italian physician tested linen sheaths dried in chemicals on a few hundred men. Not one man tested contracted what was at the time a fatal disease. The good doctor pretty much saved the lives of those lusty Italian men at a time when syphilis ran rampant. 
Historians have come to the conclusion that even though condoms in one form or another have been in use for thousands of years, it wasn’t until the early 1600’s when people figured out that the condom not only prevented disease, it also prevented pregnancy. A Catholic theologian, Leonardus Lessius, condemned the condom as immoral, saying it not only prevented birth, it also encouraged men to become immoral—curiously, that debate goes on today in some churches and sectors.
Came the Renaissance and animal intestines and bladders treated with lye or sulpher were added to the linen variety which were treated with chemicals. This turned out to be much better than the Dutch who used leather condoms that covered the entire penis providing for little sensation. Or what about the Japanese who used animal horns over the glans? Ouch! 

At any rate, the argument that the use of condoms was immoral and sinful raged on while use of the condom grew in popularity. By the 1700’s, they came in various sizes and shapes and were being sold in pubs, theaters, markets and other public places throughout Europe and Russia. Unfortunately, they were often rinsed out and reused and oftentimes lent to a friend or two which did nothing to prevent the spread of disease. By the early 1800’s, for the first time, promotion of contraceptives to the lower classes took place.
Eventually, the use of the condom found its way to America, but they were expensive, so at first they were was used only by the upper class. More and more people began to advocate for birth control however, and in 1839 Charles Goodyear invented the rubber condom. It was thick and heavy at the time and didn’t provide for much sensation to the male, but it did prevent disease and pregnancy. 

Ironically, Feminists of this time period wholly disapproved of the condom. They wanted birth control to be organized and controlled only by women. Today, both partners are held responsible.
In the latter part of the 1800’s, the German military began promoting condom use for their soldiers.  In 1912 a German chemist, Dr. Fromm, developed a new method in the manufacture of the condom that gave it texture and was thin enough to give the male the best sensation of anything made to date. The condom he developed was called Fromm’s Act, and the product is still being manufactured. In fact, the brand is one of the most popular condom brands sold in Germany today.

Around 1920 the sales of condoms doubled worldwide, and in 1927, the American military began distributing condoms to soldiers as standard issue. Lo and behold, soldiers soon discovered many uses for the condom. They used them to cover rifle barrels and muzzles as a waterproofing method; they waterproofed underwater demolition with them and stored corrosive materials in them. 
In 1957 lubricated condoms came on the market. Until then, jelly products were used. When the AIDS epidemic hit in the 1980’s condom sales skyrocketed. Today, condoms are the most popular form of contraception and protection from sexually transmitted disease.

Kathleen Bittner Roth thrives on creating passionate stories featuring characters who are 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. However, she still keeps one boot firmly in Texas and the other in her home state of Minnesota. A member of Romance Writers of America®, she was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest. Find Kathleen on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest and www.kathleenbittnerroth.com.

THE SEDUCTION OF SARAH MARKS is book one in Those Magnificent Malvern series: When a proper Victorian miss awakens next to a handsome stranger, she must rely on the man's benevolence as she struggles to regain her memory and hold onto her heart. BUY LINK
PORTRAIT OF A FORBIDDEN LADY is book two in Those Magnificent Malvern series and is due to release in May 2016 (cover not yet available): A young widow returns to her childhood home after a forced absence and faces her first and only love, but despite their powerful attraction, danger compels her to remain his forbidden lady. 

CELINE, book one in the When a Heart Dares series, is on sale now! BUY LINK

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

To Dream of Langston by Mairi Norris

Welcome today to History Undressed, guest author, Mairi Norris! She's here to share a little history behind her new release, To Dream of Langston! Enjoy!

Thanks so much, Eliza for hosting me on History Undressed today. This is an exciting time for me because I just published my first book, To Dream of Langston, on September 30. It's great to have an opportunity to chat a little about the book.

To Dream of Langston is the "book of my heart". It's a coming of age novel featuring Katherine Fairbanks, a young doctor's daughter who loses her first love, is betrayed into a false marriage to man who is a member of a white slavery guild, and is then rescued by the man who is her destiny, a man whom she has dreamed of since her childhood.

When I began writing To Dream of Langston, I envisioned the Fairbanks family living in a fictional town (Heathcrest) that straddled a highway that ran north to south from London all the way up into Scotland. At the time, I had no idea that in reality, just such a road existed. As I began to research the area of North Yorkshire, I came across references to the Great North Road. It was exciting to make that discovery, although in order to accommodate the placement of Heathcrest where I wanted it in North Yorkshire, I had to create a non-existent branch of the road to reach it.

The Great North Road is ancient. A great slash of rutted (or muddy, if it rained) dirt, it stretched from London to Edinburgh, with a major nexus in the city of York. The Romans used it in their efforts to conquer the land. Coaching inns sprang up along it to accommodate those who journeyed. Kings and queens moved militaries to war upon it and at various times tolls were issued to raise capital. Royalty and noblemen, tradesmen and peasants and pilgrims traveled it. Highwaymen preyed upon them all.

Sir Walter Scott thought traveling it dull. Cromwell's grandfather owned a coaching inn along it. Such diverse personages as St. Cuthbert and Bonnie Prince Charlie wandered sections of it.

So much history, myth/legend and literature surround this incredible highway that one can only touch upon it in a blog. But while Sir Scott might have thought traveling it dull, I found all these accounts fascinating.

The British A-1 Highway follows the general course of the Great North Road, but one can still travel actual sections of the ancient path by leaving A-1 for the towns (and surviving coaching inns) that graced it. I was fortunate to travel a short distance along the old route while passing through North Yorkshire last year.

Back Cover "Blurb" for To Dream of Langston:

From the wild, beautiful landscape of the moorlands of England's North Yorkshire to the rolling bluegrass pastures of Kentucky, one [young] woman's passion carries her from love's first bloom to a love everlasting.

On the brink of womanhood, young Katherine Fairbanks glories in the sweet love of the boy next door. When her life is brutally ripped apart by tragedy, she believes she will never love again and seeks only peace for her life. But betrayal sweeps her across the sea and lands her in the hands of a man she dares not trust.

Thoroughbred breeder Jayce Langston has little interest in taking a wife. His time is consumed with the struggle to help his family recover from the devastations of America's Civil War. When a beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by thugs drops in a deep swoon at his feet as he leaves a New York club, Jayce is both captivated and intrigued. He returns with her to his Kentucky stud farm in hopes of learning her identity.

 Together, they must work against terrifying odds to secure a future where love triumphs over loss.

An Excerpt from To Dream of Langston:

Katherine promptly wrapped her arms round Jamie's waist. She trembled as if with a chill.
“I love you so much,” she said into his shirtfront.
It took a bit o’ doing, but he got his hand under her chin and lifted, surprised to find tears in her eyes. She pinched her bottom lip tightly between her teeth, but still it quivered.
“I love you, too. Forever and a day.”
A sudden thought caught him, a memory from the tales o’ the old days in the Highlands that his ma told afore the fire on winter eves. He caught his breath. Would she agree?
“Kate, I’ve an idea.” Excitement jogged his words like grasshoppers gone mad.
Sure of her attention, he said, “Would ye handfast wi’ me? Here, now?”
She blinked, and looked a bit dazed, as well she might. ’Twas a daft idea, but the more he thought on it, the more certain he was o’ its rightness.
“You want to handfast? But it’s not a legal ceremony.”
“Aye, sure, I ken. But it would bind us forever and a day. Would ye no’ like that?”
“I thought handfasting was for ‘a year and a day’.”
“Och, it depends on the time and place. But just between us, I’d rather we promise forever. What say ye?”
The glory o’ her smile had his heart thudding.
“I’d like it very much. Shall we do it up here, with the wind in our hair and the entire dale in our sight, or down by the pond, where we can hear the splash of the water.”
“Which do ye want?”
He laughed. “Weel, since it isnae legal and we're doin’ it all helter-skelter like, I reck it willnae matter if we do it twice. It will just make it twice as bindin’. Give me the ribbon from yer hair.”
In no time, her braid was unraveled.
“Now give me yer hand.”
He spoke as he wrapped the ribbon—fiery copper to match the strands in her hair—around their wrists in a loose figure eight. “I, James MacCorkin, will take ye, Katherine Fairbanks, to my wedded wife, forever and a day, and thereby I plight my troth to ye.”
With the last word, he finished the binding. Her hand trembled within the warmth of his. He tightened his grip, thinking he could happily drown in the luminous joy infusing the blue depths o’ her eyes. The breeze freshened, playing with his hair but performing a dance o’ sheer glee with hers.
She spoke her vow and in the saying, he discerned the unswerving devotion o’ her soul.
“I, Katherine Fairbanks, will take thee, James MacCorkin, to my wedded husband, forever and a day, and thereby I plight to thee my troth.”
Jamie’s left hand slipped into his pocket. “It’s tradition for the handfasted couple to exchange gifts at this time. I…I brought this for ye, meanin’ to give it to ye this day. Now seems a verra appropriate time.”
He opened his fist. Upon his palm lay a golden circle, smooth and unadorned. “It’s no’ the ring I wanted for ye, but it was bought wi’ my own coin. I meant it for our betrothal, but now it seals our handfastin’, too. See ye, I had it engraved wi’ our given names on the inside o’ the band.”
He slid the band onto her finger. His gaze returned to her face, where sparkling tears veined cheeks glowing blush with the wind and the strength of her ardor.
“Aw, Kate.”
“It’s just…so b-beautiful, my darling. The day is beautiful, and the ceremony and the ring, and you are beautiful! But I have no gift for you.”
She thinks me ‘beautiful’?
Jamie tried to convince himself the heat washing over his face was naught but too much sun. Still, a man could be called worse, even by the woman he loved.
“Ye’ve gifted me wi’ yerself, Kate, wi’ yer future and sweet love, and I need none greater. Besides, ye couldnae have known we’d be doin’ this. O’ course, I wouldnae fuss if ye gave me somethin’ later.”
She laughed, and he wiped away the traces o’ her tears. “There is one gift ye can give right now, my Kate.”
Standing as she was on the hill a little below him, she had to lift onto her toes to reach him. The kiss was gentle, sweet and as binding as their vows.

Contact Màiri:
Buy Link for To Dream of Langston:

Eliza, thanks again for having me today.