Friday, June 24, 2011

FROM LOINCLOTH TO THONG . . . Not so different are they?

Today, I'm welcoming guest blogger, Jennifer Jakes who's going to entertain us with a post on underwear!

Have at it, Jennifer!

FROM LOINCLOTH TO THONG . . . Not so different are they?
So are we moving forward or going back? Let's take a quick look at the history of what men wear under there!

The first men's underwear was probably the Loincloth, a simple strip of material or leather. A loincloth was also used to describe material pulled between the legs and fastened like a diaper. Not a good look for anyone :( Greek and Roman men reportedly wore loinclothes.

During the Middle Ages, loinclothes were replaced by loose trouser-like pants called Braies. Braies were a step-in design and laced at the waist and mid-calf. Wealthy men also wore chausses.- tights worn over the legs and feet.

By Renaissance, braies became shorter to accommodate longer styles of chausses -- and chausses gave way to hose. The hose were two separate legs leaving their genitals uncovered. (Men could wear underdrawers) Hence, the Codpiece came into use. Over time, codpieces became padded to emphasize rather than to conceal, reaching their peak of size and decoration in the 1540s before falling out of use by the 1590s. (Since neither braies nor chausses were meant to be worn beneath they weren't technically underwear.)

Braies were replaced by cotton, silk or linen drawers which were worn for years and years and years. And years. I couldn't find much information on how much -- if any -- the basic design changed. However, in the mid 1800's mass production of underwear began and people started to buy their drawers instead of making them at home. The Unionsuit also became popular in the mid 1800's -- 1868 actually -- and had the drop seat in the back.

In 1874, the Jock Strap came along to provide support for the bicycle jockeys riding upon cobblestone streets.
The first underwear print ad ran in the Saturday Evening Post in 1911, an oil painting, not a picture. That would have been indecent! In WWI soldiers were issued button front shorts though they were often still worn with a union suit. (Which by the way became 2 pieces in 1910 - what we call long-johns).

By 1935 Coopers Inc. sold the world's first men's briefs, the design dubbed Jockey since it provided the support once only offered by a jock strap. 30,000 pairs of new Jockeys sold within the first 3 months of introduction. In the 1950's manufacturers began to make men's underwear from colored and/or printed material. In the 1970's and 1980's advertisers began appealing to the sexual side of selling, foregoing the long time ad practice of comfort and durability. Speaking of comfort - or lack thereof - the thong became popular in the 1990's.

So, what do you prefer on your man? Boxer, brief, thong . . . loincloth?
Jennifer Jakes western historical, Rafe's Remption is now available from

He rode into town to buy supplies, not a woman.

For hunted recluse Rafe McBride, the raven-haired beauty on the auction block is exactly what he doesn't need. A dependent woman will be another clue his vengeful stepbrother can use to find and kill him. But Rafe's conscience won't let him leave another innocent's virginity to the riff-raff bidding. He buys her, promising to return her to St. Louis untouched. He only prays the impending blizzard holds off before her sultry beauty breaks his willpower.
She wanted freedom, not a lover.

Whisked to the auction block by her devious, gambling cousin, and then sold into the arms of a gorgeous stranger, outspoken artist Maggie Monroe isn't about to go meekly. Especially when the rugged mountain man looks like sin and danger rolled into one. But a blizzard and temptation thrust them together, and Maggie yearns to explore her smoldering passion for Rafe.

But when the snow clears, will the danger and secrets that surround Rafe and Maggie tear them apart?

Oh, Lord. He was going to kiss her. She shouldn’t want this. She was confused enough. Respectable women didn’t kiss men they barely knew, certainly not men who made them have wild, exotic dreams.

It was crazy. He was making her want crazy things. Making her not give a damn about her reputation or her virginity. Or her long-awaited freedom. All she could think about was that dream, and the way his sinful mouth had felt. The table was only a step away, and honey was just as sweet as peach juice…

She swallowed hard and looked up into his hooded eyes.

“Maggie,” he groaned. “Don’t be scared. I’d never hurt you.”

Her mouth parted to object, but firm lips covered hers, hungry, demanding. She gasped, shocked at his hunger, but even more at the illicit response coursing through her. An aching heat unfurled low in her stomach, pulsed between her legs. Oh, yes. It started just like in the dream

He deepened the kiss, coaxed her lips with his warm tongue. Long, languid strokes teased the inside of her mouth, encouraging, tempting before he pulled back to nibble the corners of her lips.

Oh, God. Is this what all kisses felt like? Hot, lethargic? Melting her like molasses over warm bread?

“Kiss me, Maggie,” he breathed.

Thanks so much for this fun and fascinating post, Jennifer. And, BTW, I prefer briefs on a man. lol!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Release Date!

I'm shocked and surprised. Slightly Tarnished was just released June 3, so I thought I'd have until at least December before I had to start promoting Wholesale Husband. But, for once, I'm glad I was wrong. The release date for Wholesale Husband is September 28th.

Here's a blurb:

She needs his name. He needs her money. But can a rich New York socialite and a poor Irish immigrant find true love in the gilded age?

Betrayed by her fiancé and heart sick over her father’s death, Clarissa Burdick is further devastated when she learns she can’t inherit her father’s company—the company she loves—until she’s twenty-five or married. And Clarissa is neither. So she sets out to find a husband strong enough to protect her from her uncle’s thugs, too uneducated to run the company himself, and poor enough to marry a woman in name only.  But Irish immigrant Devin Flannery is smarter than he seems and more educated than Clarissa expects.  Her Wholesale Husband soon proves a greater risk to her heart than her company.
And an excerpt:

“This is a serious proposal,” she insisted, gnawing her lip.

            “Who are you codding?” He leaned forward, stretching his leg, ready to descend from the suffocating confinement of the hansom cab.

            Again, she stayed him with a touch and again, his body reacted to the contact in a most unwanted way. He narrowed his eyes and pried her hand from his wrist.

            “Surely, you’ve heard of marriages of convenience,” she insisted rather desperately as she rubbed her wrist. “Well, this is an honest proposal. If you come with me to Mr. Tate’s office, I can give you a copy of the contract outlining a proposed marriage agreement between us. If you don’t trust my word or that of my attorney’s, then you can find someone to read the documents to you before you sign them.”

            She rubbed her wrist again. He considered apologizing for his rough handling but after her last comment, he thought better of it. Even after he’d confessed to some schooling, she still thought him too stupid to read.

Well, if she wanted a dumb Irishman, he’d give her one.

            “Aye, lassie. I’ll not be taking yer word for it and that’s fer sure.”

            “Then you’ll come with us?” 

            There must be something seriously wrong with me. But he’d play along, just to see how far Miss Burdick would take this dangerous game she played.

            “Aye,” he all but snarled. “I’ll go with you to the lawyer’s office, but I ain’t signing nothing until someone I trust has a look at those papers.”

            Miss Burdick’s luminous smile shone like the sun bursting through the clouds on a stormy day. Devin’s heart dropped to his stomach. Fiona would smile like that if he had the money to send her to that fancy boarding school.

Damn if he wasn’t actually considering her proposal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lady Gilchrest speaks with Lilly Gayle

Today's blogpost is going to be fun! Or maybe just a bit whacky. At any rate, I've joined a blog chain and each participant has agreed to let one of their characters inteview them. Yep, I'm going to be interviewed by an imaginary person. And she's not even from this century! But here goes...

Nikki invited me to sit down. She was an American like me, and newly wed to a British Earl. The former Nicole Keller was now a countess, and rumor had it the marriage was one of convieneice. But she seemed happy.

I sat in a beautiful but uncomfortable rosewood and gold upholstered parlor chair. Nikki addjusted her wide skirts and sat across from me in a matching chair. She leaned forward, her curly brown hair falling over her shoulder as she met my gaze. "I heard you recently celebrated your annivesary. Which one?"

"Our thirty-first. We celebrated June 7."

"May I offer my felicitations?" Her voice was unnaturally cultered, the slight inclination of her chin stilted, as if she wasn't used to the regid posture or the formal speach.

I cracked a smile. "Thanks. And congratulations on your recent marriage."

A smile brightened her face as well. "Thank you. Do you have any children?"

"I have two beautiful daughters. My youngest lives at home while attending her last year of college." I didn't say she was currently enrolled in UNC's School of Radiation Therapy or that she worked part-time as a radiologic technologist. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen wouldn't even discover x-rays until November 1895.

"She's attending college? Oh my! That's so...adventurous." Envy colored Nikki's face. "I have no formal education beyond the school room. But I learned much, sailing on my father's ship as a young girl. What of your oldest?"

 "She's married and living in Germany. Her husband is in the army, and she works for the army." Again, I kept my secrets. My daughter worked for the MWR, the army's version of parks and recreation. Her husband was an airtraffic controller. But in Nikki's time, airplanes didn't exist.
A frown wrinkled Nikki's brow. "But America isn't at war with Germany."

Hmm. I hadn't thought about that. I thought she'd have questions about my daughter's job. There were only so many acceptable jobs a women could have in her time. I shrugged.

"It must be difficult," she added after a moment of awkward silence. "My mother and I travelled together to England. In fact, she lives with Chad...I mean, Lord Gilchrest and me. But your daughter lives so far away, and overseas mail take so dreadfully long."

But email and texting were instant. And there was always Skype and the telephone. Both my daughter and I had Vonage so there was no long distance charges. Besides, my husband and I had just visited my dauther and her husband in April. It was our second visit since her marriage in December 2006. And this time, we took a side trip to Amsterdam. But I didn't say anything. I simply lowered my head to hide a smile.

Nikki cleared her throat. "Germany isn't so very far from England. Perhaps you could sail there before heading home?" she suggested.

I hid another smile. "Perhaps."

"I understand you're from North Carolina."

I nodded. "I live in north central North Carolina."

Her golden brown eyes brightened. "Have you ever been to Portsmouth Village? I grew up there on the island."

I hesitated, not sure how to answer. Nikki left the island in 1857. I was there in 2006.  "Yes..."

Her face glowed with excitement. "It's wonderful. Isn't it? I love it here at Lands End, but I miss North Carolina and would love to show Lord Gilchrest where I grew up. It's been over a year since I left. Has it changed much, do you think?"
What could I say? My husband and I visited Portsmouth Island when I was doing research so I could revise Slightly Tarnished, my historical romance about Nikki and her husband, Chad. But the Portsmouth Island I'd seen was nothing like the home she remembered.

Portsmouth Village was once the largest settlement on the Outer Banks and a major shipping center until the hurricane of 1846 cut a deeper inlet through Hatteras. After Ocracoke Inlet began to shoal, Portsmouth and nearby Shell Castle Island became lightering stations. During Nikki’s time, tall ships dropped anchor off shore and slave labor transferred the cargo to and from lighter, shallower draft boats for the journey out to sea or back to the wharf and further inland to other ports.

By 1860, the population of Portsmouth had grown to 685 residents. But after North Carolina succeeded from the union in 1861, many of those residents fled for the mainland to avoid the Union Army as it marched across the Outer Banks. Many never returned and eventually, the shipping industry shifted north and the village began to die.
Fishing replaced shipping for the islanders that remained and in 1894, the U.S. Life-Saving Service was established on the island. It played a vital role in the community for 50 years. But by 1956, only 17 residents remained on the island.

Eventually, the isolation became too much, and in 1971, the last two residents moved to the mainland.

The island is now a state park and visiting is like stepping back in time. Some of the houses remain and a church still stands as does the school and post office. But the mosqitos and flies will eat you alive. I wondered how people managed in Nikki's time. But I couldn't ask. She thought I was a woman from her own time who wrote sensation novels.
I cleared my throat. "It's been a couple of years since I visited. I'm sure the place has changed."

"Oh, I doubt it's changed much," she said with a laugh. "The people of Portsmouth Island live simple lives and don't cotten to change."

"I know you miss your home, but don't you like it here--in Land's End with your husband?" I know longer knew who was interviewing whom. I'd written Nikki's story to have a happy ending, but things had happened. Terrible things. So, was she really happy? I needed to know.
She smiled as if hiding a great secret. "I hated London. But Gilchrest has it's own private beach. And except for it being a castle, it reminds me of home. So yes. I'm happy. I love it here."

I sighed with relief, knowing she was happy with her life and her husband because I'd written  her that way.

Slightly Tarnished, my first published historical is now available from the publisher: The Wild Rose Press

and Barnes & Noble

If you enjoyed this interview, please check out the other particiapting authors in the chain to see which characters interview them.
 Here's a list  of participants in order of their participation and estimated dates:

6/6: Aimee Laine :
6/8: Lyla Dune :
6/10: Carol Strickland :
6/12: Amy Corwin :
6/14: Lilly Gayle :
6/16: Rebekkah Niles :
6/18: Laura Browning :
6/20: Andris Bear :
6/22: Marcia Colette :
6/24: Nancy Badger :
6/26: Sarah Mäkelä :
6/28: Jennifer Harrington :
6/30: Scott Berger :

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blogging With AJ

Today, I'll be talking with multi-published author, Autumn Jordon. So stop by her blog if you have time and read about the struggles I encountered while trying to get Slightly Tarnished published.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Release Day, Blog Chains, & Pictures from my Last Day in Germany

It's RELEASE DAY! Yes, today is the official release of my first published historical, Slightly Tarnished. My fabulous editor was Allison Byers and my talented cover artist was Angela Anderson. Thanks so much ladies for making me look good! The buy link for the book is Slightly Tarnished is on the opening page!
Also, I'm participating in a blog tour this month. The tour starts June 6th and features several HCRW authors. My day to post is June 14. This will be a fun series of interviews in which a main character from the author's book interviews the author. I think Nikki, my heroine from Slightly Tarnished, will interview me. After all, we are both from NC! And at the end of the tour, I'll give away a digital copy of the book to one of my commenters. So stop by on the 14th, or visit one of the other authors participating in the tour starting June 6th:
Lyla Dune :
Carol Strickland :
Amy Corwin :
Lilly Gayle :
Rebekkah Niles :
Laura Browning :
Andris Bear :
Marcia Colette :
Nancy Badger :
Sarah Mäkelä :
June 7 is also my 31st wedding anniversary. But I doubt we'll be taking any trips. We only recently traveled to Germany and Amsterdam.

When we flew out of RDU on April 19th, it was 88 degrees. But April in Germany is supposed to be much cooler. Luckily for us, there was a heatwave. We arrived in Nuremberg on the 20th to sunny skies and a warm 77 degrees. It remained warm and sunny for our most of our trip. It was even hot and sunny in Amsterdam. But, on our last day, the clouds rolled in and the temperature plummeted to 58 degrees. But that didn't stop us form touring Beyreuth again.

We saw the catacombs, brewery, and Margravial Opera House on Day 2 of our trip. Son on our last day, Day 7, we visited the Margravial Palace known as The Hermitage or Eremitage in German, the grotto, and the New Castle and gardens.

After parking, we walked through tree lined paths toward the palace.
My son-in-law had to work, so my daughter played tour guide. Isn't she beautiful?
When we cleared the trees, we came upon a small village. The village is to the left of the photo. The steps on the right led to the new castle and gardens.
Atop of a hill to the left, there was a spiral path leading to a pagoda-type gazebo.
So, we climbed to the top and posed for pictures.

And enjoyed the view...
Gold leaf statue of Zeus in a Chariot atop the New Castle.

We left the pagoda and headed toward the New Castle.

The New Castle is shaped in a semi-circle and inside the circle lies the gardens. The outside walls are overlaid with colored stone,seashells, and gold leaf. Inside, part of the castle has been converted into a cafe and gift shop. The rest of the New Castle is not open to the public. But the outside is breathtaking!

Inside the semi-circle we found a beautiful garden, statues, and fountain.

From the gardens, we followed a trail (and our tour guide) to the Old Castle.

To get to the Old Castle, we passed under a rock arch and followed a path.

Our tour guide led us into the Old Castle via the grotto.

Entering the grotto was like stepping down into a cellar...

But inside the grotto is a fountain house designed to look like an undersea cavern. The paths inside the grotto are narrow and a dozen hidden fountains. When the Margrave and his wife entertained, the felt compelled to invite many people they didn't like. Close friends and confidants knew where the fountains were located and where to stand inside the grotto. Others did not, and so the Margrave would sit in a box above the crowd and when they entered, he would turn on the fountains, spraying those not on the path. The wet people went home. His friends stayed.
The Margrave's box is above the crest.

Below are other pictures from inside the grotto and fountain house:

exited the grotto using these stairs.

Upon leaving the grotto, we toured outside the Old Castle.
Courtyard of the Old Castle. Women's rooms are to the right. Men's are to the left. Ballroom is straight ahead.

Outside Kitchen door of the Old Castle.

Backside of house.

Rear gardens.

Monument to the Lady Margrave's dog. Apparently, the dog's German name translates: Crazy Dog.

Greek style amphitheater.

 The inside of the castle was beautiful, but we were unable to take pictures. In fact, the only time I've ever seen anything more elegant than the castle and gardens at the Hermitage was on our last visit to Germany in 2008 when we visited Neuschwanstien, Hohenschwangau and Linderhoff.

When the tour was over, we left the Hermitage.

After leaving the Hermitage, we went to the mall in Beyreuthbanana splits. My husband had lasagna ice cream and I had spaghetti ice cream. With lasagna ice cream, the "noodles" are made with flatten strips of ice cream covered in colorful berry "sauce" and sprinkled with white chocolate for the Parmesan. The spaghetti ice cream used ice cream shaped like noodles and covered in a strawberry sauce and sprinkled with white chocolate.

Once we left the mall, we drove back through Beyreuth on the way back to my daughter's house.

And passed a monastery near Eschenbach.

We stayed in that last night because we had to get up at 3:30 in the morning in order to get to Nuremberg and catch our 6:30 flight. The next morning was cold and dreary and my daughter was just as sad as her dad and I were...

But she and her husband are coming home for a visit in July and I can wait to see them again. My youngest daughter is also excited. Lauren didn't get to go with us to Germany this trip and she really misses her sister. Also, Lauren's birthday is the week before Jennifer and Mike's visit and Lauren graduates from UNC's radiation therapy school the week after they leave. So, it looks like July will be just as busy as June. And I'm lovin' it!