Friday, September 28, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
In the late 18th century, hairstyles were dramatic. The higher the better. People wore wigs or powdered their hair and often added adornments such as feathers, flowers, ribbons, and fanciful hats. Hair styling went through a dramatic change in the Regency. Under the influence of Neoclassicism, hair styles became simple and modest as ladies tried to achieve the look of the Ancient Greek & Roman goddesses.
Hair was often swept up and worn in a bun or braided and pinned up. If a woman wore her hair long, it was usually not worn lose but put in a ponytail or twist and worn to one side. Curls were very popular during this period, so many women would have to artificially curl their hair to achieve the perfect look.
Here are a few wonderful resources that discuss Regency hairstyles in detail.
Jane Austen's World has a great article showing many images of Greco-Roman hairstyles and their Regency adaptations. http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/regency-hairstyles-and-their-accessories/
Mother Earth News shows how to curl your hair using curling papers, which was a popular method during the Regency (curling irons weren't as common as they are today). Women would apply a pomade and then use the curling papers to create the ringlets you often see in portraits and Jane Austen films. http://www.motherearthnews.com/do-it-yourself/curling-hair-zmaz71ndzgoe.aspx
Rapunzel's Resource, a website devoted to hairstyles for women with long hair, has fun tutorials showing how to re-create the hairstyles from Emma (she includes styles from the Kate Beckinsale, Romola Garai, and Gwyneth Paltrow films). http://rapunzelsresource.wordpress.com/?s=Emma
Note: posts usually include biblical quotes and religious references.
Jane Austen Today offers a 9 minute video tutorial on how to create an "up do" in Regency style. http://janitesonthejames.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-make-regency-outfit-regency.html
Timely Tresses offers patterns and materials to make bonnets suitable for Regency and Victorian ladies. They also have a page where you can order fashion plates to see what the gowns and hair styles of the period were like. (You can preview some of the plates directly on the website)
Main Page: http://www.timelytresses.com/
Fashion Plates: http://www.timelytresses.com/fashionplates/fashionplatebooks1800-1839.html
What is your favorite hairstyle for long hair?
Monday, September 17, 2012
By Sheryl Hoyt, writing as Saralynn Hoyt
I wish I had a picture of the little circle in in London that Deb and I found ourselves in after getting lost in dark and rainy London. But it was exactly as I imagined the twisty winding cobbled streets of London to be according to Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The burial customs of Viking Age North Germanic Norsemen (early medieval Scandinavians), are known both from archaeology and from historical accounts such as the Icelandic sagas, Old Norse poetry, and notably from the account of Ahmad ibn Fadlan.
I have woven many of these rituals into the narrative of my latest release, Wild Viking Princess.
Throughout Scandinavia, there are many remaining tumuli in honour of Viking kings and chieftains, in addition to runestones and other memorials. Some of the most notable of them are at the Borre mound cemetery, in Norway, at Birka in Sweden and Lindholm Høje and Jelling in Denmark.
It was common to leave gifts with the deceased. Both men and women received grave goods, even if the corpse was to be burnt on a pyre. A Norseman could also be buried with a loved one or house thrall, who was buried alive with the person, or in a funeral pyre. The amount and the value of the goods depended on which social group the dead person came from. It was important to bury the dead in the right way so that he could join the afterlife with the same social standing that he had had in life, and to avoid becoming a homeless soul that wandered eternally.
The usual grave for a thrall was probably not much more than a hole in the ground. He was probably buried in such a way as to ensure both that he did not return to haunt his masters and that he could be of use to his masters after they died. Slaves were sometimes sacrificed to be useful in the next life. A free man was usually given weapons and equipment for riding. An artisan, such as a blacksmith, could receive his entire set of tools. Women were provided with their jewelry and often with tools for female and household activities. The most sumptuous Viking funeral discovered so far is the Oseberg ship burial, which was for a woman (probably a queen or a priestess) who lived in the 9th century.
A Viking funeral could be a considerable expense, but the barrow and the grave goods were not considered to have been wasted. In addition to representing homage to the deceased, the barrow remained as a monument to the social position of the descendants. Especially powerful Norse clans could demonstrate their position through monumental grave fields.
Jelling, in Denmark, is the largest royal memorial from the Viking Age and it was made by Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents Gorm and Tyra, and in honour of himself.
I loved the name Gorm as soon as I came across it, but I used it for the villain of my story (apologies to the real Gorm)!
Despite the warlike customs of the Vikings, there was an element of fear surrounding death and what belonged to it. If the deceased was not buried and provided for properly, he might not find peace in the afterlife. The dead person could then visit the bereaved as a revenant or draugr.
A 10th century Arab Muslim writer named Ahmad ibn Fadlan produced a description of a funeral of a Scandinavian, probably Swedish, chieftain who was on an expedition on the eastern route. The account is a unique source on the ceremonies surrounding the Viking funeral of a chieftain. Antonio Banderas played Ahmad in the fictional film, The 13th Warrior.
The dead chieftain was put in a temporary grave which was covered for ten days until they had sewn new clothes for him. One of his thrall women volunteered to join him in the afterlife and she was guarded day and night, being given a great amount of intoxicating drinks while she sang happily. When the time had arrived for cremation, they pulled his longship ashore and put it on a platform of wood, and they made a bed for the dead chieftain on the ship. Thereafter, an old woman referred to as the "Angel of Death" put cushions on the bed. She was responsible for the ritual.
Then they disinterred the chieftain and gave him new clothes. In his grave, he received intoxicating drinks, fruits and a stringed instrument. The chieftain was put into his bed with all his weapons and grave offerings around him. Then they had two horses run themselves sweaty, cut them to pieces, and threw the meat into the ship. Finally, they sacrificed a hen and a cock.
Thereafter, the thrall girl was taken away to the ship. She removed her bracelets and gave them to the old woman. Thereafter she removed her finger rings and gave them to the old woman's daughters, who had guarded her. Then they took her aboard the ship, but they did not allow her to enter the tent where the dead chieftain lay. The girl received several vessels of intoxicating drinks and she sang and bade her friends farewell.
Then the girl was pulled into the tent and the men started to beat on the shields so her screams could not be heard. Six men entered into the tent to have intercourse with the girl, after which they put her onto her master's bed. Two men grabbed her hands, and two men her wrists. The angel of death put a rope around her neck and while two men pulled the rope, the old woman stabbed the girl between her ribs with a knife. Thereafter, the relatives of the dead chieftain arrived with a burning torch and set the ship aflame. It is said that the fire facilitates the voyage to the realm of the dead.
Afterwards, a round barrow was built over the ashes and in the centre of the mound they erected a staff of birch wood, where they carved the names of the dead chieftain and his king. Then they departed in their ships.
Thralls could be sacrificed during a funeral so that they could serve their master in the next world.The sexual rites with the slave girl show that she was considered to be a vessel for the transmission of life force to the deceased chieftain.
On the seventh day after the person had died, people celebrated the sjaund, or the funeral ale that the feast also was called since it involved a ritual drinking. The funeral ale was a way of socially demarcating the case of death. It was only after the funeral ale that the heirs could rightfully claim their inheritance.
I have tried to follow the spirit of these rituals in Wild Viking Princess, though by my time period (1124A.D.) the advent of Christianity had led to some of them being less gruesome. My hero (Reider Torfinnsen) and heroine (Ragna FitzRam) come from two different cultures, and these traditional rituals prove to be a stumbling block to the relationship between them. Ragna has never been known for her tolerance of ideas she does not agree with!
Wild Viking Princess is Book III of the FitzRam Family Series and is available from Amazon for $1.99
Friday, September 7, 2012
In 1519, Iain of Glenstrae died with no direct heirs. This plunged the Clan Gregor into disarray as the powerful Campbells asserted claim to the last remaining MacGregor lands. In 1560, the Campbells dispossessed Gregor Roy MacGregor, who waged war against the Campbells for ten years before being captured and killed. His son, Alistair, claimed the MacGregor chiefship but was utterly unable to stem the tide of persecution which was to be fate of the "Children of the Mist."
Argyle and his Clan Campbell henchmen were given the task of hunting down the MacGregors. About sixty of the clan made a brave stand at Bentoik against a party of two-hundred chosen men belonging to the Clan Cameron, Clan MacNab, and Clan Ronald, under command of Robert Campbell, son of the Laird of Glen Orchy. In this battle, Duncan Aberach, one of the Chieftains of the Clan Gregor, his son Duncan, and seven other MacGregors were killed. But although they made a brave resistance, and killed many of their pursuers, the MacGregors, after many skirmishes and great losses, were at last overcome.
Excerpt taken from Wikipedia Clan Gregor
This is the family history behind my upcoming release My Highland Love. Clan leader Marcus MacGregor, Marquess of Ashlund, is next in line to rule his branch of the MacGregors. Marcus is an educated man, a modern man. He understands the need for peace. But the blood of his ancestors cries out at each atrocity that is still committed against his people by their centuries old enemies.
Here's a peek into Marcus' thoughts.
My Highland Love is available for pre-order at Silver Publishing