Tag Archives: Dominique Eastwick

AGGGGGG


Where did the week go, for us I can tell you it went by in a haze of Allergy medicine… with Pollen so bad that the sky looked like nuclear fallout. Three sets of Visitors, first my parents, then my sister, followed at the end by my In-laws. In-between we had first week back from Spring break, tae kwon do, guitar lessons, orthodontist, staff meetings, doula outings, birth classes to talk at, house to clean and laundry to be done. Ohhh and a puppy to be walked, trained and fed.

That’s where my week went. In that busy week I have not done any reading, researching or writing. I have barely had time to think… I am sleep deprived from getting up every night at 3 with the puppy and I am feeling like I have a new baby in the house.

So for that reason I have not gotten anything else done today, I will continue my series on Armor next week.

So tell me did anyone else have a crazy week?

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Armor makes the Man (well his horse anyway.) Part 3


So imagine being large and strong enough a man to support the weight of all the armor needed for a knight to protect themselves on the battlefield. From head to two covered in leather, mail or Plate. Most of the times a combination of all three were worn. Not to mention being strong enough to then still wield a large weapon and shield. Now imagine that same knight needing a horse to carry him and the armor the horse needed.

Needless to say the normal horse wasn’t going to do the trick. The knight would need a large warhorse or charger to sustain his own added weight as well as that of his rider. The horse needed to be a special breed that would pay heed to commands given by leg command, as the knight needed his hands free of reigns to fight and hold his shield.

The horse also needed to be able to fight as well, the brutality of war insisted that the horse be able to trample victims and bite and kick to on command when needed. (Nothing like a strong Hero who has complete control of his steed to try and control our stong heroine)

Armor for the horse is called Barding and usually was made of leather or plate. The Barding covered neck, chest and body. Head armor helped to create a sense of fear in the enemy’s as they were made to look mythical and monstrous. The formal coat of arms worn over the armor was called the trapper.

These horses would have stood over 20 hands tall or well over 7 feet. There colors would have ranged from black, grey, bay or brown, pictures from the time show white tufts of hair around the lower legs. The actual warhorses were the ancestor of today’s draft horses, like the Clydesdales but its believed the actual horses used are now extinct.

Most Knights would have had at least two horses one for the long rides out to the battlefields and one for the battle itself.

If you enjoyed this blog please check out the other two installments all meant to help the historical writer with basic information. Next weeks blog is on weaponry.

Armor Makes the Man Part 2


This is the 2nd install in the series on Armor to check out the first install please go Armor Makes the Man part 1

The various parts of armor can border on insane, each era and each country having their own little quirks in what they used and how it was used. Some would have three pieces protecting the arm while others just one. To keep it simple and avoid too much confusion I have only added the basic pieces I am also including at the end a link to site with tons of information:

So working from the top of the head down…

The Helmet: Worn on the head, usually had a visor.

The Paldrons: Were the pieces that protected the shoulders and arms

The Breastplate/ Backplate: Used to protect the Chest and back.

The Faulds: Ring like pieces that protected the areas on the chest that weren’t protected by pieces of armor. Hips, lower back, stomach.

The gauntlet: Protects the hands and wrists.

The Cuisses: Protects the thighs

The Poleyns: protects the Knees

The Greaves: Protects the calves and ankles

The Sabatons: protects the feet.

The Spurs: Added last and used to get that horse moving.

For more details information I suggest the Pictorial Glossary of Armor Terms

"Pieces of Armor"

Pieces of Armor.

Happy Writing.

Where did that muse go…


So I have to admit that this week, I have a case of major writers block. Not only with my Novel writing but also with my blog. Nothing seemed interesting nothing seemed to flow and nothing and I mean nothing seemed to fill this sheet of paper with ideas.

I guess this week for me my muse started celebrating St Patty’s day early and had a pint to many so forgot where to find me. I can except that I suppose we all need a vacation now and then. But it really would have been nice if she had left me a replacement for the week so that I could have accomplished something. I have sat at this computer day after day and walked away feeling confused and frustrated.

So what did I do about it? I sat down with a few of my favorite Historical Writers and hoped that that would bring the muse out? IT DIDN’T but I did enjoy rediscovering why I love Historical romances so much.

First, there is innocence about them, 99% of the time the heroine is innocent. I love the awakening that happens in Historicals, the way the Rake or Rogue takes there time bringing out the inner temptress in her. I write erotica this is my way of getting away.

Second, the Hero is usually larger then life the supreme Alpha male in need of a strong woman (He just doesn’t know it yet)

Third, I am a sucker for History.(Not that anyone who has read one of my blogs would be surprised by this)

So now I think I will curl up with a few new authors I have been meaning to read Like April Dawn, and hope there muse will take over for mine.

Happy St. Patty’s day to all and if someone sees my muse please tell her to lay off the Green Beer and come home.

Miss Independent…


Is your heroine a woman a head of her time? Or is she on the cusp of something great. Most of us want strong women as our characters but when and how do they fit through history. Until Modern times and with that I mean to about the 1970’s you can almost follow the amount of power and independence women had but the hem of their skirts.

Don’t believe me?

Ok through most of history woman have had very little power. Yes there were the exceptions Elizabeth and Victoria being very powerful queens for their time. Yet they had to fight for that power tooth and nail. And their skirts dragged the ground. (I am placing most of this in the time frame of the middle ages on,)

In the late 1860’s ,when women gained the right to vote in England only if there were no men in the family to do so, we saw the brief rise in the hem line. Not in evening wear, but some day wear was now over the ankle. I know…scandalous.

By the 1920 the hem line has been slowly rising. Many women still wear longer gowns but it is considered fashionable and acceptable to wear the dresses with higher hemlines. The hemline peaks at the mid calf until the time the woman of America get their vote in August 1920 catapulting the hemline above the knee.

The great depression brought an end to the flapper dresses moving the hemline back under the knee. It also was a step back for women from the freedom they had felt in the 20’s. When World War 2 happened women out of necessity came out of their dresses and into pants to work in the factories. Women were earning a paycheck and supporting the war effort at home. When not at work women some women remained in pants but those who preferred Skirts found their hem line back up to the knee.

When the men returned from war women came out of pants and back into their skirts. The image of the perfect 50’s housewife may come to mind. Most skirts hemlines fell back to mid calf as women lost jobs and went back into the kitchen. Again women lost a great deal of their independence in the process.

In the 1960’s everything changed the Pill was FDA approved, though it was illegal to use in some states. Women took a huge step into gaining a true independence. The miniskirt was created.

The hem has fallen and risen since then but over all Women had maintained there independent foot hold. We still fight against glass ceiling and still have battles to be won but we can now dictate our own hem line.

Although women’s power suits today do usually involve a short skirt, just a thought.

It has a familiar Ring to it…


Love is all around us right now in the stores, on TV, and on the Radio. And unless you have been hiding out and hoping that either you get snow where your are supposed to or the snow would go away where its not… then you are well aware that Valentines Day is almost here. I was telling someone this week how Valentine’s Day is the Romance writers holiday. Its what we live for, a day when men and women are showered with love and romance.

It’s also a day many couples pop that question. One will get down on their knee and ask the other to spend their lives together. Hopefully the receiver is paying attention. I had to ask my Husband to repeat himself because I missed it. Oops. So what better way to celebrate Valentines Day then for me to get to researching the ring that all women dream about…

So here it is the History of the Engagement Ring. Not to be confused with a betrothal ring. An Engagement is usually an agreement between two people where the betrothal is an agreement between two families or tribes of people.

The Engagement ring, in some form or another can be traced back as far back as the Romans, and Egyptians (my guess us it goes further then that). They were symbolic of a union that couldn’t be broken. Most of the older rings would have been iron or bronze. Strong metals that represented the strength of the upcoming union. The Engagement ring was one in a series of gifts bestowed on the bride.

In some cultures it was believed that the vein on the ring finger of the left hand ran straight to the heart and thus is the reason that we where the rings on that hand. Though some religions and cultures wear the rings on the right hand as that is the one that you use to take oaths and a wedding is one of the most sacred oaths.

In 860 AD Pope Nicolas I decreed that a ring of gold should be given to a woman by the prospective groom to show his ability to take care of her. Two Hundred years later other metals were deemed appropriate as well.

In the middle of the fifteenth century the first diamond ring was recorded to be given as an engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy by Maxamillian, the Archduke of Austria. But it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that Diamonds became widely available when mines were discovered in Africa. Before this Gemstones, usually birthstone would have been use. Sometime the combining on the bride and grooms birthstones would be used.

In colonial America jewelry was considered a luxury that was unneeded and unwanted so an Engagement thimble would have been given. Interesting enough some women would remove the bottom ring on the thimble so they could where there own ring.

Ultimately the Engagement ring is much now what it was before a symbol that the wearer is promised to someone else so everyone else should back off. One of my favorite movie scenes is in The Count of Monte Cristo. When Edmond who is so poor he can not afford a ring gives Mercedes a piece of string as a symbolic engagement ring. And she never removes it.

Happy Valentine’s Day; may it be a romantic one. 🙂

Its all in the research…


So I just finished reading a book today and although it was a fun read and well written, I kept being pulled out of the story by blatant historical errors. Now I am not talking about something small like putting a women in a bustle ten years too soon. That isn’t going to pull me out of story, nor anyone else for that matter. But when an item and its historical relevance is repeatedly referred to, we the authors had better get it right. If my story revolves around a ball point pen I need to make sure my hero isn’t one of the three musketeers who has it. (I know that’s far fetched but you get my point)

So here are some questions you need to ask about the items you are using…

1. Was the item around when the Great great grand relation was supposed to have had it in their position. If Great great granny has willed you her precious wristwatch and Napoleon is still in power you have a problem. The wrist watch wasn’t invented until 1868.
2. Would they have had the means to have it and hold on to it. If your characters survived the potato famine in Ireland they are unlikely to have held on to a strand of pearls for sentimental reasons if the family is starving to death.
3. For religious reason would they have had it at all. Some religions don’t allow the collection of material items.
4. Was it found in the region that its supposed to be in. If not have you thought about how you as a writer got it to where it is now. Did a crusader bring it back from the Holy Land?
5. Is there an item that would work just as well that fits the time period. A golden quill pen for my musketeer instead of the ballpoint pen.

So we as writers must be as diligent in our research as we are in our editing. Many people won’t care, won’t notice or simply don’t give a damn about history. But many of us out there do notice and do care. Far better to double check your items twice then forever be told by readers that you had your facts wrong.

I would love to hear about some of the Historical mistakes you have come across, either in movies or while reading that stand out even now.

Oh no, the Codpiece


Okay it’s the boys turn and what could possible sillier than the codpiece. Yikes. Even the name sounds bad. But in fact codpiece means nothing more than sac or pouch. Until Henry the Eight got his hands on it or should I say other parts in it, the codpiece was actually one of the biggest innovations in men’s tailored fashions to come along.

The codpiece was simply a triangular sack that was placed in front of the man leggings to afford privacy. You see until this point in history men’s leggings afforded very little privacy the legs came up occasionally was sewn in the back and laced in the front or attached to a belt.

This was all fine and dandy when the Doublet (the top jacket men wore) was long and no one could see anything above the man’s knees. When the Doublet hem shortened with fashion the men became exposed. So the codpiece was born.

It gained size and ornamentation due to King Henry then lost its popularity with his Daughter Elizabeth’s reign. With King Henry the codpiece went from being a merely functional piece of fabric, usually several layers thick, stitched to give some support, to being large enough to carry small weapons and Jewels in. Very possibly this is why the man’s genitals are now referred to as the “Family Jewels”.

Although the codpiece was popular through out Europe it was condemned by the church and by the 1570’s almost completely disappears. Most likely Queen Elizabeth’s distain for masculinity and the improvements made to tailoring helped.

What is the silliest fashion statement you have ever seen? I would love to hear from you.

Paniers, Farthingales and Hoop skirts oh my…


So last week I talked a little about the corset. Which I think most people would be hard pressed to not acknowledge is a very if not the most important piece to creating the right line for any historical period. But it’s the layers and layers that it takes to create the whole picture that makes the silhouette.

Through the ages the ideal image has changed drastically and with it women have taken it upon themselves to go to major extremes to look pleasing to the opposite sex. These are the silhouette altering items that changed the lower half of the body.

So let’s get ready to go to the ball.

The items we are going to chat about today are, the Hip roll, Bum roll, farthingales, Paniers, hoop skirts and bustles were all worn over the pantaloons and most under a petticoat a few over the petticoats.

Hip rolls and Bum rolls were inexpensive ways to alter the hips making them look larger (larger hips equated to higher fertility), popular in the cavalier and restoration times and the times following the plagues. These items looked like a stuffed ‘C’ or large neck pillows. The would tie to the waist and could be work over or under the petticoat. It was common enough that even the lower classed adopted this look. (See Three Musketeers (1993), or Restoration)

Farthingales and later the larger cartwheel farthingales, were made popular by queen Elizabeth the first became popular while her father Henry the 8th was still alive. It was a cone shaped stiff underskirt, small at the waist and large at the ankles. Sitting in this skirt was virtually impossible and stools were sometime placed under the skirt to allow the wearer to sit, doubtful anyone would have noticed they were sitting as the item could have stood on its own. This item sometimes required stirrups to hold it up. (see Elizabeth, the Other Boleyn Sister)

Later the cartwheel farthingale came into fashion giving the wearer the appearance she actually had a table under skirts. This look became popular later in Elizabeth’s reign. Most people would recognize the image of her in the white pearl gown. The farthingale would be worn over the pantaloons and under a specially crafted petticoat. (See Elizabeth the Golden Age)

Paniers or Pocket Hoops give the look that he woman’s hips are significantly larger then they really are this look was made popular in the early Georgian time before the French revolution.. These items were usually made out of metal but could for lighter summer use be made of wooden reeds. Doors and Furniture had to made wider to accommodate the hip distance and later the panniers became so large the hinges were added to allow women to lift to go through doors then drop once in side. They did have the advantage that it allowed storage in the Pocket hoops for items the woman didn’t wish to carry. (See Dangerous Liaisons or Scarlet Pimpernel)

Hoop skirts made most famous by Scarlet were truly death traps and only worn for a short period in time. Most likely not worn for the extent that Hollywood would have us believe and certainly not on the plantations as its become popular. Some historians believe the hoop skirt only made it’s appearance for a mere one season, soon the round hoop skirt started to become elliptical moving us into the next period. (See Gone with the Wind or A Christmas Carol)

Finally the bustle which made women’s bottoms look large, at one time making it look almost like a horses rump. This made very popular during the Victorian area,. This metal contraption made it virtually impossible to sit back in any seat, and creating or emphasizing the belief that a real lady only sat on the edge of her seat. When researching the bustle knowing the exact time can make a difference the Bustle started small then jumped to being huge before settling for many years between the first two. (See Age of Innocence or The ideal Husband)

All different times made famous by a particular figure altering item. Most were heavy and almost all cumbersome, but it was a price women in there times were all prepared to pay for the ability to attracted a mate.

Dominique Eastwick

Excerpt – Hunting JC


I have a tasty treat for you today. An excerpt from hunting J.C. This is a smokin’ on the sizzlemeter, and is a bestseller on All Romance.
Enjoy.
blurb-
“THE HUNTER HAS BECOME THE HUNTED”
Hunter Brooks has been busy. When last he saw the Sherman family, he was still working his way up the corporate ladder. Now, he is the standard which all new climbers look to. Yet there is one thing that eludes Hunter-FAMILY. Hunter is under attack from all angles. Someone is out for blood, putting his business at risk and J.C. is after something far more personal and that could come at a higher price.

“THE MOUSE BECOMES THE LIONESS”
Jacinda Sherman has spent too much of her time letting everyone tell her what she can and cannot have. That includes Hunter. Now she’s grown up and what J.C. wants J.C. gets. She wants Hunter anyway she can have him. This time, Hunter won’t be leaving without J.C. getting what she desires.

Can Hunter pay J.C.’s price and still come out on top?

Excerpt:
As Hunter cleared the doorframe, he was attacked, not by a mugger or drunken man, but he was attacked by her, J.C. Her hand twined through his hair and brought his mouth down to hers. Her lips moved under his, begging him to open to her, begging him to give her a try. She took his hand and placed them on her full breast. Her nipples immediately pearled in his hand. His mind screamed to stop this now, but his body didn’t seem to be listening. From the moment her soft, full lips touched his, he was putty in her hand. He knew his only hope of survival was that she had not yet become aware of it.

“J.C…” he moaned into her mouth as he said unconvincingly, “We can’t do this.”

“Shh,” she hushed, pressing her breasts further into his hands. “Just feel me, let me feel you.”

“Jacinda, will you listen to me?”

“Not if your words have anything to do with, this isn’t right. Or Jacinda, this can’t happen between us.”

“Exactly, that is…”

“Shh,” Jacinda pressed her fingers against his lips. He felt the electrical vibrations that were humming through her fingertips into his lips. “Please let me do this for you. I want to taste you.”

Five words were his undoing. I want to taste you

Hunter didn’t care anymore, honor be damned. He wanted her. She knew that. He knew she could feel his arousal against her stomach. His cock was straining against his jeans now, begging to be set free this time. He felt on the edge, wanting so much for her to touch him, to help release the agony he had felt ever since he had seen her get out the pool this morning, soaked to the skin.

He kissed her with an urgency born out of need and desire. Somewhere in the last few minutes, his body and brain stopped communicating. It was as if his body just took over. He no longer cared that this could jeopardize his long-standing relationship with Tony, never mind the rest of the Sherman clan. He no longer cared that this was something that he promised himself wouldn’t happen. He only cared that he couldn’t seem to get enough of her. He drank from her and was still thirsty.

—-
Ava Delany

Ah yes the Corset


Clothing, every character wears them and in most romances at one time or another they have to take them off. But how many really know how period clothing works. I thought long and hard about this blog and what to talk about. After talking to April Dawn and telling her I had a back ground in Costume design and history, I began to realize that to summarize the history of costumes into one page was too hard. So I thought maybe we could bring it down to one piece.

The Corset.

Such an integral part of who women where and what they wore. Here was a piece of fabric with whale bones and later metal stays sewn into it to completely alter what a women’s shape looked like. You think today’s man is upset about the wonder bra, thinking they are romancing a woman with a “C” cup only to find out she is barely an “A”. Imagine taking a woman to bed who can’t even take off her corset because she can’t live without it on since her body has been so distorted by it. Now not all periods had corsets that were uncomfortable and inflexible, certainly the regency period had looser stays than the Victorian (which altered the waist to unbelievable sizes), Gibson Girl (which created an unnatural “S” shape to the body) or Elizabethan era (which complexly flattened the front of the body). But all were meant to alter the shape of the woman’s body to the desirable look of the era.

So let’s talk about the Corset. The basics are the same no matter what period of time you are talking about, its only where and how the cinching occurs that changes. I am not saying all Corsets are the same just the purpose. Let’s stick with Regency as it’s the most romanticized. The silhouette of the woman accentuated the bust. The waistline fell just below the bust and slowly headed south as the 1800’s progressed. The corsets main job was to push up the breasts, of course it still cinched the waist but no one saw the waist so the waist was straighter and less hour-glassed.

Corsets were expensive. Poor women would not wear one, not only could they not afford one but wearing one would make it impossible to work in the fields. However a woman of moderate status, trying to gain status would definitely aspire to have one. And those with money would have many. The corset was made to the individual’s body. It would have fit like a second skin in most era’s only tighter.

Because they were expensive items you protected them. A chemise or shift would have been worn under the corset ensuring it didn’t get sweat upon. A petticoat would be worn over the corset adding protection to the corset.

Now the big problem when writing about the Regency period, we all think that the corset could be easily removed. But in fact it couldn’t the item would be laced up the back. For some the lacing weren’t merely zig-zaged but might have several places in the corset that the laces would go straight up to the next hole. Then once the corset was completely laced the maid would take those two lacing that went up rather the zig-zag and pull them tight and tie from there. This allowed for a tighter look in certain places. The quickie in the library is less likely. I am not saying it didn’t happen just not as frequently as we writers seem to write about. A man, no matter how experience in getting a lady dressed, would be hard pressed in many eras to get the corset just right to allow for the dress to fit again. Remember most women spent a good majority of their time dressing for the events of the evening.

But I as a reader and writer will gladly suspend my disbelief for a well written love scene and quick tryst with the right hero and heroine.

And as a closing thought Men once wore corsets too. But found them cumbersome and uncomfortable so stopped wearing them. Smart Men.

A History – A Little Bit of the Victorian


For my first post on the history of eras gone by that we love to read about in our romance stories, I’m using information from my favorite book, “Victorian Style” by John Crosby Freeman. This remarkable book lists an alphabet of various aspects of this time period. Now, as writers and readers of historical romance stories, we are aware that the rage of Victoriana of today is because of those people who have undertaken the task to preserve the peculiars and particulars of that time. I, personally, am a fanatic of Victoriana. I studied the Civil War period for my undergrad degree and was fascinated at how fashions and ideologies crossed continents, not just societies.

I was going to consider the unequivocal corset, a staple of any lady’s wardrobe during this period, but I think, instead, that perhaps just a general overview of the clothing of this period would do. I can get specific later. And, as I’m writing this at the last minute, I don’t have the time to research what I want to spend time on.

There are those individuals—perhaps you’ve been to one—who participate in historical reenactments. I had the pleasure of speaking with a Union soldier at Gettysburg in 1994 and it was interesting to listen to him. He stayed in character—I couldn’t trip him. Later that same day, I chatted with a couple at dinner who’d just come from doing a presentation as a couple living in Gettysburg during the Civil War. The gentleman was dressed as a Union Colonel and his wife (they were married in real life) was wearing the prettiest evening dress of that period. I sometimes think I’d have done well living back then. I’d certainly have enjoyed the clothes!

And of course, there’s always the classic “Gone with the Wind” book and movie. What we probably don’t realize is that women—and men—were of shorter stature in the 1700s and 1800s. So, if you’re intent on re-creating a gown of that period, just be forewarned that you’ll have to adjust the size. Then, there’s the matter of the corset. Remember how Scarlett’s maid tightened those laces on the corset? And we wonder why there was so much fainting back then…yet, there are still women today who wear the often dreaded “Merry Widow” as it’s also been called in modern times. Many historians recommend, and rightly so, that instead of trying to force our taller frames into dresses and gowns that simply won’t fit, copy the pattern and adjust to fit our more robust frames. You can still dress like Scarlett O’Hara, just not as uncomfortably!

Next time you go to an antique store, see if the proprietor has some period clothing. You can find oodles of websites online. For both writers and readers, our love of this time period will never get old or fade in intensity. Here’s to times past that teach us and entertain us as writers and readers.

Raynene Burgess

Welcome our newest author – Dominique Eastwick


Hi, my name is Dominique Eastwick. I currently call North Carolina home but having grown up as a Navy Brat it’s hard to pin point one place as my home town. I have been writing longer then I can remember. I write both Contemporary Erotica and Historical Romance. My background includes working as a costume designer in musical theatre and working as a doula. Both have given me a unique look on people and life. I am grateful to have the support of a loving Husband and parents who always believed I could do anything, not to mention friends who always kick me in the butt when I am slacking on my writing. My first novel Hunting JC has just been released through Aspen Mountain press.

You can find me at my Website or on Facebook