Have you worn your bathing suit this summer?

In the history of bathing suit fashion, achieving the right balance of modesty, material, and motion has been a major challenge. Not to mention sex appeal.   Maybe you’d prefer one of these styles from the past…   Many of us without a�?perfect bodiesa�? have experienced some degree of anxiety while parading — or should I say skulking — from the relative safety of lying on a beach blanket to the exposure one must endure...

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Department Store Mannequins, L. Frank Baum, and Automatonophobia, of course

Six things (or more a�� but whoa��s counting) about the history of department store MANNEQUINS that everyone needs to know   1. The Dutch word mannekijn, which meant a�?little man,a�? evolved to mannequin in France, where it first referred to an artista��s jointed model. By the 1800s, shops in Paris used full-size mannequins made of wicker or paper mache to display clothing. 2. Around the turn of the 20th century, the first department stores in...

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Five Things M.J. Rose Didn’t Know She Needed to Know Before Writing THE COLLECTOR OF DYING BREATHS

My guest author today is M.J. Rose! Her brand new novel The Collector of Dying Breaths crisscrosses between 16th Century Italy and France and present-day France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind. A lush and imaginative novel about a perfumer and a mythologist searching for the fine line between potion and...

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Five Things Renee Rosen Didna��t Know She Needed To Know Before Writing DOLLFACE

Today author guest Renee Rosen tells us about her learning curve while writing DOLLFACE, which takes place in Chicago during the 1920s. Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname a�?Dollface.a�? When Vera captures the attention of two high rollers — a...

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Five Things Heather Webb Didn’t Know She Needed to Know Before Writing Her Novel BECOMING JOSEPHINE

This week, Heather Webb visits my blog to divulge five things she didn’t know before writing BECOMING JOSEPHINE, which takes place in Paris during the 18th Century. BECOMING JOSEPHINE is the story of Rose Tascher, who sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier...

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Feminine Hygiene Products — Stephanie’s Maxi-history (Part 3)

How the Boll Weevil and World War I led to the Acceptance of Disposable Sanitary Pads. Continued from Part 2 — Stephanie’s Mini-history of Feminine Hygiene Products   Early attempts to market disposable sanitary napkins failed, and most companies gave up on the product. The vast majority of women went on using homemade pads — usually cotton wrapped in cheesecloth — just as their mothers had, and their mothers before...

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Five things Donna Russo Morin Didn’t Know She’d Need to Know Before Writing THE KING’S AGENT

Today’s guest post is by Donna Russo Morin. Her novel, THE KINGa��S AGENT, is set in Italy during the early 16th Century. Read on to learn more about Donna’s fascinating research and thoughts behind the story of Battista della Paglia,A�a man who appears to be an avid art collector but is actually a professional thief. As he procures the greatest masterpieces of the day by any means necessary, he becomes embroiled in a power struggle...

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Five Things Deanna Raybourn Didn’t Know She Needed To Know Before Writing CITY OF JASMINE

My guest author today is Deanna Raybourn, and her new novel City of Jasmine is setA�in London, Damascus,A�and other exotic European colonial outposts of the 1920s. CITY OF JASMINE, coming out this March, is the captivating tale ofA�a famed aviatrixA�who embarks upon a journey to see the worlda��and ends up finding intrigue, danger, and a love beyond all reason. Five years after losing her husband on the Lusitania, Evie embarks upon a flight...

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Feminine Hygiene Products — Stephanie’s Mini-History (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1 — The Bloody Reality)   Have you ever seen a menstrual stain on something a woman was wearing?   Or in the chair she just got out of? I havena��t. Not once. That’s kind of amazing. How do women do it? Because, lets face it: feminine hygiene products are not that great. Leaking can and does occur.A� I suppose underwear conceals the evidence of most accidents, but I also suspect that women are so deathly afraid...

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Five Things Marci Jefferson Didn’t Know She Needed to Know Before Writing her Novel

    The second author guest in my new series of posts telling us THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW I’D NEED TO KNOW BEFORE WRITING MY NOVEL is Marci Jefferson. Her novel GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN takes us to London in the Seventeenth Century.     Stephanie, thank you for the opportunity to visit your blog today to talk about researching historical novels. Though I am a nurse by day, my love for history drove me to study it independently for many...

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10 things Susan Spann Didn’t Know She Needed to Know Before Writing her Novel

I’m excited to begin a series of guests posts featuring authors who will be telling us THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW I’D NEED TO KNOW BEFORE WRITING MY NOVEL. For me, the research aspect of writing a novel — especially a historical one — was the fun part. It’s much easier to passively take in information than actively create a story. This past year, I’ve been having the chance to connect with lots of historical...

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Menstruation: The Bloody Reality

Menstruation wound up having an important presence in my novel ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE. The story alternates between two different time periods, and the subject flows (sorry, couldn’t resist) in both Olivea��s story at the turn of the 20th century, and Amandaa��s story at the turn of the 21st. Why did I include this rather messy subject that is usually kept out of polite conversation as well as public discourse in my novel? After all,...

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Five things I didn’t know I’d need to know before writing my historical novel

ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE was my fifth novel, but my first with a historical setting. I like to joke that when starting out, I figured the research would just involve Googling a few details and Ia��d be good to go. Okay, I wasna��t really that naA?ve, but still, I never woulda��ve imagined how much research would be involved. And I never woulda��ve guessed how much Ia��d enjoy doing it. Gathering information is nice and passive compared to writing a...

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I Am On Pins and Needles!

Because I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned about the history of pins and needles.   Ita��s hard to pin down when people first began to use pins and needles. As a matter of fact, it’s rather like looking for a needle in a haystack.   Archeologists have found pins from the Paleolithic era that were made from bone and thorns. Bone needles from 61,000 BC have been found in South Africa. Tiny fish bones were used by ancient...

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