Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It's International Women's Day...and frankly, I feel lied to...

So I was going to make my blog post on the history of Cedarwood and King Solomon's temple for today, but as of now, I have something that has been brewing for quite some time that I really need to get into the open. And yes, International Women's Day ties into it.
Those who know me know that I am a great fan of studying history and always have been, though it wasn't until the last couple of years that I really started immersing myself and living it. It is amazing the things you will find that will surprise, delight, and appall you. For me, it has been all of the above.

Now, what does all this have to do with International Women's Day, you ask? Well, as the title of this blog post says, I feel like I've been lied to all these years. See, here's the thing. Growing up and then well into my adulthood, it was constantly drilled into my head that I should feel lucky to be a woman/female in this particular time because any and all women before me (save for a couple key figures) were allowed to do absolutely nothing, had no rights whatsoever, violating them was permitted and endorsed, and the list goes on. And for a long time, I believed it to be true.
Don't get me wrong. I like being a female in the 21st century, I am grateful for my right to vote, and I do not deny that women did face atrocities against them and many in the world still do. However, women's history, like many other histories, is not as cut and dry as many make it out to be.
Here's the thing: getting the aforementioned version of women's history made me quite the unhappy person. I was defensive, bitter, and angry without even realizing it. I resented guys, even fearing them, again without being fully aware of to what extent. That is, until I did some soul searching and started to figure it out. At first, I resorted to saying that the past is in the past and what men prior to those of my generation did is not the fault of those living in the here and now. But that was only step one and only a mere nick on a very large iceberg.
After that, I revisited my love for history and in doing so, I started to notice things. Things that did were not adding up, or fully matching the version of history and belief system that I was taught for much of my life. This got the wheels turning.
A little bit later on, I started doing some historical research for my book series, along with other historical fiction I was writing and came across even more information that - once again - didn't completely coincide with what I was taught to believe. During this process came the final nail in the coffin. I actually started doing some work within the living history realm and was introduced to the female blacksmiths of yesteryear (18th century, as well as other times past).
"But how could women have been blacksmiths as far back as the 15th century and possibly even earlier??? I thought they weren't allowed to do anything!!"
Yes, my friends...that is something I hear quite a bit at the museum when discussing blacksmithing and women's occupations. I can tell that many of our visitors are expecting to hear of how women were chained to their hearths and were not allowed anyplace other than the hearth and the bed. They are also surprised when I tell them of Elizabeth Glover, who owned the first printing press in America (and during her lifetime, at least twenty-five of the printing presses that we know of were run by women...even centuries ago women were sometimes very prominent members of the press) or of other women like her (Clementina Rind, Christiana Campbell, etc). Another fact that tends to surprise people is the contrary to the well-touted belief that WW2 was the first time women actively played a role in the war effort. While I have much respect for the women who worked in the factories and served in one form or another during the second world war, I will also say that women were participating and helping with war efforts decades and centuries prior.
We will start with World War I or the Great War. During WW1, women not only served as nurses and other roles vital to the men serving, but also...wait for it...worked it the factories and took on much of the jobs that the men had to leave behind. Also look up Women's Land Army. Also, being a military nurse is hardly a job for the weak. Yet I hear many - mainly women, some of whom proudly call themselves feminists - saying things like "yeah, but they were just army nurses." There just isn't enough facepalm for that statement.
Now let's go back to the Civil War. Pretty much the same thing. In fact, one book that I think is a great starting point for studying women's roles during the Civil War is the book, Amazing Women of the Civil War by Webb B. Garrison. Two examples of women partaking and being active during this time is Elizabeth Thorn and Anna Ella Carroll. The story of Elizabeth Thorn (of Gettysburg) is quite a remarkable one. In short, she not only took over her husband's cemetery caretaking business while he was fighting (while six months pregnant) but also managed to restore the graveyard mostly by herself after it was ransacked by a Confederate army.
Anna Ella Carroll served as an adviser to the Lincoln cabinet and actively participated and campaigned in the fight to end slavery (she was the author of many pamphlets that told of the evils of slavery). She was also very active in the political arena.
The Revolutionary War also saw women playing roles in the war effort, usually as 'camp followers' (cooks, laundresses, nurses, etc), but also in, once again, taking over the jobs that men had to leave behind and even forging their own paths. Elizabeth "Betty" Zane risked her life at the battle of Fort Henry. Penelope Barker, Nancy Morgan Hart were also voices in rallying the people and the latter even managed to hold three British soldiers at gunpoint. There is even talk of how some women were enlisted as soldiers. And yes, most did have to enlist disguised as a man, but many of these female soldiers were rewarded and honored for courage and bravery after being found out, sometimes during their lives and other times pretty shortly after. Anna Maria Lane is an example.
Even prior to the Revolutionary War (and across the pond from the US), Flora MacDonald was a key figure in the Jacobite Risings in Scotland, even aiding in the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie from prison and to the Isle of Skye. After she was released from prison after the passing of the 1747 Act of Indemnity, she had gained many admirers for her acts of courage.
These are only a few of many examples.
I ask the same question that I ask when coming across the Native American history that is seldom discussed, or other things like Romanichal slavery. Why don't we ever hear of this and why was this never even touched on in not only my education, but the education of many others? Why the onesided view? Why was I also not told that in addition to women not being allowed to vote, most men were not either for much of human history (now THERE'S a bit of information that isn't PC or popular)? In fact, voting rights were a lot more complex than they are often portrayed. I also resent the fact that there was no offering of a deeper understanding for fem covert and feme sole. And why is there not a deeper understanding into the extreme complexity nuance within the witch hunts and trials. Much of it was political, business-related, among other factors and many women happily participated in helping to convict other women. Men were also affected and in some parts of the world (Russia, Normandy, Estonia, Iceland) the number of men accused and convicted of FAR outnumbered the amount of women that were. And why do domestic tasks and responsibilities get such a bad rap? Back in the day, running a household was serious business and all family members (including children about age 2 and up) were seen as active members of the home economy. The wife's responsibilities often included keeping the books for the family business. It was also not uncommon for her to learn her husband's occupation (blacksmithing, printing, tinsmithing, running a tavern, etc) in the event something happened to render him unable to run the business. Running the home was nothing to sneeze at, yet it is continuously scoffed at now. Again, I hear much of this scoffing coming from women.
I will also add that I do find things like cleaning, decluttering, cooking, etc. to be quite therapeutic and I actually have a hard time concentrating on a song, story, or other project in the middle of a mess. I quite like being able to find things when I need them and I don't particularly enjoy living in a pigsty. So I scratch my head over the fact that we women are often encouraged to hate doing such things. Meanwhile, I find that doing so makes my life easier and makes me feel closer to the ancestors.
I know many out there are attempting to explain this by implying that it's the male patriarchy hiding the accomplishments of women. That might be plausible if it were not for the fact that much of my initially received narrative (and the information that others I know have received) came from other women, many of whom referred to themselves as feminists. So you can't totally blame the men. I have also heard others say things along the lines of "but we are just now coming to talk about these issues." Sorry, but I call BS on that. And I will explain further in another post (after I post the King Solomon blog post).
For now, I will end by saying that I can't help but be a little perturbed over not knowing about the female blacksmiths a lot sooner. Over not being offered direction on the history of the shield maids or of the women who served in one form or another in the wars dating centuries back. I think I would have been a much better person during the years I spent being scared and resentful. Of course, I have changed my tune with the new information that I keep learning of and I make it a point to share this information with those I come into contact with. And when I see the surprise on their faces and hear it in their voices, I try not to get too discouraged.

But I would like to go back to those women who gave me that first narrative, show them all the information I've been accumulating and ask them why. If you truly want women to feel so empowered, why not give them ALL the history? The full picture? What's with the cherrypicking?

It would be interesting hearing their answers.

After all, if the general public only know the story of  'a woman's place being in the home' prior to the 1960s, how are we to expect them to not only stop and see the female blacksmith/tinsmith/printer in action at a historical museum, but also understand that what they are seeing is more than just an equal opportunity clause on the museum's part. It's part of history. History that can give people an honest sense of pride. History that is being lost thanks to a certain popular and PC narrative...

For more info, see my blogpost, "Why I Am Involved with Living History"
http://tiffanyapanwritingproject.blogspot.com/2016/08/why-i-am-involved-with-living-history.html


Women of the Revolutionary War: Elizabeth Zane
http://www.americanrevolution.org/women/women54.php

Anna Ella Carroll
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Ella_Carroll

Elizabeth Thorn
http://www.gettysburgdaily.com/elizabeth-thorn/

Women in World War I
http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/world-war-i-1914-1918
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_World_War_I

Women's Service in the Revolutionary Army
http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume7/nov08/women_revarmy.cfm

Anna Maria Lane
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Maria_Lane

"Why has everyone forgotten about Male Suffrage?": The long, gruesome history of how men won the right to vote"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11509811/Why-has-everyone-forgotten-about-male-suffrage.html

Amazing Women of the Civil War by Webb B. Garrison
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003SNJPXY

Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft
https://www.amazon.com/Salem-Possessed-Social-Origins-Witchcraft-ebook/dp/B00DHC8C5I

"With All the Grace of the Sex"
https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring04/women.cfm

Gentlewomen of the Press
https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/spring03/womenofpress.cfm



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Heidi Angell's "The Hunters" Virtual Tour: "The Hunters" Book Review




What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear, changing the groups lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs. 

Now that the vampires know the hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help. 

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?



In a world saturated with vampire novels, we've heard and seen it all, right? Especially after the Twilight craze and all the 'Twilight inspired' books that have been out there over the last few years. It's all 'been done' before. But so has everything. In fact, I read somewhere that there are really only seven plots in existence. But there are over a million ways of telling those plots.
Now, I don't know how true that actually is, if there really are only seven plots, but it is true that most, if not all, stories or plotlines have been done before. It's how they are told that makes them all new and unique. Still, some might say that the modern day vampire genre has long wore out its welcome. I don't quite agree, as I say that it depends on who is doing the writing. And if the author can bring something new to the table, I am will to give it a shot.
"The Hunters" is a novel that does put a very interesting spin on the vampire genre. It is also one of those novels that has you hooked from the first sentence. The premise has a sort of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even a 30 Days of Night kind of vibe, where hordes of vampires have completely taken over the town, disrupting lives and affecting the ways of life for the town residents. Residents, along with two of the main characters, brothers Chris and Lucas, start a resistance and begin fighting back, but of course, there is only so much humans can do against supernatural predators. Then two mysterious strangers come into the town, and Chris and Lucas are forced to help them. But what will be the cost?

As I said, "The Hunters" had me hooked from the very first sentence. Heidi Angell is a talented writer who really knows how to immerse the reader into a story. The characters are very well fleshed out and the plotline is fun, fast-paced, but not so much that you are feeling rushed through the story. I very much recommend giving this one a shot. :)












*****



For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) are available for the low price of $17.00 at my Official Website

My store and product line, Antiquity & Illusion is now available online at my website's store and at Storevny. If your a first time visitor, enter the coupon code, ANTIQUITY for 15% off of your entire first order. Note that this discount is only available at the website store. I will be setting something up for the Storenvy site very soon. :)

My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb
"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads

Friday, February 24, 2017

Small bonus scene from Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1)





Transylvania
(near Serbia)
August 4, 1844

He came to a standstill at a clearing, deciding to settle for the night. It had only been a day since he returned to that abandoned farmhouse to see if his brother returned.
As he traveled through the brush, he kept surveying the area in case the boy happened to cross his path. Distraught, Nicolae dropped his bag to the ground and sunk to a seated position. The scent of coniferous surrounded him, emitted by the pine, spruce, and coniferous of the forest. His mind kept going back to that night when he came face to face with the cloaked man, the one that led him to somewhere that was beyond this world. Now he wondered if it had all been a dream, but there were times when he would be in his night travels when he would almost swear to seeing the cloaked individual among the shadows of the brush. His mind was not right, he knew, and hadn't been since the night he and Sebastian escaped from their slavemaster's land only a month and a half ago. Now that the boy was missing (disappeared without any sort of trace) he could feel his being standing at the edge of a deep abyss.
Nicolae let out a sigh, resorting to making a fire. By the moonlight, he found come dried tinder and sticks, placing them in the center of the small clearing. Striking the flint against the steel and charcoal strip, he watched the small sparks fly until an ember caught onto the charcoal. He took some of the dried grass, wrapping it around the charcoal, blowing onto the tinder until flames started poking up through the tinder bundle. As the fire rose up from the ball of dry grass, Nicolae dropped it onto the rest of the stick and tinder pile, watching the orange, red, and yellow light dance and form shadow figures among the trees. For a moment, the shadows surrounding him started to resemble the cloaked man emerging from the brush once more. His surroundings were slowly spinning as the shapes continued to dance, seeming to taunt him as he tried maintaining his equilibrium. He wanted to look up to the night sky, to the stars for comfort. Up to the heavens where those he loved now were. But he also had to keep his focus in case he needed to defend himself. He could not let his guard down. Not while he was still on the run. Or ever...
Suddenly, a small figure emerged from the woods, cloaked in the shadow the flames produced. As the light danced over the other's features, Nicolae could see a familiar resemblance.
Sebastian!
He started to run over, only to have the small one disappear and for the woods to return to its serene state. A serenity that left a eeriness in its wake.
Nicolae tried keeping his trembling body still, walking over to the fire, the familiar scents of the woodland as his only source of comfort in that moment.




Fantasy. Mythology, History. Magic. Read from the very beginning and allow yourself to be taken into another world.


Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) available at the Antiquity & Illusion store, along with Amazon, NOOK, Smashwords, and other retailers.


Enhance your experience reading by diffusing the following recommended scents (high therapeutic grade essential oils):








Young Living Distributor # 3497929

Monday, February 20, 2017

Music, food, candlelight and wine...what could be better?

Hello Friend and fellow traveler!

Life is truly a journey and sometimes it's the unlikely and unexpected turns that take you to where you need to be and where you want to be. As a lifelong student of history, life took an unexpected turn when I started to delve into the Living History realm.


Some may have seen this as an unexpected turn for me, and in a way, it was. Two years ago, I was researching historical museums and areas near my home as I wanted to venture deeper into my research for not only my book series, The Birthrite, but also any future music. Well, it ended up being much more than that as I entered the world of not only educating people on history and various historical events, but also LIVING the history. It has truly been a rewarding experience and opened up many unexpected doors, including with music and writing. And it all started when I performed a few traditional songs at a tavern night!



Now, my journey brings me to where I am now and I look forward to where it will bring me next. I am excited to be performing in another concert with the Pittsburgh Historical Music Society and The Wayward Companions. Be taken away from this world and journey into another as we give you a concert of 18th century music by candlelight...

 their life and into another world.


You are cordially invited to join the PHMS Orchestra and The Wayward Companions in driving the cold winter away with a midwinter celebration. Let us engage in the pleasant revelry of a time past!
Hors d’oeuvres, sweets and libations (ale, wine, cider, coffee and of course tea) will be provided as you listen to music of the 18th century.  Musicians will play period instruments dressed in the attire of the time, illuminated by candlelight and a blazing fire. The musical selections will include tavern songs, popular music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the music of genteel society.
Modern clothing is quite acceptable for our guests, however, period dress is heartily welcomed!
Woodville Plantation
1375 Washington Pike
Bridgeville, PA 15017-2821
Telephone: (412) 221-0348
nevillehouseassociates@gmail.com
To purchase tickets, click here!


We hope that you will join us for an event of music, candlelight, food, and drink at a beautiful historic sight. Live the dream with us and join our amazing community. :)

Love and light,
Tiffany





*****


Young Living Distributer # 3497929


For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!



Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) are available for the low price of $17.00 at my Official Website

My store and product line, Antiquity & Illusion is now available online at my website's store and at Storevny. If your a first time visitor, enter the coupon code, ANTIQUITY for 15% off of your entire first order. Note that this discount is only available at the website store. I will be setting something up for the Storenvy site very soon. :)

My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb
"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads

Friday, February 17, 2017

Halloween...in February. Why not?

Hey there,

I was emptying out my camera for an essential oils event tomorrow and I came across these photos from our popular Cemetery Lantern Tour at the museum from this passed October. It is the 18th century's answer to all the Halloween haunted attractions. We tell ghost tales of old by candlelight and around a bonfire. Enjoy a little of what we have to offer in the autumn. :)

Coming next at the blog is a history of Cedarwood and King Solomon's temple. :)













For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!


Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) are available for the low price of $17.00 at my Official Website

My store and product line, Antiquity & Illusion is now available online at my website's store and at Storevny. If your a first time visitor, enter the coupon code, ANTIQUITY for 15% off of your entire first order. Note that this discount is only available at the website store. I will be setting something up for the Storenvy site very soon. :)

My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb
"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Blog Swap: Author Sai Maire - Love and Romance in Literature



Today, I am featuring author Sai Marie and her forthcoming re-release of Simply Scarlet through Blushing Books. Today we discuss the importance of love and eroticism in literature.

And check out my end of the discussion at Sai Marie's blog! :)



1.) What do you think it is about sex and love that fascinates or draws people?

SM: I think that these are two topics which originate back to instinct and carnal need. Basically, everyone has a deep inner feeling and urge to be loved. Romantic love ideally because people want the fairy tale happily ever after that has been a staple in the romantic genre forever. As far as sex is concerned, I think that this is a base need that people want to explore but don't always know how or where to do so without judgment. With the introduction of erotic and romantic literature this need has a safe place to delve without committing to anything that may otherwise feel awkward and uncomfortable. People can love vicariously through the stories they read and the character interactions in those stories, which seems to be the great appeal. 


2.) Do you think it's an important component of art and literature?

SM: I absolutely believe that romance and sexual expression have always been cornerstones of the Arts. So many artists have been inspired by the complexities of love and sexual desire that I feel there are innumerable examples of this. I also feel that some of the most notorious writers and artists specifically challenged the acceptance or sexual expression and romantic interaction to prove that they were muses of strong motivation. After all, love lost and sexual yearning were the very things which spawned the Trojan war with Helen of Troy. I honestly don't think I can picture history without these two components being a part of literature and art. However, even if sexual acts aren't shown in a written or tangible art the implications or suggestions are often there. You can see this in the works of writers and artists of every Genre. Even in children's stories, romance has always been a facet of artistic expression. 


3.) How do you incorporate it into your own stories?

SM: My stories are often written to both entertain and educate to an extent. So, the tools I use to engage readers are admittedly often romantic. Because I am a multi genre author, I admit you will find facets of romance in all of my tales. But that doesn't mean all of them are romances yet I can't imagine writing a story that didn't utilize the emotion I feel is the strongest for humanity. Because I want my readers to relate to my characters I try to create them to be as real as a person would be so their love lives are used often to express and connect with those readers. 





4.) Do you think it's possible to write a compelling story without it?

SM: I'm sure it is possible but I'm not sure if I would be able to do so myself because of my writing style and the way I choose to grow protagonists. However, even when I consider many horror stories I still see elements of eroticism and romance. 


5.) How is erotica and love relevant to your most recent works?

SM: Well, my newest book is an erotic romance by classification, so I would say it is entirely relevant. The book was written to showcase all manner of sexualities, sexual confusion, and sexual gratification within a fulfilling relationship. I also wrote it because of the craze of BDSM in the past few years. I did this because I wanted people to understand that it is a multifaceted world and not all who engage in it fit the standard bill of the Fifty Shades of Grey hysteria. I wanted people to understand that it's a very colorful world of many types and walks of life and that dedicated relationships do exist within it. 
















*****





For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) are available for the low price of $17.00 at my Official Website

My store and product line, Antiquity & Illusion is now available online at my website's store and at Storevny. If your a first time visitor, enter the coupon code, ANTIQUITY for 15% off of your entire first order. Note that this discount is only available at the website store. I will be setting something up for the Storenvy site very soon. :)

My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb
"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Alice Cooper :)

A little late to the party due to a busy day yesterday, but a huge (though belated) happy birthday to one of my main influences in entertainment and just an all around awesome human being.
Happy 69th Birthday to Alice Cooper. :)













*****





For first access to giveaways and other content not seen by the rest of the world, sign up for the free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!

Paperback copies of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) are available for the low price of $17.00 at my Official Website

My store and product line, Antiquity & Illusion is now available online at my website's store and at Storevny. If your a first time visitor, enter the coupon code, ANTIQUITY for 15% off of your entire first order. Note that this discount is only available at the website store. I will be setting something up for the Storenvy site very soon. :)

My music projects are available at CDBaby
My filmwork is on IMDb
"The Birthrite Series" and other books at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
 My books and music are also on Amazon and iTunes
Tiffany on Goodreads