Monthly Archives: November 2016

BlogTalkRadio Interview Sat. 11-26 #RRBC

Join me on Saturday, November 26, 2016 for the Tag Team 245 radio interview on Rave Waves BlogTalkRadio!

Welcome to RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S BlogTalkRadio production of RAVE WAVES “TAG TEAM 2*4*5,” where Co-Hosts BILL WARD and JOHN W. HOWELL, are joined by new members AMIE O’BRIEN, LAURA LIBRICZ, BOB KERN, and COREY KNUTSEN. Join us as we become better acquainted with some of the newest additions to our RRBC family, and their books.

Follow this link:

Rave Waves BlogTalkRadio

The show will be live 12.00 CT, that’s 1 pm EST, 6 pm in England and 7 pm in Germany. You can join in with questions and comments via Twitter using the #RRBCTagTeam245 hashtag. See you there!

ravewave

 

Love Below Stairs: Rembrandt and His Maids #MondayBlogs

Today I’m over at Jessica Cale’s DirtySexyHistory talking about masters and their maids. Have a look!

Dirty, Sexy History

rembrandt_harmensz-_van_rijn_016 Bathsheba at Her Bath. Rembrandt (1653)

Tales of masters involved with their maids have as much allure today as they did in history. In the news, we read sordid tales of Hollywood stars romantically involved with their personnel and the scandal reports of shameless household help preying on vulnerable celebrities. But what makes these relationships so intriguingly immoral? Is it the element of adultery because many of the employers are married? Or is having a relationship in the workplace what makes this arrangement taboo?

Analyses of the behavioral patterns between employers and employees fill volumes of psychology books. A certain power imbalance arises when two people enter into a vocational relationship. The employer has the upper hand, holding not only the threat of termination over the employee’s head but also holding the purse strings. One could say, the employer holds an employee’s very existence in his hands. As with any…

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Magic Mushrooms #MondayBlogs

 

image by Alan Rockefeller

 

     The tree line glows a warm golden brown in the late afternoon sun. A hawk calls as he sails over the tops of the spruce trees. The smell of fallen leaves and fungi make me leave the path and venture into the brush. This is the season for a popular German pastime: Volkssport Pilzesammeln.
     Collecting mushrooms is a learned talent. Either you’ve had some guidance or you don’t touch the things. Many varieties are edible and downright delicious. I have a colleague who finds Boleus (Steinpilz) the size of a baby’s head when she jogs in the woods. She jogs home and fries them in butter with a bit of onion and garlic.
     But for every edible mushroom, a poisonous doppelganger exists. I bought a book to try to learn to tell them apart. The differences are so minuscule that a mushroom hunt on my part would be preprogrammed for disaster.
     Now here’s one mushroom I can always identify:
original photo by Laura Libricz
     These were beauties. I was so pleased that I had my camera in my pocket.
     The fly agaric. German: Fliegenpilz
     The name comes from its use as a pesticide. They were crushed in milk and used to kill flies. Yes, they are toxic, but no deaths by ingestion have been reported. And they can be eaten. The Chinese remove the red covering from the meat, marinate overnight and then sauté in butter with few side effects.
     Siberian shamans used the mushroom to travel ecstatically into a godly world. After he consumed the mushrooms, tribal members were known to drink the shaman’s urine, because the active ingredientsof the fungus practically passed through the body  unchanged and in the form of urine, still retained the  intoxicating effects.

The Winter King, The Queen of Hearts, and the Thirty Years War

Thanks to Cryssa Bazos for letting me join her on her blog!

Cryssa Bazos

Main Photo small

I have the pleasure of welcoming historical fiction author, Laura Libricz, whose novels take place in 17th century Germany. On June 10th, she is re-releasing The Master and the Maid, the first novel of her Heaven’s Pond trilogy.

Today, Laura introduces us to the Thirty Years War, that took place in the beginning of the 17th century in Central Europe. The events of the Thirty Years War had a profound effect on European and English History; many of the later English Civil War leaders received their training during this time.

But in the beginning, there was the Winter King and the Queen of HeartsTake it away, Laura!


1613. Religious strife is reaching a crescendo in Europe. The Protestant Union, the alliance of German states, is in place to defend the lands and interests of the union’s members. The Catholic League, formed by Maximillian, the Hapsburg…

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The Soldier’s Return #historicalfiction

Laura Libricz, Authoress

The Soldier’s Return

Book 2 in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy

Germany, 1626

A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape in the territories situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But reliSoldiersReturn 700kgion only plays a minor role in this very lucrative business of war. What better way to wage war than with underpaid, starving, sick, desperate mercenary soldiers?

Direct in the path of these marauding mercenaries lies the once-idyllic farm called Sichardtshof. The master and the maid have lived here the last ten years in a semblance of peace but teetering on the edge of destruction. The attacks are more frequent and the soldiers are more brutal than before. With the soldiers come disease, the plague. And Franconia has found scapegoats to blame for all this misfortune. Witch hunts and executions…

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Friday #FlashFiction @lauralibricz

The Venom Club

“Try this,” I said. “Drink some.”

He shook his head no and kissed the blonde girl as she sat back down on his lap. I lit a cigarette and passed it to the girl, burning her hair as she flicked her ponytail over her shoulder to conceal her left breast.

“Stupid woman,” she spat at me as she stood up and marched away, stiletto heels uncertain in the thick-piled carpet.

I held the glass out to him again. “Drink. You promised. Otherwise I would have left you two outside.”

His green eyes were clear and alert, so he’d had nothing to drink and was not under the influence of any other substance. His skin was healthy. What a suitable subject. He leaned forward, defiant, distrustful, but rising to the challenge.

Good boy, I thought.

He took the glass from me. “Why do you want me to drink it? You drink it.”

“I’ve been drinking just this all evening.”

He sniffed at the simple glass tumbler, recoiled, coughed. He leaned forward, coughed again and I almost hit him in the head with the pitcher of water as I tried to top up his glass. The contents of the glass went cloudy as the water mixed with the amber-brown liquid of my own design. I approved with a proud smile and a nod of the head. Years of work perfecting my concoction. He saw my reaction. He narrowed his eyes like a trapped dog.

I set the water pitcher down, picked up my own glass and filled it once more with the same amber-brown liquid from the crystal decanter I kept by my foot. I sipped at the brew like it was the finest cognac.

“Why would I want to harm you?” I said.

By the door, I heard his girlfriend arguing with my brother. I needed her out of here. She could ruin everything. My brother seemed to have heard my thoughts. The door opened, the girl protested, the door slammed, all was quiet.

He watched me closely and showed no reaction to the girl’s exit. As he raised the glass to his lips, I did the same. He allowed the liquid, the whole glassful–watered-down, yes–to flow into his mouth and swallowed without flinching. I did the same.

Warm tingling spread a numbness from my feet up my legs. I knew I could not stand if I tried. My fingers gripped the plush arms of my chair and I willed my eyes to stay open. I looked at the clock. I knew I must allow for this initial dread in order for it to clear again. My tolerance was great but I had drunk more this evening than ever before.

He closed his eyes and leaned his head back into the brown-leather chair. His head nodded to one side. I needed to monitor his every move, check his vital signs, to record his reaction. If only I could get up out of this chair!

Feeling returned to my feet and I slowly wiggled my toes. Ten minutes had passed. Elation replaced the initial dread and I knew I’d raised myself up to the next level. I leaned forward and touched his knee. He stirred. I took his hand and asked his name.

“Lasse,” he said and closed his eyes again.

“Lasse,” I said. “You have passed your first test.”

“What test?”

“You’re still alive.”

He opened his eyes and stretched his legs. Fifteen minutes it took him to regain his composure. My brother could not even recover that quickly.

I filled his glass and held it out for him. “Drink.”

“No.”

“Drink it, I said!”

“No.”

“You have a choice, Lasse. You drink it now, you drink it every day, you stay here with me and work by my side. I know you have no job, you have no perspectives. I’ve been watching you. Your girlfriend will never speak to you again after this evening. She didn’t want to come in here in the first place.”

Lasse took one of my cigarettes and lit it.

“And,” I said, holding up his glass. “And, you build up a tolerance to this stuff like I have been doing over the past year. It’s biological and organic, untraceable. I’ve distilled hundreds of gallons of this stuff. Enough to poison the whole city.

“Or, you become trapped in my web, doomed like the others. I plan to tap into the water supplied to the Manufacturer’s Building on First Street next Monday morning. Fifteen-hundred people working in there on any given day! And that’s just the beginning.”

He drew on his cigarette and flipped the hair from his face with the practiced head toss of a real guitar player.

“Then, no one can stand in my way! I’ve already sent anonymous threats to the city and still I get no press. They won’t even investigate. They don’t take me seriously.”

He stomped out his cigarette and stared at me.

“I will not die in obscurity! I am the real Black Widow!”

The Georgian Washing Day

This wonderful post comes from Pen and Pension, the blog of William Savage. Will writes historical mystery novels, set in Norfolk between 1760 and 1800. His first in this series, “An Unlamented Death”, appeared in January 2015. The second book, “The Fabric of Murder”  was published in May 2015. The third installment, “The Code for Killing”, will be published on 25th January, 2016.

Pen and Pension

17th century washing drying laundryAs I noted in a recent posting, one of the myths that goes the rounds is that everyone in the past was always dirty. It isn’t true. The wealthy weren’t, the poor almost certainly were. As I pointed out there, the costs associated with keeping yourself clean were considerable, both in money and time. In a society in which cleanliness and class mirrored each other, keeping not just your body but your clothing and linens clean was straightforward for the rich, a matter of continual care and concern for the middling sort, and probably a hopeless dream for most of the poor.

Don’t misunderstand me. No one in the eighteenth century could hope to match current personal hygiene standards. The means to do so were not available, not would it have been considered necessary. But within what was possible, most people above the very lowest income levels did what…

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