Monday, June 24, 2013

Breaking Blood on Alabaster Teaser for chapter 8

Chapter 8


“Cecilia, this is Miss Isabella Swan. She’s in need of protection from the likes of Roland,” Murray said.

“That’s what every woman needs. How fitting you should do that for her,” Cecilia said, staring at Murray and smirking.

Murray set the paper and pencils in front of Isabella on the table.

She tried to listen to what they were saying, but as soon as she took to sketching, her mind was elsewhere.

Her eyes traveled around the room, but really, she was torn as she searched for the man she hated above all others.

Nonetheless, she squirmed at the mere thought of his being here.

It was difficult to see him with those two beautiful women at the tenement society rally when it was so plain they were there to openly solicit business as a couple of strumpets.

It was also easy to see he’d been intimate with each of them at some point.

Her mouth went dry and her throat constricted as she tried to swallow.

They were everything she would never be—sensual, largely seductive, wild and free.

Isabella was more chained down on her own than if she’d been locked inside a cage.

She nibbled at the inner edge of her lip as she concentrated a little harder on her drawing. If Murray and Cecilia figured she was drawing them, she might cause them alarm and have to answer questions.

She drew with haste and passed as being amicable by babbling on with inane chatter, hoping they would ignore her busy hands.

Most people were fine to let it pass and keep from asking what she was on about with her pencil and paper.

Artists were everywhere in New York, so it was nothing to see one lazing about, irking people with their ulterior motive to sell a cheap, rushed work for a few spare coins.

That was never something she aspired to. If she was to draw, she wanted it to mean something.

Rarely did she draw simply for the sake of doing it. Something had to touch her, have meaning for her to put it to a canvas.

Before she knew what she was doing, she was on to the next sheaf, and a recognizable form took shape.

Even though it was in black and white, she knew those exotic, powerful green eyes anywhere. They had this inexplicable pull on her.

What was it about them?

Was it because behind that cockiness, they seemed to hold this weighty sadness of untold harrowing agony? Even she did not feel that way, and she had lost her husband and parents when very young and in need of them for support and survival.

Pah. She was no longer seventeen. That girl was gone.

Isabella bit the corner of her lip, released it, and then her tongue poked out as her furious pace took on an urgency the likes she’d never felt before.

It was as if her fingers thought they could conjure him up if they drew him quick enough.

“Well, what do you say?” Murray’s voice traveled and broke through the thick cloud of artistic haze swirling like mad in her mind.

“Yes, it sounds grand,” Isabella answered without having an inkling of what he referred to.

“Do you hear that, Cees? She has no qualms about watching men go about deboning each other like savage brutes.” Murray slapped the table and laughed heartily. “My kind of woman to surround myself with.”

Cecilia scowled for a moment then turned her eyes toward a crowd that was gathering not far from their table.

In fact, they had a nice view of it from where they were seated.

“Oh God no,” Isabella groaned.

There, in the center, was that tawny colored hair she had just been drawing.

Breaking Blood on Alabaster chapter 7 visuals

At this point in time, Central Park was rundown. In 1901, no one paid it any heed. Dead trees weren't replaced, and neither were worn out patches of grass.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Park has some good information about it.

New York City's need for a great public park (Central Park) was voiced by the poet and editor of the Evening Post (now the New York Post), William Cullen Bryant (yep, the very same man I put in my story!)
This information is from wikipedia:
Bethesda Terrace overlooks the lake in Central Park. It is on two levels, united by two grand staircases and a lesser one that passes under Terrace Drive to provide passage southward. The upper terrace flanks the 72nd Street Cross Drive and the lower terrace provides a podium for viewing the Lake. The mustard-olive colored carved stone is New Brunswick sandstone, with a harder stone for cappings, with granite steps and landings, and herringbone paving of Roman brick laid on edge.
The pool is centered by a fountain sculpture designed by Emma Stebbins in 1868 and was unveiled in 1873. Stebbins was the first woman to receive a public commission for a major work of art in New York City. The bronze, eight-foot statue depicts a female winged angel touching down upon the top of the fountain, where water spouts and cascades into an upper basin and into the surrounding pool. It was the only statue in the park called for in the original design. Beneath her are four four-foot cherubs representing Temperance, Purity, Health, and Peace. Also called the Angel of the Waters, the statue refers to the Gospel of John, Chapter 5 where there is a description of an angel blessing the Pool of Bethesda, giving it healing powers.
This is the underground passageway that absolutely captivated me, and where I could see Isabella and Edward squaring off. So beautiful, and I love that you can see the fountain at the end of it.

More info on Bethesda Terrace and fountain: http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/centralpark/monuments/114
If I ever go to New York again, I am stopping here! ;D

Friday, June 21, 2013

Breaking Blood on Alabaster Teaser for chapter 7

Chapter 7


“You’s here to pick up Miss Swan?” the red-haired boy asked after opening the hallway door.

“Yes, sir, I am.” Edward bowed and smirked.

“Tommy’s my name, and I wants ya to know, she’s a nice lady. Nothing bad ‘bout her, so you’s better be polite and decent to her, or I’ll find someone to hurt ya.” Tommy pointed at him with an accusing finger.

“On my honor, she will be as safe as she ever is,” Edward promised. It was easy to do since there was no telling how safe she truly was, living in this deplorable place. His promise did not include, however, the way she would be treated in a sensual manner by him.

By his estimation, she was in danger most of her day by merely being near him.

Rap, rap, rap, rap, rap.

Edward’s new, pristine cane knocked on her door, making it rattle a little.

He smiled. If he wanted to crack that door into kindling he could without much effort.

And it might be worth it to see her shocked, angry expression.

That woman was more than enticing when enraged.

Rap, rap, rap, rap, rap.

“Isabella, it is I, Mr. Masen,” he called out through the door.

Tommy was staring until Edward cut him a curt look over his shoulder.

“Is she at home?” Edward asked him.

“I ain’t her keeper.” Tommy shrugged. “But I did hear someone leave earlier. It might’ve been her. I'n it a weeknight? Probably not her.”

Edward glowered. “Would anyone else in this tenement know who left?”

“Nope. We don’t pays much attention to stuff like that.” Tommy went back into his hovel and shut the door.

“Stubborn woman.” Edward left in a rush, paid his driver extra to get him to Central Park for the tenement society rally.

She had better be there, and when he found her, there would be many words exchanged about his displeasure with her.

When the carriage rolled to an abrupt stop, he groaned.

“I can’t go any further, sir,” his driver called out.

“Fine,” Edward said, getting out and paying him another two dollars. “Park nearby. I’m uncertain how long I’ll want to stay here.”

His driver nodded and drove off.

“Need to get a motorcar,” Edward said to himself as he drifted into the park—alone.

Damn woman. She was told not to embarrass him, and already he was uncomfortable, walking solo down the lit up path.

Evening was closing in.

When he got to the Bethesda Terrace, overlooking the lake, he searched for her.

There was quite a gathering though, of rich and poor, tenants and landlords.

“Mr. Masen, I’m so glad you’re here!” a woman called out.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Breaking Blood on Alabaster chapter 5 visuals and info

The 1881 Grand Street Tenement house Disaster it seems was barely mentioned in the papers. Why is that? We don’t know how many were killed, according to the research I did. There just isn’t much info at all on this, but how could that be? Hundreds of people were living in this tenement, yet we don’t have a record of injuries either. They acted like the building was empty at the time when that thing crashed to the ground, and that just doesn’t seem feasible that it would be. Women and children would’ve had to be home at the time when it happened.
Apparently they had a lot of rain, the wooden walls at the foundations were already rotting and crumbling. And not only was this one tenement, there were 2 that fell. 2 months before they collapsed, tenants complained that when trains passed through or heavy wagons down the street, the walls would shake, their furniture would all shift, and the vibrations would knock items off walls and off tables. Window casings that were no doubt already sagging, would bulge when this happened and doors could not be closed or opened. According to some of the tenants, there was a yawning crack in the property. The landlord was informed of this problem and the tenants insisted a formal complaint be made to the proper authorities along with repairs being made.

Nothing was ever done, and the buildings fell. In addition to there being no mention of casualties in the newspaper, there was also no mention of property loss for these immigrants that were already poverty stricken with a typical household having 12 people sleeping on the floor of a 13 foot room, sharing one bathroom/outhouse to 20 people, and living in homes that most of the time had no windows at all, no running water, and they breathed in pollution from the nearby factories where the husbands worked. Yep, they were living in absolute squalor, and many of these women lost children. 1 out of 10 babies born, died. Typhus, cholera and a few other diseases ran rampant in these types of cramped conditions, and it was common to have home wakes because there was no such thing as funerals at this point.

This information and these pics are taken from: http://www.maggieblanck.com/NewYork/Life.html

 

Home Wake’s looked like this:

 

If Edward was one of the landlords, what does this say about him? Of course he was younger back then, but what could his excuse be for why he did nothing to stop this disaster from occurring?

Now, let’s move on to Isabella. What’s her situation with money?

Well, we already know that since there are 2 other widows living in her tenement, she can’t live there rent free by working it off. We also know she took some of the money from the bets she won (but not all) when she beat Edward’s ass down, but we don’t know why she took that specific amount.

Here’s a breakdown though of her usual wages and where her money goes:

Say she makes $.28 per hour (that’s how much a construction worker made, so this seemed fairly comparable), that means her weekly pay would be $11.20 per week, making her monthly wage $44.80. Her house rent is $5 per month. giving her $39.80 left for the month.

 
Cost of food:

Flour $.13 for 5 lbs

round steak $.14

pork chops $.14

bacon $.16

butter $.27

dozen eggs $.22

milk 1/2 gallon $.14

 
This all comes down to $1.06 for meat, dairy and flour. She’d probably spend another dollar on fresh produce she’d set out on the fire escape since there was not a way to refrigerate this stuff.

So, maybe $9 on groceries per month, if we’re being conservative, leaving her with $30.80.

She can bathe for free in the public floating baths, though it was often crowded, or she could use any section of the river like most of the poor people did.

What about clothes, art supplies, any kind of entertainment? Clothes she can mend as she’s mentioned, but she’d have to go without certain items. Art supplies are her livelihood, so she’d probably have to pay at least a $4 per month, leaving her now at $26.80. She would probably try to give Rose at least $6 per week to pay for her own rent and food, which is $24. What about coal to heat her room or logs for the fire? Would she go without? She obviously had to walk everywhere since there’s no way she has money for public transportation. So, now she’s left with $2.80. I don’t know if they had to pay for water, but I’m assuming they did, which would probably mean at this point, she was completely broke.

Now can we see why she flipped out when Edward wouldn’t sign her bank note in chapter 1, and she was without her weekly wages? Who knows if they even gave her consistent work all week long, so it may have been partial wages, depending on how much work they gave her to do.

It was a hard life for those that lived in the tenements on the lower east side of Manhattan. Roman’s death 8 years before means she’s been struggling for quite some time.

It was mentioned Edward was in her underclothes in this chapter. Men’s underwear was called a union suit. It was made of knitted material, had a flap in front and back.

The Edwardian era was during King Edward VII’s reign from 1901 to 1910. That was considered the last time in popular culture that the full mature woman’s figure was considered beautiful and desirable. The corset helped make the waist smaller and exaggerate the hips and bust.

I love how the men’s underwear were so boring and just plain functional, yet the women yanked themselves into these contraptions where they could barely breathe, to tempt the men. Now I feel less guilty about wearing skinny jeans to show off my ass from time to time. ;D


I love these pictures from this website from stage actresses at the time. Showcases their costumes, the rouge they wore on their cheeks, vibrant colors, and again, the accented tiny waist from the corset. http://www.darvillsrareprints.com/dramahome.htm




I could imagine Rose wearing those last 2 outfits along with red rouge.

Now, here are some fabulous pics of corsets from the early 1900’s where you can see how tiny they made their waists, and what their knickers looked like as well:




 
This final pic, in particular, I think of exactly what Isabella looked like in her corset.

And here’s a pic of a man getting read for a fist fight. Love it!



I imagine Edward looking similar to this except taller, so a little bit of a leaner look, and no mustache. Yeah, I’d pay to watch him fight.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Breaking Blood on Alabaster chapter 5 Teaser

Chapter 5


Isabella. The woman he detested more than all others.

The woman that broke his nose and now visited his dreams.

All he could think about was that little woman with the flaring hips and tiny waist. Her buxom figure was haunting him.

Four days now he’d been trapped in his apartment at the top of the world, where he could see all that happened below him, but couldn’t follow.

He stared at his reflection in the window.

Two black eyes, a swollen nose and red splotches all around his throat from where she tried to strangle him.

Tried?

A choppy laugh rumbled in his throat. Succeeded.

She could have killed him if she’d wanted to.

For some reason she stopped.

And according to his brother, she did not take all of the money from the placed bets she’d earned.

She only took twenty three dollars, twice the amount Edward had owed her for her last set of wages that she’d gotten so upset about.

Edward paced around the room, unsettled.

This woman made no sense.

Most women didn’t, but she was exceptionally strange and intriguing, and . . . a little dangerous.

His chest heated thinking about her.

She did not dress in the latest fashions, and it didn’t seem to be due to lack of money.

He stood in his underclothes, and the more he thought of her, the harder his cock became.

If she could choke him like that and break his nose without a qualm, what would she be like in bed?

His stomach flipped, he broke into gooseflesh, and that was it.

No more hiding even if his face looked deformed, and he resembled a demon.

He got dressed, pulled on his hat and coat and rather than calling for his personal carriage, he paid for a ride.

The driver was courteous and silent until Edward told him he wanted to get to the lower east side.

“But, sir, it’s late!” the driver said, his voice cracking and going up in pitch.

“It is called night for a reason,” Edward replied, rolling his eyes and drumming his fingers on the door to the carriage.

“But I . . . It’s not safe,” the driver said, frowning.

“I’ll triple your fee, and you’ll leave so quickly no one will bother you.” Edward paid the original fee upfront then he waved his wrist for the driver to get going as Edward settled into his seat.

The carriage ride was smooth until they got to the rough, uneven cobblestones of the lower east side.

This rotten, revolting smell of sewage infiltrated Edward’s nostrils, and he grimaced then covered his mouth to keep from gagging.

Breaking Blood chapter 4 visuals and info

Newsboys had a 2 week strike in July of 1899, refusing to deliver the papers. The price per paper bundle (100 newspapers) went up from $.50 to $.60 because the newspapers had an increase in sales. That was quite a big deal since the newsboys only got paid $.30 a day and could not return the papers they hadn’t sold during the day. The boys refused to deliver the papers and held rallies and protests.
Remember that dude that played Batman in the new rebooted version? Yeah, he’s hot. Well, he was in a Disney movie years ago called Newsies about this very subject. A dancing, singing Christian Bale is kind of amusing.

Why do I mention this? Because the newspaper business was volatile in a lot of ways. Created a lot of controversy.

Also, wanted to mention that in 1901 in New York City, 25% of the workforce were women, so it wasn’t completely unheard for a woman to work, but for the sake of the story, I’m gonna take artistic license here and say it was highly irregular in the newspaper industry.

I thought you might also like to know that in 1901, the average household in New York exceeded their incomes monthly by spending 20% over what they made. 43% of wages went to food, 13% to clothes, 23% to housing, and 21% to other. Household supplies or entertainment maybe? Maybe doctors? Who knows… And since there was no refrigerator back then, people in tenements stored some of their perishable food items out on the fire escape or balcony outside their window (if they had one) and they had to shop for food frequently at the market. Frequently most likely meant every other day? I would think meat you’d have to buy daily if you could afford it; same with milk. Think about how their drying laundry was hanging outside that window as well off lines strewn from one building to the next. Sound like where you want your food stored? Probably not, but they had little options.

Now, you might be wondering why Rose mentioned that there were 2 other widows living in the apartment building Isabella’s residing in. Oftentimes, a widow would almost act like a cleaning lady, tidying up walkways, cleaning halls and stairs, things of this nature, in exchange for free rent. It kept the place clean, and gave the appearance of a more upscale type of tenement, so it would attract more tenants. If there were already 2 there before Isabella, then she would not be able to go this route. She had to find some other means to support herself, hence the art.

Burlesque dancers at this point in time made on average $75 per week! That’s a ton! Imagine how much a high class call girl would fetch? I couldn’t find any numbers on that, but I’m thinking at least $100 to $150, depending on if she was attracting wealthy men that were generous or not. Contrast that kind of money with a typical factory worker that made about $12 per week. As you read future chapters of this story, keep an eye out for how much money you see Edward giving people, and you decide if he’s generous or not.

On to Pig Alley… There was actually a movie about this very area, called The Musketeers of Pig Alley, filmed in 1912, and released in 1915 to audiences. They actually used real life gang members in the film from the area. It was considered the first gangster film in history, so that should tell you this was a very rough area to live in, and yet, Bella walks through there frequently. Not necessarily overly-frightened, but prepared for something to happen. That’s why Roman taught her how to defend herself. It was originally named Pig Alley because pig farmers in years past (1840 was when it received this name, before that it was known as Mixed Ale Alley) would allow their pigs to roam through this area, rather than keep them in their homes. Can’t blame them, really.

Here’s a depiction of Pig Alley from 1892. Picture taken from this amazing website: http://www.maggieblanck.com/NewYork/Life.html I’ll be posting more pictures from this website in future blog posts.

 
 
This is what the market would have looked like for her when she bought her food.


 
This is supposed to be the typical cramped tenement. As you can see, some of these people here are ill or injured in some way. Probably from their jobs.



This is the type of thing Bella might have seen at surrounding tenements on her street:

 
 
I love this picture of these ladies gossiping. It’s said that at night, the streets would be very lively, and there were many a lady that would take the time to gossip. It’s very easy to imagine them talking about a very busy, very infamous Mr. Masen here.
 
 
 
Bella was quite progressive by trying to work daily at the paper. Here’s a depiction of what other working women were dealing with:
 


This is what it said below this picture (and no doubt, a lot of the children that worked were most likely newsboys, and a lot of these newsboys didn’t even have shoes or coats, were filthy, and spoke like they were almost illiterate):

THE NEW YORK WORKING GIRL

"The Enemies of the Working Girl"

The title of the image makes reference to the numbers of families who did piece work at night and/or or using underage children as laborers. "Working girls" of the time were trying to get improved working conditions and wages through unions and strikes.

 There is this amazing sketch for some reason blogger won't let me post, so I tried to put on my facebook group and on my wall, but that didn't work either. It showcases the type of amazing art work I would think Bella capable of selling to the newspapers when she had the time available. It has this outstanding reflection of the street. I can imagine that she loved capturing moments like these. Absolutely stunning, and there's a great look at a typical woman, crossing the street. Classic female Edwardian figure with a tight corset under her dress to get that S shape. Wow. I have no idea how she could breathe, let alone walk.

I'll keep trying to figure out a way to post it, since I love it so much.

Life was obviously hard for Isabella, and for the people residing in her area of town. Unfortunately, families did not have a lot of options in regards to birth control. This website talks about the types of birth control used at the turn of the century: http://www.loyno.edu/~kchopin/Turn%20Of%20Century%20Birth%20Contorl.htm

Usually men would withdraw (coitus interruptus). If they had money, they used a sheath, which was a type of condom, not always very reliable though.

Women were told to avoid intercourse right after their period, which is actually a safe time to have sex unless the woman regularly has short cycles of around 21 days. Otherwise, for women with a 28 day cycle, it’s the week following when a woman usually ovulates and is most fertile (this based on my own research with natural family planning which has a 99% success right when followed precisely).

Prostitutes, like Rosalie, would have used sponges dipped in vinegar, or lemon or various other astringents in an attempt to kill sperm. Some of these solutions used in conjunction with a sponge actually caused deaths.

Now you can see why a lot of poor women resorted to performing their own abortions since many of them already had 10 or more people living in their tiny tenement apartment. It wasn’t unusual to have 12 people sleeping on the floor side-by-side.

I didn’t even bother to look up how they performed their own abortions. Frankly, I didn’t want to know. I figured it’d be pretty gruesome, and not something I even wanted to think about.

Hope this gives you a glimpse into their world I’m trying to share with you. More posts coming soon with more visuals and even more information.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Breaking Blood on Alabaster chapter 4 Teaser

WARNING: In this chapter there is mention of abortion. It was a common practice back then amongst the poor women to abort a fetus themselves. While there is no abortion in this story, it is mentioned in this chapter and in a later one as well. I realize this is a sensitive topic and could be upsetting to some but to stay true to the story, it had to be addressed. I consider it one of those unpleasant things that they would have to discuss or deal with like how today we might have to ask a new sexual partner to be tested for venereal diseases, or we might have to have the birth control conversation and be firm about protecting ourselves. Even though sexuality was repressed in those days and not discussed in polite society, abortion was a topic that would come up behind closed doors. It had to. With extreme poverty for these families, another pregnancy meant another mouth to feed, and their methods of birth control were almost a sadistic joke by today's standards.

Chapter 4



Isabella was early arriving at the Evening Post. She had her best charcoal, pastels and pencils with her, and she also carried her own paper, but hoped they had some nicer quality paper for her to use.

“Ah, the new girl,” a man said, stepping up behind her. “We’ve all heard about you.”

She turned to find a man in a bowlers hat, his tie askew and a shrewd look in his eyes.

“Should I be flattered or mortified?” she asked.

“Flattered of course. It isn’t often a woman’s hired, and especially not with what you do. I’m Josh Templeton, by the way.” He shook her hand.

“Ramona Thompson,” she said, nodding.

“Don’t you mean Isabella?” He winked.

Her breath caught in her throat. “I have no idea what you’re talking ab—”

“Come, come . . . We’re not all as daft as that. We know who you are. You went from paper to paper, looking for work. We’re happy to have you here,” he said.

He motioned to the open office before them with scattered desks all around the room.

“I’m curious though, why you were hired. We have a photographer, and we keep them busy. An artist is hardly required, and very archaic in the newspaper industry.”

She blinked and held her breath for a moment. When she released it, her thoughts cleared. “Perhaps Mr. Bryant realizes there are times when a photographer is barred from the news, whereas an artist is much more discreet and can safely wiggle their way in to see what is taking place in the middle of the action.”

“I heard that is what happened the other night when Mr. Masen was beaten down in a club fight.” He smiled at her.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Breaking Blood chapter 3 teaser

Chapter 3


Pap! Pa-pap!

Edward’s knuckles pricked and stung, but he landed another blow.

Thuck!

“Take that, you little chit!” the brawler snarled.

He barely nicked Edward’s jaw.

“Chit, am I?” Edward’s grin was lopsided. “I own many chits, and I most certainly own you!”

Papap! Papapapap!

He jabbed at the man’s ribs, and once he heard that rhythmic sound of ribs cracking, he took the blows to this man’s head.

“Knock him out!” Hope screeched from the crowd.

Edward turned his head and smiled at her before he did precisely that.

The hulking man went flying and was sprawled out on the ground.

Edward laughed and then circled the crowd, taking the money from the bets.

“You see! Bigger is not always better!” Edward called out to the throngs of people surrounding him now.

“Oh that’s right,” a small feminine voice said from nearby. “Lie to them.”

How the hell did she get in here?

He parted his way through the crowd to the source of the sound.

There sat the mite, with several sheafs of paper, scribbling on one of them and at an angle so he could not see what it was she doodled.

“Crawled out from under your rock, I see?” he said, taking a seat at her side.

He shooed away his admirers, but called for a drink of Scotch.

“The rock you mean to squish me with? I heard what you call me,” she began in on him, though she kept her eyes to her manic, drawing hand.

“Oh, the ladies are at it again, huh? They can’t find a more suitable subject than me to spread lies about?”

“No. They can’t seem to stop spotting you, crawling out of your own hidey holes where the whores reside.” She chuckled to herself. “I do hope for your sake their lipstick helps the blows to glide off your chest. The last time I checked, they did use a rather greasy type.” She touched her own mouth, and his eyes traveled to those gorgeous, plump lips.

Breaking Blood chapter 2 info on bathing and newspaper industry

First thing I wanted to mention was the bathing and hygiene of 1899 for the poorer individuals, particularly those that lived in the lower east side.




A lot of my information I got from this website: http://www.maggieblanck.com/NewYork/Life.html

The stuff in italics is directly from this source:



In the oldest and poorest tenements water had to be obtained from an outside pump, frequently frozen in winter. The privy was in the back yard. Later buildings generally had a sink and "water closet" in the hall on each floor. Newer and better class tenements had sinks in the kitchen. They were all "cold water". Water for washing dishes and clothes and for taking baths was heated on the stove.

A majority of tenements in the 1890s did not have indoor plumbing. In some tenements the only water came from a faucet in an unlit hallway and some tenements had only one faucet per building, supplying up to fifty tenants. Bathroom, when available, where most likely no more than one per floor and shared by several tenants. The common bath frequently did not include a tub or shower.

Tenement bathing usually took place in the kitchen in a dish pan, the sink, or a portable tub.

To make bathing available to the tenement dwellers, the city eventually built public baths.

The first public bath in Manhattan was opened on 326 Rivington Street in 1902 and in five months accommodated 224,876 bathers, about three times as many men as women.

In addition there were floating baths along the river. These were as much swimming pools as places to wash, thus combining recreation and public hygiene. The floating baths were a kind of wooden wharf enclosing a swimming pool that allowed the river water to flow through. In 1902 the floating baths were used by 5 or 6 million in the summer season.



As I looked at other websites, it seemed like floating baths were the most common way to wash their bodies.

Clothing was either washed at the river or in a co-operative wash room, and then would be hung out to dry on the lines strewn between more than one tenement. You’ve probably all seen pictures upon pictures of this time period of clothes hung out to dry, flapping in the breeze. That was the only way they had to deal with their laundry.

Now, onto the rich and how they lived. Contrast Edward’s lifestyle with our Isabella’s. Here’s what I learned:



By 1893 New York contained 700 "apartment" houses. Nearly all of them were equipped with "electrical and steam appliances." This included the passenger elevator which made the upper stories of these building more - instead of less desirable - as the top floors of walk up tenements were. The easily accessible top floor was far away from the dust and noise of the street and nearer a cooling summer breeze. However, most of New York's wealthy left the city to spend the summer at their county or beach houses.

Eclectric lighting was clean, odorless and constant. Steam heat was controlled by a thermostat enabling a constant temperature. The ordinary apartment consisted of seven to ten spacious rooms generally all on one level. Moreover, the wealthy had servants - maids, butlers, cooks and nursemaids - to take care of those nasty chores for them.



By 1900, telephones were in wide use, so it’s safe to say Edward owned one and used it, whereas Isabella, did not.

Now, for the newspaper industry, I already mentioned in chapter 1 author notes the New York Herald in 1899 was actually the biggest newspaper in circulation, not the Times, and the editor of one of the other major papers, the Evening Post, at that time was William Cullen Bryant. Odd that his middle name is Cullen, i’n it? Now you know which newspaper company she wound up going to. I have no idea if he was married or not, but for this story, he is. And he has his own reasons to hire Isabella, and give her 2 week’s worth of wages upfront.

Also, one other tidbit of info on the Evening Post, in 1916, editor George Horace Lorimer discovered Norman Rockwell, then an unknown 22-year-old New York artist. Lorimer bought two illustrations from Rockwell, using them as covers, and commissioned three more drawings. Rockwell's illustrations of the American family and rural life of a bygone era became icons. During his 50-year career with the Post, Rockwell painted more than 300 covers

I had no idea how this all started, and was surprised to find this out.

Hope this helps. I was surprised at how fascinating I found this time period in New York. Normally, I don’t gravitate to this area or age, but for this story, it simply worked and I was enthralled by what I learned along the way.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Breaking Blood on Alabaster teaser chapter 2, and warnings

My new fan fiction story has begun posting. If you haven't already taken a look at it, here's the summary and a teaser for chapter 2 I'll be posting tomorrow.

Summary:

AH ExB 1899 New York City, a young widow has bills and responsibilities. What will she do to the owner of the New York Times when he refuses to sign her weekly wages? Will she drag him to the lower east side and teach him a lesson, or tease him with her body? All good ideas, only she hadn’t planned on this man taking absolute control. BDSM themes, blood lust and fisticuffs ensue.

Warnings:

I'm letting people know upfront there is an attempted rape scene by a drunk guy, but there’s no nudity and it’s stopped before it gets anywhere. It’s in chapter 12, and she does get called a whore and a slut by this man. This scene’s not much worse than what happens in Twilight when Bella’s being followed, and kind of along the lines of the attack by James at the end of that same book. Also, there’s some minor edge play in the final chapter. I’ll try to give a warning at the beginning of both of these chapters in case these are scenes you’d prefer to avoid.

Teaser:


Chapter 2

 
“Get out of my sight,” Isabella croaked as a man approached her.

Another asshole, another day.

“Please, Miss Swan, I have money!” the man said, eyes torn and raking over her body.

“The day I seek wages for my body like that, is the day I slit my throat! I have some decency and self-respect,” she replied, pointing the way for him to leave.

Instead, he rushed forward, dropped to his knees and clung to her skirts.

This was ridiculous! She rolled her eyes and tipped her head back.

“Please! You know how lonely I am!” he cried, pawing at her legs.

She tried to step aside, but he would not relent.

“Tell me your name again,” she said, dropping her head.

He still gripped onto her, his eyes welling up. “Mr. Stanford.”

“Your first name, dolt, or I’ll kick you between the legs. My boot’s between your knees already, Stanford; you put yourself in a precarious position.” She lifted a brow.

“I do it for you. I want to bear myself to you, to take you to my bed,” he pleaded.

“Pay a tart—I’m not in that line of work. My profession is artistic,” she said.

“You could paint me. I’d be a nude figure for you.”

She grimaced and scrunched her nose real tight. “Ewww! No! I pick my subjects, and rarely do nudes anymore.”

“Then I’d buy up all your sketches and canvases and—”

“Stanford, if you can afford that, then you can afford a proper mistress. I’m not interested. Sex has no appeal to me . . .”.

“I’d be gentle—I’d never harm you,” he went on.

She growled. “Gentle is not the problem. I’m not a china doll. I don’t break, and certainly don’t bend to you.”

“I heard you visited Mr. Masen today. Do you bend to him? All of New York’s ladies do,” he said.

Thwaaaack!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chapter 20 Cuffs teaser for the final chapter

Final chapter posts tomorrow.

Chapter 20: Delivered
 
6 months later . . .


I sit at my desk, trying to concentrate.

Fuck, she was having a lot of contractions this morning.

I should’ve stayed home with her, but she almost shoved me out the door.

Weeks of this.

When would the baby come?

She was a week past due.

The doctor was talking about induction, but he didn’t seem overly concerned since everything else looked fine.

Blood pressure remained good, her weight gain good, everything was just good.

Not great.

Isabella was good. Not great.

She was sick of being pregnant, and I wanted to see that sparkly smile of hers again.

I snort a laugh. Sparkly. Sparkle. That insane woman that told Isabella all that shit at the end of our honeymoon.

I hope her wallet gets stolen for making my wife feel bad about her situation with her mother.

A lump forms in my throat, and I settle back in my chair, gripping the back of my head.

Fuck. The baby will be here any day, and Isabella never said, but I can tell . . . She wants her mother to come see her and the baby after the birth.

What woman wouldn’t want the grandparents to visit their newly arrived grandchild?

Without thinking, I grab my phone out of my pocket, and call up that vile woman.

Chapter 17 God and My Right teaser (final chapter)

This is it folks... The final chapter. :)

Chapter 17


Edward’s hands were always on her. He fed her himself, fawned all over her and always had love filled eyes for her.

“Love, eat more, you must gain your strength back so you can fight him if he tries to take you against your will,” he said.

She yawned and stretched out on his lap. “He has not been here yet, and it has been three days. They leave us food and pay us no heed. The guards do not even seem to mind I am out of that hellish spiky prison,” she replied.

She reached up and scratched lightly at his jaw. His beard was coming in, and damn him, he was even more beautiful when rugged like this.

She desired him more than ever, and they did not hesitate to make love on the seed-soaked mattress.

It did not matter if anyone heard them.

Though they had never heard any noises from other prisoners, so they were unsure if anyone else was being held here in this place.

“Why would he leave us here like this?” he asked.

“To torture our addled brains. He means to break us down by making us go mad, trying to figure out his evil designs.” She nuzzled her head into his lap. “I will not succumb to his wiles—none of them. I am here with you, and that is all I care about. I will cherish each moment I can touch you unfettered and free.”

“His design is to make me glut on you so when he takes you away again, I break in the first instant. He is more cunning than the devil.” His jaw flexed and his chest tensed.

New Story Breaking Blood on Alabaster

As some of you are already aware, I'll be posting a new fan fiction very soon. Hopefully by the end of this week. I've written almost half of it. This time, I'm combining two of my obsessions, historic fiction with BDSM. It's something I've been dabbling in and wanting to publish, so this is kind of my warmup to see if I can really do it or not.

Here's the summary, and a teaser for the first chapter...

Breaking Blood on Alabaster:

AH ExB It's 1899 in New York City, and a young widow has bills and responsibilities to attend to. What will she do to the owner of New York Times when he refuses to sign for her bank note on her weekly wages she simply must have? Will she drag him to the lower east side and teach him a lesson, or tease him with her body until he can't take anymore? All good ideas… only she hadn't planned on this man knowing how to take absolute control of her mind and her senses regardless of how hard she tries to resist him. BDSM themes, blood lust and fisticuffs ensue. Hold on to your bowler hats and knickers—this is one clash of the classes that produces more than sparks.

Chapter 1


December 26, 1899

 
“Oh almighty Jesus, she’s coming here now?” Edward Masen wiped his brow and swiped his fingers through his hair, causing it to stand on end.

“Yes, and she’s very displeased with you.”

Edward huffed. “Why does she have to be so difficult?”

“That’s what some widows do. They turn all bitter like nasty little mites, and all a man can do is get out of their way and smile as they do it.” Emmett swept aside and went to Edward’s office door.

Edward clicked his teeth for a moment, deep in thought. “Well, I’ll be damned if I ever step aside for a foul mite. I smash it with my heel. And I’ll do the same with this little miss and her attitude. She’s under my authority, and she’ll show me some respect.”

“Yeah . . . Good luck,” Emmett said under his breath and exited.

The door clanged shut behind him.

Edward paced in the room.

Dear God how he detested women like this. She had no business in a man’s world. Why couldn’t she see this?

He pulled on his suspenders, took a seat and his eyes roamed over today’s newspaper.

A smile bloomed.

Nothing of report on him. Good.

“I said get out of my way, little man!” a female’s voice boomed.

Edward shook his head and groaned. How was he going to deal with her? He’d heard of her ferocious, biting attitude.

“If you do not remove your person this instant, I’ll whip you like I do an idiot horse!” she yelled even louder.

A moment later, Emmett pushed open Edward’s office door and then like he’d said he would do, he moved aside to make way for her.

Edward sat in astonishment at this tiny little brunette with rather voluptuous curves, an ample bosom and eyes like a black storm. She appeared so unassuming, yet she bossed around the likes of Emmett—a behemoth of a man. How was it she neither bowed to Emmett or him? Edward owned this establishment. Instead she glared at them, and she certainly didn’t dip her head in respect. Who taught her to act in this manner?

His eyes went wide when she stood there bold as brass, defiant and shaking from head to toe while her face reddened.

“You did not sign my bank note,” she began, stomping toward Edward and looking him in the eye.