Archive | February 2013

The Beginning of Handbags

Char portrait 2009smerWe have a guest post by Charlene Raddon, author of Taming Jenna, Tender Touch, Forever Mine, To Have and to Hold, and writing as Rachel Summers, Scent of Roses. Charlene normally blogs at, however she’s here now with great info on the history of handbags.

NOTE: Charlene is giving away a free book and $5 Amazon gift card to a random commenter. You must comment by March 1, and leave an email address so you can be contacted.


Purses, pouches, or bags have been used since humans first found a need to carry precious items with them. Egyptian hieroglyphs show men wearing purses around the waist, and the Bible specifically identifies Judas Iscariot as a purse carrier.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, bags were attached to the most vital feature of medieval garb: the girdle, along with rosaries, Book of Hours, pomanders (scented oranges), chatelaines (a clasp or chain to suspend keys, etc.), even daggers. Women favored ornate drawstring purses known as “hamondeys” or “tasques”. Men used purses known as “chaneries” for gaming or for holding food for falcons.

no3pic2During the Elizabethan era, women’s skirts expanded to enormous proportions and small medieval girdle purses became lost among huge amounts of fabric. Rather than wear girdle pouches outside on a belt, women chose to wear them under their skirts. Men wore leather pockets (called “bagges”) inside their breeches. Large satchel-like leather or cloth bags were sometimes worn by peasants or travelers, diagonally across the body.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the more visible bags were rejected and long embroidered drawstring purses were hidden under skirts and breeches instead, while some people wanted them to be conspicuous, for use as decorative containers for gifts, money, perfume, or jewels. Toward the end of the 17th century, purses became increasingly sophisticated, changing from simple drawstring designs to more complex shapes and materials.

Following the French Revolution, narrow, high-waisted dresses became popular, leaving no room beneath for pockets. Consequently, purses, in the form of “reticules” or “indispensables” as the English called them, came into use, showing that women had become dependent upon handbags. The French parodied the women who carried the delicate bags that resembled previously hidden pockets as “ridicules”.beaded reticule

Victorian era developments in science and industry provided a vast array of styles and fabrics women could coordinate with their outfits. Though pockets returned in the 1840s, women continued to carry purses and spend an enormous amount of time embroidering them to show off for potential husbands, often including the date and their own initials in the designs. Chatelaines attached to the waist belt with a decorated clasp remained popular.

The railroad brought about a revolution in the use of bags. As more people traveled by train professional luggage makers turned the skills of horse travel into those for train travel, and soon the term “handbag” emerged to describe these new hand-held luggage bags. Many of the top names of today’s handbags started as luggage makers (whereas, previously made purses and pouches were made by dressmakers). Hermes bags were founded in 1837, a harness and saddle maker. Loius Vuitton was a luggage packer for the Parisian rich. Modern handbag designs still Crocheted reticuleallude to luggage with pockets, fastenings, frames, locks, and keys.

Early in the 20th century handbags became much more than just hand-held luggage. Women could choose from small reticules, Dorothy bags (now called dotty or marriage bags) with matching robes, muffs, and fitted leather bags with attached telescopic opera glasses and folding fans. Working women used larger handbags, such as the Boulevard bag, leather shopping bags, and even briefcases worn around the shoulder.

After WWI, the long constricting layers and rigid corseting women wore disappeared. Perhaps the most important development during this period was the “pochette,” a type of handle-less clutch, often decorated with dazzling Tiny metal pursegeometric and jazz motifs, worn tucked under arms to give an air of nonchalant youth. Rules for color coordination grew lax and novelty bags, such as doll bags (dressed exactly like the wearer), became popular. The discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1923 inspired purses reflecting exotic motifs.


Today, purse designs continue to fluctuate, and always will. What sort of purses do you remember using when you were young? In the 1950s I had a pink and white, square plastic purse I loved. I wonder whatever became of it. If I owned that purse now, it would probably be worth a pretty penny.

To Have and To Hold by Charlene Raddon - 200Charlene Raddon’s Latest book is To Have and To Hold…

A woman without a prayer…

 A widow with two children, Tempest Whitney had to mortgage everything to repay the money her husband had stolen. But even as she struggles to hold onto her Utah homestead, a scheming rancher buys up her debts, demanding she either get off his land or marry him. Then a dark-haired stranger shows up, claiming to be her dead husband…

A man without a past….

Buck Maddux spent two years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Now a death bed promise has brought him to Tempest’s dugout. A man without roots, he doesn’t plan to stay—or to feel so fiercely protective of this feisty beauty he saves from a forced marriage. Suddenly, Buck yearns for a home, a family, a lasting love. But what can he offer Tempest? The surprising answer lies in the forbidden canyons of an ancient Anasazi tribe, where fortune and danger await—along with a passion more precious than gold…


Riding up to the house, he called out a hello and dismounted. Surrounded by barking dogs he proceeded to water his horse at a well built over a natural spring. From beneath the wide brim of his Stetson he searched for some sign of life. Finally he headed to the house, spurs jangling in his wake. His fist was raised, ready to knock, when the rough plank door swung inward and the business end of a Henry repeating rifle met with his nose.

“Judas!”  He jerked back and stumbled over his own big feet. A cat screeched, letting him know he had mangled its tail. The critter got even by climbing Buck’s leg. Yelping and dancing while he tried to extract the cat, he trampled two or three more felines. Easy to do; half a dozen littered the yard, along with pigs and a flutter of chickens.

“Whoa there, ma’am.”  He held up a hand. “Don’t mean you any harm.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

The cat took off, kinked tail in the air. Buck checked for damage and decided he’d live. “That’s a mite awkward to explain.”  He took off his hat, wiped his brow on his sleeve and replaced the hat back, buying time while he studied her.

She wasn’t much to look at. The braid hanging to her waist appeared as though crows had been pecking at it. Dun-colored strands fluttering about her head gave her a wild look that belied the delicacy of her face. A strong chin balanced her large eyes and a mouth as stubborn as the mules in the pole corral. A patched apron hung to her scuffed boots and hugged her legs snugly enough hint she wasn’t wearing skirts. He was wondering what might be under the apron when she spat, “Spill it, mister. I haven’t got all day.”

“Think you could put down the gun?” He eyed the rifle with amusement and chagrin. “This might take a while and your arms are like to get tired.”

“Don’t think for a second, just because I’m a woman, that I can’t shoot this rifle,” she drawled. “I hate when men jump to such conclusions. Makes me so angry I start shaking and that makes my trigger finger jittery, if you know what I mean.”

Buck knew. A jittery trigger finger meant he might get shot for no reason. He eyed her speculatively. She wasn’t much bigger than a colt; no problem for a man his size to handle. “I doubt you’d enjoy where they’d put you for shooting a man,” he said, smiling to hide his growing irritation.

“Nobody goes to jail for self-defense. Especially a woman. You going to state your business or not?”

“Are you Tempest Whitney?”

“What’s it to you?”

He sighed. “Name’s Buck Maddux. I ran onto your husband two years ago. He was gut shot and bleeding bad —”

“Maddux!” Her head snapped up and her finger tightened on the trigger. “You yellow-bellied son of a coyote. How dare you come here? Didn’t you cause enough grief robbing that stage and getting my husband killed? Get off my property before I fill you with lead the way the posse did Skeet.”

He threw up his hands as she stepped closer. “Easy, ma’am, I didn’t come here to get you all upset.”

“What did you expect? That I’d welcome you with open arms and invite you in for supper? Just because my husband let you rope him into a stupid robbery doesn’t mean I have to put up with you.”

That did it. Now he was angry. “Hold on a minute here.” His mouth was tight, his voice hard. “I had nothing to do with that robbery, or the Army patrol who shot your husband.”

“Sure. You were just an innocent bystander who happened to be with Skeet when he was caught.”

“As a matter of fact—”

“Raspberry stickers!” she spat. “You plotted that hold-up. You killed my husband as surely as if you’d pulled the trigger yourself.”

Buck’s blood boiled. He told himself it was because she’d accused him of lying, not because she’d come too close to the truth, but the excuse didn’t wash, adding to his fury. In one swift movement, he away snatched her rifle, threw it to the ground, and shoved her against the door jamb. He held her there with his body, her hands pinned above her head, while he stared into amber-sparked brown eyes.

The dogs took up barking again.
Click on the links below to buy one of Charlene’s books:

To Have and to Hold

Tender Touch

Forever Mine

Guest Post “One for Kami”

Today we have Charlene Wilson, an author of paranormal tales that take you away to other dimensions.  She weaves magic, lasting love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters. And she brings you her latest heroine, Kami…

Kami fumbled with the note in her hands and gazed around Shannon Donnelly’s Blog. The beautiful flowers nodded their bulbous blossoms as a soft breeze blew. Memories of long strolls on the floral-bordered river trail at home filled her with thoughts of Ian’s warmed smile, kind hazel gaze, and his head of black wavy hair that couldn’t seem to resist the wind. Her heart ached, as she knew she might never have those moments with him again.

Dropping her gaze to the folded message, she gnawed on her lower lip. Should she go through with her plan? He didn’t know of the sweetness of Valentine’s Day, how this dimension celebrated love. She could just stuff it the pocket of her cape and forget the whole thing.

Kami traced the red heart she had drawn on the upper left corner. No, I need to do this. He has to know.

Releasing an anxious breath, she looked over her shoulder to the garden gate. Where is Charlene? She’s late.

“I heard that thought, and I’m not late. You’re early.”

The gate swung open and Charlene winked at Kami as she entered. “I kind of thought you’d take to our holiday, Kami, you being the romantic that you are.”

“Ian would love it, too.” A weak grin tugged the edges of her lips upward, but her conviction burned strong with her decision. She held out the hand-written valentine. “You will give it to him won’t you?”

Taking it from her, Charlene smiled and her head leaned to the side. “Of course I will.”

“And tell him…” she wrung her fingers and her red gloves twisted, distorting the intricate knit patterns. “Please tell him how much I love him. Charlene, tell him I was an idiot.”

“Oh, I’m not going to say that.” Charlene tucked the valentine into her sweater pocket. “If you feel that strongly about this, why not have it displayed at Ravencraft Romance Realm’s Love Letters ‘n’ Lattes? You can proclaim your love for him on February 14th  for the whole World Wide Web to see.”

A spark of thrill flashed through Kami’s chest and jetted to her toes. “That would be perfect! Do you think they’d let me do that?”

“I’m certain of it. I happen to be one of the contributing romance authors there.”

Kami couldn’t hold back a wide smile. She spread her arms wide and inhaled the sweet aroma of the beautiful red flora around them. “He’s sure to know I mean it, then, if I proclaim it to the entire dimension.”

She grasped Charlene’s elbows and looked into her blue eyes. “You will show him won’t you. I know you can one way or another, being our author.”

“Oh, Kami. You bet I will.” Charlene patted her cheek and nodded toward the blog readers. “Now, let’s get this introduce of One for Kami going and invite everyone to join in the tour-wide giveaway. We have some great prizes and they need to know they can get all the details at Charlene Blogs.

Excitement bubbled in Kami’s heart and her brows rose with her exclamation. “That’s right! So many prizes to giveaway, all because my story was just released.”

She turned to the readers and she knew her countenance had to be glowing. “There will be four prize packages! A One for Kami SWAG package, a Juicy Fruit prize package…” she glance at Charlene, “honestly, there’s got to be a way for me to nab that one,” she snickered, then back to the crowd, “A $10 Amazon gift card…”

Charlene grabbed her hand and held it up for all to see. “And your red gloves! We can’t forget the best part. KnitWit’s Knits & Crochet is making a special pair for this tour and offering One for Kami fans a 20% discount if they order something from their Etsy Shop by using the coupon code One4Kami! How great is that?”

“I can’t wait to see my gloves with the Hearts on Her Sleeve pattern on them.”

“I ordered a pair for myself. That prize alone is a $20 value!”

Sighing, Kami relaxed and allowed her breath to speak her thoughts. “I love my story.”

Charlene leaned her head, pride shining in her eyes. “And so will everybody else, sweetie.”  She squeezed Kami’s hand. “I know they will.”

Thank you for having us here today, Shannon. It’s a real treat! Have your readers get those Kindles ready, because One for Kami is FREE to download at Amazon right now! (Feb 14th)! It’s a Sweet Sci-Fi Romance, the perfect “lunch-time” read.

One for Kami cover 5 1200x800 One for Kami

Can love be true if shared with more than one?  Kami doesn’t think so when she finds Ian is an elite and required to take three wives to eliminate the poverty-stricken population.  Why can’t he be poor the way she thought he was when she fell in love with him?

Determined to find a realm that doesn’t have such dictates, she travels to dimension Three-Two-Three to begin her search.  But is love truer in a place that only allows one spouse than it is in Ian’s heart?

What they’re saying

“Sweet, romantic, and heartfelt.  A great introduction to the author’s world.”—J.D. Brown Book Club

“One for Kami is a story that will have you willing to give up everything for your one true love.”—Annette, Gothic Mom’s Book Reviews

“[Wilson] spins a tale of true love spanning time and dimensions that will inspire the reader to sacrifice everything to find their soul mate.”—Debbie, Read2Review


Voices surged and Kami clung to the illegible sounds.  A low groan rode alongside them.  The vocals ebbed from her mind.  Mute gray light drifted before her eyes, a flash of white, and then a haze.  Darkness covered her vision.  A sour pang caused her to lurch and she heaved, the voices clambering from a distance.  The back of her skull thudded against a hard surface.  Words broke between melodic and static riffs.

“Kami, breathe.”

Another groan punctuated the din, so close she opened her eyes to find the source.  A woman’s profile came to view, a bright silver aura hazing the edges.  Her long arched nose and narrow chin set a shocking presentation to add to her crinkled eyes and white hair.  Her thin lips moved with a soft sound.  “Get that cleaned up before she sees it.”

The senior turned to her, and Kami’s focus zeroed in on her pale blue eyes.  Eerie yet kind, they held her attention.  Folds on the woman’s face deepened with her smile.  “Well, you made it.  You had us worried there.”

Kami blinked hard and swallowed, acid burning the back of her throat.  “What happened?”

“You were a little nervous during the transport, that’s all.”  The woman nodded to someone off to the side and Kami rolled her head to the side to see who it was.  The silver-blue aura stretched to the edge of a circular platform and she realized she lay on Ober’s transport base.

“Let’s get you sitting up.  It’ll clear your mind and help you focus.”  The escort slid her hand behind Kami’s neck.

As she pushed herself up, heat pulsed in her lower abs, spasms rushing through her core.  Her breath hitched and she leaned forward, pressing her arm along her hips until the sensations dulled.  A heavy sigh rushed from her lungs, causing the ache in her breasts to intensify.  She brushed her palm along her chest to relieve the sensitivity, but it sent chills down her spine.  A shutter clenched her stomach and the process started all over again.

God, this is awkward.  I need privacy here.

A chuckle rumbled to her left and she glanced at the man beyond the hazy stage.  His blond hair curled around his forehead and tapered to a band of shaved hair along the back of his head.  His white lab coat hung loose around his lanky shoulders.  A wide smile bloomed on his lips as he knelt beside her and held out a bottle of water.

His brown eyes sparkled with humor.  “You’ll be mighty sensitive in those regions for a while with the level of panic you emitted.  But that side effect will let up.”

She accepted the drink, a question on the tip of her tongue she didn’t want to voice.

“All of this affected your nerves,” he motioned to her private parts as if he had every right, “and those there are the most sensitive parts of a body.  I’d take you as my third right now just to enjoy the fallout.  Yes, sir, close the quota with a redheaded elite.”

Kami leaned away from him and his offensive comment.  That is wrong on so many levels.  How rude could one person get?

The woman pursed her lips into a little grin.  “This is Conrad.  I’m Coral.  We’ll show you around the city and get you acquainted with things before we let you roam on your own.  We can show you key areas to envision so you can sync and not have to deal with the vehicles they use here.  Horrid contraptions if you ask me.  Just remember to be hidden when you do so nobody sees you disappear.  Of course, we’ll be around should you need us during your stay.”  She motioned with her nod.  “Now, let’s get you off this Ober base and steady on your feet.”

Kami glanced at the platform.  “Sure glad this fog isn’t a lingering effect.”

Conrad’s cheery chuckle burst into laughter and he held out his hand to help her up.  She grumbled under her breath and with a glower accepted the offer.  His fingers slowly wrapped around hers and his thumb brushed along the top of her palm with light caresses.  The sensual touch sent a charge to her nipples and spasms to her core.  Her breath hitched, fire burning her cheeks and ears as she flush.

Her gaze snapped to the glint in his eye.  The idiot did that on purpose!  She snatched her hand from his grasp.  “I think I’ll let Coral help me up.”

Another burst of mirth spit from Conrad and his hand flew to his mouth, stifling it into a sloppy snort.  He peeked at her through gleeful lids and turned his palm to her in an apologetic gesture.

Kami looked at Coral to find the woman’s lips pinched between her teeth, the corners fighting to keep a serious regard.

I have to deal with these people for a week?  She swore under her breath and slid from the platform, abandoning the bottled water.  Pushing herself to a stand, she steadied her feet and tugged at her blouse to regain any dignity she had left.

Coral’s head tilted to the side and her white waves brushed her cheek.  “Oh, Kami, I’m sorry, dear.”  She pulled her into a hug.  “Things will settle down.”

Conrad sniffled and folded his arms across his chest, nodding with agreement as he calmed.

Her pale blue gaze sought Kami’s as she held her at arm’s length.  Brows pulling together, she whispered.  “You are still a Vella, correct?”

Kami hesitated, studying the lady’s demeanor.  What does being a maiden have to do with anything?  “Yes.”

“Then I suggest you keep a little distance between you and fellows while you’re here.  They’ll flock to you with that beautiful hair and those sweet blue eyes.  And you’ll find them hard to resist in your current state.”  She winked.  “Gotta save yourself for marriage, you know.”

Riotous cackles exploded and Conrad doubled over, staggering to catch his balance.

Kami’s mouth dropped open.  “God, give me a break!”  Shrugging out of Coral’s touch, she marched along the cobbled path toward the exit.  “I’ll find my own way around.”

As she gripped the doorknob, realization caused her to pause.  She glanced at her snickering guides.  “Um…  Is my new boss a man or a woman?”

Conrad’s mirth rose to a new level and filled the arboretum.  She huffed and marched out the door, his snorts and cries following her until he choked on his own breath.

Get your copy of One for Kami at Amazon: FREE February 14th! If you miss that, leave a comment for a free book given away on March 1.

One for Kami book tour banner 3

Charlene Wilson Author Links

Creating worlds where dreams become reality.

char mtn 2Author site: