Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Romance of Roses


I'm Stephanie Burkhart and here is what I've learned about roses.

Throughout the years the rose has always been a symbol of love for many different cultures, but it also has multiple meanings. It was such a delight to research this topic and discover how important the rose has been throughout history.

The rose is universally known and important in many different cultures. It is a symbol of beauty, romance, secrecy, elegance, and even life itself.

The rose can be dated as far back to the Egyptians in 3000 BC. They built elaborate gardens dedicated to roses and used them to make funeral wreaths, as well. For the Egyptians, the rose meant life itself.

Roses grew in Babylon, too. In 576 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II cultivated roses next to the Euphrates River to entice the mountain princess nearby to become his wife.

Greek myths accentuate the rose. Aphrodite sprung from the foam of the sea and where she landed, white roses grew, representing purity and innocence. Red roses came symbolic of how purity changes to motherhood through blood. The Greeks also found medicinal uses for roses using them in perfumes in which they believed illnesses were kept at bay.

The Roman latched onto Greek myths and Egyptian uses, incorporating them into their society. Rose wreathes were awarded as a mark of military success. Rose petals were scattered for the victors at games. Roses also decorated Roman funerals and tombs.

After the fall of Rome, Christianity incorporated the rose into their works and symbolism. Monks grew them in their gardens for medicinal purposes. Interestingly, they believed that a person possessed by a demon could not stand the smell of roses.

In the 12th Century, the rose became associated with ideals of chivalric love. Rose gardens were a place for lovers to meet, as the fragrance was as attractive as the romance they embodied.

Historical Note: Napoleon's wife, Josephine, often carried roses that she used to cover her black teeth when she spoke.

Today, the giving of a red rose is a gesture of deep, romantic love, immortalized in movies, literature, and song. I'd love to hear what movie, story, or song involving roses deeply touched your heart. Share your rose stories today.

Victorian Scoundrel
Bio: Stephanie Burkhart's latest release is a steampunk romance, "Victorian Scoundrel." Set in 1851 during the Great Exhibition, Alice Windsor is in for a ton of mischief when she falls for Grayson, Earl Swinton, a man from the past.

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REVIEWS: 5 Stars, Readers Favorites, Molly E:
I have never read a Steam Punk novel before, but because of her fantastic writing, her engaging plot line, and fun loving characters, it will NOT be the last. I highly recommend this with highest of 5 stars, and I can't wait until the second Windsor Diaries installment releases!


5 Stars, Tami Dee, Author of the Mists of Time Series:
Stephanie Burkhart has a fresh, quick, quirky, inventive imagination and she gives the readers of Victorian Scoundrel a delightful mixture of all of the above!


Pen and Muse, Barbara, Reviewer:
A wonderful historical, paranormal steampunk. This new series is going to be a big hit. She has me hooked. A must read.

EXCERPT:
There was a knock on the door. Alice frowned. She placed her Jane Austen book open- faced over her sketches along with her glasses and ran to the door, opening it.

"Grayson."

He stood before her wearing a white shirt and a brown vest, his powerfully set shoulders his most dominating feature. She bit her lower lip, trying to quell the uncomfortable warmth that surged within her.

"Alice." He paused, his intense hazel-brown eyes feathering over her. "I hope I didn't interrupt you."

"Not at all. Come in." Was she crazy inviting him into her room? She must be, as she opened the door wider and Grayson walked in. Restless energy sparked off him. His expression smoldered with desire.

No, this wasn't crazy. It was dangerous.

"Getting ready for bed?" he asked.

She pursed her lips, her willpower growing weaker by the moment. "Yes."

"What did you think of the gas heater?"

"Ingenious, but I have no idea how to operate it."

"Let me show you."

He walked into the water closet, Alice behind him. The tub was full of water. Grayson took the matches on the nearby shelf and lit a wick on the heater. A small fire came to life under the metal tub.

He turned to face her. "I usually watch it for five minutes. Then I shut it off using this valve." He pointed to the heater.

"Thank you for showing me." She could barely think a coherent thought as she drank in his features, chiseled cheeks, handsome face, smoldering...

"Thank you again for the pen. I promise to treasure it."

"Grayson--"

He cupped her cheek, leaning close to her. "I missed you terribly this week."

"Terribly?" she choked out.

"I thought the distance would help me sort out my feelings."

A small smile tipped the corners of her mouth. "I thought the same thing."

"And, did it?" he asked.

She swallowed, unable to deny the flames between them. Her heart was overruling her head on this one. "No, not at all. I missed you."

His mouth claimed hers, hungry, hard, ravishing her with a soul-shattering kiss.

The future be damned. Spirals of ecstasy assaulted her body, warming her, thrilling her. She wanted the here and now.

Grayson placed his hands on her waist and walked with her until her back was against the wall. His mouth claimed hers with full, firm lips. She threaded her fingers into his wavy hair, pulling him toward her. He groaned. His lips left hers. She felt the heady sensation of his mouth now against her neck and moaned.

"I want you," he whispered, his voice low and husky.

"Oh, Grayson..."

He tore himself away from her neck and looked into her eyes. A spark of deep, indefinable emotion was in his expression. "It doesn't matter where you come from, Alice. All I know is that I can't fight my attraction to you anymore. I don't want to. It's sudden and quick and I feel so damn alive when I'm with you. Let me court you."

The shock of his request froze her limbs. She wasn't expecting this. He was everything she wanted in a man, secure in himself, who cared for others and his surroundings. He wanted to be with her because of who she was, not her riches or titles, at least not ones in this time, but all she could give him was heartbreak. She couldn't stand herself. Why did she have to let her heart rule her mind when it came to Grayson?

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7 comments:

Laura Breck said...

Thank you for being our guest at The Roses of Prose today, Stephanie. Your research into the history of roses is fascinating. I love that we can use the smell of roses to determine if a person is possessed by a demon! I'm going to try it on the mean guy down the street. LOL.

Great excerpt, very steamy!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Stephanie, loved your post. I used roses in my book Sleeping with the Lights on. A secret admirer sent my heroine messages using different rose colors. Your book sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

Jannine Gallant said...

Loved the rose history, Stephanie. I'm trying to picture King Tut holding a bouquet! Oh, love your title. Scoundrel is such a great, descriptive word.

Vonnie Davis said...

My mind is snagged on Napolean's Josephine holding roses to her mouth to hide her black teeth. Now there's a visual I could do without. Great post--so apt for our site, sweet roses that we are. Thanks for all your research.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Stephanie,
Great blog. Roses are my favourite flowers. I love the deep blood red ones the best. I didn't realise there was so much history behind them. Thank you for letting me know more about them.

Regards

Margaret

Barbara Edwards said...

Stephanie sent her apologies for being unable to get on-line during the storm. I'm sure everyone understands.
Barbara

Celia Yeary said...

I knew Steph could not get on-line--and I'm late anyway. Steph, you did a great job with story of roses. I did not know one bit of the information...except that a red rose means love.
We put a big spray of red roses on our mother's casket because when Daddy gave her flowers--not often in our frugal household--he gave her red roses.And she loved them.
Much luck with your steampunk--looks like reviewers love your book.Congratulations--Celia