Posts tagged “Argeneau

A Lesson in Ancient Greek Beauty

Ancient Greek Beauty

So I was writing the new chapters for Dagger of the Sun (DOTS) and it got me thinking about armpit hair.

Yeah, I know…

Gross! 

But it got me thinking about how people in ancient times may have gotten rid of unwanted hair – I know laser treatments weren’t available yet. (No matter what Lynsay Sands would have me believe in her Argeneau series! There is no such thing as an evolved Atlantean civilization in DOTS, so I couldn’t just open up an Ideal Image laser salon on a random Greek street corner.)

So I did what any good scholar would do? I Googled it.

And I found an interesting article about the history of hair removal the NoNo website of all places. But I figured if anyone was going to know there stuff, it would be the experts. Here’s a snippet of what I found:

Ancient Egyptians removed unwanted hair with flint or bronze razors – they even invented a technique similar to waxing called sugaring, which used a sticky paste and a piece of cloth to yank the hair out at the root! Hair removal was very important to the Ancient Egyptians for cultural or perhaps even religious reasons. In Ancient Egypt, both men and women shaved their heads and wore wigs instead of their natural hair. They took it so seriously so long ago, that some Egyptian bronze and flint razors have been dated to over 3000 years ago, and sugaring is thought to date back as far as 3000-4000 BC!

Around that time people also developed the first depilatory creams, which chemically dissolve the hair above the skin. Other depilatories that date from that time dissolved hair above the skin as they still do today, but without the chemical and anatomical knowledge we have. This meant that early depilatories (5000-7000 years ago) were very irritating to the skin, and were probably quite painful. Simpler depilatories included quicklime, arsenic, and starch and more complex versions later on included resin, pitch, animal fats, and even bat’s blood!

In Ancient Greece, it was simply barbaric to have body hair, and people took great pains to remove any hair that would show them to be anything less than civilized. Any beards or unshaven areas besides the head would indicate that you were a lower class or even a slave – an appearance that was avoided if at all possible.

The information was surprisingly useful when it came to crafting my characters – I was also surprised to learn that I wouldn’t really have to change anything about their appearance. (I must have been channeling some Ancient Greek being when I wrote the character descriptions.)

After I found information on that, I started thing about teeth – because, really, what else what there to think about? And, once again, I turned to the Google gods for help. As generous as ever, they answered my prayers and I found a neat article about Ancient Greek oral hygiene:

How do we clean the teeth?  The simplest answer is with the finger.  Either the finger was wrapped with a cotton cloth, and then rubbed over the teeth to clean them, or the finger was dipped in some powdered substance with special properties to clean the teeth.  These tooth powders were the forerunners of our modern toothpaste.  

Or, the branch of a tree whose fragrant essential oils have antiseptic and other therapeutic properties for the teeth and gums could be chewed.  The chewed end would then come to resemble a brush of sorts, whose loose, frayed fibers could be brushed over the teeth to clean them.  

One tree native to Greece and much used by the ancient Greeks that fits these requirements rather nicely is the Laurel (Laurus nobilis), which the Greeks call Daphne.  Its essential oils are antiseptic, and also stimulate blood circulation to the gums, promoting their health and regeneration.  After chewing on the branch, or the leaves, your mouth is cleaned, and left with a fresh, clean scent.

Sometimes fresh, fragrant green herbs were chewed after a meal to cleanse the teeth and mouth and freshen the breath.  These fresh herbs included those of Fennel, Parsleyand Lovage.  Even today, fresh Parsley is often chewed to remove the odor of Garlic.  The seeds of these and other plants, such as the Cardamom, were also chewed to cleanse the mouth and freshen the breath. 

Finally, I also looked up some beauty tips – because it was something I thought my character Delphyne would appreciate after what I put her through in the first few chapters. I found one article in particular enlightening:

Women would start their routine with a bath, before applying a variety of oils and perfume to their skin. Honey and olive oil were used heavily, on their body, hair and in cosmetics for their moisturizing properties. Ancient Greek women wore their hair long and had a preference for it to be golden. This was achieved by using a vinegar solution that bleached the hair in the sun, or a yellow flower dye. Soap, pomades and wax were also used to give the hair shine. To enhance the texture of the hair, Hellenistic women often curled their hair and held it in place with combs. They used different embellishments and veils also. Gold and semi-precious stones were used as were diadems and flowers. A diadem was an ornamental headband primarily worn by the upper classes and royalty, if adorned with gems and gold. Scents were used in the hair and were made my boiling flowers, herbs and spices and mixed with olive oil. In the classical period, women only cut their hair during periods of mourning. Hair played a role as a social communicator and also emphasized class differentiation, as only slaves wore their hair short. 

The last article refers specifically to female beauty routines, but I’m sure that men had some as well. Unfortunately, those articles are harder to find. 😦

But overall, I found all the articles I extremely helpful, and I hope you get a chance to give them a read through in their entirety. (I’ve linked to all of them in the post.)

Rika Ashton

(aka The Researcher)

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The Good, the Bad and the Undead

So has Twilight changed the ruthless image of vampires for life? Fortunately, not – at least not for me. Most vampires that pre-existed, coexisted and post-existed the Twilight saga are not only less sparkly but also infinitely hotter! Of course, I give props to Stephenie Meyer for coming up with a “glittering” vampire storyline that didn’t exist before.

So back to the point at hand, if Twilight didn’t ruin vampire novels for me then can I recommend some hot, fanged men that will make you swoon? Boy, can I ever! But vampires aren’t the only creatures that go bump in the night, are they? So can I also recommend demons, warlocks, werewolves, etc? Of course, you really didn’t have to ask. But what about the good in the “The Good, the Bad and the Undead”? Trust me, I can recommend some guys you’ll be sure to think are positively angelic.

These men were critiqued on the following qualities, as decided by the readers:

1) Looks. The superficial and shallow, but still all-important HOTNESS rating. Is this man a stud or a dud? Do you look at him and think “I gotta get me one of those” or think “those damn sparkles are irritating me eyes”? (Sorry, couldn’t resist 😛 )

2) Loyalty. Like a puppy, the men of the supernatural variety must be loyal and faithful or the heroine (and the reading population) must unfortunately kick him to the curb.

3) Intelligence. Like does he know the difference between a felis catus and a canis lupis familiaris…of course, since I could not give them a biology test, I opted to read between the lines and observe things like how fast does they figured out the bad guy’s plan, etc.

4) Being non-superficial. The supernatural man must be able to see below the appearance of the female (or any flaws she may have) to discover the person within. After all, the man has super-vision he might as well put it to good use!

5) Sensitivity. No, I’m not talking about their teeth or even the toothpaste they use but their ability to care for their heroine’s feelings. The supernatural man must be able to tell that when the female asks a question like, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” the best answer is “You’re perfect.”

6) “Alpha-ness.” Under reasonable circumstances the fanged, furry, or winged man is allowed to be protective and/or possessive, but these must be welcome or he will risk spending days in the doghouse (or the pound for men of the furry variety, because they might actually like it).

7) Ability to be a badass. Can these men pull off playing the villain or are they just too damn nice?

(Each criteria was given a total score out of ten and then compiled in a sum total out of seventy and ranked. Yes, I was hard-core about the scoring, you wouldn’t believe how shamelessly some of these men tried to cheat.)

So without further ado here are the top ten supernatural men as voted by readers and fellow writers!

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#10. Carlos Panterra

There were-panther hottie is from Eat Prey Love by Kerrelyn Sparks is smart, sensitive and all round, entertaining. He made it onto our list for the ability to dance in a sequined thong without losing his masculinity. He has a solid score of 60/70 losing some major points for “badass-ness,” because frankly he is just too nice. However, the strengths include being extremely protective of the heroine, when required, and having a sense of humour despite the heroine’s tendency to aim for male anatomical parts best left alone during training sessions. He also gets props for major basketball skills! 😀

#9. Cade

Our resident demon bad boy is Cade from Kresley Cole’s Dark Desires After Dusk. Cade delivers on the seductive demon promise that we all want, a possessive demon hottie with a tortured past. Unfortunately, Cade’s past doesn’t remain in the past and conflicted loyalties make his lose major points of trust with the heroine. (No, he doesn’t cheat on her just to clarify or he wouldn’t have made it onto the list at all. As it is his “past” is not a female problem but a problem of political intrigue.) He does reclaim points in the end for grovelling and keeping me entertained throughout his novel. Cade pulls of a solid 61/70.

#8. Conde Cezar

I can say one thing for Cezar – despite his name sounding like a Ceasar salad, he is definitely a man, of the fanged variety that is. This vamp gets majors points for being faithful to a woman for two hundred years to be precise with nary a sign from her. And of course, when he finds her again he gets to act protective and possessive, I found no fault with this considering how much Anna and Cezar loved each other. Like most of Alexandra Ivy’s “Guardians of Eternity” men, Cezar’s possessive protectiveness will simply make you swoon and hope he’s nearby to catch you. You can read all about him in Darkness Revealed and he scores a noteworthy 62/7o!

#7. Raphael

From resident bad boy to angelic good guy, Raphael has got it all. Beautiful gold-tipped white wings and blue eyes that can see into your soul, Raphael has got the looks category won. And Nalini Singh agrees that one book is definitely not enough to give us our fill of Raphael so he stars in not one book but 3, the “Guild Hunter” series including Angel’s Blood, Archangel’s Kiss, Archangel’s Consort. Best of all, Raphael knows how to be a possessive badass – bet you didn’t expect that of an angel did you? This archangel of New York knows that being bad can be, oh so good! Judges declare that Raphael receives the greatness score of 63/70.

#6. Acheron Parthenopaus

Oh, Ash, Ash, Ash…what to say, what to say? Actually, what not to say? When it comes to looks no one can beat him! No really, no one can. You see he was cursed a long time ago by his aunt the Goddess of Desire to be the most desirable man in the world. But, really, he would have had that title in the bad regardless being an immortal Atlantean god. When it comes to “badass-ness,” he got it down to an art form from his FU clothes to his never-the-same colour hair. But, unfortunately, Ash just doesn’t have enough opportunities to show his possessive side in his novel, Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon, to compete with the other males on this list. He scores a nice 64/70.

#5. Mick

This dragon knows how to turn up the heat. Good looking, badass but a sweetheart, distant but loyal Mick’s a mass of contradictions. Best of all he also has more than one book. Allyson James introduced Mick in Stormwalker, revealed more of his secrets in Firewalker and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the upcoming Hexed anthology and novel Shadow Walker. But of course behind every great man is a woman and Janet Begay heroine and first-person narrator of the “Stormwalker” series is definitely makes Mick sound like a man I wanna know! Mick receives a nice 65/70.

#4. Lachlan MacRieve

Lachlan the lykae’s novel A Hunger Like No Other was the first book I ever read by Kresley Cole and he was the reason I come back to the “Immortals After Dark” series again and again. Lachlan is a tortured hero, whose sole purpose in life since the moment he breaks out of jail is to find his mate. Talk about dedication! Little does he know that his mate is a vampire, the very creatures who have tortured him for millennia. Lachlan and Emma get off to a rocky start, but Lachlan’s love and desire for Emma overcome his initial and the two reach their happily ever after! Lachlan struts into the sixties with a solid 66/70.

#3. Lucian Argeneau

Lynsay Sands’ Lucian from Bite Me if You Can makes number three in this epic battle between the supernatural. Lucien is cranky, arrogant, bossy and an all-round unlikeable vampire at the start of his novel. Nor is her very nice to Leigh, his life-mate – though he doesn’t know it – when he first meets her. Oh, he has very good reasons for the way he is, but nothing chased away my uncertainty with him as a hero until the moment he fell. And, oh boy, how the mighty fall – fall in love that is! He’s now everything a woman could want, sensitive, protective, generous and just plain amazing at everything he does. Lucian scored a worthy 65/70.

#2. Zarek

Zarek from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dance with the Devil is one lovable psycho Dark-Hunter…and yes, he really is psycho and not a wannabe psycho, I mean would a sane man battle with a polar bear with nothing buy his metal claws no matter how immortal he thought he was. Zarek has a reason for his craziness of course; he thinks he murdered everyone in a village that he was supposed to protect and has carried this guilt around for a long, long time. Enter Astrid, the beautiful but blind justice nymph who has been sent to judge Zarek by Acheron and Artemis. Zarek falls for her almost instantaneously after she shows him a kindness he’s forgotten how to accept, but doesn’t think he’s worthy of someone as great as her. But unlike some guys who turn into marshmallows after they fall in love, Zarek retains nearly all of his original “badass-ness” and is only ever a marshmallow for Astrid. He’s still an outcast, still hot and still a psycho but the best kind of each! Zarek pulls in a noticeable 67/70 points.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the number one overall SUPERNATURAL HOTTIE is…

#1. Bones

Jeaniene Frost’s Bones from the “Night Huntress” and the spinoff, “Night Huntress World” series is one of the biggest reasons why I have not been turned of vampires by the Twilight disease. Bones is too awesome in too many ways and that’s probably why he has over 6 books published, not including anthologies, and many more upcoming novels. But like I said before, every great man has an equally great woman behind him and Cat, Bones’ wife, is probably his biggest supporter in her first-person narrated novels. The way she tells it, Bones is funny, smart and infinitely preoccupied with trying to get his wife into bed every opportunity he gets…which makes him all the more fun to talk about. But more importantly, Bones scored nearly straight ten’s in all the categories, losing only one point each for sensitivity and “badass-ness.” Bones is not nearly as bad as Zarek, so he lost a point for that and not nearly as sensitive as Carlos, who is our resident nice guy. But Bones is still one hot vamp with a 69/70! (For a full list of Bones’ novels go to Jeaniene Frost’s website, because honestly there are too many to list.)

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That concludes the top ten supernatural battle royale. But if you want to learn more about the worlds these guys come from then I recommend reading their entire series because this was just a taste of what’s out there! How’s that for reading material to keep you busy for the next year or so? 😀

And because we love getting introduced to new supernatural hotties, who is your favourite all-time paranormal hero and why?

-Rika Ashton (aka The Judgemental)