Monday, August 31, 2015

Evelyn Nesbit: The Tragedy of the Turn-of-the-Century Supermodel

Sometimes you run across the most interesting stories when you are doing research. I have been working on a new Darlene Higginbottom story. Darlene being the main character in “Laid to Rest” and a Marilyn Monroe wannabe. Several readers have asked for a new Darlene story so I decided to write one where Darlene ends up in a haunted hotel. The ghost who confronts Darlene is from the turn-of-the-century. During my research, I ran across an interesting and tragic story about a young girl who became the Marilyn Monroe of her era.

Evelyn Nesbit was only 15 years old when she left Philadelphia for New York to work as an artist’s model. She had nothing but her looks and she was the sole provider for her mother and her brother. She was an overnight success, becoming the most sought-after model in the city.
Her looks were a combination of Victorian purity, yet with a hint of sensuality. She became an icon, posing for the covers of such magazines as Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar. Charles Gibson chose her to be one of his famous Gibson’s Girls.

By age 16, she was working as a chorus girl at night while modeling during the day. It was during a production where she was in a hit musical that she attracted the attention of 47-year-old Stanford White, a successful architect and man-about-town. He became obsessed with her and showered her with gifts. An extravagant man, White provided her and her family with a lavishly furnished apartment.

White convinced Evelyn’s mother that his attentions were paternal. Her mother made a trip out of town and during this time, White took Evelyn to his home where in a room paneled with mirrors, he had sex with her. She had been giving champagne prior to the rape and she had no memory of the incident, waking in the morning in his bed. For the next year, White continued to have sex with her. She met a young man who was close to her age and he asked her to marry him. When White found out, he had Evelyn shipped off to a girl’s school in New Jersey.

Henry Thaw was the son of a Pittsburg millionaire who was jealous of Stanford White. He arranged to meet Evelyn, who was not interested in him. Although he was mentally unstable, Thaw was the heir to his father’s fortune. When Evelyn became ill and had to have emergency surgery while in school, Thaw sent his personal physician to attend her. Afterward, he convinced her and her mother to travel to Europe with him for recuperation.

The trip was hectic and 17-year-old Evelyn was in a weakened state due to her physical condition. Thaw managed to estrange Evelyn from her mother, who stayed behind in London. Thaw proposed to Evelyn, who knew of his obsession with female chastity. She told him what Stanford White had done to her. This was beginning of Thaw’s hatred for White. Thaw took Evelyn to a castle in Austria where he had a manic episode and held her prisoner. For 2 weeks, he beat her with a whip and sexually assaulted her. Afterward, he was contrite and begged for her forgiveness.

Once she was back in the US, Evelyn realized she had no future with Stanford White and her relationship with him had ruined her chances of making a suitable match. Her mother remarried and started a new life without her. Thaw had pursued her for four years and fearing she would fall into financial ruin, she became his wife in 1905. They moved in Lyndhurst, the family mansion with Thaw’s mother.

A year later, in New York, Thaw and Evelyn attended a stage show at Madison Square Garden. Stanford White was also in attendance. Thaw pulled a gun and shot Stanford White three times in the head for ruining his wife. At first, the guests thought the murder was part of the show.

The scandal filled the newspapers and the trial became known as the “Trial of the Century.”
Religious groups lobbied to have media coverage censored and President Theodore Roosevelt fumed at newspapers printing the disgusting particulars of the trial.

Two trials were held and Thaw was declared insane. He was sent to a state hospital for the criminally insane where he escaped to Canada. He was finally released in 1915. He died in Florida at age 72.

Evelyn gave birth to a son in 1910, who Thaw never acknowledged as his child. She and her son appeared in several movies together. In 1915, she divorced Thaw. She did remarry once, but the notoriety of her past followed her and overwhelmed her husband who left her in 1918.

By the late 20’s, Evelyn struggled with alcoholism and morphine addiction. She did appear in stage shows and she ran a tea room. Thaw had kept her under surveillance by private detectives during this time. He provided no financial support and at the time of his death in 1947, he left her 10,000 dollars out of his estate.

In Los Angeles, she taught a ceramic class and was a technical advisor on a movie about her life, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing. Her son became a well-known pilot and served during WWII.

Unlike Marilyn Monroe, Evelyn did grow old and she died in a nursing home in 1967.

The movie, Ragtime, is based on her love triangle and White’s murder.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My One and Only UFO Sighting @leigh_mcqueen Blog

Check out my UFO guest post on Leigh McQueen's Blog. . .

Hey, Ya’ll. I am excited about today’s Spooky Saturday Story blog because it is a guest blog by my friend and AMAZING author, Patricia Preston. While a personal UFO account may not seem like a “spooky” story to some, I think it counts. Frankly, if I had seen a UFO, I would find it extremely eerie and unnerving. Thus, it fits with my blog theme. Also, it’s just cool! There are photos interspersed with the text to illustrate and I have included them in the order Patricia numbered them. At the end, you will also find a great bio of Patricia Preston so you can get to know who she is.
My One and Only UFO Sighting
Guest Blog by Patricia Preston
During a research trip to Shiloh Military Park last October, I decided to walk down to the Pittsburg Landing area, which is on the banks of the Tennessee River. This area is where Grant’s army, which was transported by boat to the Shiloh area, disembarked and set up camp.
It was a beautiful fall day and not a cloud in the sky. Since it was a weekday, the park wasn’t busy and I had the Pittsburg Landing area to myself. I had my digital camera with me so I was taking a lot of photographs, one right after the other. I never heard or saw anything out of the ordinary. It was the kind of pastoral quiet you experience when you’re away from people and cars. The river was a deep blue and the woods a deep green. Except for the sound of birds, I heard nothing else.
Read the rest and see photos at Leigh McQueen

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gratitude & Goals: August 28th

Welcome to the Weekly Gratitude and Goals Linky Party hosted by Julie at Velvet Rose and Suzanna at One Hoolie Mama! The idea behind this party is to take a step back and reflect on those things, both large and small, that we are thankful for in our lives this past week as well as think about what goals we may have for ourselves for the upcoming week. So share a list of everything and anything you are thankful for and add any goals you have for the week ahead. This party will start on Fridays, but you are welcome to link up any time during the week.

This has been a busy month for me!!! So here is my list of things I'm grateful for at this time.

1. I got a lot of much-needed outdoor work done. I'm not an outdoors person, so I had put it off all summer due to the heat. But the last half of this month has been like fall. Wow! I've had the windows open and it has been so nice. So I worked outdoor, washing off the porch, trimming up rose bushes, working in the storage shed.

2. I'm grateful I'm not having as much TMJ pain as I was. This is from a root canal. I hope I never have another one.

3. I'm grateful that it has been a productive month. I have finished up a new short story that stars Darlene from "Laid to Rest." I also had lots of fun making the cover for the story as well as cover for a friend who has finished up her ghost story. I'll have more on the blog about them later.

4. I am grateful I found some last-of-the-season tomatoes and okra at the farmer's market today. The tomatoes were so good. I love fresh tomatoes and hate to see them go.

Now for Goals

1. Make time to blog more often. Before social media, I loved my blog and reading other blogs. Now so much time is consumed by Twitter and Facebook and other places that I hardly have time to devote to it, but I am going to make an effort at it.

2. Get back to work on the historical. I stopped when I started working outside and then I decided to go ahead and do the short story for this Halloween.

3. Get the short story formatted.

4. Start looking forward to fall! My favorite season!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Irish Warrior by Ashley York

Check out this beautiful cover for Ashley York's new Medieval romance! 

The Irish Warrior is book 3 in The Norman Conquest Series. It's about Sean O'Cisoghe, the rejected love of Brighit MacNaughton in The Gentle Knight, and a new character, Thomasina MacDonell.

Visit Ashley's Website and check out all her books!