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Medieval Monday with Mary Morgan!

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Categories: Research

Today is Medieval Monday! Welcome to Mary Morgan, author of DRAGON KNIGHT’S SWORD.

Here’s hoping that you’ll find someone new to add to your TBR list!

DragonKnightsSword_w7485_300 (2)

Duncan Mackay will do anything to lift the curse from his family – even forfeit his own life. But his plans change when he encounters the woman from his dreams, literally. She is from the future, somehow has his lost sword, and can talk to the Dragon that is able to lift his family’s curse.

Brigid O’Neill has spent her life listening to the mythological legends from Ireland and Scotland. So, when an ancient sword lands at her doorstep and she starts dreaming of a rugged Highlander, she drops everything and takes on a quest that will alter everything she believes.

Before their journey ends, not only will Duncan and Brigid battle an ancient curse, they must also find the courage to believe in the destiny that brought them together.

Excerpt:

He stood next to the waterfall. Beads of water glistened from his dark locks.

Brigid watched as they trailed down his chiseled torso, traveling down to where his tartan was wrapped low on his waist. The wind whipped at the folds of his plaid, the power coiling within and around him, as mystical as the land he stood on.

“Ancient warrior,” she uttered softly.

When she looked up into his eyes, they smoldered with desire, and it startled her. A sensual shiver ran through her, wanting to be crushed within his embrace. The raw desire to be in this man’s arms, touching and tasting him, was so potent, she could feel her heart hammering inside her chest.

He tilted his head to the side, as if studying his prey.

Brigid didn’t know if she should run or step into his massive arms.

He took a step toward her, and her pulse quickened. The very air around her seemed electrified. He then took another…and another, until he stood
merely inches in front of her.

Her breathing became labored, as he bent his head leaning close to her ear. She was engulfed in a sensual haze wanting his lips to touch her anywhere and put an end to her torture. His mouth was so close, she could feel a dark lock of his hair against her cheek, and she shuddered.

“Bring me back my sword,” he growled into her ear.

Brigid’s eyes flew open, clutching the sheets as the last fragments of her dream faded.

Buy Links:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, TWRP – The Wild Rose Press

Follow me via:

http://www.facebook.com/mary.morgan.564

http://www.twitter.com/m_morganauthor

http://www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50

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Stupid Movie Blog Tour: Timeline (2003)

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Categories: Research

Just to be completely upfront about this movie, it has a staggeringly low 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/timeline/ so you know going into it that nobody liked it but me.

Timeline-gerard-butler-11139466-1280-1024Truthfully, my whole family thinks it’s WAY better than that. Of course,  most of us are suckers for anything medieval. This movie derives from the book Timeline, by Michael Crichton (of Jurassic Park fame). While it’s been a long time since I actually read the book, I enjoyed the movie more, mostly because the plot is actually a bit less intricate, and the motivations of the various characters are clearer than in the movie. In a nutshell, the movie is about a bunch of archaeologists who are excavating a site in France–funded by an American corporation they don’t know much about–who end up being effectively faxed to the middle ages by that same corporation. Seriously, what could be better?

Okay, to the review:

The Good:

First off: Gerard Butler. This is one of his first movies, and he is adorable in it. He is the main ‘hero’ character, who does the right thing for the right reasons and ends up getting the most out of the time traveling back to medieval France.

Secondly: David Thewlis. He plays the overzealous and slightly evil owner of the company that has been experimenting with time travel. Unfortunately, as the body count rises, he falls apart–and does it very well.

The plot: It hangs together! This isn’t one of those movies (Star Trek: Into Darkness) where you walk out having been taken on a fantastic ride only to realize afterwards that none of it makes any sense. At all.

The Bad:

So, having explained how the plot hangs together, there’s a bunch here that makes no sense, beginning with Gerard Butler falling in love with this woman basically sight unseen. He’s a romantic, we get that, and was in love with her BEFORE he met her, but … Fortunately, we do get that he’s so in love with the Middle Ages that he’s willing to give up the 21st century for it. And die young. That’s Michael Crichton, not the movie writers, so you can’t blame this movie for his ending. One part of the book that worked better.

The archaeology/science is really bad. To start, you’re not going to get good dating on a pair of 21st century glasses, no matter how long they’ve been sitting in a unopened medieval chamber. For carbon dating you need … carbon, amazingly enough. And you’re certainly not going to do it in a 1/2 hour in a makeshift lab. The acting in that scene is really bad too.

And the faxing … it’s basically the transporter platform in Star Trek but with the element of time thrown in. Yeah, you have to suspend disbelief. Again, Michael Crichton’s fault.

The Ugly:

“Oh my God” “Oh my God” “Oh my God”. Once you hear the main characters say this once, and then twice, and then for the thirty-sixth time, you know that the script needs a major overhaul. The fact that the actors are able to deliver their lines with anything resembling aplomb is a credit to them.

But hey–I’d watch the movie again. Gerard Butler. Enough said.

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Medieval Monday with Ashley York!

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MedMon

Historical Romance writer Ashley York loves history and intrigue. Her latest book, The Saxon Bride, is the first in her Norman Conquest Series. Here is a little about the book:

In war torn England the battle lines between Saxon and Norman are clearly drawn. The Saxons must fight for everything they have in the hopes of winning their country back from the Normans who are determined to break their resistance.

Rowena Godwinson, the sole remaining member of the defeated royal family, stands proudly against the Normans that would trample them underfoot but her nobility and grace make her an ideal pawn in the Norman King William’s play for power with the Saxon people. When he decrees she marry a powerful Norman knight, her subjugation appears to be complete. The handsome soldier with the kind brown eyes and gentle touch is a threat to her determination to defy the interlopers. Can she hold firm to her Saxon heritage and refuse to give in to his advances?

John of Normandy wants only to prove himself worthy of the king’s trust. He is rewarded for his service and loyalty with land, titles and a Saxon beauty for a bride. John balks at the marriage, driven by the secret guilt of knowing Rowena’s father died at his sword. However, John’s reluctance is soon replaced by a burning desire to please this woman and win her over as well as her people.

As their people look to them for guidance and peace, can John and Rowena find a love that unites all of England?

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Excerpt from The Saxon Bride:

Pacing the small area like a confined animal, she finally paused to look out the window. The dreary day reflected her feelings, rain threatening at any moment. “Do you know when my husband will be returning?”

“I am back now.”

John stood in the doorway handsomely dressed as befit the new Lord of Essex. Rowena’s breath caught in her throat. She looked away before the immense pleasure she felt at his return showed on her face.

Joan quickly gathered her sewing and removed herself from the room, closing the door behind her.

“Will you attend me, my lady?”

Rowena went to him and helped him remove his surcoat before seeing to the heavier chainmail. He smelled of horses and leather. Manly. Rowena tried not to close her eyes as she drank in the intoxicating smell of him. Why would a dirty, sweaty man make her feel so light headed? She stepped away when she realized why, the chainmail slipping forward off his arms. His hooded eyes told her that he knew what she was feeling.

“Is there a problem?” His deep voice seemed to reverberate through her body.

Quickly putting the heavy material down, she headed to the door. “I will order a bath for you.”

“Wait.”

Rowena froze with her hand on the latch and heard him coming toward her. He stood close behind, his breath soft against her cheek.

“Yes?” Be done with this. Her body yearned for his arms to pull her against him, to feel his kiss again. She licked her lips.

“Why are you leaving in such a hurry?” His hand lightly touched the side of her head as he spoke, pushing her hair away from her face. He leaned in closer to her exposed ear. A responding shiver ran down her body. “Are you afraid of me?”

She backed up to the door with a thud and faced him. Her pulse was racing as she lied. “No, my lord. Methinks you have a rather strong odor about you and I would have you take a bath before the evening meal.”

John backed away quickly, his eyes flying open. “I am sorry if I offend you. Please see to the bath.”

Rowena felt only slightly guilty when he turned away from her, standing like a lost little boy in the middle of the room.

Buy link:  The Saxon Bride  available now.

Ashley York loves to hear from her fans. Visit her at ashleyyorkauthor@gmail.com, Facebook, Twitter, and her website www.ashleyyorkauthor.com

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Calan Gaeaf

Categories: Research

fallen princess front v2November 1 is known today to the Catholic Church as All Saint’s Day, but within Celtic tradition, it was always celebrated as the first day of winter. The Church took this pagan tradition (as it did with many others) and made it a holy day. During the medieval period, Calan Gaeaf was a harvest festival. The night before, Nos Galan Gaeaf, was a moment when the veil between the human world and the world of the spirits thinned. Nos Galan Gaeaf has become the modern Halloween.

“The harvest had been gathered in, excess livestock had been culled or killed off and put into storage for the coming year. It was very much a communal festivity, a time for celebration and enjoyment. Everyone, from the farmer to the lowest cow hand, had participated in growing crops and keeping the animals and now they would celebrate together.

Often this manifested itself in the traditions such as the harvest mare. Corn would be fashioned into the shape of a horse and hung above the hearth. But getting the harvest mare into the house was a cause of much horseplay – the origin of the term – when women tried to prevent it coming inside, soaking it with water, and the men attempted to keep it dry.

In Wales 1 November, the first day of winter, was called Calan Gaeaf. The night before – the eve of the day – was referred to as Nos Galan Gaeaf or, occasionally Spirit Night. And many traditions gradually grew up around the festival. Almost inevitably, they were connected with all things frightening or disconcerting.”  http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/wales/posts/halloween_nos_galan_gaeaf

As a side note for my American readers, ‘corn’ is a New World food and was not available in Europe until after 1492. However, in the UK ‘corn’ is a generic word which refers to all grains used to produce flour (barley, wheat, as well as ‘maize’ in modern times). http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/corn_1

Customs

  • Coelcerth – Families build a fire and place stones with their names on it. The person whose stone is missing the next morning would die within the year.
  • Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta – Legend has it that a fearsome spirit called Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta took the form of a tail-less black sow and roamed the countryside with a headless woman. Children would rush home early.
  • Eiddiorwg Dalen – A few leaves of ground ivy is thought to give you the power to see hags. For prophetic dreams a boy should cut ten ivy leaves, throw away one and put the rest under his head before he sleeps. A girl should take a wild rose grown into a hoop, creep through it three times, cut it in silence, and go to bed with it under her pillow.

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Offa’s Dyke

Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

In 780 AD, King Offa of Mercia was at the height of his authority.  Prior to his rule, in 750 AD, King Eliseg (immortalized by Eliseg’s Pillar near Llangollen) had swept the Saxons out of the plains of Powys.  Offa, in turn, attacked Powys in 778 and 784, and tradition states that he built the dyke, sometime (or throughout) his reign.  Prior to this, Aelthelbald, King of Mercia, had built ‘Wat’s Dyke’, which extends from the Severn Valley northwards towards the estuary of the Dee (A History of Wales, John Davies p. 62).

There is a quote from George Borrow, from Wild Wales, that “it was customary for the English to cut off the ears of every Welshman who was found to the east of the dyke, and for the Welsh to hang every Englishman whom they found to the west of it”.  This is potentially apocryphal, but indicates the significance of this man-made border between the two countries.

One of the biggest mysteries about Offa’s Dyke, in addition to when it was built, is why?  It was a huge undertaking to construct the earthwork, 150 miles in length, up to 65 feet wide and 8 feet high in places, along the entire length of the border between what is now England and Wales.  It clearly wasn’t made to keep the Welsh out of England, or to protect the Saxons in Mercia–since it was never defended.  Both English and Welsh kingdoms appeared to have a hand in determining where to build it, since it runs to the east of Wat’s Dyke when they are parallel, and in Gwent in particular, leaves lowlands to Wales to the east of natural features it might normally have followed.  It was dug, however, “with the displaced soil piled into a bank on the Mercian (eastern) side. Where the earthwork encounters hills, it goes to the west of them, constantly providing an open view from Mercia into Wales.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offa’s_Dyke  The prevailing opinion to date was that Offa built it as a sign of authority and power–as a means of saying, to a certain extent, ‘after this wall, here be dragons.’

I, personally, like the theory that Offa’s Dyke is a Roman construction:

The Roman historian Eutropius in his book, Historiae Romanae Breviarium, written around 369, mentions the Wall of Severus, a structure built by Septimius Severus who was Roman Emperor between 193 and 211:

Novissimum bellum in Britannia habuit, utque receptas provincias omni securitate muniret, vallum per CXXXIII passuum milia a mari ad mare deduxit. Decessit Eboraci admodum senex, imperii anno sexto decimo, mense tertio. Historiae Romanae Breviarium, viii 19.1

He had his most recent war in Britain, and to fortify the conquered provinces with all security, he built a wall for 133 miles from sea to sea. He died at York, a reasonably old man, in the sixteenth year and third month of his reign.

However, this site, http://www.cpat.org.uk/news/oldnews/offaro.htm explains why this is unlikely. “The evident dislocation of Offa’s Dyke from the currently recognised pattern of early 3rd century military sites in the Welsh borders. This includes the legionary fortresses at Chester in the north and Caerleon in the south, other forts such as those at Leintwardine, Caersws and Forden Gaer, and a road system of which some elements are still in use today as parts of the modern, A5, A39 and A41 routes. The alignment of Offa’s Dyke shows no tangible geographical association or functional integration with this network. Indeed, it is in any case very hard to see what possible purpose such an undertaking could have served in Roman occupied western Britain, especially when the surviving Dyke is actually not a 130 mile complete frontier but is only spread discontinuously over that approximate length with extensive unexplained gaps (80 miles of earthwork are known).”

Furthermore, Ian Bapty, Offa’s Dyke Archaeological Management Officer with CPAT states:  “the attribution of the Dyke to Offa by Asser in his late 9th century ‘Life of Alfred’, echoed by the tradition of the ‘Offa’s Dyke’ name itself which can be documented back as far as the 13th century, has been accepted as correct by Anglo-Saxon scholars. ‘Offa’s Dyke is an extraordinary survival from our Anglo-Saxon past’ says Ian Bapty ‘and extraordinary exactly because it is Anglo-Saxon and as such sheds crucial light on a key period of our history when the modern political geography of Britain was beginning to appear. While we can perhaps associate descriptions of the ‘missing’ wall of Severus with somewhat confused and secondarily derived later accounts of Hadrian’s Wall – which was much rebuilt in the time of Severus – we surely cannot backdate Offa’s Dyke to Roman times, and to do so would be to miss the real significance and historical impact of this amazing earthwork’.

‘Ultimately I’d be ready to wager my granny on the fact that Offa’s Dyke is Anglo-Saxon and not Roman!’ says Ian ‘although I’d also have to be say that I’d be keeping granny firmly out of the stakes when it comes to betting on most other aspects of our understanding of the Dyke, including key issues such as exactly why it was built, how it was built, and what it’s original appearance and total extent was. I think it is the process of trying to answer these questions which may throw up some real and lasting revelations concerning not just Offa’s Dyke itself, but the very origins of Welsh and English culture and society’.”  http://www.cpat.org.uk/news/oldnews/offaro.htm

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Medieval Monday with Cathy MacRae

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Categories: Research

MedMon

Every Monday, I’ve been co-hosting Medieval Mondays with other Medieval romance authors.  This means you can get a peek at new authors and find out about upcoming books from authors you already love.

Be sure to check in each Monday!

The lastest author is Cathy MacRae, author of The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride.

PictureThe setting is 1377 and King Robert II is on the throne of Scotland. Though relatively quiet at this point in his reign, the time is still fraught with peril from pirates roaming the western coastline and the English control of much of the Lothians and the border lands to the south. In the first book of the series, The Highlander’s Accidental Bride, King Robert demands the end of a feud between two Highland clans. Though he allows his southern earls to engage in activities to regain their lands from the English, he has less tolerance for Highland clan feuds- especially when they are continually brought to his notice. In The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride, the king responds to a plea for help against the pirates.

Book cover blurb, The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride:

Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter.

Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him.

Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a 4-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve?
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Excerpt:

“So, the king forced Eaden to wed,” she murmured. Her gaze caught Ranald’s. “What will he do to me?”

Ranald noted Riona’s sudden pallor, her gray eyes widening until they were naught but huge silver orbs glowing against her skin. Now was as good a time as any to tell her what King Robert intended for her, but he could not force the words.

“Ye are a laird’s daughter,” he reminded her. “And an heiress. Yer mother’s dower lands north of here are of great value to the king.”

“And I am of little worth, aye?” Riona flared.

“Nae. Ye are of great worth.”

“But a pawn to the king.”

Ranald sighed. This was not going as he planned. “We are all pawns in one way or another, Ree. The king willnae let ye stay on yer own. Ye are a ward of the crown, now.”

“So, he’ll marry me off to some rebellious laird he wants to drag over to his side, using me and my lands to hold him?”

“Nae. No’ so bad as all that.”

“Mayhap to a wealthy laird who’s all but doddering in his cups, hoping I’ll no’ breed an heir before he dies, giving title of the land to the king and my next husband?”

Ranald lifted an eyebrow. The lass was getting worked up over nothing. “Marriage, yes. Doddering auld man, no.”

Riona snapped her head to one side, a glower on her face. “Then, who?”

Ranald swallowed and offered a crooked smile.

“Me.”
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Amazon Buy Link: www.amzn.com/B00J1PNPPC/

Please visit with me on my website: www.cathymacraeauthor.com
or on facebook_ Cathy MacRae or Cathy MacRae Author
cathymacrae@cathymacraeauthor.com

I love to hear from readers!

Thanks for checking out this new series of posts! What is your favorite Medieval place/time?

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Medieval Monday with Mageela Troche!

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Categories: Research

Welcome to Mageela Troche, my guest for this week’s Medieval Monday!

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Mageela Troche loves Scotland. Claiming the Highlander is her latest novel set in those rugged, misty lands and revisits characters from her other two novels. Here a little about the book:

Caelen MacKenzie married heiress Lady Brenna Grant in his youth for a large parcel of land and an earldom. Years later, Scotland trembles from the tales of the Viking Highlander yet Caelen must face his most challenging battled—returning home and to the past he ran from.

Lady Brenna loves her husband. As her loyalties are tested, the life she was reared to live is in jeopardy. She know no other life as the Countess and wife to Caelen. Snagged in the power plays of men, she will do anything to save that life and the man she loves.

From the rugged western highlands to the glittering Scottish court, they must battle the machinations of powerful men scheming against them.

ClaimingtheHighlander_MEDExcerpt from Claiming the Highlander:

1244, Scotland

 

His bride didn’t want to marry.

The King of Scotland wanted this wedding. Her holdings couldn’t fall into the hands of the Islemen, so they could not encroach into Scotland. His father, Laird MacKenzie, wanted this marriage to increase his holdings and bring an earldom to the family, raising their standing from barons. Laird Grant wanted this marriage to increase his ties to the powerful MacKenzies.

His bride wanted a berry tart.

The king, Alexander II, ambled to the aisle and stared at the little girl, tugging to free her arm from her nursemaid’s grip. Behind the king, lords and ladies scooted closer, stretching their necks for a glimpse of the wailing bride.

“After the ceremony, ye may have one.” Her nursemaid tugged on her arm to drag the wee lass to the altar.

“Nay.” Brenna Grant plopped down on her behind, falling in a mess of plaid that flopped her about and a lot of chestnut hair that covered her face.

Caelen wagered she wore a pout to match her crossed arms. The nursemaid lowered herself and wagged a finger at his bride. “Ye will be a proper lady and marry or ye shall not have any treats and shall be locked in the chamber.”

His bride pushed aside her nursemaid’s outstretched hand and ran toward the altar and beyond it. “I am running away!” She ducked under the altar.

The bishop sputtered. Spit flew from the corners. He goggled at the king. The nursemaid stomped her way to the altar and flipped up the frontal. “Get yeself out from under there. I na spare the rod, child.”

“Nay,” she screamed. She kicked the altar. The whole thing shook. Even the gold cross wavered, then righted.

“Ye wicked girl. Ye not be going to heaven and seeing yer mama.”

“Liar!”

Caelen snatched a tart from the table. He nudged aside the nursemaid and knelt down. “Here’s the treat if you come do this.”

Baby fine brown hair brushed her forehead. Her groomed brows furrowed over her narrowed eyes. Those brown eyes dominated her soft, full-cheeked face. Her lips were pressed into a stubborn line.

“She’ll get her dress dirty.”

“Enough. Take it and let’s wed.” He held out the treat. She stretched her neck out and chomped her teeth into the dough.

She climbed out on her hands and knees. Caelen took her dimpled hand. Caelen curled his hand carefully around hers. She held it so trustingly. He almost pulled away. This wedding would be done this day and two days hence, he would return to his foster home at Clan MacLean and return to training. He had to be a feared warrior like his grandfather and father so he could lead the clan one day.

He halted before the bishop and inclined his head. The bishop cleared his throat and watched Brenna eat her treat. She smacked her lips after each bite. Her nursemaid stretched out her neck and bore her black eyes into his happily eating bride. Brenna raised her nose high in the air and smacked her lips louder, even spitting out a chewed morsel. On her last bite, with fruit on the corners of her mouth, she was now his wife—the future Lairdess of the Clan MacKenzie and Countess of Wester Ross. She wiped her mouth with her sleeve, leaving a smeared red trail across the fine silk of her heather-hued gown.

“That was the easiest way to get a lass to the altar.” Laird MacKenzie laughed. The boom traveled through the great hall. Brenna threw back her head and let out some gruff ha-ha.

“He shall never have it that easy again,” the King added.

Caelen took her sticky hand and led her to the dais. He picked her up and set her in the chair. She climbed to her knees. “Thank you,” she said, her tongue peeking out from between the gap in her teeth. She rubbed her eyes and then sat back on her heels.

She squirmed to free her legs from under her. She tapped Caelen on his forearm. “I lost my shoe.” She lifted her foot and wiggled her toes at him. Caelen ducked under the table and spotted a crumpled fluff that must be her slipper. It was the softest, most girlish material he had ever seen. He hooked his thumb on the back and lifted it out. The thing barely filled his palm. Brenna propped her foot on the chair’s arm. Her little plump toes wiggled. He cupped her heel in his palm, sure he would break her. He stared at her foot, left and then right. How did he put it on without ripping the thing or crushing her toes? He slipped her toes in and then the rest of her foot.

She smiled before sitting back on her legs. She propped her chin on her dimpled hand. “What does a husband do?”

Caelen shrugged.

“My da tells my new mama what to do but you can’t do that. I don’t like that. You have to protect me and love me.” Her high-pitched voice held a thread of authority. “We can play but you can’t scare me. I don’t like that.”

“And a wife?” He threw out as she drew in air.

“Same thing.” She shrugged. “Don’t forget. You’re my husband and I love you.”

Laird Grant lifted his cup. “To the bond of MacKenzie and Grant. May we cut down our enemies and love our women.”

The revelry swirled around them. As the French wine flowed, the toasts from their future children to the great battles Caelen would fight bounced off the great hall’s beams. Only the feast of pheasant, deer, swan, and every sea creature in Scottish waters ceased their shouts. Halfway through the procession of delights, Brenna curled up in her chair and dozed off.

She was nothing more than brown hair, wide, brown eyes, and the pinkest lips he had ever seen. She was funny looking.

She was his wife.

He didn’t even have chest hair.

Buy Claiming the Highlander at http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=10&products_id=937or http://www.amazon.com/Claiming-Highlander-Mageela-Troche-ebook/dp/B00N70RHWO/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410414322&sr=1-3&keywords=mageela+troche

Mageela Troche loves to make new friends. You can find her athttps://www.facebook.com/mageela.troche  at her http://mageelatroche.com/or https://twitter.com/MageelaTroche

Mageela Troche is currently writing her next novel in the cramped corner of her Big Apple apartment.

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Warden of Time is available now!

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Categories: Research

Warden of Time

warden of-time-frontAs both modern man and medieval king, David is committed to transforming medieval England into his own version of Avalon. Not everyone supports his ideals, however, and having offended the pope by welcoming Jews and heretics into England, David is summoned to Canterbury to explain himself.

But when information comes to light that reveals the accusations against him have less to do with religion than with power and wealth, David finds himself on familiar ground—and at the center of conspiracy that stretches from Ireland to Italy. Facing excommunication, a fickle populace, and a rebellion even by his fellow time travelers, he must decide what his throne is worth, and what he’s willing to sacrifice to keep it.

Warden of Time was released on October 19, 2014 and is available at Amazon US and all Amazon stores, a Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, and iBooks.

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Medieval Monday with Jill Hughey!

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Categories: Research

Today on Medieval Monday, I’m featuring Unbidden, Book One in Jill Hughey’s Evolution Series which will take you to the rarely explored medieval world of Charlemagne’s Empire where aristocrats, warriors, merchants and servants find love in the most unexpected places! If you like swoon-worthy yet mildly flawed heroes and independent not-too-perfect heroines, then step in to a Jill Hughey Romance.

BLURB

Rochelle of Alda, a feisty Frank noblewoman, expects to continue her industrious life managing her family’s estate. When her emperor summons her to the palace to meet the skilled soldier she is required to marry, Rochelle engages in a battle for independence from David of Bavaria. As her own deceptions multiply, she suspects another of also plotting against their marriage. To her surprise, and too late, David’s passion and patience begin to win her heart. Can their love survive the tangled web of her schemes and the secret adversary David refuses to see?

In this excerpt of David and Rochelle’s first meeting, David has arrived to take Rochelle to the palace for the betrothal, and is dismayed to learn her mother has told her nothing about it.

EXCERPT

David turned his head as the noise from the door escalated, unsure what he expected to enter his life. Given her mother’s shocking hair, he didn’t hold his hopes too high for the girl’s appearance, no matter what Theo said. The need for deception to even get her to Aix did not indicate a particularly biddable personality. Based on the increasingly violent rattling from the latch, she couldn’t even open doors for herself.

He was about to climb the steps to offer assistance when the door finally wrenched open, releasing a storm of muttering about city workmanship and rotten carpentry carried in a whirlwind of deep blue linen. She all but flung herself onto the narrow staircase. Not exactly light of foot nor entirely graceful, she rushed down the stairs, noticing his presence in time to abruptly stop on the bottom step.

She stared at him.

From across the room he could feel the chill of cold caution. Even so, his concern about her looks evaporated. She stood taller than her mother, clear skinned, with eyes of a soft green. The gold circlet on her head held her veil neatly in place, covering what it was intended to cover. An unexpected desire to see the color of her hair shot through him. He could only approximate it from her eyebrows:  not quite brown, but certainly not red either. And her female attributes remained a mystery to him as well, hidden under layers of varying shades of blue, though a heavy gold girdle studded with aquamarines suggested narrow hips.

“Mother?” she queried.

David reluctantly turned to Marian, who, it appeared, had been watching him stare at her daughter. A small smile quirked her lips. Her tightly clasped hands now lay on her chest as if in prayer. She did not find her voice until David cleared his throat expectantly.

“Rochelle!” she said too loudly. “Theophilus, the gentleman who has helped us so much, sent this burly young man to escort ye to yer audience with the emperor. He is called David. A Bavarian, no less!”

David raised his brow at her rather obtuse explanation of his role in the upcoming event. Marian gave him a slight warning shake of her head. Well, if the woman hadn’t the courage to tell this girl the truth of the matter, he certainly did. He didn’t know much about getting along with women, but he guessed that starting his marriage with deception – and necessarily short-lived deception at that – could not be wise.

As he opened his mouth to explain exactly who he was, Rochelle spoke, “I do not see why I need an escort. I found the palace yesterday.”  She lowered herself off the last step and strode toward him with a confident swing of her arms. “But if Theophilus wants to share his guard, so be it.”

Marian bobbed her head. “It was quite thoughtful of him.”

David held up a hand. “I am not Theo’s guard. And did you just suggest you were wandering about the city yesterday, alone?”

Rochelle studied him assessingly. Yes, assessingly was the only word for it and, God help him, she was lovely up close. Her not brown, not red brows arched over green eyes flecked with hazel. A dusting of freckles decorated a thin nose that flared pertly at the nostrils. Her soft pink lips were slightly parted exposing straight teeth.

“Not alone. Our servant, Gilbert, was with me.”

“Gilbert, the bag of bones who opened the door?” David scoffed. “He could not keep a street rat away much less a pack of thieves. From this day forth, you will not leave here without an able-bodied man at your side.”  She smelled nice.

Rochelle placed her hands on her hips, pleasantly outlining a slim waist beneath her clothing. “What has given you the idea you can make pronouncements such as that to me?  I will go where I wish, when I wish, escorted or not, as I wish!”  Her chest heaved a bit and there were breasts under that tunic, he could tell, and damn it when was the last time he’d lain with a woman?  He mentally bridled himself. First, betrothal. Betrothal was the task set before him today. It was time to attend to that task.

He stepped forward, purposely crowding her and letting his hard gaze bore into her fiery eyes, daring her to challenge him. “I will tell you what gives me the right –“

Marian made a strangled sound before finding her words. “Ye should be going!  It will not do to be late to the palace.”

Rochelle eyed first him, then Marian, before backing away to grasp her mother’s hands. “Mother, I do wish you would reconsider. Certainly the nobles have forgotten your circumstances by now. Father would want you to have the honor of meeting Charlemagne’s son.”

Marian laughed a bit shrilly. “No, that is no place for me. Ye shall have the glory today, daughter. Here is your cloak.”  She kept babbling as she closed the gold and aquamarine clasp at the neckline of the pale blue garment. “David will keep you safe. Do as he says, my dear. He is in charge of you today. And possibly tomorrow.”

Rochelle chortled. “Mother, do not be ridiculous. This will be over in an hour or two and then we are going home!  Home, where I also do not require an escort!”  She fixed David with a significant look before she walked to the door, wrenched it open with relative ease, and stepped onto the street without him.

 END OF EXCERPT

Amazon – http://viewbook.at/unbidden

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unbidden-jill-hughey/1107878247?ean=2940032876090

Apple https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unbidden-evolution-series-1/id669962780?mt=11

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/105365

Kobo   http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Unbidden/book-LvUJeKW6xU-dmJWy3DSCxg/page1.html?s=ggcrfh25QUuM-OPlj27aRA&r=1

In Print at CreateSpace https://www.createspace.com/3733078

Audio books

Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Unbidden-Audiobook/B00HR735OM

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Unbidden-The-Evolution-Series/dp/B00HSR6WNC

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/unbidden-evolution-series/id803456753?uo=4? target=”itunes_store”>

For more about Jill Hughey visit her website at www.jillhughey.com. Subscribe to her occasional newsletter at www.jillhughey.com/contact.
MedMon

 

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Caer Fawr (Iron Age Hill Fort)

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Categories: Research, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

tpq cover blogCaer Fawr, or ‘The Great Fort’, is the scene of the final battle in The Pendragon’s Quest.  It is an iron age hill fort with extensive fortifications, most of which are hidden now by vegetation.  The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales did a study of Caer Fawr and if you’re interested in the topic, it’s worth downloading:  http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/LO/ENG/Publications/Electronic+Publications/Gaer+Fawr/

It “occupies a prominent hill 1.4 kilometres to the north of Guilsfield (Cegidfa) and 5.4 kilometres north of Welshpool in the old county of Montgomeryshire, now Powys. The topography of this area is dominated by the River Severn, 4.7 kilometres to the east (Fig. 2). The hills flanking its wide river plain rise gently to the west and more steeply to the east and are cut by the tributary rivers which feed the Severn. A series of prominent hills rises above the general topography, most distinctively the Breidden, at 403 metres above sea level . . .

The site lies in the northern half of a dense band of large?and medium?sized hillforts extending along the border between England and Wales: from the Wye Valley and tributaries of the Severn into the central Marches, and on by way of the Clwydian Range to the North Wales coast . . .

“‘The construction covered at least two main phases. The original hillfort, enclosing about 3 acres, was probably univallate with entrances at the NW and SW ends. The second phase consisted of enlarging the original fort by enclosing a further 3½ acres to the NW side at a lower level. The new outer defences were bivallate and included very complicated entrances on the NE and SW, probably on the sites of the original entrances’ (NMRW: OS 495 Card SJ 21 SW 1). . . .

“The most likely date for this phase of construction is the early Iron Age, between the sixth and fifth centuries BC, the period in which hillfort building took off in the Marches . . . The ‘developed’ form of Gaer Fawr is likely to belong to the middle Iron Age, 400-150  BC. . . .

“One of the most noticeable features of Gaer Fawr is its defences; the scale is huge in contrast to the size of the area enclosed. Useable space totals just over 2 hectares, whereas the hillfort as a whole encompasses just over 6 hectares. As defensive features these would certainly have been imposing and would have been visible for miles, with entrance arrangements clearly designed to control the movement of people, managing both how and who approached.”  In short, Caer Fawr provided the perfect place for Cade, Rhiann, andn their friends to defend Wales against a Saxon advance!

For more about the fort, see the report (again):  http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/LO/ENG/Publications/Electronic+Publications/Gaer+Fawr/

For a cool video from the BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/history/sites/localhistory/hidden_histories/episode_2_hillfort.shtml

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Medieval Monday with Vijayah Schartz!

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Categories: Research

Every Monday look for a new medieval author on this blog exchange and check this and their blogs weekly for more wonderful medieval novels:
Ashley YorkJenna JaxonLaura StricklandCathy McRaeMary Morgan -Andrea CooperJill HugheySarah WoodburyLaurel O’DonnellVijaya Schartz

 

Welcome to Vijayah Schartz, author of The Curse of the Lost Isle series, beginning with book one, Princess of Bretagne!

THE CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE series:

From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse… but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.

PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE
Curse of the Lost Isle – Book One
http://amzn.com/B007K1EGAM

806 AD – Alba (Ancient Scotland)
As the Vikings raid the coast of Alba, Pressine of Bretagne sets out to seduce King Elinas of Dumfries, chosen by the Goddess to unite the tribes against the foreign invader. Elinas, still mourning his departed queen, has no intention to remarry. Head strong and independent, Pressine does not expect to fall for the very attractive, wise and noble ruler… Furthermore, her Pagan nature clashes with the religious fanaticism of the king’s Christian heir, who suspects her unholy ancestry and will stop at nothing to get rid of her.

 Excerpt:

Without waiting for an invitation, Elinas stormed into the bedchamber.

Pressine shuddered at the loathing in his dark brown eyes.

“Whatever made you think you could violate the apartments of my beloved queen?” Stopping short in the middle of the room, Elinas glanced around, eyes wide with disbelief.

Pressine struggled to sound casual. “Surely your gracious queen would have wanted these rooms light, warm and clean, even alive with laughter, rather than dark, sealed, and stinking of decay.”

The king’s jaw tightened under the short black beard as he towered over her. His hands balled into fists at his sides. “I alone decide in my castle.” The low voice turned to a raucous whisper, more threatening than the shouts of any battlefield. “I shall not tolerate defiance of any kind under my roof. Restore these rooms to their previous state and leave.”

Barely able to slow her heartbeat, Pressine feigned distraction, dusting her blue riding dress. “It simply cannot be done.”

“You dare challenge me?” His surprise would have been comical, if not for the menacing tone.

“The old linens were burned,” Pressine said with a calm she did not feel, as if lecturing a child. She rose to fetch the bundle wrapped in blue silk and handed it to him.

Elinas looked at it suspiciously. “What is it?”

“Her comb, mirror, distaff, spindle, and other keepsakes.” Pressine waved her hand, encompassing the room. “The apartments themselves will never look the way they did before.” She had made certain of that.

The king’s eyes, velvety brown and soft this morning at the spring, now burned with the fiery amber of a wild cat’s glare. Elinas looked ready to pounce. He snatched the bundle from her arm. “Out!”

Pressine showed none of the apprehension gripping her. The king’s heart, beneath the leather gear, had more mettle than she anticipated.

“Remember that I have your sword.” She paused, observing the sobering effect of her words. “Only this morning, you gave it to me, swearing you would honor your oath of keeping me safe in your halls. Does a king’s word count for so little in Strathclyde?”

“I curse the ill fortune that made me hear you sing, lady.” Eyes tightly shut, Elinas tensed, fists at his side, obviously struggling for emotional control. “I should have known that a princess who refuses to bow to the will of men can only bring strife.”

Encouraged by the spark of reason returning to the distraught Elinas, Pressine hoped he could now face his grief. “I am sorry if I offended you. I meant no disrespect.”

“I have enough Vikings, Angles, Picts and Scots to give me trouble. The gods know I do not want feuds in my home.” Stillness made his stare frightening.

Pressine refused to be intimidated. “Will you honor your word and protect me, then?”

“I should throw you to the wolves!” His voice boomed.

“Wolves?” Pressine repressed a chuckle. She loved wolves. “What would your people think of a king who throws a defenseless princess to the wolves?”

“Defenseless?” The king’s face reddened.

“Everyone in the castle expects to see me at your side at the Beltane feast. If I do not attend, there will be questions. The rules of hospitality state that…”

“Let them ask,” Elinas snapped. “The rules of hospitality do not apply to princesses who misbehave!”

HAPPY READING!
Vijaya Schartz
Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/vijayaschartz

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/vijaya-schartz

FB: https://www.facebook.com/vijaya.schartz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vijayaschartz

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Medieval Monday with Andrea R. Cooper!

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Categories: Research

roses2Today’s Post highlights Andrea R. Cooper’s book, Viking Fire – a historical romance with a touch of magic

 

In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Excerpt: 

“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown.

“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.”

“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor.

“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight.

Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of

Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.”

Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.
Viking Fire Book Trailer:

Viking Fire Amazon: http://goo.gl/71VAsf

Viking Fire B & N: http://goo.gl/EvBxwf

Viking Fire iTunes: http://goo.gl/fQuKBd

Viking-Fire1_128

 

 

Andrea R. Cooper writes fantasy, paranormal, historical and contemporary romance.

Her favorBio Pic 300x400ite childhood memories revolved around creating vibrant characters for her friends, and then acting out their adventures. Inside her fantasy worlds of darkened forests, dragon-filled glades, and iced islands, nothing was banned. From the ethereal Elvin to the most maligned Vampires, all were welcome in her fictional realities, a stark contrast to her home, where the magical and mythical was forbidden.

Divorced and disillusioned of love and believing all the love songs and books exaggerated, she put aside her creativity for life. Many years past before characters, from the familiar to the freshly conceived, came to her again, but this time teasing at a new passion, the written word.

Gradually, her real life hero brought love and magic back into existence. During the time when her characters were getting reacquainted, the love of her life was showing her that true love never gives up and rekindles no matter how many times others attempt to extinguish it. Today, she is happily married with three children.

Andrea believes in the power of change and delighting in each moment. But most fervently, she believes in the magic of love and imagination again.

website: www.andreacooperbooks.com

twitter: @andreaRcooper

newsletter: www.andreaRcooper.com

Check every Monday for a new medieval author on this blog exchange and check this and their blogs weekly for more wonderful medieval novels:

Ashley YorkJenna JaxonLaura Strickland - Cathy McRaeMary MorganVijaya SchartzJill HugheySarah WoodburyLaurel O’Donnell

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