Sherry Ewing on Medieval Monday

Welcome to another ‘meet the author’ on Medieval Monday.  Today I’m welcoming Sherry Ewing to tell us why she loves Medieval romance.

My love for everything Medieval began with the very first historical romance novel I ever picked up as a teenager. For many of us, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss paved the way for the type of novels that would overflow my bookshelves for many years to come. Then I stumbled across a hard copy of Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, and my fate was sealed. It was only natural that when it came to writing my own novels years later that I would write a historical romance. Since I began my writing career later in life, I am lucky to be able to do any type of research on the internet. Knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, knights breaking down the walls of a keep, and then sometimes throw in a modern day woman who has fallen through time and a series was born. I can’t help but constantly say I was born in the wrong century and continent.

Although I do also write Regency era romances, my true passion lies with my Knights of Berwyck in the12th century. I can still remember the day when I was just about finished with my very first manuscript. The image of a castle sitting high upon a cliff came into my mind. Before I knew what was happen, I had all these characters forming, along with my plot, and I had to tell them to take a back seat while I finished my current book. Yes it’s true… author’s really do have voices inside their heads! My characters continue to battle inside my heading wanting their turn at having their story told, sometimes even keeping me up at night when we could have had such conversations during the day. Medieval’s, time travel, and Regency era novels… all with a happily ever after all to awaken the soul one heart at a time!

Sherry Ewing graphic

Bio: Sherry Ewing is a bestselling author who writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Her debut historical romance, If My Heart Could See You, hit Amazon’s top ten bestseller list for the eBook only two days after the paperback release. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a national and local member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde and The Bluestocking Belles. She is currently working on her next novel. When Sherry is not busy writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

 

You can learn more about Sherry on her website at www.SherryEwing.com.

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1TrWtoy

Judith Sterling on Medieval Monday

Today I’m delighted to welcome Judith Sterling to the blog.  She’s here to share why she loves Medieval romance.

Judith Sterling graphic

Some of the first romances I read as a teen were set in medieval England.  I loved the passion of the period—the High Middle Ages (11th – 13th centuries) in particular—and the lure of the British Isles.  Ultimately, that love led to a degree in history and a minor in British Studies.

During college and grad school, I studied in England, Scotland, and Sweden.  I jumped on every opportunity to explore castles, monasteries, and other medieval buildings throughout Europe.  The older the structure, the better!  In ruin after ruin, the whispers of the past seduced me.  I hear their voices still.  With any luck, they add a magical twist to the medieval romances I feel compelled to write and give my readers a world they’ll want to enter again and again.

 

BIO:  Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred, the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin, will be released soon.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Visit me on Facebook @judithsterlingfiction.  You can find my books at https://judithmarshallauthor.com/my-books

Meet Bambi Lynn

Welcome to another Medieval Monday ‘meet the author’.  Here is Bambi Lynn to tell us a little about why she loves Medieval romance.

My first introduction to Romance novels came from Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love. I devoured that book again and again and any other book I could find that was like it. Imagine my thrill to discover Jude Deveraux’s Velvet series. Set in the Middle Ages, I got lost in the time period and never wanted to return. By then, I was living Belgium, where the shells of Medieval manors surrounded me. One of my favorites was Beersel Castle. Beersel Castle, about five miles from my house in Gages, is in ruins. The grounds were open to the public, free, and seldom visited by tourists. So naturally when I started writing my first book, I set it in that castle. I had the unique opportunity of going there any time I wanted to sit in the courtyard or one of the rooms I’d cleared of cobwebs and write my masterpiece. Oftentimes, I was the only one there and could explore to my heart’s content. That first book has never seen the light of day, but what fun I had writing it—not to mention all the things I learned. Now I live in Alabama. There are no Medieval castles here, but there is a park nearby that looks remarkably like Middle Earth. Luckily, I have a writing room in my barn that my fabulous husband designed and decorated to look like a room in a Medieval castle. Inspiration at its finest! I hope you enjoy reading my Medieval Romances as much as I love writing them.

Bio:

Bambi Lynn graduated from the University of Maryland European Division with bachelor’s degrees in English and History. She writes Historical and Contemporary Paranormal Romances.

Yes, Bambi is her real name.

Bambi grew up on a farm in South Georgia. Her high school was very small with a graduating class of less than 100 people. Shortly after high school, she met my wonderful husband who took her to Belgium, where a three-year tour turned into fifteen. While living in Europe, she nurtured her love of all things medieval. Bambi often gets homesick for Belgium, but with the world wide web, she’s home with the click of a mouse. She now lives with her husband and son in the deep South. When not plugging away at her keyboard, Bambi teaches World History. She loves to ride her big, black Tennessee Walker, Jamaica. She and her husband each have a Harley to go with their collection of classic cars and hot rods

.Babmi Lynn graphic

Link:

http://bambilynn.net/bambis_books

 

 

Medieval Monday- Meet the Author

We’ve finished the Villains theme for Medieval Monday so until the next round of excerpts starts I thought it would be nice to introduce you to the authors whose books you’ve been reading. Today I have Lane McFarland with me to explain why she loves Medieval romance.

LaneMcFarland

Why I love writing stories set in medieval times…

My passion is writing historical romance novels. Throwing my imagination into years gone by, researching dark periods of strife and violence, justice and quests for freedom, and dreaming of what it might have been like to live and survive during these hostile periods have been the most rewarding aspects of writing historical romance.

I’m fascinated with medieval history and can get quite sidetracked in my research, absorbed in reading about the goings on at the time from the political climate and issues of the period to what foods people ate, the clothes they wore, the pastimes they enjoyed. I can get lost reading about the era and have to limit the time I spend immersed in history.

My Daughters of Alastair MacDougall Series begins in May 1297, a time of unrest between Scotland and England. It has been such fun to delve into this period and imagine living amongst the clans. The Turnberry Legacy Series picks up in 1301 with Robert the Bruce vying for Scotland’s crown, much like other power-hungry nobles who fought for control.

 

Bio: My name is Lane McFarland and I write historical romance, spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While my books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. All my books revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive.

I’m a southern girl living on top of a mountain in North Georgia, and I’m most happy when surrounded by family and friends. If I am not writing, you can find me hiking with my husband, or fiddling around in my flower and vegetable gardens, feeding the birds and watching black bears and deer. I am blessed to have a wonderful son—my pride and joy, my buddy who, along with my husband, have made my life complete

My website: http://www.lanemcfarland.com

My Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lane-McFarland/e/B00G7UQZNI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

Come back next week to meet another author.

SPaG Balls: a slight rant

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing recently and specifically about how we go from being readers, to storytellers, to fully-fledged writers.  Part of the reason is that now I have four books published, another one lined up for release in September (the sequel to The Blacksmith’s Wife telling Roger’s story) and am in the throes of writing book 6, I finally feel qualified to call myself an author.

The other reason is that the way writing is taught – and more crucially, tested – in schools has been going through a lot of changes over the past couple of years.  My son is in Year 6 and next week will be sitting his SATs, including the recently introduced SPaG tests.  That’s Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.  The Powers That Be have decided it is important that children leave Primary school being able to confidently use the aforementioned (all good) and should be tested on it (not so good).

Im’ all for grammar and punctuation! its important to know if its the right use of its in a sentence and their is nothing worse than a writer who peppers they’re work with mistakes*.

No one would deny that children should be equipped to communicate in writing. The issue that many teachers and parents take with the tests is not that it should be taught, but how, and at what level.  I’m not sure requiring eleven year olds to be able to tick the sentences that show the correct use of the past progressive or whether after is being used as a preposition or subordinating conjunction is the best way to teach them to write, or to want to.  Some of the terminology they’re expected to know I barely touched upon doing A-level English language, never mind aged ten and eleven.  I don’t remember being asked to say whether ‘the insect eating Venus flytrap’ is a fronted adverbial or main clause or identify the correct demonstratives at that age.

Certainly watching my son who brims over with ideas trying to write a sentence that MUST include a number of the statutory spellings (samples include privilege, government, controversy, criticise and hindrance – knock yourself out) and producing convoluted, dull sentences isn’t showing his creative side.

I fell in love with stories at a young age when they were read to me and decided that making things up was fun. Being able to write them down was a bonus but learning and mimicking stories, changing characters or settings, playing with rules and preconceived ideas for what should happen is how we develop our understanding of how stories work.  When I write I start with a characters or a situation I can’t get out of my head, a beginning and (hopefully) and end. The middle is often hazy but I usually know a few key events that will happen. This goes for chapters as well as the whole book. The fun of writing is starting with an idea and running with it to see what happens. Starting with a ‘what if?’ is how children (and adults if they’re anything like me) begin to feel the creative buzz and want to grab a pencil and get scribbling something down. I knew what would bring Joanna and Hal together in The Blacksmith’s Wife but I didn’t know they were going to end up with a dog or what would happen in Malton that ended up shaping their first night together. In A Wager for the Widow one key fact that ended up shaping a lot of Will’s character and motives was a complete surprise to me until he told Eleanor in the garden.  When I gave Aelric a hobby in The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge  I didn’t expect it to play such a crucial part in uncovering the plot.

I’m now five books in to my writing career and can honestly say I have never consciously thought ‘I haven’t used a fronted adverbial for a while. Better stick one in’.  I suspect that if I tried to write that way I would find myself very quickly going off writing and that is the danger I worry is facing our children today.

I play around with word order, change the adjectives and adverbs, delete and rewrite based on what sounds catchy when I read it back. Somehow at the end I have enough words on the page to do something constructive with. As a writer there is nothing better than looking up from the keyboard and realising an hour has gone by, or I’ve beaten my word count target.

As I tell myself (and my son and the children I teach) you can’t edit an empty page. If we get so hung up on the correct use of grammar or punctuation at the start and worse still, try to write with the express purpose of fitting the idea into the grammar, we will never pick up the pencil.  There are few things more depressing than seeing children are wanting to write sentences that I have to tell them to do again because although ‘swam’ is a great word, it doesn’t have an -ed suffix so can they change it to something that does because that is the key skill we’re doing today.  How soul destroying to be a young writer and told that!

I don’t know what the answer is to creating an entire population who accurately use all the correct grammatical forms. Perhaps the people who advocate filling in the blanks to change the root verb to an appropriate adjective will turn out to be right all along and in twenty years time we’ll have literature that surpasses anything available now.

I don’t think becoming a creative writer happens by learning to name or correctly spot parts of sentences any more than becoming a good driver involves sitting in a room labelling diagrams of the parts that link the brake and accelerator to the other bits of rod, gears and scary looking bits under the bonnet (I don’t know what they’re called). You learn to drive by being shown the basics (this one makes you go fast, this one makes you stop) then getting out onto the roads and having a go. Writing is the same.

 

*did you spot them all?

May Day Merriment

Today is May Day, a time to celebrate the end of winter.  It has its origins among other sources in the Roman festival of Floralia and the Celtic Beltane, and in Medieval Europe was a time of holiday for the workers.

According to custom girls are supposed to go out washing their faces in the dawn dew because the magical properties will ensure they have a fresh complexion all year.  I spent this morning wrestling away a soaking wet tent in the Welsh rain which isn’t half as much fun (I’m beyond help anyway I think).  Other traditions dating back into the middle ages included dancing round a maypole (and you don’t need to be Freud to see the symbolism there) and games, feasting and decorating the houses with garlands and greenery collected early in the morning.

In The Blacksmith’s Wife I gave Joanna and Hal a chance to celebrate the day together, though true to form things don’t go quite as planned for my awkward couple…

Thundering beats on the door roused them from their bed as men from the villagers came to claim ale from Hal as Lord Danby’s representative. He allowed himself to be taken away, leaving Joanna in the hands of Meg and the other women to gather flowers and greenery from the moors and bind them into wreaths.

The women arrived on the village green at midday. Raucous, uncontrolled games were taking place amid cheers and catcalls of the onlookers already well into the ale, but stopped as they appeared.

‘Crown the queen!’

The call was taken up and repeated by everyone present. Girls giggled and blushed, young men freely ogled them and Joanna felt hands in her back pushing her to the front of the crowd.

Hal appeared from among the men. He took her by the hand and turned her to face everyone. A crown of twisted greenery was placed on her head to cheers and good-natured whistles from everyone watching. Pipers began to play and dancers found their partners.

‘I thought the May Queen was supposed to be a maiden,’ Joanna whispered to Hal.

He held her waist tightly as he led her to the circle. ‘This year I thought I’d exercise my rights to choose.’

‘You can do that?’

‘I can do what I like, I’m their lord’s son,’ he joked. He put one hand on her back, the other to her cheek and looked into her eyes. ‘I cannot give you tournaments and pageants to delight you, but I wanted to give you something to remember.’

She covered her hand with his. ‘You have,’ she said. ‘This is enough.’

She realised as she said it that she spoke the truth.

The dancing and games carried on long into the night. As the sun set Hal and the men carried brands from the forge and lit the bonfire. More barrels of ale were tapped and the ox that had been roasting all afternoon was speedily eaten.

As groups and couples began to disperse to find their own diversions Joanna sat alone by the fire, warming her hands and yawning. She’d danced until her calves burned and drunk far too much wine. Her bed called her. Hal had vanished a while before, called away by the miller, and she was becoming tired of waiting. She walked home and was halfway to the door when she noticed light coming from the forge.

Curious, she walked across the dewy grass. The door was partly open, but no sound came from within. Cautiously Joanna pushed the door wider and peeped around it.

Hal was standing by his workbench. In the dull glow of the furnace Joanna could only see his back.

‘What are you doing?’ she asked.

Hal jumped at her voice. He strode towards her, blocking her entry into the forge.

‘What’s wrong? Why won’t you let me in?’ she asked.

‘Nothing’s wrong. I’m coming now,’ Hal said. His voice was guarded. He took hold of her arm and tried to turn her away.

He was so obviously hiding something. Determined to find out what Joanna twisted from his grip and pushed past him. Her blood drained slowly away, leaving her cold to the bone as she recognised her own drawing pinned to the beam above the furnace.

‘That’s mine!’ she hissed. ‘How did you get it?’

‘You dropped it on the moors,’ Hal said.

She remembered the day, but that had been over a week ago and he had kept it all this time! Furious, she lunged and ripped the drawing from the wall. She rounded on Hal.

‘How dare you keep it,’ she stormed. ‘You had no right to do that.’

She pushed roughly past him and wrenched the door open, stumbling out into the darkness.

Blacksmith's wife cover

If you want to find out what happens next you can get hold of a copy here: myBook.to/BlacksmithWife

Medieval Monday- Aelric’s Fate

It’s the final Medieval Monday in the Villains theme and I’m finishing where I started with an excerpt from The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge.  The final excerpt picks up Constance’s story after Robert has taken his revenge on Aelric.

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At the mercy of her enemy!

Abducted by Saxon outlaws, Constance Arnaud comes face to face with Aelric, a Saxon boy she once loved. He’s now her enemy, but Constance must reach out to this rebel and persuade him to save her life as she once saved his…

Aelric is determined to seek vengeance on the Normans who destroyed his family. Believing Constance deserted him, he can never trust her again. Yet, as they are thrown together and their longing for each other reignites, will Aelric discover that love is stronger than revenge?

****

‘You shamed me in public! For that alone I should beat you until you scream!’

Robert’s rage was incandescent. Constance looked to her sister but Jeanne sat, head bowed over her embroidery, and said nothing. She would get no support there.

‘The boy did not deserve death.’

‘Never mind that. What were you doing befriending Saxon filth?’ Robert turned to his wife. ‘Madam, is your sister a wanton?’

‘No, my lord,’ Jeanne answered meekly. ‘Her behaviour is as shocking to me as it is to you.’

Constance’s scalp prickled. If Robert knew the truth about what had passed between her and Aelric his wrath would be too great to withstand. Robert seized hold of Constance by the arm and dragged her roughly to her bed, flinging her on to the straw mattress.

‘You are almost seventeen. It’s time you were married. In the morning I’m sending you to a convent until I can find a husband who can tame you.’

He stormed out, leaving Constance holding her face and trembling with anger.

What will the future hold for Aelric and Constance? Discover their story in The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge.

getBook.at/SaxonOutlaw

Look out for another Medieval Mondays theme coming soon.