Medieval Monday ~ Why Barbara Bettis Writes Medieval Romance

My guest today for Medieval Monday is award-winning author Barbara Bettis. Barbara has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archaeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for. Read along to find out why she loves writing Medieval Romance.

I’m not sure what calls to me so strongly from the Middle Ages, but whatever it is, has done so my entire life. I think it may be rooted in the stories I devoured when I first started reading. Myths, folk stories from different cultures, tales of Knights of the Round Table, they all captured my imagination. It was a different, fascinating world where anything was possible—in theory. Throughout school, history was a favorite subject, and I loved to delve into the events—and lives of the people—of the past.

As I did so, I recognized that the knightly tales of derring do from my childhood were set amidst times of turmoil, deprivation of the many and reward of the few. I usually root for the underdog, so when my studies introduced me to mercenaries and the bad reputation many of them enjoyed (and they probably did enjoy them), I immediately thought, “But they all must not have been bad. What of the ones who fought to better themselves and didn’t practice cruelty?”

Life was not easy for most people. In the eyes of society at that time, bettering oneself usually meant acquiring land. Few folks had the means or opportunity to do so. Later in the Medieval period, landed-society’s restrictions didn’t allow for commoners to aspire to knighthood, except for very limited exceptions. But in the earlier days, it wasn’t all that unusual for a commoner to rise by reason of bravery, strength, and audacity. All but one of my stories have featured such mercenaries who strive to better themselves by acquiring power and land.

All my stories feature strong women, not at all the norm of the period. Yet discoveries tell us there were more strong women than we realize, although most of them were wed or in the church. I imbue my heroines with strength of character given the times in which they lived.

I love creating the stories of strong heroines we women would like to be and of heroes we’d love to live for.

Bio: Barbara Bettis grew up in the rural Midwest, where reading was a reward for chores well done. So you can bet she did her chores well—and fast. She loved history and English. She’d intended to major in English, but when she arrived at her small, Liberal Arts college, one of the European history professors was on a Rhodes Scholarship. Once she met the English professors, she defected.

Thus, she received her BA in English with a strong minor in history and her Master’s in English. After working as a newspaper reporter and editor, Barb returned to college and taught English and journalism, later earning a doctorate in Higher Education with an emphasis in journalism.

After her husband died, some former students lured her into their critique group, where she began writing fiction. A trip to Scotland and England solidified her love of the Isles (the small tour group set up a ‘Barb’s Castle Alert’ on their train journeys). Her earlier fascination with the Middle Ages led her into her medieval stories, where she’s been roaming around ever since.

Now that she’s retired from teaching, her ambition is to write an angst-ridden, tortured hero set in the High Middle Ages, but somehow her guys end up with inappropriate senses of humor. Perhaps in the future…. www.barbarabettis.blogspot.com

Medieval Monday ~ Why Elisabeth Hobbes Writes Medieval Romance

Today I’m thrilled to have Elisabeth Hobbes join me for Medieval Monday. Elisabeth’s writing career began when she entered her first novel, Falling for Her Captor, into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest.  She finished in third place and was offered a two book contract.  She has since written five novels for Harlequin Mills & Boon with settings and eras ranging from the turbulent events of post-Conquest Cheshire to the thrilling tournaments of thirteenth century York. As well as writing Elisabeth is a part time teacher and full time mum to two children. She spends whatever spare time she has reading and is a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book. Elisabeth’s other hobbies include horse riding, skiing, Arabic dance, fencing and exploring dreadful tourist attractions, none of which has made it into a story yet. She loves ginger mojitos, historical fiction and has a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes. Elisabeth lives in Cheshire because her car broke down there when she was house hunting and she never left. Read on to hear why she writes Medieval Romance.

I’m sure my love of the Middle Ages is mainly due to where I’m from.  The city of York has a rich history dating back to the Vikings and Romans but many of the surviving buildings are medieval.  We have The Shambles (the low rows of cottages looming towards each other that housed the city’s butchers) the magnificent Minster and Guild houses, streets of Medieval buildings too numerous to mention and the magnificent gated walls which still encircle the town.  I spent most of my teenage years wandering around the city looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep me off my feet. Sadly this never happened but growing up somewhere like that it was impossible not to develop a passion for the period as I walked to and from school past castles and ruins imagining the lives and loves of the people who came before me.

The Medieval period had very clearly defined conventions, social structure and strict codes of behaviour, and transgressing these had real, life threatening consequences.  Not for my characters the genteel Regency ballroom and risk of being ‘cut’ by the Ton. Put a foot wrong in my world and you’ll find yourself on the wrong end of the sword not a snapping fan!  It was a time of conquest and conflict, tournaments and battles.  Life was harsh and dangerous, life expectancy was low but the period gave rise to the code of chivalry and some of the greatest architecture still standing.

For more information about Elizabeth, click here.

Medieval Monday ~ Why Ruth A. Casie Writes Medieval Romance

Greetings, Medieval Romance Lovers! I hope you enjoyed our round of Medieval excerpts. We are taking a break from featuring books to introduce some of the new members of our group and to reacquaint you with others who’ve been around for a while. Ruth A. Casie is here with me today to reveal why she loves writing Medieval Romance.

Years ago when I worked for a large bank I did a lot of international business travel. I can remember my first overseas assignment very clearly. It was a two week trip to five European cities. I brought six paperbacks thinking I would catch up on my reading—there was never enough time to read at home. We had three small children. Settled in my seat, I finished a book and a half by the time I landed in Brussels.

Client calls with local bank directors filled my days, but after business hours and over the weekend I was on my own. I filled the time with walking tours, sometimes in groups other times using the track provided by the hotel. Each time I came face to face with history; the Grand Place in Brussels, the Place de la Concorde in Paris, and Hampton Court in England.

As I went on to the different cities I tried to hear the sounds, smell the aromas, and see the sights from a different perspective, a different time. Stories by Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsey and Lynn Kurland had me enthralled along with Clive Cussler. I know he’s not exactly romance but his Dirk Pit stories always start with some historical fact or thread that’s crucial to solving the mystery. I read my books at night and visited places where I imagined the stories unfolding.

Historical facts mixed with chivalry and magic are the most compelling stories to me. The romance of the middle ages with knights and princesses and their myths of druids, fairies, and fae tossed in for good measure all drew me in. Time travel stories and the ability to visit the past, protect the future, or simply experience a different time were the most compelling stories. Personally, I want my fiction based on fact but I don’t necessarily want the cold truth of reality. I know that history doesn’t always end with a happily ever after but taking a little poetic license to alter history just a bit to make it all work out is what I enjoy reading—and writing.

Bio:
Ruth A. Casie, a USA Today Bestselling Author, writes historical fantasy and contemporary romances for Harlequin, Carina Press, and Timeless Scribes. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. When not writing you can find her home in Teaneck, NJ, reading, cooking, doing Sudoku and counted cross stitch. You can reach her at www.RuthACasie.com , and join her newsletter, on Twitter @RuthACasie, at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RuthACasie or at Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ruthacasie/

Medieval Monday ~ Ruth A. Casie

We’re nearing the end of our Medieval Villain Hop. Only two episodes to go. Next week, we’ll be featuring our own books, so today is my final guest, at least for a few weeks. Please welcome Ruth A. Casie. Ruth is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, The Highlander’s English Woman.

EXCERPT: In a close clinch, Bryce muttered for Jamie’s ear only. Jamie pushed his tormentor away. Years of restraint from insults and attacks disappeared with the maliciously whispered words.

Bryce threw his punch. Jamie caught the left jab in his palm mid-strike. Alarm and panic flashed in Bryce’s eyes. The bully stared at Jamie’s hand holding his fist.

Jamie almost tore Bryce’s arm out of its socket as he pushed it aside and set his stance, one foot in front of the other.

For a moment Jamie thought to stop the madness, but the idea quickly died. Bryce had no idea what he let loose.

Follow along with excerpt #13 and the conclusion of this excerpt from THE HIGHLANDER’S ENGLISH WOMAN by Ruth A. Casie at her blog, www.RuthACasie.com.

BLURB: Laura Reynolds is in love with her long-time friend, Jamie Maxwell Collins. She adores his playful sense of humor, caring nature as well as his strong sense of family and honor.

Jamie lives across the border in Scotland. Outwardly carefree, he hides a dark secret. He can’t involve Laura in this deception. He can’t give her hope for a future together.

Laura stumbles upon Jamie’s secret. In her heart of hearts she knows Jamie is innocent. Their relationship in tatters and with no hope of reconciliation, she plays a deadly game to exonerate Jamie, she agrees to a political marriage. She has no idea the entire game has been orchestrated by her future husband, Jamie’s greatest enemy.

BUY LINKS:   Amazon

Medieval Monday ~ Cathy MacRae

I was there the day Cathy MacRae got “The Call”. It was an exciting day, to be sure. And how lucky are we that a publisher finally recognized this great talent and put her wonderful Medieval stories into print for all of us to enjoy! Cathy enjoys weaving tales of romance in the Highland mists. Her stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines in pursuit of their happy-ever-afters in medieval Scotland. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, The Highlander’s French Bride.

EXCERPT: “She has my nose and eyes, oui. But her dark hair comes from her father.”

“Raul,” Melisende asserted.

Lucienne slanted her sister a look. “Non. From your oh-so-sweet husband.”

Melisende’s gaze bounced from Lucienne back to the child. Lucienne’s parting words so many years ago loosed themselves from the depths of her mind. What do you think went on whilst he slept in our house—only me and him? He would be unable to look you in the eye if you knew everything that happened.

She shook her head. Non! It is impossible to think of it! He has already assured me there was nothing between himself and Lucienne. But her heart grew cold in her breast.

Follow along for the next excerpt on Ruth A. Casie’s Medieval Monday blog April 24!

BLURB: Heir to a lairdship, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove his worth by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by the realities of war—the atrocities visited by fellow soldiers on the very people he is sworn to protect. Three years in a French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom named Melisende.

Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman wrongly accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, haunted by the beguiling friendship with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.

Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns to France, only to discover nothing more than a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon

Medieval Monday ~ Laurel O’Donnell

I love this time of year. Not only is everything green (my favorite color) but all around me starts Renaissance Festival season. I love the medieval flavor of a good fest, historical accuracy notwithstanding. Just the atmosphere takes me back. And so does a good Medieval Romance. Few people do those better than my guest for today’s Medieval Hop, Laurel O’Donnell. Laurel lives in Illinois with her four cherished children, her beloved husband and her five cats. She finds precious time every day to escape into the medieval world and bring her characters to life in her writing. Here is an excerpt from her award-winning book, Angel’s Assassin.

EXCERPT: “You knew she wasn’t dead because you brought her back to her father.” Roke stood before the flaming hearth, the firelight making him glow like some evil demon. “I will ask you one more time. Why did you come back to Castle Roke?”

He knew! Damn him to hell, he already knew! This was another game he was playing. “To kill you,” he said quietly. In the next moment, Damien had his sword out.

He heard the pounding footsteps of Cyclops before he could swing at Roke. He whirled, assessing the charging giant’s position in barely the time it took to blink, and let fly the dagger in his hand. It hit the one eyed man square in his remaining good eye and the big man dropped.

Damien spun back to finish Roke, but he was gone.

Follow along next week by checking out Ruth A. Casie’s blog at http://ruthacasie.blogspot.com/

BLURB: Damien is an assassin, a man with no home and a tortured past. Sold into slavery as a young boy, he is trained to kill with cold calculation, without remorse. As a reward for his ruthless success, he is given a chance to earn his freedom from his cruel master. One last mission. One final person to slay…

Lady Aurora of Acquitaine is the epitome of purity and goodness, beloved by all her people. She lives her life trying to atone for her mother’s cruelty by being a fair and just ruler. Secretly she fears that one day her mother’s murderer will return for her.

When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of dark passion and forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart with shadowy secrets of his own.

Can Aurora’s light heal Damien’s dark spirit or will his evil consume her? The eternal battle of good versus evil, love versus hate, dark versus light, all come to a shattering climax in this historical romance set in medieval England.

BUY LINK:   Amazon

$1250 in Amazon Gift Cards Could be Yours!

We’re Treating Readers to a Spring Fling
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Mega Gift Card Giveaway April 2-24
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