The official blog of Historical Fantasy Author, Mary Anne Yarde.
Come and join me on the hunt for everything mythological, as well as historical. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
As I said,
I am back on with my search for Arthur. Now, I am sure you are aware that
Arthur is an elusive King. He is like a phantom or a wisp of smoke. You think
you have caught him and then... Nothing. He disappears into thin air.
easily run with a theory as to who he was, but I am not going to do that. I
want to stick with the legend because that
is what fascinates me. I love folklore. I also love how there always seems to
be a ring of truth in it, as I am going to demonstrate today!
Geoffrey of Monmouth and King Arthur
be disputed that Geoffrey of Monmouth gave us the Arthur we know and love. It
is easy to mock his work, but for hundreds of years, Monmouth's Arthur was
considered to be factually correct. So for the sake of this post, I am going to
pretend that what Monmouth said is historically true — you will see where I am going with this in a minute!
of King Arthur does not start, surprisingly, with Arthur. The story begins with
Merlin that prophesied the coming of Arthur, and it was Merlin and his magic
that made sure the rightful king of Britain pulled the sword from the stone. If
it had not been for Merlin, there would be no Arthur.
is said, first came to the attention of Vortigern — King of the Britons — when he was a child. Vortigern, in his wisdom,
had invited some Saxon mercenaries to Briton to fight with him against the
troublesome Picts and Scots. But the problem with Saxon mercenaries is that
they couldn't be trusted. Vortigern soon found himself running for his life
from the very men he had paid to defend it.
To cut a
long story short, Vortigern ended up in Gwynedd, North Wales. More precisely,
he ended up on a hill, in which he decided to build a fortress on. Unfortunately, what ever he built, collapsed. Vortigern's magicians told him
that he needed to spill the blood of a child without a father, onto the stones.
Once he did this, then the fortress would stand.
There was a
child, Myrddin Emrys, who seemed a likely candidate. But Emrys was no ordinary
child, and he was quite attached to his life and didn't want to
die. Nevertheless, he was brought to the usurped King...
"Why have my mother and I been brought into your presence?"
"My magicians have advised me," answered Vortigern, "That I shall look for a fatherless man, so that my building can be sprinkled with blood and thus stand firm."
"Tell your magicians to appear in front of me," answered Merlin, "and I will prove that they have lied."
The History Of The Kings Of Briton.
Emrys challenged the
King's magicians and instead gave a plausible reason why the fortress would not
stand. He said that two dragons were imprisoned at the bottom of an underground
lake beneath the hill. If they set the dragons free, then the foundations of
the fort would stand. All they had to do was release the dragons, which they
built his fort and out of respect, he named the fort after Emrys. He called it
But here is
where it gets interesting. In 1945 the hill was excavated by archaeologists,
and they found an unground lake. So maybe there is a little bit of truth in Monmouth's story after all.
is now under the care of The National Trust, and they welcome visitors. But
walkers are warned to tread softly on the hill, for a dragon sleeps beneath it.
If you fancy finding out what happened after the death of King Arthur then why not check out my historical fantasy series — The Du Lac Chronicles...
It is with the greatest of pleasures that I
welcome Historical Romance author, Lily Baldwin, onto the blog today. Lilly
writes the most amazing historical romance set in Scotland and today, Lily is
going to share with us her inspirations behind her fabulous Scottish Outlaws
Jack: A Scottish Outlaw
Jack MacVie is a Scottish rebel, robbing English nobles on
the road north into Scotland alongside his four brothers. But the MacVie
brothers are not hell bent on riches. They became highwaymen to fight against
the tyranny of King Edward of England.
In the aftermath of the Berwick massacre, Lady
Isabella Redesdale is risking it all, journeying north into war-torn Scotland
to be with her sister. But when her carriage is attacked by a band of villains,
another gang descends to steal her away.
Although they come from different worlds, Jack
and Isabella are more alike than they first realize. They both crave freedom
from war and despair, but in a world where kings reign and birth dictates one’s
station, freedom is not won, it is stolen.
everyone 😊. Thank
you, Mary, for inviting me to guest post on Myths, Legends, Books, and Coffee
Pots. My name is Lily Baldwin, and I write Scottish historical romance.
My latest series is the Scottish Outlaws. The
first book in the series is a novella that I wrote as part of an anthology of
original stories with other authors. The rest of the books are all full-length
novels. The first glimmer of an idea was inspired by the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, which
has long been one of my favorites. I loved the idea of writing a medieval
series with a braw Scottish highwayman leading a gang of outlaws who rob
English nobles on the road north into Scotland.
So I envisioned Jack MacVie—the Scottish Outlaw.
But I realized I needed a reason for him being a
highwayman—why was he a robber? He couldn’t just be a robber because he wanted
to be rich—that doesn’t make a very romantic story.
I returned to a compelling and horrific event in
Scottish/English history, which is featured in the second book of a different
series of mine—the Isle of Mull Series. This event was the Berwick Massacre. In
the late 13th century, Berwick was the center of trade and commerce
in Scotland. In 1296, Edward of England sacked Berwick, slaughtering thousands
of men, women, and children. In the end, Edward claimed the city for England.
When building my highwayman’s back story, I envisioned Jack being from Berwick.
I pictured him as a commoner and the eldest brother of a big family torn apart
by the massacre. Quickly it became a story about Scottish Independence. Then
all of the sudden Jack’s brothers became his fellow outlaws, and together they
robbed English nobles and gave their stolen gains back to the Scottish people.
As the stories progress each brother has a different role to play for the
cause—whether protecting an Englishwoman wrongfully accused of murder, pulling
off a seemingly impossible heist of the king’s palace in London, or posing as a
wealthy English merchant to infiltrate the king’s court.
Like true brothers, the MacVie men are all very
different from one another; subsequently, so, too, are their stories. The common
threads connecting all the brothers is that they are outlaws to the crown but
heroes to the Scottish people and to the women who capture their hearts.
So far, I have chatted quite a bit about the
MacVie brothers, but the Scottish Outlaws are not just men—Jack, Quinn, Rory,
Alec and Ian (whose story will be Book 6 in the series) have a sister named,
Rose. She is the next Scottish Outlaw and my current WIP. Rose’s life has been
marked by great tragedy. During the massacre, her three daughters and husband
were murdered. She is strong and perseveres, and despite her suffering, she
always tries to remain positive. But inside she hides a sadness so heavy and
consuming she could sink beneath the waves of the ocean she loves to gaze upon.
I do not want to give anything away, but after
all Rose has been through my mission as author of her story is to give her the
absolute time of her life and a love that will heal her heart and raise her so
high she will be able to touch the stars.
I want to thank my readers so very much for
coming along on the passionate, adventurous and often treacherous journeys of
the MacVie family.
Before I sign off, I wanted to share something
fabulous with everyone. The Scottish Outlaws are published by Duncurra LLC. You
can listen to the audiobook of Jack on the Duncurra Youtube channel for free.
This version of Jack has dual narrators (James McCreadie and his lovely wife,
Debbie May). Plus, it totally has sound effects—how much fun is that?! What’s
more, Duncurra Youtube also has complete audiobooks by Scottish historical
romance authors Ceci Giltenan and L.L. Muir—also free to enjoy. Here is the
link for Duncurra Youtube. Happy Listening!
Historical Romance author Lily Baldwin loves writing, Scotland, her wonderful
husband and beautiful young daughter—though not necessarily in that order. She
has a BA in anthropology from the University of New Hampshire, and an MA in
International Studies from Birmingham University in the UK. She daydreams
constantly, and gets her best story ideas while running; she is even training
for a half-marathon. She also finds inspiration in Nature, a quality revealed
through the powerful description and drama in her books.She lives in New England with her
cherished husband and daughter.