The official blog of Historical Fantasy Author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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...
"...the intimacy in their relationship is tender, vulnerable and real, one
of the best romantic relationships I've read..I loved, loved, loved this
book and can't wait to read the next in the series..."
M.M. Carter, Amazon Reviewer
* Only 0.99 on Kindle - Limited time only *
generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring
kingdoms and principalities.
“It is dangerous to become attached to a du Lac. He will break your
heart, and you will not recover.”
So prophesies a wizened healer to
Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex. If there is truth in the old
crone’s words, they come far too late for Annis, who defies father,
king, and country to save the man she loves.
Alden du Lac, once king of Cerniw, has nothing. Betrayed by
Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and
his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. He has only one possession
left worth saving: his heart. And to the horror of his few remaining
allies, he gives that to the daughter of his enemy. They see Annis, at
best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At
worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with
them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed
young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to
Annis is far less certain.
"...I hear you surrendered,” he said, a
faint hint of glee in his eyes.
Alden, who was still contemplating
what Oeric had told him about his brother, looked up. “Good news travels fast.”
“As does bad.”
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do.
I had no choice.”
“That is what they all say, isn’t
it?” Oeric laughed. “And who is this fine-looking woman by your side?” Oeric
turned his attention to Annis.
Annis raised her head reluctantly.
She had never met King Oeric, although she had heard a lot about him, mainly
about his skill as a warrior from her brother, who liked to talk about worthy
opponents to anyone who cared to listen. His appearance surprised her. Oeric
was an old man, older than her father was. His hair was a soft white, his face
wrinkled. His eyes were watery and the colour of a foggy blue sky. His clothes
were lavish and skilfully embroidered. He smiled a welcome, showing gaps in his
mouth where his teeth had been knocked out. Alden was right; she could see he
was mentally undressing her with his eyes. He made her feel sick.
“What is your name, my dear?” Even
the way he spoke to her was lewd.
“Annis?” Oeric raised his bushy white
eyebrows. “A pretty name for a pretty girl.” He licked his lips. “And what are
you doing in the company of Lord du Lac?”
Alden had to stop himself from saying
king. The slight on Oeric’s part hit its mark well.
Annis nervously glanced at Alden. “I
am his wife,” she whispered, fearing the lie.
“His wife?” he whispered back and
then he laughed, turning his attention away from her and back to Alden.
“You lose a kingdom, but have the
time to find a wife. Where did you pick her up? The dungeons?” Those gathered
in the hall laughed at their king’s jest. “What did you do, my dear? Was it
something horrid?” he asked Annis, stepping closer to her.
Alden’s arm shot out and pulled her
closer to him. “The where and why has nothing to do with you.” There was a
warning in his tone that he meant for Oeric to hear.
“You speak to me like a King. You
forget yourself,” Oeric said, his eyes blazing with anger. “You cannot speak to
me as an equal anymore. Annis, Annis.” He rolled her name over his tongue. “Of
Wessex?” he stated, his eyes widening. “You married his daughter?”
in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England,
surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology.
Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her
home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts
in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival
of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine
science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major
Yarde keeps busy
raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has
many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her
family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!
It is my pleasure to welcome Historical Fiction author, James Collins, on to the blog today to talk about the inspirations behind his latest novel...
Sol Limitis - Book One Of The Frontier Trilogy.
A battle-hardened soldier is sent to the frozen north of Britannia on a personal mission from the Emperor. Conducting a desperate investigation from a hostile garrison on the crumbling frontier of Hadrian’s Wall, Atellus must struggle to survive in a wild and lawless land torn apart by the death throes of an over-stretched empire.
Where did the inspiration behind your book come from?
One of my
favourite books is Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. A searing and brutal novel of
America’s violent frontier, Blood Meridian follows the infamous Glanton Gang, a group
of mercenary scalp-hunters working the US/Mexico border in the mid-C19th. It
was this concept of the anti-Western which first piqued my curiosity and instigated a
lengthy period of thought and research which culminated in my novel, Sol Limitis.
concept behind Sol Limitis was to
re-create this type of revisionist Western in the frozen North of Britain; a
novel which captured the extremes and brutalities of the period in a daunting
and visceral manner, and which explored this notion of liminal space,
investigated the concept of the Frontier and everything it entailed.
ripe with options for a setting for this sort of novel, but I chose a period I
was already familiar with from my studies and work as an archaeologist: late
Roman Britain. Even a small amount of research attested to lengthy periods of intrigue
and action, hardship and depredations. The keystone notion of the Frontier was
well-served by that most famous icon of the limit of romanitas: Hadrian’s Wall.
concept of liminality, and its various permutations, drove the novel from then
on: a physical front-line separating
two ostensibly discrete and mutually hostile tribes (‘Romans’ and
‘Barbarians’); a cultural boundary
distinguishing between two peoples; a temporal
watershed marking the decline of Roman Britain and the rise of Tribal Britain;
and an ethereal frontier separating
Christianity from paganism. But perhaps the crux of this liminality resides in
the blurring of all these boundaries: because of the physical, temporal and
ideological location on the cusp of two extremes, the frontier exists as a
place utterly distinct from either camp, drawing energy from both sides and
maintaining its own distinct identity.
It was the
concept of this lawless, broken hinterland that inspired me as the perfect
setting for my novel.
frontier in Sol Limitis is
represented by Hadrian’s Wall, the huge stone and timber-built fortification
which delineated the limit of Roman control. It existed as a rough militarised
zone fortified by garrison towns and forts. The geographical area was defined
by military authority, frequent violent clashes with hostile tribes, and its separation
from more ‘civilised’ bastions of romanitas
such as the larger towns further south.
eventual fall-out from this physical and ideological separation between the
Wall and the seat of the Western Roman Empire (which at the time had moved from
Rome to Treves, modern-day Trier): notably widespread poverty and
corruption. The travails of the local populace – military and civilian – were
likely to have been incessant, and the Wall itself served as a physical
reminder of this hard life: a bastion of security and, concomitantly, danger, a
constant brooding character sulking in the background.
northern frontier of Roman Britain separated the two distinct factions of Rome
and the ‘Barbarians’ beyond. Although there were multiple discrete tribes
beyond the Wall, the period in which Sol
Limitis is set is the prelude to the Great Conspiracy whereby
the disparate tribes united to attack their common enemy: the Romano-British.
this, it is likely that the liminal zone of the frontier was home to a confused
assemblage of peoples on both sides of the Wall. Most of the limatanei (the Romano-British frontier
soldiers) would have shared kinship and sensitivities with the northern tribes,
and once the pay, food and support of the Roman infrastructure increasingly
dried up as the C4th wore on, many must have queried where their true loyalties
lay. Certainly we know that the areani (roving
spies working for Rome beyond the frontier) betrayed their paymasters and aided
the assault against the Romano-British, and it is likely that at least some
forts along the Wall openly deserted their posts and allowed the tribes to pass
through to lay waste to the Roman-held land beyond.
temporal aspect of the frontier is represented by the blending of Roman Britain
and Tribal Britain. In the mid to late C4th, Roman Britain was rapidly sliding
beyond the reach of the empire. Depleted of military, wealth and resources,
Britain was subject to increasingly dire circumstances whether from political
and religious purges, escalating tribal insurrections or disease and poverty.
Hindsight tells us that Rome finally abandoned Britain in AD410, marking the
start of the so-called ‘Dark Ages’, a migration period whereby Britain, lacking
focused unified resistance, succumbed to the pressure from invading tribes:
Picts, Attacots and Scots from the north and Saxons, Jutes and Angles from the
East. We see this liminal period of history as a time when the sol limitis (Sun of the Frontier) of
Rome is waning and the stars of the great tribal leaders (precursors to the
likes of Alaric and Vortigern) are in
Christian culture has the concept of thin places, those liminal areas that
straddle the border between the physical and the ethereal, linking earth and
heaven, men and gods. The C4th northern frontier was at this point (since
Constantius’s conversion earlier that century) attempting to be the border between
Christianity and paganism. Although Christianity became embraced by
increasingly hard-line emperors, these were often interspersed with rulers
favourable of pagans, which led to a confused and troublesome mix. Roman
culture had always been welcoming of new local religions and syncretism was its
main tactic for centuries, as different religions were blended together and
the best efforts of the Christian emperors, Britain still remained heavily
pagan, and the closer to the northern frontier, the less hold Christianity had
upon the common folk. Religion was important to soldiers, and the hard-pressed limitanei of Hadrian’s Wall had little
else for comfort. As such it was a key area for ongoing pagan practices to
Celtic gods such as Cernunnos and Belatu-Cadros, horned
gods of the land: food, fertility, the elements, war and death. This period of
history was ripe for such beliefs, and arguably the Romans did not share the same
concept of reality as do we in the industrialised West: for them the gods may
have been as real and tangible – and occasionally as hostile - as the enemies
brandishing swords beyond the Wall. The boundary between reality and mythology
would not have existed for them as it does for us, and this location so far
from the larger towns and settlements of Britain would have only propagated the
ubiquity of the localised gods and the rituals of the soldiers’ ancestors;
practices no doubt shared by the tribes beyond the Wall who were not subject to
the diktats of an incumbent emperor.
summation, the prime inspiration for my novel Sol Limitis was the concept of the Frontier – in fact the book is
the first part of a proposed body of work entitled The Frontier Trilogy. The spark was ignited by a fictional
portrayal of the savagery and nihilism of the historical US borderlands, and
the flames spread into a tale of a broken Rome in the frozen North. Although
the themes covered are weighty (the oppressive weather, the violence, the
poverty) they are all united by their liminal setting in a place teetering on
the edge of a cultural precipice.
is extreme, it is an abutment against the hostile and unfamiliar, an impartial
antagonist which will always, eventually, win; it is a man-made creation, a
demarcation of the mind and a realisation of the self-imposed limits and
predilections of a species which will always create conflict and division
wherever it goes. The story of a frontier is the story of humanity in
that reason, the concept of the frontier in fiction is a flame that will always
be happily fanned.
Collins is an author, editor, freelance journalist and recovering
archaeologist. Born in Stoke on Trent in 1979, he studied archaeology at the
University of Nottingham and went on to work as an archaeologist in the UK and
abroad. Tired of wallowing in muddy holes for a living, he survived various
unsavoury menial jobs before catching his breath in the construction and
renewables industries for more years than was healthy. He is currently working
towards being self-employed and to be able to get paid for doing what he loves:
writing. James also plays and teaches classical guitar and spends most of his
spare time studying the Daoist arts.
Today's featured book is Princess Adele's Dragon by Young Adult fantasy author, Shirley McLain.
Princess Adele lives with her brother,
Robert, the King of Valdoria in the castle. There has been a monster
terrorizing the Kingdom for months. The King has finally come to a decision on
how to deal with the monster but the Princess can't agree with him. For the
sake of the Kingdom Princess Adele decides she must be the one to kill the
dragon. She couldn't live with herself if her brother went ahead with his
What Adele found on her quest changed her
life and the lives of those around her. She was a strong young woman who knew
what she wanted and would do whatever it took to get it.Follow Princess Adele as she battles to save
her home and her life.
Let's delve closer into the book and look at an excerpt!
Princess Adele's face paled when she heard
the words of her brother. Her large green eyes stared at his face as she spoke.
"Robert, it's inhuman. You can't do that. If the child were yours, what
would you be thinking?"
"Look, Adele, I didn't come to this decision
without doing a lot of soul-searching. Do you not think I haven't run this
through my mind a million times? I don't know any other way to keep our kingdom
safe from that monster. The counselor told me it's worked in the past."
"I don't care what your mighty
counselor said. You can't do this. There must be another way." Princess
Adele turned from her brother, the King, leaving him standing in the room
alone. Her plan must be executed before the full moon.
How such a monster threatens her beautiful home
is almost too much to comprehend. If only Anthony was here. He'd know what
would be needed to stop this unthinkable act. Tears rolled down Adele's cheeks
as she thought of her beloved Anthony. She enjoyed the world one day, deep in
despair the next. What happened? Why did he leave?
The Princess recovered her emotions and
resolved to come up with another plan besides sacrificing a beautiful child to
the creature. There ought to be another way. Arriving at her bedchamber, her
lady’s maid waited for her.
As Adele entered her room, Miranda bowed
"Your Highness", she said.
"How many times do I need to tell you,
Miranda, you do not bow to me and call me "Your Highness" every time
I enter the room when we're alone. We've been like sisters since the age of four."
"I know, Adele, but if I don't do it
all the time, I may forget. If I call you, Adele in public His Majesty's ogre
of a counselor will behead me or something worse."
"What's worse than having your head
chopped off?" Adele asked.
"Made to marry a man I do not
love." Miranda helped the Princess change into her sleeping gown to make
her ready for bed.
"Robert has tried to marry me off too
many times to count. Six years ago, before we married, Anthony ran away for
some reason. "
"You don't believe that any more than
I do, Adele," With a soft voice Miranda said, he loved you more than life,
and it showed in everything word and action he made. Changing the subject, what
did the King say?"
"He plans to go through with the
sacrifice on the night of the full moon, which is in two weeks." Princess
Adele's covered her face with her hands as tears began to flow. Her voice
trembled as she spoke. "I can't sit here and do nothing. A child sacrifice
is unconscionable to me."
"What can a girl of your small stature
do against a dragon? Many Knights died fighting that dragon. I can see you dead
before you even get to the lair."
Princess Adele climbed into bed. "You
know I can do anything a man can. She stifled a yawn then said "Goodnight,
my dear friend. I hope you sleep well,"
Miranda blew out the wick of the oil lamp
and said, "Goodnight, Adele." She turned with a big smile on her face
and walked to the door to her room. I know what she's going to do, and as soon
as her death is confirmed, I'll console the King. I'm in a fantastic position
now to put our plan into action. I will be Queen of Valdoria! She smiled as she
blew out the light and settled into her bed.
The door to Miranda's room opened and
closed without making a sound. She heard footsteps padding across the room.
"Hello, my love," Miranda whispered as she joyfully fell into a pair
of strong arms.
She walked down the aisle to her beloved,
Anthony. When she got close enough to take his hand, she slid backward, having
to begin the journey down the aisle all over again. Adele experienced the same
nightmare about her Anthony when she fell into a deep sleep. Tossing and
turning, Princess Adele unable to sleep any longer, sat up in the bed. In the
blackness of her room, she reached a decision. I know what I must do.
Without stars, the night sky displayed no
brightness, only blackness as pitch. Adele hurried as she dressed in the boy’s
clothes hidden in the straw of her mattress. Her secrets remained her own. Her
adventures out of the castle before the sun came up, on many occasions, was
known only to her. This adventure would be no different.
Her father made sure both of his children
received the same education which she gave thanks for many times. She could
fight with a sword and ride a horse as well as her brother. She bested her
brother in their formal schooling. He wanted to play instead of educating
himself. Robert began to apply himself to his education not long before their
parent’s death. Adele's impressive capabilities were known only to Robert. Her
father wanted her skills kept a secret for the purpose of a surprise if she
needed it. If something happened to her brother, Adele could run the kingdom.
If her quest failed, she would no longer be
alive, and her brother would be alone. He would be the only one of the family
left. Her parents, the King, and Queen died the previous year from the plague.
She and her brother left the area until the crisis passed.
They returned home having no parents and
the country, no King and Queen. Her nineteen-year-old brother became King and
Lord Ashmore guided the new King in all decisions. They relied on Lord Ashmore
as their father did, over the years.
In an inconspicuous manner, Adele walked
down the long castle hallway to the secret exit that took her underground,
straightway to the stables. She thought once again of her father and how he
made sure she knew the secret entrance location. He told her no one knew about
it except her, but if the need arose she could share it with her brother. So
far, it remained her secret way out of the castle.
She lit a torch before entering the tunnel.
She didn't like the darkness of the tunnel. The dampness didn't bother her at
all, and it felt refreshing when the outside temperature got high.
The trap door opening in the stable storage
room remained well hidden. She checked it every evening, so it remained
unobstructed. At the bottom of the ladder, she pulled her sword from its
storage area. She carried it as she climbed the ladder to the storage room.
After covering the floor with the rug to
hide the entry, she made her way to Champion's stall. "Hello, my darling.
Are you ready for a ride?" The stable hand saddled the horse. She put the
mufflers on Champion's hooves so he wouldn't make any noise walking across the
stones. Adele waited for the guards to walk to the other side of the parapet so
she could escape the castle grounds unseen. She didn't wait long. When she felt
it safe, she carefully walked Champion out the gate to the open field. Once on
his back, she gave the horse his head and let him run across the field to the
Shirley McLain makes her home in Sapulpa
Oklahoma with her husband and their fur family of four dogs and three cats. She
also has two grown children, six grandchildren and twin great-grand sons.She has/is living a very full life.She retired after working thirty-two years as
a RN and then began a full time writing carrier. She and her husband enjoy
their five-acre country home.It is a
perfect setting to let Shirley’s Muse work it’s magic. Shirley is an eclectic
writer and has always enjoyed the writing process. Shortly after her retirement
she woke up one morning with the thought that she was going to write a book.
She didn’t stop writing until she’d finished her first book.So far she has published four books which are
now on Amazon.Her goal is to bring as
much enjoyment to her readers as deserve and want.
I had the very great pleasure of reviewing the Winner of the Global Ebook Award for Best Historical FictionSong at Dawn: 1150 in Provence (The Troubadours Quartet) by Jean Gill.
Let's take a look at the book...
On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her
amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her underskirt. Her talent finds a
patron in Aliénor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the
Queen's finest troubadour and Commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los
Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish
expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a papermill, arousing
the wrath of the Church. Their enemies gather, ready to light the
political and religious powder-keg of medieval Narbonne.
the period following the Second Crusade, Jean Gill's spellbinding
romantic thrillers evoke medieval France with breathtaking accuracy. The
characters leap off the page and include amazing women like Eleanor of
Aquitaine and Ermengarda of Narbonne, who shaped history in battles and
What did I think of the story?
Gill certainly knows how to weave a
provocative tale of romance, plots, intrigue, treason and murder.
Songs at Dawn is set, for the most part, in
the French city of Narbonne during the 12th
Century. The story whisks us away to the court of Queen Aliénor(Eleanor) of Aquitaine. But the crown does not rest easy
on Aliénorhead. She is unhappy in her marriage and, to make
things worse, there is an assassin in the bosom of her court - the question
The story is primarily
about a 16-year-old runaway, called Estela,
who, due to being a very talented
musician, ends up at the court of Aliénor. Estela continues her tuition under
the dashing, and not forgetting very talented troubadour, as well as an
exemplary loyal knight - Dragonetz.
Estela finds herself plunged
to the forefront of court life, and not always for the better. Jealousy is rife
and Estela is an innocent. She is soon the target for malicious gossip and
spiteful pranks. She also has the added misfortune of falling for her
tutor. I thought Gill's portrayal of Estela was exemplary. She captured her innocence
perfectly and she was a very believable 16-year-old.
Dragonetz, is the Queen's most loyal servant
and he would do everything in his power to keep her safe. However, he is
growing tired of court life and war. He wants to become a mill owner – he has
very ambitious plans to make paper - he is, I guess you could say, something of
a visionary. But the Queen must come first – he certainly has no time, or no
right, to allow the feelings he has for his young protégée to become anything
more than a fancy. The romance between Estela and Dragonetz is a slow build,
but when they both finally admit to having feelings for each other, passion takes
over and life will never be the same for either of them again.
Gill has obviously spent a great deal of time
researching the era her story is set in and this comes across in the telling. I enjoyed the story very much and it has reawakened my interest
in Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Where can I get my FREE copy of this fabulous book?
Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a
big white dog, a scruffy black dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. For many years, she
taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher
in Carmarthenshire. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was
Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military
history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese.
With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can
usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.
Contact Jean at email@example.com with comments or questions. You'll find a
mix of her work, along with fun trivia about books, at www.jeangill.com Her
photo portfolio is at www.istockphoto.com/jeangill and she blogs at
It is my very great pleasure to welcome back the Amazon Bestselling, Young Adult author, and a very dear friend, M.T.Magee, on to the blog today. I had the pleasure of reviewing this book last year. You can read the review here. We are going to have a bit of fun and interview one of her characters from her most beautiful historical fantasy, The Treasure of Gwenlais:The Reinfield Chronicles Book!
But first, let's take a look at the book....
Princess Laurel of Gwenlais, finds herself tragically and quickly thrust
into a world of danger, so unlike the idyllic and sheltered life she
has known. These dangers from an unknown enemy, also unexpectedly throw
her into the arms of Caleb, the warrior Prince of Heathwin, the nearby
kingdom in which Gwenlais has a tense alliance with. The more refined
people of Gwenlais, find their neighbors and protectors of the West
necessary, but consider them uncouth and sometimes barbaric. The long
and bloody feud between Heathwin, and the mysterious, frightening, and
misunderstood, race of beings, called the Rabkins, had finally reached
an uneasy truce, by the hard fought and diligent efforts of Prince
Caleb. This fragile agreement, was soon shattered by an attack from
outside, that threaten both kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin. Laurel
and Caleb find themselves, not only fighting for the peace and existence
of their kingdoms, but fighting for their new found love that is
imperiled at every turn from a nameless enemy, and their own people as
well. Laurel follows her calling, by beginning her training in the
ancient healing arts of the Ollams. She soon finds that her skills may
be needed to heal more than just the physical wounds of others, but also
the wounds of the heart, long put upon by the people of both she and
Caleb’s kingdoms by the mistrust and bigotries of either side. As they
draw closer together, they discover just how far this unknown enemy, has
gone to tear them apart from within. They must together, find a way to
rise above old and long standing prejudices, and form a much stronger
alliance in order to fight against the new enemy from outside of their
borders, that threatens their very survival.
This is the epic world of Rienfield. A domain filled with beauty,
danger, amazing races and cultures. You will find the love and strong
ties of family. As well as romance, humor, adventure and tragedy, while
the people and beings of Rienfield, search for peace and truth in their
way of life.
so much for agreeing to this interview. Firstly, could you introduce yourself?
Caleb: Certainly darling. My name is Prince
Caleb, oldest son of King Fergus and Queen Alana of Heathwin. Commander of the
Sentinels and heir to the throne. I have recently turned thirty seasons.
could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Caleb: I assume you mean in
the world of Rienfield. Though I do enjoy visiting mo chailin milis home of
Gwenlais several times each season, I will always call my kingdom of Heathwin
home. The majestic mountains and mossy forest will always be closest to my
would you consider to be your greatest strength?
Caleb: That is a most thought provoking question. I would have to say my ability to take charge of most situations. I have worked very hard to become a leader for my people but also be approachable. I also strive to be an example to my younger brother Aiden and my many younger cousins.
is your biggest regret?
Caleb: I can very easily say, conceding to a Marriage Agreement with my
first wife Morene. We did not love each other and only married because we were
pressured by both of our fathers. Her hatred for the Rabkins, a race I have
worked diligently to make peace with, caused her to commit a vicious act
against one of their Kindreds. It caused much strife and bloodshed for our
5.Describe your perfect day.
Ah yes, a perfect day would entail spending it with mo stor Laurel. Riding
through the countryside on horseback, perhaps taking her to the shops of
Welstone. Or sitting in the back garden under the trellis reading her favorite
poetry. She has told me quite often she loves my voice when I read to her.
Now some silly questions!!
you ever swum naked?
Caleb: Why yes, darling many times. What an adorable cheeky lass you
are to ask me this. We here in Heathwin are not ashamed or shy concerning our
bodies as others might be. Swimming in the cool waters of Loch Tay growing up,
we often swam naked. The men of our Clan still do in the early morning hours,
each season we visit there.
7.What is your most embarrassing memory?
Caleb: Hmm. I have two actually, and they both involve my dear Laurel.
The first is when she was 12 seasons and I was just entering my 22nd
season and given the assignment of being responsible to bring back the harvest
supplies from the kingdom of Gwenlais, where my beloved is from. I did not wish
for her to accompany me and my group to go hunting. I had no desire to look
after her, as she was always running about and never did as she was told. After
telling her no, very calmly I might add, she proceeds to yell at me in front of
the entire group telling me what an unjust brute I am and other insults. Of
course everyone is laughing at this, which only makes me angrier, and I spanked
her for it. It left me feeling terrible, because she has this uncanny ability
to turn me into a pathetic sop. So I then bought her a new saddle and bridle
for her new horse, I regained her favor at that point. Eight seasons later when
bringing Laurel back to Heathwin, to formally meet the four Chieftains, before
our wedding, she curses me out in front of them for laughing at her losing her
temper at them for insulting and giving her beloved counselor a black eye. I
was embarrassed to be sure, but also a bit amused. I find her quite adorable
when she curses in the language of the Kedesh. Mo stor has quite the foul little
mouth at times.
dining or a picnic?
Caleb: As pleasant as fine dining can be I have to say I much prefer
the casual charm of a picnic. There is something about eating out of doors in
the fresh air that enhances one’s appetite.
makes you angry?
Caleb: LOL! Probably more
things that should.I loathe slavers and
raiders, and find smugglers to be equally deplorable. On a lighter note, I find
mimes to be particularly irksome. I also do not like when one of my younger
cousins sasses back or curses at me in front of others. I find the little
urchins to be quite irritating when they do that on occasion.
10. If you could choose a magic power, what
would it be?
There are those among my people that feel I already possess magic powers. After
my ‘sharing’ with a young Rabkin as a boy, my abilities with vision and hearing
were greatly enhanced. I am also the only human who has the ability to
communicate with the Rabkins and also sense when they are about. So I would
have to say these things are more than enough.
Thank you Prince Caleb for taking the time to answer my questions.
Caleb: The pleasure was all mine, darling.
Caleb politely but hurriedly took Laurel
away from the talkative woman, and lead her to the edge of the Hall’s dance
floor. Laurel looked at him smiling but puzzled at his behavior. She noticed
Aiden and a pretty young woman he had been with most of the evening beginning
to dance together, as well as other couples joining them. Laurel began to
recognize the dance being of a sensuous and romantic nature, she blushed but
watched in fascination, as the couples were moving slowly and gracefully
together. Caleb watched her face as she looked at the couples dancing slowly,
their bodies moving in perfect time, always touching, apart for only moments.
“Do you know this dance?” he asked
her softly, his voice caressing her ear.
“I have seen it, but I have never
been permitted to actually participate,” she answered, still watching in
“Would you like to?” Caleb asked her
quietly, moving his hands to her waist again.
“I...I do not know how,” she
whispered breathlessly, still watching completely captivated.
“I will show you. I know it very
well,” Caleb whispered back seductively.
She looked up at him to find him
smiling at her, his eyes glowing and penetrating, burning through her.
“Very well. I hope I do not embarrass
you,” she said shyly, laughing nervously.
“I am not worried in the least,” Caleb
Caleb took her hand and led her to
the floor, as they stood in front of each other. Listening carefully to the
melody, waiting for the next movement which happened in a moment’s time. Caleb
pulled Laurel gently to him, their bodies flush against each other. Caleb moved
his hand to her waist, placing her hand on his chest, he moved her forward
having her follow him as if she were pushing him backward. She looked at him,
her eyes wide and slightly startled, by the passionate nature of the movements
the dance was evoking.Caleb continued
to look in her eyes, smiling warmly at her as she moved to keep up with him.
She turned to look at the others around them, Caleb gently turned her face.
“Look at me love, only me. Imagine we
are the only people here,” he said to her softly.
He then gently turned her around
several times until her back was to him.
He placed his arm around her waist
placing her left arm about his neck as he gently lifted her off the floor and
twirled her around as her gown swirled around them like a billow of smoke. He
placed her down and turned her so she was facing him once again. He took her in
his arms holding her closer than he ever had, having her place her arm over his
shoulder holding her other hand in his placing it in the air, their arms
supporting each other. He moved her across the dance floor in an effortless
fluid motion. Twirling gracefully, Laurel felt there were times they were not
touching the ground. The entire time her eyes never leaving his face as he had
asked her. As the rhythm of the melody changed again he released her from his
embrace and twirled her around several times again with his arm as he moved
forward. He stopped abruptly as the tempo halted for a moment, only a single
cymbal could be heard. He slowly bent her backward his hand resting on the
small of her back, bringing his face down to her neck as she reached up and
grasped the back of his neck for support. He then brought her back up to him
quickly, making her catch breath, her eyes opened wide with surprise, as he
continued to smile at her lovingly. Taking her in his arms again he repeated
the dance by moving her gracefully across the floor. Once more the tempo
changed as he placed her hand against his chest and his hand at her waist once
more. Only this time she was ready for the next motion and moved with him
unresistingly as he moved backward, drawing her with him.Aiden watched them from across the floor and
was intrigued by how quickly Laurel was able to follow and adjust to the
constant changing of the music’s tempo. Caleb was patient and loving in his
They are really quite distracting,
Aiden thought as he grinned watching them.
So much so, other couples also
noticed them, slowly beginning to stop dancing to watch them move in perfect
harmony with each other.
Caleb again twirled Laurel several
times until she was facing away from him.Laurel laid her head back against him. Closing her eyes as she placed
her arm around his neck, her right arm over his as he placed it tightly around
her waist. Caleb turned his face into her neck as he gently lifted her off the
floor twirling her about again, the gown giving the illusion that they were
enveloped in cloud of deep blue smoke. Caleb placed her gently down and turning
Laurel once more to face him, took her in his arms holding her close to him
resting his lips against her forehead. They held each other, eyes closed,
moving slowly in perfect time with each other as the music’s tempo began to
slowly wind down. Moving ever slowly until the music directed them to stop.
They stood still for a moment listening to each other’s breathing. It was only
until they heard the sound of applause did they open their eyes. Laurel and Caleb
were both surprised to find it was for them. Laurel blushed her cheeks blazing.
Caleb held her, smiling down at her. He softly kissed her forehead, before taking
her hand and leading her off the floor, as she was smiling but overwhelmed by
the attention they received.
Laurel could scarcely breathe as they
walked together, her heart racing with the exhilaration she felt from the
The world I have created, comes from the inspiration of both my Scottish
heritage and my husband’s Irish descent, with pride and respect for both
cultures. The beauty of the Scottish Highlands, as well as the lush rolling
meadows of Ireland, serve as a backdrop
for the mythical realm of Rienfield. Many of the names of villages and towns
that are used are actual names of towns
and villages of Scotland and Ireland. They are
used in direct correlation for what their rich past made them known for and is applied with loving respect for
their history in the story. Many of the names of the characters are Irish,
Scottish, or Gaelic, again showing my love and admiration for our heritages.
The characters also speak Old Irish, from time to time, referring to it as ‘old
speak.’ I hope you will find this as fascinating and beautiful as I did.
You will find the Kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin filled with wonder, danger, adventure, romance, love of
family as well as betrayal.
The people, races, and beings, will beckon you to return and visit, over
and again, sharing in their joys, sorrows, tragedies and triumphs.
So my friends, find your
comfortable reading place, and immerse yourself in the lives of the warm,
courageous, humorous, and sometimes frightening characters, which make up the world of Rienfield.