Friday, June 26, 2015

Edward I

In my historical romance novels, I like to include real people and events of the time the books take place. In my latest release, Warrior' Possession, I included King Edward I, who was both adored and reviled – during his time and still to this day. Many are familiar with his portrayal in "Braveheart," but while he was indeed called "Hammer of the Scots" and "Longshanks" (he was very tall for a man of the time, which is where that nickname came from), he was not evil, as he was portrayed in that film. There's a lot of huge inaccuracies in that film, but I'll save that for another time.

Yes, Edward was a brutal man – being a king at the time almost required that. Very few within the nobility of the time dared to oppose him. Those who did were met with brutal retaliation. He crushed his enemies quickly and conquered Wales and Scotland with ruthless methods. Warrior's Possession is set at the end of the Welsh wars, when the rebellion had been crushed and Wales united under the English throne. The act of drawing and quartering those convicted of crimes had not been utilized for a very long time until Edward brought it back in use. Yes, there are two ways of drawing and quartering – a lot of people are familiar with the method in which the victim's hands and feet were tied to four horses which were then driven away, causing the victim to be torn apart. But the method that Edward used is far more brutal. I portray the first time Edward used it, against the last Welsh prince, Dafydd, in Warrior's Possession. I even included some of the remarks made by Edward and the executioner, as they were recorded by the authorities of the time. I can't say for sure these are the exact spoken words, but as this was a very big event at the time, chances are they were recorded faithfully. In this drawing and quartering scenario, the victim was first dragged to the execution location, then hanged by the neck until almost dead, before being cut down. At that point, the victim was disemboweled while still alive, then beheaded. The quartering came when the body was cut into four pieces, with each one being sent to the farthest corners of the realm. Yucky stuff, I know. In Warrior's Possession, Gillian didn't handle seeing such gruesomeness very well.

But Edward was also a revered king. His Parliament is what today's Parliament is based on - he made it a permanent institution. At that time, Parliament was held wherever the king was traveling to. He loved his first wife, Queen Eleanor. Even though the marriage was arranged, the pair had a deep abiding love for each other. They were truly a "Golden Couple," tall, blonde and both very attractive, by accounts from the time. There are legends about Edward nearly dying from being stabbed with a poisoned blade during his last Crusade, with Eleanor sucking the poison from his wound, though there is no proof this actually happened. But when she died, Edward's grief was so profound, he had twelve large crosses built wherever her funeral train stopped during the journey back to London. Three still stand – in Geddington, Northampton and Waltham. Fragments of most of the others are all that remain in museums and historical societies. 

In Warrior's Possession, I tried to portray Edward as that loving husband as well as the brutal king he was known to be. He was known for his generosity to those loyal to him, and ruthless toward those who dared betray him. However, his biggest mistake was marrying his eldest son, also Edward, to Princess Isabella of France (who, btw, was only 8 years old at the time of William Wallace's death). Edward adored his son but was also frustrated by him, as the younger Edward did not have his father's skill as a soldier or statesman. The political alliance Edward hoped to make with his son's marriage ended up with the younger being a weak and ineffectual king who ultimately was murdered by his wife and her lover. But that's a story for another post.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Release Day for Warrior's Possession

It's here! It's here! It's here!

Can you tell I'm excited? lol Well, that's  because it's Release Day for Warrior's Possession, a tale 20+ years in the making! Warrior's Possession is book three in the Medieval Warrior's series and goes back to the beginning of the Langley and Marlowe bloodline, forged during the reign of Edward I. These are very special characters to me, I've carried them around with me for a long time and I am thrilled they are finally here for everyone to enjoy!
Here's the blurb: 
Upon her father's death, Lady Gillian Marlowe is ordered by King Edward I to wed Royce Langley, the Earl of Montchester. Worried she is being offered up as little more than a sacrifice in a political game, Gillian is surprised to find herself intrigued by her arrogant and infuriating husband.

Tasked with ridding the border along Wales of rebels who seek to unseat the king, Royce finds subterfuge and secrets everywhere, even with his beautiful wife. Though he only agreed to the marriage because of the king's order, he finds himself both fascinated and incensed by Gillian at every turn. She tries his patience, defies his orders and places herself in danger. To keep her in line, he spanks her, binds her to his bed and uses dominating sexual games to torment her, in an effort to get her to reveal her secrets. But even that is not enough to subdue her stubborn determination to stand beside him and defend her home and people.

Discovering his wife enjoys the same dark pleasures as Royce does only stirs more confusion. He has sworn never to fall for a woman's wiles, but his wife captivates him and stirs a desire deeper than any he has ever known. Trusting her is another matter, as he fears Gillian may bring about his downfall with her continued secrets, which he views as an attempt to undermine his authority.

As the rebel attacks increase and danger lurks everywhere, Gillian falls under suspicion as the traitor, despite her vows of loyalty. Royce must overcome his mistrust and find a way to maintain his possession of Gillian as they battle the enemies both within and without, if there is any hope for them to save each other.

Includes: Male domination, bondage, spanking and anal sex

Here's a taste of this kinky tale of Twisted History:

“I can take a man from his horse at fifty paces with a longbow.”

The earl nodded. “Very well, suppose you could take out one, perhaps two men before the others, maybe twice as many as your guards, reached you. Your longbow will do no good at close range. Then what, Lady Gillian? Who will save you then?”

The words to respond eluded her. She looked away, silently cursing his triumph.

“You know nothing of warfare and rebel attacks. I can’t help wondering again at your confidence in your safety. Perhaps you’re involved more than you say. Perhaps you aided the Welsh during this last war.”

Gillian met his steady gaze. A shuttered coolness now replaced the earlier heat.

“I would never...”

“Wouldn’t you? Your stepmother has a lover, possibly Welsh. Perhaps you do as well. Perhaps ‘tis your ‘guard’. Perhaps you intended to meet him tonight and that’s why you are so anxious to be rid of me.”

The sound of her palm cracking against his cheek echoed through the mews. His head turned slightly under the force of the blow. Tension crackled between them, like lightning during a spring storm. Once again, the birds stirred restlessly in response to the turmoil. A wave of fear dimmed her rage as she realized she had struck her future husband. The king’s favorite. She held her breath, waiting for the punishment sure to follow.

“Men have died for less than what you dare.”

His voice, low and menacing, terrified her more than if he had shouted. His eyes glittered and his fury smelled of brimstone. She trembled, fright making her knees weak, and she might have fallen had he not grabbed her arm. His grip tightened as he jerked her roughly against him. Only the restless movements of the hawks broke the silence.

Gillian tried to pull free, without success. A brief recollection of his coarse treatment of Anne skittered through her jumbled thoughts, and she tugged again. This time, he pulled her still closer, his other hand cupping the back of her head as his mouth suddenly claimed hers with a punishing kiss.

Fear consuming her, once more she tried to pull away, but his fingers bit into her arm and tightened in her hair. His mouth continued its assault, bruising her lips. She stood in his harsh embrace, her hands coming to rest on his chest, waiting for an opportunity to shove at him. Panic taunted her, but she kept it at bay, determined not to show her terror. At that moment, a strange thing happened.

Her body warmed and a strange feathery delight blossomed in her belly. She found herself responding to the demands of his mouth. The kiss softened, just a little, and a hint of pleasure burst into a decadence she’d never imagined. A strange calm came over her as his lips now moved gently over hers. When he drew away, she found herself disappointed.

He raised his head. No longer did she find fury in his gaze. Instead, flames flickered amid something she did not recognize, something alluring. The remnants of fear rapidly faded, replaced by curiosity. She leaned closer, trying to understand the emotion she read. Her breasts tightened, her gown suddenly confining. She’d never had such a physical reaction to a mere stare. Then again, she’d never been kissed like that before. The few pecks one of her father’s men had given her had not stirred anything even remotely similar to the powerful sensations taking over her body now.

To her surprise, the expression on his face softened more. He looked as though he might smile. His grip on her arm loosened, but he didn’t release her, instead holding her close with a firm yet gentle grip. His fingers moved along the sensitive underside of her arm and she sucked in a breath at the slither of warmth along her spine.

Mesmerized by the heated glow in his golden eyes, Gillian didn’t resist. Forgotten was her anger over his arrogant words, her fear he’d demand retribution for her actions. Her sole focus remained on the hold of his gaze and the way the closeness made him seem larger, more powerful. New emotions swelled, confusing her, yet exciting her at the same time. Her heart pounded, and beneath her palms, his heart thumped just as vigorously.

He yanked her more fully against him. His fingers on her chin tilted her head back so she looked into his face. Darkened to a deep amber, his intense gaze warmed. Slowly, he lowered his head and Gillian realized he meant to kiss her again. This time she recognized she wanted him to.

Warrior's Possession is available at Amazon: 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Inquisitions

Today I'm talking about The Inquisition, which is featured prominently in my latest release, Claimed by the Zyndevine, Book 4 in the Bayou Magiste Chronicles. The Inquisition and those carrying out the brutal acts against heretics are the main reason Henri Marchand and Chantal Belliveau meet in the first place, when Henri saves Chantal from an attack on her home and family. Henri is also involved in a resistance movement, Il Resistasse, against the Church's violence against who they deemed to be heretics.

Most people are familiar with The Spanish Inquisition, which was the largest and broadest-scoped of all of the Inquisitions. Many don't realize that these acts of "cleansing" were being carried out for hundreds of years prior. The first of the major medieval Inquisitions began in 1184. By a papal bull issued by Pope Lucius III, entitled Ad abolendam, which translates to "For the purpose of doing away with." It was established mainly to deal with the Cathars. They believed in dualism, two Gods. The good God, which is the God of the New Testament of the Bible, created the spiritual world. The second God, the evil God, was the one who created the physical world of the Old Testament. Naturally, this did not sit well with the Catholic Church, and was deemed heresy, which was to be destroyed, at all costs.

Another papal bull establishing an Inquistion, ad exstirpanda, was issued by Pope Innocent IV, in 1243, almost right from the beginning of his term. It authorized torture for some heretics, however, there were some limitations:
·         that the torture did not cause loss of life or limb
·         that it was used only once
·         that the Inquisitor deemed the evidence against the accused to be virtually certain

Of course, in practice, these limitations were mostly ignored. The loss of life or limb could be considered to be an accident, and often "only once" could come to mean a series of tortures that all together were defined as one. And of course, those who carried out such tortures often followed their own beliefs in inflicting torment on those who were suspected of heresy, whatever the definition was at the time. For it most certainly changed and often, due to whatever goal those in command wanted to accomplish.

The Inquisition established by Pope Innocent IV is the one that is occurring during the time of Claimed by the Zyndevine, Of course, in the Magiste world, magic is quite real and is naturally deemed heresy by the rulers of the time. King Louis IX, later canonized as St. Louis, was devoutly Catholic and just as eager as the Church to wipe out those he believed to be heretics. In the 13th century, Mortal men, such as King Louis, were usually frightened of magic, and often with good reason. Just like anybody else, there are good and evil Magiste, and those evil Enchanters and the like used dark magic to commit gruesome tortures against any they perceived as their enemies, or sometimes simply for the enjoyment of torturing a helpless victim. Just like the Inquisitioners in Claimed by the Zyndevine (and yes, I made up my own word for those carrying out the Inquisition. I made up a lot of words creating this world).

Anyway, the tortures of all of the Inquisitions were very similar, though as technology of the time advanced, and of course with more experience in knowing what was more effective against the victims, these tortures increased in brutality and scope. By the time of the Spanish Inquisition, nearly every European country, and often many of the smaller territories within those countries, held their own local Inquisition-like pursuits. Untold numbers of innocent people suffered and died under these agonizing tortures. Many confessed, just to make the torture stop. They were subsequently put to death, though there were other ways to make penance and save one's life. Often that involved the confiscation of all property and fines, as well as jail time. Back then, you might as well be dead anyway if they jailed you.

In Claimed by the Zyndevine, Chantal's own family suffers a terrible fate when they are targeted, as do others. The details of the tortures aren't described in graphic detail; I'm not one to write about someone's gruesome suffering, but most people are familiar enough with the implements of the Inquisition to understand what happens: the Iron Maiden, the Pear of Anguish, the Rack, and others. I do use one of the tortures in another book – the Stocks. This was a pretty brutal torture: a person's legs were locked into the stocks, their feet were greased with lard and then placed against a brazier or fire. Those who suffered this torture often died, and horrifyingly, this was used against children to force them to testify against their parents.

This is what Henri and Chantal are up against, forced to flee for their lives, or suffer unendurable agony. Still, Henri employs his own brand of torture upon Chantal – one which she of course, soon begins to crave. Here's a little teaser of exactly what Henri does with Chantal once he has her bound to his bed and under the torment of the fiere potion. Warning – this is decidedly NC-17 and NSFW:

"Henri, it burns!" Her choked cry sent another throb of lust pulsing to his cock. He ignored it as best he could.
"Yes, it does, but there's more, isn't there? Tell me, Chantal, what else are you feeling?"
He continued his gentle stroking along her skin, noting the way her nipples hardened still further, as if straining to reach his hands. Henri studied her closely, the dart of her tongue along her lips a torment and a delight to his roiling senses.
"I don't know, damn you! But it's driving me mad!"
He grinned at the frustration in her voice. "But I've barely begun, Chantal. If you are nearing madness now, how will you survive the pleasure I plan to show you through the night?"
Her eyes snapped to his, wide with a mix of apprehension and anticipation. "So you plan to torture me all night? You are not the man I thought you were."
He shrugged. "Perhaps not. But I suspect, in the end, you'll prefer me this way."
He leaned over and licked along her full lips, each breath she took rattling through her and pouring into him. Her essence, with the pulse of her magic, drove him to near madness himself. Pulling himself away took every bit of his strength. Her body glistened in the glow of the hearth, but he suspected much of the heat leaving her skin covered in a damp sheen came from within. He dared a look at her pussy, open and ready for him due to the chains at her ankles. A telltale moisture sparkled in the firelight. Did she even realize how much her body wanted what he offered?
"Remember what I told you earlier?" The husk in his voice betrayed his desire, her awareness of the fact sparking in her gaze. A hint of a smile tugged at one side of her mouth.
"Yes, you told me to feel."
He nodded. "I won't tell you not to worry, some of what you'll endure tonight will be...uncomfortable. But I think you'll find the reward worth it."
She closed her eyes briefly, but when she opened them again, he clearly read the challenge in their grassy depths.
"Are you ready?"

You can get your copy of Claimed by the Zyndevine at Amazon: