Friday, March 30, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Mêlée: A mock battle between two opposing teams of knights that formed the tournament of the 12th Century

One on one jousting had not yet become popularized in the 12th century. The mêlée, with two groups of knights basically crashing at each other over an artificial battlefield, was the norm. Think "team sports!"


Chaos like in the picture above was the order of the day in the medieval mêlée. Only you weren't supposed to stab anyone's eye out, so that one knight there is being very bad. Although accidents did happen and some knights were killed, that was never the goal. You wanted to capture your opponent and hold him for ransom. Tournaments were intended to be practice for real battle, when stabbing opponents' eyes out would have been perfectly legal.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Refuge: Roped off areas set apart on a tournament field for knights to rest or rearm during the combat; also called recets

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"I simply love becoming lost in her world."

Author Rachel Rager writes of Dangerous Favor: "I am easily transported to another time and place. I simply love becoming lost in her world." Read the rest of Rachel's review here.


Order Dangerous Favor on Amazon (print and Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (print and Nook).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Teaser


Tuesday Teaser is a weekly bookish meme (rhymes with “cream"), hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. (I’ve borrowed it from LDS Women’s Book Review.) Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share at least two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

I'm adapting the rules slightly. I'll be quoting some random lines from the last chapter I read before I post a teaser. I'm a slow reader, so you may get multiple teasers per book. Here's a teaser from Isabelle Webb: The Pharaoh's Daughter, by N.C. Allen:

Isabelle sat next to her. "During the war, I saw head wounds that resulted in symptoms similar to yours. The doctors would insist that the patients be kept awake for a certain amount of time to be sure . . ." To be sure they wouldn't fall asleep permanently, she thought.

From Isabelle Webb: The Pharaoh's Daughter, 57% finished

If you'd like to share a teaser from a book you're currently reading, I'd love you to do so in the comment section. And you don't even have to share it on a Tuesday! Be sure to include the title, author, and page number in case others would like to check out the book you're reading.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop: Winner

Congratulations to Pain SUX, winner of Recovering Charles in the Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop!

Hug a Medievalist Day: Giveaway


I missed this celebration last year, but I'm on top of it this year! I'm holding a giveaway to celebrate Hug a Medievalist Day (March 31), but you have to enter on my Medieval Research with Joyce blog. Click here to celebrate with me this year!

What am I Reading Now?

I'm on my 3rd historical fiction finalist for the 2011 Whitney Award. (And loving reading it on my new iPad!) Here's the back cover blurb for Isabelle Webb: The Pharaoh's Daughter, by N.C. Allen:


After her gripping escapade in India, former Pinkerton spy Isabelle Webb launches a new adventure as she pursues a steamship en route to Egypt carrying two young stowaways: her teenaged ward, Sally Rhodes, and an unlucky girl named Alice Bilbey. Arriving in Suez, Isabelle and her companions recover the girls and unexpectedly encounter Isabelle's own guardian from her youth, Genevieve Montgomery. Isabelle and her friends decide to join up with Genevieve upon discovering that she is funding an expedition to a burial site near Luxor with an entourage of Egyptology experts. Unaware that their nemesis, Thaddeus Sparks, is also in Egypt as part of a jewel-hunting cadre, Isabelle's group joins the expedition under ominous signs: a prophetic warning from a stranger, threats along the Nile River, and birthmarks that burn when the rare Jewel of Zeus is nearby. At the excavation site-a cave rumored to be the tomb of a pharaoh's disgraced daughter-tension builds when several newcomers arrive. And as circumstances shift with the sands, Isabelle finds that some of the royal treasure in the ruthless pharaoh's desert was buried for lethal reasons.


Stop by on Tuesday and I'll share a Tuesday Teaser with you!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

"The one I couldn't put down..."

Star Crossed Book Reviews calls Dangerous Favor: "The one I couldn’t put down, and which distracted me from all other creative aspects of my life because I just wanted to be in the presence of Mathilde and Ettiene and experience their story over again." Read the rest of the review here.

Summary Sunday

I got off track a couple of days this week, but here are some new sentences from Emilie's story. 


Monday: A cocky smile hovered on his mouth as he flicked something into the air…something that glistened ruby red…before it disappeared again into his broad brown palm. 

Tuesday: His muscles tensed, flexing a warning to the person who thus assaulted him, but the grasp only tightened as a soft voice cautioned, “Keep walking, lad."

Wednesday: Though a smudge of gray brushed the light brown hair at his temples, women more than half his age still vied for the handsome knight’s attention.

Thursday: I did actually write on Thursday, but the result was such a mishmash, I couldn't come up with anything good to share with you.

Friday: I didn't write at all on Friday. Shame on me!

Saturday: When last they had met, he had been a gangly boy of seventeen, so tired of scrubbing his curly hair out of his eyes that he had resigned himself to glaring at the world through its tangles.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thoughts on listening

I came across this thought today and wanted to share it. I'd never thought of listening in this way before, had you?


"Listening is an expression of love. It often requires sacrifice. When we truly listen to others, we often give up what we want to say so they can express themselves."

Medieval Word of the Day


In my new medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, my heroine, Mathilde, grants a favor (hence my title) to my hero, Etienne, before he enters a tournament. What is a favor, you ask?

Favor/Token: Trinkets that ladies awarded to knights to denote him as her “champion” in a tournament; favors/tokens might include handkerchiefs, girdles, tassels, sleeves, gloves, scarves, ribbons, etc; these favors/tokens were worn in the knight’s helmet or about his arm and might be kept after the tournament or returned to the lady. 

Here is a picture of a lady tying a favor around a knight's arm.


(God Speed, by Edmund Blair Leighton)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day



Destrier: A knight’s war horse 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day


Surcote: I previously defined the surcote here, but in addition, it was also a tunic worn over a knight’s armor, decorated with the heraldic device of his house 

You can see this kind of surcote in this beautiful painting, The Shadow, by Edmund Blair Leighton.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day


I began the Medieval Word of the Day blog post series with Illuminations of the Heart, sharing with you some of the medieval words I used in that story. With the release of my new medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, I have some new medieval words to share with you. Since  a medieval tournament plays a large role in my story, let's begin with some of the armor a knight must don for a tournament:

Coif: A hood made from metal rings (i.e., mail), worn beneath a knight’s helmet

Ventail: A piece of mail that protected a knight’s throat and chin


Here's an example of a mail coif
(from CAS Hanwei)


Here's one example of a ventail in the form of a diagonal flap that tied onto the coif to protect the lower part of the knight's face. This flap could be square as well as diagonal.

That looks pretty uncomfortable, especially if all this hardware is worn underneath a metal helmet! Some drawings of ventails show them only covering the throat and chin, like this:


My hero, Etienne, preferred this style of ventail.

View some other parts of a medieval knight's armor from this September 16, 2009 Medieval Word of the Day entry.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop



The Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop is sponsored by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. This hop is to help us spring clean our bookshelves, which of course means some of you will be adding to your bookshelves, but that's good news for you!

We're supposed to give away one of the following:

  • A book that we've read but will never read again.
  • A book that we started but just couldn't get through.
  • Or a review copy we've accepted but have never read.

Actually, I'm giving away a book I received for free in my registration bag at a writers conference. I'm sure it's a perfectly good book, but well, it's a contemporary novel and truth to tell, I don't really enjoy contemporary novels, so I haven't felt much interest in reading it. (I read to escape the contemporary world for awhile, in case you're wondering about my reading preferences.) So I decided this was a good opportunity to pass it on to someone who might enjoy it.

The name of the book is Recovering Charles, by Jason F. Wright. Here's the back cover blurb:

Luke Millward is a man who does not know he is lost. His career in Manhattan is going well; he has the love of close friends; and a future that he looks forward to every day.


Only when the past reveals its twisted smile in a phone call and the disconnected voice asks him to come find his estranged father in post-Katrina New Orleans is Luke compelled to find out what kind of man he truly is; and who the man is that his father has become.

If you'd like a chance to win Recovering Charles, please leave a comment with your email address. If I can't contact you, I can't let you know if you win. Deadline for entries is March 25, midnight PST. USA entries only.


OFFICIAL RULES:

  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
  • Entrants must be 18 years or older
  • Giveaway opens March 20, 2012 and runs through March 25, 2012
  • Entries may be left in a comment or sent via email to jdipastena@yahoo.com
  • Prize: A hardback copy of Recovering Charles, by Jason F. Wright, retail value $21.95.
  • Winners will be selected on March 26. Winners have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win.
  • Prizes not claimed within 48 hours will be reawarded
  • Sponsor name and contact info: Joyce DiPastena, jdipastena@yahoo.com or PO Box 673, Kearny, AZ 85137
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW
Now hop along to the next blog and help them spring clean their shelves!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Arizona Renaissance Festival 2012

Here are some pictures I snapped at this year's 
Arizona Renaissance Festival!

This harlequin was blowing bubbles at the entrance to 
delight the visiting children


Next I came to the Piccolo Pony. I don't think he's very
 piccolo ("small"), do you?



I strolled past Storybook Castle...


...and the Dragon Slide...


...and Thistlewood Cottage...


...where I met these two fine cottagers



In addition to a cottage, every Renaissance Festival needs a 
Renaissance ATM machine


And more importantly, a nice, modern restroom 
disguised as a Privy!


I watched a show while I ate my lunch (steak on a stake)


~ Dextre Tripp on fire ~


~ Dextre juggling while on fire ~

~ Dextre balancing atop a very TALL unicycle ~

~ Dextre juggling knives atop a very TALL unicyle! ~


I always stop by the Greyhound Pavilion



I went on St. Patrick's Day, so of course, Saint Patrick was there


Here are some random RenFest people



And I finished the day by watching Gypsy Geoff balance 
all these things on his chin!


Another very nice day at the Renaissance Faire!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Summary Sunday




Here are some sentences from Emilie's story this week.

Monday: Emilie’s tongue curled a retreat whenever anyone offered her eel. 

Tuesday: With a sigh, she turned and eased herself back into the crowd, stepping ever so carefully now so as not to splash the wine or allow one of the pasties to tilt off its precarious perch atop her fritter and slide right off the plate.

Wednesday: She had begun a tentative attempt at this strategy when she sensed a looming solidity in front of her and collided straight into it.

Thursday: "I see." 

Friday: "I cannot fathom why anyone should wish to stick something so wiggly into their mouth!”

Saturday: I got home too late from the Arizona Renaissance Festival to get any writing in today. Stay tuned for RenFest pictures, coming up! (As soon as Blogger lets me load them!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Teaser


Tuesday Teaser is a weekly bookish meme (rhymes with “cream"), hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. (I’ve borrowed it from LDS Women’s Book Review.) Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share at least two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

I'm adapting the rules slightly. I'll be quoting some random lines from the last chapter I read before I post a teaser. I'm a slow reader, so you may get multiple teasers per book. Here's a teaser from Fires of Jerusalem, by Marilyn Brown:

"They left in the middle of the night," Giddel said. "And I don't know where. No one is supposed to know."

Before he withdrew into the entryway, he smiled. "He gave my family this house."

Lehi had given his house to a slave?

From Fires of Jerusalem, p 173, 174

If you'd like to share a teaser from a book you're currently reading, I'd love you to do so in the comment section. And you don't even have to share it on a Tuesday! Be sure to include the title, author, and page number in case others would like to check out the book you're reading.