Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The travelogue inside my head

I can't afford to travel to all the places I'd like to visit to research my books--besides, the price of a time travel machine is absolutely prohibitive!--but thanks to the internet, I can virtually visit the places I research. Here are a few places I visited today.

Medieval Sicily:

(Did you know there was a huge earthquake there in 1169? It was over there on the east coast. It triggered a tsunami and at least 15,000 people died.):

Medieval Venice:

Medieval Florence:

Where will I go next?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cover reveal: Courting Cassandry

Here it is! The cover for my next Hearts in Autumn Romance, Courting Cassandry!

Is it too late for second chances when the girl you loved in your youth comes back into your life?

Gerolt de Warenne became guardian to a child-heiress named Cassandry when he was only nineteen-years old. As he watched her grow into a lovely young woman, he found himself falling in love with her, but Cassandry viewed him as an older brother. So, burying his feelings, he gave permission for her to marry another. 

Twenty-four years later Gerolt and Cassandry meet again. With the loss of their respective spouses, Gerolt hopes to finally court Cassandry, but she desires to remain a widow. Instead, they agree to a betrothal of their children.

Matters become complicated as their friendship begins to evolve into the romance Gerolt has always wanted. But by the law of the medieval Church, Cassandry and Gerolt can’t marry if their children do. Can they find a way to be together? Or must they sacrifice their future for the love of their children?


Coming February 2016! Pre-order link coming soon!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What is a Hearts in Autumn Romance?

My new Hearts in Autumn Romance ~ Courting Cassandry ~ is coming soon! I hope to have the pre-order up within a couple of weeks, with a mid-February publication date.

Why, you might wonder, am I publishing a title in a "Hearts in Autumn" series in February? Contrary to what you might expect, my Hearts in Autumn romances have nothing to do with the season of the year, but everything to do with the season of my characters’ lives. The stories themselves are equally likely to be set in the spring, summer, or winter as in the fall. The “life season” for the heroes and heroines of these stories, however, is their 40s and 50s.

Some readers ask me why I picked those particular years to describe as an “autumn romance.” 40 and 50 doesn’t seem very old, or “autumny,” to them at all! Certainly in our day and age, when many live into their 80s and 90s, we consider these years only the middle of what all of us hope will be a very long arc for our lives.

But this was not the case when my medieval romances take place. During these centuries, life spans were much shorter, even among the wealthy. Up to a third of all children died before the age of five. Women, whatever their status, faced serious risks in childbirth. Up to 20% of women likely died either during childbirth itself or of infection that often followed delivery. Many men were claimed by war. And protection from disease for men and women of all classes remained primitive, at best.

There were exceptions, of course. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine lived to be 81 or 82. But this was far from the norm. She was the wife of two kings in her lifetime, Louis VII of France who died around the age of 59/60, and Henry II of England who died at age 56. Her children fared no better than their fathers. Her children by Henry II lived to the following ages:

William (died age 2)
Henry (died age 28)
Matilda (died age 32/33)
Richard I (successor to Henry II – died age 41)
Geoffrey (died age 27)
Eleanor (died age 52)
Joan (died age 33)
John (successor to his brother, Richard I – died age 49).

And all of these people were royalty. Think how much more challenging life must have been for the less privileged of their day and age.

I hope this helps put into perspective the lives of my characters and what would have been very legitimate concerns to them during the “autumn years” of their lives.

Despite the odds my characters must have known they were facing, they remain determined to live with optimism and love for however many years Heaven is willing to grant them. It is in that same spirit that I hope you, the reader, will enjoy my Hearts in Autumn romance series.


Coming soon: Cover reveal for Courting Cassandry! Would you like to be among the first to see it? Then sign up for my newsletter. Newsletter members get the first peek this Tuesday (January 5)! Everyone else has to wait until the following week for my blog reveal. Don't want to wait? Sign up for my newsletter now in the right hand column of this blog!