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Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ahhh.... Love is in the air. Can you feel it?
You can't?
Well then, put a smile on your face and think HAPPY THOUGHTS!






This year for Valentine's Day, I finished my historical romantic suspense, "Madison's Gift". That is a great VD present to myself.


But for my readers...I've decided to share with you my Valentine's Day romantic comedy, "Crazy For You."  If you would like a copy in HTML format, leave me a comment with your name and email.






Thanks, and have a great HOLIDAY!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Welcome Back, Jenna Jaxon!

My friend, Jenna Jaxon, has a new story coming out!




Only A Mistress Will Do - Cover Reveal


The man of her dreams…belongs to another woman.


Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another . . .

Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves. . . .


 




 
Author Bio:

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical in all time periods because passion is timeless.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She's a theatre director when she's not writing and lives in Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats.


Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as Vice-President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has three series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France.


She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.




Find Jenna Jaxon online:
BLOG:  https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Jenna_Jaxon
FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Jaxon/146857578723570


 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Welcome Gina Danna

My friend, Gina Danna has a new book out. The cover is gorgeous, don't you think? Check it out!



This Love of Mine


England 1810
Kidnapped on a trip to London, Lady Eleanor Whitmore awakes in the hold of a ship with no memory of her past or of her perfect marriage to Lord James Haddington III, Earl of Windhaven. All she knows is that a fierce and stunningly handsome pirate is yelling about women being bad luck on a voyage. Adrift at sea in both body and mind, she finds herself falling in love with the pirate captain, whose flashing eyes and muscular frame leave her breathless.
Lord James resisted the shackles by marriage until he met Eleanor. Her beauty and charms captured his heart, and now that she’s disappeared, he vows he will find her or die trying. His search becomes a chase to the New World, a trip that could destroy him as Eleanor’s bonds with a pirate captain tighten. Can James provoke her memory and win her love, or will the pirate steal her heart forever…
Buylinks –
Amazon (print) - http://amzn.to/2jJhG1l
B&N (print) - http://bit.ly/2jgvAuu



Author's Bio -

A USAToday Bestselling author, Gina Danna was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has spent the better part of her life reading. History has always been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, always dreaming of writing one of her own. After years of writing historical academic papers to achieve her undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, and then for museum programs and exhibits, she found the time to write her own historical romantic fiction novels.

Now, under the Texas sun and with the supervision of her three dogs, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream - her Arabian horse - with him, her muse can play.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Need your help with a title!!

I've been working steadily on this story, and I think it's finally coming along. YEAH! However, I don't have a title for it, so I need your help.


If you have a suggestion, let me know by leaving a comment. If I pick your title, I'll name you in my dedication page, and I'll send you a free copy of the book when it's published.



This is how I picture my hero and heroine. So romantic!!






Here is the very rough draft of my first chapter. What do you think of my Victorian romance??



ONE

I must save the boy!
Madison Haywood breathed deeper and squeezed her eyes closed as she clutched the lost little boy’s boot to her chest. She ran the pad of her finger over the laces and onto the rough brown leather. He’d been wearing this boot before he disappeared, and she was anxious to find him. But if someone told her to try harder one more time, her head would explode. Indeed! One did not merely ask a woman with her type of gift for assistance and then continue to push them until they received answers.
She tried to block out Inspector Johnson’s high-pitched, frantic voice, in order to concentrate on the missing child. Madison focused on clearing her head of any other image besides the lad’s boot. She couldn’t think about how she stood inside the inspector’s office while two other men helping with the investigation stared at her with judgmental eyes. Madison realized that not everyone would believe in her visions. Most people called her an impostor, in fact. She was used to that treatment from other people.
Pushing all of her negative thoughts aside, she concentrated harder. The deeper she breathed the more her body and mind calmed. Slowly, the images faded from her mind of Mr. Clarkston’s middle-aged pocked blanched face, and his son who was perhaps in his late twenties wearing a white lawn shirt that stretched tight against his wide chest.
A strong scent of coffee drifted around her, and she even pushed that from her thoughts. The elder Mr. Clarkston noisily sipped at his coffee while his son drummed his fingers on the desk, but Madison tried not to focus on their distracting presence. Those unbelievers drove her insane sometimes. Thankfully, she knew how to block them out of her mind.
Just as she was finally able to put everything aside, the boy’s face grew clearer in her head. Scratches marred his ten-year-old body, and dirt smudged his face. His reddish-blonde hair matted all over his head. A small amount of dried blood stained his ear. He wore one boot, and it was wet, as were the bottom of his trousers.
But he was alive. At least for now.
She couldn’t hear any sounds around him, but not very often did her visions allow the sound to come through. From what she could tell, he was outside in the woods. He sat on a fallen tree, eating… She breathed deeper, trying to focus on the food going into his mouth, but her vision wasn’t visible enough for her to determine the object. All around him were trees that were lying on the ground instead of rising toward the sky. However, the lad was alone. She couldn’t see anyone around him.
The boy’s frightened eyes darted all around him. His chest rose and fell with quick breaths. Finally, her vision opened up a little sound, but it was only his heartbeat, hammering out of control. His mouth moved, but Madison heard no words, but she recognized his lips forming the words Ma and Pa. It helped that Madison had learned to read lips as a child.
“I see him,” Madison whispered. Still blocking out the sounds in the room, she continued to describe her vision to the detectives. “He’s in the woods. Fallen trees are all around him. He’s scratched, but he’s fine.”
“Do you see who kidnapped him?” Inspector Johnson asked in a tight voice.
“No. He’s alone.”
Madison zeroed in on the trees. That might help her decide what part of the woods the boy was in. After all, there were only a few glades like this around London. At first she couldn’t see anything that would give her a clue, but then the boy leaned over and scooped up a handful of some kind of rusty, orange-colored shavings. Next to his hand was an axe.
Realization hit her, and she gasped, taking a step back. It was then when someone’s large hand grasped her arm. She kept her eyes closed and muttered, “Woodcutters.”
In a split second, the vision disappeared. Blinking, she tried to regain her senses as she entered the real world again. Inspector Johnson’s brown eyes were wide and his mouth hung agape. Mr. Clarkston’s face was even paler—if that was possible. And his son…well, some people would never believe in her gift no matter how many times she had proven them wrong. The younger Clarkston released Madison’s arm, folded his arms across his chest, and arched a judgmental eyebrow.
“Woodcutters?” The inspector scratched his long, bushy brown sideburns. “I say, Miss Haywood, I’m not certain what you mean by that. Judge Gruber is not acquainted with any woodcutters that I know about. Why would they have taken his grandson?”
The younger Mr. Clarkston snorted a laugh. “Did I not tell you she was deceitful? This is all an act. I’ll stake my career as a barrister upon it.” He rolled his eyes.
Madison sat on the edge of the desk. Her visions had always weakened her for a few moments. She’d never figured out why, but those unbelievers thought this was part of her performance. She was exhausted with trying to convince them otherwise.
“We have to trust her,” Inspector Johnson snapped, aiming a scowl at the younger man. “We have no other leads.”
The younger Clarkston grumbled. “This is all hogwash.” He motioned his hand toward Madison. “I cannot believe a word that comes out of her mouth. The next thing you’ll tell us is that she speaks to dead people as well.”
Madison couldn’t hold her tongue any longer. “Actually,” she began as she tapped her booted heel on the floor, “I can talk to dead people, but only if they allow it. If you’d like, I could ask that ghost standing behind you now…”
The man hitched a breath and swung around, looking behind him. Madison held back the laugh ready to spring from her throat. However, she couldn’t stop the grin stretching her mouth.
The man growled and turned back to face her. He laughed slowly and forcefully. “You are not very humorous, Miss Haywood.”
Madison shrugged as her mouth still twitched into a grin. “I disagree. I think I was rather funny just then.”
“Augh!” The inspector shoved past the large man, and moved closer to Madison. “Harry, leave her be. She has gotten more from her vision than the three of us together have been about to find, so give her a chance.” Inspector Jonson met Madison’s gaze. “You said Woodcutter. Why?”
Madison swallowed the dryness in her throat, looking from the man’s desperate gaze to the way he wrung his fingers against his middle. “In my vision, the boy scooped up wood shavings. They looked to be fresh. Fallen trees were all around him, which tells me he’s somewhere in the woods where woodcutters have been. And there was an axe by his feet. The bottom of his trousers were wet, as well.”
“Hmm…” The inspector paced the small area in the room. “Woods and water.” He stopped and switched his gaze to Madison. “Is it possible that the boy is in Bromley?”
The elder Mr. Clarkston choked on his coffee, and placed the mug on the desk. “My cousin is a Woodcutter. He and his crew have been working in that area.”
Madison swung her hand toward the door. “Then gentleman, I suggest you leave immediately and investigate this further before you lose anymore sunlight. Judge Gruber’s grandson appeared weak. His face was—” she peered at the middle-aged man and stopped herself before she added paler than yours, “extremely white, and his eyes appeared sunken in.”
The inspector dashed around the desk and grabbed a pistol. “Let us go now.”
“You cannot be serious,” Harry Clarkston whined as he shook his head.
Inspector Johnson scowled at the younger man and shoved a pointed finger into his wide chest. “I’m very serious. I’d rather look into this lead than have to tell the judge that the boy is dead. And if, by chance, the boy is in the woods and we don’t look into the matter and he dies, I don’t want to see his parents’ sad expressions, or see the accusing scowl from the judge. I particularly don’t want the guilt of knowing that I could have perhaps stopped this boy’s death, but I didn’t because you had reservations about the woman’s visions.”
“As you wish.” Harry held up his hands in surrender. “We shall go, but if the boy is not there—”
“Then you will hear my apology.” The inspector nodded. He straightened and plopped his hat on his head. His gaze met Madison’s. “I would like you to stay here. We shall return before nightfall.”
Madison bit her tongue. Should she argue? What could she possibly do in the inspector’s office for that long? There was literally nothing for her to do. Twiddling her thumbs wasn’t a very productive activity. For certain, she would go insane with boredom during the long wait.
Slowly, she released a frustrated breath and nodded. She must do what the inspector asked of her. This boy needed to be found soon. The sun would be descending within four hours, and once darkness covered the land, it would be impossible to find the missing lad.
“I shall wait,” she muttered.
Inspector Johnson led the way out of the room, and the other two men followed without saying another word. Madison meandered out into the large main room and found an empty chair. As she glanced at the other policemen working for Scotland Yard, it was hard not to notice their distrustful stares aimed right at her as though she’d grown two heads. Or horns. Or even a tail. Most people didn’t believe she was human because of what she was able to do.
She should be used to this kind of silent treatment, but she wasn’t.
Since she was in her seventh year, she knew something was different about her. Over the years, it had become very difficult to convince people of her abilities. And now, almost twenty years later, her situation hadn’t improved much. In fact, the only thing that had improved was her acceptance with her gift.
Because she was different than the other children in school, Madison had lived a lonely life. She had a handful of close friends, and that was all she needed to make her happy.
Sadly, though…she wasn’t truly happy. Then again. Was anyone?
She slumped in the uncomfortable chair and stretched her legs out in front of her. The tips of her boots peeked from underneath the brown and green gingham dress she wore. With brown-gloved hands, she smoothed a few of the wrinkles that had gathered since she’d arrived not too long ago.
Strange how her day had progressed so far. After breakfast, a rider came to see her. Madison had been staying with her best friend, Josephine and her husband on an extended visit. The visitor from the Post let her know that Inspector Johnson needed to see her on important business. Madison suspected her friend had something to do with it, because of the bright spots of pink brightening on her cheeks.
Josephine had been friends with Madison since they were in their tenth year. She was the first girl to accept Madison’s gift without judging her or thinking she was a fraud. About a week ago, Josie told Madison that she should be assisting Scotland Yard…that these men needed her. Madison had never pushed her gift on anyone, and she wasn’t going to start doing it now.
She lifted her gaze and slowly took in everything—and everyone—in the room. Two men wearing uniforms stood against the other wall, talking in low voices. They had mud on their boots, which told Madison they had previously been out on a case.
One older, gray-haired woman sat at the desk of one of the other officers, pleading with heartfelt sobs for someone to help her find her lost dog. She clutched the brown rope, turning it over and over in her hands. The officer assisting her definitely didn’t appear as if they truly wanted to help the old woman.
A young woman, perhaps in her very early twenties, sat by the two officers near the wall. The woman’s swollen eyes were filled with tears and she dabbed a white handkerchief to her cheeks as the tears rolled down her face. Occasionally, the woman peered Madison’s way, but then quickly dropped her gaze to her lap.
Madison closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. This was going to be a very long day. Already it had seemed like she’d been here for hours, and yet it had probably only been forty-five minutes. A good fifteen minutes of that time was spent trying to convince Mr. Clarkston and his pompous son, that maybe she could actually be of some use to their case. For some reason, the inspector had previously been convinced that Madison could help. She still had yet to find out just why he knew—and accepted—her gift.
The older woman’s sobs had Madison opening her eyes to look at the lady.
“Please, Officer,” the woman begged as she leaned forward on the desk, “I know someone has stolen my husband’s prized Labrador. Tobias is the best there is.”
“Uh…Tobias?” The officer tilted his head and narrowed his gaze on the older woman. “Is that your husband or your dog?”
The old woman huffed. “That’s my dog, of course.”
Madison held back a grin.
“Well you see, Mrs. Inman,” the man strummed his beefy fingers on the desk. The lack of sympathy in his tone let Madison know he didn’t plan on doing anything to help the woman. “We are Scotland Yard Officers. We don’t help with missing dogs cases.”
“But don’t you see?” She twisted the rope in her hands. “I think someone has kidnapped him, and…what if they want a ransom? Tobias is worth a lot of money.”
Madison placed her hand over her mouth to keep from smiling. Although the situation was far from being humorous to the old woman, Madison couldn’t help but smile over the concern the woman had for her prized Labrador.
Mrs. Inman held up the leash. “I don’t usually have Tobias on a rope, but this morning, he had seemed jumpy, so I decided to tie him up so I could travel into town to visit my grandchildren. When I returned, Tobias was gone.”
Madison studied the leash. She wasn’t very far from the old woman, and so it was easy to glance over the object. Immediately, she noticed something that obviously, the other woman had overlooked. Should Madison say something? Yet, she had always helped people in need anyway she could.
She stood and cleared her throat. “Excuse me for interrupting,” she stepped beside the older woman, “but I think I might know what happened to your dog.”
The officer’s skeptical expression with the curled up lip irritated Madison more than the older woman’s curious eyes.
“Miss Haywood.” Irritation laced the officer’s voice. “I have this handled, but I thank you for trying to assist.”
Madison shrugged. “Yes, I can clearly see you have this handled, however, I just thought I’d let the woman know her dog wasn’t stolen.” She turned to move back to her chair, but the old woman touched Madison’s shoulder. She met the woman’s gaze.
“What do you know about Tobias?” the lady asked in a shaky voice.
Madison didn’t wait to get permission from the officer, and instead, pointed at the leash. “Do you see where your dog has chewed the rope? This tells me that your dog freed himself from the leash.”
The woman sucked in a breath as her hand flew to her throat. “Oh, my. I didn’t even realize it had been chewed.”
“I’m certain your dog didn’t go very far,” Madison assured her as she reached out to place her fingers on the rope. The moment her skin made contact, a scene flashed in her head. The Labrador was someplace dark and damp…and enclosed. The light brown fur of the animal had turned nearly black from mud, and clumps of twigs matted in the animal’s fur. The dog’s paws were wet, and Tobias shivered as he whined.
“Mrs. Inman?” Madison asked the old woman. “Do you know if there is a canal near your home?”
The woman’s face paled. “Y-yes there is. Why do you ask?”
“I believe that’s where you can find your dog. He’s trapped in the canal.”
“How…how do you know?” she asked warily.
The officer snorted and flipped a beefy hand in the air. “Miss Haywood thinks she has visions.”
“Indeed?” The woman’s eyes widened even more, of that were possible. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“Well, Ma’am, I’ve been having visions since I was a young girl.” Madison folded her arms. “When I touched the dog’s rope, I pictured him inside a dark, damp, hole that resembled a canal.” She released a deep breath. “If you like, I shall go with you to find him.”
Gratitude danced in the woman’s brown eyes. “Oh, yes—”
“That won’t be necessary,” the officer cut in. “I’ll have one of the officers assist Mrs. Inman.”
Madison held up her hands in surrender. “You will? I thought you just told Mrs. Inman that Scotland Yard—”
“I know what I told her,” the officer snapped. The man moved his gaze to the men standing by the other wall, and he motioned for one to come over. “Escort Mrs. Inman back to her home and the search the canal for her dog.”
“Uh…her dog, Sir?” the other officer asked.
“You heard me.” He pointed to the older woman. “Get on it immediately.”
“Of course, Sir.” The officer assisted the older woman out of her chair.
Mrs. Inman smiled at Madison. “Thank you so much. You’re a Godsend.”
Grinning, Madison walked back to her chair and sat. She couldn’t count how many people she had helped over the years. But in all of those times, she’d only been wrong twice. She enjoyed seeing the smile of gratitude on their face. Their joy brought happiness to Madison. And it also made it easier to dismiss people like Mr. Clarkston and his pretentious son.
She released a sigh and traced her gloved finger along a white stripe on her dress. Stillness had settled over the room, but she didn’t look up this time. Knowing she’d helped that old lady out made her content.
At least for now.
Within minutes, the floor creaked nearby Madison, accompanied by the rustling of a woman’s dress. She lifted her attention. Standing right in front of her was the younger woman who’d been crying.
“I would like to hire you,” she said softly. “I couldn’t help but overhear what you did with Mrs. Inman,” she pointed toward the door, “and I need your special type of help.” She sat on the empty chair beside Madison. “I have the funds to pay, I assure you.”
Shock washed over Madison. This certainly had never happened before. “What…do you need me to do?”
“My younger sister has been missing for two days. My brother is an officer for Scotland Yard, as was our father before him, God rest his soul. My brother is at his wit’s end trying to find dear little Rosie, but I fear that he will sink into the same melancholy as our father had when one of his missing persons cases went unsolved.”
Madison’s chest tightened. How could she turn the girl down now? And yet, she really didn’t want to. Something inside of her leapt at the chance to show another officer with Scotland Yard just exactly what she could do. Men like Harry Clarkston needed to be brought down a notch or two.
“Do you live here in London?” Madison asked, hoping she didn’t have to travel very far. After all, her belongings were still at Josephine’s house.
The girl shook her head. “We live in Illford.”
The name of the town struck her like frigid water being dumped over her. It nearly froze her body and her mind. She couldn’t go there! Her parents had died in that horrid town when she was just a child in her sixth year. For years afterward, her uncle and aunt’s nightmarish-type stories about her parents death—and how the town was to blame—had brought fear to her as if the same fate would come upon her if she returned.
No. She couldn’t go there. Not even to help a missing girl. Taking a deep breath, Madison prepared to give the young woman a plausible excuse why she couldn’t help. But as she opened her mouth, the young woman grasped Madison’s hands tightly. Her green eyes pleaded with desperation.
“Please, Miss. You are our only hope. If you cannot help us, I fear not only my sister will die, but so will my brother.” A tear leaked out of her red, puffy eyes to travel down her moist cheek.
Silently, Madison groaned. But she must turn away the request. Although she’d vowed to help anyone she could…this just couldn’t be done. Not when she was so frightened to step foot inside the town.
Once again, she opened her mouth to refuse, but a memory intruded. She’d assisted a dying man to reunite him with his children. So grateful for what Madison had done, he made her promise on his deathbed, that she would never hide her gift. His words echoed in her head, God has given you this talent, which means you must share it with others. If you don’t, what is the use of having a gift from the Lord?
Her heart sank. Returning to Illford would certainly be an unbearable obstacle, but it was one she would have to face, nonetheless. Hadn’t she been able to accept her visions even though she’d been ridiculed and tormented? So if she could hurdle that obstacle, she could get through anything!
Putting on her best smile, she nodded. “I hope I don’t disappoint. I shall try to find your sister.”
Relief poured over the young woman’s expression and more tears streamed down her face. “Oh, thank you Miss Haywood.” Sniffing, she wiped her cheeks. “My name is Alice Wentworth.”
“It’s nice to meet you.” She breathed slower, hoping it could calm her racing heart. “So are you meeting your brother here?”
Alice shook her head. “He doesn’t know I’m here. When I arrived, he was out on a case.”
The door to the office swung open so fast, it smacked the wall. A gush of wind blew in leaves and debris, followed by a tall man with heavy boot-steps. The young woman sucked in a quick breath and swung toward the man talking long strides toward them.
“Alice Louise Wentworth? What are you doing here?” The man’s deep voice boomed through the room like a canon blast.
When Madison got her first look at the man storming in the building, she lost her breath. He was impressive, not only in height but in his looks. His powerful shoulders that filled out his uniform were almost as eye-catching as his handsome face. He removed his tall hat with the Scotland Yard badge on the front, and his dirty-blonde hair had a slight wave to the fullness. When he neared, his eyes blazed as green as she’d ever seen.
He glanced her way briefly before turning his attention to his sister. His scowl would make anyone hold their tongue for fear of being reprimanded.
“I…I was waiting for you to return,” Alice spoke softly.
His chest rose and fell slowly and his body relaxed as he folded his arms. “Did I not instruct you to wait for me at home?”
Thankfully, his tone had mellowed a little. But he continued to appear very upset at his sister.
“You did, but…I can’t sit at home and do nothing. I want to help find Rosie.”
His square jaw hardened. “There’s nothing you can do,” he clipped.
“Perhaps, but,” Alice turned and clasped Madison’s hand, “I truly believe she is the answer to our prayers.”
Finally, Madison received the man’s full attention as his gaze skimmed over her from her ringlet-styled hair that flowed over her shoulders and down her back, over her gingham dress, and to her brown, leather ladies’ boots. When his gaze jumped up to meet her eyes, he arched an eyebrow.
“Indeed?” he said with a hint of sarcasm to his voice. “You believe a woman is the answer to our prayers?” He shook his head. “I think not, sister dear.”
Irritation boiled inside of Madison like water in a kettle hanging over a blazing fire. How dare he insult her merely because she was a woman! If she hadn’t already decided to assist Alice, this man’s attitude had made the decision for her. She’d always been a little stubborn, and this man made it easier for Madison to show her true colors.
Straightening her shoulders, she lifted her chin and looked at Alice. “When do you wish me to start?”
She sneaked a peek at Alice’s brother. His eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. Priceless. It was worth every second, even if she feared she’d be arguing up a storm with this particular man.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Traditions of Christmas Court

I'd like to welcome my friend, Jenna Jaxon, to my blog. She has a new release and I can't wait to read it! Today she'll be sharing her historical knowledge with us. I LOVE these types of blogs!!


Traditions of the Christmas Court

As many may have guessed, Christmas in medieval times was quite different from our modern Christmas in how it was kept. The English certainly kept Christmas with lots of revelry and no place had grander revels than the King’s court. Wherever the king decided to hold his Christmas celebration, the nobles of all ranks followed—if they were invited, of course. And to not be invited was a grave injury to one’s status in society.

There are many traditions that would seem familiar to our 21st century eyes: decorating with holly garland, giving presents, singing songs (Christmas carols but not called that until the 15th century), feasting, and dancing. These Yuletide merriments we continue to this day, however, the medieval court had additional pastimes at the Christmas Court that we may not have heard of.

One peculiar (to our eyes) tradition was that of the “boy bishop.” A boy would be elected bishop and would rule over church processions and preach a sermon on December 28, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. A surviving sermon from the period shows the boy bishop hoped that all his schoolteachers would end up at Tyburn (the local place of execution).

Also the Christmas season lasted longer, from the first day of Advent until Twelfth Night (January 6th). The problem was that Advent was a time of fasting. The feasting didn’t begin until Christmas Eve and continued—quite sumptuously—for another two weeks.

And sporting activities were all the rage during a Medieval Christmas celebration. Some years the king would host a joust and most years there would be hunting, especially of the boars that would then grace the tables. These animals were wicked little warriors, and worthy opponents. They were hunted with boar hounds, bred specially for the purpose, and they hunted in pairs. The hunters would ride and chase the boar, then the dog would “catch” the boar in its jaws and hold it while the hunter would kill the pig with a dagger. It would later be served, roasted whole, often with apples in its mouth. Quite the showpiece of the meal.

Because I wanted to give the reader the experience of these medieval Christmas traditions, I’ve managed to weave almost all of them into my novella, Seduction at the Christmas Court. I certainly hope the descriptions bring you a little closer to a medieval Christmas celebration at court.





Alyse and Geoffrey, Lord and Lady Longford, have journeyed to the glittering Christmas Court of King Edward III in the year 1349 to wait upon the king and take part in some Yuletide merriment. However, when Geoffrey is suddenly called into the king’s service again, Alyse must remain at court, attending the queen and persuading her rebellious sister to accept an unwanted betrothal. When rumors of Geoffrey’s death arise, Alyse fends off an old suitor who wants to renew their friendship. But how long will he take “No” for an answer?

EXCERPT

“This entertainment will be tedious. I would much rather retire for a good night’s bedding right now,” he whispered, the puff of his breath tickling her ear and sending prickles of excitement down her neck.

She laced their fingers together. “’Twill be finished ‘ere long, my love. Then you can wield your weapon with a vigor yon knights cannot.”

He laughed and drank deeply. “Aye, sweet Alyse. My skill with both weapons outshines any other knight.”

“As you will not want me to be judge of that, I think, I will demur to your claim, although I will test your skills again with the one blade ‘ere the night is done.”

At Geoffrey’s bark of laughter—so loud it turned heads on the dais their way—Alyse settled back to watch the mummers, her cheeks burning, but a pleasant anticipation building within as well.

The mummer playing St. George took the center spot in the Great Hall and began a sing-song rhyme that soon had the court laughing at its nonsense. A stream of knights—played in turn by the other mummers—approached, made their rhyming challenge, and were quickly slain by St. George, whose wielding of his sword became swifter and swifter. He slayed the knights in such short order that by the time he faced the final knight, he did no more than look at the Turkish knight than the man fell down, his toes jingling softly as he landed on the soft rushes covering the floor.

A burst of laughter and applause followed that performance as the quack Doctor shuffled forward, his “magic potion” in a large bottle, gripped in his hand.

Thoroughly engrossed, Alyse laughed and clapped her hands. She held her breath and leaned forward as the Doctor poured the potion down the throats of the slain knights, spoke his own rhyme over them, and one by one, they began to twitch and dance, the rush-strewn floor seeming to come alive as they did. The room resounded with merriment as all seven knights revived.

Loud applause burst out from the courtiers, many of whom threw gold and silver coins onto the floor. Geoffrey tossed a gold florin to the Turkish knight. “For my lady’s pleasure,” he called.

The man nimbly caught the coin and made a deep bow. “Thank you, my lord.”

With a lecherous grin, Geoffrey grasped Alyse’s arm and urged her to rise. “And now allow me to attend to my lady’s pleasure as well.”



AUTHOR BIO:
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical romance in all time periods because passion is timeless.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats, Marmalade and Sugar.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as Vice-President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has three series available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France.
She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.

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