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?


“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.”

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.

Find Jenna Jaxon online:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Tis the season for LOVE!

I've decided to start Christmas early this year...only because I need help getting into the Christmas Spirit. So, I've decided to put all of my Christmas romances on sale for 99 cents!  ENJOY!

Her Own Fairy Godmother ( Romantic Comedy / Modern Day Cinderella) -

Dreaming of You (Romantic Comedy)

Love Lost in Time (Historical Romance / time-travel) -

Worth Fighting For (Regency Romance)

Becoming a Lady (Regency Romance) -

Dangerous Kiss (Romantic Suspense / short story) -

Mistletoe Magic (Romantic Suspense / short story)

Finding the Perfect Man (Romantic Suspense)

Snow Angel (Contemporary Romance / short story) -

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Welcome Linda Weaver Clarke!

I want to welcome Linda back to my blog. I love her stories, and I enjoy telling my friends about her!

The Rebel Series–Stories of Love and Liberty


There was a time when swashbuckling men and brave women engaged in daring and romantic adventures, those who fought with bravery and valor. These courageous men and women were looked up to because they defended the people.

“This creative take on a Robin Hood-like story is charming and touching, and teaches some great morals about agency and choice. It reminded me of childhood fairytales of good versus evil, with a nice romance weaved into it.” –Author Charissa Stastny

In The Rebels of Cordovia, a group of men and women who called themselves Robin’s Rebels realize they must help the people survive this oppression. In this battle for freedom, a love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?

After reading this story, Susan Ortlieb from Suko’s Notebook Reviews wrote: “Linda Weaver Clarke writes with passion and grace, and the love story in this book is simply wonderful. In fact, this aspect of the story was the strongest draw for me. (Are love stories set in the past more romantic than those set in the present day?) I thought that Robin and Daniel sounded perfect for each other, and I enjoyed the steady development of their relationship. This charming book was a pleasure to read, and I relished it.”

The tales from The Rebel Series have adventure, sweet romance, and delectable kisses. These are stories of love and liberty that takes place between the 18th and 19th Century. In the sequel, The Highwayman of Cordovia, the people enjoy their new-found liberty but all is not well. One year after Cordovia gains its freedom, a group of powerful men plan to take over the small country and replace the leader with a king.

With the help of a bold highwayman and a pastor’s daughter, they try to save their country from being taken over by a power-hungry leader. As they strive to stop the Kingmen and thwart their plans, Christine finds herself falling in love with Austin Knight. The only problem with their relationship is that she thinks he is her knight in shining armor instead of a highwayman. If she finds out his trade, what will her reaction be? As a pastor’s daughter, will love override her values?

“Linda Weaver Clarke has a storyteller's talent for enchanting and mesmerizing the audience. There are also some exciting surprises and twists that will delight the heart. Definitely a must read!” --Cindi Clubbs, Mommasez Reviews

The Highwayman of Cordovia, the second book in The Rebel Series, will be available on Dec 3rd, 2016. Read sample chapters of both books at

About the Author

Linda Weaver Clarke has traveled throughout the United States, teaching people to write their family history. She is the author of historical romances, mystery/adventure series, a children’s book, and a cozy mystery series. All her books are family friendly. Visit


Watch a book Trailer below!


The Rebels of Cordovia from Linda Weaver Clarke on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Spooktacular Blog Hop!


Welcome to this stop on the Spooktacular Halloween Blog Hop!  Although I'm blogging about this, the event will take place on Facebook!  Go to my FB page to start - 


The Prize for this Stop is my ebook, a Gothic Victorian Romance - Haunting Secrets

Victoria Fawson desperately needs answers about her father’s death. When she visits the Maitland Manor to discover those answers, she finds only secrets…haunting secrets that leave her wondering who she can trust. Should she trust her feelings for the one man who hides from the world—the man who might put her in danger?

Justin Maitland hasn’t been human for over a year. He knows things about his family—things that could destroy Victoria. The only way to help her is to send her back home without learning anything. Yet, how can he let her go when he’s given her his heart?

Enter to win by ~




Now all you have to do is Trick or Treat here next -

For a List of all Stops on the Hop & Kindle Fire Giveaway~


Friday, October 21, 2016

Aim for the Heart - Chapter Seven

YEAH! It's time for another chapter!!

Tony didn’t know what entertained him more; Monica’s playful voice or the way her facial features would change to fit the characters in the story. But it didn’t matter. She fascinated him more than any woman he’d met before. And she was so very lovely.
As he and Michael were walking by the playroom, it was Tony who’d heard her story and wanted to see her. Thankfully, Michael didn’t object when Tony had suggested they peek in to see how the new nanny was handling things.
He would have loved to keep watching her…and grinning like an idiot, but for some reason, Michael decided to clear his throat. Tony grumbled under his breath. Now the magical spell she had put him under had disappeared. Mortification coated her expression as her cheeks turned red.
“Forgive us for interrupting,” Michael said as he folded his arms. “Please continue.”
“I…um, well, I…” Her throat jumped as if she’d just swallowed hard. “Did you need something?”
“Nothing at all. Tony and I were just passing by and heard your sweet story.”
“Papa?” Andrea asked. “Are you and Tony gonna stay?”
“No, my dear. We’ll leave. I just wanted to tell Monica that she’s doing a splendid job.” He gave her a nod, turned and walked out of the room.
Tony followed. Irritation flowed inside him and he wanted nothing more than to excuse himself from his employer and return to the playroom to finish hearing the story about the three bears. Although it was a classic fairytale, he’d never heard it quite as good as when Monica told the story.
“She is good, isn’t she, Tony?” Michael finally said after a few moments of silence.
“Yes.” Her image remained on his mind, keeping him smiling. She wore the plain dress she’d been wearing for her interview this morning, and her hair was wound in a tight coil at the back of her head. Yet, her face glowed with excitement and her eyes twinkled as she created the story for the young children.
Suddenly, Michael stopped and faced Tony. His eyes lit up with mischief as he put a finger to his mouth. “Let’s sneak back and finish listening to the story. I found her version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears quite enchanting.”
“Indeed, it was.” Tony nodded.
“This time, we’ll try not to let her know we’re there.”
Tony chuckled. Enthusiasm rushed through him once more. “That’s a wonderful idea!”
Once they arrived back at the door, Michael carefully turned the knob and opened the door.
“Somebody’s been sitting in my chair.” Monica’s gruffy voice barked out loudly, and then changed sweet and soft. “And somebody’s been sitting in my chair, the mamma bear said.” Her face turned pouty as she made a sad face for the baby bear. “Someone’s been sitting in my chair and…they broke it to pieces, the baby bear cried.”
The children laughed at her display again, which made Monica smile. Just as she opened her mouth to continue, Junior stepped forward. His eyebrows were creased and his face was flushed with anger.
“You may be able to fool them, but you can’t fool me!” He faced her with his hands bunched by his side.
Monica’s eyes lifted from the book and landed on the ten-year-old boy. Junior was full of rage, and yet, Tony could see the boy looked as if he was going to cry.
“What do you mean by that, Junior?” Monica asked calmly.
“I…I…don’t need a nanny! I won’t obey you. You can’t make me!”
Tony waited for Michael to enter the room and help out, but the big boss man didn’t. Instead, he remained quiet as he watched through the cracked door.
Monica paused briefly before smiling at the boy. “You are correct, Junior. You’re probably too old for a nanny.”
Junior kept his chin erect as he nodded once.
“So how about we make some kind of bargain?” Monica continued. “Instead of being your nanny, why don’t we just be friends? And you know what? You can be my helper, as well. I’ve never been a nanny before, so I’m going to need as much help as I can get.”
Junior stood stiff for a few more minutes, his stare never leaving Monica’s. Soon, his shoulders relaxed and he nodded. “I can do that. I can help you be a nanny. I know everything.”
Monica’s grin widened. “I’m sure you know plenty and could give me pointers on what nannies do.”
Andrea jumped up and grabbed hold of Monica’s arm. “I wanna be your helper, too.”
“No, Andrea. I don’t think I will need two helpers, but let me think about what you can do to help me in other ways. All right?”
The girl nodded. “Yes.”
“Read…read,” Shawn whined as he squirmed in Monica’s lap.
“All right. Let’s get back to the story. Now…where was I?”
Junior took two more steps closer to Monica. “You were at the part where the chairs were broken.”
Monica looked up at the boy and nodded. Her eyes danced with happiness. “You are right. I did leave off at that point, didn’t I?” Junior nodded vigorously. “You see,” she continued. “I do need a helper, and you, Mr. Zambino Junior, are a great helper.”
The boy’s face turned red again, but not from anger this time. His expression practically beamed with pride. Tony couldn’t help but feel the same kind of joy, and his cheeks hurt from smiling so wide. His heart melted just a bit more for that lovely woman who had two sides to her personality. He couldn’t wait to figure her out now.
“Well, I’ll be a horse’s hind end,” Michael whispered as he continued to peek through the door. “All the other nannies had problems with Junior, but I think Monica is going to be the one who changes him. What do you think, Tony?”
Tony couldn’t take his eyes off her, liking what he saw. “I think you have yourself a real gem, Mr. Zambino.”
As the two men walked away from the play room again, not much was said as they made their way downstairs. Tony didn’t want to guess what was on his bosses’ mind, but he sincerely hoped it wasn’t the same thing that was on his mind.
There was something different about Monica Jewell. From the time he’d kissed her on the street, he realized she wasn’t what she seemed to be…what she wanted everyone to think she was. What he’d just learned by watching her tonight, made his heart sing. Yet, he didn’t know why he felt this way.
She had spirit, but not only that, she had a good soul. She was kind to those children, and she had the patience that they needed to learn. Monica would be the best thing those kids had seen in quite a while.
However, deep down inside him, Tony wondered how long it would last. How long would she stay as the Zambino’s nanny? Because she was unwed, it was only a matter of time before some man snatched her heart and took her away from this place. Yet, Tony didn’t want that to happen at all.
Knowing she wouldn’t be here for very long, he’d just have to make the most of the time they could spend together. Perhaps she could charm him just as she’d charmed the Zambino children. Although, the way he wanted to be charmed would be much more personal, and definitely more enjoyable.
Tony followed Michael into his study and closed the door behind them. As Zambino went to the liquor tray and poured himself a drink, Tony moved to one of the leather chairs and sat. Earlier this evening, his boss had asked to talk privately with him. Now Tony wondered what Michael wanted…and hoped he was going to talk about a promotion. However, Tony didn’t dare get too excited yet.
“I’ve been keeping my eyes on you lately and I’m impressed with what I see.” Michael carried his drink to his desk and sat behind the solid oak piece of furniture.
“Thank you, Mr. Zambino. It thrills me to hear you say that,” Tony replied honestly.
He tried his hardest to concentrate on Michael, but couldn’t forget the image of Monica with those kids. He couldn’t stop from smiling, either…and it had nothing to do with talking to his boss.
“You’ve been a great employee, Tony. My wife and mother are constantly singing your praises.” He reached across his desk and opened a long, square box and withdrew a cheroot. “Of course, I wonder if they are not enamored by your good looks. I know my two insipid sisters-in-law are in love with your rippling muscles.” He laughed harder before lighting the cheroot and taking a long puff out of it.
Tony chuckled. “I certainly hope you are wrong, Mr. Zambino, because I would hate to think I’m giving those poor misguided women an invitation when I’m not interested.”
Michael waved his hand in the air. “Don’t pay any attention to those two dimwits. They are both very young and extremely foolish, and my brothers know this, as well. I think the only reason they married these girls was because their families were well-to-do.”
Tony did not reply, just forced a laugh. Why would Michael’s brothers marry women who were foolish? It made no sense to him. Then again, maybe the brothers didn’t want their wives to be smarter than themselves.
“Tony,” Michael continued as he leaned back in his chair, “the reason I have called you in here is to let you know that I’m happy with your work. I know of your qualifications and they exceed far and above the duties of chauffeuring. If by chance, I have another position for you, would you accept it?”
Hope sprang to Tony’s chest, but he didn’t want to appear overly excited. “What sort of position are you suggesting, Mr. Zambino?”
“Well, first off, I think you can stop calling me Mr. Zambino and refer to me as Michael. And second, I think you will be able to use your talents serving me better working as one of my bodyguards. What do you say? Is that something that might interest you, if by chance, I had an opening?”
This was the very thing Tony wanted to hear. He’d been waiting for this break, hoping it would happen soon. “I have to admit, Michael, that driving for you isn’t as exciting as I would like, but as you’ve realized, my talents do go beyond those of just driving. I think I would be very satisfied working as one of your bodyguards.”
Michael nodded slowly, not taking his eyes off Tony. “You will, of course, remain as my chauffeur, because if you didn’t, I’d never hear the end of it from the women in this family, but as of tonight, your duties have been expanded. You can now consider yourself as one of my men.”
Tony stood and stretched out his right hand to his boss. “Michael, I will not let you down. I promise.”
Michael rose to his feet and sealed their agreement with a shake of Tony’s hand. “Yes, I know I won’t be disappointed. I consider myself a good judge of character, and I will be very happy with you as one of my bodyguards.” He walked around the desk. “Come. Let’s join the other men in the game room for some cool, refreshing drinks. It’s a mighty hot night and we all need to unwind. Besides,” he led the way to the door, “the others are looking forward to working with you.”
“And I, them.”
The two men left the study and made their way down the hall. There was a different bounce to Tony’s step, but he still couldn’t appear over-eager for his new position. Things were working out well…just as he’d planned.
They passed the children’s room, and a different kind of excitement beat in his chest as he hoped to get another glimpse of Monica. Unfortunately, the door was closed. Although he couldn’t see her face, he heard the children singing. He concentrated harder and detected her voice as well. He couldn’t stop the chuckle bubbling up from his throat.
Michael looked at him with an arched eyebrow. “What’s so funny?”
“Don’t you hear that?” Tony motioned his head toward the playroom. “They are singing.”
Michael’s steps slowed as his gaze stayed on the closed door. “Well, that’s odd. My children haven’t sung for quite a while.” He smiled wide. “We certainly have found a good nanny.”
“Indeed, we have.” Tony loved hearing her voice. Memories from his childhood returned, and he recalled learning those playful songs when he was young.
“Well, well, well…” Michael snickered teasingly. “It looks as if you are taken with the new nanny just as much as my children are.”
Tony snapped his head around and stared at his employer. “Pardon me?”
Michael slapped a hand to Tony’s shoulder. “It’s only obvious. I know the look in a man’s eyes when he finds something very desirable.” He paused a moment before asking, “Of course, it makes me wonder what you see in her that I cannot?”
Worry grew inside Tony. He didn’t want Michael to know what he saw. Obviously, Monica was trying to hide her true beauty behind the drab clothing and hair style. Tony wouldn’t be the one to ruin her charade. “Who says I see anything in her at all?”
“I can tell by the way you look at her.” Michael grew quiet again as his gaze narrowed on Tony. “She’s a pretty girl. She’d be a knockout if she let her hair down, and wore a different style of dress, one more figure fitting.” He grinned. “Yes, that would make her a very desirable woman indeed. She has lovely eyes. Did you notice how they lit up her face as she read to the children?”
Deep down inside Tony boiled with anger, although there was no way he could show it. He wasn’t blind to all of Michael’s extra marital affairs, but for some reason the thought of Michael with Monica ate away at Tony’s insides. He didn’t want to see her turn out like some of the other nannies and servants.
“If you say so, Michael,” Tony replied, nonchalantly.
Michael shook his head. “Oh, Tony. Quit trying to pretend you don’t care. I can tell you do, but let me warn you. If Monica is as lovely behind all of that plainness as she is in my thoughts right now, the other men are going to discover this and they’ll soon be sniffing at her heels. You might as well get first claim on her, seeing how you are already interested.”
Taking a deep breath, Tony tried to calm himself before answering. He didn’t want his tone of voice to sound irritated. “Thank you for the warning. I’ll certainly think about it.”
“You do that.” Michael pointed up the hallway. “While you’re thinking about it, let’s join the others in the game room. I’m in the mood for a good game of pool.”
The more Tony thought about the dilemma that Michael’s interest had just brought out, the more he felt Monica would not be safe, especially if the others caught on to her true personality…the one Tony had seen outside of the restaurant that first night. She was a lovely creature, and she certainly had passion. He needed to protect her while she was here. Monica really had no idea what she entered into when she accepted the nanny position with the Zambino family.

**READERS - if you'd like to read the rest of this story, it's on the phone app called "Radish", and the phone app is FREE. Find the app on the Google store and search for Romance Author Marie.