Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
I'm so excited to have my friend, USA-Today best-selling author Madeline Martin on my blog today!
I'm not sure where I want to start, lol! I love the cover she's sharing today, I love her new series, and I absolutely adore the post she's prepared. Always thoughtful, Madeline has put together some fun info about this series that made me grin so much!
How else to tweak my interest than to include pets?
Let's let Madeline tell you more. And at the end, leave a comment on your pet or one you know (or knew) for a chance to win a kindle copy of Marin's Promise! Winner announced May 31!
Madeline: One of the things I love so much about following Cathy MacRae on Instagram and FB are all the adorable pictures she posts of her German Shepherd, Rezso.
I absolutely looooove pets, but due to severe time constraints and family pet allergies, we can’t have any. Well, aside from fish (but given their lack of snuggle-ability, I don’t feel like they really count). To cope with this, I’ve started writing pets into my books, like the adorable kitten who gets trained to be a spy cat in the Mercenary Maidens series, or the affable dog my earl rescues from the streets in the Earl of Benton.
My upcoming series, the Borderland Ladies, is no different. Well, maybe a little different in that it’s set in the medieval era. And what kind of pets did they have back then? These are the kind of questions that I love to research.
Generally speaking, medieval pets served a purpose. Cats were there for catching vermin, dogs were there for guarding the home and aiding with hunting. Dogs of nobles were cared for very well with their straw bedding changed out once a day and their water refreshed twice daily. They were typically fed bran bread and meat. Considering most peasants did not eat meat more than once a week (if they were lucky) or once a month, these dogs ate better than many humans!
There were several main types of dogs used for hunting in the medieval days. The mastiff, which was similar to the mastiffs of today: large and powerful. These dogs were used to take down large prey as well as guard homes and were even brought into battle as war dogs. The greyhound, which was prized for its swiftness and used to take down smaller prey. Spaniels which were great for charging into the brush and flushing out birds for hunters to take down. Then there was the alaunt, a fierce and determined dog who could take down a bear on its own. These powerful dogs were mercurial and were known for sometimes attacking and even killing their owners and handlers.
There were always exceptions to utilitarian pet ownership, of course. Some animals were kept for spectacle and prestige, like the menageries held by royals that had beasts such as lions, elephants, cheetahs, etc. These poor beasts were unfortunately not often cared for properly and were placed in cages that were far too small.
Fortunately, there were pets that people loved as well. Though in times where good food was sold at a premium, one had to possess excessive resources to have a pet simply for companionship. Oftentimes nuns and monks would keep song birds or had cats and dogs useless for hunting, but wonderful for snuggling. The church did not feel they could ban such ownership of pets, but did ask the nuns and monks to engage in pet ownership lightly as food consumed by the animals could otherwise be eaten by humans.
Leave it to the excessively wealthy to go extravagant with their pet ownership. There are accounts of people owning animals like monkeys, squirrels and even badgers. No thanks on the badger! I’ve even read it was not uncommon for these animals to wear adorable little collars with bells affixed to them. Probably to know where they scamper off to (badger, I’m looking at you!).
I’ve had a lot of fun creating and love the pets in my Borderland Ladies series. Initially, I’d planned to give each of the five sisters a pet, but then it got a little overwhelming and I had to scale down. LOL. In Marin’s Promise, you’ll meet an adorable little black cat named Bixby who totally stole my heart (and I hope he steals yours too).
Here’s an excerpt from Marin’s Promise where the hero, Bran (a reiver), first seizes control of Werrick Castle:
“The reiver made an agreeable humming sound and strode forward, toward the keep. A black cat trotted from the stables and wound his way around the man’s feet. Fitting. Bixby always did have an affinity for rats.
Marin did not wish the little feline to be kicked by a man so brutal, and quickly stepped forward to shoo Bixby away. Before she could reach him, the reiver lifted the animal into his arms and scratched at the place Bixby liked best, right between his ears.
Very well. She would leave the rat-lover to the rat.”
Marin’s Promise released yesterday, May 28th
A LADY WHO WILL DEFEND HER FAMILY AND HER CASTLE...
Lady Marin Barrington, eldest of the Earl of Werrick's five daughters, is a born protector. Not only has she taken on the role of mistress of the castle and caregiver to her sisters upon their mother's death, she also acts in her father's stead while he is serving the king abroad. Dedicated and resolute, failure is never an option for her. So, when a reiver forces his way into the castle, Marin won't surrender easily and takes it upon herself to kill the usurper. Except plans go awry when passions are awoken and matters get complicated.
A MAN WHO MUST SUCCEED NO MATTER THE COST...
Bran Douglas's sister is going to be hanged, unless he agrees to take Werrick Castle. Ever a pawn in a rich man's game, Bran has no choice but to comply. He quickly discovers getting into the castle is the easy part. Dealing with its mistress, however, will take every ounce of cunning and determination he can muster, especially when she turns his blood to fire.
A PROMISE THAT CHANGES IT ALL...
In a game where desperation and love dictate the lives of many, a simple promise can change the tide of favor and open the door to pleasure and danger alike.
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Cathy: Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Madeline! Please come back soon with the other books in the series!
Readers, don't forget to comment below for a chance to win a kindle copy of Marin's Promise!
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Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of historical romance novels filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them.
She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. She does a weekly podcast with several author friends called History, Books and Wine that releases every Thursday to chat about their favorite topics.
Find her here:
Author website: www.MadelineMartin.com
Author Facebook page:
Author Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
Author Amazon Profile page:
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Today I have Madeline Martin on my blog to give us a little insight on her newest book, Highland Ruse, and with great reasons why she writes about spies, but isn't one herself.
You're going to love this!
(And isn't this cover fabulous?)
Thanks for joining us today, Madeline!
Oftentimes we as writers will write the characters we wish we could be. That is most definitely the case with the Mercenary Maidens series where the heroines are swept into an underground organization of all female spies. These women are tough, skilled and all kinds of awesome. In honor of the release of my second book, Highland Ruse, coming out, I’m going to share how my Mercenary Maidens are awesome spies and how I am so not.
The Mercenary Maidens are trained to be stealthy and can walk quietly when needed.
Every joint in my body audibly pops, especially my ankles.
The Mercenary Maidens are fluent in English and Gaelic with some of the girls also able to speak several other languages.
I can pass with rusty French and know enough Spanish to get me onto an episode of Dora.
The Mercenary Maidens have an expert on medicine, healing and gadget creation.
I swear by Motrin, abhor the odor of Valerian root and manage to break most things I touch.
The Mercenary Maidens have mad skills at being covert and smooth, lying when necessary to ensure their survival and success.
When I try to lie, my face goes all red, my arm pits get sweaty, my brain overheats and I can’t remember what gibberish I’m spewing on about.
The Mercenary Maidens are graceful and sure of themselves whether fighting, or captivating a room.
I have actually tripped up an entire flight of stairs only to fall once I got to the top. I’ve fallen down quite a few as well, and regularly trip over the sidewalk, my own feet and air.
The Mercenary Maidens have amazing fighting moves they execute with grace and skill.
My hip pops when my foot goes higher than my waist.
The Mercenary Maidens are exceptional horse riders.
I rode a pony at a Ren Faire once.
The Mercenary Maidens are always planning the next move, orchestrating everything like a complicated chess game.
I’m always plotting out my food schedule and fantasizing about my next meal.
The Mercenary Maidens navigate an elegant party seamlessly and beautifully.
I once fell in a fountain while holding a glass of wine.
The Mercenary Maidens know how to use many different weapons and with considerable skill.
I cut myself on a plastic butter knife once and burned my chest when a spent bullet shell fell down my shirt.
The Mercenary Maidens can fight in a corset.
I can barely take wearing one more than five hours without feeling stabby.
The Mercenary Maidens are able to handle Scottish rain, sleet and snow.
I’m a Florida girl who dons a parka when it hits 60.
All that said, I think you can understand why I write about spies instead of trying to be a spy myself. But the concept is so cool, I just can’t get it out of my head! So, all those fun ideas get put into my books for my heroines to navigate to perfection and I get the experience of writing about it. Win, win!
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About Highland Ruse:
Kaid MacLeod couldn’t protect his clan from an unimaginable slaughter that killed his father and many of his people. He knows retaliation will only bring more death to his people, but if he does nothing, the massacres will continue. His clan is growing angry and all seems lost…until Kaid discovers his nemesis’s betrothed will be traveling through Scotland. Abducting her will give him the leverage he desperately needs to end the slaughter and bring peace to his clan.
Delilah Canterbury is not the highborn daughter of a noble, nor is she by any means wealthy, she’s merely pretending to be a Scottish laird’s betrothed as a means of bringing justice to the man rumored to seek vengeance. Beautifully dressed and ready to succeed on her first mission alone, Delilah is more than she seems…she’s a trap.
Matters get complicated as the truth behind their intentions come to light, especially when a sizzling attraction blossoms between them. With so many lives on the line, and loyalties pledged, will Kaid be able to save his people? And can their love survive the lies and ultimate betrayal?
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Praise for Highland Ruse:
“Fans of swashbuckling, high-drama adventure and romance are sure to revel in the second entry in the Mercenary Maidens series. With an empowered heroine and tormented hero, a high degree of sensuality and a fast-moving plot, readers are sure to be satisfied from beginning to end. The added mystery and contemporary theme of addiction enhance the story so it truly resonates with readers.” – RT Reviews
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Free Preview of Ch1: http://www.madelinemartin.com/2017/11/highland-ruse-preview-of-chapter-1/
Google Play: http://hyperurl.co/hrgp
BN Paperback: http://hyperurl.co/hrbnpb
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Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance with tons of page-turning action and tough heroines. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA OldestMinion and YoungestMinion) and Mr. Awesome.
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