Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
The Highlander's Welsh Bride is officially finished. (And don't you just love this cover?!)
It has been a labor of love, though I'll have to admit to shaking my head more than once as spell-check cranked out its version of Carys, Terwyn, Llywelyn, and scores of other Welsh names and words. It had no idea what hit it.
And when I started this book, neither did I.
DD dreamed up the hero and heroine, the timeline (DD loves using historical turning points), and the plot high points, then tossed it in my lap and said, "Let's see what you can do with this." (I think I saw a smirk--but perhaps it was merely challenge). DD kept up with the fight scenes (they're as real as possible, y'all), and disagreed whenever I wrote Carys as 'too soft'. I think you'll agree she is deserving of 'Hardy Heroine' status.
OK. So, a year later (with pauses for 2 novellas that 'had' to be written), here it is. Currently with beta readers and one over-worked editor, we believe The Highlander's Welsh Bride will release shortly after Christmas.
Here's where it's about to get fun.
This book has a novella's worth of notes to help keep the story on track with history--and all that other cool stuff called 'research'. I'm going to share a bit with you between now and the book's release so you can join in and anticipate Carys and Birk's story.
Today I'd like to share a Welsh folk song Carys sings as a lullaby to three children she's 'adopted' (2 by marriage, 1 by circumstance). It's called Dacw 'Nghariad (link here: YouTube)
The words and translation are on the YouTube page. I thought the melody was lovely.
I'd love it if you shared a favorite lullaby in the comments below.
Check back later for another bit from Carys and Birk's story. It might be a battle, it might be a maelstrom, it might be something to melt your heart. You just never know.
I'm deep into wrapping up the next story in the Hardy Heroines series, and suddenly realized I needed to do a bit of research.
This series has really tested my historical knowledge, and this particular story involves the Battle of Orewin Bridge (Wales) and the state of affairs in both England and Scotland.
In 1283/4, England and Scotland were pretty much in accord. Edward Longshanks was too involved with supressing the Welsh to pay much attention to the Scots. Scotland had signed the Treaty of Perth seventeen years earlier, so they weren't butting heads with Norway any longer, and Alexander III had married his daughter Margaret to King Eric of Norway.
Things were fairly quiet at Morvern--until Birk met Carys.
That's our current book, The Highlander's Welsh Bride.
And today's research was on cursing like a Viking. I kid you not. There is more than one blog/website for that. Apparently Vikings had some pretty awful curses, ones that allowed the cursed one free shot at killing the person who spoke the curse. We're not going there.
At some point in this book, our hero Birk does something that makes his ma really angry with him. She's Hanna from The Highlander's Norse Bride, and falls into her Norse roots for a really good shot at her son.
Any idea what a 'raven-starver' is?
It's pretty cool to follow the reasoning behind this curse. Ravens were an integral part of Norse legend. They were large birds, uncannily intelligent, and carrion-feeders. Imagine being only moments away from battle and seeing the ravens gathering around the battlefield. They know what is about to happen. They seemed to have the knowledge of who would die and live--perhaps they spoke with the Valkyries and therefore had the power of gods?
The men and women who bravely went to battle stood a good chance of dying--and feeding the crows. Someone who was cowardly and chose not to fight would not end the day as carrion and feed the crows. Such a person was a raven-starver.
This is a surprisingly yummy bit of research Paty did for her book, Staking Claim.
In my recent release, Staking Claim, a historical romance which starts out on a clipper ship and they end up in America, I had to research the modes of transportation in 1899 from England to America. Once I picked the type of ship, I had to research the accommodations.
In the 1890’s it was the beginning of the luxury cruises. Steamships were taking over not only the freight across oceans but also the passengers. They could cover the same distance in half the time as the clipper ships dependent on wind to fill their sails and carry them across the water.
In 1899, at the time of my story, there were still some clipper ships taking passengers. These were usually people who weren’t in a hurry and liked a less populated ship. This was the case with my hero in Staking Claim. He needed time to think and was a loner. So the slower pace and less people of the clipper ship fit his idea of smooth traveling.
I was surprised while researching to discover the delicacies that were served on the Steamships. Here is a list of items found on a menu for a First Class passenger on a steam ship.
Soups: Turtle and Spring.
Fish: Scotch Salmon and Sauce Hollandaise.
Entrees: Blanquettes de Poulet aux Champignons. Filets de Boeuf a la Bordelaise. Cailles sur Canapes.
Joints: Saddle of Mutton and Jelly. Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. York Ham and Champagne Sauce.
Poultry: Roast Turkey and Truffles. Spring Ducklings.
Vegetables: Pommes de Terre Duchesse. Asparagus. Potatoes. Parsnips.
Sweets: International Pudding. Rhubarb with Custard. Strawberry Jam. Tartlets. Sandwich.
Pastry: Genoese Pastry. Marlborough Pudding. Gooseberry Souffles. Lemon Cream.
Dessert: Seville Oranges. Black Hamburg Grapes. English Walnuts. Madeira Nuts. Cantaloupes. Café Noir.
This is a copy of the food a second-cabin dinner could get on a steamship:
Fish.—Boiled Rock Fish, butter sauce.
Meats.—Haricot of mutton ; roast beef, baked potatoes ; boiled mutton, caper sauce ; mashed turnips ; potatoes.
Desserts: Rice pudding ; apple tart ; small pastry. Biscuits and cheese.
Further research didn’t turn up an exact menu for the clipper ships. It only said they were fed as well as the second class passengers on a steamship, but instead of being served individually the tables were set up family style. Bowls of food were put on the tables and everyone dished up their own.
Have you ever been on a cruise ship? What was your favorite food they served?
* * *
Book Two – Halsey Homecoming Trilogy – Colin’s story
Deceit, contradictions, and lies.
On a ship bound for America, Colin Healy encounters a contradictory woman, whose beauty and grace intrigue him.
Livie Leatherby boards the ship as an imposter to get the information she needs to save her family. Befriending Sir Colin Healy is easy with his chivalrous tendencies. But she soon realizes discovering his past marks him for death.
Forced together to stay one step ahead of the Lord set on killing Colin for his estate, can these two get beyond the lies and deceit that has brought them together before one or the other meets their demise?
The captain took his seat at the head of the table to her left. “Do you like turtle soup, Miss Leatherby?”
“Ah don’t know. Ah don’t believe ah’ve ever had any.” She glanced at the captain. Merriment danced in his eyes.
“You’re eating it at the moment.” He smiled and slurped a spoonful.
She stared down into her bowl. Should I have known it was turtle soup? Is it something that is served often to the gentry?
“Don’t worry. I was taken back the first time I was told I was eating turtle soup.” Sir Healy’s calm, quiet voice broke into her self-recrimination.
She glanced up into his eyes. There wasn’t mirth or superiority shining in the color of a clear summer day. Maybe she hadn’t buggered her job.
“You don’t have to eat the soup, there will be several courses.” Sir Healy’s voice reminded her she’d stopped eating.
“It’s delicious.” She dipped the spoon and continued to eat.
The clatter of utensils against dishes and the murmuring of other conversations muffled around her, letting her be quiet and sink into her own thoughts. After dinner she should suggest taking a walk on the deck to Sir Healy. Then she’d get him to talk about his estate and his childhood. Wilfred wanted to know more about the family and where the deed to the estate was hidden. He’d sent people into Meath Hall as servants and no one could find the papers Wilfred wanted to disprove the inheritance.
Sir Healy nudged her arm, spilling the soup in her spoon back into the bowl. She peered at him.
“Captain Whiteside asked you a question.” Sir Healy’s gaze moved from her to the captain.
“Oh, ah’m sorry. Ah was lost in thought.” Her cheeks burned with embarrassment. She’d been so deep in her thoughts, she’d ignored those around her. A quick peek at Wilfred only heightened her unease.
“The letter from your father said you were traveling to visit a sister in New York. What is her husband’s name? I know quite a few businessmen in the area.” The captain leaned back in his chair having finished his soup.
What name did Wilfred tell her? Did it matter? They were made up anyway. She wanted to glance at Wilfred, get some guidance but that would signal there was more to their acquaintance than she wanted Sir Healy to know. Bugger!
* * *
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
Her first book was published in 2006 by Wild Rose Press since then she has published seventeen novels, two anthologies, and five novellas. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager , Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager and twitter; @patyjag.
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