2019, 52 Week Challenge, blogs, books, Historical, Historical Romance, MFRW, writer, writing

Eye of the Beholder: POV Choices from a #MFRW Author

When it comes to telling a story, POV (Point of View) plays a major part in order to “Tell the story right” as John Travolta says in the movie, Basic.

There are three POVs:

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First Person: Basically is I. I saw the cow jump over the moon.

Second person: This is You. This POV isn’t used much. You are dancing between beams of moonlight.

Third Person: Is She/He

In Third Person, you have Third person Omniscient and Third Person Limited. In Omniscient, the narrator sees all like God and Third Person Limited only sees himself but both POVs use He/ She.

Lachlan lingered in the courtyard. He refused to step inside. No doubt, he could find a widow to warm the night with. He just had to stay away from the Great Hall and Rowen. Damn, she was so beautiful sitting upon her horse. She was so near to him. He could have snatched her up and run away. He couldn’t go near her. He kicked at a rock. Why did MacLean have to permit the marriage here? –From Highland Scandal 

But this post isn’t about this. This is about my POV preference and it isn’t what you think.

As a Romance Author, I write in third person limited. But my favorite POV is first person POV. Some people say that it is a hard POV to tackle. For me though, I love it. You must have heard about Method acting where the actor transforms into his character. When I’m writing, I do Method Writing. I take on my character. Ever action my character takes is one that I have weighed based on backstory, character development, goals, and conflicts.

When I’m writing, I am escaping just as much as I hope my readers are too. Another reason I prefer firstperson is I don’t feel separate from my characters. Readers (even I) can feel that in the writing. I suppose the reason I like it some much is because I have a lot of practice writing in that POV. Since I first started writing back when I was a little girl, I always wrote in first-person.

So, do you have a preference in both reading and writing?

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2019, 52 Week Challenge, 80s, books, Mageela, MFRW

Book Influence…Everyday for this #MFRW Historical Romance Author

We all know that books influence our lives. They can be the self-help books that help with various parts of our life or how-to books that can help with anything that troubles us. Those For Dummies books have certainly helped me.

But what about other books that’s purpose is to teach you, entertain you or anything else; do they have an influence in everyday life? The answer would be yes.

Throughout my life (am I sure I’m not the only one who feels this way) books have taught me life lessons, helped me see the world around me in a new way, opened my mind to something I never knew or just let me know that I wasn’t alone.

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One book I remember is still with me these years later and that book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I was just a schoolgirl who had to read the Betty Smith’s novel for school. I remember looking at the cover and thinking this book has nothing to do with me. Oh no, another book for school that I do not want to be bothered with. I rather read something else like the Sweet Valley Series I loved.

After I read the first sentence I saw a piece of me in the father and mother. John and the mother (whatever her name was) were employed to clean schools. When in the empty schools, they would play out their dreams–dreams that saw them through the hard times, dreams that would never come true but dreams that were needed in their life to get through it.

My teachers always accused me of daydreaming and I was. I was weaving stories of a place where I far away from my everyday life, far from my desk and that school. My teachers made me feel like those daydreams were wrong. That me having dreams were wrong. They told me repeatedly that my dreams of writing were stupid and would never happen.

But that book told me differently and taught me that I wasn’t going to live my life without doing everything I could to make my dreams real. That I was worthy of a dream and worthy to make it come true. As we all do.

So every day, when I write that book influences me. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn changed me. I still have the book with its aged, urine-colored pages, dusty smell, and binding that cracks if I dare lift the ugly 80s cover. So I take it out every so often, stroke the cover and place it back so nothing happens to it.

There are many more books that influence me every day, books that have made me who I am and that list is too many to list. And every person has those books that have molded them into the person they are, so what book is it for you?

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2019, heroine, Historical, Historical Couples, History, Mary, Queen of Scots, Oscar winning, Scotland, Scottish, Scottish Historical Romance, Scottish History

Mary, Queen of Scots and the Men in her life.

You may not know this but I love–and I mean love Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland. I first learned of her when I was a little girl about nine or ten years old. And I must confess that I was heartbroken when I learned of her execution. When I say heartbroken, I mean that I mourned her as I have never mourned a person I did not know personally let alone one who had been dead for hundreds of years.

So when the Mary, Queen of Scots movie was released I was thrilled. I must confess something else that is very shameful. I haven’t seen the film yet. Every time I plan to go something comes up and I’m unable to go to the movies.

Naturally, I had to write Mary Stuart and the men she married. First is Francis, the Dauphin of France and her first husband. Their love story doesn’t start with their marriage. The story begin in Scotland.

Mary Stuart was born on 8 December 1542. About a week old and this tiny infant became Queen of Scotland. Her father, James V died days after the defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. She was crowned September 9, 1543.

Henry VIII, the king of England, decided that the Scottish Queen should marry his five-year-old son, Prince Edward and that the young queen be reared in the English court.

Well her mother, Mary of Guise, didn’t agree with that. So started the Rough Wooing. At this time, the future Dauphin Francis (The title for the French heir to the throne) was not yet born so to Henry’s thinking who else but the future king of England for the Scottish queen. That would bring England and Scotland under one crowned couple. Henry’s attitude to Scotland was burn it to the ground. During this time, the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh was fought. The queen was moved from castle to castle, home to home in order to keep her safe and far from English hands.

In 1548, her mother made a marriage agreement with France (her home nation) for Mary to wed Francis. In July, she sailed to France.

Francis of Valois was born in 1544 to the King of France and Catherine de Medici. He was sickly from birth. The cause was believed due to all the concoctions Catherine took to get pregnant. It took her ten years before she had Francis.

Mary met her future husband and these two got along from the start. Mary was raised in the nursery alongside Francis and his sister Elisabeth as royal children. There she lived in luxury and in the splendour that is France and its castles. She learned to speak French, her preferred tongue, but this Queen of Scots never lost the Scots tongue.

The time came for the young royal couple to wed. On Sunday, April 24, 1558, Francis and Mary wed in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Mary–according to Antonia Fraser’s biography Mary Queen of Scots— “was dressed in a robe as white as lilies, so sumptuous and rich that the pen of the contemporary observer fell from his hands at the thought of describing it.”

White was a favorite shade of Mary since she looked best in that color. But it was also the traditional color of mourning for the queens of France. The wedding celebrations were a three-day affair.

These two seemed to have a very caring, loving relationship with reports of them sitting in the corners of the court, apart from everyone with their heads together and giving kisses to each other. Though, they were different in nature. Mary was fearless and Francis was timid.

Now whether their marriage was consummated is up for debate. Francis had a delicate nature as well as a deformity–undescended testicles, which lead to his stunted height and lacking physique. Mary towered over him as she did with most people.

Yet, Mary says that it did. However, people say that as an untried miss ignorant of such things, she would think that sleeping together in the same bed and some petting and such would mean that the royal couple had sex.

On July 10, 1559, King Henry II of France died and now Francis was king and Mary was Queen of France and Scotland. They were just teenagers with the king fifteen and Mary sixteen. The French court went into mourning.

Francis was crowned in September but Mary wasn’t since she was already Queen of Scotland there was no need to confirm her royal state. The court returned to mourning.

It was during this time her mother died. Then in 1560, Francis complained of a ghastly ear-ache then a few days later he fell down in a faint. He had a large swelling behind his left ear. Mary and her mother-in-law, Catherine de Medici nursed him themselves. Mary left his side once to go to church to pray for Francis’ recovery. Other than that, she was at his side.

Francis died a month before his seventeenth birthday. At eighteen, Mary was a widow and Dowager Queen of France. Her and Francis had never been apart for longer than a few months. He had been at her side since she was a girl of five. Mary must have felt lost. No doubt, that they loved each other. But I believe that their relationship was a love that didn’t burn with a passion but was warm and sometimes brotherly and sisterly but was a partnership for them both.

Mary grief was heavy and she wrote a poem (as she did and there is a book of her verses.)

Wherever I may be
In the woods or in the fields
Whatever the hour of day
Be it dawn or the eventide
My heart still feels it yet
The eternal regret...
As I sink into my sleep
The absent one is near
Alone upon my couch
I feel his beloved touch
In work or in repose
We are forever close...

Now, Mary could no remain in France so to Scotland, she was to go. Where she will meet the English Lord Henry Darnley.

Fraser, Antonia (2001). Mary Queen of Scots. New York, New York: Bantam Dell.

2019, 52 Week Challenge, Mageela, MFRW

All the money and time in the world…If

Just imagine…Oh, I would love to have all the time and money in the world. Now, what would I do with it? Boy, do I know the answer to that. This #MFRW author has thought about that question a lot.

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First, I would travel the world. Scotland, England, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Japan and on and on. I would have an extended visit, soaking up all the beauty. Then I would go home. My home base would a country home in Spain or France with countryside just stretching out to the horizon.

My home would be decorated as I have always wished. My bedroom would be a cozy, cushy place that cocoons me when I go to bed. I would have a library crammed with books. My office to write that overlooked my beautiful garden that hums from the bees and birds that have gathered. I would have someone cook and clean for me because first I do not want to eat my own cooking and as for cleaning, I don’t want to do that. I would share more but my dream home is my own escape and all mine.

Second, I would see that all my family had a lovely home and no stress about paying bills, paying for school or retirement. They would enjoy life.

Third, I would help people. Send kids to college, get homes for homeless, food for the hungry. I would use the money to help. Because people and animals just need a helping hand once in a while.

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As for time, I would spend it much as I do now. With my family and writing.

Yeah, so I don’t want much. Tell me what you would do with all the time and money in the world?

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2019, 52 Week Challenge, Hawaii, History, Mageela, MFRW, writer, YOu don't understand

Remember When…

I have fibromyalgia and my memory is garbage. I used to know weird facts that I couldn’t forget. I could spell any word and remember lines from any movie from just watching it once.

Now, I forget how to spell the very simple word the. I can’t recall what day it is and have struggled with many more things but I just can’t remember what all that is.

Which makes writing historical romance a difficulty when I’m trying to remember a historical fact that has flown from my mind. So I’m looking up things a great deal and repeatedly.

But I have a memory from my childhood that is my first one. In case you don’t know I am an Air Force brat. When I was about three years old, the Vietnam War had ended. And the soldiers were returning stateside. If you are old enough, you may remember that some American people treated these soldiers–let’s say badly. People spat on them, called them baby killers, and sneered at these men at the very least.

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Anyway, I was in Hawaii and the men were landing at Hickman Air Force base and my family–my dad, mom, brother and I–went to welcome them home. I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders with a small American flag in my hand that I waved about with glee. A helicopter landed and downtrodden, war-weary men stepped out. They hung their heads and on each of these men’s faces was a look of pure sadness, defeat, and something that I can only describe a crushed soul. They gave a half-smile and a nod of greeting as the adults said, “welcome home” and gave them supportive cuffs on the shoulder or back.

These many years later, I can never forget those men or those looks. It was seared into me. I didn’t understand the reasons for their demeanor but I knew that they were hurt–not physically but somewhere deep inside where some many who serve this nation have packed away their memories and emotions of fighting a war.

No matter that fibromyalgia is moving around the marbles in my head, I can never forget this memory. It is a part of me. And I’m thankful for it.

What is your first memory? Come on, tell me. After you do that don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in the #MFRW 52 week blog challenge.

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2018, Historical, Historical Couples, Historical Romance, History, Love, Medieval, true Historical Romance Stories

A Conqueror and His Queen: A Medieval Romance

History remembers him as William the Conqueror, the first Norman King of England and the creator of the Doomsday Book. But before he defeated King Harold of England, he was known as William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy. 

William the Conqueror

In 1051 or 1052, William married Matilda of Flanders. Matilda was the niece and granddaughter of Kings of France. Viewing their status through that lens, Matilda certainly married down.

Matilda was considered beautiful and wealthy.  And not as short as we learn. She stood 5 feet tall, the average height for her time and William was 5’10 not the giant proclaimed.

Now the story of their courting. William sent his representative to ask for her hand in marriage and she turned him down. William not satisfied with that. William rode from Normandy to Bruges and found her riding to church. He tackled her in the street, pulling her off her horse by her long braids. He threw her in the street, beat her and then rode off. After that, she agreed to marry him. 

Matilda of Flanders

Some people say the story is true others say that it is not. I guess it depends on who you read.  In 1053, William and Matilda married even though Pope Leo IX banned it on the grounds of consanguinity (being closely related). Luckily for their children, in 1059, the royal couple received a Papal dispensation by Pope Nicholas II.

And William and Matilda would have children–10 to be exact who all would live into adulthood. A great feat at a time when children died. 

In 1066, William would transform from the bastard to the conqueror when Edward the Confessor (King of England) died without issue. So, William prepared to invade the isle nation since he was a cousin to Edward and stated that Edward promised his throne. Matilda outfitted a ship named Mora with her own funds. While William went off to England, Matilda was regent of Normandy for her young son, Robert II.

In 1066, William won the Battle of Hastings but not all in England was peaceful. The Danes were fighting in the North for control and there were rebellions from the local nobility and people. Historians put the number of dead at 100,000. That is a large number when one thinks about how much smaller the population was. 

Now the King of England, Matilda had to be crowned. On May 11, 1068, she became the Queen of England. But she was still in Normandy. It would take more than a year for her to visit her new nation.  Only one child was born in their new realm–Henry I who would become one of the two English kings this union produced.

In the summer of 1083, Matilda became ill and died on the 2 of November 1083. Four years later, William followed on September 9, 1087. Both are buried in France. 

England now a great amount of Williams. But history never recorded William having bastards. This couple changed Europe and the world and this is just some of their historical romance. 

2018, books, hero, heroine, Highlander, Historical, Historical Couples, Historical Romance, History, Love, Scotland, Scottish Historical Romance, Scottish History, Scottish romance, Uncategorized

An Outlaw King and His Queen

*Since I write Scottish Romance novels, I naturally had to write about Robert the Bruce and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. More so after I watched Outlaw King on Netflix. In truth, I didn’t like it and my love for Chris Pine couldn’t even save it. I felt that the flick only touched on the man who became King of Scots. 

No matter the movie, Robert the Bruce captured my interest years ago. I even included a Bruce relation in my upcoming Scottish historical romance novella The Chieftain’s Secret and now is the time I can write about this historical couple. 

Robert the Bruce or Robert de Brus was of Anglo-Norman and Gaelic nobility as well as the Earl of Carrick. He was the fourth great-grandson of David I, King of Scotland. As the saying goes, his blood ran blue. Through this line, he had a claim to the Scottish throne after the death of Alexander III. He wasn’t the only one though. 

The Scottish nobility and Edward I of England bestowed the Scottish crown on the head of John Balliol though he wouldn’t remain king for long. Robert had been married before to Isabella of Mar who died birthing their daughter, Majorie Bruce. 

During William Wallace and Andrew Moray’s battle against Edward I, Robert was among those that battled the English for Scottish Independence. In September 1298, when William Wallace resigned as Guardian of Scotland, Robert the Bruce as well as John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch another claimant to the Scottish throne as well as William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews were appointed to that rank.

Bruce wouldn’t hold the position for long. He resigned in 1300. It seems that he and Comyn couldn’t get beyond their differences or most likely dislike of each other.  

By 1302, Robert and his family made “peace” with Edward I as they were rumors that John Balliol would reclaim the Scottish throne.  It was also this year when he would wed his second wife—Elizabeth de Burgh. 

Elizabeth de Burgh was born in 1284 in Ireland and was the daughter of one of the most powerful Irish nobles—the 2nd Earl of Ulster, Richard de Burgh and his wife Margarite de Burgh. Much is not know about her life but she was about eighteen and Robert twenty-eight when they wed. 

Most likely their marriage was not a love match but one of politics. Robert’s father was an ally and friend to Edward I as well as Elizabeth’s own father. The marriage was most likely also arranged to help Edward retain an ally in Scotland. Don’t think that peace existed between Scotland and England during these times. There was still unrest and bloodshed and much distrust on both sides. 

Four years after their marriage, Robert slain John Comyn in the Chapel of Greyfriars Monastery in Dumfries. Now Bruce was excommunicated for his crime. However, he was given absolution from the Bishop of Glasgow. Now, Bruce claimed the crown of Scotland. 

On the 25 of March 1306, Robert the Bruce had the Scottish crown placed on his head. Elizabeth became his queen consort. But this couple couldn’t have a quiet time, there were still English to be fought and banished from Scottish lands. 

In June of 1306, Bruce was defeated at the Battle of Methven. Robert placed his wife, his sisters and his daughter’s protection to his brother Niall Bruce who journeyed to Kildrummy Castle. Robert fled and went into hiding. 

At Kildrummy, the English laid siege. The Bruce ladies escaped while every man including Niall Bruce was hanged. Elizabeth along with the others took protection at St. Duthac at Tain. But the Earl of Ross imprisoned them and informed Edward. 

Elizabeth was imprisoned in harsh conditions in England. She was moved from castle to castle. 

Meanwhile, Bruce was waging war against the English. It would take eight years for Elizabeth and Robert to be reunited. During this time, Edward I died and his son Edward II became King of England. 

Bruce waged war and on the 24 of June 1314, the Battle of Bannockburn was fought. The Scottish and Bruce won their independence.

In November of that year, Elizabeth was finally reunited with her husband in a prisoner exchange. 

Elizabeth and Bruce would have four children together—Matilda, Margaret, David II of Scotland and John of Scotland. All their children but John (died in infancy) grew to adulthood. 

How their relationship was? I imagine that they grew to have tenderness and perhaps love. Elizabeth withstood eight years of harsh imprisonment. Robert must have known that and had a respect for her at the very least. 

At around forty-three years of age, Elizabeth died on 27 October 1327 at Cullen, Banffshire. She was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. 

Eighteen months later, Robert followed his queen to the afterlife at the age of fifty-five. 

*This post was meant to upload in early November but I got sick so it’s late. 

 

 

 

 

 

2018, 52 Week Challenge, books, Historical Romance, Mageela, New York Times, romance novels, selling writer, writer, writing

A Historical Romance Author’s Big Fear

full frame shot of text on wood
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Most people are scared of dogs, spiders, rats and clowns. To be honest, I don’t like clowns. They are creepy. But those common fears are not the biggest one I deal with. 

It’s embarrassing to even confess it—let alone write a post about it. But here is it is. My biggest fear is succeeding. 

What? That’s crazy. 

That’s what you’re probably saying right now. But it is the truth. It’s not because I don’t want to be a bestseller romance author whose books take up residence on reader’s keeper shelf and who can make a living writing. Oh, I do so what that more than anything. I want my books made into movies or Netflix originals or some other show. I want to spend my life writing stories that entertain both my readers and me. 

But what if that happens and I’m not really good enough. They call it imposter syndrome. Do I think I’m not worth having it. Maybe. That’s why I writing this revealing post instead of talking about clowns. This is me owning my fear and destroying its control over me. 

I read a New York Times article about Jennifer Lopez and she said in the article, “I want what I deserve.” I too want that. I want what I deserve and I’m not going to allow anyone even myself to stop that from happening. When I decided to write this, I thought I would be shaking while I type this but I’m not. I feel strong and bigger. I’m claiming my space. I’m claiming my dreams and proclaiming to the world that I will not stop. Can I do it? 

Yeah. 

It won’t be easy. I will have to fight. I will get beat. I will cry. I will get angry. I will feel defeated. I will get tired. I may lose hope some days. 

I can’t stop. I deserve this. I want this. 

Hell yeah! It’s mine. 

Now, it’s time for you to get what you deserve. Go get it. If you are ready to proclaim it then please share with me what is rightfully yours. 

And please help me and share this post with your friends. I want the world to know. I’m not hiding it anymore.  

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2018, fashion, Highlander, Historical, Historical Fashion, Medieval, Scottish romance, The Laird's Right

Dressing a 13th Century Historical Romance Heroine

You may not know this but I love fashion especially historical costume. I studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology so it is natural that I blend my two passions together: Writing and fashion.

In my medieval Highlander Romance, The Laird’s Right, my heroine Portia de Mowbray is an English woman who finds herself kidnapped by Laird Alec Cameron. Portia may be surrounded by Highlanders but she sticks to her English styled garments. The Laird's Right Cover A Medieval Scottish Romance

During the medieval times, the style is different from our modern day style but both function and fashion play an important part. After all, that is what clothing must do.

For Portia, she would be wearing numerous items both under and outer garments. First off, our tough Portia would have worn hose and garters with fancy buckles to hold them up (after all there was no elastic) and a chemise with long sleeves and a high neckline. The chemise would have been constructed of linen. And she would not be donning any underwear. No panties or bra for Portia.

Now Portia would slip her côte over her head. The côte was a wide garment. It was wide at the shoulder and narrowed at the wrist. It’s the image we all have the medieval princess that is plastered around us. The natural waist was usually belted. Portia would have worn two layers one made of a linen then a wool or silk one even a velvet one to show off her status.

She’s not finished getting dressed yet.

Of course, Portia isn’t walking away yet because she needs shoes. In the 1250s, her shoes would be a soft shoe with more of a pointed toe that could have been embroidered in a floral motif or scrolls. Anything that she thought was fashionable or like. Back then, there was no right or left foot shoe so it would look odd to our eyes. Also it would have been constructed of leather.

Now she would choose some accessories. A belt for her côte, one made of silver or gold even with jewels, depending on what she might afford. Portia could put on a brooch or a jeweled collar or pendant to add a little flash. She might have taken gloves and her drawstring purse and dirk that may have jewels on the hilt.

Now with Portia dressed, she must do something with her hair. Perhaps, she has better skills than me or her maid does better than Portia. Her long blonde hair would be parted in the center and plaited. She might have her braids twisted into a bun since she is a widow. Her head would be covered with a coif, wimple or barbette even a gold or silver chaplet to give her that romantic look.

So, Portia is ready to face the day but if it was a chilly one, she would have had a cloak, which would have been a long mantle trailing on the ground and fastened in the front with a brooch. That too would have reflected her status and her fashion choices. It would have been wool or velvet. It could have been trimmed in fur and even fur-lined.

Maciejowski_Bible_Woman
The most basic of what Portia may have looked it once dressed. Though, with more flair as she has a bit more coin.

 

To your modern eyes and sensibilities, would you don these garments? Sounds pretty comfortable to me.