Vortigern’s Rule: The Treachery of the Long Knives

The following is a NOVEMBER 15, 2017 post by ZTEVETEVANS
Vortigern’s Rule: The Treachery of the Long Knives. The is about the
legendary event of the Saxons’ ambush on the unsuspecting British King Vortigern and his chieftains by the Saxon mercenary leader Hengist in the 5th century at a banquet. The event led up to the legend of Merlin and King Arthur.

Under the influence!

The_murder_of_Raymond_Trencavel

By Noel Sylvestre (1847-1915) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Treachery and Betrayal

The Treachery of the Long Knives was a legendary event that was allegedly inflicted upon the unsuspecting British King Vortigern and his chieftains by the Saxon mercenary leader Hengist in the 5th century.  It was seen as a supreme act of treachery and betrayal by the Britons and is mentioned in the 6th-century work Historia Brittonum attributed to Nennius.   Later Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century in his work Historia Regum Britanniae (The History of the Kings of Britain) presents a slightly different version.  The work presented here is drawn from both versions.

Hengist and Horsa

The legend tells how after Vortigern had usurped the crown of Britain he turned to the Saxons led by the brothers Hengist and Horsa for help in fighting the Picts and Gaels who were ravaging his kingdom. The Saxons proved…

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Lindsay Townsend Author Interview

Lindsay Townsend Author Interview

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce Lindsay Townsend, an English author from Yorkshire. I had the privilege of reviewing her historical romance, Dark Maiden, for the Historical Novel Society. When I first started reading this story, I had no idea of how much I would enjoy reading a tale set in plague-stricken England in 1350. Not only did I enjoy the romantic elements in the story, I also learned about the chaos and superstitions that arose as a result of the plague. The humor sprinkled throughout the story ultimately made this an entertaining read from beginning to end. The novel was selected as the Editor’s Choice in the Historical Newsletter HNR Issue 82 (November 2017).

I enjoyed learning more about Lindsay in her interview below.

Biography

Lindsay Townsend lives in Yorkshire, England, where she was born. Lindsay started writing stories at an early age. Always a voracious reader, she took a degree in medieval history and worked in a library for a while, then began to write full-time after marriage.

She is fascinated by the medieval and ancient world, especially medieval Britain. When not writing or researching her books, she enjoys walking, reading, cooking, music, going out with friends and long languid baths with scented candles (and perhaps chocolate).

Interview Lindsay Townsend             

Would you provide an overview of newest books that you have released this year?

I have written and released several medieval historical romances this year including my full length novel, Dark Maiden, published by Prairie Rose, and a sensual romance novella, The Virgin, the Knight and the Dragon, part of my Medieval Creatures series with Siren-Bookstrand. I’ve also reissued A Knight’s Vow, now self-published for Kindle. I’ve also self-published a sweet medieval novella, Plain Harry. For Christmas I’m part of the One Yuletide Knight anthology, with my novella, Sir Constantine and the Changeling.

What inspired you to write the historical romance, Dark Maiden, about a black female exorcist in plague-infested England?

I’ve always been fascinated by ghost stories and authors such as MR James. I studied medieval history at University and reading about the Black Death (or Great Pestilence) and its massive, shattering impact on society stayed with me. This was a time when “normal” customs and morals were almost destroyed in some areas of Europe, as shown by accounts by contemporary writers such as Boccaccio. Reading Philip Ziegler’s vivid history of this time in his book The Black Death,  I was struck by a passage concerning Ralf of Shrewsbury, the medieval bishop of Bath and Wells. In 1349, when the pestilence was spreading through England, devastating society,  Ralf wrote a letter to his priests and in it he explained “you should …persuade all men…that if they are on the point of death and can not secure the services of a priest, then they should make confession to each other…or, if no man is present, then even to a woman.”

That phrase “even to a woman” got me thinking and the germ of a story began to form. It was shaped further by reading of the appearance of strange cults, such as the Flagellants, and the belief throughout Europe that this killer disease presaged the end of times. The dead and dying clearly dominated people’s minds during this period, as seen by the appearance of skeletal avatars of death in manuscripts and in church paintings and tombs.

The dead and dying and ghosts and a hero to help them. A different hero, one outside the usual customs of the time. Considering these factors, Yolande came into my mind, emerging almost complete from a dream. I knew the medieval church revered the black saint Maurice. I knew from archaeology and historical sources that England has always been multi-cultural, with a rich blend of races. I wanted to celebrate that heritage in my story.

How much research was involved in writing your books? How did you go ABOUT researching the various evil entities for Dark Maiden?

It really depends on the story I’m creating. I love telling stories, so to me that’s always the most important, then come the characters within the tale, then the research so the world of the story is real to readers. I look at primary sources, such as contemporary accounts, plus the art, music, food, fashions of the period I’m writing about. I also read folk stories and sometimes base my fiction on retelling of such tales. So I re-worked the story of Beauty and the Beast into my medieval novel The Snow Bride and the story of Sleeping Beauty into my fable A Christmas Sleeping Beauty. For Dark Maiden I read books  on Medieval Magic, (especially Kieckhefer’s Magic in the Middle Ages), Medieval Graffiti, The Medieval Underworld by McCall, Jusserand’s English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages, and the encyclopedia Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. The Medieval Underworld by McCall covered beliefs concerning ghosts and magic during the fourteenth century and how people could deal with revenants and other spiritual threats. Google and Wikipedia are also superb sources, with many articles.

Is there any story of a sub-character who the female exorcist, Yolande, meets in Dark Maiden that is your favorite? Explain why.

I have a real soft spot for Geraint, the foil and hero to Yolande. He’s a tumbler and juggler, a light-fingered Welshman who always has her back. I like the way he’s a commoner, not a noble, and the way he doesn’t back down. I wanted a tumbler hero ever since learning the old legend of the Virgin Mary and the Tumbler—the version I was told by my mother was that the tumbler had no Christmas gift to present to the statue of the Virgin except for his juggling, but his “gift” and skill pleased her the most.

I also enjoyed introducing Theodore in the third part of Dark Maiden. He’s a little person who has been kept almost as a pet by a greedy noble, has escaped and is determined to make his own destiny henceforth—which he does, decisively. I like Theo because he is a mass of surprises and not someone to under-estimate.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Quite regularly, I think. I have a plan in my mind of each character and their cardinal virtues, fears and secrets (not their flaws since no characters are evil to themselves) and keep those key words in the front of my head as I write each scene. However, the degree to which a character reacts can surprise me. In Dark Maiden I was startled, as I wrote, just how angry Geraint was against the medieval church and churchmen. I was surprised how patient Yolande remained in dealing with intolerance.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I am always grateful for feedback to my stories, especially when I feel a reader has understood and appreciated what I have attempted to show in my work. Harsh reviews are upsetting, particularly if I feel they are unjustified. I recently had a review on a light romantic suspense, A Secret Treasure, set in late 1930s Rhodes where a particular reader complained I had not gone into sufficient detail about the Italian occupation of the Greek island. Since my story was a sweet romance, I felt this was a little unfair.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

  • Be kind to everyone and give to charities.
  • Don’t waste resources.  Don’t shop till you drop—what’s the point?
  • Try always to put yourself in the shoes of others.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

My ruby and diamond engagement ring from my husband.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Kindness. Empathy. Laughter.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

To tumble and do back flips. I sometimes spot football players doing back flips during a celebration after scoring a goal and I always envy them that.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I’m utterly useless at ball games where the ball is head height or higher. My instinct is to duck, not catch.

What makes you laugh?

Buster Keaton movies. The timing and skill of those scenes, contrasted with his marble-solid face, always makes me laugh.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Seeing a baby, a rainbow, a new flower, hearing birdsong or music, smelling deep red roses or wild garlic.

You can contact Lindsay Townsend as follows:

Website: lindsaytownsend.co.uk
Twitter: @lindsayromantic

Other Books by Lindsay Townsend

For information on all of Lindsay Townsend’s books, check out Amazon Lindsey Townsend Author Page

 

 

 

 

Cover Image Apollo's Raven

Award Winning Apollo’s Raven Giveaways

Award Winning Apollo’s Raven Giveaways

Book Awards

Exciting news! I am pleased to announce that Apollo’s Raven has been awarded the “Official Selection” in the Historical Fiction category of the 2017 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards.

2017 Official Selection New Apple Award

 

As indicated previously, Apollo’s Raven has also been recognized as a Bronze Medal Winner in the 2017 Global Ebook Awards for Fantasy / Historical.

2017 Bronze Medal Global Ebook Awards

 

Below are some excerpts of reviews for Apollo’s Raven:

Apollo’s Raven is a historical fantasy with strong elements of romance, political intrigue, and magic. Many surprising twists enrich the historically-drawn plot. Points of view shift between different characters effectively, heightening the tension from one moment to the next. I love the scenes contrasting the cultures of Celtic Britannia and Rome, during which Tanner’s research really shines.”Historical Novel Society

“The requisite fantasy elements of magic and mystery abound…Tanner also does an admirable job weaving in the politics and mythology of a bygone people. A complex and promising start to a new fantasy series.” —Kirkus Reviews

To celebrate these awards and recognition, I am pleased to offer the following GIVEAWAYS highlighted below to my fabulous supporters!

Amazon Giveaway

For a limited time from November 7 through November 8, you’ll be able to download the e-book of Apollo’s Raven free on Kindle. Get it now at Amazon.

Great Kindle Giveaway

Beginning tomorrow on November 8th and running through November 30th, you will have a chance to win the Great Kindle Giveaway that will be preloaded with eight free novels from participating authors, including myself.

For more information on how to enter, click on below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

More to come on other GIVEAWAYS for the holiday season! 

As always, I greatly appreciate everyone’s support.

Best wishes,
Linnea Tanner

Dark Maiden Lindsay Townsend Book Review

“Dark Maiden” an Editor’s Choice at Historical Novel Society!

 

Dark MaidenDark Maiden by Lindsay Townsend
Book Review: My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When we first meet the Black Maiden Yolande in 1350, she is crouching behind a tub armed with bow and arrow, pretending to bathe in place of a novice who had been beleaguered by an apparition. A formidable exorcist, she apprehends a lecher mislabeled as an evil spirit. Who but Geraint, an easy-going Welshman juggler, could be a better romantic match for Yolande on her quest of tracking down and ridding evil spirits in plague-stricken England? In between facing demons, displaced souls, and an incubus, Geraint lustily woos the Black Maiden. The courtship is complicated by an abbot’s instructions that Yolande preserve her maidenhead, a barrier to a demon trying to possess her, for a time of seven, until she fulfills her duty. Not sure if the time is in days, weeks, or years, Geraint is nonetheless determined to win Yolande’s hand as they roam town from town, each of which holds dark secrets of people who live there.

Lindsay Townsend has created a masterfully written romance intermixed with the horrors of the plague and the superstitions that arise out of its chaos. The voice is heavily sprinkled with humor, making this a thoroughly entertaining story. I was hooked from the first page and could not put the book down. The dialogue is witty, the characters are well-developed, and the stories of the people whom the couple meet are heartfelt. The rituals of exorcising demons and helping displaced souls find their spiritual home base is well-researched and fascinating. Most of all, the love scenes are sensual but tastefully written.

Dark Maiden is a must-read for readers who love historical romance with unique characters and a dash of paranormal elements. Highly recommended.

I voluntarily reviewed this book for the Historical Novel Society, and the review is also posted in the Historical Newsletter HNR Issue 82 (November 2017).

View all my reviews

Welsh Legends: The Bride From the Red Lake

The following is a reblog of Welsh Legends: The Bride From the Red Lake by Zteve T Evans on 27/04/2017. This is taken from one of my favorite websites about myths, legends, and folklore. This is a poignant tale about a Welsh farmer falling in love with a woman from the spiritual Otherworld. Though the couple marry and are very happy together, the mortal man could not keep his side of the bargain that he made with his wife’s father. As a result, he loses her when he inadvertently breaks the agreement. It is often the case in Welsh folklore that when humans do fall in love with maidens from the Otherworld, or have dealings with its people, a sad ending is the result.

Under the influence!

From #FolkloreThursday.com

By zteve t evans 27/04/2017

Folklore of the Welsh Lakes: The Bride from the Red Lake

adolf_echtler_e28093_a_water_nymph By Adolf Echtler (1843–1914) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Llyn Coch, or the Red Lake, is a Welsh lake situated on Mount Snowdon an area steeped in legend and folklore. One legend tells how a mortal man made a contract that allowed him to take a bride from the Otherworld that he had met at the Red Lake and fallen in love with.  However, it was essential he abide by the terms of that contract.  In Welsh tradition and folklore, there are a number of similar examples where a mortal man takes a bride from the Otherworld and they live happily together, sometimes having children, but there is often a sad ending. One example is found in the tale of the Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach.  In many cases the man…

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►Mythology: “Psychopomps, Border Crossers and Guiders of Souls”🌟.-

The following is a reblog of post entitled “Mythology: Psychopomps, Border Crossers and Guiders of Souls”🌟 dated 10/11/2017 by Aquileana. This is an insightful and informative post that relates mythical elements of the psychopomp to Jung’s theory of the conscious and subconscious. It is fascinating how various religions throughout history have used the concept of the psychopomp to describe how various entities guide the spirits of the dead on their journey to the underworld or spiritual world.

As I love Celtic mythology, I have taken the concept of the raven as a messenger that can transverse both the spiritual and physical world in my book Apollo’s Raven that is briefly mention as an animal psychopomp in the post. Hope you enjoy article which provides insight on how mythology relates to the modern world.

La Audacia de Aquiles

►Mythology: “Psychopomps, Border Crossers and Guiders of Souls”🌟:

“Souls on the Banks of the Acheron”, by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl. 1898

____________________________________________________________________________________

⇒♦ Introduction. Definition of Psychopomp and Sketch of this post:

A Psychopomp is a god, spirit, or demon who is responsible for guiding the spirits of the dead on their journey to the underworld. His role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to provide safe passage. The word comes from the Greek   ψυχοπομπός, which means “conductor of souls.” Psycho– (ψυχο) originally meant “of, or relating to the soul,” while pomps (πομπός) meant “guide” or “conductor.”

Classical examples of a Psychopomp are the ancient Egyptian god Anubis, the Greek ferryman CharonHermes and Hecate, the Roman god Mercury (equivalent: Hermes in Greek Mythology) and Archangel Gabriel in the Catholic religion, to name the most important ones.

Firstly, in the first section (I), let´s look at some examples of Psychopomps in Mythology.

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Luciana Cavallaro Author Interview

INTRODUCTION

It is my pleasure to introduce Luciana Cavallaro, an Australian historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher. Luciana likes to meander between contemporary life to the realms of mythology and history. Luciana has always been interested in Mythology and Ancient History but her passion wasn’t realised until seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. From then on, she was inspired to write Historical Fantasy.

Luciana has spent many lessons promoting literature and the merits of ancient history. Today, you will still find Luciana in the classroom, teaching ancient history and promoting literature. She recently released The Labyrinthine Journey, Book 2 in the Servant of the God series. Click below for more information:

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Tell us about your latest book, The Labyrinthine Journey? Is it part of a series?

The Labyrinthine Journey is Book 2 in the Servant of the Gods series. Evan and his companions need to locate the second sacred object of the Mother Goddess, and to do so they need to visit Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi, who reveals a few surprises. While on this epic journey, Evan grudgingly accepts that to get back to the 21st Century CE, he needs to take on the role as leader and use his knowledge to succeed in the quest. He’s still not happy and angry at Zeus, and we get to see a darker side to his personality.

How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?

There was a lot of research done to make sure the places Evan and his companions journey to were as accurate as I could describe. I want to give readers a vicarious experience of the locations and what it would have been like to live in the 6th Century BCE. I spent time researching books, read the works of Pausanias, Herodotus, and various texts where primary sources have been translated, read many authoritative websites, used maps and layouts of places, and watched documentaries.

I have notebooks where I write notes for each of my books. I make notes on description of the settings and buildings, what people wore, what was eaten, farming practices, the length to journey from place to place. It is all handwritten. I find this process is much more conducive for me to remember the little details and the big ones as well.

What is your inspiration for writing about the modern day hero, Evan, who is dragged back to 6th Century BCE, to fulfill a quest demanded by an ancient god?

Actually, the series didn’t start out that way. Evan’s character had a different name and started the quest with his Atlantean companions. I had the story critiqued, and well, let’s just say the person/s didn’t hold back on their opinion. The basic plot of the story remained the same, and after I had gotten over the harshness of the feedback, I reworked and rewrote the story. To make the story more accessible and for readers to accept Evan’s plight, I recreated his persona. The story and Evan’s character, as well as the others, are much more rounded, plus I introduced Phameas into the storyline. In the initial concept, he had a very minor role.

The critique and feedback I received did work in my favour, though at the time, it was hurtful and very difficult to overcome.

Is there something that Evan did in The Labyrinthine Journey that surprised you by what he did or said that was totally unexpected?

I am constantly surprised by Evan. I never know what is going to come out of his mouth, or how he is going to behave. Weird, probably as I am his creator, and I do have a profile of all my characters, however how they interact with each other, and what they say is all them. When Evan learns his half-brother Homer and his heckler, Hektor, both have families and children, he surprised me by vowing to complete the quest to make sure they get home. In Book 1, there was no way he would have considered that, but in The Labyrinthine Journey, he realises in order to get back to the 21st Century CE, he needs them to help him go home. I didn’t expect him to react that way.

Of all places that Evan and his companions visit, which place is your favorite and why?

Unfair question, Linnea! All the places Evan and his companions journey to are my favourite. If I really have to choose, then it is Thira, present day Santorini. For me, this place is where Plato gets his Atlantis story from. Visit Akrotiri and the palace of Knossos on Crete and not be convinced this isn’t the fabled city of Atlantis. There are too many similarities to his descriptions of Atlantis and what was found at Akrotiri. You just have to see the wall friezes of the island, the buildings and ships in the circular bay.

What else have you written? Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

Besides the first book in the Servant of the Gods series, I’ve written a series of short stories that I published back in 2013 titled Accursed Women. Mostly, I have received positive feedback, but as you know, there are always going be negative reviews. Not easy to ignore those ones, and people are entitled to their opinion… as long as it is constructive. The best comment I had was for Aphrodite’s Curse, the first short story I ever wrote. A reader commented that though she “appreciated the author’s use of Greek spelling of names etc”, she didn’t like it, and as a result she gave the story one-star review.

What are the most important qualities you look for in a friend?

Generosity, camaraderie, honesty, loyalty, kindness, being a good listener, overall a good person. I know if I need to, I can call my closest and dearest friends any time of the day or night, and they will be there for me. They are very special people.

What is the best gift that you have received and why?

The best gift I have received was unexpected. It was a birthday I had, I wasn’t able to celebrate it with my family due to work, and unknown to me, my sister had arranged for my parents, grandmother, my younger sister and her husband with my 18-month nephew to come up and share the day with me. That was a special day, especially now that my grandmother has recently passed.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Being with my family.

Connect with Luciana

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