Thursday, 30 April 2020

Welcoming Mercedes Rochelle to the page!

I am excited to welcome Mercedes Rochelle to my blog with news of The King’s Retribution: Book 2 of The Plantagenet Legacy. I thoroughly enjoyed A King Under Seige and The King's Retribution is on my tbr list!

If you read A KING UNDER SIEGE, you might remember that we left off just as Richard declared his majority at age 22. He was able to rise above the humiliation inflicted on him during the Merciless Parliament, but the fear that it could happen again haunted him the rest of his life. Ten years was a long time to wait before taking revenge on your enemies, but King Richard II was a patient man. Hiding his antagonism toward the Lords Appellant, once he felt strong enough to wreak his revenge he was swift and merciless. Alas for Richard, he went too far, and in his eagerness to protect his crown Richard underestimated the very man who would take it from him: Henry Bolingbroke.

Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite:

 Funeral of Robert de Vere

There was another matter weighing heavily on Richard's mind. Sparing no expense, the king had brought Robert de Vere's embalmed body back from Belgium. Exactly three years after his beloved friend had been killed in a boar hunt, Richard put him to rest in his family crypt at Colne Priory, in Essex. He staged an elaborate funeral, though many of the great lords were conspicuously absent. The Lords Appellant—with the exception of Mowbray—harbored rancor toward Robert de Vere that extended far beyond his death. Richard's uncles chose to ignore the king's eccentric loyalty toward a declared traitor. Even Thomas Arundel, his own chancellor, had sent his apologies. There was no mistaking the disrespect: the king noted the absence of every one of them. 

On a late November evening, services began just at the cusp of twilight. Church bells tolled and swirling black clouds threatened rain. Two by two the funeral procession wended its way through the narrow streets of Earl's Colne, spaced perfectly in a seemingly endless column. Each man wore a black robe with a black hood drawn forward to cover his face. Every one of them carried a torch with a tiny shield bearing de Vere's arms below each flame. The torches cast a soft glow as the mourners walked past silent citizens lining the street. Finally the Archbishop of Canterbury and six other bishops brought up the end of the cavalcade, swinging incense burners that filled the air with sweet-smelling smoke. Their appearance signaled the presence of the king, also robed in black, though instead of a hood he wore a gold crown. He was followed by five knights: his nephew Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, his cousin Edward Earl of Rutland, his half-brother John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, Thomas de Mowbray Earl of Nottingham, and John de Montacute Earl of Salisbury. These five supporters of the king were worthy of note; they were destined to be among his closest advisors and friends, carefully marshaled to help support his throne. Never again would Richard be accused of elevating unworthy favorites; only earls and dukes would grace his inner chamber.

The silent participants filed into the church where the cypress coffin lay on its bier next to an open grave in the floor near the altar. A row of candles on tall iron stands threw a circle of light onto the deceased. An unseen choir, placed behind a curtain, filled the space with soft tones. 

As the king entered the church the tolling ceased. He took his place in a stall topped by a crown and listened while Archbishop Courtney began the services, echoed by his bishops. The Matins for the Dead were followed by Nocturnes and Lauds. Then there was the Prayer for Absolution and the Celebration of the Mass. The candles had burnt to a nub and the air of the church was cold before Richard was finally able to approach the funeral bier. 

With an expression of tenderness, Richard looked down on his dear friend. The king had paid for the best embalmer in Brittany, and Robert seemed to be sleeping before him, his face betraying no evidence of his violent death. The king gazed at Robert for a long time, toying with a sapphire ring on his own hand. Blinking rapidly, Richard drew off the ring and lifted Robert's wrist, pushing the band gently onto his friend's finger. He bent over the coffin and whispered something for Robert's ears alone.

"Mine eyes have longed to see your face," he said. "I will never forget you, nor will I rest until we are avenged on those who drove you from my side. Fear not, dear Robert. My resolve is firm and I would have you rest in peace."

Although everyone nearby strained to hear what Richard said, no one—even his closest friends—could decipher the words. But it didn't take a great leap of faith to guess the meaning of his gestures. Richard's enemies would later dismiss the legend that had grown from Robert de Vere's funeral services, but those who witnessed it were never able to shake a sense of foreboding. 

All the king lacked was a pair of wings to complete the picture of an avenging angel.

You can find the books here: 

Mercedes Rochelle

Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

If you'd like to connect with Mercedes here are her social media links: Website BlogFacebook Twitter

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

New Release from Mary Anne Yarde!

I am delighted to welcome awesome author Mary Anne Yarde to my blog to tell us about her latest release: Book 5 of The Du Lac Chronicles

The Island of Tin and King Arthur
By Mary Anne Yarde

From the breathtaking beauty of the coast.

The view from Tintagel Castle

To the enduring Standing Stones whom for thousands of years have sat in watchful silence on Bodmin Moor.

The Hurlers

Cornwall. A kingdom within a nation. A place where one step can take you on a journey the likes of which you could never imagine. This is a land of wild seas, myths and legends.

In the 6th Century, Cornwall was very much her own nation, just like she had always been. She was separated from the rest of mainland Britain by not only her language and her customs, but also by a spirit that refused to bow down to imposed authority — whether that be Roman or Saxon.

My series, The Du Lac Chronicles, is set in war-torn South-West Britain, Wales, Brittany, Frank as well as Jerusalem. But for today, I am going to talk about Cornwall, or the Kingdom of Cerniw, as she is known in my series.

Cornwall is my secret love affair. If I could choose to live anywhere in the world, it would probably be there. Not only does she have the most staggeringly beautiful countryside and sea, but her history is also something to admire and her legends…well, they are just my cup of tea.

Penhale Sands

Cornwall has an intriguing past. Now we all know that Emperor Hadrian built a massive wall to divide the North of the country from the South because the North was too wild to be conquered. But nothing is ever mentioned about the little kingdom in the far South-West of Britain. The Roman occupation of Cornwall is very intriguing. It has been suggested that the Roman's stopped at Devon — there are a few milestones and evidence of Roman occupation in Cornwall, but not on the scale of the rest of the county. Why? What was it about this little kingdom that stopped even the Roman Empire in its tracks?

Cornwall had something that the Roman's wanted, and I think they kept their independence because they knew what they were doing when it came to commerce. Cornwall had something, in fact, that everyone wanted. Tin. The history of mining for tin in Cornwall goes way back, far before the time of Winston Graham's Poldark series. Cornwall was known as The Island of Tin. Silver has also been found in Cornwall. The land is rich with treasure for those who know where to look. And trade means money and money…I heard that makes the world go round.

Fast-forward to the time when my books are set in, and once again Cornwall is standing firm against a foreign aggressor. Rome did not best her and nor would the Saxons.

I am fascinated by the Saxon invasion, and it is something that I explore in my series. In particular, I am interested in the Saxon king, Cerdic of Wessex, and his journey to being crowned High King. While other kingdoms fell by the wayside and became incorporated into the Wessex realm, Cornwall held her ground. Cerdic landed in Hampshire in c.495. By 519, Cerdic had conquered the South of England, with the exception of Cornwall. It wasn't until the Battle of Hingston Down, in 838, when Cornwall finally lost her independence to the now vast Kingdom of Wessex. Cornwall repelled the Saxons for almost 350 years. Now, that is impressive.

Dozemary Pool

As the water settles over Dozemary Pool and when the sun sets over the grass-covered ruins of Castle Dore, it is easy to believe in the stories this land inspires. If King Arthur was not born at Tintagel Castle, then he should have been. If Arthur did not fall at Slaughter Bridge, then, where did he? This is the land of King Arthur. This is the land where his reign began, and this is the land where it ended. If, you believe the stories that is.

Arthurian Legend and Cornwall have a relationship that spans over a thousand years. The Du Lac Chronicles explores what happened after the death of King Arthur, and therefore Cornwall is a fundamental backdrop to my series. 

The Du Lac Curse: Book 5 of The Du Lac Chronicles
Mary Anne Yarde

God against Gods. King against King. Brother against Brother.
Mordred Pendragon had once said that the sons of Lancelot would eventually
detroy each other, it seemed he was right all along.
Garren du Lac knew what the burning pyres meant in his brother's kingdone - invasion. But who would dare to challenge King Alden of Cerniw for his throne?
Only one man was daring enough, arrogant enought, to attempt such a feat - Budic du Lac, their eldest half-brother.
While Merton du Lac struggles to come to terms with the magnitude of Budic's crime, there is another threat, one that is as ancient as it is powerful. But with the death toll rising and his men deserting who will take up the banner and fight in his name?

Available for Pre-Order NOW!

Twitter Handle:  @maryanneyarde

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #Arthurian