Medieval times

The miser’s money put to good use – a walk through history inspired by Southwark Cathedral

Once upon a time, there was an avaricious gent named John. Our John was in the logistics business, more specifically, he transported people back and forth across the Thames. Okay, so this is a looong time ago, and while the intrepid and savvy Romans managed to span the river with the first ever London bridge, …

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Ms Ironbeard, King Hans and the failure of a royal marriage

Sometimes, I start out by researching one person and end up fascinated by another. In this particular case, I wanted to know more about Hans II, King of Denmark and Norway (“And Sweden!” he adds, but as he was only king here for like three years, I see that as more of a parenthesis) This …

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A slow march into permanent night – of a queen’s death

I have previously written about Eleanor of Castile, but in that post I focussed on the children she birthed. And lost. She lost most of them, unfortunate woman that she was. This post is about her last few years—mainly because that’s where I’ve been spending time with her, as my latest novel is set 1287-1290, …

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What is in a name? A desire to rebel?

One of the huge benefits of writing historical fiction is all the tangential little research excursions. In my upcoming release, Her Castilian Heart, I needed a location for dire deeds. I knew roughly what I wanted—an abandoned, ruined castle—but in 1289, not all that many medieval castles were abandoned or ruined as they were still …

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The case of the swelling narrative – or how one book becomes three. Or four. Or ten.

My mother always used to say that concentrating your words to a succinct few was the hallmark of a good speaker—or writer. I’m guessing she’s sighing heavily wherever she is whenever she takes a peek at my work, because dear peeps, it seems to me abbreviation is a skill I am not good at. I …

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Forget-me-not – or a flowery take on an usurpation

Ask anyone what flower they associate with the House of Lancaster, and chances are they’ll answer a rose. And yes,  during the War of the Roses, Lancaster had a red rose as a badge. Their fierce opponents, the House of York, sported a white rose. And by now all of those who know your history …

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A softer approach – or when Edward I did his peace dove act

Edward I of England is one of those historical characters that tend to inspire a lot of ambivalence. This man, who chose to have “Hammer of the Scots” inscribed on his tomb was many things: dutiful son, loving husband, harsh conqueror, efficient ruler, capable warrior, devout Crusader, ruthless when he felt wronged—and once upon a …

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Blog tour: A King under Siege – Ms Rochelle’s take on Richard II

Today I am happy to yet again work with The Coffee Pot Book Club and host a stop on Mercedes Rochelle’s blog tour for her book A King Under Siege. This book is set in the late 14th century, and as evidenced by Ms Rochelle’s posts about the various movers and shakers in the period, …

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A Portuguese princess in the Castilian court – or how an exiled wife put horns on her hubby

Some time ago, I wrote about the misfortunes of Blanca of Navarra, a young woman who was to be betrayed by almost everyone who should have her back—including her hubby, Enrique IV of Castile. Now, as those of you who read about Blanca may remember, Enrique had their marriage annulled after 13 years, citing non-consummation …

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Penda of Mercia – or how a writer develops an affection for a long-dead man!

Today, I have invited Annie Whitehead over. Now Annie, she writes books set in Anglo-Saxon England, and I find myself very intrigued by how much flesh she manages to put on the bones of these very distant peeps. Which is why I asked her to write about one of her protagonists, Penda of Mercia. And …

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