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A Cast From the Past with Bianca Sommerland

I’m very excited to welcome the amazing Bianca Sommerland, who will be telling us about her ‘cast from the past’ in the Story Behind the Story of  Deadly Captive. Welcome, Bianca!

KD Grace is one of the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my journey as a published author, but she’s the first to ask me a question that really stopped me short. She asked me whether there were personal experiences that inspired part, if not all of my novels. My automatic thought was no, of course not. I’ve been inspired by dreams, by pictures, by music…but my own life? Which of my novels could I actually say was inspired by my own life? Rosemary Entwined, about the descendant of a succubus and her nest of seven men? Deadly Captive, with the woman who’s lost her past and has no one but her fellow prisoner, Joe, to count on while she tries to survive degradation and torture?

Yeah, my life’s just not that interesting.

But when I thought about the question, I took another look at my stories and found certain personalities sticking out, certain qualities that reminded me of people I’ve known. Family, friends, lovers. The characters are all familiar to me because they are the best and worst of real people. Joe, for example, is the grown up version of a boy I had a crush on in high school. He could be so mean, but then he’d suddenly show a bit of kindness and that’s all I would see. My imagination painted him as a tough hero who would be tender with the woman he loved. Of course, in reality he was a player and a jerk and I’m kinda happy he saw me as one of the guys (even though I wished otherwise at the time). Years later, my muse took all I dreamed the boy could be and paired him up with one of my strongest heroines.

I believe many authors find the casts for their stories from their pasts. Only, some of the best memories aren’t Polaroids, or even portraits. They’re like abstract paintings, evoking only emotions. Kinda cool, because you can interpret them however you’d like 😉

And yes, my interpretations are a little twisted.

Deadly Captive Blurb:
Lydia awakes, bound and blind, to the whispered urgings of a man who has his hands on her. His words confuse her at first, but she soon understands they are both in the middle of a performance that will determine whether she remains in captivity or dies. The crowd must be entertained, and her cellmate makes sure it is.

Forced submission is not the only horror Lydia endures. She has no memories of life before her imprisonment, and Joe, her cellmate, is her only comfort as the powerful creatures that hold them captive torture and debase her. Together, she and Joe cling to the will to survive long enough to break free and seek revenge. Their desire to sustain one another triumphs over their wardens’ efforts to destroy them. There is no pain, no suffering, that can tear them apart.

Beyond their cell, their love is tested. Can they hold strong in the face of the challenge of the new powers they have gained along with their freedom?

Excerpt from Deadly Captive:

My eyes teared, but my gaze never wavered. “Right back at you. I didn’t sign up for your games.”

He eased his grip on my hair. “Neither of us signed up for any of this, Lydia. I wanted to make sure I could trust my cell mate.”

“Of all the . . . .” I shook my head. “Please, I need to know. Some kind of morbid curiosity, I guess. Why in the world would I fake memory loss? What purpose would it serve?”

With a shrug, he rested his arm on my shoulder, still loosely holding my hair. “It would be a clever sympathy card.”

Damn it, he’s right. I felt the tension ease from my body, no longer feeling very combative. “How do you know I’m not faking it? If I was, it would be pretty stupid to acknowledge my name.”

“No. Actually, it wouldn’t have proven much. It might have made me suspicious, more than I already was. It would be strange that you’d remember your name, but not your own face. I was hoping your reaction would be revealing.” He closed his eyes and dropped his head. “It was, but not in the way I’d hoped. The loss is worse than I thought. There wasn’t even a glimmer of recognition.”

Grazing my teeth back and forth along my bottom lip, I glared at his chest. “It could be an act.”

Fingers under my chin, he tilted my head up. “No, Lydia. You couldn’t have faked the fear I saw. You thought it was one of them.”

I jerked away from him and clenched my fists at my sides. “I’m not afraid of them.”

“Yes, you are. You’re not a stupid woman, Lydia.”

The way he said my name sent a chill down my spine. I dug my nails into my palms.

“Stop.”

He frowned. “Stop what?”

“Saying my name like that.”

With a wicked smile, he hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his jeans and rocked on his heels. “Lydia.” I swung my fist at his face. He knocked it aside and caught my wrist when I tried again.

“Lydia.” He backed me into the table. My hip knocked the empty plate and it clattered on the floor. Sitting me on the edge of the table, he trapped my face between his hands. My breath caught, and I pressed my eyes shut, expecting him to slam his mouth on mine. It could hurt; my lips were still sore.

His tongue gently traced the crease of my lips. He combed his fingers into my hair and tugged until I tipped my head back. Then, he kissed me so tenderly I opened my eyes and stared at him.

He kissed the tip of my nose. “Why do you look so surprised?”

Why? I licked my bottom lip and tasted the saltiness of his sweat. Delicious. My eyes dropped to the moisture beaded on his chest. I leaned forward. He tightened his grip.

“Well?”

I groaned. “I thought you’d be rough.”

“You keep looking at me like that, and I will be.”

Deadly Captive Buy Link: https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/269
Blog: http://imnoangelauthorsblog.wordpress.com/

Thanks for being my guest on The Story Behind the Story, Bianca, and thanks for the hot excerpt from Deadly Captive. Sounds like a must read to me.

 

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Lisabet Sarai Shares the Story Behind Her Novella, The Understudy

It’s my pleasure to welcome the fabulous Lisabet Sarai to share with us the very personal story behind the story of her novella, The Understudy. Welcome Lisabet!

All authors use personal experience in their stories. How could we not? Any writer who claims that her characters and their conflicts are one hundred percent fictional is not being honest with herself.

On the other hand, it’s dangerous to make one’s work too autobiographical. There’s the very real risk of legal action by people who recognize themselves in your so-called fiction. A more subtle problem is the tendency for an author to write the same story over and over again- her own story. (I recognize that many authors are male. However, since I need to choose one pronoun, I prefer to use the female.)

I’ve incorporated bits and pieces of my life into my own work, of course. I’ve borrowed settings, character traits, and occasionally, specific erotic scenes. Normally, though, I mix everything up. A bit of this, a bit of that, all seasoned with plenty of fantasy, and no one’s the wiser.

My BDSM erotic romance novella The Understudy is an exception. Although the characters and the setting are fictional, the primary conflict in the book is based on my personal history.

Back when I was young, single and hormone-ridden, I had a D/s relationship with a fellow graduate student. I was totally new to the paradoxical delights of BDSM; I didn’t realize that I was submissive until my reactions revealed this truth – to him and to me. In contrast, he had done a great deal of research and also had some actual experience as a dominant.

Our explorations of power dynamics affected me profoundly. I’d never felt such passion, or such freedom, as I did when I surrendered myself to his will. We seemed to share a bond that went far beyond the physical. More than once I felt certain we were reading each other’s thoughts. I think we both believed in magic, that intense desire could create reality. Somehow I was able to trust my master completely, from the very beginning, though we really didn’t know each other well. He never betrayed that trust.

I fell deeply in love with this man. However, I believed that I was nothing more than a plaything for him. I knew that before he and I connected sexually, he’d had another lover who had also been submissive. I’d even met this woman at parties. She was gorgeous, confident, flamboyant – a sophisticated and elegant woman of the world. When she broke off their relationship, my master sank into a profound depression that lasted nearly a year.

He didn’t hesitate to tell me about what he and A. used to do together. I think he understood that I found it exciting as well as enlightening. However, our discussions led me to conclude that he was still in love with her. I figured that he and I had no future. I was happy enough to act the part of his slave in the present moment – indeed, I couldn’t resist him – but I always had the nagging worry that he was comparing me to her.

When I began working on The Understudy, I realized I wanted to transplant this situation into the story. The details and the setting are different, but the fundamental conflict is the same. Sarah Gladstone, pretty in a girl-next-door sort of way, gets her first real acting job at the Berks Summer Playhouse and discovers that she’ll be working with theater legend Geoffrey Hart. The charismatic actor initiates her into the dark delights of BDSM and she’s soon experiencing a level of intimacy and trust beyond anything she could have imagined.

According to the rumors, though, Geoff’s heart is taken. Renowned actress Anne Merrill, his long time partner and submissive lover, has severed their relationship and Hart has escaped to the Berkshires to lick his emotional wounds. Sarah knows that she can’t compete with the glamorous theater veteran and fears that she’s just a substitute for the real object of Geoff’s affections.

Writing Sarah was like revisiting my own insecurities in my relationship with my master. A number of reviewers have commented on the intensity of the tale. More than most of my work, the story reflects my own emotions. I stripped myself bare writing this book. I guess it shows.

Of course, one advantage of fiction is that I can give my characters a happy ending. The real world resolution of my relationship with my master was far more ambiguous. We drifted apart. I met and married my husband. Still, my master and I keep in touch and share a wistful fantasy life. (My husband is aware of this.) Only years later did I learn the depth of my master’s love for me, or understand that he had wanted a commitment but was too insecure to ask.

I sometimes wonder what my life had been like if he and I had been as skilled in communicating outside the bedroom as we were inside. I have no regrets. I love my husband and my current life and wouldn’t take back any of my choices. Writing The Understudy, though, gave me the chance to play with some seductive notions of what might have been.

I’ll end with a quick excerpt from the book.

EXCERPT:

The door to the Shays suite was half-open. I knocked anyway, swallowing my nervousness. Stop this silliness, Sarah, I lectured myself. Just be professional.

“Come in.” That voice, so full of music and power, sent chills through my sweaty body. Squaring my shoulders, I pushed the door wide and entered the sitting room, dragging the noisy bag after me.

Hart stood by the window with his back to me, appraising Mr. Higgin’s view. “Took you long enough,” he commented without turning around.

I should have been annoyed, but instead I felt embarrassed and guilty. “Sorry―the stairs―and it’s so hot today…”

“Never mind. Just put the suitcase on the bench next to the other bag.”

I hoisted the case up onto the luggage rack to the right of the door. He still didn’t turn around. I took the opportunity to get a good look at him.

He was tall―over six feet, I guessed―and the low ceilings typical of colonial buildings made him look even taller. Although he was relaxed and still, his lean, athletic body suggested unlimited energy. He had removed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. The tailored garment looked crisp and fresh despite the fact that the temperature must have been pushing ninety.

One hand clasped the other at the small of his back. His bare forearms were lightly furred with black hair, a touch of the animal that clashed with his aura of culture and sophistication. His trousers fit as perfectly as his shirt. I couldn’t stop myself from appreciating the swell of his muscular buttocks under the fabric. My nipples were swollen and painful. My jeans felt hot and tight.

The awkward silence lengthened. I took a deep breath and thought I caught a whiff of his cologne, something brisk and nautical, overwhelmingly male. My heart was a jackhammer in my chest. I looked around the room, trying to distract myself from the physical reactions Hart seemed provoke simply by being present.

It appeared he had already had time to do some unpacking. A stack of neatly folded shirts, all black, white or grey, lay on the sofa. Several pairs of shoes were lined up near the bedroom door. On the table near the window there was a fifth of Glenlivet, which I knew hadn’t been supplied by the inn, along with a pack of Gitanes, some books and a fancy-looking camera. A framed 8×10 colour photograph sat on the end table beside the couch, not far from where I stood.

I peered more closely at the photo. A pale, raven-haired beauty stared back at me. Her sultry dark eyes and enigmatic half-smile spoke of a passionate nature just barely held in check by convention. Luxurious curls tumbled over her shoulders but did not hide the ripe breasts swelling out of her burgundy velvet décolletage. Her delicate chin rested on the back of one hand. The graceful fingers were tipped with crimson enamel that exactly matched her lipstick.

I didn’t need to read the autograph to know who she was. Anne Merrill, Geoffrey’s long-time partner, the woman who, if I could believe Adele, had broken his heart.

My spirits sank even lower. It was easy to see how such a woman could captivate a man, even someone as bold and self-confident as Geoffrey Hart. When I compared myself to her―well, there was no comparison really. I was a short, unimpressive woman―a girl, Hart had called me―with plain brown hair too fine to curl and a B cup figure. I had no drama, no flair, nothing like this vivid, exotic creature who oozed sex appeal. So what if I had an MFA in acting from Columbia? I’d had almost no real world experience. I dreamed about Broadway and London’s West End, but this gig at Berks Hill was my first professional job as an actress. And what was I? Nothing more than a bit player, an understudy to the stars.

“You’re still here, Sarah.” Hart wheeled to face me, breaking into my bitter internal monologue. “Good. After all, I didn’t tell you that you could go.”

Amusement lit up his handsome features. He towered over me, close enough that I could feel the heat emanating from his body. Embarrassment washed over me but didn’t quite submerge the undercurrent of arousal. “May I leave?” I asked, my voice a weak quaver that disgusted me. Why was I asking, anyway? Who was he to tell me what to do?

“Not yet. I need your help unpacking. Go open the bag you carried up. It’s not locked.”

No, I wanted to scream. But I obeyed him anyway, pressing the chrome-plated catch on the sleek grey Samsonite case and flipping up the lid.

I gasped when I saw the contents. “It’s true!” I blurted out.

Hart came up behind me and looked over my shoulder. He didn’t touch me, but his mere presence was overpowering. “What’s true?” I heard laughter in his voice.

I pointed at the leather restraints and the rubber paddles, my hand shaking. “That―that you’re kinky. Into S and M, just like Adele said.”

“I prefer the term ‘D and S’. Dominance and submission. My focus is on the exchange of power, not the administration of pain. Though I’m not averse to using pain if that’s the right thing to do.”

“The right thing to do?” I turned to face him, hiding behind my indignation. “Are you joking?” He was close, too close for comfort, deliberately invading my personal space. I tried to step backward. I succeeded only in banging my shin against the luggage rack. “Ow!”

His eyes drilled into me. “I’m completely serious. D and S is not a game, despite the way it’s portrayed in popular culture. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s much, much more, a new way of being in the world. A doorway into a new kind of relationship, deeper and more intimate than anything you can imagine.”

“Right,” I muttered. I couldn’t bear to look at him. I stared down at my sandals, feeling the blush crawling up my cheeks and across my chest. “I’m sure that’s what all the perverts say.”

He caught my chin under his forefinger and raised my eyes to his. I trembled when his skin met mine. “I can’t pretend it’s not exciting, of course―trying new implements, pushing the sub’s limits, testing her devotion. But that’s not the main point.”

I burned in the heat of his stare. I felt myself begin to melt, the crotch of my jeans growing damper with every beat of my pulse. I didn’t want to listen but I couldn’t hide my fascination.

He stroked his thumb across my cheek. I held my breath, wanting him to stop, dying for him to go further. “Aren’t you curious, Sarah? Wouldn’t you like to drop your diligent, high-achieving, good little girl persona and find out what’s underneath?”

I couldn’t answer. How did he know these things about me, this man I’d met less than a half hour ago? Did he really understand the way I’d pushed myself in college and grad school, working for the top grades, following the rules, determined to succeed in my chosen path despite the odds? Did he know that I hadn’t had a lover for nearly four years? I hadn’t had time. Anyway, I’d been all too aware of the fact that everyone around me was both a colleague and a competitor.

I saw compassion in his chiseled face, mingled with lust. “I know you, little one. I know what you really crave. What you really need. Open yourself to me and I will fulfil the desires you don’t yet dare to admit, even to yourself.

The Understudy is available from Total-E-Bound (http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1175) as well as Amazon and other third party vendors.

More About Lisabet Sarai

A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published three single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.

Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two over-indulged felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai’s Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).

Thanks for stopping by, Lisabet, and sharing with us a bit about The Understudy. Definitely a must read!

 

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Christmas in July with Lisa Fox

Welcome Lisa Fox! Christmas came early this year, and Lisa’s going to tell us all about it.

First, I’d like to say a HUGE thanks to KD for having me on her blog today. I am incredibly thrilled to be here!

It’s funny to be thinking about Christmas in the middle of July, but that is exactly what I was doing this time last year. I’d always wanted to write a Christmas story, something short and sweet and sexy and fun. I like to believe in magic, to believe in faith and wishes and dreams coming true. Christmastime really does have extra special magic, people really do make an extra effort to see that wishes are granted, that children smile and that belief is rewarded. So, when I read the call for submissions from Ellora’s Cave for holiday tales, I just had to submit.

It was a very hot summer last year and as I sat at my desk, spinning out the story of Jordan and her Santa, I was literally sweating out every single word. For a little while I even considered setting the story in Los Angles to reconcile in my mind the warmth I was baking in with the Christmas season. But, I grew up in New York, in a suburb about forty-five minutes north of the city, so all the allure of Manhattan, the silver bells and miracles on 34th Street, are really a big part of who I am. My Christmas tale had to take place in New York. It just couldn’t be set anywhere else.

Let me tell you though, it is kind of difficult to listen to Jingle Bells while sweltering in ninety degree heat, so I did the only reasonable thing I could do. I ate cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Cause really, nothing says Christmas better than sprinkely, sweet, yummy cookies.

Of course I drank lots of coffee too. And bourbon. Nothing says Christmas like lots of bourbon either.

Yes, I’m kidding.

The result was a sexy, fun short story that I truly hoped captured the magic and joy of Christmas… even though it was written in the middle of summer.

BLURB:

When Jordan takes a break from her last-minute Christmas shopping to have a cup of coffee, she meets a handsome Santa with a twinkle in his eye and a sinful smile. He offers her a special Christmas treat that Jordan is more than happy to accept.

Naughty never felt sooo right as together they share an outrageous night of love that is supposed to end with the coming of dawn.

Or so they thought…

Buy Link:  http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8873-santas-sleeping-beauty.aspx

WHERE TO FIND LISA ONLINE:

Website: www.LisaFoxRomance.com

Blog: http://lisafoxromance.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @LisaFoxRomance

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Fox/100000860613696

Coffee, cookies, bourbon… Love the way you get into the Christmas spirit, Lisa! Thanks so much for stopping by to share the story behind such a hot read!

 

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Rawiya Talks Sugar Daddies with a Twist

Rawiya is here to talk about the story behind the story of her hot new M/M short, Sugar Daddy, and give us a steamy excerpt of this intriguing story. Welcome, Rawiya!

Is it wrong to have someone to love AND take care of you?

Hi readers! Thanks very much to KD Grace for having me here today. My topic involves a controversial subject of sorts.

A “Sugar Daddy” – Slang term. A man that provides for his partner financially in exchange for sex.

Is it wrong to want one of those? In a lot of people’s minds, it is. When you exchange your affection so the rich man can take care of you. My friends joke about it all the time, wanting a man that provides for them, keeping their bank accounts full at all times so they can do what they want.

We always see this in stories and real life; women who are with an old man who may be grandpa material. The most unbelievable part is these ladies claim to love that person when all the outsiders say, “oh she only wants his money.” But, here’s a twist, what if that person really DOES want love, affection and money from that person.

All single people crave the love of someone that’s financially secure, not meaning a billionaire but just able to provide for them and a potential family. Yet, this isn’t being a “gold digger” which is the term of the seeker of a “sugar daddy” this is just desiring someone that is gainfully employed and can bring home the bacon. Nothing wrong with that.

So the devil’s advocate in me wants to ask the question. What’s wrong with wanting the love of a millionaire? It’s almost the same thing. The morality issue is do you love them for ONLY their money. If the answer is no, then you are no gold digger and he isn’t your sugar daddy but that is what you and him will be termed so get ready.

I take that a step further in my newest short in the Who’s Your Daddy anthology out from STARbooks press. Sugar Daddy is an m/m interracial with laughs and a little bit of hot sex.

A longer version of the story is in the works.

The Who’s Your Daddy Anthology featuring Rawiya’s first M/M tale, “Sugar Daddy.”

Blurb: A short story of a young man, Matthew Davidson, who’s seeking the love of an older black man. When he goes to an internet dating site, he finds the man he’s looking for but the ad calls for a black or Hispanic male. Interested, Matthew puts up the picture of his best friend, Devon Peartley who is Black. Now though, his chat buddy would like to meet him in person.

PG Excerpt – “Goddamit Matthew, I wish you would get your own man and stop looking at mine,” Devon said when we left multimedia class. My good friend Devon Peartley was dating the resident hot teacher, Professor Edgar Vincent. All the girls were crazy about him; it’s too bad they didn’t know he had a desire for ass of the male variety instead of the female.

Rolling my eyes, I shrugged, “Sorry, it’s hard not to gawk at him; he’s really good looking. It’s too bad he saw you first before me.”

Devon put his hand on my chest, lightly shoving me, “What the hell is that supposed to mean? It doesn’t matter anyway; he ain’t into white boys anyhow…”

“His loss,” I replied as we walked to our lockers that were side by side.

Devon chuckled, and then muttered, “Bitch…”

Smiling, I retorted, “You love me though…”

“Yep,” he winked, turning the combo lock.

This conversation was a normality between me, Matthew Davidson and my good friend, Devon Peartley. We’d known each other since grade school and were now attending the Chelsea College of Art and Design in the midst of our second year of the Graphic Design Communication course; both of us inspiring art directors, that desired to work in either television or movies.  We had been close seemingly forever, like brothers. We’d only screwed around once after being drunk at a party after graduating from middle school. The reason why? When you become that insanely tight with someone, where you know every stinking thing about one another, you really don’t want to complicate things by having sex. Moreover, Devon wasn’t really, attracted to white men; he preferred those of his own kind or Hispanic. I liked that as well, but of the older variety.

So, even though I had given Professor Vincent more than a nod, I really wasn’t all that interested; truthfully, I only did it to piss off Devon.

“Devon, I want a man. I’m tired of being alone.” I pouted, leaning against the door.

“So get one, and keep away from Doc Vincent.” He closed the door, glaring at me.

“I don’t want your Professor, Devon. You know I’m into older black men.” I slid my Blackberry out of my pocket, looking at the screen.

“Yeah, and my doc is an older bloke…”

“Uh huh, but not old enough for me…”

Devon’s eyes widened, “What? You mean you’re looking for an elder, a senior citizen…”

“Fuck you, you tosser, hell no; I’m searching for,” I paused glancing upwards, moving my hands. “A man that’s established, in his late forties, early fifties, with intelligence, strength…”

“A libido?”

Rolling my eyes, “Yes, most definitely. Someone that’ll take care of me, stimulate my mind and my groin, you know?”

Devon sighed, “Uh huh. A sugar daddy…”

“Yes, but a brown sugar daddy…really dark chocolate, sweet to the core, but rugged, rough.”

 

On Amazon Kindle Now. http://www.amazon.com/Whos-Your-Daddy-ebook/dp/B0055LH3MC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

 

Links

Sharita L aka Michael M/Rawiya/BLMorticia

The Literary Triadhttp://www.thelitriad.com/#!

Michael Mandrakehttp://tabooindeed.blogspot.com

Rawiyahttp://rawiyaserotica.blogspot.com

Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/rawiyamikembl

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSharitaLira

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3542690

Its Raining Men Bloghttp://rainingmenamen.blogspot.com

 

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The Story Behind the Story of ‘To Touch The Knight’ by Lindsay Townsend

 

I’m very happy to have Lindsay Townsend at Hopeful Romantic to share a little of the truly fascinating story behind the story of her exciting novel, To Touch The Knight. Welcome, Lindsay! Do Tell!

Thank you so much, KD, for having me as a guest on your blog today. I’m chatting a bit about my forthcoming romance, ‘To Touch The Knight’, which is due out in July – not long now! KD asked me to cover the story behind the story of ‘To Touch The Knight’, which I’m delighted to do.

In my novel, the heroine Edith presents herself as a strange princess with her own seductive costumes, language and customs. One of my inspirations for this particular desperate deception was a real-life fake from the eighteenth century, the Princess Caraboo.

This ‘princess’ was a young woman who appeared in a Gloucestershire village in 1817, dressed in unusual clothes and speaking a strange language. Upon investigation by the local magistrate, it was discovered she called herself Caraboo and later a sailor said he knew her language and translated her story. Caraboo claimed to be a princess from an island in the Indian ocean, who had escaped after being captured by pirates.

The magistrate, Stephen Worrall, and his wife, took in Princess Caraboo. She lived with them for several weeks, famous and fêted by the local community.

In reality Princess Caraboo turned out to be Mary Baker, the daughter of an English cobbler. When the hoax was revealed due to her picture in the ‘Bristol Journal’ being recognized, the Worralls arranged for Mary to leave for Philadelphia.

Mary did go to America but returned later to England and died there. It was the story of her unusual deception that inspired a 1994 film, ‘Princess Caraboo’ and partly inspired my own novel, ‘To Touch The Knight’.

Taking the story of Princess Cariboo as a starting point, I wondered how it would be if a woman felt compelled by circumstances to undertake a similar deception, in the Middle Ages and with far higher life-and-death stakes, and so Edith was born.

My hero Ranulf  also has his own inner demons to defeat through the story. He is a fighter who must come to terms with his grief at the death of his wife and also a mystery surrounding her death. When Edith and Ranulf come together, they are both in different ways lost souls who find themselves through each other. It’s set against a period of massive trauma and change, too – just after the Black Death of 1348.

The so-called ‘Black Death’  was  known during the Middle Ages as either the plague or the pestilence. It’s now believed there were two main types of plague – bubonic (in which sufferers presented with huge pus-filled tumors or buboes) and pneumonic, spread in the air, which killed in less than three days. Both struck Europe from the far east in 1347, spreading swiftly from Italian ports through Europe and arriving in Britain in 1348. There was no known cure for any of the plagues and over a third of the population died. It was a terrifying time, made worse by the common belief that the disease was a judgment of God.

It was a dreadful time, but for the survivors it was also a chance to better themselves, particularly for peasants, for farm labor was in short supply. Edith decides to use the chance in another way, in order to save herself and her fellow villagers.

Thank you so much for having me today, KD!

I’d like to leave you, if I may, with the blurb and an excerpt from the first chapter of my novel, ‘To Touch the Knight’.

Here’s the blurb:

As a pestilence sweeps medieval England, a low-born woman has only the sharpness of her wits–and the courage of her heart…

Edith of Warren Hemlet plays a dangerous game. At the knights’ tourneys across the land, among the lords and ladies, she is a strange foreign princess. But in the privacy of her tent with the other survivors of her village, she is but a smith’s widow with a silver tongue. They are well-fed, but if discovered, the punishment is death. And one knight–fierce, arrogant, and perilously appealing–is becoming far too attentive…

Sir Ranulf of Fredenwyke cares little for tourneys: playing for ladies’ favors, when his own lady is dead; feasting, while commoners starve; “friendly” combat, when he has seen real war. Still, one lady captivates him–mysterious in her veils and silks, intoxicating with her exotic scents and bold glances. Yet something in her eyes reminds him of home…and draws him irresistibly to learn her secrets…

And here’s an excerpt from the first chapter, where Edith encounters Ranulf for the first time:

Edith was walking with the bundled sheets to the shallow, slow-moving stream when she realized that another was there before her. A man, big and muscled enough for a knight but not in armor, was sitting on the river-bank with his boots off, dangling his bare feet in the clear water.

Large, fine feet they were, too, and very clean. She stood in the shade of a young beech tree, shielded by its fresh leaves, and watched him; this nameless knight. He was new to her, and a pleasure to look upon, with a trim waist and good shoulders. He slowly kicked his legs in the water and she noticed the dark swirls of down on his calves, less lustrous and straighter than his fair-going-to-russet shaggy, badly-clipped hair. She wondered if the tiny dark fish were nibbling his ankles and laughed softly at the foolish idea. He was handsome, she conceded, if long, clean-shaven features as regular as a mason’s new carving of a king were to one’s taste – and they were to hers. On his feet, standing proudly on the daisy and speedwell studded grass, he would be tall as a castle keep, but wiry, with a rangy strength she admired when he skimmed a pebble across the river.

Here’s where you can find Lindsay:

Lindsay Townsend, historical romance. http://www.lindsaytownsend.net

or follow me at Twitter: @lindsayromantic

 

Thanks for stopping by, Lindsay!  It was lovely to have you. ‘To Touch The Knight’ sounds like a fabulous read — even more so now that we know the story behind the story.  I’ll now be waiting anxiously to July to get my copy!

 

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