SLAVE is now a full time reviewer for Guys Like Romance, Too!

Please note that SLAVE's Erotic Review is on hiatus to catch up on reviews.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bringing out the history in the menage

Think medieval times when honorable men must do what is required of them. Thomas Lancaster, a widower with bad memories of marriage and a young son he barely knows, is a hardened knight loyal to his king. In reward for his efforts fighting in the Crusades, King Edward gives him Middlemound Castle to hold for the crown. But he must marry the beautiful young widow of the castle's previous lord.
Lady Gloriana Stewart suffered brutally in her first marriage and has no desire to marry again. She has no choice and must protect her people and obey her king. All she wants is for her new husband to give her a baby. Thomas refuses to even consider it.
Complicating the situation is Sir Rowan Montgomery, Thomas's first knight, friend, and lover. Complicating the problem even more, Gloriana has feelings for both her new husband and for Rowan.

His body was too tense now to consider falling asleep. His cock throbbed, demanding attention. For a second, he reached down and stroked the hard rod. But he wasn’t interested in finding relief that way, not when Rowan had settled into a bedchamber at the far end of the hallway.
Thomas pulled on his braies and headed out into the semi-dark hallway. The only light came from lit torches in holders on the stone wall. He padded barefoot toward the chamber Rowan had claimed. He needed Rowan tonight and hoped Rowan needed him as well. 
He hesitated in front of Rowan’s door. What if one of the maids was with him? He’d seen Rowan leading one up here earlier, he’d known what they’d both had in mind. It hadn’t bothered Thomas then. Yet he would be disappointed if the young woman was still with Rowan.
The wooden door opened, startling him. Rowan stood naked before him with a slow smile sliding over his face. He motioned Thomas inside. 
Relieved, Thomas strode into the chamber. His glance took in the rumpled bed with lit candles on the two bedside tables. He smelled sex in the air and felt a second of jealousy. As it passed, he faced his first knight, the man who had protected his back nearly as many times as Thomas had protected his. He nodded toward the bed. “Mayhap you don’t want…”
“Hell yes, I want!” Rowan countered, sounding almost angry. He strode directly in front of Thomas. “I want a good pounding.” 
Pleased that this much hadn’t changed, Thomas felt the tension drain from him. “Good.”
Rowan cupped Thomas’s head with his calloused hands and leaned toward him. Their lips met with familiarity. Heat flared through him, need, demanding in its intensity. Thomas raised his hands and wove his fingers into Rowan’s chin-length hair, pulled him closer. He slid his tongue along his lover’s lips until they parted. Then their tongues parried as they’d done so many times before.

I love writing all kinds of genres and sub-genres of romance, including stories based in different time periods. Creating characters that feel “real” to a reader is an art. Establishing a believable setting for those characters, with conflicts also believable for the period, is a challenge. When a writer manages to pull it all together, the story can be a special gift to the readers. And when readers and reviewers appreciate the author’s hard work, that is a gift to the author.

I really enjoyed writing my medieval ménage a trois story Their Lady Gloriana, but it was a trial at times. The medieval period has always attracted me. I admit that the movies involving such a hard time and the romances that greatly soften the realities of living back then are what I enjoy. And I admit that I would never have wanted to live in those difficult days. But I write fiction and the worlds I create are acceptable to me and to my readers.

So what kind of historical elements are acceptable and make a story believable and enjoyable? A reader (okay, me) doesn’t want to read about some of the true hardships knights faced. I want to read and visualize in my mind the powerful, handsome, buff knight riding proudly on his destrier and leading his men to battle or to whatever the story involves. I don’t want to know that many of the armored knights fell off their horses, couldn’t get up without assistance, and that a lot of them drowned in creeks and rivers because of the bulky armor. What readers want and rightly expect are simple details that give the sense of the setting and character particulars for the period.

The following are some setting examples from Their Lady Gloriana:

With that said she walked around the corner of the keep and heard the unusual silence in the bailey. She noted the dozen or so soldiers who had been training there now stood still, tense and cautious. All had heard rumors from traveling tinkers that the last battle of the Crusade had ended.

The small contingent of soldiers in chainmail and bearing the king’s banner rode between the rows of silent men straight to her.

Without saying a word, the man extended a rolled parchment. … With a nod of acceptance, he untied the parchment. The paper crinkled loudly as he unrolled it.

Thomas stood next to River Ure while his horse lapped water beside him. He looked out over the valley leading to Middlemound Castle. A faint breeze swept over him carrying the scents of sweet clover from the patches bursting with flowers nearby. Along with it, he drew in the heavy smells of sweat. His own and that of Rowan, who stood quietly a few feet away. He imagined all of his men—including his new men—smelled equally as unpleasant after these last long days of traveling.

The following are some character details from Their Lady Gloriana:

The sun had barely risen by the time Rowan dressed in his tunic and braies. He jammed his low boots on and glanced back at the rumpled bed.

Gloriana in a green gown that hugged her body from the low neckline to her slender waist before flowing easily around her legs took his breath away

A good historical story will also include a limited amount of language used at the time. It is important to weave in certain terms that might have been used, a sense of the uniqueness of expressions common to the time period, and maybe a hint of an accent. But it is also important not to overdue all of this. Reading oddly spelled words or being constantly bombarded with unfamiliar language can frustrate a reader and pull them from a story. The key is to give only a flavor of the various elements of the historical period.

The following are some language details from Their Lady Gloriana:

“Riders come, my lady! Two of them,” a guard called down from the parapet to Gloriana where she stood in the gardens. “They bear the King’s banner.”

“Good morn, my lady.”

“God’s teeth! Did I actually say that?”
Starla Kaye

1 comment: