A Tale of Love Almost as Old as Ireland

Who likes knights in shining armor?

Please welcome Anna Markland.

 

 

My Main Street is in Victoria, British Columbia.

Thank you for the opportunity to share an excerpt from The Taking of Ireland. This novel represents a departure from the medieval romances I usually write. It is set in Ireland in a time of myth, even before the arrival of the Celts. I’ll preface the excerpt with the book’s foreword to give you some background.

I categorize my novels as “steamy”, but this excerpt is pure romance.

My tale was initially inspired by the Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland), a collection of poems and prose narratives that purports to be a history of Ireland and the Irish people from the creation of the world to the Middle Ages. 

The earliest version was compiled in the 11th century (probably by Christian monks) and tells of Ireland being settled (or taken) six times by six groups of people.

My story centers on the last two groups, the Tuatha Dè Danann, who in the Lebor represent Ireland’s pagan gods, and the Milesians who sailed from Galicia and represent the Irish people, the Gaels.

Most scholars regard the Lebor as myth rather than history, and it was perhaps an attempt to reconcile native Irish myth with the Christian view of history.

I often base my plots on actual historical events, but this tale didn’t provide such a framework, which left my imagination free to soar into the realm of the mythical and magical. It was a scary journey into the unknown at first, but one I thoroughly enjoyed once the ideas began to flow and I got to know my characters.

Bear in mind, however, that my Tuathans and Gaelicians are figments of my imagination and are not meant to be a literal interpretation of the pseudo-historical peoples in the Lebor.

“Myth is more potent than history. 

Dreams are more powerful than facts.”

~Robert Fulghum

takingireland_cvr_lrg

Excerpt:

After spending several hours speaking with the men and impatiently supervising trivial tasks, Sibrán returned to the secluded bank, dismayed to see Aislinn shivering. She still sat atop the rock and looked in need of comfort. He handed her the broad leaf on which he’d piled a few choice pieces of roasted boar. “This will warm you,” he assured her. “Careful. It’s still hot.”

“I feel the heat through the burdock leaf,” she agreed, accepting the food with a smile.

“Burdock? Can we eat it?”

“The roots and stems of the plant are delicious. You can try the leaves, but I warn you they are bitter.” She looked to the forest. “I hope Lop isn’t being a nuisance.”

He sat beside her and took a chunk of meat from his own leaf, elated when she didn’t move away. “Don’t worry on his account. He’s gone off somewhere to gnaw on a juicy bone the men gave him.”

Her smile of relief pleased him. “Eat,” he cajoled.

She obeyed and nibbled at a piece of meat.

He shifted his position and sank his teeth into a piece of crispy crackling. It was one of his favorite parts of a roasted pig.

He risked an occasional glance at her face, filled with an urge to taste the grease on her lips. She seemed to have a good appetite and finished the meat quickly. He studied the wilting leaf as she licked her fingers. “You were hungry,” he said.

She turned her doe-like eyes on him. “I was.” Then she reached up and smoothed her thumb over his cheek. “You have a morsel of…”

Her touch sent him over the edge. He cast his food to the ground, took her into his arms and put his mouth on hers. He’d expected to savor the salty taste of the boar, but Aislinn’s warm sweetness and the intriguing perfume of her skin overwhelmed his senses.

Emboldened when she didn’t push him away, he coaxed with his tongue, elated when she opened her mouth and allowed him entry. He breathed his need into her, welcomed her tongue into his mouth and suckled like a starving child.

He lifted his hand to her nape and pressed his fingers into her scalp, growling when she whimpered.

It was more than a kiss. It was a magical, transforming experience, but wetness on his cheek caused him to look at her face. Perplexed to see tears, he pulled her onto his lap and crushed her to his chest. “Don’t weep, Aislinn. For a man and a woman to share such an incredible kiss is a thing of wonder. I accept the gods have led me to this troubled land in order to bring peace and prosperity as the new king. It was our destiny we meet. You were meant to be my queen.”

Sobbing, she struggled off his lap. “No, Sibrán. You have been at sea for too long. There are many beautiful maidens in Inisfail who will be happy to couple with you.”

Angered he’d misinterpreted her feelings, he got to his feet. “I am not a man to make promises without forethought. I want you, Aislinn. I thought you wanted me, but apparently…”

She held up a trembling hand. “It’s of no matter what I want. I am Moqorr’s bondservant and forbidden to lie with a man.”

His throat tightened. Hurtful words escaped his mouth before he had a chance to think better of it. “You warm his bed?”

He caught hold of her wrist before her hand struck his face. He narrowed his eyes. “In Gaelicia death would be the punishment for striking a prince.”

“Kill me then,” she breathed. “I would prefer to die than have you believe I consort with Moqorr.”

The despair in her voice betrayed her hatred of the High King. His anger fled. He gathered her into his arms again. “Then why would he object if you pledged yourself to me?”

She made no reply, but it was of some consolation that she allowed him to hold her as she wept.

The Taking of Ireland

Amazon: http://a.co/6GErhWh

Anna’s touch of steam is never too hot. But her heroes are definitely worthy of a  little heat. Do you realize the strength they must have to handle a sword? But her heroes know how to be gentle, too. So grab her book, a blanket, your favorite beverage, and settle in for a delicious read.

Springing into Step

My Office

My Office


The business of writing, is often a lot less fun, than actually writing. I know when I was younger and dreamt of making this my life’s work; I assumed I would sit at a desk, write best-sellers, occasionally setting out on a world book tour, all the while my minions would take care of the rest.

Joke is on me it seems:

1. A best-seller has yet to jump out of my laptop. (Not that I’ve given up hope).

2. Promotion costs a ridiculous amount of money, which would be a lot easier were #1 a reality! 

3. Minions cost even more money than promo and so again I ask that you please refer to #1.

4. Social Media was not even in the picture when I was 12, so it never occurred to me how much work would be involved in staying “social”. It’s intense.🙈

For now, while I work on the three most pressing stories in my head & wait for edits on my next two books- I at least want to do it some place warm and cozy and where it feels a lot less like work. Writing itself doesn’t feel like work, but the rest of the branding and marketing, sure as heck does. And I’m a Sales & Marketing person by trade. Somehow, selling my own wares is a lot more stressful than selling someone else’s. Isn’t that something? LOL

Thank goodness for warm spring days, cool drinks and a deck with a gorgeous view!

I hope everyone else is enjoying their day as much as I am. 

Wishing you well in fiction & real life,

Kelly Rae

Am I the Only Football Nut Here? asks Stephanie Queen

footballheartBesides Myren of course. (It goes without saying that my chauffeur Myren is a football nut. Or maybe it’s just that he’s a nut and he watches football.)

But it might be rare to be both a romance novel nut and a football nut at the same time. I’m not sure. How does one know this kind of thing?

 

You know if you’re a Romance Novel Football Loving Nut if:

  • Your husband asks “Did you see that catch?” and you have to take your earbuds out because you’ve been listening to the latest Nora Roberts audiobook
  • You jump from your chair to cheer the touchdown and knock the kindle from your lap and it pages forward wildly in the process before you had a chance to bookmark it.
  • You have a paperback with a picture of a half-dressed cowboy on the cover on your lap during the game that you’re hiding under a football shaped pillow.
  • You refuse the drink your friend offers because you don’t want to risk spilling it on your iPad while you’re reading your romance.
  • Your husband says “It was a bad call honey, but you don’t need to cry about it” when he sees the tears streaming down your face because you just reached a sappy special moment in the love story you’re surreptitiously listening to.
  • Your husband says “Why are you all pink honey?” when he turns to high five you after your team wins and you can’t bring yourself to tell him it was the hot scene you just finished reading so you say “I’m excited about the big win.”

Or you have to tell your chauffeur to stop shouting at the TV because the refs can’t hear him anyway and you can’t hear the audiobook you’re listening to just when they’re getting to the juicy part (this works great to help take the edge off bad reffing during the game).

Only two weeks to go and then I can go back to enjoying romance novels uninterrupted by New SOL Cover-2D Finalcheering for my team and despairing about NFL refereeing. That’s one good thing about being a romance novel fan–they’re always in season!

Speaking of seasons, we’re coming up on the season of love if there is one–Valentine’s Day. Myren thinks it’s no coincidence that I’m mentioning a boxed set called Season of love with 5 Valentine novellas for $.99. For once he’s right.

It’s available on Amazon, Nook & KOBO.

Do you have a favorite Valentine romance to recommend?

 

Real Life Love Stories…Say What?

Here on Main Street we write fiction, which is my preferred state of being most days. 🙂 I find the lives I create are often so much more exciting than my real life, which to be honest is fine by me, exciting doesn’t always equal a positive. I am not much for real life drama, I prefer my drama in a book or on a screen.

Writers create a great escape for others to leave the stress and worry of their lives behind. We offer characters who are accessible and relatable, who inspire and who almost always find their Happily Ever After. Which is what we all want isn’t it? At least, until we can obtain it for ourselves, reading about it helps!  have always thought so anyway.

For this blog I thought it would be interesting to discuss real life love stories. To Google I went, typing in variations of GREATEST REAL LIFE LOVE STORIES to see what I could find. Although I knew a lot of the stories already, I have to say I was rather shocked by the results. There seems to be a popular ten famous love stories on the lists I found, all with two shocking similarities, death and infidelity – sometimes both. Am I to believe that in order to have a GREAT love, one of historical proportions, it must result in death and/or begin with adultery? I hope not, but take a look.

Photo Credit to Romantic Fae

Lancelot & Guinevere – Photo Credit to Romantic Fae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Marc Antony & Cleopatra – Marc Antony was married and left his wife Octavia for Cleopatra. When Octavia brought an army to revenge their actions, they killed themselves rather than be torn apart.  *infidelity & death

 

  • Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor – They were both married when they met, later married and divorced each other twice, before giving up on a life together. Although, both have claimed the other to be the love of their lives, despite marrying other people after their time together. *infidelity

 

  • Tristan & Iseult (Isolde) – Iseult was married to Tristan’s uncle when they met and fell in love. When King Mark finds out about the affair he kills his nephew in a rage and Iseult they died of grief after having seen Tristan’s corpse. *infidelity & death

 

  • Lancelot & Guinevere – Guinevere was married to Lancelot’s friend and “boss” King Arthur when they fell in love. Once their affair was discovered, after years of rumors, Guinevere was sentenced to die by fire for her infidelity. Instead she was sent to a convent where she stayed until death. Lancelot was removed from the Knights of the Round Table and died a lovesick hermit. *infidelity

 

  • Napoleon & Josephine – While married to each other, history reports they both cheated a time or two. Once divorced it is said that Napoleon continued to pine for Josephine (it’s rumored he carried violets from her garden in a locket until his death) and she was the last name on his lips as he died, not that of his current wife. *infidelity

 

  • Prince Edward & Wallis Simpson: Wallis Simpson was married when they met & fell in love, she did eventually get a divorce and married the Prince. But his family was very disapproving of their romance, because of the affair and because she was an American. He eventually abdicated his throne in order to be with Wallis. *infidelity

 

  • Voltaire & Emilie du Chatelet – Emilie was married to a Marquis when she met and fell in love with Voltaire. They did not keep their love a secret and at one time even lived together in a house owned by her husband. They were together until Emilie’s death. *infidelity

 

  • Lord Nelson & Lady Emma Hamilton: Lady Emma was married when they met and fell in love, their affair took London by storm as they did not feel the need to keep it a secret. They even went so far as to live together as lovers in the same home as Lord Nelson. *infidelity

 

  • Prince Khurram & Mumtaz Mahal Begum : Mumatz was the 3rd wife of Prince Khurram and most revered it seems since he built the Taj Mahal in her honor, when she died giving birth to their 14th child. *culturally accepted polygamy (infidelity)

 

  • Prince Saleem & Anarkali – Prince Saleem fell in love with a slave, Anarkali, to the disapproval of his parents. Their love was forbidden and a battle between father and son ensued. When the King won, he demanded Anarkali’s death and Saleem said he would die too. A deal was struck when Anarkali offered her life if they spared Saleem and allowed them one night together, which they were granted, before she was buried alive in a brick tomb that stands today. *death

These are not new stories to me, but I never really looked at them as a group. I have to say I am a little unnerved by the similarities, across cultures and centuries the greatest love stories passed down through time are all tragic. So, to this I say thank you to fiction for creating Happily Ever After’s (Shakespeare with his Romeo & Juliet be Damned 🙂 )! Real life needs writers like us, who make you laugh and smile and fall in love with book boyfriends who won’t cheat on you or sentence you to death!

Needless to say this blog did not go where I thought it would when I started researching earlier this week. It was fun, but not nearly as awe-inspiring or lovely as intended. I think I will settle for a great love, that doesn’t make history – seems the safest bet! LOL

Thanks for stopping by today, if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, please do and you will be the first to hear about our next boxed set.

If you would like to read some of my made up love stuff, lol, check out my website at www.kellyraebooks.com. Wishing you all the best in fiction and real life.

Kelly Rae

P.s. As I was telling my son (11-years-old) about my day of research for this blog, trying to highlight the death aspect more than the adultery side, he was mostly interested in Helen of Troy and the way she started the Trojan War. He says to me, “Well that just shows you how much we love our women, when we aren’t cheating on them!” Yup, that sums it up…Eh-gads! 😉