Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Upcoming Historical Workshops

Still time to sign up for Conducting Historical Research Online

When? August 1st - 24th
Instructor: Eliza Knight
Register: http://elizaknight.com/historicalresearch.aspx

There is a plethora of information available online for anybody who wants to look. As a writer of historical fiction, you will often find yourself needing this information. But how do you go about getting it?

This class will teach you the ins and outs of conducting research online. Do you need to find just one little nitty gritty detail or a vast amount of information that directly correlates to your plot? Do you need to know what street Carlton House was on? Or how many guns were on the HMS Impregnable? By the end of this class you should have a grasp on how to get this information.

I will also discuss how to mesh your research into your story so it flows and doesn’t feel “textbook.” Have you ever read a book, where it feels like the author is just regurgitating fact to you, instead of seamlessly mixing it into narrative or dialogue?

After each lesson there will be an assignment, and an opportunity for you to submit a short excerpt from your manuscript in which you’ve used historical fact, for critique.

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A Noble's Life In Medieval Times
Dates: October 5, 2009 – October 30, 2009
Class: A Noble’s Life in Medieval Times
Instructor: Eliza Knight

Register: www.elizaknight.com/noblelife.aspx

Class Description:

Life in medieval times was so much different than the way we live today. When readers sit down with their favorite medieval historical romance, they are taken away to another time and place.

For most readers, this is where they learn about medieval times, and it is the duty of the author to be as authentic as possible. That being said, you don’t want your book to be a history lecture either, but to just flavor it enough.

This workshop will teach you how people, particularly nobles, lived in medieval times, in order for you to be truer to the era you write about. This is an open discussion workshop, questions and comments are welcome and encouraged. There are five lessons, each of which are broken down daily. This class provides photos, video links, research links, exercises and opportunities to share your work for critique. The lessons will be presented as follows:

Lesson One: The Medieval Castle
Lesson Two: Medieval Entertainments
Lesson Three: Day in the Life of a Medieval Lord and Lady
Lesson Four: Medieval Medicine
Lesson Five: Medieval Clothes

The Notorious Rake

Today I'm blogging at Seduced by History about The Notorious Rake.

Here's a sneak peak...

The notorious rake, rakehell, rogue, reprobate, scoundrel and altogether wicked man. Whatever you want to call him, he has a place in romance. Usually one to make the wicked rake into my hero, my recent release, LOVE WILL BLOOM, is just a little different.


I thought, what if this time, that sinful man who looks at the heroine with bedroom eyes, doesn’t win? What if the more innocent, socially blundering, friendly, yet oh-so-handsome man gets the girl? Enter my hero Dominick Wade… gloriously good looking, a body you want to fall to your knees and crawl after, and still just as arrogant, but with a boyish and crooked grin that makes you shove aside his faults. He’s everything a woman could want, and best of all, he doesn’t have a reputation for seducing and scandalizing young women.

Click here to read more...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dressed to Impress

Have you ever noticed that historically, clothing was something to be worn and shown off? People dressed to the nines, impressing those around them with their fashion sense and style. Fabrics meant everything, the colors carefully chosen, had hidden inuendos.

In medieval history, purple was worn by royals, and those who were lower ranking in society who dared wear the rich color would be punished.

A woman wearing scarlet or red in Regency and Victorian times was scandolous, and let's not even mention how exposing her decolletage may be... Yet prior to this, wearing such a color denoted your high rank in society. Peasants often wore browns and greys as color dyes were very expensive. Funny how things change over the course of history.

Wearing a white wedding dress wasn't popular until Queen Victoria did it in the 1800's. Prior to that a woman could wear almost any color.

People spent hours dressing and primping, sometimes not of their own choosing, but because what they wore or their hairstyles, might have taken so long to prepare.

Have you noticed today that the way we dress is much less prepared? Much less impressed on us? Sure when you have an interview or an important dinner to attend you will make sure you look your best, but if you're just running out to the store, even to work, you may not put on your perfect face.

What do you think of all this? Are you glad you can run to the local 7-11 in shorts and slippers, or would you rather have had to spend hours preparing? Personally, there are some I wish would spend a lot more time preparing themselves for public presentation before departing their abode... However, I do like the convenience of pulling on a pair of jeans and rushing to the supermarket for milk at 7 in the morning.

*****

And now for a little shameless self promotion...


My Victorian era e-novella, Love Will Bloom, released this month.




Blurb:

After the death of her parents, Miss Lillian Whitmore travels to London to live with her aunt and uncle, the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk. Sick with grief, guilt and loneliness, and shunned by her aunt and cousins, Lillian is constantly reminded of her ignorance of society customs. Forced to find a husband, she encounters two men who vie for her affections--handsome, poised Lord Dominick Wade and the sensuous rake, Sir Trenton--but the skeletons in Lillian's closet keep her from making a choice.

Expectations are high for Lord Dominick Wade to marry a woman of social stature, but the American beauty has literally wreaked havoc with his senses. Lillian is everything Dominick wants in a companion, lover and wife. Even more rankling is his competition, Sir Trenton, and the influence he holds over her.

Fate will decide this season which love will wither…and which will bloom

View the book trailer



Read this great review of Love Will Bloom, from romance author, Renee Knowles:

"Love Will Bloom is emotional, sensual, and most of all an enchanting read that will help you believe in true love. Eliza Knight writes with a poetic romance which transports the reader back in time. This is a fun read you won't soon forget!" ~Renee Knowles, bestselling author of Courting Trouble



Excerpt:

After dressing and touching up her hair, Lillian started her slow descent to the dining room. Although she met her family earlier, she would now be forced to endure hours of conversation with them. It wasn’t a problem for her, she was glad to get to know them, but she feared they would not want to get to know her.

She hoped she would be seated next to her uncle. He seemed to be the most prone to talking among the lot of them, and it had been quite awhile since she'd had a conversation with anyone.

Lillian berated herself for her thoughts. She should want to sit next to them all, she did live with them now, and they were her family. During the internal battle she was having, Lillian barely heard the man at the foot of the stair clear his throat.

She sucked in her breath as she gazed upon him. Her heart skipped a beat, and her hands that had been perfectly dry, now felt slick.

He was a breathtaking sight. His tall, lean body leaned charismatically against the banister at the foot of the stair, with one elbow placed on its top. His other long arm bent at the elbow, with a strong hand placed on his slender hip. Lillian couldn’t help but admire him through her lashes, not wanting to be too forward. Although a lean man, she could see in certain places where his trousers and coat clung, his muscles were well defined. His clothes were of the utmost style, his shirt, pants and jacket smooth and crisp, not a piece out of place.

Flawless.

His thick brown hair came neatly to tie at the nape of his neck. A small lock came undone and lay against his forehead, giving him a wicked look.

Ah, so he is human. Not so flawless.

He stood there for a moment in perfect stance, as if to let her look upon him. She crinkled her brow, and rolled her eyes, thinking him arrogant. He was most assuredly one of the handsomest men she’d ever seen, but there he stood so proud, so sure of himself. He seemed to expect her to look upon him.

“Good evening, my lady. Lord Dominick Wade, at your service,” he said with a sweeping bow as she stopped at the foot of the stairs.

She lifted her arm delicately as she’d been taught and waited for him to take her hand. His fingers gently gripped her hand, as his soft lips grazed her skin. She felt a tingle wind its way up her arm and into her chest.

“Lillian Whitmore,” she said softly, her breath still caught in her chest from the moment he seized her senses with his warm kiss.

“Whitmore?” he asked, looking up sharply, his brow furrowing.

“Yes,” Lillian said, willing the butterflies in her stomach to stop fluttering. She straightened her back, stunned at the man’s seeming incredulity for her name.

“I don’t understand. I know I have been traveling for some time, but I was sure His Grace only had two daughters, and both English. You are American.”

“How perceptive,” Lillian said under her breath.

Buy Link



Cheers and Enjoy!
Eliza
www.elizaknight.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to Decorate Your Medieval Castle

Planning on moving into a medieval castle? Or maybe you just need a little imagery to decorate your fantasy?

The furniture in a castle is made of thick solid woods, like oak, ash, elm, poplar, larch and beech. It was put together much like our wood furniture is today: wooden pegs and iron nails. Have you ever bought a bookshelf from Ikea? You’ll put it together with wooden pegs and nails—although I’m pretty sure they aren’t iron :)

An adhesive like glue was used to attach fabrics (tapestries, brocades, leathers, and velvet) to the furniture. The woods were also painted: reds, golds and greens being the most popular, but whites, yellows, black and blues were used too. Paint and fabrics were not the only ways to decorate furniture. Often times the woods were carved into intricate designs, or metal work and gilding adorned it.

So now that you know how furniture was made and decorated, what types of furniture did they have? Large four-poster beds, pallets, stools, benches, trestle tables, smaller tables, desks, chairs, chests, coffers, altar tables, buffets, wooden barrels (used for storing food/drink, and for taking baths). The previous list could be moved easily to another castle or manor home, if needed, as some nobles and royals often did. They’d load up their furniture every few months or so to go and live at their other holdings. Furniture that stayed put were: cupboards, window seats, and built-in wall seats.

Décor in the home consisted of portraits, tapestries, candle holders, religious artifacts, weapons, nick-knacks, jugs, statues, clocks, deer/elk racks, hunting horns, in a bed chamber you would occasionally find a rug either made of animal skins or woven fabrics (like a tapestry).

I want to direct you to the following site: http://www.bunrattycollection.com/collection-highlights.php I had the pleasure of visiting Bunratty Castle, Ireland several years ago and it was amazing. Click on “Collection Highlights” and then click on various pieces of furniture and décor to see what they look like and read the descriptions, they are simply beautiful! Please note that some of the pieces are from later years. If you click on “Search the Collection” a diagram of the castle comes up with different rooms you can click on. When you click on the room it will tell you what pieces were kept there, and you can then click on the pieces to see them. I really love this site and I can’t recommend enough that you add it to your favorites for research and pleasure.

*****
Want to learn more about medieval castles and the life of a noble? Sign up for Eliza's workshop, A Noble's Life in Medieval Times, class starts October 5th! Click here for more info

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Save the School of Gallantry


Do you love historical romance? Add in a lot of steam, humor and fabulous characters and you get Delilah Marvelle's, School of Gallantry Series! Help save this series!!!



When I was in high school, I had a dream. I was going to be the next Stephen King. Heh. Yeah. Stay with me. Please. I knew my ideas were fabulous and I knew all it would take is for an editor to look at it and they would offer me up the moon and the stars and best of all, a contract. I had my girlfriends read everything I wrote. And they kept telling me, “This is fabulous! It's SO funny! Hilarious!” Seeing it really wasn't supposed to BE funny, I immediately changed course realizing I actually had a better handle on being funny than scary. I also figured adding a romance into it would even make it better since that is what I loved to read.
I then entered college as an English major. I was going to be teacher and write during the summers. Even then I was a smart girl who knew I wasn't going to make jack and that I needed a job to support the “creative” one. Throughout all of college I wrote historical romances. One right after another. And kept submitting. And submitting. And submitting. And kept getting rejected and rejected and rejected. In the meantime, I got married. I had two kids. I joined RWA. I got critique partners. I did honed and honed and honed the crap out of my writing. And kept writing and getting rejected. I eventually racked up over 200 rejections and had written over 40 books in those 11 years of trying to get published.
When I finally sold my first historical romance, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE, and my second book, LORD OF PLEASURE, I was beside myself. It didn't feel real. To FINALLY arrive at a destination I had been traveling toward for 11 long years seemed like a mirage. Which fortunately, I quickly snapped out of. Because after all, most of my friends are all published and unpublished writers and the stories they all have told me throughout the years made me realize I had to fight with fists up for myself every step of the way. I knew publishers did little to no promotion for their authors, so I spearheaded my own promo, ready to be more than just an author. And even though I was budgeting very well and spending countless hours networking and promoting on websites and blogs, doing tons for free, I still ended up spending $7,000 on my first book. Which was way more than my advance. But hey, every business starts in the red. Right?
Then the reviews started coming in about my series set in 1830 London England about a school that educates men on the topic of love and seduction. People loved it! Wow. It got nominated for awards. Wow. Readers are e-mailing me raving. Wow. Readers from France, Austria, Poland, South Africa and from all over the U.S and the world.. Wow. It just kept getting better and better. I was beginning to feel as if every penny I spent was all worth it (even though my family and I weren't going on any vacations and were eating out of cans). Because all that mattered was that my publisher loved me and my readers loved my series.
Come contract time, I'm ready for whatever they wanna throw at me. Or so I thought. Mistress of Pleasure, though completely sold out and unavailable anywhere (unless it's a used copy, some going for a ridiculous amount of $40.00), hadn't done as well as my publisher had hoped. So without waiting for the second book to come out to see if the series was even worth saving, I get a rejection from my own editor citing lack of sales.
I have to say this rejection felt more personal than any of the other two hundred and some rejections I'd received. Because it was no longer “Your book isn't good enough” it became “Your sales aren't good enough.” Since when is an author supposed to be a market guru AND a fabulous writer? Eck.
I love this series. The men in it make me laugh and it broke my heart to think that my readers will never get a chance to read about Lord Brayton, my glorious male virgin. The only alpha virgin I've ever written about. Then I realized something, why I am letting a publisher decide what is worth holding on to? Shouldn't that be a reader's job?
Ah. Herein lies the purpose of my post. I am challenging everyone, be they readers or writers to help me do something that's never been done before. Save a series from a death sentence given by a publisher. Can it be done? Who knows. But I eat challenges for breakfast and I hope you do to. Please join me in saving my series. Come August 4th, tell everyone you know (yes, even your 72 year old grandfather) to buy the book, Lord of Pleasure. In doing so, you'll have a chance to win one of three $50 Visa Gift Cards. How? Check out my website for details at http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/
That said, thank you for all the support and love everyone has already shown me by allowing me to blog about this. Feel free to post and repost this to everyone under the moon and the stars. To all you readers out there, thank you for supporting us writers. To all you writers out there, don't ever give up on your writing. The moment you do, you give up on yourself. Which is why I'm not giving up on my series.
Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle