Monday, November 17, 2014

Chivalry and Medieval Romance - Regan Walker

Medieval romance has been around for centuries. The love story of King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere, as memorialized in Lancelot, le Chevalier de la Charrette, an Old French poem, written in the 12th century, and Wagner's composition of Tristan und Isolde are classics we never tire of. And, many of us read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, set in 12th century England, when we were in school. It might surprise you to know that romance writing developed in Britain after the Norman Conquest and flourished right through the Middle Ages.

Why do we love to read about that time when knights battled for their king and ladies swooned at their victories? Perhaps it is the notion of chivalry, a valuing of womanhood and virtues such as truth, honor and valor. A knight who rises to duty, and the maiden who would take her place at his side. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, he describes a knight as being distinguished in truth, honor, generosity and courtesy, who is both wise and modest. A nobility of spirit, not just a nobility of title and lands.

In the eleventh century, knights were the social elite. They were the sons of wealthy landowning families, and they ruled the countryside by force. The knights who followed William to England were often younger sons, hoping to gain lands by their sword.

Knowing of the raping and pillaging that occurred in England after the Conquest, I wondered, what happened to notions of chivalry? So in doing my research for my new medieval romance, The Red Wolf’s Prize, one of the things that I wanted to look at was this question.

Since clergy played a part in knighting a man, by blessing his sword, chivalry definitely had religious aspects. However, the clergy required knights to vow to only protect the weak, such as widows, orphans, children, and of course, the church. The hundreds of knights who left Normandy with William in October of 1066 stopped at the church at Dives-sur-Mer, Normandy where they said mass before setting sail to invade England. You can see the list of knights here: If you’ve read The Red Wolf’s Prize, you will recognize some of the names, as they are characters in my story.
Pope Alexander III

Though the Church opposed war in general, it was forced to deal with it, in the end tolerating it, even sanctioning “righteous” wars. Hence, Pope Alexander II gave his blessing and his sanction to William’s invasion of England. But the faith of the knights whose swords the Church blessed did not, in all cases, behave as they should.

 The Code of Chivalry spoke of living one’s life not only to defend Crown and Country but to live in a manner worthy of respect and honor, to protect the innocent and to respect women. However, knights rose in the eyes of their sovereign based on how ruthless and successful they were in battle. Hence, the Red Wolf, the hero in my story, gains a reputation for being invincible while fighting at William’s side. It is not hard to see how such men might be tempted to step over the line and take advantage of the conquered. Many did. Thus, while the knights might pay respect to highborn ladies, not all of them afforded the same respect to servants, peasant women and other men’s wives, especially in the midst of war. A maiden of low birth might fear an armed knight as much or more than another man.

Beginning in the 11th Century, love became an essential part of the Code of Chivalry, expressed in social life, and literature. Knighthood became more than a matter of war and feudal dependence; it became romantic. The tournament was a main part of the lives of knights, and the laws and customs of the tournament were inseparable from the love of ladies. Much of the knight’s leisure time was spent in hunting, and the practice field, but also in music, and exercising gallantry and poetry. The chivalric literature, whether its note was that of love or of deeds of arms, shows that the laws of gallantry were as important as those of military honor.

One can hope that chivalry ultimately encouraged a nobility of spirit. In The Red Wolf’s Prize, for perhaps a different reason, the Red Wolf tolerated no acts of rape among his men, though not all of William the Conqueror’s knights behaved so nobly.



Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed Lady Serena, the heiress that goes with them. 


Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord. 

Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.
As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart? 

About Regan Walker

As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.
Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses. You can find out more about Regan on her website:

With The Red Wolf's Prize (Medieval Warriors Book 1) , which is set in England a few years before the Conquest. she has moved from her beloved nineteenth century to the pre Medieval period

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cover Reveal ~ SLUMBER by Cassandra Dean

The Tailor has been tasked to find the princess...
Upon decree from his king, Sebastian, Tailor to the entire kingdom of Dormiraa, embarks on the mission to fetch the Princess Thalia home, her seven year Royal Tour over. He didn't expect to find her working with clockwork and gears, encased within a coffin of glass. He did not expect the sight of her wild black hair to set his heart to pound, or the flash of her dark eyes would heat his blood. He did not expect he would want her so badly, not when he could never have her.
The princess must become the Queen...
Thalia has always known she must return to the capital to prepare for the throne. She did not expect her father to send the Tailor to fetch her, or that this man with his extravagant clothes and subtle cosmetics would intrigue her so well. There was something about him, something that spoke of danger and secrets, even as his wicked mouth and knowing eyes made her yearn.
However, not everyone desires the princess's return. When they are attacked, they can only turn to each other. Will they overcome status and secrets to discover a love for all time?
Beyond Fairytales
Fantasy Romance
Coming soon


The discordant note of a missed strike rose from the coffin, followed by a terse mutter. By the Maiden, was the princess cursing?
A sudden, terrible thought occurred. Was it the princess? Surely she wouldn’t curse as if she was a dockworker Maybe his source had lied about the gear worker being the lost princess. Maybe this wasn’t her at all, and he would spend another three months trying to find the erstwhile royal.
No. If it killed him, this would be her. He was not going to waste any more time on this.
So decided, he intoned, “Princess,” in the clear, strong voice he used to quell conversation.
The woman in the coffin—the princess, damn his eyes—started, and a loud clang split the air, immediately followed by one of those deliciously vulgar curses. Pulling out of the coffin, she glared at him.
His breath strangled in his throat. Heat stormed through him, his cock hardening in his too-thin breeches.
Thrice-damned god, but she was arresting.
Wild ebony hair escaped from the band holding it back while furious black eyes pilloried him, full lips pursed in displeasure. Her worker’s clothes revealed more of her form than they should, the homespun shirt opened to the middle of her breast bone. The undyed fabric seemed too rough for such fine skin, the dull off-white hue a contrast with her dusky flesh. The brown leather harness of her trade nipped in her waist and cupped her breasts, while trousers outlined full hips and long legs, the latter encased in knee-high boots of soft brown leather capped with steel.
Quite insanely, he wanted to taste the damp skin revealed by her shirt.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.
She had to be the princess. Only royalty could deal such a stare.
“Doing?” he said.
She folded her arms beneath her breasts. He tried not to notice how her action plumped her flesh deliciously through the leather. “Do not come into a workroom and startle a gear worker, especially if she’s wielding tools that could harm her, the object she works on, and your fat head once she recovers herself.”
“My apologies, Princess.” He offered his most charming smile and ignored how the darkening of her scowl made him harder. “I am the tailor, and I have been sent to fetch you home.”
About Cassandra :
Cassandra Dean is a best-selling, multi-published author of historical and fantasy romance. Her latest novel, SILK & SCORN, is part of her popular Silk Series, featuring Victorian Era lawyers and their happily ever after. Her next novel, SLUMBER, will be available soon from Decadent Publishing’s Beyond Fairytales, and features Cassandra’s take on Sleeping Beauty.
Cassandra is proud to call South Australia her home, where she regularly cheers on her AFL football team and creates her next tale.
Visit Cassandra’s website at
Join Cassandra’s mailing list at
Follow Cassandra on Facebook at
and on Twitter @authorCassDean
Contact Cassandra at

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New release for November, 2014 - A Scandalous Wager

Hi everyone

Historical Hearts is happy to announce the release of one of our members debut book - A Scandalous Wager which is available for pre-order now on or

The official release date is today 8th of November through Escape Publishing.

As the Black Raven, she’s cold, distant, and alone, untouched by the gossip and scorn of her aristocratic peers. Until he enters her house – and her life – and suddenly her icy shell is no match for the heat of attraction…

Notorious Widow Lisbeth Carslake, Countess of Blackhurst was acquitted of her husband's murder, but no one believes in her innocence. Known as the Black Raven, bringer of bad luck and death, she is eviscerated by the gossips and mocked in the clubs. She’s also the subject of London’s most scandalous wager.

Oliver Whitely, Earl of Bellamy, needs money, but it takes more than a few drinks to take on The Black Raven Wager. He finds himself drunk, at her house, and – more surprisingly – inside, and agreeing to a business proposal at the end of a fire poker. She will let him win the wager, and he will help find her husband’s killer before the killer finds her. But business agreements don’t mean trust, and Lisbeth certainly doesn’t trust Oliver, her body’s reaction to him, or her heart.

Love may be the biggest gamble of their lives, but is it a wager their hearts can afford to lose?

If you would like to know more about Cassandra Samuels you can check out her website.
Add her to your circles on Google+ 
Or follow her on Twitter  

Order A Scandalous Wager from: 
Amazon Aus | Amazon | & all good e-bookstores