Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Chaucer’s England, Part 2: The Rise of the Middle Class #Medieval History

Geoffrey Chaucer from the Ellesmere Illustrated Manuscript of The Canterbury Tales

People's lives in the tumultuous fourteenth century were disrupted by the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death. These events and the accompanying social upheavals, fostered the development of a middle class of lay people who did not serve a noble. They were still the king’s subjects and were also supposed to obey the religious rules. 

1) The Plague – A series of terrible outbreaks of the Great Pestilence killed about a third of the entire population, mostly inhabitants of towns and young children. Despite the horrific death toll, the Plague years gave way to a more prosperous age. Suddenly, laborers were in short supply, and consequently valuable. They were paid better and could afford good food and houses. Lands were left vacant when their owners died and became available for purchase by the newly wealthy middle class.  

2) The Hundred Years’ War (1337 to 1453) – The French Wars were waged by the kings of England over their claim to the French throne and territories. The war fueled the need for soldiers, especially English yeomen with their long bows. All able-bodied Englishmen were ordered to practice archery every day. The English yeomen with their longbows formed the mightiest war weapon of that age. A skilled archer could shoot six arrows a minute with a range of several hundred yards and pierce armor. Yeomen with longbows contributed to the decline of knights as a major force in battle.  

Battle of Crecy showing Anglo-Welsh longbowmen; Jean Froissart -  http://www.maisonstclaire.org/resources/chronicles/froissart/book_1/ch_126-150/fc_b1_chap129.html


The Middle Class

3) Merchants and craftsmen in towns owned shops and traded without serving a lord. The merchants’ guild elected a town mayor from their members. Skilled people like physicians and lawyers might also work independently of a noble. 

Weavers, Giovanni Boccaccio, Medieval Life

4) Yeomen, the archers who fought for the king or his nobles, could win riches and own land. A landowner with sufficient wealth might also become independent.  
The rise of the middle class led to a blurring of the distinctions between nobles and commoners. A yeoman with modest farmland might marry the daughter of a poor knight.  

Most people lived in the countryside in villages or farms. London was the largest city in Britain with a population of about 40,000. Bristol at 10,000 people was the second largest city. Most cities and towns had populations of about 1000 to 2000 people.  

 Audrey

My Medieval Romance, Dame Audrey, tells the story of a cloth merchant's widow and a yeoman who inherits land. 
Pre-order for 99c at Amazon  iBooks  Kobo  B&N

Note: My major source for life in the fourteenth century is Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century


Saturday, August 17, 2019

A serious crime - snippet from #Medieval Romance for #Wewriwa



Welcome to another Sunday with Weekend Writing Warriors. Meet writers in various genres and read 8-10 sentence snippets of their stories. Find a new author and sample their work. Enjoy!

I am continuing snippets from my new medieval romance set in fourteenth century England in and around my hometown of Reading. The book is on pre-order for release on the 27th.
My heroine, Audrey, countered a robber’s attack and met the hero, Selwyn Drake. He is acting as the sheriff’s bailiff to maintain peace in the town. His men have captured the thief and Selwyn has skillfully handled a group of alleged victims.  

Here are the last lines for context: One of the men slunk away, as did the dubious slattern.
Please excuse my slight abuse of punctuation to fit 8-10 sentences.
     The bailiff watched her sidle toward the alley; he frowned, but said nothing. Did he let her go free from lack of proof of her complicity in the crime or was he inclined to be lenient to a woman? Either way, his merciful act did not dampen my good opinion of him.
     “Do you wish me to testify?” I asked.
     He gave me a swift, thoughtful look, before replying, “If you please, Dame Audrey; he attempted to assault you, which is more serious a crime than stealing a purse.”
     Lowering my gaze to the muddy street, I pondered the consequences. The reeve’s justice was harsh; my testimony might send the man to the gallows, while a convicted thief would merely lose a hand. 
     Pursing my lips, I nodded; I had to tell the truth, despite my regret for the severity of the punishment. Exasperation ate at me for agreeing to another delay in my preparations for the fair. Yet, I was curious to learn more about Selwyn Drake; I was impressed by his acute judgment and attractive smile.   


Blurb:
Young widow seeks true love in this vivid Medieval romance with a touch of fantasy.
     In fourteenth century Britain, Dame Audrey cherishes her independence as the widow of a wealthy cloth merchant. But several of the wealthier traders covet her profitable business and she fears they will invoke the Abbot’s authority to compel her to marry a man of their choice. Her worst nightmare is suffering under a cruel husband like the hateful jeweler, Henry Goldsmith, who has threatened to curb her lively spirits.
     Audrey joins a pilgrimage to Glastonbury to pray for guidance. The holy relics give her no inspiration nor do her fellow travelers. On the homeward journey, she aids the dying victim of a brutal robbery. She wins the stranger’s blessing and a gold brooch with a green dragon. Back in her hometown, the faerie brooch attracts trouble from thieves of all ranks and the attentions of a handsome yeoman, Selwyn Drake. As her nightmare looms nearer, she grows desperate to preserve her freedom.
     Can the magic brooch help Audrey evade the schemes to force her into wedlock or must she submit to a husband’s will? 

 Audrey

Pre-order for 99c at: Amazon  iBooks  Kobo  B&N 

As always, I’ll be happy to reply to your comments.  
Please return to www.wewriwa.com to sample the works of the other writers.

Find a catalog of my published stories HERE.
Join me on Facebook and Twitter 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Medieval England in the Fourteenth Century - Part 1: The Feudal System



This post is the first of a series I am composing for the release of my new novel set in Medieval England. 

Chaucer’s Britain: The Feudal System

Most people’s status in the society depended on their position in the feudal system. The feudal system had three branches: Clergy – those who pray; Nobles – those who rule; and Laborers – those who serve. See the image above for a person in each category.
Each of these branches had its own hierarchy.

Clergy 
The Pope was the head. (For part of this century there were two competing sets of popes, one in Avignon and one in Rome. England, however, favored the pope in Rome, perhaps because of the Hundred Years War with France.)  Next in order were: Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots and Abbesses, Priors, Monks and Priests.

Nobles 
The King headed this branch and ruled everyone else. Below the King, lords and ladies with great estates, knights, esquires, and squires had decreasing wealth rank. They held allegiance to the king. 

Laborers 
The people who worked for the other classes. The major division was between freemen and bondsmen. Men and women in both categories served the wealthier nobles. Most laborers worked on farms. Freemen could own land or become craftsmen or merchants. 

Outside the Feudal System: Outlaws and Entertainers such as traveling musicians, jugglers, fortunetellers etc. owed no allegiance to a noble. 

Source: My major source for life in the fourteenth century was Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century. 


 Audrey

A young widow seeks true love in this vivid Medieval romance with a touch of fantasy


Pre-order for 99c at Amazon  iBooks  Kobo  B&N

Saturday, August 10, 2019

I will grant no exceptions - Snippet from DAME AUDREY for #WeWriWa



Welcome to another Sunday with Weekend Writing Warriors. Meet writers in various genres and read 8-10 sentence snippets of their stories. Find a new author and sample their work. Enjoy!

I am continuing snippets from my new medieval romance set in fourteenth century England in and around my hometown of Reading. I'm happy to announce the book, Dame Audrey, is on pre-order for release on the 27th.
My heroine, Audrey, was attacked by a robber and met the hero, Selwyn Drake.  
Here are the last lines for context: Glaring at the bailiff, Henry Goldsmith protested, “Preposterous. I’m no hedge-born churl. Who are you to fling orders at an eminent town merchant?”

     His voice resonant with authority, he said, “The High Sheriff’s appointed bailiff, Selwyn Drake; I will grant no exceptions to the law.”  
     Henry’s broad face purpled in rage and he spluttered an oath. Curbing his anger, the brushed back his hood and doffed his red velvet cap, “Dame Audrey can vouch for my good name.”
     Gleeful at his predicament in being forced to plead for my aid, I smiled and curtsied; “Good day, Henry.” Nodding at the bailiff, I said, “I can vouch for Henry Goldsmith; he is a jeweler by trade and a senior member of the town guild.”
     “Despite your good name, Master Goldsmith, I must ask you to accompany me to the reeve’s hall as a witness. After you have testified of the man’s crime for the records, you can recover your goods.” Selwyn Drake gestured to the other victims, “All of you must come to press your claim to the stolen purses.”
     One of the men slunk away, as did the dubious slattern.

Blurb:
Young widow seeks true love in this vivid Medieval romance with a touch of fantasy.
     In fourteenth century Britain, Dame Audrey cherishes her independence as the widow of a wealthy cloth merchant. But several of the wealthier traders covet her profitable business and she fears they will invoke the Abbot’s authority to compel her to marry a man of their choice. Her worst nightmare is suffering under a cruel husband like the hateful jeweler, Henry Goldsmith, who has threatened to curb her lively spirits.
     Audrey joins a pilgrimage to Glastonbury to pray for guidance. The holy relics give her no inspiration nor do her fellow travelers. On the homeward journey, she aids the dying victim of a brutal robbery. She wins the stranger’s blessing and a gold brooch with a green dragon. Back in her hometown, the faerie brooch attracts trouble from thieves of all ranks and the attentions of a handsome yeoman, Selwyn Drake. As her nightmare looms nearer, she grows desperate to preserve her freedom.
     Can the magic brooch help Audrey evade the schemes to force her into wedlock or must she submit to a husband’s will?

 Dame Audrey

Pre-order for 99c at: Amazon  iBooks  Kobo  B&N 

As always, I’ll be happy to reply to your comments.  
Please return to www.wewriwa.com to sample the works of the other writers.

Find a catalog of my published stories HERE.
Join me on Facebook and Twitter 



Saturday, August 3, 2019

No Hedge-born Churl - Snippet from Medieval Romance for #WeWriWa



Welcome to another Sunday with Weekend Writing Warriors. Meet writers in various genres and read 8-10 sentence snippets of their stories. Find a new author and sample their work. Enjoy!

I am continuing snippets from my new medieval romance set in fourteenth century England in and around my hometown of Reading. I’m still embellishing the story, and I hope to publish it this month. You can see my cover here. 
Audrey, my heroine, countered the attack of a robber, and met the hero, Selwyn Drake, the Sheriff’s bailiff. She is impressed when he proved the tawdry woman was lying about owning the red purse in the robber’s bag. Now, you’ll meet the villain.  

     The doxie’s cheeks reddened and she edged backward. 
     “Not so fast!” he barked, “I saw you approach this lady and distract her before the robber struck.”
     “Me?” she whined, “I’m an honest woman, a brewster.” Pointing a shaky forefinger, she said, “My alehouse is across the street in Pissinalley.”  
     Five more people appeared, running out of the alley and clamoring for their lost purses or jewelry. I knew one well, far better than I wished.
     The merchant, Henry Goldsmith, the loose folds of a crimson surcote showing under his fur-trimmed cloak, stabbed his forefinger at the velvet pouch, crying, “That red purse belongs to me.”
     “Sir,” Master Drake said, “you must come with me to the reeve’s hall and give testimony to the crime before you can receive your goods.”
    Glaring at the bailiff, Henry Goldsmith protested, “Preposterous. I’m no hedge-born churl. Who are you to fling orders at an eminent town merchant?”

 Audrey

Blurb:
Travel to Chaucer’s England in this gritty Medieval romance with a touch of fantasy.
     In fourteenth century Britain, Dame Audrey cherishes her independence as the widow of a wealthy cloth merchant. But several of the wealthier traders covet her profitable business and she fears they will invoke the Abbot’s authority to compel her to marry a man of their choice. Her worst nightmare is suffering under a cruel husband like the hateful jeweler, Henry Goldsmith, who has threatened to curb her lively spirits.
     Audrey joins a pilgrimage to Glastonbury to pray for guidance. The holy relics give her no inspiration nor do her fellow travelers. On the homeward journey, she aids the dying victim of a brutal robbery. She wins the stranger’s blessing and a gold brooch with a green dragon. Back in her hometown, the faerie brooch attracts trouble from thieves of all ranks and the attentions of a handsome yeoman, Selwyn Drake. As her nightmare looms nearer, she grows desperate to preserve her freedom.

     Can the magic brooch help Audrey evade the schemes to force her into wedlock or must she submit to a husband’s will?


Discounted to 99c for August - Gargoyle Hunt
 Gargoyle Hunt

Superheroes at college, snarky animals, living gargoyles and devious aliens living among us.
Danger is the last thing on Estelle’s mind when she visits the University of Oxenford for a summer course. But, mysterious thefts from the archives and shadowy figures on the ancient walls propel her into action. With Toby five thousand miles away, Estelle and her winged horse must hunt for the culprits alone. Soon they are embroiled in a mixed bag of aliens and ancient magic. Toby’s unexpected arrival throws her into turmoil and spurs events into a climax. Under pressure from his family to succeed, Toby is trapped in a web of deceit. The two supers have a week to catch the crooks and salvage his reputation.  


As always, I’ll be happy to reply to your comments.  
Please return to www.wewriwa.com to sample the works of the other writers.

Find a catalog of my published stories HERE.
Join me on Facebook and Twitter 



Saturday, July 27, 2019

You are mistaken - Snippet from Medieval Romance for #WeWriWa



Welcome to another Sunday with Weekend Writing Warriors. Meet writers in various genres and read 8-10 sentence snippets of their stories. Find a new author and sample their work. Enjoy!

I am continuing snippets from my new medieval romance set in fourteenth century England in and around my hometown of Reading. By the time you read this, I’ll be doing some field research over the same days as in this story – mid July to early August. 
Audrey, my heroine, countered the attack of a robber, and met the hero, Selwyn Drake, the Sheriff’s bailiff.  
You can read last week’s snippet here – https://auroraspringer.blogspot.com/2019/07/lord-williams-bailiff-snippet-from.html
Audrey and Selwyn have introduced themselves. Note, the tawdry woman was around earlier but I cut those sentences.
Please excuse my irregular punctuation.

     The tawdry woman interrupted, clutching at the bailiff’s cloak and whining, “He took my purse,” she fluttered her eyelashes and plumped her bosom.
     A frown flicked across his sun-browned face, and I guessed Master Drake was not impressed by her bountiful attractions; he was intent on his business of ridding the streets of criminals.
     One of his men offered a bag to the sheriff’s bailiff, “We found this pouch under the thief’s coat.”
     Untying the bag, Master Drake rolled down the top to expose the contents, four leather purses of different sizes and a red velvet pouch. He glanced at the buxom woman and cocked an eyebrow, “Which purse do you claim?”
     Her brows crinkled in concentration and she spoke quickly, “The red one.”  
     Weighing the pouch in the palm of his hand, he asked, “How many coins did you have?”
     After a suspicious hesitation, she rushed out, “Mayhap five gold coins,” - a wild guess in my opinion, and far too much wealth to match her shabby garb.
     “You are mistaken; this purse cannot belong to you,” he said in a grave tone. He tucked the bag under his elbow, and emptied the contents of the velvet pouch onto his hand; a set of small shiny stones, diamonds or similar precious gems, sparkled in his palm.

New Draft Blurb:
Travel to Chaucer’s England in this gritty Medieval romance with a touch of fantasy.
In fourteenth century Britain, Dame Audrey cherishes her independence as the widow of a wealthy cloth merchant. But the guild elders covet her profitable business and she fears they will invoke the Abbot’s authority to compel her to marry a man of their choice. Her lively spirit revolts against becoming the property of a cruel husband. While on a pilgrimage to pray for guidance, Audrey aids the dying victim of a brutal robbery. She wins the stranger’s blessing and a gold brooch with a green dragon. Back in her hometown, the faerie brooch attracts trouble from thieves of all ranks and the attentions of a handsome yeoman, Selwyn Drake. Can the magic brooch help Audrey evade the schemes to force her into wedlock or must she submit to a husband’s will?

I’m still editing the story, although I hope to publish it in a few weeks.

Church tower and 14th century dovecote at Avebury

As always, I’ll be happy to reply to your comments.  
Please return to www.wewriwa.com to sample the works of the other writers.

Find a catalog of my published stories HERE.
Join me on Facebook and Twitter 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Animal Stars of my Stories #SciFi and #Fantasy Adventure and Romance


 My Books

Do you have pets? Or do you enjoy watching wild animals? I have always loved animals, plants, and nature in general. Animals and various other lifeforms are often key characters in my stories.

 GM Cat


 One prime example is Grand Master’s Cat, a short prequel to Grand Master’s Pawn, starring a feisty orange kitten. The story is really about Grand Master Athanor Griffin and how his life changes for the better after he adopts the kitten, Rascal. The story also celebrates our first cat, a very friendly and mischievous animal. Once he climbed onto the roof of our house and then couldn’t climb down. We had to entice him to a lower section of roof where he could get down by jumping onto the car. 

 GM Galaxy


My series, the Grand Masters’ Galaxy, stars diverse alien species, including intelligent plants, amoeboids, and dragons. 

Grand Master’s Trilogy, Boxset of Books 1-3 – Cheapest option  Amazon  iBooks  Kobo  B&N  GooglePlay


 Secret Supers


My Secret Supers series is based on the concept of Earth aliens with super powers who bond with a specific animal. The heroine acquires a superpower and a snarky flying horse after an “accidental” explosion. The hero has a telepathic link with a black jaguar cat. The dappled grey mare is based on a real animal I used to visit – a mistreated mule with a dappled grey coat cowering in the corner of a field. He was covered in flies and sores. I rubbed his nose and gave him fresh grass.
Fantasy adventure & romance. Superheroes with quirky animal sidekicks tackle murderous villains in three fun adventures with a dash of romance.
Secret Supers, Boxset of Books 1-3  Amazon  iBooks  B&N  Kobo  GooglePlay
Starrella and the Lost Girl, Short story  Amazon   iBooks   B&N   Kobo  


 Taxyon sp



The stories in this series have intelligent alien animals. One species resembles a cross between a squid and a jellyfish. Another animal, a luma from the alien world of Rishalt, is like an amphibious otter with gills.  ,
Near Future SciFi adventure & alien romance. What alien creatures lurk under the icy surface of Europa?
Europa, Book 1  Amazon  iBooks  Kobo  B&N  GooglePlay  PRINT
Jupiter, Book 3  Amazon  iBooks  Kobo  B&N  GooglePlay


 Atrapako




SciFi Romance. Feisty scientist solves puzzle of scaly aliens on the remote planet of Eden.