Thursday, April 11, 2013

DECEPTION Selected as Romantic Times Magazine's Historical Hero of the Year!

I'm very, very honored that Kier, the hero of Deception, has been selected as RT Book Reviews Magazine's K.I.S.S. Hero of the Year award winner!

This is an award given to the "knight in shining silver" hero in an historical romance, and I'm not only honored, I'm also surprised.  I truly didn't expect it.

First of all, Kier is a con man to the marrow of his bones.  Since he's been thirteen years old he's been scamming and scheming, at first by necessity, then because he's so very good at it.  And he doesn't stop just because our story begins--he's working the long con in Deception (as are several others), and nothing will stop him, not even the woman he used to love.

He's not typical hero material.

But then, Deception isn't a typical medieval romance.  It's more suspense-y, or thriller-y.  Less about knights and chases across the countryside, more about dirty money and corruption.

And so, the RT Magazine nod is a highly rewarding one.  I'm very grateful.   I'm sure Kier is too.  Confused, but grateful.  Sophia, I know, will be shaking her head, lifting her eyebrows gently at Kier, as if to say, "You fooled even them, you fool."

And as if they wanted to help celebrate, Amazon has DECEPTION on sale right now!  Print copies are almost 20% off.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Minstrel in Disguise trick

One of my favorite parts of writing big, plotty stories is figuring out how the characters are going to circumvent the system or beat the odds to accomplish their goals.  

Often that means luring in the bad guy, escaping from an attack, or gaining access to a guarded castle.   

If you wanted to break into a guarded fortress, how would you do it?  

Sure you could send some poor soul to crawl up the privy chute, but can we all agree that's a last resort for this romance-novel invasion?  

How about the usual methods?  You could bribe someone, or maybe even seduce a door warden or a gardener or some other castle personage.   

Oh, but the time it would take.  The bribing, the seducing, the kissing, the convincing . . . .  

It'll never work.  You need in now

How about the minstrel disguise method?  Now we're onto something.  You just saunter up with your lute and juggling balls and offer to tell some tales, play some music, and share some news from far off places in exchange for room and board and a few coins.

Voila, we're in.

 Tricky.   Effective.  Like the ancient Trojan horse, your desires become the vehicle for your own demise.

Is there anything more romantic than that?  In a sad, tragic way.

Once inside, you could do any number of dastardly things: kidnapping: poisoning: spying: making a nice, juicy treasonous offer to the lord, one he'd never have listened to otherwise (at least not in public).  

Or you could just wander casually over to sally port door and open it, letting your armed comrades, who've been waiting in the woods outside, pour into the darkened castle and take it over.

Or you could do what Aodh Mac Con does CLAIMING HER.  He's not masquerading as a minstrel per sé.  And the heroine definitely does not open the gates out of any desire or greed, but rather a sense of honor and a lack of options.  

Still, it all unravels pretty quickly.   Good fun ensues.  

How about you?  How would you gain access to an enemy castle?  What tricks are up your sleeve?

(The image above is from  The site says: "
Siege! is a mobile app that uses interactive role play to bring the the 1315-16 Bruce Siege of Carrickfergus Castle to life. Produced in collaboration with NIEA, and funded by the Arts Council’s Creative Industries Innovations Fund,  the game uses interactive role play to explore Anglo-Norman military strategy and defensive architecture (see gallery). The app will contain atmospheric audio and video medieval re-enactments, and will use GPS to embed the game’s narrative in the grounds of Carrickfergus Castle to create an engaging and immersive learning experience.")