Tuesday, July 31, 2012



How did I come to write music for my story? Music and ballads played a HUGE roll in history, being both entertainment and a way to tell stories and remember important events. I was also inspired by the wonderful poems and songs J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, loving them more with the musical adaptations in the movies directed by Peter Jackson. (Side note: The first of the three-part Hobbit movies directed by Peter Jackson comes out December 14th, 2012! SO EXCITED!) So I wrote three ballads into my story, words only at first, but as I pictured my character singing them, I found myself wondering what the songs would sound like if put to music. Tapping into my piano background, I started fiddling with tunes to fit the words. After months of working on the music, I felt satisfied with my simple compositions. I was ELATED when Jolly Fish Press announced they’d allow the written music in the book. AWESOME!!!

The first song is a lively one about the jovial celebration of May Day (akin to the May Day song from the musical “Camelot” for those who are familiar with it). Having no deep message to it, it’s just fun.

The second song, my personal favorite, is a ballad speaking to knights. The words express a maiden’s plea for rescue from the cold grip of life’s shadows and hardships. It’s written in a minor key, so it sounds the most medieval of the three.

The third song is about true love standing firm against the test of trials, coming out victorious as two hearts become one. This song is written in a major key and wraps up my story with its message. 

I’d love to hear the ballads played with medieval instruments, but lutes and panpipes are not in my current collection of musical devices. I only have a digital piano (not medieval by any means) and my husband’s out of tune and rarely touched guitar. So, maybe someday *smile*.

Here's the sheet music! Check it out!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Photo credit: www albrecht-durer.org

JOVIAL = HAPPY, FUNNY (Example: What a jovial time I’m having posting these medieval terms.)

NAY = NO (Example: Nay, I have no internet on my phone, for verily, I am stricken with ancient technology.)

YEA / AYE = YES (Example: Aye, ye must be careful when posting comments. Once they're out, it can’t be taken back.)

MORROW = DAYS or TOMORROW (Example: I shall try to write another post on the morrow when time permits.)

POPPET = DOLL, PUPPET or CHILD (Example: Because I am trying to get this posted, my wee poppets have run of the house. . . . It now resembles a war zone *smile*.)

PRIVY = OUTHOUSE / TOILET (Example: Cleaning yon privy oft requires rubber gloves, face mask and strong chemicals.)

PERCHANCE / MAYHAP = PERHAPS / MAYBE (Example: Mayhap one can utilize medieval terms to impress one’s friends. Or at the very least, dress the part and use them at yon medieval fair.)

PRAY PARDON ME = EXCUSE / EXCUSE ME  (Example: Pray pardon my lack of posts sometimes. I’m a novice to social media and a busy mother thrice times over.)

PRITHEE (literally meaning "I pray thee"), I PRAY YOU = PLEASE (Example: Prithee, good gentle, wouldst thou slay yon dragon for me?)

OFT = OFTEN (Example: I have oft pondered the meaning of social connections. Bottom line, be true to thyself and what thou knowest to be right.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Photo Credit: http://www.findmybrick.com

ANON = LATER (Example: I shall write another post anon when time allows.)

CUTPURSE = THIEF or PICKPOCKET (Example:  Yon government is no better than a cutpurse.)

FARE THEE WELL = GOODBYE (Example: Fare ye well my good friends of social mediaville. Until the morrow.)

GRAMERCY = THANK YOU (Example: Gramercy good gentles for all your fine posts.)

FIE = DARN IT (Example: Oh fie, I lost my phone in yonder field of clover.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

MEDIEVAL ENGLISH SPEECH: Formal vs. informal

Daniel Ridgeway Knight's painting of "A Discussion Between Two Young Ladies"

As with several languages today, there existed a formal and informal way of speaking in medieval England. The form used depended on the person being addressed, those present, and the speaker’s intent.

FORMAL, using “you” (Example: You are a true friend) was used with parents, an employer, any noble person, horses (they were considered noble animals) and anyone one was flattering. 

INFORMAL, such as “thee, thy, thou, thine” (Example: Thou art a true friend) was used with spouses, close friends, children, servants, non-horse animals, inanimate objects, God (He was, and is, considered an intimate friend) and any person one was insulting. 

A basic rule was never use the informal with anyone you would address as “sir,” such as a knight, unless given permission to do so. 

“Ye” was used when addressing more than one person, being the plural of formal and informal (Example: Ye are true friends).

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Research Process

Illustration from Cassell's History of England - Century Edition - published circa 1902, Scan by Tagishsimon, 23rd June 2004
I started my research by seeking a time period with a “problem” I could use as a backdrop. It wasn’t long before I found one that intrigued me. In the late 1200’s A.D., King Edward I placed high taxes on exported goods, especially effecting wool, England’s main generator of capital. These actions lead some people to smuggle their wares to improve profits. I set my stage with this historical happening and fashioned characters that challenged the smuggling world with passion and bravery as they struggled to overcome personal challenges as well.

I spent weeks at a time researching the history, monarchy, titles, wars, clothing, weapons, castles, towns, speech, food, customs and basic beliefs of England in 1300 A.D., but I don’t claim to be an expert on the medieval world. I really only learned things pertaining to my story. My novel is not a “historical” where everything is absolutely historically correct, it is a “medieval fiction,” a made up story with a historical backdrop. In fact, my first draft utilized the formal and informal language of England’s past, but my critics reported that it was hard to read, that it didn’t flow well because they weren’t used to it in today’s world (history and medieval fair enthusiasts aside *smile*). So I dropped the old tongue for more current speech, but speckled it with medieval terms to retain the ancient aura. Though I tried to remain true to 1300’s customs, I added a modern perspective to my characters’ views in order to relate to the contemporary reader. I’ve hopefully achieved a happy medium.

The ensuing story, Shadows of Valor, grew ripe with adventure, deception, mystery, danger and love. And as songs played an integral part in the daily lives of medieval society, I also incorporated three original ballads complete with sheet music into the story. The release date for Shadowsof Valor is July 27, 2013.

References I found helpful in my research: