The moment I started writing this piece
, I knew I wanted to write a fairly atypical viking. Strong, burly, brutal, that’s the image that comes to mind but the thing that had always drawn me to stories about that era were the skalds, the warrior poets. That still didn’t fit either. What I wanted was a viking who couldn’t fill the role anymore. Who was looking for his own anchor, his own rock and lodestone. I wanted the kind of viking who doesn’t get much play in media, in spite of our fascination with violence.
And thus my hero was born; Teothir, or One-Leg. Crippled, bitter with it, but I gave him that slightly fatalistic optimism I always associate with the best kinds of warriors. I made him big, sensitive, and trying desperately to cling to a life that has abandoned him. I have a whole back story in my head for this guy, I just adore him.
My heroine though, Aridhe, she was tougher. I have a tendency to write healers
, in my historicals, but it just didn’t fit with her. She was too spiky, too broken on her own as well. I didn’t want to write a shield-maiden, I didn’t want to write a slave, I wanted a heroine who had her own power and was clinging to it with teeth and nails and determination. It went through a lot of iterations for that fact alone, trying to work out what she does, why she does it. She’s got a whole backstory too.
I hadn’t meant for her to be so traumatised, though, but when I finished the story, I realised I had written something where two broken people come together to heal each other. A lot more romantic than most of my work (although that recent WIP is contemporary AND romantic, go me) but I do have that tendency with my historicals. A bit darker too, possibly darker than I intended I think, but I don’t really regret it.
Conquests, edited by the always amazing Delilah Devlin, featuring my story The Oak and the Ale is set to drop really soon.
A businesswoman trying to secure trade routes for her family instead finds love with a crippled warrior.
More snippets and excerpts and behind the scenes info to come, keep an eye on the site for posts from all the other fantastic authors involved. Suffice to say this was one of my favourite heroes to write, one of my favourite heroines, and while it took some finessing in places, I think it ended up right where I wanted it to be.
Then I opened the door. In the flickering light of the fire and the candles I walked, my head and feet bare, into the pews. Before the altar the you and the Doctor both kneeled, shoulders almost brushing. The Doctor wore the same kind of robes as I, homespun and dull. But his hair, his hair it was drying to an auburn sheen and his eyes were as green as the water in the bays. I could hear the roar of the waves, can hear it now as I write, with the howling of the winds and the rumble of thunder. His head was bowed and his hands clasped. You echoed his pose and I watched you both for a moment, feeling a smile pulling at the edges of my mouth.
You were perfect. Ripe for ruin.
I could somehow feel the moon overhead, heavy and full beyond the clouds. I walked into the room with the power of it wrapped around me, Lucifer’s hands heavy on my shoulders.
I would lead you into temptation, as surely as the Devil led me.
(this is a behemoth out of proportion, and filthy, and blasphemous to the extreme. Utterly ridiculous and so much bloody fun to write!)
And we take a hard right into historicals. On My Honor (in Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors edited by Delilah Devlin) is a bit of a departure from my previous two pubs. No kink, really, no power struggles (…mostly) and, in a fit of inspiration, no actual fucking. Oh there’s orgasms and cocks and quims and wetness and filthiness, and a bath, but there’s no PIV sex.
I explain my reasoning here.
This was my third pub, and being the cool, calm and collected graceful lady I am, when I got the acceptance I responded with ‘uh, did you mean to send this to me?’ (sorry Delilah!) (Delilah Devlin is also a totally lovely editor, and I loved working with her). The promotional aspect of writing was a challenge for me, and a departure from previous pubs as well.
Claudette reached up and began to unfasten the strap at one shoulder. When she breathed it was his musk, heavy sweat and horse and straw. This close his size, his reach, made her feel tiny. After his pauldron dropped free, and they both began to undo the buckles beneath his arms, he spoke.
“So, Claudette, are you planning to help me bathe?” His voice was low. “Apparently coin will not sway you, so I’ll simply ask.”
His big hand caught hers, swamping it, the careless strength sending a thrill through her. “Stay?”
Claudette’s mouth opened, to breathe, to speak, but Sir Elis’ lips pressed to hers and instead she found herself consumed by his kisses, his tongue touching hers gently. When he drew back she moaned, then shut her mouth with a snap and blushed furiously.
(This is a snippet from a piece I’m still working on, for no projected publication, just because I feel like it)