Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Showing posts with label Madeline Martin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Madeline Martin. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Elizabethan Spies and Scottish Mercenary Maidens by Madeline Martin

I think spy stuff is super cool. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the amazing gadgets they had in history, like the pigeon who wore a camera on its chest, or the gun hidden in an umbrella. As time went on, spy gadgets become more and more creative, and the act of spying thus becomes more exciting.

I especially love looking up the spyware even later in history, when technology couldn’t be nearly so specific and more manpower and ingenuity was required. Which led me to discovering about Queen Elizabeth and her secret spy network.

This was headed by Walsingham who had fled England during the time of Queen Mary’s rule to escape persecution for being Protestant. Cuz who likes to die, right? Once Elizabeth took the throne, he came back and quickly found himself at her side to help ensure she stayed in power. While he was traveling, he realized there was information to be had, and set up a spy network all over Europe to ensure they had eyes and ears everywhere.

Here’s the thing though – being a spy was incredibly boring. It seems like an exciting thing to be asked to essentially be part of Elizabeth’s secret service, and many took it with grandiose plans of fame and fortune. However, it was a dangerous job with little pay that required way more waiting than it did activity. Also, they didn’t have spy gadgets, which is totally a bummer.

They did however, have the original 007. John Dee was a mathematician and astrologer who was so good at what he did that when violent storms vanquished enemies or new stars sparkled in the sky, people said he was the one responsible. He actually even was consulted by Elizabeth to choose which day her coronation would be performed based off his astrology. And here’s how he was the legit first 007 – when he signed letters to Elizabeth, he signed them with two zeros to indicate eyes and a 7 looming over the top of those eyes because 7 was a number offering protection and good luck. He was kind of an odd duck who said angels talked to him and told him to have sex with his best friend’s wife. It didn’t go over well and eventually he died destitute with only his daughter looking after him. Still – the original 007!

While many threats were uncovered, through information gleaned from overheard conversations as well as many, many decoded messages (milk/juice written in disappearing ink, coded messages, etc). The greatest threat of all though came from Mary Queen of Scots. When she came onto English soil the Catholics redoubled their efforts to get her on the throne by any means necessary. Walsingham knew this and gave her the rope to hang herself.

He encouraged her jailor to get to know her and become a trusted friend she could pass messages to and from through. He did exactly that and Walsingham, of course, read every one of them before resealing them and passing them along…until the exact one finally showed. It was hidden in a beer barrel and held enough evidence where he could convince Elizabeth to allow her cousin to be executed. What’s more, after Mary’s execution, Walsingham had anything that had her blood on it be burned to prevent any relics from being created.
Decoded letter from Mary Queen of Scots to Babbington. Letter was decoded by Thomas Phillips.

While the life of an Elizabethan spy was not quite so exciting, their efforts were highly effective and the controversial queen who chose not to marry and had a Catholic relative with a viable throw in for the throne living near her did not succumb to any plots – she died of natural causes at a ripe old age.

My spies in the Mercenary Maidens have a little more excitement going on for them. I used many of the artifacts and stories found in history as well as putting a historical twist on more modern techniques to create a fun action-based plot with some seriously kick butt women. I hope everyone enjoys reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. J

Kaid MacLeod couldn’t protect his clan from an unimaginable slaughter that killed his father and many of his people. He knows retaliation will only bring more death to his people, but if he does nothing, the massacres will continue. His clan is growing angry and all seems lost…until Kaid discovers his nemesis’s betrothed will be traveling through Scotland. Abducting her will give him the leverage he desperately needs to end the slaughter and bring peace to his clan.

Delilah Canterbury is not the highborn daughter of a noble, nor is she by any means wealthy, she’s merely pretending to be a Scottish laird’s betrothed as a means of bringing justice to the man rumored to seek vengeance. Beautifully dressed and ready to succeed on her first mission alone, Delilah is more than she seems…she’s a trap.

Matters get complicated as the truth behind their intentions come to light, especially when a sizzling attraction blossoms between them. With so many lives on the line, and loyalties pledged, will Kaid be able to save his people? And can their love survive the lies and ultimate betrayal? 

Praise for Highland Ruse:
“Fans of swashbuckling, high-drama adventure and romance are sure to revel in the second entry in the Mercenary Maidens series. With an empowered heroine and tormented hero, a high degree of sensuality and a fast-moving plot, readers are sure to be satisfied from beginning to end. The added mystery and contemporary theme of addiction enhance the story so it truly resonates with readers.” – RT Reviews

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/hramz
Nook: http://hyperurl.co/hrnk
iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/Hrib
Kobo: http://hyperurl.co/Hrkobo
Google Play: http://hyperurl.co/hrgp
Print: http://hyperurl.co/hrprint
BN Paperback: http://hyperurl.co/hrbnpb

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance with tons of page-turning action and tough heroines. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA OldestMinion and YoungestMinion) and Mr. Awesome. 

She loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, wine and Nutella. Check out her FB page on any given Friday to see what great new book she's giving away by one of her fellow authors.

Madeline’s Links:
Author website: www.MadelineMartin.com
Author Facebook page:
Author Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
Author Amazon Profile page: http://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Martin/e/B00R8OGFN2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 
*Email questions should be sent to: MadelineMartin@Ymail.com

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ghostly Castles and Tales by Madeline Martin

Ghostly Castles and Tales
by Madeline Martin

Europe has no shortage of ancient castles and dwellings, and where there are ancient settings, there are ghosts.

I think one of the things that fascinates me so much about ghost stories is the full on romanticism behind them. Most are driven by and explosion of passion, propelled by love or hate or sheer envy. The stories behind them are rife with drama and intrigue and desire.

In researching ghost stories for this book to decide where to set it, I found a couple of interesting facts to share with people.

First of all, is that Queen Mary of Scots has several ghost stories. She’s reported to haunt Borthwick Castle dressed as a page boy (the way she’d managed her escape in life once before). She’s also reported to haunt Stirling Castle as the pink lady. A hotel in Oundlel in Northhamptonshire, England also claims she haunts their halls where the staircase from Forthinghay Castle had been transported and incorporated into the building. Have you heard of other stories where Queen Mary of Scots has done some haunting?

Secondly, are all the ladies dressed in green. There are seriously a lot of ghostly women in green. And there’s a reason for this. Green is thought to be a color of ill luck in the Celtic legends as it was considered the favorite color of the fae people – and everyone knew they were deviously mischievous. And, of course, ghosts have a tendency to also be deviously mischievous.

I decided to go with Castle of Park for my castle with A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love because the story involved had not one, but two ghosts. The first was a green lady who had apparently been the lover of the laird, however, when she found herself with child, she was terminated from her position there. Unable to take the despair of her circumstances, she threw herself from one of the upper story windows to her death. The second ghost was a monk who had been walled up within the castle.

I loved the idea of the green lady getting her own form of vengeance, but felt the ghost story still needed to be made whole. This was what inspired my twist in A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love. But I can’t tell you what it is, or I’ll ruin all the fun. I hope you enjoy what I’ve done with the story. I truly had so much fun writing a little paranormal spookiness into this novella.

Senara becomes a lady's maid at Castle of Park to help ease the financial burden of her beloved family. She does not expect to have such a wicked mistress any more than she expects to find a handsome laird...or a ghost with a burning need for retribution.

Gavin vowed on his father’s death bed to watch over his aunt, and regrets it every day. Especially when her new maid arrives. The woman is extraordinarily fascinating, which not only stirs his interest, but also his cruel aunt’s ire.

Can he protect Senara from his aunt? Even more important, can he keep himself from giving in to his longing for the country lass?

Theirs is a journey of treacherous pasts, painful loss, hidden longing and vengeance.

Sweet Excerpt: 

He plucked a bit of hay from her hair. The slender stalk shook between his fingers. “We canna see one another anymore.” His voice was deep with desire.

Senara nodded in agreement and her hands gripped the banister of the stairs, as if she were holding on for dear life.

They had the same conversation every day. And yet every day at noon, they both arrived.

If he were a lesser man, he'd have had her long ago. But he couldn't in good conscience, not with knowing he would have to marry another someday.

He would marry another, one befitting his station.

Until then, he dreaded the day she would finally not show at noon.

Spooky Excerpt:

A cry sounded in the distance, a wisp of an anguished scream as if carried on a hearty wind. Though far off, the sound scrabbled over her nerves.

No, not so far away. Below.

Senara looked to where the stairs disappeared into a dark nothing. Anything could be in that nothing.
Her courage flagged for but a moment. Da would not be frightened of a noise. She may have left his sword upstairs, but she was never without his bravery. Or her dirk for that matter.

With the power of being her father's daughter, she crept down the stairs with her dirk locked in her grip. On the first floor, the air was cold enough to nip at her nose and leave the bottoms of her feet chilled through the thick-soled slippers she wore.

The wailing cry came once more, louder though still distant, muffled almost. She followed the sound down the hall to where she'd been before where the cold stone had hummed against her palm.

The candle flame sputtered and set the narrow hallway bouncing wildly around her, but it did not go out.

Her breath fogged in front of her and hovered in a hazy white cloud. She stared at the frozen breath in wonder. While summer was not always warm, it seldom was ever so cool as to cause such a chill - especially indoors.

A grinding sound filled the quiet and mortar sifted down from the strange stone. Senara's breath came faster and filled the air with white puffs.

Something was in there. 

Want to read more? 

Available in ebook and print
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fzpy5Q
Nook: http://bit.ly/2xkTzzl
iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/gtflib
Kobo:  http://hyperurl.co/gtflkobo
Google Play:  http://hyperurl.co/gtflgp

Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Madeline loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, wine and Nutella. Check out her FB page on any given Friday to see what great new book she's giving away by one of her fellow authors.

She also loves connecting with her readers, so feel free to follow her on any one of her social media platforms, or send her a message :)

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor/
Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
Sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/biji1j