An Outlaw King and His Queen

*Since I write Scottish Romance novels, I naturally had to write about Robert the Bruce and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. More so after I watched Outlaw King on Netflix. In truth, I didn’t like it and my love for Chris Pine couldn’t even save it. I felt that the flick only touched on the man who became King of Scots. 

No matter the movie, Robert the Bruce captured my interest years ago. I even included a Bruce relation in my upcoming Scottish historical romance novella The Chieftain’s Secret and now is the time I can write about this historical couple. 

Robert the Bruce or Robert de Brus was of Anglo-Norman and Gaelic nobility as well as the Earl of Carrick. He was the fourth great-grandson of David I, King of Scotland. As the saying goes, his blood ran blue. Through this line, he had a claim to the Scottish throne after the death of Alexander III. He wasn’t the only one though. 

The Scottish nobility and Edward I of England bestowed the Scottish crown on the head of John Balliol though he wouldn’t remain king for long. Robert had been married before to Isabella of Mar who died birthing their daughter, Majorie Bruce. 

During William Wallace and Andrew Moray’s battle against Edward I, Robert was among those that battled the English for Scottish Independence. In September 1298, when William Wallace resigned as Guardian of Scotland, Robert the Bruce as well as John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch another claimant to the Scottish throne as well as William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews were appointed to that rank.

Bruce wouldn’t hold the position for long. He resigned in 1300. It seems that he and Comyn couldn’t get beyond their differences or most likely dislike of each other.  

By 1302, Robert and his family made “peace” with Edward I as they were rumors that John Balliol would reclaim the Scottish throne.  It was also this year when he would wed his second wife—Elizabeth de Burgh. 

Elizabeth de Burgh was born in 1284 in Ireland and was the daughter of one of the most powerful Irish nobles—the 2nd Earl of Ulster, Richard de Burgh and his wife Margarite de Burgh. Much is not know about her life but she was about eighteen and Robert twenty-eight when they wed. 

Most likely their marriage was not a love match but one of politics. Robert’s father was an ally and friend to Edward I as well as Elizabeth’s own father. The marriage was most likely also arranged to help Edward retain an ally in Scotland. Don’t think that peace existed between Scotland and England during these times. There was still unrest and bloodshed and much distrust on both sides. 

Four years after their marriage, Robert slain John Comyn in the Chapel of Greyfriars Monastery in Dumfries. Now Bruce was excommunicated for his crime. However, he was given absolution from the Bishop of Glasgow. Now, Bruce claimed the crown of Scotland. 

On the 25 of March 1306, Robert the Bruce had the Scottish crown placed on his head. Elizabeth became his queen consort. But this couple couldn’t have a quiet time, there were still English to be fought and banished from Scottish lands. 

In June of 1306, Bruce was defeated at the Battle of Methven. Robert placed his wife, his sisters and his daughter’s protection to his brother Niall Bruce who journeyed to Kildrummy Castle. Robert fled and went into hiding. 

At Kildrummy, the English laid siege. The Bruce ladies escaped while every man including Niall Bruce was hanged. Elizabeth along with the others took protection at St. Duthac at Tain. But the Earl of Ross imprisoned them and informed Edward. 

Elizabeth was imprisoned in harsh conditions in England. She was moved from castle to castle. 

Meanwhile, Bruce was waging war against the English. It would take eight years for Elizabeth and Robert to be reunited. During this time, Edward I died and his son Edward II became King of England. 

Bruce waged war and on the 24 of June 1314, the Battle of Bannockburn was fought. The Scottish and Bruce won their independence.

In November of that year, Elizabeth was finally reunited with her husband in a prisoner exchange. 

Elizabeth and Bruce would have four children together—Matilda, Margaret, David II of Scotland and John of Scotland. All their children but John (died in infancy) grew to adulthood. 

How their relationship was? I imagine that they grew to have tenderness and perhaps love. Elizabeth withstood eight years of harsh imprisonment. Robert must have known that and had a respect for her at the very least. 

At around forty-three years of age, Elizabeth died on 27 October 1327 at Cullen, Banffshire. She was buried at Dunfermline Abbey. 

Eighteen months later, Robert followed his queen to the afterlife at the age of fifty-five. 

*This post was meant to upload in early November but I got sick so it’s late. 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Historical Romance Author’s Big Fear

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Most people are scared of dogs, spiders, rats and clowns. To be honest, I don’t like clowns. They are creepy. But those common fears are not the biggest one I deal with. 

It’s embarrassing to even confess it—let alone write a post about it. But here is it is. My biggest fear is succeeding. 

What? That’s crazy. 

That’s what you’re probably saying right now. But it is the truth. It’s not because I don’t want to be a bestseller romance author whose books take up residence on reader’s keeper shelf and who can make a living writing. Oh, I do so what that more than anything. I want my books made into movies or Netflix originals or some other show. I want to spend my life writing stories that entertain both my readers and me. 

But what if that happens and I’m not really good enough. They call it imposter syndrome. Do I think I’m not worth having it. Maybe. That’s why I writing this revealing post instead of talking about clowns. This is me owning my fear and destroying its control over me. 

I read a New York Times article about Jennifer Lopez and she said in the article, “I want what I deserve.” I too want that. I want what I deserve and I’m not going to allow anyone even myself to stop that from happening. When I decided to write this, I thought I would be shaking while I type this but I’m not. I feel strong and bigger. I’m claiming my space. I’m claiming my dreams and proclaiming to the world that I will not stop. Can I do it? 

Yeah. 

It won’t be easy. I will have to fight. I will get beat. I will cry. I will get angry. I will feel defeated. I will get tired. I may lose hope some days. 

I can’t stop. I deserve this. I want this. 

Hell yeah! It’s mine. 

Now, it’s time for you to get what you deserve. Go get it. If you are ready to proclaim it then please share with me what is rightfully yours. 

And please help me and share this post with your friends. I want the world to know. I’m not hiding it anymore.  

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Historical Couples: Edward I and Eleanor of Castile

Edward_I_of_England_-_Illustration_from_Cassell's_History_of_England_-_Century_Edition_-_published_circa_1902When I first saw Braveheart, I got hooked on Scotland. Naturally, I had to learn the true history. As I read about the War for Scottish Independence and the time before the death of Alexander III and his granddaughter, the Maid of Norway, stories started swirling about my head. That history led me to write my Highlander romance novels, The Marriage Alliance, Claiming the Highlander and The Laird’s Right.

During my learning spree, I discovered Edward I of England and his wife Eleanor of Castile. History remembers Edward as a king that changed the English government and legislation, conqueror of Wales and as the Hammer of the Scots. There were many facets to this couple that as we look back with modern eyes is not very nice or to be truthful—he was a right bastard—sometimes.

As a husband, history remembers him differently.

On November 1, 1254, Edward married Eleanor of Castile in the monastery of Las Huelgas in Burgos, Spain. Their marriage much like others royal ones was a political alliance. Eleanor was better educated than most medieval queens and was considered a keen businesswoman.

But when they first married, they were nothing more than teenagers and Eleanor soon became pregnant. Sadly, her daughter was stillborn. However, she went on to survive sixteen pregnancies.

This royal couple was rarely apart. She even accompanied him on military campaigns. When Edward went on Crusade, Eleanor went with him and gave birth to her daughter known as Joan of Acre. A tale about that time shows their love. Edward was injured they say with a poison dagger and that Eleanor sucked out the poison. Sadly that tale is false but it shows how their contemporaries viewed their relationship. In fact, Edward was not known to have had extramarital affairs and fathered no children out of wedlock.

In November 1290, Eleanor was traveling to Lincoln when she became ill. Seven miles from Lincoln, they halted at Harby, Nottinghamshire and took up residence a house nearby. Word of the Queen’s illness reached Edward. He rushed to her side. Three days later, with Edward at Eleanor’s side, she died.  It was the 28th of November and Eleanor was 49. They were married for 36 years.

For most of way back to return to London, Edward accompanied his wife’s body to Westminster Abbey.  Edward ordered memorial crosses to be erected at each site that was an overnight stop between Lincoln and Westminster. They were known as Eleanor’s Crosses. Only three survive. The best is located in Geddington, England.

220px-Old_Charing_Cross

In a letter from Edward, he wrote about his wife, “whom living we dearly cherished and whom dead we cannot cease to love.”

Edward remarried nine years later because his sons were young and could die. The son Edward, the youngest of Eleanor’s children and the first to hold the title Prince of Wales, was about six years old and survived to become Edward II. His second wife gave birth to a daughter who they named Eleanor.

 

 

 

Love is…the story continues after all

man and woman holding each others hand wrapped with string lights
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I write romance novels like The Marriage Alliance  because I love a happy ending. I don’t know if I can blame Disney for that but whatever. Life has enough hardships and sadness that I refuse to spend my time writing something depressing.

As a reader, I too love a happily ever after. Perhaps, it’s silly but I believe in love. As a reader and writer, I love an epilogue. I want to see the characters that I have spent my time with to have their happy ending.

The epilogue for me as a writer is showing that all the struggles and fighting have been worth something that is special and continues to grow—that love never dies.

You see for me I know that love never dies. When I was a fifteen-year-old girl, I met the love of my life. At twenty, I lost him. He died and these twenty plus years, I still love him. I know that if he were still alive, we would be married and probably I would have some kids. That had been our plan. So, my happy ending didn’t come. And you might be saying then how can you still believe?

Easily. Because it wasn’t our love that ended. His life did. In all those years, we were together and the times we were apart our love continued. Our love still lives.

That is our epilogue.

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Henry VIII and his Wives Part III

Henry VIII has now divorced Anne of Cleeves. A wife he did not pick but married for the state of England. Cromwell lost his head because of it and Henry’s eye was caught by his fifth wife—a maid of honor to Anne of Cleeves.

Catherine Howard

catherine-howard-portraitYoung Catherine’s age range from fifteen to seventeen years of age when she married the king. She was a niece to the Duke of Norfolk and cousin to Anne Boylen. You think Henry would have stayed away from her. Instead, he married the teenager in 1540. At this point, Henry was obese, with a festering leg that had to be drained. It couldn’t have been a married a young miss desired.

Historians claim that she wasn’t as smart as her cousin and had been raised by the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk who was lax in her caring. While Catherine resided in the household, Catherine and the other girls entertained the household boys in their quarters and played games such as husband and wife, which was a nice way of saying having sex.

By all accounts, Catherine sounds much like other teenagers, loving dancing, animals and was playful as most are at that age.

In about 1541, she began an affair with Thomas Culpepper. She was loose with her words and actions by writing love letters to Culpepper and having Jane Boylen, widow of George Boylen, brother to Anne, deliver them. The treasonous affair was soon discovered.

Near the end of 1541, Catherine was stripped of her title as queen and imprisoned. She was found guilty and sentenced to death for treason. The night before she was executed she requested the chopping block and practice how to lay her head upon it.

The last words associated with her were “I die a queen but I rather have died the wife of Culpepper.” That is false. She said a speech and begged for mercy. Then she laid her head upon the block. And with a single strike, she ceased to exist.

 

Catherine Parr

KAtherine ParrThe last wife of Henry VIII was twice-widowed when she married the king in 1543. In my opinion, Henry married Parr for companionship. He was an old man and the shine of his youth had dulled very much indeed.

Catherine was raised a Catholic (she even was one of Catherine of Aragon’s ladies-in-waiting) but she held to the Protestant faith and even published two books while Queen of England—Psalms and Prayers and Prayers or Meditations, which bore her name and made her the first book published by an English Queen.

Her Protestant leanings brought her enemies and she even had an arrest warrant drawn up against her. But she was a smart woman and was able to turn the king to her side when they came to arrest her. Henry died in 1547 and left Catherine a widow for the third time.

She wasn’t alone long. Catherine married her old love Thomas Seymour, uncle to the Edward VI and brother to Jane Seymour.  The marriage brought political trouble but she continued to write and published Lamentation of a Sinner. 

Soon after that Lady Elizabeth (future Queen of England) and Lady Jane Grey (Queen of England for 9 days) resided in her household and received an education. In 1548, at 35, Catherine Parr became pregnant. She had not conceived during her other marriages. And at her age in Tudor times, it must have seemed like a blessing. Sadly, Catherine died eight days after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Seymour.  Just a year later, her husband was beheaded and Mary is sent to live with the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk. Her child is gone from records by 1550.

In my opinion, Catherine Parr’s greatest influence can be seen not with Henry but her stepdaughter Elizabeth. Both educated women of Protestant faith with inner strength and depth that still intrigues us.

History has simplified these women to divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. But each of these women from a time where women lacked power and control in fact show what women can do. And each one is much more than what history remembers.

 

 

Henry VIII and His Wives Part 2

Henry VIII and his wives. Do you remember the saying? Divorce, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.

Well,  we are at the Died and Divorced.

Hans_Holbein_the_Younger_-_Jane_Seymour,_Queen_of_England_-_Google_Art_Project        Jane Seymour

Henry VIII’s third wife who he married days after Anne lost hers. Most Tudor experts and historians say that Jane was Henry’s most beloved wife. He is buried with her and Henry, himself, supposedly said so in his life.

However, Henry only loved Jane (in my opinion) because she birthed him a son, Edward. That was all Henry desired and had been denied him. If Jane had survived, Henry would have remained married to her until her death. Can’t risk Edward being a bastard but I certainly do not believe that he loved her as he professed.

Jane though is one of the wives that intrigues me. So much about her is lost. What is thought to be know, to me, is a shallow description. Much like Anne, Jane knew how to play Henry and with son, she could have had great influence over Henry and England. Jane took much with her to her grave.

Anne of Cleeves

Anne of Cleeves

A political marriage that ended in divorce and Cromwell losing his head. Henry certainly did not like Anne. She gave him the divorce he wanted and she came out the winner.

She was an independent woman, with lands who was welcome at court and called the king’s sister. She lived a long life. I think Henry treated Anne the best.

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and the B.

young henry 8

Most people know Henry VIII was married six times. Quite a feat for his time period.  As the saying goes Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived. You might be wondering why am I writing about Henry and his first wife. After all they are not exactly a romantic couple from history. But I believe otherwise (at least for a while) so please read on.

Katherine of aragon

Catherine of Aragon was the daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. Henry VII needed a powerful alliance since his claim to the throne was from a bastard, servant line. He got Spain’s agree to wed Catherine to Prince Arthur, heir to the English throne.

In 1501, Catherine married Arthur but he died less than after their wedding day. But Henry VII wasn’t willing to send back Catherine so he kept her in England. She developed a bond with the new young heir to the throne—Henry.

In 1509, Prince Henry became the King of England and he married his Spanish bride.  From all accounts, he loved his wife though he was not a faithful husband. During their marriage, Catherine had been pregnant seven times. Most she miscarried but in 1511, she gave birth to a son, Henry, Duke of Cornwall. Guns were fired and the city bells rang. Fifty-two days later, the infant duke died.

Catherine had two more stillbirths until a young princess was born and survived—Mary. More stillbirths followed until she entered menopause. And Anne Boleyn saw her opportunity because the Tudor had a weak claim to the throne and Henry needed a son to rule England.

But if history had been different…if Henry, Duke of Cornwall had survived England and the world would be different.

In my opinion, Henry VIII would have never set aside both Catherine and the Roman Catholic church is his son had survived. He would have had his heir.  Also, I believe that Henry loved Catherine (at least as much as the man possessed the ability to love). He had since childhood. They were married for twenty-two years.

Besides, that Henry entrusted her to rule England while he was away, making her Regent while he battled in France. During that time, the Battle of Flodden was fought where the Scottish king James IV died. Catherine was saddened—according to the letter she sent Henry—that she wanted to send him his body so he had to make due with the Scottish king’s banner. Catherine was the one wife he had that was a true partner to him and if their son had lived…

Anne would have only been a mistress. There would have been no Elizabeth or the age that bears her name. Perhaps, Jane Seymour would have married Henry and Edward would have been born himself. And the rest…

Anne Boleyn

But Anne, she saw her chance and took it. I do not fault her that. She was a smart woman who knew how to play at court politics. I think Anne was lust, a sharp infatuation that had to be satiated. And when Anne couldn’t give him the son she promised and he desired, he rid himself of her.

In the next segment of Henry VIII and his wives, I deal with Jane, Anne and the rest.

 

The Tale of A Romance Author and her Lovebird

As a historical romance author, it is only natural that my pet is a lovebird. Boobula is a black-masked lovebird and did not bond with a partner. I am the one he bonded with. Even as I sit at my desk, writing this post, he is in his cage tweeting away because my back is toward him and he hates that.

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Boobula is the first bird I ever had in my life. We usually had dogs—Toy poodles (Brandy and Chocalite) and a Rottweiler (Trouble). About seven years ago, my sister-in-law and brother got me Boobula for my birthday. I think like most people I had my misgivings of the birds. I thought they were a lovey-dovey kind of bird. Well, mine is more a fighter than a lover. He has a big personality and fights with me one minute then is the loving the next. He escapes from his cage and likes to attack my cell phone. But he is the cutest feathered beast in the world. IMG_1233

And that was why I had to write him into my first Regency novel His Lady Charlie.  My heroine Lady Charlotte “Charlie” Hammersley is the proud owner of a black-masked lovebird that perches on her shoulder, just as mine does. On my cover, a lovebird is included on the female model’s shoulder (though it is a lovebird but a different type). When I told Boobula about his inclusion in the novel, he ignored me. And he still doesn’t care.

HisLadyCharlie_fullres

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Type The End Time To Celebrate

Typing The End is a great feeling. I have written—most likely a novel that has taken me months and hours of being on my computer and more hours of scrolling through Pinterest. But the end has arrived.

I am no longer writing. I have written. So comes the celebration, right.

A bottle of champagne? pexels-photo-571250.jpeg  A trip to a sandy beach?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, I don’t do either one.

For my two medieval Scottish Highlander Novels,  The Marriage Alliance and Claiming the Highlander, I have celebrated their completion by doing two things.

First, I take a couple of days off. I watch TV, lay in bed, anything to rest my brain so I can recharge because I have other projects I am working on and cannot waste time. But creativity is important so I can work on my next project.

The second thing I do to celebrate is a manicure.

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While I am writing, I don’t bother doing my nails. So by the time I finish a manuscript my nails look like some monster’s and not the hands of a lady (as my mother and grandmother would say). When I step out of the nail salon with my nails perfectly painted, and my hands wonderfully massage, my need to is fully recharged. Then it is back to my computer to do this all over again, which will be happening soon with

Then it is back to my computer to do this all over again, which will be happening soon with The Laird’s Right and Highland Scandal. Yeah, my hands look scary and that manicure image has me drooling.

Yeah, my hands look scary. I can’t wait for my manicure.  *stares at image with longing*

Now tell me what do you plan to celebrate and how you plan to do it.

 

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The Outrageous Wishes of This #MFRW Historical Romance Author

dandelion-nature-flora-white-51426.jpegIn case you do not know, I am a fan of Outlander both the novel series and the TV series. As a fan, I follow both Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan (on social media not in some stalker way). Well, Sam is an outdoorsy kind of man who climbs Munros (Munros are mountains in Scotland that are over 3,000 feet). The view from them is spectacular. One of my wishes is to climb or as they say, bag a Munro with Sam Heughan and raise money for charity. 

You see that wish isn’t crazy because of the company I want to have on the climb but the fact that I have fibromyalgia and arthritis. For me, walking from my bed to the kitchen in my NYC apartment is like a trek. I have to nap after I take a shower. I feel as if I have the flu every day of my life. So, climbing over 3, 000 feet is a test and a wish that seems an impossibility.  But oh, to see Scotland from that view…Heaven, Paradise…

pexels-photo-54300.jpegDo you watch late-night tv? I do. My favorite host is Conan O’Brien. I have loved that lanky, red-head since he hosted the Late Late Show. Conan has whole episodes where he travels to a country or region. A recent one was his trip to Israel and Palestine.  In one segment, he went to the Dead Sea and just floated in the milky blue waters. And I was so jealous. The water is so dense with salt that you cannot sink. People say the waters and salts are great for aching joints (that’s me) and for the skin (also me since I have skin). So, the next wish is to swim in the Dead Sea. 

Another love of mine is fashion. I love —haute couture—the skill, ultra lux fabric, and the designs…I think I need to fan myself. Naturally, that moment to don a creation has to be a high-fashion, Vogue-esqe fashion shoot.  I can see it, me posing with my hair perfectly styled, make-up flawless and diamonds and precious jewels shining under the lights and complimenting the most fabulous haute couture gown with a swooping train that cascades down the Grand staircase in the MET Museum.   Fashion Heaven.

After those three wishes come true, I’m flying to France and to Versailles. My mother had this porcelain doll dressed in 18th-century fashion, she had blonde hair and I just knew she was Marie Antoinette. I fell in love with Versailles (much like other people have) But I do not just wish to visit. I wish to stroll through Versailles by myself. As a child, I love to lay on the floor as an adult I still do. Imagine laying down on the floor in the Hall of Mirrors…or strolling through the rooms with the sounds of your footsteps and creaks and groans of the royal palace and no other noise. No one to distract you as you wander from room to room, up and down staircases or through the gardens with the sweet scents and soft air carrying the buzz of insects.

My last wish is a simple one and one of two that will come true one day. I wish to sit outside a home that overlooks the  North Sea on one of the Shetland Isles and look out to the horizon and become hypnotized by the surroundings.   Nothing more than that. 

Simple wishes I hope are fulfilled in my life. What about you? Do you have anything you wish to do? ♥

Don’t forget to visit other blogs. Maybe you’ll be inspired.

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