...in which I share some of my favorite medieval research resources and methods for the benefit of others interested in also writing about the Middle Ages

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hug a Medievalist Day: Winner!

Are you all having a wonderful Hug a Medievalist Day? I hope you've remembered to do just that. (Hug a medievalist, that is.)

Random.org just drew the winner of my Hug a Medievalist Day giveaway, and the winner of Walk with Danger is....Kari Pike! Kari would like to hug William Tyndale. Considering the fiery end he came to, he could probably have used a few hugs!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! 

Until next year...huzzah!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Embrasure: The space between two merlons on a castle wall

Embrasure is another word for crenel. Click on the word merlon above to see an example of merlons and crenels/embrasures.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Unlike my previous novels, which took place in Poitou, Dangerous Favor takes place in Normandy.

Normandy: A region of northern France bordering the English Channel, ruled by Henry II of England during the Middle Ages; assigned inheritance of Henry’s eldest son, Henry, the Young King (along with England and Anjou)

Rouen: Capital of Normandy

You can see Normandy on this map directly across the channel from England (D. of Normandie)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Sennight: One week (from seven nights) 

Fortnight: Two weeks (from fourteen nights)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Refuge: Roped off areas set apart on a tournament field for knights to rest or rearm during the combat; also called recets

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hug a Medievalist Day 2012

Last year, I completely missed Hug a Medievalist Day (this font is called trebuchet, which was a medieval siege engine similar to a catapult, so it seems appropriate to use it here) although we did hold a belated giveaway. This year I'm on top of this extraordinarily important date! We're celebrating here at Medieval Research with Joyce by giving away one of my all time favorite medieval novels, Walk with Peril, by D.V.S. Jackson. If you haven't read my review of this book, you can read it here.

Walk with Peril has long been out of print, but I've snagged an old used copy and I'm giving it away for Hug a Medievalist Day! This giveaway is going to work pretty much the same way last year's did: to enter, leave a comment telling me name of the medievalist you would most like to hug on Hug a Medievalist Day. It can be an actual figure from medieval history, a fictional character (like Robin Hood), a character from a medieval novel, a favorite teacher who taught you about the Middle Ages, a favorite character at your local *Renaissance Festival, or even your favorite *RenFest day companion (husband, sister, brother, child, friend). I'll give you an extra entry if you begin your comment with the word "Huzzah!"

(*I'm including Renaissance Festivals because that's the closest excuse some of us can find to play medieval dress up!)

Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!

The deadline is midnight PST on Hug a Medievalist Day, i.e., March 31. The winner will be drawn by Random.org.

USA entries only.


(Join Hug a Medievalist Day on Facebook and/or follow on Twitter)


USA entries only
Entrants must be 18 years or older
Entries may be left in a comment or sent via email to jdipastena@yahoo.com
Winners will be selected on March 31. Winners have 48 hours to respond to an email notifying them of their win.
Prizes not claimed within 48 hours will be reawarded

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Mêlée: A mock battle between two opposing teams of knights that formed the tournament of the 12th Century

One on one jousting had not yet become popularized in the 12th century. The mêlée, with two groups of knights basically crashing at each other over an artificial battlefield, was the norm. Think "team sports!"

Chaos like in the picture above was the order of the day in the medieval mêlée. Only you weren't supposed to stab anyone's eye out, so that one knight there is being very bad. Although accidents did happen and some knights were killed, that was never the goal. You wanted to capture your opponent and hold him for ransom. Tournaments were intended to be practice for real battle, when stabbing opponents' eyes out would have been perfectly legal.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

In my new medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, my heroine, Mathilde, grants a favor (hence my title) to my hero, Etienne, before he enters a tournament. What is a favor, you ask?

Favor/Token: Trinkets that ladies awarded to knights to denote him as her “champion” in a tournament; favors/tokens might include handkerchiefs, girdles, tassels, sleeves, gloves, scarves, ribbons, etc; these favors/tokens were worn in the knight’s helmet or about his arm and might be kept after the tournament or returned to the lady. 

Here is a picture of a lady tying a favor around a knight's arm.

(God Speed, by Edmund Blair Leighton)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Destrier: A knight’s war horse 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Surcote: I previously defined the surcote here, but in addition, it was also a tunic worn over a knight’s armor, decorated with the heraldic device of his house 

You can see this kind of surcote in this beautiful painting, The Shadow, by Edmund Blair Leighton.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

With the release of my new medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, I have some new medieval words to share with you. Since  a medieval tournament plays a large role in my story, let's begin with some of the armor a knight must don for a tournament:

Coif: A hood made from metal rings (i.e., mail), worn beneath a knight’s helmet

Ventail: A piece of mail that protected a knight’s throat and chin

Here's an example of a mail coif
(from CAS Hanwei)

Here's one example of a ventail in the form of a diagonal flap that tied onto the coif to protect the lower part of the knight's face. This flap could be square as well as diagonal.

That looks pretty uncomfortable, especially if all this hardware is worn underneath a metal helmet! Some drawings of ventails show them only covering the throat and chin, like this:

My hero, Etienne, preferred this style of ventail.

View some other parts of a medieval knight's armor from this September 16, 2009 Medieval Word of the Day entry.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My first live interview!

I've been interviewed on Blog Talk Radio! Don't go away when the line goes dead. It's only temporary. Canda Mortensen gets me back on line and I babble a little longer about writing, research, and more.

Listen to internet radio with iWriteNetwork on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Illuminations of the Heart" Book Trailer

My dear and very talented friend, Rachel Rossano, has made me a book trailer for Illuminations of the Heart. I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Medieval arms & armor

Thank you to my sister for discovering this wonderful internet site I'm about to share with you! Several years ago, she and I visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They had an amazing exhibit of medieval armor, and needless to say, I spent a goodly portion of my time wandering blissfully through all that mail :-) I don't recall now whether they didn't have many audio presentations for the exhibit or if I just missed them, but a few days ago, my sister sent me this link simply brimming with fascinating little audio "tours" of Medieval Arms and Armor. Learn how to keep your armor clean (Stop 170), how to handle a two-handed sword (Stop 188), how to handle a crossbow (Stop 199), and much, much more! The blue links include pictures, and all of the audios can even be downloaded to iTunes so you can listen to them whenever and wherever you want.

Click here to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art audio tours, then enjoy!

(Picture is of Henry VIII's armor from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)