...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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Calling All Katies

The eldest surviving son of King Henry II of England shared his father’s name. In his lifetime, he was known as Henry the Younger, and after being crowned as co-ruler with his father in 1170 (in imitation of a custom practiced by the Capetien kings of France), was known as Henry the Young King, or simply, the Young King. Henry II allowed his son little actual power, influenced both by his own authoritarian nature and his son’s vain, irresponsible, spendthrift ways. Henry the Younger was nevertheless highly admired among his peers. The troubadour Bertran de Born called him “King of the courtly and emperor of the valiant[1]” for embodying the popular virtues of courtesy and liberality. He loved the tournament circuit and he loved extravagant gestures.

One of these extravagant gestures is related by Robert de Torigny, a contemporary of the Young King. Robert, a Norman monk and chronicler, tells of an occasion when Henry the Younger held a lavish feast and invited only knights named William to attend. A hundred and ten knights named William showed up for the party. (This story is related in Henry II, by W.L. Warren, and Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings, by Amy Kelly.)

What has this got to do with my call for Katies? Well, as you should know by now, I am the author of three medieval romances, all set during the lifetime of Henry the Young King. In the course of a giveaway for some of my books on my JDP NEWS blog, I made a silly little mistake. A lovely lady named Katie won a copy of my newest romance, Dangerous Favor, but since I was also autographing a copy of Illuminations of the Heart for another winner, I inadvertently signed a copy of Illuminations of the Heart, instead of Dangerous Favor to “Katie”. Never fear. I caught my mistake and Katie got the correct autographed prize in the mail! But now I’m stuck with a copy of Illuminations of the Heart signed to “Katie” and no Katie to give it to.

So, like Henry the Young King, I too am sending out a call…but my call is for Katies, instead of Williams. If your name is Katie and you would like a chance to win a copy of my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart, just leave a comment on this post WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS so I’ll know how to contact you if you win.

If you’re not too picky about the spelling of your name, you may also enter if your name bears any resemblance to Katie, such as Katy, Kati, Kaity, Caty, Cati, or even Kaitlyn or Kathryn or anything similar. And hey, if you know a Katie (daughter, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend) who might enjoy this book, spread the word or you may enter on her behalf.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we wound up with a 110 Katie entries? However, since Katie isn’t as common a name as William was in the Middle Ages, my feelings won’t be hurt if we only get a handful of Katies.

You may click here to read a summary of Illuminations of the Heart, along with a few Amazon reviews.

Deadline for entries is May 7, midnight PST. Don’t forget to leave your email address! C’mon, Katies, let’s party!



[1] Lyrics of the Troubadours and Trouveres: an Anthology and a History, Translations and Introductions by Fredrick Goldin

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day


Jongleur: An itinerate minstrel, poet, or entertainer in medieval France


Monday, April 9, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

The Great War: A civil war that took place between Henry II and his sons in 1173-1174; also called the Great Rebellion and the Great Revolt



Henry II (father)


Henry the Younger (eldest son)                                                        Richard I (2nd son)







Count Geoffrey of Brittany (3rd son)                                                King John (4th son)


(John was actually too young to participate in this rebellion, but I thought you might enjoy seeing him anyway)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day


Sou: A French coin of little value

Friday, April 6, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day


Pommel: A counterweight, usually in the shape of a circle or ball, at the top of the handle (hilt) of a sword or dagger, often intricately decorated; derived from Latin word for “little apple”


The circular top of this sword is the "pommel"

(Thank you to Arms & Armor for this image)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day


lèse majesté: Literally “injured majesty”; a crime such as treason committed against the king

Go to Google Translate, type lèse majesté under French and click on the little "listen" iconto hear how to pronounce this phrase.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day


Wardrobe: A medieval wardrobe could be a free standing closet like this:



But in Dangerous Favor, "wardrobe" refers to a room or (for a king or great noble) a series of rooms in a castle that housed his robes, jewelry, and other personal valuables (including spices!), as well as cash and important documents; the King’s Wardrobe included his personal treasury

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

Seneschal: Official in a medieval household responsible for the supervision and management of a nobleman’s estates

Monday, April 2, 2012

Medieval Word of the Day

mesnie privée: A lord’s inner circle of most trusted knights, specifically those who travel together with their lord to fight in tournaments and wars


I don't know if this king and his companions are riding off to a tournament, but they might be!

If you'd like to know how to pronounce this phrase, go to Google Translate, type mesnie privée under French and click on the little "listen" icon