My guest today is fellow Awe-Struck author Marilee Brothers. A former teacher and school counselor, Marilee lives in Washington state and writes full time. Her books include The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam, winner of the 2010 Booksellers Best award for romantic suspense and Moonstone, Moon Rise and Moon Spun, the first three books in the YA paranormal Unbidden Magic series. Castle Ladyslipper, a medieval romance with paranormal elements was published by Awe-Struck Press in January, 2011. Marilee is a member of RWA, Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Visit her website at http://www.marileebrothers.com/ and follow her on Twitter.
Sharing Laughter Between the Sheets
The romance genre has dozens of categories. To name a few . . . sweet romance, erotica, chick lit, hen lit for women no longer “chicks, Christian and inspirational romance. However, the premise remains the same. The plot must include a passionate attraction between two people (possibly three or more if you write erotica). In some cases, the word sex is never mentioned. It merely simmers beneath the surface. In others instances, sexual encounters are described explicitly and may go on for pages.
Yes, sex is serious business in the world of romance. But, should it be? Think about it, there are only so many ways to insert tab A into Slot B. And, because we’re human and some of us are klutzy, unbridled ecstasy is not always a guaranteed outcome. The result may be painful, frustrating and possibly downright funny. Here are some real life examples of intimacy gone awry: 1.Physical Trauma. An accidental knee to the family jewels. A tender “bit” of female anatomy pinched between the mattress and a masculine forearm. 2. Emotional Trauma. Murmuring “Oh, Barbara, that was wonderful,” when your wife’s name is Joan. 3. Downright Shocking. A vase filled with daffodils and cold water sliding off a galloping headboard onto the participants below. The last example is from personal experience and, trust me, it tends to spoil the moment. Thank God I wasn’t burning a candle.
What does this have to do with writing? Early on, I decided if I needed to write a sex scene, I would add elements of reality and, if possible, humor. Live, love, laugh . . . right? With this in mind, I wrote my first book, Castle Ladyslipper, a medieval romance. My female protagonist, Emma, is forced to marry a studly but arrogant knight, Garrick of Hawkwood, vassal to King Henry II. In the Twelfth Century, a highborn woman had two duties. 1. Marry a man who would bring wealth to the family coffers and/or provide an alliance against common enemies. 2. Bear him a son.
Garrick is sent to Fairfield to marry Emma’s step mother, Helene. When Helene is nowhere to be found, the practical king orders Garrick to marry Emma and protect the northern border of England against the encroachments of Scotland’s William the Lion.
Emma and Garrick’s first attempt at intimacy is a disaster. Even though Emma is attracted to Garrick, he’s a virtual stranger. With their marriage, Garrick became the new lord of Fairfield, taking all that was hers. Picture this: An impatient King Henry pacing the hall outside the bed chamber, shouting, “Get on with it, man, I have places to go!” Garrick, caught between an impatient king and furious woman, has no time to woo his new bride. Emma wants nothing more than to be left alone. Garrick, sweating bullets, delivers the coup de grace. A resentful Emma shrieks and chomps down on his invading tongue. Garrick lets out a roar of pain. The only person happy with the outcry is the king who assumes his orders have been followed and swiftly rides away. Fortunately, things get better for Garrick and Emma. They even learn to laugh together.
Oh yes, there is a bit of a problem with requirement # 2, bearing a son and heir. Emma and her female relatives are victims of a curse and can have only girl babies. Hence the castle full of women and Fairfield’s nickname, Castle Ladyslipper. As if Emma didn’t have enough problems, it is up to her break the curse.
Feel like commenting? I hope so because I have a copy of Castle Ladyslipper to give away.
Here's a blurb and an excerpt from Castle Ladyslipper:
When a chauvinistic knight lands in a castle full of women, somebody has to change . . .
Soldier of fortune, Garrick of Hawkwood, is ill prepared for the women of Castle Ladyslipper; especially its hostile mistress, Emma d’Arcy. Garrick is haunted by the spirit of Emma’s great-great grandmother, Rose, who brought on the curse plaguing Emma and her female relatives. Though clearly at odds, Emma and Garrick cannot deny the sultry heat rising between them. Liberally laced with humor, Castle Ladyslipper resonates with a timeless theme: love can flourish even when sown in the rocky soil of misunderstanding.
“This way, Sir Knight,” a smiling woman called out. The chattering crush parted to form a living aisle. At its head stood a tall, slender woman watching him approach, her face an unreadable mask.
Surely this could not be the Lady Helene, with manure-stained boots, bits of wool clinging to her kirtle and hair the color of summer honey bursting from a thick braid in a wild halo of curls! A huge wolfhound leaned against her leg, his sides vibrating with ominous growls.
As Garrick drew closer the woman glared, her hands curled into fists. A sullen-faced boy clutching a wooden sword pushed his way through the crowd and stood in front of her.
Garrick pulled Rufus to a stop in front of the woman. She flinched as his shadow fell across her face. He waited for words of welcome: words that never came.
Garrick dismounted and handed his helm to Toby, unable to look away from the woman’s strange glittering eyes. All at once, the heady scent of roses flooded his senses, and a wave of dizziness swept over him. His knees buckled. He grabbed Rufus’s saddle to keep from falling. Bloody hell! Was she some kind of a witch?
Thankfully, the powerful aroma and its debilitating effects left quickly. He took a deep breath to clear his head and reached into a saddlebag, fumbling for the document bearing the king’s seal. Why were his hands shaking?
Gathering his wits Garrick said, “I bring orders from the king.”
An enthusiastic “Ohhhh” rippled through the crowd. Silence from the woman. Was it possible she couldn’t speak?
“Tell her!” A woman spoke directly into his right ear. Garrick whirled toward the voice and came face to face with Roland.
His friend leaned forward on his mount. “Everything all right?” he murmured, looking tense. He wasn’t the only one.
Garrick gave a brief nod. Too long on the road. Aye, that’s it. Why else would he hear a disembodied voice? A hot meal and a soft bed would put things right.
He unrolled the parchment and cleared his throat. “I, Henry the Second of England, by the grace of God and the authority vested in me do hereby assign the hand of Lady Helene d’Arcy, widow of Matthew d’Arcy to my vassal, Sir Garrick of Hawkwood. Furthermore, I grant Sir Garrick guardianship of William d’Arcy, ward of the crown, until such time that he is deemed fit to undertake his responsibilities.”
Garrick paused and looked at the woman. She remained silent. Her dog continued to snarl. The boy stroked his wooden sword and glared.
“You are the Lady Helene?” Garrick prompted.
Finally, the woman spoke in a low, husky voice. “Nay, my stepmother has returned to France
. You’ve made your journey for naught. Please feel free to sup with us and rest your horses before you begin your journey back. I’ll send my steward to see to your needs.”
She turned and walked toward the keep, the boy trailing behind. His duty complete, the dog disappeared into the crowd.
Garrick fumed at her abrupt dismissal. Who was this woman and why did she think she could flaunt the king’s orders? He covered the distance between them in two steps and caught her arm. With a gasp of outrage, she whirled to face him. He let his gaze trail over her features – her slanted green eyes, haughty nose and stubborn chin. “You have me at a disadvantage, my lady. Who are you?”
She tried to tug free of his grip. Failing, she stiffened. “I am Emma, daughter of Mathew d’Arcy.”
“Ah.” Garrick tried to hide his surprise. Why hadn’t the king told him of d’Arcy’s daughter?