Today I welcome fellow Romance Weekly blogger, Sarah Hegger who just released her debut novel, The Bride Gift. Sarah’s here today to curse and swear and kick up a racket. I know right? Some of these authors are outta control! 🙂 Seriously, Sarah has some fantastic commentary on when and how to use profanity in medieval fiction. I love what she has to say, take a look. 🙂Thanks, Kate, for hosting me today and congratulations on your recent release, Promised to the Highlander. I have my copy already.
Kate has given me the opportunity to tell you a bit about my debut release, The Bride Gift. The book is set in 1153 and I had great fun researching the period. I have become a bit of research geek, I have to confess.
My heroine, Helena of Lystanwold, is rather a feisty wench who looks all lady on the outside, but has a mouth on her to make a medieval Knight blush. And she does, a time or two.
One of the challenges was finding some good swear words.
Folks of that period were pretty earthy and anything related to bodily functions were pretty much standard conversation. You wouldn’t rebuke a child for telling you he needed to take a piss (you get the idea, here). The F-Bomb wasn’t around yet. The dreaded C-Word was around, but was more anatomically descriptive than a cuss word. Even bastard (which I have to confess I resorted to once or twice) was a description of someone’s birth and bitch described a female dog.
So, how does a writer get the point across to a modern reader that this person is really upset or is calling someone else a bad name?
A modern audience is pretty much desensitized at this stage and calling someone a Misbegotten Cur kind of lacks the punch I was looking for.
The answer? Anything with religious connotations was way, way, way shocking and completely off. Put God into it and you had a ready made swear word. God’s Wounds, was a good one.
So, here’s a little game I invented to create your own medieval swear words. Just take words from each column and combine them. Give it a go, I’m always open to cracker of a suggestion.
Other than a cussing heroine, what is The Bride Gift all about?
It’s 1153 in the period dubbed ‘The Anarchy’, King Stephen and Empress Maud are not the only ones embroiled in a fierce battle of the sexes.
Determined to control her own destiny, willful Helena of Lystanwold has chosen just the husband to suit her purposes. But, when her banished guardian uncle attempts to secure her future and climbs through her bedroom window with a new husband by a proxy marriage, she understandably balks. Notorious warrior Guy of Helston is everything Helena swore she would never marry; a man who lives by the sword, like the man who murdered her sister.
This marriage finally brings Guy close to his lifetime dream of gaining lands and a title. He is not about to let his feisty bride stand in his way. A master strategist, Guy sets out to woo and conquer his lady.
Against a backdrop of vengeance, war and betrayal, Guy and Helena must learn to forge a united front or risk losing everything.
Available now on Amazon.
A small taste:
Slowly, Helena turned and approached her husband.
His large body barely fit in the wooden tub. He sat with his knees almost to his ears. A slight frown creased his dark brows.
Helena dipped her hand in the soft soap they kept for bathing; more jasmine. She rubbed it between her fingers to create lather. When they next made soap she would need to produce something less feminine for Guy.
From this position, his head was almost on a level with her breasts. A feeling akin to excitement fluttered through her belly.
He watched her face as she leaned forward to soap his head, working it through his cropped hair. The bristly ends tickled her palm.
She reached for a bucket of rinsing water. He closed his eyes as soap and bubbles streamed down the strong planes of his cheeks. Droplets clung to his lashes. They were almost ridiculously long and so incongruous with the rest of him. Probably the only part of him that could be called soft.
He dropped his head forward onto his knees so she could finish rinsing.
Guy presented the broad expanse of his back, and she laid her hands across the sun-darkened skin. He was warm under her fingers and beneath the smooth skin, his muscles bunched slightly as she spread the soap. This might be bearable. When she rubbed her fingers on either side of his spine, he made a soft purr of enjoyment.
Her pulse jumped.
“Soft hands,” he said.
Her fingers traced a long, puckered scar running beneath his shoulder blade and disappearing around his side.
“A lance man with poor aim,” he murmured.
The skin on his back was firm, but marked by the scars of a lifetime spent wielding a sword. “It appears you really do fight,” she commented lightly.
For some reason those accumulated injuries and the pain they had caused angered her as well as rendered her sorry for his suffering. Helena steeled her resolve. It was just these sorts of wounds that made him perfect for her purpose.
She lathered soap across his shoulders and down the thick, corded muscle of each arm. Her belly reacted with another odd little quiver as her fingers slid across his skin like oil poured from a vial.
Guy raised his eyes to her face. A slumberous warmth made them glow nearly silver.
Her breath quickened in her chest as if she had been running; her hands tingled where they touched him.And in case you were wondering about Sarah Hegger, here’s the official version (in addition to being a research geek):
Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.
Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.
She currently lives in Draper, Utah with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.
She is always delighted to hear from you. Sarah can be reached at any and all of the following places: