Medieval Monday -- way more fun than the average, run-of-the-mill Monday!
While researching medieval diaries, I discovered an extraordinary website.
Epistolae: Medieval Women's Letters
Professor Joan M. Ferrante, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, has collected hundreds of letters to and from medieval women, 4th to 13th centuries, and translated them from the original Latin. There are 83 pages of links on the website at present. For each letter, Professor Ferrante provides her English translation, followed by the original Latin text, a brief explanation of the letter, and her source(s). If so inclined, you can search for letters by both sender and receiver.
I stopped at page 15 or so, having found the following letter from the year 1104. It's from Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Matilda of Scotland, Queen of the English. He is maaad. He and Queen Matilda's husband, Henry I, had some serious differences of opinion. You will note that at the end of his epistle, he prays for the queen and her children -- not the king!
I realized only after reading the letters and doing a little more research that Matilda of Scotland was Good Queen Maud and that Archbishop Anselm was eventually canonized. They are both fascinating figures.
Here's the letter, copied from the website:
To his reverend lady, his dearest daughter Matilda, by the grace of God queen of the English: Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, sending his faithful service, his prayers and the blessing of God and his own, if it is worth anything. I give boundless thanks to your Highness by loving and praying for you for the magnitude of your holy love towards my humble self which I perceived in your letter.(1) In it you clearly displayed with what affection you love me when you received and treated my parchment in the way you describe. Your dignity raised my spirits so much by declaring that what nature denies me your grace bestows, that those who are mine by kinship are yours by adoption and love.(2) By trying to soften the heart of my lord the King towards me because of your desire for my return I perceive that you are doing what is fitting for you and advantageous for him. For if he has any bitterness of heart towards me I am not aware of ever having deserved it in any way at all, as far as I can see. If at any time I served him he knows it, and I think he will not consign it to oblivion. If in some respects he dislikes me without cause it would be advantageous for him to drive this rancor away from him lest he sin before God. You promise me that the King will in future grant me better and more abundant access to our revenues, of which at present he allows me a small amount.(3) I should not be ungrateful to your benevolence because you are doing this, as far as you are able through your goodwill. But it should not be necessary to make me such a promise because no confiscation or decrease of them should take place against my will. Whoever advised him to appropriate any of these revenues advised him to commit a sin which is no slight one, nor one that should ever be tolerated. For whoever despoils a bishop of his goods can in no way be reconciled to God unless he restores to him all his goods intact. You should know that however small a part of these goods I am deprived of, it is as if I were deprived of everything. I do not say this for love of money but for the love of God's justice. Your kindness prays me not to take my love away from my lord the King but to intercede for him, for yourself, for your offspring and for your realm. I have always done this up to now. But as to the future I commit myself to the providence of God, with whom "the son does not bear the iniquity of the father"(4) nor the wife that of her husband. I hope in God that I may not harbor any rancor against anybody in my heart which could separate me from God. May almighty God guard you and your offspring(5) forever in his grace.(6)
Epistolae is a wonderful resource. Many thanks to Professor Ferrante, her colleagues, and Columbia University for making it available to the public. If you visit the website, along with the letters, you will find a few short, excellent videos with the professor. She is enthusiastic, generous, and clearly loves what she does.
I'm delighted to welcome one very interesting lady today! Meryl Brown Tobin, multi-published, multi-genre author, launched her beautiful romance Broome Enigma back in November. I was unable to host her then, so I am especially thrilled to be able to share her work with you now. But first, let's get better acquainted with this talented author.
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
I was an Enid Blyton girl and read every book of hers I could. I especially loved the Famous Five series.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
I read a variety of books including ones about First Nations people and books by them. ‘The Dark Emu’ by Bruce Pascoe and ‘Talking to My Country’ by Stan Grant are two I found illuminating. I also like Australian historical fiction, especially books by Chrissie Michaels.
As I have a lot of writer friends I try to support, I read whatever they write, which includes poetry, short stories and novels in various genres.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
In early primary school, I started to write. When I was about eight, I joined several children’s clubs attached to newspapers and contributed to them. In my mid-twenties, I wrote my first novel. While the theme was noble, the writing was very amateurish. When I was about 50, I was keen to try again but couldn’t get in the mood until I could see a long stretch of time in front of me. Then I was offered a voluntary redundancy package from my day job and saw that as my chance.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
When I was 11, I wrote a short item for a short story journal to which my mother subscribed. I described our family’s visit to a nature sanctuary.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
I write because I have a mind made up of jigsaw pieces of thoughts and memories. Every now and again the pieces fit together and insist I write them into a story, a poem or some other piece of writing – even a cartoon.
6) What’s your writing space like?
When I first started writing, my writing space was the end of our kitchen/dining room table. Because it was very frustrating clearing away my typewriter (in those days) and relevant paperwork at mealtimes, I yearned to have my own den. Eventually I got a small one which I soon filled with filing cabinets and magazines and other publications which had published my writings. Once our children left home, I spread into one of their bedrooms. That’s now full of writing paraphernalia including a desk, computer and printer, boxes of magazines containing my published pieces, boxes of travel material, notes and papers I might need for my writing one day.
It sounds like a great space!
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
After doing what else I have to do for the day, I write. At night I prefer to watch TV though. I do two mornings of exercises a week and try to do an early morning walk the other days if I am not going out or doing heavy housework. If the weather is bad, I do a half-hour exercise session on TV at 8.30 am. Then the day is clear for my writing apart from regular breaks from the computer.
8) Time to talk about your latest release (rubbing hands together). First, how did you come up with the idea for Broome Enigma? Are there any interesting tidbits you’d care to share with us?
My family and I love travelling around Australia, and Broome, an Outback cosmopolitan town in Western Australia is one of our favourite places. On one trip we met a handsome young man working in a caravan park. Dressed in only jeans and sandals, he had a tanned torso with muscles showing and looked as though he had just stepped off a film set for a surfing movie. However, he had a damped-down personality that didn’t match his looks. I played the What If? game to try to come up with a reason as to how he came to be working in the caravan park. After some years a story started to formulate and develop.
Fascinating! The man that day became one of your characters!
9) Now let’s hear more about Broome Enigma!
Broome Enigma came out on November 20, 2023. It’s on sale on at least 33 websites in at least 16 countries including Australia, Austria(?), Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India(?), Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, UK and USA.
Many people have now read my book and many comment on the setting, Broome in 1986, and
how it brings back memories of their visits there or how it has inspired them to want to go and
visit. For individual readers’ comments, see https://sites.google.com/site/merylbrowntobin -
Action in the novel also takes place between Broome and Perth. As I am also a travel writer and
wrote ‘Exploring Outback Australia’ for which my husband, Hartley Tobin, did the photographs
and maps, and we have travelled the route a number of times, writing accurately about the areas
covered was relatively easy.
10) I comprehend that you’ve just recently published a book. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have anything waiting in the wings?
Yes, more novels.
My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, goes out of its way to help writers. Thanks to Val Mathews, TWRP editor who first encouraged me, and Ally Robertson who helped me ‘get over the hump’, I was able to rewrite ‘Broome Enigma’ in a style favored by them. With the publication of the book and numerous comments from readers, I now know what works with them. Now I shall apply all I have learned and rewrite all my other novels so they ‘get over the hump’.
I agree. I love The Wild Rose Press. It's a wonderful publishing house.
11) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Although ‘Broome Enigma’ is my first published novel, I have been writing for most of my life and have published fiction for adults and children, non-fiction, especially travel, poetry and educational puzzles.
I have had 21 other books published, including two poetry books with other poets. My published books also include puzzle/activity books, black-line masters books of educational puzzles, work books for primary students, a travel book, a children’s picture storybook, a poetry collection. In total nearly 300,000 copies of my first four puzzle books were sold in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Hundreds of my poems and puzzles, scores of my short stories and travel and other articles, and some cartoons have appeared in more than 150 magazines, newspapers and anthologies in Australia and elsewhere, including the US.
For more details see https://sites.google.com/view/merylbrowntobin-author.
It's been an honor hosting you, Meryl. Thank you for sharing your time with us. Congratulations on Broome Enigma!
On a working holiday in Australia's cosmopolitan Outback town of Broome in 1986, Jodie, a young book designer and artist is open to romance and adventure.
At the holiday village where she is staying, she meets Joe, a young man who works there. Despite the strong attraction between them, the many unknowns about his earlier life keep them apart. To try to uncover his mysterious past, they travel to Perth and back to Broome and are drawn into not only bizarre but also dangerous situations.
Is Joe the person she thinks he is, or is he some alter ego? Can Jodie and Joe stop their relationship from developing until they have answers and know if he is free to love her?
A big gust of wind rocked the van and flung Jodie hard against Joe. He pushed her off.
“Joe, it’s me, Jodie! Wake up, wake up!”
“Jodie, is that you?” He threw his arms around her and buried his head in her chest.
She brushed his hair back from his sweating face.
“Take it easy, Joe. Take deep breaths. It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.”
He stopped shaking and pulled back from her.
“It’s the cyclone. Don’t you remember?”
Another huge gust shook the van and sent Jodie sprawling on Joe’s bunk and into the wall.
“Ow, that hurt!” She picked herself up and rubbed her head. The van rocked violently again. Joe and Jodie grabbed for handholds.
“Quick, come into my bed with me, Joe. It will be safer there.” Tripping and feeling their way along the wall, the two made their way to the double bed and clambered in.
Her breathing coming in short spasms, she lay on her back and took deep breaths. The storm whined and screeched about her, and the roof creaked and scraped.
“Oh, my god, the roof’s going to take off any minute!”
Joe’s arms enveloped her. “Hush, everything will be all right. But will you be okay if we have to make a run for it?”
“Yes.” She let out a sob. “But I like our chances better in here than out there.”
Joe kissed her forehead. He pulled her closer and they lay locked against each other while the storm
raged around them.
About the Author
Meryl Brown Tobin is an Australian writer of short and long fiction for adults and children, non-fiction, especially travel, poetry and educational puzzles.
She has had 21 books published. These include puzzle/activity books, black-line masters books of educational puzzles, work books for primary students, a travel book, a children’s picture storybook, a poetry collection and a haiku collection with four other poets. In total nearly 300,000 copies of her first four puzzle books were sold in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Hundreds of her poems and puzzles, scores of her short stories and travel and other articles, and some cartoons have appeared in more than 150 magazines, newspapers and anthologies in Australia and elsewhere, including the US. ‘Broome Enigma’ is her debut novel and more novels are in the pipeline.
Her work has been shortlisted in competitions run by
the Australian Society of Authors Inc., Fellowship of
Australian Writers (Victoria), Poetry Matters, Positive
Words, Redoubt, The Society of Women Writers
Victoria, Waterline Writing Competition, Woman’s
Day, and Writer’s Friend. In 2011 she won The Society
of Women Writers, Victoria Inc. Biennial Literary
Award for Women for a short story.
For more details:
From left to right: Meryl with Vision Australia radio presenter, Roberta Ashby, who launched ‘Broome Enigma’ at the Melbourne launch.
With Australian author, Chrissie Michaels, who launched ‘Broome Enigma’ at the regional launch.
Audience at the regional launch
All photos by Hartley Tobin
WHERE TO PURCHASE BROOME ENIGMA by Meryl Brown Tobin
1) Amazon.com : broome enigma
2) Amazon.com.au (Australia)Broome Enigma : Tobin, Meryl Brown: Amazon.com.au: Books
3) Amazon.co.jp: Broome Enigma : Tobin, Meryl Brown: Foreign Language Books (Japan)
4) Broome Enigma: Amazon.co.uk: Tobin, Meryl Brown: 9781509250639: Books (UK)
5) Broome Enigma (English Edition) eBook Kindle - Amazon.com.br (Brazil)
6) Få Broome Enigma af som Hæftet bog på engelsk (saxo.com) (Denmark?)
7) https://www.saxo.com/dk/forfatter/meryl-brown-tobin_17387719 (Denmark)
8) Amazon (France)Broome Enigma (English Edition) eBook : Tobin, Meryl Brown : Amazon.fr: Boutique Kindle
9) https://www.amazon.in/Broome-Enigma-Meryl-Brown-Tobin-ebook/dp/B0CHWLFTSZ (India)
10) Broome Enigma (English Edition) eBook : Tobin, Meryl Brown : Amazon.es: Tienda Kindle (Spain)
11) Broome Enigma (English Edition) eBook : Tobin, Meryl Brown : Amazon.de: Kindle Store (Germany)
12) Better Read than Dead (Sydney)Welcome to BRTD - Better Read Than Dead Bookstore Newtown
13) Barnes & Noble (USA)Broome Enigma by Meryl Brown Tobin, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)
15) Thrift Books
16) Browns Books
17) Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/199746026-broome-enigma
18) Mighty Ape (NZ)
19) https://www.bol.com/be/nl/p/broome-enigma/9300000163632008/ (Netherlands)
21)https://www.exlibris.ch/de/buecher-buch/english-books/meryl-brown-tobin/broome-enigma/id/9781509250639/ (Germany, Switzerland, Austria?)
22) Broome Enigma eBook by Meryl Brown Tobin - EPUB Book | Rakuten Kobo Canada (Canada)
25) Broome Enigma by Tobin, Meryl Brown | eBay $AU57.22
26) broome enigma by meryl brown tobin on ebay $AU44.46
27) broome enigma by meryl brown tobin on ebay $AU52.02
28) broome enigma by meryl brown tobin on ebay $AU52.07
29) broome enigma by meryl brown tobin on ebay $36.77
30) broome enigma by meryl brown tobin on ebay $40.45
31) Meryl Brown Tobin Broome Enigma (Poche) | eBay UK 19.65 Euro
32) Broome Enigma by Meryl Brown Tobin - Books on Google Play US
33) BROOME ENIGMA BY Meryl Brown Tobin Paperback Book EUR 33,42 - PicClick FR
On sale world-wide and also 16 specific countries selling Broome Enigma:
It’s on sale on at least 33 websites in at least 16 countries including Australia, Austria(?), Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India(?), Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, UK and USA.
Happy Medieval Monday! I'm back just in time to celebrate with my dear friend Mary Morgan! Steinar, her latest Viking romance and third book in the Wolves of Clan Sutherland series, launches this week!
Gorgeous, delicious... I'll let Mary tell you more! Plus, she has gifted us with a SNEAK PREVIEW!
Congratulations and welcome, Lady Mary!
Hello Anastasia! I’m delighted to be on your lovely blog for Medieval Monday! With my new release of Steinar a couple days away, I’d like to talk about an important secondary character in the book—Snorri Sturluson. His fascination with Steinar became apparent the moment they met on the ship. As writers, we know how important these characters are in adding depth, humor, and support to the main protagonists.
Let me share a wee bit of historical information about the real Snorri, the Icelander. While during my Viking and Norse research, I came across an important historical person by the name of Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241). Born in western Iceland, Snorri was the son of an Icelandic chieftain. Snorri ascended to become Iceland’s richest and powerful leader. He has long been assumed to be the author of medieval Iceland’s greatest works, including the Prose Edda, which is one of Scandinavia’s vast source for Norse mythology, and the Heimskringla Saga about the history of Norway’s kings.
I could think of no one better qualified to pen the fictional tale of the Pirate Wolf than Snorri Sturluson.
To save the wolf, she must renounce her love for the man.
Descended from the mighty Somerled, Lord of the Isles, Steinar MacDougall’s supremacy over the seas is fierce. On a quest for King William, he is captured by the enemy and presented with a favorable opportunity. Yet Steinar soon realizes his greatest threat comes from the woman who hides behind the mask of a warrior, and the quest for control might send them hurdling into the abyss of the sea.
As leader of the Serpents, Inga the Ruthless travels beyond the isles bartering for goods with her brothers. After rescuing the feared Pirate Wolf during a storm, she surrenders her trust to the man and his inner wolf in order to claim the lost treasure of Odin. Though the journey is fraught with dangers, Inga fears her heart might be the one in peril, leading her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Will the sea be their salvation or doom them to a watery grave?
A Sneak Preview from STEINAR ~
Steinar raised a brow in amused contempt with the beginnings of a smile tipping the corners of his lips.
“I find nae humor in this.” She pointed a warning finger at the man. “Nor should you.”
He raised the jug near his mouth. “For Inga the Ruthless who has maintained a life around men, I find your response…interesting.” He then took a long draw of mead.
Stunned into silence, Inga gaped at him. Then her eyes narrowed to shards of fury. Her fingers sought the brooch fastened at the top of her cloak and undid the clasp. Removing the cloak from her body, she tossed both brooch and cloak onto a nearby stool.
“How wrong you were in your earlier criticism of my skills as a woman. At Rangvald’s table I was simply Inga, daughter of Olaf.” She gestured to her gown. “Can you honestly tell me I look like a woman who is a leader of men on the seas?”
Steinar’s expression stilled. He wiped the back of his hand leisurely across his mouth. “Nae,” he rasped out.
There she witnessed the invitation in the smoldering depths of his eyes—dark with desire luring her forward.
Her heart hammered against her chest. Inga’s mind ordered her to leave—escape the temptation to feel his arms around her. But her body betrayed and overrode all thought. Slowly, Inga removed the jug from his hand and pressed it against her lips. Tilting it back, she drank deeply of what remained. After tossing aside the jug onto the ground, she smiled fully. “Then I am correct.”
Steinar pushed away from the wall. “You think to claim victory?”
Her breath rose heavily with each rise and fall. When did she become the prey and he the predator?
“Always,” she whispered, determined to grasp any shard of control or sanity.
In one swift move, Steinar clasped his hands around her waist and turned her around with her back against the wall. His body towered over her, trapping Inga. Escape not an option.
She gasped. Fight or surrender?
For the first time, Inga lessened the strings binding her to an oath moons ago.
An oath to never let a man control her.
An oath to never let a man touch her.
Oaths be damned! She craved to have this man kiss her.
About the Author:
Mary Morgan is an international best-selling author of award-winning historical fantasy and paranormal romance novels. During her research travels with her knight in shining armor to England, Ireland, and Scotland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Her passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic and Norse mythology, Mary's tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of fantasy, then journey back in time within the pages of her books.
Connect with Mary:
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.