Sunday, December 11, 2011

Special Guest PENNY LOCKWOOD EHRENKRANZ

Guess what I forgot to do? Have a "When will the lake freeze" contest. Darn.




I promise I'll have an e-book giveaway for no apparent reason next week. Meanwhile, please give a warm welcome to a dear blogger and wonderful writer, Penny Ehrenkranz.

Penny has two new e-books that you are going to love.



Renaissance Fairs

Hi Joylene, thank you for hosting me today while I promote my two latest releases from MuseItUp Publishing: Lady-in-Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror.  I want to tell your readers I am hosting a contest.  Everyone who leaves a comment and contact information will be entered into a drawing.  At the end of the tour, I will pick two names.  One person will receive a copy of Lady-in-Waiting and the other a copy of Mirror, Mirror.

Both of these stories involve the fifteen century, and so I’ve decided to bring them to the attention of your readers at the same time.  Lady-in-Waiting is the story of Mabriona, her cousin Princess Alana, and the two men who come into Mabriona’s life, Prince Blayne and Prince Madoc.  Mirror, Mirror tells Lindsey Baker’s tale of time travel back to the fifteen century.

Today, I’d like to share some information about Renaissance Fairs. Lindsey loves these types of re-enactment festivals.  In Mirror, Mirror, she prepares to attend one by purchasing appropriate clothing at a local thrift store.  On the same day, she also purchases an antique mirror, which the proprietress tells her could be a scrying mirror.  Lindsey wouldn’t have had her adventure if she hadn’t wanted to go to the fair, so what is the appeal?

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_fair) tells us that Renaissance Fairs are usually outdoor weekend gatherings open to the public.  Attendees will find costumed entertainers, music, theatrical acts, handcrafted items and art work, as well as festival food.
Many of these fairs are set during the Elizabethan period, but time periods can range from Henry the Eighth to eighteen century pirates.  Time travel is encouraged during the fairs and attendees often wear costumes themselves.  Many fairs are designed to look like an English country village, including shops offering items of the period. Some will have a fantasy element with wizards, witches, centaurs, and dragons. Jousting is a popular activity, too, as are Shakespearean plays, jugglers, and singers.  Games can include ax throwing and archery. Animal rides and falconry exhibits are also popular.
According to Renaissance, Medieval & Pirate Faire Directory, ( http://www.renfaire.com/Sites/ ) the first Renaissance Fair was held in 1963 in California.  Since then, they’ve grown in popularity around the U.S. A complete listing of fairs held around the U.S .and parts of Canada are listed on their web site. The home page for this site has links to grammar, recipes, costumes and accessories, period games, and links to other useful sites.

Another interesting link to all things related to Renaissance Fairs can be found at http://www.fantasycostume.net/renaissance/renaissancelinks.html. Here, you’ll find links to stores which sell fair clothing, jewelry, weapons, music, and anything else you might need to enhance your fair experience.  This site also lists what they believe to be the best fairs in the country.

My attendance at a local Renaissance Fair was the inspiration for Mirror, Mirror.  I hope all of your readers have an opportunity to experience one of these fun events for themselves.

Lady in Waiting released November 18th from MuseItUp.  Direct buy link: http://tinyurl.com/6u4keh5

Mirror, Mirror will release in December.  The MuseItUp Bookstore buy link: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2


TITLE:  Lady-in-Waiting

Tag Line: Through a series of misunderstandings, Through a series of misunderstandings, Mabriona is forced to live a lie, but when the man she loves awakes from his coma, will she confess her deceit?

Blurb: Mabriona is cousin to the beautiful and spoiled Princess Alana.  When Alana is forced to marry a man she despises, Mabriona is torn between her loyalty to her cousin and her attraction to the handsome Prince Blayne.

Tragedy befalls the cousins on the way to Prince Blayne’s castle.  Servants, believing Mabriona to be Alana, refuse to listen when she tries to explain.

While she waits for Blayne to recover, Mabriona meets his equally handsome younger brother, Madoc, a bard.

When Blayne awakes, will Mabriona choose life with a future king, will she be sent home in disgrace because of her inadvertent lies, or will Madoc win her love with his poetry?

LADY-IN-WAITING, excerpt:

Mabriona assisted Alana down to the common dining hall as was her duty.  The big room was warmed at both ends by huge hearths.  In honor of Prince Blayne’s arrival, the boards had been scrubbed until they gleamed.  Warm, fresh-baked loaves of bread graced each table, and the delicious aroma made Mabriona’s mouth water as they entered the room.  Jars of honey mead sat within easy reach of all.  Pewter bowls piled high with fresh picked apples and pears were artfully placed. Serving wenches waited, poised, with huge pots of steaming porridge.

King Cedric already sat at the upper table with Prince Blayne at his right hand.  His face lit up with a smile when Alana and Mabriona approached.  His voice boomed as he greeted his daughter, “Here she is, the flower of my life.”

Mabriona’s breath caught in her throat as her eyes met Blayne’s.  As Alana had feared, the young prince was dark-haired with eyes the color of jet, his stature kingly.  Broad shoulders and well-muscled arms nicely filled out his deep purple brocaded doublet. A full beard of coarse black hair covered his cheeks and chin, but what stopped Mabriona was his smile.  Never before had she seen someone’s face light up like the sun rising on a summer’s morn.  Yet, this was what came to her mind.  Clearly, Blayne’s smile was meant for her, but why? 

He stood and walked toward the women.  “Princess Alana,” he said, bowing before Mabriona, his glance speaking words of heat and passion.

“Oh no, Your Highness,” Mabriona said, blushing.  “I am Princess Alana’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Mabriona.”  She felt Alana glaring daggers at her and quickly curtseyed to hide her embarrassment.  Alana made it clear earlier she wasn’t attracted to dark-haired men, why is she so angry?  It isn’t my fault the prince was confused. Alana looked down at the floor before glancing up at the handsome prince.

“Forgive me, Lady Mabriona.  I’ve made an unthinkable error.”  Prince Blayne bowed again and then turned to Alana.  “Your Highness, your beauty should have made it clear to me you are my intended.”

Mabriona’s heart sunk.  She saw Alana’s cold look as Blayne bowed and took her hand to kiss. She knew then that Alana hated him, yet Alana would marry him as her father decreed.  It was unfair, but Mabriona was already wise enough to know she couldn’t change her lot in life.  Alana would marry the handsome prince and live happily ever after, and she would remain the ever-faithful servant catering to Princess Alana’s every wish.

Blayne grasped Alana’s elbow and led her to the table to sit beside him. Yet as Mabriona watched them, Blayne’s gaze slid back to her, lingering as if he could imprint her image upon his soul.  Her knees felt weak, and Mabriona quickly took a seat at the far end of the board.  Her heart beat rapidly in her chest.  What was happening to her? Prince Blayne was not the first man to have caught her eye, yet he was certainly the first to have affected her so she could barely breathe.  Unobserved and temporarily forgotten, she watched the couple.  Just as she suspected, Alana kept her nose in the air and cringed each time Blayne looked at or touched her.  King Cedric would get an earful as soon as Alana got him alone, of that Mabriona was certain.  Her heart bled for the handsome prince.

She looked up to see Alana motioning furiously at her.  She went to the princess and bent near her.  “Yes, Princess?”

“Get me out of here, now,” Alana whispered harshly.

Mabriona offered her hand, and Alana rose from her place.  Blayne looked up, catching Mabriona’s gaze.  His eyes sparkled, and a smile spread across his face.  He bowed his head slightly.  He openly flirted with her.  This could not be happening.  If King Cedric saw the interplay, what would he think?  Blayne was the intended of Alana. Things could not get any worse.  Her thoughts tumbled like the bones the guards threw when they played at betting games. 

TITLE: Mirror, Mirror

Tag Line: Lindsey Baker’s purchase of an antique mirror sends her back in time to salvage a love torn apart by class restrictions.

Blurb: Lindsey Baker is intrigued by everything about the middle ages, but when she purchases an antique mirror and a costume to attend a Renaissance Faire, she suddenly finds herself transported back in time.  There she finds she’s been called by a witch to right a terrible wrong. 

Graham loves Prudence, but he can’t marry her because he’s landed gentry, and she is only the baker’s daughter.  Before Lindsey can return to her own time, she must convince Graham to marry against his father’s wishes.  Unfortunately, she also finds herself falling for the handsome gentleman.
MIRROR, MIRROR excerpt:

“Fool-born child!  Watch where you are walking. The master will have your hide for getting mud all over his clean shirts.” 

Someone pulled her ear—hard—and Lindsey yelped with pain.  She was tugged up into a kneeling, then standing position, before she opened her eyes.  She realized in the first moment she was no longer in Oregon.

“Where is your cap?  If the master sees you with your hair hanging down all over your face, he will switch us both.” 

She stared wide-eyed as a large, buxom woman bent down, picked up dirty white shirts from the ground, and thrust them into Lindsey’s arms.

“‘Tis not here. Take my extra one.”  The woman grabbed Lindsey’s hair, balled it, and shoved it into a long, sleeve-like cap, which came to Lindsey’s forehead and fell down around her shoulders.  Balancing the load of shirts with one hand, she felt the cap.  Not a shred of her hair was showing. 

“Um, thanks,” she said.

“Well, donna be thanking me now.  You just watch what you be doing next time, clumsy girl.  Now march back into the washhouse and get the mud off those shirts.  When you have finished, hang them out to dry. Then get you into the kitchen and help cook with dinner.”  The woman brushed her hands off; then she smoothed her apron and marched through a courtyard toward a large stone house.

Dumbfounded, Lindsey stood where the woman left her.  She looked down at herself and saw she still wore her second-hand clothes from St. Vincent de Paul’s.  Her feet were bare. Then she noticed the woman walking away from her was also barefooted.  Despite the muddy courtyard, the air was warm and so was the soil.  But where am I?  As she looked around, the structure of the buildings reminded her of pictures from her British History course in college.

In the opposite direction from which the woman took, Lindsey noticed a path leading to a small outbuilding.  Smoke rose from a chimney.  She trudged back to the washhouse, opened the door but stepped back outside when her eyes began to tear, and the heat blasted her face.  Do people actually work under these conditions?  With the door opened, some of the smoke and steam cleared, and she was able to see a large wooden tub sitting on metal legs straddling hot coals. Lindsey dumped the load of shirts into the tub, picked up a stick and stirred the load in the water.  Before long, her muscles ached, and she had blisters on her hands. Once the tears began, there was no stopping them.  Until this point, she hadn’t thought much beyond putting one foot in front of the other.  She collapsed on a small overturned crate and with head in hands, had a good cry.

With red, puffy eyes, and stuffed nose, Lindsey looked up when the door opened.  A wizened old woman leaning on a cane shuffled in.  She looked at Lindsey with questioning eyes.  “Is it really you, Mistress?” she asked.

“What do you mean?  Who am I supposed to be?” Lindsey responded between sobs.

The old woman began to dance.  “It worked!  It worked!”

Lindsey wiped the tears from her eyes with the bottom of her skirt.  “What worked?” she asked, realizing this woman might know what happened.

“Why the summoning I did for Mistress Prudence.  So you’re the one, eh?”  The old woman pinched Lindsey’s cheek and turned Lindsey’s face from side to side to get a good look.

  “Well you do look like the young Mistress.

When are you from, then?”

“You did say when, not where?”

“Of course.  I know you’re not from now, foolish simpkin.  I brung you here.”

“This morning it was 2011.  I’m not sure what year it is now.”

“‘Tis the year 1421, and you need to get busy, little missy.  You need to get the Master to accept Prudence as his bride.  Soon as you do, we can send you back from whence you came.”

Lindsey stood and looked down at the little woman. “Just how do you propose I do that?  Who is this master, anyway?”

“Why, he be the master of the house.  He loves our Prudence, he does, but his father wants him to marry for money.  He’s just distraught our Master is.  I wager you be a smart woman. You can get our Master to marry you. I canna help you anymore, but I’ll be watching you.”  The crone turned and shuffled toward the door.

My author page at MuseItUp Publishing is:


23 comments:

  1. I wouldn't want to live in the middle ages butit's definitely one of my favorite eras to write about! One of my son's best friends had a Celtic wedding and that friend's sister had a Renaissance wedding. I think everyone's fascinated with the era!

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  2. The era was fascinating. I have a friend who writes beautiful stories about it. I love the escape factor. But I'd miss computers. I know, shame on me.

    Thanks for stopping by, Gail.

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  3. Hi Penny! Enjoyed learning more about Renaissance Fairs. We have one in Michigan that I always want to try and go to every year. Still haven't made it, but perhaps I'll get to go next year. : ) Best wishes on your last day of your tour stops.

    Hi Joylene!

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  4. Pick me....Pick me! The books sound amazing.

    Joylene...amazing pictures!!!

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  5. Hi Susanne. At the fair in Prince George they have knights compete in a daring one-on-one jost. It's very exciting. They also do it on houseback. The costumes are stunning. Even the horses are dressed to the nines.

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  6. Thanks, Penny! Merry Christmas. And good luck.

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  7. We attended the Ren. Fair near Holly, MI one year. I could not believe how many came in gorgeous costumes. Lots of fairy wings too...not sure if that is 15th century or fantasy? Some really hysterical comic troupes performances too. Best wishes on your new releases, Penny!

    Oh, Joylene, it must be too late to guess the lake freeze date??? snicker Gorgeous photos...again...

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  8. Joylene, sorry I haven't been by earlier to thank you for hosting me on this last day of my blog tour! I was traveling home from my daughter's where I spent the weekend and was on the road most of the day.

    Gail thank you for sharing your stories. Those weddings sound wonderful. Susanne, I hope you make it to a Ren Fair. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Penny, thanks for following along. Who knows who the lucky winners will be. Janet and Joylene, glad you were able to visit a Ren Fair. Ours had jousting, too, and it was such fun to watch. I'm not sure it would have been as much fun if the "knights" had real steel blades and lances.

    Thanks again, everyone for stopping by.

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  9. I hope you've reach a great many readers on you blog tour, Penny. Your beautiful and intriguing books deserve to be read. Good Luck.

    Lovely blog, Joylene.

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  10. Well, now that Penny's blog tour is ending, what am I going to do with the rest of December? I guess I'll have to go Christmas shopping. H

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  11. Penny, you have me utterly intrigued with Mirror, Mirror! My brother and I have both been either attending or participating in them for over 28 years and a dear friend of mine makes scrying mirrors. I create costumes for them. Thank you for a glimpse into both your new books!

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  12. Well I certainly am going to think twice the next time I go to the annual local Renaissance Fair, lol. The concept of Mirror, Mirror is certainly intriguing.

    ~Chelle
    http://ChelleCordero.com
    ChelleCordero@gmail.com

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  13. Wendy, , nice to "see" you again. Thanks for following along and commenting. Heather, have fun shopping! Looking forward to visiting your blog in January. Mistralwynde, 28 years! I'm impressed. Sounds like great fun and what a wonderful way to get involved with Ren Fairs. Chelle, just don't buy an old mirror, LOL. Thanks to everyone who stopped to comment. I'll be drawing the names later this week.

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  14. Hi Penny, I had no idea Renaissance Fairs were so popular in the US. Over here in Europe, it's rather the middle ages people like to reenact. I've been to quite a few and thoroughly enjoyed the 'make believe' atmosphere. What a should it would have been for me to find myself thrown back in time to those 'darker ages'. As an audio book fan, I'd probably have enjoyed the songs and tales of the bards, but as a woman I wouldn't have been allowed to spin my own yarn. Not in public anyway.

    I'm still hoping I'll win a copy of Mirror, Mirror. If not, I'll certainly buy won.

    Great blog tour! There are always new gems to discover.

    I wish you great success with both your new releases.

    Edith

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  15. @Janet, I'm disappointed I forgot to have a "Lake Freeze" contest. I love hearing everyone's guess, then watching closely as the lake freezes. Guess I have no excuse but to get to work. Thanks so much for stopping by and cheering for Penny.

    @Penny, I'm glad you reached home safe and sound. It's a scary time of year to travel, even if you have no snow. Drivers have much too much on their minds.

    @Thanks for the kind words, Wendy. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    @Heather, I know what you mean. Shopping... oh well. LOL Somebody has to do it.

    @Mistralwynde, being an artist is such a wonderful thing. Have you posted pics of your costumes somewhere? I'd love to see them.

    @Chelle, hi. Glad you stopped by. And for sure, don't buy an old mirror. haha. I know, old joke.

    @Edith, welcome. It's so nice of you to stop by. Wishing you great success with your ebook.

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  16. Another excellent post Penny! So happy to see you making such waves in the big pond of the internet. You won't be a small fish in this pond for much longer!
    ckvolnek at yahoo.com
    C.K. Volnek

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  17. I'm so glad you were able to stop by, Charlie. Penny is indeed a treasure. Merry Christmas.

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  18. Joylene, I always love visiting your blog and what a treat to follow Penny here.
    This has been a highly entertaining blog tour full of new snippets of information to squirrel away.
    Those Renaissance Fairs sound such fun. Can't wait to find a scrying mirror LOL

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  19. It's so nice to see you, Anne. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, our Penny is a true gift. Merry Christmas.

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  20. Wonderful book covers! Both books sound interesting, especially Mirror, Mirror.

    chergreen1@gmail.com

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  21. Cher, you're going to love her books. Good luck on the giveaway.

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  22. HI! AWESOME PICTURES AND I'D DIE QUICKLY IF I LIVED IN THE MIDDLE AGES AS I CAN'T CONTROL MY MOUTH! LOL
    linda_bass@sbcglobal.net

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  23. Linda, I sort of know what you mean. I have two sons that can't control theirs. It would be scary if we were living in that time. I'd be a lot greyer.

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