Sunday, 26 May 2013

This and That

Hi everyone and thanks for dropping by.

I went to my very first writing thingy last Wednesday in Melbourne. I’ve been writing full time for the past two years. I’m a member of the RWA (Australia), Historical Hearts and The Dark Side Downunder but this was the first writing event I have ever attended. It was very interesting and well worth the hour and a half drive to get there.

The event was hosted by That Book You Like –  and presented by Kate Cuthbert, Managing Editor from Escape Publishing (the new digital publishing arm of Harlequin). Kate was joined by the authors Rhian Cahill and Charmaine Ross. They shared their experiences, advice and tips on publishing and writing.

I really enjoyed the evening – I also managed to nab a door prize (a USB in a shape of a key loaded with several books from Escape Publishing)... so yay me!


In other news, I’ve finished the edits for ‘Rain’ and sent them back to my editor.  'Rain' is one of my favourite stories – I know, I know we’re not meant to play the favourite game... but I do really love it! I’ve also submitted a couple of manuscripts (fingers crossed) and started a new story.


Nicóle  xx


Friday, 17 May 2013


Hi everyone, and thanks for stopping by!

I’ve been locked away in my turret, working on the edits for my paranormal romance, Rain. They are shaping up nicely and I hope to have them finished by the end of the weekend. *fingers crossed*

Rain is a paranormal story which is set against a medieval background. Nuri is an artisan and painter of religious frescoes. After the death of her father, she wants to be left alone. Instead she finds herself torn between two men. The story deals with different aspects of love – sacrifice, light and redemption versus obsession and darkness. I really enjoyed writing Rain and I hope you will come to love Nuri and Maras as much as I do. J

Here’s the blurb

    On the mountain, high above the village of Farran – Nuri is caught between heaven and hell. Two men fight for her love and her soul. The first is Maras, an elemental being that follows the storms. Blessed with silver hair, ice grey eyes and skin that heals with water, Nuri knows that he is not human, he’s something more. She believes Maras is her beautiful fallen angel. The other is Erebus, a pious monk sent by the Church, whose tortured soul is twisted by his desire for Nuri.

    Nuri must choose whether to follow her heart or be tied to the edict of the Church and village. Maras is transient and is bound to the elements and their love may be as fleeting as the storm itself. But Nuri may sacrifice more than her heart when the Church brands her angel a demon. As Brother Erebus will do anything to protect her soul from the silver haired devil, even if he has to crush her body to do it.


Other than that, I’ve been playing around with some banners for the website. Actually, I have to admit I badgered my son into playing around with banners. Hmmm... not sure which colour I like best????


Nicóle  xx

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Medieval Food

Hi everyone,

The subject of medieval food is wide and varied. What you ate would have depended not only on which estate you were born (clergy, aristocracy or peasantry) but also the seasons, beliefs and where you resided. Added to that, wars, bad weather and failed crops sparked food shortages and famine.  So this post is a broad overview and covers the bare bones (no pun intended) of food of the middle ages.

 It was believed that the body was governed by the four Humours. These were four different fluids which were produced by different organs within the body – Black bile, Phlegm, Blood and Yellow bile. For a person to be healthy and remain healthy these Humours must be balanced. This balance was achieved through medicine, practices such as bloodletting (lovely!) and through diet.

The Humours corresponded to a particular temperament, organ, nature, element and even a season.

Black Bile – Melancholic – Spleen – Cold Dry – Earth – autumn - Saturn

Yellow Bile – Choleric – Gall Bladder – Warm Dry – Fire – summer - Mars

Blood – Sanguine – Head – Warm Wet – Air – spring - Venus

Phlegm – Phlegmatic – Lungs – Cold Wet – Water – winter – Moon Goddess

So for some medieval cooks, having and balancing the four Humours in a meal was sometimes more important than the taste. During a meal (particularly in a wealthy household) the different dishes would compliment and counter balance each other. For example, fish was seen as being cold and wet and would be served with spice and sauces which were seen as hot and dry.

Another belief was that food was ranked in order of importance by its closeness to heaven. Basically in a descending order – Sky (birds), Ocean (fish, shellfish etc.), Earth (cattle, pigs, sheep etc.), Earth (trees & bushes) and then finally, Ground (vegetables).

While the aristocracy’s diet was varied, the peasant diet was much more limited. In good years, peasants grew vegetables and herbs in their small gardens or a small strip of land in the fields. Common vegetables would have been cabbage, legumes, onions and spinach along with herbs such as garlic and parsley. Fruit trees included apple, cherry and pear. Important components of their diet were pottage (a soup like stew made from vegetables, herb and bread crumbs), ale (made from barley, rye, herbs, honey and water), and dark, brown bread made from barley and rye. Depending on the household there could also have been milk, cheese, eggs, butter, chicken, fish and pork (seasonal). Generally, because of the lack of grazing land in winter, the pigs were usually slaughtered around Christmas. If it was possible, the peasants kept the other animals (cows, sheep & chickens) alive as they could provide more than just meat.

Meat and fish were preserved by salting it. There were two methods, dry and brine curing. With dry salting, the food was covered with salt and allowed to cure for five to eight days. Whereas the brine method had the food soaked in salty water for two to three days. The salted food was then hung on hooks and left to dry; after which it was stored in barrels. It could last up to three months.

They preserved fruit and herbs by drying them in the sun; and vegetables were bottled with brine and vinegar.

Hmm... it seems to me, we have only just scratched the surface. I might have to break this up into more than one post.

Thanks for dropping by.

Nicóle   xx
Image - Public Domain.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Seizing Heaven

Hi everyone,

So I’m feeling a wee bit smug. I’ve managed to finish the first draft of ‘Seizing Heaven’ in just over a month. Yes, I know there are a heap of authors who can write entire novels in that time period – but for me it is an achievement. ‘Seizing Heaven’ is the second book in the Foxwoods Annals; the first was ‘Capturing Bliss.’

The story takes place just over a hundred years after William & Blissot. It deals with the new Lord Reynard, Savaric. He is intent on marrying the widow of Blackstone Manor, that is, until fate and the Reynard betrothal ring get in the way. On his way to meet the widow, Savaric is waylaid by Rosamund, an artist and a traveller. You can run from Fate, but somehow it always seems to catch you in the end. This is a lesson that Savaric should have taken to heart.

I’m excited to revisit Foxwoods Hall and the Reynard family... especially the Reynard men! (Oh dear, I think I’m developing a taste for them. J)

 I liked the thought of visiting a family through pinpoints in its history. To explore the traits, beliefs and traditions that can bind a family together and help it endure.

So, does the Reynard betrothal ring really have the power to choose the true bride? Or is it just a quaint family legend? Sorry, I’m not telling – perhaps you will find the answer in Seizing Heaven!


Warm Regards,

Nicóle  xx
Image - Public Domain