16th century

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE – A PREVIEW

Since it’s holiday season once again, it’s time to advertise my own books, available on Amazon (http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud). I’ve included an excerpt below, a bit of a love scene from my  historical fiction novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade. There are six short books for sale as well, including An Army Brat in Libya.

I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction and became enchanted with the 16th century some years ago when I attended Southern California Renaissance Faires. My fictional character, Melaynie Morgan, lives in Plymouth, England, and when she decides to turn her traditional world upside down, she embarks on a sailing adventure with Francis Drake, a daring Plymouth captain. Drake is sailing to the Caribbean to plunder Spanish treasure; thinking he has met an enthusiastic young boy, he hires Melaynie as his cabin boy. What a masquerade she accomplishes before Drake and his crew sail back to England a year later!

Mel book cover #1

The following is a preview of one of the love scenes between Melaynie and Bernardino from the book. She is guiding him to his tent on the Caribbean island beach:

Bernardino leaned upon her once more in case someone spotted them, and they walked quickly but stealthily the short distance to the tent.

“No need for a candle or lantern, sweeting, there’s a bit of moonlight through the opening. I have memorized your face and I know where all your important parts are,” Bernardino said, desire heating up his words, making them expand and surround her.

“Mmm…you have all the perfect words for me, my heart,” Melaynie answered as she lovingly touched the dimples of his smile and pulled his head down to meet her eager lips. She could feel his excitement now, heightened by her forward moves. She liked the feeling of taking charge that pretending to be a male gave her; it would enhance her lovemaking. She was not as innocent as the first time, and the power of knowledge created a white heat that coursed through her body.

Through open lips, her tongue explored his mouth. When she withdrew it, she kissed his cheeks as she ran her fingers through his thick dark hair. Her fingers caressed his neck and the short beard on his strong chin before finding their way to his chest and the nipples through the open neck of the loose shirt. She remembered the extreme pleasure he had given her and excited herself by being the aggressor. Tugging at his shirt, she pulled it out from his breeches. Sensing her mood, he opened his arms to allow her to remove the shirt.

She stepped back, appraising him. “Hmm…a fine specimen of manhood we have here.” A step forward and she was unfastening his breeches and undergarment and running her hands slowly down his hips. The hands moved softly and tenderly toward his engorged member.

To find out what happens next, you will have to read the book, which can be ordered from Amazon.

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE TELEPLAY

Shortly after I published my historical fiction novel, Melaynie’s Masquerade, I was exploring ways of promoting the book. One of my most unique ideas was to create a teleplay and film it at a local TV channel in Westlake Village, near my home at that time.  I was no expert in filming but luckily I had plenty of help with a volunteer camera crew. My best ally was John Kilpatrick, Director of Theater at Agoura High School who became Francis Drake. He had no problem with costumes since he had been a part of a vocal ensemble for the annual Renaissance Faire. He even wrote a song about the book and accompanied himself on his mandolin. I found my Melaynie through the Young Artists group in Thousand Oaks.  Pardon the inconsistencies in the formatting. The dialog is in 16th century style.

John Kilpatrick, Me, and

John Kilpatrick as Drake, Me, the Author, and Genna Allen as Christopher/Melaynie

 

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE TELEPLAY 

Camera focuses on blown-up copy of book artwork to the sound of John Kilpatrick as Francis Drake playing and singing Renaissance song on mandolin as title sequence rolls – 10-15 SEC..

CAMERA CLOSE-UPS:

BOOK ON DESK – 10 SEC,   Mel book cover 2

SHIP ON DESK – 10 SEC.,

AUTHOR’S HAND ON DESK AS SHE TAKES PEN AND STARTS WRITING – 10 SEC.

YOUNG CHRISTOPHER SITTING AT EDGE OF STAGE – 10 SEC.

The author starts to read and camera focuses on AUTHOR for 10-15 Sec. Camera then focuses back on CHRISTOPHER at edge of stage.

AUTHOR reads:

“She awoke abruptly, her heart pounding, her upper body drenched in sweat. It was the same dream, one that she had had since childhood. Strangely though, it was repeating this spring every few nights. She sat up and shook her head to dispel the vision as she lifted the heavy blond tresses off her sweating shoulders. A bare hint of daylight filtered through the bed curtains. She looked down at the curls that cascaded over the pale, cambric night-raile that hid her small breasts. The sight of her thick and wavy hair brought back a flash of the dream…..”

Hmm, I do like the way I started this. What an adventure she had….

Camera focuses on:   Francis Drake as he walks onto the set and looks around, puzzled.

DRAKE

Start what? Are you talking of my adventure?

Camera focuses on Author .

I’m talking about the beginning of the novel I wrote, which is an adventure, that’s what. But who are you?

Camera focuses on Drake

DRAKE

Francis Drake, at your service.

(He bows down with a flourish, then he looks around again with a quizzical look)

Where am I?

(He walks to the desk and picks up the author’s book)

Is this one of the latest books from the printing press? I haven’t seen anything like it before, but the ship appeals to me.

(He looks around again as he puts the book back).

What the devil is keeping my captain’s boy? I sent him for the compendium, and he hasn’t returned. This doesn’t look like my cabin.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Slow down, Sir Francis. I can’t believe it’s you. I must be dreaming. It isn’t even time for you to appear in my book yet.

Camera on Drake

DRAKE

Sir Francis? Would that I were. Are you a witch, prophesying my future? Is that why you’ve called me here?

(He keeps looking around,  shaking his head to clear up his vision)

AUTHOR

Well, you could say I’m a witch. I must have conjured you up. Or did you wander over from some Renaissance Faire?

DRAKE

A faire? Be you daft, Madame? I’m aboard my ship, the Pasco, and ye may be assured there are no women there! So you must be a witch.

AUTHOR

No women… well, none that you’d know of. You do play a prominent part in my book, MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE. 

DRAKE

God’s Faith! Now you’ve got me all a-puzzle. Who is Melaynie, pray tell? And where is Christopher, my captain’s boy?

I sent him on an errand, before you so rudely called me here.

 AUTHOR

(with mischievious smile)   Christopher, you say… hmm. Now Christopher has an important relationship to Melaynie.

But that’s my secret, and hers.

 DRAKE

(loudly in exasperation)

God’s Eyeballs! The minds of women! What has one to do with another? Christopher lad, where is my compendium?

I must check our course. We may be nearer the Caribbean than I thought.

Camera on CHRISTOPHER as she rushes in, out of breath.

CHRISTOPHER

Captain, Captain. Here tis.

(She hands him a compass).

DRAKE

This is no compendium! I’ve never seen such a thing. (He looks hard at the Author). Is this another of your trickeries?

AUTHOR

It’s only a modern-day compass. It should get you to the Caribbean.

Camera on Christopher and Drake

CHRISTOPHER
(She catches sight of the Author, smiles as if she knows the secret of why she’s here, easily accepting the Author’s presence. She turns back to Drake)          Aye Captain. I’ve never seen such as that, not even in the print shop.

DRAKE

The print shop? Tis a strange dream I’m having. Books, print shops. I’m trying to sail a ship and keep my men alive and healthy.

CHRISTOPHER         

(She looks dreamy, remembering).

Captain Drake, ‘tis my father’s print shop I was speaking of. The Odyssey, ‘twas the book I was reading that must have inspired this masquerade. ‘Tis the male sex that have all the adventures. What’s a poor girl to do but dream? Of course I did do something about it.

DRAKE

Child, what are you prattling on about?

AUTHOR

Melaynie… Oops, I mean Christopher, just because I’m here, don’t get carried away. Your captain never finds out your secret.

CHRISTOPHER

(saucily, betraying girlish ways)

Of course not. Men can be dull creatures! Not Francis Drake, mind you, but he had too much affection for me to see past my disguise.

(She does a little dance).

DRAKE

(He turns to Author and in a  very self-assured manner proclaims…)

If ‘tis you, Good Lady, bedeviling me with this dream. reverse it back, I implore ye, afore I lose my mind and bearings. Let me awaken from this business. The Carib Sea awaits, where I am determined upon taking Spanish treasure. Twill be full of danger, but the rewards will be great. I mean to make my fortune, with aplenty for my men as well. (He gently taps Christopher on the shoulder)   Even for young Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER

(she looks at him with imploring look)

Prithee, Good Captain, am I to be part of these perilous sports?

DRAKE

Young Christopher, upon that I shall ponder. Beguile us no longer Good Witch. My duty calls.

Camera on Author

AUTHOR

Farewell, I bid thee be gone.

(she waves her hands and the two disappear).

What an incredible imagination I must have. Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes,

She turns back to her pen and paper.

Her hair wasn’t blond in her dream; it was very definitely red. Cherry red.. And plenty of it. It was her hair, she was positive of that. But there was a full and equally red mustache and beard. On her chin. She touched the soft flesh of her full cheeks and slightly pointed chin. Her stubborn chin, as her beloved brother David called it. Why was she continually dreaming that she was a man? And such a man! In her horned metal helmet she towered over her companions.”

Camera focuses on Drake playing mandolin and singing and then credits roll

MELAYNIE’S LAMENT

A fair young maid in a house of men

Three brothers and a father dear

On whom she waited both hand and foot

All seasons of the year.

 

Yet none could know that in her dreams

Another life did call

Where lives were sold for Spanish gold

And a boy ain’t what he seems

 

The fair young lass had had enough

And signed on with a crew

With ringlets shorn, on a cold gray morn

She bid her world adieu

 

As cabin boy to Capt. Drake

For adventure she set sail

Her comfort sold for Spanish gold

And therein hangs a tale.

 

 

 

 

 

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE–HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Every few weeks I must remind myself that one of the reasons I write this blog is to promote my books, long and short, especially my historical fiction Melaynie’s Masquerade. I’m offering a teaser about the first stirrings of romance between Melaynie, an English girl, and Bernardino, a Spaniard.  I published my book on Amazon as an Ebook. The link to Amazon is in the upper right of this page or follow the link which will also show the other small books I’ve written: http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

My book is full of true adventure (Essentially, only my heroine and her family are fictional) and romance. I’ve even written a couple of sex scenes. After all, the 50 Shades books are all the rage!  Read below for a sample of the romance that develops:

 

With Drake’s humorous admonition to be careful with their guest, Melaynie carried a lantern to show Bernardino to his private tent at evening’s end.

In the light of a bright moon, whose rays poured through the wide opening of the small quarters, Bernardino found and immediately sat down on the portable cot. Tired from the day’s excitement and mellowed to the point of sleepiness by the wine, he languidly watched as the young captain’s boy placed the lantern on an empty cask, thinking as he watched of his young sister.  Why was he thinking of his sister; was it the way this young boy moved, or simply the beauty of youth?

He leaned back and began to remove his doublet, welcoming the cooler night air on his skin.  Remembering the music and the caress of the night breeze, he felt relaxed and sensual. Melaynie’s body and face were profiled in the moonlight.  What a lovely young boy, Bernardino reflected  as he studied the fine facial features and golden hair. He lazily watched the lantern’s flickering light, his feelings of arousal fanned by its glow. How agreeable it would have been to have a woman to love, an appropriate climax to a congenial evening.

Framed by the moonlight, the boy continued to stand, leaning toward the lantern, like a moth to the flame, his eyes mesmerized by the flame. From his angle lounging on the cot, Bernardino noticed the boy’s cream-colored shirt had flared outward as he stood there. The material was diaphanous enough that the lantern’s light revealed his naked chest. Bernardino smiled at the pretty picture it made, and then narrowed his eyes, looking again closely, as he sat up slowly, uncertain that what he saw was true.

The lantern had highlighted a pair of delicate breasts, whose outline was clear enough through the linen shirt. This was no boy; he saw the evidence. The breasts were small, but they were present. Had no one else in this English company noticed?  Men could be dense; he had seen how she had been treated as her costume defined her.  A turmoil of feelings assaulted him at this revelation, the excitement of the mystery of her only heightening his stimulated senses. He struggled to compose himself, to dampen his growing ardor, to quiet his racing mind.

Had he been intrigued because some instinct told him of her true gender?  Whatever the mystical reasons, she must not guess he had seen her secret. Searching his mind for clues, he quickly surmised her subterfuge had been well hidden until now and that she was probably older than he had supposed. What had caused this young woman to carry off this masquerade; was she possessed by some unusual traits, a woman who felt herself truly a man? Or was it simply an adventure she sought, a desire to break from the traditional female role in her society?  Did she feel he was a threat; was that why she had spilled the wine earlier? These turbulent thoughts raced through his mind in mere seconds.

Mel book cover 0

 

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE – CARIBBEAN ROMANCE

Those readers who check my blog regularly will know that I’ve edited over 100 books for authors of all genres, and I’ve also written a book, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and a screenplay, Drake. I like to share preview tidbits to entice you to read my book, and that’s what I’m presenting this time.

I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction and became enchanted with the 16th century some years ago when I enjoyed attending Southern California Renaissance Faires. My fictional character, Melaynie Morgan, lives in Plymouth, England, and when she decides to turn her traditional world upside down, she embarks on a sailing adventure with Francis Drake, a daring Plymouth captain. Drake is sailing to the Caribbean to plunder Spanish treasure; thinking he has met an enthusiastic young boy, he hires Melaynie as his cabin boy. What a masquerade she accomplishes before Drake and his crew sail back to England a year later!

Melaynie's Masquerade - book cover

Melaynie’s Masquerade – book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite her disguise, Melaynie finds romance. The following is a scene from Chapter 51: “My love, my love,” she murmured, pulling herself from his arms and his bed as she reached for her clothes in the small hours of the morning darkness.

         “Melaynie,” he whispered sleepily and stroked her back. “What can I say or do?”

         “There is nothing to say, Bernardino.” She loved saying his name in all its parts, like the beginning of a poem. She bit her lip to hold back tears or the feelings that might ultimately betray her. “Goodbye, my love.”

         Except for the whizzing sounds of insects and the sounds of waves washing upon the not too distant shore, all was quiet in camp as she stepped quickly outside. Celebrators were long in bed or passed out where they had fallen from over-imbibing.

         Their lovemaking had been so insistent and passionate that her limbs felt heavy. They were both sated, but their hours together would have to last a lifetime. She had spent her coin of emotion and feeling for now and felt numb. She dreaded the rush of desire and ache of love that she knew would return in force when she fully awoke in the morning. Worse yet, she would have to bid him goodbye in a casual fashion. It would be the ultimate test of her masquerade.

         Robert did not wake when she crept in. Even if he had, she knew him to be an accepting, unquestioning man, not eager to pry into anyone’s private business. He had long ago made it clear that he did not wish to share what personal life he had left in England, nor was he interested in hers.

         To find out how the book ends in Part 2, Melaynie’s Masquerade is available on Amazon.

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE — A TEASER

Adventures on the sea are always popular. Two new films–“Captain Philips” with Tom Hanks and “All is Lost” with Robert Redford are bound to capture lots of interest. I’ve always enjoyed that genre in movies and books, just as I enjoyed my own adventures on a US Navy ship in the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic Ocean back in the 1950s.

Writing a novel, especially in the historical fiction genre, is a daunting task. A few years ago I took on the challenge. I had always loved history and for many years had attended Renaissance Pleasure Faires in Southern California. I knew something about Shakespeare since I was an English major in college and had seen many Shakespeare plays and films. It seemed liked a natural thing to do. Besides, I’d already written a screenplay about Francis Drake, the English sea captain who was known for his pirate activities against the Spanish in the Caribbean in the 16th century. Since it was damn difficult to finance a movie, especially a sea epic, I had the brilliant idea of taking the elements of the script, add a fictional heroine and, presto, I’d have a book. A lot of effort went into more historical research and almost five years later I had a book. After all that time and no luck finding an agent right away, I was impatient to have it published. I chose the self-publishing route when the idea was fairly new and easy. Since then I’ve also published it on Amazon as an Ebook. The link to Amazon is in the upper right of this page or follow the link: http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

My book is full of true adventure (Essentially, only my heroine and her family are fictional) and romance. I’ve even written a couple of sex scenes. After all the 50 Shades books are all the rage!  See below for a teaser about the romance that develops:

 

With Drake’s humorous admonition to be careful with their guest, Melaynie carried a lantern to show Bernardino to his private tent at evening’s end.

In the light of a bright moon, whose rays poured through the wide opening of the small quarters, Bernardino found and immediately sat down on the portable cot. Tired from the day’s excitement and mellowed to the point of sleepiness by the wine, he languidly watched as the young captain’s boy placed the lantern on an empty cask, thinking as he watched of his young sister.  Why was he thinking of his sister; was it the way this young boy moved, or simply the beauty of youth?

He leaned back and began to remove his doublet, welcoming the cooler night air on his skin.  Remembering the music and the caress of the night breeze, he felt relaxed and sensual. Melaynie’s body and face were profiled in the moonlight.  What a lovely young boy, Bernardino reflected  as he studied the fine facial features and golden hair. He lazily watched the lantern’s flickering light, his feelings of arousal fanned by its glow. How agreeable it would have been to have a woman to love, an appropriate climax to a congenial evening.

Framed by the moonlight, the boy continued to stand, leaning toward the lantern, like a moth to the flame, his eyes mesmerized by the flame. From his angle lounging on the cot, Bernardino noticed the boy’s cream-colored shirt had flared outward as he stood there. The material was diaphanous enough that the lantern’s light revealed his naked chest. Bernardino smiled at the pretty picture it made, and then narrowed his eyes, looking again closely, as he sat up slowly, uncertain that what he saw was true.

The lantern had highlighted a pair of delicate breasts, whose outline was clear enough through the linen shirt. This was no boy; he saw the evidence. The breasts were small, but they were present. Had no one else in this English company noticed?  Men could be dense; he had seen how she had been treated as her costume defined her.  A turmoil of feelings assaulted him at this revelation, the excitement of the mystery of her only heightening his stimulated senses. He struggled to compose himself, to dampen his growing ardor, to quiet his racing mind.

Had he been intrigued because some instinct told him of her true gender?  Whatever the mystical reasons, she must not guess he had seen her secret. Searching his mind for clues, he quickly surmised her subterfuge had been well hidden until now and that she was probably older than he had supposed. What had caused this young woman to carry off this masquerade; was she possessed by some unusual traits, a woman who felt herself truly a man? Or was it simply an adventure she sought, a desire to break from the traditional female role in her society?  Did she feel he was a threat; was that why she had spilled the wine earlier? These turbulent thoughts raced through his mind in mere seconds.

Mel book cover 0

 

WRITING MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE

The cover of my historical fiction novel
Check out my book on Amazon with the link, AMAZON PUBLICATIONS,  on the top right of this blog page.

Writing a book is a fascinating process, a great deal of it unconscious. During the act of creation, you’re thinking about the story, planning how you’re going to do it, making notes, maybe using index cards for the various scenes. In my case, since I wrote an historical fiction novel, I needed to do lots of research into the 16th century, and I loved the process. The Internet wasn’t the effective tool it is today and I used libraries for most of my research.

When I needed to describe a 16th century ship or the variety of clothing worn then, I headed for the children’s section of bookstores or libraries. Picture books were just the thing. I had to know how my heroine was going to accomplish her daring feat, how she would look, and  how her family home might look. The various Time-Life historical series were also a great help; they always had lots of graphics. I’ve always been a history buff and had attended many a Renaissance Faire where I’d seen Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake in action, not to mention all the hired characters and faire-goers in costume.

It doesn’t take long before the story and its characters take control. You’re living with them in your head, so no wonder. Many authors verify that oddity. Behind-the-scenes, your subconscious and your own past mingle together in the ethers, at least that’s how I explain it. I did a lot of creating while I was swimming in a pool. Water was the best element to get my “flow” going, especially since I was devising a sea adventure.

I finished the book, after five years of creating, letting it lie dormant and then recreating. During one of my last readings/proofing of the book, I began to realize why many of my feelings had come forward, unconsciously, in the book. I had given my heroine a kindly, generous father and three brothers who spoiled her. She needed one brother’s help to fulfill her dream adventure of sailing with Francis Drake on one of his early voyages to the Caribbean.

My stepfather, the US Army officer who raised me, was a very thrifty taskmaster. He saved his charm for others, his strong sense of discipline for the  family. How clever and comforting for me to create an imaginary father I would have completely enjoyed!  What fun to be the heroine who succeeds in her adventure! Plus, interestingly enough, actual history made it easy to manipulate and blend real facts with my imagination.

Being an Army brat has fed my sense of adventure but I can’t compare my exploits to Melaynie, my heroine.  I’ve crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times and the Mediterranean twice, which probably made it easier for me to relate to an ocean voyage.  Melaynie has many of my traits—how could she not! Her feminist ideas were mostly mine, but I wasn’t consciously creating them. All these factors snuck up on me! Or did they?

Tin replica of a 16th century Spanish ship — my hint of creative things to come, purchased 15 years before I started writing my book.

MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE SAMPLE

Writing a novel, especially in the historical fiction genre, is a daunting task. A few years ago I took on the challenge. I had always loved history and for many years had attended Renaissance Pleasure Faires in Southern California. I knew something about Shakespeare since I was an English major in college and had seen many Shakespeare plays and films. It seemed liked a natural thing to do. Besides, I’d already written a screenplay about Francis Drake, the English sea captain who was known for his pirate activities against the Spanish in the Caribbean in the 16th century. Since it was damn difficult to finance a movie, especially a sea epic, I had the brilliant idea of taking the elements of the script, add a fictional heroine and, presto, I’d have a book. A lot of effort went into more historical research and almost five years later I had a book. After all that time and no luck finding an agent right away, I was impatient to have it published. I chose the self-publishing route when the idea was fairly new and easy. Since then I’ve also published it on Amazon as an Ebook. The link to Amazon is in the upper right of this page or follow the link: http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

My book is full of true adventure (Essentially, only my heroine and her family are fictional) and romance. I’ve even written a couple of sex scenes. After all the 50 Shades books are all the rage!  See below for a teaser about the romance that develops:

 

With Drake’s humorous admonition to be careful with their guest, Melaynie carried a lantern to show Bernardino to his private tent at evening’s end.

In the light of a bright moon, whose rays poured through the wide opening of the small quarters, Bernardino found and immediately sat down on the portable cot. Tired from the day’s excitement and mellowed to the point of sleepiness by the wine, he languidly watched as the young captain’s boy placed the lantern on an empty cask, thinking as he watched of his young sister.  Why was he thinking of his sister; was it the way this young boy moved, or simply the beauty of youth?

He leaned back and began to remove his doublet, welcoming the cooler night air on his skin.  Remembering the music and the caress of the night breeze, he felt relaxed and sensual. Melaynie’s body and face were profiled in the moonlight.  What a lovely young boy, Bernardino reflected  as he studied the fine facial features and golden hair. He lazily watched the lantern’s flickering light, his feelings of arousal fanned by its glow. How agreeable it would have been to have a woman to love, an appropriate climax to a congenial evening.

Framed by the moonlight, the boy continued to stand, leaning toward the lantern, like a moth to the flame, his eyes mesmerized by the flame. From his angle lounging on the cot, Bernardino noticed the boy’s cream-colored shirt had flared outward as he stood there. The material was diaphanous enough that the lantern’s light revealed his naked chest. Bernardino smiled at the pretty picture it made, and then narrowed his eyes, looking again closely, as he sat up slowly, uncertain that what he saw was true.

The lantern had highlighted a pair of delicate breasts, whose outline was clear enough through the linen shirt. This was no boy; he saw the evidence. The breasts were small, but they were present. Had no one else in this English company noticed?  Men could be dense; he had seen how she had been treated as her costume defined her.  A turmoil of feelings assaulted him at this revelation, the excitement of the mystery of her only heightening his stimulated senses. He struggled to compose himself, to dampen his growing ardor, to quiet his racing mind.

Had he been intrigued because some instinct told him of her true gender?  Whatever the mystical reasons, she must not guess he had seen her secret. Searching his mind for clues, he quickly surmised her subterfuge had been well hidden until now and that she was probably older than he had supposed. What had caused this young woman to carry off this masquerade; was she possessed by some unusual traits, a woman who felt herself truly a man? Or was it simply an adventure she sought, a desire to break from the traditional female role in her society?  Did she feel he was a threat; was that why she had spilled the wine earlier? These turbulent thoughts raced through his mind in mere seconds.

Mel book cover 0

 

MY PROCESS IN WRITING MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE By Victoria Giraud

The cover of my historical fiction novel

Writing a book is a fascinating process, a great deal of it unconscious. During the act of creation, you’re thinking about the story, planning how you’re going to do it, making notes, maybe using index cards for the various scenes. In my case, since I wrote an historical fiction novel, I needed to do lots of research into the 16th century, and I loved the process. The Internet wasn’t the effective tool it is today and I used libraries for most of my research.

When I needed to describe a 16th century ship or the variety of clothing worn then, I headed for the children’s section of bookstores or libraries. Picture books were just the thing. I had to know how my heroine was going to accomplish her daring feat, how she would look, and  how her family home might look. The various Time-Life historical series were also a great help; they always had lots of graphics. I’ve always been a history buff and had attended many a Renaissance Faire where I’d seen Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake in action, not to mention all the hired characters and faire-goers in costume.

It doesn’t take long before the story and its characters take control. You’re living with them in your head, so no wonder. Many authors verify that oddity. Behind-the-scenes, your subconscious and your own past mingle together in the ethers, at least that’s how I explain it. I did a lot of creating while I was swimming in a pool. Water was the best element to get my “flow” going, especially since I was devising a sea adventure.

I finished the book, after five years of creating, letting it lie dormant and then recreating. During one of my last readings/proofing of the book, I began to realize why many of my feelings had come forward, unconsciously, in the book. I had given my heroine a kindly, generous father and three brothers who spoiled her. She needed one brother’s help to fulfill her dream adventure of sailing with Francis Drake on one of his early voyages to the Caribbean.

My stepfather, the US Army officer who raised me, was a very thrifty taskmaster. He saved his charm for others, his strong sense of discipline for the  family. How clever and comforting for me to create an imaginary father I would have completely enjoyed!  What fun to be the heroine who succeeds in her adventure! Plus, interestingly enough, actual history made it easy to manipulate and blend real facts with my imagination.

Being an Army brat has fed my sense of adventure but I can’t compare my exploits to Melaynie, my heroine.  I’ve crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times and the Mediterranean twice, which probably made it easier for me to relate to an ocean voyage.  Melaynie has many of my traits—how could she not! Her feminist ideas were mostly mine, but I wasn’t consciously creating them. All these factors snuck up on me! Or did they?

Tin replica of a 16th century Spanish ship — my hint of creative things to come, purchased 15 years before I started writing my book.

ADVENTURES OF FEMALE HEROINES By Victoria Giraud

Many of us, who used to be called the “gentler” sex, are feeling embattled these days. Rather than point out the challenges, I choose to remember some victories in the struggles over female rights, represented by some real gals and even some fictional heroines. On the news there’s Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton… on TV, the gals in  the new TV sitcom about Dallas, “GCB,” and who can miss seeing and hearing about Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) in the new film “The Hunger Games.” Meryl Streep won the Oscar this year for playing Margaret Thatcher, surely a heroine as Britain’s Prime Minister for so many years.

I created my own heroine, Melaynie Morgan, for my historical fiction, MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE. It’s for sale on Amazon in both softcover and e-book format. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be posting what I hope are intriguing tidbits from my novel. If you, my blog readers, are interested in purchasing a version of my book, go to:  http://www.amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

Melaynie, disguised as a captain’s boy, is sailing to the Caribbean with Captain Francis Drake and his crew.  Her adventure is not without peril. Sent to the Captain’s cabin for Drake’s compendium, here is what follows:

Her inquisitive, intelligent face made him laugh.  What a good natured, willing captain’s boy he was, Drake reflected.

“’Tis yet another instrument to aid in navigation.   Has a sundial. I’m fortunate it was a gift; I personally think it too small and fanciful to be of much use or accuracy, though I’m willing to experiment with it again.”

“Right away, Captain.”

Full of energy she raced down the steps of the companionway.  Just as she was about to open the cabin door, she felt a hand on her buttocks, a far too friendly hand, bent on something other than good fellowship.  The hand squeezed the well-rounded cheek firmly and then there were two hands firmly grasping both buttocks and moving to grasp her missing testicles.  She shuddered, outraged at this unwanted familiarity.   She turned around abruptly to face the dark-haired sailor with the walleye, a fellow she had since found to be named Jerome.  His good eye was fixed lasciviously upon her crotch.  She had no doubts what he was about.  She shuddered again, involuntarily, and grimaced.  He smiled at her distaste, as if he were used to this reaction and expected it.  His teeth were dark, one of the front ones missing and a fetid, noxious odor came from his mouth and body.

His build was slight. He was taller and probably stronger than she was, but he had no idea of her determination.  She would yell if she had to, but she sized him up quickly as a coward who would prefer to intimidate her, using sly ways to force his will upon her.  He might be satisfied with the occasional fondle until he saw the best opportunity to take full advantage.  She counted on her wits and her allies to prevent that from happening, but she must make a firm stand now.

He attempted to put his hands on her arms to pull her to him.  She slapped his hands away, lowered her voice and gave him her most savage look, “Ye’ll get nowhere with me, you gruntle-faced meschant.”

Jerome laughed, “He has spirit, he has.  The perfect cobb for one as randy as me. I’ll have yer bonnie johnnie afore this voyage is over.”

Melaynie had pulled her knife from the pouch around her waist, keeping a firm grip.  She kept it lower than her waist but knew he had seen her movement and could see the knife.

“I can use it well, and I shall if I must,” she spat at him.

He laughed again, menacingly, thinking that he had months to force himself upon this callow boy, turned on his heel and went back up to the deck.  She wasn’t sure if she had bested him or not, but at least he knew she would not be an easy mark.  It would teach her to be more aware, a good lesson considering all the challenges she faced on this voyage.

She shook off her fears, delivered the compendium and watched in wonder as Drake opened up its round brass case.  It had seven layers consisting of spinning rings, and flip-up pointers, each layer inscribed with tables, and its own small sundial.  She wished she could understand it all.

“Christopher, I want you to order Robert to make us a special pottage for dinner using fresh vegetables we have left…potatoes, peas, and let’s see, have him use the venison.”

“Yes, Captain.  Right away,” she answered and scurried off.

WHAT’S THE TRUTH IN FICTION? by Victoria Giraud

Writers draw inspiration and emotions from their own lives, no matter what genre it is, from horror, adventure and romance to historical fiction.

When I wrote Melaynie’s Masquerade, my 16th century historical fiction novel, I didn’t realize until I’d finished how much I’d culled from my own aspirations, family life and experiences. In “real” life, I’d grown up with a tough sarcastic father, so I gave my heroine (a version of myself, of course) a loving and indulgent father.  I had lots of newspaper experience so Melaynie’s father owned a printing shop. The Renaissance Faire in Southern California had always attracted me, and so had Francis Drake, a prominent English hero in the days of Queen Elizabeth I. I didn’t have to search far for the fictional names: I used the monikers of my brother, sister, and teenage boyfriend.

I’ve always loved history. Was that because I grew up as an Army brat and lived in various parts of the world? With an inquisitive mind that ponders the bigger picture of why the world is the way it is and why certain things happen, it was natural for me to gravitate toward writing something historical. I’d even graduated from William and Mary in Colonial Williamsburg, which was founded in 1693 and is the second oldest college in the U.S.

Disguises and women playing at being men intrigued me from a young age. Perhaps because I grew up among the mostly male military and before women had the power and choices they do now. Melaynie, my heroine, believes men have all the fun and adventure, and she was right, especially in the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth, however, was an early feminist and kept her power by playing countries and courtiers against each other without succumbing to the demands that she marry. Melaynie wanted to see what it was like to play a male before she got too old to make that choice. With guts and imagination (mine, of course), she succeeds in her masquerade but finds an unexpected surprise: a brief but passionate romance.

The adventure of researching and writing an historical novel was one of my most satisfying endeavors, even though it took me five years before I was satisfied with the story. I left the story open-ended in case I wanted to add a sequel. My cousin Penny continues to encourage me to write more and I will begin my conclusion this year. Since I know, more or less, what I want to write, it shouldn’t take too long.

In the meantime, I am publishing a few new stories on Amazon. They are short Ebooks, called Singles, and like Melaynie, they are all based on my life in some way. Unlike Melaynie’s specific story, these are true stories. They are not all from my point of view, I have changed all the names to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent.

Stay tuned for my announcement of: Weird Dates and Strange Fates, Angels in Uniform, and The Magic of Pink Glasses.

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