Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Heart of the Phoenix Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway!)

Title: The Heart of the Phoenix
Author:  Barbara Bettis
Series:  N/A
Pages: N/A
Date Published: September 3rd, 2014
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Format: ebook
Genre:Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Memories Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen's cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.

Can be Cruel Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge, he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.

And deadly When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.
~Guest Post!~
Cooler weather is coming. Time to hit the stores for a new fall outfit. If we lived in a castle in Lady Evelynn’s day, 1199, we couldn’t just run down to the mall. We’d have to get the fabric and either make the garment ourselves or have the castle seamstresses sew it. We might even spin the thread out of wool from our own sheep and weave it into fine woolen fabric to use.

Patterns weren’t precut. Lady’s clothing was cut in rectangles for the body of the gown and triangles for the sleeves. A small piece of fabric called a gusset helped the sleeve fit.

We might be able to afford silk or other less common fabric (velvet didn’t come into use in England until later in the medieval period.) But unless we were going to court or to a celebration at another noble’s residence where fancy attire was called for, we’d settle for a woolen gown. Scarlet, by the way, was both a fabric and a color at that time. The fabric was very expensive and not affordable for any but the wealthy.

Our wool gown could be dyed a variety of colors, derived from various plants handy around the castle and gardens or in the nearby woods. Various shades of blue, yellow, green, brown, were among the ones that could be made rather handily from plants, roots and nuts.

Alum, imported by England from Sicily and North Africa by 1200, was usually used as a ‘mordant’ to help with colorfastness. Iron could also be used. Also essential in the dying process: ammonia. That was plentiful in all households in the form of stale urine. (Ick)

Our undergown or chemise likely would be fine, soft linen. Linen didn’t take dye very well, so most linen was plain, unbleached, thus perfect for undergarments.  For us ladies of the manor, though, it could be bleached—possibly by laying the fabric in the sun until it whitened.

We’d have our new linen chemise, or undergown, and new woolen overgown. These items of clothing were known by various names throughout the medieval era. But that’s another story. J

Once these items were completed, we could decorate them. We might use fur on the sleeves or perhaps at the neckline. For special occasions, we might add some jewels (or stones as writings of the period called them). But we could also embroider designs around the neck and sleeves.

We don’t want to forget new headcoverings. Heavier fabrics could be used for veils or wimples, but the lighter weight fabrics such as fine linen and silk were also available. They could be simple squares of fabric, or they could be complicate caps that circled the face and hid the hair, with gorgets passing under the chin. But according to Calthrop in his Enlgish Costume, during the time of Richard I, ladies usually wore the lighter squares of linen or silk. Depending upon our income, we might have fancy circlets to hold them in place.

There. Now we’re all set for the fall festivities. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to hate to get my new outfit dirty. Look at all the trouble to replace it!

When I was writing of Evie’s outfits on her journey home to England, I chose to have her wear
one of the heavier, more encompassing, headcoverings. If I were riding horseback for days in the

wind, dirt and rain, I’d want my hair covered!
~Try an Excerpt!~
Evie could tell Stephen was angry now by the way he glowered and roared in that whispery sort of way no one else could hear, but left her with no doubt of his displeasure.

“Your betrothed.” He bent and scooped her off the floor.

“What? What about him?”

“That’s the identity of the illustrious lord who’s sharing passage with us.”

“You’re drunk. And put me down. I’m perfectly capable of getting up on my own.”

“Be quiet. You have blood on your leg.”

“Of course I do. I tripped and fell trying to answer your pounding when you could easily have opened—” His words finally penetrated her throbbing head. “I’m bleeding?”

Oh, blast. The contents of her—empty—stomach churned. She attended the villagers’ hurts, bound the cuts and scrapes of servants and their children. The sight of their blood bothered her not a whit. But her own? Black spots danced at the corners of her vision, becoming larger and larger until she heard Stephen’s voice.

“Evie, Evie. What the hell?”

His voice echoed so far away. If she didn’t know better, she’d vow he sounded alarmed. Perhaps she’d close her eyes for a moment. As the ringing in her ears crescendoed, she recalled
his words. Betrothed.

Her betrothed was on board?


Dear Lord, just let me die.
~Meet Barbara!~ 
Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.

A former health insurance claims adjuster, a former journalist, a former journalism teacher, Barbara Bettis plans never to be a “former” author. Currently, she supports her writing habit as an adjunct English instructor at a community college near her home in Missouri.

She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.


Barbara will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a Ecopy of The Heart of the Phoenix and a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

37 comments:

  1. Great excerpt thank you. Love the title.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. It did undergo some changes from the very first one (The Black Dagger), but I like this one just as well. Although other works have similar titles, I couldn't find one for a book in the era. Plus, I really liked the symbolism of a group of knights who each underwent tragedy and misfortune who rebuild their lives and ultimately find happiness.

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  2. Hi, Barb! Just stopped by to say hello. Your tour's exciting--full of interesting stuff.

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    1. Hi Liz! Glad you liked the post. Clothing in that era was very different from what it is today. And it did vary. I have three different books on medieval clothing, all of which show slightly different garments--and for the same period. But I really enjoyed trying to decide just what a practical lady would wear on an extended journey on horseback--in the rain, and dust, and dirt! Thanks for stopping by!!

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    2. Sounds like some excellent research to do! But I suppose I should expect different clothes from the same period. Think of how different the clothes has swung from the 70s, to 90s, to today!

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  3. Thank you for the chance to win :)
    jslbrown2009(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Lisa, hi! You are so welcome! Thank you for taking the time to drop by and enter. I wish you the best of luck!

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  4. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Andra. Great, rich colors on your blog, by the way!

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    1. Why thank you Barbara! I'm thrilled to have you here :) And you have an excellent cover on this one! Who did the designs if you don't mind my asking?

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    2. Debbie Taylor was the cover artist, Andra. She's terrific, isn't she? Thanks for asking!!

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  5. loved the Synopsis and excerpt this really sounds so good the book itself is my favorite thing about todays and yesterdays post

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    1. Thank so much, Denise. I very glad you like them! I appreciate your stopping by!

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  6. Loved the info on the fabric. Congrats on the release!

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    1. It's surprising to realize how limited the options were then and how different the fabrics, even the colors! At least one color-a shade of yellow-came from onion skins used for dye. I don't know about that one :) Thanks Alanna!

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  7. Can't you just imagine how dirty the bottom of their gowns were? What a wonderful post, Barbara! All the best with your release, too.

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    1. Yes, Mary, and a lot of those overgowns weren't laundered as we know it. Imagine the stiffened hemlines from dragging in the dirt and dust and grime. The chemises of linen were washed more frequently as I understand. The odor must have been so..ah..unusual. But then we're so unused to anything like that, we would be shocked. I imagine they were used to it

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  8. Great post, Barbara! It really is astonishing to think how much work it would have been to clothe oneself during that period. Good luck with your release!

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    1. Absolutely, Marin! In a holding with several servants, the weaving and sewing could be a real time demand. Good thing I didn't live back then and have to make my own clothes--I can't sew a straight line, even with a machine! Thanks for the good wishes!

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  9. Thank you Rita! I appreciate your stopping by. I hope you entered the GC giveaway!

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  10. Thanks for the excerpt. I love how you left us wanting more

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  11. Thanks, Shannon! Evie certainly was in a fix right then :) Glad you came by.

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  12. Loved this post, Barb. As a former hand-loom weaver it brought back memories of all things we could use for dyes and mordants. Good luck with the book!

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    1. Andrea, what an experience, to do hand-loom weaving. I'd love to hear about what you used as mordants! And the unusual dyes. Thanks for the good wishes.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ella. I appreciate the support.

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  14. Oh, how fun! Loved this post! But I do wonder about women like me in the past. I have a slight allergy to wool. The only way I can wear it is by wearing thick, thick layers under. Even then, I sometimes break out in hives. I hate it, because I love the look of wool.

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    1. How awful for you! You'd have been miserable. You could have worn linen, perhaps brocaded or heavily embroidered for warmth in the winter. Wool, unfortunately, was in very wide use. Some silk was available, imported from the East at first. Although cotton was used in some parts of Europe, many researchers say it wasn't in use (or at least mentioned in writings as being is use) for clothing in England around the time of my story.

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  15. Fascinating about the clothing in those days. I really enjoyed the excerpt.

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    1. Thank you MomJane. Clothing is something we taken for granted these days, but when we think about it, it was hard to produce in those early days. No fabric store to select materials :) Glad you came by!

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  16. I loved this explanation about lady's garments "back in the day." Very interesting. I would think it would be very difficult to be romantic with all that clothing on, but the more I read about the times back when, it appears they managed quite well. :-) Thanks for the post. jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you. And thanks for coming stopping in tonight.

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  18. LOL Janice. Yep, I expect when you're used to all that fabric, you learn to manage it! Appreciate your being here.

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  19. LOVED Barb's first book. This one sounds even better!

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  20. Thanks for the information, Barbara. It was great as always. I've read your book and loved it.

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