A Medieval Valentine's Day and Thoughts on Love

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Dear Readers:

I have not done well with sticking to the excerpt schedule this week. Between home, family, writing, and music lessons, I've been on the go and working 15 to 17 hours a day. Wrestling season has largely ended for my sons, thanks to a concussion for my 12 year old and a sprained shoulder for my 18 year old. I've learned in the past two years that this is a rough sport. But they're loving it! (As a mother--not so fun to see your son flipped entirely over his head, his neck bent completely backward!)

I've been dealing with business taxes and getting students ready for piano and flute exams and the Minnesota Piano Contest (two of the three students who entered went on to finals!) For the sake of my back and neck, I've gotten back to mile and a half walks every morning with Liadan--and just bundling up warm enough for such a walk when it's 0 degrees out takes ten minutes!

That said, The Battle is O'er is uploaded for Kindle and print and I'm now onto checking proofs and getting it set for other e-book formats. Yes, things are moving along!

Today, I'm posting an excerpt from The Water is Wide, as it concerns Shawn's Valentine's Day, 1316.

“Tell me more of your time,” Hugh said, as they settled on a dark ridge overlooking the camp’s eastern flank.
“For starters,” Shawn said, “if I were there now, I’d be planning a big surprise for Amy for Valentine’s Day.”
“What’s that?” Hugh chewed the hard bannock.
“A day for love. You never heard of St. Valentine? I’d think in this holy time, you’d know your saints.”
Hugh chuckled. “It might be Malcolm knows of him.”
“Aw, hell,” Shawn said, “maybe he hasn’t even been born, yet. Or maybe when Niall and I changed history, it killed off his ancestors and he never will be. I don’t even know where he was from.”
“What kind of surprises?” Hugh asked.
“Our first year, it was roses, dinner by candlelight, the Merlot she likes. The next year, it was a trip to Hawaii.”
“What’s that?”
“This incredible tropical island.” Shawn heard the smile in his own voice, as he slipped into memories of hot sand and bright sun and lazy days with Amy, much nicer than the frosty ground groping with cold fingers through his breeks. “Like paradise. I took her to this incredible hotel with a Jacuzzi in our room.”

"What's that?" Hugh scratched his head.
Shawn laughed, finding joy in the memories. “Like those tubs they haul up to our rooms for baths, except hotter, and the water bubbles, and man it would feel good on sore muscles after a day of fighting. But in my time, no one fights.”
“No one?”
“They do,” Shawn said. “But not in my country. It was just me and Amy, drinking champagne in a Jacuzzi, looking over the ocean at sunset, and I surprised her with her first royalty check from our CD.”
Hugh shook his head. “What language are you speaking?”
“Twenty-first century English where I need it.” He sighed, gazing at the snowy forest, and the eastern sky turning gray. “Guess we should do our thing.” They rose and began their patrol of the perimeter, swords and shields at the ready, as he explained checks and royalties and CDs. Walking warded off some of the chill. “Shawn Kleiner,” Shawn mused, “spending Valentine’s Day with a bunch of medieval warriors.” He snorted. “It just isn’t right.”

~ ~ ~

Of course, Shawn's thoughts on love, in this scene, focus on romance--on roses, Jacuzzis, fancy meals, champagne and wine. As readers of the series know, Shawn learns that love is much more. Sometimes love means risking your life to fight a medieval warrior trying to get at your son.

In our own day, we are rarely called on to fight medieval madmen (never say never, right?) but real love is shown in the day to day things we often consider mundane--bandaging and kissing an injured finger, running into a store for medication when the one you love has a headache, cleaning the floor or making a meal. Some time ago, I came across this rather tongue in cheek poem that talks about what real love is. It concerned the gift of an electric blanket to a child, and ended with these lines:

This man once known to be quite wild
Showed me love
By loving my child

In The Battle is O'er, Shawn will be called to go deeper in understanding what true love really means.

For other thoughts on love and Valentine's Day, see Happy Valentine's Day to the Good Sir James and Literature and Life: Love.

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

The Battle is O'er: Coming March 23, 2018

a magnet of misty Glenmirril castle on the shores of Loch Ness
(technically...let's get all historically accurate here...it's really Castle Urquhart. Author's photography.)
 enter here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

When is The Battle is O'er coming out?  READ HERE.
~ ~ ~
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For other posts with excerpts from the series:

Dan Blum
Tempo Rubato by Brendan Carrol
Beethoven in Love by Howard Jay Smith
or other posts under the MUSIC label

For more on my books, click the images below:


  1. I've visited castles in Wales, England, Germany, Austria and other European countries, plus the ruins of a castle called Squires Castle in the North Chagrin Metroparks in Ohio. While in England I learned about dungeons and armour.

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