Thursday 31 August 2017

#FolkloreThursday ~ London Bridge Is Falling Down #myths #legends #Viking


We all know the children's nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling down.

Well, I wonder if you have ever heard this verse...

London Bridge is broken down.
Gold is won, and bright renown.
Shields resounding,
War-horns sounding,
Hild is shouting in the din!
Arrows singing,
Mail-coats ringing,
Odin makes our Olaf win! 

Let's take a journey back to the early 11th Century. It is story time, now listen...

The oars of the great Viking longships hardly made any sound as they cut through the water of the River Thames. The mist from the Thames hid their presence and they made good progress. However, as the sun began to rise, so did the mist.

 A child rubbed her tired eyes when she thought she saw something that looked like a dragon. Suddenly she realised what she was seeing. 
"Vikings," she screamed with fear, as she dropped her basket and ran for home.

Her cry was taken up by others, and King Cnut, whose Father had only recently toppled King Æthelred from the throne, came out with his warriors. Surely Æthelred would not be so foolish as to try and take his kingdom back?

King Sweyn (Cnut's father) invading England 1013 ~ WIkipedia

Unbeknown to King Cnut, King Æthelred had enlisted the help of the great King Olaf of Norway. King Cnut prayed to God for victory when he spotted an armada of dragon heads coming out of the mist.

"To the Bridge," he yelled. King Cnut knew that if they could hold the Bridge, then they could hold the kingdom. King Æthelred would have to pass under the bridge if he had any chance of winning this battle. King Cnut prayed to God that King Æthelred would keep coming, for he had one heck of a surprise for him.

But, this had once been King Æthelred's kingdom, he knew the territory and he knew this bridge. So he was not at all surprised when he saw that King Cnut had used the bridge to form an impassable blockade.

King Æthelred smiled, it was exactly what he had expected King Cnut to do and he had prepared for such an eventuality. He had instructed King Olaf to build high platforms on the boats. He knew that King Cnut would think that this had been done to protect the rowers, but that was not the reason.

When the dragon heads reached the bridge, King Æthelred and King Olaf's men climbed onto the platforms. They were now on the same level as King Cnut's warriors who were standing on the bridge. King Æthelred had instructed his and King Olaf's men to stand in pairs. One of which would hold a shield and the other a grappling hook.

A typical Viking shield ~ Wikipedia

Arrows, rocks, and rubble rained down upon them, but it did not deter the warriors who threw their hooks towards the bridge’s wooden pilings. But they were not trying to moor up, far from it.

King Cnut's released what King Æthelred planned to do and he ordered his men to throw mighty boulders down onto the ships, but it was too late.

King Æthelred gave the order to row back the way they had come. The wood of the bridge’s pilings held strong for a moment. King Æthelred felt a moment of doubt. This wasn't working. But then, God answered his prayers. The wood began to tear as the grappling hooks dug in. London Bridge began to shake.

King Æthelred encourage his mean to heave and to his delight he watched as wood, stone and men fell into the water.
Æthelred in an early thirteenth-century copy of the Abingdon Chronicle ~ Wikipedia

A great cheer rose up from the Viking boats. King Æthelred and King Olaf had won. London Bridge had fallen down.

Is there any truth in the story...? 

 King Cnut defending London Bridge ~ Wikipedia

Well, yes! Æthelred the Unready did indeed lose his throne to Sweyn. Æthelred fled to Normandy, but then Sweyn died unexpectedly and his son, Cnut, became king. Æthelred launched an expedition, with the support of Olaf Haraldsson to retake his kingdom. Olaf led a successful attack on London Bridge, and Cnut and his army withdrew from England.

Later, Æthelred son, Edmund Ironside, revolted against his father and established himself in the Danelaw. Cnut returned and over the next few months conquered most of England. Cnut won a decisive victory over Edmund at the Battle of Ashingdom (1066) but, so impressed was he with Edmund that he agreed to divide the nation. Edmund took Wessex while Cnut took the whole of the country beyond the Thames. Edmund died a few weeks later, and Cnut became the first Viking King of England.

Unless otherwise stated, all images can be found on Pixabay.


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Wednesday 30 August 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ Mary Morgan #paranormalromance #Irish @m_morganauthor

It is with the greatest of pleasures that I welcome paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, back on to the blog for Author’s Inspiration. But before I hand the blog over to Mary let’s take a quick look at her latest release. 

Quest Of A Warrior

“You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!"

Fenian Warrior, Conn MacRoich has traveled the earth for thousands of years, guarding the realm between mortal and Fae. His deeds are legendary. Yet, one mistake will force him on a journey to fix a broken time-line. However, on Conn’s quest, he must face a human female who will eventually bring this ancient warrior to his knees. 

When Ivy O’Callaghan inherits her uncle’s estate, she never imagines there will be more secrets to unravel, including the one she hides from the world. With the help of a mysterious stranger, she learns to trust and step out of the shadows. However, nothing prepares Ivy when she learns Conn's true identity. 

As the loom of fate weaves a thread around the lovers from two different worlds, will the sacrifices they make lead them to love? Or will their secrets destroy and separate them forever?

Reflection on a Publishing Anniversary
by Mary Morgan

I am disciplined. I am organized. I am a business. I am a writer. Did you notice where I put the bit about being a writer? At the end. This is where I was before I left on a much-needed vacation to Scotland and England in early June. The first major one since I became a published author three years ago. I was even working on edits a few hours before we were due to depart for the airport. My life was insane!

Urquhart Castle in Scotland — home of my fictional Dragon Knights.

Finally settling into my seat on the plane, I pulled out the June issue of Romance Writers Report by RWA. There was an article by Katharine Ashe (who I adore) titled, “Finding Your Top Ten Rules for Writing Romance.” As I sat reading, my chest constricted and I found myself emotional. It was a moment of revelation and reflection. When did I put “writing for joy” at the bottom of my list? Somewhere along the way, I had flipped all my rules around and the one dearest and precious to my soul was delegated to the bottom of the list.

As I silently thanked Katharine for her wise words, I closed the magazine and reorganized my Top Ten Rules. Number one, write with passion and enjoy the freedom it gives my soul. All the rest of my other rules have fallen into place. Yes, I still want to make money and maintain an organized business, but this isn’t why I chose this path. I dreamed of being a writer—of telling beautiful stories that you can see, smell, touch, and experience. This is my foundation, my center, my first rule.

Author Tip

Remember why you chose your profession. Re-evaluate your own rules every six month. You may find they will shift. This will be your compass. It all depends on your own personal goals. Everyone is different, so there’s no right or wrong path. Just make sure your happy with the direction.

Quest Of A Warrior Excerpt: 

“Intoxication can unleash the beast within a Fae.” ~Chronicles of the Fae
Conn fought the bolt of desire spearing a path throughout his body. Her touch spoke volumes—an invitation to taste. Never had he longed to kiss a human like this wee lass. His heart beat loudly, and he found himself unable to move. She was a Goddess of the moonlight. It danced off her face and hair, and he trembled before her. Ivy’s fingers traced down his cheek and across his lips. He was helpless to contain the growl that escaped from his mouth.

The rush of passion overtook him, and Conn slammed the door on his mind. Grasping Ivy around the waist, he hoisted her up on top of the bridge. Her lips parted on a sigh, and he lowered his mouth to feast on something he dared not take. The first brush of her soft lips against his own ignited a hunger he could no longer contain. Taking her moan deep into him, Conn glorified in the sensation of her mouth—one filled with a honeyed sweetness.

The Fae warrior became just a man for the first time. Something primal burst within him. Emotions he had never felt left him dizzy, spiraling to a physical plane. He craved them all. His lips seared a course down her neck, to her throat, and then recaptured the velvet warmth of her mouth.

 Links for purchase

Order Of The Dragon Knights

Dare to journey with the Dragon Knights of Scotland!

They were an ancient order descended from the great Tuatha De Danann, a tribe from the Goddess Danu. Half human and half fae, each blessed with mystical powers. They were also given holy relics and guardianship over the dragons.

With the dawn of Christianity, the dragons were systematically hunted down and slain leaving only one. The Dragon Knights took her from Ireland to a land across the sea, settling in the Great Glen near Urquhart. The clan was known as the MacKay clan, descendants from the MacAoidh.

Yet, there were those who deemed the Order had too much power, and they tried to possess it for themselves. They were evil and twisted, and their plan succeeded one fateful night.

The Clan Mackay is no longer.

The Dragon Knights scattered across the land.

Yet out of the darkness, they will each fight for redemption.

Links for Purchase

About the author

Award-winning Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
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