Sunday, March 4, 2012

Do you hear what I hear?

In Maid of the Midlands, I've maintained a part of the
dialect of the sixteenth century and used some of the Yorkshire accents that
still exist today. I first wrote the book with heavy dialect but deleted some
of it in my last revision for easier reading. I couldn't bear to modernize the
speech patterns and give up these colorful words and phrases completely.

Leave your comments for a chance to win one of four digital
copies I'll be giving away today.


When Mary, Queen of Scots, is sent to Hafton Castle, Matilda
becomes her waiting-lady. The comely maid loves Jondalar, a stalwart castle
guard who returns her affection but places his greed to succeed above all else.
After Matilda nurses the queen through a fever, she rewards the maid with a
valuable ruby. Jondalar plots with the young lord of the castle to rid the
Crown of the captive queen in return for a promotion in the guard. When Matilda
discovers the plan, she risks her life to warn the queen. As Mary journeys
toward her next destination, Matilda and Jondalar separately travel the English
countryside in pursuit of her. Jondalar had a change of heart and also seeks to
warn the queen but Matilda is unaware of this as they dodge each other enroute.
When Jondalar almost loses the maid he loves, will he realize what really


Half-dazed with weariness,
Matilda saw the Longbow Inn appear before her. From the soldiers camped all about, she was certain that the queen was
captive here. With a sigh of great
relief the maid climbed down from the trusty stallion and swayed as she tried
to stand.

“Halt, and state yer
business, lad.” The soldier stood before
her, musket aimed and ready.

“I am here to see the
Scottish queen, sir,” Matilda answered.

“Why think ye that a queen be

“I know this company. I have come from Hafton Castle, same as
yourself. I am Matilda, waiting-lady for
Queen Mary.”

“Ha!” The soldier laughed loudly. “Ye must think me blind, ye little beggar.”

Matilda stomped her tattered
leather slipper. “You must believe me,
sir. I have a message of importance--”

“Hear ye the lad? A message?” He turned toward another soldier standing beside him and smirked, then
snarled, “Be gone at once.”

Matilda dragged the woolen
cap from off her head and tangled flaxen curls fell about her shoulders. “Behold, sir, I am Matilda from Lord Hafton's
castle. I bring a message of importance
from my lord.” The message did concern
Lord Hafton, she reasoned, though not directly from him.

“Where is this message,
maid?” the soldier questioned warily.

“Why, it was lost as I journeyed these five days,
sir. But I recall it word for word if
you but give me audience with the queen.”


Debby said...

This must have had some delightful research. Great job!
debby236 at gmail dot com

Linda Swift said...

Yes, Debby, this was a challenging book to write but also a fun task. And the 600 page book of Queen Mary's life by Antonia Fraser became my "Bible" while I wrote it. I just hope my English friends don't find too many glaring errors when they read it.