L is for Lavender & giveaway with Jenna Jaxon

Lavender is one of my favorite flowers. I love the color, the look of the flowers, and of course, the smell of lavender has the power to soothe us to sleep with little trouble. Since the days of the ancient Egyptians, lavender has been used for medicinal and helful purposes. It was also a “miracle plant” during the Middle Ages. So there is little wonder that I used lavender extensively in my medieval novel Time Enough to Love.
The scent of lavender has been associated with medicinal uses for centuries. The ancient Romans used it in their baths, the Middle Ages saw it used to help ward off plague, and our culture uses it today in a variety of ways, but especially. I’ve noticed, in laundry detergents and fabric softeners. In fact, I must confess that I use a lavender/sweet cotton scented fabric softener for my laundry.
Early on in Time Enough to Love, the hero, Sir Geoffrey Longford, remarks on the scent of lavender that surrounds the heroine, Lady Alyse de Courcy:
He reached out to capture a tendril of her hair. Rubbing his face against it, he inhaled deeply. “You smell so sweetly. ’Tis like flowers in summertime all about you. Even your hair smells like the meadows near my home.”
Alyse smiled at that, her breath coming more normally. “’Tis lavender, my lord. My mother has it cut in our fields, and dries it to make sachets to keep the clothes and linens fresh. She says it gives us good health.” With a shy glance at him she continued, “I do bathe in it too, for it calms and soothes the soul.” She gave a rueful chuckle. “I fear I will require such a bath when I return to my room.”
I wanted to have this olfactory marker for Alyse so I could play with its use in several ways throughout the course of the novel. Not only does Alyse have this scent clinging to her, but she gives Geoffrey a token, a small bag with a lock of her hair in it. The bag smells of lavender because it’s made of part of an old gown of hers that’s permeated with the scent. I also have Geoffrey send Alyse a sprig of lavender as a token of remembrance.
One thing I was excited to discover is that lavender is also used as an insect repellent. Its use as a sachet tucked into linens and clothing helps repel fleas, the major carrier of the Bubonic plague. So the fact that Alyse and Geoffrey have so much contact with lavender explains why they are protected, to an extent, from the plague. To highlight this, I made lavender sachets and gave them out as swag at this year’s Romance Writers of America National Conference. I hope it gave everyone sweet dreams.

Jenna is giving away an ecopy of TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE to one (1) lucky commenter.  What’s your favorite flower? 

TETL front

 

 

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

 

 

 

 

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London. Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

http://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

Love in the time of Plague and giveaway with Jenna Jaxon

What the heck does the plague have to do with romance novels? Well, the Bubonic Plague or Black Death was a very important part of the medieval period and helped me create excellent conflict in my novella, Beleaguered, the final installment of my serial novel, Time Enough to Love. 

In fact, a History Channel program on the plague gave me the inspiration for this novel.  I wondered how the stress and terror of living in such a pandemic would have affected the courtiers of the royal entourage of Princess Joanna, daughter of King Edward III of England, as she sailed to Spain to marry Prince Pedro.

The Bubonic Plague originated in China in 1330 and spread through trade routes to the west via the fleas that live on rats.  When the rats died, the fleas moved to other hosts, usually human, and infected them.  The first major outbreak of plague in Europe began in Italy in 1347.  By 1348 it had spread to France and England and by 1349 had circled the globe, killing approximately one third of the population of Europe.

There were actually three bacterial strains of the plague infecting people during the 14th century outbreak.  The first and the one usually associated with the outbreak was bubonic plague, an infection of the lymph nodes.  Symptoms onset occurred usually 2-5 days after exposure and included: fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, seizures, and painful swelling of the lymph nodes (called buboes).  Mortality rate was approximately 50%.  Treatments consisted of good diet, rest, and relocating to a non-infected area.  If the swollen buboes burst, the patient often recovered. There were few specific remedies for the disease, although flowers were considered a sovereign remedy and people were encouraged to carry posies near their nose to “ward off the stench and perhaps the evil that afflicted them.”

Fear of the plague made parents forsake their children, husbands abandon their wives.  Finally the only people willing to nurse the sick were the nuns and monks in holy orders.  Their numbers quickly became decimated because they worked intimately with victims of the disease and then became victims themselves.

My heroine is one of the few selfless people who nurses victims despite the risk to herself.  The novel also shows the monasteries as one of the few places where medical knowledge expanded and healing occurred during the time period.

Not the usual stuff of romance novels perhaps, but a great way to infuse your medieval books with conflict and tension.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beleaguered3

When death holds sway in the world, can even the greatest love survive?

Finally in France, Alyse and Thomas return to their roles as courtiers to Princess Joanna. Their passion for one another continues to smolder hot and deep—until one fateful encounter changes everything.

During a formal banquet, Alyse must share an intimate dance with Geoffrey, her first love. His searing touch proves Alyse’s love and desire for him is as strong as when they first met. Tormented by this revelation, Alyse is bitterly torn between the love of her life and her love for her husband.

Into this agonizing situation, the disaster of the Black Death rears its head, decimating the princess’s retinue and threatening all their lives. Alyse, Thomas and Geoffrey must try to save the princess from the ravening disease but at a dire cost to themselves. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both of the men she loves. But which love will survive?

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Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London.  Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

 

Jenna Jaxon’s BELEAGURED

 

Beleaguered2

When death holds sway in the world, can even the greatest love survive?  

Finally in France, Alyse and Thomas return to their roles as courtiers to Princess Joanna.  Their passion for one another continues to smolder hot and deep—until one fateful encounter changes everything.

During a formal banquet, Alyse must share an intimate dance with Geoffrey, her first love. His searing touch proves Alyse’s love and desire for him is as strong as when they first met. Tormented by this revelation, Alyse is bitterly torn between the love of her life and her love for her husband.

Into this agonizing situation, the disaster of the Black Death rears its head, decimating the princess’s retinue and threatening all their lives. Alyse, Thomas and Geoffrey must try to save the princess from the ravening disease but at a dire cost to themselves.  With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both of the men she loves.  But which love will survive?

 

Jenna’s Blog

First two books in the series at Amazon Betrayal and Betrothal

@B&N  Betrayal and Betrothal

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