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Award Winning Fantasy with a Twist!

The Allure of Castles

Wendy Herrington pen name Collette CameronToday’s post comes from guest author, Collette Cameron.  Regencies are one of my favorite types of book as they can transport you back in time to an age as different and exotic as a lost continent. As the writer of award-winning historical romances, Collette tells us what it’s like to actually live in that most romantic setting – the castle!

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Kathy!

As I gear up to release my third novel, The Earl’s Enticement, the final book in the Castle Brides Series, I’ve been thinking a lot on why I’m so fascinated with castles. When I started the series, I didn’t start out to have three covers with castles on them.

What is it about castles that are so appealing? I asked this question on Facebook the other day. Here a few of the responses:

  • “Because they make us dream.” ~A. Barbin
  • “…the untold stories they hold.” ~T. Morrison
  • “They get my imagination all worked up.” ~T. Patton
  • “Because you were a princess in a past life?”~ S. Owens

I think it’s all of the first three and maybe a bit of me wanting to have been a princess or at least a member of the gentry or nobility, so I’d have access to a castle or two. I confess; my obsession extends to palaces and manor houses too. (Take a peek at my Castle, Palaces and Manor Houses Pinterest Board.)

800px-Scotland_-_Eilean_Donan_Castle_27

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Castles are inherently romantic…well, if you ignore the whole dungeon/torture aspect, that is. One of my friends commented that castles were cold and drafty. True, especially if you’re talking about a medieval castle. They weren’t built for luxurious comfort, but rather protection from invaders.

But still, castles captivate. If I could time travel, I’d love to go back, invisible of course, and wander some castle corridors, hang out in a few great halls, and watch a ball or two. I’ve been privileged to visit several castles while visiting England, France and Spain and touring as many as I can drag hubby to when we go to Scotland in 2015 is at the top of my list.

Tower of London, England

Tower of London, England

Although I enjoyed the opulence and extraordinary lavishness displayed, I find myself drawn to the more rustic castles. And don’t even get me started on castle ruins. Oh, the stories they could tell. Click on these pictures of castles to see more.

Common castle features include a mote, the raised flattened surface a castle was often constructed on. Sometimes there were natural features the builders used (think castles on cliffs) and other times, they constructed the mote from surrounding dirt, which left a ditch called a moat.

Balveni Castle, Scotland

Balveni Castle, Scotland

The bailey was a fortified enclosure surrounded by a high, thick curtain wall that typically sported battlements. The barracks, stables, blacksmith, and living quarters of those not privileged enough to live in the keep were within the bailey. The keep is the actual building the nobles lived in and the part of the castle that most fascinates me. Access to the castle was generally only available through the gatehouse, a structure built with multiple defenses, including more battlements to keep unwanted visitors out.

Another defense was the moat which could be either wet or dry. It was more typical to see a moat filled with water in low-lying areas.

Caernarfon Castle

Though I’d love to visit more castles and daydream about the former occupants, I don’t think I’d want to live in one. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to a nice long stay in a comfortably appointed chamber, as long as there was a bathroom nearby.

Have you ever visited any castle? Where? What fascinated you the most about them?

TheEarlsEnticement3_850 3rdThe Earl’s Enticement Blurb:
She won’t be tamed. A fiery, unconventional Scot, Adaira Ferguson wears breeches, swears, and has no more desire to marry than she does to follow society’s dictates of appropriate behavior. She trusts no man with the secret she desperately protects.

He can’t forget. Haunted by his past, Roark, The Earl of Clarendon, rigidly adheres to propriety, holding himself and those around him to the highest standards, no matter the cost. Betrayed once, he’s guarded and leery of all women.

Mistaking Roark for a known spy, Adaira imprisons him. Infuriated, he vows vengeance. Realizing her error, she’s appalled and releases him, but he’s not satisfied with his freedom. Roark is determined to transform Adaira from an ill-mannered hoyden to a lady of refinement. He succeeds only to discover, he preferred the free-spirited Scottish lass who first captured his heart.

EXCERPT – In this scene, Roark is locked in Craiglocky’s dungeon. He’s waiting for Adaira to bring him more candles and food.

Roark prowled his cell. Ten irate paces to the wall. Ten fuming paces back. The lone candle flickered but valiantly continued to burn despite being scarcely more than a nub.

His last one. The weak flame cast meandering shadows across the rustic walls. On a stone above the table, he’d discovered one hundred and seventeen etched marks. Some pitiable sot had spent that many days locked in this cell. He’d been here two and had begun to question his sanity.

What time was it? Miss Ferguson promised to return after dinner. Where was she?

He shot a glance to the candle before returning his gaze to the sooty darkness beyond his cell. At most, it would burn another hour.

Though he’d tried to conserve the tapers, his fear of the dark, particularly the inkiness caused by being a good twenty feet beneath the castle, had him burning a light constantly. Roark wrinkled his nose. They stunk too, worse than he did. Likely they were made of mutton fat. He sniffed. The whole place reeked of mildew and dank, musty dampness.

He’d slept little and had been able to do so only by repeating in his head the often heard scriptures Maman had recited to him. Truth to tell, they’d not brought him much comfort. However, despite his vow to never strike a woman, visions of paddling Miss Ferguson’s backside brought him a sense of satisfaction.

When he did nod off, the squeaks and squeals of rats and mice fighting over the remnants of his meal woke him. He’d taken to resting with his food tucked near his side, throwing crumbs or leftovers outside the cell. Still, the more daring and bold of the rodents ventured within.

He shuddered. He’d dozed off a bit ago and woke with a grayish-brown rat the size of his three-legged cat, Achilles, perched on his chest, grooming itself.

Roark had remained stock still. He’d no desire to be bit by the brazen rat or the fleas it no doubt hosted. In his medical studies, he’d read of numerous incidences of humans contracting typhus, cholera, and the plague due to exposure or bites by infected vermin.

Another black mark against Miss Ferguson.

No doubt she hadn’t even considered the dangers of close association with rats. Most likely, the addle pate was unaware of the hazards, not that she’d care. She was obsessed, adamantly insisting he was Edgar and, therefore, posed a risk to Yvette.

Instead of scampering off, the rodent had reared onto its haunches and wiped at his nose and ears with his front paws. Grizzled whiskers twitching, the bugger stared at Roark with his black-button eyes.

Then casually, as if it were an everyday occurrence to bathe on a human, the scraggy rat had ambled across Roark’s abdomen and down the length of his leg. After giving him a cursory look, the little beast hopped onto the pallet and sauntered from the cell.

Collette Cameron Bio:
Award winning, Amazon best-selling, and multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette is married, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

Be sure to subscribe to her newsletter, The Regency Rose, here!

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7 comments on “The Allure of Castles

  1. sarahhegger
    May 14, 2014

    Am just a total castle slut. Love them!

    • Collette Cameron
      May 14, 2014

      I’d actually take a course on castles if it was offered, especially if I had to go to Europe to take it.

  2. Lani
    May 14, 2014

    Loved the post, the blurb, and the excerpt! Loved it all!

    I love castles too! As a girl I thought them so romantic. Now as a military historian I know the reason behind every design. It’s AMAZING to think that every wall, every window, every brick was built for defense. I will admit here that I’m still a bit romantic about castles, and LOVE ruins!

    • Collette Cameron
      May 14, 2014

      Lani, I hope I get to go on a castle tour someday, maybe for an entire summer.

  3. Collette Cameron
    May 14, 2014

    Good morning, Kathy!
    Thanks so much for hosting me today.

    • kathybryson
      May 16, 2014

      My pleasure Collette! Thank you for sharing those beautiful castles with us!

  4. Pingback: The Allure of Castles | Collette Cameron Author

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This entry was posted on May 14, 2014 by in Guest Authors and tagged , , , , , , .
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