29 March 2012

Excerpt Thursday: Maidensong by Mia Marlowe

This week on Excerpt Thursday, we're welcoming historical romance author Mia Marlowe. Her novel MAIDENSONG  has been re-issued in ebook format. The novel is the first in the Songs of the North series, taking readers on a vivid journey in the Viking age to the fabled grandeur of Miklagard (Constantinople)Join us Sunday, when Mia will be here to talk about the novel and give away a copy. Here's the blurb:

When Rika sings the Norse legends, every other voice falls silent. She lives for the joy of her art, until the terrible day when she’s taken captive and made a slave to Bjorn the Black. She vows to hate him forever, but love doesn’t always recognize the enemy.

No one is more surprised than Bjorn when his slave takes his heart captive. But now that he’s oath-bound to deliver her to another man’s arms, is it a love too late? Sailing down wild rivers to a perilous foreign land, they discover the most dangerous journey is the distance from one heart to another.

Mia tells us more about the novel hereFirst of all, thanks for having me here on Unusual Historicals. While I love a good Regency as much as the next girl, I have to confess that unique time periods and settings call to me. Perhaps that's why I started out writing my "Dark Ages" romances. The more I studied the lore and legend of the Norse peoples, the more I was pulled into the world of the vikings.

History is always written by the winners but in this case, much of what we know about the raiders of the North was recorded by the people they victimized. Little wonder they were painted as rabid savages. However, if you look closer you'll find a civilization based on an oral tradition of laws, a mythology that rivals the Greco-Roman system, and a handsome race of people who bathed at least once a week when the rest of Europe went generally unwashed.

In MAIDENSONG, my first Songs of the North novel, my heroine Rika is a skald, a Nordic bard. My hero Bjorn is the brother of a jarl (a landed nobleman) who is oath-bound to deliver her to his brother's trading partner in distant Miklagard, the Viking name for Constantinople. (Yes, the Vikings were active in the Mediterranean. There are even accounts that a few of them rode camels over the desert and visited Baghdad.)

World building is something usually associated with paranormal authors, but historical writers have to do it too. The world of our stories is a world gone by, so we have to imagine it richly in order to whisk our readers back to it. Since my characters in MAIDENSONG travel from Scandinavia, down the wild rivers of Europe to the Black Sea and the Golden Horn of Miklagard, I decided it would help me if I drew a map of the route. Here it is in all it's crude glory.

What it lacks in artistic merit, it made up for in being a spur to my imagination. I could see the arduous portage from the mouth of one river to another. I could hear the roar of the cataracts and feel the mist on my face.

Hope you enjoy the journey!

**An Excerpt of MAIDENSONG**

Bjorn’s hair was bound back out of his eyes. A look of dogged concentration was etched on his rugged face as he swung the heavy double-bladed ax. Rika knew in that moment that she loved him. Loved him with every fiber of her being, with every breath, with every drop of blood.And she knew just as certainly if she died without letting this man love her, she might as well die right now.

Maybe it didn’t matter that tomorrow or next week or next month they’d reach the end of this journey and be parted. A Pecheneg arrow could find either of them at any moment. No one was promised tomorrow. But they did have now.
As if he felt her gaze, Bjorn turned her way.

“Rika?” he said uncertainly, unable to hear her words over the roar of the great waterfall behind her.

She took a step toward him, but made it no farther. The soft bank beneath her feet had been eroded by the constant hammering, and all it took to send it plummeting downstream was the slight addition of her weight.

Her eyes and mouth flew open wide in shock, and she disappeared into the mists of the falls without a sound.

Get your copy of MAIDENSONG at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Mia would like to offer an ebook of MAIDENSONG to a lucky commenter. Leave your comment or question in order to be entered in her drawing. Be sure to pop over to http://www.miamarlowe.com to enter her contest where the Grand Prize is the entire set of her print backlist! 

You can also find Mia on Facebook http://facebook.com/MiaMarloweFanPage and Twitter http://twitter.com/Mia_Marlowe !