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 !


Mary D said...

I love books from around this time period. I love learning the history of different times and to get a good story out of it makes it even better. Thanks for the giveaway.

Mia Marlowe said...

There aren't too many viking romances around, but I do have another one coming in July--LORD OF FIRE AND ICE with Connie Mason. Our Viking hero in that one also has a paranormal gift. He's a fire mage, which was tons of fun to play with.

Lenee said...

The barbarian in me loves Viking romances, but they are not the easiest to find. I'm always excited to see a new one!

RW1010 said...

Hey Mia! Just curious...do you have any "Norse" blood coursing through your veins? I've got to admit, this is a new genre for me, but sounds very intriguing! Thanks!
Robin in NC

Nynke said...

What a cute map! And probably more accurate in terms of dimensions than anything people would've come up with in the early Middle Ages :)

By the way, as you know, Mia, there's no need to enter me in the giveaway, since I already own three copies of the book!

Barbara Monajem said...

Hi, Mia! I have a book of Norse mythology, The Poetic Edda, which frequently calls to me. I wish I had more reading time.

Your new cover is GORGEOUS, and what a tantalizing excerpt! And the map is great, too. Both as reader and writer, I appreciate visual aids when characters go on a journey.

Mia Marlowe said...

Lenee--There aren't too many viking romances out there. I guess that's because back in the 80's vikings were portrayed as seriously barbarous and tastes even in alpha males have moderated a bit. However, my vikings are intelligent, courageous, and honorable in their fashion.

Barbara said...

Hi Mia, I'm so glad to see MAIDENSONG out again. I loved it (and the other two in tht beginning series). I wish we'd see more good Viking historicals like that again. Alas. And the map is perfect--simple enough for even me to understand LOL. No need to enter me in the drawing--still have the original. Looking forward to LORD OF FIRE AND ICE.

Toni Sue said...

Oooh, looks like I need to fire up my Nook! (it always sounds dirty when I say that...) Like you've said, Vikings are few and far between these days. Sounds divine.

Erin Kellison said...

Love Viking romance and must get this. And I can't wait for Lord of Fire and Ice!

Tina Rucci said...

I like finding Viking romance. There are only two other authors that I can think of that write them. Sandra Hill and Connie Mason. They both wrote wonderful stories. Since you write with Connie I'm sure this will be as fantastic as it looks.

Mia Marlowe said...

Robin--No, I'm English through and through, but my DH is Norwegian. He's a "black Viking"--dark hair and eyes. He tells me the raiders used to scoop up all the dark haired women on the European coasts. He claims the women were all happy to go! :-)

Mia Marlowe said...

Nynke--Thanks for supporting my work, sweetie!

I'm always amazed by the navigation abilities of those early Norse travelers. Guys who took off across the Atlantic without even a compass were either incredibly brave or incrediblylucky!

Mia Marlowe said...

Barbara--Thanks! I love the cover too.

Mia Marlowe said...

Toni--I swing both ways (that sounds dirty too, doesn't it?) I use both Kindle and Nook on my cellphone. It's really great to have choices.

MIa Marlowe said...

Erin--I'm very excited about LORD OF FIRE AND ICE and I get to read through it again over the next few days. Final edits. I always love when they happen because there's been enough time for the work to feel fresh to me.

Mia Marlowe said...

Barbara--Thanks for those kind words. I love these stories and hope readers will too.

Mia Marlowe said...

Tina--Before Connie Mason and I collaborated on LORD OF FIRE AND ICE, I went back and reread her VIKING. She's a master storyteller.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cover.Sounds like a nice change of pace in the romance field.