Monday, 24 June 2013

A very welcome guest, say hello to Michele Stegman


Her people conquered his country. How can they overcome the distrust they feel to find love? 
Madeline wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she has fallen in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?
Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king , is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in?



She did not cry out or pull away. She opened her mouth farther, inviting a deeper taste of her sweetness, an invitation that this time, he did not ignore. She swayed against him, and the combined heat of their bodies seemed to melt them together, fusing them into one. 
Somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind he marveled at how well their two bodies fit together, curve to cavern, hill to hollow, swell to depression. He started when her hand touched the bare flesh of his back, and again when her other one was also laid upon him, was utterly lost to dignity when they moved over his skin. 
His own hands began to explore, almost, it seemed, of their own volition, but he drank in their findings, savoring the slope of her shoulder, the long curve of her back, a cresting buttock. His hands found it all, gliding over her, sending searing sensations to him to feed his hunger for her. But it was an insatiable hunger, a hunger that grew with each touch, each caress, each play of tongue on tongue. 
One of his hands searched upward from her waist, climbed the mound of her breast, and was rewarded by a hardening nub at the peak. He pressed closer, wanting that union of flesh with flesh that could not be accomplished through layers of silk and linen. He pressed against her and she stumbled back a step. He turned her so that her back was to the oak and ground into her, tongue thrusting, loins pressing in a frenzy to intermesh. 
Her hands moved with an equal searching frenzy across his back, kneading, clawing, wanting, urging him on. He grabbed at her skirt, trying to lift it, but the fullness of it defeated him, slithering back into the path of his groping hand, blocking him from his goal of bared thigh and hip and belly. He heard her moan and its plaintive note lent him new resourcefulness.

My husband, Ron, was reading chapter one of my new release, Conquest of the Heart, which takes place in England in 1067. The king makes the hero marry a Norman woman before he will let him keep his  land. Ron asked me if they really did that.
                  Well, I told him, you may notice that in chapter one the king made three Saxons marry Norman women. Two of those Saxons were real historical figures and they really did have to marry Norman women. I just added my hero into the mix and made it three.
                  One of those men, Earl Edwin, who married the king's daughter, later led a rebellion. Waltheof, who married Judith, a niece of the king, remained loyal to William.  And, of course, so does my hero, Ranulf.
                  I like to throw real historical people into my books. But I had to be careful to get things right. For example, I did a lot of research to find out where William actually was in February 1067. If my hero, Ranulf, was going to meet with the king, I had to know where to send him!
                  In Conquest of the Heart I tried to stay true to the times. The Saxons and Normans dressed differently, wore their hair differently, and had different styles of fighting. In England, a woman would have worn an undertunic. Madeline, my heroine, wears a chemise. She's from France and the Conquering Normans apparently introduced that item of clothing. But the conquerors, clean shaven and with close cropped hair, soon adopted the long hair styles and beards of their subjects.
                  Not many Saxons kept their land after William conquered England, but there were a few. So I felt I could get away with letting my hero keep his--and have a romance with the woman he has to marry.
                  Ranulf and Madeline's story is set in a dark and violent time, but I just can't write that dark. Conquest of the Heart is light and humorous. I call it a "light-hearted romp through the dark ages."


  1. Very interesting research, Michele. Conquest of the Heart sounds awesome!

  2. I think the research you did is commendable. I always wonder about what in romance historicals is accurate so it's good to see an author doing the homework. Love the idea of a light romp through the dark ages! Good tag line and good post!

  3. Making history mesh so smoothly with fictional characters and events is an art form, one you've mastered, Michele. Congratulations on publishing this book -- you must still be surfing the adrenaline wave.