As you’ve begun to read this post, I’ll wager that you love them, the men larger than life. We have that in common, you and I. Chance-met in the labyrinths of the internet, we might spend together only a short moment. Or a very long time. It depends on whether or not I can sate your reading desires. Let’s see.
Always fascinated with great men of a bygone era, I’ve been writing about their fates for more than two decades now. And it’s a good thing, since personages in the mold of kings, princes, and emperors are all too rarely portrayed as lead characters in historical fiction. So, writing about them I also scratch my own itch for stories about men endowed with passionate souls and with capacity to make an indelible mark in the annals of history. Invariably, these men carried burdens so heavy that a giant would falter under their weight. The perils which they encountered endangered not only them personally, but whole nations. Their struggles, victories, and defeats changed the face of whole continents. How could it not be fascinating to follow their fates? Such men I find truly irresistible, and love writing about them.
If full truth be told, there is something within me that best connects with men whose reputations have unjustly been tarnished and whose greatness has been largely downplayed by their political enemies. Small surprise that Vlad the Third (aka Vlad Dracula) and Henry the Eighth are my life-long loves. I see them as the real men whom they were, and write their tales for them as they want them to be told. Vlad’s in the saga Dracula’s Love, and Henry’s in the series We, King Henry VIII.
With that said for introduction, let me give you a taste of my writing. See whether you like it. The following excerpt comes from We, King Henry VIII.
Urging my stallion to gallop faster still, I laughed breathlessly against the wind whipping my face. The sky was falling on the earth. Leaden clouds pressed against the line of the horizon and a single oak tree on the empty plain was the only obstacle in the way of their oppressive presence. For now it held the weight of the heavens on its broad branches but its whole crown shook, combed by the gusts of wind.
I was racing toward it, alive and exhilarated as I had never been before. Winning, I was. But the hooves of his mare beat the ground not far behind me. Leaning forward in the saddle, I became one with the horse. We both moved in perfect harmony, straining to reach the tree first.
And we did. Although he and she were almost by our side when the trunk flew by us.
I gave my stallion free rein for a couple of yards more. Only then I slowed him down and turned him back toward the tree. And toward my prize.
In the saddle of a mare as black as the darkest night, with his silver mantle billowing in the blows of wind, my reward looked like the Devil’s Own. But I feared him not. I hungered for him and for what only he could give me.
We both halted our horses only when our legs almost touched. Leaning to him, I buried my gloved hand in his hair. He smirked at me. The same grimace that had challenged my beliefs… now challenged me. The core of me and my body. I embraced it, pressing my lips against his in a forceful, ravenous kiss. I ate his warm mouth, biting and caressing him at the same time. His grunt of need and his tongue wrestling with mine for the ultimate victory unleashed my passions. My lust broke out of its cage and now clamored for its fill. I had to possess him. All of him. And my kiss demanded his very soul. I was not exploring. I was conquering. But he refused to yield to my will. He matched it with his own, and took from me as much as he gave me. Our mouths warred each other, and loved each other all the same.
And we tugged each other in for more of the painful delight. Riding gloves prevented our hands from feeling much but it only made us clench each other harder, and concentrated all the raw desire in our mouths. A woman would have complained about the brutality of such a kiss. He welcomed it, and ravished my lips and breath, tongue and teeth with the same harsh urgency as I enslaved his. Neither of us won and neither of us lost in our battle. Our tongues twined, pushing for more and more pleasure. For a moment in my mouth, then in his. There and back, thrusting and fighting, taking and giving, in the glorious mating until our tastes mingled… bitter ale with sweet spiciness of hippocras. And I could not have enough. Laying a claim on all that he was, I drank more and more of the intoxicating essence from his mouth until our very cores merged.
A kiss. Who gave it its powers? I had never thought that it would echo under my knees with sweet pain. I had never thought that it would set my loins aflame. Nay, I had never thought that its taste would replace all other pleasures I had ever known. That it would have me famished for more. It did it all. The strange starvation tore moans and growls out of my center and let them fuse with howls of wind engulfing us, our horses, and the plain.
Then a bolt of lightning ripped the sky open above us, a thunder followed fast and its deafening sound damned me into nothingness.
Some people might argue that neither Vlad nor Henry held romantic feelings for men, so how could my novels be true to them? Doing research for my books, I have come to believe that both of them might have been bi-sexual in fact. Especially in Henry’s case, there is a lot of clues sprinkled in the records about him. When it comes to Vlad, the hints are of a subtle, indirect nature, but they are there as long as you are willing to read between the lines and explore motivations behind bare facts.
You would be mistaken though to expect my novels to be cast in the mold of a romance. Yes, there is love in them, and the romantic feelings are fierce and true, but the tales are of the nature of the sagas of old, chronicling the lives of my heroes in all their splendor (and misery). The wars are brutal, the intrigues insidious, the magic strong, the pursuits of the heart passionate. The heroes are the tale. They shape it, and it includes all which makes them the men they are. After all, Henry and Vlad were true renaissance princes – learned, complicated, driven by passion, ambition, and duty in equal measure. To focus solely on their amorous pursuits would do them – and their partners – great injustice.
Some other readers might frown on the supernatural elements in my novels. But, why should they not be there? A renaissance man believed that they were things between heaven and earth – their existence was a given in his eyes. I happen to believe the same, and it shows in my writing.
You see, when I was told, “You understand renaissance men better than you do those of nowadays,” I only asked, “Is that a flaw?”
I think of the said understanding as of a gift which I have earned. And I keep making it stronger by spending my time mostly in bygone centuries. I have soaked in their very essence. So expect my tales to be rich and deep and long. They are like an opulent feast – to be savored, not rushed. As I write for my royal patrons, I learn more not only about them, but also about myself. About all of humanity. In their company, I get to explore mysteries of love and life and death. With bated breath and open heart, I partake in journeys of self-discovery, love and forgiveness, death and rebirth, guilt and redemption. Yes, it takes time. And the rewards are great.
Would you like to walk our paths with us? Do so, and my heroes will break your heart. Then they will mend it. I promise.
Since you’ve stayed with me until now, I’ll wager that I’ve spoken to something within you. Most likely, you loved the excerpt too. Would you like to read more of my writing? You can buy my books in the Amazon store. Here are the links for your convenience:
Dragon’s Bounty: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q53G7XK
We, King Henry VIII, Part 1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YKVV31A