Hello, all! I am pleased to introduce you to another clean Historical Romance author: Melody Delgado. I know Melody as we are both published through Clean Reads. I ran across her book, Royally Entitled, and found it to be a very delightful read. And I eagerly anticipate the next book in this series.
The merchant class had guilds in Europe during the early Renaissance and the aristocracy was powerful as well so I’ve featured both in Royally Entitled, as well as conflict between the two groups. The invention of the rifle or caliver came at that time also, and it also plays a significant role in the story.
Neat! I always like to ask authors about that nugget, that spark that started gears turning for what would become the novel. What about you? What was the inspiration for Royally Entitled?
As I was researching the customs of European royalty during this period I was shocked by the fact that some royals would pick their spouse based merely upon a miniature portrait of them. I knew this historical detail would have to play a major role in my story.
How interesting! I never miss an opportunity to grab some advice! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Start small and then go from there. My first publications were short stories in magazines, then picture books. Writing a 40,000 word middle-grade came next and then I was better able to write an 84,000 word novel.
Good advice. While I’ve got you here, would you mind telling us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb?
After turning in the galleys for Royally Entitled I realized that I had met an actual European prince years before. I did not purposely base Prince Valdemar’s personality on his, and I’d forgotten about this interaction. But then I wondered if I’d unconsciously done so because this prince was outgoing, friendly and approachable just like Prince Valdemar. At least Valdemar’s personality is realistic for a real-life prince, but it was formed entirely by accident, or subconscious. [ And no, I’ll never tell…. 😉 ]
Neither will we 🙂 Do you have any current projects your working on? Care to share?
The follow-up to Royally Entitled, book #2 in the Brides of Brevalia series, Royally Scheming.
Thanks, so much, Melody, for chatting with us! Now, let’s get into Melody’s wonderful book!
When her family’s cider business is ruined and other local businesses are vandalized, Anika Pembrie wonders if the recent bout of unrest is merely a result of rivalry between local merchants and noblemen or if something more sinister is at the root of the recent crimes. Along her journey Anika befriends Prince Valdemar, future king of Brevalia but their relationship hits many twists and turns along the way. Lady Winifred Paxel Flemming pursues the prince relentlessly. His grandmother, Queen Marguerite, expects him to wed whoever she thinks is suitable, even if it means marrying a foreign princess he’s never met. Anika’s mother, Lady Sarah, wants Anika to help ease the family’s financial burdens by marrying Erland Riccats, National Chairman of the Merchants’ Guild. Lady Sarah also harbors secrets regarding Prince Valdemar’s mother, Princess Karin, who met an untimely death years before. In the end, will both Anika and Prince Valdemar be forced into loveless mar-riages, or will they be able to outwit their enemies?
Enjoy an Excerpt
For a brief moment, it seemed as if every noise went silent. The sounds of the chickens clucking, the horses neighing, the geese honking in the pond … Only the crackling pops of the blaze echoed in her ears.
No. This cannot be happening.
Anika’s breath caught in her throat. She stared at the fire in disbelief until the putrid scent of burning leaves caused her to gather her wits.
She rushed to the barn and grabbed a milking pail. “Finn! Help me!” she shouted. No sign of him. Where was the dratted boy now?
Running to the pond in front of the house, she filled her pail. Back and forth from the water to the fire she trudged, with bucket after bucket, as fast as her arms and weighty petticoat would let her. The banks of the pond became so muddy she lost her balance, almost falling headlong into the murky waters. Growing tired, she mustered all her strength, filled another bucket, and lumbered back to the spiraling flames. But it was no use. The fire had spread too far for one person to manage.
How she wished the entire household hadn’t left for the day. If the orchard were destroyed … But no, she wouldn’t think of that now. Instead, she sent up a short silent prayer for help.
“Finn!” she shouted once more to no avail.
A moment later hooves pounded behind her. Half a dozen men had ridden up on horses. At the sight of them, relief washed over her like the bucket of water she’d just tossed on the flames. Help at last.
She hurried towards the men as they dismounted, recognizing Lord Karlsyn and several other noblemen she knew only by name. Then her eyes rested on the tallest gentleman. Prince Valdemar.
“More milking pails are in the barn!” she shouted.
The men ran to get the buckets then filled them in the pond and rushed to the orchard to douse the trees. They scrambled to and fro from the fire to the water for several minutes, almost bumping into each other in their efforts.
Though everyone worked like oxen, they all rushed about frenzied and haphazard. “Let us surround the fire and come at it from different directions,” Anika hollered out to them. “We must contain it before it spreads any further.”
Sir Ian jumped back from a burning leaf that was falling to the ground. “The fire isn’t dying down fast enough,” he shouted. “Do you have any rags or cloths to pound out the flames?”
“There are tablecloths in the dining room,” Anika said, trying to keep her balance amidst the mud forming at her feet.
Before she could rush off to the house to grab the linens, Finn ran towards them holding up her wet laundry for all to see. “Would these help?”
“Good work, lad.” Sir Ian grabbed a wet sheet, rolled it up, and began beating at the flames.
Lord Lindholm dropped his pail and reverted to attacking the blaze with one of Anika’s frilly nightgowns. Sir Fritzer began beating down the fire with her yellow bed coverlet.
Lord Karlsyn attempted to pour another bucket of water over the flames but slid on some mud, splashing most of the precious liquid over his boots. As he fell into the mire, a branch that had ignited fell towards him. Anika rushed up, placed a wet sheet over him then flicked the branch into the mud surrounding them. Once he was on firm footing again, he grabbed an item from the pile of wet laundry and began whacking at the flames.
The article of clothing he was using caught Anika’s attention. Her dress for the ball! Anika’s heart felt heavy as she glanced at her ruined gown, but it was too late to do anything about her loss.
Prince Valdemar, still dousing the fire with buckets of water, worked close to the remaining flames. Sir Ian snatched the last piece of wet laundry and draped it over the prince’s shoulders. The prince wrenched the item off then used it to help the others pound out what was left of the fire, since only a few flames remained.
When the blaze was extinguished Anika seized the opportunity to rest for a moment, stepping away from the gray smoke and placing her foot atop an overturned pail.
The men were so hot and exhausted, they dunked her laundry back into the pails of water, and used the wet items to cool themselves and wipe away the soot from their faces and hands.
As Anika stood near them, she noticed the item of laundry Prince Valdemar was using. It was edged with lace and pink ribbon. Goodness gracious, he was cooling himself with her freshly washed knickers!
Prince Valdemar caught Anika staring at them. He let out a laugh, before immersing the garment in a bucket of water and continuing to use it to wipe the soot off his hands.
Drat! If she thought having Una wash her personal items was uncomfortable, having a stranger touch them was mortifying. It was just her luck that none of the older married men with daughters had gotten stuck using them. No, an unmarried prince had to be the one to view her knickers up close.
Perhaps she could try to distract him. She grabbed her pail, and rushed over to him. “Thank you so much for all your help. Everything seems to be under control now. ”
“Not quite.” Prince Valdemar strode closer to some burning embers that still littered the ground. He tossed her knickers over them and poured the remaining water in his bucket right on top of her most private piece of clothing. Then he swept his blue velvet cap from his head and bowed. “Happy to be of service.” He stifled a giggle as he stole one last look at her charred and muddied knickers.
More About the Author
Melody Delgado has been a published writer since 2000. Her novel, Royally Entitled, won a 2017 Readers’ Favorite award in the category of Historical Christian Romance. It is the first book in the Brides of Brevalia series. Her humorous novel for children 8-12 was also recently released by Clean Reads. She lives in Florida with her husband and children, where she enjoys taking long walks along the beach.
Connect with Melody and her books, including her new middle grade work Oops-A-Daisy!
Who wants to be stuck wearing a shaggy dog outfit or a chicken suit on television? Twelve-year-old aspiring singer, actress, Daisy De la Cruz, that’s who. She’ll do and wear just about anything to get ahead in the entertainment industry. But will all her embarrassing moments pay off and land her a spot in her arts magnet school’s coveted master class where she’ll be rubbing shoulders with top professionals in the entertainment industry? Or will she be doomed to play the role of an animal, vegetable or mineral forever?