Thursday, August 1, 2013

Elsie Park on Medieval Weapons & Shadows of Valor

Jeff, thank you for having me as a guest! I enjoy you blog posts and comments, and I’m honored to be here.


Shadows of Valor is my debut medieval fiction. I love historical stories. In fact, medieval weapons are fascinating to me. There are five I like very much and try to implement into my stories.
  1. Crossbow: Easier to handle than the long bow. The arrows shot from it could penetrate metal armor. Though crossbows were considered by knights to be a “cowardly” weapon because it didn’t require close-contact fighting, it was a most effective tool and one I would personally love to wield if I lived back then.

  2. Broadsword: A two-edged, 3-4 foot long sword favored by knights. It weighed between 3-5 pounds and was used in close-contact fighting. Coupled with the skill of the wielder, the sword could slice limbs or dismember heads in one stroke.

  3. Dagger: A simple weapon carried by just about everyone of every class. It was small and concealable. It’s multi-use as a weapon or tool for hunting and even eating food place it on my list of essential blades to have.

  4. Flail/morning star/mace: These three weapons are quite similar to each other, all usually having some sort of spiked ball(s) on the end of a long handle, sometimes swinging from a chain as well. I added them because they just look really COOL and they look like they could do some serious damage.

  5. Trebuchet: I LOVE this awesomely massive weapon of destruction, the ingenious device made possible through the use of a counter weight mechanism. It was used in full effect well up to the point of gun powder being introduced into Europe in the mid-13th century. My favorite movie scenes using trebuchets come from the high fantasy “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” directed by Peter Jackson. Awesome!

What is SHADOWS OF VALOR about and how did I come to write it?

Overview: Taking place in 1300 A.D. England, The Shadow (aka Sir Calan), a knight-spy working under the direction of King Edward I, hunts down and arrests smugglers who defy the law and evade paying their taxes. The Shadow’s duty is fueled by vengeance from a childhood experience against smugglers who used and murdered the innocent and poor. Dealing with society at its worst, The Shadow becomes cynical and struggles to reign in his desire to execute lethal justice before turning the perpetrators over to local authorities. He feels his soul turning black with hate in his continual fight against evil. A childhood acquaintance, Lady Elsbeth, enters his life years later, bringing light to his soul once again, but in an effort to keep his identity and duty secret, he must also deceive her. This creates distrust and uncertainty between them, not to mention her accepting another man as suitor. Smugglers infiltrate the castle and The Shadow must discover who they are before Elsbeth and others are hurt or killed.

I have always loved fantastical and historical stories about princesses, knights, pirates, Vikings, wizards, dragons, and anything adventurous in another time. I like to get lost in unknown worlds . . . places I don’t experience everyday. I chose 1300 A.D. England because I liked the clothing styles and King Edward’s wool tax that caused some people to smuggle their goods. This was a great backdrop for a story. I’ve always loved books, reading and watching good movies (especially historicals), so when a bunch of adventurous medieval scenes started invading my head, I thought those would make a good movie or story if coupled with a good plot. But could I really write a full-length novel? I’d never done anything like that before. So on a whim I jotted my ideas down and my first step to writing Shadows of Valor was taken.

Also drawn to the poems by Tolkien in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” I also wrote ballads into my story and composed the written music for them. I’ve included a medieval recipe in the book as well. My publisher gave me the unique opportunity to compile two of my songs into a 2-minute score for my visual book trailer. I was flattered and elated to take part in it.

Shadows of Valor will be released September 7, 2013 through Jolly Fish Press. It can be ordered from any bookstore including Barnes and Noble and Amazon and will be available in hard cover, paperback and e-readers (including Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, as well as any tablet, smartphone, or computer). I’m excited over the release of Shadows of Valor, and I hope people will love the story and my music as much as I loved writing and composing it.

Thanks again, Jeff, for hosting a wonderful blog and allowing me to take up a small part of it. Best regards and wishes to you in all your writing adventures.




Elsie Park’s contact information:

E-mail – elsie_rees@hotmail.com
Elsie Park's Facebook Author Page
Twitter - @elsiepark1
Blog: Elsie Park

Shadows of Valor at:
Barnes and Noble (available for pre-order)

To schedule a book signing, appearance, or interview, contact my publicist, Kirk Cunningham: kirk@jollyfishpress.com or me at elsie_rees@hotmail.com.

26 comments:

  1. I hold a special respect for writers who write historical fiction. Medieval times are filled with rich ways to create new stories. Congrats Elsie and thanks for coming by.

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    1. Thank you, too, Sheena-kay (beautiful name, by the way). And, yes, I agree that medieval times are ripe with untold stories for the modern reader. LOVE IT!

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  2. Sounds like a great read - added to my TBR :)

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    1. AWESOME! Thanks, Trisha! I'm tickled you've added it to your TBR list :).

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    1. I hope it's intriguing for readers, too.

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  4. My kind of book! Congratulations, Elsie. And you had to be strong to wield a broadsword.

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    1. Right you are, Alex. I'm better at wielding my pen than a sword *laugh*

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  5. Wow, you actually composed music for your book? Very cool! I'm always amazed by people who can do that, since I totally lack any musical genes, heh.

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    1. *smile* I started playing the piano at age 6, so the music came easier to me than writing the story (shhh, don't tell my publisher that, though *laugh*). It was fun to play around with the music (no pun intended). I hope readers enjoy it as much as the story.

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  6. Reading your list of weapons immediately made me think of an old book High Citadel by Desmond Bagley. Although I have the book, I haven't read it in many years, but I remember that a small plane was hijacked over the Andes and subsequently they build ancient weapons such as trebutchets ad crossbows, to fight the Guerrillas who are in their way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Citadel if you want to know more.

    Wool smuggling was known as owling by the way. Sounds a fascinating book and I will certainly have to obtain it once it comes out. Congratulations on writing music for the book too, very clever.

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    1. That's awesome, Jo! I'll have to look into that book. Sounds like a GREAT read! Thanks for the link. And yeah, I wanted to use the term "owling," but fearing that strict historians would remind me that the term probably originated toward the end of the 17th century (a good 400 years after the time period of my story *cringe*), I decided not to use it in Shadows of Valor, just to be on the safe side - LOL. The fact that you know the term at all, however, shows you have a good background in, and appreciation for, history. Me too. I LOVE LOVE LOVE history. Thanks for your comments, Jo :)

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  7. This definitely sounds like something I'd read. Adore books set in that era. :-)

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    1. YES! And I love a good movie set in that era as well.

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  8. I hate to sound "nit-picky", but true maces don't have spikes. Morningstars and flails do, but maces don't. This is a good article, in any case.

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    1. LOL, that's all right, Patrick, "nit-picky" comments dispel misconceptions, and I'm always one for learning. Thanks for clarifying the difference. You're right, the mace is more of a blunt club, and I think the "flanged mace" looks pretty dang cool :) .

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  9. That cover is gorgeous. Love how much detail you know about medieval weaponry.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! I'm WAY STOKED about the cover as well. Jolly Fish Press' design team did a great job. The executive editor, Chris Loke, took the pictures for the cover himself (he studied photography). As for knowing medieval weaponry, I only know about the items I put into my book (and book in progress), having looked them up specifically (and even then, as seen in the comment above, I still make mistakes - LOL). I certainly don't know about all weapons. There are OODLES that I lack any knowledge of at all. You're sweet, though and I appreciate your nice comments. :)

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  10. Sounds like an awesome read!

    I actually heard of all of these! I have four boys...and they love destruction and the weapons that go with it.

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    1. LOL, that's great, Elizabeth (well, not so much the destruction part). I have three girls (no boys...yet), but I can tell you that my little cuties can be just as destructive :). I love kids!

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  11. Beautiful cover. And so much fun to learn about all those weapons. This book sounds great- will check it out. Thanks Jeff for sharing Elsie with us all! :)

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Rebecca (my oldest is a Rebekah, too *smile*). Hope you enjoy the story as much as I loved writing it.

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    1. Thanks, Sherry! I hope people like it *biting my nails with a worried look on my face*. It's scary for a first-time author (and probably for any other author, too). Your enthusiasm and nice comment makes me feel good. :)

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  13. Medieval weapons in stories? Yes, please! ;) Great post and the book sounds like a fun read.

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    1. LOL - yeah, I love a good old fashioned sword fight! Thanks, Nicole!

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