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Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Spotlight: Cornelia Amiri

 Research - The Wolf and The Druidess
By Cornelia Amiri

As I write Celtic/Romances set in ancient times, I’m often asked about my research methods. I love history as much as I love writing.  I admit it; I am a history geek, so I read about the ancient Celts through non-fiction books, reports of new archeology finds, and website articles as often as I can, for fun. That helps because in writing fiction you have to be detailed in your research; not only do you have to know about famous battles and main historical events, you need a strong understanding of daily activities and what the seasons were like. Since it is winter I wanted to share some of my research about life during that season for my latest book, a Paranormal/Erotica/Romance, The Wolf and The Druidess

As the days grew colder, as an ancient Celt, you’ll notice salmon returning to spawn in river pools, the last autumn fruit you’ll see will be white, waxy mistletoe berries, and you’ll watch the men of your tribe herd shaggy red cattle from outlying pastures to an enclosure inside your village. 

Oat-porridge will be your main food during winter yet you’ll eat some delicious meat from hunting. 

As an example, here’s a hunting excerpt from The Wolf and The Druidess:

Out of the corner of her eye, Seren noticed a movement and turned her head. She gasped and pointed to a large red stag with long, branching antlers, strutting out of the forest. He dipped his snout to the salt. After taking a lick, he jerked his neck and looked to one side then the other, scanning the area. He leaned down again and took a few licks, then stared straight ahead at Seren; he’d sensed, smelled, spotted her. The stag thrust his rear legs back and bolted towards the woods.

Seren jumped on her horse and goaded it to a gallop. The chase was on to try to head him off and steer him away from the forest, but to everyone’s horror the stag managed to shoot pass Cynfarch’s mount and dart into the woods. Seren and Gwydion charged into the leafy canopy of the dense forest.

“I wish we had brought the dogs.” Seren said to Gwydion as she rode at his side. “But we didn’t want to frighten the deer at the salt lick.”

“I will transform.” Gwydion vaulted off his horse.

As his body twisted and lengthened in some areas and shortened in others, his face distorted with pain until he shifted into a large white wolf, staring at her with burning amber eyes. He raced off, on the trail of the stag as Seren and the other mounted warriors followed.

A wolf’s growl pierced the air as they rode on. Seren drew her horse to a halt as she sighted the white wolf, he had cornered the large, antlered deer.

Speaking of meat, especially beef, one of the main ways your tribe prepares for winter is with cattle raids. If your tribe doesn’t have enough cattle to get it through the long, cold days the warriors will grab some from a neighboring tribe.

Here's an excerpt of a cattle raid from The Wolf and The Druidess:

“No, he is in danger,” Seren snapped.

“It is our only chance. If we lose milk and beef, the entire tribe could starve during the winter.” Hywell shook his head.

“What harm could possibly befall me? The Silures cannot hurt me if I turn them to ice, first,” Gwydion said.

“My mother would not warn me unless the threat was real,” Seren said. “I myself sense danger, but it may not be from the Silures. You must be careful.”

“Seren, he is a god,” Hywell said.

“Yes, what could happen to me?” Gwydion said.

Rather than answer, she peered into Gwydion’s eyes. “Swear to me, you will take heed.”

“Yes, I will return to you unharmed.” Gwydion pulled his wand from the pouch tied to his side and brandished it high. “I am ready.” He swirled the ash stick, decorated with Celtic spirals, through the air in a sweeping motion.

“Foes of the Ordovices
Your raid is condemned.
I forbid your flight.
Winter’s embrace,
Shall halt your escape,
Frozen like ice.
For the tribe to find.”

A blue light with the power of a lightning bold shot from the wand. Gwydion knew everyone in the village could feel the surge, and he noticed Seren and Hywell had clung to each other during the mighty blast.

“It is done,” he said to them.

“Now you must shift into wolf form,” Seren said to Gwydion as she released her hold on Hywell.

After Gwydion eased off his horse, his body blurred from one form to the next as his limbs shortened and his flesh shifted into a pelt of white fur. The wolf stood before Seren once more.
Hywell gasped. “Gwydion, do not get too near the cattle, you will spook them.”
The wolf nodded, and as he darted off, Seren goaded her horse into a hard gallop. Hywell followed.

Of course one of the main things you want to know as an ancient Celt is how you can stay warm on long winter nights. 

Here’s a heated excerpt from The Wolf and The Druidess:

She leaned up to him and peered at his arresting face, strong chin, compelling eyes, and firm, sensual lips. Her mouth covered his in an all-consuming kiss. His lips tasted like warm honey.

Gwydion raised his mouth from hers and as he peered at Seren, her pulse pounded.

“Does that kiss mean you love me too?” he asked in a low, smooth voice.
“In truth it does.”

As he waved his hand in front of her, Seren’s clothing vanished.

She felt cool as she stood nude before him. “That trick of yours isn’t fair, but it does hasten things along. And that is good because I can’t wait. I need you now.”
“But I want to go slow, to explore every inch of you,” Gwydion said in a deep, masculine tone.

As he scanned her body, she felt the heat of his gaze. As she felt his warm fingers against the small of her back, he pressed his lips against hers. The wet kiss sent a delicious sensation spiraling through her. Easing his mouth off hers, he ran a trail of feathery kisses down her tingling neck.

As far as getting through winter in modern times, take a copy of The Wolf and The Druidess to bed with you along with a cup of hot chocolate on a chilly night.  That should warm you up.

For more on The Wolf and The Druidess

Here is a blurb and links for additional information

A god leaves the Otherworld and even risks his life...for love.

In days of old, deep in the dark woods, Druidess Seven discovers a wolf shape
shifting into the bare, muscular body of God Gwydion. Her wicked thoughts turn
from the Samhain feast to feasting on Gwydion's yummy goodies. Can their new
found love survive the ultimate long-distance relationship of a god in the
otherworld and a woman on earth? Is the love Seren and Gwydion share strong
enough to overcome the social barrier between an immortal god and a mortal
woman? Will the warning of danger from beyond the grave destroy the sensual
magic brewing between the wolf and the druidess?


Cornelia said...

Hi everyone,

Please post any comments or if you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer.

Diane Pollock said...

Enjoyable post, thanks!

lastnerve said...

Loved this blog and I learned something new about Celtics and winter. I don't think I could live during that time because I hate porridge. The Wolf and the Druidess looks really good and I'm putting it on my to be list. Thanks for blogging, I love to walk away learning something. Now for a question. How long did it take you to write this book and was there a lot of research you had to do? I mean, I know you're a history nut so did you have to do much MORE research for the book?


Cornelia said...

Thank you Diane. I appreciate it.

Cornelia said...

Thank you Val. I appreciate the kind word. I'm lucky, I love oatmeal so I might have made it through winter. Who knows. I love history and research anyway so since I've researched the ancient Celts for so many years for fun, I only have to research a few things here and there when I write my Celtic/Romances now. I do keep up with new archeological finds and theories. I just love that stuff. This is a novella so it's shorter than a novel and it probably took me 3 months to write it in total.