Happy Thursday! Today I am handing my blog over to author Kathleen Harrington, her latest book Lachlan's Bride is scheduled for release on April 30th. WELCOME KATHLEEN!
THE GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
People have played games from earliest times. The Greeks and Romans engaged in sporting events, as did the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It must be a natural human instinct. Down through the centuries, almost every culture developed playthings to entertain their children. Even baby animals play with each other, rolling around, wrestling and nipping.
I almost always include scenes in my stories in which the characters play games with each other, especially the hero and heroine. I like to show them at play before I allow them a love scene, because their behavior in sport will predict their playfulness and integrity in bed. My characters have played field hockey and Cheyenne ballgames. They've engaged in archery contests and horse races.
In THE MAC LEAN GROOM, the first book of my Highland Lairds Trilogy, Rory MacLean and Joanna Macdonald play a game of dodge ball, except she's lobbing everything she can lay her hands on, including apples, oranges, balls of yarn, and a bowl of walnuts. She's attacking a man who's been trained in the art of war. Dodging swords and dirks has given Rory ample practice in thrusting, feinting and rushing his adversary, but the game is far too enjoyable to end it too soon. The prize being, of course, the bedding of his vivacious wife.
I also enjoy adding a wager to a game or sport, just to give it a bit more tension. One of my heroes, the duke of Eagleston, was foolish enough to bet his magnificent horse in a race with Jennifer Elkheart, a Cheyenne princess. What was he thinking? Clearly, he knew nothing about the Cheyenne and their fleet buffalo ponies.
Naturally, I had to include a game in my latest release, the second book in my Highland Lairds Trilogy,. Set in 1503, the Late Middle Ages just at the beginning of the Renaissance, the story of LACHLAN'S BRIDE is woven around the historic journey made by Princess Margaret Tudor to wed King James IV of Scotland. Lachlan MacRath has been given the task of guiding Lady Francine Walsingham and her party safely to Edinburgh.
At that time, every wealthy palace and castle had a manicured bowling green for the entertainment of guests. Lawn bowls differed from the bowling game we're familiar with today, which consists of knocking down ten pins with a round ball. In lawn bowling, the aim is to roll an asymmetrical bowl as close as possible to the jack---a white ball used as the target.
Lachlan MacRath, earl of Kinrath, takes advantage of an offer to play a game of lawn bowls by challenging Lady Francine to a wager. But Francine is, herself, a master player. Taught by her father, she's played since she was a child. She's certain she can best the Highland laird and agrees to the bet.
Here's an out-take from the original manuscript, cut because the entire scene was too long and needed to be shortened. It will give you a feel for the game.
Francine could hear her father's voice instructing her, just as he'd done when she was a child.
Take you time, Francie. Make a pendulum swing, back and forward, along the intended path of the bowl. Keep your eye on the line of aim, not on the jack. Release the bowl as close to the ground as possible, just skimming the grass.
Her bowl flew across the green in a graceful arc and came to a stop in the exact middle of the rink, only inches in front of the target.
It was a perfect shot.
"Very, very nice, my lady," Kinrath said.
"Thank you," Francine answered politely. She bit her lower lip to keep from grinning. In addition to teaching her how to excel in bowling, her father had taught her to be modest in victory. She dipped a gracious curtsey before moving aside to let the Scottish earl take his turn.
I'm presently working on the third book of the Highland Lairds Trilogy, with the tentative title of KEIR'S STORY. I'm looking forward with excitement to the release of LACHLAN'S BRIDE, an Avon Impulse, on April 30th.
Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts with your readers. I can be found at the following places: