One week until The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women is released, although I hear pre-order books are in the mail already!
I have a lot of very special surprises in store-
— An unboxing video where my best surprise is revealed! — How YOU can get some surprise of your own! — Some pretty promo pictures! — A little bit of a winge about The Nipple Situation. — An interview with the cover art illuminator, Tania Crossingham! — An online giveaway competition to celebrate the launch! — An update which book shops have stock in the real world!
Obviously, if one is going to dress alluringly either hoping for sex or hoping to avoid sex, one needs to be aware of what makes a gal sexy in the medieval world.
Recently, I've made three barbette-and-fillet combinations. One plain linen with no frills. One linen with gathered frills on the fillet. One silk pleated frills on the fillet.
This makes me extremely early 14th century sexy. No, really! It does.
Legend has it that the barbette and fillet was brought into fashion by Queen Eleanor who, as she aged, was concerned with her sagging jawline and slightly crepey neck, and let's be honest, as a woman of a certain age, I feel a bit the same way. Eleanor decided that a band under her chin would conceal and elevate and give her a better and more comely profile. Clearly, this needed to be tested.
I give you my results- a BEFORE image of my side profile sans barbette, and my AFTER profile with barbette. I think you'll agree that it certainly works a treat. It's not a wrinkle remover or a facelift, yet if does lift the face a little.
I also found that it helped keep my hairnet in place and had the added benefit of encouraging me to hold my head up higher, which lead to better posture and a more elegant profile.
So, there you have it. Whether Eleanor started it or whether she didn't, I don't know, but I can see why it caught on and find the look really works for me! If you're barbette-curious, I encourage you to try!
For more ways to be medieval-sexy, you know where to look!
It's not just the catchy song title of an Engelbert Humperdink song, but it's how I feel with the countdown to the book release ticking down to 18 days! I am sincerely crossing my fingers that with delay after delay that the book will actually be released on October 27th- which is the latest date I've been given.
Everyone, cross everything you have! I've been working hard behind-the-scenes with photos, a new outfit, pre-making some social media posts using snippets from the book itself with great manuscript pictures and photos from my medieval herb garden, organising a Book Launch and planning a Book Event, and of course, more giveaways both online and at the Events!
One of the behind-the-scenes things which an author spends a lot of time thinking about when writing a book, is deciding which images to include and which to leave out. This is an important consideration and one not taken lightly, and with a book like The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women, there are a lot of very cool images which belong to a lot of very cool manuscripts.
Many people think that as the manuscript images and paintings are over a certain age, they are in the public domain. This is not always the case. Even if they are online for fair use with credit to the holding institution, use is for non-profit online use only. Once you start talking about a book which is for sale, it's a whole other kettle of fish.
While I own the photographs I have used, some of the holding institutes for the images from the manuscripts charge a lot of money for permission to use them for printing in a book.
Often this also depends on whether the image is to be used inside or on the front cover, and how big the image is to be. A quarter page picture might cost less than a full page, or a cover. The amount of books printed is also a consideration, as well as whether the book is non-fiction or fiction.
Other challenges are simply making enquiries and ordering in a language other than English if there is not a translated page.
Some I could afford, but others less so.
But why? I hear you ask, do places need to charge money to use their pictures if they're from an old book? I'm glad you asked.
Many holding institutions use the income from licensing, subscriptions, merchandise and admissions to help keep their doors open and pay their staff.
Many images online in digital collections are low resolution suitable for online use and having copies digitised at a suitable quality for printing purposes means expensive cameras and a photographer who knows how to not get shiny glare from the pages and post processing skills. It's all making a living, and it doesn't pay much, but it's needed to pay for library running costs, especially since doors have been closed for so long at the moment.
This is why we see many of the same images being used again and again in medieval books. The images are accessible or free or low cost. In The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women I have made an effort to provide artwork which I don't see in other medieval books.
Except the penis-tree-picking-nuns whom I utterly adore. Quite frankly, they were worth the money.
The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women is a non-fiction book coming to a book store near you in October, 2020.
Many times I have been asked where, oh where does my information come from?
Books. Like this one.
The Four Seasons of The House of Cerruti is one of several copies and translations of the Tacuinum Sanitatus, a medieval health handbook which speaks at great length about herbs, vegetables, fruits and their associated benefits and dangers. Many of these are those that we might use today in herbal medicine; herbs for headaches, astringents for skin and remedies for upset stomachs or lack of sleep.
Among these helpful suggestions, we find remedies for those issues of a more intimate and personal nature. Perhaps one is too lusty, or not nearly lusty enough. Perhaps a medieval woman is hoping to fall pregnant. Perhaps one might already be pregnant and be suffering from the side effects.
Either way, one can be sure that information which may or may not be helpful is carefully recorded in health handbooks like this one.
They make for rather fabulous reading. Just don't try them at home.
Very often in medieval manuscripts, we see hunting dogs and greyhounds and quite often we see smaller hounds which look like whippets. Occasionally, we see noble ladies with their small, white fluffy dogs which are much like ours today!
It's not so often that we see these dogs; a little terrier-like which we see chasing rabbits but obviously a pampered pooch. Definitely, not a working dog. Never-the-less, this little doggo must have been a much-loved favourite to be especially included in this illuminated manuscript.
Medieval women were avid pet-keepers and often had small dogs, birds and cats along with the lesser-usual squirrels and monkeys. I think the smile on this little dog says it all though. Totally knows its place in the word, and let me tell you, it's not the working class.
In more Behind-The-Scenes news, the Very Secret Surprise has been delivered, and I couldn't be happier! I am thrilled with the quality
The Very Secret Surprise will be included in your book purchase FREE along with a FREE matching bookmark if you are supporting my local independent book store- Books@Stones, at Stones Corner in Brisbane. They will also be available at book signings there when we launch and wherever else I go!
I'm currently thinking how the Very Secret Surprise will work for those overseas who want one (you'll know who you are when you see it!) as I need to price postage to various countries and see what the demand is.
Books@Stones is located at 360 Logan Road, Stones Corner. There website is here but you can call them to reserve your copy of The Very Secret Sex Lives Of Medieval Women on (07) 3394 4949.
Things are getting exciting here in the Gilbert household as the calendar hits eight weeks until books are in shops!
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I've ordered some new things to go into Launch Giveaway prize packs (because I love prize giveaways myself, and I'm sure other people do too!)
As well as the "NO TOUCHY TOUCHY!" coffee mugs and tote bags I already have, also featuring the Rosalie's Medieval Woman illumination logo, I've added a spiral notepad with a calendar on the inside cover and lined pages. Just for fun, I've made a couple of Rosalie's Medieval Woman "NO TOUCHY TOUCHY!" spiral bound notepads with lovely blank paper. I know I love notepads with no lines so I can doodle and draw while I think! I also don't like people touching my stuff!
Stay tuned for ways to win prizes in 8 weeks when the book finds its way into bookshops!