Picture this!

Manesse Codex, Germany
Manesse Codex, Germany

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.


Where, oh where?

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
The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti

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.


International Doggo Day!

That smile!
That smile!

It's International Dog Day!

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.


The Very Secret Surprise!

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.


8 Weeks.

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!)

Notepad for giveaway and one that just says No Touchy Touchy!
Notepad for giveaway and one that just says No Touchy Touchy!

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!


Medieval hints- getting bear naked!

Hours of Duke Adolph of Cleves, King David penitent, Walters Manuscript W 439, fol 204v
Hours of Duke Adolph of Cleves, King David penitent, Walters Manuscript W 439, fol 204v

Throughout my book, The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women, there are a number of medieval herbals which have been suggested as handy hints to alleviate medical conditions, many of which are to do with inducing lust, or quashing it.

One I'd like to share with you today, is this:

Hildegard von Bingham suggests any number of meats to stir up lust, but the one she recommends heartily is bear. Yes. Bear meat.

Call me sceptical, but I imagine that if a woman was able to acquire bearmeat, her husband might be rousted to increased lust through sheer admiration alone!



My first author interview!

This Thursday at 11pm Australian time, I was delighted to join Shawn from Friday Night Book Club for my first ever author interview about The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women.

Shawn hosts a series of podcasts about news releases and needless to say, I was excited to join him for a chat! He had many questions! The more we chatted, the more questions he had. Half an hour passed very quickly!

Friday Night Book Club airs fortnightly where-ever you find your podcasts, and I'm looking forward to hearing some feedback once it airs!


Non-Launch Giveaway

All this could be yours!
All this could be yours!

This weekend marks the original Pre-Covid19 release date of the upcoming The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women, I have decided to do a giveaway competition!

As expected, the Abbey Medieval Festival 2020 could not go ahead and the launch and all the fun things have needed to be held over until the new release date of October. So many people have been wonderfully supporting about this and pre-ordered their copies that as a small token of my gratitude, I'm giving a fun package as a prize for a competition.

Simply guess the number of times that the word SECRET appears in the book, comment on THE ORIGINAL FACEBOOK POST and wait until the end of the festival weekend when the closest guess will be announced!

I'm truly thankful for all the kind comments and support I've been shown at this time when, in a perfect world, we would be launching and signing copies today.

Don't worry, though! There will be lots of competitions and some fun and games when the book is finally released in October. 


Publication! Behind the scenes.

New release date: October 20, 2020
New release date: October 20, 2020

As you as most likely aware on other social media platforms, the release of The Very Secret Sex Lives Of Medieval Women was pushed back from July to October, due to Covid 19 making everyone Stay At Home and not go about their usual businesses of printing and distributing books.

I've been fairly lucky that the book is still going ahead, as my publisher tells me some books were cancelled altogether. I believe pre-sales are doing quite well, and enough of you must have ordered ahead to make sure it went ahead; so for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart! 

The latest update is that only the e-Book will be full colour, and the paper book with be black and white inside with a colour cover. I'm disappointed, of course, but I'm very aware that a lot of businesses were unable to keep their doors open at all and closed.

Happily, the images I chose should reproduce well. Having worked in the printing industry in my youth, I knew what pictures would not print well in greyscale, and avoided them. Now it's up to the publisher and printer to get the balance right.

Just because I can, once the book is out, I'll post up the images in their full, glorious colour so you get to see them like I do!