Friday, June 5, 2009

Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Welcomes Lisa Hendrix

Welcome all. Our guest today is Lisa Hendrix, author of the Immortal Brotherhood Series, one of my favorites. Here's a little bit about Lisa for the curious:

After years of daydreaming complex stories for familiar characters from film, TV, and books — nearly always involving a romance that hadn’t been included by the original writer — Lisa Hendrix borrowed a page from motivational speaker and author Marsha Sinetar and decided that it was time to start doing what she loved and hope that the money really would follow. She began writing the medieval romance from hell, a manuscript that taught her a lot, but which is now safely locked away where it can do no harm. She later went on to publish several successful westerns and contemporary romantic comedies.

Now she’s gone back to her medieval roots with The Immortal Brotherhood, a paranormal historical romance series featuring a crew of Viking warriors cursed to be immortal were-creatures. The first book, IMMORTAL WARRIOR, was published in 2008. Book II, IMMORTAL OUTLAW is just out this week.
Discover more at, where you’ll find excerpts and fun extras like printable bookmarks and interactive maps of the locations in the books.


Guest Chef, eh? I suppose that means I should cook up something hot. With weddings.

While I consider recipes, let me say that it’s a pleasure to visit the East Coast via this invitation to PFHT (which is really hard to type, btw, because I want to turn it into Phfft and that just wouldn’t be polite). Being about as far west as a person can go without falling in, I seldom make it back your way, so I was excited to get Debbie’s invitation.

Did you know that during the early part of the Middle Ages, a priest wasn’t required for a wedding to be legal? That’s because marriage was not a Church matter, but a civil one. It was a contract—between families for the wealthy, sometimes between individuals for the poor. All that was required was for the two parties to agree, exchange gifts (rings, for example) and the betrothal or marriage was done.

In fact, there was a time when priests were encouraged NOT to attend weddings, and the Bishop of Bourge actually forbade his priests to take part in them because they were so bawdy. The removal and tossing of the bride’s garter originated as a way to distract the crowd of men intent on seeing the bride stripped naked and put to bed, and even so, sometimes the poor girl ended up upside down, her gown over her head and her modesty shattered. (And you thought Uncle Henry getting drunk was embarrassing...) The temptation to a celibate priest was seen as just too much.

However, many couples wanted a priest’s blessing anyway, so by the 12th and 13th c, the presence of a priest was becoming more and more common. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 required a priest to both witness and bless the marriage—while simultaneously contradicting itself by recognizing marriages made by nothing more than mutual consent. It wasn’t until the Council of Trent (1563) that the Catholic Church actually declared that a marriage was not valid unless a priest ratified it by saying a certain formula (e.g., “I now pronounce you...”).

At the outset, there was no real difference between a betrothal and a marriage except whether the bride went to live with the husband and whether there had been a consummation. If you were betrothed, you were bound to each other. Later, the distinction became a matter of verb tense. The declaration of “I will take you for husband/wife” (called verba de futuro, if I’ve got my Latin right) meant you were betrothed. Change the verb to the present, “I do take you” (the verba de presenti),
and you were married—consummation or not.

Even without the present tense vow, however, consummation turned a betrothal into a marriage. A rogue could not say, “Sure, Isabella, I’ll marry you,” take the lady to bed, then walk away scot-free. “I will marry you” + sex = I did marry you. Technically, there didn’t even have to be witnesses to the pledge: the woman’s word that the fellow said he’d marry her in order to get her in the sack was sufficient to make them married. For that matter, an agreement of marriage (present tense) made a marriage, consummation or not, and witnesses or not.

But vows made without witness were the subject of innumerable lawsuits during this period, so in most cases, after completing some paperwork—detailing the dower portion and morning gift—the couple and their parents walked or rode down to the church (the origin of the wedding procession) and made their declarations on the doorstep where everyone could see and hear. Afterward, they would generally go inside the church for a wedding Mass.

Despite the increased role of the priest, there was still debate about whether the Church had any real business being involved in marriage. Martin Luther, for example, argued that marriage was a secular matter, not a religious one. Following his lead, Protestants held out against the necessity of a priest far longer than the Catholic Church did. The Church of England still recognized clandestine (non-church, unwitnessed) weddings well into the 18th century, and in Scotland, declaration weddings (though before witnesses) were legal until 1940—which is why all those Gretna Green blacksmith weddings decorate the pages of Regencies. You didn’t have to go to a Gretna blacksmith, though: just make it across the border into Scotland, find a stray shepherd, and you could be married as quickly as you could say “I do.”

Research is one of my favorite ways to procrastinate from actual writing, can you tell? I got to make use of a lot of this information, too, though I’m not going to reveal any spoilers here by telling you which book or how. (Phfft.)
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate? Research? Cleaning your desk? Detailing your computer with a Q-Tip? Edging the lawn with manicure scissors? Come on, you know you have one. Give.
Lisa Hendrix

For all our readers who leave a comment today, Lisa is generously giving away a copy of her first book in the series, IMMORTAL OUTLAW, or a choice of one of her backlist books. So, come clean. How do you procrastinate?


Sally Kilpatrick said...

Thanks, Lisa, for such a fascinating post--which was BTW a great, informative way to procrastinate from my WIP which is in desperate need of attention.

I confess I had read about Gretna Green forever and had never really known the entire story behind it--and 1940? Wow.

The description of Middle Ages weddings was great, too. Now there's something they don't teach you in Western Civ. Unfortunately.

As for procrastinating, I'm not really sure what it is I'm doing. I really think a great many of my problems stem from having a 2 year old who can get into things in the blink of an eye. In fact, I only have 7 more minutes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and all bets are about to be off.

Thanks for stopping by, and I am intrigued by your immortal Vikings. I'm going to have to check them out.

Tammy Schubert said...

Thank you for stopping by and sharing such a fascinating post. I read a lot of Regencies and Greta Green is brought up over and over again. I never knew the history behind it.

I am a chronic procrastinator. Anything around the house is fair game for attention, even if that means getting out an old tooth brush and scrubbing the sidewalk. Ok, just kidding on that one, but you get the idea.

It finally hit me that I needed to get out of the house and away from all the distractions to get words on the page. Some of my friends and I have what we call Write Night where we meet for several hours at a local restaurant and just write. It works like a charm. The increase in productivity is amazing.

Lisa Hendrix said...

Oooo, LOVE the Write Night idea, Tammy (not so much the toothbrush/sidewalk thing //g//)

My critique partner moved away a while back, but we still work together, and every once in a while, one of us will call the other, declare "Word War!" and set a time limit. We both write as much as we can in that time, then call to see who won. The great thing is, we both usually
keep going afterward. It's a great kick-start.

And Sally--hang in there, and I have one word for you: Preschool. Couldn't WAIT until mine was potty trained so she could go 3 mornings a week, and I bumped her up to 5 ASAP. I literally could not write with her around, she was just into too much stuff (cabinets, dog food, electrical outlets...)

Linsey Lanier said...


What a great post. Thanks for joining us during Brides and Weddings month. That's some fascinating information about the history of weddings.

I mostly procrastinate by surfing the Internet. Then I complain that I don't have more time to write. LOL.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Morning Lisa:
Research is also one of my favorite ways to procrastinate. I also have to learn to control my urge to read blogs! So many good ones out there.

Thorough enjoyed both books in your Immortals series. Can't wait for the next one. When is that one coming out?

Lisa Hendrix said...

Debbie -- I don't have a pub date on the next one yet. The tentative title is IMMORTAL CHAMPION, btw, and it's about Gunnar, who spends his days as a bull. (I know, I know...)

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Lisa,

Great post! I love history and all the unique details that they don't teach in school.

How do I procrastinate? I have absolutely no problem with procrastination when it comes to writing. I love the entire process, whether it's writing or editing, but when it comes to house work, well, that's a whole other issue. Then I'll find ANY excuse. Maybe that's why hubby got me a Roomba! Now, if he only did the dishes.....

Thanks so much for joining us today. You've made the series sound so interesting that I'm going to have to read it.

Have a great day on the West coast.


Anna Steffl said...

Why in the heck don't we learn the interesting stuff in history class? This says so much more about life in the past than what treaty was signed by who.

I procrastinate by daydreaming about my characters rather than writing about them (when I really am to the point where I should be writing.

Carol Burnside said...

Lisa, I loved the history lesson. Cool stuff there. I can see why you procrastinate with--er, get caught up in--research. [g]

I have three four-legged distractions at my house. All are more than happy to interrupt my writing time at any given moment. The ways to procrastinate are myriad, but, thankfully, the writing always sucks me back in.

Tami Brothers said...

I LOVED this post!!! This was a neat way to introduce weddings to our readers and I learned a ton!!! I enjoyed this post so much it just proved that I need to do more research for fun.

Lisa, thank you so much for blogging with us today. I love the idea of your stories and I will definitely be checking them out.

Have a great day!


Mary Marvella said...

How amazing your knowledge is! Your book sounds wonderful. Love the title, too.

Darcy Crowder said...

Thank you so much for visiting us today. I loved hearing the history of weddings!

I procrastinate in a myriad of ways, but I have to say I'm right there with Anna - I spend too much time "plotting & planning", rather than writing.

Thanks again, looking forward to reading your series.

Marilyn Baron said...

What a great post. I loved the history lesson.

I procrastinate by doing my "day job" work, which is also writing. I finish this project or that so I can clear my plate to write, but then the projects keep popping up.

What I really need to do is clean my laundry room. When we recarpeted the upstairs we put everything in the laundry room and we never took it out. That project would be worth procrastinating for, but I'm avoiding that task like the plague.

Another reason I procrastinate is to read.

Thanks for visiting us. I can't wait to read your books.

Marilyn Baron

Susan May said...

Great history lesson. Thanks for sharing. Come see us again soon.
I hate to clean the bathroom. I know that I'm procrastinating when I clean the bath instead of putting my butt in a chair to write.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I loved hearing about the wedding history! My favorite way to procrastinate is reading and commenting on blogs :) Right now I am supposed to be finishing up our new website...nope, I'm here reading your post.

Caroline Z.

LIsa Hendrix said...

Well, the day's about over, so I'll say goodnight. I'm pleased I could be so many people's procrastination destination today.

Before I sign off, though, I need to point out that there was a typo--the book I'm giving away today is IMMORTAL WARRIOR (the first book, as it says, not Outlaw). And of course, if the winner already has it, she may pick from my backlist books. Keep commenting - I'm not sure when Debbie's doing the drawing.

Thank you all so much for hosting me today. 'Night.