Author Archives: armitageauthors

Love Is In The Air And So Is Danger: A Review of THE GISBORNE SAGA by Prue Batten

Prue Batten was the first writer from the Armitage fandom that I interacted with, during FanstRAvaganza2. She posted chapters of a fic to her blog, at the time called Mesmered, during that year’s celebration of fan creativity that retold the story of Guy of Gisborne through the eyes of a woman named Ysabel. It was completely addicting and I was a bit bereft when it was over because I had to know what became of them. Eventually that story became this series, The Gisborne Saga, and it’s still addicting. This was supposed to be up yesterday but I was again caught up in Prue’s beautifully told tale and I lost track of time.

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The phrase “sweeping epic romance” is frequently used to describe books that aren’t really but in this case it’s perfect. Ysabel de Moncrieff is living with cousins in France when her mother dies and her father sends his steward, Guy of Gisborne, to bring her home to England. They forge an uneasy bond on the journey that is strengthened when Ysabel saves Gisborne’s life. He spends the remainder of this book and the other two repaying that debt, and a few others of a different nature.

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This Gisborne is inspired by Armitage’s but he is as far from the slightly ridiculous BBC henchman as he possibly can be. He tells her stories to pass the time and Ysabel finds herself both fascinated and infuriated by this man who her father trusts with her safety. Guy sees no need to explain everything to her and so we find out when she does that his ambition is animated by a broken and bitter heart. This is not a “bad boy saved by the love of a good woman” story, though. The world they live in is far more complicated and they endanger each other as often as they save each other.

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Prue is also the author of the fantasy series The Chronicles of Eirie and she brings the lush world building from that setting to this one, a place we think we should know if we read Medieval romances. From the atmosphere in Le Mans after Henry II fled  to the rough passage of a small vessel in the Mediterranean the world we see through Ysabel’s eyes is incredibly vivid if confounding.  The political intrigue is tightly woven with the reality of being a woman who is seen as a commodity, something this woman won’t accept. Ysabel de Moncrieff is one of my favorite Gisborne heroines and spending time in her world, with the Gisborne that she loves, is absolutely worth it.

Prue Batten’s Gisborne Saga is archived here. Her four book cycle The Chronicles of Eirie is archived here. Miniature tales from the worlds in these books are available through Bo Press Books here. You can follow Prue Batten at her blog or on her Facebook page.

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Love Is In The Air: To Sir, With Love

I kind of came into this fandom sideways, through fan fiction. I’d seen the proposal scene from North & South but hadn’t watched the whole thing and while I knew who Richard Armitage was I didn’t really engage with the fandom at all until I read a Guy of Gisborne fan fiction at FanFiction.Net. Tall, dark, and broken is a trope that really appeals to me so I sought out more fic and then the source material, the BBC’s retelling of Robin Hood. The fic that I read that night and the author who wrote it are long gone but I’d like to thank that writer for pulling me in.

Guy isn't really sure if he's thankful or not.

Guy isn’t really sure if he’s thankful or not.

Guy of Gisborne is not an easy character to love but it’s certainly fun to try. The bad boy who might be redeemed by the love of a good woman is nearly irresistible and when he’s wearing leather? All bets are off, especially in the hands of these writers.

Grant What I Wish by Nancy Klein at Wattpad. Marian recovers and heads back to Nottingham.

Love Is A Wound by Hazel Osmond at Wattpad. Guy becomes enamored of a woman who is decidedly not Marian.

A Lady’s Nightly Vigil of Love, a Sir Guy Ficlet by Gratiana Lovelace at Wattpad.

Manna From Heaven by Zee’s Muse at An Archive Of Our Own. NSFW Time travel involved with this one. Zee recently started posting a companion piece, Aside From Heaven.

The Dragon of Throxenby by Melanie Goldmund at the author’s website. All knights have to face a dragon sometime, right?

Sloth Fiction by Fedoralady at Wattpad. Is Guy really dead? Not if the amount of junk food disappearing from Fedoralady’s pantry is any indication. Multiple characters but she loves Guy best.

Remember by lillianschild at Wattpad. Remember the time Nottingham was going to be burned to the ground? Guy does.

How The Sheriff’s Guard Got their Feathers by Whatcatydidnext at Dreamer Fiction. Very silly. 🙂

Wolf’s Head by corrielle at LiveJournal. Follows Guy’s story from when he takes over Locksley Manor.

Second Chances by Nyphette at An Archive Of Our Own. Alternative Universe where Meg survives. WIP, at fifty-eight chapters.

So what’s your favorite Guy of Gisborne fan fiction? Leave a link in the comments and don’t be shy about linking your own work. One piece of housekeeping: the winner of The Tempest and My Lady Gisborne by Charlotte Hawkins was Jennie Colleen Newbrand, congratulations!

 

SpReAd The Love Children’s Book Challenge: Dr. Seuss Is On The Loose Again

The 2nd SpReAd The Love Children’s Book Challenge, a fandom project of Obscura and jazzbaby1, is coming up in the first week of March and The Armitage Authors Network will be participating. If you’d like to participate but don’t have a blog of your own to write a review, Trudy and I are willing to host you. Just let us know via the Contact form on the About tab and we’ll get in touch.

SpReAd The Love

When Obscura and I were talking about what we’d like to do with SpReAd the Love this year the one challenge that we really wanted to keep was this one. Last year our participants donated twenty-seven books to libraries, schools, children’s hospitals, and to special children in their lives and hosted twenty-one posts on blogs all throughout Armitageworld. Can we outdo ourselves this year?

The challenge is this: if there’s a book you loved as a child or a children’s book you’ve read and loved as an adult, we invite you to write a review of it and then donate a copy to a school, a library, a children’s hospital or Ronald McDonald house, or a child in your own life. Pretty simple, right? If you’d like to write a review but don’t have a blog of your own we can arrange a host for you or if you’d prefer…

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Love Is In The Air: Reviews of IN CONSEQUENCE and A HEART FOR MILTON

Trudy doesn’t know I’m doing this (well, okay, she does now) but I thought that since we’re talking about love and romance this month it would be a good time to review two of the most romantic North & South novels in the archive, Trudy’s own In Consequence and A Heart for Milton. I can’t remember which one I read first as fan works on Wattpad but to refresh my memory before writing this piece I read them in the order she’d published them.

Both of these books take a single moment from Gaskell’s original and reimagine the story from that point. She knows these characters well – their doubts, their fears, their secret longings – and their interior moments are the focus of her retellings. I loved reading Mr. Thorton’s thoughts as he readied himself the day of their wedding in A Heart for Milton. I loved reading Margaret’s debate with herself after she accepted his proposal in In Consequence. I loved the love letters they sent each other, I loved the choice of rings, I loved their getting to know each other as newlyweds. Trudy’s novels are breathtakingly romantic.

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A Heart for Milton begins with Margaret’s visit to the Thorntons before she leaves Milton after the death of her father. She gives Mr. Thornton her father’s Plato as in the Gaskell but he decides to give her a small token in return, a copy of The Economy of Cotton. What he hides in its pages, and she discovers on her way to the train station, kicks off the plot. Together the lovers face the derision of others on each side of their match, Hannah Thornton and Aunt Shaw especially, and their devotion to one another grows. Margaret in particular discovers what she truly values in Mr. Thornton as she’s speaking in his defense to her London relatives (a still-smarting Henry makes an appearance, as well). Their wedding and their wedding trip are beautifully and sweetly told.

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As In Consequence opens, Margaret remembers the conversation at Mr. Thornton’s dinner. The events of the day of the riot at Marlborough Mills are woven tightly together but spin off from the Gaskell when the rock thrown by Boucher hits a different target. The proposal in the wake of the riot plays out differently, and there are different players opposed to their match, but in this case they also have strong supporters in her parents. Margaret’s devotion to Mr. Thornton is tested early on by tragedy and she questions if she will ever come to love him as he loves her. Does she? You’ll have to read it to find out. If you are a fan of romance with a capital R, I highly recommend both of these books.

Trudy Brasure is a founding partner of this blog and is archived here. You can follow her on Twitter @TrudyBrasure.

Jazzbaby1’s note: Trudy is my partner in this site and my friend. I’ve received no compensation for this piece and the copies of the books I worked from were purchased.

The Armitage Authors Network Interview With Charlotte Hawkins

Love is definitely in the air this February, and Trudy and I are working to bring you a month filled with romantic goodies. Yesterday we published our review of The Tempest and today we’re thrilled to introduce you to the author, Charlotte Hawkins. She talks to us about how she discovered Richard Armitage, why she’s revising her series, and the search for the perfect actor to voice her version of Guy of Gisborne.

Armitage Authors Network: Welcome to the Armitage Authors Network. Can you tell us a little about how you first became a fan of Richard Armitage?

Charlotte Hawkins: It was by accident. In early 2006, I was researching the BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre. At the time, the cast wasn’t announced, so I was trying to find out who would be playing Rochester. I was on different forums and websites and I kept hearing the name Richard Armitage. Everyone was talking about him – how he would be a perfect Rochester. They were all gushing about his role in the BBC’s North and South, which I had never heard of. So I went out and found the DVD, and the rest is history.

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AAN: You’ve been revising your previously published Gisborne Saga, what made you decide to revise these books and what’s the process been like?

CH: I’m a perfectionist, and I’m always trying to improve my craft. The story started out as a simple fanfic, and I didn’t expect it to find much of an audience. But it took on a life of its own, eventually outgrowing the Gisborne fanfic audience that was around at the time. I self-published it mostly because I had requests for a paperback version, but I didn’t think anyone outside the fandom would be interested in it. Much to my surprise, people discovered it through word of mouth and for the most part, they loved it.

But there was a small group of readers who found it either distasteful or silly. Some even hated it completely. As a writer, I take all opinions into consideration, and I use them to better myself. As time has gone by, I’ve found ways to make the story and the characters richer – the writing better. But I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely satisfied with the results.

AAN: What is it about Guy that inspires you?

CH: Guy, especially as portrayed by Richard Armitage, was such a multi-layered character. Watching him, we could see all these emotions swirling underneath the surface, and it made the viewer curious about him. We wanted to know what made him tick – where he came from, how he came to be who he is, and what would happen to him in the future. He was definitely the most interesting character on the show.

AAN: Guy’s match in this series, Cassia, is a very strong-minded character in her own right. Was she fun to write?

CH: Oh, yes! I love writing about smart, strong women. I’m not a fan of the damsel-in-distress types.

Armitage Author Charlotte Hawkins

Armitage Author Charlotte Hawkins

AAN: Was this your first piece of fan fiction?

CH: No. I wrote several Jane Eyre fanfics before I became a total Guy fan. And I didn’t start writing Guy stories until the series was near its end.

AAN: What was your first published novel?

A novel called Finding Grace that I published in 2008. It’s a love story set in Chicago during the prohibition era of the 1920’s. It’s currently on my schedule for a rewrite, a re-title, and a republish.

AAN: Have you always wanted to write?

CH: I’ve always been a storyteller, but I haven’t always had a willing audience. When I was young, no one was interested in hearing my stories, so I started writing them down on paper as a form of self-expression. It turned into a life-long hobby.

AAN: How is the search for a voice actor going? Can you tell our readers a little about the auditioning process?

CH: I’ve only heard one audition so far, but I have some actors who are interested and will audition soon. The process is done by an Amazon company called ACX. Using an excerpt from the book, actors submit a recording to the website, and I listen to it. I then decided if I like it or not, and the process moves on from there. It’s a new process for me, so I’m learning as I go.

AAN: Any hints on what you’re working on next?

CH: I’m working on a fourth Gisborne novel. Fans of the series are eager to hear more, so I’m hoping to give them what they want. But because of my work schedule, it’s been a slow progression. Hopefully, I can get things moving more quickly in the near future.

Charlotte Hawkins is archived in the Guy of Gisborne menu. She blogs at From the Quill Tip . You can follow her on Twitter @LadyCharlotte79 or her Facebook page. Our review of The Tempest is here.

 

Love Is In the Air: A Review of THE TEMPEST

I first read The Tempest by Charlotte Hawkins a couple of years ago when it was still a stand-alone book and before the author spent months revising it into its current form. It was a good story the first time, but with the revision it has become more complex, with the back story fleshed out a little differently. The previous version was more fan fiction-y than this one, an extension of the universe of the BBC’s Robin Hood series though some details were changed. The revision goes even further. It is not necessary to have Gisborne as played by Armitage in your head as you read but the Guy on these pages still has enough in common with him that of course he’ll be there, along with a strong-willed Original Character, Cassia DeWarren.

Because, really, would you want to picture anyone else? Guy doesn't think so.

Because, really, would you want to picture anyone else? Guy doesn’t think so.

Cassia and Guy are each outcasts in their own ways. He’s still the hated and feared henchman of the Sheriff of Nottingham, of course, and she comes from a long line of healers. The dangerous charge of witchcraft haunts her family, setting up a rare moment where the reviled Gisborne performs an act of kindness that Cassia doesn’t forget.

One of my favorite romance tropes — the proud man humbled and dependent on someone he sees as an inferior — is a major plot driver and is played for laughs in a few instances. As the two characters bond over their losses and discover a mutual enemy, Cassia’s pride takes some hits, as well. Hawkins is particularly sensitive in describing the delicate balance between the relative freedom that has allowed Cassia to become the woman she is and the bonds of duty that threaten her budding romance with Guy. I absolutely rooted for Cassia as a character, especially when she was putting Guy in his place, and for them as a couple.

Does true love eventually win? There are as many scorching love scenes as there are fiery arguments between these two stubborn people, and there are two more books in the trilogy so whatever happens is bound to be a bumpy ride. Armitage Authors Network is giving away paperback copies of The Tempest and My Lady Gisborne,  the second book in Charlotte’s Gisborne trilogy, this weekend to one commenter on either this post or tomorrow’s interview with Charlotte Hawkins.

I Need A Hero: John Porter Fic Recommendations

The first time I watched Strike Back I wasn’t really expecting to like it. While I like things like 24 and The Unit I’m kind of particular and I went into it expecting just a regular shoot-’em-up. Wow, was I wrong. I loved the way Richard Armitage developed John Porter into a hero I could truly root for as he struggled to reconnect with his family and who he could have been before the tragedy that cost him everything. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about later seasons), Porter didn’t survive the transition to American television but he thankfully lives on in fan works. Here are some of my favorites. As always, Dreamer Fiction requires membership to view fics while An Archive of Our Own and Wattpad don’t.

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Recovery by Obscura4now, in which John Porter meets Original Female Character in a pub. Link will take you to An Archive of Our Own but it’s also at Dreamer Fiction here (The Longest Night) and here (Recovery).

Truce by fedoralady: Porter and Layla, very romantic and very NC-17 after about chapter 4. Archived at Dreamer Fiction, along with the ficlet Captive, inspired by the Strike Back viral video at YouTube here.

Laila by AmandaJane, a retelling of Rapunzel featuring a 12th Century John Porter, archived at Dreamer Fiction.

Complex Maneuvers by sahRAobsessed, an NC-17 John Porter fic also involving Layla and Dani, archived at Dreamer Fiction.

Absolution by khandy, in which John Porter rescues a British Aid worker  in South America. Archived at Dreamer Fiction and at Wattpad here.

Home for Christmas by ladyanne, who says that “a lot can happen in four and a half minutes.” Archived at Dreamer Fiction.

Very, Very Carefully by Melanie Goldmund. Something traumatic happens to John Porter during a rescue attempt. Archived at the author’s website.

Percussion by szerafina7, a John Porter/Reader story about an upcoming mission. Archived at AO3.

Lifeline by roane. Katie Dartmouth finds comfort with her rescuer. Archived at AO3.

Two Agents and A Para Walk Into A Firefight by a_xmasmurder. John Porter in a shootout in Afghanistan, with a couple of other familiar faces. Archived at Ao3.

Do you have any favorite John Porter fics that you don’t see here? You’re welcome to link them in the comments. Happy reading!