Mrs. N: Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Kim Kasch: I’d love to share one and I hope you love it…
Travel across oceans, continents and countries to discover the story of legendary Viking hero, Holger Danske, and his magical romance with King Arthur’s half-sister in Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking
This is the story of two warriors who never thought they’d find love, especially on the battlefield, yet standing poised against each other Morgaine and Holger face an attraction more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than all the powers of Merlin.
EXCERPT OF MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING:
This is an old story told from a totally different perspective. This is a Viking’s tale.
MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is a legendary romance filled with honorable Knights from King Arthur’s Round Table, Salacious Pirates, and Brutal Vikings. This is the retelling of the romance between King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine Le Fay, and her epic lover, the Viking Prince of Denmark and heir to King Geoffrey’s throne, Holger Danske. And though you might think you know these characters from the British stories, this tale comes from an entirely different point of view. The Viking perspective.
Everyone knows of Excalibur and King Arthur but few know of his brother-in-law, the Danish Viking Prince and warrior Holger Danske or his sword Cortana. MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is a mature Young Adult retelling of folk-lore legend and Danish leader, Holger Danske, and his magical romance with the sorceress Princess Morgaine Le Fay.
They met on a battlefield, poised against each other, but their attraction was more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than Merlin, yet theirs is a tale more tragic than Romeo and Juliet.
Weaving the stories from English, French and Danish together this is one slice from the rich tapestry of tales that have come together throughout time and history.
While most everyone who searches for tales of the middle ages and seeks out stories of Knights and battles, castles and magical swords, they will only find the stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Yet, it is only with the help of the Viking warrior Holger Danske of Denmark and Charles the Great (a.k.a Charlemagne of France) that King Arthur beat back the Saxons and retained leadership of Camelot.
Amidst these battles and legends, Morgaine Le Fay is worthy of her own stand-alone stories for she was such a strong woman everyone believed her to be a sorceress or more than human. Some said she was half fairy because she rode with the men in battle and was more than willing to take enormous risks for the men she loved.
Some believe she was the most powerful sorceress in all of history, having tutored under the guidance of Merlin and quickly surpassing his abilities. But it is her tragic love story with the Danish Prince that forms this first story in the Viking Series: MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING.
Morgaine’s true love, the Viking Norse leader and legendary warrior, is immortalized in stone in the dungeons of Hamlet’s Castle on the shore that sits between the sound of Denmark and Sweden.
But there is much more to this tale than a simple love story.
King Arthur received his magical sword, Excalibur, from the Norse Goddess, also known as The Lady of the Lake but Excalibur was not the only magical sword she ever relinquished to mortal hands. She gave just such a magical sword to the Danish Prince, Holger, and one to the French King, Charlemagne. Together these three heroic men joined forces to fight side by side. Britain, France and Scandinavia battled back the invading Saxons.
I am married to a Dane who was born and raised in Denmark, and have visited the Castle of Kronborg in Helsingør, Denmark and viewed the statue Holger Danske in the casemates. I have also visited both England and France and tried to stay true to the themes of all three legends, (from Denmark-Holger Danske, England-King Arthur, and France-Charlemagne), while weaving them together. However, I have taken artistic liberties with language and in dramatizing the tale of The Viking Princess.
There is an entire world full of rich stories about epic battles that go far beyond King Arthur’s realm and other countries hold their legendary heroes in this same high regard. This is one such story.
Morgaine’s head was held high, her back straight, with her chin jutted forward, as she rode like a warrior into battle. Covered in shiny mail, she sat upon her lively white steed, much like a nobleman, but no one could be mistaken. One glance and anyone could see simply by looking at her, this was a fine lady, with skin as smooth as silk and clear as a summer day, her russet curls plaited and twined around her head, forming a crown of braids befitting a high-born princess.
Raising her hand to shield her eyes from the harsh morning light, she turned toward the mountains, searching for a sign. Something. Anything.
Nothing was there. Still she sat, waiting.
It was after sunset when the shadows finally shifted across the horizon. That’s when she noticed the dark silhouettes of men. Not peasants. These were broad-backed warriors on horseback, sitting outlined against the blood-red moon. They were moving closer, nearer to battle.
Arthur did not want his sister on the front lines. “You should be in the background working your magic,” he insisted, hoping she would heed his pleas.
She threw her head up in defiance and gave a little snort. “Never,” she insisted.
His voice took on an authoritative tone. “I am the King,” he reminded her with a frown etched over his face. She turned to grin at him, “Did you think I could forget?”
With a heavy sigh, he went on, “It is not as a King that I am asking, but as your brother. I cannot bear the thought of you being hurt for me. I want you in the background, not on the forefront of battle.”
She shook her head, and then reached across the gap between them. She ran her palm over his cheek. “Do not waste your worry. You know, death holds no fear for me.”
“Perhaps,” he nodded. “But there are worse things than death. Please sister, if only for my sake, move to the back and do not separate yourself from us—I beg of you.” He tried to convince her not to ride forward from the front lines, but she wouldn’t listen.
“Do not even think of it,” she said, with that familiar look of determination in her eyes and the stubborn tone Arthur had become so acquainted with. Pulling back on her reins, she danced her horse around him. “I am a symbol for the men to look upon. I must move about for all to see.”
And no matter how much he wanted to deny it, they both knew she was right. Sitting out in front of the knights, she made an unforgettable impression.
“But you can inspire from anywhere, it need not be the frontline,” he insisted.
She shook her head, disregarding his warning as she rode ahead to act as the King’s guard over her brother. Sitting proud and tall, she fully intended to protect him from the onslaught that was about to begin. Arthur was transfixed. She was more beautiful than ever. An angel blanketed in shadows but edged in starlight, no man on the battlefield would ever forget her face.
She felt the fire burning inside her belly. The cry of war rising up into her heart, she wanted nothing more than to ride.
As the men moved nearer, she raised her hand, stopping Arthur’s men—holding them back, “Wait for my signal,” she called out, “Steady!” Finally reaching up over her head, she dropped her sword across her body as the moonlight glistened on the shiny steel, blinding the men riding toward them into battle.
Morgaine let out a laugh that echoed over the field as she galloped forward, and then immediately she swung her mare away from the men. Standing out alone and off to the side, she was a vision…
Suddenly time stood still. She was frozen, as a warrior on their frontline came into view. His arm raised up over his head, sword in hand, he led the charge against her, against Arthur, and against all the people of Camelot. He was a brute of a man and her attention was riveted.
There was no turning away; he was all she saw, all she noticed. Opening his mouth, he let out a roar as he rode straight toward her, this man with the golden mane.
The moonlight shimmered down on him. His browned skin glistened and his hair gleamed like an autumn jewel beneath the starlight. Suddenly she was reminded of hot summer days and amber pebbles washed up on the white sandy shores. Fascinated, she was spellbound by his glowing skin beneath the fading evening sun.
She was mesmerized.
Shaking her head to clear the fog inside her mind, she readied herself for his blow. Raising her shield, she steeled herself.
He was a giant among men, with ten times the form of any god she could imagine.
Was it possible? Was this an illusion? Could he be real?
His sapphire eyes found hers, locking on her lilac orbs, and a blinding heat struck her like a bolt of lightning. She could not turn away. His sword raised high in the air, his shield barely covering his broad chest, she stared at his form. A rush of fire raced through her, as she sat still watching this man ride with such a majestic carriage.
Giddy and out of breath, her heart beat faster than she could ever recall.
What was happening here? What magic was this? She wondered at her own body, feeling dizzy as a young maiden at her first games. Someone must have cast a spell. She turned her head, searching for the Viking sorcerer performing this magic.
There was none.
She had never had this reaction to any man. No. Morgaine had never had this reaction to anyone.
Her breath caught in her chest, and she could barely breathe. The air was trapped inside her throat, choking her. She had to cough to force the air back into her lungs.
This man could not be human. He was either a devil or a demon, she was sure of it and yet he had signaled his men into the battle before he veered off to the side, riding straight toward the sorceress with the flaming locks. His mouth was open as he let out a warrior chant she had never heard before.
Another spell, she told herself, an incantation—perhaps the same one he cast upon the knights and warriors.
She turned to her side, to see how her men were holding up under this magic.
It could not be.
His words had no effect on them. They were not under his spell. Their swords were unsheathed, raised, and ready to do battle. The knight beside her let out a thunderous cry, spurring his horse faster, as they rode past her into the throng of bare-chested men with the horns upon their heads.
Her steed moved forward, but she did nothing more than hold on to the reins as her mare carried her into the field of battle and straight toward the magic man. She was unprepared, mesmerized, and out of control…
Opposite each other they rode, one toward the other. She saw him motion to his men to continue riding forward as he veered further off to the side…to make his way straight toward her.
In a matter of moments, he was upon her. Sweeping up beside her like the blast of a storm, he stole her breath away. His thickly muscled arm snaked out away from his body, striking before she could do a thing or even before she realized what had happened. But there was no pain. It was not with a thrust of his sword that he struck, it was only his arm. Quickly twisting, he shifted his weight to make room for her. His powerful arm wrapped around her waist, grabbing her with the strength of the ocean’s tide, he pulled her toward him.
Morgaine sat motionless as a statue in the garden; she offered no resistance. Instead, she simply slid sideways from her horse onto his. It happened in one swift motion.
Pressing his palm flat against her belly, he held her in place, tightly nestled in front of him. She felt the warmth of his breath on her neck, caressing her face. Her hands fell limp to her side, accidently brushing against the hot flesh of his thigh. His skin burned beneath her fingertips.
The heat rose from her hands to her chest, and a small gasp escaped her lips as she let her hands rest upon his thickly muscled leg. He chuckled low in his throat and she knew he understood the effect he was having on her senses.
Pressing his firm rippled chest into her back, she felt something she had never felt before…lust.
She could do nothing to resist him. Leaning back, she drank in the strong, musky scent of him and felt her head spin. He held her steady and still.
Another mesmerizing potion, she thought, his spicy scent must be the mixture of a wizard’s tonic, worn to hypnotize his enemies.
Unable to fight the strength of his powerful magic, she succumbed. His tantalizing aroma made her want nothing more than to be with him, alone.
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I grew up in a family with 9 kids and grandma living in the back bedroom. Not surprising that I have a few stories to tell, especially since we only had 1 t.v.
I spent my days reading and, later, trying to create another world where I could escape all those brothers and sisters-and grandma-by writing. Maybe that’s why I love books so much. Well, that and the fact that I was near the end of that long sibling-chain and never had the clout to pick the t.v. shows we watched. But I’d run home after school to catch the last fifteen minutes of Barnabus Collins in Dark Shadows…
I still love to run or maybe I should say, I love to wog (a cross between walking and jogging).
Here in Portlandia, I love Halloween themed runs – where people don costumes and run. It’s a lot of fun…and I know those two words don’t always go together: fun…and…run. But here, in the damp days of fall, it is.
And, with all those Halloween themed runs, I guess Dark Shadows had more of an influence than some people might think. Even today my favorite author is Stephen King. My all-time favorite book is Salem’s Lot.
My favorite romance novels are The Hunger Games…okay, I know, it’s really a survival book but isn’t that what every romance novel is about–surviving the aftermath of everyday life and still having enough emotion left in your relationship, at the end of the day, to feel romantic. Then there were the romance series: Twilight, Fifty Shades, and more but I also love paranormal, horror and even light books like Dewey the Small Town Library Cat. Mainly, I just love to read. . . and write.
I’ve just had my first novel published and am looking to share it with the world. It’s a story I was inspired to write after visiting Hamlet’s Castle and seeing an enormous Viking statue down in the tunnels next to the dungeons.
Sorry to be so long-winded but did I say I love to write, and talk, and knit, and sew, and bake… I could go on but I’ll stop by saying, I hope you’ll stop by my blog, send me a tweet, or check out my Facebook page. I’ll be sharing news about new books over there.
Thanks for listening and, hopefully, reading.
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