• Historical Fiction
  • General Fiction and Women Writers
  • YA Fiction
  • Suspense and Thrillers
  • Memoirs and Non Fiction
  • Classics and Mashups

Friday, January 18, 2013

GIVEAWAY!! "A THING DONE" by Tinney Sue Heath ~ Florentine Mystery


Florence, 1216: The noble families of Florence hold great power, but they do not share it easily. Tensions simmer just below the surface. When Corrado the Jester's prank-for-hire goes wrong, a brawl erupts between two rival factions. Florence reels on the brink of civil war. One side makes the traditional offer of a marriage to restore peace, but that fragile peace crumbles under the pressure of a woman's interference, an unforgivable insult, and an outraged cry for revenge.

Corrado is pressed into unwilling service as messenger by both sides. Sworn to secrecy, he watches in horror as the headstrong knight Buondelmonte violates every code of honor to possess the woman he wants, while another woman, rejected and enraged, schemes to destroy him.

Corrado already knows too much for his own safety. Will Buondelmonte's reckless act trigger a full-scale vendetta? And if it does, will even the Jester's famous wit and ingenuity be enough to keep himself alive and protect those dear to him?

This is Corrado's story, but it is also the story of three fiercely determined women in a society that allows them little initiative: Selvaggia, the spurned bride; Gualdrada, the noblewoman who both tempts Buondelmonte and goads him; and Ghisola, Corrado's great-hearted friend. From behind the scenes they will do what they must to achieve their goals—to avenge, to prevail, to survive.


Published by:  Fireship Press
Pages:  311
Genre:  Historical Fiction/Suspence
Find it:  Amazon
More about the book and author:  Tinney Heath


Tinney Sue Heath has loved music and history all her life. Born near Chicago, she started college in Boston at the New England Conservatory with the intention of becoming a professional flutist, but after a rather abrupt change of direction she wound up with a degree in journalism from Antioch College. She worked as a staff reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education and later provided editorial assistance to University of Wisconsin-based editors of two professional journals.

Her musical and historical interests eventually merged, and she discovered the pleasures of playing late medieval and early Renaissance music on a great variety of instruments. Her historical focus is currently on Dante's Florence, so she and her husband spend a lot of time in Florence and elsewhere in Tuscany. They live in Madison, Wisconsin, where they enjoy playing music and surrounding themselves with native wild plants.  

A Bookish Libraria is pleased to bring you the following Guest Post written for us by Ms Heath today.  Welcome, Tinney!  I wonder why you chose to write about a jester specifically and why place him in that century?

I didn't really expect to find myself writing about a jester in early thirteenth century Florence.  Not at all.  Quite the farthest thing from my mind, really.
Actually, I intended to write about a poet in late thirteenth century Florence.  But the jester, once I encountered his story in history books (nestled cozily in the footnotes), aroused my curiosity, and I just couldn't resist. 
As to why I found myself in the thirteenth century in the first place, and specifically in Florence, that has a lot to do with Dante.  His writings (and his life and times) fascinate me, because I believe they carry within them the seeds of the Renaissance. 
We all have a mental image of the Florence of the fifteen and sixteenth centuries:   the Medici, Michelangelo, Savonarola, Machiavelli, the powerful merchant guilds, the beginnings of banking as we now know it, the luxury cloth trade. 
But what went before?  What made Florence explode into the artistic center of the Western world?  What set the Florentines up to be bankers to kings and popes?  How did the city on the Arno manage to produce a body of art that has never been equaled?  How did it become the cradle of humanism?
What happened in that fabled city in the years before the Black Death struck?  When Guelfs battled Ghibellines in the streets, and the city's skyline bristled with forbidding stone towers, built of the ironically-named pietra serena (peaceful stone) to protect Florence's citizens from – well, from others of Florence's citizens?
Dante peopled his Divine Comedy with his Florentine neighbors, as well as with people drawn from history and mythology.  His Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso are chock-full of Florentines, each with his or her story and unique place in the afterlife. 
One of the stories he touched on in the Divine Comedy was the incident that drove the Guelfs and the Ghibellines apart in 1216.  It is that tale that forms the core of my novel.
Dante didn't write about the jester.  It's apparent that he's alluding to a story so well known to his contemporaries that he doesn't need to fill in the details.  It happened about two generations before Dante's own time, and he relied on the writings of chroniclers and on tales he had heard.
Several of the early chroniclers who recorded these events refer to a betrothal brokered to make peace and a betrayal that then destroyed the peace.  Some go back a step further and speak of a brawl at a banquet, an injury done, and a cry for retribution, which resulted in the negotiated betrothal.
But one of them, the earliest, says it all began when a jester snatched a plate of food away from two knights.  This enraged one of them, and a third knight, who was of the opposing political faction, took advantage of the moment to insult the furious knight.  A fight ensued, resulting in an injury to one of the knights.  The injury in turn led to the ill-fated betrothal. 
And nobody ever says another word about the jester.  I couldn't help wondering:  Who was he?  Who paid him?  How did he feel about the brouhaha that followed his prank?  Was he in any danger?  (It seemed likely that he was, if the knight was enraged, since knights tend to be armed with sharp objects and know how to use them.)  What did this do to his career? 
So one reason I chose to write from the jester's point of view was to satisfy my curiosity.  To think it through and try to see what I could figure out about this man, who was real, who did work as a jester in that year of 1216, and who we know absolutely nothing else about because almost nobody thought he was worth mentioning.  What would his life have been like?  What would have been the personal consequences for him of snatching that plate of food?  What – or who – caused him to do it?  Did he think it was a good idea?  Did he have any choice? 
It seemed to me in so many ways that it was the jester's story to tell.  Seen through his eyes, it would be very different than just another tale of two squabbling nobles and their factions.  I was off and running, looking for answers.  Finding some, making up others.  (That's why it's historical fiction.  I'm not claiming that I've rediscovered this obscure man of so many centuries ago – only that my version of what happened is plausible.)
But I had another more personal reason for wanting to write this story from the jester's angle.  He was a performer.  He would have juggled, tumbled, jested, made music, and engaged in rough slapstick.  He probably had some reliable performing tricks, which could have been anything from sleight-of-hand to working with trained animals.  He would have had to think on his feet, to improvise, to please his employers whether they were being reasonable in their expectations or not.  In short, he had to be talented, quick-witted, and ingenious, and the only power he possessed lay in his wit and his skills as a performer.
Performers appeal to me, because I'm a musician.  I play various medieval and Renaissance instruments, and I've been the leader of a group of musicians in a historical reenactment group.  We've played at feasts, Renaissance faires, tourneys, and the like.  And I know a little something of what it feels like to have to make it all up as you go along. 
I've been told by the organizer of an event, “This is a very laid-back, relaxed situation.  You're on at 7:32.”   (Our group's idea of “relaxed” was more along the lines of  “We're probably playing sometime after dinner.  Anybody remember what we're doing?”) 
I've had somebody unexpectedly tell me, “Play NOW!” when I was holding a bone-dry shawm reed that needed five minutes of soaking before it would produce a sound.
My group, having already played a wedding processional, has had to scramble (quietly, and during the ceremony) to find another piece of music when we realized the bagpiper who was supposed to play the recessional hadn't shown up, and we would have to fill in. 
At a banquet, I've been told “First the fettuccine, then the entertainment, then you.”  I had no illusions about the fettuccine, though I did rather flatter myself that our group was part of the entertainment.  But there you go.  It's not a high-status occupation.
I've played in rain, wind, extreme heat, close conditions, and – time and time again – in situations where the ground rules kept changing.  I've led my group in a shopping-mall Renaissance exhibition while we were crammed in next to an armorer who was noisily banging a hammer on an anvil.  (We just asked him to keep a steady beat, and used him for the percussion.) 
It requires a certain flexibility when you're poised to begin a six-part Venetian ceremonial motet and some guy at the back of the crowd cups his hands around his mouth and bellows, “Do you know 'Greensleeves'?” 
I like performers.  I like improvisers.  I like creative people, and when it comes to historical fiction, I tend to find creative people much more interesting than their employers.  So it was natural that the jester captured my attention, even though the historians have, for the most part, ignored him.  I know how much you can observe when you're only the hired help, and no one remembers you're there.  If there is a story to be told, it will be a clever man like the jester who is in the best position to tell it. 
And that's why the jester, and why the thirteenth century. 
Tinney,  You've answered my question beautifully, and I'm delighted to know, now!  I've always had a special fondness for jesters, myself.  Always felt they were actually the wise men of courts under disguise. It's great to see how you captured the imagination with your work, Tinney.   I read your book with great joy and anticipation.  Your grasp of the 13th century, its historical setting and the characters of the times was wonderful.  I loved your characters!  I'm particularly fond of Ghisola...a gentle spirit and perfect mate.
Highly recommended for those who love a historical fiction that reaches out of the ordinary.  This is one by a gifted writer -- a Renaissance Woman personified. It will elevate and illuminate you.
Many thanks to Deb for hosting me on her wonderful blog, and for suggesting such a rich topic for this post.
 Please click on this link to follow the tour and find other reviews and interviews:  http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/?p=230

To Enter:
Leave your email address
Follow this blog
Tweet about the giveaway
Open to US and Canada Only
Giveaway ends Jan. 31st
Thanks for stopping by!  Deb


Lara Newell

I am a GFC follower (Lara Frame/Newell)

lafra86 at gmail dot com

Thanks for the giveaway! Really enjoyed reading the post.


would love to read this book!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!
i follow this blog as cyn209

cyn209 at juno dot com

Tinney Heath

Deb, thanks so much for your kind words, and for hosting me. (And I'm glad you liked Ghisola!)

Literary Chanteuse

This sounds very good!

-blog follower
-tweeted A Bookish Libraria ~ The Bookish Dame Reviews: GIVEAWAY!! "A THING DONE" by Tinney Sue Heath ~ Fl...



I am a gfc follower rhonda Lomazow. Twitter follower at rhondareads will tweet.Lomazowr@gmail.com.books sounds really interesting.

Share your thoughts!

Blogaholic Designs”=