Velvet, Fur, and cold steel
Volume 1 of the Albin and the Jouster Series
Anthony Woodville arrives with his bride. He is suddenly a baron at the age of 20. What will this mean to a village of renters? How will he cope with a destructive flood? Albin, a teen-aged peasant, fears the handsome lord will seduce the girl he wants to marry. Albin has no idea that he will have an exciting career following this lord. It will lead him through that maze of treachery we call the Wars of the Roses.
Battle in Spring Sleet:
Volume 2 of the Albin and the Jouster Series
The big battle may be the standard climax of stories, but, for the survivors, it often introduces many new challenges.
One untested archer in the king's host in 1461 is Albin Hayward. What will happen to Albin, as an injured teen on his own, far from home? The joy of finding his cousin Birdface is lessened by Birdface's broken leg. They must co-operate with strangers to survive. They also need the neighbor Albin wants least to co-operate with, his rival for the girl back home.
How can they survive on a Yorkshire landscape picked bare by the two largest armies ever assembled in England? Can they overcome obstacles including a flooding river and find the way home?
The Enemy's Embrace:
Volume 3 of the Albin and the Jouster Series
Albin returns to Middleton, from the battle of Towton (March 1461), with a useless arm. He finds that his father has made very little progress on rebuilding their cottage. Albin tries to weave wattle sticks for the walls, but one arm is not enough for the job. The village wise woman tells him that it will get no better. He is no longer an archer. But she also tells him that he is many other things.
Entering the Castle:
Volume 4 of the Albin and the Jouster Series
Edward IV is now king of England in fact--mostly. Henry VI fled to Scotland and Queen Margaret went for help to her cousin King Louis XI of France. King Louis has reason to help her and keep the perennial foe of France at war with itself. Which of the English lords are waiting for an opportunity to return their allegiance to King Henry? Which of the castles nearest Scotland will change hands next--again?
Albin Hayward becomes involved with both questions. First he goes to St. Donat's Castle in south Wales with a notable amount of Lord Scales's money and instructions that it is for Margaret. Could that mean Henry's queen? Then he follows Lord Scales to Alnwick Castle to help besiege it for King Edward--in December.
While doing all this, Albin is learning the ways of castle residents and becoming accepted among them.
A Hollow Vow:
Volume 5 of the Albin and the Jouster Series
Proud but a bit worried, Albin delivers Lord Scales's letter to King Edward IV. He has already found discomfort in being a messenger. Later, he discovers danger as well. King Henry VI and powerful supporters of his lurk in Scotland. But the secret ones in England pose a greater threat—especially to King Edward IV. Albin wonders if the Duke of Somerset is still loyal to King Henry VI. He served close to Queen Margaret. There are even rumors that they were lovers. Nevertheless, King Edward seems to have made a house-pet of the man. A huge man overhears Albin and Gilbert talking about delivering money for Margaret. Albin realizes the listener must think the money was for their deposed queen. He fears the man will catch and torture him for information. Worse, that man teams with a brother as big as himself.
The King's Beloved:
Volume 6 of the Albin and the Jouster Series
King Edward is about to change everything for love. In fact, his alliance becomes a watershed in the Wars of the Roses. Albin Hayward gets something of a preview, but can't see the person in the long cloak. For Albin, that is a mystery to solve.
A Winter Bride:
Edward IV's marriage shocked England's nobles! On the other hand, this new queen had half a dozen single sisters. What an opportunity!
A Winter Bride includes one such marriage and announces three others. But what connection does that woman on the horse have to all of it? She is the grandmother of the Duke of Norfolk and older than the new queen's mother. Albin spends this book learning about the old duchess and what she is up to.
A Gift of Peril:
Albin Hayward is now a messenger for Lord Scales. Albin is often in that lord's company. He can not only start messages on their way quickly, he can be Lord Scales's second observer in the complex world of the royal court. The scene becomes a bit confusing one morning before Easter. In her sitting room, the queen's ladies surround Lord Scales, and two of them attached something around his leg. Seeing Lord Scales's joyful reaction, Albin was eager to see what it was, and especially what it meant.
The Secret of the Other Window
The house looks like it is hiding something. It is. Doug's dad says there is a treasure in it. In fact, they can live in the house if they find the treasure. Doug could have his own room where Sandy can't get into his stuff. Doug is eager to hunt treasure. But no one knows what it is.
"Opera Invented Italy"
"Phantoms in the Opera"
Late October truly is
A spooky time of year.
Dry leaves rattle to the earth.
Tree skeletons appear.
Veined leaves curling up like claws
Creep across the ground.
Fog devours tree and shrub
And muffles every sound.
Wind upon the face of day
In cloudy ciphers scrawls.
Earlier each evening
The autumn darkness falls.
The leaves have fallen—brown and dry.
Our color now is in the sky.
And folks who see no dawns in May
Get peach and gold to start the day.