Saturday, February 27, 2010

Welcome, Jannine Corti Petksa

Gypsy Love and Marriage

Love is in the air during the month of February. From a candlelit dinner to jewelry to a box of chocolates and flowers, men and women treat the love of their life with extra kindness and kisses. However, it wasn't always like this, especially in the Gypsy camps during the Medieval period.

My latest book, CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY,available from Moongypsy Press, taught me a lot about Gypsy life. They were a practical people, close-knit, protective of their own. The rigors of the Gypsies' nomadic existence brought about little discipline in the Gypsy child and teen. Growing up, they learned by example. Their parents were responsible for their manners and attitudes as well as their contribution to the camp and their eventual marriage. One thing was for certain: Bachelorhood was frowned upon. Weddings were a time of celebration that often lasted for days. Most Gypsies married in their teens. In Rom society, a male Gypsy couldn't be called a Rom until he was married. So you can see the importance of matrimony in their culture.

Marriages were arranged by the parents. The prospective couple might be consulted, but their opinions didn't count. Usually, the parents of the groom selected his bride-to-be. They measured the girl's worth by her disposition, health, and her family's prestige in their community. She must be strong, enduring, and open to having many children. Then the father of the groom met with the father of the bride to discuss the bride price, which compensated the father losing his daughter. It was a price that covered the cost of raising his daughter from birth. With an arranged marriage, the couple didn't have a formal courtship. Was love ever involved? Rarely...although there was always hope that eventual feelings of love would bring the couple closer.

Gypsies were not allowed to marry a non-Gypsy, although an occasional gaje (non-Gypsy) slipped through the cracks. That couple would be kicked out of their clan. To the Gypsies, outsiders were unclean and couldn't be trusted. These facts made writing this book a bit tricky. I had to balance fact with fiction and come up with a damn good reason a blonde-haired, blue-eyed female lived among the Gypsies.

For Rafael and Char's wedding, I used many different Gypsy customs, which differed from clan to clan. (You'll have to read the book to learn about these customs. ) Marriage by abduction was a possibility, but as you will read in the short excerpt below, Char did not approve of this method. (Of course, she's quite opinionated.)

The Medieval period being a man's society, once the couple wed, the bride belonged to the groom and lived among his family. She basically had no say. Instead, she cooked, washed clothing, took care of the children, and appeased her man's lusty appetite. Poor Rafael. He was born with a large dose of lust. What would a Gypsy hero be if he wasn't hot-blooded? You'll feel a bit sorry for Rafael. Women fall at his feet. Through no fault of his own, he gets into situations that stretches Char's trust and emotions. But in the end, love conquers all. It doesn't hurt that Rafael is gorgeous and a bloody good romp in bed. ;-)

Thank you Ginger for hosting me today. And to all latcho drom (Romany farewell).


Charlotte Nikolos keenly feels the difference between the dark coloring of the Gypsies who raised her and her own pale hair and skin. When she learns she has two sisters somewhere who share her looks and psychic powers, she's determined to search for her lost family and find answers about her past. But how?

For three years, Rafael Cazares has been away from the Gypsy camp and the woman who makes his blood boil. He's determined to win back Char's trust and recapture her heart. He insists on helping her find her true family, but someone or something is determined to keep them apart. When a deep dark secret is revealed, Rafael would do everything in his power to keep the only women he has ever loved out of harm’s way. Even if he must die.

Short excerpt:

“Return me to my father at once.”Rafael planted his hands on his hips and gazed down at her with a long-reaching light of amusement. A light that brought clarity to Char.
“You wouldn’t dare!”

“But I did.”

“I’ll not be your wife by abduction.”

“You have no say in this, Char. I’ve paid the bride price. Your sire gave his blessing for our union.” He handed her a kerchief to wear.

Char refused to tie it around her head to show her acceptance. “You’ll not touch me.”

His raised brows mocked her.

Char straightened her shoulders. Rafael ignored her stubborn stance and gripped her upper arms, dragging her up his length.

“In time, you will beg me to take you to my bed.”

His mouth quashed her protest. No matter how much she abhorred Rafael, she succumbed to his meaningless kiss.

Check Jannine's website for more information on all her great books.


Cate Masters said...

Congrats on your release, Jannine! The research sounds fascinating, as does your book! I love that it's a subject not usually seen, and an insight into a culture that many think of in stereotypes. Best of luck.

Gail Zerrade said...

Thank you for a very informative blog. It's nice to hear some serious research on a culture that remains mysterious, at least in the movies.

Toni Noel said...

I always thought of gypsies as romantics, but never knew why. Thanks, Jannine, for explaining all this.


Judy said...

Great book and post. I enjoy learning all the tidbits behind the books you write!!


Miriam Newman said...

I bet this was an interesting book to write, and it's not a subject you see every day. It looks fascinating. Best of luck.

Jannine said...

Thanks Cate. I have plans to do another Gypsy story, but it will be set in a different era. After all, it's a shame to waste all the research I did, lol.

Jannine said...

Thanks for stopping by, Gail. Gypsies have always been a fascination to me. They really were an inventive culture if you stop and think about how they survived. I found so much interesting things about their nomadic lifestyle. Sometimes I wish I can lift my house and move somewhere else, lol.

Jannine said...

Hi Toni:
You're quite welcome.
Thanks for reading the blog.

Jannine said...

Thanks, Judy. I'm always happy when someone learns something from my writing.

Jannine said...

Miriam, this book was indeed interesting to write. But at the same time, it was a bit frustrating. I tried to stay as close to the Gypsy culture and their customs as possible while weaving a love story. I was lucky to have a dear friend who is a Rom give me some pointers.

Mary A said...

Great blog, Jannine loved the Gypsy information. It takes a lot of research to get this just right. Congratulations on the release.

Kim Smith said...

Fascinating concept. I have not read a book with gypsies so researched and placed in a book. Good luck!

Jannine said...

Hi Mary:
My research took me over 6 months to do, although I didn't work on it exclusively. I bought every historical book on Gypsies that I could find and afford. Libraries (at least the ones in my area) had poor and limited selections on Gypsies. With all that info, I'll put it to use in another historical romance with a Gypsy hero.

Jannine said...

Thanks, Kate. The research paid off. And I loved learning about another culture.

Gina said...

I can't wait to read this book, mom. You have made the subject of gypsy life sound interesting. Congratulations on all your accomplishments. I am very proud of you. Love, your daughter.

Margaret Tanner said...

Congratulations Jannine, Very interesting information you imparted. Great exceprt, too, sounds a fascinating read. I have always acquainted gypsies with mystery and romantic intrique, probably because I know very little about them.

Jannine said...

Thanks for your support Gina. You've always encouraged me.
Love you.

Jannine said...

Kim!!! I'm sorry that I responded to you using Kate. Darn brain is not what it used to be.

Jannine said...

Hi Margaret:
Yes, Gypsies are mysterious. That's what makes them a great romantic subject.

Thanks for commenting.

Jannine said...

Well, I'm wrapping it up here for the night. Thank you to everyone who commented. It means so much to me.

Ginger, what can I say? I love coming to your blog. Thank you for allowing me to share my work with everyone. Luv ya, sis.

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