"This book was fabulous! I couldn’t put it down. All of the characters were so well-drawn and distinctive, and likeable in an imperfect way. This story has it all--a heroine to root for, intrigue, romance, humor, archery, and swoon-worthy boys. What more could you ask for, besides more from Jeanne Roland?" Triangle, Goodreads
Published: November 2021
A barracks full of beautiful boys. A girl in disguise, living among them.
It’s the 14th century, and the longbow is king. But in the northern European principality of Ardennes, archery isn’t just the nation’s defense. It’s the national obsession.
MEET THE JOURNEYS
15-year-old Marieke is as obsessed with St. Sebastian’s as everyone else in Ardennes. Only it’s the middle ages, and girls just don’t become elite archers. Except Marieke's prospects as a girl aren't promising either, after a well-timed kick from a mule has left her with a face that’s badly scarred and ruined for marriage. But when circumstances force her to leave her old life behind and flee to the guild for refuge, there are only two things Marieke really knows about the place. One is that a mysterious accident ended her own father’s time as a Journey. The other?
There are no women allowed inside St. Sebastian’s.
Marieke knows disguising herself as a boy and infiltrating the guild means embarking on a dangerous deception. But it may be her only chance to find out the truth about her father’s past and to stop a murderous plot from coming to fruition. When the dashing young Journeyman Tristan takes her under his wing as his squire, she’s got to stay – at least long enough to help him beat out his brutal arch-rival to win the competitions.
Keeping her identity a secret will be hard. Living in close quarters with a pack of gorgeous boys? That will be harder still. But the hardest thing of all will be keeping the vow she makes for herself: to see Tristan become the next Guardsman, without ever letting him find out she’s a girl - a girl, who loves him.
Part Robin Hood and part Princess Bride, with a pinch of Mulan and a dash of Cyrano de Bergerac in the mix, The Archers of St. Sebastian I: Journeys is a humorous action and adventure saga inspired by late medieval/early Renaissance Belgium and packed with romance, wit, and longbow archery. Perfect for young adults looking for an immersive read and for adults who love young adult themes, Journeys is an escape into the past that reads more like romantic historical fantasy than pure historical fiction.
Unrequited love? Ugly heroines who stay ugly? Friendship, coming of age, romance, adventure, and plenty of archery competitions? A unique setting inspired by the glorious city of Bruges, with a richly imagined world set within the walls of a male-only archers' guild? Journeys: The Archers of Saint Sebastian has it all, so if you're looking for a great escape, don your disguise and join Marieke as she enters the forbidden world of Saint Sebastian's, and prepare to fall in love with the Journeys - that is, the twelve best and most beautiful archers in all of Ardennes, the Journeyman archers of St. Sebastian's.
(Context: 15-year-old Marieke is disguised as Marek, and she’s serving as a squire to the Journeyman archer Tristan at the archers’ guild of Saint Sebastian. She’s in love with him, but she’s sworn an oath never to let him find out she’s a girl. In this scene, Marieke’s gone along with a group of the Saint Sebastian boys on a ‘hunt,’ only to find out that the quarry is a local beauty that Tristan’s long had his eye on).
In the center of the girls is a figure more impressive than the others. From her clothing, she must be from a family of rank. Her head is covered with a filmy veil, but she has a graceful line and I can tell without really seeing her two things at the same time: she’s lovely, and she’s the real reason we’re here.
As we cross the narthex, Tristan grabs a single white rose from an arrangement under the chapel icon, strips the leaves and thorns, and tosses them away. At the font, he stops for holy water, but to my surprise instead of dipping his fingertips into the water, he sticks his whole hand into the basin.
“What is he doing?” I ask the boy next to me, who turns out to be Gilles.
“Watch and learn, Marek. Watch and learn,” he says.
“Give the master some room to work, boys!” Jerome exclaims, putting his hands out as though to hold us all back from crowding Tristan, who is sprinkling the water all over his face and neck, and pulling the unruly lock of his hair down from his widow’s peak and over his forehead. I knew he did that on purpose
He untucks his tunic from its waistband and pulls the neck open, and splashes more holy water onto his chest.
“What’s with all the water?” I ask.
“The fever of love, Marek!” Jerome says with admiration. “If you thought he was good drunk, wait until you see him sober.”
When he looks artfully disheveled, Tristan squares his shoulders and heads down the aisle, turning back before he goes just long enough to say,
“Just follow my lead, Marek.”
Thanks for hosting!
Thank you so much for hosting! The post looks beautiful.
I liked the excerpt, thank you.
I'm so glad, Rita! There's a long "look inside" on Amazon, if you want to check it out further, and thanks for commenting!
Journeys is a great read! I loved the characters and truly missed their world when forced to put the book down. I can't wait for #2!!!
Hi Mouse, that's so great to hear! I hope you've already requested the first chapter of Squires from my website, then! I'm determined to get the whole volume ready as soon as I can! Thank you SO MUCH for reading!
P.S.. - I LOVE your image, AND that you list the Iliad and the plays of Euripides as your favorite reads! I couldn't agree more.
Jeanne, congratulations on your recent release of Journeys, which sounds like an exciting and fun adventure! Good luck with your book and the tour! Thanks for sharing your book with me and have a happy & successful New Year!
Hi Stormy, thanks so much for all your kind wishes! If you know of anyone who might enjoy Journeys or be looking for a light, escapist read, please do help me spread the word, and a wonderful new year to you, too!
Sounds like a great book.
Thanks, Sherry! I had a lot of fun writing it, and daydreaming about the world I created in it. It's very exciting for me to be sharing it, and I hope some others find a welcome escape in it, just as I did!
A great big thanks again to everyone at Mythical Books, for everything you've done to start off my first blog tour on such a high note! The post looks fantastic, and I really appreciate all your time and effort. An extra big thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented, too. It's been a lot of fun for me, and the whole experience has been wonderful. Great job!
What a great cover.
Great excerpt and giveaway. :)
I'm so glad you like the cover, Bridgett! The Xavier painting of St.Sebastian is one of my all-time favorites, and there is a gorgeous painting in the book that plays a "role," so I knew I had to include it. Mythical Books did a fantastic job of incorporating it into their posts, too.
Thank you all for commenting! This has been a fantastic experience.
I like this unique cover. I love the character name, MARIEKE. I never heard that name before.
Hi Katie, I love the name, too! It was inspired by a great song by the late Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel "Marieke," which was a favorite of my father's!
This sounds like a really great book.
look like a great book
This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.
abfantom at yahoo dot com
I enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!
Good luck to everyone in the giveaway, and a big thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented. I really appreciate all the nice comments about the cover - I designed it myself, something I know you're "not supposed to do," but there is a certain satisfaction in doing it all yourself. So a huge thank you for the kind comments on it!
Thank you for bringing this book to my attention.
love the cover, this sounds like an interesting book
What a fun and very different book. Good work.
The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.
Thank you, Paige! If you're looking for something a little different, Journeys is definitely it! I'll be checking back now and then to see if anyone has more comments over the next few days, so if anyone has any questions, feel free to leave them here and I'll be happy to answer them. It's on Kindle Unlimited, too, so if anyone is in that program, check it out there "for free," and thank you all so much for your interest! I'd love to have you as readers.
I hope you had a great day
Thank you, Zelda! It was fun to get so many nice comments, and Mythical Books couldn't have been a better host.
I enjoyed reading the excerpt - well done!
Thank you for sharing this.
H Barbara! If you liked the excerpt, check out the "look inside" feature on Amazon, where you can read a longer excerpt to decide if you're interested in reading the book, and thanks for your comment!
I love the beautiful cover and the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!
Hi Christina, good luck in the giveaway, and thank you for the thumbs up on the cover! It's hard to go wrong when you use great art as a base ;) - at least in my book!
I so enjoyed reading the excerpt - well done!
Hi Barbara, I'm so glad you liked it! Good luck in the giveaway, too!
I hope you have a fun and safe night!
You too, Zelda! Happy New Year to all
Do you have any plans for new books for 2022?
Hi Barbara, thanks for asking. The second book in the series, "Squires: the Archers of Saint Sebastian II" is coming out this spring!
Do you ever hit road blocks when writing a book?
Of course! My biggest one, however, is simply having enough time and mental space in which to write. If you can't stay immersed in your own story, it won't flow! Thanks for the question.
I hope you have a good night
you are so awesome
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
Hi Barbara, Journeys is my first published novel. I've written the sequel, Squires, which will be coming out this Spring, and most of the next volume after that. I think Journeys is my favorite, because it is the first and it establishes the world I've created and introduces the characters, but Squires might be my favorite. It's a little messier, but more romantic, and we really know the characters at this point and I can have fun with all their personalities. I think some of my favorite moments happen in Squires - but Journeys is my first love! I hope you'll give it a try!
What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
To be honest? The sequel, lol. And the beginning. I'm still not satisfied with it. But once Marieke gets to the guild, it all just started flowing.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start writing sooner! I always wanted to write, but I felt that I had to have something meaningful to say. I finally realized that it was okay simply to write something fun and entertaining, something I'd like to daydream myself.
Thanks again for the giveaway!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Thank you, Debbi - good luck! And as for energizing vs. exhausting, that depends. When everything is flowing, there's no greater feeling. When I'm struggling and I worry that the inspiration I need will never come, then it is more than exhausting. It's agonizing. But it is now definitely the passion of my life, and I love my story and my characters so much that my greatest fear is that I will let them down. I owe it to them to "get it right," and that can be both energizing and exhaustIng, at the same time - maybe I'll call it the writer's paradox!
Where do you get your ideas?
Do you do anything special to treat yourself after finishing a book?
This was my first book, and my treat was to publish it! Seeing it as a physical object and holding it in my hands - that was a treat, too. But the biggest treat of all is sharing it with others, in the hopes that some of them will like it.
This sounds like a great book to read and I also like the cover too.
What advice do you have for writers?
Thank you, Laurie! And Barbara, as for advice, I wouldn't presume to give others advice. All I can say is, write because you love to do it, and write what you love.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
I so enjoyed reading the excerpt- well done!
I am adding this book to my to be read soon list!
Hi Barbara, thank you for that. I really appreciate it. As for which part was most fun to write, definitely the parts once Marieke is in disguise as a boy inside the all-male guild. I love Marieke's reactions to all of the boys' shenanigans - it's fun imagining her rather sardonic reaction to finding out exactly how the boys all think and operate. Perhaps my favorite scene takes place inside the Drunken Goat, but I can't elaborate without spoilers, so I will settle for saying that the book is full of fun, lighthearted scenes - it's not heavy-handed historical fiction, by any means. If you do decide to give it a try, I'd love to hear what you think of it!
What is the first book that made you cry?
That's a hard one, because I am definitely a crier! My kids make fun of me for it all the time. But in terms of a book I read on my own, I suppose it must have been Little Women.
What’s the best way to market your books?
Barbara, if I knew that, I'd make a fortune! Marketing is a huge issue for all authors, and for self-published ones, it is an almost insurmountable one. And Nancy, thanks - I couldn't resist putting some great neoclassical art on the cover. I'm glad you like it!
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