Aqueduto dos Pegões
As the year flies along, we have reached the hottest temperatures so far. 106F/41C? Really? Luckily that was only one day, and a lot better than some regions of Portugal. The fire hazard is at its peak so we're keeping an eye out for smoke. And I'm spending my time writing and plotting. Here's what's going on, plus pictures to share.
Demon Trappers #9
As I've mentioned in earlier newsletters, I've been struggling with the next Demon Trappers story. The previous book, LOST SOULS, was primarily Simon's story, though our trapper from Kansas (Katia Breman) sure played a major role.
BITTER MAGIC (the working title) is more her story, though Simon and all our favorite characters are there as well. I had roughly half the book drafted, but it just wasn't working. As is often the case, I went back and tried to rework it, sticking with the existing plot.
I've done this with other books that were fighting me, and by now I should now that scheme doesn't work. Finally, I realized what I was doing wrong and I'm moving right along. Our heroine and her best friend are about to enter another realm and that is going to require some serious imagation to make it truly scary. This is all good news because it means the story is actually playing out. FINALLY!
Next month I'll begin working with Clarissa Yeo on the cover. It's always so fascinating to watch her take what's inside my head and make it real. I believe this is the twentieth cover we'd created together (not all have been published yet). Our collaberations work because she "gets" my heroes and heroines.
Once this first story draft is done, I will return to the fantasy rewrite and let the draft "age". That way when I come back to it all the good stuff is easy to spot, and all the crap just sits there like roadkill. It's then when I start layering more into the story, more twists and turns. It's always a process, usually involving four or more drafts. I can't wait to share the final version with you when Katia and Simon tell me it's ready.
For those of you not familiar with some of my other work, TANGLED SOULS is a paranormal romance with a big dose of mystery. It's a standalone and is currently only available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited. If you'd like to read the beginning, it can be found here. It starts slow, but I promise the story delivers.
The Convent of Christ (Tomar)
Convento de Cristo
Portuguese history has a lot to offer and the Knights Templar are a good example. A military order founded in Jerusalem over nine hundred years ago during the Crusades, the Templars were the “shock troops” against the Moors. Portugal's history reports numerous pitched battles between Christians and Islamic troops, as the two forces fought for supremacy.
The Templar castles in our area of the country where constructed to protect the city of Coimbra from invasion. In time, the dividing line between the Islamic and Christian worlds, moved south to Lisbon, at least in Portugal. Examples of Moorish architecture still exist today, as do words borrowed from the Arabic language. Like açúcar, the Arabic word for sugar, or almofada (pillow).
The Templars were the billionaires of their age, gaining money, land, and power from their fighting expertise and their guardianship of pilgrims headed to and from the Holy Lands. They were international bankers, a concept way ahead of its time. When the sons of the noblity began to join the organization, they amassed even more power and wealth.
In reward for their service on the battlefield, the king of Portugal granted them land and property here. They established their (Portuguese) headquarters in Tomar at the magnificent Convento de Cristo (Convent of Christ). See pictures below.
As if often the case, too much money and power attract enemies, and so it was with the Knights Templar. When King Philip IV of France decided to default on his debts to the Knights, he did so by accusing them of heresy. Torture and fiery executions inevitably followed, and finally Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312, though he found no evidence of Philip’s claims.
As Templar properties, fortunes, and the Knights themselves, were seized across Europe, Portugal’s King Dinis shrewdly negotiated with the Vatican to place all of those within the country’s borders under the Crown’s control. The Templars were renamed and became the Portuguese Order of Christ. It took four years to get this deal done, but in the meantime Knights fleeing persecution made their way here bringing with them their military and maritime expertise. All of which laid the groundwork for Portugal’s incredible Age of Discovery.
I took a guided tour of this site in early 2020 (just as the plague was beginning). It's my hope to go back and spend even more time wandering around this fortress. After the tourists go home, of course. (wink).
That's all for now. Please stay well and stay cool!
Until next time,
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Demon Trappers® is a registered trademark of Jana G. Oliver
is an international & multi award-winning author in various genres including young adult, urban fantasy and paranormal romance.