All posts by mrb

About mrb

Energetic writer of the in-depth series on Eleanor of Aquitaine's life, Mark Richard Beaulieu is a collected painter, award-winning photographer, and innovative software technologist. He grew up in Heidelberg, New York City, Texas, California, receiving an MFA from UC Davis and a BFA from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He is known for the Eleanor Code Series, a six volume historical fiction of the queen who would change the world. The author lives in Escondido with his wife and pets, watching their children come into the new word.

Eleanor of Aquitaine – The Voyage West Published

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Digital Proof of The Voyage West. The novel covers years 1148 to 1151 in Eleanor’s life.

April 27, 2016 — Escondido, California. A new edition of Eleanor of Aquitaine – The Voyage West / 1148-1151 (458 pages) was published by Mark Richard Beaulieu today in print and digital formats. Grammatic and literary reasons prompted the revision. The page count is the same as the prior edition.

This fictional, historically accurate novel tracks controversial Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine after her harrowing travel across Anatolia (Turkey) in The Journey East / 1138-1148. The Voyage West begins with Eleanor and a devastated Crusade Army arriving on the desolate shores of Antioch having lost everything. The traveling queen and her court experience rich foreign cultures, endure the horrors of war, and then begin their own inner spiritual voyage. Driven forward by holy quest, Eleanor finds it is everything else that matters. Through novice eyes, she experiences exotic Outremer and learns what it takes to be a queen. She arrives home as a wholly different person, changed forever.

Author Mark Richard Beaulieu explains, “It is impossible to imagine that a world leader today would be present on a hot battlefield, much less, traveling with a spouse. And who takes vacations anymore to go on a quest, get utterly lost in translation, and allows themselves to be transformed? Not in modern times, not with the package deal.”

Mark points out, “Readers and historians alike will be surprised by a number of overlooked elements that escape the conventional story of Eleanor. During research, I discovered George of Antioch and his patron King Roger of Sicily. These larger than life figures whose records have been marginalized had a great effect on her life. George’s fleet sinks the Byzantine Navy and saves her at sea. The team is an object lesson in successful Maritime trade for which she will write sea laws, and sustain lucrative trade. Roger also provides a future groom for Eleanor’s daughter Joanna to become Queen of Sicily.”

One of the delights of these novels is restoring the Crusader maps used at the time of the Second Crusade. The Voyage West contains illustrations of the al-Idrisi world maps commissioned by King Roger II at the time of this war.

Part of the authenticity of this novel came from using rare journals written by pilgrims at sea, and by lords fighting the battles of the Second Crusade. Mark says, “Various Arab accounts of the Battle of Damascus found their way into the manuscript. Both views not only balance the conflict but also tell of an almost Catch-22 lunacy within each side’s command. The ‘battle of the faiths’ was as much within each religion as it was with their opponent.”

The Eleanor code, a series of six books chronicling Eleanor of Aquitaine’s life in depth, was begun in 2000. The fifth, tentatively titled Love and Rebellion, is due by the end of the year. The April 2016 edition of The Voyage West is available in print from Amazon, Kindle, and iPad.


Amazon book: http://www.amazon.com/Eleanor-Aquitaine-Voyage-West-Code/dp/1484875087/

Kindle ePub: http://www.amazon.com/Eleanor-Aquitaine-Voyage-West-Code-ebook/dp/B00CMJ8IZQ

Apple ePbub: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/eleanor-aquitaine-voyage-west/id644328851?mt=11

 

 

The Cover of The Young Life

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Mark Richard Beaulieu’s Eleanor of Aquitaine-The Young Life. The first book in the series

Like all my books, I describe the cover I have created. It is a habit from when I acted in the theater for the deaf, but I owe the literary practice to Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America. – mrb

The Cover for Alienor

Eleanor born as Alienor in 1124, died 1204.

Alienor imaged for 1137 was synthetically created in 2011 by a nine month generative process on a computer called a Macintosh using the software code from a program called Photoshop. An electrical current of 60 hertz powered the computer, display, and digital pen for me to make the picture and write the novel. The subject is a composite of many women that time gave chance to create.

I shall describe the cover for those unable to see, yet able to hear.

The face is of a Caucasian thirteen-year old female, although to some she appears fifteen. Her hair, a mix of vital colors crimson and blonde, starts thickly as a braided crown that runs over her shoulders down her back, uncut since she was born. Running to her ankles, deep red waves float wildly in the dark behind. Her temple strands are tucked behind her bare listening ears. She wears earrings of pure crystal. (noted shortly*) Alienor’s right eyelid scar and her genealogical portrait are detailed in the chapter ‘Lief and Liege.’ For more, listen there.

Her dress is ambiguous, a burgundy-color stitch-work map on cream-white linen, brought up to her neck. On her figure are drawn crayon color rivers and castles; some imply tattoos. Two blue serpentine rivers suggest a feminine form; one crosses her vocal cords and stops at her chin. The castle-cities have their legends spelled backward. Her capital city Poitiers spells forward, as does Fontevrault by her right shoulder. Under Poitiers, in a faint mist, runs the rim of a scarlet satin guard for her red-horsehair belt. Rivers and castles come from the style of the ancient William Wey crusader hand map. Gray folds of its separation appear as either an upside down sword or a crucifix, centered on Poitiers.

Alienor stands before a star field night. Two bright stars align with her eyes and ears, the largest on her heart side. The star spacing is apparently random, derived from deep space telescope images. The sky holes filter the color glass rose cathedral window of Saint-Denis. Up close they shine intense as jewels. The unfiltered stained glass skirts along the bottom edge of the cover where a panel runs a stitch frame of the ivory-tone Bayeux tapestry. Ghostly gray garden shadows fall on her dress-map. These are silhouettes of lavender and rose with leaves that look like flying birds. Large type in small caps reads ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine.’ Under it, ‘The Young Life.’ The author and illustrator line reads ‘Mark Richard Beaulieu.’

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*Note: The earrings are based on the ancient Merovingian crystal spheres stolen and returned to Saint-Denis in 1974. Vigée-Lebrun painted similar gems in her self-portrait at the Kimball Museum. The painting, remarkable for the dimensionally vivid skin, can only be appreciated, just like a person, in person. The impossible red baby mouth shares with the Alienor portrait: lips parted barely showing teeth; the lower lip thrust and cleft, as if in the act of saying ‘live.’

Prologue to Eleanor of Aquitaine – The Young Life

Prologue

Eleanor of Aquitaine did not know she could change the world. Few caught in her charms could ever guess; her enemies would never believe; but she and her kin-court would travel the world and transform it in a fundamental way; only after great catastrophe.

In the twelfth century of the Christian era, when prosperous Aquitaine governed the western region of the Franks, Eleanor was conceived in medieval times, not knowing these were medieval times; but no person knows into which era they will come to live.

First born into being, troubadours set words to meter while a trove of children twirled through a forest of whirls into bony-kneed youth. The little nobs called themselves rad; in their time known as hrad: a hasty eager elated soul, always ready and quick, as had been its meaning five hundred years prior to her birth. Playing the tongue of the times, hrads were hreds, for the most hrad had tinges of red hair or the whole flame itself. The citizens of Poitiers, the capitol of the region, hailed the lot ‘girls,’ including the male. Aquitaines knew that up to the count of years on two hands plus two fingers, a typical female is taller, stronger, and smarter in play. ‘Boy’ was a title the male earned later on; you’ll see. This was the time of troubadours, personal music, when water mills drove automatic machines. Rivers, the power of all things, propelled Aquitaine forward bringing Europa’s first light renaissance.

In the sky blue age we were all one pink race. From the milky billow we unborn angels descended bloody wild – curious and ready to play. Climbing the birdsong trees, we surveyed silvery childhood, unaware how much was brought to luster by mothers and fathers; our parents afforded that we, their little ones, enjoy at least briefly, more freedom than they ever had.

Living in such a domain in the year 1130, Amira, a hrad of eight-springs, experienced a day of liberty the same day her father lost his; a day by the waterwheel, the day she broke open the rock and found the fire, the day Amira discovered Spark.

 

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The Worst English Monarch

The Guardian recently ran an article on the Historical Writers Association Henry VIII voted worst monarch in history.

Heed. Look upon my face. The worst, really?

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Henri II. Tormentor of the Archbishop of Canterbury who had him murdered. A father who slept with his son’s wives? A king who refused to share power with anyone including his crowned son? A man who imprisoned his gifted wife for life to use her income. A father who takes thirteen-year-old Rosamund to his bed promising everything until she goes mad. And on to the next wife or daughter of a friend. Some say he murdered his young father to take power of Normandy. He bungled the empire that could have ruled France. Oh black were the days of his rule, blacker than his son John. By dividing his family, Henri lost it all. And for best queen, my vote goes for Eleanor of Aquitaine – Once a queen, half a queen, and then not a queen at all.

Eleanor of Aquitaine, a Rebel of the Middle Ages

Alienor

On 11/08/2015, France 2 TV produced a biographic film 90 minutes long, Secrets d’Histoire: Aliénor d’Aquitaine, une rebelle au Moyen Age – (Secrets of History Eleanor of Aquitaine, a Rebel of the Middle Age.) A good command of French helps in watch of the replay, but then wasn’t Eleanor more French than the French? The film covers details, depicting both Eleanor’s passionate qualities as well as her stature as told by many historians, curators, partly portrayed, and reenacted.

It panders to many of the myths of her long life, misses a few salient elements like her crusade experience, though it does introduce first viewers to her cast of characters. Nice to see that the world is hungry to hear of her life.

The Young Life Begins

Eleanor of Aquitaine did not know she could change the world. No one guessed she ever would caught in her charisma, the way her court was. But she did change the world. She changed it in a fundamental way. She survived the singularity of the apocalypse of the disastrous 2nd Crusade. In the 12th century she became a queen of two countries, mother of ten. She held on to childhood origins exactly as she experienced the romance of the world. She opened an academy of Aquitaine manners, and wrote down her code. By teaching her children she taught the world how to love.

In this vibrant series Eleanor of Aquitaine takes you across Europe to the Middle East, sails the Mediterranean as she matures her French, and then her English court. Her 12th century friends include trobars, mediciners, logicians, kings, archbishops, Catharic priests, chevaliers, and modistes. Six novels bring forward a deep look at this woman, what made her tick, what made her love, what made her the most powerful woman of her time. She forges the Eleanor Code to become the greatest queen you never knew.

Mark Richard Beaulieu's Eleanor of Aquitaine-The Young Life. The first book in the series
Mark Richard Beaulieu’s Eleanor of Aquitaine-The Young Life. The first book in the series The Eleanor Code.