Ancient versus Contemporary

Hello Yvonne!  Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. It’s lovely to be visiting you again.

Formal versus Contemporary – A Comparison

The Beltane Choice is set in AD 71 in Brigantia, north Roman Britain.

I’ve used what I call a more formal writing style in my historical fiction novel The Beltane Choice,  to give a semblance of authenticity to the story set so long ago. Getting into the heads of my characters, to recreate what would have been their ancient lifestyle and speech patterns, was a lovely challenge. But, just for fun today, I’ve given my main characters an opportunity to experience 21st Century speech patterns and vocabulary.

I’ve chosen a section where my darkly-handsome hero (think of a mid-twenties Aiden Turner or Aragorn /Lord of the Rings Viggo Mortensen) talks to his captive, Nara, a Selgovae princess. In normal circumstances the Selgovae were mortal enemies of the Brigantes, but the advance of the Roman Empire has altered the usual state of affairs.

Extract from The Beltane Choice

Lorcan had been thinking long and hard about what to do with her once they reached Garrigill. Since knowing her princess status he had planned a positive method of using her abduction, the recent conversation with Gyptus’ warriors making him decide to speed up the process. Now he needed Nara to believe in his plan.

“Nay, Brigante.” Slapping at his arms, Nara of Tarras’ manner was unyielding. “You are mistaken. Callan will not negotiate.”

“Why continue this pretence? You hold high status in your tribe.”

“Callan of Tarras will not bargain.”

Her jaw was so set, her voice almost to shouting level. The vehemence could not be faked, but Lorcan was not ready to take her at her word just yet. He maintained his level tone. “Then I will know the truth. There is much you have not told me.”

“In that you are correct.”

Nara jumped up and stomped off, gaining little ground before he snaked his arm around her shoulders. Pushing him away her chide was as brutal as the sharp blades flashing from her eyes, her mouth whipcord lean.

“You declared you would not touch me. You are just like your warriors.”

“Aye, but I am the one who prevents them from accosting you.”

Nara’s furious face held his attention for a moment before he continued. “Perhaps I am wrong? It may be you would not deem their advances unasked for?”

Lorcan loathed that she misunderstood his motives. Restraining his anger he sought to explain his reasoning.

“You are a temptation, Nara. They must believe they cannot have you because I deem it so. That gives you a measure of safety.”


And now something…more contemporary. I’m avoiding the really crude version it could be but you’re welcome to use your imagination, and fill in the asterisks! Especially if you’re familiar with all of the brand new swear words out there in 2021, which I’m afraid I’m not.

Lorcan wondered what the **** he was going to do with her once they reached his house, at Garrigill. Shit! She was a princess of her tribe. He’d thought about how best to tackle the consequences of her abduction. He had a damned good plan…but he needed Nara on board.

“Back off, Brigante!” Nara, princess of Tarras, slapped at his arms. “You’re a daft git! Callan won’t negotiate.”

“The cra* he will! You’re a prime hostage.”

“I’m telling you that Callan of Tarras doesn’t do bargains! And never for the likes of me.”

Her jaw was set so firmly like plastic surgery gone wrong, her grating voice through clenched teeth bursting his eardrums. Lorcan could tell she meant business, but there was no way he would take her word for it – not nearly yet. He kept his tone level.  “So, tell me. What secrets are you still keeping?”

“D’you think I’m going to tell you!”

Nara jumped up and stomped around, only pulled-up short by his arm hook around her shoulders.  Shoving him away, her tongue-lashing was as reckless as her flashing eyes, her mouth thin and nasty.

“What happened to your ‘you wouldn’t lay a hand on me’ speech?  Absolute crap! You’re worse than your hangers-on.”

“You think? I want to **** you like the rest of my men, but I’m the one who is keeping them off your back.”

Nara’s furious expression stripped him before he continued.

“Am I wrong? Maybe you do want to screw all of them?”

Lorcan hated the thought that his motives might be misunderstood. Tamping down his anger, he struggled a patient tone.

“You’re beautiful, Nara. If they think you’re mine, they’ll back off. And you’ll be safer.”

Nara’s sputters were explosive. “Yours? How is that safer?”


What do you think? When reading historical fiction set so long ago would contemporary language work for you? I’d love to know your thoughts.


Don’t miss out on the bargains!

During the whole month of May, as the Ocelot Press Book of the Month, Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour Series of historical adventures will be on special prices.

The Beltane Choice  will be 99p.

The other 4 novels in the series will be reduced to £1.99 (equivalent prices across the Amazon network)

Nancy has a couple of competitions on the Ocelot Press Readers page on Facebook during May 2021 where you can win 1) a beautiful Celtic Keyring 2) a signed copy of The Beltane Choice. Join us there and enter the competitions


Nancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She creates her fictional characters in historical; time travel historical; and contemporary mystery/ thriller novels at her usually messy desk. When not writing, researching (a total obsession), reading or gardening, her young grandchildren will probably be entertaining her, or she’ll be binge-watching historical series’ made for TV.

Signing/ selling her novels at local events is great fun, as is giving author presentations – on her novels or on Ancient Roman Scotland – to groups large and small. Both are a fabulous excuse to get away from the keyboard and meet new readers. Zoom sessions have lately been an entertaining alternative to face-to-face events till Covid 19 pandemic rules permit local events to restart.

Current memberships are with the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland, Romantic Novelists Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She’s self-published with the author co-operative Ocelot Press.

You can find her at these places:






Amazon Author page

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