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Musketeer History


New Menu Selections For Gascon Adventurer:


 CYRANO DE BERGERAC (poet, swordsman, musician)

MILADY (The Real Evil Agent of the Cardinal from the pages of History)

GATIEN DE COURTILZ DE SANDRAS (Author of the Memoirs of D'Artagnan)

RALPH NEVILL (English Translator of the Memoirs of D'Artagnan)

ACTUAL MUSKETEER LETTERS (A rare look into the Musketeer past)

DONAREE THE MUSKETEER (New Musketeer Novel by Ted Anthony Roberts)

MUSKETEER STORIES (Started novels by Ted Anthony Roberts)

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (His views on Le Vicomte de Bragelonne)





Hey, friends, don't forget to check out my interview over at Renaissance Performers & Merchants! I've been interviewed on their blog about my novel "Donaree the Musketeer," and collectible card game: "Musketeers, Cavaliers, and Court Intrigue." Come check it out, and leave a comment if you'd like!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Adventures of Monsieur de La Donaree the Musketeer by Ted Anthony Roberts

Adventures of Monsieur de La Donaree the Musketeer

by Ted Anthony Roberts

Giveaway ends July 03, 2016.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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While making every allowance for exaggeration on the part of Sandras [author of the Memoirs of D’Artagnan], there is no overlooking the fact that the career of D'Artagnan was really one of a most dashing and romantic kind. The Memoirs, indeed, are probably a collection of the stories and traditions of the famous Musketeer's life current in his day, together with other details of his exploits which the author was able to glean from such documents and letters as he had chanced to come across. A true soldier of fortune—the younger son of a poor though noble family of Bearn—Charles de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan, Captain-Lieutenant of the 1st Company of the King's Musketeers, combined extraordinary charm of manner with great Personal bravery. As daring, from ail contemporary accounts, in the service of Venus as of Mars, his rise from cadet in the Guards to the position which he occupied at his death in battle, was due in no small measure to his popularity with the fair sex. Madame de Motteville, indeed, terms him in her Memoirs "a creature of Cardinal Mazarin's," but this unflattering reference is probably the outcome of political spite. To the fair sex the gallant Musketeer was irresistible, and many of the hearts to which he laid siege appear to have surrendered at his first onslaught.


According to St. Simon, D'Artagnan enjoyed the confidence of Louis XIV., and he makes particular mention of the devotion of that monarch to his Captain of Musketeers, and of his sincere grief at his untimely death at the siege of Maestricht in 1673, where he fell while gallantly leading his company to the attack.


The Musketeers had retired to rest for the night, when the order was given for them to recapture a position which the defenders of the town had managed to take. Although utterly tired out, they rushed to the charge under the leadership of their captain, who, in the sanguinary conflict which ensued, met a soldier's death at the head of his men. It is said that these soldiers, greedy of glory as they were, reckoned their victory dearly bought on account of the loss of a commander whom they idolized. Besides D'Artagnan, there were in this fight thirty-seven men killed and fifty-three wounded of the 1st Company of Musketeers, which went into battle two hundred and fifty strong!


The Musketeers of the Guard were the corps d'élite of the household troops of the French kings. They were practically founded by Louis XIII. , although in the previous reign a small guard of somewhat the same kind had existed. M. de Troisville, who afterwards called himself De Treville, was their first captain lieutenant, and held this rank throughout the whole of the reign of Louis XIII. At first, like ail troops of their time, they wore no particular uniform, and it was only in 1657 that Louis XIV. decreed that they should don a special dress. The 1st Company consisted of 250 men, all mounted on white or grey horses, who were known as " Mousquetaires gris." The captain was the King himself, and the company was reckoned the crack corps of France. Its standard of white satin bore a device representing a bomb, shot in the air from a mortar, falling on a town; underneath, “Quo ruit et lethum."


The company was quartered in the Rue du Bac, and the facings, lace, etc., of the uniform were of gold. The 2nd Company (originally Cardinal Mazarin's) had barracks in the Rue St. Antoine. The men were mounted upon black horses, and, in consequence, were known as " Mousquetaires noirs." On the standard was a bundle of twelve arrows pointing downwards, with the motto, "Alterius Jovis altéra tela." The facings of these Mousquetaires were not as rich as those of the 1st Company, being only of silver. The uniform of both companies was blue with a silver cross, and their original weapon was the "mousquet," afterwards exchanged for a brace of pistols, in addition, of course, to the sword worn by ail mounted troops.


Composed for the most part of young men of from seventeen to twenty years of age, the dash and courage of the Musketeers became proverbial, and on many occasions secured victory to the French arms. The last time this proved the case was at Fontenoy, where their charge at the head of the King's household troops decided the day.


In the turmoil and anarchy of the Revolution the Musketeers disappeared practically for ever. An attempt indeed was made to revive the corps on the restoration of the French Monarchy, but its existence had become an anachronism, and the recreated "Mousquetaires du Roi " bore but little resemblance to the famous cavaliers of the ancien régime who already loomed, "mere old world shadows," across the blood-red mists of the Terror.


The Musketeer belonged to the old France—that France which with its stately pomp and ceremonious chivalry had vanished into the past. The spirit which had animated him was no more. Careless, prodigal, brave and loyal, he was no sympathizer with democracy and its somewhat pinchbeck ideals, and indifferent to most things except love or war, his motto, like that of the old chivalry of France, was ever "Dieu! Mon Roi! Ma Dame!"



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by: Ted Anthony Roberts

To read the first three chapters of this Musketeer novel




It is the year of our Lord 1667 A.D., the place is Paris, France, and it is a time of chivalry, betrayal, romance, intrigue - and of great adventure! And yet, while the exploration of this colourful world of swashbuckling cavaliers is soon to be experienced, it is proper, and conclusive, to invite knowledge to the reader of a subject that not too many individuals ventures to know of its origin and history. Therefore, with this unfortunate mishap of historical neglect in mind, and also confident that the subject will be introduced in a short but informative manner, I shall boldly paint a gallant portrait for my readers, because of these before mentioned historically mis-guided individuals, in order to answer a somewhat difficult, and a sometimes modern confusing question, which asks: "Who and what are Musketeers?;" and to provide, as a most sweet rewarding pleasure, a historical background to this said subject.

With this in mind, dear reader, please make yourself comfortable, in which-ever manner that pleases thee, and forget presently your modern world of ready conveniences, and I shall tell you of a day when action-ready and honorable men wore elaborate costumes - and a long sword hung at their side!




In the mid to late 1400's, the invention of the gun brought in a new age of warfare; the operators of this unique invention were also given names to accompany their new weapons. Therefore, naturally, the men who wielded the musket firearms, which came only a few hundred years later, became known as musketeers.

The basic function of this musketeer was to act as an infantry foot soldier. Surrounded, boxed in, and protected by pikemen (wielders of pikes - which was a long spear), these musketeers, along with these pikemen, would create the formation (in a square), called a phalanx formation. This phalanx formation was first used and created by ancient Greek soldiers, who called themselves the Hoplites. By lowering their spears, the Hoplites would walk forward in tight formation - and literally stab their enemies while they marched! Then, as history informs us, this formation was used by the Roman soldiers, who copied the ever so ingenious Hoplites. Also, it was practiced, and nearly perfected by the famous Swiss pikemen of the Middle Ages, who would kill charging knights by dismounting them with their long pikes before the knight could even get near this foot soldier. And so the musketeer is, as was also the archer before him, protected by the phalanx formation of the pikemen, who surround them - ever so protectingly - with their long pikes.

At the turn of the seventeenth century, the formation of musket and pike had drastically changed for the better. In the middle of the squares of pikemen stood three units of musketeers. After one unit would fire their muskets, they would retire to the end of the line to re-load while the next unit would move forward. By the time the third unit had discharged, the first unit would be ready to fire again. Of course, this method has improved. Musketeers in this latter half of the seventeenth century (the time frame that is presently being visited) has three units who fire simultaneously. This formation proceeds as thus: one musketeer stands, one bends down, and the third man kneels. A whole line of muskets can fire in this fashion, delivering a large volley of musket balls at a tremendous rate.

But who are these musketeers firing at? Field guns and huge cannons can crush large units of infantry from a distance; however, there are fast moving targets which cannot easily be picked off by cannon ball. These targets are cavalrymen - horsemen: the knights of yesterday (with a great amount of difference), who found it difficult to ride in heavy armour (which, anyway, a bullet can penetrate). Therefore, stripped of all armour, the cavalrymen charges these phalanx units of pikemen and musketeers with the use of pistol and sword in hopes of demolishing, little by little, this strong formation. The musketeers, on this wise, try to pick off the cavalry, who are a menace to the infantry. And while the musketeer may be unprotected, if a shot has gone off and missed the approaching target, the pikeman will defend the musketeer by pointing his pike toward the horseman.

By the end of this century (a great help to the student of this study), the bayonet had been invented; being placed on the nozzle of the musket, and serving as a spear, the musketeer had become his own pikeman, and was then able to protect himself from the cavalry. Therefore, an age old practice of warfare, the pikeman, and the usage of his service, was then destroyed. He did not even last to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Infantry musketeers are common to all military branches of Europe. As long as a foot soldier carries and operates a musket firearm onto a battlefield - he is referred to as a musketeer. However, the French nation, of whom we are visiting in this tale, has their own special corps of Musketeers, who's main purpose, among other duties (such as fighting in sieges and campaigns), is to act as a bodyguard for their sovereign king. Serving in this position, being the foremost of his Guards, the Musketeers will protect his majesty whenever he chooses to leave his palace, and to accompany him, acting as his escort, wherever he decides to go. They are the corps d'elite of France, they have become known as the Mousquetaires du Roi (the King's Musketeers). These men are young daredevils who are brave, courageous, quick-witted, hot-headed, short on their fuses, masters behind their demon blades, crack shots on their muskets, loved by some, hated by many, and are ever seeking adventures to satisfy their hunger for dangerous excitement. The best, and only the best, can wear the famous tunic of this legendary band!

They were first formed in the year 1600 by king Henri IV., and were handed (instead of the musket) a carbine firearm; they were then called the Carabiniers du Roi (the King's Carabineers). It was not until Louis XIII., Henri's son, came to power that the band, re-formed in 1622, and handed the new flintlock musket, were termed Musketeers. These first Musketeers were composed of 100 men, and a gentleman by the name of Monsieur de Montalet was announced their capitaine-lieutenant, for the king himself held the position of capitaine-commandant.

In 1634, the famous Monsieur de Treville was announced capitaine-lieutenant. And before they were disbanded in 1646, they had become 150 strong, having a sous-lieutenant, a cornet, two sergeant-majors, a quartermaster-sergeant, a trumpeter, and a farrier. All the men together composed one company, and their pay consisted of a low 35 sous a day.

Their headquarters, styled: Musketeer Headquarters, was a large hô tel that was located in the rue de Tournon, a very busy street in Paris. The rue de Tournon is set near the rue de Vaugirard, the rue du Vieux-Colombier, the Place Saint-Sulpice and, most importantly, it is situated very closely to the palace and beautiful gardens of the Luxembourg. The entire courtyard of the hô tel resembled a small army camp, and was filled (from six o'clock in the morning at summer, and eight o'clock in winter) with loud, boastful Musketeers.

In 1657, after a decade of silence from when they were disbanded, king Louis XIV. (the present king of this tale), re-established the band of Musketeers and appointed Cardinal Mazarin's nephew, the Duc de Nevers, as his capitaine-lieutenant; the company was then given the permanent name of Grand Musketeers. In November of that same year, the entire company were provided with grey horses, whereupon they became known as: Mousquetaires gris (Grey Musketeers). In 1660, a second company of these Guards were then formed for the king of Cardinal Mazarin's foot Musketeers, the band having a lower status than the first company, and were given, just three years later, black horses to stride, giving them the title, naturally, as: Mousquetaires noirs (Black Musketeers).

Being absent most of the time, and caring little of what became of his soldiers, the Duke de Nevers gave them a happy break when he stepped aside and gave the commanding position to his sous-lieutenant, of whom the soldiers felt, anyway, was their true leader. And so, in this year of 1667, Monsieur Charles d'Artagnan has taken the reins of capitaine-lieutenant.

If the name d'Artagnan sounds familiar, it is no wonder, for he is the hero of the famous romance classic: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. D'Artagnan indeed existed in the flesh, but it is the true historical personage of whom this tale is referring, not the fictional counter-part that Dumas gave the world.

Becoming a Musketeer is not an easy task - the easiest way to gain admittance into the corps is to serve at least two years in a company less favorable, such as being a regular Guard. But even then, after serving this two year apprenticeship, one must be well skilled, having fought in some campaigns, so as to achieve the experience and knowledge firsthand of the art of war. But the fastest way to enter the corps is to perform an outstanding act of bravery or derring-do! Being a Musketeer is the highest honor a common soldier can receive in all France, and baring the mantle of a Musketeer is the root of popularity and respect. Today, several hundred soldiers fill the ranks; they are loud, strong, courageous, feared and respected. Even the late Armand-Jean Du Plessis, Cardinal Richelieu, a political genius, who ruled France from behind the throne - a man who had countries trembling before him - had nothing but true admiration (despite his hate) for these men who fear neither life, nor death.

As their officers live in rooms that are provided in Musketeer Headquarters, the rest, hundreds of men, were told to find lodgings elsewhere, and found them in civilian apartments and rent houses. Their reputation and manners, however, are as fiery as their name, for most are gentleman in word only, not in deed! Most of these soldiers are merely overgrown children who stay up to very late hours of the night getting drunk on their wine, singing songs of battle, and getting fresh with the local bar maids. These disturbances caused a rather large commotion - the situation demanded a reparation, and new lodgings were then provided for these soldiers in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. A bit small, it's one room for two soldiers, and two beds are provided; but Musketeers always have servants - so, two Musketeers sleep in one bed and their servants sleep in the other. If a soldier wishes to find lodgings elsewhere, he may - at his own expense. Then, there are Musketeers who ignore the edict against dueling, they constantly draw their swords in the name of love or insult. This is a terrible problem, too; and the king gave this edict for he feels dueling to be in bad taste. The punishment for this crime, however, is most severe. How severe? Well, the genius Cardinal de Richelieu, who enforced this law many years back, has left us a perfect example: a cavalier, who had been found guilty of dueling, was sentenced to have his head kindly removed! A fine example, thanks to the Red Minister. But, alas, during the 1620's and 1630's, Cardinal Richelieu would secretly tell his Guards to fight the Musketeers, and king Louis XIII. would secretly encourage his Musketeers to fight the Cardinal's Guards. This was almost a comical situation that often ended in bloodshed! But not so with king Louis XIV. (this day's king), who does not go so far with secrecy; but he does, however, follow the Minister's tactics on punishment. But despite the soldiers who constantly disturb the peace, there are some, though only a handful, who are not so unruly.

The uniform of a Musketeer is so elaborate that it catches the eye of every person that is near. This uniform begins with a magnificent mantle which possesses the breath-taking colour of sky-blue. As it hangs from his shoulders, the mantle ends just at his waist, covering the chest, the back and both arms of the Musketeer. This sky-blue fabric, being the foundation, exhibits four large crosses (one on the chest, one on the back and one on each arm) that are displayed in beautiful silver thread. As the cross represents the king, it terminates into golden fleur-de-lis, showing the power of God and Country. And giving this mantle a delicately finished touch is a sheer, thin silver lace that completely covers its exterior - which, with the slightest movement of the cavalier, catches the glint of the sun; and underneath this blue covering is worn a silk white shirt.

The hat, which is a darker blue, flows with yellow plumes; the pants, being the same colour as the hat, travels down each side with two strips of yellow; the boots, baring the before said darker blue, are decorated with needful silver buckles; and, finally, the dark blue gloves are also part of the uniform, which is made to match the mantle. So, the complete colour of this Musketeer's garb is blue, yellow, silver and gold.

At few and various times some Musketeers do not wear their military dress, if belief will ensure that an excuse can offer escape, giving young nobles a chance to display their expensive non-military clothing to ladies of distinction. But the only time all will bare this uniform in sequence will be occasions such as battles, sieges, campaigns, wars, or even for a simple parade to gain respectable looks while marching along, or to appear majestic upon their prancing mounts. It is the style of this day and age to be as boastful with colour and clothing, as it is with loud, courageous speech.

As it is, and of strange consequence, almost the entire army of France (eighty to ninety percent) is composed of Gascons. Gascony, being a large province, is located in Southern France, and it produces men of such courage and fearlessness that it is a gift that is not seen just too often in many places in Europe. Even captain d'Artagnan himself is a Gascon, and his career, especially his past career, is painted so full of adventures and bravado that it is a life, as is well thought, that only a Gascon can have - such Gasconade adventures! But the hero of this romance, our own Monsieur de La Donaree, is not of Gascon decent; and being of the few ten or twenty percent of the soldiers who thus remain, advancing from the western, northern and eastern parts of France - being separate from that country brash breed! - are the men who wish to prove their worth, to show all Paris, and indeed all of France, that one does not have to come from southern upbringing to be brave and fearless, and can be a major contribution to this (as it is often called) Gascon army of France.

Therefore, in conclusion, it can be well said that a large part of France's history can be attributed to the Musketeers; but as history can sometimes be cruel, it usually forgets the role the Musketeers has taken a part in. But this story, as it unfolds with plot, suspense, a few surprises, and outright adventure, is a way to remedy that!

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The three most famous Musketeers, after d'Artagnan of course, served in his majesty's (King Louis XIII) elite corps - his personal bodyguards. But just what is a Musketeer? This is a question that a lot of people of today are finding out more and more often. When we think of a Musketeer, we think of a swordsman, who can out-fence anyone that they can meet. But why are they then not called a Swordsateer?

Basically, a musketeer was a foot (infantry) soldier who used a musket firearm during times of war and battle. However, there was really nothing special about these men. Every country in Europe who had an army had musketeers. Yet, in France, a certain group of Musketeers was somewhat different.

With the development of the firearm in the 1400's (directly after the invention of the canon - which inspired the invention of this firearm), came several prototypes that eventually led to the musket. The first real successful firearm was the Arquebus (smoothbore), that was invented some time either in the late 1400's, or the early to mid fifteen hundreds. This was the immediate forerunner of the musket. The Arquebus was a matchlock gun, which meant that on the trigger mechanism there was held a lighted match. The match (a thick string) was treated in a solution of saltpetre, then dried. It was then attached to the cock of the gun. The match, of course, would be lit, and it would burn down VERY slowly (because of how it had been treated). When the trigger was squeezed, the hammer-on action of the cock would ignite a bit of white priming powder that was located in a small cut-out space (where the cock would touch down to) called a priming pan. In the middle of this pan was a very small hole, which led to the chamber below (in the smooth bore). Located inside the gun was a bit of gunpowder that had been rammed inside with a ramming stick. Placed just after the gunpowder was a musket ball. So, when the match lit the primer, the primer then set off the gunpowder, which caused the musket ball to project. This entire invention was improved with the matchlock Musket.

Yet, during the time of the matchlock musket, the carbine was coming ahead in technology. And in France, in 1600 A.D., King Henri of Navarre (Gascony), who had not too long before became King Henri IV of France, decided to give himself a bodyguard. Yet, he didn't want just any soldier. He made himself a bodyguard that consisted of nothing less than elite soldiers. Arming them with Carbines, they became known as the Carabineers du Roy: which is, the King's Carbineers. A very special group of men that no ordinary soldier could match in firing or swordplay.

When King Louis XIII (Henri's son) took the throne in 1610, he re-armed these elite guards with the more advanced flintlock musket. An invention that would stand tall in the firearm world until the 1800's! These new muskets were a clever invention. Throwing out the match idea completely, these new muskets held in the clutches of the cock a piece of flint. As the trigger was squeezed, the flint would fly down onto a serrated piece of metal, causing the flint to shoot out sparks. These sparks would then ignite the priming powder in the pan, and then, of course, would ignite the gunpowder, and project the musket ball.

When handed these new muskets, the old company of Carabineers then became known as Mousquetaires du Roy: that is, the King's Musketeers. Also, according to some historians, these men then were given a tunic of sky-blue colour at this time, having the king's cross mounted upon it (see my illustration above). This tunic would be worn on top of regular civilian clothes. And according to some other historians, the mousquetaires were not given their famous tunics until many years later, when they were bodyguards of Louis XIV., in the 1660's.

The entire company of Musketeers were young daredevils who were extraordinarily gifted soldiers, and could normally handle what several regular soldiers couldn't. By the time Louis XIII was king, Monsieur de Treville indeed was their captain. Yet he did not hold the title of captain, but captain-lieutenant, for the king himself held the title of captain-commandant. Despite this, however, everyone called Treville their captain.

According to the 1991 Disney movie "The Three Musketeers," the Musketeers were disbanded in 1625. Even though it is true that the Musketeers were disbanded, it was at a later time, not until many years later, in 1642, after Richelieu and the king had already died, and when Mazarin and the Queen were ruling France for little Louis XIV. The reason they were disbanded was because of Cardinal Marazin's (Richelieu's protege, and possible husband to the widowed Queen Anne) hatred for Monsieur de Treville. Yet, ironically, even though Mazarin fired Treville from this appointment, he turned around and asked Treville for a favor; that is, to give him his two best Musketeers for his personal services. Treville gave Mazarin d'Artagnan, and a certain Besmeaux (future governor of the Bastille, even as Dumas has shown us).

Treville's choice shows us how brilliant of a swashbuckler d'Artagnan really was in real life. And just as soon as Treville gave Mazarin these two brilliants, he retired from court life forever, and became a governor of a small French town.

But what of our Three Musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis? Were they too real people in life? Happily, they were; unhappily, we have very little detail on the real three men.

Gatien de Courtilz, in his famous, yet rare, Memoirs of Monsieur d'Artagnan, gives the world the first glimpse at these men for the first time since their death. Courtilz would have us believe that they were all brothers - but this is not true, even though two of them were related, and related also to Treville.

Athos was, in real life, Armand de Sillegue d'Athos d'Auteville. He was born around 1615, joined the Musketeers at the age of twenty-five in the late 1630's or early 1640's, and died in Paris from a duel in 1643. His name was found listed amongst the fallen duellists in a monastery where such acts were recorded. He could really have been a nobleman, just like Dumas' Athos was. But unlike Dumas made him, he was really a Gascon like D'Artagnan. He was also a cousin to M. de Treville, captain of the musketeers from 1634-1642. Dumas claimed, in the preface to The Three Musketeers, that his story was nothing more than the memoirs of the Comte de la Fere, who (this mysterious comte) becomes Athos in the course of the story. These memoirs, presumably, were the same memoirs Athos is seen working on during the course of The Vicomte de Bragelonne.

Aramis's real name was Henri d'Aramitz. Like his fictional counterpart, he was a churchman, a Bernais (from Gascony): like D'Artagnan, he was a Gascon. He joined the musketeers in 1640, married in 1654, had four children, and died around 1674. He was a nephew to M. de Treville, captain of the musketeers. He was never, so far as history can tell, involved with the Jesuits. A German named Nickel was Vicar-General from 1652-1664 and from 1664-1681 an Italian named Jean-Paul Oliva headed the order.

Porthos was really Isaac de Portau, born in Pau, Gascony, according to history. The real Porthos has no family relations with any of his friends. Though he did come from a town close to one that d'Artagnan came from. They two, more than likely, really were excellent friends in real life. They were both Guards at the same time, and both entered into the Musketeers almost at the same time. Athos and Aramis were already Musketeers at the time that d'Artagnan and Porthos were Guards.

When Mazarin could see that Treville was indeed out of the way, he re-installed the Musketeers, making two companies of them - the Black Musketeers (so called after the black horses they rode) and the Gray Musketeers (also because of the colour horses they rode.) The second company, the gray's, was banded together from Mazarin's own personal Foot Musketeers (no doubt coming down from Richelieu's guards). In the first company (first and foremost, for they were more celebrated than the second company), Mazarin gave the old post of Treville (of Captain-Lieutenant) to his nephew, the Duke of Nevers, Mancinni.

Mancinni cared little for the post, or the Musketeers, and would leave all the duties of leadership to his lieutenant - d'Artagnan, of course - who was their true captain nonetheless. In 1667, Mancinni, realizing what was best, stepped aside for d'Artagnan, and gave the post of captain-lieutenant to him.

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Hey, friends, don't forget to check out my interview over at Renaissance Performers & Merchants! I've been interviewed on their blog about my novel "Donaree the Musketeer," and collectible card game: "Musketeers, Cavaliers, and Court Intrigue." Come check it out, and leave a comment if you'd like!