Category Archives: Lette’s Chat – The Written Blog

Blog posts written by Carlette Norwood

I was Queen for a Day – Medieval Times for Spring Break

It’s official! I’m royalty! Well, okay, at least for one night. I was crowned Queen of the Tournament at Medieval Times!

It’s Spring Break and what a better way to spend the time than at Maryland’s own royal castle, taking advantage of their buy one/get one free special! You’ll enjoy a night of feasting, medieval games and fighting at Medieval Times, located at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Maryland, right off I295 near Thurgood Marshall, BWI Airport.

For those of you who know me, you’re well aware of my love affair with all things King Arthur, medieval, knights, jousting, knights, feasts…and…did I say, knights? For just a mere pittance, you can enjoy a cocktail hour, a full-fledged feast and a 90 minute show that includes some of the most amazing athletic and theatrical showmanship anywhere. While dining on a meal truly fit for any king, you will be entertained by a falconer, world class horses and an exciting, nail-biting jousting tournament by our realm’s finest warriors!

Everyone, and I mean everyone from the door keepers, to security, to bar and wait staff, to performers, and even the management at Medieval Times are consummate professionals. They take customer service to a whole different level. There are not many places left anywhere that treat their customers as well as they do at Medieval Times. I’m no stranger to the Maryland castle and my recent visit was just as exciting as my first, about ten years ago. Some things never change and in this case, that’s a very good thing.

After the show, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with two of the knights; the Yellow Knight (Don Eduardo del Rey – how cool is THAT name??), winner of the tournament games and the Red and Yellow Knight (Lord del Font), victor over the enemy, neighboring King Urlicht’s evil knight who wanted to steal the princess away for himself. When all others failed, the Red and Yellow Knight saved the kingdom from debauchery and ruin!

The Red and Yellow Knight, Matt, has been at Medieval Times for twelve years and I have had the privilege of meeting him before. He is, just as you would expect a knight to be, personable, intelligent, well spoken, and simply charming. His smile lights up his whole face and I had to keep reminding myself that we were not actually sitting in a tavern in Spain during medieval times, but in a mall in modern day Maryland.

Travis, the Yellow Knight (I was seated in his section), is equally charming…and very tall! The dimple in his cheek will make you blush. Originally from Los Angeles, he’s been at the Maryland castle for six years. He told me that when he first arrived to the area, while walking through the mall one day, he put in an application at the castle. He got the call to come in for an interview because management felt he looked the part and hired him. He’s been there ever since. I asked Travis what it was like being a knight. He said it was a fun, adrenaline rush. I can totally believe that!

Applicants for knighthood initially start off as squires where they learn and train and “pay their dues,” sort of like an apprenticeship. They tend the knights, take care of and clean up after the horses, learn horsemanship, weaponry and the art of swordplay. The squires’ duties are extremely important and critical to their advancement to knighthood. They make sure that everything is right and goes smoothly during a show. Matt says they basically do everything and their training lasts anywhere from six months to a year.

There is much more to these elaborate shows than meets the eye. Each show is intricately planned. Matt described it as there being almost a science to it. Not only is the show masterfully coordinated, so is the planning of each performance. Well-trained, seasoned knights and new, not-as-experienced knights must be carefully matched so there is not only balance, but also for the safety of everyone in the performance, including the regal and magnificent Andalusian horses. The horses are just as much a part of the show as the jousting. They are beautiful, amazing animals. I don’t support the circus or the zoo. But you can tell – you can feel it – those horses are well loved and well cared for. You can sense that they actually enjoy their work. The horses are visibly happy and enjoy performing!

The knights practice two hours per day, usually between nine o’clock in the morning till two o’clock in the afternoon, and work forty hours per week – a full time job. Performances are held during the day and in the evening.

Medieval Times performances are suitable for people of all ages. I enjoy people-watching so each time I attend a show at Medieval Times, I love to sit back and watch the audience before and during the show. The castle arena seats 1,009 people and a typical audience is made up of an extremely diverse crowd from every walk of life. From infants to seniors, bridal parties to divorce parties, graduation parties to Girl Scout/Boy Scout troops, from singles to couples, from girls-night-to fellas hanging out, there is something for e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e to enjoy.

Reasonably priced, starting at $59.95 person for adults and $36.95 for children under twelve (lap kids under three are free,) you can’t beat the price for all you get. I usually upgrade and purchase the Royalty package for a few bucks more to get the extra perks. They are well worth it – including guaranteed front row seating so you’ll be up close and personal to catch all the action. If you are a lady, you may even be lucky enough to catch a single carnation, sealed with a kiss, tossed by your knight!

The amount of food you get (included in the ticket price) is outrageous! It includes:

Oven roasted chicken (aka “dragon meat”) is HALF a chicken…yes half a chicken and, wow, is it delicious.

Garlic Bread

Tomato Bisque soup (aka dragon’s blood)

Herb Roasted Potato (I really need their recipe for this one)

Spare Rib (rib of the dragon, of course!)

Castle Pastry (apple turnover)

Non-alcoholic Beverage

Even the napkin is a keepsake souvenir.

The show changes about every four years, so if you haven’t been for a while, you’ll enjoy the new show. If you have never been, you won’t be disappointed because each show is very special.

After the show, all of the knights convene in the Main Hall where you can meet them, shake their hand and take a picture with them. I have seen little girls (well, some not-so-little girls too…HA!) stare at them with glassy, wide-eyed fascination and little boys vow to become knights themselves when they get a little older. In turn, I have seen the Medieval Times knights, rather large men, surely exhausted after so much exertion, bend down with tenderness, kindness and patience just to smile at a little girl or to shake a little fellow’s hand.

 

I’m so very relieved to know that chivalry is NOT dead. It’s alive and well at Medieval Times!

For Spring Break and for a limited time, Medieval Times is offering an UNBELIEVABLE buy one/get one free opportunity. Fun for the whole family, you will not be disappointed and you can’t beat the price for all you get.

Spring Break at Medieval Times!

Click here to be directed to the official Medieval Times website for more details and to purchase your tickets.

Fun Facts:

  • Jousting is the official sport for the state of Maryland.
  • I personally and highly recommend the delicious “Dragon Slayer” cocktail for attendees over the age of 21.
  • A Medieval Times, it’s actually O.K. to call the bartender a wench! Huzzah!!
  • I collected all the chicken scraps and rib bones from my party’s plates to bring home to my dogs. They love dragon. I hope the wench didn’t think they were for me. >.<
  • Matt was the inspiration for the character “Mathias” in my novel, The Broken Sword. I mention him and Medieval Times in the author’s comments.
  • (Not fun, but…) Matt says the most common injury a knight usually suffers is when he clobbers HIMSELF in the head with his own shield! (Ouch!)
  • Matt and Travis will soon join me on my podcast, Lette’s Chat, for a LIVE interview. Check back here for details.

 

 

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Going for the Gold

Life can be rough. Really tough.

We are bombarded, daily, with the normal struggles in life like rent, food, water/electric/cable/phone bills but with news of impending doom thrown in our faces everyday, things can seem and often times ARE exacerbated because of it. With talk about the U.S. potentially going into war with ISIS, terrorist attacks, the threat of an Ebola pandemic and global warming, it can all be so overwhelming.

If, in the face of all that, we’re also educated yet unemployed or underemployed, divorced, homeless, separated, trapped in a relationship or in search of a meaningful one, then your self confidence, feelings of self worth, self esteem, drive, ambition and motivation can take a real tough beating. Sometimes it’s hard to wake up in the morning without wondering if life is worth it.

Yes, it is.

A recent conversation with someone very close to me moved me to my very core. He said, “Never give up. You only fail when you stop trying.”

Simple, right? Not so much. But those words are SO very powerful.

Every thing you do, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, will get you closer to your goal. If you STOP, then obviously, you will never get there. Every inch, every milestone, every movement or advancement counts. Belief in yourself and anything you do toward your goal is what will get you there – no matter how small it may seem – it IS working.

The person who spoke those words to me has seen so much adversity in his life and suffered tremendous losses … losses that would make a lot of people quit, give up, sink into a bottomless pit of depression, sadness and despair where giving up would seem the safest, easiest alternative.

But quitting is not, nor will it ever be, an option.

Whatever your goal, your dream or your vision for your life is, you MUST keep trying to reach it. If one way doesn’t work, then take a step back, regroup and attack it again. It’s okay to take a breather…figure things out…even get a little down – the key is to not stay there!

For some of us, life comes around full circle. Some of the opportunities we didn’t take advantage of previously, fortunately come back around. Seize the opportunity to make a difference this time. Believe in yourself and what you want for your life.

You have two choices. You can either spend your life dreaming for things or you can spend your life striving to make those dreams come true. Either way, life is going on, moving forward, not yielding to time. What’s it going to be?

Stay focused on the goal. Keep trying and never give up.

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Justice has been served. Jones locked up for four years!

Karl Jones has been the subject of this blog several times. I have one last update and then I truly feel like I will be able to move on from this issue. I feel relieved, I feel vindicated, I feel justified.

As a mother and as someone who once knew Karl Jones, I’m delighted that the UK is a little safer tonight.

Read about his sentence here.

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Karl Jones – The Pedophile in Our Midst

If you are a regular listener/follower of Lette’s Chat, you have heard the two shows I produced with guest host Bryden Lloyd. We shared our agonizing story of a time we were in a writer’s group together – a tight-knit group of just 8 of us – with a pedophile. Unbeknownst to us, we befriended, accepted, respected and even loved the vilest creature on earth; a man who harms children. But because there was still pending litigation, we never said his name by the off chance he was innocent.

It devastated us when it happened. He had THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of images of young children seized from his computer by the police and when questioned, his fiancee’s young FIVE YEAR OLD daughter finally came forward and told what he’d done to her.

Charges didn’t stick.

But now…? NOW….he’s confessed. Yes. He has admitted to the horrible things that have been charged against him and the atrocity he committed against that poor girl.

There is no more doubt, there is no more ‘innocent till proven guilty’. So now, for the first time ever, we EXPOSE him completely.

Read about this monster and if you own his work, we beg you to destroy it. Just like he did to their lives.

This is OUR story. I was one of the ones he fooled and betrayed. I’ve done TWO shows about this monster with Bryden Lloyd and even today I still can’t stop shaking every time I relive that time. He shook us to our core, rattled and devastated us. Innocent till proven guilty? Well, he’s confessed to his sins. May he rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life.

Read Bryden’s story HERE

Listen to our show HERE

Read “Her” story with the pedophile HERE 

Newspaper article HERE

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Creative Women and the Men Who DON’T Support Them

I went through it myself and I have run across many women who have also.

I was married to a man who didn’t support anything I did.

I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I want to be free and independent, not punch a clock or report day in/day out to a 9-5 job. I understand the importance of having a job – I’ve worked many of them, career jobs, and climbed the corporate ladder. But even then, I was always trying something “on the side”. I’ve sold life insurance, beauty products and even wine through various multi-level marketing schemes. (ugh, that’s a whole other blog right there -_- ). I’ve owned a gift basket business, a romance package business and an editing services business, all registered, legit businesses. I even opened my own coffee shop/lite fare/internet cafe/book shop called Java Scripts Coffee House and Book Store and published my first full length novel, The Broken Sword. 

I’ve spent countless….omg…COUNTLESS hours on the Internet writing with online groups to hone my skills, marketing myself, my work… I’ve read every blog, joined every list, networked with other writers…anything I could think of to help promote me, my product, services or business…whatever I had going on at the time.

In return, what I got from the one person who was *supposed* to walk through fire with me, swing with me – back to back, support me through my endeavors, and sing my praises – was grumblings about spending too much time on the computer with my “fake” friends and always “dreaming up something instead of getting a *real* job”. The thing was, I was working frantically to make something POP because I COULDN’T get a real job despite my best efforts! When I launched my radio show, Lette’s Chat, the first question I was asked was if I was getting paid for it.

No support. No emotion. No…nothing.

While writing The Broken Sword, I repeatedly asked him to read my pages, give me feedback, was I on point, did the story make sense, would the readers get it, were there plot holes…?

No support. No emotion. No…nothing.

It wasn’t until I got my first royalty check did he read The Broken Sword and MUCH to his shock, he actually enjoyed it. By then I could not have cared less. It wasn’t until I landed my first remote interview with local Tony Perkins (Fox5 news anchor and local icon) did he accompany down to the station…of course, to enjoy the spotlight because he was a big fan – NOT to support me.

Men often say they want a strong, independent woman but I’m not really sure they know what that means or what it entails because what most strong, independent women want is a man who will support them. Not just financially, but also emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

I know an actor/producer who has been on my show and we have kept in touch. His name is Mark Gantt (haha, he told me I could say his name!) I frequently see his posts on my Facebook news feed. He is a recent newlywed but he and his wife, Brianne, have been together for, what I gather, quite a while. One thing that impresses me the most beyond his talent, beyond his accomplishments, beyond his kindness and charm, is his RAW, UNBRIDLED, OPEN support of his wife. Let me make this clear. This man PROMOTES her WORK, he gives her accolades on HIS page and he professes his love for her and her WORK with the most genuine appeal.  I don’t even hear his voice, yet I can clearly FEEL how he feels about his wife, her work, her dreams, goals and ambitions.

That’s awesome. It’s also a man who is secure in his OWN rite. He can promote his wife without FEAR of her getting more of the spotlight than he does.

Because…

That’s what it all boils down to doesn’t it?

Men don’t support women in her endeavors as an effort to keep her “down” so that she doesn’t outshine him, right? Come on now, be honest…right?

As usual, I wrote this blog to exorcise some of my own demons but usually when I do this it’s because someone else needs it too. Like I said, I know plenty of women who have commiserated with me on this issue.

So, what do we do?

I offer my same, repetitive advice. Outside of deciding if you want to stay with someone who does not support you or give less than a flying … er, fig.., about what you do (I decided I didn’t want to, but that’s ME), or someone who doesn’t understand why you MUST market yourself on social media almost 24 hours a day, or who is a control freak, or who doesn’t understand that your Internet friends are some of the best people in the world and do FAR more for you than your … “real life”…friends and family, then I would tell you to continue to surround yourself with like minded people who love the same things you love, have the same goals you have and who have the same ambitions that you do and who travel in the circles where you WANT TO BE.

I once heard a motivation speaker say this: “Don’t travel in your same circles because that’s just what they are…a circle, going round and round. Always aim for a higher level…where you want to be…so that you constantly work to get there.”

Of course, I paraphrased that because I can’t remember *exactly* what he said, but you get the point, right?

I wish all men could support their women like Mark does. I think if they did, there would be even MORE successful women. I know women who have given up their dreams due to lack of support from their spouse/(in)significant other.

Don’t do it. Don’t quit. You’ll HATE yourself for it. If you’re depressed now, you’ll be even more if you quit.

Keep writing, keep knitting, keep making jewelry, keep marketing, keep pod-casting, keep producing whatever it is that you do.  Get RID OF toxic relationships and bask yourself in the light of others who will bask in yours, support you, elevate you and love you.

It IS worth it.

YOU are worth it!

They ARE out there. THANK YOU to the men in my life who support my efforts: Paul Sampson, Bleedingcritic, Kinte Ferguson, Scott Kos, Ranjeet Marwa, Crash Palace, Joe Wilson (and Mike Cat), H, Giovanni Russano, Keone Reed, Greg Maye and Bryden Lloyd. 

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Remember when I talked about Emotional Vampires?

Well….

Continue to eliminate toxic relationships from your life. Even family does not have the right to break you spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially or mentally. No matter who it is, if they hurt you, let them go. It’s hard, but you are worth it so work at it – one person and one day at a time.

I hear people say “but they’re FAM-I-LEEEEEEEEE” .. It doesn’t matter. Cut the chord. NO ONE who loves you will abuse you.

Don’t own it. Don’t accept it. Don’t tolerate it.

 

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There are Thieves in the Temple….

and the dishonorable among us.

There’s nothing worse than watching YOUR hard work be stolen by someone else so that they get the credit….and the money.

Time and time again.

First, I exposed the Cat Fish, now let’s see who’s next. There are Thieves in the Temple!! An exclusive Lette’s Chat EXPOSE. Coming soon. Do others pirate and steal YOUR hard work? Let’s OUT them together! Some people can’t come up with an original thought to save their life so they sit back and watch and scheme and befriend your friends and follow you so they can follow them….time and time again. The worst part is that they’re not OUTED because other people are so afraid to rock the boat, tilt the apple cart, shame the devil. Pfft. Not me. Stay tuned. Let the OUTINGS begin. Send me your story and I’ll include it – anonymously of course.

 

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