Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Boleyn Wife Is Now Available in Czech

Speak Czech and looking for something to read, or saerching for a Christmas present for someone who does? Or learning the language and need reading material to practice on? Well, The Boleyn Wife is now available in Czech.

(which translates into English as Ms. Boleyn)

Nesmělá a nehezká dvorní dáma Jane Parkerová se na dvoře krále Jindřicha VIII., plného lesku a intrik, necítí nejlépe - dokud nepotká hezkého George Boleyna. Je zcela naplněna štěstím, když s ním její otec dohodne sňatek, ale její radost naruší setkání s novou švagrovou Annou. George je plně oddaný pouze své sestře, ke své nevěstě je naopak chladný a lhostejný. Kolem Anny se začíná rozrůstat okruh obdivovatelů, mezi něž patří i král, a Janina zášť roste...

You can order it direct from the publisher at

Prefer English instead? No Problem. You can purchase The Boleyn Wife in the USA as a trade paperback or as an ebook at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble stores or at their website bn.com or in the UK as The Tudor Wife at Amazon.co.uk and various other British booksellers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

This novel tells the story of a young woman who lives her life perpetually caught in between, and who knows what it is like to live life always looking over your shoulder in fear.
Disguised as a boy with cropped hair and breeches, Hannah Green (actually Hannah Verde) and her bookseller father, left Spain after Hannah's mother was burned by the Inquisition. They are Jews, hiding in plain sight, who have come to make their home in England. But there is something special about Hannah, she has the gift of second sight, she sees visions of things that will come to pass though often in such hazy form she doesn't know or understand.

A chance meeting with Robert Dudley and his tutor, the alchemist scholar Dr. John Dee brings Hannah to court as a Holy Fool, first to serve the frail and dying Edward VI then later Queen Mary.
Here is where Hannah truly begins her life of being caught in between. She is dazzled by Robert Dudley and confused by her like one minute and not the next relationship with her fiance Daniel. She likes her independent lifestyle in boy's breeches working in the bookshop with her father and later at court as a fool and is loathe to give it up for the skirts of a woman and the humdrum life of a wife and mother chained to home and hearth with children at her apron strings and a husband whom she is supposed to view as God's earthly representative whom she is bound to serve and obey without quarrel or question. And she is torn between the Tudor sisters, kind Mary and charismatic Elizabeth who are caught up in their own rivalry that makes thunder roll around the throne.

As "Bloody Mary", hellbent on restoring the Catholic faith to England, descends further and further into paranoia and madness, augmented by jealousy over her husband's attraction to her sister, and the sorrow of her phantom pregnancies, even Hannah becomes suspect in Mary's eyes and comes so close to danger that she almost feels the scorch of the flames that burn the heretics and is driven to flee.
While many quibble about the historical accuracy of Ms. Gregory's novels, I've never felt that is what reading fiction is about. In my opinion, putting a novel under the microscope for this kind of nitpicking distracts and detracts from the story the author is trying to tell. Personally, I really enjoyed this novel, although there was one niggling little detail I would have liked clarified--Dr. John Dee appears unexpectedly to save Hannah in her moment of danger, but it is never explained how a man known for his alchemical experiments and suspected of dabbling in the dark arts came to be in a position to advise Bishop Bonner when he examines accused heretics and decides who is destined for the stake. Other than this, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Of the fictional characters Ms. Gregory has created that I have read, I think Hannah is the most likable and easy to relate to and sympathize with.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back Cover Copy for Mary & Elizabeth by Emily Purdy (a.k.a. The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy)

Let the battle for the crown begin…

They shared childhood memories and grown-up dreams…
Mary was England's precious jewel, the surviving child of the tumultuous relationship between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. However, when Henry fell passionately in love with the dark-eyed Anne Boleyn, he cast his wife and daughter aside. Henry and Anne's union sees the birth of Elizabeth. Mary is soon declared a bastard, stripped of all royal privileges, performing the lowliest tasks. But, there is something about Elizabeth. And Mary soon grows to love her like a sister. After the passage of three years, and Anne Boleyn's execution, Henry can no longer bear the sight of his female heir. With the birth of a son, Edward, both Mary and Elizabeth seem destined for oblivion. But as history will show, fate had something far more elaborate in store…
Mary and Elizabeth is an unforgettable story of a powerful love affair that changed the course of history, perfect for fans of The Tudors and Philippa Gregory.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tabby says: I feel like chicken tonight, but all I have is turkey! :-(

Harriet and Isabella by Patricia O'Brien

The year is 1887 and Henry Ward Beecher lies dying. The popular and eloquent preacher, who espoused a loving and merciful deity rather than a vengeful one, has been felled by a massive stroke. But peace is not one of the stripes on the canopy of sorrow that hangs over the Beecher household. When the flamboyant suffragette Victoria Woodhull accused Henry of committing adultery with Elizabeth Tilton, the wife of his best friend, it created a rift that tore the Beecher family apart.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the classic antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, sided with her brother, convinced of his innocence, but her younger sister, Isabella Beecher Hooker, an ardent suffragette, sided with her friend, Mrs. Woodhull, and insisted Henry publicly admit his guilt.

Now as Henry lies dying, Isabella, ostracized from the family for fifteen years for her lack of loyalty, frantically tires to gain entry to her brother's sickroom, to say farewell and make peace with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It told me a story I was previously unfamiliar with, and the author did a marvelous job of depicting the public fascination with the scandal, the sideshow atmosphere, controversy, and media coverage of the trial, and the umbrella of uncertainty that hovered over it all, and how it tore a formerly solid and united family apart. It was never made 100% clear whether Henry was guilty or not, that was something everyone had to decide for themselves, both strangers on the street and those who knew him personally, and so too, over a hundred years later, is it for the readers of this novel. The author wisely saves her own personal opinion for the Author's Note at the end of the book.

A few years ago, I read and enjoyed Ms. O'Brien's historical novel The Glory Cloak about Louisa May Alcott and her days as a Civil War nurse, I hope she will continue to bring interesting characters and events from American history to life in the pages of her future novels.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sneak Peek Inside The Tudor Throne (a.k.a. Mary & Elizabeth)


All I have ever wanted was to be loved, to find on this earth a love as true and everlasting as God’s.”
As Father lay dying, I remembered a time when he had well and truly loved me; a time when he had called me the most valuable jewel in his kingdom, his most precious pearl, dearer than any diamond. Those were the days when he would burst through the door, like the bright golden sun imperiously brushing aside an ugly black rain cloud, and sweep me up into his arms and ask “How fares my best sweetheart?” and kiss me and call me “the pearl of my world!” Easter of the year I turned five, upon a whim of his, to illustrate this, he had me dressed in a white gown, cap, and dainty little shoes so densely encrusted with pearls I seemed to be wearing nothing else, they were sewn so thick and close. And when I walked into the royal chapel between him and my mother, holding their hands, turning my head eagerly from left to right to smile up at them, I walked in love.

On my next birthday, my sixth, I awoke to find a garden of fragrant rosemary bushes, one for each year of my life, growing out of gilded pots, their branches spangled with golden tinsel and glowing mysteriously from within with circles of rosy pink, sunny yellow, sapphire blue, emerald green, and ruby red light, emanating, I discovered, from little lanterns with globes of colored glass concealed inside. My father had created a veritable fairyland for me, peopled with beautiful fairies and evil imps, grotesque goblins and mischievous elves, leering trolls, playful pixies, crook-backed gnomes, and gossamer-winged sprites, and the Fairy Queen herself, flame-haired and majestic in emerald green, all made of sugar and marzipan in a triumph of confectioner’s art. I stood before them timid and unsure, hardly daring to move or breathe, in case they truly were real and might work some terrible magic upon me if I dared interfere with them, until Father laughed and bit the head off a hobgoblin to show me I had nothing to fear. And there were four gaily costumed dwarves, two little women and two little men, every seam, and even their tiny shoes and caps, sewn with rows of tiny tinkling gold bells, to cavort and dance and play with me. We joined hands and danced rings around the rosemary bushes until we grew dizzy and fell down laughing. And when I sat down to break my fast, Father took it upon himself to play the servant and wait upon me. When he tipped the flagon over my cup, golden coins poured out instead of breakfast ale and overflowed into my lap and spilled onto the floor where the dwarves gathered them up for me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Peek Inside Tabby's Calendar

Cover Art For Mary & Elizabeth by Emily Purdy (a.k.a. The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy)

Here is the cover art for the British edition of my upcoming novel Mary & Elizabeth by Emily Purdy, which will be published in the USA as The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy.
Here is the US cover art:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and The Beginnings of Superstardom in America by Larry McMurtry

They were as different as different could be--the flamboyant showman, Buffalo Bill Cody, who did more than any other single person with his Wild West Show to create the image of the Old West that is still with us today, and his premiere star--Little Sure Shot, Annie Oakley, a woman so quiet and private, prim and discreet, that a real warts and all biography of her is practically impossible. Buffalo Bill lived his life on the stage, endlessly exploiting, recreating, and exaggerating episodes and adventures from his past as an Indian scout, guide, and fighter, but Annie was all business on stage, totally focused on her marksmanship, and never wore her heart on her sleeve and was so modest that when she died she insisted on having a female embalmer attend her remains.

This book is not a regular from the cradle to the grave biography of its two subjects, and I think it is probably better suited to readers who already possess a little knowledge than to a complete beginner.

The book examines certain key episodes from the life of Buffalo Bill that made him a living legend and the hero of over 1700 dime novels and probes them for veracity. But although it does solve the mystery of why Annie Oakley's hair turned prematurely white and relates the story of her big libel suit against several newspapers, the lion's share of the book is devoted to Buffalo Bill and his ups and downs both financial and personal, like when he instituted divorce proceedings against his long-suffering wife, Lulu, and she accused Queen Victoria and Princess Alexandra of being overattentive to her husband. This lack of equality or balance between the two subjects is most likely due to the private nature of Anne Oakley which is a difficult barrier for any biographer to surmount.

Overall, if you are interested in the personalities involved in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and have a little prior knowledge already, this is an interesting book to pass the time with.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tabby Is Now A Calendar Girl!

Tabby is now a calendar girl. This full color calendar containing several photos of Tabby in a variety of costumes and poses is now available at http://www.lulu.com/product/calendar/mycalendar/13517589
She says it makes the purrrfect Christmas gift!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cover Art for The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy

The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy

Bound by blood, torn by devotion...

In the wake of King Henry VIII's death, England's throne is left in a precarious state-as is the peculiar relationship between his two daughters. Mary, the elder, once treasured, had been declared a bastard in favor of her flame-haired half-sister, Elizabeth, born of the doomed Anne Boleyn. Yet the bond between the sisters was palpable from the start. Now reinstated, Mary eventually assumes her place as queen. But as Mary's religious zeal evolves into a reign of terror, young Elizabeth gains the people's favor. Gripped by a tormenting paranoia, Mary is soon convinced that her beloved Elizabeth is in fact her worst enemy. And the virginal Elizabeth, whose true love is her country, must defy her tyrannical sister to make way for a new era...

A brilliant portrait of the rule of "Bloody Mary" and her intricate relationship with Elizabeth I, the adored "Virgin Queen," here is a riveting tale of one family's sordid and extraordinary chapter in the pages of history.

Note: To be published in the UK as Mary & Elizabeth by Emily Purdy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock

This pitch-perfect novel written from the viewpoint of eight-year-old Carrie Parker is a distressing and disturbing tale of poverty and child abuse in the rural south.

Carrie's only defense against a drunken and abusive stepfather and an emotionally absent mother is her imagination, and her little sister Emma. Daydreams, imagination, and Emma stand between Carrie and the cruel reality of her life like a shield. To try to cope, she stays away from home as much as possible, and the sympathetic druggist, Mr. White, and his cashier, Miss Mary. give Carrie a "job"straightening bottles and crushing cardboard boxes at the town drugstore to give her a break from the horrors of her home life.

Living in a world of daydreams, Carrie grows absentminded and that and her unkempt appearance make her the butt of jokes and taunting at school. And she pines for her kind, carefree, joking father who bought orangeade on paydays before he was tragically gunned down.

Ms. Flock captures the tone and thoughts of an eight-year-old perfectly, and ends her novel with a bang, which I won't spoil by giving it away. I really enjoyed this novel and would gladly read it again.


Letter To My Daughter By George Bishop

After a fight about spending Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale sends her fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, barreling out the door of their Baton Rouge home and into the night, her anxious mother, Laura, sits down at the kitchen table and takes up her pen to write a long heartfelt letter to her daughter detailing the angst of her own adolescence.

The child of ultra-conservative Baptist and racist parents who thought even The Partridge Family was immoral, Laura found herself confined to a strict Catholic boarding school when she dared to fall in love with a poor Cajun boy.

Deep in the throes of first love, aided by a sympathetic nun, the two young lovers kept up a correspondence and planned to marry after Laura graduated, while Tim joined the army and served in Vietnam. But while Tim was away, Laura began to enjoy life more and to take part in school activities. She began to write for the school newspaper and to socialize with other students and boys from the neighboring Catholic high school. Caught in a web of guilt and confusion she started to chafe at the idea of getting married right out of high school, feelings that were only heightened by Tim's letters from Vietnam, which grew increasingly bleak and depressing, claiming that the thought of his future life with Laura was the only light at the end of the tunnel for him. To her regret, Laura buckled under the weight of this pressure.

In her letter, Laura opens her heart and shows her daughter that she truly does understand what it is like to be young, and admits that though she always promised herself she would not treat her daughter as her mother treated her, she has, in some ways, failed to keep that promise.

Mr. Bishop's novel provides a very moving and realistic portrait of the angst of first love adolescence, and the hard lessons of love and growing up. He captures the feelings and voice of a mother looking back on her girlhood perfectly.