Sunday, 4 October 2020

New Book Release Spotlight & Author Guest Post: Tudor Christmas Tidings by Blythe Gifford, Jenni Fletcher & Amanda McCabe

I hope you enjoyed spending time with Catherine and Diego this Christmas as much as I have! I love the holiday season, and the Tudors certainly knew how to celebrate with their music, dancing, feasting, and wassailing. I've also written several tales set in the Elizabethan era, but not much about the reigns of her siblings, so I loved delving deeper into this period.

I imagine that Christmas 1554 was one of Queen Mary Tudor's most happy, and last happy, moments. She'd come through decades of neglect and persecution to fight for her throne, combat the Wyatt Rebellion, led by noblemen centered in Kent which protested against the Spanish marriage and sought to dethrone Mary and replace her with Elizabeth (which Catherine's father finds himself embroiled in), and marry her kinsman King Philip of Spain. (Sources say she fell deeply in love; his feelings were more doubtful, or should we say dutiful). Now England was reconciled with the Catholic Church, and she was expecting an heir.

Things were not so merry for very long. By summer 1555, the pregnancy was known to be a phantom one—there was no baby at all. King Philip left to wage war in the Low Countries, and Queen Mary plunged into depression. She died in 1558, leaving the throne to her despised half-sister Elizabeth.

But I imagine Catherine and Diego's story ends on a happier note. They are loosely based on the true story of Jane Dormer and the Duke de Feria, who also appear in our tale. Jane and her duke married soon after Queen Mary's death, and she spent the rest of her very long life (she died in 1612; the duke passed away in 1571) in Spain, a patron of English Catholic refugees. I envision Catherine and Diego, along with her parents, living in Andalusia, raising beautiful children!

Catherine's mother, Elena, is also based on a real figure, Maria de Salinas, Lady Willoughby, one of Catherine of Aragon's ladies who came with her from Spain and married an English nobleman herself. She was one of the queen's most loyal friends, defying orders to stay away when Queen Catherine was dying alone at Kimbolton and rushing to her friend's side at the end. Her daughter became the second wife of the Duke of Suffolk, after King Henry's own sister Mary.

A few sources I enjoyed:

--Hugh Douglas, ed: A Right Royal Christmas (2001)

--Maria Hubert, ed: Christmas in Shakespeare's England (1998)

--Evelyn Reed: Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk (1962)

--Simon Thurley: Whitehall Palace: The Official Illustrated Guide

--Allison Sim: Food and Feast in Tudor England

--Henry Clifford: The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria

--Carrolly Erickson: Bloody Mary (1978)

--John Edwards: Mary I: England's Catholic Queen (2011)

--Harry Kelsey: Philip of Spain: King of England (2012)

--Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen (2009) and The Marriage of Philip of Habsburg and Mary Tudor, and Anti-Spanish Sentiment in England (2009)

--Albert J. Loemie: The Spanish Elizabethans (1963)

--Barbara J. Harris: English Aristocratic Women: 1450-1550 (2002)

Tudor Christmas Tidings by Blythe Gifford, Jenni Fletcher & Amanda McCabe

Make Merry at Court

with three Tudor Christmas stories!

In Christmas at Court Sir John Talbot and Lady Alice’s secret betrothal must wait until Henry Tudor claims the throne. Next in Secrets of the Queen's Lady the lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves is unexpectedly reunited with a handsome—younger—diplomat at the palace’s festivities! And in His Mistletoe Lady Catherine seeks help from a mysterious Spaniard to free her father in time for Christmas! - Amazon UK Amazon. com B&N Kobo

About Jenni Fletcher

Jenni Fletcher is from the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire where she writes historical romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge University before doing a PhD on Edwardian literature & psychology at Hull. She has been nominated for 4 RoNA awards and won for Short Romantic Fiction in 2020. In her spare time she loves baking and, of course, reading.

Social Media Links @JenniAuthor

About Blythe Gifford

After many years in public relations, advertising, and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold to the Harlequin Historical line. Her books, set in the 14th to 17th centuries, typically incorporate real historical events and characters. The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.” Blythe lives and works along Chicago’s lakefront. 


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About Amanda McCabe

Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen--a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject...)

She's never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion.  She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections. 

When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network--even though she doesn't cook. 

Amanda also writes as Laurel McKee for Grand Central Publishing, the Elizabethan Mystery Series as Amanda Carmack, and the Manor Cat Mystery Series as Eliza Casey. on Instagram on FB, and on Pinstagram!

New Book Release Spotlight and Author Guest Post: I Don't Do Mondays by Colette Kebell

I Don’t Do Mondays! by Colette Kebell


When someone says write about anything you would like to, where do you start… I certainly am not a fan of writing short stories, I have far too much to say for that, so where do I go from there…

Firstly though, let me introduce myself, my name is Colette Kebell and I am an author. I predominantly write chick lit/romcom, but don’t tie myself to just that genre. I’ve been asked to write this post as part of the promo for my new book, I Don’t Do Mondays! Which launched on the 19th September 2020. Yes, I was able to work towards the launch during the pandemic, but it was tough. Enough said about that though as you want something that is going to brighten your day today, not bring you back to doom and gloom.

The subject of creativity is close to my heart, as I forsake it for a good many years in pursuit of a salaried income, so guess that would be an ideal subject. I don’t know how many of your readers have children and though I don’t have any of my own, I encourage creativity in those of my friends and family. My own mother wasn’t great with encouragement of any kind, let alone for all things creative, so I do what I can to encourage those who lean towards that as who knows they might be the next JK Rowling, Picasso or Da Vinci. It seems in this commercial world we live in that the arts, as they are more commonly known can often be put on the back burner, as I discovered during my own life.

What is considered to be creative though and should parents encourage it? This might be a bit antagonistic to some, but I think there should be a happy medium between all things arts related and those of an academic nature. Since I was made redundant from my position as a legal secretary, which was a role I had filled for just shy of 10 years, my creative side seemed to suddenly burst forth and it hasn’t stopped. In whatever form it has materialised… I’ve been hell bent on writing, sewing, cooking, art, DIY, gardening and all manor of other things ever since that time. So yes, creativity is just as important as academic subjects are in my mind.

Having said all this, I have to admit that I have a very supportive husband, who lets me do whatever interests me and thus my creative side can now run riot. Not that I would say marrying well is the answer, as it often is not. It took me 38 years to find my now husband and we are the same age and neither found their perfect partner until that age… not that there isn’t hope for those who are younger, my own in-laws are a prime example, having been married for in excess of 55 years now, but occasionally it does take a bit of time.

So if you have a child or children who are not so academic, let them follow that as well as pushing them with their maths, English and sciences… education is incredibly important and so is the discipline which comes with that, both from the school and parents but don’t thwart your child’s efforts if it doesn’t quite follow your plan for them.

How can Mia find happiness?

Lawyer Mia’s picture-perfect dream life in New York is imploding. Her job has become too stressful, she’s exhausted from carrying her friends and what’s up with her striking, wealthy fiancĂ©?

But when life-changing decisions force her to move to Maine, where she’ll face her often critical father and hard truths about what truly matters in life, she re-discovers a passion of her youth.

What begins as a low moment in her life quickly pushes her to consider what she genuinely wants and leads her down a new path where she must embrace the future and let go of the past.

Will this move help Mia to fix her life, once and for all, and will she finally find true love?

Amazon UK                Amazon US  

Colette Kebell is an author of Chick-lit/Romcom, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational.  She has also found avenues to translate both into Italian (thanks to her husband), and into French, Spanish and Portuguese via Babelcube. 

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, after being made redundant.  After a few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and spends some time, when not writing and marketing her books, cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home.  Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

She can be found on twitter @ColetteKebell though doesn’t tweet a vast amount.