Showing posts with label Elizabeth Tudor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elizabeth Tudor. Show all posts

Oct 8, 2018

Simon & Elizabeth Boxed Up

Last post was about getting the rights to the Simon & Elizabeth series back and re-releasing them with new covers. I went one step farther in the last week and put all four books into one e-book.
Better price.
All four adventures in one place.
Still the same lovable Simon and unstoppable Elizabeth.
To quote Publishers' Weekly, "...this historical series shines."

Links: Amazon  or Everybody Else

Sep 17, 2018

Simon & Elizabeth Redux

My first successful series was the Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries with Five Star Publishing. Going on the "write what you know" advice new writers get, I focused on Elizabeth I of England, one of my favorite historical characters. She had so much going against her as she grew up--I mean, how many girls can say their father had their mother beheaded?

In the last decade or so, some authors have (very successfully) attacked Anne Boleyn's character, making her seem like Satan's First Date. I'm afraid that's more drama than historical accuracy, but we all interpret history to suit our own thinking...and some knowingly twist it to make a salacious story. I won't argue the right and wrong of that, since Shakespeare did a lot of the same things to make his stories work. It's just sad to me that those who read only fiction might believe it.

Anyway, my series focuses on Anne's daughter Elizabeth, and she's a very sympathetic character. In Her Majesty's Mischief, the last of the series, Her Highness is queen, and she's fallen into the age-old tendency for those with power to use it without considering others' wishes. Elizabeth sends Simon, practically kicking and screaming, to Scotland, where he gets in a heap of trouble. Worse, he leaves behind a mystery that needs solving at home. His son Henry steps in to take up the challenge.

My original plan was to have a fifth S&E mystery in which Henry became the investigator because both Simon and Elizabeth were old. Two things got in the way of that: Five Star stopped publishing mysteries, and several of my other series ideas took off. One can only write so many books/year, and I'm amazed at how much time it takes.

In the meantime I've got the rights to this series back, so I'm re-releasing them under my own banner, which calls for new covers (Five Star owns the originals). The advantage for readers is the books are much more reasonably priced. In fact I will probably make the first one, Her Highness' First Murder, free in e-book format. (It's a clever ploy to get you to buy the other three!) Once I get this one ready to go for e-book (I'm shooting for next week sometime), I hope to make a boxed set of all four. A print version of this one will follow, early in October, if all goes well.
NOTE: When you click on the links below, the covers that show up might still be the original ones. Amazon has a policy of showing the cover that's sold the most copies, so it's going to take a while for my versions to surpass their sales. Price should be $2.99 if they're mine. Same books.
If you're not an Amazon user, here are the links for everyone else, B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc.:
Her Highness...https://www.books2read.com/u/38gN8a
Poison...: https://www.books2read.com/u/mYg5zP
The Lady...: https://www.books2read.com/u/3yD2dv

Book#1Amazon 

Book #2Amazon

Book #3Amazon



Dec 21, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Day 27: Simon's Reply to the Queen



Your Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth (and, by your grace, 'Highness' between us two),


I was honored to receive your missive at this Christmastide, and humbled by your care for a mere subject of your great and prosperous realm. That you take interest in my life here on the outskirts of London is a source of pride to me, and I recall each single time we have met over these many year with great joy.

You speak of growing old, but if I may respectfully disagree, Gloriana cannot age. You are our nation's shining light, and when light fades, the world grows dark.
You spoke of holiday preparations at Greenwich, and though I have not been there, I think I can picture the stonework hung with greenery and the many candles lit for evening festivities.
Things are simpler here, but since you asked, I will tell you of our preparations.

My son Henry cut some holly to put over the doors, and my wife tied it with red ribbon. Its bright green leaves and red berries add a festive air to our simple home. For our Christmas dinner, Hannah is planning brawn with mustard from some pork I received in barter from a local farmer. She will roast it all day in the fireplace, and my old nose can almost smell it cooking now.
It is our custom to invite as many guests as we can manage on Christmas. There will be family, of course, my sister and your old soldier Calkin among them, but we ask the poor into our home as well, to follow as best we can the example of our Lord in feeding His sheep.

Susan is married now, but she and her family will help with the meal. Along with the roast I know we shall see souse, cheese, apples and nuts, and of course plum pudding.

After dinner we will have music. If it is too cold outside, Henry will push the tables in my shop into the corners so there can be dancing as well. Though I am too old and brittle to dance, I love to see the young ones whirling and twirling and hear the pipe and tabor.

It is my sincerest wish that your Christmastide will bring joy to you, for I know it is a burden on you to care for your subjects as much as you do. Know that we love you, and that your old subject (dare I say friend) Simon Maldon prays for your good health and great contentment, always.

Dec 19, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Day 25: Her Royal Highness' Christmastide

An Elizabethan Christmas
My old friend Simon,
I have thought of you often in recent days. It has been some years since we last met and I sent you off to Scotland. I am certain you have grown ancient, for I myself am old. It came to my mind to write to you of my days in Christmastide. Perhaps you will in turn tell me of yours.

We are keeping Christmas now, since it is December 24th. The next twelve days will be busy ones, with parties each day until the last and largest one on Twelfth Night. Much of it is silliness, with men dressing as women and women as men. There is also gambling, which some abhor, but I believe life must offer good times to balance the bad ones we cannot avoid.

I have ordered the cooks to spare no expense in feeding the household, so we shall dine on meats of all kinds, marchpanes, pies, custards, frumenty, plum porridge, and much else. I look forward to the Christmas pie of neat's tongue, eggs, sugar, lemon, orange peel, and spices. As I told you when last we met, sugar is a wonderful food, and very healthful, too, I'm told.

Several pageants are planned for the holidays, and I believe tonight's is the tale of St. George and the Dragon. I am at Greenwich Palace, which, though small, is my favorite place for the celebration. It is decorated with holly, ivy, box, yew, bay, laurel, holm, and oak branches, any that can be found that are still green. The Yule log has been chosen, and tonight the men will go forth, cut it, and drag it to the hall fireplace. A bit of last year's log has been preserved to light this year's version, and if it burns all night long, that will signal prosperity for our land in the coming year.

HollyIt was suggested to me that this year we might set an image of the Christ child on the chapel altar. I see nothing wrong with that, for we must be reminded that despite all the banquets and dancing, this is a time for reflecting on God's gifts to us all.

Write me if you can, Old Friend, and tell me news of your family and your activities at Christmastide.

Signature of Queen Elizabeth I
Her Royal Highness Elizabeth
 (though you, of course, may call me "Highness")


So now is come our joyful'st feast,
Let every man be jolly.
Each room with ivy leaves is drest,
And every post with holly.
       Though some churls at our mirth repine,
        Round your foreheads garlands twine,
        Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.
            George Wither (1588-1667)

Jun 1, 2015

Simon & Elizabeth Are Back

At my signing on Saturday, a reader asked about the next Simon & Elizabeth book. Sometimes I feel like I neglect them, but it's mostly because my publisher accepts the manuscripts and then sets a date for release 20 years in the future.

Okay, maybe not 20.

Five Star is an excellent publisher, and they have a large number of authors who keep writing more books, so each submitted manuscript is put into a queue. I sent them the fourth in the series in late 2013 and got June 18, 2015, for my release date. Once I've done the work they require, editing, writing cover copy, etc., that leaves me with well over a year to forget the book exists. So if I haven't mentioned my historical series lately, that's why.

Book #4 is called HER MAJESTY'S MISCHIEF. Elizabeth is now queen, (hence "Her Majesty") and she wants Simon to go to Scotland and form an honest appraisal of Mary, Queen of Scots. The "mischief" in the title might refer to Mary and her plotting, but Elizabeth was no slouch at plotting mischief herself. She's thinking of offering Mary a husband (and not just any husband!), but reports of the Scottish queen's character vary widely. Some say she's sweet and innocent; others say she's a conniving, evil woman. Scholars actually still argue about which impression is most fitting, and the events in the book concerning Mary are true, except that Simon didn't go along because Simon didn't really exist. For our purposes, however, he does, and Elizabeth trusts his judgment. Unlike the rest of the men surrounding her throne, he has no political agenda.

Simon does have an agenda, though. He's recently learned that his brother-in-law was murdered, and being Simon, he wants to investigate. Elizabeth, being his monarch and possessing her father's Tudor stubborn streak, insists on having it her way. While Simon is gone to Scotland (where he gets into all sorts of trouble), his son Henry decides he'll investigate. That, of course, leads to its own set of perils.

The book is up for pre-order on Amazon & Barnes & Noble (maybe others, I just checked those two). So far it's hardcover only, and I have no idea when e-books will be available. They claimed there would be paperbacks this year, but nobody tells the authors the scheduling of any of that. We wait and see just like everyone else.

How About a FREE Print Book?

Readers love book deals, right? Here’s the situation: I have books I didn’t sell, largely due to COVID. I’m not interested in doing li...