It has been a while since I updated my news. This is simply because I have been so busy writing. My original publisher, Accent Press, was taken over by Headline in September. So that Headline can publish all three books in The Rose Trilogy, they have delayed the original publication date for The Silken Rose until April. The Silken Rose is the first of the three She-Wolf Queens novels in this Trilogy. Its protagonist is Eleanor of Provence. I spell her name Ailenor in the novel. There are other Eleanors in these stories and using this spelling will be less confusing for my readers. The Silken Rose is available on Amazon pre-order as a paperback and currently you can purchase it on Audible.
I have already written the second novel in the sequence, The Damask Rose. This story concerns Eleanor of Castile, Edward I’s wife. I am due to send the manuscript to Headline for publisher’s edits in March. The Stone Rose features Isabella of France, Edward II’s Queen. It’s at the research stage and, happily, her story is proving to be completely intriguing. I am also using my Historian’s hat to research and write a commissioned non-fiction book on Tudor Sex and Sexuality which will be published by Pen & Sword in January 2022. I have so far been researching, planning this work and writing an introduction.
During the autumn I spoke at the Mani Literary Festival. This event offers two days of free writing workshops and events located in a beautiful garden by the sea, all led by experienced teachers and writers. The evenings provide a variety of panels, poetry, events and excellent keynote speakers such as James Heneage. My own workshop on writing Historical characters was, I believe, well-received.
I gave a power-point presentation on Medieval She-Wolf Queens. The Festival organisers had invented a Gin based cocktail called the Silken Rose which kept my vocal chords lubricated while I presented. There were also other specially developed cocktails celebrating the works of other Authors attending. It is rumoured that the organisers had a swell time developing the various concoctions… This is presently a small and intimate festival but I believe that it will grow in strength and popularity driven as it is by its competent and dedicated local organisers, Mel and Theresa. Everyone who had participated enjoyed it immensely.
Apart from the serious ‘Literary’ business of the two day event there were also fun events such as such as Pedalo Peril, a variation on the well tried Literary Balloon debate, chaired by Poseidon himself (see below). This is Greece after all. I think pictures and captions explain better than words just how much fun this whole event was.
The above pictures show Sarah Bower who read a short story, also written for the event; Poseidon and his victims just about ready to justify why their characters should not be turfed out of the sinking pedalo. Eleanor Oliphant emerged as the winner. Wearing the hat, channelling Willie Wonka, is Chris Heath, a writer for TV who also writes the series “The World According to Grandpa”. It’s an excellent series for children. Liz Harris presented a workshop on pacing your plot to an audience of a dozen writers. The final three photographs are of the attendees.
The Festival also included a drinks reception for authors and helpers after a specially arranged tour of the recently restored Patrick Leigh-Fermor House at Kalamitsi just down the road from the Festival site. With the help of committed volunteers the organisers pulled off a varied and interesting event on a shoestring budget.
Other October events in the locality included OXHI (Greek for ‘No’ )Day. This is a remembrance of ‘No’ to Turkish rule during the nineteenth century. It is celebrated with speeches, dance , song and a National holiday.
Stoupa, Kardamyli and the mountain villages of the Greek Mani harbour many writers and artists. It is a wonderful peaceful and vibrant place to visit. Next Literary Festival will be on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th October. It’s a great time to come to the Peloponnese, still warm enough to swim and not as baking hot as the Mani gets in August. Plus it’s absolutely free. Being off-season accommodation is not too expensive and there are regular October flights various UK airports to Kalamata, the closest airport. You can also fly via Athens.
We returned to England for the winter in early November, driving through Europe.
A fascinating visit I made during December was to Lincoln ( the Cathedral in the photograph) to learn the art of stone cutting. It was an opportunity to visit Lincoln Cathedral which features in my recent novels. As for the stone cutting , that was a fascinating experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Luckily for me, I was the only pupil so I had the undivided attention of my tutor.
My result- The Fleur de Lys carving shown above.
Tomorrow evening, I am speaking in St Leonards on Sea about one of my favourite medieval heroines Edith Swan Neck. If you read this post in time and are located close, do come.
If you have not joined my two monthly newsletter yet, please do. Details are on the menu across the top of this website homepage. You will receive the opening chapters of a serial I shall be running this year in true Dickensian style. It is a historical mystery called The Tudor Boy and features Thomas Cromwell. The next episode will be linked to the February newsletter so you really do have time to catch up.
Happy New Year and may 2020 promise to bring us all happiness despite the hideous world news we keep hearing. As we read in A Christmas Carol, ‘God Bless You All.’
This stained glass window shows the translation of Eleanor of Castile’s viscera at Lincoln Cathedral.