April 2011

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28 Apr Book Club Delight

Had my first by-telephone meeting with a book club last night. May I just say that the Booklovers’ Gourmet group in Massachusetts is smart, charming, and a lot of fun? I was nervous because I had never been a book club’s guest before, but it was perfectly delightful. Thanks to Debra for arranging our call!

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25 Apr Peeking Out

…and blinking in the bright light of real life…

Well, The Flower Reader is done. I’ve been unconscious for the past week. We’ve had storm after storm—thunderhail, lightningwind, windyrain, every combination you can imagine. Power on and off.

And I have the best idea for my next book…

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02 Apr Saturday News

May I just say that I love The Flower Reader? I love Rinette Leslie, so fragile and so ferocious, so different from Duchess Barbara (although I love Duchess Barbara too). I love Nicolas de Clerac:

I turned my head, and there I saw the queen’s advisor and secretary Nicolas de Clerac, costumed as Urania, the muse of astronomy, his white silk tunic and gathered mantle embroidered with scattered silver globes and compasses. There were blue and silver streaks of paint around his eyes. All the same, he did not look foolish or mischievous as the other gentlemen did; woman’s costume or no, if I had met him alone in a dark place I would have been afraid of him.

I love Mary Stuart, eighteen years old, already once a widow, French to her elegant and privileged and mercurial fingertips, glimmering so briefly against the dark background of Scotland’s grim and inflexible Reformation.

Ahem. Well, enough about The Flower Reader for now. Mark your calendars for April 2012!

Many wonderful reviews and interviews for The Second Duchess. Writer Unboxed, Coffee and a Book Chick, Tartitude (this is part II, which I’m highlighting because of the granddaughterly wonderfulness, but check out part I as well, via the link in the first paragraph), Realm Lovejoy’s Blog Realm (and check out her wonderful sketch of Duchess Barbara), Reading the Past, Sia McKye’s Over Coffee, and Theresa de Valence’s Reviews by TdV, just to list a few. I am following the excellent advice to avoid commenting on reviews of one’s own work, but I would like to say here that I am so grateful to everyone who read and reviewed and commented in any way on The Second Duchess.

In April and May, look for endcaps at Barnes and Noble featuring Showtime’s The Borgias—among the books in the displays you’ll find The Second Duchess. Alfonso, of course, was Lucrezia Borgia’s grandson and the last Borgia duke. If you subscribe to Showtime, watch for the Barnes and Noble spot featuring their fabulous trip-to-Rome sweepstakes—you might just catch a glimpse (a tiny glimpse, but still) of The Second Duchess’s cover.

If you’re a Goodreads member, consider joining the Goodreads group “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book.” The Second Duchess is one of their two featured books of the month for April, and there should be an excellent, no-holds-barred discussion.

Link of the Week: Thorn from Jesus’ Crucifixion Crown goes on Display at the British Museum. This particularly fascinates me because the thorn (wherever it might have actually come from) is wrapped in a strand of Mary Queen of Scots’ pearls. How did it come to be connected with the pearls? Did she do it herself? Did someone else do it after her execution? One could write a whole story around this intriguing relic.

And finally, the good news of the week: Rosie, one of the two “Booksigning Beagles” from my Second Duchess signing at Murder by the Book, has found her forever home! In fact, she and her litter-sister Portia were adopted together, so they will not be separated. I will update you all on Dulcie, the other darling Booksigning Beagle, when I have more news.