Author: elizabeth

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15 Oct Open Link to The Chimera Jewel

 

Now free for everyone—the short story originally published in My Weekly magazine, and set in the world of The Second Duchess!

 

“The Chimera Jewel” by Elizabeth Loupas

 

Here’s the thumbnail sketch My Weekly used to describe the story: “In sixteenth-century Ferrara, a magnificent jewel empowers two very different women—an ardent young girl and a dignified duchess whose love is no less passionate for being carefully restrained…”

 

This is a PDF file, which includes the beautiful artwork My Weekly commissioned for the story. Remember you can click the “+” icon to increase the size of the image and the type. Don’t have a PDF reader? You can download Adobe Reader free:

 

Adobe Reader

 

Subscribers to my mailing list received a link to this story last week, so if you want early dibs on special content in the future, be sure to subscribe by clicking the link above to my “Contact” page.

 

Many thanks to My Weekly for permission to republish the story and the art. Everyone enjoy!

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18 Aug A Delivery by the Royal Mail!

I received a package today via the Royal Mail, which was exciting enough in itself! But inside was a copy of last week’s issue of My Weekly Magazine, with “The Chimera Jewel” inside:

 

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My Weekly does such a beautiful job of laying out stories with luscious, evocative artwork. I am thrilled that my story featuring Barbara and Alfonso from The Second Duchess found such a wonderful home.

 

Remember, sign up for my newsletter to get the first information on where you will eventually be able to read “The Chimera Jewel” online!

 

 



 

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07 Aug The Chimera Jewel

Love, says Duke Alfonso to his duchess Barbara of Austria in The Second Duchess, is a chimera of poets and adulteresses.

 

And in a new short story called “The Chimera Jewel,” which I’ve written exclusively for My Weekly magazine, Alfonso presents Barbara with a particularly meaningful gift:

 

                In the box there was a jewel, encircled with diamonds and sapphires, depicting a graceful but clearly mythological beast fashioned in gold and embellished with more precious stones. It had the forequarters of a lioness, the head of a horned goat rearing from its back, and a snake for a tail.

                “A chimera,” I said. A mythological beast, yes, but also a symbol of something that could exist only in the imagination….

 

It was a wonderful experience to enter the world of sixteenth-century Ferrara again, the color and excitement of the Berlingaccio revels, and the endlessly fascinating relationship between Duke Alfonso and Duchess Barbara. So mannered and cool on the surface, yet burning with fire and ice underneath. The chimera jewel is Alfonso’s way of saying “I love you” to his second duchess—something he would never “stoop” (as dear Mr. Browning puts it) to say in so many words.

 

What does Barbara do with the jewel?

 

Well, that’s the story. :)

 

Buy this week’s copy of My Weekly and read “The Chimera Jewel” for yourself. You’ll also be offered a chance to win the UK mass-market paperback edition of The Second Duchess.

 

Not in the UK? Well, My Weekly is generous with allowing the rights to the story to eventually revert to me. Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter, and one day soon I’ll send out a link to “The Chimera Jewel” online!

 

 



 

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11 May Mother’s Day 2014

Mother's Day 1947

It was Mother’s Day 1947. In those days (gulp) taking pictures was a rarer and more formal thing. Someone (my father? My grandfather?) lined up the women of the family for a snapshot with fourteen-month-old me in my beautiful young mother’s arms. I don’t remember it, of course–not even the enormous sunbonnet. Can you imagine putting something like that on a toddler today?

 

Left to right, my paternal grandmother Elizabeth Schroeder Gross (I’m named for her, although that’s a story in itself), my aunt Margaret Gross Paugh, me, my dear dear mother Margaret Fleming Gross (to whom The Flower Reader is dedicated), and my maternal grandmother Bonnie Otto Fleming. Bonnie’s real name was “Bonnalynn”–one has to wonder where that came from, as she was born in 1887. But her mother’s name was Margaret Roxanne Landers, so perhaps a penchant for fanciful names ran in the family. In any case, she herself hated “Bonnalynn” and called herself “Bonnie.” but I loved it and always thought that if I were ever fortunate enough to have a daughter of my own (which I’m not, alas) I’d name her “Bonnalynn.”

 

Perhaps one day there will be a “Bonnalynn” in a book….

 

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09 May The Women of the Medici

Wife, mistress, sister and cousin of a powerful and alchemy-obsessed Grand Duke… an alchemical soror mystica and a grandmother with the eyes of a revolutionary… the women take center stage in The Red Lily Crown. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t a few powerful men in the background as well. Here’s a lovely review from the Pittsburgh Examiner:

 

History, fiction, sex, scandal, schemes, and alchemy all combine to make up one of the best historical fictions novels of 2014!

 

Read the entire review here!

 

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27 Apr Now Pinning The Red Lily Crown!

I’ve started a Pinterest board called “Travels with Chiara,” for pictures of The Red Lily Crown in the wild. I’d love to have any kind of pictures–your copy of the book in your favorite reading place, your copy of the book with your pet or pets (I especially love pet pictures, of course), copies of the book in bookstores and libraries and wherever you go. You can post a link in the comments, or send your pictures to me at travels (at) elizabethloupas (dot) com.

 

I’m looking forward to Chiara’s travels around the world!

 

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24 Feb Advance Copies of The Red Lily Crown!

Want to get your hands on THE RED LILY CROWN before everyone else? Sign up for my newsletter and you could be one of three winners to receive an advance copy! Here’s the link:

Notes from Elizabeth Loupas Newsletter

These are the rare, plain-brown-wrapper ARCs, and they will be signed and personalized and accompanied by postcards which a) will feature the full color cover, and b) make great bookmarks.

Sign up now! The winners will be announced in the first copy of the newsletter on March 4th, and the books shipped immediately to the winners!

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19 Feb Beauty, Cruelty and Madness

theredlilycrownhomeFabulous four-star review for The Red Lily Crown, upcoming in the March issue of Romantic Times! A tiny taste: “Loupas’ reputation as a force in historical fiction gains momentum with this exciting, well-crafted story… a vivid portrait of the time, giving readers an in-depth picture of the beauty, cruelty and madness, and the superstitious nature of powerful men and women.”

I’m going to be giving away some signed ARCs very shortly, so come on over and “like” my Facebook Author page:

Elizabeth Loupas Facebook Author Page

…where I’ll be posting details on how to enter to win. Or click the cover image to pre-order if you want to be sure to have your copy shipped (or zapped to your Kindle) on the day of publication!

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13 Jan Eyes of a Revolutionary

2014 is here at last!

My own dear mother always chided me: “Never wish your life away.” But I have to admit I’ve been wishing for 2014 to arrive, and with it, on April 1st, The Red Lily Crown at last.

My mother was one of the models for Nonna, Chiara’s grandmother, who suffers fools not at all and is no fool herself. Well, here she is as she steps into the story:

 

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And then Nonna herself came to the door of the shop. She wore the same severe black widow’s habit she’d worn for as long as Chiara could remember, with an unbleached linen wimple and a black veil like a nun. Her face was wrinkled as a walnut shell, but her eyes were hard and bright and aware, the eyes of a young woman, a revolutionary. Which she had been, fifty years ago in the days of the third republic. They were changeable eyes, brown to green to gold, set deeply under slanting brows. All her life people had told Chiara she had eyes just like her Nonna’s.

 

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Preorder The Red Lily Crown from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, Books-a-Million, Google Play, and your favorite independent bookstore.

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11 Dec Advance Copies…

…of The Red Lily Crown have gone out, and we’ve been priveleged to receive some of the loveliest and most amazing comments in return. I can’t possibly express sufficient gratitude to the writers who’ve taken the time from their own busy lives to read and comment. Alphabetical thanks to the wonderful Nancy Bilyeau, Patricia Bracewell, Marina Fiorato, C.W. Gortner, Sophie Perinot, and Kate Quinn, all of whose books I myself have gobbled up and loved.

You can see what they had to say here, on the page for The Red Lily Crown. And if you haven’t already read their books, well, Christmas is coming! Books by all these fabulous authors are perfect additions to your gift lists.

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25 Nov Renaissance Roleplaying

It seems like an anachronism, but is it? Playacting and pretense are profoundly human activities—from Paleolithic peoples re-enacting hunts to modern players in online sites like Second Life.

My Francesco de’ Medici, the alchemist prince, is a roleplayer. The idea came to me when I looked at a painting called Il Laboratorio dell’ Alchimista by Giovanni Stradano, which was (and still is) in Francesco’s private studiolo. In the painting the master alchemist is surrounded by apprentices and workmen who are doing the actual work of alchemy. In the lower right corner, wearing a plain doublet and hose, his sleeves rolled up as he stirs a concoction under the alchemist’s direction, is a workman clearly painted to represent Francesco de’ Medici. Is this how Francesco saw himself, in his secret heart?

It could have been. (A historical novelist’s favorite words.) Here is my Francesco, describing his alter ego Franco:

 

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It was his own elaborate and deeply satisfying conceit, that he was a simple laborer named Franco. Franco worked every day with his hands, with minerals and acids, noble metals and glassworks and fine porcelains, and when the day was finished and he had no more work to do, he needed only to come home to his adoring and compliant little wife Bia, and she would tend to his every desire. Francesco, the prince—he had been the eldest, the heir, but even so he had never been the favorite, never been clever and charming and affable as his brothers and sisters had been. From the day of his mother’s death and his father’s descent into self-indulgence, his responsibilities had never ended. His wife, the emperor’s sister—she was pious and proud and never forgot who she was, not even when they came together in their interminable quest to beget an heir. It was all too much. It was so much easier to be Franco, even if it was only for a few hours.

 

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Preorder The Red Lily Crown from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, Books-a-Million, Google Play, and your favorite independent bookstore.

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21 Nov The Girl with the Painted Face

boowithgirlCongratulations to Gabrielle Kimm on the publication day of her new novel, The Girl with the Painted Face! I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-publication review copy from the publishers, which is no small thing, considering that they’re in the UK and I’m in Texas.

Now Gaby is a dear friend, but even so—I adored this book. I love anything with a theatrical background (see “Playacting on Paper”) and The Girl with the Painted Face combines mystery, adventure, delicious romance and murder most foul, with sixteenth-century Italy and the gritty, colorful glamour of a traveling Commedia dell’ Arte troupe. It made me want to go try out for a play somewhere—once I’d finished the book, of course.

Boudin liked it excessively as well, as you can see—just look at the dreamy look on his face—and says his favorite character is little Ippo, the dog. Of course….

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12 Nov A Neat Touch with a Pick

The hero—well, the hero/anti-hero, as he definitely has his dark side—of The Red Lily Crown is Ruan Pencarrow of Milhyntall, a man who has taken a twisted path from the devastation of the Prayer Book Rebellion in Cornwall, to the opulent courts and dark laboratories of Francesco de’ Medici in Florence.

A student of Agricola’s work, Ruan represents the sciences of metallurgy and chemistry, which at the time of the story are just emerging from the chrysalis of ancient, magical alchemy. Although he does have his own touch of magic…

 

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“It is a sulphide of silver,” Ruan said. He took a small pick from his belt and tapped gently around the silver crystals. They fell into his hand like a cluster of hazelnuts from a tree. He put them into the mine master’s bag and extracted more samples, taking also some of the shining calcite that surrounded them.

“A neat touch you’ve got with that pick,” Ziegler said. “Not many great men will come down a shaft and into a tunnel, their ownselves.”

“I have had experience,” Ruan said. He did not specify what kind of experience, or when it had occurred, or what it had cost him…

 

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Preorder The Red Lily Crown from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, Books-a-Million, Google Play, and your favorite independent bookstore.

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04 Nov The Red Lily Hounds

Of course I wouldn’t write a book without at least one hound in it! The Red Lily Crown has several, and it turns out they’re descended from Tristo and Isa, the “pocket beagles” in The Second Duchess. The hounds of The Red Lily Crown even merit a section of their own in the “Cast of Characters,” just so we can keep straight who’s descended from who.

 

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…Giovanna of Austria, now the grand duchess and first lady of the court, stood in solitary hauteur, with two of her small parti-colored hounds at her feet. They were the sire and dam to Donna Isabella’s Rina, Chiara had learned, and had been sent to the grand duchess some years ago by her sister Barbara, the Duchess of Ferrara…

 

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Preorder The Red Lily Crown from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, Books-a-Million, Google Play, and your favorite independent bookstore.

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28 Oct Tests of Virginity

Just how does Chiara prove she’s a virgin? No, not in the way you might think. The tests actually used in the law courts of the sixteenth century are pretty amazing, and I swear I am not making them up. Of course, for the details you’ll have to wait for the book itself.

This is Prince Francesco speaking to Chiara…

 

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“Chiara Nerini, daughter of Carlo Nerini, bookseller and alchemist.”

Saints and angels. How had he found out her full name?

“Strip yourself. You will be naked for your testing.”

Her first thought was try to strip me and see how far you get. She thrust out her chin and actually opened her mouth to say it. Then she saw Magister Ruanno shake his head very slightly and caught her tongue before it ran away with her. Who cared if they saw her naked? She’d prove she was a virgin and then they wouldn’t dare touch her no matter how she flaunted herself, lest they sully her purity.

 

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Preorder The Red Lily Crown from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, Books-a-Million, Google Play, and your favorite independent bookstore.

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24 Oct The Halloween Mash

halloween nightThis Sunday, October 27th, Writerspace is once again hosting one of their fabulous chat/giveaways, not surprisingly with a spooky Halloween theme. One of those pesky real-life commitments means I won’t be chatting this time, but I am offering two signed copies of The Flower Reader as my contribution to the many wonderful prizes.

Speaking of The Flower Reader—did you see the premiere of Reign last week on The CW? Are you going to watch it again this week? What did you think? The young Mary in The Flower Reader is two or three years older and has been through some major life changes. (I won’t specify what, just to avoid any spoilerage.) Will Reign‘s Mary experience the same changes? The show has enough of an alternate-history element that there’s no telling what they intend for their Mary, and if her life will run parallel to my Mary’s life or not.

To get back to the Writerspace Halloween Mash, the overall prizes include Kindles, autographed books from many of your favorite Writerspace writers, gift cards, and much more. You don’t have to be present to win, but you must be registered. To register, and for details on all participating authors and prizes, visit the Writerspace Halloween Mash site.

To chat with authors and readers (and the chats are always hilarious), just stop by Writerspace this Sunday, October 27th, from 8:00pm to 11:00pm ET.

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