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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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21 Oct The Alchemist Prince

We meet Francesco de’ Medici, the alchemist prince…

 

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He had a narrow, swarthy face with a high forehead, so high he had his cropped dark hair brushed forward—he was losing his hair, then. His eyes slanted downward, sensual, melancholic and secretive. Saints in the churches, painted on panels and murals, had halos of light around their heads and bodies; the prince seemed to have a tracing of darkness, as if he were standing in front of a prince-shaped hole that led into something terrible, and you could just catch glimpses of it when he moved….

 

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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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14 Oct Chiara Meets a Stranger

My sneak previews of The Red Lily Crown continue, with the appearance of a mysterious Englishman (who is actually a Cornishman, but we don’t learn that until later).

 

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The foreigner smiled. His face was sharp-boned and sun-weathered, so his teeth looked wolfishly white; the lines at the corners of his mouth were cruel. His head was uncovered and his crest of dark hair had spangles of rain amidst the glints of copper. Unexpectedly his eyes were sad, so sad there was no bottom to their sorrow….

 
 
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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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07 Oct Sneak Previews!

Today I’m starting a new feature—sneak previews of The Red Lily Crown, coming in April 2014. Sometimes the preview will be a few words, sometimes a sentence or two, sometimes a paragraph, and I hope they’ll give you a tiny, tempting taste of what’s to come.

Let’s begin with the opening lines…

 

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The prince was a Medici, richer than Satan, and people said he loved only two things—women and alchemy. To feed her Nonna and her two little sisters, Chiara would have sold herself to him quick as a stray cat, but she wasn’t very promising concubina material—her chest bones stuck out and her wrists and ankles were knobbly as a colt’s fetlocks. True, she was fifteen and a virgin and had a braid of dark hair down to her hips, but on the other hand she had the curved scar on the left side of her head, just above her ear. Her hair covered the mark but she couldn’t always hide the headaches and the falling-spells. Sometimes she heard demons’ voices.

No, not very promising concubina material.

Alchemy, then….

 
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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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02 Oct The Latest News from the UK

The Alchemist Prince (which is still The Alchemist Prince for the moment, but watch this space) is now scheduled for release in May 2015 in the UK. I know, I’m sorry—but the mass-market paperback of The Second Duchess will be released in the UK in 2014, so Chiara and Ruan and Francesco and Giovanna and Bianca and Isabella will have to wait a bit. Francesco is off in one of his dark sulks about it, and Bianca is outraged. Heh.

The Red Lily Crown is firmly on track to be released April 1, 2014 here in the US.

After the first of the year, when I have books, I’ll host some giveaways here, including special international giveaways. Another reason to watch this space…

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22 Aug Chat and Win!

This Sunday evening I’m participating in the Writerspace Beach Party, chatting live and giving away two copies of The Flower Reader, with signed postcard bookmarks. Come and chat with me, and register to win.

The event Writerspace Beach Party, featuring dozens of your favorite authors, is Sunday, August 25th, from 8pm to 11pm eastern time. Everyone will be chatting and giving away Kindles, autographed books, gift cards and 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 http://www.writerspace.com/beach.

Hope to see you there!

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06 Aug Kate Quinn and the Carrot

Carrot

Why is Kate Quinn like a carrot?

Because her new book The Serpent and the Pearl has been released today, and I love Kate Quinn’s work, and I want to read it so badly. But I have to finish my revisions of The Red Lily Crown. I really have to. So there Kate’s beautiful book sits, on my bookshelf, waving at me gently like a carrot on the end of the stick, luring me on and promising me the most delicious of rewards when I am finished…

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