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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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19 Jul The Red Lily Crown Cover

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Here’s the beautiful and dramatic cover for The Red Lily Crown: A Novel of the Medici (I do love that it has a subtitle), which is scheduled to be released in April 2014. The back cover copy is as follows:

Elizabeth Loupas returns with her most ambitious historical novel yet, a story of intrigue, passion, and murder in the Medici Court…

 

April, 1574, Florence, Italy. Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici lies dying. The city is paralyzed with dread, for the next man to wear the red lily crown will be Prince Francesco: despotic, dangerous, and obsessed with alchemy.

 

Chiara Nerini, the troubled daughter of an anti-Medici bookseller, sets out to save her starving family by selling her dead father’s rare alchemical equipment to the prince. Instead she is trapped in his household—imprisoned and forcibly initiated as a virgin acolyte in Francesco’s quest for power and immortality. Undaunted, she seizes her chance to pursue undreamed-of power of her own.

 

Witness to sensuous intrigues and brutal murder plots, Chiara seeks a safe path through the labyrinth of Medici tyranny and deception. Beside her walks the prince’s mysterious English alchemist Ruanno, her friend and teacher, driven by his own dark goals. Can Chiara trust him to keep her secrets…even to love her…or will he prove to be her most treacherous enemy of all?

 

I’m deep in my final revisions, and I can’t wait for this new story to fly free! Hopefully I’ll soon have artwork for the cover in the UK, where the book will be called The Alchemist Prince.

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21 Jun History Descends on St. Pete

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Here’s a charming historical postcard from St. Petersburg, Florida, in honor of the Historical Novel Society’s 2013 conference, which is being held there this weekend. Love the Model-Ts!

My fabulous agent Diana Fox is going to be there, so find her and say “hi!” to her for me! I wish I could be there in person—I know everyone is having a wonderful time. I’m following all the various updates I can find, so everybody—please keep blogging, tweeting and FB-ing!

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25 Apr The Second Duchess!

The Second Duchess, UK Edition

Today is The Second Duchess‘s publication day in the UK—congratulations to Barbara, Alfonso, Lucrezia, Maria Granmammelli (yes, it means what you think it means), the beagle puppies and the whole cast of characters I love so much. I’m very excited, and I also love this version of the cover.

Many, many thanks to everyone who has helped The Second Duchess on her journey around the world!

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14 Apr The Red Lily Crown

My next book, which is scheduled for the first half of 2014, has had a working title of The Alchemist Prince, because it is set in the court of Francesco I de’ Medici, historically known to have been obsessed with alchemy. However, my US publishers asked for a different title, and after considering dozens of possibilities, we came up with The Red Lily Crown.

Cosimo I de' Medici wearing the red lily crown

The red lily—a red fleur-de-lys—has been the heraldic symbol of Florence since the 1200s, and still is. When Cosimo I de’ Medici (Francesco’s father) managed to coax (or bribe) the pope into creating him the grand duke of Tuscany, he had the most outrageous crown made for himself, with a huge red fleur-de-lys in the front and seven red lilies around the rays, crammed in among all the jewels. At right is a portrait of him wearing it.

The crown with its red lilies is a symbol of ducal power in Florence, and really, that’s what everyone in the story is either angling for or struggling against. The word “red” evokes passion, fire and blood, and the story has a lot of all three. So The Red Lily Crown really does fit the book.

However, at the moment it does look as if the book is going to remain The Alchemist Prince in the UK, and that’s great, too, because Francesco, with his dark sadness, his malevolence, his vengefulness and his power, is not exactly the hero (or even really an anti-hero), but he is certainly the primary moving force of the story. I just want everyone to know that it’s the same book with two different titles!

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14 Feb What Better Valentine’s Day Treat?

The mass-market edition of The Flower Reader is being released today in the UK. Thrilling adventure, high romance, and exquisite flowers—it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day! If you’re in the UK, check Tesco or W.H. Smith’s, or order online.

Cressie loves The Flower Reader!

Cressie says, “It’s delicious for reading in bed. If your ears are long enough (like mine), it’s perfect for ear-draping. I give it five cookies. No, six! Maybe seven? Please?”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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