The Flower Reader

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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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20 Jan Tonight’s the Night

Tomorrow (January 21st) is the Feast of St. Agnes, so today, well, today is the Eve of St. Agnes, and tonight is the night you can see (according to the old legends, anyway) the person you are going to marry.

Don’t forget I have a free short story called The Eve of Saint Agnes, set in the world of The Flower Reader, which originally ran in the Scottish magazine My Weekly. It’s a PDF file for downloading:

The Eve of Saint Agnes by Elizabeth Loupas

Enjoy, and may you see your heart’s desire in your dreams tonight.

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19 Dec A Free Short Story for Christmas


Merry Christmas! Here is a short story set in the world of The Flower Reader, about a year and a half after the book’s timeline ends. A hint of what might turn up in a sequel? Who knows?

“The Eve of Saint Agnes” first appeared in My Weekly magazine, in their June 30, 2012, issue. My Weekly has kindly given me permission to offer a PDF of the original pages, including their beautiful artwork.

Click the thumbnail above to access the PDF, which can be downloaded or read online. If you don’t have Adobe Reader, you can download it here. It’s free, too.

Adobe Reader

I hope you all enjoy the story, and I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!

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18 Oct White Violets


My violets are blooming their heads off right now. I think they love this south-facing window, which is immediately to my left as I sit here and type.

In The Flower Reader, white violets symbolize Mary Livingston, one of Mary Queen of Scots’ “Four Maries” and a good friend to my heroine Rinette Leslie:

Mary Livingston took my hands in hers. She had warm, strong hands. I felt a sense of white violets about her, simple and joyous, although with the deep purple of mourning in the center hinting at darkness to come.

Mary Livingston did have sorrow to come in her life. After Queen Mary was forced to abdicate (and fled to England, with disastrous results), she was accused of hiding away some of the queen’s jewels and fine clothing. Her husband was imprisoned and Mary Livingston herself was interrogated and threatened. Later a grant of land the queen had made to Mary and her husband John Sempill was nullified; John Sempill fought strenuously against this injustice and ended up imprisoned, tortured with the boot, and sentenced to death. A broken man, he was allowed to go home to die.

In the end, Queen Mary’s son James VI and I restored the disputed land to the widowed Mary Livingston. She last appears in the historical record in 1592, but the exact date of her death is unknown.

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21 Sep An Evening in Kenai

Last night I had a truly delightful Skype meeting with the Kenai Library Community Book Club, in Kenai, Alaska—they’d been reading The Flower Reader.

I always learn something when I sit in with readers. One of the book club members pointed out that Nico seems to get younger as the story progresses, and although it wasn’t conscious on my part, it’s true. As Nico slowly allows his true self to emerge from his facades, deceptions and masquerades, he does seem to get younger—we see the real Nico at last, like a peacock (of course a peacock, being Nico) chick emerging from its shell.

At one point, Cressie happily jumped up on my lap and joined in the conversation. She wanted to make sure everyone knew that she was the inspiration for Seilie’s freckled paws.

Many thanks for the invitation to the Kenai Library Community Book Club, and to Reilly Becker of the Library staff for making the arrangements!

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12 Sep Rinette Goes to Italy!


Here is the gorgeous cover of the Italian edition of The Flower Reader. Called La Lettrice di Fiori, it’s scheduled for publication on October 4th by Newton Compton. Here’s a link to the publisher’s page with details.

I am just dazzled by this beautiful cover–look at it from a distance and the artwork itself becomes the center of a flower. Look at it closely, and you see intriguing details about some of the flowers that figure in Rinette’s floromancy.

The most exciting thing of all, though, is that Newton Compton has produced a beautiful book trailer for La Lettrice di Fiori. It’s my first book trailer ever, so you can imagine my delight. Look at it here, and if you have a YouTube account, please “like” it and leave a comment!

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15 Jul Life’s a Beach!

Please join me and dozens of your other favorite authors at the Writerspace Beach Party, tonight from 8pm ET to 11pm ET. I’ll be chatting live from 8-8:30pm ET, so come by and say hi!

Authors will be chatting and giving away tons of prizes—Kindles, autographed books, gift cards and more. I’m giving away a signed copy of The Flower Reader and some gorgeous color postcards. In fact, you can even have your choice of the US or UK editions!

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 Beach Party info page!

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26 Apr Nostradamus and Me

Today I’m guest-posting over at Always with a Book, about Nostradamus, the quatrain that made him famous, and my own adventures in writing fictional secret quatrains in the style of Nostradamus for The Flower Reader. Come see, and find out why I describe Nostradamus as the of his day. (Hint: gossip about famous people and lots of blind items.)

There’s also a fabulous and thoughtful review of The Flower Reader by Deb Previte, the “Bookish Dame” (I do love that sobriquet), at A Bookish Libraria. Would love to see you there!

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21 Apr The EmoCoaster

Some of my writer friends call it the “emocoaster”—the emotional rollercoaster. We all ride it sometimes. I seemed to have had a whole handful of tickets this past week, lurching from euphoric highs to abysmal lows and back again. And again. And again. And that’s really all I’ll say about that. Heh.

Among the wonderful things: my virtual book tour continued, with reviews and guest posts (some with giveways) at:

Let Them Read Books
So Many Books, So Little Time
Passages to the Past
The True Book Addict

Many thanks to these wonderful book bloggers for their reading, reviews and hospitality!

Flat Rinette also made some new stops around the country. I’d love it if you’d tuck your copy of the book in a fun or unusual place, snap a picture, and send it in—see details in the sidebar.

More touring coming up next week:

Monday, April 23: Review at A Bookish Libraria. (and no, there’s no ‘n’ on the end)

Tuesday, April 24: Review at Always with a Book.

Wednesday, April 25: Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.

Thursday, April 26: Review at A Novel Affair, and a guest post on my adventures in writing fictional quatrains in the style of Nostradamus at Always with a Book.

Friday, April 27: Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages.

Whew! I’m stocking up on Rescue Remedy (dog people will know what I’m talking about) and I’ll see you there!

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13 Apr Off to Houston

I’m flying down to Houston this afternoon for a signing at the wonderful Murder by the Book tomorrow. If you’re in Houston or the Houston area, please come see me—it’s at 1:00pm tomorrow, Saturday, afternoon. Nothing fancy or formal—I’ll just talk a little about floromancy and Nostradamus and Mary Queen of Scots, and hopefully get lots of questions and interaction. I like it when you talk better than when I talk. Heh.

I’ll also be giving away some of my beautiful pressed-flower bookmarks, with the floromancy meanings of the flowers written up to go with them.

There are quite a few murders in The Flower Reader and so I think Rinette will fit right in. I’ll have to take some “Flat Rinette” pictures of her hobnobbing with other mystery/thriller heroines.

A fun interview today over at Unabridged Chick. Who else would have gotten me to admit that my first piece of fiction was written from the point of view of a horse??

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12 Apr Always a Hound

I’m guest posting today on the Owl Bookmark Blog, about dogs in sixteenth-century courts, Renaissance art, and of course historical fiction.

The Owl Bookmark Blog

Being a beagle lover (how would you ever have guessed?), my fictional doggies tend to be hounds—the pocket beagle puppies Tristo and Isa in The Second Duchess, and the loyal hunting hound Seilie with his melting eyes and freckled paws in The Flower Reader. Stop by and join the discussion about you favorite animals in fiction!

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09 Apr Flat Rinette and Lots More


I’m taking a page out of Flat Stanley’s book and launching a “Flat Rinette” campaign! Grab a copy of the book, take it somewhere fun and snap a picture of it, then send me the picture with some details about where you took it and what you were doing. Let’s see if we can’t take Rinette on a trip from border to border, coast to coast, and around the world! The “Flat Rinette” photo collection has already begun on Pinterest, so drop by and say hi. Above you see the very first photo, featuring my favorite daughter-in-law Jennifer and my darling grandchildren Grayson and Miranda. Hi, sweeties! 🙂

Fabulous reviews for The Flower Reader by Kayla Posney in The Examiner and at Diary of a Book Addict. As part of my online book tour, more reviews at Confessions of an Avid Reader and Raging Bibliomania.

I guest posted about the real silver casket at Tina’s Book Reviews; I also wrote about floromancy and just what a “flower reader” is at Confessions of an Avid Reader.

Had a delightful event last Thursday night at A Real Bookstore in Fairview. The terrible tornados on Tuesday had delayed it, but Teri and David were wonderful hosts and four lucky winners went home with beautiful pressed-flower bookmarks. Coming up this Saturday, I’ll be signing at Murder by the Book in Houston and giving away more bookmarks.

You know? Right now I’m feeling about as “flat” as Rinette, so I think I’d better go sit in the corner with the doggies and give myself some beagle-ear therapy. Then I need to spend some time in sixteenth-century Florence…

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04 Apr Tornados and Winners

First and most important of all, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all my fellow Texans who are coping with injury and property damage in the wake of our violent tornados yesterday afternoon and evening. The storm passed right over us here in Coppell (and the tennis-ball-sized hail crashing into the roof certainly terrified the doggies) but (pending a professional roof assessment) we have only minor damage and a few tree branches down. My release-day booksigning was cancelled and rescheduled for Thursday. Looking around at the havoc wrought by Mother Nature certainly puts one’s book-release stress into perspective!

ETA: After inspecting everything in the daylight this morning, I find my poor little car, Willow-the-Skate (and of course there is a story as to why he’s named that), has a huge star-shaped crack in his windshield, and won’t be driveable until it’s fixed. Unfortunately he was totaled after another of our Texas hailstorms, so no insurance to help pay for it…

The Broadcasting Legend™ has chosen the winners of the three Flower Reader bookmarks. They are:

Terry Martini
Liz Michalski

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing each of you privately to get your mailing addresses.

A note to readers of Dear Reader and AuthorBuzz. There’s an offer this week for The Flower Reader, and to my horror my ISP abruptly announced (with only two days’ notice) that it was doing a “Server Performance Upgrade” and taking my website (including my email addresses) offline for several hours. This was scheduled to happen last night around 1:00am MDT, and last for an unspecified length of time. So if you tried to email my special “flowers” email address in the night and your email bounced, I’m so sorry! Everything is working now, so please try again, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

I’m guesting today at Tina’s Book Reviews, with a post about the real silver casket that inspired the story of The Flower Reader. History! Pictures! Another chance to win one of these beautiful limited-edition bookmarks, plus a free book! Don’t miss it. 🙂

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03 Apr Novels and Puppies


So today’s the day. The Flower Reader goes out into the big wild world.

Writers feel all kinds of strange things when their books are released. Pride, sure, and apprehension, and vulnerability, and hope, and moments of joy, and middle-of-the-night, it’s-too-late-now sinking moments of oh, no, I should have written that part this way and not that way.

But mostly I feel—I don’t know—helplessness. Empty-handedness. That puppy has sneaked out the door and you can offer it all the Milkbones you want—you’re never going to get it back. It’s on its own and it doesn’t belong to you anymore. In fact, it’s suddenly all grown up and not the cute fuzzy puppy you’ve been used to as you pored over it and petted it and brushed its silky fur—it’s a great big spotted dog with teeth and claws and—floppy ears? But wait, you didn’t mean for it to have floppy ears! Where did the floppy ears come from?

Too bad. If people see floppy ears, floppy ears there are.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people like floppy ears.

It’s just—not what you thought it would be. You write a book and you love it and think it’s yours, and then somehow it gets away from you and becomes this self-sufficient wild thing, hiding in the cucumber vines and foraging for its own food. It may still have your tags on its collar (“Hi! My name is The Flower Reader! If you find me, please call xxx-xxxx. Reward!”) but don’t be fooled. It’s not yours any more.

I’ll post the winners of the bookmarks tomorrow! The Broadcasting Legend™ is out today and I need his magic touch to do the drawing.

A lovely kickoff review by Melissa, the Avid Reader, at Confessions of an Avid Reader!

I am guest-blogging today at Julianne Douglas’s Writing the Renaissance. Do you like your historical fiction with fictional characters, or without? There are pros and cons to both sides…

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29 Mar Bookmarks!


Several people have commented that they’ve already ordered the book (and huge thanks for that!) and would like a chance to win one of the beautiful pressed-flower bookmarks on its own. So here it is. Comment below to be entered, and I’ll have the Broadcasting Legend™ draw a winner—what the heck, two winners—no, wait, let’s go all the way and say three winners—on Tuesday, April 3rd, the day The Flower Reader is released into the world. As always, extra social-media mentions get you extra entries. “Likes” on Amazon get you extra entries. The honor system prevails. International entries welcome.

I would just like to say something about social media. Early on I made a pact with myself that I would not comment on reviews, good or bad—that is the slipperiest of slippery slopes, and we’ve all seen too many ghastly brawls on Goodreads and Twitter and Amazon. But I do read them (how can any author really not read them?) and I sincerely appreciate every single person who has read and reviewed and commented on both The Flower Reader and The Second Duchess. It doesn’t matter whether you loved them or hated them or were somewhere in the middle. You read and you cared enough to comment, and I am grateful from the bottom of my heart. I truly am. You know who you are. Yes, you. And you too. Really. 🙂

Counting down the days…

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26 Mar Rinette is Off to Australia!

The thing about small town post offices is, everybody knows everybody. When I walked in this morning with Jemidar’s book and bookmark, Jackie greeted me happily and wanted to know all about the book and the contest. She helped me with the packaging—the “small flat rate priority box” was just a smidge too small, which was a big disappointment, because if I’d sent it priority I would have been able to track it. As it is—well, Rinette is on her own, and we’ll have to wait for Jemidar to let us know she arrived safely.

Anyway, we got the book and the gorgeous purple bookmark into the envelope and got the customs form filled out and just as Jackie turned to put the package in the outgoing bin, I whipped out my camera (I did ask first) and snapped this picture. So there it is. I’m really quite excited about this—it’s the first book I’ve sent to Australia. Australian readers, remember—the UK edition of The Flower Reader from Preface will arrive on your shelves this summer. I think I’ll save a bookmark as a prize for the first person to send me a picture of the book in the wild in Australia!

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24 Mar The Winner, Part Deux!

The Broadcasting Legend™ has once again chosen a winner of a signed advance copy of The Flower Reader, plus a handmade pressed-flower art bookmark. I must admit that I squealed when he pulled the name. It’s:


So now at last I have the opportunity to follow through on my promise to ship books internationally. I’ll start the package on its way on Monday, and track it here to keep us all up on date on Rinette’s adventures as she makes her way to Australia.

There are lots more opportunities to win. NAL is currently running a giveaway on Goodreads, with twenty-five copies up for grabs (US only for this one), so if you haven’t entered there, here’s the link:

Goodreads Giveaway of The Flower Reader

There are only a few more days to enter, so sign up today. There are more giveaways coming up, so watch this space.

Thank you all for your lovely comments this past week. Blake, I think the tussy-mussy (what a lovely old-fasioned term! I didn’t know people still used it) for your wedding, with the flower meanings, is the most delightful idea. Wnitney, I have to warn you that although Mary of Guise is instrumental in setting the story of The Flower Reader in motion, she dies in the first chapter and from that point on only exercises her influence through the secrets she collected and the effect they have on people she knew in Scotland, France and England. She is certainly present in spirit right to the end.

Again, warmest thanks to everyone who commented and helped to spread the word.