Chillon 1

he main characters in THE SISTER QUEENS, Marguerite and Eleanor, may have been the daughters of the Count of Provence, but much of their real power and attraction as royal brides lay in another family connection. These remarkable 13th century women were related through their mother to the house of Savoy.  The Savoyards were celebrities in the High Middle ages—a family of considerable political and marital power, whose members were renowned for their personal attractiveness.  People wanted to be like the Savoyards, and people (even kings and popes) wanted to be seen with them.

Eleanor had a particularly close connection with her Uncle Peter, Count of Savoy.  In December of 1240 Peter arrived in England to advise and support his niece. Henry III of England took to Peter immediately and made much of him—eventually knighting him and granting Peter the Honor of Richmond.

From this point on Peter spent significant time in England, but ever a Savoyard, he did not sever his relationships with his native territory nor with his powerful brothers. Peter owned the legendary Chateau Chillon on the banks of Lake Geneva. He gained this stronghold—and with it control of the road from Burgundy to the Great Saint Bernard Pass and a fleet of ships on Lake Geneva—beginning in 1234 (when he and all the Savoyard brother’s met there upon the death of their father to negotiate a settlement which recognized Amadeus as the head of the house and allowed them to work together to the aggrandizement of all Savoyards rather than turning on each other and diminishing the house through infighting).

I first visited Chateau Chillon when I was 20 years old. It is a marvelously memorable fortress. Here today are some pictures of “Uncle Peter’s place” courtesy of my middle-child who (in her mother’s footsteps) was there today.Chillon 1Chillon 2Chillon 3Chillon 9Chillon 10Chillon 12Chillon 4Chillon 7Chillon 11

Pacific Northwest Historical Fiction Fans—in just 3 WEEKS a veritable “Who’s Who” of historical novelists will be assembled in Portland for the Historical Novel Society North American Conference. THIS IS NOT JUST AN EVENT FOR WRITERS.

This year we have a “Readers Festival Program” (check out the program here) and there will also be A MASS SIGNING (open to attendees and non-attendees alike) offering you a chance to chat with dozens of your favorite writers in the historical genre. I WILL BE THERE (I’ve not missed a conference since 2005) AND I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU, ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS AND SIGN YOUR COPIES OF MY NOVELS!!!

Portland Signing

 

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The royal chateaux of France glitter in the summer sun. Glamorous courtiers stroll in the gardens. But at any court ruled by Catherine de Médicis and riven by on-going religious war there will always be shadows . . . and death.

For your viewing pleasure here is the latest trailer for Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois. Let me know what you think, and if you enjoy it, please share it with a fellow historical fiction fan (or ten).

 

Wondering if you should bother to open my AUTHOR NEWSLETTER when it pops up in your mailbox? Or whether you should SUBSCRIBE?

Look at this Mini-View lineup! In just in the first three issues of my author 2017 newsletter readers will hear from:

NYT bestsellers: Allison Pataki and Sarah McCoy; USA Today bestseller Jennifer Robson, as well as authors Anna Belfrage; Leslie Carroll; Eliza Knight; Meghan Masterson; Stephanie Thornton; and Ellen Marie Wiseman.

And that’s just for starters. HEAR SOME OF THE TOP TALENT IN HISTORICAL FICTION talk about topics like: dangerous historical women, writing about society’s outsiders, surprising things historical women did, the men who populate history and how they would cast their book as a TV mini-series!

Subscribe TODAY!

mini-view collage

Think your Mom is hard to select a Mothers’ Day gift for? Here is my humorous take on poor Marguerite de Valois—youngest daughter of Catherine de Médicis and central character in my most recent novel, Médicis Daughter—trying to pick out the perfect gift for her mother.

Oh and Mothers’ Day is just a week away readers, so mail those cards and pick up those last minute presents. And remember, books make GREAT gifts.

Hey New England Historical Fiction Fans! The weather will be GORGEOUS this weekend and you don’t really want to do that yard-work. Come out and see Heather Webb and me on a panel moderated by Anne Easter Smith. We will be discussing the hot new trend in historical fiction: collaborative works, from anthologies to high-concept multi-author novels.  I PROMISE we will be more entertaining than cutting the grass.

The Festival opens on Friday but our panel will be Saturday afternoon. Here are the details:

“Collaborative Historical Fiction: It’s All About Teamwork”

2:30 PM Saturday, April 29

at the First Religious Society

Unitarian Universalist Church

26 Pleasant Street

final festival graphic

How long have I known Mindy McInnis, Edgar Award-winning author of YA fiction? Too long for me to fess up. But let’s just say we knew each other before we were agented let alone published!

Mindy runs an awesome  blog for aspiring writers called Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, and a pod-cast of the same name which features interviews established authors taking about the nitty-gritty of the road to publication. TODAY I AM HONORED TO BE HER FIRST “ADULT” AUTHOR ON THE PODCAST (though I am not sure the label adult is entirely apt for me 100% of the time).

Interested in how I landed my agent, what my submission process was really like, why I tend to hop around from era to era when writing? Have a listen!!!

Pants on Fire

Did you know Dear Readers that I have an awesome newsletter? My 2017 newsletter is ALL about feeding readers’ cravings for more delicious gossip—I mean HISTORY (see the Oscar Wilde quote below)! It will come out monthly, and each month will have its own theme. One FANTASTIC new feature–the Mini-view–will appear in every issue. Each Mini-view asks 3 top historical novelists a single question and brings you their answers.

The latest issue is just out! It’s all about DANGEROUS WOMEN (Catherine de Médicis anyone?). So if you are already a subscriber check your inbox. And if you aren’t  . . . never fear, it is not too late! Click here and fill out the form! The newsletter will be in your box in a jiffy.

Announcing Newsletter

Super excited to see MÉDICIS DAUGHTER on this list of “Books About Epic Rivalries,” especially alongside books by some authors I personally love. https://media.bookbub.com/blog/2017/03/27/historical-fiction-books-about-rivalries/

This is the four-hundred-and-second anniversary of the death of Marguerite de Valois, Princess and then Queen of France, and central character in my novel, MÉDICIS DAUGHTER. Marguerite was the 8th child of Henri II of France and his queen Catherine de Médicis. Healthy, intelligent and beautiful—Margot was, sadly, never anyone’s favorite child, and may well have been Catherine’s least favorite. As I say in the authors to my novel:

Fate was not so kind to Marguerite de Valois. Nor was history.

Margots Death DateSalic law kept her from ruling in France after the death of her last brother, with the crown passing to her cousin/husband the King of Navarre. And a single anonymous political pamphlet during her lifetime was later taken for history not slander, leaving people with the impression Margot was nothing more than a wanton sex-addict. Yet the historical record shows that Marguerite was highly intelligent, politically astute, and (in her later years) a serious force in the literary life of France. She also had a fierce conscience.

I hope that in my novel I did this Princess justice.  For those who enjoyed my book, I recommend reading Margot’s own Memoirs—which provide a vivid exposition of France during her lifetime.

MÉDICIS DAUGHTER on Amazon http://amzn.to/2nBP3bU

At Book Depository [FREE worldwide shipping] http://bit.ly/2o4yNwJ

At Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/1qk7Ztw