Thursday, July 12, 2018

My Newest Historical, CROWNED BY LOVE, Book One of the Yorkist Saga, Now on Sale

After Richard III is slain in battle, a beautiful orphan finds true love and her true family, to her relief—and horror.
England, 1471

Beautiful orphaned Denys Woodville is thrust into the center of power politics when her guardian Elizabeth Woodville marries the new king, Edward IV. The Wars of the Roses finally seem to be at an end, with the House of York victorious over the House of Lancaster.

But not everyone rejoices in King Edward's victory. Elizabeth and her Woodville clan have clawed their way to power by switching sides throughout the Wars of the Roses. They are always on the lookout for a chance to advance their ambitions, even at the expense of the king's family and most loyal supporters.

Denys is delighted that the House of York has won, though she detests Elizabeth’s grasping nature. She considers King Edward and his youngest brother Richard, duke of Gloucester, the only real family she ever had. Elizabeth has never given her a hint of who her real parents might have been.

As the walls of the palace start to close in around her, Denys decides to flee the safety of the court in order to seek the truth about her real identity. She longs to find any living family of her own.

Elizabeth marries her off to Valentine Starbury, duke of Norwich, out of spite, but her feelings for him strengthen and bloom into love. He joins her quest to find her family, but with no reliable leads, it becomes hopeless. After King Richard’s devastating death in the Battle of Bosworth, Denys finally reaches her lifelong goal—she finds her family, in a stunning twist of fate.

Scene Three of CROWNED BY LOVE

Denys’s Aunt Elizabeth adopted her, then neglected her to passionately pursue Edward, England’s future king. Edward fell hard, and they married. The new bride had no need of a child, so she sent Denys to Yorkshire, far out of the way.

The childless duke and duchess of Scarborough raised her as the daughter they never had. When the duchess died, the duke sent Denys back to court, unwanted again. Despite having a king and queen for an uncle and aunt, Denys languished, a lost soul. Today, as reunited lovers surrounded her, she stood alone, unwanted. To add to her misery, the knight of her dreams appeared, only to vanish. Such was her life as an outsider.

Her lady-in-waiting entered, curtsied, and held out a folded parchment embossed with the royal seal. "A page delivered this from her highness the queen, my lady."

She dismissed the maid. "It can wait." Probably a summons to one of the queen's silly musicales, an excuse for court ladies to gossip.

Denys put the message out of her mind till that eve as her tiring woman stood behind her brushing her hair. She broke the seal and unfolded it—a summons, all right—but not to a giddy musicale.

It was a summons to a wedding—her own. Her heart took a sickening lurch.

Her intended was Richard, duke of Gloucester, the king's youngest brother, her childhood companion. Queen Elizabeth always married relatives off to the cream of nobility, and Richard was the highest ranking bachelor in the kingdom.

Far from her idea of a husband. A brother, yes. A husband—never!

A fastidious prude, he intended to wed his sweetheart Anne Neville.

Denys and Richard played together as children, and renewed their friendship when she returned to court. They played tennis, chess, cards—but play ended at games. Just the thought of kissing him made her shudder.

Now the queen wanted them wed on Christmas Day.

Seething with fury, she strode to the hearth and flung the parchment into the flames. They licked and charred it beyond recognition. She crawled into bed for a long, hard think.

By the time she fell asleep, she'd already thought of several ways out.

How I ‘Met’ Richard III

Every Ricardian has a story about how they discovered Richard III and became fascinated with him.

I started researching my first historical, THE JEWELS OF WARWICK, centered around Henry VIII and two fictional heroines, in 1990—with no internet (how did I do it?) I have a strong spiritual connection with late medieval England, which is the basis for my enchantment with this place and time. Jewels took 2 years to research and write, with no internet. It came very close to publication with several romance houses, but missed the mark for containing too little romance. 

When I finished JEWELS, I scoured the history books for another legendary figure to write about. While I browsed the Cambridge Library stacks, a book snagged my eye. Lying, not standing, on the wrong shelf was CROWN OF ROSES by Valerie Anand.. It drew me like a magnet. Richard III is a central character in the story, and the author thanks the Richard III Society for helping her. Already hooked on Richard, his tragic death at 32 and his reputation as a usurper and a murderer of his little nephews, I joined this Richard III Society. 

Richard fascinated me. I’d found the subject of my next novel! And it tied in perfectly as a prequel to THE JEWELS OF WARWICK. Titled THY NAME IS LOVE, it made the same rounds of publishers, remaining homeless after several rewrites and seven years.

In 1999 with the Internet making my life so much easier, I queried the many E-publishers that had recently set up shop, and British publisher Domhan Books responded in March with an offer for my two historicals. 


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