Friday, 29 June 2012

Witchstruck Blog Tour



WIN A COPY OF WITCHSTRUCK!
Just follow the blog tour below and share it on social media at least three times over the next fortnight - Twitter, Facebook or your blog. Then leave your social media details below. Three lucky winners will be drawn out of the hat on Saturday 14th July to receive a signed copy of Witchstruck. (Please make sure you check back to see if you have won!)

 

July 2nd

One A Day YA

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July 3rd

Serendipity Reviews

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July 4th

Turn the Page

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July 5th

Jera’s Jamboree

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July 6th

Overflowing Library

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July 7th

Once Upon A Time

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July 9th

Madame Guillotine

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July 10th

Dark Readers

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July 11th

The Little Reader Library

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July 12th

My Life is a Notebook

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July 13th

Thoughts from the Hearthfire


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Waiting for Witchstruck

My debut paranormal romance Witchstruck launches very soon on July 5th. It's the first novel in my Tudor Witch series for Young Adult readers, so I thought I'd post up a preview extract for those who might be wondering what it's like.

In this extract, novice witch Meg Lytton finds a quiet place at twilight in the old ruined palace of Woodstock and prepares to cast a magickal circle using her aunt's ceremonial dagger. She knows that if she is caught, she risks being hanged as a witch under Tudor law.

From Witchstruck:
The third chamber I peeked into looked perfect. It was small and unswept, but the narrow windows had no glass, which meant there was more light here than elsewhere, and there was nothing on the floor except dust.
Quickly, I drew the dagger out from beneath my skirts, and stood in the centre of the shadowy room.

Recalling my aunt’s incantation for the casting, I spoke the spell as clearly as I dared in the silence. I lay down an oak twig for an altar, along with a few fragrant leaves and flowers, then stooped to draw a rough circle about myself in the dust. I did not dare burn any herbs this time to clear away evil influences, in case any escaping smoke was seen from outside. But I spoke the words of protection under my breath, hoping they would be enough.

The air stirred darkly at the spell, raising the dust as though a door had been opened somewhere. I listened but heard nothing. It had probably been a sudden wind from the gardens below. The old palace was so draughty, most of its bare windows unshuttered beyond the royal apartments.

Seating myself in the middle of my circle, I sat straight-back and cross-legged, facing my little makeshift altar. I called on the four directions, north, south, east and west, and begged each one to look favourably on the magick I would work there.

The power began to come into me from the shadows, tingling at the tips of my fingers, a rush of blood to my head that left me momentarily dizzy.

I was just groping for the ritual that would open the dark magick of the moon for me, the women’s magick that is best worked at twilight or in the hours of darkness, when a terrible scream shattered the stillness.

‘Witch!’

I scrambled to my feet at that scream and spun in fading light to face my accuser.

You can order an advance paperback or Kindle edition of Witchstruck at Amazon.co.uk: prices there are currently reduced. You can also find it online at Random House.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Why did Mary I keep her sister alive after the Wyatt Rebellion?

It was Mary's plans to marry Philip of Spain that sparked open rebellion in England in 1554.

This weekend, I've blogged at the English Historical Fiction Authors' blog about the young Elizabeth's imprisonment at Woodstock Palace.

The princess's imprisonment famously came in the aftermath of the so-called "Wyatt Rebellion" of 1554. Mary I was clearly convinced of her sister's involvement in this uprising. Yet without proof she could not execute her, and the fact that Thomas Wyatt had publicly exonerated Elizabeth in his scaffold speech made the queen's life even harder.

Instead of sending her sister to the block - a grim possibility after Elizabeth's arrest and imprisonment in the Tower of London - Mary banished her younger sister to the country. No doubt she thought it would be safer to keep Elizabeth as far away from court life as possible, especially given Mary's controversial plans to marry Philip of Spain that year.

With London still unsettled after Wyatt's rebellion, the Lady Elizabeth was taken under guard to the ancient ruins of Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. There she was kept under strict house arrest and denied even the comfort of her ladies-in-waiting ...

You can read more about Elizabeth's imprisonment at the EHFA blog.