Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Next Big Thing ...

Last Wednesday I was tagged by the marvellous writer Lesley Cookman for my Next Big Thing. This week, it's my turn to answer the following questions and tag a few other writers in my turn.

What is the title of your next book?

His Dark Lady.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

His Dark Lady is the sequel to The Queen's Secret, which introduces a semi-fictional character, Lucy Morgan, against the backdrop of political and sexual intrigue at the court of Elizabeth I. This new book continues Lucy's life story as the tension between Elizabeth and her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, comes to a head. If you'll excuse the pun.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical fiction.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I don't have a clue. I would think any good character actor would be brilliant in any of the key parts.

Will your book be self-pubished or represented by an agency?

It will be published by Transworld, part of Random House. It will be out in late February, and you can pre-order it here.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I tend to edit and polish as I go along, being a pernickety perfectionist, so I don't really do 'drafts'. However, from start to submission of manuscript was about six months. Then editorial revisions took another month, roughly.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don't know any other books like the ones I write. Not exactly like them, anyway. They're a combination of historical fiction with spy thriller elements.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

To quote Lesley Cookman, my bank manager.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

My heroine is a black lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I - based on a real person of the same name, with some imagination employed to sketch out missing details - who was raised by a spy and seems destined to become Shakespeare's 'Dark Lady'. How's that for piquant?

I'd like to tag, in my turn, these writers:

Katherine Garbera, a friend of mine from Leicester's RNA Chapter (though I've now moved to Cornwall, I still keep in touch with my Midlands writing buddies) who writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon. You can find her books here on or on, and here is Katherine's very gorgeous website.

Francis Potts, a fellow NaNoWriMo writer from the Cornwall region, who blogs here

Alison Morton, a writer who's been an RNA buddy of mine for several years, and who lives most glamorously in France. Her blog is here

RM Ivory, who writes for children and young adults, and blogs here. Currently at work on her sixth book.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Interview on Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

I've been very kindly interviewed on Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf this week - quite an in-depth interview, largely focusing on my paranormal romance, Witchstruck.

On Favourite Witchy Movies
I adore Harry Potter, so all of those movies: top favs are HP and The Order of the Phoenix, and HP and The Half-Blood Prince. For older stuff, Witches of Eastwick rocked, and it’s no secret that I’m a massive Buffy fan and loved all Willow’s magickal escapades. I enjoyed Supernatural too, though not to the same extent. One of my daughters adores Hocus Pocus, oddly enough, so I’ve seen that movie rather too many times for comfort!
Read more ...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Happy Halloween: Giveaway!

Witchstruck: Book 1 in Tudor Witch
It's Halloween next week, so I'm giving away a copy of my spooky paranormal romance for Young Adult readers, WITCHSTRUCK!

All you have to do to win a copy - from anywhere in the world - is to leave a comment under this post. The comment should, ideally, let us know your favourite and/or least favourite part of Halloween.

For me, the least favourite part of Halloween is having to carve pumpkins! The kids love it, but I hate all that gooey stuff inside and the mess it makes.

My favourite part of Halloween has to be the glowing excitement on my kids' faces as they set out in the dark to go trick-or-treating on our neighbours. That makes all the rest worthwhile!

The winner will be announced on Friday night!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Starting the last book in my trilogy

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with A.
This Monday morning, I shall start to write the third book in my Lucy Morgan trilogy, which is set against the backdrop of Elizabeth I's later years on the throne.

Since book two is not yet out - it's being published in late February 2013 - I can't discuss the plot in any detail. But Lucy and Queen Elizabeth are still point of view characters. And since it begins in 1588, year of the Armada, it's also safe to say a few Spanish ships may be involved ...

 To help me gather more words under my belt, I have joined NaNoWriMo, an excellent programme designed to encourage writers to write regularly and also swiftly, where people attempt to complete one 50,000 word novel in a month.

Obviously, my novel will be more than twice that length. So I will not be finishing my novel in November. But I will be using NaNoWriMo to speed me on my way in these first difficult weeks as the book takes shape.

If you are a NaNoWriMo fan, do come and jolly me along as I return to a regular writing rhythm again after several months or rewriting and revisions on other books.

Victoria Lamb at NaNoWriMo 2012.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

My beautiful grandson

You can probably tell he had baked beans for lunch ...
Today has been a very special day for me, and the rest of the family. For today I met my two year old grandson for the first time ever. I won't go into why this is the first time I've met him. Suffice it to say, he's a lovely boy and I'm hoping to see much more of him in the future.

A teensy bit camera-shy

Book Clubs

Several people have told me this week that their book clubs are reading The Queen's Secret. I'm absolutely delighted by this, as I have belonged to several book clubs myself, and I think it will fit the book club ethos very well.

Because of this development, I've put together some information for anyone considering The Queen's Secret or Witchstruck for their book club. And here it is ...

If you belong to a book club that is reading one of my books, I am happy to answer email questions about my work or writing in general. Please state Book Club Query in the subject line if you can, to ensure quick attention.

My email address is victoria.lamb44 @

In some cases, I am even able to attend book club meetings in person, if given plenty of advance notice. Since I am currently based in the South West, other areas of the UK might prove tricky. But it's always worth asking.

I occasionally have small promotional materials or information sheets available that can be given out to book club members who are reading one of my books. Again, please contact if interested.

You can find all this information under the Book Clubs tab on my website. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Saw That Victoria Lamb Down the Gym

A lonesome place, but fewer to witness one's puffing and ill-fitting gym outfit.  

I only lasted three minutes on this fiercesome contraption. Mountain climbing, anyone?

The One-Handed iPhoto Shot Exercise. With left trainer. What, you don't know it?

It was almost too much for me at one stage. But then I remembered the Snickers bar I had for breakfast ...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Inns and Watering Holes of Tudor London

Tudor London was awash with inns and eating houses. Some were galleried and doubled up as playhouses - like the famous Cross Keys Inn, used by many theatrical companies before the dedicated theatres began to spring up - and others were shadowy establishments where drinking and gambling habitually went on and prostitutes openly plied their trade, much to the disgust of local residents and the city fathers.

The Swan, one of many bustling theatres on Bankside in the Tudor era

The south bank of the Thames, particularly in the Southwark region of Bankside, was the most popular with visitors to the city in the later Tudor era. That was where old London Bridge stood, its narrow gate opening to allow a steady stream of vendors, city workers and tourists back and forth across the bridge during daylight hours. The only other mode of transportation across the broad dirty river - the Thames was much wider in Tudor times than today - was in a boat. Bankside in the late Tudor and early Jacobean eras was among the busiest areas on the river, especially on feast or holy days when there might be a play or bear-baiting to see, beyond the reach of the conservative laws of the city fathers.

So where might you go for a drink or a bite to eat in busy, disreputable Southwark with its many inns and brothels? The choice was almost limitless, depending on the depth of your pocket, with the names of the establishments both traditional and fanciful to suit every taste.

Here are a few names of Southwark inns in the mid-late Tudor era, some of which I reference in my forthcoming novel His Dark Lady:

The Dolphin
The Swan with Two Necks
The Green Dragon
The Saracen's Head
The Salutation
The Blue Maid
The White Cock on the Hoop
The Axe
The Goat
The Tabard

"In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay": Chaucer's General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales

This last one, The Tabard, was a very old and famous inn even in Shakespeare's day. Referenced by Chaucer, it stood at the end of Long Southwark, just before St Margaret's Hill, and welcomed visitors travelling towards the capital from the south - or vice versa, in the case of Chaucer's pilgrims. Its name was later changed to the Talbot, before the rickety old building was finally demolished in 1876. By then it must have seen many thousands of customers spending the night under its well-known roof - charged at perhaps six shillings a night - drinking ale at its counters or consuming a bowl of hot beef and carrots on their way in and out of London.

If you could not afford a sit-down meal, or had to eat on the hoof - literally! - London's tireless hawkers were always working the streets with a generous array of stewed or fresh fruit, chestnuts and hazelnuts roasting on braziers, various types of cooked fish and shellfish, and of course the kind of hot greasy takeaway food you might expect to find there today, though without a global franchise behind it.

For the better class of merchant or city-worker, there were more elegant taverns to be found in the commercial areas north of the river. Some perennially popular areas with the well-heeled visitor, such as Covent Garden, had busier and more impressive premises which sometimes got into trouble with residential neighbours for spilling out noisy customers late at night. There a wealthy man could hire a large private room for a party, or demand a more intimate space for a discreet dinner with his latest mistress.

London then, even in Tudor times, was a city of great variety, especially in terms of its eating places and watering holes. Whether you were a poor man looking for a quick bite to eat in your daily search for work, or an important merchant wishing to impress your clients or entertain a courtesan behind your wife's back, London had the perfect spot for you. Which perhaps indicates how little times have changed.

You can read more about the changing times of this amazing city in London: The Illustrated History by Cathy Ross and John Clark (Penguin Books).

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Queen's Secret enters the Fiction Heatseekers' chart

I'm delighted to announce that The Queen's Secret has entered the Fiction Heatseekers' chart at The Bookseller today at number 14.

This is so exciting, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see my debut historical there.

Doing a little jig around my desk!

A massive thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of The Queen's Secret and helped me get there. You are all lovely, lovely people!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Goodreads Giveaway!

If you haven't yet snaffled a copy of The Queen's Secret in paperback, there's a Giveaway on Goodreads right now.

If you're a member of Goodreads, just visit the site and click Enter to be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the brand-new paperback edition.

I'm afraid this competition is only open to those in the United Kingdom, which is the publishers' decision. But if you're based outside the UK, never fear, I'll be running another giveaway on this blog next week which will be open internationally.

While on Goodreads, why not also browse the reviews for my teen paranormal romance Witchstruck?

Friday, 5 October 2012

Marlow FM Interview

I'm doing a radio interview on Marlow FM this morning, on their lively chat programme Mid Morning Matters.

Today the theme is Books, so I'll be discussing the recent paperback publication of The Queen's Secret, a Tudor court novel, and also my teen paranormal romance, Witchstruck.

For those who'd like to listen in, Marlow FM has a facility for this.

After the interview, I'll be dashing off to the Society of Authors local Chapter meeting in Falmouth for lunch and a talk. The Greenbank Hotel where they meet looks lovely!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Photo Competition: The Queen's Secret

Here's a fun little October 2012 competition for you.

If while out and about with your smart phone, you spot a copy of The Queen's Secret on a shop display or shelf, here's what to do. Snap a photo and email, tweet or Facebook tag it to me, letting me know where you saw it if possible.

3 randomly selected winners on November 1st will receive a GOODY BAG to include free books and other superbly interesting but as yet undecided items, plus a Thank You card from me.

Email: victoria.lamb44 AT or

Twitter: @VictoriaLamb1

Facebook: Victoria Lamb Author

The Queen's Secret is currently in Asda, Tesco, some branches of Waterstones and some independent retailers. Selected photos will be published on the blog - so include yourself in the photo if you fancy that!