Thursday, 28 February 2013

His Dark Lady: UK publication day!

Browse His Dark Lady on Amazon.

Shake out the streamers, put on your party hats! The long-awaited day has finally arrived!

His Dark Lady, the sequel to The Queen's Secret, is being published today in the UK. It seems like forever since I wrote it, though in truth it's only just over a year. So much happened in 2012 ...

I know many people who read the first book have been very excited to find out what happens next to Lucy Morgan, who is now lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth herself. So the wait is over, the book is out, now's your chance to find out!

When young, aspiring playwright William Shakespeare encounters Lucy Morgan, one of Queen Elizabeth I's ladies-in-waiting, the two fall passionately in love. He declares Lucy the inspiration for his work, but what secret is Will hiding from his muse?

Meanwhile, Lucy has her own secret - and one that could destroy her world if exposed. No longer the chaste maid so valued by the Virgin Queen, she also bore witness to the clandestine wedding of Lettice Knollys and Robert Dudley, a match forbidden by the monarch.

England is in peril. Queen Elizabeth's health is deteriorating, her throne under siege from Catholic plotters and threats of war with Spain. Faced with deciding the fate of her long-term prisoner, Mary, Queen of Scots, she needs a trusted circle of advisors around her now more than ever. But who can she turn to when those closest to her have proved disloyal?

And how secure is Lucy's position at court, now that she has learned the dangerous art of keeping secrets?

Find out more about His Dark Lady at Amazon or Random House: you can also buy the book in various formats on both these sites.

Watch out on this blog over the next few days for Giveaways and launch posts. There's a blog tour in hand too. And competition books signed by yours truly.

It's all happening!


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Witchstruck wins at the RoNAs!

This is just to let you know that my novel Witchstruck won the Young Adult Romantic Novel of the Year Award last night in London's Piccadilly.

Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley (pictured here) handed out the awards.

If I stuttered and blubbed a bit at the podium, I should probably be forgiven. I hadn't expected to win and couldn't quite believe it. It was a truly overwhelming moment.

The marvellous Richard and Judy, with all the winning novelists!

Without my wonderful agent Luigi Bonomi and his wife Alison, and my lovely editor Lauren Buckland at Random House Children's Books, I would not have been standing there, accepting such an award. Publishing a book is a team effort, and I owe them all a great debt of gratitude.

Thanks also to Emma Buckley, my editor at Transworld, who was also there last night and took the marvellous photograph of me at the top.

Here's the winning book: Witchstruck.

Read more about Witchstruck on Amazon.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Off to London for the RoNAs!

Tomorrow will see the 2013 award ceremony for the RoNAs take place in Piccadilly, London: these are annual awards for writers, administered by the Romantic Novelists Association.

My novel Witchstruck has been shortlisted in the Young Adult Romantic Novel of the Year category, so I am heading into London a day earlier - to do some research for my next book, and also to visit the shops, ho hum!

The biggest thrill of the event, of course, will be seeing Judy and Richard Madeley in the flesh, who are handing out the awards to the lucky winners in each category.

Wish me luck!


Saturday, 23 February 2013

His Dark Lady: blog tour dates

Publication date for my Tudor Court novel His Dark Lady: Thursday Feb. 28th
His Dark Lady will be published in a few days' time. Which I'm thrilled about!

Between now and publication day are the 2013 RoNA awards in London - my novel Witchstruck is shortlisted for Young Adult Romantic Novel of the Year - so I'll be back from the big smoke in a few days with more details on this forthcoming blog tour.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Jangles examines His Dark Lady

Author copies of His Dark Lady arrived today, and were passed by quality control officer Jangles. Publication day: Thursday 28th!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Queen's Secret US edition: beautiful cover!

Browse The Queen's Secret on Amazon
I was thrilled yesterday to receive a package from New York: advance copies of the US edition of The Queen's Secret: a novel of the Tudor Court.

This is being published by Berkley, Penguin USA, and I have high hopes of building a new Tudor readership in the States with this stunningly beautiful book. The majority of readers of this blog are from the US, which indicates a high level of interest in my Tudor series already.

This edition of The Queen's Secret is a pleasure to hold; not just lavish and rich images on the front and back covers, but a lovely feel to the paperback itself. The inside print is also very clear and clean. A real treasure of a book!

July, 1575: Elizabeth I, Queen of England, arrives at Kenilworth Castle—home of Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. Leicester, who has long had ambitions to marry the Queen, knows this may be his very last chance to persuade her to marry him. Toward this end, the hopeful earl has organized a lavish week of music, dancing, and fireworks.

Despite his attachment to the Queen and his driving ambition to be her King, Leicester is unable to resist the seductive wiles of Lettice, wife of the Earl of Essex—and the queen’s own cousin. Soon whispers of their relationship start spreading through the court. Enraged by their growing intimacy, Elizabeth employs Lucy Morgan, a young African singer and court entertainer, to spy on the adulterous lovers.

But Lucy, who was raised by a spy in London, uncovers far more than she bargains for. For someone at Kenilworth is plotting to kill the queen. No longer able to tell friend from foe, it is soon not only the queen who is in mortal danger—but Lucy herself…

Read more about The Queen's Secret at the Penguin USA site.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Guest Blogger: Jo Cotterill

Today I'm delighted to welcome my first guest to this blog, Jo Cotterill, author of 'Model Behaviour' in the Sweet Hearts series, and fellow nominee on this year's RoNA shortlist for Young Adult Romantic Novel of the Year.

Over to you, Jo!

See Model Behaviour on Amazon

An Award? Moi? Oh well, if you insist…
When you write books, you hope someone will read them. In fact, you hope a lot of people will read them, so that you can keep on writing more books. But authors are greedy (and I speak personally here): we want everything. We want the big sales figures, we want reviews in major newspapers – and we want awards. I’m only being honest. I can’t think of a single author who would go, ‘An award? For me? You know, I’m all right – I’ll pass…’
Which is why I’m soooo made up to be on the shortlist for the YA Romantic Novel of the Year Award. And to be honest again, my excitement is based almost entirely on the fact that I Will Be Going To An Awards Ceremony. It’s described as a ‘glittering reception’. Oh yes please! And the awards are being presented by Richard and Judy! I never watched Richard and Judy, but that’s not the point. They’re famous people! Famous people my mother has heard of!
I’ve been to a couple of awards ceremonies before. But I wasn’t nominated – I was there as a ‘local author’. The one awards ceremony I was invited to as a shortlisted author was back in 2008 and I was nine months pregnant and couldn’t travel. So you can see how overly thrilled I am about this one.
I am not expecting to win. No, honestly – I know everyone says that. But I’m not. My book is aimed at slightly younger readers than the others on the shortlist and it possibly doesn’t have the sophistication the judges might be looking for. Plus I’ve been reading some of the other books on the shortlist (including Victoria ’s wonderful Witchstruck!) and they’re Really Good. I am just delighted to be on the shortlist at all.
I’m hoping that I don’t go down with flu, or break my leg, or find that all trains to London have been cancelled on the day of the ceremony. If necessary, I shall walk with a crutch all 60-odd miles. Hmm. Well, maybe not. But I would be GUTTED if something made me miss it!
So here’s to awards, glittering receptions (what does that mean, anyway? Is everything sparkly?) and Richard and Judy. And here’s hoping that Victoria and I make it unharmed to the ceremony and have a Really Good Time. Hurrah!

Thanks, Jo, and good luck!


Jo’s book, Model Behaviour (part of the Sweet Hearts series), is available from Amazon and is suitable for girls aged 9-13. You can read more about the Sweet Hearts series at

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Lady Literary Lunch in Piccadilly

His Dark Lady, out Feb 2013

I'm delighted to be talking at the next Lady Literary Lunch in Piccadilly with fellow authors Deborah Moggach and Henry Hitchings. The lunch takes place on March 19th, and the £85 price includes a glamorous champagne reception, three course meal with half a bottle of wine, tea and coffee - plus a marvellous Goody Bag, containing books signed by the authors.

Each literary guest does a short talk between courses. For my talk, I'll be discussing how I researched and wrote my brand-new Tudor novel, His Dark Lady, which is set largely in Elizabethan London and follows the ongoing story of the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets which began in The Queen's Secret.

Before and after lunch, I'll be delighted to chat with any readers who have further questions. And if you have a copy of The Queen's Secret or Witchstruck to bring along, I'd be happy to sign that too!

If interested in joining me, you can see further details at The Lady website.