Well the last ten days have been fun, fun, fun, and crazy, and I don't know what else. Hence, the reason I am writing a post at four in the morning. (This effect could also be called: "Why Susie should not drink a medium latte at 9 PM").
A week ago, I had the fun of seeing my second novel, From the Charred Remains, out in the world. (From that day 'til now, I also had a class full of essays to grade, several big reports to write for work, a full-day faculty retreat to run, classes to teach, and a plenary on critical thinking to facilitate for 150 law professors, so to say my week was a bit nuts is a mild understatement.)
(*But work is work, and writing is writing, and ne'er the twain shall meet!)
In between, I frantically got one post out for Criminal Element, where I discuss "Crime-Solvers: Forensics of the Past." And, well, I am trying to finish book 3--The Masque of a Murderer--**which I promise, my dear editor Kelley, is nearly done. ***Gritting my teeth while smiling is about where I'm at these days.
But a quick recap of the last ten days in photos:
In a few hours, I will be taking the train down to Bethesda, for the Malice Domestic Conference. It's always so much fun to connect with other mystery lovers. I have a panel on Sunday, May 4, 2014 11:45-12:35, called "One Is Not Amused by Murder: Historical English Mysteries." I'm delighted to be on this panel with fellow historical mystery authors: Kate Parker, Sam Thomas, and Christine Trent. The moderator will be Donna Andrews.
And on Thursday, May 8 at 7 pm, I'll do a talk at ArrivaDolce, the coffee shop where I do a lot of my writing. Someone will win this coffee and book themed basket!
Hope to see you there!
*Disclaimer to work colleagues who might read my blog.
**Disclaimer to my editor and agent, who might read my blog.
***Disclaimer to my dentist, who might read my blog. Okay, now I'm getting the 4 a.m. loopies.
Today, I'm taking part in a "blog hop" celebrating the launch of Castles, Customs and Kings, a compilation of essays from the English Historical Fiction Authors blog. If you go to the blog, you can enter for a chance to win a free copy!
"Read the history behind the fiction and discover the true tales surrounding England's castles, customs, and kings." --Official excerpt
I have a piece in here about the political activities of Quaker women, who spent a lot of time speaking against the King.
But today, since a number of bloggers are discussing palaces and castles, I thought I would write about my personal experience living near the ruins of Winchester Palace in London.
When I was a pirate serving aboard the Golden Hinde, the museum replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship dry-docked in the Thames--(okay, I was a tour guide or 'living history interpreter')--I spent a lot of time gazing at the ruins of Winchester Palace.
Located in Southwark, near Shakespeare's Globe, the Clink and the Anchor (most fun pub in London), the ruins of the 13th century Winchester Palace loom incongruously from a modern parking garage (Car park!)
Not to be confused with the more illustrious Winchester Castle--or Winchester Cathedral, as many a dismayed tourist has done—Winchester Palace was founded by Bishop Henry de Blois, brother of King Stephen, in the early 13th century. It was designed to serve as a place for visiting bishops to stay when they journeyed to London.
According to the English Heritage website, the Palace once consisted of a Great Hall, which led to a buttery, pantry and kitchen. In its late medieval heyday, the Palace had been a site of great spectacle, feasts and grand dinners, even have hosted the wedding dinner of James I of Scotland and Joan Beauford in 1424.
The majestic qualities of the palace are suggested by the presence of a rose window, a common feature of more lavish churches and palaces built in this time. There is also evidence that the palace had a tennis court, bowling alley and pleasure gardens, to keep the bishops entertained while on royal and administrative business.
Underneath the hall was a vaulted wine cellar, no doubt full of great vats and bottles to keep the bishops and their guests merry. There was also a passageway to the river wharf along the south bank of the Thames, to bring supplies into the Palace.
The palace seems to have been surrounded around two courtyards, a brew-house and butchery. The Clink prison, under the auspices of the Bishop of Winchester, was also nearby. (Yes, this is where we get the phrase being ‘thrown in the clink.’)
After the Reformation and King Henry VIII’s dissolution of many church properties, the palace changed its purpose. By the 17th century it was divided into tenements and warehouses. In the 19th century, much of the palace was destroyed in a fire in 1814. The ruins remained in disrepair until the 1980s when the area began to be redeveloped. Now only the bare remains and beautiful rose window suggest the former grandeur of the Palace.
When I used to lead school children on tours of the ship, we’d often pause by the Palace ruins. There, I couldn’t help but whisper about the mysterious happenings the Golden Hinde crew had all witnessed during our long moonlit stints on ship watch...
A shadow moving slowly through the grounds, when the source of the movement could not be detected.... A flock of black birds, arrayed in a perfect circle, as if convened at a great table.... And most odd of all: one night, our whole crew heard the strands of a madrigal being sung from deep within the ruins...By the time one of us mustered up the courage to peer over the guardrail, the unknown singers had vanished. To this day, I sometimes wonder who those anonymous singers were...
But that's the intriguing romance and mystery of the ruins of Winchester Palace....
I'm so excited to announce...
Fifteen copies of A Murder at Rosamund's Gate are being given away on Goodreads!
Contest runs Nov. 20-Dec. 14, 2012.
(All of a sudden I wish I had a really cool tagline like 'May the odds be ever in your favor.' But I don't, so good luck and thank you!)
Historian. Mystery writer. Researcher. Teacher. Occasional blogger.