Wednesday, 18 June 2014

My Lucky Seven entry.

I've been tagged by Linda Root in the #Lucky sevens game.
The rules are simple: Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript and go to line 7, post the next 7 or so sentences - as they are and tag 7 people to do the same. Click on the link with Linda's name to see his post. I now tag Stephanie Moore Hopkins Prue Batten Barbara Kyle Caroline Storer Paul Jennings Judith Barrow Jan Ruth

This is from Intractable Heart when Katheryn Parr, recently widowed and intent on remarrying her sweetheart, Thomas Seymour, receives an unexpected and unwelcome offer from the king.
Oh God. I had not foreseen this. The thought of being his mistress was bad enough, but then at least he would have tired of me, cast me off and left me free to marry Thomas. As queen I will lose Thomas forever and once more my life will not be my own. In fact, married to the king, I may find my life cut very short.
The king is still gripping my hand expectantly. I look up at him. His huge moon-like face is inches from mine, his foul breath tickling my cheek. I open my mouth and close it again, swallow mucus from my throat.
“It is an honour I have never dreamed of…”
“Is that a yes?” His grip tightens; his other arm slides about my waist. A despairing laugh escapes me as I realise I am lost.
“I suppose it is, Your Majesty. Yes.”
“Oh! Wonderful! And I am Henry, call me Henry.”
Before I have come to terms with what becoming his wife will mean, he drags me into his arms, engulfs my mouth with his so I cannot breathe, and I swoon in the arms of the king.

Intractable Heart is available from Amazon  in paperback and on Kindle or direct from the publisher.  Click here for


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Raglan Castle Tudor Weekend - A Review

Raglan from the top of the tower

On our return from Raglan Castle's Tudor Weekend I wanted to sit down straight away and blog about the fabulous time we had but life got in the way and I am a little behind. After a busy couple of weeks promoting my latest novel Intractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr at last I have a spare few moments.

Me - shamefully cross laced
Two weeks ago my old fella and I got into our Tudor best and took a trip to Raglan Castle to sell books, meet the public and generally have a lot of fun. The weather for once was perfect, dry, not too hot, not too cold and the company was great. 
A family group
Neither of us had done this before and had no idea what to expect. Sometimes when you enter a new social arena you can feel out of place, not one of the crowd, a little gauche, but there was none of that at Raglan. As soon as we arrived on site we were given a lovely welcome from custodian Jane Mcilquham who quickly introduced us to the others. And what a lovely bunch they are.

Jane Mcilquham - custodian
There were various stalls and a medieval style bar, The Stagger Inn, plenty of refreshments on offer.
Under the banner of the White Boar
We decked our gazebo in medieval bunting and set out our wares right next to Henry VIII who, just as Henry liked to do, sometimes masqueraded as Minstrel Tom, entertaining the crowd with his music. 
Nathen Amin signing copies of his book
On our other side was Nathen Amin, signing copies of his guide book Tudor Wales which, as the title suggests, lists all the Tudor attractions in Wales.  Also nearby was photographer, Louise Burrows with a selection of her lovely photographs and cards, and Marion Davies who is better known as Mistress Grott was selling cures and curiosities. I bought a stick weaving kit and am now embarked on yet another handicraft.

A fair maiden
Raglan Castle is truly splendid; a proud building even now after years of wars and neglect, and the splendour was enhanced by the presence of two re-enactment groups, The Armourial Knights and the Beaufort Companye who staged some stunning events. 

Courtly love comes to Raglan
The costumes and attention to detail of both communities is unsurpassed, their camps acting as a portal to another time and place. I saw people of all ages, from small children to elderly women, and all were wearing authentic costume, embellishing the whole event and turning the day into an ‘experience.’ 

King Richard III waiting for the battle
Walking with my camera I came upon a company of knights on their way to Bosworth Field and I felt I was in a setting from one of my novels. I am very certain that many of the characters and scenes I saw at Raglan will be resurrected and used in my future work.

A family group
There was plenty of scope. I saw a mock execution, a re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth, listened to a talk by historian Emma Knight on Anne Boleyn. There was falconry, spinning displays, a Tudor trail for the kids to educate them subliminally as they move around the castle, helping them learn the fun way. 

Henry VIII figuring out how to put on his own hat
I met several of my heroes and a good few foes; Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII, The Stanleys … for me it was seventh heaven.

Richard - still waiting
I am a retiring sort of person and I went to Raglan with some reservation but I will not hesitate to go again. It was brilliant to meet my readers face to face and hear their enthusiastic feedback for my work. Next time, if you can't find me signing my novels, The Kiss of the Concubine, Intractable Heart, and The Winchester Goose, I will be somewhere in the crowd feasting on Welsh cakes and soaking up the atmosphere. 
Hope to see you there.
A gathering
 Judith Arnopp is the author of six historical novels. 
Click here to read more about her work.