Sunday, June 26, 2016

Plantagenets, Tudors, & Self-Sacrifice

I am at Annie Whitehead's blog, Casting Light upon the Shadow, today where she has interviewed me about my writing, how I choose the topics of my books, and history that is better than fiction. Join us!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book and Event News

It has been one week since the release of Faithful Traitor, and I am happy to report that Margaret is doing quite well for herself. In Amazon's Biographical Fiction category, Faithful Traitor has been in the Top 10 since its release in the UK and has bounced around the Top 50 in the US. Amazon US also posts a Hot New Releases list, which Margaret has proudly been a part of in the Top 5.

So, thank you to all of you who have made this possible!

Being an independent writer has some great advantages, such as the fact that I completed my book release while on a family vacation in another country. I don't believe there are many jobs that allow you that kind of freedom on major projects! So, again, thank you for supporting me and my writing.

If you are reading Faithful Traitor right now, I can't wait to hear what you think of it. Leave a link to your review in the comments below. Here are a few amazing reviews have already come in:
Rebecca Hill on Goodreads
Troy's Blog on Booklikes
First Amazon UK Review
First Amazon US Review

My next author event is in just a few days! If you are in the Jackson, Michigan area, come and visit me at the Book Cottage between 3-5pm on Friday, June 24th. Pick up a shiny new signed copy of any of my books while you're there.

Out of the area but want signed copies? You can always contact me using the form at the right side of this page to receive paperbacks directly from me (I invoice through PayPal). All orders include my fancy new bookmarks as well. :-D

Again, thanks to all who read my blog, buy my books, and write reviews. I couldn't do it without you, so you deserve a little bit of input. What topic would you like for me to blog about in upcoming posts?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Writing about Historical Figures

I am excited to be a guest at Bernicia Chronicles, the blog of author Matthew Harffy. He asked me to write about five things I have learned (or he would say 'learnt' because he is fabulously British) in the course of writing. I decided to talk about the pros and cons of including real historical people within a fictional story. Since my books feature people who really lived, there are advantages and disadvantages to writing about them. Read more on Matthew's blog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Faithful Traitor: Available Now!

Today is the day! Faithful Traitor is available on Kindle and paperback worldwide through Amazon. If you are one of the hundreds (!) of people who pre-ordered it, you have already woken up to it greeting you on your Kindle.

I cannot thank you all enough for your support of my work. Being an independent author means that I am a writer, researcher, editor, publisher, marketer.....sometimes it is a little overwhelming. However, it is days like these, when I am lovingly gazing at a box filled with copies of my new novel, that it is all worth it.

Before I was done with Elizabeth's story in Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen, I knew that I was going to have to write about Margaret next. I hope that you will all agree that her life is a wild ride on fortune's wheel that deserves telling. Continue the story of the Plantagenet remnant in Tudor times with Faithful Traitor.

Margaret Pole is no stranger to fortune's wheel.
From her childhood as firstborn of the heir apparent of England, she was brought low
as the daughter of a traitor. After years of turmoil as the Tudor dynasty made its roots,
Margaret finds favor with her cousin, King Henry VIII. 

Will the remnant of the York dynasty thrive under this tempestuous king
or will Margaret discover that there is a price to pay for having an excess of royal blood?

Samantha Wilcoxson is the author of Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen.
This retelling of the life of Elizabeth of York has been recognized as an Editors’ Choice by the
Historical Novel Society and is an Amazon best seller in biographical fiction.

Step into Tudor England….

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Jane Grey: Lady or Queen?

Lady Jane Grey
NPG D21393
A recent post of mine brought questions to the forefront regarding Lady Jane Grey's status as a Tudor queen. I included her in my list of monarchs but noted that she is not always included in others. This list, for example, mentions her only parenthetically. Jane is referred to as a ruler by Royal.UK, but is still listed by the name Lady Jane Grey. In fact, we most commonly refer to her as Lady Jane Grey rather than Queen Jane.

Why is that? She had not had a coronation, but there are other examples of monarchs who have been accepted as such despite the lack of this ceremony. Edward V is a notable example quite close to Jane's time. Little Edward is never left out of discussions of England's kings though he ruled even less than his distant cousin Jane did.

Jane was proclaimed and deposed with lightening speed, causing some to refer to her as an unsuccessful usurper rather than a legal queen. Yet she had been accepted by Edward VI's council. They called her before them on July 9, 1553, three days after Edward's death, to inform her that she was her cousin's choice of successor.

On July 10, 1553, Jane was proclaimed queen by her father-in-law, John Dudley duke of Northumberland. Thinking this family affair was neatly wrapped up, they did not count on the bold actions of Mary Tudor. It took only nine days for Mary to proclaim herself queen and defeat the poor resistance put forward by Northumberland on Jane's behalf. Jane was officially deposed on July 19th, causing her to become known throughout history as the Nine Day Queen.

Edward VI's
Devise for the Succession
Edward's Devise for the Succession may have been his will as king, but it was not the law of the land. His father, Henry VIII, had implemented a series of laws that secured the line of succession well beyond his own death. Henry's Third Act of Succession was accepted during the Parliament of 1543/44, reestablishing both Mary and Elizabeth as heirs after their younger half-brother. The Treason Act of 1547 further established this law by making it high treason for anyone, including Edward VI, to interrupt this line of succession. Henry's will again confirmed his desire for these laws to be followed. Both Henry's will and Edward's bypassed Jane's mother Frances in the succession.

The misunderstanding that often takes place is that Henry's will simply took supremacy over that of Edward. That is an oversimplification, however. It was not only Henry's will that created the legal line of succession, it was Parliamentary law. Had Edward acted upon his desire to name Jane as his heir earlier and had time to pass laws to counter those of his father, there is a chance that Jane may have enjoyed a long and happy reign. Simply putting his requests within his will was not enough.

 Queen Mary I
NPG 428
Had the laws been changed, there is still no guarantee that Mary would have been content to let Jane rule. Mary had been raised to rule and had been crushed when her father changed his mind and made her a bastard. Though she had been willing to accept her brother's place above her own, there is no indication that she questioned her own right over Jane's.

So, was Jane a queen? Again, I say yes, and technically I believe I am correct. She was proclaimed and acted as queen officially for nine days. However, history seems to have relegated her to always being simply a Lady, which I suppose is better than the title of usurper.

Read more about Mary and Jane in Queen of Martyrs.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Why Margaret Pole?

I am a guest blogger at The Writing Desk today talking about why I decided to write about Margaret Pole. Her story, Faithful Traitor, is coming out in 10 short days! You can pre-order it to wake up to it on your Kindle on June 14th. Paperbacks will be available the same day. Thank you to everyone who has already ordered! For signed copies, please email me.

Thank you to Tony Riches for welcoming me to his blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Success of the Usurper: Guest Post by Barbara Gaskell Denvil

Today's post is by fellow author Barbara Gaskell Denvil. I am proud to report that we are kindred spirits, passionate about the Plantagenet dynasty and how it crumbled into the Tudor dynasty. In celebration of her new book released TODAY, she is here discussing history's successful usurpers. Welcome, Barbara!

The Success of the Usurper by Barbara Gaskell Denvil

For some years I have set my novels in the last years of Plantagenet reign, or the first years of the Tudor dynasty.

William the Conqueror
Many authors of historical fiction prefer to set their books in the Georgian or Regency periods, but tor me the Plantagenet dynasty was one of the most interesting and longest lasting that has ever ruled in England. Both Plantagenet and Tudor dynasties included amazing figures of mystery, fear and tyranny. Indeed, both dynasties were founded on blatant usurpation. William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, invaded England and won the throne in 1066. Thus the Plantagenet dynasty was born in murder and brutality.

William’s claims were never valid. Whether or not his story of promises were true, at that time the English throne was never given by right to the man arbitrarily named by the previous king. The English had a different system and chose the man of noble blood whom they considered best suited. Therefore the Plantagenet dynasty had no initial right to rule England, but of course William claimed that by right of conquest. And so William I was followed by many kings of murderous ambition, great renown, courage, responsibility, honest endeavour, and violent determination.

Henry Tudor
The same occurred with the Tudors. Henry VII had no right whatsoever to the English throne. He had barely a single drop of English royal blood. It has sometimes been claimed that he was the true claimant of the Lancaster line (begun earlier by Henry IV, including Henry V, and Henry VI before the Yorkists once again claimed the crown) but even that is inaccurate. Henry VII was descended from a bastard line and barred from the royal inheritance, but even if that major difficulty was ignored, his claim was still only about the 15th in the Lancastrian line of descent.

Just like William the Bastard, Henry Tudor invaded England with a largely foreign army, and won the English throne by right of conquest. A usurper indeed, but he founded a dynasty of renown including some of the most interesting and fearful of sovereigns. For lovers of English history, it is often the Tudor period that fascinates the most. In those years of the Tudor family monarchy came the first two queens who ever ruled in their own right. A distinct lack of offspring brought the dynasty to an abrupt close, but not until they had sealed their names in history – written in blood.

Amongst the Plantagenets, many kings have gained a terrible and fearsome reputation. However, some of those reputations seem rather suspect when carefully examined. Indeed, there were different expectations in those times and a king had to be a great warrior, do great deeds and win the awe and admiration of his people. Brutality was common, executions were rife and poverty was the common order. It is hard to judge past actions and characters by modern standards.

Most of my historical novels are set during the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III. This was a controversial time, and has become even more controversial since experts argue over the rights and wrongs of York against Lancaster, the Wars of the Roses, and in particular regarding the guilt or innocence of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III. After many years of studious and careful research, I consider Richard III an interesting figure who had too little time to prove himself. I believe that he was no usurper, and was probably innocent of most other accusations hurled against him. But that is the fascination of history for we cannot be positive. Contemporary evidence is scarce, and propaganda was rife.

But my new book, Fair Weather, is set during the reign of King John in the early 13th century. This was another king plastered with a terrible reputation, and many claim this to be unjust. But he is not a main character in my novel – which has a time-slip plot with an element of the paranormal. I adored writing this book for it combines the freedom and wild exciting escapism of time-travel – the dark threat of murder and alchemy – and the significant atmosphere of the early Plantagenet time period. I love wandering those dark narrow cobbled lanes in my dreams – exploring the markets – the taverns – and the villages. I follow the ordinary folk and I share their lives. So different to my own. London Bridge had only recently been built – one of the greatest stone bridges of the world at that time. And it plays a large part in my story. That’s where I shall go first when my new time-machine is delivered by Amazon right to my front door. In the meantime my novel Fair Weather is almost a time-machine in itself.

So whether you love or hate these old royal houses, it cannot be denied that they fashioned England until the early 1600s, and were families of charisma, colour and threat.

Connect with Barbara Gaskell Denvil

Born in England, I grew up amongst artists and authors and started writing at a young age. I published numerous short stories and articles, and worked as an editor, book critic and reader for publishers and television companies. I broke off my literary career to spend many hot and colourful years sailing the Mediterranean and living in various different countries throughout the region.

When my partner died I needed a place of solace and came to live in rural Australia where I still live amongst the parrots and wallabies, writing constantly, for my solace has now become my passion.
With a delight in medieval history dating back to my youth, I now principally set my fiction in medieval England. I also write fantasy, tending towards the dark. Within these two genres, I now write full time.