I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by, but when I stop to think about everything that’s happened in it, it’s no wonder! I’d like to thank those of you who have supported me and The Seventeenth Century Lady since the beginning in 2011 – and to those who have recently started looking at this site – thank you for being here.
HIS LAST MISTRESS
I started the year off in America, where I was visiting my mom and sisters. I had no idea then what the year would hold for me. As soon as I returned home to England in February, I was contacted by Endeavour Press and they commissioned my biographical fiction novella, His Last Mistress: The Duke of Monmouth & Lady Henrietta Wentworth. I worked on that for about 18 hours every day for three months. Whilst it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea (because of a certain true gruesome execution scene), it was more popular than I could ever have hoped for. As of this moment, it has been downloaded well over 10,000 times throughout the world (!) …
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IN MONMOUTH’S FOOTSTEPS
During my research phase for His Last Mistress, my in-law’s gave my husband a surprise mini-break in Somerset, which proved not only good for him, but an excellent location for me to do some hands-on research. We stayed at The Bower Inn in Bridgwater, and from our room we could see cows and farm equipment (I love farms!) and the gentle mooing was so lovely. I fell in love with Bridgwater, Taunton, Westonzoyland – I’d go back there in a heartbeat! During my time there, I was moved several times, and I’ll never forget that. When I was at the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor, I was all by myself, and it hit me, and I let myself weep for those who suffered and died in that hauntingly beautiful landscape. Writing HLM was an emotional experience for me, and I know from my readers that many cried at the end as well. My readers felt the sadness I felt as I wrote Monmouth and Henrietta’s story. It was such a tragedy, and I felt that with every step I took in Monmouth’s footsteps.
I was able to visit the whole of the various sites associated with the Battle of Naseby (one of the most important battles in British history) during the English Civil Wars.
Then was the event that I had been looking forward to for two years: English Heritage’s Festival of History, which this year was re-named History Live! It was great to see so many history enthusiasts in one place, and it was a joy to meet several of my fellow Twitterstorians. There was a good deal more 17th Century activities than in the 2010 event, and I particularly enjoyed the Cavalier arena event. I was fluttering my fan at that, let me tell you!
17th Century Masque at Banqueting House
I was invited to attend a Press Preview of the Masque at the Banqueting House. It was a particularly hot day, and there was a large military event happening just across the street at the time. Inside, I was able to learn a Baroque dance, wear several costumes, and chat with other people. It was wonderful and I promptly wrote my review about it.
I went to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich as part of a 17th century expert focus group discussion for future exhibitions (so I can’t tell you what we discussed!). Needless to say, it was such a memorable experience for me. I spent a good part of the day with my historian friend Sam, and we bought lunch from Greenwich Market and ate by the Thames (I highly recommend this!). After we parted, I visited The Queen’s House and the Old Royal Naval College, where I was finally able to see the splendour that is the Painted Hall. Oh, William and Mary!
Official Logo created
Orland Media created my official logo this year
Kensington Palace Garden History Tours
This was my third year straight of leading the tours at my favourite palace. I always have to pinch myself because it’s such a HUGE honour to be able to bring the history of the palace and gardens to life for visitors. I love it, and I hope I may continue to do this in the future.
PEGASUS MAGAZINE FEATURE
It felt like such an achievement to be recognised by my alma mater, the University of Central Florida, in Pegasus Magazine:
The Stuart Vampire
I then released my second book, The Stuart Vampire, on Halloween. I was thrilled to be able to write something completely out of my imagination, loosely based on Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester. It’s my nod at the classic gothic tales made popular during the early 18th century. Personally, I think it’s a better work than HLM, as I’m getting more and more experience as a writer. It’s available in eBook format only (at the moment).
The Lady’s eShoppe
As for 2014, I hope to bring you William & Mary finally, though I’m going to chop it up and revamp it (since I went through about a dozen rejections already). I am certain that the story is compelling, and I just have to find a literary agent who has the guts to take it on! 😉
I don’t know what this new year will have in store for me, but to quote a line from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s song “The Perfect Year”:
…if you’re with me, next year will be the perfect year.
Thank you for joining me during the past year…and Happy New Year! 🙂