MY UPCOMING BOOK TOUR FOR A KING’S RANSOM

A King's Ransom

A King

A King's Ransom

A King

I finally have a new blog up!   I’d begun to think I’d never do another one, for this has been a hectic month, dealing with the horrific winter weather and my (ugh) income taxes and research for the new book and reality, at least every now and then.   But I wanted to get this up before my book tour in case some of you might be able to attend one of my readings.   It is so much fun to be able to meet so many of my Facebook friends.
I am delighted to report that the first advance reviews for Ransom have been good, one from Booklist and one from Kirkus.   Would I have mentioned it had they been unfavorable?   I’m glad I was not put to the test.    Ransom will be published in the US and Canada on March 4th and on March 13th in the UK.  I believe the publication date Down Under is early March, too.
I confess to having ambivalent feelings about closing the circle with Ransom.  It is always exciting (and a bit worrisome) when a new book is published.  But I am not sure I am ready to let go of the Angevins.  For five books and nigh on twenty years, they’ve been my house guests, and I am going to miss them.   Richard will likely make a few appearances in the next book, Outremer—the Land Beyond the Sea, but I’m afraid I’ve said farewell to Henry, Eleanor, and the rest of their Devil’s Brood.  Well, Henry did manage to snare a scene in Ransom, and if I ever am able to resume my medieval mysteries, Eleanor will have some more time on center stage.   So I’ll definitely be motivated to revive Justin de Quincy’s career as the queen’s man.  Justin does appear in Ransom, though, along with his nemesis, Durand de Curzon; I’d promised Justin’s Facebook fan club that I’d let him infiltrate the action, and it was fun to have him riding out on missions for Eleanor again and sniping with Durand in his spare time.
Here is my itinerary for the book tour.

TUESDAY, MARCH 4th at 7 PM
Chester County Book Company
West Goshen Center
975 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA   19380

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5th at 7 PM
Barnes & Noble #2368
Market Fair
3535 US Highway 1
Princeton, NJ  08540

THURSDAY, MARCH 6th at 7 PM
Poisoned Pen
4014 N. Goldwater Blvd.  Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ   85251

FRIDAY, MARCH 7TH AT 6:30 PM
Murder by the Book
2342 Bissonett Street
Houston, Texas  77005

SATURDAY, MARCH 8th at 4 PM
Nicola’s Books
Westgate Shopping Center
2513 Jackson Road
Ann Arbor, Michigan  48103

MONDAY, MARCH 10th at 7 PM
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way, NE
Lake Forest Park Washington   98155

TUESDAY, MARCH 11th at 7 PM
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd
Beaverton, Oregon  9700

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12th at 6 PM
Book Passage—Ferry Building
1 Ferry Bldg Marketplace #42
San Francisco, California  94111
THURSDAY, MARCH 13th at 7 PM
Books, Inc.
855 El Camino Real  #74
Palo Alto, California  94301

This officially ends the book tour, but I will be at the Tucson Festival of Books on Saturday, March 15th and Sunday, March 16th.   http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/

We are planning another Richard III Tour this September, and I will post the details on my website and Facebook pages once everything comes together.   With luck, we might be able to visit Richard’s new resting place, assuming that a decision has been made by then whether Richard will be buried in Leicester or York.
This has been one of the worst winters on record, with severe droughts in California, unending snow and ice storms in the Midwest and Northeast and New England, even snow in the Deep South.  Conditions are even worse in the UK, for their storms have caused horrific flooding.  And my friends Down Under tell me they are enduring their hottest summer in decades.  So here’s hoping that Mother Nature shows us some mercy in the coming weeks.
February 15, 2014

147 Responses to “MY UPCOMING BOOK TOUR FOR A KING’S RANSOM”

  1. Jacqueline Baird Says:

    Dear Sharon, I am very soory you will not be coming anywhere near Virginia. Perhaps I’ll get to meet you one day, though. I do hope you will take care of yourself on this tour and not hurt your back again!! Glad to find out about Outremer! And of course Ransom will be published soon. I am like you, though; I hate to part with Henry, Richard, Eleanor and even John! You have made them feel like family to me. God bless and keep you safe.

  2. skpenman Says:

    Thanks, Jacqueline. I wish they’d send me to VA, too. Unfortunately, the writers get no say in where we go. -(

  3. Mary Borrelli Says:

    Challenging tour, Sharon but how exciting! It looks like Tucson will not be on your itinerary. However, the Ferry Building in San Francisco is one of my favorite places. I hope to see you there! Nice to know you will soon get a break from the East Coast winter.

  4. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Of course, I miss Geoffrey and Constance most of all.

  5. Susan Sanders Says:

    Yay! You will be super close to me in Beaverton! When Time and Chance came out I drove 7 other ladies up Past Seattle to see you and share my story of the battered copy of Here Be Dragons that looks like a bodice ripper but introduced Llewelyn and Joanna to so many people. I’m looking forward to seeing you again, and nw my friends from Washington get to come down this way:)

  6. cindy Says:

    Whew, when I saw the date for Poisoned Pen, my heart sank - I teach a class on Thursday nights. But you will be at the book fair in Tucson and I will so be there! Looking forward to seeing you again.

  7. Liz Ratcliffe Says:

    Bit bias that it’s all in the States, can’t you come over to the UK for a visit again and sign a few books in the process! Just remember to bring your wellies at the moment Sharon.

  8. Owen Mayo Says:

    Wish I could join you, but my wellies are having difficulty dealing with some of the flood water over here, let alone wading across the pond between the UK and America. I just want to wish you well for your tour. I hope it is a huge success.

  9. Sarah Brooks Says:

    The Angevins will still be with you in your new adventure, Sharon, only cousins! Fulk of Anjou had two families that became kings, England and Jerusalem. The descendants of Melusine will still keep you busy! :)

  10. Dayle Jacob Says:

    Sorry to see that I don’t think I will be able to make any of those locations. Mom (97) is coming here to stay at the beginning of March. At least we will have your books to keep us company! Best of luck on your tour! I love you!

  11. Carol Sinclair Says:

    I will try to make the 3/5 date but will be arriving at 10AM in Philadelphia on an overnight flight. Hoping I’m not to tired as I never sleep on planes!

    Devastating that you are deserting the Angevins they have so much more to offer :) However Outremer sounds wonderful as a new topic!

  12. Barbara Lively Says:

    I am sorry I won’t be able to meet you during your book your, Sharon. Although I grew up in AZ , I now live in western KY and will not be able to travel to any of the stated locations. Have a wonderful tour! I look forward to receiving Ransom in March…my birthday present to myself.

  13. Peggy Seery Says:

    Once again I mourn that when I lived in Philadelphia and Southeast Michigan, you weren’t there and I don’t think there are any independent bookstores in Ocala,FL. I will be in Chester County for my 50th College reunion in May, but you will have long migrated back to Jersey. I am thrilled that Ransom is being released and will be sure to pick up an early copy. Safe travels.

  14. Kathi Demaret Says:

    Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to meet you when you come to Palo Alto, Ca. That would be a dream ocme trye.

  15. Pat Jones Says:

    Just want to wish you good luck for your tour and best wishes from a wet and soggy Wales. Looking forward to my getting my copy of Ransom, but sad that’s the last of the Plantaganets. You could always tackle Owain Glyndwr if your lost for ideas. :)

  16. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, good luck for your Ransom tour. I wish I could leave somewhere in the US to meet you. On the occasions like this I’m considering selling my house and moving to the New World :-)

    P.S. I love the covers (especially the first one).

  17. skpenman Says:

    I’d love to meet you, Kasia. If only I could hit the lottery!

    Pat, I do hope to write about Owain Glyn Dwr, promised him I’d do his story too and he has been waiting patiently for over 20 years.

    February 17, 1461 was the date of the second battle of St Albans, in which the Earl of Warwick was soundly routed by the Lancastrians, who recovered poor hapless King Henry. What saved the hopes of the House of York was the victory two weeks earlier by Edward at Mortimer’s Cross. The soldiers had seen three suns in the sky before the battle (a phenomenon known as a parhelion) and the quick-thinking Edward calmed their fears by shouting out that the suns symbolized the Holy Trinity and meant victory would go to York. Not bad for a youth not yet nineteen. It was this victory that gave the Londoners the courage to refuse to allow Marguerite’s troops into the city; nor did it help her cause that her men had been plundering the English countryside like the Huns sacking Rome. When I went onto Wikipedia to verify the date of this battle, I found that the article mentions that this event was dramatized by William Shakespeare and by me in Sunne. Actually I did not dramatize it, having the story related to Cecily Neville by Will Hastings, but I thought it was sort of cool to be in the Bard’s company! Of course he was still wrong about Richard.
    And here is a fun video showing the rescue of two deer stranded out on a frozen lake. It will likely bring a smile to the faces of most people watching, it, but I couldn’t help thinking how baffled the medievals would have been by this. http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/02/13/gopro-deer-hovercraft-ice-rescue.gopro.html

  18. Joan Says:

    I am right now in the middle of Sunne, breathing it in, dreaming it, living with the characters. It’s too incredible that this is a debut novel. Magnificent!!!

  19. cindy Says:

    Mary Borrelli, she will be in Tucson, at the Tucson Festival of the Books on March 15!

  20. Veronica Meena Says:

    Sharon, I hope in due course you’ll do a book signing in the UK. I’m always looking for an excuse to hop over to London!

  21. skpenman Says:

    Even better, Veronica, would be if my British publisher sent me on a book tour of Ireland!

    “In Zanadu did Kubla Khan a sacred pleasure dome decree
    Where Alph, the sacred river ran,
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.”
    These are the opening lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, Kubla Khan. I am not sure why they are burned into my brain like this, but they are. The imagery is haunting, isn’t it? I mention it because February 18, 1294 is the date of death for Kubla Khan, the Mongol emperor who was the grandson of the more famous Genghis Khan, who was unfortunately played in a Hollywood film by John Wayne.
    February 18th is also the day in 1478 when the black sheep of the Yorkist family, George of Clarence, was privately put to death in the Tower, having been found guilty of treason. The legend that he was put to death in a vat of malmsey continues to flourish, probably because it is such a bizarre story.
    February 18, 1516 was the birthdate of Mary Tudor, also known as Bloody Mary. In light of the misery that lay ahead, it seems sad to me to think that this was probably a very happy day for Mary’s parents.
    And February 18th, 1885 was the date of publication of one of the greatest American novels, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

    I am jumping around chronologically in this entry for I am now going back to February 18, 1229, the date upon which Jerusalem was turned over by the Sultan of Egypt, al-Kamil, to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Jerusalem through his marriage to the young and tragic Queen of Jerusalem, Isabella II. This was one of history’s more improbable occurrences, for the surrender of Jerusalem was done through negotiations, not a war, and Frederick was excommunicated at the time, in the midst of one of his on-going feuds with the Pope. The Saracens retained control of the Temple, the Dome of the Rock, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, and Muslim residents were permitted to remain in the city despite its transfer to Christian control. The treaty signed by Frederick and al-Kamil was for ten years and at the expiration in 1239, the city reverted back to the Muslims. What I find interesting is that the participants were all related to people I wrote about in Lionheart and Ransom. Al-Kamil was the son of al-Malik al-Adil, Saladin’s brother, who became surprisingly friendly with Richard during the Third Crusade. Frederick was the son of Constance de Hauteville and Heinrich von Hohenstaufen, both of whom are featured in Ransom. And his sad little queen, Isabella II, was the granddaughter of the Isabella in Lionheart who wed Henri, Count of Champagne, Richard’s nephew.

    I have had good-natured arguments with a dear friend about Frederick, for she finds him much more alluring than I do. I think he was probably a genius and certainly colorful, but he treated the women in his life badly, with the possible exception of his first wife, who was some years older than he. He kept them secluded in his Sicilian harem, and this must have been a shock for his English consort, Isabella, the sister of King Henry III and daughter of King John; she was not even allowed to attend the reception he held in honor of her brother, Richard, the Earl of Cornwell, during a state visit. She was married to Frederick for six years, dying in childbirth at age twenty-seven, having given birth to at least four and possibly five children.
    The fate of little Isabella of Jerusalem was even sadder in my opinion. He wed her when she was thirteen and she wrote pitiful letters to her father, upset that Frederick was seducing her maids on their honeymoon. While it was not unusual for highborn women to be wed at young ages, the marriages were usually not consummated right away for very practical reasons; a young girl was more likely to have a difficult pregnancy, at greater risk of giving birth to a stillborn child or even dying herself, and few princes would want to risk the alliance or their future heirs. One of the few exceptions was Henry Tudor’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, who was wedded and bedded at twelve; she gave birth to Henry at thirteen and was never able to have another child. Frederick did not wait, bedded thirteen year old Isabella, who had a child the next year when she was fourteen. The baby, a girl, did not long survive. Isabella then became pregnant again, and this time she died in childbirth, after having given Frederick a son; she was all of sixteen. Ironically, her mother, Maria of Montferrat, had also died in childbed, giving birth to Isabella; she was twenty at the time.
    While there is no denying Frederick’s brilliance, his physical attractiveness was open to debate. One Italian chronicler said that “He was a handsome man, well-built but of medium stature.”
    From the Cronica of Salimbenethat But a Saracen chronicler penned a much more devastating description.
    “The Emperor was covered with red hair, was bald and myopic. Had he been a slave, he would not have fetched 200 dirhams at market.” From the Muntazam by Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi

  22. Brenna Says:

    Sharon-

    For the first time in the 3 times you have been on book tour, I will miss seeing you in Chester!! I have to be in D.C for two days and of course there are the two days you are on the East Coast!! Hope it all goes well and Mom and I will be there next time!

  23. Theresa Says:

    Loved that Saracen description of the Emperor Frederick. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be married to him. A lot of these royal women were treated very badly by their respective spouses.
    I am halfway through Lionheart, just finished the scene where Richard I was tempted to put his sword through the Bishop of Beauvais.

  24. Veronica Meena Says:

    That, of course, would be best of all!
    Re Mary Tudor, I often wonder what psychological damage she suffered when the marriage of her parents broke up, her mother was sent away from her and her father turned his back on her. Given that she was only 15 or 16 at the time, a vunerable age, she must have been very alone and frightened. Not that that condones what she did as Queen but her character may have been warped by what she had to endure in her teens.

  25. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Wow, Brenna, we really seem jinxed. But I am sure we’ll be able to connect eventually.
    I was tempted to put a sword through Beauvais, too, Theresa. Such a total jerk. And he gets even worse in Ransom.
    Veronica, I agree; I’ve always felt that Mary had to have been emotionally damaged by what she endured. I think Elizabeth was damaged, too, but she was a genius and a survivor. I feel some sympathy for Mary, despite all the blood on her hands, for she was as much her father’s victims as his unlucky wives.
    Today’s Facebook Note, not very medieval, though I did manage a mention of Eleanor and Cecily Neville.

    Nothing of medieval importance—ie, interest to me—on February 19th. It would have been my mother’s 102nd birthday, though—not that she would have wanted to live that long. While she remained mentally very sharp until her death at 87, her body was not as resilient as her brain and her last years were spent battling osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and CHF. I still marvel at Eleanor of Aquitaine and Cecily Neville; reaching 80 in the MA was a remarkable achievement, even if it did mean they buried too many children and died knowing that the fortunes of their Houses were in decline. We’ll never know, of course, but I suspect they both felt they’d lived too long.
    Here is a nice story about the heartening reception given to the young football player, Michael Sam, when he made an appearance at the Missouri–Tennessee game. Members of Westboro, that disgusting cult that pretends to be a church, were planning to picket Michael Sam and Missouri students formed a human barricade to keep them at a distance. We’ve discussed this hateful family here before. For those unfamiliar with them, they are most infamous for protesting at the funerals of slain soldiers, showing up with signs that say “God loves dead soldiers.” They are living proof that homophobia and sanity are mutually exclusive. They were once going to picket the funeral of a young soldier who was being buried at our local military cemetery and several Veterans’ groups were planning to attend to make sure they did not get near the grieving family. But a sudden snowstorm hit, stranding them in Chicago.
    http://collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/15/michael-sam-appears-at-halftime-of-missouri-tennessee-video/related/

    And here are some remarkable stories of dogs being pulled from icy waters by some incredibly brave rescuers. Be sure to watch the video of the MA firefighters rescuing a dog from the Charles River—awesome! But then firefighters are everyday heroes, too.
    http://www.care2.com/causes/dogs-in-frozen-peril-4-amazing-river-rescues-by-heroes-who-cared.html?page=1

  26. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I love your note about Frederick. I have found Salimbene’s full description of the emperor in a wonderful book “The Tower Menagerie” (highly recommendable), for it was “stupor mundi” who started the famous British royal collection of exotic animals by giving three lions to his brother-in-law, Henry III of England.

    On a Polish note, happy birthday to the man who stopped the Sun and moved the Earth, Mikołaj Kopernik [Nicolaus Copernicus], born in Toruń (the then Royal Prussia, German-speaking region of the Kingdom of Poland) on this day in 1473, exactly 541 years ago.We all know what his heliocentric revolution meant to the history of science and mankind, but I think we will never be able to imagine what outstending courage it must have required to let such a revolutionary theory come to light. Kopernik had many admirers and followers, but also, quite predictably, did not avoid harsh critism. In one of his letters the renown humanist and the co-operator of Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, wrote:

    “Some people think it quite a feat, but actually what this Sarmatian astronomer did is sheer madness”

  27. Theresa Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if Henry VIII would have treated Katherine and Mary differently if his wife had agreed to a divorce from the outset. Maybe he wouldn’t have executed Bishop Fisher, Sir Thomas More or all those monks.
    Although I do think that the reformation would have still occurred- in some form or another.
    Anne Boleyn didn’t exactly treat Mary well. Wasn’t it her idea to make the girl maid to Annes infant daughter Elizabeth.
    Katherine of Aragon thought she was in the right, however she was married to man who hated any kind of defiance and loved another woman who was just as obstinate as his Queen.

  28. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    February 20th, 1194 was the date of death of Tancred, King of Sicily. His death was tragic for his family and for the Sicilians, for his teenage son had died unexpectedly that past December, and his own death left his four year old son as his heir. The timing could not have been worse, for all knew Heinrich von Hohenstaufen was gathering an army for an invasion of Sicily, financed in part by the exorbitant, outrageous ransom he’d extorted from the English king. The Sicilians would have rallied around Tancred, as they had when Heinrich launched his first unsuccessful invasion in 1191. But few believed that Tancred’s widow and small son would be able to stave off the German juggernaut and they hastened to submit to Heinrich, whose invasion turned into a triumphant procession. It was soon over, and Heinrich was crowned as King of Sicily on Christmas day, which he celebrated by having the bodies of Tancred and his eldest son dragged from their tombs. Tancred’s widow had surrendered upon being assured that her family would not be harmed and her little boy would even be allowed to inherit the county of Lecce, for Tancred had been Count of Lecce before usurping the throne.

    Richard could have told her that Heinrich’s word was worthless, and indeed that proved to be the case. Four days after his coronation, Heinrich claimed to have discovered a plot against him. Tancred’s queen, Sybilla, and her children were sent under guard to Germany, as were Admiral Margaritis and the Archbishop of Salerno, among others. The men were entombed at Trifels Castle, where Richard had been held, but they were not as lucky as he and were held there until their deaths; Heinrich had also ordered Margaritis blinded. Sybilla and her four daughters were confined to a German convent, although they were able to escape to France after Heinrich’s unexpected death. Tancred’s small son’s fate was the most tragic of all; he was taken to a German monastery where he was blinded and castrated and died soon afterward. And Tancred, as he lay dying in February of 1194, would have known that his family and his kingdom were doomed, for he knew Heinrich. I can imagine few deaths more bitter than his.

    PS I found Tancred to be a surprise, for when I began to research Lionheart, I had a negative opinion of him for usurping the throne and holding Joanna captive, also seizing her dower lands. But the more I learned about him, the more I realized that he was a decent man in a very precarious position, doing the best he could to stave off the dangers posed by the Emperor Heinrich. He held Joanna in one of her own palaces, and when her angry brother demanded her immediate release and return of her dower, he wisely complied. During the months that Richard spent in Sicily, he seems to have reached the same conclusion I did, that Tancred was a man of honor for the two kings became surprisingly friendly in light of their adversarial beginning. Joanna seems to have forgiven Tancred, too, for when she and Berengaria reached Sicily on their way home from the Holy Land, they were warmly welcomed by Tancred and his queen and lingered for a while to enjoy his hospitality. Joanna was an Angevin, after all, and they were always pragmatists.

  29. Joan Says:

    Re Tancred, your view of him as a decent man despite some of his actions, came out clearly in Lionheart, Sharon. Even with my affection & maternal feelings for Joanna, I couldn’t help but admit this fact.

  30. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Facinating post, albeit dealing with so many tragedies, the fate of Tancred’s boy being the worst of all. Of course such things happened in Polish history as well, but I cannot recall whether they ever concerned such a cruel treatement of a child.

  31. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    It is one of the worst atrocities I’ve come across, Kasia. Andronicles, who usurped the Byzantine throne, murdered all of those he saw as threats, forced the lawful 12 year old emperor to sign his own mother’s death warrant and then had the boy strangled and his body thrown in the river. After that he forced the boy’s young bride, the daughter of the French king, Louis VII, to marry him. The people of Constantinople eventually rebelled and against his cruelties and he tried to flee the city with his little bride and favorite concubine, but was caught and dragged back, where he suffered a dire fate, but one he richly deserved. I’m not sure who was worse when it came to sadism, Heinrich or Andronicles.

    I think we can safely say that February 21, 1173 was not a good day for Henry, as it was on this date that the Church officially declared Thomas Becket a saint. Henry would, of course, later make that spectacular act of penance and atonement at Becket’s tomb, and it is possible that he came to believe in Becket’s sainthood after the Scots king was captured at the very hour he was praying for Becket’s aid. Knowing Henry, it is also quite possible that he did not, that he made his peace with the man who’d once been a cherished friend, not with a holy martyr.
    Time and Chance, pages 508-509, as Henry is about to sail for Ireland, hoping to lay low there till the furor over Becket’s death blows over.
    * * *
    “Ranulf…do you think Thomas Becket was a saint?”
    “I do not know, Harry.”
    “There is much talk of miracles at his tomb and the like. But surely that is not proof? There are fools aplenty who are credulous enough to believe any nonsense that reaches their ears.”
    “I’ve heard of those miracles,” Ranulf acknowledged, “and in truth, I do not know what to make of them. To us, Thomas was a mortal man, one like any other, with his share of flaws and follies. It is difficult to envision him a saint.”
    “Well nigh impossible,” Henry said trenchantly. “Did I ever tell you what he was reported to have said about the expulsion of his kinfolk and servants? When he was told that some of them were on their way to join him at Pontigny, he replied that as long as their souls were saved, he cared not if they were flayed to the bone. How saintly does that sound?”
    “Well….not very. But I suppose it could be argued that saints care only for the spiritual and not the corporeal.”
    “Do you believe that?” Henry demanded and Ranulf shook his head, smiling.
    “No, not really. I cannot answer your question, Harry, doubt that anyone can. I do know, though, that saints are not judged like ordinary men. That is, after all, what makes them saints.”
    Henry drained the last of his wine, then looked up at Ranulf, his expression an odd one, at once skeptical and regretful. “Saint or no,” he conceded, “Thomas got the last word for certes.”
    * * *

  32. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Nothing of medieval importance today, but this story of the wolf in the Sochi hotel is very funny. Jimmy Kimmel strikes again. What I found hilarious were the claims by the hotel that it was really a husky. Anyone who saw that video knows it was NOT a husky. Although I dismissed the husky cover story out of hand, I admit I still found it hard to believe a wolf would be sauntering so casually down a hotel hallway, as if he’d lost his key or couldn’t remember his room number. I’m surprised the Sochi authorities didn’t claim it was a poodle in disguise, for they are so set upon the games being perfect that they were rounding up and killing all the stray dogs in town before the games began; thankfully, Russian animal activists were up in arms about that, some of them driving all the way from Moscow to rescue as many dogs as they could. But the town still will not admit anyone to inspect their animal shelter. I doubt that any self-respecting wolf would choose to hang around a town where its canine cousins were being killed and the mayor’s homophobic rants made anyone listening wonder about his IQ or his sanity. Here is the video. http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/21/5433080/wolf-in-sochi-hotel-viral-video-is-jimmy-kimmel-live-hoax

    And for my fellow Game of Thrones fans, season three is now available in the DVD format and season four will start in early April. Oh, and Jon Snow, aka Kit Harrington, has found a foe even scarier than dragons, an exploding volcano, starring in the new film, Pompeii. I haven’t seen it, but one reviewer described it as a “guilty pleasure.”

  33. Theresa Says:

    The archbishop would have loved to have gotten the last word.
    Thomas Becket was voted as the worst historical Briton for the 12th century. I never knew that. Personally I would have gone with Geoffrey De Mandeville.

    I was surprised to learn that Eleanor de Montfort (Nell) was the six times great grandmother of Elizabeth Woodville. Elizabeth traced her descent from Nell’s son Guy de Montfort.

  34. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Really, Theresa? I hadn’t heard that; how fascinating! It shows what a massive shift there has been in the public perception of Becket! I agree with you that Geoffrey de Mandeville deserves that “honor.”
    Guy de Montfort is the only one of Simon and Nell’s children to have children who went on to have children of their own, although it is possible one of their sons had illegitimate offspring who flew under the radar. But Harry died unmarried at Evesham and Bran died unmarried, too, as did Richard and Amaury, and Ellen’s daughter, Gwenllian, was dispatched to a nunnery by Edward I. Thanks to Guy’s marriage to an Italian aristocrat, the de Montfort line survived.

    Nothing to chat about on the medieval front today, so I thought I’d try to cheer up all of you in the path of this latest invasion of arctic air. Minneapolis is going to face a high of minus 3!!!! I think we may have to take up a collection to send Stephanie and Jo to one of these beaches
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/20/travel/ireport-beaches/index.html?hpt=hp_bn10
    And here are some remarkable photos of deer in London’s Richmond Park.
    http://www.weather.com/travel/these-deer-call-london-home-photos-20140218
    I’m happy to report that Ransom has received a few more very nice advance reviews which I’ll try to post here later. And the Amazon mother ship’s reviews are so good that I feel as if I should issue a disclaimer that none of the reviewers are long-lost Penman cousins.
    I am starting to get ready for the book tour, hope very much to meet some of you in West Chester, Princeton, Scottsdale, Houston, Ann Arbor, the Seattle and Portland areas, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Tucson.

  35. Joan Says:

    Oh how I wish I’d had Time & Chance all those years ago sitting in classrooms before the nuns & priests who babbled on about all the blessed saints, Becket being a favorite topic. Thank goodness I never did use him as an intercessor! (intuition perhaps?) Sweet moments, the dehalo-ing of such figures.

  36. skpenman Says:

    No medieval chitchat today, so here is an interesting story about the dogs of Sochi, and the link leads to other stories about the Olympics.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/sochi-olympics/what-will-happen-stray-dogs-sochi-n36136
    And here is an article about the season finale of Downton Abbey, which I taped so I can watch later this week. http://www.today.com/entertainment/downton-abbey-was-fixer-upper-season-2D12149796 I don’t know if there are as many Downton Abbey fans here as there are fans of Game of Thrones, but I am guessing there are some? As for me, I enjoy watching it, although it was hard to forgive them for that shocking death last season and I don’t think it is nearly as mesmerizing as the series it clearly drew its inspiration from—Upstairs, Downstairs. But then many of you were probably not even alive when that show debuted!

  37. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Although it has been shown on Polish TV, I haven’t seen the series yet (I mean Downton Abbey). I guess I need to remedy this :-)

    As for today’s anniversaries, Eleanor’s Big Day, something she must have been looking forward to all her adult life. On 25 February 1173, Raymond of Toulouse did homage to Richard (and Henry II and Henry the Young King) at the council held at Limoges. In the end, however, not every one was left happy and content. I’m re-reading the scene in Devil’s Brood (pp.62-81) and urging all Sharon’s readers to do the same, for the feelings and tension involved are almost tangible.

  38. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, I think that was the final straw for Eleanor, and it was then that she decided to throw in her lot with what would be called the Great Rebellion.

    Joan, thanks to you and my wonderful Canadian readers, Ransom has been selling like crazy on Amazon’s Canadian site!

    February 25, 1246 was the date of death of Davydd ap Llywelyn, the latter’s son with Joanna. Davydd’s death was premature and undoubtedly changed Welsh history. He was a worthy successor to his great sire, but the odds were against him. When I wrote Dragons, I knew that his widow, Isabella de Braose, entered the nunnery at Godstow. I had assumed this was her choice, for it was not that unusual, although she was still a young woman. In the decades since then, it has been established that this was not voluntary on her part, that she was forced into the convent by Henry III, which makes her story all the sadder. Henry also seems to get a pass for his treatment of his cousin, Eleanor of Brittany. Yes, John imprisoned her for 14 years, but Henry then held her captive for another 25 years, until her death in 1241. And while it is easier to see why John felt threatened by her, Henry has no such excuse.
    On my Facebook fan club page, we’ve all been taking a test to see which historical character we are; I was delighted to find my alter ego was Boudicca. I’ll try to remember to post it on my other Facebook pages since I know not all of you are members of the fan club. It was a fun test and so is this one, sent to me by Priscilla Royal. This is for fans of Downton Abbey; which one of the characters are you? I am Anna and am quite happy with that. I would not have wanted to be Rose or O’Brien!
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinabarca/which-downton-abbey-character-are-you

  39. Joan Says:

    OMG, I can’t believe I’m Carson!!! I am so not “order & tradition”, my life is more bohemian, if anything. & don’t get flustered that easily….only if I don’t get my own way. Just kidding! I get really flustered with technology when things don’t run perfectly. I was some of Rose for sure when I was young.

    Sharon, please run the historical character test here soon. I love stuff like this….loved when you ran the 6-word memoirs.

    Speaking for Canadian Penman fans, you’re very welcome. For myself, I’m waiting for the market paperback, just because it’s easier to hold.

    I’m going to send the Downton test on to my sisters.

  40. skpenman Says:

    I will post it today for sure, Joan. I was delighted to be Boudica.

    Facebook really is changing our world, perhaps not always for the better. But for a lonely little boy named Colin, it is going to give him a birthday he’ll never forget. Here is his story, but be warned–it tugs at the heartstrings. http://www.care2.com/causes/this-boy-thinks-he-has-no-friends-his-mom-found-him-2-million-of-them.html

  41. skpenman Says:

    I am very happy to report that we are ready to launch the second Richard III Tour. The dates are September 22nd till September 30th, and the good folk at Academic Travel have managed to set up another event with Philippa Langley and Mathew Morris, which was the highlight of the last Richard tour, according to the participants; Philippa is the driving force behind the quest for Richard’s lost grave and Mathew is the leading archaeologist on the dig. We will also be able to visit Crosby Hall, Richard’s London residence, which has been lovingly restored and is generally not open to the public. They added an extra day, too, which I think was a good idea. Here is the link. http://skp0913.com/ It has the daily itinerary, the cost, contact information, and you ought to be able to find answers to your questions there. You can also e-mail me at sharonkpenman@yahoo.com with questions. I hope very much that the court case between Leicester and York might be settled before September and Richard finally laid to rest with the dignity that was denied him in 1485. But I honestly don’t know if this will happen in time for the tour. Academic Travel will start accepting reservations for the tour at 9 AM, EST, today. 1-800 556 7896 or 202 785 9000 The first Richard III tour sold out in just two days, much to our surprise; clearly the man is a rock star even after five hundred years! So for those of you who’d like to come, I’d urge you to call ASAP. I don’t know if this tour will fill up so fast, but I wouldn’t want anyone to be disappointed as happened the last time.

  42. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Sharon, it is clear that Richard was not the only attraction. This was demonstrated by how many of us from the Eleanor Tour signed up again for Richard III.

  43. Joan Says:

    Today (Feb 27) is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of The Empress Ireland, the accident occurring in the St Lawrence River, Quebec. It collided with another seagoing vessel in thick fog. My grandmother’s sister was one of the 1002 people who died that day & her name was Miss Henrica Maria Cox (beautiful name). I had only once before heard about her & my brother brought it to my attention today. I don’t know anything else about her but hope to amend that.

  44. Theresa Says:

    Sorry to hear that Joan.

    I am nearly halfway through A King’s Ransom. Poor Richard, perhaps he should have braved the Atlantic Ocean and sailed to Bordeaux, rather than landed where he did. Heinrich is one of the most memorable villainous historical figures I have ever read about. I dislike even him more than Philippe, who along with Prince John, are both revelling in Richards misfortune.
    Speaking of John. I think one of his defining moments came when he abandoned his father during the last days of Henry’s life. However what would have happened if John had stayed loyal to the very end. Would Henry have made John his heir to Normandy, Anjou and England, like William the Conqueror made his second son Rufus heir to the throne of England, passing over his firstborn Robert.
    Personally, I think Richard would have been able to defeat John in battle - though Philippe of France would have been delighted to make trouble.
    Must return to the book- there is a French/Danish wedding to attend and John is one of the guests.

  45. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Have a nice reading, Theresa :-) Lucky you. I will have to wait a little bit longer for my Ransom to come. As for French/Danish wedding, poor Ingeborg. The worst is still ahead…

    Joan, I’m looking forward for the results of your family research. Henrica Maria Cox… Beautiful indeed (sounds like a royal name).

  46. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Happy Birthday to Henry the Young King! My favourite person in history was born on this day in London, exactly 859 years ago. I just want to mention that, before he was safely delivered into this world, he could already boast about sea-crossing in a violent storm and attending, no more no less, but a coronation. We should consider ourselves lucky, for we know Henry’s prenatal whereabouts, including exact dates and sites :-)

    I’ll be posting about Henry’s birthday later in the day. You are all invited :-)

  47. skpenman Says:

    Joan, I am embarrassed to admit that I’d never heard of the sinking of the Empress Ireland. That shocked me, given the staggering loss of life. Good luck finding out more about your great-aunt. It is like losing a family member on the Titanic.
    Malcolm, thank you! I was delighted that you were able to come on both tours. I am going to miss you all on the upcoming tour; it will seem strange to be traveling without my buddies from the past two trips.
    Kasia, I just posted on Facebook about the young king; will you be posting on your blog about our lad? If so, I’d love to share the link. And I love your observation recently that Hal was actually crowned three times, since he was along for the rife when Henry and Eleanor were crowned.
    Theresa, I had fun writing John’s scene at Philippe’s wedding, for he was at his snarkiest. For example, he is musing about the fact that Philippe speaks no Danish and Inbeborg no French and he thinks to himself that until she learns French, Philippe will have the perfect bedmate, one he does not have to talk to afterward. And I think Heinrich was the nastiest piece of work I’ve ever written about, and I’ve had some rotten villains prowling the pages of my other books!

    February 28, 1155 was the birthday of Henry and Eleanor’s second son, named Henry after his sire, who would be known to history as the young king. This must have been such a happy day for Henry and Eleanor, and she must have taken great satisfaction in having proved her enemies and her former husband wrong. This “barren queen” had given Henry two sons in less than two years. As she continued to produce sons in the years that followed, Louis must have thought that she was pouring salt into his wounds. I am guessing that Hal’s Polish guardian angel, Kasia, will do a blog for his birthday, and I will be sure to post the link here, if someone does not beat me to it.
    A major snowstorm is bearing down on us on Monday. I am so thankful that the book tour starts on Tuesday, although they are forecasting another storm for Thursday, which is when I’m to fly from Newark to Scottsdale. And yes, I am already getting a bit nervous.

  48. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I wish you a fun & safe book tour, I imagine it will be the icing on the cake! I do hope the weather cooperates.

    What a lovely title for Kasia, “guardian angel”, & that she certainly is!

    Happy Birthday Henry!

  49. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, thank you so much! I’m so deeply moved. And honoured. Such a lovely birthday gift for Henry. I’m posting the link. Could you free it?

  50. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Here it is:

    http://henrytheyoungking.blogspot.com/2014/02/happy-birthday-to-henry-young-king.html

    Thank you so much!

  51. skpenman Says:

    I’d be happy to, Kasia, will check to see what has been caught in the net.

    On March 1, 1244, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, eldest son of Llywelyn Fawr, died in an escape attempt from the Tower of London. He was being held prisoner by the English king, Henry III, and although he was kept in comfortable confinement, it was still confinement, and, always a bold, impulsive man, he tried to climb down from the upper story of the White Tower on knotted sheets. An English chronicler laconically noted that he was a big man and had grown heavy in captivity and the sheets broke, hurling him to a gruesome death; I will spare you all the gory details in case some of you are reading this while having breakfast. Ironically, he died on the feast day of the patron saint of Wales, St Dayvdd. So…..Happy St Davydd’s Day, everyone!
    Good luck to those in the path of yet another snowstorm on Monday, and yes, I am among them.
    And the same for my California friends and readers, who are facing flooding and mudslide threats. It might be time to consider making a sacrifice to a very irate Mother Nature. I would not mind losing some of those stubborn souls who continue to claim there is no global climate change in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

  52. Richard Taylor Says:

    I have my own blog but most Saturdays, I write a post at MyFDL (readers’ diaries section of the political blog Firedoglake). For the past year, I have been doing a series for “Saturday Art” that I have called “Influential Authors” - mainly writers that I have read and enjoyed over the years across many genres. Today (March 1, 2014), I wrote about you, Ms Penman. It is good to hear that you are bringing Justin de Quincy back!

    http://my.firedoglake.com/dakine01/2014/03/01/saturday-art-influential-authors-sharon-kay-penman/#

  53. Theresa Says:

    4th March 1461. Henry VI of England was deposed by his distant cousin Edward of York.

    Still reading A King’s Ransom, Count Raimond is explaining why he allows the Cathar’s freedom of worship. Such a shame that most medieval rulers were not like him. Pope Innocent III, King Philippe of France and Simon de Montfort’s crusade against these people was criminal. I can still remember a old man spitting on the ground in Carcassone when Simon De Montfort’s name was mentioned.
    Isn’t there a passage in Fall’s The Shadow where the younger Simon says his ill fated campaign in Gascony is due to the resentment that the southerners felt towards his father?

  54. skpenman Says:

    March 4th, 1193 is the usual date given for the death of the sultan of Egypt, Sallah al-Din, known to the crusaders and to history as Saladin, although Baha al-Din Ibn Shaddad says it occurred on March 3rd. In his chronicle, The Rare and Excellent History of Saladin, Baha al-Din provides an eye-witness account of Saladin’s final illness. He tells us that the sultan became ill on February 20th, “struck by a bilious fever,” describing how he steadily became weaker. By the eight day, “his mind wandered.” On the tenth day of his illness, they treated him with two enemas and he was given barley water to drink. But he continued to decline. “His death occurred after the dawn prayer on Wednesday, 27 Safar 589 (3 March 1193). After dawn had broken, Qadi al-Fadil made haste and was present for his death. I arrived when he was already dead and transported to God’s favor and the seat of His grace. It was related to me that, when the Shaykh Abu ja’far reached in God’s word ‘There is no god but He and in Him have I trusted,’ the sultan smiled, his face beamed with joy and he surrendered his soul to his Lord.”

    Richard was the prisoner of the Holy Roman Emperor and word of Saladin’s death and the subsequent rivalry among his sons did not reach the English king for several months, courtesy of a letter from the Doge of Venice. Here is part of the scene from A King’s Ransom, page 224.
    * * *.
    Richard was on his feet now, striding back and forth. “The French king and my brother have much to answer for. And so does that scorpion on the German throne. Had I been able to reach England, it would not have taken me long to put Johnny and Philippe on the run. I could then have made plans to return to the Holy Land, just as I’d promised Henri and the Almighty. Now…who knows how long it will be ere I am free to fulfill my vow?”
    He whirled suddenly, demanding of his clerk, “Does any of this make sense to you, Fulk? Why has God let this happen? Saladin’s death offers a rare opportunity to regain the most sacred city in Christendom and yet I cannot take advantage of it!”
    The easy answer would be to say it was not for them to question the ways of the Almighty. But Fulk was not one to offer easy answers, nor would Richard have accepted them. “I do not know what to tell you, my liege. I do not understand, either.”
    “Eventually Saladin’s brother will prevail, for he is much more capable than his nephews. Now could have been the time to strike, yet here I am, thwarted not by the Saracens, but by another Christian ruler!” Richard spat out a few virulent oaths, none of which eased his frustration or his fury. Sitting down again, he slumped back wearily in the window-seat next to his clerk. “Saladin was a far better man than Philippe or Heinrich,” he said at last. “A man of courage and honor. It is a great pity that he must be forever denied the grace of God.”
    Fulk sighed, thinking what Philippe or Heinrich would have made of such a statement. Sometimes it seemed to him that his king went out of his way to provide weapons for his enemies to use against him.
    * * *
    What else happened on March 4th? Well, there is a book tour.  I leave today, starting it with a reading tonight in West Chester. I hope to meet many of you on the tour, and I hope, too, that even more of you will buy Ransom—and that you will like what you read. I will try to post occasionally when I can. I wish I could say that Spring will be here by the time I get home, but I am not convinced Winter is ever going to go away.

  55. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I hope the meeting in West Chester went well and the weather didn’t get in the way of you and your readers, and you could all meet and have a wonderful time together.

    I just want to wish Happy Birthday to one of the greatest medieval rulers (and one of my favourite), King Henry II, who was born on 5 March 1133 at Le Mans to Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou and Empress Matilda. Also, rather sheepishly, I have to mention that exactly forty years later, Henry’s eldest (surviving) son and heir, Henry the Young King gave his sire the worst birthday present ever. He escaped from Chinon castle and made his way to the French territory, triggering what was to become the great Revolt of 1173-74. Coming to his defence I need to point out that this was in greater measure Henry the elder’s own fault.

    Thank you Sharon for the brilliant scenes in Devil’s Brood (all the medieval ways of treating toothache- ouch ;-)), I’ll be rereading them later in the day.

  56. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    A NOTE FROM SHARON (because she is on another cross-country flight today to Seattle and asked me to post on her behalf): “I have been having fun on the tour, have loved meeting so many Facebook friends, and hope to do a post tonight from Seattle.”

  57. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    Sharon asked me to post this here for her again, for those of you not on her personal page: “I am in Seattle and it is not raining; who says the age of miracles is past? The trip has been great fun so far, if exhausting. I’ve been able to squeeze in brief visits with friends in Philly and Houston and Scottsdale, have also been able to meet Facebook friends at every reading, including a long-lost cousin at the Ann Arbor reading, which was a special surprise. It would be a perfect trip if only I could say Beam me up, Scotty, for being trapped for hours in a flying tuna can is the modern equivalent of medieval torture. More when I can. I hope you are all reading Ransom!”

  58. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    Sharon asked me to post this here for her again, for those of you not on her personal page: “I am in Seattle and it is not raining; who says the age of miracles is past? The trip has been great fun so far, if exhausting. I’ve been able to squeeze in brief visits with friends in Philly and Houston and Scottsdale, have also been able to meet Facebook friends at every reading, including a long-lost cousin at the Ann Arbor reading, which was a special surprise. It would be a perfect trip if only I could say Beam me up, Scotty, for being trapped for hours in a flying tuna can is the modern equivalent of medieval torture. More when I can. I hope you are all reading Ransom!”

  59. Joan Says:

    Thanks Stephanie…..so nice of Sharon to think of all of us who won’t be able to join in the fun of the book tour. I was checking out the Tucson Fest of Books website…..that would be so much fun as well. I expect my copy of Ransom in my mailbox any day now!

  60. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I join in in saying “Thank you!” to our dear Stephanie :-) How nice to hear from Sharon… Judging by the above itinerary the trip must be really exhausting. Good to hear that Sharon is in good health and enjoying the tour.

  61. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    You are most welcome! If you are interested in watching an hour-long video of Sharon in action at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale from last Thursday, go here (you might need to sign up for free to watch it though): http://new.livestream.com/poisonedpen/kings-ransom I hope this link works. I think sometimes web links might have to be “allowed” before they get posted, but I hope it works.

    More from Sharon: “I am stranded briefly at the Portland airport, my flight to San Francisco delayed by fog. I met several Facebook friends at Powell’s last night. One curious fact about Portland. At none of earlier readings was I asked to sign a copy of the dangerous women anthology but I signed at least ten last night. I had a lovely time in Portland except for having to get up at 6 am. More tonight from San Francisco, I hope.”

  62. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    As I suspected, the comment I just posted is “awaiting moderation” because I included a web link. So sad too because it’s a link to a streaming video of Sharon’s talk at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. If you visit Livestream on the internet and search out Poisoned Pen, you might be able to find the link on your own. If nothing else, my comment will be freed at a later date when Sharon returns home and you can see it then. But for now…

    More from Sharon: “I am stranded briefly at the Portland airport, my flight to San Francisco delayed by fog. I met several Facebook friends at Powell’s last night. One curious fact about Portland. At none of earlier readings was I asked to sign a copy of the dangerous women anthology but I signed at least ten last night. I had a lovely time in Portland except for having to get up at 6 am. More tonight from San Francisco, I hope.”

  63. Joan Says:

    Thanks Stephanie. I found it! But only after googling for awhile. Eventually this hit came up….”Events from the Poisoned Pen Bookstore on Livestream”. And voila!! Sharon on video. What a treat to see her & listen to such an interesting discussion & then the reading. What a treasure this wonderful woman has given us.

  64. Helen Tristram Says:

    Yipee — The Kings Ransom arrived today - can’t wait to have just a few minutes to get started reading it.
    I live three quarters of an hour drive from Chalus so will probably go and visit the town again soon; Sadly the chateau is in private hands and is impossible to visit.
    Helen in France

  65. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Stephanie, thank you for recommending the video. It was lovely to see Sharon talk about Richard, Geoffrey and the Devil’s Brood in general (even Henry the Young King got a mention).

  66. Teka Lynn Says:

    My copy of King’s Ransom came in the mail yesterday. Yay! What a weekend treat! I’m currently doing a Grand Reread of the Angevin/Welsh novels (publication order) and am a third of the way into Time and Chance. I couldn’t resist a peek ahead at Ransom, though. : ) Looks fantastic!

  67. Malcolm Craig Says:

    I just enjoyed watching Sharon at the Poisoned Pen, of course, even if she did not mention the third child of Geoffrey and Constance.

  68. グッチ サングラス 新作 Says:

    Check out who is preaching about bag and why you ought to worry.

  69. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Just dropped by to say “Hello!”. How nice to hear from you, Malcolm. Yes, I’ve noticed that, too. I suppose Sharon wanted to tell the family’s story in a nutshell, that’s why she didn’t mention Matilda. I will try to write a few words in the near future, I promise (although writing to you is always a challenge. for I do my best to make my English perfect :-)). Warmest regards :-)

    My copy of Ransom is on the way, too. I cannot wait to be immersed in it.

  70. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I wanted to let you all know that I am safely back home. You can imagine how thrilled I was to have to dig my car out of half a foot of new snow last night in order to pick up Holly at the kennel. I had a wonderful time; the readings went very well and I got to meet a number of my Facebook friends! But I am utterly exhausted, mainly from all those hours trapped in those flying tuna cans. So the game plan is to hibernate for a few days. I will surface again once I am semi-coherent. Meanwhile, Ransom is off to a wonderful start. It debuted at #21 last week on the New York Times bestseller list and I learned today that it is #20 on the British bestseller list. Surely somewhere Richard and Henry are squabbling over whose books were more successful.

  71. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Thank you, Kasia. Feel free to send me a message any time. What I find most difficult with the French language is writing it properly. In ascending level of difficulty for me: reading, speaking, understanding (spoken French), writing. All things considered, your written English is excellent. When your copy of Ransom arrives, you will find our names in the same paragraph of the Acknowledgements. Hope we will meet one day, fellow acknowledgee - perhaps on the Eleanor Tour II.

  72. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m so happy to hear about your safe return home. I can imagine how exhausted you must be. Take a good rest and come back to us, PLEASE! We missed you.

    Malcolm, such a great honour! Now I certainly will not find proper words to say how happy I am and how much it means to me. I too would love to meet you one day, but I cannot take part in the Eleanor Tour II. I would not survive meeting Sharon in person… I would weep, weep and weep, and probably never stop. The emotions involved would make it impossible for me to utter a coherent sentence. I will tell you my “Sharon story” one day, then you’ll understand.

  73. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I saw the first robin of spring this morning, frozen on my front lawn. No, not really; he was fine. I guess I am just still bitter about having to fly from sunny Tucson into yet more snow. Who’s for forming a posse to chase down that wretched little rodent in Punxsutawney, PA?
    On March 19th, the swallows return to Capistrano, which always seemed worth celebrating to me. And on the 15th, while I was luxuriating in the Arizona heat, the buzzards should have returned to Hinkley, Ohio. At least I hope so. We need to believe in some traditions, right?
    I am still paying the huge sleep debt I ran up on the book tour, but like the swallows and buzzards, I will return!

  74. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I agree with Kasia & wish you, if not luxurious recoup, at least a very restful one, cozied up with Holly.

  75. Veronica Meena Says:

    Have a good rest Sharon - nothing more tiring than lots of flights in a short period of time and hanging around airports. I’ve just finished ‘Ransom’ and enjoyed it so much - I could hardly put it down and more or less read it straight through (with some time for sleep!). And thank you for working your magic with your British publishers so that it was available so quickly after it was released in the US. Congratulations on yet another brilliant book!

  76. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Kasia, I do not know your “Sharon story,” of course. I do know, however, that Sharon was available, accommodating, and agreeable on both tours. Sharon is a very kind person, and she would put you at ease immediately, allowing you to weep only very briefly.

  77. Teka Lynn Says:

    March 19 is also Saint Joseph’s Day in many Western churches. I gave Joseph, the fat, freeloading tabby on our porch, a special dinner in honor of his name day, but I think Darcy nabbed most of it.

  78. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Malcolm, don’t get me wrong. I know that Sharon is the kindest person in the world. It’s only me, sentimental girl, who is easily moved. My ssharon story in a nutshell: she, no more no less, saved my life :-)

  79. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Forgive me the typo. I meant “Sharon story”, of course.

  80. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    March 20, 1469 was the date of birth of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter Cecily. Here is what I wrote about Cecily for the new AN for the 30th anniversary edition of Sunne; it had to be edited out of the hardcover AN for Sunne because of space concerns, but the new e-book edition of Sunne in the UK and the US has the new AN in its entirety.
    * * *
    We also know more about the life of Edward’s daughter Cecily, for since Sunne’s publication, it has been established that she wed Ralph Scrope in late 1484. He was the son of Thomas, Lord Scrope, but we know little about this brief marriage. Henry Tudor had it annulled upon becoming king so that he could marry her to his uncle, John, Viscount Welles. He was in his forties and Cecily only eighteen, but what little evidence there is suggests the marriage was a happy one. They had two daughters, both of whom died before the viscount’s death in 1499. Cecily had often been in attendance to her sister the queen, but in 1502, she made what had to be a love match with a man of much lesser status, a mere esquire, William Kyme. Tudor was furious, banishing her from court and confiscating her estates. But she had an unlikely champion in Tudor’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, who’d apparently become fond of Cecily, and she interceded with her son on Cecily’s behalf. After the death of her beloved sister, Elizabeth, in 1503, Cecily and her husband retired from the court and settled on the Isle of Wight. She and William had a son, Richard, born in 1505 and a daughter, Margaret, born in 1507. Since Cecily died on August 24, 1507, she may have died from the complications of childbirth. This marriage, too, appears to have been a happy one. I would like to think so, for this daughter of York, said by Sir Thomas More to have been “not so fortunate as fair,” had suffered more than her share of sorrow in her thirty-eight years.
    * * *
    March 20th was also the death date of the first Lancastrian king, Henry IV, who is a character in Brian Wainwright’s novel, Within the Fetterlock, which I recommend to those who’ve not yet read it. And on March 20th, 1549, Thomas Seymour was beheaded, a fate he definitely deserved, not just for his treasonous scheming, but for breaking the heart of his wife, Catherine Parr, and for seducing or attempting to seduce the 13 year old Elizabeth Tudor.

    PS I hope to soon be able to respond to any comments posted here while I was away on the book tour.

  81. Joan Says:

    How timely that you write of Cecily, Sharon, as I’ve recently finished Sunne & couldn’t possibly comment on all the things I’d like to. I evaded the ending for so long, so many sorrowful events had already happened & Richard was sinking. I kept finding excuses to not pick up the book. But the deed had to be done, so steeled myself one night & was grateful that you didn’t linger on Richard’s death. I’ve also read your longer AN that you posted. I think the planets were not in alignment the day Richard was born. Such a difficult period in history as well. He should have been king in a more perfect world. What is also so heartbreaking is that he & his brothers were so closely intertwined with each other & the Neville cousins, there seemed to be such bonding & friendship, with a few exceptions, & it all fell apart so disastrously. Deaths on battlefields, Edmund’s horrific murder, betrayals everywhere, death & betrayal. However it is a fascinating story & will read more about it in future…..I’m just happy & grateful that I began with your story, seeing the people, relationships, & events through your masterful hands & brilliant mind. It really is an extraordinary novel, all the more so as it is your debut novel. So thank you Sharon.

  82. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I’m writing to share a wonderful news with you all: there’s a programme about William Marshal coming on Wednesday on BBC Two. Three parts. Wow! I cannot wait to watch it. Unfortunately, I will be forced to wait, for it is not currently available where I live. I’m posting a link. Could you free it, dear Sharon?

  83. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    This story is for my fellow Game of Thrones fans. I confess it raised some red flags with me.
    http://time.com/32791/game-of-thrones-movies-george-r-r-martin/ But only 19 more days to go now till the launch of the new season, for which we are thankful.

  84. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, I just checked and it is not there. Try resending it and I’ll make sure it was not snared.

  85. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Okay, here we go again. My second try. T’ll try to post it.

  86. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Here’s the link to the afore-mentioned BBC Two production:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03z2l6l

  87. skpenman Says:

    I will check to see if it was caught in the net, Kasia, and free it then–no ransom demanded!

    I fell in love with sea otters years ago when my fiancé and I drove from San Francisco to spend the day in Monterey. As we sauntered around the waterfront, we saw an otter floating on his back, using his belly as a dining room table for his meal, a juicy clam. I was smitten, and remain under their spell. So you can imagine how happy I was to discover that the Monterey Aquarium now has a sea otter live webcam. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-experiences/live-web-cams/sea-otter-cam They also have webcams for other sea life on their website.
    And here is another way to keep from doing productive work today. I spent some time this morning watching elephants meander around the waterhole. Much cooler than watching squirrels on my front lawn. http://www.africam.com/wildlife/tembe_webcam?ch=alert&src=desktop&id=171563

  88. Zemma Poder Says:

    Dear Sharon.

    I read the Wales trilogy, in order to unwind, while I was finishing my master thesis. In all honesty, if I had not been transported to Wales now and in again in between sociology theories, there is a very good chance, that my sanity would not have survived. So thank you so much for writing such brilliant books!

    Now that I am done, I dived right into the Plantagenet trilogy, and I love it every bit as much. But to my horror… “Time and Chance” is not available as a kindle book?!

  89. Zemma Poder Says:

    Dear Sharon.

    I read the Wales trilogy, in order to unwind, while I was finishing my master thesis. In all honesty, if I had not been transported to Wales now and in again in between sociology theories, there is a very good chance, that my sanity would not have survived. So thank you so much for writing such brilliant books!

    Now that I am done, I dived right into the Plantagenet trilogy, and I love it every bit as much. But to my horror… “Time and Chance” is not available as a kindle book?!

  90. Zemma Poder Says:

    I found it! Dance of joy now in the living room, and then straight back to medieval times!

  91. Joan Says:

    One of the most beautiful & touching wildlife series I’ve watched is Simon King’s Shetland Diaries. He, his wife, & 2 year old Savannah lived there while he photographed for the production. Simon has a respect & love of nature so beautifully expressed & he gets this little toddler involved wherever he can. There are a few otter stories in the series that will capture your heart. I’m going to post a site next, with an article that captures the magic of the series. Could you free it Sharon? Thanks

  92. skpenman Says:

    I sure will, Joan. Imagine how much money I could make if I started charging ransoms for these captured posts
    Zemma, I hope “I found it” referred to Time and Chance as a Kindle? It is available in the US and Down Under and I’ve been promised that it will be available in the UK this spring.
    Meanwhile, here is today’s Facebook note.

    March 24, 1603 was the date of death for the woman I always call (with a smile) “the only good Tudor,” Elizabeth I. She was sixty-nine and her death does not seem to have been a peaceful one. For a powerful account of her last years, I highly recommend Margaret George’s Elizabeth I, which I can’t resist thinking of as The Lioness in Winter.

  93. Joan Says:

    Back in the 12th century who knew that in a futuristic period known as the 21st century, battles would flare up again at Crac des Chevaliers!

  94. skpenman Says:

    So true, Joan.

    This was fiendishly clever of this teacher. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/belgian-teacher-silences-rowdy-students-threatening-spoil-game-thrones-deaths-article-1.1731782

  95. Joan Says:

    Love it!!!

  96. Anne Says:

    Dear Sharon,

    I loved seeing you at the Poisoned Pen again and am thoroughly enjoying a King’s Ransom right now. It’s always a pleasure to see you speak and share your passion and I hope you are back in Scottsdale again!

  97. skpenman Says:

    The Poisoned Pen is always the highlight of my book tours, Anne. And I am happy to say that my chances of getting back to Scottsdale are excellent.

    It is snowing here…again. If only I had Mother Nature’s address, I’d Fed-Ex her a calendar, gently reminding her that this is late March. Enough already. Good luck to all in the path of this latest snowstorm. Sorry for not being around much since I got home, but I am still in Book-Tour Recovery mode. I hope to put a new blog up this week about the tour and the Tucson Book Festival, but as I had Coeur de Lion thinking in a dark Ransom moment, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Many thanks to all of you who’ve posted that you’re enjoying Ransom and thanks, too, to any who aren’t for not posting that! Seriously, writers appreciate reader feedback the way my dog, Holly, appreciates anything edible. The one drawback of writing is that it is such a solitary profession, and we often never know if a particular scene or line of dialogue resonated with readers. Not that I am complaining; being a writer is so much more fun than being a lawyer. Who wouldn’t rather besiege a castle rather than file a brief?

  98. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m so sorry to hear of a fresh fall of snow. We are enjoying early spring here, where I live (greater part of the winter was, more less, like this). It’s chilly, but sunny, and my garden has begun to wake up :-)

    Being a writer must be really hard at times, when one thinks about it. I too have tried and still am, but “solitary profession” is the last word I would use to describe my writing (with three small children it’s impossible :-)).

  99. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Accroding to my old good notebook Elisabeth/Isabelle of Vermandois died on this day in 1182. I have always felt sorry for all Petronilla and Raoul’s children, but Elisabeth in particular. She was so shabilly treated by her clever hubby (still I can’t help admiring the latter one :-)). Curiously enough, her alleged adultery has not been mentioned by Gilbert of Mons in his Chronicle of Hainaut. Strange for he was a reliable and well-informed source (being the Chancellor of the count of Haianaut he had to be, I guess), not to mention where Hainaut was siutuated.

  100. skpenman Says:

    I feel sorry for Petronilla’s children, too Kasia. Elizabeth was treated poorly by her husband and Raoul jr was a leper and Eleanor had her troubles, too. I think her “adultery” is certainly open to question, for Philip was certainly ruthless enough and cunning enough to have used that as a pretext for seizing Vermandois. It is always interesting when a chronicler deliberately omits a very well known scandal.

    On Friday, March 26, 1199, Richard I was struck by a crossbow bolt as he inspected the siege at the castle of Chalus Chabrol in the Limousin. I am giving away no plot twists to report that his was a very painful death and a needless one, easily avoided if only he’d bothered to wear his hauberk. I suspect that many who loved Richard were furious with him even as they mourned him, for his sudden death changed history in so many ways, both for countries and for individuals. A brief scene from Ransom, pages 576-577
    * * *
    The sky along the horizon was glowing like the embers of a dying fire as this last Friday in March ebbed away. There was still enough daylight remaining for Richard to assess Chalus’s weaknesses, though. (omission)
    One of Richard’s sergeants had set up his large rectangular shield, and he and Mercadier were standing behind it as they debated where the castle seemed most vulnerable to an assault. They were soon joined by William de Braose. (omission) Glancing at Richard’s crossbow, he said, “You’ll get few chances to make use of that, sire. Our crossbowmen have kept the castle defenders off the walls for much of the day, aside from one lunatic by the gatehouse.”
    Richard arched a brow. “Why call him a lunatic, Will?”
    “See for yourself, my liege.” The Marcher lord gestured and Richard squinted until he located the lone man on the castle battlements When he did, he burst out laughing, for this enemy crossbowman was using a large frying pan as a shield, deflecting the bolts coming his way with surprising dexterity. De Braose and Mercadier were not surprised by his reaction, for they’d known this was just the sort of mad gallantry to appeal to Richard. But because chivalry was as alien a tongue to them as the languages spoken in Cathay, they saw the knave wielding a frying pan as nothing more than a nuisance to be eliminated , sooner rather than later.
    When the crossbowman used his makeshift shield to turn aside another bolt, Richard gave him a playful, mocking salute. He was still laughing when the crossbowman aimed at him and he was slow, therefore, in ducking for cover behind his shield. The bolt struck him in the left shoulder, just above his collarbone. The impact was great enough to stagger him, although he managed to keep his balance, grabbing the edge of the shield to steady himself. There was no pain, not yet, but he’d suffered enough wounds to know that would not last. His first coherent thought was relief that dusk was fast falling, for when he glanced around hastily, it was clear that none of his men had seen him hit. Only de Braose and Mercadier had been close enough to see what had happened, and while their dismay was obvious even in the fading light, he knew they were too battle-wise to cry out, to let others know that their king had just been shot.
    * * *
    It was perhaps inevitable that sooner or later, Richard’s recklessness would outrun his fabled luck, but it is interesting that a contributing factor in his death was his sense of humor; had he not been so amused by the crossbowman’s frying pan shield, he might have been able to duck in time. Another of his flaws, his impulsiveness, would also play a role in what followed, but I’ll save that for the book. And yes, this is the same infamous William de Braose who became one of Johns’ primary supporters until their fatal falling-out, dramatized in Here Be Dragons.

  101. Joan Says:

    Sharon, your post Mar 25 has encouraged me to post now & then as I read Ransom. I have a feeling that by the time I finish it, I will have to say that it is the perfect novel, in every way. It’s exciting (keeping us on the edge of our seat), & powerful & moving We’re seeing the other side of Richard, who is probably introspecting for the first time in his life. We’re seeing self-doubt, despair, hopelessness, lots of second-guessing, fear, & “pure physical panic”. We are right there with him.

    I love the little touches, important & so like you……Morgan slipping Els the money pouch, now hidden in her bosom, & she would pray for them & for the soul of her duke. Brings to mind the part in Sunne where the Aldgate innkeeper is rewarded for having kept Anne……we don’t see Richard out & out handing over a pouch of coins, no we learn that “they seem to be doing right well these days”, with renos & a new cistern, “not to mention a fine pair of matched greys out in the stables”. These parts are so satisfying, warm fuzzy moments. And needed in the midst of all that death & betrayal.

    Back to Ransom, Hadmar is a wonderful character, again giving us a few moments of peace of mind with his kindness to Richard, like when he says, “I suppose we’ll just have to muddle through this as best we can. You must be tired and hungry…..” to his own fear for Richard, “Christ, Jesus Richard”, he said softly, “do you think I have not already tried that?” Great stuff!!

    Then enter Eleanor & I’ll save that one for another post.

  102. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    Sharon asked if I would post a note on her behalf, to let you know that she has been under the weather for a while. When this new dragon/bug is vanquished, she will return to post and grace us with her presence once again. I’d be happy to pass on any good wishes from you all!

  103. Joan Says:

    Sharon I hope our passion for Ransom reaches you in the form of energy to get well soon!

  104. Joan Says:

    Oh, & for a bit of levity, think to Joanna yearning to pitch her wine cup at Raimond (hilarious) as he crooned his love for her. I’m still fanning myself at that whole hot thing going on! Yikes!

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  106. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Stephanie, could you tell Sharon that we miss her dear presence? Thank you! i hope all ids well with you and your lovely family.

    Have you heard from Koby recently, perchance? I miss him, too. Where can he be?

  107. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I hope Sharon is better, but just in case she cannot be here with us today I want to mention that on 1 April 1204 Eleanor, Queen of England and Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right died, having reached the advanced (and unusual for the times she lived in) age of eighty. She outlived all but two of her ten children.

    On 1 April 1175 Henry the Young King did homage to his father at Bur-le-Roi and the two kings were reconciled after the Great Revolt of 1173-74.

    And on 1 April 1212, Petronella, Countess of Leicester, a woman with a “man’s spirit”, who had firmly stood by her husband’s side in the Great Revolt of 1173-74, died on this day. Her husband, Robert, Earl of Leicester, was one of Henry the Young King’s chief supporters on English soil.

    PS My signed copy of Ransom has just arrived. Yay!!!

  108. skpenman Says:

    I am sorry for the long absence, but I crashed and burned not long after getting back from the book tour. Yesterday we finally identified the primary suspect. It seems I have contracted bacterial pneumonia, what is sometimes called walking pneumonia. I am taking anti-biotics now and hope to be on the mend soon.
    Meanwhile, today is, of course, the date in 1204 when Eleanor of Aquitaine drew her last mortal breath. She’d died in Here be Dragons, but it was done off-stage. Since she has played a role in ten of my thirteen books, I felt that she deserved a death scene of her own, and those reading it in Ransom will find it in the Epilogue. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to write about this remarkable woman.

  109. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    Kasia, Koby has said on Facebook that he has been unsuccessful posting to this blog for some reason. I will go find his latest news to share for you.

  110. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    For Kasia, Koby’s Facebook post from March 29:

    I attempted to post this on Sharon’s Blog as well, but it appears the perils of the internet still conspire against me. In any case…

    After a long long time, I have at last returned. On Thursday, I completed my Officer’s Training at last, and am now a second lieutenant, serving in the Rabbinate of the IDF. I begin my new posting tomorrow morning - I will be the Training Officer of the Rabbinate, in charge of all courses Rabbinate soldiers undergo. It is a very important and influential job, I feel, and I will do my best to do it justice. Hopefully, it will also mean I have a bit more free time, so I can return to posting regularly on here (always assuming I am allowed to by the perils of the internet!).

    Today, the bloodiest battle on English soil took place, the Battle of Towton. Between 55,000-65,000 fought in this battle, and no quarter was given by either side. Thought the Yorkists were heavily outnumbered, they won being the defenders by Lord Fauconberg ordering his archers to take advantage of the strong wind to outrange their enemies. The Lancastrian arrows fell short of the Yorkist ranks, causing the Lancastrians to abandon their defensive positions. The Duke of Norfolk arriving at the height of the battle with fresh troops turned the tide of the battle into a decisive Yorkist victory. It is estimated that some 30,000 died in this battle, prominent among them the Lancastrian Henry Percy of Northumberland, Sir Andrew Trollope and Lord Ralph Dacre.

  111. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m sorry to hear about the pneumonia. I do hope the anti-biotics will help you soon. All my children have caught a bad cold. Since we actually haven’t had winter here we have been exposed to different nasty viruses (without frost they have been free to attack innocent human beings all around).

    Stephanie, thank you! I’m so happy that our Koby is safe and sound. I’ll e-mail you ASAP (meaning when all is back to normal here). Could you say “Hello!” to Koby for me (and tell him I miss him). I will be most grateful. Warmest regards to you and your lovely family (how is our half-Ninja half-man? :-)).

  112. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I hope you’re feeling much better soon. Walking pneumonia is a sneaky culprit……almost everyone I know has had it at some point, incl me.

    Kasia, I hope your sweet children are soon better & please keep healthy.

    Stephanie, thanks for keeping us so well informed, it’s nice to hear from you & so good to hear news of Koby. Please send him my congratulations & good wishes.

  113. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    I will certainly pass along your good wishes to Koby, Kasia and Joan. As to my “half Ninja, half spy, half man”, Kasia, he is doing well. Everyone is healthy and thriving! I hope your families are also well. Kasia, I’d love new pics of your three. :-)

  114. Joan Says:

    When my granddaughter Leila was 5 she decided she was going to be a princess, marry a prince, & live in a castle. She’s changed her mind. So I’ve decided to take on her goal. What do you think my chances are?!?!?!?

    Kasia, pictures for me too please?

    I’m so in thrall to Ransom, so awed that I can’t even comment. Will have to save it up for a review.

  115. Teka Lynn Says:

    Get well soon, Sharon!

  116. Joan Says:

    The Freelance History Writer has an article today on the magnificent funeral of Queen Elizabeth of York, 1st Tudor Queen of England.

  117. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I am sorry for the long silence, but I have had a relapse of sorts, turning out to be sicker than we first thought. All I’ve been able to do this week is sleep and watch Game of Thrones in preparation for the new season tonight. There is something about watching all those heads and limbs lopped off that put my own medical woes into perspective!
    April 6th 1199 was surely one of the most dreadful days of Eleanor of Aquitaine’s long life. It was not a good day for Richard, either, but few sorrows can be worse than watching your child die. A King’s Ransom, page 592
    * * *
    The man ushered into the chamber soon afterward was one Eleanor knew and liked—one of Richard’s household knights—but her smile splintered at her first glimpse of his stricken face.
    “Madame, your son…” He sank to one knee before her, holding out the letter with a hand that shook. “He has been grievously wounded, and he…he bids you come to him at Chalus”
    There were horrified gasps from the other women, but for Eleanor, there was no surprise, only an eerie sense of familiarity about this moment. It was as if she’d always known she would one day be standing here like this, listening to someone tell her that her son was dying. She swayed slightly and the prioress and Amaria moved quickly to offer support, but she shook their hands off. “Is there…” She swallowed convulsively. “Is there no hope?”
    He did not know what was cruelest—to offer false hope or to strip away every last shred of hope. “He….he is in a bad way, my lady.”
    Eleanor closed her eyes for a moment and then she raised her head, straightening the shoulders that felt too frail to bear this latest burden. “I will be ready to ride within the hour.”
    * * *
    One hundred forty miles stretched between Fontevrault Abbey and Chalus-Chabral and Eleanor was then in her 75th year, but she pushed her aging body to the utmost and reached her dying son in time to bid him farewell. He died at 7 PM on April 6th, 1199, with Eleanor at his side.
    I will post again when I am finally on the mend Meanwhile, do not forget Season Four of Game of Thrones starts tonight.

  118. Joan Says:

    I haven’t reached this point yet so will refrain from reading the post but glad to hear from you Sharon. Continue to heal.

  119. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I am sorry to report that the pneumonia dragon is proving to be as hard to chase off as the deadline dragon. I had to face the latter alone, but at least my doctor is helping me confront the pneumonia dragon. But it is likely my Facebook postings will be sporadic until said dragon finally unfolds its wings and flies off to friendlier climes.
    I have a message for my British readers. My fourth mystery, Prince of Darkness, is now available in the e-book format. And my British publisher is running a promotion on Lionheart to coincide with Ransom’s publication; it is available for now on Amazon.UK at the bargain price of ninety-nine pence.
    And before I start my dragon-fighting for the day, here is a link to a funny review of Sunday’s Game of Thrones premiere. Don’t read it, though, unless you’ve already seen the show or don’t care about spoilers. Not only did Thrones crash HBO-GO Sunday night, it drew its biggest audience yet and is their most popular series since The Sopranos. Oh, and they just renewed it for two more seasons. No pressure, though, George. http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/game-of-thrones-season-4-premiere-recap/

  120. Theresa Says:

    15 April 1367 Henry IV of England was born on this day at Bolingbroke Castle. Also Leonardo Da Vinci was also born on this date.

    However, for those watching GOT most recent episode.

    Yes, it has finally happened!

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  122. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    NOTE from Sharon: Sharon asked me to let you all know that she is very sorry that she has not been able to post recently, because she is still ill and not recovering as quickly as she had hoped. She misses you all, and thanks you for understanding.

  123. Joan Says:

    Thanks Stephanie. We miss her too & send healing energy her way. I’m sure I’m not the first to say this but A King’s Ransom is, after HBD, my favorite of her novels. It is pure genius.

  124. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    Isn’t it? I agree, Joan!

  125. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you, Stephanie! Sharon, we miss you. Keep fighting the pneumonia dragon until it’s gone. We keep you in our thoughts. Happy Easter to you and Holly!

  126. Stephanie Churchill Ling Says:

    And update on Sharon: A number of people have been asking after Sharon out of concern for her well-being. I just wanted to update you all to let you know that she is on the road to recovery and is starting to feel better. She’ll be back when she can, but she has a lot of backlogged work from her weeks of being sick. You can rest assured that she is slowly on the mend!

  127. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you, dear Stephanie! Give Sharon our warmest regards. We keep her in our thoughts.

  128. Joan Says:

    I’ll add my warmest wishes to Kasia’s. It has been worrisome & I’m very happy to hear that Sharon is recovering slowly but surely. Thanks for this good news Stephanie.

  129. skpenman Says:

    I am so sorry I have been silent for so long, but for 4 ½ weeks I have been battling the pneumonia dragon, which is even more aggressive and troublesome than those blasted deadline dragons. But my doctor and I think that I finally can see the road to Recovery glimmering on the horizon. Of course I have about as much energy as a wet noodle and am sleeping as much as a sloth. I’d been warned that with pneumonia, there is a long convalescence, so I am trying to see this as my post-pneumonia hangover

    I won’t be able to make regular visits for a while yet, but I can start tonight with this link to a very funny review of the Purple Wedding in Game of Thrones. If I had any words of warning for people about to cross the borders into Westeros, it would be, “For God’s sake, don’t ever accept a wedding invitation!” Don’t read it if you haven’t seen the episode yet and are vainly trying to avoid spoilers.

    http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/game-of-thrones-joffrey-wedding-recap/

    I’ve missed you all! And Joan, what lovely comments you’ve been making about Ransom. They definitely helped me in fending off the PD!

  130. skpenman Says:

    Holly has been so sweet and helpful during my bout with pneumonia that I’ve begun calling her the spaniel poultice. I’ll try to start posting again, though they are likely to be short for a while. I did have two things to report that are likely to be of interest to my readers. The new paperback edition of Sunne in Splendour has its pub date today; it is, of course, an exact copy of the revised hardback edition of Sunne that Macmillan brought out last September. And for my British readers, my fourth mystery, Prince of Darkness, was published as an e-book in the UK in Earl April, and it will come out for the first time in paperback and hardcover in October.
    I was so sorry to disappoint those who’d signed up for my Richard III tour in September, but my doctor and I both felt it was too much for me to attempt after the exhausting book tour and my ongoing bout with pneumonia. But I have good news for my fellow medieval geeks. There are still spaces left on Elizabeth Chadwick’s second William Marshal tour this coming September. Several of my friends went on the last one and had a wonderful time and I highly recommend it. Not surprising since Elizabeth probably knows more about William Marshal’s life than he himself did! Here is the link to her website which gives the information about the tour. Even if you won’t be able to consider the tour at this time, I strongly urge everyone to visit her website, for I think it is one of the most informative and entertaining on the web.
    http://elizabethchadwick.com/

  131. Joan Says:

    Welcome back Sharon! How nice to hear from you, but please keep resting & don’t mind us…..a few words now & again is all we need for now. The important thing is to get your strength back. And sloths are good.

  132. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, how lovely to hear from you! At last! I missed you so much, but Joan is right: don’t mind us… Focus on your full recovery. Warmest regards from my hubby and my children.

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  134. skpenman Says:

    Not much to report. Sleeping a lot. Keeping an eye on the pneumonia dragon, who is not ready to concede unconditional surrender. I finally shoved him out the door, but he continues to lurk on the porch, awaiting his chance to sneak back in. More sleeping. Feed the Florence Nightingale of the dog world. Yawning…can another nap be coming on? Ah, if people only knew the glamorous jet-set lives that writers lead.
    On a much more interesting subject, here is another of those wonderfully snarky EW reviews for Game of Thrones, last week’s episode. So don’t click onto the link if you haven’t seen it and want to avoid spoilers, though I suspect the only way to really avoid spoilers is to hide in a cave.
    http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/game-of-thrones-recap-breaker-chains/

  135. skpenman Says:

    So many people in the path of this latest round of savage storms are in need of our good wishes, sympathy, and prayers. I hope all of my friends and readers got through it okay, although more trouble is looming on the horizon After finally surviving the Winter from Hell, it seems so unfair that Spring is following in its accursed footsteps.
    I am feeling better and I hope to have a new blog up today about my book tour. In the meantime, here is another delightfully snarky review of last night’s episode of Game of Thrones. Click onto this link at your peril if you have not seen that episode yet. I liked it very much myself, aside from a few scenes not for the faint of heart. Has anyone else noticed that Westeros seems to have more than its share of sadists and psychopaths?
    http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/game-of-thrones-natalie-oathkeeper-recap/

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