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Sharon Kay PenmanThe Penman Chronicles

July 2008

I have some more news about Devilís Brood.  It will be published in the U.S. by G.P. Putnamís on October 7, 2008.   There has been a change in the British publication plans, however.  Penguin had initially decided to bring it out in November of this year, but they subsequently decided to wait and publish it at the end of January, 2009.   This is why British visitors to www.amazon.co.uk have encountered a cryptic message that they donít know when or if Devilís Brood will be available.   I do believe, though, that they still plan to issue a paperback edition of Devilís Brood in Australia this November.    

I will be doing a five city book tour in the U.S., primarily in the East and Midwest, and I will post my itinerary as soon as it is finalized.   I do not know at this time if I will be doing a book tour in the U.K., though I certainly hope so.    I will also be posting the prologue and first chapter of Devilís Brood on my website in the near future.

In my last message, I asked if there was interest in reading the passages that were deleted from Devilís Brood in the editing process.  Iíve gotten enough e-mails to show me that there is indeed interest in reading them.   But as it turned out, Devilís Brood was not cut back as much as Iíd expected, and it will be published more or less intact.  I will, however, post the few deletions at a later date.  After Devilís Brood is published, I will also be posting an extensive book list for those whoíd like to delve further into the world of twelfth century England and France.

I have been often asked why none of my books are available on Amazonís Kindle.  I am delighted to report that the St Martinís new edition of Sunne in Splendour can now be purchased via Kindle.  And it is my understanding that once Devilís Brood is published, it will be available in the Kindle format, too.  

I am very happy to reveal that there is now a Welsh website which features my Welsh trilogy, Here De Dragons, Falls the Shadow, and The Reckoning.   The URL is www.princesofgwynedd.com   It was put together by the Betws-y-Coed District Tourist Association, which can be reached at www.betws-y-coed.co.uk      Betws-y-Coed is a lovely little town in the heart of Snowdonia, the ideal starting point for anyone interested in following in the footsteps of the Welsh princes.    

I am still endeavoring to respond to the thousands of e-mails that have piled up while I was laid low by the mono virus.  I am also in the process of updating my website, making it more interactive and allowing me to communicate more easily with my readers.  So do check it out in the near future.   I have a very creative webmaster, so I think youíll be pleased with the results.   


March 2008

To judge by the e-mails and letters Iíve been getting, it will come as no surprise when I reveal that I have been mugged again by the mono virus. The mugging last year was a particularly nasty one and I had to put all of my dwindling energy into Devilís Brood, which resulted in my website becoming covered with cyberspace cobwebs. I am sorry for that. But I do have good news. At long last, Devilís Brood is done! After so many years of entertaining the Angevins, my house is going to seem rather empty with Henry gone. Hopefully, heíll continue to haunt me, at least until the book comes out and he sees how it does. Putnamís is publishing it this October, and my British publisher, Penguin, will be publishing it, too, before the end of the year. As soon as they decide on a date, I will post it upon my website.

Once we get Devilís Brood on track, I hope to ease the backlog of e-mails that have been accumulating at my website. Thank you all so much for the wonderful messages of support, the suggestions for exorcising my mono demons, and above all, for such patience as Devilís Brood was delayed again and again. I have the worldís best readers, bar none!

I will be updating the rest of my website, too. I am delighted to announce that St Martinís Griffin Press has brought out a beautiful new paperback edition of Sunne in Splendour and will follow up with a new edition of Here Be Dragons in May; Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning are waiting in the wings, too. I will be adding to my reading recommendations list once Devilís Brood is published for readers whoíd like to learn more about the Angevin world. Devilís Brood is going to be a big book and it will be necessary to trim it back in places. If there is interest in it, I am willing to post some of these deletions upon the website for readers who just canít get too much of Henry and Eleanor.

Lastly, I have some good news about Sunne. It was optioned by Blue Feather Films, a British production company, last year, and I will periodically update Sunneís progress toward the big screen. I know the odds are not in our favor, but Richard could not be in better hands. Meanwhile, please keep writing to me. Your messages have truly been a lifeline on some of my mono days.


March 2007

I am going to continue with the theme of my last posting, the good news-bad news approach. The bad news is that the mono is still encamped at Penman Manor, and showing no signs of vacating the premises. The good news is that it is not likely to derail Devilís Brood. I give Henry and Eleanor first priority -- they never expected anything less -- and focus my energies upon writing the book -- and feeding the dogs. Unfortunately, everything else goes by the wayside, so the reader e-mail continues to pile up in the background. I am responding to them, though, when Henry, Eleanor, and the mono allow, so I hope youíll all continue to be patient with me. I expect to have Devilís Brood done in the late autumn, and publication will then be in 2008. I will report on my progress in future postings. Meanwhile, thank you so much for the wonderful e-mails and letters of support. They have gotten me over some very rough patches of road in the past, and are a great help in coping with the temper tantrums of my fascinating and vexing royal roommates.

I would also like to alert my mystery readers in general and my Ricardian readers in particular that Margaret Frazerís captivating new mystery The Traitorís Tale has appearances by the Duke of York and Queen Marguerite, as well as her formidable sleuth, Dame Frevisse and the sexy spy, Joliffe.


July 2006

This message is going to read like a Bad News-Good News joke. The bad news is that my mono is back; it makes more return engagements than Cher. The good news is that so far it has not sent me into freefall mode and I am still able to write. I suspect that no mere virus is a match for the royal will power of my current roommates, Henry Fitz Empress and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

More bad news -- I managed to come down with another exotic ailment, this one with the tongue-twisting name of Ehrlichiosis. This is a tick-borne ailment that is rarer than Lyme Disease and can be dangerous if it goes untreated. The good news is that I was diagnosed in time and responded well to the anti-biotic, although it took me a full four weeks to recover. Why am I mentioning this since it is in the past? Because I am now a woman with a mission, determined to do my Paul Revere routine and warn people about the dangers that ticks pose. I was always at risk since I have dogs and live near the woods, and tick bites were as much a part of summer as July 4th fireworks and sunscreen and a new Janet Evanovich novel. But I will never be so blas?again; in fact, I will be lucky if I can stave off full-blown paranoia. There are a number of very nasty diseases that we can get from ticks; Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis are only two of them. So please donít make my mistake and take them as seriously as they deserve.

Continuing the theme of this message, I have further bad news to report; I will not be able to meet the December deadline for Devilís Brood. This means that publication will likely be delayed until 2008. The good news is that -- aside from my recent tick-induced detour -- the book is going very well. Some chapters practically write themselves and the book has taken on a momentum of its own. I have to give credit where due to Henry and his dysfunctional family -- theirs was such a powerful, dramatic, tragic, improbable story, one no novelist would dare to invent out of whole cloth. Usually beginning a new chapter is somewhat like diving blindly into a swimming pool, hoping all the while that there will be water in it. But with DB, no sooner do I finish a chapter than I am ready, even eager, to get back into the pool. At times DB seemed snake-bit to me, for there have been so many delays; if Iíd encountered so many obstacles while writing Sunne in Splendour, Iíd probably have concluded that I was being haunted by vengeful Tudor ghosts. But it does seem as if it is back on track and with a little luck, and some cooperation from my Plantagenet prima donnas, it will eventually make it into print. Please bear with me; I really believe it will be worth the wait!

I am going to add several new features to my website. I try to set the record straight with my Authorís Notes, letting readers know when I take small liberties with historical fact. But sometimes I discover that Iíve erred after publication. For example, I did not learn that velvet was not worn in the 12th century until long after I had Joanna wearing it in Here Be Dragons. So I plan to add a section called My Medieval Mishaps in which I mention misstatements like this or my most infamous mistake -- the little grey squirrel in Sunne in Splendour.

Readers often ask me about the resources I use. It is not possible to add a bibliography, but in my Authorís Note or Acknowledgments, I often mention books that I found particularly useful, such as David Crouchís excellent biography of William Marshal. Iíve decided to expand upon this with Book Recommendations, in which I list those books that I think readers will find interesting.

Finally, I would like to thank all those whoíve written to me via my website. People have written to tell me of their own grief in losing loved ones, to relate their own health problems with chronic ailments like mono, and to assure me that life gets better. I am convinced I have the best readers in the world; you have huge hearts and generous spirits as well as excellent taste in books!


April 2006

My recent messages have been shrouded in gloom and doom, but I actually have good news to report in this one. My mono finally went into remission. And Henry and Eleanor were so pleased to be back on center-stage that they have been quite cooperativeówell, as cooperative as medieval royalty could ever be with a lowly scribe. The Devilís Brood is going very well so far, and there is a remote chance that I might finish it in time for Putnamís to publish it late next year. If I sound dubious, it is only because I keep adding new chapters to the outline. Henry and Eleanorís children can be prima donnas, too, the apples not falling far from the tree, and they are not content to be secondary characters, want their own time in the spotlight. Deadlines notwithstanding, it is difficult to refuse their demands. The story of this remarkably dysfunctional royal family is a fascinating one, as those whoíve seen The Lion in Winter will agree.

I would like to thank all of the readers who have written such kind and generous letters of sympathy, often sharing stories of their own family sorrows. I am in the process of answering all of these e-mails, but it is going to take a while because of the sheer volume. Please keep e-mailing me, though; I love being able to communicate with you through my website, and hope to keep you informed about my progressóor the lack thereofóin dealing with the Devilís Brood.


November 2005

I want to apologize to all the readers whoíve contacted me via my website, as the e-mails are still piling up, unanswered. In my last note, I explained that 2004 was not a good year for the Penman clan. I am sorry to say that 2005 has been even worse. My father died in September after a long, cruel battle with cancer and Alzheimerís. I am still struggling with that blasted mono virus, the guest that just wonít go home. And I was laid low by another back ailment; if not for my chiropractor, Iíd be making regular pilgrimages to Lourdes. But I hope to be able to catch up in the near future, and Iíd like to thank you all for your encouragement and support. With Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine breathing down the back of my neck, furious at being kept off center-stage for so long, I need all the allies I can get!
 


December 2004

I would like to thank all the people whoíve sent me get-well wishes and suggestions for battling the mononucleosis, often sharing their own stories of past illnesses. This means more than I can express. Truthfully, it has been a difficult year for the Penman clan. The mono is still hanging around like an uninvited and obnoxious houseguest, and my dadís health continues to deteriorate. As a result, I need more sleep than a hibernating bear and I have not yet been able to respond to most of the e mails coming into my website. I will, though, for I feel blessed to get reader feedback like yours.

Prince of Darkness, my new mystery, will be published by Putnamís in early April, and I will be doing a promotional tour at that time. As soon as it is set, Iíll post my travel schedule on my website. I am happy to report that it has been bought by both the Book of the Month Club and the History Book Club. I have bad news, though, for my readers in the U.K. My British publisher, Penguin, has decided to pass on Darkness; they feel that historical mysteries are not selling well on their side of the Atlantic. So it looks as if Justinís new book will not see the light of day in his homeland. Thank heaven for internet bookshops!

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I am going to post a new photograph soon, as the one Iíve been using made me feel as if I were guilty of false advertising; it is over fifteen years old! Iíd tried to convince my editor at Putnamís that this would make a great book photo for Darkness, but she vetoed that idea, claiming that Cody would ďoverpower?me, as she tactfully put it. Granted, Cody is slightly smaller than an SUV, but I also think he is the Johnny Depp of Dogdom and deserves a bit of cyberspace celebrity.

Best of holiday wishes. I hope that 2005 will be a better year for us all.


July 2004

First of all, I want to apologize to all the readers whoíve been sending me e-mail at my website and waiting in vain for signs of life. Iím sorry to report that Iíve been ill again. My mononucleosis is no longer in remission, much to my frustration. It keeps bouncing back like a blasted boomerangóand not only does it exhaust me, it apparently makes me prone to excessive alliteration! But I will be responding to all of your e-mails and queries; that is a Penman promise.

I do have some good news. This spring I finished Prince of Darkness, my fourth medieval mystery featuring Justin de Quincy. In this one, Justin discovers that the streets of Paris can be as dangerous as his more familiar haunts in London; Putnamís will be publishing it next April. Meanwhile, I plan to divide my time between battling the mono. and dealing with those Plantagenet prima donnas, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their Devilís Brood is next on the agenda. Wish me luck, for Iím sure to need it.


August 2003

I know it seems as if Iíve dropped utterly off the radar screen, and my book deadlines are stretching out into infinity. Two of my favorite e-mails gently took me to task for this. One reader simply inquired, ďDid Eleanor get lost in Aquitaine??and another one reminded me that poor Claudine had been pregnant for four years. For those of you who havenít been reading my apologetic Afterwords, I want to explain that my extended bout with mononucleosis seems to have morphed into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; family health problems have also contributed to these deadline delays.

I am happy to report that I have a new book coming out this October in the United States It is a medieval mystery titled Dragonís Lair, and will be published by Putnamís; Penguin will be publishing it in the United Kingdom next April. In Dragonís Lair, the queen and I send Justin de Quincy into Wales, where he crosses paths with the young Llewelyn ab Iorwerth from Here Be Dragons. I am currently working on Prince of Darkness, another medieval mystery, which we hope to publish next year. I am then going to do The Devilís Brood, the third book in my Henry IIóEleanor of Aquitaine trilogy. For those readers who were expecting The Devilís Brood sooner, I do apologize for the delay. Please donít write and scold me, though. Trust me, IĎve already gotten quite a bit of grief on that subject from Henry and Eleanor.


A King's Ransom

 

 



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Sharon Kay Penman
author of Lionheart, Devil's Brood,
When Christ and His Saints Slept
and Time and Chance
from Penguin Putnam

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