Saturday, December 24, 2022

Happy weekend!

 I hope you all have a lovely weekend!  And may there be many wonderful books in your new year...

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

More Tudor Holiday Feasting!

 Another short re-run article on the elaborate Tudor Days of Christmas!  My own holiday is much less fancy, but I do need to get to work on baking a pie or two...

One thing I learned as I researched my  book The Winter Queen  is that the Elizabethans really, really knew how to party at the holidays! The Christmas season (Christmastide) ran 12 days, from December 24 (Christmas Eve) to January 6 (Twelfth Day), and each day was filled with feasting, gift-giving (it was a huge status thing at Court to see what gift the Queen gave you, and to seek favor by what you gave her), pageants, masquerades, dancing, a St. Stephen’s Day fox-hunt, and lots of general silliness. (One of the games was called Snapdragon, and involved a bow of raisins covered in brandy and set alight. The players had to snatch the raisins from the flames and eat them without being burned. I think the brandy was heavily imbibed before this games as well, and I can guarantee this won’t be something we’re trying at my house this year!)

Later in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, she mostly kept Christmas at Greenwich, or sometimes at Hampton Court or Nonsuch Palace, but in the year my story is set, 1564, she spent the holiday at Whitehall in London. Elizabeth had only been queen for 6 years and was 31 years old, so hers was a young Court full of high spirits. This was also the coldest winter in memory, so cold the Thames froze through and there was a Frost Fair complete with skating, food and merchandise booths on the ice, and sledding. It was fun to imagine this scene, and put my characters (Lady Rosamund Ramsey, lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and Anton Gustavson, Swedish diplomat and excellent ice-skater) into the action!

Even though there were no Christmas trees or stockings hung by the fire, I was surprised to find we would recognize many of the traditional decorations of the time! Anything that was still green in December would be used–holly, ivy, yew, bay. The Yule log was lit on Christmas Eve using a bit of last year’s log saved for the purpose. It was brought in by the men of the household, decorated with wreaths and ribbons, and set ablaze so everyone could gather around and tell tales of Christmases past.

Food was also just as big a part of the holiday as it is now! Roast meats were favorites (pork, beef, chicken, fricaseed, cooked in broths, roasted, baked into pies), along with stewed vegetables and fine whit manchet bread with fresh butter and cheese. Elizabeth was a light eater, especially compared with her father, but she was a great lover of sweets. These could include candied flowers, hard candies in syrup (called suckets, eaten with special sucket spoons), Portugese figs, Spanish oranges, tarts, gingerbread, and figgy pudding. The feast often ended with a spectacular piece of sugar art called (incongrously) subtleties. In 1564, this was a recreation of Whitehall itself in candy, complete with a sugar Thames. (At least they could work off the feasting in skating and sledding…)

A couple fun reads on Christmas in this period are Maria Hubert’s Christmas in Shakespeare’s England and Hugh Douglas’s A Right Royal Christmas, as well as Alison Sim’s Food and Feast in Tudor England and Liza Picard’s Elizabeth’s London

Monday, December 19, 2022

Tudor Christmas Tidings

 (a re-run of a short post on my novella,  His Mistletoe Lady, in the anthology Tudor Christmas Tidings...)

I love the holiday season, and the Tudors certainly knew how to celebrate with their music, dancing, feasting, and wassailing.

I imagine that Christmas 1554 was one of Queen Mary Tudor’s most happy, and last happy, moments.  She’d come through decades of neglect and persecution to fight for her throne, combat the Wyatt Rebellion, led by noblemen centred in Kent who sought to dethrone Mary and replace her with Elizabeth (which our heroine Catherine’s father finds himself embroiled in), and marry her kinsman King Philip of Spain.  (Sources say Queen Mary fell deeply in love; his feelings were more doubtful, or should we say dutiful.)  Now England was reconciled with the Catholic Church, and she was expecting an heir.

Things were not so merry for long.  By the summer of 1555, the pregnancy was known to be a phantom one—there was no baby at all.  King Philip left to wage war in the Low Countries and Mary died in 1558, leaving the throne to her despised half-sister Elizabeth.

But I imagine Catherine and Diego’s story ends on a happier note.  They are loosely based on the true story of Jane Dormer and the Count of Feria, who also appear in our tale.  Jane and her count married soon after Queen Mary’s death, and she spent the rest of her very long life in Spain.  I envision Catherine and Diego, along with her parents, living in Andalusia, raising beautiful children!


His Mistletoe Lady - Amanda McCabe

Not long after Wyatt’s Rebellion, Catherine and her mother journey to Queen Mary’s court to celebrate the holiday season. There, they hope to find a way to free Catherine’s father who has been branded a traitor, but little do they know just how much of their fate is tied up with the mysterious Diego, a new courtier from the Spanish courts.

I liked this story quite a lot. It had the best and most believable romance arc of the three stories in this book and I felt it had the best characters. I really liked Diego and Catherine and I liked that Catherine very much had agency in her choices. I also liked the historical parallels between characters that were changed enough that unless you are super familiar with the history you wouldn’t notice them. It was nice seeing a story where Mary I isn’t vilified and where you can see her for the often kind woman she was. Because she was kind, kinder in several ways than either of her siblings or her father. Basically, I really felt this was the best story in the bunch.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

A Tale of Two Palaces

 (this is a re-run of a guest post I did on another blog in--gulp!--2016!  I love doing the research for my Kate Haywood Elizabethan Mysteries, so thought I'd give it another look...)

One of the best perks of writing historical mysteries is the research!  I am a library junkie, and love spending time digging through dusty old books in search of just the right historical detail.  (Of course, this also means sometimes it’s hard for me to stop researching and actually, y’know, use the research in writing!).  Travel is also a fun way to immerse myself in a period, to imagine how my characters might have actually lived in Elizabethan times.  Murder at the Royal Chateau (Fontainebleau)  uses a sense of place even more than other stories I’ve written.  We glimpse two palaces in the story, one that is long demolished and one that still exists to be toured, and they were a perfect example of the differences between English and French life in the 16th century, which Kate Haywood discovers for herself when she’s sent to Fontainebleau on a mission for Queen Elizabeth….

The English palace, Greenwich (above), was originally built in 1433 by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, a brother of Henry V. It was a convenient spot for a castle, 5 miles from London and Thames-side, and was popular with subsequent rulers, especially Henry VIII. His father, Henry VII, remodeled the place extensively between 1498-1504 (after dispatching the previous occupant, Dowager Queen Elizabeth, to a convent). The new design was after the trendy “Burgundian” model, with the facade refaced in red Burgundian brick. Though the royal apartments were still in the “donjon” style (i.e. stacked rooms atop rooms), there were no moats or fortifications. It was built around 3 courtyards, with the royal apartments overlooking the river and many fabulous gardens and mazes, fountains and lawns.
At the east side of the palace lay the chapel; to the west the privy kitchen. Next door was the church of he Observant Friars of St. Francis, built in 1482 and connected to the palace by a gallery. This was the favorite church of Katherine of Aragon, who wanted one day to be buried there (of course, that didn’t turn out quite as she planned…)
Though there are paintings and drawings of the exterior, not much is known of the interior decorations. The Great Hall was said to have roof timbers painted with yellow ochre, and the floors were wood, usually oak (some painted to look like marble). The ceilings were flat, with moulded fretwork and lavish gilding, embellished with badges and heraldic devices (often Katherine’s pomegranates and Henry’s roses). The furniture was probably typical of the era, carved dark wood chairs (often an X-frame design) and tables, benches and trunks. Wool or velvet rugs were on the floors of the royal apartments only, but they could also be found on tables, cupboards, and walls. Elaborate tiered buffets showed off gold and silver plate, and treasures like an gold salt cellar engraved with the initials “K and H” and enameled with red roses.
It was a royal residence through the reign of Charles I (1625-49), but under the Commonwealth the state apartments were made into stables, and the palace decayed. In 1662, Charles II demolished most of the remains and built a new palace on the site (this later became the Royal Naval College), and landscaped Greenwich Park. The Tudor Great Hall survived until 1866, and the chapel (used for storage) until the late 19th century. Apart from the undercroft (built by James I in 1606) and one of Henry VIII’s reservoir buildings of 1515, nothing of the original survives.

Fontainebleau (above), on the other hand, can be seen in much the state Francois I left it in. On February 24, 1525 there was the battle of Pavia, the worst French defeat since Agincourt. Many nobles were dead, and king was the prisoner of the Holy Roman Emperor in Madrid. He was released in May, but only at the price of exchanging his sons (Dauphin Francois and Henri, duc d’Orleans) for his own freedom. In May 1526, Francois created the League of Cognac with Venice, Florence, the Papacy, the Sforzas of Milan, and Henry VIII to “ensure the security of Christendom and the establishment of a true and lasting peace.” (Ha!!) This led to the visit of the delegation in 1527, seeking a treaty of alliance with England and the betrothal of Princess Mary and the duc d’Orleans.
After his return from Madrid, Francois was not idle. Aside from plotting alliances, he started decorating. Having finished Chambord, he turned to Fontainebleau, which he loved for its 17,000 hectares of fine hunting land. All that remained of the original 12th century castle was a single tower. Francois built new ballrooms,
galleries, and a chapel, and called in Italian artists like Fiorentino, Primaticcio, and Vignola to decorate them in lavish style (some of their work can still be seen in the frescoes of the Gallery of Francois I and the bedchamber of the king’s mistress the duchesse d’Etampes). The marble halls were filled with artworks, gold and silver ornaments, and fine tapestries. Unlike Greenwich, this palace was high and light, filled with sunlight that sparkled on the giltwork.
I know it’s hard to comment on a research-type post, but I’m curious–after reading about both palaces, which would you prefer to live in? (I’m torn, but I lean toward Fontainebleau, just because I was so awestruck when I visited!). Where would you like to see a book set?

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Holiday Romance on Sale!

 1.99 this week for your holiday reading!!!

The magic of Christmas in the country reunites a shy woman with a troubled veteran in this sweet and tender Regency romance.

Plain, sensible Rose Parker is a self-proclaimed wallflower, but she’s always dreamed of dancing with Captain Harry St. George . . .

Once, Harry wouldn’t even have noticed Rose. But now, after a hard war, Harry knows he’s a different man. Shy, sweet Rose intrigues him more than any gregarious young lady—but he must marry a rich bride to save his mortgaged estates . . . and Rose is no heiress. Now, more than ever, Harry needs the magic of a mistletoe kiss . . .

Buy link

Weekend Links

 The book was just turned in, yay!!!  Now it's the week to finish up holiday prep, order the pies, and relax a bit.  What are your plans for the rest of the year??

The lost romance of the sleeper train

Yesterday was Jane Austen's birthday!!

The Bloomsbury circle

10 best Mystery Bookshops

Allow Stanley Tucci to make you a drink

How women bankrolled a 17th century theater

10 idyllic Cotswolds hotels

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Weekend Links


Hello, everyone!  I have a book due at the end of next week, and am going a little nuts about it (I always hit a point where I am convinced it's a terrible horrible, no good story, and should scrap it and start again, but can't because I only have a week!!).  So I'm procrastinating by looking for fun reads.  Here's some bits I've found this week...

10 bookstores worth traveling for

The mystery of a 280 year old yellow dress

What's in store for season 3 of "All Creatures Great and Small"  (coming to PBS in January! I can't wait)

7th century gold necklace discovered

Best museums in Paris

10 best historical fiction books in 2022

Marie Antoinette's guitar up for auction

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Review Team

 Hello everyone!  I just got the ARC info for "Two Sinful Secrets" (Book 2 of The Scandalous St. Claires, released December 20!).  If you'd like a copy, or a sneak peek at future releases, and are willing to provide reviews, let me know at amccabe7551 AT

Happy reading!

A hundred years has passed since the bitter rivalry between the St. Claires and the Huntingtons began. But in London, the feud goes on . ..

Lady Sophia Huntington isn't what she appears to be. Born into a noble family, the impulsive, wild-hearted beauty has fallen on difficult times. Banished from her home, Sophia dreams of the day she can finally win her father's forgiveness and return to London. Until the sudden appearance of a suitor from the scandalous St. Claire family threatens to reveal her darkest secrets . . .

Dominic St. Claire vows to exact revenge upon the Huntingtons, who destroyed his family's fortune generations ago. His perfect target is the lovely but proud Lady Sophia. After using her to discover the Huntingtons' financial secrets, he will cause a great scandal by eloping-and then abandoning his bride. But his plot soon unravels when he finds his own heart ensnared-in a trap not of his own making.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

New release!

 If you're feeling in the holiday reading mood, I have the stories for you!!  My dear friend Kathy L Wheeler (long live the Martini Club!) and I have collaborated on the story of Lady X and her exclusive gaming establishment in Georgian London--and 4 friends who find their perfect loves at Christmas in its lavish halls...

GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS - VOLUME 2: Mysteries abound at London's most fashionable Hell.

The Thief Who Stole Christmas - Amanda McCabe
A man who has never broken the rules, and a woman who just might break his heart! But Christmas is always a time for second chances...

As one of Miss Greensley's Girls, a member of the exclusive club la Sous Rose, and famous author Lady L, Victoria Lanford moves easily through Society ballrooms. Few people know how her unhappy childhood and anxiety led her to pickpocketing (yet, she did return the jewels)! When she comes face-to-face with old flame Rhys Neville, Earl of Hammond, she knows the kind-hearted, straight-laced, devilishly handsome lord is not for her—especially once the past comes back to haunt them. Why, then, can't she stop thinking about their kisses?

The Kerse Who Saved Christmas - Kathy L Wheeler
Kerse: He, of the no nonsense approach, is stymied by She, a woman considered long past prime marriageability who needs a keeper more than he requires a wife. Yet the dreamy-eyed, impractical, and much too optimistic Philomena still manages to steal his heart despite her unrealistic beliefs and trust in fortune tellers.

Other books by Kathy and Amanda:
Gaming Hell Christmas Volume 1
Regency Christmas Kisses - a collection of short stories

Buy Link

Fun Weekend Links

 Happy Saturday!!  Taking a few minutes out of this busy (and chilly!) months to being you some distracting reading.  Enjoy!

Ride in historic carriages from the Orient Express

The type of love that makes people happiest

Notre-Dame will become part of a sustainable micro-climate

The oldest building in all 50 states

To find great female novelists, stop looking in Austen's shadow

Kensington Palace decorates the halls

Cookies inspired by cocktails

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Heroine of the Weekend

 A return of the Heroine of the Weekend feature, a brief glimpse into interesting (sometimes heroic, sometimes decidedly not so) women in history....

This week we take a look at Eleanor of Austria, also known as Eleanor of Castille, born November 15, 1498 (lived until February 25, 1558).  She came from a long line of illustrious royalty, her parents being Philip "The Fair" of Burgundy and her mother Juana of Castile, her grandparents Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian and the great heiress Mary of Burgundy.  Her brothers became Emperor Charles V, the most powerful man of their era, and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand; her sisters were the queens of Denmark, Hungary, and Portugal, and she herself became the queen of Portugal (1518-1521) and of France (1530-1547), as well as holding the Duchy of Touraine in her dower.

She had a long betrothal history before her age reached double digits!  She was engaged briefly to Henry VIII of England before he decided to marry her aunt Catherine of Aragon (lucky escape for Eleanor), as well as brief ideas of marrying her to Louis XII of France, Sigismund I of Poland, or the Duke of Lorraine.  She was raided at her aunt's court at Leuven until 1517, when she joined her brother Charles in Spain.

She was married to her uncle by marriage, Manuel I of Portugal, in 1518 (he was previously married to not one but two of her aunts!).  They had two children, Charles, who died at a year of age, and Maria.  When Manuel died, to complete the family coziness, her sister Catherine married her stepson, Juan III.  They kept Infanta Maria at their court while Eleanor went back to Spain.

By 1527, Francis I of France was a captive in Spain, taken in battle during the long conflict between the two countries.  This was ended (or at least paused) by the Treaty of Cambrai, or "The Ladies' Peace," since several royal ladies, including Francis's mother and Eleanor, were involved in its terms.  One of the treaty's provisions was a marriage between Eleanor and Francis, who had long been a widower with many children.  This took place in 1530.

It was not a happy marriage, needless to say after such an unpromising beginning!  They had no children, and Francis made no secret of his many mistresses.  At Eleanor's official entrance to Paris, he started as he meant to go on and stood with his mistress in a window for hours.  But Eleanor was crowned at St. Denis on May 31, 1531, and played a large official role.  She served as a diplomat between her brother and her husband, as well as between her various siblings' squabbles, and attended royal events like the marriage of her stepson to Catherine de Medici in 1533.  She raised her two youngest stepdaughters, and was much praised for her devotion to charity.

In 1548, after the death of Francis, she moved to Brussels to work for her brother and his empire, until he decided to abdicate and retire to a monastery in 1555, and she and her sister Mary moved to live near him.  She met her daughter Maria in 1558, for the first time in 28 years, and died shortly after.

She was originally buried at the Cathedral of St. Mary Major in Medina, until she was moved to the official royal burial chapel at El Escorial in 1586.

Most sources on her life come from books about other people!  Some interesting ones include:

--Leonie Frieda, Francis I: The Maker of Modern France (2018)

--Sylvia Barbara Soberton, Golden Age Ladies: Women Who Shaped the Courts of Henry VIII and Francis I (2016)

--Geoffrey Parker, Emperor: A New Life of Charles V (2021)

--Giles Tremlett, Isabella of Castille: Europe's First Great Queen (2017)

--Julia Fox, Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile (2012)

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Release Day Approaches!


Coming next week, November 22!!!!

Buy Link

Accession Day 1558

I can (almost) see the light of day at the very end of this tunnel of a WIP (due December 1!), but I had to commemorate a very important day in English history.  November 17, 1558 marked the accession to the throne of Elizabeth I, and the start of one of the most remarkable periods in history!  (At the end of my Elizabethan Mystery, Murder at the Princess's Palace, I loved writing the scene showing the legendary moment when she received the news!).  

Queen Mary died early on the morning of November 17, 1558 at St. James's Palace, and members of the Privy Council immediately set out for Elizabeth’s residence at Hatfield House to tell her the news. They carried Mary’s betrothal ring from Philip of Spain, to prove to Elizabeth that the queen was dead, so long live the queen. The legend is that they found her sitting under a tree, reading a Bible in Greek. On hearing the news, she proclaimed, “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Now, I am not at all sure someone would just “happen” to be sitting under a tree reading in November! Maybe she was just out for a stroll, maybe the story is apocryphal, or maybe she heard they were coming and stage-managed the whole thing. She was one of the great stage managers in history). On a side note, the original tree is no longer there, but one was planted in its place by Elizabeth II in 1985. On another side note, when Elizabeth I died in 1603, after a reign of 45 years, she was buried with Mary in Westminster Abbey. The inscription reads, “Partners both in throne and grave, here rest we two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of one resurrection.” Kind of ironic, but I admit I got a little emotional when I saw the tomb (or maybe it was jet lag?)

Anyway, thereafter November 17 was a Big Party at court, and around the country. The big event was always a tournament, with a joust and sports where all the men vying for the queen’s attention could show off. Pomp and chivalry were paramount–all the men carried banners and shields adorned with symbolic images of the queen and their devotion to her. (Jousts, of course, were not all Renaissance faire-ish fun–Henri II of France died in one, and there were always injuries at Accession Day tournies. No fatalities that I could find, though).

The jousts would be followed by a banquet and ball, maybe a play or tableau celebrating the glorious reign of Elizabeth. At one banquet, the court polished off an ox, 40 sheep, 12 pigs, 132 capons, 5 swans, several pheasants, partridges, herons, pigeons, peacocks, and calves, not to mention fish, chicken, barrels of wine, vegetables and eggs, and sweets. Subtleties made of sugar and almond paste, shaped into castles and other fanciful things, were great favorites on such occasions.

Some of the best-known Elizabethan dances were: pavanes (a stately processional), usually followed by a lively galliard. There were gavottes (a circle dance to a medium tempo), sophisticated courantes and sarabands from France, and alamains. The Volte was one of the of only dances that allowed couples to closely embrace (the man showed off his strength by lifting the woman high in the air–this is probably why it’s used so often in movies! See Shakespeare in Love, both Elizabeth movies, and probably various Masterpiece Theaters).

Celebrations were not just held at court. There were bonfires, dances (maybe not pavanes, but bransles and Morris dancers), games, lots of wine and ale, and illuminations all across the country.

So, happy Accession Day, everyone! We might not celebrate with a Volte and a barrel of wine, but we can toast Good Queen Bess. And look forward to our own bacchanalia–Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a great one. Any big plans? 

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Weekend Links


A bit of reading for your weekend fun!

America's "Bohemian Queen"

Inside the World of Norman Hartnell, the Queen's Favorite Couturier

Where I'm talking about Flora Flowerdew!

What music to expect at the Queen's funeral

Jean-Luc Goddard passed away

It was Agatha Christie's birthday! (1890)--also National Cozy Mystery Day

I'm also sprucing up my newsletter, so sign up if you'd like to know about upcoming books and fun giveaways!  (But iIm still lazy, so it won't be too frequent...)

New Releases!!!

 New books out in the last few weeks!

(actually a re-release, but this was one of my favorite books to write!  First in the "Daughters of Erin" series, it was a RITA nominee for Best Historical...)

As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess.

Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.

When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.

Buy link

(first in a fun new Victorian mystery series!  Ghosts and puppehs!)

Flora Flowerdew has a secret. The former Florrie Gubbins, music hall dancer, is now Madame Flowerdew, one of London’s most renowned spirit mediums. But it’s actually her beloved Pomeranian dog, Chou-Chou, who can see the ghosts.

One of her most lucrative seances, for the wealthy Petrie family whose daughter is about to marry a handsome young duke, goes chaotically awry. The duke’s late, and very irate, grandfather demands Flora and his grandson Benedict find the long-missing family diamonds—even the search becomes littered with mayhem and murder! Can Flora discover the jewels before she loses her career, her sanity—and her heart?

Sparks fly as Flora, Benedict, and Chou-Chou pursue the truth of the diamonds’ disappearance in this lighthearted, cozy historical mystery set in foggy, gas-lit London

Buy link

(up for pre-order, in case you're feeling holiday-ish!  A great low price...)

GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS - VOLUME 2: Mysteries abound at London's most fashionable Hell.

The Thief Who Stole Christmas - Amanda McCabe
A man who has never broken the rules, and a woman who just might break his heart! But Christmas is always a time for second chances...

As one of Miss Greensley's Girls, a member of the exclusive club la Sous Rose, and famous author Lady L, Victoria Lanford moves easily through Society ballrooms. Few people know how her unhappy childhood and anxiety led her to pickpocketing (yet, she did return the jewels)! When she comes face-to-face with old flame Rhys Neville, Earl of Hammond, she knows the kind-hearted, straight-laced, devilishly handsome lord is not for her—especially once the past comes back to haunt them. Why, then, can't she stop thinking about their kisses?

The Kerse Who Saved Christmas - Kathy L Wheeler
Kerse: He, of the no nonsense approach, is stymied by She, a woman considered long past prime marriageability who needs a keeper more than he requires a wife. Yet the dreamy-eyed, impractical, and much too optimistic Philomena still manages to steal his heart despite her unrealistic beliefs and trust in fortune tellers.

Buy link

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Weekend Links

 Not QUITE so much fun this week, as an era we won't see again has gone with Queen Elizabeth II.  I've always adored her, a model of grace, discretion, kindness, morality, duty, and a steadfastness that lasted all her life in a world that is--not usually those things.  Not to mention corgis and tiaras, and marmalade sandwiches with Paddington!  She worked until two days before she was gone, and now I hope she is riding free on her beloved horse Burmese with her "strength and stay" Prince Philip, her parents and sister, and all those corgis.  You did it well, Ma'am, and we will miss you.

A few links about her extraordinary, unique life

Her beloved corgis through the years

Funeral plans from Westminster Abbey

Queen Elizabeth's Iconic Jewels

Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret: Photos of Sisterhood

Scenes from a nation in mourning

45 of her best quotes

King Charles III's touching address on the death of his mother

King Charles's Official Proclamation

The new Prince and Princess of Wales

The Queen's Style Evolution

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Fun Weekend Links

 It's September, yay!!  Almost my very favorite month of October!  I'm excited about getting out the fall wreaths and pumpkins, and looking forward to Halloween.  In the meantime, here are a few links to keep you entertained.  (And watch this space for another giveaway in a few days!  I've been cleaning out books again and found some duplicates...)

Paris's Missing Palace and the Making of the Louvre

Antique Dog Portraits in Photography

Trailblazing Female Artist/Botanist of the 17th Century

Things You Should Know About Zozobra (it's Fiestas time here in Santa Fe!)

Unseen Charles Dickens Letters

New adaptation of "A Gentleman in Moscow"

William Morris at Kelmscott Manor

The Eiffel Tower on Film

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Fun Weekend Links

 Happy (almost) middle of August!  How is everyone doing in the summer heat?  Looking forward to fall, like I am?  (sweaters, bonfires, s'mores, Halloween!).  In the meantime, here's some fun stuff to look at...

Sleep Next to a Scottish Castle close to whiskey, a music festival, and fairies

Interviews with the costume designer of "Eiffel"  (can't wait to see this!)

14 classic book adaptations I'd like to see besides Jane Austen

Ernest Lubitsch Made the Hollywood Comedy Divine

How to fight back against book bans

Josephine Baker, star and spy

Longbourn is for sale!

Contest Winner

 The winner of the bag of books and movie goodies is--June Calvin!!  Congrats, and watch this space for more giveaways soon...

Tuesday, August 09, 2022


 I am such a slacker!!!  I blame deadline and revisions (now turned in, hooray).  Let's have one more day for this contest.  A sort-of Austen theme, with DVDs, an address book, a notebook, plus a signed copy of my own Christmas book (if you're in the mood for the holiday a little early), in a cute tote bag.  Just comment here, and/or sign up for my newsletter (which also has some contests and sneak preview content), at amccabe7551 AT with Newsletter in the subject...

Book sale

 The first in my "Debutantes in Paris" series is 1.99 right now!!!  A fashion journalist and the opening of the Eiffel Tower (plus a gorgeous hero...)  Find it here

A secret shared…

But can she trust him?

In this Debutantes in Paris story, Diana Martin is thrilled to be a writer covering the Parisian Exposition. But her new role must be kept quiet—her parents would never allow it! When enigmatic Sir William Blakely discovers her ruse, he knows it could lead her into danger. With the sparks igniting between them, William realizes the only way to protect Diana is by staying as close to her as possible!