Monday, July 29, 2013

Who would have thought that the royal baby would have sparked such strange reactions from the far flung reaches of the British Isles. The Scottish nationalists have said they will have a referendum to prove that Scots do not want him to be their king one day (they are already going to have a referendum on whether to leave Great Britain).

And this item came from the Welsh (although I suspect it's tongue in cheek... but you never know)

Now give us the baby, say Welsh

THE Welsh have demanded the royal baby be given to them so the initiation can begin.

To the Gower!
To the Gower!
The dark and mountainous principality, which believes it is ruled by the baby’s grandfather, has dispatched a team of tiny warrior monks to collect the child from Kensington.
The monks will take the prince to the Hall of Dragons on the tip of the Gower Peninsula. There he will be placed in the arms The Great Gryffd, who will school him in the mystic ways.
The process, known as ‘The Rite of Caradog’, will take seven years after which the child will be returned to his parents, filled with ancient wisdom and resentment.
Owain Glynwyryn, of the Council of Elders, said: “We will teach him how to fight, not with his fists but with his mind. And also with a bottle.
“We will tell him tales of heroes and victories until we have washed every drop of Englishness from his true Welsh heart.
“And if that doesn’t work we’ll just hold him upside down.”
After the monks collect the baby they will ride at full gallop for the Welsh border where the infant’s loyal subjects will line the road, holding burning torches to light the way to the Hall of Dragons.
Glynwyryn added: “Release him unto us, for it is his destiny.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Absolutely not.”

Monday, July 22, 2013

Royal Baby--Great Expectations

At this moment I'm doing what the rest of the civilized world is doing--holding my breath and waiting for the arrival of the royal baby. At this point the Duchess of Cambridge has been in labor for about ten hours. Of course we don't know whether she went into hospital at the start of real labor with contractions every few minutes, or if she went in at the first twinge. In which case it could be days.

I'm a little perplexed that all the media still calls her Kate Middleton. I think that is disrespectful and just wrong. Her married name is Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. You wouldn't call other women by their single name after they married, would you?

And everybody has been speculating on the name, sex, weight etc etc. I ran a poll on my Facebook page ( and I'm going to give an ARC of my upcoming Royal Spyness book, HEIRS AND GRACES to anyone who gets the name completely right. My own prediction is Victoria Mary Diana Elizabeth, OR George Arthur Phillip.

I am inclined to think it will be a girl. And I don't go along with Alexandra, which is the name that most Brits are betting on. Nor do I think it will be Madison, Reagan, Riley or Kylie. or Carol, Kate's mum's name.

So any predictions on when it will arrive? How much it will weigh?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Heirs and Graces, sneak preview Number 3.

It's getting closer, folks. Now only three weeks away. The bookstore appearances are pretty much in place. I'll post them on my website in the next few days. But they will be all over the Bay Area and then in Southern California and Scottsdale, AZ. (Let's hope there is no haboob on that day.... I love using that word!)

So here is a third sneak preview:

            A long silence followed only punctuated by the sound of a grandfather clock, ticking away solemnly somewhere outside in a hallway.
            “Are you with us, Lady Hortense? Will you be our guide?”
            The candle flickered and I felt a cold draft pass over me. I glanced over my shoulder. The door and the curtains were still closed. I thought I detected the faintest of voices whispering “Yessss.”
            “She’s here,” Charlotte said excitedly. “I knew she’d come. Lady Hortense, we’d first like you to find John Altringham for us. You remember your great great grandson who died so bravely in the war? His son is here with us now. Do you see him? He’d like to hear his father’s voice.”
            Again we waited what seemed like an eternity. Then Irene said, “Listen. Someone is laughing.”
            We strained to hear and it sounded indeed like distant laughter, very far away.
            “It’s Ceddy, having a good laugh at our expense,” Julian whispered.
            “That’s not Ceddy’s laugh,” Adrian said.
            “That’s Johnnie,” Charlotte said. “Don’t you remember how he loved to laugh, Irene?”
            “Yes,” Irene whispered. “Johnnie loved to laugh.”
            “Is that you, John?” Charlotte said. “Can you show yourself to us? Can you say something to your son?”
            Again we waited but the laugh faded into silence. “It’s no use. He’s choosing not to speak to us,” Charlotte said. “I can feel he’s here. Maybe what he has to say to Jack is private and he doesn’t wish us to overhear.”
“We could try the Ouija board,” Virginia suggested. “Perhaps he is a voiceless spirit. They are sometimes.”
“We could,” Charlotte picked up the planchette. “Jack put your hand on this with me. And Irene. You are both Johnnie’s relatives. He’ll feel comfortable communicating with you.”
Jack gave me a questioning glance before placing his finger on the little disk..Slowly it started to move across the table. B…. U… G…. G… E… R.” We repeated the letters as the planchette went to them. “O…. F… F..”
“He said ‘bugger off’” Jack said delightedly.
“That definitely sounds like Johnnie,” Irene said. “Always was rude.”
“Anything else you’d like to say, John?” Charlotte asked. But the planchette did not move again.“:Apparently not.”:She looked around the room. “Let us move along then. The problem of Marcel. Spirits from the other side we need your help. Tell us what will happen. Tell us what we should do to stop a stranger from taking over Kingsdowne.”
            She looked at us as she pushed the Ouija board into the middle of the table. “Place one finger each on the planchette,” she said. We did as she commanded.
            “We await you, oh spirits,” she said. Slowly the planchette began to move.
            “D,” we said in unison.
            It shot across the board. “E,” we chimed.
            Suddenly there was a great gust of wind. The curtains billowed out. The candle was blown out and we were plunged into darkness. Irene and Virginia rose to their feet with a cry of fright. I think the Starlings screamed as well. My own heart was hammering in my chest.
“Death,” Charlotte whispered. “It was going to spell out death.”

Monday, July 8, 2013

Second sneak preview of Heirs and Graces

One month to the publication date of Heirs and Graces. So today is sneak preview 2.

And if you come on over to my Facebook page, I'm conducting a poll on who is your favorite Royal Spyness character. You can vote for team Georgie, Team Darcy, Granddad, Belinda, Queenie, Mummy or even Team Fig (Yes, some people have already voted for her).

so enjoy this snippet and you can pre-order on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Then the drive turned a corner and I think I actually gasped. There was the house—an enormous and elegant building of mellowed gray stone, four stories high and beautifully proportioned, surrounded by manicured lawns and formal gardens. In front of the pillared main entrance was an ornamental lake complete with swans. The house was set on a rising slope of  hillside which at this time of year was covered in a carpet of daffodils.  As we came out of the trees the sun appeared from behind the clouds and suddenly the house was perfectly reflected in the lake. My spirit soared. I was going to be staying at this attractive place for the immediate future, with duties no more onerous than teaching a young Australian which fork to use at dinner. For once I could look forward to an enjoyable time ahead.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sneak Preview of Heirs and Graces.

Heirs and Graces, The Seventh Royal Spyness mystery.
Sneak preview one.

            “Good afternoon, my lady,” the welcoming footman said, bowing. “Her Majesty is expecting you in the Chinese Chippendale room. Allow me to escort you there.”
            Oh crickey. The Chinese Chippendale room. Why couldn’t she have chosen somewhere else? Any other room in the palace would have done. But the Chinese Chippendale room was her favorite, small, intimate and decorated with far too many Chinese vases, priceless porcelain statues and her jade collection. There’s probably something you should know about me: in moments of stress I tend to get a little clumsy. I remember tripping over the footman’s outstretched foot when he bowed to usher me inside once, thus propelling me rather rapidly into the room and nearly butting HM in the stomach. I would be all too capable of turning around and knocking a priceless Ming vase flying.
            Still I put on a brave face as I was escorted up the grand staircase to the piano nobile, where the royal family actually lived and entertained. Along those never-ending richly-carpeted hallways with marble statues frowning down at me from their niches. Then a light tap on a door, the footman stepping inside and saying, “Lady Georgiana, Your Majesty.”
            I stepped past him, carefully avoiding his foot, pushing the door into an unseen table or tripping over a rug.  I stopped in surprise and thought I was seeing double. Two middle aged ladies with identical waved gray hair, upright carriage and lilac tea dresses were sitting on the brocade sofa beside the fireplace. My first thought was that I should have worn a tea dress and the cashmere cardigan was inappropriate, but then one of the ladies held out her hand to me.
            “Georgiana, my dear. How lovely to see you. Come and meet my dear friend.”