Sunday, December 23, 2012

W.E. (the Film by Madonna) Guest Blog

The following blog was written by V. Catoggio, an English Literature Teacher:

W.E. was an interesting approach to historically significant events that happened to the House of Windsor.  Directed by Madonna, the film parallels the lives of Wallis Simpson and Wally Winthrop.  Wally, an abused and lonely housewife, is obsessed with the romance of Wallis Simpson & King Edward VIII.  At first, the transitioning between the lives of the two women is confusing and uncomfortable to watch.  However, as the film progresses, one realizes the lives of these women are more similar then just their names. 

Both women experience love, loss, & loneliness.  They sacrifice parts of themselves for the men who they love and pay severely for those sacrifices.   Wallis is condemned to a life of scrutiny while Wally is abused physically and mentally.  While Wally’s story is fictitious, Wallis is portrayed as quite real and intimate.  The viewer watches Edward becoming possessed with Wallis to the point of obsession. 

Although the film is titled W.E., Wallis is the primary character in the film.  She is brilliantly portrayed by Andrea Riseborough.  The role is played not only accurately but entertainingly.  Her counterpart in the film, Wally, is portrayed by Abbie Cornish.  Unfortunately, her performance paled in comparison to Ms. Riseborough.  One may recognize Ms. Cornish as Sir Walter Raleigh’s lover in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Elizabeth was played by Cate Blanchett). 

The film is visually stunning with scenes from around the world tracing Wallis & Edward’s footsteps throughout their life together.  The viewer is taken on a romantic journey of their love affair.  All of this is tied together with a magnificent soundtrack by Abel Korzeniowski. 

Incidentally, the obsession Edward has with Wallis closely resembles Henry VIII’s desire to marry Anne Boleyn.  While Edward abdicated his throne, Henry broke away from Rome; both claiming their wives and the women they loved.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sunrise Over London's Tower Bridge

Sunrise Over London's Tower Bridge
Photograph by Jason Pope
*I saw this picture on Facebook & thought it was Speculator*

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Tudor Style...

Five Family Feasting Tips from 'The Tudors'

This came from BBC America on Facebook    (This is from the series "The Tudors" that was on Showtime)
*How quickly time flies, I posted this last year on 11/24/11

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why after 500 years, do we have this fascination with the Tudors?

It has been a while since I posted about the Tudors.  I should be studying for my exam that I have in December but I had the strong urge to post today:) .  I posted a question on my Tudor Facebook (Facebook information to the right) and received about 30 responses.  The question posted was, why after 500 years, do we have this fascination with the Tudors (the answer could be one word or more)?  
My answer was quite simple, after researching & learning more about Elizabeth I, that's how I became fascinated with Tudor history!  Below are the responses that I received from my Tudor Facebook page:

"I think that we all get drawn in by Henry VIII and his six wives. First heard it in the early 70's PBS drama with Keith Mitchell. My first thought is "How does a guy have 6 wive?" So I got drawn into that. Which then brought me to other history of that time."

"It's one of the greatest stories....better than fiction."

"One of my favourite periods in my countries history, closely followed by ww1."

"The sheer tyrannical power that Henry possessed. He was definitely England's most powerful king. Everyone was afraid to cross him."


"I think personally most of the fascination is with Henry's 2nd wife Anne Boleyn....and the fact that their daughter Elizabeth eventually became Queen during some of the most interesting times in British history...and that Queen Elizabeth quite frankly out did her father"

"My favorite part of European history"


"Here are a few words for ya: family problems, ambition, love, lust (ie physical or for power), powerful women in a powerless world and scandal. The Tudor dynasty reflects this so well, and I think anyone can relate to that."

"My interest has been since high school--in the early 80's--and I've never lost it--thanks to a great English teacher!!! She put Henry and his wives in my heart, and they've never left...hope they never will!!"


"Because you couldn't write a more fascinating story. And there is so much we don't know about them. Why did Henry decide he didn't like Anne of Cleves, for example."

"The Tudor Era had so many fascinating elements: romance, greed, jealousy, war, family problems, international intrigue, sports, brutal executions, fashion, backstabbing, religious struggles, and so on. How could you NOT be fascinated?"

"Love of history. King Henry the eighth, to six wives he was wedded, One died, one survide, 2 divorced and 2 beheaded."

"Well I think it is because the story of the Tudors combines so many different emotions and situations ..passion, crime, sex, love,hate,revenge.. and many other is the most fascinating story in history"

"I love the contradiction of religion & debauchery of the period. Also that's a pretty heavy story of Anne Boylen even by todays standards."

"History is amazing, and this particular period of history with so many conflicting stories of wars, religion, beliefs, love, hate, power revenge, progress, greed, manipulation all in the name of the monarchy is fascinating. Women had such a lovely & also horrid time in those days and to us all it is just hard to comprehend how they were treated. All of the great historical fiction captivates the readers with the detail, and is extremely entertaining."

"The Tudors on Showtime got a lot of people interested. The books on the Plantagenet's are just as good, maybe better!"

"MY Family history"

"I needed to know how the heck one king went through six wives in such a short time, lol"

"Their story has become legend, almost mythical. Also, the similarities and contrasts between Henry's goal to have a male heir and what he went through and put others through with Elizabeth's legacy is a perfect example of life's twists and turns.  Oh and Keith Mitchell and Glenda Jackson are the best portrayals of Henry and Elizabeth IMO"

"Because they were the last dynasty to hold complete power and some of them used that power better than others. Henry VIII made a radical change to the way this country reviews its religious stance and Elizabeth put England on the map as a power to be reckoned with, for all time - girl power!"

"My husband asks me that all the time!!! The scandals, the wardrobe, the palaces- you can't make this stuff up!!"

"Splendid period! Do you need to ask. Inventions galore!"

"Wonderful era!"

"I was interested after being taught the history of my country at school and one of my first school trips was to Bosworth Battlefield."

"I never knew he had the other 5 wives. Just remember Ann Boleyn!!!"

"History repeats itself, and very little changes"

"Soap opera--no one would believe this if it were fiction---"


All great responses.  Feel free to add your opinion!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Miss you all & thoughts & prayers to those affected by Hurricane Sandy

Hello All,

It has been a while since I have posted a real blog.  As I have stated in my prior blogs, the reason for my absence has been due to school & focusing on my career.  More then likely, I will be able to blog daily the beginning of next year and I really cannot wait.  I miss all of this!

On a few notes:

The end of last month, October 2012, marked this sites 1 year anniversary.  In one year, this site has over 25,000 page-views nationwide.  In addition, the Facebook page has over 1,000 likes (information to the right of this blog).  This has been an awesome experience and I want to thank you all for sharing my love of the Tudors with me.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those that were affected by Hurricane Sandy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Over 20,000 page-views - Thank you all!!!

Hello Tudor Fans,

I know I have not written a post in the past several months, but my career & personal agenda are of the upmost importance (which I have stated in prior posts).

The purpose of this post is to share that this site has hit over 20,000 page-views.  I started this site the end of October 2011 and it has become a huge success, in just under a year.  Thank you all as it has been my pleasure writing posts about The Tudors.  The Tudors is a passion of mine that I will aways cherish and I look forward to what this passion brings me in the future.

I hope to post again towards the beginning of 2013.  If time allows it, I may write a post before the end of the year.  I will keep you all posted.  In addition, the FB Tudor Page (link to the FB page is to the right of this blog) is nearly at 1,000 likes.  The FB page was also started towards the end of October 2011.

On a more personal note: currently, I work as a Team Lead in the Human Resources field.  I am taking the PHR exam through SHRM, either in December '12 or January '13.  The majority of my time will be committed to my full time job, taking care of my 8 month old puppy Lizzie & studying for this very important exam.

Thanks for following this site and for reading this post.

Sincerely Yours,

Friday, August 31, 2012

Latest Update A/O 9/1/12

Due to professional & personal reasons, I more then likely will not be adding any new posts for the remainder of the 2012 year.  My time & devotion are needed elsewhere.  It has been an amazing experience running this site.  I plan on returning to it sometime next year.  As always, feel free to check out the previous posts, over 100 of them.  Also, feel free to check out my Tudor Facebook page (see right side for additional information.  

I wish everyone a great rest of the year and a wonderful holiday season!  

Kindest & Warmest Regards,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Update as of 7/6/12

Hello Everyone,

I know it has been a while since I posted on the site but I have been keeping the site up to date as best as possible.  Summer time has kept me extremely busy!  I have an idea of a next post, but am not sure when it will be posted.  Currently, there are a lot of posts, so feel free to check them out.  
As most know, I have a Tudor Facebook, which is updated often, feel free to check it out: (AKA "The Tudor Dynasty").

Exciting News:
This page currently has over 15,000 page-views nationwide as of 6/2012 and have 40 strong followers. In addition, my Tudor Facebook page has 834 likes. It hit the 800 milestone in 6/12.  Thank you all for your support! 

Side Note: My 5 month old puppy (a puggle), Lizzie
I named her Lizzie after Queen Elizabeth I

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Q&A W/ Claire Ridgway, Author of "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown"

I had a Q&A by email with Claire Ridgway, Author of the new book, "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown". Claire has also written "The Anne Boleyn Collection".  I would like to congratulate Claire Ridgway and wish her all the best with her future endeavors. Below is the Q&A, including pictures & a prize offered by Claire Ridgway:

Claire Ridgway
 A prize offered by Claire Ridgway to one lucky person who comments on the Q&A. It's a pewter bookmark with Anne Boleyn's Falcon badge.

Question: What is “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown” about?
Answer: It is a non-fiction book about the events leading up to the execution of Anne Boleyn in May 1536. I had two aims with the book: to let the primary sources (the evidence ) tell Anne's story and to make it easily digestible. It is written in a diary format, taking the events a day at a time, and is fully referenced so that readers can check the sources and do their own research

Question:Is this a continuation from another book that you wrote? If so, what was the name of that book and what was it about?
Answer: No. My first book, The Anne Boleyn Collection, is a compilation of the most popular articles from The Anne Boleyn  Files website – covering Henry VIII, his six wives, the Boleyn family and other Tudor characters - so is very different to this one. The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown focuses on Anne Boleyn and her fall in 1536, and the factors and characters involved. Both books are non-fiction.

Question: Is there a third book in the works?
Answer: I've been working on quite a few book projects over the past three years, so yes! The third book is non-Tudor and is a joint project with my husband, Tim, but my fourth book is about Tudor history. I will give more details nearer to the release dates.

Question: What inspired you to write “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown”?
Answer: I wanted to set the record straight and tell Anne's true story. Fiction, TV and movies have given people rather warped ideas about Anne's fall. For example, some people believe that Anne was charged with witchcraft, some believe that Jane Boleyn definitely betrayed her husband and sister-in-law and others believe that Anne and George committed incest. I like to challenge misconceptions or things that are not set in stone. I don't tell people what to think; I present the evidence and share my own thoughts and then people can come to their own conclusions. There are so many 'unknowns' with the events of 1536 and we can argue over who was responsible for Anne's fall, why she fell etc. for ever.

Question: How could an individual purchase “The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown”?
Answer: It's available as a paperback or as a Kindle book on, Amazon UK and Amazon international sites. It should also be rolling out to other booksellers.

Question: How do you name your novels?
Answer: There used to be an advert in the UK for a brand of wood-stain that went “It does exactly what it says on the tin” and that's what I wanted for my books. The Anne Boleyn Collection is a collection of articles and The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown is a countdown day-by-day to Anne's execution. I didn't want there to be any confusion about what they were about.

Question: When did you become an author and why did you become one?
Answer: I've always been an author. I can't remember ever not writing. When I was a child and teenager I wrote fiction, when I was older I started writing crime stories and then, more recently, I've done freelance non-fiction writing. Before I started The Anne Boleyn Files website, I was ghost-writing non-fiction books; writing travel guides, web content, product descriptions... you name it! Researching and writing are my passions and I cannot see there ever being a time when I don't do them.

Question: What do you consider your best accomplishment?
Answer: Personally, it has to be having my three gorgeous children, but if you mean in a career way then it has to be The Anne Boleyn Files. I love the way that it has become not only an information site but also a community of Tudor history lovers. I love running it. I obviously felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I published my books, but it was The Anne Boleyn Files and the encouragement of its followers that led me to write them.

Question: How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
Answer: I've learned perseverance in life, so that helps me to keep at my writing, as does motivation. When I decide to go for something then I put my heart and soul into it. We only live once (I believe!) and we have to live this life to the full and fulfil our purpose. I don't want to have regrets.
As I'm writing non-fiction at the moment, my own personal life experiences don't really affect what I write, as it's Anne Boleyn's story I'm telling and her life was very different to mine. Fortunately, my husband is not at all like Henry VIII!

Question: What would you tell someone who wants to become an Author; either can answer generally or specially about the Tudor time period?
Answer: To go for it and to stick at it. It's so easy to become disillusioned and to get put off by people who tell you that you can't do it. If you are a real writer then you won't let anything stand in your way because writing is your passion and you just cannot stop.
Motivation is a key factor. Lots of people say that they want to write a book or that they have started a book, but they never finish it. You have to be focused and out your all into it. Success isn't about luck, it's about hard work and focus, in my opinion.
You'll also need a thick skin. You can't please everyone and there will always be people who don't like what you do and they can be ever so vocal about it! If their feedback is critical, but valid, then you need to pay attention to it, but if it's downright nasty or not at all relevant then it's best to let it go over your head and move on. Easy to say, but not so easy to do!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review of "Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England", author Thomas Penn

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, to write a review.

Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England is a book, by author Thomas Penn.  This book has a little over 400 pages and provides much detailed information about Henry VII and the early stages of the Tudor Dynasty.  The author outlines Henry VII's life, from becoming King by defeating Richard III to his very last breadth.  In this book, the author illustrates the following: Henry VII's spy network, the marriage between Elizabeth of York and Henry VII, the reaction to Arthur's death, a young Henry VIII and his relationship with his Father, how Henry VII remained in power after constant threats of being removed as King, his most trusted and loyal servants, how wealth and security secured his reign, how important it was for Henry's Son to marry Katherine of Aragon from Spain, dealt with his enemies, papal affairs impacted Henry VII plans,  the law was the King's will, his relationship with his Mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, the transformation from King Henry VII's death to the beginning reign of Henry VIII, etc.

Overall, Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England, helps us, the reader understand Henry VII, and the beginning development of Tudor England.  I highly recommend this book.

Below is the content of Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England:

Part One:   Blood and Roses
   Chapter 1: Not a Drop of Doubtful Royal Blood
   Chapter 2: Richmond
   Chapter 3: He Seeks in All Places to Destroy Me
   Chapter 4: Now Must You Supply the Mother's Part Also

Part Two:  Change of Worlds
   Chapter 5: No Sure Way
   Chapter 6: Council Learned
   Chapter 7: Our Second Treasure
   Chapter 8: Null and Void
   Chapter 9: This Day Came de la Pole
   Chapter 10: New Heaven, New Earth

Part Three: A State of Avarice
   Chapter 11: Extraordinary Justice
   Chapter 12: Courage to be Bold
   Chapter 13: Savage Harshness Made Complete
   Chapter 14: The Art of Dying
   Chapter 15: Rich, Ferocious, Thirsting for Glory

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Update for this Week

1) Today, 5/13/12,  I finished the book Winter King and will be writing my review by the end of this weekend (May 20th).

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, to write a review.

2) I have decided to take an Online Summer Course through the University of Exeter.  The Course is: The Tudors: History, Culture and Religion.  We are on Unit 3: Henry VIII - The Cult of Magnificence: The Royal Palaces of Henry VIII and the 'Prodigy' Houses of the Elite.  There is a Unit per week.  

3) *****FYI:  More then likely, for the entire month of June, I will not be blogging as I have to devote a lot of time & energy for an exam I am taking the end of June.  The exam is the PHR exam through SHRM *****

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Update as of 4/30/12

Hello All,

More then likely, I will not be blogging/posting on this site for the next two weeks.  The following is going on:

1) Have a new puppy, named Lizzie R (we just call her Lizzie) and she will be 3 months the beginning of May, so a lot of my time and devotion will be towards her and my six year old cat, Hector.
Lizzie R

2) Continuing to read "Winter King, Henry VII & The Dawn of Tudor England"
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, to write a review.
3) I have decided to take an Online Summer Course through the University of Exeter.  The Course is: The Tudors: History, Culture and Religion.  Class starts in a few days.  Course is great for any Tudor Lover.  

Have a Wonderful May!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Q&A W/ Robert Parry, Author of "Virgin and the Crab" - 3 Year Anniversary

I had a Q & A by email with Robert Parry.  Robert Parry is the Author of 'Virgin and the Crab'.  His novel's 3 year Anniversary is today 4/25/12.  I would like to congratulate Robert Parry and wish him all the best with his future endeavors. Below is the Q &A:

Robert Parry

'Virgin and the Crab'
Question: What is "Virgin and the Crab", your novel, about?

It is about the highly volatile decade of the 1550’s in which the English throne changed occupants four times in rapid succession. Starting with the demise of  King Henry in 1547, then his son Edward, followed by Queen (Lady) Jane, Queen Mary and finally Elizabeth – a twelve year period, to be precise. The novel speculates on the existence of a secret society of brave and dedicated men and women who aided and supported the Princess Elizabeth throughout all of this most dangerous and difficult time. One of these was the mathematician and astronomer John Dee, and the story is mostly told from his perspective, with regular glimpses of Elizabeth in-between.

Question: What inspired you to write "Virgin and the Crab"?

My admiration for the Elizabethan age and also my fondness for John Dee and the Tudor’s generally. It
was such an exciting time, the 16th Century, just on the cusp between the old and the new worlds - both physically and intellectually. Everything was changing, and everything was up for grabs – adventure, scientific enquiry, religious change - and so many wonderful, colourful characters, as well.

Question: Is this your first novel?  If not, what other novels have you written?

Like most novelists, there are always other, earlier efforts tucked away in the attic - stories that were attempted but never quite worked out. These are often part of the learning process for an author - before he or she finally feels it is right. ‘Virgin and the Crab’ was my first printed novel, however, which - after many years of being hawked around and examined by various publishers in London and never quite making it - I decided to publish myself. My 2nd novel ‘The Arrow Chest’ came out last year and a 3rd is on the way. I am really enjoying the whole process, seeing the stories through from start to finish and then telling everyone all about them like this.

Question: How could an individual purchase "Virgin and the Crab"?

It is easily available online through amazon under ISBN-10: 1449515711. For those who don’t like using amazon, though, you can get it through Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound and so on, and most libraries and bookshops in the US will order it, too, if asked – though with a different ISBN. For anything outside of amazon, ask for ISBN-10: 1441415173.The most cost effective way, however, is just to go to my website and order directly from the publishers at a 10% discount. And of course it’s always available on Kindle.

Question: How do you name your novels?

It is quite a lengthy process in which I consider all kinds of alternatives and then talk them over with my partner or a few friends. The main thing is to come up with something that stands out from all the other thousands of titles published every year. That is an almost impossible task, of course. But having a slightly quirky title does sometimes assist in getting noticed – which is half the battle for any author wanting to find a readership – just telling people that you are there. In this instance the title is also based on the astrological signs of the two main characters – Virgo (the Virgin) for Elizabeth Tudor, and Cancer (the Crab) for John Dee.

Question: When did you become an author and why did you become one?

I have been writing for most of my life, and have been an author for many years. It just seems a natural thing and I enjoy it immensely.

Question: What do you consider your best accomplishment?

I am very excited about the story I am writing now. I hope it is my best work to date – but I suppose every author likes to think that – the latest being the best. Only time will tell. I hope to be announcing the title shortly and, all being well, it should appear round about the end of the year.

Question: How have your personal experiences affected your writing?

Most writers of fiction will write about their own personal experiences, no matter how remotely they transpose them into other time periods or situations. So yes, personal experiences and feelings do affect what I write. As a writer you always need some way of getting notes down fast, because always the ideas are being presented to you as part of your daily life. Inescapable really.

Question: What would you tell someone who wants to become an Author; either can answer    
                  generally or specially about the Tudor time period?

I was asked this the other day – and I think you commented on it, too, Anthony (at the Tudor CafĂ©). It’s just to never give up - no matter what adversity you meet with or how many rejections you receive from people in the publishing business. When your work is refused (and just about every writer on the planet has had their work turned down at some stage) it is not necessarily because it is poor work, but only that it might not seem saleable or commercial enough. In a way, that is a compliment, so it should never be a cause for discouragement. If you are a writer then you won’t give up writing anyway. It’s what makes you what you are. Writers never give up.

Message from Robert Parry:
Thank you for the opportunity to be a guest on your page! If anyone would like to follow me, my website is and my Facebook page is
See you there!

Monday, April 23, 2012

William Shakespeare, Short but Interesting!

"Action is eloquence" William Shakespeare 

William Shakespeare
I find this to be very interesting: 
William Shakespeare was born on 4/23/1564 and was baptized three days later on 4/26/1564. He then died on 4/23/1616 and was buried 4/25/1616. I find this to be fascinating!

Good Sites about William Shakespeare: