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:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Update as of 4/21/12

Here is an update as of 4/21/12:
(FYI: Henry VII passed away on 4/21/12 and Henry VIII succeeded as King.  Sites about Henry VII & Henry VIII are at the very bottom of this post.)

1) Reading "Winter King - Henry VII & The Dawn of Tudor England"

Once I finish this book, I will write a review and post on this site  (I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, to write a review).

2) Next post will be on 4/25.  I had a Question & Answer Format with Author, Rober Parry.  He is the author of the Novel, "The Virgin and the Crab".  Its THREE year anniversary falls on 4/25.

3) Added the movie"The Duchess" (Non Tudor Related) & a documentary by UKTV, called "Kings & Queens of England", to the section above, Tudor Movies/Documentaries.

4) Henry VII passed away on 4/21/12 and Henry VIII succeeded as King.  Sites about Henry VII & Henry VIII are below, as well as pictures:

Henry VII
Henry VIII
In 1537, King Henry VIII commissioned Hans Holbein the Younger to create a mural of the Tudor dynasty to commemorate the birth of his son and heir, Edward (this is a sketch & the other side is Elizabeth of York, Henry VII's wife & Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's 3rd wife).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII

The novel, "The Autobiography of Henry VIII With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers", in short was superb.  Throughout this novel, I felt as if I was living Henry VIII's life.  My opinion of Henry VIII has not changed but I certainly have gained more knowledge by reading this novel.

The author, Margaret George, wrote a fascinating novel and I recommend this as a must read for any Tudor Follower.  A lot of us know the background of Henry VIII, but this novel provides behind the scene narratives about this controversial King.

I have the "Mary Queen of Scotland and The Isles novel", as well as "Elizabeth I", both written by Margaret George and I look forward to reading them both.

Below are passages that I found most interesting while reading, "The Autobiography of Henry VIII With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers" by Margaret George:

Why did I take the Pope's side? There are those who say that I meant to merely to curry favour with the Pope, later to throw off my cloak to reveal my true colors - which is to say, no colour at all. To those critics, I have no religious convictions at all; I use religion to further my own ends. An equally insulting interpretation is that I am so inconsistent that I go first to one side and then to the other on the whim of a mood.
The truth (to disappoint my critics and evil wishers) is neither of these. I found Luther's beliefs to heretical and dangerous. Taken as a whole, they led to anarchy. They also rebelled against Christ himself, Who plainly set up the Church.
I believed the Church should be purified, not dismantled. And that is what I have with the Church of England. It is simple! Why do people make the simple so complicated?

P. 271 
I removed Anne from court within a fortnight, sending her back to Hever. It was easily done: the mere writing out of an order, signed, sanded, sealed. As King, I had power to move people about as I would, transfer them from one post to another. But I seemingly had no power over my wife, my daughter, my fantasized mistress. Women! They rule us, subtly if you will, but rule us nonetheless.

Katherine drew herself up. "Doctors! They are stupid creatures. You yourself know the truth." Yes, I did. God had pointed out the truth. "The Pope will decide", she said smugly. "He will know God's will".
God's will. What did Clement know of God's will? Theologians knew better than he. "The learned theologians in every university will study the case and decide it. And if the Pope does not, thereafter, rule in my favor, I shall declare the Pope a heretic and cease to obey him."

P.416-417 (Henry praying to God)
"God, I beg You, fill me with the wisdom to server You better. Let me know Your will in all my doings, so that I may obey. Show me when I astray so that I may correct myself straightway." Do not let me become an abomination in Your sight, like the prior.
The wind rose. I felt the cold all about me, and it caused my leg to ache. "O Lord God, take this infirmity away from me!" My words turned to puffs of smoke on the frigid air. "Please, I beg You, I beseech You...I can bear it no longer! I know it is a mark of Your disfavour" - the words were tumbling out now, without modesty or seemliness- "but wherein have I failed? Show me clear, bid me do a thing, and I will do it! But tease me no more with bodily infirmities!"
I was angry with God - yes, furious with His way of punishing me for an unknown sin. Was this fair? No earthly ruler would behave in so devious a fashion.

P. 551 (After Anne Boleyn was executed and the King's involvement with Jane Seymour)
Happy at last. Why is it so difficult to describe happiness? There are words aplenty for anguish, despair, suffering, and these are full of vitality. But happiness is left with weak verbs, supine adjectives, drooping adverbs. A description of happiness moves a reader to skip over those passages and causes a writer to flounder in treacle...
But human happiness...all our words for it are so bland, as if the thing itself were bland, or merely an absence of pain. When in fact happiness is solid, muscular, and strong; its colour all the spectrum of light; its sound as sweet as water splashing in a Pharaoh's desert palace; and its smells those of the flesh and its life: fur, hear, cooking.
I was happy with Jane, as happy as one of the great cats stretched out in the sun around Wolf Hall. Only touch them and feel their deep, rumbling purrs, as they rest entirely in the present moment. That was me, that summer Jane & I were one.

P. 669 
"Master Gardener" I called. Slowly he stood upright. He was ancient. His face was so wizened and wrinkled it was difficult to see the eyes, and a great hat shaded his entire face. But his hearing was evidently in order. "Eh?'
"Is this garden your special charge?" Aye. For twenty years." He gestured toward the wall of climbers. "I started these when they were but small shoots. One came from Jerusalem. The red one. We call is 'Saviour's Blood.' "
"Tell me", I asked, "the colours of roses. Are they but red & white?" He hitched up his pantaloons and strode out of the plants. "In the wild, yes. But in gardens one can cross them, modify the colors somewhat. But we cannot get two colours on one flower, no, alas." He was thinking I had come to chide him about producing a perfect "Tudor rose" like the ones in carvings, which had red petals on the outside, while inside....

P. 698 (Speaking to Catherine Howard, Henry's Fifth Wife)
..."to hunt...on the shortest day of the the twilight..." She sounded genuinely distressed. "What happens in the twilight?" Perhaps she knew something I did not. "If you should go near a churchyard, as it's growing dark...Saint Thomas himself will come, driving in a fiery chariot. And then he calls on all dead men named Thomas who are buried there, and they rise from their graves, and go with him to the churchyard cross, which glows deeply and strangely red..." As she spoke, her face took on an otherworldly look, and it was as if I held a seer, a prophetess. "And sometimes one is compelled to go with the saint, forever, on a ghostly hunt. Or with the other Thomases....Think, O my dear Lord, on the Thomases in your life...the dead Thomases....They take possession - "
I felt fear go through me, as sharp and cold as a rapier that had lain out all through January night. The dead Thomases in my life: Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell. What if they should rise from their graves and confront me, take possession of my person, hold a trial of me in some distant secluded churchyard? Wolsey's ghost, all shrunken and broken; More, without his head, festering in reproach and self-self-righteouness; Cromwell, his neck-stump still bleeding, bitter and filled with vicious hatred...."

P. 776 (After Catherine Howard was executed)
As I had grown older, my needs grew fewer and fewer. At one time it had been 
important to me that I have a powerful body and a pretty wife. Both these things were now taken away, and their possibilities were gone. I had wanted riches and beautiful palace furnishings, but now I had them and they delighted me not...All I wanted now was the respect and love of my subjects, and a modicum of health. Dwindling needs, but fiercely coveted nonetheless.
P. 803
Mary. For so many years, an enchanting child. Then a pawn in the war between Katherine and myself. Then - a nothing. I had not thought of her needs, I had been so assiduous in meeting my own. I had thought she would keep, keep until I was at peace.

P. 829 (Henry VIII to a young Elizabeth)
Yet my heart ached to see her go. Who can explain the human heart? Mary was my firstborn, my only child for so long, and nothing could ever alter that. Edward was the gift I had prayed for, so long withheld. Elizabeth? She was a disappointment from the first, she was naught, she was the wrong sex, from the wrong woman, and in the wrong order of birth. Nevertheless she was the most intriguing to me, and I could not fathom why. Perhaps because she was the only one of the children not afraid of me. As indeed why should she be? She alone, perhaps, of all persons in the realm, was untouchable by my wrath. I could never execute her; I had already illegitimized her, but I would never disclaim her; in short, I had already done to her the worst of what I could so, and she knew that. And I knew that.

P. 904 (Following Charles Brandon''s, the Duke of Suffolk's, funeral)
Now I was alone.  The one person who had truly loved me, and known me throughout all my life, was gone.  Brandon had loved me when I was yet the second son; had taken my side when Arthur still held favour and sway.  
I put my hand up along the great coffin.  "I love you," I said, as I had never said to any woman.