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Category Archives: Essay

Vikings or vikings?

In Chapter Two of The Steel Beneath the Silk King Æthelred asks his son Athelstan why he has arrived several days late to an important meeting of the witan. Athelstan responds, “I was in Devon, my lord, responding to news … Read More

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Emma of Normandy Through Time

Emma, a gem more splendid through the splendors of her merits… So begins the epigram written late in the 11th century by Godfrey, prior of Winchester, commemorating Emma, Queen of England. Queen Emma died on 6 March, 1052, and was … Read More

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A Story in Three Parts

My current work in progress is the third book of a trilogy about the 11th century queen of England, Emma of Normandy. Why write a trilogy, you may wonder. Why not put the entire story into one book? Maybe, you … Read More

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Æthelred II – the Haunted King

On 23 April 1016, King Æthelred II died in London. He was about 50 years old, and he’d ruled England for 38 years. At his death he’d not yet been given the byname, Unræd, (ill-counseled, a play on the Old … Read More

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The Greatest Gift I Ever Gave

Some months ago, the editor of my university’s alumni magazine called with a request: “Could you write an essay for us on the theme of ‘The Greatest Gift I Ever Gave’? Is there a story like that in your past?”

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Why Emma?

It’s a question I’m often asked: “Why would an American from California write a novel about an all but forgotten 11th century English queen? Certainly, if I’d followed the old adage “Write what you know” I would never have attempted … Read More

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Emma Regina

On November 11, 2005, I wrote the following in my private journal: I have decided to write the Emma novel. I want to try it. If I fail, I fail – but if I don’t try, I can never succeed. … Read More

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The Debut Author’s Life

As I write this post, we are less than two weeks away from the U.S. launch of Shadow on the Crown on February 7. You may be wondering how a debut author with a book to promote spends her time … Read More

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A Tale of Two Carols

My favorite part of Christmas is the singing of carols – in the midst of darkness a plea for light. The music of the carols, some of their melodies floating down to us from the Middle Ages, can lift hearts … Read More

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Church vs. Crown

I’ve been going back and forth through time in my writing all this week, wrestling with an 11th century English king and an Archbishop of York, trying to imagine what their relationship might have been like. To give myself some … Read More

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