When you hear Elizabethan women's fashion images of huge ruffs, skirts so wide it was hard to get through doorways and puffy sleeves are bound to appear in your mind. However, as I've discovered the fashion of the time underwent several changes and shifts. What we commonly attribute to Elizabethan fashion actually appeared late in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Below I've done a very rudimentary sketch of what gowns looked like in the 1590s vs the 1560s. The differences are immediately apparent. At the start of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the fashion was for the more traditional cone shape skirts of the previous decades that created the illusion of narrow waists. The sleeves were fitted though still decorated in a variety of ways. Ruffs were smaller and based at the throat. The gown still had that V-shape slit that exposed the kirtle. The length of the skirt is floor-length.
Fashion has always played an important role in expression of power and symbolism and it was especially true during this time period. Portraits and the clothing worn in them were full of meaning. This is some thing I'm delving into deeper for my upcoming novel about the Elizabethan Court. Fashion will be taking center stage. Stay tuned!
They were wrong when they told me that violence is never the answer.
Sometimes it's just what the doctor called for.
Now that I've shocked everyone let me clarify by saying I'm referring to letting off steam using kickboxing or something as simple as hitting a ball (in a sport like volleyball or baseball). There's something quite cathartic about releasing energy and pent up anger in this way.
I've never been a very coordinated kid and was more academically focused but I still enjoyed playing the odd sport here and there. Now that I'm well into adulthood (scary) I didn't have the opportunity (in other words: gym class) to participate in sports and so they dropped off the map. Until...recently! My job and even my hobbies involve me sitting at a desk all day which is never healthy or advisable for long periods of time. I, of course, was invincible but my body decided to let me know this wasn't going to work out. Between back pains and eye strain I knew I needed a change. There was also the growing stress and anxiety of...life? The gym was never my cup of tea and fitness classes lost their luster a long time ago. Then a friend made the wonderful suggestion I sign up for something. That something turned into beach volleyball twice a week with a lovely group of casual players like myself.
The first session I returned home covered in dust, with scraped knees, bruises and the widest grin on my face. In those two hours, my only focus was on getting that ball over the net everything else disappeared into the background. The next few days I might have been sore but I was also happy and excited for the next session. This had been better than any therapy I tried (just my personal experience so far).
Now it's been a few weeks since I took up volleyball. Not only has it been nice to switch up my schedule but getting some fresh air and hitting something (the ball) has been amazing. The hardest part of all of this has been making myself show up. Once I'm on the court I'm thrilled to be there. As dramatic as it sounds I do feel like I use that anger and disappointment as fuel when I play. The distraction is welcome and I feel all the better for it. This was never about getting fit or being physically active (which I know are super important). Volleyball has surprisingly become more about my mental health and well-being than any of that. Turning to sports to help with my stress levels and finding it works for me has been a shock. I can only hope it continues.
As a parting thought if you are in a rut try finding something to do whether it's sports, a new hobby, hiking or going to the gym etc. You never know how much it can help.
Following your heart’s desire is never easy.
The odds have always been stacked against Bess Throckmorton. Her family tree is riddled with traitors and her mother seems eager to give away the family fortune. Left without an inheritance Bess’ future looks bleak until she snags a coveted position at the court of Queen Elizabeth I.
With a newfound optimism Bess embarks on her new life never imagining a pair of green eyes would captivate her like this. Walter Raleigh’s reputation precedes him yet it doesn’t stop her from yearning for his company and more…
Discover Bess’ harrowing journey of loss and love in the Golden Age.
Historical fiction with a dash of romance for those who love the Tudors.
Can be read as a standalone.
Hello! It's been a while since I updated. But I wanted to let you know my latest novel at the Tudor court shall be ready for release soon!
My lovely newsletter subscribers got a sneak peak at the cover.
I've also been hard at work on other writing projects and research. I'm planning on releasing another fantasy novel this year but several more historical novels. I just can't seem to stop.
I did have a question for all those who happen to stumble by this post.
My recent release of Intrigues of the Heart has been re-released under the title Countess of Intrigue with a new epilogue.
I hope this doesn't cause any confusion.
More audiobooks are in the works. I'm so incredibly excited to release them as well as more historical novels. Stay tuned!
Before publication I used to refer this novel as The Spymaster's Daughter and Intrigues of the Heart. Paperback and ebook available!
A tale of surviving battles, plots and love in the Golden Age.
Frances Walsingham is the only child of Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth I’s infamous spymaster. Frances might be ignorant about court life, but she is resilient, and level-headed. These are all attributes she will rely on in the coming years as she faces new challenges and tragedies.
It all begins when her father asks her to marry for the good of the realm. Despite her misgivings, she finds duty can be a pleasure. Slowly, Frances finds herself drawn to her new handsome husband even though she knows his heart belongs to another.
Follow her journey as she carves out her own path and searches for happiness.
Historical fiction with a dash of romance for those who love the Tudors.
This book can be read as a standalone.
Written in UK English.
“If it is about money, I am afraid my father was insolvent. He owed money to every lender in London.”
He shakes his head furiously. “No, it’s not about money. Well, not your father’s.”
He speaks the last so low that I think I am mistaken. “My lord?”
He approaches me, fixing me with that intense gaze of his. I can see why so many women are eager to fall at his feet. I blink, thinking I am mistaken in seeing him looking at me with so much desire.
“Lady Frances, I wish to make you my wife.”
I am struck dumb by his words. Then I decide this must be some cruel jest and laugh. “You cannot be serious.” Behind me I can hear Marta cough.
He takes a step forward, his face emotionless.
“I haven’t come here to make sport of you. I am intent on making you my bride.”
“And what if I won’t have you?” I throw back at him, ignoring my quickening pulse. The thought of marrying him is too much.
“I think you will.”
He is standing in front of me so close I catch the scent of his perfumed leather gloves. Remembering myself, I take a step back.
“Is this the way you seduce your conquests? Do you promise them marriage?”
“No. You are the first,” he says. His gaze flits between me and what is likely a disapproving Marta behind me. I can tell how desperately he wishes she wasn’t here. Meanwhile, my mind provides me with ample suggestions of what he might do. My eyes slide from his eyes down to his full lips. But reality strikes me hard.
“And only?” I cannot help but ask.
“And only,” he parrots back.
My eyebrows rise at this love talk. Over the last few years, I have become hard as beaten steel, hammered into shape by despair and loss....
As we bunker down for the winter I wanted to make sure all my newsletter subscribers got the chance to see my latest email regarding the chance to get a free audiobook and sign up for advance reader copies.
Hope you are all well! I'm heading back to my writing desk.
I was on a roll for a while writing a blog post a month.
Then I disappeared.
Some of you may know but others may not but I write under other pen names. Some of those are: Olivia Oakley and A.R. Bailey (fantasy) but I've also started one for children's books Rosie Bailey.
In September The Lady's Defiance was actually my third book published that month.
There was also Keeper's Folly, Welcome to Goblin Hollow, Fred!
Ignoring how tired I was I jumped into another project that I was super passionate about. The Spymaster's Daughter is currently at the editor's and I hope to release it before Christmas. This is a new series set in Elizabethan England and written in first person. It was a wild ride and why I more or less disappeared from social media etc.
I would like to announce that The Lady's Defiance will be available on Audible soon! After 90 days, it will be available across all other platforms as well.
Katherine Bristow is back to narrate and I couldn't be happier.
Thank you to all my readers and I hope to be back soon with all sorts of projects.
p.s. did I mention a children's book is currently being illustrated?!
My latest addition to the Royal Court Series is going to be available in the next 24 hours or so (depending when you are reading this).
Here is the summary!
The Tudor court is crawling with enemies. She can only hide for so long.
“There’s no danger in a bit of poetry.”
Mary Howard is a dutiful daughter of the infamous Duke of Norfolk. Protected by her prestigious family and wealth, she is swept up in Anne Boleyn’s glittering court. Charmed by talented poets and flirtatious knights, it's easy to forget that someone is watching her every move.
The court grows bolder and wilder. Love letters are exchanged in the open, and couples flaunt their affections in public. All Mary can think of is her poetry, but even she gets pulled into the secret trysts of her friends. Then her world of privilege and safety comes crashing down. Mary must scramble to survive.
But she’s not a Howard girl for nothing. She will defy them all.
Book 5 of the Royal Court Series but can be read as a standalone book.
My lovely newsletter subscribers received the long awaited short story that acts as a sequel to The Lady's Gamble.
My fifth book in the Royal Court Series is at the editors and will be released soon. When I have a better idea of a date I will let you all know.
This was the story of Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. Little is known about her but she was one of the creators and contributors of the Devonshire Manuscript: a collection of poems from the Tudor court that survives to this date.