May 11, 2014
Brits are often stereotyped as being prudish, stiff upper lip types and, as with any stereotype, there are elements of truth in it. Looking back at the Elizabethan period of British history (1558 – 1603), society was very ‘proper’, and anything but limited touching in public was heavily frowned upon. When Elizabeth I took the throne, she reinstated her father’s laws that were repealed by Queen Mary, and this included the 1533 buggery act. The act made homosexuality punishable by death by hanging, although there are only a handful of executions in the records, and strings were pulled for the well-connected!
But despite of the laws and perceived proper ways to behave, you don’t have to scratch far beneath the surface to find a very different Elizabethan England. Renaissance Italy was well known for its pornography, and young rich Englishmen would travel abroad to widen their ‘education’ and enjoy the illicit material. But not wanting to be out done by the Italians there were also choice pieces English literature including Thomas Nashe’s Choice of Valentines which featured a man and his prostitute lover … and her glass dildo. And yes, Anthony Redbourn, the earl in The Actor and the Earl, has a large private collection of erotica.
London was already a vibrant city by this time, and a part of London called South Bank, was known as the seedier part of the city. As well being the home of the theatres, South Bank was a warren of streets where the less reputable Londoners could be found. Alongside theatres and the gambling dens were some of the city’s most popular brothels, often called stews after the bath houses they originated in. But you would think that the court of Queen Elizabeth would’ve have been more more proper… but far from it. Court was a hot bed of sex and political intrigue. And I think Lord Crofton would’ve loved it.
Do you think you’d have liked to experienced life in Elizabethan England? I’d like to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there!
May 11, 2014
I thought I’d share an extract now. Here, Sebastian has left London after the wedding and is now in Crofton Hall. Anthony wants to show Sebastian the grounds, but he has more on his mind than admiring the roses!
Sebastian saw the shimmer of water that disappeared out of sight as they passed through a decorative arch into a secluded garden. Although too early in the year for the roses to be in flower, the foliage was lush and green and had a fresh scent all of its own. In the furthermost corner was a stone bench, and in front of it, laid out on woolen blankets, was the remains of their dinner set out in the open air. Anthony dropped to the ground and arranged himself in a graceful sprawl, then picked up a chicken leg and used it to point to the space beside him. “Come down here and bask in my company.”
Sebastian flapped his skirt. “If I sit down there, I may have trouble getting back up.”
“If she is suitably nice to me, then I will help my good lady wife to her feet.”
With difficulty, Sebastian managed to settle on the blanket, but his dress didn’t make for the most comfortable sitting position. He accepted a cup of wine but waved away the food. Anthony wiped his hands on the blanket before rising to his hands and knees and crawling toward Sebastian, sporting the same lustful expression he’d worn the night before. He gently pushed Sebastian backward and tried to kiss him.
Sebastian rolled away. “What are you doing? We might be seen!”
“This is a very secluded part of the grounds,” replied Anthony, undeterred by Sebastian’s concerns.
“But as you have already said, we should be careful,” he insisted, shuffling away so he was out of arm’s reach. “This should be for when we are alone—for in private.”
“And I’ve told you, here is private.” Anthony scowled. “A man should be able to do what he wants to his wife on his own property. Why so proper now?”
The word “wife” made Sebastian’s stomach knot painfully, and he wondered just what drove Anthony’s passions. Last night he was sure Anthony wanted him, just Sebastian, and not a skewed image of him as his sister. All Sebastian could think of was the risk; what if they were caught? What if he was dragged before a court? There would be no way he would keep his head from resting on the executioner’s block. But Anthony, if he said he had not bedded his wife, could claim he’d been tricked. And Sebastian knew for that to be a believable defense it was imperative they were never caught.
Anthony’s face was as if a mask had fallen across it, cold and distant. He got to his feet. “It appears my advances are no longer wanted.”
Before Sebastian could answer, Anthony was striding away. Sebastian called after him, but Anthony did not turn back, leaving Sebastian sitting in the ruins of their dinner.
May 11, 2014
As you may have seen this release for The Actor and the Earl is actually a second edition. Both this and Duty to the Crown have been re-edited and tweaked in the run up to the final in the series, Forever Hold His Peace.
I worked with DSP’s new editing team to iron out the anachronisms, a couple of historical inaccuracies and the nobles titles (more on that below!), but the fundamental story remains the same, so if you have the first editions you can get by without having to buy the second ones.
The titles of the British nobility had me tearing my hair out. In the new editions we’ve corrected the main issues I had around the correct title for an earl and his wife. The biggie was Anthony’s surname – I referred to him as Anthony Crofton, but Crofton is the earldom so Anthony’s full name is now Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton. You will also see he is referred to as Crofton by his peers, as would have been the correct address for an earl. The other thing was Lady Bronwyn, she should actually be called Lady Crofton in polite society. I also corrected any inaccuracies for the other nobles’s titles, so fingers cross all our Lords and Ladies should be happy now!
We’ve also introduced the series title … yeah, it took me until book three to find one! But now I have The Crofton Chronicles.
Book One: The Actor and the Earl
Book Two: Duty to the Crown (second edition available for pre-order now!)
Book Three: Forever Hold His Peace (out in June)….teaser of the cover!
And I’ve just finished the first draft of a Modern Crofton… so exciting times!
If you could meet a member of the Crofton family from any period, which period would you choose?
May 11, 2014
Elizabethan actor Sebastian Hewel takes his bow at the proscenium only to embark on the role of a lifetime. When his twin sister, Bronwyn, reneges on the arrangement to marry Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, Sebastian reluctantly takes her place. At nineteen, Sebastian knows his days as a leading lady are numbered, but with this last performance, he hopes to restore his family’s name and pay off his late father’s debts. Never mind the danger of losing his head should he be discovered.
He didn’t expect Anthony to be so charming and alluring—not to mention shrewd. While he applauds Sebastian’s plan, Anthony offers a mutually beneficial arrangement instead. Sebastian will need every drop of talent he has to survive with both his head and his heart intact, because this is the best part he’s ever had.
Let me introduce you to my leading men in The Actor and the Earl:
Sebastian Hewel, who we see on the cover as himself and this twin sister Bronwyn, is a young man who defied his family to become an actor. During Shakespeare’s time men played the female roles, so when we first meet Sebastian he is playing Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Unfortunately for Sebastian, his life is about to have him play a very different role… that of his sister, who should have been about to become Lady Crofton, wife to the infamous Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton. Poor Sebastian, not only does he have to deal with all the female paraphernalia, but Anthony Redbourn himself, who is known at court for sharing his affections widely. If only Anthony wasn’t so attractive!
And talking of Anthony, I’m sure the earl would insist on being introduce! So without further a do, let me introduce Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton. Anthony is a darling of the court, and one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite courtiers. Anthony has a well deserved reputation of not caring who he takes to his bed, but he needs to find someone, and quickly, to marry.
Anthony was inspired by Robert Dudley, Earl of Esssex, who was the definition of Elizabethan bad boy. A rogue and a charmer, Lord Essex was one of the courtiers guaranteed to cause a twitter!
Do you have a favourite historical period or person? If you could who would you most like to meet?
May 11, 2014
Hello, my name is Rebecca Cohen
I’m thrilled to be here today to chat about my new release, the second edition of The Actor and the Earl (released 9th May)
Join me as I talk about about the Elizabethan period that inspired the novel, the background to the second edition, and give sneak peak to what else is coming for The Crofton Chronicles!
Oh, and there’ll be a giveaway!
If you have any questions about any of my stories or my influences please just ask and I’ll try my best to answer!
May 3, 2014
Wow what a race! Doris L picked the winning horse, California Chrome, so she’ll get the first of my two give away eBooks of Run for the Roses. The second person I’ll pick tomorrow morning, in case there are a few people who want to enter the contest yet.
I have to say I was hoping the woman jockey, her name is Rosie (my dog’s name) would win, but I like the story behind California Chrome.
April 22, 2014
Closing Time…One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer… Closing time…
What a day! Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by, whether you commented or not. I hope everyone had a good time and I really hope you find the time to read Picks & Pucks. I should mention I also wrote a short story called The Magic Broom. Lots of winter sports, including curling. Because curling is fun and all the cool kids curl. There’s another lovely novel I wrote called Echoes of Us, which is about making it in the music business. It’s a swell, angst story. Give it a shot. End Advertising segment.
For my final post of the evening, I’ve decided to create my dream hockey team. Current players only. It turned into a partial dream team because I got lost on several team websites looking at pictures of players…erm, maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that part.
Jonathan Toews #19 Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks Center
Zach Parise #11 Captain of the Minnesota Wild Left Wing
Matt Frattin #23 Columbus Bluejackets Right Wing
Patrick Kane #88 Chicago Blackhawks Right Wing
Sidney Crosby #87 Pittsburgh Penguins Center
TJ Oshie #74 St. Louis Blues Right Wing
Zdeno Chara #33 Captain of the Boston Bruins Defense
Cam Fowler #4 Anaheim Ducks Defense
Niklas Kronwall #55 Detroit Red Wings Defense
Henrik Lundqvist #30 New York Rangers Goalie (The commercial with him and the Rhino is so freaking COOL)
This was a hard task, because I tend to gravitate to players I’ve seen play, and by that I mean, former University of North Dakota players. For example, Jonathan Toews, TJ Oshie, Matt Frattin, Zach Parise… I could easily have added Chris Porter, Travis Zajac, Brian Lee (he drove me crazy when he was at UND), Corban Knight (although he was sent back down…boo) Drew Stafford, Chris Vandevelde.
Fav players? Tell me… Also I’ve been informed that like Toews and Kane, Crosby and Malkin come as a set. Guess I need to add Geno to my dream team.
I’ll announce the winners in around midnight my time, if I don’t fall asleep first…Thanks for the fun
More about me:
Teegan Loy began writing a long time ago. Notebooks filled with ideas were stacked around the house. One day, she sat down with renewed ambition and something fantastic happened: she completed a story. Now most of her time is spent writing, but she takes occasional breaks to go to the movies, where she imagines her stories on the big screen. She also enjoys watching hockey, filling her iPod with music, and driving her daughter around town to various activities.
You can find Teegan at
April 21, 2014
It’s apparent I love skating. I grew up surrounded by ice. When you live where it’s winter for many months, you learn to deal with the cold. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to skate. And entertainment during the winter months was attending hockey games, from high school to college.
After I stopped skating lessons, I took up coaching. I taught a ton of kids how to skate. Most of the time it was a blast. Sometimes, it stunk, but it usually wasn’t the kids who were at fault. Parents sometimes suck the joy out of sports. I’m not lumping all parents together, but I’ve encountered some doozies.
We’ve talked a lot about hockey. And I could continue to talk about hockey, but Justin gave up hockey to figure skate. So, let’s switch to figure skating. I’ve seen a lot of the greats skate in shows, from Brian Boitano to Gordeeva and Grinkov to Ilia Kulik.
There are programs I remember vividly. When Brian Boitano skated to ‘Nessun Dorma’, he mesmerized me. The program Gordeeva and Grinkov preformed at the 1994 Olympics to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ almost did me in. Less than one year later, Sergei Grinkov died, leaving his partner, both on the ice and off, alone with a baby daughter. Sigh.
Music played a large part when writing Picks & Pucks. But music always plays a huge part in my writing life. It helps me create emotions from nothing and helps me understand my characters more.
A big part of the Picks & Pucks is the music. It’s the Olympic year and Justin decides to change both his short program and his long. It’s not commonly done, but if the skater isn’t comfortable with their programs, the change is needed. Personally, I get tired of hearing the same music over and over and over. How many Swan Lakes can one person take. I want something new, but I am in the minority and the tried and true will continue to be used until some brave soul steps out of the box and picks something awesome. Like Jason Brown, who skated to The Question of U by Prince for his short program. I can’t wait to see what he uses in the future.
Here are the songs I chose for Justin to use in competition.
His short program is a mix from the Harry Potter movies, primarily Hedwig’s Theme
His long program is a mix from the movie Braveheart.
When I was writing the book, I could see the programs in my head. I knew what sort of jumps I wanted Justin to do and where I would slot them in the program. It’s probably incredibly weird, but I always choreographed skating routines in my head.
I have an entire Playlist for the book
- Undisclosed Desires by Muse
- Shattered by Trading Places
- Secrets by One Republic
- One Last Dance by R5
- Exogenisis III by Muse
- Remember When It Rained by Josh Groban
- Always on Your Side by Cheryl Crow and Sting
- Be My Downfall by Del Amitri
- Sad by Maroon 5
- Mi Mancherai (Il Postino) by Josh Groban
- Remember When (Push Rewind) by Chris Wallace
- Don’t Let Me Go featuring Harry Style by Sam McCarthy
- Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Ray Dalton)
- A World Like This by The Backstreet Boys
If you have any other questions for me, ask away and I’ll try to answer before we wrap up this party. I’m a little distracted at the moment, because the Blackhawks are currently playing hockey. Anyone else watching the games?
April 21, 2014
Tons of people have bucket lists. I have specific bucket lists. Like a travel bucket list, a People I’d like to meet bucket list, a Sports bucket list…
Ah, a sports bucket list. Yes, indeed, I have a sports bucket list. Some wishes are absolutely insane and will probably never happen but some are realistic and have happened.
Attend a World or US National figure skating championship … I’ve seen a ton of figure skating shows, but never a world-class competition.
Attend the Masters. Ever since Tiger Woods burst onto the scene, that tournament has intrigued me. At the beginning of his career, Master’s badges were selling for $10,000 per badge. Yes, people were paying ten grand for four days of golf. Crazy. I mean, you don’t even get an assigned seat, unless you pay someone to race for a hole with your chair in hand, when they open the gates. Or I suppose you could do it yourself…
Attend all four grand slam events for tennis. Australian Open, The French Open, Wimbledon, and The US Open. I’ve attended several tennis matches and seen some of the world’s best play.
The Olympics. I don’t care if it’s summer or winter and I would be one of those people who would attend every event possible. From the obscure to the feature sports.
Attend a Frozen Four… college hockey equivalent of the Stanley cup. To make it more special, please have my alma mater winning the event.
A world class gymnastics competition.
See a leg of the Tour de France, preferably a mountain time trial or a mountain stage going up Mont Ventoux (And guys in bike shorts)
I’ve had the opportunity to see some awesome competitions. I’ve seen a game 7 during the Stanley cup playoffs. Granted it was in round one, but the game was magnificent, even though my team lost. I’ve been to a Superbowl, a ton of professional basketball and hockey games. I was even on the kiss cam at Joe Louis arena in Detroit. Unfortunately, I was with my brother so the fans booed us when we didn’t kiss. Fun times. I was at a World Curling championship. And yes, I wanted to be there. I love playing the game and watching it.
I watched an all-star basketball practice where Shaq stood close to me. He’s very tall and large. During that same event, I knocked on Jason Kidd’s hotel room door to give him tickets. When he opened the door, he was in his boxers. I shoved the tickets in his hand and asked him to autograph a basketball. I’m not sure how I found my way out of the hotel after seeing a pro basketball player almost naked. During a Superbowl pregame event, I thought Lynn Swan was a FedEX guy. We were in an elevator with the guy. Give me a break. He had on blue pants and a polo shirt and carried several FedEx envelopes. My friend laughed his head off at me. I also met Joe Theisman that same day. He’s a very nice guy, and I refrained from asking about his broken leg.
A few times when I was sitting in the front row at an ice show, I found it quite difficult not reach out and grab a handful of ass. My God, those figure skaters have rock hard ass muscles and they wear skintight pants that highlight everything!
Maybe your sports bucket list involves watching your child chase after their goals. For me, this past year was filled with watching my daughter win her first “big” tennis tournament, and win her first state title in fastpitch softball. It was glorious watching her joy.
Or maybe, your bucket lists involve you competing in something? I’d love to skate with some pro hockey players… Just skate… Note: I will be wearing figure skates though. Or curl with some world-class curlers.
Or are there specific stars you’d love to meet?
Hmmm…. My list? Rafael Nadal, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (cuz they’re a set), Brian Boitano, Lance Armstrong (I have my reasons – okay, my journalist instincts might kick in. He fascinates me), Charles Barkley (I’ve stood next to him and got his autograph, but didn’t have a conversation with the man. I love his sarcastic sense of humor), I could go on forever.
So, give me some of your sports bucket lists? Maybe you want to see some obscure sport like the cricket world championships. Okay, I made that up. I don’t know how the world of cricket works. Badminton? Ping Pong? Beach Volleyball? I could get behind some beach volleyball. On the beach, with scantily clad guys smashing a ball.
I want your sports lists…
Remember comment, comment, comment, and at the end of my time on this blog, I’ll be giving away a couple ebooks of Picks & Pucks
April 21, 2014
Demons. I’m pretty sure we all have some sort of demons. I obviously had a whole gaggle of demons this morning when I couldn’t get on this blog. I swear they were having a stupid party in my kitchen as I freaked out and yelled at my computer screen.
I also have demons who taunt me when I write. They come out in full force when I’m close to a story ending or when I submit or when I have a new release. Several are here right now. They are bellied up to the bar, occasionally tossing out insults, then giggling like maniacs. Usually, I ignore them, but sometimes, I agree with them and think my writing stinks, or my choices are dumb. They are a PIA and I should learn how to make them totally disappear.
My main character in Picks & Pucks deals with demons as well. Some are horrible, others are ridiculous. Justin has a love/hate relationship with hockey boys. They drive him crazy, but he can’t seem to stay away from them. One of the things Justin learns throughout the story, is he is not the only one who has demons. I believe most people are haunted by some sort of demon. Most are silly, created by us when we are feeling vulnerable and unsure of decisions we make. Some are created when we make wrong decisions. I think some of the worst demons are ones associated with guilt. Even if we have no control over the situation, guilt can eat you alive and ruin your life.
Sometimes the best we can do is learn to live with our demons. I know I’ve defeated some of mine. I swear I saw a demon explode in a shower of snow the other night on the way home from Canada. At the border, one of the questions I the border guard asked me was what do you do? I answered, with no pause, I am a writer. I couldn’t believe I said it. I waited for the border person to say prove it and pull me out of my car, demanding I tell the truth or worse, laugh in my face. I silently reassured myself that it’s true; I am a writer. The border person didn’t even skip a beat. Her next question was who owns this car? That would be me, I said, and she waved me back into the United States with the mist of a demon covering my windshield. I am a writer. I wrote the story Picks & Pucks. Ha, stupid demon. I got you.
Take a chance and follow Justin on his journey as he learns to live with, and defeat his demons. Let me hear about some of your interesting demons. Have you defeated them, or do you let them ride on your shoulders day after day. Or maybe you think I’m slightly crazy, because you don’t have demons. TELL ME…
Short excerpt with Justin and his demons:
I kept my eyes focused on the floor. Maybe, if I didn’t look at any of them, the demons would take the night off and leave me the hell alone. I didn’t want to remember anything else tonight. I’d had enough of the past smacking me over the head.
“Justin, are you okay?” Eli asked.
“Yeah, I’m good. I’m exhausted. It’s been a long week, and sometimes I don’t deal with change well,” I admitted.
“Go to bed,” Janae said. “I’ll wake you in the morning.”
I nodded and slipped out of the room before anyone could say anything else. When I got upstairs, I closed my door and shut the shades, blocking out the world and, hopefully, the demons.
I busied myself by unpacking. The dresser in my room was empty, so I started filling the drawers with my clothing. In the bottom drawer, I found a red T-shirt balled in the corner. I dragged it out and gasped at the Detroit Red Wings logo. I immediately dropped it, watching it flutter to the ground.
Several demons crawled out from under my bed, so I kicked the shirt at them. The demons scurried after it. No way I was going to face that memory. I’d stared down enough memories today. One would think they would dull after so much time had passed. They didn’t.