Happy Book Birthday: Katherine – Tudor Duchess

Tony Riches’ new book, Katherine – Tudor Duchess releases today! Tony has a talent for bringing readers back to Tudor England and reputation for spot-on history. I loved his book, The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham, and bet this will be as beautifully written. Congrats to Tony and I encourage you to check out at least one of his books!


Attractive, wealthy and influential, Katherine Willoughby is one of the most unusual ladies of the Tudor court. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Katherine knows all his six wives, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and his son Edward.

When her father dies, Katherine becomes the ward of Tudor knight, Sir Charles Brandon. Her Spanish mother, Maria de Salinas, is Queen Catherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting, so it is a challenging time for them all when King Henry marries the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.

Following Anne’s dramatic downfall, Katherine marries Charles Brandon, and becomes Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen. After the short reign of young Catherine Howard, and the death of Jane Seymour, Katherine and Brandon are chosen to welcome Anna of Cleves as she arrives in England.

When the royal marriage is annulled, Katherine’s good friend, Catherine Parr becomes the king’s sixth wife, and they work to promote religious reform. Katherine’s young sons are tutored with the future king, Prince Edward, and become his friends, but when Edward dies his Catholic sister Mary is crowned queen. Katherine’s Protestant faith puts her family in great danger – from which there seems no escape. 

Katherine’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Available in eBook and paperback from Amazon UK and Amazon US

(Audiobook edition coming in 2020)

Author Bio

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on  Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches


Guest Post: Historical Fiction vs. Historical Novels

I’m thrilled to host historical fiction author, Margaret Skea, who is kicking off a discussion about the difference between “historical fiction” and “historical novels”. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!

And without further ado…

By Margaret Skea

Last weekend I had the huge pleasure of appearing at an historical fiction festival in a little town in the Highlands of Scotland, organised by probably the most enthusiastic bookshop owner in Britain – a small lady (who makes me feel tall) with a huge heart, named Marjory Marshall.  It will be a big loss to Scotland’s literary scene if she ever retires.

The format was interesting and a little different. It was a whole day event, though folk could choose to come to the morning or afternoon sessions or both. 

Each of the authors had a chance to introduce their book and give a short reading, followed in both sessions by a panel discussion, with the audience also participating.

I was chairing the morning panel discussion, focusing on four historical periods – the Reformation, Mary Queen of Scots’ lifetime, the Covenanters, and the Cromwellian era. We covered issues including the influence and important of religious belief to characters and to plot; writing about conflict; handling the interaction between historical and fictional characters; conveying a sense of place; and the pros and cons of different tenses and viewpoint.

All good stuff, particularly the varied perspectives and approaches to writing which were revealed, and it was clearly of interest to the very responsive audience.

The controversy, though, came in the afternoon session, which divided us authors into two distinct camps. It began with a seemingly innocuous question about balancing fact and fiction and finished with Marjory suggesting a way of defining and dividing historicals into ‘historical fiction’ and ‘historical novel’.

Now, I’ve always thought of myself as an historical novelist, and it seems by Marjory’s definition, I may be right. Two authors were ranged alongside me, with the remaining two on the other side of the debate.

Of course my novels are works of fiction – they certainly don’t purport to be non-fiction – but two aspects are really important to me – creating as authentic a picture of the period as I can, based on solid research and, crucially, when I am dealing with an historic character, trying to present as close a reflection of the real person as is possible, given the historical evidence available.  I finish my ‘Authors note’ in my Katharina books with the statement:

‘This book is a work of fiction, and although based on extensive research, the Katharina depicted here is my own interpretation. I hope I have done her justice.’

It is that final sentence which really matters to me, and it is in this area of a ‘moral responsibility’ to historical characters, however long dead, where the division of opinion emerged. All five of us believe absolutely in the essential nature of good research to underpin our writing, but those who opposed my view, did so on the basis that the needs of story are paramount and trump the evidence.

Now, I don’t have a problem with tweaking minor points of history if the story demands it, though it’s unlikely to be controversial, and I will always confess any deviation from attested history in my author’s note; but what I won’t do is to ‘bad mouth’ an historical character, without good evidence. And this was the crux of the debate. One author was happy to make her main (historical) character have an affair because she felt it added to the impact of the story, despite the lack of any evidence. ‘This is fiction’ she said, ‘If the story demands it, do it.’

There are several counter arguments to this view – amongst them a responsibility to living descendants of the character in question, the realistic or otherwise depiction of the person concerned and, importantly, the fact that, like it or not, many people learn their history from fiction. That being the case, as well as a moral responsibility to the character, I also feel a responsibility to readers, not to mislead them. The opposing authors felt equally strongly that any misinterpretation of history remains the reader’s own responsibility.

And so to Marjory’s distinction between an ‘historical novel’, in which the author seeks to remain true to the history that underpins it, and ‘historical fiction’ in which, while the background is of importance, the story is king. Interestingly, one of the novelists who shared my view had written a novel in which all of the key characters were fictional, yet she still felt it was important to ensure she remained within the bounds of known history, for the sake of readers.  

Lest you think blood was shed, we all parted friends, but the vigorous argument indicated clearly that there are two distinct schools of thought in this respect and it’s a debate that’s likely to run and run…

What do you think?

Margaret Skea is an award-winning novelist and short story writer. Short story credits include Neil GunnFish, the Historical Novel Society, and Mslexia. Her debut novel, Turn of the Tide, the first book in a Scottish trilogy – including A House Divided and By Sword and Storm, gained her the Beryl Bainbridge Award for ‘Best First-Time Novelist 2014’. She is now a hybrid author publishing both through a mainstream publisher, Corazon, and under her own imprint, Sanderling Books.

Katharina: Deliverance, a fictionalized biography based on the life of the reformer Martin Luther’s wife, was placed 2nd in the Historical Novel Society new Novel Award 2018. The sequel, Katharina Fortitude, was released in July 2019.

She is particularly interested in the challenge of bringing relatively unknown historical characters out of the shadows. In an attempt to embrace the digital age she now has her own website at www.margaretskea.com and you can also follow her on Twitter , Facebook or Amazon.


Cover Reveal: The Nightmare Detective

Today I’m excited to host the cover reveal for The Nightmare Detective, a historical fiction/fantasy novel by K. Childs. The novel releases October 22, 2019 but you can add it to your GoodReads shelf now!


London, 1920. 

The nation recovers from the Great War. 

Steam and diesel battle for supremacy. 

And magic is a college elective.

Detective Inspector Rose Beaumont stays busy in bed, patrolling London’s Dreamscape. When His Majesty’s first line of defense against nightmares is assassinated, Britain falls vulnerable to a monstrous attack, and DI Beaumont is called on to solve the murder…or take the heat.

Even though charming Duke Montague, a key witness to the supernatural crime, makes DI Beaumont’s eyes roll, she must navigate the pretenses of emerging nobility, unweave the web spun by murderous monsters, and evade the ever-present threat of social suicide to keep the Duke alive by stopping whomever (or whatever) is on the warpath while simultaneously dodging the overprotective Duchess’s henchmen.

Between “Prince Charming” and gruesome death stands one tired detective.

About the Author

By day, Kristy works as an IT Project Coordinator. She wanted to be a fairy princess when she grew up but sadly discovered that the job was no longer on the market. Instead, she embarked on a career to at least write about princesses in castles and grand adventures. She lives in Canberra, Australia, with an abundance of old comics and cute anime figurines. She fell in love with anime so much, she spent 9 years learning Japanese through High School and University.

By night, Kristy is a hippy and foodie, enjoying the life of a city-bred lady and trying all the latest restaurants and foodie crazes she can. She is most at home throwing money around in a handcrafts market, eating gourmet chocolate, discussing the various ramen recipes between restaurants and browsing second-hand bookstores for undiscovered gems. She is a consummate spinster and lover of animals, but has yet to receive a crazy cat lady starter kit.

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Cover Reveal: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh

Today I’m excited to host the cover reveal for The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess More. You’ll have to wait until November 23 to get your hands on this YA contemporary, but you can add it to your GoodReads shelf or pre-order it now.

Jess More Cover



Jeremy Warsh has been in off-mode ever since his grandpa’s death a couple years ago. He set aside their shared passion, comic art, and hasn’t looked back. As an introvert from the other side of town, he fully expects to spend his boring life bagging groceries until, maybe one day, he’s promoted to store manager.

Yet, his two best friends, Kasey and Stuart, are different. They’re not afraid to demand more out of everyone. When Kasey comes out, Jeremy’s inspired. He picks up his colored pencils and starts drawing comics again, creating a no-nonsense, truth-talking character named Penny Kind. Who speaks to him. Literally.

The friend group sets in motion Stuart’s plans for a huge Homecoming prank, and if they can get Penny’s comic trending, they might be able to pull it off. Could this be a stepping-stone to a future Jeremy’s only dreamed of? And after he kisses a boy at a college party, will Jeremy finally face what he’s been hiding from?

About the Author

Jess More

Jess Moore makes books, homemade pizza, and is a so-so knitter. She lives in historic gold-mining California. But originally being from the Midwest, she still looks back east in the fall when the leaves are wild with color. She has worked as both a teacher and social worker for fostered youth. Currently, she writes novels in the early morning while her family sometimes sleeps.

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