Yesterday, due to events and issues concerning the Coronavirus, Amy Durant from Sapere Books and I agreed to change the publication of The Arbella Stuart Conspiracy to 25 May 2020. This was not a decision we took easily but with publication date fast approaching and illness (everyone is OK now) delaying matters, we felt there was no option. We want to ensure the book is at its absolute best and didn’t want to rush the final edit. We hope you’ll understand our decision and hold your excitement in for another few weeks.
The first is the competition currently running on Twitter to win signed copies of The Catherine Howard Conspiracy and The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy (I’m @purplemermaid25, if you want to get involved). All you have to do is retweet the competition tweet and if you feel like following me at the same time, then that would be great too! A winner will be selected at random after the closing date of 22 April 2020. UK entries only, please. Sorry worldwide readers, but it’s all a bit tricky at the moment!
The other is this: a scene that had to be edited out of The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy because it was a bit long. There are no spoilers, so don’t worry if you’re still reading book two or are yet to get that far in the adventure. It involves a conversation where Perdita and Piper learn more about Kit and his siblings while they were growing up.
Thanks as ever for all your support and I’ll keep you posted on The Arbella Stuart Conspiracy. Hope you enjoy the extra scene.
Take care and stay safe.
Deleted scene from The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy in which
Perdita and Piper learn Kit’s teenage nickname
Kit was shovelling down a huge fried breakfast and Perdita was not the only person watching him, aghast, at the sheer amount of food on his plate.
“How do you stay so skinny?” asked Pablo, sitting next to Perdita and pouring her a cup of thick, strong, fragrant coffee.
“I’ve been snowboarding this morning,” explained Kit, pushing his mug towards his soon-to-be brother-in-law for a refill, “I’m starving.”
A moment later, Piper arrived with Megan and Deborah Black. Megan glanced at Kit’s plate and raised her eyebrows.
“Your suit had better still fit you, Piglet,” she said. “You’re going to be our usher in a week and there isn’t time to get you another one.”
Kit rolled his eyes but did not respond to this sisterly jibe, instead he turned to Dr Black.
“How’s Sir Columbus Goldfinch this morning?”
“You haven’t called him that for years,” she said.
“Elliot reminded me of it last night,” said Kit, “and how he was Midnight Black.”
Perdita and Piper exchanged bemused glances.
“They were the rather grandiose nicknames they all gave each other when they were children,” supplied Megan. “Sir Columbus Goldfinch, which was your maiden name, wasn’t it, Deborah?”
Dr Black nodded, grinning.
“Fabulous name,” said Perdita.
“Elliot was Sir Midnight Black,” Megan continued, “Stuart was Sir Panther Stowe-in-the-Wold, Mum’s maiden was Stowe and little Kitten here was…”
“Don’t you dare!” admonished Kit but his eyes were dancing with laughter.
“And little Kitten, here as the youngest, was Sir Catfish Kensie Burger.”
Perdita and Piper burst out laughing.
“Kensie Burger?” questioned Piper.
“The last part of Mackensie, which leaves ‘Mac’,” said Megan and Piper nodded in comprehension.
“Elliot wins in the nickname stakes,” Perdita giggled. “Although, Sir Catfish Kensie Burger is quite something. You should use it more often, Kit.”
“If I had my trusty knights with me, you sniggering damsels would…
“Laugh even more probably,” interrupted Megan.
The laughing and banter continued as they finished their breakfast, then Perdita rose, ready complete her list of allotted wedding tasks. Piper followed and the two of them stood for a moment staring out at the crisp white snow that had fallen over night.
“I was so excited when I first saw the snow,” said Piper, “now I’m very blasé about it!”
Perdita laughed. Despite the late night, the excitement in the castle was carrying everyone through any morning bleariness.
“We can test our new snow boots in it while we’re running all those errands for Megan,” said Perdita.
She broke off as there was a flurry of noise at the door and Elliot walked in followed by a tall, chestnut-haired man who was obviously his younger brother, Callum. Deborah and Kit both leapt to their feet and hurried over. Dark rings under Callum’s eyes and his slightly sickly pallor were all evidence of the recent illnesses he had been suffering. Kit gave a cry of joy and pulled the man into a huge hug. Perdita grinned and turned to her sister, ready for the two of them to be introduced but when she looked at Piper, she was horrified.
“Piper, what is it…?”
All, the colour had drained from Piper’s face and fury filled her eyes.
“Callum Black!” she snarled, barely able to speak such was her rage. “What the hell is he doing here?”
Find out what happens next by reading The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy