Friday, November 4, 2016

Guest Blog - Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel JoAnn Spears

My first Tudor comedy novel, Six of One, about Henry VIII’s six wives, was begun in the hectic hub-bub of New Jersey and finished in my new rural home in the mountains of Upper East Tennessee.  My second book, Seven Will Out, about Shakespeare, Elizabeth I, and the latter-day Tudors, was written almost entirely in what I call my outdoor office, an Adirondack chair with a view of the pretty Tennessee hills and mountains.

The area I live in has lots of farm lands and lots of nature-lovers living in it, so green lifestyle options are a big deal here.  I have ‘greened up’, so to speak, a lot since I moved here, so having the opportunity to blog with The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom is a real treat.
Since it looks like we are all green together, I will share–

The Top Ten Ways I’ve Gone Green

Box wine.  I call it ‘Cardboardeux’.  It’s said to leave much less of a footprint than bottled wine.

Buying local.  We have a Farmer’s Market here that I visit on Saturdays.  I especially look for locally-produced grass-fed beef.  There are two different vendors of it so I try to ‘share the wealth’ of my business by patronizing each on alternate occasions.  It is hard though; no matter what I do, I always feel like I am cheating on one of them.

Being a bag lady. I shop a lot at Aldi, where you bring your own bags for groceries.  I have literally a dozen bags in my car ready to go into Aldi at any given moment.  And in my car is usually where they stay, because I forget to bring them into the store, and have to run out to get them as I check out.

Being a bag lady again.  When our office gets Olive Garden take-away, I scoff up the bags they deliver the food in because they are perfect Aldi bags.  And the garlic smell that comes with them is free.

Being a bag lady, last time, by keeping a broth bag.  I save peelings and ends of onions, carrots, and other vegetables in a plastic quart bag.  When it is full, I boil it all in salt water and freeze the resulting broth.  No more canned broth at my house!  And you should see how excited I get when celery gets down to that knob at the bottom, and I get to throw it in the broth bag.

Flower power.  I have bee-attracting plants in my garden:  Hyssop, lavender, sedum, and others.  I also have cardinal climber for the hummingbirds.

Birds of a feather.  I have a bird feeder and a watering station in my front yard. And a million black-oil sunflower seedlings as far as the eye can see.

Thinking outside of the box.  Litter box, that is.  I use cedar-shaving cat litter, which is extra-cool since I live in a cedar house.

Racking my brain.  I keep a drying rack on my sunny front porch and use it instead of a dryer to dry clothes.  Word of warning, though.  Be careful if you do laundry the night before Halloween.  I did so this year, and put a bunch of panties out on the rack to dry and forgot to bring them in on Halloween morning.  I was away from the house till evening so they stayed there all day on Halloween.  God knows what the neighbors think.

Enjoying the beautiful, green world that I live in.  Davy Crockett was right when he said that Tennessee is ‘the greenest state in the land of the free’.  I do my best, most relaxed, and most creative writing when I am outdoors in the sun in the beautiful Smoky Mountain region.

Seven Will Out: A Renaissance Revel
JoAnn Spears

Genre:  Historical fiction, satire, women's fiction,
chick lit, alternative history, historical fantasy

Print Length: 402 pages

Publication Date: November 9, 2015


Book Description:

If you thought Six of One: A Tudor Riff was the most fun you could have with your nightdress on, wait until you see what Seven Will Out:  A Renaissance Revel has in store.  Get ready for one 'ruff' night!

Tudorphile Dolly thought that the night she spent on an astral plane with Henry VIII's six wives, learning their heretofore unknown secrets, was a one-time thing.  Not so!  In Seven Will Out, Dolly finds herself back in the ether with the women of later Tudor times:  Elizabeth I, ‘Bloody’ Mary, Bess of Hardwick, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Anne Hathaway Shakespeare, to name a few.  They too have secrets that will turn history on its head, and comic sass that will keep you laughing.

You've read all of the traditional, serious and romantic takes on the legendary Tudors.  Why not try your Tudors with a new and different twist?

Excerpt from Seven Will Out:  Chapter Fourteen, Menagerie and Query

My two welcoming companions were not, as on my last visit, those two medieval beauties, Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth of York, grandmother and mother of Henry VIII.
On my last stay here, I had learned that this was a strictly ladies-only domicile. That is why I rapidly concluded that my companions, who were a couple of dogs, were likely also a couple of bitches. This is not as rancorous a statement as you may think.
You see, my stirring about had agitated two toy-size dogs that had been lying at the foot of the bed, setting them to romping and frolicking around. I settled them down a bit and then zeroed in for a closer look at my strange bedfellows.
One of them I had met before. I had not gotten its name, but I knew it to be the terrier that had belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots, at the time of her death. Said pup had attended Mary’s execution, hidden under her skirts; it barked piteously as it emerged, bloodstained, unable to decide whether to stay with the decapitated queen’s body or with her head. Eventually it mourned itself to death. My understanding had been that, after my last visit here, the Tudor denizens of this celestial way station would have vacated the premises for good. But if this dog—and another to boot— were present here, then likely the queen of Scots was again, or perhaps still, in residence. And heaven knew who else.
I looked a little closer at the other dog to try to figure out what, or at least, whose, it was. It appeared to be a sweet little bichon frise, and it looked back at me with head atilt and tail wagging.
“Por quoi!” a female voice called from without the room, and the little bichon perked up its ears.
“Por quoi to you too!” I sang out, playing for time as I tried to recall some of my high school French. As I did, I realized that I had just unintentionally given someone “what for.” I hoped this wouldn’t mean that my stay here this time was going to start off with me giving a bad impression. Wanting to take no chances, I got out of bed and began to smooth, as best I could, the wrinkles from my nightdress. As I did so, the person outside my room, getting closer by the sound of her voice, riposted my comment.
“Your French accent is execrable, Dolly!”
I wondered fleetingly if Marie Antoinette was in residence, but this was not the case. The lady who eventually rounded the doorway and entered my room was someone I had met before. She sported the Renaissance equivalent of a hippie-chick outfit that had seen better days. A parrot was circling above her in a holding pattern, and she was trailed by several feline friends whose orange calico markings resembled her own ginger coloring.
I knew whose tragic and fascinating presence I was in.

About the Author:

JoAnn Spears couldn’t decide whether to major in English or History in college. Life stepped in, and she wound up with a Master’s Degree in Nursing instead. A twenty-five year nursing career didn’t extinguish that early interest in books and history-especially Tudor history. It did, however, stoke a decidedly gallows sense of humor.

Eventually, JoAnn read just about every spin there was on the stories of Henry VIII and the extended Tudor family. Every spin, that is, except the one with the gallows humor. The Tudors certainly qualified for it, but it just wasn’t out there. JoAnn decided that with gallows humor to spare, she would do her best to remedy the Tudor comedy gap. A little inspiration from the classic “Wizard of Oz” showed her the way to go, and “Six of One”, a new kind of Tudor novel, was born.

JoAnn thought “Six of One”, her story about Henry VIII’s six wives, would be an only literary child. Then, two years after its birth, she was caught by surprise with the idea for a sequel. In October, 2015, “Seven Will Out” made its debut and bought the latter-day Tudors into the comedy mix.

JoAnn enjoys writing but maintains her nursing license because a) you never stop being a nurse and b) her son thinks she should be sensible and not quit her day job. She also enjoys life in the beautiful mountains of northeast Tennessee, where she gardens, embroiders antique reproduction samplers, and teaches yoga in her Methodist church basement. JoAnn shares her home with three cats and the works of Jane Austen, Barbara Pym, Louisa May Alcott, and of course, Alison Weir.

Author Twitter address:  @JoAnnSpearsRn

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