Surprise! Two Books Coming Up . . .

I’ve gotten the ok from my publisher, and I can finally let slip some news I’ve been keeping quiet for a while.

My usual writing schedule is simple: one 450 page book per year, give or take. But that’s going to be different this year. I didn’t write one 450 page book last year–I went on some kind of insane hyper-drive, and wrote two.

And they’re both going to be released in the next six months.

As for one more bit of news? Both books are Borgia novels. I know some of you are looking ahead for the sequel to Empress of the Seven Hills (more on that later) but all I can say is, I took what was intended to be a one-book vacation to the Italian Renaissance, and my one-book vay-cay turned out like a high-school kid’s two-day sight-seeing trip to Paris which somehow morphs into two years of backpacking through Europe. The Borgia world grabbed me like a vise, and so did my characters. Giulia Farnese, mistress to the Borgia Pope and my irrepressible heroine, had far too many real-life adventures to confine to one book. A standalone novel became a duology instead–and to avoid leaving poor Giulia (and my readers) on another cliff-hanger, I wrote both books of the duology back to back. The Serpent and the Pearl is the first installment, set for release five weeks away on August 6, 2013 (though if you want to enter the new Goodreads giveaway for an advance copy, click here.) The concluding installment of Giulia Farnese’s story will be titled The Lion and the Rose, and it’s slated for release January 7, 2014 – just five months later.

And for those looking for news on the Empress of the Seven Hills sequel, I can tell you that I’m busy writing it now. It has no fixed release date yet, but it will be titled Lady of the Eternal City. Hopefully the Borgia novels and their trio of heroes will tide you over: Giulia Farnese, the Renaissance’s most beautiful woman; her cynical bodyguard Leonello who duels with Cesare Borgia and hunts serial killers for fun; and a fiery cook named Carmelina who has a genius for gourmet food, a mummified hand in her pocket (don’t ask), and more secrets than she can count.

Take a look here at my duology’s two gorgeous covers, and two (spoiler-free) descriptions:

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Rome, 1492. The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous–or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web . . .

Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as a concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for pope–and passionately in love with her.

Two trusted companions will follow her into the world of the Borgias: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the bodies begin to mount, Giulia and her friends must decide if they will flee the Borgia dream of power–or if they can even survive it

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From the national bestselling author of “The Serpent and the Pearl” comes the continuing saga of the ruthless family that holds all of Rome in its grasp, and the three outsiders thrust into their twisted web of blood and deceit . . .

As the cherished concubine of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI, Giulia Farnese has Rome at her feet. But after narrowly escaping a sinister captor, she realizes that the danger she faces is far from over–and now, it threatens from within. The Holy City of Rome is still under Alexander’s thrall, but enemies of the Borgias are starting to circle. In need of trusted allies, Giulia turns to her sharp-tongued bodyguard, Leonello, and her fiery cook and confidante, Carmelina.

Caught in the deadly world of the Renaissance’s most notorious family, Giulia, Leonello, and Carmelina must decide if they will flee the dangerous dream of power. But as the shadows of murder and corruption rise through the Vatican, they must learn who to trust when every face wears a mask . . .

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