In The Secret Player, the protagonist Alexander Cooke, known
as Sander, becomes a favorite performer of women's roles on
the London stage, where only males are allowed to act. A dangerous
secret: Sander was born female. She is at risk of flogging
or even death if her identity is discovered. A few suspect
the truth, including William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth.
Adding to her risks, she and he poet John Donne fall in love.
In life and onstage, Sander Cooke dares to challenge the status
Vol. 2. Dark
In Dark Venus, Sander befriends Emilia Bassano Lanier, the
presumed Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets. Emilia, considered
scandalous by many, is a muse for William Shakespeare, both
of the sonnets and many of his female roles. She too has a
poetic gift and the will to develop it.
In Bedtrick, Sander's brother John Cooke impregnates the seamstress
Frances and refuses to marry her. A seemingly simple solution
is for Alexander to marry Frances. Can a woman get away with
being a husband? Shakespeare is in on the secret, which influences
the plots of two of his plays, and Queen Elizabeth, nearing
death, has a major role in the story.Dates
of publication: Summer 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013.
The series is
called the Shakespeare Actor Trilogy and will be available
at select independent bookstores, Shakespeare festivals nationwide,
and direct order from here.