Teaser Tuesday: Jane’s book has a title!
April 15th, 2014

Okay, I know it’s Tuesday and we’re right in the midst of the That Summer in Pictures series and I promised you pretty pictures of Preraphaelite paintings for today. But… I just couldn’t resist sharing this late-breaking news.

Pink XII, aka Jane’s book, has a title!

Pink XII is now officially…

The Lure of the Moonflower.

And if you think that means what you think that means, then you’re absolutely right.

You can find the complete, unabridged text of Chapter One of The Lure of the Moonflower at the back of Pink XI, The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, which comes out this August. (Available for pre-order now!)

The Lure of the Moonflower, the twelfth book in the Pink series– and the very last of the Pink books– is scheduled to appear at a bookstore near you in August of 2015.

Stay tuned for more about The Lure of the Moonflower!


A Slight Delay….
April 14th, 2014

Gremlins appear to have attacked my website. All posts more recent than last Tuesday’s have disappeared into the electronic ether.

My valiant webmistress is looking into the gremlin attack– shoring up defenses and all that sort of thing– but until we have the problem worked out, I don’t want to risk posting the next Monday Give Away. Wouldn’t it be annoying to post a contest, only to discover that both the post and all of your entries have disappeared?

To make up for it, next Monday we’ll have something I’ve been saving… an ARC of That Summer!

And Teaser Tuesday will, hopefully (cross fingers!), appear here on the site as usual tomorrow.


Teaser Tuesday: THAT SUMMER in Pictures, Part II
April 8th, 2014

It’s Part II of That Summer in Pictures: the Mariana in the Moated Grange edition.

Not to give too much away, one of the pictures that plays a large role in That Summer is Mariana in the Moated Grange by Gavin Thorne, my imaginary Preraphaelite painter. In the book, it’s displayed at the Royal Academy show in 1849.

There wasn’t really a Mariana shown in the RA exhibition of 1849 (I’ll be sharing some of the art that was, plus an original program from the show, next week), but it was a popular subject for the Preraphs and their imitators.

The painting takes its subject matter from Tennyson’s poem Mariana – which, in turn, takes its subject matter from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: the abandoned Mariana, deserted by her betrothed Angelo, waiting for him hour after lonely hour.

Here’s a piece of Tennyson’s poem:

Unlifted was the clinking latch;
Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
Upon the lonely moated grange.
She only said, “My life is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary;
I would that I were dead!”

The lonely and neglected women of Tennyson’s poems were catnip to the Preraphaelites. For example….

William Waterhouse’s 1888 Lady of Shalott:

Lady of Shalott

But the painting I really had in mind while crafting my– I mean, Gavin Thorne’s– Mariana was John Everett Millais’s Mariana:


Millais’s Mariana was displayed in the Royal Academy show of 1851– so I hope he won’t mind my borrowing it and using it some two years earlier. (Not to mention attributing it to another painter.) The combination of restlessness and desolation in the figure by the window conveyed exactly what I needed.

Although there were some changes made to my version for the sake of the plot….

More Preraphaelites coming up next Tuesday!


Monday Give Away: THE TIME BETWEEN
April 7th, 2014

For today’s Monday give away, we have… a paperback copy of Karen White’s bestselling The Time Between.

Here’s the official blurb:

time betweenNew York Times bestselling author Karen White delivers a novel of two generations of sisters and secrets set in the stunning South Carolina Lowcountry.

Eleanor Murray will always remember her childhood on Edisto Island, where her late father, a local shrimper, shared her passion for music. Now her memories of him are all that tempers the guilt she feels over the accident that put her sister in a wheelchair—and the feelings she harbors for her sister’s husband.

To help support her sister, Eleanor works at a Charleston investment firm during the day, but she escapes into her music, playing piano at a neighborhood bar. Until the night her enigmatic boss walks in and offers her a part-time job caring for his elderly aunt, Helena, back on Edisto. For Eleanor, it’s a chance to revisit the place where she was her happiest—and to share her love of music with grieving Helena, whose sister recently died under mysterious circumstances.

An island lush with sweetgrass and salt marshes, Edisto has been a peaceful refuge for Helena, who escaped with her sister from war-torn Hungary in 1944. The sisters were well-known on the island, where they volunteered in their church and community. But now Eleanor will finally learn the truth about their past: secrets that will help heal her relationship with her own sister—and set Eleanor free….

Many of you may know Karen for her beloved Tradd Street series (possibly soon to be a television series!), but her stand alone novels are not to be missed. I do love novels where secrets from the past help to resolve a quandary in the present. Not to mention that after a lot of time spent reading and writing about England, it’s nice to take a virtual vacation on Edisto Island.

For an early copy of the paperback of Karen White’s The Time Between, here’s your question:

– What’s your favorite book set in the American South?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday. The Time Between appears in stores in paperback next month, on May 6.


New City, NY on Wednesday!
April 6th, 2014

This Wednesday, I’ll be heading out to New City (New York) to the New City Public Library to speak about writing historical fiction– and whatever else you’d like me to speak about.

Here are the details:

What: Talk and Signing
Where: New City Public Library, 220 N Main Street, New City, NY
When: Wednesday, April 9, 7:00

If you’re in the area, please do stop on by! As always, I’m happy to sign as many books as you put in front of me.


ASHFORD in the Wild!
April 4th, 2014

One of the great joys of having a new book out is seeing it out there in the world. So far, The Ashford Affair has been spotted…

At Sam’s Club:

Ashford Sam's Club

On the front table at the B&N in Union Square:

Ashford Union Square

And sporting a snazzy “Staff Pick” recommendation at Powell’s in Portland:

Ashford Powells

(Many thanks to Bridget and Sara for the pictures!)

Have you spotted The Ashford Affair in the wild yet?


Weekly Reading Round-Up
April 4th, 2014

This week, the Thirkell-a-thon continued with The Brandons (my first ever Thirkell) and August Folly (arguably my favorite Thirkell). I think I’m all Thirkell-ed out now.

I also picked up Mary Stewart’s Thunder on the Right but the fact that it was third person rather than her usual first person bothered me so much that I had to put it down again. I may have to go read Wildfire at Midnight or Airs Above the Ground now to get my Mary Stewart fix.

What have you been reading this week?


Pinkorama Round-Up
April 3rd, 2014

The entries are in. (And all about Miss Gwen!) We’ve seen….

The Convent of Peepsino, by Candace and Cassandra:

Peep 2014 - whole scene

The Lost Jewels of Peepar, by Karen:

photo 4

The Naughty Peepfire Club, by Winter:

photo 1 (1)

As Grand Pooh-Bah of this Website, I hereby declare all three winners– because, really, how can one pick? Candace, Cassandra, Karen, and Winter, as soon as the ARCs of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla are in, you’ll each have one winging your way. (Although probably not delivered by one of Miss Gwen’s flying monkeys.)

Thank you, thank you, so much for all the Peep joy! Miss Gwen is going to be insufferable from now until the next book…. (She does tend to think the series is all about her.)

Which Pinkorama do you like the best?


Pinkorama #3: The Naughty Peepfire Club
April 3rd, 2014

Last but not least, we have Winter’s dramatic rendition of Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid spying on a meeting of the Naughty Hellfire Club.

(Did I mention that Miss Gwen is currently gloating SO hard over the fact that she inspired all three Pinkoramae this year?)

I cannot improve upon the caption that came with this entry:

You can see Miss Gwen thinking “Oh, a Hellfire Club Meeting. I’ve always wanted to see one!”

Complete with sacrifice, man with skull, and drugged orgy participants.

(If that were on a Barbie box, wouldn’t you buy it?)

The pictures are just as much fun as the description:

Behold the meeting of the Naughty Peepfire Club, deep in the ruined Roman baths below the city of Bath…. (And check out the detail on those walls!)

photo 1 (1)

The sacrificial maiden (well, broadly speaking) is carried forth on the bier…

photo 3 (1)

… as the celebrant raises the skeletal chalice…

photo 5

… and Miss Gwen and Colonel Reid watch from the safety of their hidden ledge.

photo 2 (1)

Have you ever seen such glee on a peep’s face? Miss Gwen is having way too much fun.

photo 4 (1)

Thank you, Winter! Seeing the Naughty Hellfire Club transformed to peep form just made my week. (And, clearly, Miss Gwen’s!)

A Pinkorama round-up is coming up next!


Pinkorama #2: The Missing Jewels of Peepar
April 3rd, 2014

In this wonderful Pinkorama, by Karen, we visit the last scene of The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (if you haven’t read it yet, avert your eyes!).

Journey with me to the drawing room of Selwick Hall, where the location of the lost jewels of Berar (or Peepar) has just been discovered….

photo 1

There is Miss Gwen, with her pistol and the ruby necklace (see the old clay on the floor?). William looks on with admiration while Lizzy and Agnes are happily surprised by the turn of events. Jane is calm, locket on and pistol handy.

photo 2

Richard, while happy to solve the mystery, is grimacing over by the window about the wallpaper. Amy and Hen both look surprised, and Miles is just managing to keep the hair out of his eyes.

photo 3

What is that on the floor behind them? Oh, it’s the harp Miles knocked over when he entered the room!

photo 4

I love that Miss Gwen is the one purple peep in a room of yellow and beige. My other favorite bit? Miles’s floppy lock of hair.

Thank you, Karen, for bringing the whole gang to life in sparkly sugar!