Teaser Tuesday: Coming Next
May 23rd, 2017

Here’s the publication schedule for the next year or so….

April 18, 2017: That Summer (paperback reissue).

July 4, 2017: A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light, a series of personal essays about Paris by assorted authors (trade paperback).

January 9, 2018: The English Wife, aka Stand Alone #4, aka the Gilded Age Book (hardcover).

Autumn 2018 (date and title TBA): the three Ws’ latest collaboration, a novel set around the final voyage of the Lusitania, with Karen White and Beatriz Williams (hardcover).

(I am very happy to announce that the three of us finished a draft of the Lusitania novel last week! We will shortly be retreating to our top secret bat cave to polish up the Lusitania book and plot the next Three W adventure. And possibly finally come up with a title for the Lusitania book other than Lusitania book.)

That Summer discount edition paris-anthology The English Wife

I can’t wait to share all of these with you!

I’m working on my 2019 book (aka Stand Alone #5) right now. I’ll have more to tell you about that once The English Wife is safely out in the world….


Monday Give Away: THE INVITATION
May 22nd, 2017

For this Monday’s give away, I give you… The Invitation, by Lucy Foley.

Here’s the official blurb:

the invitationAn evocative love story set along the Italian Riviera about a group of charismatic stars who all have secrets and pasts they try desperately–and dangerously–to hide.

Rome, 1953: Hal, an itinerant journalist flailing in the post-war darkness, has come to the Eternal City to lose himself and to seek absolution for the thing that haunts him. One evening he finds himself on the steps of a palazzo, walking into a world of privilege and light. Here, on a rooftop above the city, he meets the mysterious Stella. Hal and Stella are from different worlds, but their connection is magnetic. Together, they escape the crowded party and imagine a different life, even if it’s just for a night. Yet Stella vanishes all too quickly, and Hal is certain their paths won’t cross again.

But a year later they are unexpectedly thrown together, after Hal receives an invitation he cannot resist. An Italian Contessa asks him to assist on a trip of a lifetime–acting as a reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian coast toward Cannes film festival, the most famous artists and movie stars of the day gathered to promote a new film.

Of all the luminaries aboard–an Italian ingenue, an American star, a reclusive director–only one holds Hal in thrall: Stella. And while each has a past that belies the gilded surface, Stella has the most to hide. As Hal’s obsession with Stella grows, he becomes determined to bring back the girl she once was, the girl who’s been confined to history.

An irresistibly entertaining and atmospheric novel set in some of the world’s most glamorous locales, THE INVITATION is a sultry love story about the ways in which the secrets of the past stay with us–no matter how much we try to escape them.

This book deftly evoked the Italy of another era. Even now, a year or so after I read it, I can still close my eyes and remember the physical details of certain scenes, as if I were there, during a Roman summer.

So, for a chance to win my advance copy of The Invitation, here’s your question: where would you most like to travel via book?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.


Weekly Reading Round-Up
May 19th, 2017

After a couple of books which I did not like at all (no names named), I took refuge in an old favorite: Georgette Heyer’s The Nonesuch. Her prose and her characterizations are both such a joy.

What have you been reading this week?


May 19th, 2017

Given the topic, this ought to be conveyed in a sonnet or a sestina– but since we don’t want to encourage Augustus Whittlesby, here it is in plain prose: the winner of the e-copy of Tracy Grant‘s latest, Gilded Deceit, is…

… Lauren D.! (Of Comment #3.)

(Hey, that rhymes!)

Congrats, Lauren! To claim your prize, just contact Tracy via her website.

Thanks so much to Tracy for the “If You Like” and to everyone for the excellent poetical reading suggestions!


May 17th, 2017

The winner of my advance copy of The Last Days of Night is…

Carla! (Of Comment #22.)

Congrats, Carla! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you.

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet, stop by Tracy Grant’s guest If You Like post for recs on books about poets and a chance to win her latest Regency mystery, Gilded Deceit.


A Guest “If You Like” from Tracy Grant
May 16th, 2017

A big welcome to Tracy Grant, who is visiting here today to share her favorite books about poets!

Many of you may already know Tracy as the author of the Charles & Melanie Fraser books or as the author of the Malcolm & Susanne Rannoch books, beautifully written mysteries set just at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, involving intrigue, spies, and lots of historical cameos from fascinating characters. Her latest, Gilded Deceit, takes place in Italy in 1818. Because who doesn’t want to visit Lake Como?

And now over to Tracy!

Tracy author pic My new book, Gilded Deceit, finds former spies Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch and their family fleeing Britain because the truth of Suzanne’s past as a French spy has come to light. The Rannochs take refuge in a villa on Lake Como that Malcolm inherited from his mother. It is the summer of 1818. In researching Gilded Deceit, I realized Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Mary Shelley would all have been in Italy at the same time. The Rannochs have crossed paths with many real historical characters, but mostly political and military figures. The chance to include these three literary giants was too good to pass up. Besides, Byron’s former mistress, Lady Caroline Lamb, has already featured in the series as a childhood friend of ongoing character Cordelia Davenport.

I was both excited and intimidated to work these three towering figures of the romantic era into a story with my fictional characters. But when i actually sat down to write scenes with them, I found their voices (at least my version of their voices) came quite easily.

Tracy book coverIf you like novels featuring poets, real or fictional, here are some others that might appeal to you…

Possession by A.S. Byatt, a brilliant novel that moves between the story of two fictional 19th century poets and of two modern-day academics unearthing their history. Byatt builds an utterly fascinating world, including the letters and poems of her fictional characters.

The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig, which turns the “insufferably bad” poet Augustus Whittlesby into amazingly appealing hero.

When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris, another enthralling adventure for Sebastian St. Cyr, in which he encounters a three-year-old Alfred Tennyson in the course of a murder investigation that cuts close to home for the future poet and could be said to inspire some of his future works.

Passion by Jude Morgan, a fascinating look at Byron, Shelley, and Keats through the eyes of four women in their lives – Mary Godwin Shelley (a major literary figure in her own right), Lady Caroline Lamb (also a novelist), Fanny Brawne (Keats’ lover), and Augusta Leigh (Byron’s half-sister).

Thanks so much, Tracy! I see many favorites in there…. And, of course, the Lake Como setting makes me think of the fourth (and, alas, last) Julian Kestrel mystery, The Devil in Music, although that involves singing rather than poets. But singing is a kind of poetry, right?

For more poetic entertainment, I would add Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy— because who could possibly forget Fawnhope?

Which are your favorite poet-centric novels?

Tracy has very generously offered to give away one e-copy of Gilded Deceit, so one person will be chosen at random from among the Comments section to receive the latest Malcolm and Susanne adventure. The winner will be announced on Thursday.


May 15th, 2017

A long time ago, in an office building far, far away, I worked at a law firm. That firm was named after a man called Paul Cravath. (Or, as we sometimes called it amongst ourselves, “Uncle Paul’s Playhouse”). I hadn’t thought I’d encounter Mr. Cravath again (other than at the annual firm alumni bash). But then, a year or so ago, an ARC for a book called The Last Days of Night landed in my lap….

Here’s the official blurb:

Last Days of NightNew York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.

For a chance to win my advance copy of The Last Days of Night, here’s your question: what’s your favorite book or movie set in Gilded Age New York?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.


Weekly Reading Round-Up
May 12th, 2017

This week, most of my reading was for a contest, which makes for a rather dull round-up, since I’m not allowed to talk about any of it. But… I am in desperate need of post-contest-reading recommendations.

What have you been reading this week? And what have you read recently that you’ve loved?


Pinkorama Winners!
May 10th, 2017

The grand prize winner of this year’s Pinkorama is…

The Eagle Peeps Only Once, by Carrie and Laura!

Rossio Square 2 General Junot and floozies

Take a bow, ladies! Those costumes were unpeepably amazing. Who knew a sugary confection could look quite so military and French?

As soon as I have ARCs of The English Wife, one will be wending your way!

Thanks so much to everyone who created a Pinkorama this year! Thank you (in alphabetical order) to:

— Candace and Cassandra, for “Oh no! It’s a highway-peep…oh wait it’s worse it’s a poet-peep!”

Augustus & Emma 1

— Carla, for The Ashpeep Affair

Carla Ashpeep Affair

— Randy, for That Summer

Randy 1

— and Terrie, for The Passion of the Purple Peepmaria.

Terrie Pinkorama

I’m so impressed by your creativity and finesse. It’s no easy thing to create worlds out of pastel sugar, but, somehow, you did it. Thank you!!

And thank you to everyone who participated by voting! The two judge winners, chosen at random, are:

— Lynn S. (of Comment #7) and Rebecca B. (of Comment #23).

Congrats, you two! If you let me know where to send them, I’ll put your copies of The Forgotten Room in the mail to you.

And now to go back and admire those Pinkoramas another time…. Thank you so much to everyone for making this such a joyful annual tradition!


May 10th, 2017

The winner of my advance copy of According to a Source is…

Jillian D! (Of Comment #7.)

Congrats, Jillian! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you.

As always, stay tuned for a new give away next Monday– and also a special guest If You Like from Regency mystery novelist extraordinaire Tracy Grant!

In the meantime, last call for the 2017 Pinkorama…. Have you voted for your favorite yet?