Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

I love Halloween. I tend to live in other centuries in my head most of the time, but only once a year do I get to model them as a fashion statement. (more…)

Weekly Reading Round Up

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Usually, around Halloween, I like to go and read through my favorite ghost stories. It’s become something of a tradition for me to re-read The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (so much better than the movie version!). But this year, what with the France trip, I’m a little behind on my Halloween reading.

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

The Blessing, Nancy Mitford.

For the longest time, I wanted to be Nancy Mitford when I grew up– or at least write like her. She writes deliciously funny social satires set around the 1940’s and 50’s. The Blessing is about an Englishwoman who marries a Frenchman and the misunderstandings and complications that ensue.

Don’t Tell Alfred, Nancy Mitford.

The sequel to In Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, the narrator suddenly finds herself shuttled off to Paris as her husband is unexpectedly appointed Ambassador to France. Beautiful scathing send-ups of Parisians, Americans, Beatniks, “Teds”, and Etonians. So much fun.

Almost French, Sarah Turnbull.

Thanks so much, Jessica, for the suggestion! This was the perfect reading for the plane to France, the memoir of an Australian who fell in love with a Frenchman and went to live with him in Paris, entirely unprepared for Gallic ways. What fascinated me was how much overlap there was with Mitford’s The Blessing in the descriptions of French peculiarities– plus ca change?

The Elusive Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy.

Once again, Chauvelin seeks him here, there, and everywhere.

Bitter is the New Black, Jen Lancaster.

I picked this up on a whim as I was looking for Almost French in the “memoir” section. I now have an extreme case of New Favorite Author syndrome. Yes, it is that good.

The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks, James Anderson.

Classic, golden age English detective story.

Such a Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster.

Have a I mentioned that I have a new favorite author?

What have you been reading? And does anyone have any good Halloween reading suggestions?

Mini-Contest Winners!

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

The submissions are in and the votes are tallied. The writer of the winning plot of that groundbreaking galactic thriller Pink in Space is…

Kit, for Why Did You Have to Save the Sheep? (Just scroll down below to read and chortle. If you are drinking liquid, it will go up your nose.) Congrats Kit!

Second place: Michelle, for Henrietta and Miles’ adventures on George III’s new colony of Uranus.

Third place: Anne K, for When is a Broom Closet not a Good Place to Hide?

Kevin, Jessica, and Lois also gathered strong fan followings for their respective contributions, which you can check out here, at #4, #1, and #21.

Our randomly selected winning judge is Mona Washabaugh.

Kit, Michelle, Anne, and Mona, if you’ll email me with your snail mail addresses, I’ll pop your prizes in the mail to you.

Thanks so much to everyone for contributing your ingenuity and intergalactic expertise to the project!

Scroll down to read the three winning entries, or click here to check out all of the entries. Sheila, I’m still laughing over The Titillation of the Trembling Turnip….


I’m Baaaaaack!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

I have a confession to make. Those posts over the last eight days or so? I pre-programmed them to pop up while I was off in Paris, researching the next two Pink books. (It seemed more interesting than an Away Message– and I was rather proud of myself that I’d figured out how to do the whole pre-programming thing). I’ve posted on History Hoydens this morning about some of the missing buildings that I visited– well, in so much as one can visit a building that’s no longer there– and I’ll post more about my trip here as soon as the five hundred new emails are cleared out of my inbox. More soon!

Mini-Contest, Phase 2: Ludicrous Speed!

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Hi, all! Just a reminder that you have until Wednesday to put in your votes for the Pink in Space Mini-Contest. One judge will be chosen at random to receive a $10 Starbucks card.

In the meantime, if you’re still yearning for an advance copy of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, there’s also an official contest up on the Contest page. If you haven’t already entered, stop on by….

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

… will return next Friday. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, what have you been reading?

Boston Author Talk– for Lawyers

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

For those in both the legal profession and the Boston area, the Massachusetts Bar Association is sponsoring a panel on lawyers-turned-authors as part of their Lawyers in Transition program. On Thursday, November 12th, from five o’clock to seven o’clock, I and four other authors will be speaking about our experiences in moving from briefs to books. (If you are an attorney, I believe you actually get CLE credit for coming to listen to us.) You can find out more and register for the program here.

The Winsor Top Sixteen

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Okay, so it’s no longer October 16th. But some of us tend to be a little behind the times (two hundred years behind the times, for the most part, so if I’m only five days late, I feel I’m doing well). There’s been a flurry of activity across the Web as bloggers list their top sixteen romance novels in honor of the birthday of Kathleen Winsor, author of Forever Amber, on October 16th. You can find a sampling of the lists on Romantic Times and Racy Romance Reviews.

Since I’m writing this in rather a hurry, mine are in no particular order (and some might have been either promoted or demoted had there been more time for reflection). They may not all be shelved in the romance section, but what they do have in common is a strong emotional impact and the power to keep me up reading until the wee hours of the morning.

So with all the caveats out of the way, here’s my List Of the Moment:

Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Trade Wind, by M.M. Kaye
Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery
The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
Almost Heaven, by Judith McNaught
The Nonesuch, by Georgette Heyer
Evelina, by Fanny Burney
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Nine Coaches Waiting, by Mary Stewart
Secrets of a Summer Night, by Lisa Kleypas
Royal Passion, by Jennifer Blake
A Company of Swans, by Eva Ibbotsen
Through a Glass Darkly, by Karleen Koen
Paradise, by Judith McNaught
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith

What are your top sixteen?

Pick that Plot– Mini-Contest #3

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Having blasted off to a galaxy far, far away, we’re now in Phase 2 of the Mini-Contest— the quest for a plot for the groundbreaking futuristic novel, Pink in Space. Between now and next Wednesday (the 28th), rank your top three picks from last week’s Mini-Contest entries. Next Wednesday, I’ll tot up the point and announce the winners.

The first place winner will receive an ARC of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily. The two runners-up will each receive a $10 Starbucks card.

There will also be a Starbucks card for one judge, chosen at random from everyone who puts in a vote. Just list your picks in the Comments section below…. Happy judging!

Packing for Paris

Monday, October 19th, 2009

I posted today on Access Romance about theme reading while traveling. Does anyone have any good, Paris-set books to recommend to enliven the long plane rides?

Update: Mission Bookstore complete! I returned triumphant with Almost French, The Elusive Pimpernel, El Dorado (yay for Orczy reprints!), and Bitter is the New Black (okay, not about France, but it was there– and I shouldn’t be allowed into bookstores without a keeper). The Alleyn mysteries weren’t there, but they’re on my list for next time. Now to figure out where I left my old copy of Abbey Noir….