Archive for March, 2012

Birthday Winners!

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Thanks so much to everyone for helping me to celebrate on Wednesday! I loved your birthday stories.

The winners of the copies of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, chosen at random, are:

— Jane, of Comment #35
— Becky, of Comment #8
— Rachel, of Comment #53
— Lindsey, of Comment #50
— Sarah W, of Comment #11
— Julie, of Comment #39
— Ellen, of Comment #19
— Karen H, of Comment #63

Congrats, all! You know the drill…. Just email me with your snail mail address and I’ll pop your book in the mail to you!

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, March 30th, 2012

I spent a lot of time on various forms of transportation this week, which afforded lots of time to read. These are the books I brought along with me:

— Sarah MacLean, A Rogue by Any Other Name.

This is the first in Sarah’s Rule of Scoundrels series (fallen noblemen running a gaming club), and I think this heroine was my favorite so far by far. For those who liked Callie in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, you’re going to love Penelope. She’s just so… normal. Normal and noble, all at the same time.

— Deborah Crombie, A Share in Death.

This is the first of the Duncan Kincaid novels (for once, I actually started a series in the right place!) and I will absolutely be reading the others. It reminded me both of Elizabeth George’s Lynley books and one of my favorite British TV series, Midsomer Murders (as someone I know likes to point out, the county of Midsomer has a death rate worse than New York in the ’70s).

— Velda Johnston, Masquerade in Venice .

Then it was back to the roommate care package for more books featuring women in too much eye-shadow fleeing from an unspecified menace against a muddy backdrop: yes, you guessed it, old fashioned Gothics. This was Gothic genus nineteenth centuryius, in which our American heroine leaves Connecticut to stay with her Venetian great-aunt and is embroiled in drama– and danger! There’s even a pet monkey. Not as cool as a hedgehog, but still.

— Velda Johnston, The Mourning Trees.

More roommate care package, this time gothic genus mid-twentieth centuryus, featuring a woman in a belted trenchcoat on the cover (just so we know that there will be suspense!). It reminds me a lot of my old Phyllis A. Whitney novels from a similar time period– but, of the two roommate care package offerings, I preferred genus nineteenth centuryus, above. (See “pet monkey”.)

There were also some research books, but we don’t need to go into those just now.

What have you been reading?

More Birthday!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

You can also find me today on History Hoydens, writing about birthday traditions.

Birthday Bash!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Welcome to my virtual birthday party!

Are you all settled in? Cupcakes, champagne, caramel latte? I wish I could offer an actual cupcake, but I imagine it would squish in the electro-transference process, so, until the Star Trek guys perfect the whole “beam up the pastries, Scotty!” thing, we’re stuck with the nursery school tea party variety of imaginary comestibles.

It has been, believe it or not, eight birthdays since the Pink series first made its way into stores. In that time, a lot of things have happened. I’ve moved cities, changed jobs…. But one thing has remained the same: through it all, I wrote more Pink.

Every good party needs party favors! So, in honor of eight years of Pink birthdays, I’m going to be giving away eight copies of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation to eight people who comment on this post today.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, once I have fully recovered from my cupcake coma.

Here’s the question: what was your best– or your worst– birthday experience?

Welcome to the party! And feel free to invite some friends along– the more the merrier!


Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Best early birthday present ever: this amazing Pinkorama by Julie and Casey, “Amy Meets the Purple Peep-tian”.

The scene is from Chapter Fifteen of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, in which the Purple Gentian, aka Lord Richard Selwick, attempts to burgle the study of Edouard de Balcourt– and finds someone waiting for him under the desk.

Here’s the scene:

Richard, poised on the windowsill, next to that globe…

… mocking Balcourt’s choice of reading material…

(Of course, he would read Lady Whistledown!)

… and his Egyptological decorating scheme…

(Don’t you love the cartouche with Peepopatra?)

… while Amy tries to stay very, very still under the table.

How fabulous is that? Huzzah, Julie and Casey!

For another visual of the same scene, check out the last two Pink Carnation comics on the Diversions Page.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

First up, it’s my birthday tomorrow (bye bye, early thirties!), so I’d like to invite you all to come celebrate with me here on the News Page. I may not be able to bring cupcakes, but I will be giving away other party favors.

Looking ahead to other, non-birthday events, I’m very excited to be doing a reading in my hometown of New York next month as part of Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Week. The reading will be at Bar 82 (2nd Avenue, off 10th), 8:00, April 23.

I’m also thrilled to announce that I’ll be giving a talk to the Massachusetts branch of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) in Brookline, MA on May 6. I’ll be speaking about “Austen’s Accidental Afterlife: Jane and her Regency World in Modern Fiction”. The event is free for JASNA MA members, $5 for non-members. You can find out more about the event here.

Radio Shows and Ballrooms, Oh My!

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Today is a multi-media day for me. I’ll be airing on Literary New England tonight at eight o’clock (or thereabouts) to discuss the Pink books, why I respect romance fiction, and many other rambling sorts of things.

Amended to add: it’s a multi-author program, so I probably won’t be on until nine or a little after… and I also forgot to mention before that they’ll be giving away a copy of The Garden Intrigue!

If you miss the broadcast, you can catch the show later in the Literary New England archives.

In the meantime, I’ll be dancing all day at the Ballroom Blog (trust me, I mean dancing very, very metaphorically– unless we’re talking about interpretive dance here), where I have my very first post up.

In late-breaking news, I’m excited to announce that there WILL be a New York reading for The Garden Intrigue after all! As part of Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Week, I’ll be reading on April 23rd, at some point between eight and ten in the evening (there’ll be a few of us reading) at Bar 82. More about that later….

If You Like….

Monday, March 26th, 2012

At Angel B’s suggestion, in honor of the Hunger Games, this week’s If You Like post will be about favorite books of our tween years. I don’t know about you, but I had plenty of guilty pleasure reads in those teen years, including:

— Lois Duncan’s teen suspense novels (my favorite was Down a Dark Hall, set at a mysterious boarding school);

— ditto Richie Tankersley Cusick’s teen suspense novels, especially Trick or Treat and Vampire;

— moving from horror to fantasy, I read and re-read Robin McKinley’s fairy tale retellings, Beauty (I used to be able to recite that first page, word by word– I can still remember most of it if I try), The Door in the Hedge, Deerskin;

— I was also addicted to Robin McKinley’s Damar books, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, in which our brave, underestimated female heroines learn to wield a sword and Defeat Evil;

— in the same vein, Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet, in which Alanna disguises herself as a boy to train as a knight (and, of course, saves the kingdom many times over);

— along similar lines, there was also Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons series (The Enchanted Forest chronicles), in which our princess, Cimorene, runs off to keep house for a dragon, since she’s had it with proposals from overbred princelings;

— and, yes, I will confess, I did read Sweet Valley High, The Baby-Sitters Club, and Pen Pals.

I’ve also made some wonderful teen read discoveries in my not-so-teendom. The best of the lot? Anything by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Her Maggie Quinn series (starting with Prom Dates from Hell ) is what Elizabeth Peters’ Vicky Bliss would be if Vicky were a teenager battling the forces of evil (think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Vicky Bliss). Her non-series book, The Splendor Falls, kept me up until four in the morning right around this time last year. It’s reminiscent of the best sort of Barbara Michaels novel– but technically for teens.

What were your favorite tween reads?


Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Just a reminder that this year’s Pinkorama is still open for entries….

I’ll be accepting entries until Wednesday, April 11th. Just click here for the rules.

And if you need inspiration, you can find last year’s Pinkoramas here, in the new Pinkorama Gallery!

I have been asked whether it’s legit to illustrate a scene that hasn’t appeared in the books, but might have. I say, go for it! If there’s a Pink scene you would like to exist, feel free to bring it to life in all its sugary marshmallowy goodness.

Charlottesville, VA– Today!

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

If you’re in town, come join me, Joanna Bourne, Cathy Maxwell and Deanna Raybourn at the Barnes & Noble at 1035A Emmet Street at noon today.

We’ll be chatting about Pistols, Petticoats and Poison— or something like that. Sometimes, we go off on tangents….