Archive for July, 2015

Weekly Reading Round-Up, Ask the Author, and Podcasts, Oh My!

Friday, July 31st, 2015

There’s a lot going on right now.

You can find me (or, at least, my disembodied voice) over on Smart B*tches Trashy Books today, having a lengthy conversation with the ever fabulous Sarah Wendell about The Other Daughter, the 1920s, shell shock, character construction, Napoleon Bonaparte’s reading habits, The Lure of the Moonflower, Judith McNaught, what we’re reading now, and much, much more.

It’s also Ask the Author Day over on the Bubblebath Reader! Technically, it’s The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla Ask the Author Day, but, given that we’re a week past Other Daughter and a few days before Lure of the Moonflower, I’m happy to answer questions about those, too. Just don’t tell Sally. She might sic her stoat on me.

Last but not least, it’s Friday, which means… Weekly Reading Round-Up time! This week, I dug into the RWA goodie bag and read This Heart of Mine, by Brenda Novak, a contemporary romance about a wrongly accused ex-con who returns to her hometown to try to pick up the threads of her life and get to know the son she hasn’t been allowed to raise.

Then, inspired by NPR’s 100 Best Romances list (and a conversation with Susan Elia MacNeal and Lindsey Bingley on Facebook), I dug out Judith Merkle Riley’s The Master of All Desires and have been very happily chortling over sixteenth century court intrigue with more than a soupcon of the absurd. If you haven’t read Judith Merkle Riley… she’s the one who taught me that historical fiction could be funny. So, in a way, I owe the Pink series to her (and to Diana Gabaldon, whose Outlander, discovered shortly thereafter, confirmed the lesson).

While we’re discussing the Pink books, have I mentioned in the last five minutes that the twelfth and final Pink book is coming out in just three days?

Moonflower 2

What have you been reading this week?

NPR’s Top 100 Romances

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

It’s not an easy task whittling the vast field of romance down to one hundred titles– but the specialists over at NPR have done an amazing job of picking some of the stand-outs in the field.


Reading this list is like a trip along my bookshelves: M.M. Kaye, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Susanna Kearsley, Judith Merkle Riley, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins….

And I’m so very thrilled that The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is one of the 100!

Pink 1 cover

(My sixth grade self is hyperventilating a little at being on a list with M.M. Kaye, Victoria Holt, et al.)

So if you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, check out NPR’s top 100 romances!

Behind the Scenes with THE OTHER DAUGHTER

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

They say it takes a thief to catch a thief. (Or was that just Cary Grant?) I don’t know that it takes an author to interview an author, but some of the best interview questions I’ve ever had came from M.J. Rose, author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows, who interviewed me recently for Bookmovement.

We talk about World War I, social change, character construction, 1920s parties, and why so many lawyers seem to wind up becoming writers.

The Other Daughter

You can find the interview— as well as a chance to win a copy of The Other Daughterhere.

Teaser Tuesday: the Pink Novella That Wasn’t

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

The last time we saw Jane Wooliston, aka The Pink Carnation, was in Pink X, aka The Passion of the Plumeria, as she declared her intention to go deep undercover– alone.

That was back in the spring of 1805. Pink XII, aka The Lure of the Moonflower, opens in December of 1807. That’s a pretty big gap.

Where oh where has the Pink Carnation been all this time? And why can’t Eloise find any trace of those two years in the archives?

All we know is that Miss Gwen, as of autumn 1806, is receiving letters from Jane from an undisclosed location. (That information having been redacted at the request of the Pink Carnation.)

As many of you know, originally, the plan was for there to be a novella out right before The Lure of the Moonflower, called “The Pink Carnation in Love”. (The novella was to be set in Venice, so the title was a nod to Casanova.)

But I got a bit behind deadline. And a bit more behind deadline. And that novella didn’t quite happen. By which I mean, it didn’t happen at all.

What can I tell you? Jane has traveled under many aliases and had many adventures since we saw her last– and it hasn’t always been easy. She’s missed Miss Gwen and her family more than she ever imagined she would, and no matter how many times she tells herself that the cause is noble and her reasons good, there have been times when those rationales have proved cold comfort.

But the biggest challenge by far? Having to join forces with the Gardener in Venice in the summer of 1807 to track down a killer indiscriminately targeting both English and French agents. As a sworn enemy, Nicolas de la Tour d’Argent is somewhat problematic. He refuses to act like an enemy. Instead he prefers to flirt. As an enemy, he’s problematic. As an ally? He’s incredibly dangerous.

I have a confession to make. This story? Goes much farther back than the plans for the Novella That Wasn’t. I’ve been wanting to write a Jane and the Gardener story since The Temptation of the Night Jasmine.

Originally, the plan was for it to be an entire book. Among my notes recently, I found this snippet, labeled “for Book VIII”:

“What a Jeanne d’Arc you would make.”

“Mad and martyred? No, thank you all the same.”

“Ever practical?”


“Never swear by absolutes, my Jeanne. They have a way of betraying one.”

“Only if you betray them first. I have few virtues, but constancy is one of them.”

“Constancy… or cowardice?”

She didn’t like that. He saw her spine stiffen.

Given where I found it, I’m guessing that this fragment is circa 2008, and my vague plan was to have Jane and the Gardener’s book follow The Mischief of the Mistletoe. Jane and the Gardener were going to have to join forces to thwart a serial killer targeting agents from both countries.

As you can tell, that didn’t happen.

Instead, Pink VIII was my governess book, The Orchid Affair, and my Jane and the Gardener story got shelved for a later date. Some of that material was filtered into The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, the book in which Jane meets the Gardener for the first time, although we see their interactions there only through Miss Gwen’s viewpoint.

(And this lost chapter, in Jane’s viewpoint.)

Long story short? Jane and the Gardener do have their adventure in Venice, and it has a powerful impact on Jane. While I wish I could have shared it with you as a novella, you will still hear about that time in Venice– but through Jane’s recollections, in The Lure of the Moonflower.

Only one week more to go!

Lure of the Moonflower_deeper sky2

You Know You’re a 1920’s Party Girl in London When….

Monday, July 27th, 2015

I had way too much fun assembling this list of the ins and outs of the 1920s party girl life for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

So many thanks to everyone on my Facebook page who contributed to the discussion! This is my first “gif” list– so I hope you like it.

Since we seem to have something of a Benedict Cumberbatch thing going with The Other Daughter, I made sure to include a Cumberbatch gif….

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, July 24th, 2015

It’s been a rather crazy week, with much scurrying hither and yon, but I did take advantage of my event at the Mysterious Bookshop on Monday to buy one of the few Josephine Tey mysteries I haven’t read yet, To Love and Be Wise.

Now there’s just Brat Farrar to acquire….

(Speaking of the Mysterious Bookshop, I have to head back over there on Monday to sign a few more copies of The Other Daughter. So if you want one personalized, just contact them by Sunday to put in your request.)

Mysterious Bookshop

What have you been reading this week?

RWA Signing– Today!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

It’s the RWA Literacy Signing in New York today!

RWA poster

Come join 500 of your favorite authors in the ballroom of the Marriott Marquis to raise money for literacy– and get books signed!

Where: The New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway (between 45th & 46th)
When: Today! 5:30-7:30
Who: Lots and lots of authors

You can find more information on the RWA website, here.

The Literacy Signing is free and open to the public.

Are you attending the RWA Conference? If so, you can find me at two other signings this week: the NAL signing on Thursday from 9:45-11:15 and the St. Martin’s Press signing on Friday from 4:00-5:30. If you’re at the conference, stop by and pick up a book!

Happy Birthday, OTHER DAUGHTER!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

The Other Daughter makes its official way into the world today!

The Other Daughter

Booklist calls The Other Daughter, “vibrant and thrilling”.

RT Book Reviews declares “the complexity of the story-line and the characters draws readers deeply into the story until they are completely invested and hooked until the end.”

I’ll be celebrating the release of The Other Daughter tonight, at the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. If you’re in town, come join me!


Check out the Have Author Will Travel panel in the left hand sidebar for more tour dates.

Happy reading!


Monday, July 20th, 2015

I can’t believe we’re this far into July already, but… The Other Daughter appears in stores tomorrow!

The Other Daughter

First of all, thanks so much to everyone who helped spread the word about The Other Daughter. I appreciate it so very much.

I’ll be celebrating The Other Daughter launch tomorrow night at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York. If you’re in town, please come join me!


If you’re not in town, but would like a signed copy, The Mysterious Bookshop will have signed copies for sale. You can order them here. If you’d like your copy personalized, just get in touch with the folks at the bookstore before tomorrow evening and let them know to whom I should sign the book!

If you’ve ordered your book elsewhere, I’m happy to send a signed bookplate. I was taken by surprise by the extent of the bookplate demand, so I’m currently waiting for a new batch of bookplates to arrive, but once those get here (hopefully by the middle of this week), I can send signed bookplates winging your way for The Other Daughter and/or The Lure of the Moonflower.

As always, if you see The Other Daughter in the wild, send a picture my way! I’ll be sure to post it here on the website. (I love when my books get to be like garden gnomes and go all sorts of interesting places.)

And now, the announcement we’ve all been waiting for!

The winner of The Other Daughter Launch Contest is…

Brittany! (Of Comment #21.)

Congrats, Brittany! If you email me at, I’ll send my very last The Lure of the Moonflower ARC your way.

Have I left anything out? Happy reading!

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Summer to me doesn’t mean beach reads. It means old school Gothics, particularly the mysteries of Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. I don’t know if it’s because so many of the books are set during sultry Southern summers (like Houses of Stone, Be Buried in the Rain, and Shattered Silk); if it’s because the books must have been on a summer release schedule when I was in my teens (I can remember, on muggy hot summer days, coming home from the library with the new Barbara Michaels clasped triumphantly in my arms); or if it’s because they made such good summer vacation reading.

Either way, when the thermometer goes way up and the weather is sizzling hot (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Cole Porter), it’s time for Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. This week? Shattered Silk and Devil May Care, both favorite summer reads.

I’ve also started Erik Larson’s Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania and am absolutely thrilled by the minute detail and dry humor.

What have you been reading this week?