Monday, December 26th, 2016
I’m going to be off-line for the week, so just popping in to wish everyone a very happy holiday and joyous 2017!
I’ll see you in the new year– with lots of news about new books!
Happy, happy, all!
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
The Other Daughter is out in trade paperback today!
Booklist called The Other Daughter “vibrant and thrilling”.
RT Book Reviews writes, “… 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. Readers will find themselves looking into their hearts and relationships, comparing their reactions to the characters.”
And now you can read it and see what you think….
Monday, June 13th, 2016
In the middle of a mystery bundle give away post on Facebook the other day, I included a side comment about books for libraries or other charities. The response was overwhelming. (Thanks, all!) So I’m making this post the Official Library Donation Spot.
I would be delighted to see all my author copies flutter away to libraries, hospices, and shelters since it’s silly for them to be mouldering on shelves when they could be read and enjoyed. The only caveat is that all of these places tend to have their own collection and donation policies. So:
— If you’re a librarian or work at one of these organizations and would like a book donation, email away! If you let me know where to send them (and if there are any particular needs), I’ll bundle up some books for you.
— If you think your library/organization might want them but you don’t work or volunteer there, it would be a great help if you could check with the relevant librarian/coordinator and have them contact me if they’re interested. As much as I’d love to send books to everyone, I need to make sure they’re really wanted and who the correct contact is before I can put them in the mail.
Here is the list I have so far (in no particular order):
— FMWR Fort Lee Community Library
— Hurricane Branch Library
— Opelousas Public Library
— Cleveland Bradley County Public Library
— Dayton Valley Branch Library
— Manna House and Safe Harbor, Brunswick, GA
— Rourk Branch Library
— Oak Park Public Library
— Bath Twp Library
— Sterling Municipal Library
— Lincolnville Community Library
Is there anyone I’ve left out? If you don’t see your library or organization here, just let me know!
Saturday, February 13th, 2016
As the day of hearts and flowers approaches, there’s been the usual slew of Valentine’s Day recommended reads swamping the internet, including:
— these shout-outs to The Forgotten Room, from Prevention Magazine and Kirkus;
— a list from Shelf Pleasures, with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation heading a list that includes Jane Eyre, A Discovery of Witches, and The Historian;
— and a selection from the Quirky Bookworm that includes Mary Stewart’s Madam, Will You Talk? and my That Summer.
As for my Valentine’s Day reads, when Prevention Magazine asked me to select a few books written within the past six months, I chose Sara Gruen’s At the Water’s Edge, Jennifer Robson’s Moonlight Over Paris, Meredith Duran’s Lady Be Good, and Kristan Higgins’s Anything for You.
If I could pick any book ever…. That becomes much harder. Definitely Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting, and quite possibly Robin McKinley’s Beauty, Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter, and something by Eva Ibbotsen….
What’s on your Valentine’s Day recommended reading list?
Sunday, January 24th, 2016
Karen, Beatriz, and I are heading to Florida for the next lap of the Forgotten Room tour!
You can find us:
— on Monday evening at the Vero Beach Book Center (6:00), and
— on Tuesday evening at Writer’s Block Bookstore (6:30).
Come join us basking in the sun!
Vero Beach, FL
January 25, 6:00
Talk & Signing
Vero Beach Book Center
392 21st Street
Winter Park, FL
January 26, 6:30
Talk & Signing
Writer’s Block Bookstore
124 Welbourne Ave
Friday, November 27th, 2015
After the traditional turkey coma, there’s nothing like a comfortable chair and a good book. For me, this week has been mainly about mysteries, all of very different kinds: a 1920s ghost story (or, rather, “ghost” story), a modern Scottish police procedural, and a Victorian with the suggestion of a paranormal element.
— Georgette Heyer’s Footsteps in the Dark, in which three siblings inherit a “haunted” house, and, in the company of their eccentric aunt, attempt to move in, despite the ghostly– or just ghastly?– phantom monk determined to roust them out. I wanted to love this book. An old abbey! Ghosts! Heyer! While it wasn’t bad, it felt like it fell uncomfortably between drawing room comedy, mystery, and ghost story, and never quite made up its mind which it wanted to be. I think, had I gone in thinking of it as a mystery rather than as a ghost story, I would have liked it much better.
— Peter May’s The Blackhouse, in which a policeman returns to his home island to solve the gruesome murder of a man who bullied him as a child and is forced to confront the suppressed remnants of his own past. If you like the darker sort of police procedural, this is for you. It’s brilliantly done, unraveling the pieces bit by bit as you get deeper into the hero’s tangled past, which turns out to be the key to the murder in the present. It’s also an evocative picture of island life in one of the more remote parts of Scotland.
— Barbara Michael’s The Wizard’s Daughter, in which an orphaned girl adrift in 1880s London is swept up by an eccentric duchess on the theory that the girl is the daughter of a missing medium and the inheritor of his psychic powers. This was never one of my favorite Barbara Michaels novels (it’s a bit too self-mocking), but re-reading it brought home to be me that there are times when even a lesser Barbara Michaels can be better than the best of anything else. There are so few people who write with such entirely engaging prose.
What have you been reading this week?
Thursday, November 26th, 2015
Safe travels to all who are traveling; good cooking to all who are cooking. May your bird be crisp but not burnt, your potholders sturdy, and your kitchen timers timely.
On this day of thanks, I am particularly grateful for everyone here on this website. Thank you so much for coming with me through the various ups and downs and adventures of Napoleonic spies and tortured Pre-Raphaelite painters, Harvard grad students and 1920s flappers. Thank you for recipes and book recommendations, for suggestions and support, and for amazing creations made of Peeps.
Happy Thanksgiving, all!
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
As part of our Halloween countdown, here’s one of my favorite posts from the archives, on the topic of Halloween costumes.
I wrote this post– eek– seven years ago, back when I was still juggling writing and lawyering. At the time, I was also participating in a group blog called the Access Romance All-A-Blog. On blog days, I’d get up extra early, put on my lawyer uniform of pin stripes and pearls, dash off a post– or, at least, intend to dash off a post. Forty-five minutes later, I’d look at the time, make alarmed noises, go on a mad search for my keys/wallet/office ID, and then scurry off to the office.
The other funny thing about this post? Looking at that date stamp reminds me that, at one point, Eloise was contemporary, or at least pretty close to contemporary. And that I’ve been writing these books for a very long time now….
It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, does it?
Without further ado, Halloween, 2007 style:
The Costume Less Traveled
Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
The genius girls in the office next to mine have come up with a new way to wile away the hours: a Quiz of the Week. Every week, a new question appears on their dry-erase board. Last week, the question was “What Would You Be If You Weren’t a Lawyer?” The answer to that one is easy. A princess. Duh. Someone else put “a frog”, which struck me as going for the wrong end of the fairy tale. But I suppose frogs are always being tossed golden balls and other trinkets by princesses on the lookout for princes in disguise, so it can’t be all that bad, even if you are stuck croaking on a lily pad all day and have to deal with all those snide comments about warts.
But I digress, as usual. This week’s question, appropriately enough, was “What Was Your Weirdest Halloween Costume?” Someone put “a frog”. We seem to have an amphibian leitmotif running– or rather, hopping– through our office.
My Halloween costumes always tended towards the esoteric rather than the amphibian. In college, I belonged to a group which held a “Come as your favorite literary character” party every Halloween. As you can imagine, there was usually a plethora of Scarlett O’Haras in big, hooped skirts (it’s amazing what you can do with three hoola hoops and a roll of duct tape), a few Daisys from The Great Gatsby, and generally at least one Phantom of the Opera lurking in the general vicinity of the punch bowl, searching for a susceptible Christine Daae. The very best costume was that of my friend Evan, who borrowed a burka from a Middle Eastern friend and went as an ink blot.
As for me? Well, let’s just say my costumes were usually greeted with, “Who?” One year, I went as the Belle Dame Sans Merci, complete with a friend dressed in tin foil who was meant to be my “knight at arms, alone and palely loitering”. (There’s nothing like a human prop– among other things, they fetch you drinks.) I got a lot of “the Belle Dame sans WHAT?” Another year, I was Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey (yep, you guessed it, “Catherine WHO?”). For my crowning achievement, I made myself an elaborate eighteenth century gown with panniers so wide I had to sidle sideways through doorways and went as Evelina from Fanny Burney’s novel of that name. Find me someone else who has read Evelina and I will be their friend for life.
As for this year? I think I’m going as a Tired Author, complete with unfinished manuscript pages heavily scored with red ink.
What about you? Do you have Halloween costumes of which you’re particularly proud– or embarrassed? Any plans for this year’s costume?
It may have been seven years, but some things never change: the Tired Author Halloween costume is definitely my pick for this year. (Laptop in one hand, toddler in the other.)
What will you be for Halloween 2014?
We’ve had something old… and tomorrow we’ll have something new! Tune back in tomorrow for a brand new, Halloween-themed installment of Pink Carnation cookery.
Thursday, July 31st, 2014
The winner of the copy of Susanna Kearsley’s The Splendour Falls is…
Nikki B! (Of Comment #17.)
Congrats, Nikki B! Just email me with your info, and I’ll pop the book in the mail to you.
Tuesday, 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:
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!