If you liked Bridgerton…

If you liked Bridgerton you will adore the Carsington series by Loretta Chase, beginning with Miss Wonderful. Too many romance novels sacrifice dialogue for sex. Not this one, or its sequels. Mirabel Oldridge challenges the Honorable Alistair Carsington mentally, emotionally, socially, politically, and when he finally manages to get his hands on her, physically. One…

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1. Begin with the murder.

7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction (written for Writer’s Digest) by Dana Stabenow I only wish I’d had this list when I began writing, but thirty-seven novels later I do have a few things figured out. I don’t follow all these rules slavishly. I say begin with the murder but…often I don’t. Every writer does…

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Why Cleopatra? [continuing…]

Cleopatra was Macedonian Greek, a direct descendant of Ptolemy I, who plucked the plum of Alexandria and Egypt when the generals divvied up the empire after Alexander the Great’s death. Alexandria was founded by Alexander, a city on the edge of the Middle Sea (aka the Mediterranean) that had only increased in size, beauty and…

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Sixteen-year old Ree is one of the strongest and most admirable heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Ree Dolly’s father is due for a court hearing and he has signed over the family home as bond. Now he’s missing, and the cops tell his sixteen-year old daughter that their home is forfeit if he doesn’t show. Ree, sole support and care-giver of a mother who has slipped her leash on sanity and…

Read more Sixteen-year old Ree is one of the strongest and most admirable heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Dana’s Rustic Loaf

Morning of the day before: 20 ounces unbleached white flour 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt 1 scant teaspoon yeast 2 cups cold water Stir all ingredients together into a gooey dough. Spray lightly with oil, cover tightly with saran wrap, and let sit overnight on the counter. It will double, if…

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Why Cleopatra? [continued]

A friend who knows I am writing a series set in Cleopatra’s Alexandria was greatly exercised over some of Cleopatra’s decisions. “Why did she make Antony leave Octavia? It gave Octavian all the ammunition he needed to move against her. How could she have done something so stupid?” To which I replied, I admit with…

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Every time Captain Pete says “Bless their hearts” you can hear his insincerity from here to the Kremlin.

The twelfth book in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series and one of the best so far. A fish out of water/stranger in a strange land story, with PI’s Lydia Chin and Bill Smith being hired (sort of) by Lydia’s mother to go to the aid of a relative in Mississippi who has been arrested for…

Read more Every time Captain Pete says “Bless their hearts” you can hear his insincerity from here to the Kremlin.

All I have to do is watch life as it is lived in Alaska today and I’ve got all the competing factions I need to build a plot.

[2016 interview with author Gwen Florio for ITW] First things first: I probably pronounce your name differently each time I say it. Please help save me from myself—Stab-en-oh or Stab-en-ow? STAH (as in stab) eh no You are best known for your 20-book series featuring Kate Shugak, an Aleut private investigator who lives in a…

Read more All I have to do is watch life as it is lived in Alaska today and I’ve got all the competing factions I need to build a plot.

Through Pepys’ eyes we singe our eyebrows on the Great Fire of London and fear for our lives from the plague.

Not to be confused with Samuel Johnson, who wrote the dictionary, which I always do. No, this book is a biography of Samuel Pepys, who wrote the Diary. An up-from-nothing country boy, Pepys’ abilities and high-placed relatives put him at the center of English history for the last half of of the 1600’s. He witnessed…

Read more Through Pepys’ eyes we singe our eyebrows on the Great Fire of London and fear for our lives from the plague.