Guest Victoria Thompson and Giveaway!

Jessie: In New Hampshire where the leaves have mostly rattled off the trees and the winter birds have returned to the feeders.

Today it is my  very great pleasure to welcome Victoria Thompson to the blog! I met Victoria several years ago at Malice Domestic. She is as charming and personable in life as she is in her writing.

 Victoria Thompson is the author of the bestselling Gaslight Mystery Series. Her new book, City of Lies, is the first in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, which releases on November 7. To celebrate, she’ll give away a signed hardcover copy to one commenter here today (US entries only).

ThompsonVictoria-CityofliesLooking for Inspiration…

I’m very excited that City of Lies will finally be released into the wild! I’d been wanting to write a second historical mystery series for a long time, and I’d been doing a lot of research on the early twentieth century, hoping for inspiration. During that process, I learned a lot about the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and I realized that when my own mother was born, women didn’t have the right to vote in America! It was that recent! I also learned that many women endured beatings and imprisonment to earn females the right to vote. I’d never heard about this in history class, and no other women I spoke with had either. I wanted to tell this story, but how could I make it more interesting than a dry history lesson? That’s when I decided to add a less than honest heroine, a dashing hero, and a dastardly villain.

Every woman wears a mask…

Every woman has, at one time or another, hidden who she really is in order to get along or get ahead. Elizabeth Miles has made a career of it, however. As a con artist, her job is cheating rich and greedy men, but when she cheats the wrong man, she ends up running for her life.

Elizabeth finds temporary safety by getting herself arrested with the Suffragists who have been demonstrating outside the White House for months. This gets her away from Thornton for the moment, but she and the other women are sentenced to three months of hard labor at a workhouse were they are starved and abused. Much to her own surprise, Elizabeth bonds with these women and learns to respect them while they are imprisoned, and she emerges a new person.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire…

Elizabeth may feel like a new person, but Oscar Thornton still wants to kill her. How can she escape him and still keep her secrets? Because her new friends would lose all respect for her if they knew who she really was, and the man she has come to love can’t even bring himself to tell a lie. How can she trick them into helping her pull off a con that will save her life without losing everything she has learned to value?

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

Elizabeth’s experiences in City of Lies are based on real historical events that happened in November of 1917, exactly 100 years to the month when the book is being published! In 1917, society was changing, and women were fighting to be taken seriously, to be valued, and to have a seat at the table. A hundred years later, women are still fighting for the very same things. Elizabeth lived in exciting times and so do we. I hope you enjoy reading about her adventures, which are not so very different from our own.

 

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Edgar® and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Victoria Thompson photoSeries, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, was a May 2017 release. City of Lies is the first book in her new Counterfeit Lady series, a November 2017 release from Berkley. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

Launch Day and Giveaway- Murder in an English Village!

Jessie: In New Hampshire where a recent storm has downed trees and ended the foliage season abruptly!

MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGEToday is the launch day for my seventh published novel. Seven. Seven whole novels! As I type this I am hugging myself with delight. How is life such a wonderment?

Not only is it the launch of a novel but it is the debut is a whole new series. I cannot tell you how much pleasure this new imaginary world has brought me! Murder in an English Village simply poured out of me with a flow I had never before experienced. It was magical. It was almost entirely fun.

I am utterly in love with Beryl and Edwina, the dual protagonists of this series. They represent the things I love, the things I am and the things I most long to be. They live in a time and a place I have so often imagined through deep dives into the magic of the Golden Age of Detection and the beguiling works of E.F. Benson and P.G. Wodehouse.

But it is more than that. It isn’t just the era and all its alluring accoutrements like soda siphons and Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts. It is the characters themselves with whom I am totally smitten. They feel so much like two sides of the same coin to me and I have loved tipping and tossing them this way and that. I love the way they play off each other and highlight the strengths or weaknesses of the other. I love how they each have expertise and preference. I love discovering what those things are.

Cards on the table, I really want to be Beryl when I grow up. Well, minus the string of ex-husbands. After all, I told my husband, before we married, that the only man I would ever consider leaving him for was Hercule Poirot. Beryl has no such compunctions which, not surprisingly, baffles spinster Edwina. I admire Edwina’s deep connection to place and understand her love of her gardens and her feeling of responsiblilty for the small creatures that live there like wild birds and families of rabbits.

I adore writing about gnarled jobbing gardener Simpkins and gossipy postmistress Prudence Rathbone. I wish I owned Beryl’s motorcar or Edwina’s hat collection. I would love to shop the High Street of imaginary Walmsley Parva with my wicker basket draped over my arm and Crumpet the dog capering along at my side snuffling at the hedgerows and generally making merry. I wish I could stop right this minute for a cuppa and a scone at Minnie Mumford’s Silver Spoon Tearoom.

And although it is all in my mind, I still cannot quite believe I get to spend my time with such delightful imaginary friends. I am even more astonished that others are able to visit with them too through the wizardry of books. I can only hope you enjoy it all as much as I do!

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Murder in an English Village! I’d love to hear about your favorite characters from books, your favorite historical era or your favorite part of your own job. 

 

Newsworthy?

Jessie: In New Hampshire where autumn has well adn truly arrived.

Last week I attended a conference for novelists down in Florida. There is a lot to thinkfullsizeoutput_5c7 about and I left with a head crammed full of possibilities and things to ponder. One of the workshops that I attended was on the subject of newsletters.

I must admit, rather shamefacedly, that I do not currently have a newsletter. I have meant to put one together, told myself I should put one together, added it to my projects list and agonized thoroughly over the lack of one. But somehow, I have never seemed to have managed it. The workshop presenter convinced me it was time to change all that.

Apparently, a newsletter is not all that difficult to produce and according to the presenter readers actually truly love to find them in their email inboxes.  she made the entire thing seem like fun instead of like something overwhelming and tedious. Which brings me to the point of this post. I could use a little help from all of you.

I would love to know which sorts of things you like to hear from writers when you subscribe to a newsletter. I’d love to know how frequently you like to receive such things. I’d like to know if you value notifications about upcoming releases, author appearances, exclusive content available only to newsletter subscribers, or newsy tidbits and behind-the-scenes information about what went into the books that you like to read.

I also would love to grow the numbers of people interested in receiving the inaugural issue of my newsletter. I do have a sign-up link  for one on my website and have added it here should any of you be interested in signing up.

Readers, I’d love to hear the answers to the questions above. Writers, do you send out a newsletter?

Wicked Wednesday: Whispers of Fortune

whispersWickeds, we are celebrating Jessica Estevao’s Whispers of Warning. A reminder about what the book is about:

Free from the clutches of her con artist father, Ruby Proulx is starting to settle in at the Belden, her aunt Honoria’s seaside hotel. She loves finally being rooted in one place and also feels a sense of purpose as she helps Honoria keep her business afloat by acting as a psychic medium for the hotel’s metaphysically inclined guests.

When one of the guests, renowned Spiritualist and outspoken suffragist Sophronia Foster Eldridge, checks into the hotel for a monthlong stay, Ruby finds her sense of purpose expands outside the confines of home and family. Sophronia takes Ruby under her wing and mentors her in the mediumistic abilities, encouraging her to fight for women’s rights.

But not everyone is as happy with Sophronia’s appearance in Old Orchard. When a dangerous act of sabotage is carried out and a body is found floating in the pool of a local bathhouse, Ruby takes it upon herself to find answers— and in the process learns that her new friend has been hiding some deadly secrets of her own…

Today’s question for the Wickeds–Jessie has built up a wonderful world that touches on spiritualism. Tell us–are you a believer?

Edith: Wow. Just hit us with the easy question, Julie! I have a vague sense of the “beyond” – and vague is where it’s going to stay. I certainly think the universe contains something larger than us all, and that a continuation of spirit beyond our earthly shells is possible. That said, I love Jessie’s Change of Fortune Mysteries and can’t wait to pick up my pre-ordered copy from my local indy bookstore.

Liz: I am a TOTAL believer! I love all this woo-woo stuff – which is one of the reasons why I love this series. The rest of the Wickeds can attest to my, shall we say, quirkiness in this area. I think they love me anyway, even if they do think I’m a bit strange half the time…

Barb: I’m one of the non-woo-woo Wickeds. I don’t believe there’s a place we go when we die, and I don’t believe we’re ourselves (or anyone else) once we get there, so returning to visit is out of the question. However, I fully admit there are many things about our universe we don’t yet understand. There was a time when the rational people believed the sun revolved around the earth and that illnesses were caused by humours. They weren’t entirely wrong. Bodies did rotate and invisible (or should I say not yet seeable) entities cause diseases. We’re always learning new things, so I’m not going to knock anyone else’s beliefs.

Sherry: I’m never quite sure where I stand on this. I believe in God and angels. I believe that some people are very perceptive (Jessie, Julie, I’m looking at you two). After that it all gets a little blurry for me. There’s a dark side of all of this that scares me which is why I hate horror books and movies.

Jessie: I think the world is vast and strange and there are a lot of ways of knowing things, not all of which can be explained. I adore things that can’t be explained. After all, isn’t that the allure of mysteries, that which has yet to be explained?

Julie: Wickeds, you went deep on this one! I am one of the woo-woo people. And I do believe in spirits, and guides. I’m figuring out what it all means, and am fascinated by Tarot cards and their uses. Another reason I love this series–the exploration of this world. Congratulations again, Jessie!

Readers, what do you think? Are you a believer in psychics? Save

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The End is the Beginning

WhispersOfWarningCover

Jessie: In New Hampshire, where she is sorry to say the leaves are starting to color up.

Today is the launch of my sixth book. To be honest, I am still not sure how I got here. It really does seem like just yesterday that I was sitting at the breakfast bar in my kitchen with tears streaming down my face, staring at the words “The End” typed on my laptop computer screen. But it wasn’t yesterday, it was sometime in January of 2008 and the book in question was my first one, Live Free or Die. And it wasn’t really the end. In fact, it was the beginning.

I hadn’t truly understood how much writing mattered to me until I burst into tears as I realised I was not going to be one of those people who had always wanted to write a book. I had become someone who had gone ahead and done so. I still cannot believe I wrote that one and haven’t quite believed my eyes whenever I’ve seen the words “The End” in front of me all the times that followed.

Since then, more books have reached the end and more bouts of weepiness have ensued. Every book has been a pleasure in its own way, including this second Change of Fortune mystery. I hope many of you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. But even more, I hope each of you will find a satisfying ending of your own that turns out to be a delightful new beginning as well!

Readers,  have you ever reached an end that was a beginning? In order to celebrate the release of Whispers of Warning I will give away a copy to one commenter! 

 

 

Murder in an English Village-Cover Reveal

Jessie: enjoying the salty breezes on the coast of Maine

MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGEAs seems to be my habit, I am working away on a September 1 deadline. This year it’s for the second book in my new Beryl and Edwina mystery series. I am having a great deal of fun spending time with the two protagonists in this book. Every day when I sit down to my desk I am eager to get to work. It feels a bit like sitting alone in a restaurant eavesdropping on the fascinating conversation between the people at the next table.

The funny thing is, I’m not even sure where these two came from. They simply popped into my head and set up shop. They arrived full-blown with physical attributes, quirks in their personalities and partial back stories. I just love it when that happens.

The village where the series takes place evolved quickly too. Years of reading mystery set in England and a self-indulgent attitude towards Netflix binge watching have given me a good sense of which buildings ought to be there. The greengrocer, the church hall and the stationer come sweetshop are all present and correct. So are the winding lanes, rolling hills, and cottage gardens.

I have always loved mysteries set in England. It is such a delight to be writing one of my own.  I’m thrilled to be sharing the cover with all of you today.

Readers,  do you love books set in any particular foreign locations? Writers, is there a place you have always wanted to set a book?

What’s Your Super Power?

girl-standing-1789334_1280Jessie: In New Hampshire, watching my first daffodils opening on the south side of the house.

Since I live in a household filled with men I’ve had more than my fair share of contact with the realm of superheroes. Capt. America is a favorite in my household along with Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman.

When my sons were younger the merits of different super powers were frequently debated. The boys wanted super speed or super strength or laser beams they could shoot from their eyes. My vote often went to invisibility or the ability to teleport. I’m not really sure I’d like to know the future, and I’m quite certain I don’t want to hear other people’s thoughts.

The reality is while I don’t have super speed, I do have some super powers of my own. They may not be glamorous and Hollywood has yet to feature them in a big budget film, but they’re mine all the same. I have a knack for finding bargains almost everywhere I look. I can take a heaping mound of containers filled with leftovers and make all of them fit in the refrigerator. I can peek into a pantry that appears almost empty and turn out a dinner for at least six, with dessert, probably with home-baked bread. I can also spot crumbs on the kitchen counter that are apparently invisible to every other member of my family.

As a writer I’ve often wished I had another set of super powers. Superfast typing speed, fully plotted outlines springing immediately to the page just because I wished it to be so, manuscripts turned in with zero errors every time. In my line of work it would be very helpful to be a super grammarian, and unwaveringly accurate speller, or someone whose wrists never suffered with carpal tunnel. I would even settle for the ability to produce paper and pen from thin air whenever an idea threatened to flit away. Probably the best ability of all would be the ability to infinitely stretch time before deadlines.

So until I end up in some sort of lab experiment gone wrong, the recipient of an unusual spider bite, or radioactive exposure, I heroically content myself with dreaming up super levels of sleuthing ability for my characters.

Readers, do you have a real life super power? Writers, have you ever given a superpower to one of your characters?