The Plot Thickens

I am frequently asked, “How do you come up with the ideas for your books?”

The short answer is, “I work with a great team.”

But here’s the longer answer:

I always start with some germ of an idea. For the LADY OF ASHES books, I might decide the book will dwell on some aspect […]

Podcast Episode 2: The Necropolis Train

Welcome to the 2nd episode of The Queen is not Amused. Those weird and wonderful Victorians hit upon an exceptionally genius method of taking care of their dead, after suffering from decades of overcrowded graveyards, decaying bodies contaminating the water, and the hazards of digging inside cemeteries with unmarked graves in them.

Take a trip […]

Podcast Episode 1: A Day in the Life of an Undertaker

Welcome to the inaugural episode of The Queen is not Amused.  For our first journey with those weird and wonderful Victorians, spend a few minutes inside an undertaker’s shop.  Experience what he does on a daily basis, learn about his greatest fear, and step through the planning of a funeral.  Those Victorians knew how to […]

Writing Woes and Klondike Bars

One of the most common questions I am ever asked is: What motivates your writing? My answer: Deadlines.

The second most common question is: How many words do you write each day? My answer: ????

I’m never quite sure how to answer this one, because my writing process can be very wonky. In fact, it’s […]

Interesting Places in Great Britain: Osborne House

In 2013, my husband and I visited Osborne House, in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, a short Red Funnel ferry ride from Portsmouth.  I specifically wanted to visit Osborne House to see if I had gotten details correct for it in LADY OF ASHES.  I seem to always be visiting places after I’ve […]

Interesting Places in Great Britain: Longleat

Longleat is one of the most fascinating places in Wiltshire, England.  Actually, you can’t call it a “place,” as it is really three different things:

The House

First and foremost, it is the home of Alexander Thynn, the 7th  Marquess of Bath.  A very eccentric figure who resembles Richard Branson, the Virgin company tycoon, Thynn […]

Interesting Places in Great Britain: St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle

For those who have read both LADY OF ASHES and STOLEN REMAINS, you know that Windsor Castle is a large royal residence where Prince Albert died on December 14, 1861.  Today it is the preferred weekend home of Elizabeth II, but Queen Victoria thought it gloomy, much preferring her seaside retreat of Osborne House on […]

William Gladstone Becomes Prime Minister (for the First Time), December 9, 1868

Catherine and William Gladstone in later life

William Ewart Gladstone was born December 29, 1809, and became prime minister for the first time on December 9, 1868, just before his 59th birthday. He would enter parliament for the fourth and last time in 1892, at the age of 82!

Prior to his election as […]

Opening of the Suez Canal, November 17, 1869

The entire plot basis for A GRAVE CELEBRATION was the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt. The canal was the brainchild of Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805—1894), a Frenchman with a varied and distinguished diplomatic career before successfully completing a waterway linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas, effectively linking East and West with dramatically reduced […]

Destination Gettysburg!

Over Halloween weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Gettysburg Battlefield Books & Collectibles for a signing. You might think, “What does Violet Harper, Undertaker Extraordinaire, have to do with a hallowed Civil War battlefield site?”

Well, many of the mourning customs practiced in Great Britain were also practiced in America, and in no greater […]