From Keyboard to Editor

In a previous blog post, I discussed how I come up with book ideas and form them into a coherent plot. Once the writing of a book is done, I am still some distance from getting it turned in to my publisher.

As with book plotting, I work with a small group, which I call […]

Take Violet on Vacation

I know you’re a reader and that often means you’re reading anywhere, whenever your time permits. (I do this, too.) I want to see where you take Violet Harper on vacation over the coming months. So, I’m asking a teeny favor, share your photos with me.

Show me where you can be found reading […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]