I know I don’t have to tell you how much has changed during this time of COVID. All of our normal routines have been disrupted and I know many people are now facing unusual starts to the school year for their children.

The publishing world is not without its own changes and challenges, too. Conferences have been outright cancelled or gone virtual. The lunches that agents and editors used to have to discuss author projects are largely on hold. Book signings are cancelled.

Closer to home for me personally is how book launches are being handled.

My anthology with Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, and Anna Lee Huber, THE DEADLY HOURS, will be released on September 1 from Sourcebooks. When initial plans were being made for it last year, I was excited to learn that the publisher was considering a multi-city book tour for us. It would have been my first publisher tour.

Alas, COVID hit and that glorious idea was terminated. The marketing staff was challenged with figuring out how to publicize the book in a virtual manner.

And so they did. “Water finds its way around a rock,” as they say. Some of their new and inspired plan includes:

Mailing bookplates to us for signature. They will ultimately end up with bookstores. One author signs them all, sends them to the next author, etc. The final author (me!) will return them to the publisher, who will distribute them to bookstores. Voila! Books signed by all 4 authors. Here you can see where Susanna Kearsley has been hard at work signing them.

Gift baskets. The publisher plans on gift basket giveaways, to be done online, of course.

Zoom appearances. We will have Zoom appearances with various libraries and bookstores. Check out my website and Facebook page for updates as I have them.

I would so much rather see you in person, dear reader, but we have to play the cards we have been dealt, right?

Meanwhile, if you have not yet ordered THE DEADLY HOURS, I hope you will consider doing so. Violet Harper solves a mystery in it, and I think you will really enjoy all of the stories—as well as discover some new favorite authors.

Warmly yours,


Click here to buy the book

An Early Review

A gold watch rumored to be cursed links the plots of the four novellas in this superior anthology. Kearsley starts things off with “Weapon of Choice,” set in 1733 Italy, where Scots travelers Hugh and Mary McPherson get drawn into an effort to foil the assassination of the Duke of Ormonde, who’s been targeted by a loyalist working “for the English Crown.” Meanwhile, the two meet a pirate who possesses a timepiece, La Sirene, made from gold said to have been cursed after it was plundered from a cathedral. A surprising death follows. The watch reappears in 1831 Edinburgh, where Huber’s series sleuth, Lady Darby, is consulted by the head of the city’s largest criminal gang, who believes that it was responsible for a fatal illness that decimated his family. Trent’s entry, “A Pocketful of Death,” set in Edinburgh four decades later, is the standout, as La Sirene stopped working just before three deaths, an impossibility that proves to have a logical explanation. Harris’s contribution, “Siren’s Call,” set in 1944–1945 England, adds the least to the saga. This is a solid introduction to authors who deserve a wider readership. Publishers Weekly (reviewed on 7/20/2020)