5/25/17 As Alice Cooper used to proclaim, “School’s out!” so I can get to work on my novel. Here’s the latest. The editor is at work on Letter from a Dead Man, so I should be working with her on this book over the summer. I can’t wait to get it out to you. She’s had a positive response to it so far, so that’s good news. As soon as I have a better feel for what will be in the final version of the book, I’ll set up some sneak previews to tempt you! I suspect I’ll be doing some major revamping of the site to support two novels.
Last week, Yang and I got cracking on preparations for creating the cover art by going to New York City and taking some photographs. We’re thinking of basing the main image on one of the NYPL lions, as they serve an important role in hiding Jessica from . . . well, you’ll find out when Dead Man comes out! Here are a few shots. First there are the lions themselves.
I also had Yang take a few pictures of me playing Jessica, so that we’d have a form on which to craft her image. I’m not sure which of these poses to go with – or to come up with something different
At any rate, we know Jessica will look a lot better than I do.
We had lots of fun that day, stopping for tea at Silvertips in Tarrytown, first. After our photo shoot, we walked along the Highline Walkway for a few miles. The “path” is an elevated line that was converted into a beautiful walkway that is flanked by trees and flowers, some of which had been growing there before the conversion but after the line had been abandoned years ago. We ended up in the Village, where we, of course, went for tea at Tea and Sympathy. That blackberry tea was hot but refreshing on an active summer day.
I also want to applaud my student Wyatt Rogers of Worcester State University, who presented a paper he wrote under my supervision at the 2017 Undergraduate Shakespeare Conference (UMass-Boston this year). Speaking on “Hamlet and Donnie Darko,” he garnered interest and respect from teachers and students. Dr. Scott Maisano was the campus coordinator. I’m not 100% sure which college in our group will host the conference next year, but I have several WSU students interested in presenting already!
I was also fortunate enough to join Gina Fava and Judy Copek for a Sisters in Crime-NE panel: “The Modern Heroine.” We were sponsored by the Friends of the Swansea Library, and the meeting had to be held at the First Christian Congregational Church because we had a large number of participants. We had great conversations about writing and how “modern” is not so much indicated by a time period as a quality of independence, intelligence, and an ability to succeed despite (or even as a result) of human flaws. The three of us spoke of heroines diverse in background but sisters in those qualities.
Be sure to check out my latest blogs on the birds of winter and the returning birds of spring! My next report, should bring you more news on Dead Man, upcoming appearances, and even my recent trip to Quebec – where I scared a Ghost-tour ghoul! You can see me standing next to my victim in this group shot.
4/28/17 Has it been almost two months already?! Lots has been going on. I’ll be sending my contract back to Touchpoint this week for Letter from a Dead Man. I’m waiting to hear from my editor about what work needs to be done. Yang and I will be taking a trip to NYC to the Public Library to check out the lions in front. One plays such an important role in the novel that he’ll be on the cover!
I’ve been quite busy joining panels for Bait and Switch over the last month. Take a gander at my blog on joining panels for the Worcester Women’s History Project and the Sisters in Crime-NE “The Modern Heroine” at the Martha Canfield Library in Arlington Vermont. As you can see, I’ve been giving all my hats quite a work out!
I hope some of you might be able to make a session on the same topic at the First Christian Congregational Church in Swansea (The Friends of the Swansea Library). Judy Copek and Gina Fava will also be on the panel.
I’ve also added another tea-room review, The Tea Leaf in Waltham. It’s a nifty place. Check it out.
I’m proud to announce some important achievements by people connected to Worcester State. Click here to see the winners of the 2017 Barbara Pilon Poetry Contest. I’m also excited that one of my students, Wyatt Rogers, is presenting at the Undergraduate Shakespeare Conference at UMass-Boston tomorrow. I hope to have some pictures for my next announcement. And, last I heard, my friend Kate Zebrowski’s novel Sleepwalking Backwards is due to be released in June. Can’t wait!
3/05/17 What’s new? How about a contract from Touchpoint for Letter from a Dead Man! I don’t know what the time line on publication is yet. The novel is with the editor now, and I’m filling out the paper work for publication. Yang and I have several ideas for creating a cover, so we’ll also be at work on that project, as well. After I hear more from Touchpoint, I’ll work on updating this web site to include Dead Man and even post some sneak peeks. I’m excited about the further adventures of Jessica, Liz, Dusty, & Co. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a repeat of my earlier blurb on the novel.
Letter from a Dead Man. What’s it about? Here are some hints: Liz is in business but her charming partner has a questionable past; a wealthy society gal with a shadowy past of her own and underworld connections has it in for the Minton sisters; Liz’s man finds himself trapped in a deadly for murder; Jess tries to help Liz unravel this mess, while fretting about James’s disappearance behind the lines in Europe; a Federal agent from Jessica’s past shows up who may have some designs on her; and Dusty goes undercover. Sound exciting? Hope so! Let me know what you think.
Last night, Yang and I went to see Mary Wilson at Sculler’s Jazz club and had a fantastic time! Go to this blog for the details. I’ve also done some other interesting blogs of late. There’s one on the book signing I did with Lisa Kramer at the Tatnuck Bookseller and another on the gargoyles of Worcester.
I also have some appearances coming up. On March 29th, I’ll be part of the Worcester Women’s History Project’s Women in Print panel at the Worcester Public Library (5:30-7:30). Then on April 2nd, I’ll be up in Arlington Vermont at the Martha Canfield Library and on May 3rd, I’ll be at the First Christian congregational Church in Swansea. Click here for details on my Appearances and Events page. Pretty exciting 5 weeks, huh?
I’ll keep you apprised on what’s going on with Dead Man. Dusty made me promise. Look how excited she is!
1/24/17 What’s new? Most important, on Saturday, January 28th, I’m joining Lisa Kramer, author of YA novel P.O.W.ER, at the Tatnuck Bookseller from 1:00-3:00. We’ll doing readings, signings, and question answering from 1:00-2:00. From 2:00-3:00, Lisa will be running a fun workshop for writers, with me assisting. If you haven’t come to see us before, now’s your chance. If you have, it’d be great to see you again! And we’d have absolutely no objection to your buying a copy of our books!
I know I’ve made this promise before, but I really am close to getting Letter from a Dead Man to the publisher. Come hell of high water, before Valentine’s Day – waaaaay before, if I have anything to say about it. I’m feeling really good about this one, and I think you’ll enjoy some neat twists to the plot and the playful humor. Liz is as madcap as ever and Jessica has more than her share of smart cracks to keep her in line. Murder, extortion, and some noir types keep them both hopping. It’s all Dusty can do to keep a steady paw of control over all the tense goings on.
For your reading pleasure, I’ve also added another book review and tea room report on this web site. Check out the series I discovered that spanned the ’40s to the mid ’60s by Frances Crane. Patrick and Jean Abbott are a smart and down-to-earth married pair solving crimes across the U.S., in books with, literally, colorful titles. Click here for my review.
Also, take a look at my review of the Pleasant Street Tea Company of Gloucester, MA. Guess what street they’re on. Yang pointed out to me that though we’ve gone to this place for years, I’ve never reviewed the place. That problem now has been remedied.
Guess that’s all for now. I may be enjoying a snow day from school, but I’ve still got to get A Midsummer Night’s Dream read for tomorrow.
Hope to see you Saturday at Tatnuck! Drive carefully today!
12/26/16 Lots of interesting new information for you! I had a great success at the Worcester Sate Holiday Craft Fair. Many people took home copies of Bait and Switch – and they even paid for them, too! I am lucky to work with many people who are not only creative themselves, but love to support the creative work of others. thank you!
I was lucky enough to meet up with my friend heather Macpherson at the Fair. Heather is a poet and publisher of Damfino Press, for which she also had a table at the Holiday Fair.
I’ll be doing a team reading/signing/workshop with Lisa Kramer at Tatnuck Bookseller on January 28th (Saturday) from 1:00-3:00. From 1:00-2:00, we’ll be doing the reading/signing/question answering. Then, from 2:00-3:00, Lisa will direct a fun workshop for writers, with me lending able assistance. Please come and say hello – buy a book, even! Wish me a happy birthday!
Please also check out my latest blogs. There’s a wonderful one on our winter trip to the Cloisters in NYC, and another one, Holiday Noir– noir films set at Christmas or New Years. I started with the unusual use of “subjective camera” in Lady in the Lake, and I’ll try to do one more before New Years – perhaps Repeat Performance, which pivots on a Serlingesque answer to a New Year’s wish.
Speaking of holiday mystery and mayhem, I just finished rereading a wonderful collection of stories published by Mysterious Press in 1989: Mistletoe Mysteries (Charlotte MacLeod, ed.). It’s a nifty little gathering of holiday fear, er, cheer that’s perfect for bedtime reading or for settling down by the fire with a hot chocolate, tea, coffee – or something with more octane – on a cold winter’s night! The stories are clever, sometimes witty, sometimes melancholy, but always an intriguing challenge.
Happily, I also received a passel of classic era or classic-era styled mysteries in book or video format. So, with still almost three weeks left on my winter break, I’ll be reading up a storm and posting reviews. Stay tuned.
Finally, I’m trying to get Bait and Switch carried by some of the online services suggesting books to their subscribers. For some, I need at least ten strong reviews on Amazon. So, if you’ve enjoyed Bait and Switch, would you be kind enough to spread the word by posting on Amazon (Barnes and Noble is good, too). I’m only four shy of the Amazon minimum right now. Thanks, if you can! And thanks to those of you who have done so already. I deeply appreciate your taking the time to write a review.
Please have happy and safe holidays – be sure to duck any potential Nazi Fifth Columnists. Dusty worries about you.
12/9/16 Wow! I’m managing to do a “what’s new” before the eve of a holiday. Kathy Healey and I are happy to say that our anthology is now available, Gothic Landscapes: Changing Cultures, Changing Era, Changing Anxieties. Check it out here on Amazon. I’m almost finished the latest edit of Letter from a Dead Man. I hope I can send it on to the publisher by the end of the month.
Next Thursday, I’ll be at the Worcester State University crafts fair in the May Street Building, selling my finely crafted novel, Bait and Switch – at a discount, no less. Stop by, say hello, see what hat I’m wearing! Click here for details.
11/23/16 So, it’s the eve of another holiday! It’s been quite the busy fall for me. I had a great experience at the Howe Library, sharing the stage for a panel with Lisa Leiberman and Ellen Larson. I have written up and posted a review of Lisa’s novel All the Wrong Places. Check it out on the site by clicking here. I’ve also had the pleasure of reading Arlene Kay’s Swann Dive, part of her Boston Uncommon series. I highly recommend it for its wit, deft writing, and exciting pacing. I love the heroine, a smart mystery writer who doesn’t realize just how much of a sharp gal she is – until she’s put to the test of proving that her best friend’s alleged suicide was anything but! Click here for Amazon reviews.
I’ve also tried to find time to slave away on trimming down Letter from a Dead Man. It’s coming along, so I hope I can get it to my publisher in December. Needless to say, Jessica and Liz are up to their necks in murder, menacing gunsels, missing jewels, and shadowy noir settings. Dusty is not amused.
I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving and stuff yourselves silly. After all, that’s why God gave us Tums. So here’s a holiday shot of Joan Bennett doing the Turkey Day honors with Ralph Bellamy.
10/30/16 Here we are, the eve of All Hallows’ Eve, and I’ve got lots of interesting news. Halloween, I will be doing a private reading and signing for a book club held at one of my favorite tea rooms, Mrs. Bridges Pantry. Then, the next night, I will be doing a Sisters In Crime NE panel at the Howe Library in Hanover, NH. If you live nearby, please come by and say, “hello!” I wouldn’t mind if you bought a book, either!
More exciting news! On November 17th, Palgrave will release the collection of essays that Kathy Healey and I edited: Gothic Landscapes: Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties. Click here for the Palgrave link and here for the Amazon one, if your curious. Kathy and I both have articles in the book, as well as having written the introduction together. We’re not just proud, we’re exhausted! But we do have a wonderful group of contributors!
Kathy and I were also partners in crime at the NEPCA conference in Keene, NH this year. I gave a paper on the pastoral in Frankenstein (in a session Kathy chaired) and she gave a paper: “Clockwork Resurrection: Steampunk and Frankenstein in Mackenzi Lee’s This Monstrous Thing.” Here’s a picture proving we were both there! Kathy seems to be wisely pretending that she doesn’t know me. I have on my best Rosalind Russell does Halloween ensemble!
I’ve also added some additional blogs pertinent to the season that you should check out. There’s my decorations of the House of Yang, inside and out, from last year. I also wrote up some musings on my favorite books for bedtime reading for the season. Click here. So, get in the spirit, and have a wonderful Halloween!
9/25/16 Gosh, I know it’s been, as Kitty Kallen sings, “A long, long time.” Once school starts, I’m pretty stressed for time, but now I’m back – for the moment. Lots of good stuff has been happening! I was part of the author’s room at Mhec in Sturbridge on September 16th and had a great time. I was fortunate enough not to only sell some books, but I met some nice people. I reconnected with my friend Ginny Turpin, spent some time with Karen Reilley, a librarian, who has worked with my husband at Holy Cross, and made the acquaintance of some other wonderful writers. Gail Olmstead, with whom I shared a table, writes romances that are enjoyably refreshing because they don’t follow the same old, trite patterns. Tim Parker writes espionage thrillers, which have a great sense of place. His Whispa has a nice feel for the places I love in Western, MA. Nancy Ling writes beautiful, fun, thoughtful children’s books. You can check them out by clicking on their names and going to their web sites.
I was also part of an exciting and fun Sisters In Crime panel at the Marstons Mills Library on the Cape. I had the pleasure of sharing how writers “Steal from the Dead” (and sometimes living) to get our ideas and plot twists from actual events or murders or characters. Arlene Kay was our lively moderator – though she’s way too mischievous for any form of the word “moderate” to apply to her. Our other panel member, Maureen Milliken, brought her thirty-years experience as a news reporter to bear on the topic, and we were all off to the races. Of course having an interested, intelligent audience was a major key to our happy experience – and thanks to Stacie Hevener of the Mastons Mills Library for pulling this all together through Leslie Wheeler and the Sisters in Crime New England Speakers Bureau. By the bye, Arlene and I exchanged books, and I’m looking forward to reading her Swann Dive! I also learned some wonderfully effective ways to commit murder, which I won’t repeat for fear of becoming an accessory before the fact!
There’s also some additional good news about Bait and Switch. It will now be available in Barrington, RI at the Barrington Bookstore (184 County Rd). So tell your friends south of the Mass. border there’s a nice independent bookstore where they can find B & S, as well as loads of other neat books. I’m also working on a venue for a reading and consignment of the novel in Bristol. I’ll keep you posted.
Finally, be sure to check out my latest blogs. The one on our early summer ride on the Falmouth Rail Trail has some cool photos of Swans and Ospreys. Late Summer Birds and Flora has some wonderful shots of our flowers and the veggie garden, as well as of our two Coopers Hawks: Shawn and Gus. Would that we could have gotten photos of the Fox that Yang saw today, and I saw a few weeks back. I like to call him Mulder. Guess that’s all for now! Enjoy your Autumn. Oh, wait. Both Rosalind and Natasha want to send you their Fall Greetings!
9/7/16 Hi Folks! No, I didn’t fall off the edge of the earth with Columbus. I’ve been working hard to revise Letter from a Dead Man – which only made me feel as if I’d taken the gigantic plunge. How’s it coming? I cut out 80 pages, but I need to do more. This week, it will go to another reader for some feedback on where it might drag or repeat. I’m a little too close to the project to do any more snipping at the moment, though I have some ideas.
Bait and Switch has brought me on some adventures. My novel is now on sale at the wonderful Mystery on Main Street in Brattleboro, VT. Also, I met with the “Y” book club and was on a panel in West Dennis, MA. I have lots of other appearances scheduled through Nov. 1. Check out “Appearances and Events.” If you have a book club or library that holds author events, let me know and I’d love to show up for you – as long as my day job permits! You can contact me through email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve posted two new reviews for your reading and dining pleasure. So, you can read Fiercombe Manor, while dining at Crepes Tea House! A tip of the hat to Kayleigh Berger for telling me about this dining delight.
Also, let’s wish Kayleigh and Kasey Wozniak smooth and enjoyable sailing student teaching this semester!
Here are some fun links for you, as well. Touchpoint Press posted my blog on “Smart Talking Gals and Bait and Switch.” For big chuckles, note that the Bullwer-Lytton Awards for truly awful purple prose openings are in. And I offer a tip of the hat to Mary Kramer for this link to equally dreadful student metaphors. They are so bad, they are like really awful writing.
I haven’t had a chance to do any blogging in a while, but I hope to write something up this weekend about the muskrats we saw playing on the Blackstone river, the Great Blue Herons in the Connecticut River, and our crop of gallantly struggling-to-grow pumpkins!
7/20/16 It’s been awhile since I posted what’s new, but I have lots to tell you! I’ve been working hard on making revisions on the sequel to Bait and Switch, Letter from a Dead Man. What’s it about? Here are some hints: Liz is in business but her partner has a shady past; a wealthy society gal with a shadowy past of her own has it in for the Minton sisters; Liz’s man finds himself under suspicion for murder; Jess tries to help Liz unravel this mess while fretting about James’s disappearance behind the lines in Europe; a Federal agent from Jessica’s past shows up who may have some designs on her; and Dusty goes undercover. Sound exciting? Hope so! Let me know what you think.
Speaking of Dusty, please check out my blog on the real Dusty who inspired the feline star of Bait and Switch. I even have pictures! Click right here!
I also have a blog about a walk Yang and I took on a rail trail in Sterling, MA. Beautiful! Click here. Our walks, and even our yard, have shown us some neat wild life, lately. We saw osprey on the cape, a golden eagle on the drive to New Hampshire, turkeys and a Great Blue Heron in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, and we were even visited by two Cooper’s Hawks in our yard. I’ll try to do a blog with some of these pictures.
I have some appearances coming up over the next two months: August 24th, I’ll be on a Sisters In Crime Panel at the West Dennis Library from 1:00-3:00 and September 16th, I’ll be at the Mhec Expo ( I don’t have a time). I’m also scheduled for three book clubs from summer to fall. So if you would like me to talk to your book club, please let me know and maybe we can schedule something – though I am pretty much limited to the Northeast for now. Click here for appearances and events.
Finally, there’s a great film noir festival at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge on Mondays and Tuesdays through August. next week, Jessica’s main inspiration is in two films – The Woman on the Beach and The Woman in The Window – those these parts are much more morally equivocal than Jess is! Some upcoming films include: Double Indemnity, Dead Reckoning, Born to Kill, Gilda, Lady from Shanghai, Leave Her to Heaven, Detour, and Too Late for Tears. Click here for schedule.
Guess that’s all for now! Enjoy your summer!
7/4/16 Happy Independence Day, folks. Click here to hear one of the most beautiful renditions of the national anthem by Mary Wilson, Cindy Birdsong (appropriate name!), and Scherrie Payne – The Supremes. Their soaring harmonies will make you tingle!
I can’t sing like the girls, but I do have some exciting news. I will be doing a reading/signing at Bayswater Book Co. in Center Harbor, NH. (12 Main Street) from 1:00-3:00 on this coming Saturday, July 9th. Come on up to the beautiful lakes region and meet me! I’d love to answer your questions about Bait and Switch, writing, and getting published! Dusty will be watching for you.
I had a great experience reading and talking with folks at Worcester Story Tellers on Friday, June 24th. It’s a wonderful group that meets at Annie’s Bookstop in Worcester (65 James Street). Every meeting there’s a featured writer or writers, but people who come also have a chance to try out new material that they’re working on. I heard some brilliant poetry and fiction. The people are friendly, supportive, and intelligent. It’s a great experience. I highly recommend it. I believe they meet the last Friday of the month. People have asked me about writing groups to join for feedback, so I would suggest this as one possibility.
There are other great events also coming up at Annie’s Bookstop, including celebrations of Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and the release of the new Ghostbusters movie. Here’s a link to the events calendar for July. This Tuesday (7/6), there will be a double-header signing and reading with two authors of vampire tales: Paul Trmeblay and Jeffrey Thomas. And this October, there will be a Dark Shadows celebration, featuring Kathryn Leigh Scott!!!!!!
I see that MS. Scott has started a mystery series about a former actress, Meg Barnes, who once rose to great success playing an amateur sleuth, Jinx Fogarty, on TV. It looks interesting. I’ll have to check it out and let you know – after I finish reading my book on Columbia Studios film noir!
I have two new blogs up. One is on the second half of my trip to Plymouth, NH area in May – some really nice nature pictures, and a visit to see Claude Rains and wife at Red Hills Cemetery. The other is a short study of some of the neat critters that abound around my house. Click here for the second blog.
Finally, now that I’ve done the last-draft-until-I-start- polishing-in August of my Frankenstein paper, I’m on to polishing up and trimming down the sequel to Bait and Switch: Letter from a Dead Man! Liz is a business woman, Jessica is trying revive her career by getting on the radio, Dusty is still cadging Polish ham, James has disappeared into the maw of WWII, and blackmail, deceit, and murder are in the offing! I’ll keep you apprised of the progress with tempting tit bits along the way.
If you get the chance, give Bait and Switch a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Goodreads! I appreciate it!
Let me know what’s new with you! Enjoy the holiday!
6/18/16 Lots of interesting stuff on the agenda! This Friday (6/24), I’ll be reading at Worcester Story Tellers, hosted at Annie’s Bookstop (65 James Street, Worcester, MA). The reading starts at 7:00 sharp, though people do come earlier to mingle. If you missed one of my earlier readings or you’re dying for a copy of Bait and Switch, here’s your chance! Bring friends! Here’s a link with the details. Dusty will be watching and waiting for you.
I put up two new blog posts. One was on my reading at the River Hawks Bookstore in Lowell, at UMass Lowell. Check out the story of my return to my home town and getting to see old friends. Also check out the dress, which Yang made! Even better, you can see a picture of me whirling my nephew when he was but a tiny lad. You even get to see my “real” hair color before I had to start covering the gray! And don’t miss the picture of Rosalind as a kitten in the oxygen chamber Yang had to make for her, himself!
The other blog is of the bicycle ride Yang and I did on the Millerton, NY trail. Twenty-one miles, baby! But not uphill both ways. I had to hunt up other people’s pictures to illustrate the birds we saw, but you’ll get the idea. Little feathered devils wouldn’t sit still and pose!
You might also want to check out my friend Kate Zebrowski’s new web site. She has some nice images and great info on her writing, music, travel to Ireland, and her other interests. Click here.
Finally, any of you who love New Hampshire, I’ll be doing a reading and signing on July 9 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Bays Water Book Co., 12 Main Street, Center Harbor. Click here for more info. Come up and see me or tell your Hampshire friends to drop by. It’s a beautiful ride up to the lake country and there are plenty of places for hiking if you love nature. We usually drop by and pay our respects to the late Claude Rains.
Stay in touch and enjoy the summer!
5/28/16 Check out my blog for the latest on my sharing the Sisters in Crime New England panel with Kevin Symmons and Ellen Perry Berkeley at the Philip Read Memorial Library, Plainfield, NH. Yang and I stayed over in Plymouth, NH that evening and had a beautiful view of the mountains from our motel room. Before driving to the motel, we stopped in Hanover and had a stroll around the Dartmouth campus area, enjoying checking out the Victorian houses. The next day, we paid a visit to Claude Rains’s grave – maybe the greatest actor of the twentieth century. It was a lovely weekend.
Great news from one of our friends. Kate Zabrowski’s novel was accepted by Touchpoint Press. She’s awaiting her contract now! Let’s all congratulate Kate and wish her the best of luck. Isn’t great to know that even though it takes time, if you have talent and determination, you will get that novel published!
Tomorrow, I’m on to Lowell to read and do signings for Bait and Switch at the UMass Lowell Book Store, Riverhawks, on 220 Pawtucket Street, fromn 2:00-4:00. So, wish me luck – or better yet -come on down!
5/18/16 Lots of neat stuff to report! Last Saturday’s participation in the Nevins Library (Methuen, MA) local author book fair was lots of fun – and I sold some books! Click here to check out my blog. I still have two more events coming up this months. This Saturday (5/21), I’ll be at the Philip Read Memorial Library, 1088 Rt. 12 A, Plainfield, NH 03781 as part of a Sisters In Crime panel: “We’re Not Making This Up.” Then, exactly one week later, I’ll be in Lowell, MA (my home town) at the UMass Lowell Riverhawks Bookstore (my alma mater). Click here for details on both.
I’ve also done a blog on the WSU English Department’s celebration of our students’ academic and creative achievements. Click right here.
Finally, I’ve updated my mystery book reviews. I reviewed the classic-age novel I’ll Bury My Dead and updated my observations on M.T. Jefferson books with a review of Decorated for Murder.
Remember, if you enjoyed Bait and Switch, a quick review on Goodreads, barnesandnoble.com, or amazon.com would go a long way to getting the book in the public eye. Also, if you know any mystery reviewer/bloggers, I’d appreciate it if you passed on the good word about Bait and Switch – or let me know how I might contact them.
Who knows, maybe we’ll have another triple crown winner this year!
5/08/16 I was thrilled to discover that Bait and Switch was selected as a finalist for Best Mystery in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards! The winners were also announced, and, alack, Jessica and Co. didn’t make the final cut. Still, it’s so exciting to have a first novel so highly regarded. I send all my thanks to the so-many people who have encouraged me and supported me along the way. Now let’s wait for the Daphne DuMaurier awards in June!
And don’t forget, I have a full month coming up of appearances and even some readings in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in May. Click here for the details. I can’t wait to see you!
4/26/16 So, I’m home sick today with this sinus thing that is apparently going around. Maybe I had too good a weekend? After I squared away reading and preparing for my literature classes and grading a stacks of papers, I managed quite the musical weekend. Yang and I went to a concert of Byzantine Chants at the intimate and acoustically wonderful Brooks Concert Hall at Holy Cross! The Orthodox sacred music and the harmonic timber of men’s voices lulled all our tensions away.
Saturday night, we went the opposite direction with Dan Gable’s High Society Orchestra playing hot 1920s swing at the Point Breeze restaurant in Webster, on Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaugoggagoggchubunagungamaug. I think I spelled that correctly. Does anyone really have the time to check the spelling? The music was popping and, although Yang and I are more ’40s-style dancers, we managed to get in a waltz ( a fast one!), a swing, a rumba, and what we refer to as the “Daddy dance” for “As Time Goes By.” Dan Gable has his bands in three incarnations: the hot swing of the twenties ( High Society), 18-piece big band (Abletones), and the Dectet ( scaled down big band). The playing is superb as is the vocalizing of Elise Roth. You can just listen if you don’t want to dance – they’re that good!
Finally, we closed out the weekend with a concert by The Flute Choir at the Parish Arts Center in Westford, MA. The music was wonderful, soothing the grading-frayed nerves of two professors. The program was just the ticket with both dreamy and lively selections to aurally and spiritually delight – and, yes, “The Sleeping Bear” made me cry, damnit! They’re playing this Sunday at
73 Lancaster St, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609
Now it’s back to bed and trying to put this cold to sleep. Move over Natasha!
4/18/16 It’s been a long, long time (to quote Kitty Kallan) since my last message, but lots has been happening! Yang and I attended the Shakespeare of America Conference in New Orleans and had a wonderful time there – connecting with old friends, eating up a storm, sight seeing – oh, and I did get an idea for a paper from one of the sessions. So, there! Here’s a link to my blog entry on the conference. There was so much to see and do, there’ll probably a Part II on the Blog page!
In terms of Bait and Switch, I have three engagements coming up May: The Nevins Library in Methuen (5/14), The Philip Read Library In Plainfield, New Hampshire (5/21), and the Riverhawk Bookstore at UMass-Lowell (5/28). Click here for details and links to the places where I’ll be talking about the adventures of Dusty and Jessica vs. the Third Reich.
I’ve also posted a new review of one of my new favorite classic-era programs, Foyle’s War. Click here to read it.
Yang and I also took a trip to Keene New Hampshire so I could enjoy the Medieval and Renaissance Forum held there this past weekend. I was tremendously impressed with two WSU students who presented there. Nicholas D’Olympio (undergrad) read his paper on the Mabinogion (Yay! I spelled it correctly!) and Heather MacPherson presented on John Donne. Both students gave intelligent, sophisticated, articulate readings that earned the respect of their audiences. As expected, the conference was a fantastic success: great papers, a wonderful keynote speaker, enjoyable colleagues – and excellent food. It’s an event to which we all look forward, and it has transitioned gracefully from its original home at Plymouth State University thanks to the deft work of Meriem Pages and her conference committee and advisory board. Yang climbed Mt. Monadnock, while I became edified. Not surprisingly, he made it down off the mountain in time for the evening’s Medieval feast.
I had a lovely surprise at the conference, when I found my text, Goddess, Mages, and Wise Women featured in the college bookstore along with the work of other speakers and participants. What a nice honor.
I want to give a shout out to other of our English majors or students whom I know. Tatum White, Mary Schroth and Grace Cook took second, third, and honorable mention in the Barbara Pilon Poetry contest. Kayleigh Berger and Kasey Wozniak earned second prize for their research project on Elizabeth Bishop (with Heather Treseler’s guidance) for the Commonwealth Honor’s Research Awards. And there is a wonderful article on Madison Friend and her work on the New Worcester Spy.
Finally, I was happy to hear that friend and writer, Catherine Zebrowski has her novel under consideration with my publisher, Touchpoint Press. Fingers crossed for her success!
3/29/16 I found an audio copy of the interview that Pat Driscoll did with me for The New Worcester Spy. There’s lots more detail, so click here if you want to really get the low down on Bait and Switch and my writing history – or how I decorate my yard at Halloween. Later this week, I’ll give you the latest on my appearance at The Booklover’s Gourmet and my adventures at the New Orleans Shakespeare Association of America Convention. For a sneak preview, click here.
3/23/16 Last Saturday’s reading at The Book Lover’s Gourmet was a wonderful success. We all had lots of fun. Old friends, colleagues, students, new friends, and I all made wonderful connections with one another. I’ll give you more info and more pictures when I have time to sit down and write up a blog next week. Keep checking. For now, here’s a nice shot of the lovely space that Deb Horan provided for the reading and talk at The Book Lover’s Gourmet. Here’s a link to my blog on the event.
I’ve also been scheduling more readings, some as part of a panel, some on my own, around New England. To check out my new page, click Appearances and Events. As you’ll see there, I’m already scheduled for panel events at Longmeadow, MA and Methuen. I’m in the process of setting up an individual reading at UMass Lowell (Bookstore) and participating in two panels in New Hampshire this summer. It also looks as if the UMass Lowell Bookstore will be carrying Bait and Switch! I’ll let you know when they start.
Finally, Kathy Healey and I are absolutely ecstatic to have sent off the manuscript to produce the galleys for Gothic Landscapes. Yay!!!!!!! Let’s not talk about the index.
3/13/16 Next Saturday, 3/19/16, I’ll be doing a reading/signing at The Book Lover’s Gourmet in Webster from 2:00-4:00. Click here for details and directions. If you missed me at Annie’s Bookstop on February, here’s your chance to get together with me and ask all the burning questions about the adventures of Jessica, Dusty, and Liz. I’ll be happy to talk about my experiences writing, getting published, and promoting that novel once it sees the light of print! I’d love to see you!
Want to see my interview on Chelmsford public access TV – and find out some neat stuff about the Chelmsford Library’s “One Book Program”? Click here – don’t blink or you’ll miss me. I’m towards the end – but do check out the snippet on the One Book Program and the library’s history.
Hope to see you Saturday in Webster at The Book Lover’s Gourmet! The sweets, coffees, and chai are to die for there! Oops, unfortunate metaphor! Just put on your gum shoes and fedora – but leave your gat at home!
3/07/16 There are more than a few exciting events to report since last I posted. On March 4th, Kathy Healey and I presented a talk to interested colleagues about the process of putting together and getting published the collection of essays we edited, Gothic Landscapes: Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties. The edition for proofs is due at Palgrave on April 1st. I hope they weren’t fooling!
Since I’ve received such glowing responses to Bait and Switch from many of you, I was emboldened to submit my novel for two competitions: The Indie Excellence Award and the Historical Mystery division of the Daphne Du Maurier awards. Keep your fingers crossed for me – and Jessica and Dusty!
I had a great time seeing many of you at my reading at Annie’s Bookstop, but if you missed that one, you have to come to my next reading at The Book Lover’s Gourmet on Main Street in Webster. It’s March 19th (Saturday) from 2:00-4:00. If you had a good time at the last one, come again! And don’t forget that you can get yummy pastries and hot and cold beverages there, too!
I now have two reviews on Goodreads and my book is listed there as on people’s reading lists! If you have the time, it would be great if you could post a review to Goodreads, Barnesandnoble.com, or Amazon. In fact any appropriate review site would be a great help! The more you spread the word, the more people can enjoy Dusty’s adventures with her pesky humans.
Thanks to all you guys for all the support you give me! I genuinely appreciate it.
2/27/16 It’s the birthday of my favorite actress, Joan Bennett today. Check out the tribute page that I put up for her on this site by clicking here. Just in case you were wondering how my reading/signing at Annie’s Bookstop went – it was fantastic! Click here for the details. Want to know more from a different perspective? Click here for the story in The New Worcester Spy. And if you want to find out about why the Yangs are the “perfect” valentines, click on this story in The Spy. I’ll have you know, both stories were written by my wonderful former student Erin Bassler.
What else have I been up to? This was exciting. I presented a talk/workshop on writing to The Young Writers Club at the Chelmsford Library in Chelmsford, MA on February 23rd. I talked with the folks who came about creating, writing, publishing – my experiences and interests and theirs. Then, for the workshopping, I did an exercise to kind of loosen up language and trigger imaginative images, by playing brief instrumental selections and asking the participants to free associate on paper in any way they chose. We came up with some great descriptions and some nifty mini-stories.
What else is on the agenda concerning Bait and Switch? Well, I am definitely scheduled to do a reading and book signing at the Booklover’s Gourmet on Saturday, March 19th, from 2:00-4:00. Also click here. If you couldn’t make the first reading, come see me on this date. And if you want to come back for more Bait and Switch, I would be delighted to see you!
I’m also registered with the Sisters In Crime New England Speaker’s Bureau, so there look to be more engagements through them coming up. I’ll be sure to let you know!
2/13/16 Gosh, I’m back so soon, but there’s lots of great stuff to talk about! Most important, I hope I’ll have the chance to see some of you when I do my reading/signing at Annie’s Bookstop next Saturday (2/20/16) from 2:00-4:00. This is your chance to hear all about the process of creating a book, getting it published, and putting it out there for readers! Any questions about the people, the action, and the background in Bait and Switch? This is the golden opportunity to ask me – but no spoliers! You might even get a hint or two about the further adventures of Jessica, Liz, Dusty, and company!
The Tuesday after that (2/23), I’ll be talking about writing, researching, and publishing a historical mystery at the Chelmsford (MA) Public Library’s Young Writer’s Club. I feel like such a celeb!
Next up, Kathy and Healey and I received a contract from Palgrave for our collection of essays Gothic Landscapes: Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties. I was tremendously lucky to have a great co-editor like Kathy to keep things running so smoothly. And our contributors came up with exciting, insightful, and innovative explorations of the Gothic. We were also fortunate to work with old friends Amber Vayo and Roslyn Foy, as well as to make some wonderful new friends, on this project.
Also check out the section of Favorite Contemporary Style Vintage writers for two new entries: Julianna Deering and M.T. Jefferson.
Finally, if you like Bait and Switch or have any questions for me, feel free to drop me a line under the comments section of my web page. If you’d like to get on the listserv for “What’s New,” let me know there. Take care all and stay warm this frigid February!
2/10/16 Lots of us X-philes are enjoying Scully and Mulder’s return to new adventures on TV. We’ll never think of were”monsters” the same again! So, did you know that I have been tapped for my “Xpertise” on the show due to a book I edited, The X-Files and Literature, and my article “The Truth Is Out there in Elsinore: Mulder and Scully as Hamlet and Horatio”? You can read an article in The New Statesman that draws on an interview with me by clicking here. There is also an interview with me on The X-Files on the front page of the Worcester State University web site, available here. If you are interested in my writings on The X-Files, here is a link to the book on Amazon. You should be able to access the article at your library through EBSCO host. The writing is out there. That’s what I want to believe!
1/30/16 Remember, I’m scheduled to do a reading and signing at Annie’s Bookstop (65 James St. in Worcester) on Saturday, February 20 from 2-4 p.m. I’d love to see you! Come to have me sign your book, read from the novel, and even to ask me about writing and about I how I got published by a small press. Maybe I’ll even drop a hint or two about what’s in store for Jessica and her friends in future books!
Annie’s has even featured me as their author of the month. Check out the posting: Author Spotlight.
Finally, Kathy Healey and I received a thumbs up for our collection of essays, Gothic Landscapes. It is now being moved forward to the editorial board at Palgrave Press. Our writers did a splendid job of revising to meet the peer reviewer’s requirements! It’s been a nice
1/9/16 Great news! Not only do Annie’s Bookstop and the Booklovers’ Gourmet carry Bait and Switch, but I have been scheduled to do signings there:
Annie’s Bookstop (65 James Street, Worcester, MA): February 20, 2016 from 2:00-4:00
Book Lovers’ Gourmet (55 East Main Street, East Webster, MA): March 19, 2016 from 2:00-4:00
Worcester State University will also be planning a book launch in February. I’ll let you know the details when I get them. Exciting, isn’t it? Please come, check out the book, ask the questions you’re dying to know about the novel or about my writing experiences. Maybe get some hints about the next Jessica Minton mystery! I’d love to meet you!
1/4/16 I hope your new year is going as nicely as mine is, so far (knock thunderously on wood!). Here’s some great news. I am placing Bait and Switch with some local bookstores and shops, so you don’t have to worry about shipping and can have the fun of a nice browse (and at some places a nice cuppa tea, coffee, or cocoa!).
Already, Annie’s Bookstop on 65 James Street in Worcester is carrying Bait and Switch. Stop in and indulge yourself with a delightful browse! The people are friendly, the selection of mysteries is good, and the prices are reasonable. Also, check out the schedule for Friday and Saturday author readings/signings. I should be scheduled for an author’s night by late February. Click here for a link to their home page to find out about educator’s discounts, credit for used books, special orders, and their events schedule. Those events include workshops in writing and other creative activities, book club meetings, and even a monthly Dr. Who Talk.
Mrs. Bridges Pantry in South Woodstock, Ct. is also now carrying Bait and Switch. You can have a lovely afternoon tea while tearing into my mystery! If you click here for my site’s tea-room reviews, you will see just how neat Mrs. Bridges is for a nice cuppa and comestibles.
Booklovers’ Gourmet should be carrying Bait and Switch by the end of this week. It’s a wonderful little store that not only has a fine selection of new and used books but great cards and such. One-stop shopping for birthday presents! Even better, the Gourmet contains a cafe that serves yummy sweets and lovely coffees, teas, cider, and chai. So, you can shop, then sit and chat over some tasty treats with your friend, or you can go in alone and dive into your literary purchase over a cup of something delectable. The Gourmet also has a schedule of events that can include writers, one of whom I hope will be me this spring! Click Here for more details.
Finally, if your reading group is looking for an exciting, fun book for discussion, please consider Bait and Switch. For those of you in New England, if you are interested in having me come to your group for a discussion of Bait and Switch, contact me at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the speaker’s bureau at Sisters in Crime New England.
I’m in the process of scheduling readings/signings for Bait and Switch, so when I have more, I will set up and post a schedule. Hope to hear from you!
12/24/15 Here’s wishing everyone a delightful holiday season! Rosalind has a special greeting for you:
Please check out her adventures with Natasha on my last two blogs: click here. Also, remember that Bait and Switch is now available through Barnes and Noble.com or Amazon or Touchpoint Press in Kindle and in paperback.
A book I’m really enjoying is my friend and fellow Touchpoint author Leslie Anne Garrett-Stevens’ The Voices. It’s described as “part Fried Green Tomatoes and part Silence of the Lambs.” The book has a nice southern feel with intriguing characters and fast pacing. It has a a touch of Medium but it’s more than a little darker. Leslie-Anne definitely keeps you guessing.
But wait! There’s more! Check out me out under authors and books at Sisters In Crime New England. This site is a bounty for mystery readers and writers, with loads of benefits you should explore. Consider joining! As a boost to the competition, I urge you to enjoy perusing the plethora of titles for neat mysteries. There’s one with Mary Wollstonecraft as a sleuth that I’m dying to read! Enjoy the holidays!
12/15/15 Greater News! Bait and Switch is officially released today!
You can go online and buy either the paperback or the Kindle version by clicking on Touchpoint or Amazon. I will be working with area stores to carry Bait and Switch, and as soon as I have the books placed, I will give you a list of locations where you can walk in and buy the book. I will also be working on lining up reading and signing dates around the Northeast, so as soon as I have more information, I will let you know. Yippeee!!!!!!!! Many thanks to the crew at Touchpoint for “making it so!” You guys are the best! And special thanks to my husband, De-Ping Yang for the gorgeous cover and the patience and encouragement.
12/9/15 GREAT NEWS! The kindle version of Bait and Switch is now live for pre-order and the official release date for all versions is December 15th. At long last! Click here to order through Amazon. I will be posting more information over the coming week. Yippeee!!!!!! Click here to see a preview of the cover art.
11/23/15 Well, STILL watching and waiting for Bait and Switch‘s release. There’s a bit of a bottleneck for the hardworking crew at Touchpoint, but I know they are in there plugging. I’ll let you know as soon as I know anything. In the meantime, I’ve tried to include some treats for you. On my blog, there’s a posting of lush fall colors and some nifty feathered fauna: “October Images.” I also posted a new review under Vintage-Style Screen Mysteries and Thrillers: Radioland Murders. Yesterday, I did an interview with Andrew Harrison of The New Statesman on The X-Files and literature (the topic of a collection of essays I edited). He tells me that the article in which it will be used, along with the thoughts of others on the series revival, will be coming out in December. I’ll give you the link when I have it. Finally, I’m tremendously proud of the poetry that two of my students have published in The Worcester Spy. There’s an interview (written by another student, Erica Gilman) and poetry by Heather Macpherson and a page of the poetry of Mary Schroth. Check it out! We have some great students at Worcester State University!
11/06/25 I’m just as anxious as everyone else (more so, probably!) for Bait and Switch‘s release. To tide you over with an infusion of a pair of smart-talking, mystery-solving gals, take a look at my review a 1992 television film, Lady Against the Odds. If you can’t get enough of Halloween, click here for my blog on going to Beacon Hill for the exciting, fun, elaborate decorations there.
10/26/15 While we wait for Bait and Switch to make its debut, check out the interview in the Worcester Spy with me on the novel. Click here. Also, be sure to go to my latest blog and see what Rosalind and Natasha are up to in terms of holiday “spirit.”
10/17/15 I’m revising galleys this weekend. Clearly, Bait and Switch now is on the way. Most likely this week! I’ll keep you posted when everything is definite. If you want a sneak peek click here.
10/4/15 Click here for a sneak peek from Bait and Switch, release date set for November, 2015. I’m eagerly awaiting the cover art for my approval. When it’s ready, I’ll post if on the site and share it with you. Pre-order for Bait and Switch should be coming up soon. I’ll post the info as soon as I get the word. I’ll also be adding links to sources for ordering Bait and Switch (e.g. Touchpoint and Amazon) as well as independent bookstores that carry it or will order it for you. Stay tuned for info on readings and signings! If you have any questions, please write me a comment at this site.
9/29/15 Great news, folks! Bait and Switch has a release date of 10/12/15! Later this week, I’ll be posting more information about the cover art, ordering the book, and maybe even posting an excerpt to tempt you ! Yippeeee!!!!
9/20/15 Check out my latest post on the swing dance Yang and I went jivin’ to a couple of weeks back!
8/31/15 Tomorrow school reopens at WSU, so I probably won’t have time for making as many postings. To tide you folks over, I just put up a new entry for Smart-Talking Gals, on one of my biggest favorites, the warm and snappy Lynn Bari. I had lots of fun reviewing some films and creating screen shots from Nocturne, one of my very favorite film noirs. I will also post a short blog on my new teaching assistant, who can’t wait to rush off to school with me. Enjoy the fall, I’ll keep you posted as soon as I learn more about the progress of Bait and Switch.
8/22/15 School may be starting soon, but I’ve still managed to give you some new postings on the site. For all you Lovecraft aficionados, I have a blog about two fantastic films that Yang and I saw at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge for their celebration of the master’s 175th birthday: The Whisperer in the Darkness and The Call of C’thullu. If you have a taste for the Gothic in general and Lovecraft in particular (or horror films from the golden era), they will be your cup of tea – or in this case, cup of ichor.
For fans of Gothic, I have great news about the scholarly project I’ve been working on with my pal and colleague, Kathy Healey: Palgrave Press is interested in the collection we’ve edited (Gothic Landscapes), contingent on our making satisfactory revisions in the text. Their suggestions are on the money and not onerous to achieve, so we have been dancing with glee.
When I hear more news about the progress towards publication of Bait and Switch, I will post it to you on winged feet – or at least on the Internet!
The conference and link are also listed on this site’s Conferences, Scholarships, and Other Opportunities under Teaching and Academics.
8/6/15 – People who love golden-age mystery writers will love this new book Women Crime Writers of the 1940s and 1950s, edited by Sarah Wienmen for Library of America. You can check it out yourself at http://womencrime.loa.org/ Also, don’t forget to peruse my Writers of the Golden Age page on this web site.
8/5/15 – Yet another blog! This time I posted some images from two cemeteries in Rochester, NY that have wonderfully Gothic statuary. Don’t blink!
8/3/15 – I just posted an additional blog on Fast-Talking Gals. This one’s a whole issue devoted to Lucille Ball, one of the wittiest and sharpest of them all.
7/21/15 – I’ve added two new posts to my blog, concerning my trip to China last November. Both have cats in them! One has a mysterious, nay even Satanic, creature. Someone special?
7/16/15 – Okay, it’s not writing or scholarly related, but I saw a female Rubythroated Hummingbird in my garden today. She hovered and darted a mere two feet away from me for at least five minutes! It was fantastic! Of course, I had no camera; but I could distinctively see her intelligent eyes, her slender beak, and her glinting emerald feathers. Wow!
7/13/15 – Put up lots of new postings on the site: updated the reviews of Sheila York and Dwight Kemper under Contemporary Mystery Writers; added Patricia Wentworth to Golden Age Mystery Writers; put up a photo essay on my trip to Mont Saint Michel; added calls for papers and new literary/teaching/ links to the appropriate subfolders of Teaching and Academics.
7/12/15 – Emailed Palgrave Press the manuscript for Gothic Landscapes: Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties! This is the collection of essays that my colleague and pal Kathy Healey and I edited. We have a wonderful group of writers contributing to this book, all with sharp and innovative insights into the genre. Wish us all luck!
7/12/15 – Added new links to Teaching and Academics: American Shakespeare Center (education, acting, and scholarship); Hamlet Works (teaching, primary texts, and scholarship); and The Once and Future Classroom: Resources for Teaching the Middle Ages in Grades K-12.
7/7/15 – Posted Jewels of the Triple Crown, Part 3: War Admiral, “The Mighty Atom”