Friday, March 29, 2013

ATTENTION All Readers of this Blog: Loving BLOGLOVIN'!!

Good morning everyone:) 

This is not my usual type of blog post- I just wanted to let you all know about this new site I'm on.  It was recommended to me by my friend and Fantastic Book Blogger Extraordinaire: Marie Burton of The Burton Book Review.

Apparently Google reader is going away, so hurry and get on Bloglovin now- it's even better I believe.

Bloglovin' for me is basically a site that keeps together and in order, all my favourite blogs that I'm following.  I set my preferences so that every day in my inbox I get the Bloglovin list of posts from the bloggers I love.

It's terrific because there are no distractions in terms of fancy backgrounds, ads...NONE of that- just a sweet orderly list with thumbnail and a line or two of the beginning of post.  What a time-saver this is for me! I find myself more uptodate now than before and I don't waste anymore time - nor do I miss anything.

Go check it out for yourself and just link your blog and Bloglovin does the rest.  Very simple and user-friendly. Trust me!

This is where you can find me:  If you'd like please come follow me through Bloglovin and sign up yourself.

Please, please let me know if you do - I will follow you too!  Let me know how you like it.

WINNER: Lady of Ashes, by Christine Trent...

And the WINNER is...

CARRIE of The Muse Unleashed!!!


Please email your contact info to:

Friday, March 22, 2013

INTERVIEW with Christine Trent + GIVEAWAY!!

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What a delight for me to have  Christine Trent grace my blog today!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine.  Please read what she had to say and then be sure to enter the Giveaway!

Hi Christine!!! So happy to be on Amy's Tour with you!!

This time around I'd like to ask you about your writing habits, research setting..etc:

1- Christine, please tell us a bit about your writing rituals: how do you prepare to write, where do you write, a favourite time of the day, places to visit for your research...?

I don’t know if anyone else is this way, but in order for me to begin writing, I have to have a clean desk.  In other words, if I have e-mails to answer, calls to make, bills to pay, and so forth, I can’t concentrate.  Needless to say, that means I spend a lot of time in the morning performing “administrivia” before I can begin writing.
Oh, and don’t get me started on how much the Internet distracts me!  Once the administrivia is complete, I troll news sites, check out blogs, and see what’s interesting to buy on my favorite scrapbooking web sites.
I’m lucky if I get started writing by 2pm, and then I might work until 8 or 9 at night.  I don’t recommend this method for any aspiring writer.  I really should learn a more efficient way to write.  What I really need to do is turn off the Internet, but I just can’t imagine the horror of doing that.
As for research, there is the trusty Internet, my fairly large book collection, and my husband and I travel to England about every two years to visit sites pertinent to my books.

2- Is there a person who has influenced you in your writing career- or triggered you to begin your writing career?

Yes.  I first got the idea to write when I picked up an old, tattered book out of a “$1 Any Book” bin at a used bookstore.  That book was “To Dance with Kings,” by Rosalind Laker, a British author, and it was set at the palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV.  I fell in love with it, and for the first time in my life, wrote a fan letter to the author in care of her agent.  I was surprised to get a return letter from the author several weeks later, which began a decade-long friendship.  Ms. Laker encouraged me to write, and was thrilled when I sold my first book.
Ms. Laker passed away in December 2012.  She was a lovely, lovely woman.  I miss her very much.

3- If you could imagine all of your heroines from your books gathering in your living room- what do you think the topic of discussion would be and who would be the main character there? Why?

Interesting question.  I think that if I had Claudette, Marguerite, Belle, and Violet all in one room together, they would each want to know from the other what the biggest obstacle was they had to overcome to make their businesses successful.  They were all outspoken women, so I imagine they would all be competing for air time.  I guess I would need to be on hand to referee.

4- How do you celebrate the release of your novels?
I can’t wait to tell my husband you asked this question.  He is very supportive of my writing career, and with each book release, he buys me a little piece of “bling.”  This year’s release is very close to our 15th anniversary, so I’m hoping for a little bling for the finger, but we’ll see what happens.

5- Lastly, this time a question on your wonderful novel Lady of Ashes; in the sequel I am imagining a greater role for Susanna...? Please give us a tiny scoop!

Thus far, I am contracted to do two sequels to “Lady of Ashes.”  I just wrapped up the first sequel, and Susanna doesn’t have much of a role in this one.  However, look for her to have a larger part in the second sequel. 

Thank you for having me, Lucy.  It’s always a joy to visit you.

Thank you Christine:)


To Enter to Win a Copy of this book:

1- Leave a comment for Christine!
2-  For Additional Chances, post on FB, Twitter, Linkedin, Blog and elsewhere! Just come back and post your link in comments.

Open to US and Canada
Good Luck!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

LADY OF ASHES, Christine Trent- Book Review

As part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours, 

I read and enjoyed Christine Trent's new novel,

Here's my Review:

Who is this successful business person in Victorian London whose line of business consists of giving the deceased a make-over?  A woman! Yes, oddly enough (more like- unheard of) for those times, Violet Morgan is an undertaker who takes pride in her trade. I believe one of the reasons why I’m so attracted to Trent’s novels is because of the strong, visionary heroines in her stories.  

In her private life, Violet is abandoned by her husband, Graham Morgan. His leave began as an escape that ended with him going into hiding.  Busy avenging his grandfather who died at the hands of Americans during the Trent affair (how delicious that this coincides with the author’s name as well;), Graham commands Violet to sell the business while he’s away. Never fond of Violet being more of an entrepreneur, Graham wanted her to settle as a quiet domestic wife until his return. 

Of course this is Christine Trent’s novel- so you can probably imagine that her heroine Violet, because of her strength in will and character, would go completely against those wishes and continue to work hard at making it on her own. And she does so very successfully!  Great luck strikes when she meets royalty…  

Violet gets to meet Prince Albert while she was working on a deceased ‘client’.  Consequently, not too long after that brief encounter, Violet was called upon by the mourning Queen Victoria herself, for the undertaking of Prince Albert.  From that day on, Violet and the Queen would meet on several occasions- this part of the story was my favourite.

But it’s not all business and corpses; Violet has also a very nurturing and caring side to her.  Her doting and motherly side  is completely evoked into love for her adoptive daughter Susanna (how they meet is hilarious!)  Together this duo help solve a mystery that may cost either of their lives…

And what happens to Graham? Is Violet to remain waiting upon his return- or is there yet another twist to the story?  Morbid little notes here and there, diary entries and more- clues are everywhere as to who the murderer might be…Mystery and love combination make for an entertaining read-looking forward to the sequel!

WINNER of Parlor Games Announced...



Please email me your contact info at:

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Today I have the great pleasure of presenting to you,
 Maryka Biaggio, 


Read her FANTASTIC POST and then join the GIVEAWAY!

A Story I Didn’t Tell
Maryka Biaggio

Considered a scandalous woman of the Gilded Age, May Dugas had many adventures—and run-ins with the famed Pinkerton Detective Agency. I couldn't possibly fit all of her escapades into my novel, Parlor Games, but I do have a particular favorite among the untold stories. Here May puts her unique skills to good use and keeps a mother and her children together.

When a good friend of May, a Mrs. Hanna, decided to take her three children abroad for an educational tour, her ex-husband secured two court orders forbidding this travel. Defying his wishes, Mrs. Hanna stole away from Cleveland with the children. Mr. Hanna uncovered her plot to spirit the children to New York City and sail from there. He hired the Pinkertons to help him intercept her.

Mrs. Hanna’s pursuers learned she was staying at the Savoy Hotel in New York and surrounded the hotel to prevent her escape. Then they received a tip: Mrs. Hanna had managed to sail earlier that day on the Menominee. Mr. Hanna and his Pinkerton cohorts rushed to the pier and discovered that the passenger list of the departed ship did not include the Hanna clan. But one other ship, the Campania, was scheduled to depart later that day, and when they discovered Mrs. Hanna’s trunks had been loaded onto it, they boarded the ship and undertook a search. Upon reviewing the ship’s list they found that Mrs. Hanna’s name had been recorded but crossed out. They asked the Captain about this. All he would say is that she was no longer on the list and, furthermore, he was far too busy to stop and talk to them about the ship’s passengers. The Hanna family was in fact on board, and the Pinkertons even identified the rooms they were likely hiding in. But the cabins were locked, and they couldn’t force entry into the rooms of a ship sailing under the British flag.

May Dugas, however, was also on board, and when Mr. Hanna discovered her on deck he summoned the detectives, knowing she was a friend of his wife. He and the detectives queried her: “Is Mrs. Hanna on board?”
“If she is, I do not know it,” she replied.
“Did she sail on the Menominee while booking her baggage on the Campania?”
Carefully choosing her words, May said, “If Mrs. Hanna has left America by now, she must have left on the Menominee.”
The interrogators then asked May if she had concocted the scheme to get Mrs. Hanna’s children out of her husband’s reach, to which May responded, “I am not at liberty to say, for Mrs. Hanna is my friend.”
They had no choice but to leave the ship and watch it sail away.

Then they started wondering if or how Mrs. Hanna could have eluded their watch at the Savoy. They returned and interrogated the staff. There were two possibilities: Either they had been smuggled out in laundry baskets or had exited via a backside passage that took them through several shops before opening onto Fifty-ninth Street. But the hotel staff they questioned steadfastly declined to reveal how they had escaped under the watchful eyes of the Pinkertons.

And that is how the adventure ended. Not only had May succeeded in helping Mrs. Hanna and her children gain passage undetected on the Campania, but she had also assisted her friend—who was handicapped by an arm in a sling and had three sons aged seven, eleven, and thirteen in tow—escape from the Savoy Hotel while it was surrounded by Pinkerton detectives. That May: She was a clever one! I hope you'll get to know her better when you read Parlor Games.

The novel opens in 1917 with our cunning protagonist, May Dugas, standing trial for extortion. As the trial unfolds, May tells her version of events.

 In 1887, at the tender age of eighteen, May ventures to Chicago in hopes of earning enough money to support her family. Circumstances force her to take up residence at the city’s most infamous bordello, but May soon learns to employ her considerable feminine wiles to extract not only sidelong looks but also large sums of money from the men she encounters.  Insinuating herself into Chicago’s high society, May lands a well-to-do fiancé—until, that is, a Pinkerton Agency detective named Reed Doherty intervenes and summarily foils the engagement.

Unflappable May quickly rebounds, elevating seduction and social climbing to an art form as she travels the world, eventually marrying a wealthy Dutch Baron. Unfortunately, Reed Doherty is never far behind and continues to track May in a delicious cat-and-mouse game as the newly-minted Baroness’s misadventures take her from San Francisco to Shanghai to London and points in between.

The Pinkerton Agency really did dub May the “Most Dangerous Woman,” branding her a crafty blackmailer and ruthless seductress.  To many, though, she was the most glamorous woman to grace high society. Was the real May Dugas a cold-hearted swindler or simply a resourceful provider for her poor family?

As the narrative bounces back and forth between the trial taking place in 1917 and May’s devious but undeniably entertaining path to the courtroom—hoodwinking and waltzing her way through the gilded age and into the twentieth century—we're left to ponder her guilt as we move closer to finding out what fate ultimately has in store for our irresistible adventuress. 

About the Author

Maryka Biaggio is a former psychology professor turned novelist with a passion for history. Twenty-eight years after launching her academic career she took the leap from full-time academic to scrambling writer and now splits her time between fiction writing and higher education consulting work. More information about Maryka and Parlor Games can be found, including a discussion guide, historical information, recommended readingand a fun “Parlor Talk” feature. You can also find out more about Parlor Games on Facebook.


To Enter to Win a Copy of PARLOR GAMES:

1- You must be a Follower of this blog
2-  For Additional Chances, post on FB, Twitter, Linkedin, Blog and elsewhere! Just come back and post your link in comments.

Open to US and Canada
Good Luck!!!