Showing posts from February, 2019

What The Parrot Saw

This week saw the release (aka #BookBirthday) of What the Parrot Saw (High Seas #4), my eighth historical romance (available in ebook and print from all booksellers).

Parrot is the tale of a grown-up Mathilde St. Armand, aka "Marauding Mattie". Mattie started as a "plot moppet", a secondary character in The Pirate's Secret Baby (High Seas #3), the child Robert St. Armand never knew he'd fathered. Secret Baby was Robert and Lydia's book, but even as I was writing it I knew I'd have to tell Mattie's story some day. She was the illegitimate, mixed-race child of a pirate and a prostitute, and she wasn't going to fit in well in Victorian England, no matter how much Robert and Lydia loved her.

Mattie's tale, as more than one beta reader and reviewer pointed out, is darker than my other novels. Yes, there's still humor, but much of the book concerns enslaved people in Florida Territory. That is not a topic to be treated lightly and slavery&#…

Review: Out of the Dark

Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Evan Smoak, aka Orphan X, aka The Nowhere Man has two tasks to complete, each separated by an entire continent: 1. Help a mentally disabled man find justice and 2. Assassinate the President of the United States.

This is boffo, non-stop excitement and I loved every page of it. If you've never read an Orphan X book it's best to start with No. 1, Orphan X, but if you're an action/adventure fan who likes Jack Reacher, Bob Lee Swagger, John Rain, John Wick, Jane Whitehead--you get the idea--you'll fall under the spell of Evan Smoak and his special skill set.

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Review: The Burglar

The Burglar by Thomas Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a real-page turner, and I especially liked the heroine being small statured and using that to her advantage. Cunning can win out over size, particularly if one cheats. There were points where I was worried the heroine might be making choices that moved her into the TSTL column, but I hung in there and was rewarded for my patience with a rousing tale of burglary, friendship, justice and street smarts.

I'm a huge fan of Thomas Perry and he's come through again for his legions of readers.

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Review: Watch the Wall, My Darling

Watch the Wall, My Darling by Jane Aiken Hodge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first Jane Aiken Hodge book I stumbled across in my public library. Long before ebooks or the Internet or modern romance genre as we know it, this book hooked me on Regency era historicals with a strong, capable heroine and the man who loves her. It has mystery, intrigue, romance (of course) and solid historical research. I still recommend Aiken Hodge, and I went on to read every book of hers I could track down.

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Valentine's Day

“Do you not want to cut a dash in society? Never mind, I do not know why I even bother. If I said I needed a new hat you would say, ‘You only have one head, why do you need more than one hat?’”

“I am perfectly willing to acknowledge you need a warm hat for winter wear and a straw hat for summer. This conversation is nonsense. I do not need to change my ways to catch a wife. I have money saved, and all of my limbs and my teeth. I am a man of abstemious habits. I cannot imagine how having a waistcoat of daffodil satin would make a bit of difference in my prospects.”

Daphne perked up.

“Now you are putting your brain to work!” She pointed her finger at him. “With your coloring daffodil satin would be a handsome choice. Not for a coat though, that would be a bit much. As you say, for a waistcoat. I had no idea you were taking fashion so seriously.”

“I am not taking this seriously, for a very good reason. That statement about my wearing something as ridiculous as daffodil satin was meant t…

Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This classic of Florida and Afro-American literature was the perfect re-read during Black History Month. Zora Neale Hurston's life story of being put down by members of the literary establishment, and cleaning houses in her later years, is now well known, thanks to Alice Walker and historians who've helped us reclaim our great women writers. But not everyone has actually read her work, and that's a shame. Ms. Hurston had a gift for dialogue and bringing characters to life--poor, uneducated characters who through her skilled craft become people to take note of.

As a romance writer I also have to acknowledge the great love story of Janie and Tea Cake. Their struggles together, their care for one another--it resonates down through time. Janie is one of my favorite heroines. She's strong, capable, aware of her own sexual needs and is willing to go for satisfaction and not settle for anyth…

#WhatTheParrotSaw ARCs

Are you a #NetGalley reviewer? Check out #WhatTheParrotSaw and get transported from your chilly winter to tropical islands with a pirate captain, her cabin boy, and what Roscoe the parrot saw (but he's not telling!) You can also pre-order in ebook or paper from your favorite bookstores.

But wait, there's more! ARCs of What the Parrot Saw are also available at #Booksprout. If you're a reviewer, now's a great time to get some hot reading for cold nights.

Review: A Bridge to the Sky

A Bridge to the Sky by Margaret Ball
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the kind of involved historical with a great deal of research and detail that satisfies my inner reader. Unfortunately, in some ways the depth of character for the protagonists seemed sacrificed for the joy of sharing the intricacies of architecture in the age of great medieval cathedrals.

In addition there were abrupt point of view shifts in some scenes which I find off-putting, but YMMV. Overall it was a fascinating look into an age of faith and wonder, and would be enjoyed by readers who like stories about extraordinary people in the Middle Ages who weren't powerful knights and nobles, yet left an enduring legacy.

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My Boskone56 Schedule

It's February, so time to look at my once-a-year winter wardrobe and think about packing for #Boskone, New England's longest running science fiction convention. Yes, that's how much I love science fiction and my friends and fans who will be at Boskone56. Despite this week's Big Chill I'm willing to go from Florida to Boston because, books.

Of course, it helps that I have a return ticket that says "Florida".

You can buy memberships at and at the door, and it's a great way to spend a weekend. There are YA and family-friendly program items as well.  Here's my schedule, and where it says (M) next to my name, I'm moderating that panel. I'll also be reading from What the Parrot Saw, available now for pre-order and releasing on February 26 in print and ebook.

The Streaming Universe
Format: Panel
15 Feb 2019, Friday 18:00 - 18:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Just wave your magic clicker to enter a new universe of space and time, where SF/F/H stor…