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Taking Inventory

A short post today, celebrating my emergence from the ton of (mostly welcome but time-consuming) commitments that landed on my head before Christmas. I still have a lot of reading and interviewing, which means producing questions and editing audio as well as actually engaging in conversation, to get through, but the three big projects and one set of books and questions have moved into the rear-view mirror. So, what have I been doing that took up so much time? Here’s a short inventory.


Six book covers arranged in a grid. The titles are discussed in the next paragraph.

Reading: I finished two novels due next week—Laurie R. King’s The Lantern’s Dance and The Phoenix Crown, co-written by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang. I finished three more due on March 12—Stephanie Dray’s Becoming Madam Secretary, Clare McHugh’s The Romanov Brides, and Deanna Raybourn’s A Grave Robbery—as well as Rachel Rueckert’s debut novel If the Tide Turns, which will appear later in March. I read Ruth Reichl’s delightful 2014 novel Delicious! in preparation for her next book, due out in April. And I have started Joyce Yarrow’s Stolen Lives, about children taken from their (mostly unwed) mothers during the Franco years in Spain.


Interviews: I spoke with Andrea Penrose about The Diamond of London, which looks at the formative period in the life of Lady Hester Stanhope, an early nineteenth-century archeologist and adventurer. I also talked to Teresa H. Janssen about her wonderful debut novel The Ways of Water, based on the life of her grandmother. Both of those conversations were for the New Books Network. I have also scheduled a podcast interview with Kate Quinn and Janie Chang, which will not go live in late February. I sent questions for written Q&As to Stephanie Dray, Clare McHugh, and Rachel Rueckert. Two of the three have already responded, for which I thank them!



A person in early 20th-century dress, looking through binoculars, against a rocky desert background

Website and social media: I’ve maintained these weekly posts, of course, but I’ve also been uploading a series of book teasers for my co-written novel The Merchant’s Tale. You can find the teasers on Facebook and Instagram, as I no longer maintain my account on X-that-used-to-be-Twitter. My TikTok account is also moribund, although it still exists: too many competing demands on my time. After much procrastination, I managed to finish answering a bunch of questions for a Spotlight interview that my fellow Five Directions Press author Joan Schweighardt was kind enough to put together; that will run in our online newsletter at the end of this month.


Other: I wrote many more blog posts, both to accompany the NBN interviews and in preparation for the later blog Q&As. I also wrote a lot of NetGalley reviews, since most of the books came to me via that site. (There is some overlap between the reviews and the blog posts, but it’s not 100%.) I helped—and am still helping—another author to produce her novel on the reign of Russia’s Ivan III, the grandfather of Ivan the Terrible and the originator of a view of empire that still affects views in the Russian government today—the book that inspired last week’s post.


So there’s a brief overview of what has happened and what to expect going forward. Next week, I’ll tell you more about The Ways of Water. The week after that is still open, but March and April are chock-a-block with author interviews, both written and podcast. Long before then, I also hope to be revising the rough draft of Song of the Steadfast. And it will be spring, when all things seem possible!


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