Tuesday, March 28, 2017

FREEEEEEE Herringford and Watts novellas

For the next month to celebrate the almost-release of WHITE FEATHER MURDERS, all 3 novella-sized Herringford and Watts novellas are FREE on all major retailers




I know! It's the best!


A Singular and Whimsical Problem is the first adventure published ( thought not chronological) and is a little Christmas jaunt with Jem and Merinda and an elusive cat named Pepper

amazon / barnes and noble / itunes / kobo 


Of Dubious and Questionable Memory takes the girls to Massachusetts in pursuit of a missing woman whose mystery leads them to the heart of Concord and Orchard House, residence of Louisa May Alcott


amazon/ barnes and noble / itunes / kobo

Conductor of Light is my homage to my love of all things theatre and is a cozy closed-room mystery set at the Elgin and Winter Garden theatres here in Toronto.

amazon / barnes and noble / itunes / kobo


pre order WHITE FEATHER MURDERS:

amazon / barnes and noble / itunes / kobo 




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Where have I Been?

Blogger friends, this is just turning out to be the busiest year.


My next writing adventure takes me back to 1930s Boston so, of course, I am using any opportunities I can to head out to Beantown and its historical wonderfulness in order to immerse myself in the place and walk for hours.   I stayed at the Omni Parker House: which will be familiar to readers of Of Dubious and Questionable Memory as one of the locations Jem and Merinda visit on their Massachusetts adventure.


a few snippets from my recent adventure



And then, Allison Pittman ( my co-author from Starring Christmas) and I found ourselves in Chicago for some major brainstorming and some major Palmer House-ing ( readers of A Lesson in Love and Murder  will remember my use of that hotel -- -it's where Jem and Merinda ( and Ray!) stay when they're in Chicago.

We also found ourselves in the Room Where It Happens seeing the amazing Chicago cast of Hamilton --including new addition Wayne Brady as Aaron Burr.   note: I got these tickets the day the first block of Chicago seats went onsale last June. That's how long we waited.



Chicago, you're so pretty 

the Palmer House 


Rachel and Allison


And for those of you who may be wondering if Hamilton  is everything they say--- it is--- and more.  I have seen hundreds of shows and it is unlike anything I have ever seen.


speaking of Unlike Anything I have Ever Seen,  I am a huge fan of Come From Away.  I saw the original cast in Toronto last fall during their pre-broadway run and am absolutely thrilled that this small Canadian musical with a staggeringly beautiful story and infused with Maritime Canadian music is making a splash on broadway.  Just read what the NYT had to say 


As for theater in Toronto, I will be seeing Mrs. Henderson Presents straight from the West End next week so will keep you posted.


 And this past week I was in the East Coast of our great country for work!

Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor
love the Jelly Bean houses in St. John's, NL 
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And from St. John's, I flew a tiny plane out to PEI. Last time I was in Charlottetown was in the height of summer--- it is decidedly more quiet at this time of the year.















So, that's what I have been up to.    And it doesn't slow down a lot.   I still have work travel for my day job and an Easter Weekend research trip back to Boston.   But, I am also excited about THE WHITE FEATHER MURDERS which releases May 1

There's a nice review in the next issue of Romantic Times


order at Barnes and Noble     Amazon      Chapters 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Theatre Post !

I have had some fun theatrically recently and am so excited to tell you about it.

First off, Come fromAway: a musical I loved in its pre-Broadway run at the Royal Alex is now opening on Broadway. It is set during the aftermath of 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland and showcases the incredible hospitality and resilience of the spirited locals.  If you are in New York, make sure you see it

Two weeks ago, I went to Halifax to see Kim’s Convenience at the Neptune Theatre. I always love an excuse to go to Nova Scotia and my friend Kat has long been this ground-breaking production’s stage manager.   Though I had seen it before in Toronto ( with Ins Choi, the playwright, playing prodigal son, Jung), it was a fresh and exciting experience to see a few new cast members.   This show, too, is headed to New York this summer ( huzzah for Canadian theatre on Broadway).




And, as always, Halifax was good for my writing chops.  I wrote a ton while there….



We are so lucky to live in a time and age where theatre is broadcast on cinema screens.  I absolutely salivated when I heard that the National Theatre was producing Amadeus, which remains one of my favourite plays of all time.   And I was stoked to see it at a theatre a few weeks ago.   It is a tale of madness and religion and obsession and art and the play has freer range to delve into all of these themes in a way that the (also excellent) film doesn’t.   To add, they really amped up the use of Mozart’s music, with  a mobile orchestra on stage. I liked it so much, I am pipe dreaming a trip to London when it plays again next winter….


As a musical theatre NUT, I have always wanted to see Cabaret –especially the definitive Roundhouse Production that plays on the popular Sam Mendes direction from the mid-90s.    It is here for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stop at the Princess of Wales while on a national tour.  I was blown away by the production and the hefty conceptualization of the show but also how chillingly and potently relevant it is to current political tenets.  Honestly, this is why I love theatre: it says things in a big and broad and brash way with stop lights and pageantry.  A magnificent production.






Last night, I was SO stoked to attend a production of Measure for Measure by Toronto’s new Groundling theatre company.   I also enjoyed the chance to see a show in the Winter Garden.   I have been there quite a bit the past few years for tour and research, but most of what I see at the double-decker, is in the Elgin.  Readers of Herringford and Watts will know that I think it is the most beautiful place in the world. So magical, I set numerous Jem and Ray scenes there---


Last night, the intimate audience sat on stage in scaffolded rows while the action took place at the lip of the stage and the empty, gorgeous flora fantasia stretched out in its glimmery coloured lanterns and draping vines.       This was a Shakespeare I had never seen live before and, as per his magic, it stretches out before you, you quickly becoming accustomed to the rhythm of the language and picking up with its ebbing speed. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Author Interview: Stephanie Morrill and GIVEAWAY

So excited about the release of The Lost Girl of Astor Street this week. 
Image result for lost girl of astor street
A new favourite author, Stephanie Morill, was kind enough to answer some questions I had regarding her gorgeous new historical YA


Leave a comment telling us WHY you want to meet Piper and Mariano, and we'll do a random draw for a hardback copy of Lost Girl!



1.)    Lydia’s bouts of epilepsy play an important role in the story and our understanding of her character. To add, they show the glaring injustice befalling victims of illnesses in a time when so much was yet to be learned. What inspired you to include this in the novel?
Epilepsy became a part of The Lost Girl of Astor Street because one of my sons had recently been diagnosed. As I researched his condition, I learned that the 1920s was a big decade of change for those who suffered from epilepsy. One of the first effective anti-seizure drugs was developed at that time, as was the Ketogenic diet, which has been miraculous for my son. As terrifying as it is to experience epilepsy now, it broke my heart to consider how much harder it was before technology like EEGs came along.
 
 
2.)    White slavery, bootlegging, the Mob, violence and abuse are themes apparent throughout the book and you never once cringe from blatantly showing their effects on our central characters.    How difficult was it to balance the lighter moments and romance in the book with moments of this dark subject matter?
That was one of the reasons why this book to me so much longer to write than any I had written before. Developing the relationship between Piper and Mariano took several drafts to get right, because of the struggle to balance Piper’s emotional journey. She was going through something devastating like not being able to find her best friend, but then also something lovely like falling in love. While I was writing, it was difficult for me to tell if I was getting the balance right, so it was very important for me to have lots of time between drafting and editing. I was also thankful for writer friends who gave their time to reading early drafts. They were very patient!
 
 
3.)    You cite that you enjoy strong heroines --- what is it about the 1920s that loaned itself to creating a strong, independent female who draws sound comparisons to 21st Century sleuth Veronica Mars?

The teenage generation in the 1920s was the first generation to be targeted by advertisers at a young age. There was also a lot more connection and awareness to other lifestyles, rather than being more isolated to your local community. And there was an ever-widening gap between their values and the Victorian era values their parents were raised with. I’ve found that writing about generations where there’s a lot of change can open up a lot of opportunities for strength to shine through.
 
4.)    Chicago is one of my favourite US cities to visit ( I will be back in March!)  You create a Chicago that sizzles and pops off the page acting as a character in its own right. What research went into this world building and what about this city allured you to create such a stirring landscape?

Oh, I love Chicago. I’m jealous you’ve been so recently, because I’m dying to get back there. When I started the book, I knew I wanted 1920s and a big city. Chicago certainly had plenty going on at that time! I had been several times, and could recall memories of the wind coming off the lake, games at Wrigley Field, and hectic Michigan Avenue. Much of the rest was good old-fashioned research. Google Maps became my best friend. I spent loads of time “walking” around the Gold Coast, plus looking at old photographs of it. The website for Chicago’s public transportation system has fabulous historical goodies. And I was at my library constantly to pick up more research books.
 
5.)    As a reader I was struck by how Mariano’s complicated relationship with his family aligned with Piper’s revelations about her own family. Like many points in the novel, it reiterated how carefully plotted the story was and how intricately connected all of the characters were.  How did you prepare for such a thrilling, twisting, mystery while balancing such deft character development?
 
Thank you! Rewrites, rewrites, and more rewrites. And early readers who provided great feedback about what wasn’t working. Without giving too much away, I knew from the beginning that I wanted Mariano to not be exactly what he seemed. But I didn’t know what that looked like, so there was a lot of trial and error involved in making that all fit together.

6.)    I really want the last question to be Will Mariano Marry Me ( but I think Piper might have dibs). Instead, can you tell us a bit about what you will be working on next? If this is top secret, perhaps a period you have always wanted to fictionally explore? 


Of course! I’m in the middle of edits for another book that is set in the same world as Piper’s and has some overlap, but is a separate story. I have ideas for another Piper book, and I’ve done a tiny bit of writing on it, but I really want to make sure that it’s the right kind of sequel.


stephanie-morrill-low-res
Stephanie Morrill is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids.

Stephanie on INSTAGRAM + WEBSITE + FACEBOOK + TWITTER



About the Book:


Lydia has vanished.

Lydia, who’s never broken any rules, except falling in love with the wrong boy. Lydia, who’s been Piper’s best friend since they were children. Lydia, who never even said good-bye.

Convinced the police are looking in all the wrong places, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail begins her own investigation in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. With the reluctant help of a handsome young detective, Piper goes searching for answers in the dark underbelly of 1924 Chicago, determined to find Lydia at any cost.

When Piper discovers those answers might stem from the corruption strangling the city—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

From the glitzy homes of the elite to the mob-run streets of 1920s Chicago, Stephanie Morrill’s jazz-age mystery shows just how far a girl will go to save her friend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

BOOK GUSH: 'The Lost Girl of Astor Street' by Stephanie Morrill

GUYS!

Oh my goodness, YOU GUYS! Have I got the book for you........

Conductor of Light (Free Short Story) (Herringford and Watts Mysteries) by [McMillan, Rachel]
But first, a reminder that CONDUCTOR OF LIGHT is now available on all major e-readers for FREE.   Publisher and I came up with the idea of a tiny little Herringford and Watts treat to tie you over before WHITE FEATHER MURDERS releases in May.  It is a close-roomed mystery in Four Acts set amidst the tantalizing world of Edwardian Vaudeville.  And there is a bit with a dog.


ANYHOW....

Lost Girl of Astor Street_cover (2)





Back to gush.

Okay, SO I really, really wanted to read The Lost Girl of Astor Street the moment I heard about it and I was savvy to have it on my radar, it turns out, because it exceeded expectations and then some.


If you like Veronica Mars, the Roaring Twenties, plenty of plot twists and knee-buckling romance, then let me invite you into Piper Sail's fully realized world of flappers and mob-men, danger and high-class sleuthery.

Piper Sail is a renowned lawyer's daughter and resident of the upscale Astor Street in Chicago.  She does a poor job of avoiding trouble at her prestigious private school but is tempered by the influence of her sweet friend, Lydia.  Also peppering her world are her brothers, a rakish journalist named Jeremiah Crane ( you might want to start writing that name in your notebook and drawing hearts around it) and her long-time baseball-playing friend Walter ( ditto with the heart drawing).

When Lydia is reported missing, Piper learns that her friend was a pivotal aspect of a world now seeming to fray at the seams. Nothing is as it seems and with her amateur investigation into Lydia's whereabouts, she is springboarded into a season of self-realization.

While confronting the uneasiness of a world shrouded with privilege and slowly eking out shades of darkness in her own family,  Piper is joined by the absolutely swoon-worthy young detective, Mariano Cassano.

And here, fair readers, I will go tangential with cheeks blushing and fingertips tingling....

MARIANO is a friggin' dreamboat.  He respects Lydia and treats her as an equal as they launch each step of their sideline informal investigation.  He has a dark, broody past that only reconciles with the tenacity and virtue of his present and he is dedicated to his job.  He has a winning smile, a lanky build and every time he tipped his trilby or fingered his suspenders ( maybe I wrote that in..... I don't know if he fingered his suspenders but you all know I think suspenders are hot), I went to lala land ( now playing at a cinema near you).

The chemistry between Piper and Mariano snap crackles and pops from their first meeting when  (SIGH) he arrives to calmly question her about Lydia ( DOUBLE SIGH) while, of course, being all dark-haired and olive-skinned and handsome as all get out.

( Later they dance under the stars after eating pizza in the park, I kid you not).

Mariano and Piper's relationship was, to me, the center of this well-spun tale but the romance does not overcrowd the mystery. As I preambled, there really are several twists---one that happens early on in the story and that earned my respect as a discerning reader.    Chicago becomes a character---from its speakeasies to the L to the high townhouses and manicured streets owned by those who are willing to play into the powerplay world of two magnanimous families: the Cassanos and the Finnegans.


Another highlight of this excessively-readable book was Piper herself.  Unlike Veronica Mars ( who I mention because there are several shout-outs to the tiny blonde one), Piper showcases a realistic insecurity. For as often as she straightens her shoulders and plunges in to danger for the sake of her friend, so she is uncertain in herself and the deductive abilities she is just beginning to find sure footing in.   It was Piper's normalcy that jolted this story with a little something extra for me.  She is winsome in her relatability.


The pages turned easily and while I sometimes found myself assaulted by a modern verve of speech or nuance, I was for the most part transplanted to a vintage whirlwind of murder, flappers and a sort of easy grace of a time past--- a world that doesn't quite know that while it speeds hastily to outdo itself, it is spinning itself on a dangerous axis.


I so hope that we get more of Piper's adventures.  And more of Mariano. Because MARIANO is just music.

Music, I tell you.


With thanks to BLINK for the review copy.

Find Stephanie on TWITTER, FACEBOOK, WEB, INSTAGRAM


Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 wrap up

Good Lord, I have neglected this blog and for that I am truly sorry. This has probably been the busiest year of my life.  But I still managed to read 95 books ( well, at least I will have by tomorrow!)  and managed to have a successful year at my real job.

I also wrote a ton! I finished two full-length novels and three novellas and started another novel for an entirely different series.







Schonbrunn Christmas Market



I thought I would do a bit of a wrap up seeing as I got majorly side-tracked this past month with Christmas and with a spontaneous trip to Vienna, Austria (my favourite European City) to go to the Christmas Markets

In Vienna, I roamed and roamed for days and experienced the music that drips over the cobblestones and settles over the opulent decorations of the season. I sipped gluehwein under the spires of Stephansdom and saw a few concerts--- including Der Messiah at The Musikverein ( ironically, this was a spur of the moment concert and I had just seen the equally excellent Tafelmusik Messiah in Toronto the week before).




Favourite Books Read in 2016

Unmentionable, Therese ONeill

The Mark of the King, Jocelyn Green

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

Charlotte Bronte, a Fiery Heart, Claire Harman

Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl

From This Moment, Elizabeth Camden

Promised to the Crown by Aimie Runyan


Favourite Movie:

Manchester- By -the Sea


THEATRE: 

Gosh, I saw a lot of theatre this year.

It's hard to pick a favourite from Stratford's high standards to Les Miserables at the Dubai Opera to the touring return of Phantom......  I loved the pre-Broadway Come From Away.  Honestly, I don't think I could pick a favourite.  All of my dozens of theatrical experiences this year were varied.


TRAVEL:

I covered a lot of ground in Canada and the US this year! And in other continents!

US:
Chicago
Washington

Canada:
Victoria and Vancouver
Prince Edward Island

Overseas:
Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Vienna!


TELEVISION:

 I didn't see a ton of TV in 2016 as I was way too busy. But I did love Poldark and Endeavour! 




WRITING: 

I had two full length novels and one novella publish in 2016 as part of the Herringford and Watts series:

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder
A Lesson in Love and Murder
Of Dubious and Questionable Memory

 I also published Starring Christmas with my co-author, Allison Pittman





Tuesday, November 22, 2016

STARRING CHRISTMAS and TRAVELS and BOOKS and oh my!

Friends,


I have, alas, abandoned you again.  But, with good purpose.

I have begun working on an entire new series and I have been traveling and visiting with friends from out of town and working at my day job and watching baseball and editing White Feather Murders and .... OH MY!


A bit of what I have been up to of late:


I went on vacation in ABU DHABI and DUBAI and met some amazing camels !





While there, we saw an amazing production of Les Miserables ( my 15th viewing and my 3rd continent!) on opening night at the Dubai Opera.   The composers, Boubil and Schonberg, were in attendance to celebrate.....




LES MIZ!




 I saw Cuisine and Confessions  at the Princess of Wales and was flabberghasted by the talent and acrobatics!


My friend visited from British Columbia and we had a fun time exploring Toronto and checking out the amazing sushi!, Le Papillon on Front Street and Cafe Moroc

 My friends Mel, Ben, Kate and I stayed at an adorable B and B in Leaskdale and attended LM Montgomery Day: a conclave of dialogue, lectures and reminiscences at the manse where her husband, Ewan MacDonald,  ministered for years.  We also hit up the amazing bookstore, Heron Books!
I also spent a weekend in Washington, hanging out with some amazing old buildings and statues!



And, in typical Rachel fashion, I have been watching as many Made for TV Christmas movies as time allows!


I am featured at Relz Reviewz today taking you behind the scenes of A Lesson in Love and Murder.   Speaking of which, it is currently on a 1.99 sale on all e-book formats! Grab it while you can HERE


Oh and Conductor of Light is available for FREE pre-order 


Over at Books and Beverages, you have the opportunity to win some Herringford and Watts 



Finally, and something dear to my heart, it is 1 week until my next book releases: a Christmas novella set amidst the magic of made-for-TV Christmas movies and co-written with my friend and author pal, Allison Pittman.

Starring Christmas  features two Christmas romance novellas ( magically connected) for one low price:





Falling for a Christmas Star Sam Medina has finally made it. A last minute casting change finds him en route to Toronto to star in the latest entry of the Serendipity Network’s annual Christmas movie extravaganza, My True Love Gave to Me. Finally, he will have the chance to shake off his reputation for supporting roles as the best friend or kind-hearted barista and prove that he is leading man material.

Merry Strathford is too busy for love. When she’s not pursuing a tenure track position in Medieval Women's studies, she’s serving plum pudding lattes at the Holly and the Ivy CafĂ©. Thus far, the only romance in her life occurs when she falls under the spell of her favourite made-for-TV movies. That is, until Sam Medina walks through the coffee shop door.

Suddenly, both Sam and Merry are living the romance of a Serendipity movie. But life isn't all snowflakes and sugar plums and real life ---and relationships---are far from cookie cutter shortbread.

Lone Star Christmas Lights
by Allison Pittman

Mari Medina is in love…with her neighborhood. She’s converted her historic ancestral home into a cool coffee shop and party space, with an apartment upstairs big enough to share with her mother. It’s a comfortable, safe existence, even if it lacks the spark to fuel her unsuccessful attempts to break into the world of writing romance. Still, she’s always on the lookout for a new taste to bring to her patrons.

Larsen Clarke had everything that comes with a successful career: a luxury apartment, a flashy sports car, and his pick of society women. When hardship strikes his family, he gives it all up, trading for a room in his brother’s home, and a venture into creating craft beer. He’s traded his expensive suit for a plaid shirt, and the only risk he’s willing to take involves bold Texas-based brew.

When Mari and Larsen meet, it’s a collision of retail and romance. She’s looking for a story, he’s looking for himself. Together, they just might find a little lone star magic.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Nerdiest Thing I have Ever Done

I realize I haven’t written in awhile.  I am sorry, blogger friends.
 
Here we are at the Wild Card game ( Throwback to JoeyBats' bat flip last year)

Sonja and I traipsed around BC for 10 days. It was amazing. I also checked up on Jem and Merinda all over the place in different bookstores.


I suppose part of it is because I went on holiday in BC with a bestie and we road-tripped to Victoria from Nanaimo while singing Amy Grant , and enjoyed Canadian thanksgiving, and finished a Herringford and Watts novella and worked on a Christmas novella, and did edits for Conductor of Light and did signings and library events for A Lesson in Love and Murder, and saw some theatre and opera and watched Signed Sealed Delivered  and enjoyed Toronto and went to a friend's wedding and saw a production of Jonathan Larson's Tick, Tick, Boom and also worked at my real job and read some books. And, of course, there was baseball.  I was even at the Wild Card game where my Blue Jays beat the Orioles and advanced further into the post season.





Also went to Master and Commander weekend which was a Regency fest of food and fun featuring all manner of interesting discussions about Aubrey and Maturin. Held at Montgomery's Inn here in Toronto.



 
Instagram shot of Orillia over thanksgiving weekend. Lots of writing and autumn and baseball!


 Now,  I return to you to tell you about the Nerdiest Thing I have Ever Done

(one of them)

When I was finishing up at University about a decade ago ( I AM SO OLD), I was super into learning what the great writers I was studying read.   I discovered that C.S.Lewis and Chesterton both liked this historical novel called Precious Bane, published in 1924 and set in Shropshire during the Napoleonic Wars.

I ordered an edition and read it like eight times in a row (and not just because the vernacular is kinda impossible to understand at times). No, I read it because amidst its other brilliant treatises on nature and love, it showed what it was like to be a woman with plaguing insecurity and the belief of being unworthy of love… and it showed it in first person narrative.

Prue Sarn is born with a harelip and thus is obviously undesirable and clearly a witch.  Get out your ducking stools.  She knows she is terrible and cursed and born of the devil (and whatever other nonsense she is fed), but she still enjoys life and snatches at happiness when she can. She’s a good person. She learns to read and write, she works hard with her brother to preserve the family farm and she falls in love with an itinerant weaver who kinda weaves in and out of town now and then when there is work.


She replaces her would-be sister in law in a very weird ritual where she stands naked in the half-shadows in some strange Venus dramatization and she is appreciated for, well, being a hot woman because no one can see her harelip.

And she keeps falling for the weaver, Kester Woodseaves ( the names in this) and the language is gorgeous and Prue loves to read.   And she writes. She writes letters that her illiterate brother can’t throwing in some extra lines for Kester.  It’s awesome.

Also, she saves his life when he protests dog fights and the treatment of poor animals and is attacked by a dog.  Like, he’s a decent guy too.  And she knows it but she also knows that HE DESERVES A GIRL LIKE A LILY ( her words, not mine)


Anyways, life is hard for poor Prue despite the fact that she and Kester like to talk about dragonflies now and then and she still holds the slight promise that somewhere there is a cure for her.  There is death in her family and she becomes blamed for everything and is, of course, judged as a witch and stuff is terrible for a bit.

AND I LOVE EVERY FRIGGIN MINUTE of this, frankly, unreadable at times novel.

SO…. I learned a million years ago that PBS had done an adaptation in, like, 1989. Being a little kid, I didn’t care. But I started to care when I learned it was Janet McTeer and Clive Owen and stuff and I wanted so badly to see it.  So for years I keep surfing youtube and streaming sites and the public library and no one has it. Nothing. You can’t watch this illegally. You can’t watch this anywhere….
Screenshot-2015-03-19-05.39
okay thanks to the Silver Petticoat Review for also sharing my love, but also providing us with fuzzy images
(http://www.silverpetticoatreview.com/2015/03/20/why-precious-bane-should-be-the-next-classic-the-bbc-adapts/)


UNTIL, a random search the other day ( I was committed, guys, I would remind myself now and then to check check check), I discovered a site where I could pay them with paypal for a download avi file.   I was,like, TAKE ALL MY MONEY, please ( it wasn’t that expensive, the price of a movie ticket and I will watch it every day and get my money’s worth) and the kind people who run this rare movie service sent me a download avi file and I watched it and it was AMAZING

Image result for precious bane movie
Just get married already



It is so amazing. It is like word for word from the book and sometimes you have NO idea what they are saying and Kester gives Prue these long, lingering glances.


It’s really quite great and my time and perseverance paid off and that---that whole find, pay, receive download of esoteric very random old rare PBS adaptation is one of the NERDIEST THINGS I HAVE DONE 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Books and stuff...

Busy times around here.

A few weekends ago, I was part of the Huronia Arts Festival which was fabulous. I also got to meet up with the lovely Aggie who did my publicity photos for Herringford and Watts
I read a bit from Lesson in Love and Murder


http://www.smyrska.com/



Last week, I was out at a conference for my real job all week: but I did get to sneak in a Jays game AND the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Barbra Streisand

we're first in the AL East!


I am off to British Columbia tomorrow for a week of holidays and to hang out with a good friend of mine.... follow my instagram for pics


A few books:


Lynn Austin Waves of Mercy: this was, without doubt, one of my most highly anticipated books of the year....  I love this author so much and after a short foray into Biblical fiction, it is nice to have some vintage Austin with a multi-generational saga. I am on Lynn's launch team for this book, so you will see my full review and more about it closer to its release date.
The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America by [Larson, Erik]

The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson: I had to read this book in installments because it scared me so much.  I knew, of course, about H H Holmes and his mass killings and his depraved nature, but Larson is such an exceptional storyteller, that you felt his story unfolding as it does in a horror film, bristling the hairs on the back of your neck.

I love Chicago history and Larson did an exceptional, accessible and addictively narrative job of bringing its conception to life, threaded with the eerie and horrific murders than underpinned its grandeur.
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes: A Novel by [Crispell, Susan Bishop]

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell   If you like Sarah Addison Allen, you will love this book.  It's about a young woman who is finding herself and accepting her past in a quirky town peppered with eccentricities.  With the warmth characterization of Billie Letts and the narrative ease of Alice Hoffman,  Crispell spins a tale of magic and loss in an artful and beguiling way.   Rachel has an unusual secret: she can grant wishes.  What seems like a blessing is more often a curse as she navigates a new community and the first flits of love.   This is a book to savour, to press to your heart once you've sighed over a gorgeous line or two.   Like this one: "I've come to realize that life is much more fun if you think anything's possible."

I highly recommend this for the evenings yawning into Autumn. An author to keep.
(with thanks to netgalley for the review copy)



And finally,  A Lesson in Love and Murder releases tomorrow


A Lesson in Love and Murder (Herringford and Watts Mysteries Book 2) by [McMillan, Rachel]
From Goodreads Review:

"This was my favorite story so far in this fun series, with lively characters, snappy dialogue, action, adventure and historical figures in the mix. The quips and quotes at the beginning of each chapter, and in the footnotes, add the details needed to fill in references, and added narrative. Benny, the RCMP, was a sighworthy hero, giving Jasper a bit of competition, and shaking Miranda up enough to make it extra interesting. Ray and Jem had a lot to deal with for a newly married couple, and I found myself rooting for them, hoping they'd work it all out. Who hasn't struggled with money, family and communication problems? There are deeper issues underlying the fast paced storyline too, with political activism, domestic violence, faith struggles, and ethical dilemmas.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Catching Up on Reading: mini-reviews

THINGS I HAVE READ


A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn:   This series is giving the Lady Julia Grey books a run for their money. I am dashed fond of Veronica and Stoker and I love the Victorian sensibility as well as the undercurrent of adventure.  Sure, there is detection, but I read these for the smart quips and budding romance between our two leads.   If you are in the mood for perfect escapism, then this is a world you can lose yourself in.  Also, Raybourn's voice is snort-worthily wonderful.  LOVE !
note: review copy received from Netgalley


Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman:  I really enjoyed this book and it is probably one of my favourite Bronte biographies I have read. My favourite aspect was the time it spent with Charlotte in Brussels while she worked for the Heger family.  People like me who consider Villette their favourite Bronte book are usually fascinated by Bronte's years in Brussels and the unrequited love she harboured for M. Heger and his influence on Paul Emanuel.  I really loved this. Quite readable with an academic style and some wonderful photographs and illustrations.



When Falcons Fall by C.S. Harris   I really love the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. Moreso for the characters and setting than the actual mysteries themselves.   Also, can we give a shout-out to Hero who is probably one of the best heroines in any mystery running today? I enjoyed how this book took us from London and into Shropshire with a cozier feel than St. Cyr's usual metropolitan adventures. A hefty dose of romance helps keep these on my must-read list.



Bella and the Beast by Olivia Drake:  I requested this on netgalley because Beauty and the Beast retellings are Rachel catnip but I failed to fall for this one.   There was a decided lack of chemistry and the entire plot while wonderful in theory fell flat.



An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards
I am always looking for interesting new historicals featuring lady detectives and Richards' latest was a wonderful yarn!   I love how the Pinkerton agency allowed women to step out of their traditional roles and into the world of deduction.    The Victorian Chicago setting also worked really well for me and I am always beguiled by a splash of the theatrical which is deftly interwoven here.   I must confess that it took me a little while to get into this one --- but that is often the case at a start of a series as I begin to sink my teeth into the world, characters and story.  This was another netgalley read.