Monday, May 01, 2017

WHEN FALCONS FALL Wins RT's Reviewers' Choice Award, and a Visit to Poisoned Pen

Here's a fun picture from my visit to the Poisoned Pen in Arizona last weekend. This is such an great bookstore, it's always a pleasure to visit it. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and met some amazing writers I wish I'd had a chance to get to know better.

In other news, my little rescue, Kit-Kat, has not been gaining weight despite eating a ton. A trip back to the vet confirmed that her nasty tapeworm infestation is gone, but likely left her with a leaky gut, and she is showing some worrisome fluid in her belly. She's now on steroids, and I'm spending a lot of time fretting about her. We've decided she's older than originally thought, probably at least 10-12. So she's not a young cat, but we're hoping we can help her pull through this.

And, finally, it's just been announced that WHEN FALCONS FALL has won RT's Reviewers' Choice award for best historical mystery of 2016, which is a tremendous honor. Thank you, RT!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Some Updates, and Saying Goodbye to Angel

Where to begin? I've been pretty godawful sick this last month, which is lousy timing considering my latest Sebastian book, WHERE THE DEAD LIE, was released this month. But I think I'm starting to pull out of it.

My trip to Houston was fun. Thanks to everyone who came to my signing at Murder By the Book. I'll be in Scottsdale, Arizona, this Saturday at the Poisoned Pen, so if you're in the area, do stop by!

I was terrified we were going to lose Angel while I was in Houston, but thankfully he waited until the day after I came home to say goodbye.  He was my mother's cat until she died 7 years ago, and so in a sense it was like losing my last thread to her. But I also loved him dearly for his own sake. He was an exuberantly affectionate cat, sitting on my lap while I wrote and sleeping curled up in the crook of my arm every night. He was 18 years old and had been failing for the last couple of months, but it's still been really, really hard to lose him.

And then there's this complication:

She showed up outside my door the Thursday before Angel died, and was so skinny I called her "My Skeleton." After repeating (over and over again) "I don't need another cat!" and feeding her umpteen cans of food outside (for some reason she can't seem to eat dried) for 12 days without much improvement, I finally scooped her up yesterday and carried her off to the vet. Fortunately her tests for nasty cat diseases were negative, although she was horribly infested with fleas and worms. She's now in isolation until that clears up, and then I'm not sure what I'm doing since I had promised Roscoe and Peanut I was going to let them out of their three-room apartment (Roscoe is a Big Mean Cat who picks on other cats, so I had kept him separated from Angel). This little girl acted virtually feral outside, one of the reasons I hesitated to bring her in (that, plus the old flea collar). But now that she's inside she has surprised me by being very friendly. She really is a pathetic thing, and since Skeleton is an unkind name, she's now Kit-Kat. But she's still a skinny, scruffy mess.

Beyond that, I've turned in the proposal for Sebastian #14, WHO SLAYS THE WICKED. And I've just learned they lost the model they used for the last few covers--he's gone off to be a fireman. So we'll be having a new guy for the cover of WHY KILL THE INNOCENT. Fingers crossed he looks the part!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Interview Podcast

I did an interview last week with Susan Larson for The Reading Life. It's a great interview, and you can listen to it on podcast here:

I talk about the background of Where the Dead Lie and my ideas for the future of the series, as well as my new standalone historical, Good Time Coming. My interview is second, and comes at around 13:40.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Coming' at Ya in One Week!

One week from today, Tuesday, April 4, is the official release date for WHERE THE DEAD LIE, the twelfth in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. To whet your appetite, here's a sneak peek at the beginning!

Chapter 1

Monday, 13 September 1813: hours before dawn
The boy hated this part. Hated the eerie way the pale, waxen faces of the dead seemed to glow in the faintest moonlight. Hated being left alone with a stiffening body while he dug its grave.
He kicked the shovel deep into the ground and felt his heart leap painfully in his chest when the scrape of dirt against metal sounded dangerously loud in the stillness of the night. He sucked in a quick breath, the musty smell of damp earth thick in his nostrils, his fingers tightening on the smooth wooden handle as he paused to cast a panicked glance over one shoulder.
A mist was drifted up from the Fleet to curl around the base of the nearby shot tower and creep along the crumbling brick walls of the abandoned warehouses beyond it. He heard a dog bark somewhere in the distance and, nearer, a soft thump.
What was that?
The boy waited, his mouth dry, his body tense and trembling. But the sound was not repeated. He swiped a ragged sleeve across his sweaty face, swallowed hard, and bent into his work. He was uncomfortably aware of the cloaked gentleman watching from the seat of the cart that waited at the edge of the field. The gentleman had helped drag Benji’s body over to the looming shot tower. But he never helped dig. Gentlemen didn’t dig graves, although they could and did kill with a vicious delight that made the boy shiver as he threw another shovelful of dirt onto the growing pile.
The hole was beginning to take shape. Another six inches or so and he’d—
The boy’s head snapped around, and he froze.
A ragged, skeletally thin figure lurched from the gaping doorway of one of the tumbledown warehouses. “Wot ye doin’ there?”
The shovel hit the ground with a clatter as the boy bolted. He fell into the newly dug grave and went down, floundering in the loose dirt. Feet flailing, he reared up on splayed hands, found solid ground, and pushed off.
“Oye!” shouted the ghostly specter.
The boy tore across the uneven field, his breath soughing in and out, his feet pounding. He saw the gentleman in the cart jerk, saw him gather the reins and spank them hard against his horse’s rump.
“Wait for me!” screamed the boy as the cart lurched forward, its iron-rimmed wheels rattling over the rutted lane. “Stop!’
The gentleman urged the horse into a wild canter. He did not look back.
The boy leapt a low, broken stretch of the stone wall that edged the field. “Come back!”
The cart careened around the corner and out of sight, but the boy tore after it anyway. Surely the gentleman would stop for him? He wouldn’t simply leave him, would he?
Would he?
The boy was sobbing now, his nose running, his chest aching as he fought to draw air into his lungs. It wasn’t until he reached the corner himself that he dared risk a frantic look back. That’s when he realized the skeletal figure wasn’t following him.
The man—for the boy saw now that it was a man and not some hideous apparition—had paused beside the raw, unfinished grave. And he was staring down at what was left of Benji Thatcher. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Enter to Win the Entire Sebastian St. Cyr Series! (well, at least the series so far)

Penguin is giving away a set of the entire Sebastian St. Cyr series, up to and including an Advance Readers Copy of Where the Dead Lie. The link to enter is:

You can enter until 11:59 ET on March 29th. Unfortunately, entry is restricted to U.S. residents only. But it's a pretty cool offer. Good luck!