On the Road: The Tour, Week 3


Christmas Story-telling, by John Everett Millais, 1862

Hello, again! Here I am with a quick summary of Week 3 of the tour. Coincidence or not, I’ve been happy to see some familiar screen names among the responders at these different locations.

Last week was probably the busiest so far with a guest appearance every day of the work week. On Monday, December 17, I blogged about the disabled heroine on Romancing the Book. On Tuesday, December 18, I shared my family recipe for Coconut Date Balls at Reading Between the Wines. Two interviews were logged on Wednesday, December 19, at Simply Ali and Dear Author, as part of their weekly Debut Print Author feature.  On Thursday, December 19, I participated in an ongoing holiday event at Cocktails and Books, blogging about a favorite winter memory.  A blog about families in romance at Fresh Fiction finished out the week on Friday, December 20. Giveaways of Waltz with a Stranger are being held at most of these events.

This week, I’ll be making three blog appearances, and I think giveaways are being held there too, so interested parties might want to check these out.

December 24: Romance at Random

December 27: Manga Maniac Cafe

December 28: Books Like Breathing

This being the week of Christmas itself, Blue Stockings & Crossed Genres will be going on a brief winter hiatus. But I hope to be back soon, with my usual stash of this and that, including the ongoing alphabet posts and perhaps some information of what might be happening down the road . . .

In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

Holly_Christmas_card_from_NLIChristmas Card from the 1880s

On The Road: The Tour, Week 2

Another busy week of promotion, to be followed by an even busier one. Here’s a quick run-down of last week for those interested in following along.

On December 10, I blogged at Night Owl Romance about dance as the language of the love. Then, on December 11, History Undressed hosted my blog about the allure of the Victorian Age. I also wrote a guest column on twins in romance for Love Romance Passion that appeared on December 12. A blog about the pleasures of writing mystery with romance finished out the week at Coffee Time Romance on December 14. Many of these blogs are also hosting ongoing giveaways of Waltz with a Stranger.

I also participated in a live chat with Grace Burrowes at Discover a New Love on the evening of December 12. For those who weren’t able to attend, but might be interested in what was said, a transcript is available at the site.

Next week. I will be making five appearances on blogs.

December 17: Romancing the Book

December 18: Reading Between the Wines

December 19: Simply Ali

December 20: Cocktails and Books

December 21: Fresh Fiction

Hope to see some of you around the blogosphere!

“E” is for “Entry”

To a different world, and a different culture.


Last week was an experience for me. But not just because Waltz with a Stranger was finally released. On December 5, I was one of a small party that attended a reception in honor of the King of Thailand’s birthday, held at a local country club. (A relative teaches the general consul’s son, and unexpectedly received an invitation. The rest of us came along as moral support.)

So there we were, all dressed up for the evening–can’t go wrong with a little black dress and a sparkly necklace!–and getting an on-the-fly lesson in Thailand’s political history, an eyeful of Thai traditions, and later on, generous servings of Thai food (tasty, but definitely on the “hot” side. I regretted the apparent absence of Thai iced tea to cool things down, afterwards.) There was a great deal to see, hear, and absorb–much of which I’m still reflecting on–but here are some thoughts/discoveries to start with.


Massaman Curry, photo by Ernesto Andrade

Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX, has ruled Thailand for 65 years, and is still a popular, much revered figure in his country. As a citizen of a nation in which we “fire” our head of government every four years if we’re dissatisfied with his policies and see a changing of the guard every eight years whatever the outcome, I found myself amazed by the thought of any one person being in power for six and a half decades. And then remembered Queen Victoria and her own 64 years on the English throne, and the reverence she most often inspired in her subjects, even those who were critical of her. The British and the Thais were both fortunate to have monarchs who appeared to have their country’s best interests at heart.

It was intriguing to hear how invested the Thais were in the outcome of our own recent election. One of the speakers of the evening proposed a toast to President Obama, in honor of his second term, and mentioned that the president had made a recent visit to Thailand after winning reelection. He voiced the hope that Thailand and the U.S. would continue their friendly relationship of many years.


Meeting of President Obama and Rama IX, 11/18/12

Back in the club, monitors showed news footage of Bhumibol’s past visits to the United States. A placard displayed an excerpt of a speech he gave on one such visit.

On lighter subjects: Thai national dress is stunningly beautiful. We saw a number of Thai women, many exquisitely gowned in silks and satins, lovely sheeny fabrics heavy with embroidery or crusted with gems.


Thai girls in traditional costume. Photo: Yashi Wong

Thai culture seems to place a high value on beauty in general. On the terrace where the reception was held, there were corners in which guests could see popular Thai pastimes at work: garland-making–jasmine is a staple, because of its perfume; fruit and vegetable carving, into beautiful, elaborate shapes; and calligraphy (I now have a bookmark with my name written in Thai).


Carved carrot and cucumber. Photo: Mattes

Throughout the evening, we glimpsed some traditional Thai dances–“glimpsed” because the terrace was very crowded and visibility at something of a premium. I marveled at the sight of the dancers in their elaborate headdresses, which I hoped were lighter than they appeared. And a small group of musicians played throughout the evening. I noticed a cello, a hammer dulcimer, something that looked like a large xylophone, and a thoroughly modern electronic keyboard! Or perhaps it was a synthesizer–I never plucked up the nerve to ask.


Khon Dancers in Performance

But, in the midst of all this fascinating history and culture, perhaps the most novel experience of the evening for me . . . was finding myself, at a mere 5′ 4″, among the taller people at the party. An evening to remember indeed!

On the Road: The Tour, Week 1

Waltz with a Stranger is now available in stores and online, and my “virtual tour” is underway. The full listing of the blogs I will be visiting this month is up on my News page, but for those who might appreciate a brief summary, here is what happened this week:

On December 4–Release Day–I was interviewed about Waltz with a Stranger on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell. A giveaway of 1 copy is currently ongoing. I also appeared on the USA Today Happy Ever After blog with fellow Sourcebooks author Anne Elizabeth: we conducted a joint interview of each other.

December 7: An interview and giveaway at SOS Aloha.

A “launch party” post at Casablanca Authors, giveaway of 3 copies–winners to be determined Sunday night, and announced Monday morning.

Next week, the itinerary is as follows.

Monday, December 10: Guest blog at Night Owl Romance

Tuesday, December 11: Guest blog at History Undressed

Wednesday, December 12: Guest blog at Love Romance Passion

Live chat (with another fellow Sourcebooks author, Grace Burrowes) at Discover A New Love, at 5 PM PST/7 PM CST/8 PM EST.  Prizes will be offered, including a Kindle Fire, a Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and copies of the authors’ books.


Friday, December 14: Guest blog at Coffee Time Romance

Meanwhile, the giveaway of two copies of Waltz with a Stranger continues here at Blue Stockings & Crossed Genres until Tuesday, December 11, at midnight PST. If you are interested in participating, please comment on the December 4 post “D is for Dance.”

“D” is for “Dance”: Waltz with a Stranger is Here + Giveaway!


Dance in the City, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Fourteen months after accepting my publisher’s offer, I am delighted to announce the arrival of Waltz with a Stranger on December 4, 2012. It’s been a long journey, and one that I couldn’t have made without the support and encouragement from so many people in both my personal and professional life, from my family and friends to my agent, my editor, and the whole team at Sourcebooks. Thank you all for helping me to realize my dream! And more stories will be coming (I hope!).

In honor of Release Day, I will be giving away two copies–signed, if you like–of the actual book (not an ARC!) to commenters below. And this month, I will also be embarking on a “virtual tour,” visiting various blogs and websites to discuss and promote Waltz with a Stranger. Tour dates and locations are listed and linked on the News page of Blue Stockings & Crossed Genres, if you’d like to drop by and say hello while I’m “on the road.”

A few words on the subject of “the dance,” as this is also an “alphabet post.”

It was through Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and a double feature of Swing Time and Top Hat that I first learned about dance as “the language of love.” Granted, I was only eight or nine at the time, but the romance, grace, and artistry of one of Hollywood’s best dance teams made a permanent impression.

That impression was reinforced and given a slightly racier spin some years later when my graduate school roommate–a fellow Astaire-Rogers fan–and I were watching The Gay Divorcée on TV. We watched spellbound as the duo spun and glided through the number “Night and Day” with their trademark flair. After which, Fred leaned over a breathless, wide-eyed Ginger, and asked in a low, intimate voice: “Cigarette?” To which she could only shake her head in response.

My roommate and I stared at each other, absorbing what we’d just seen and heard . . . and then we burst into shrieks of laughter at how adroitly the film makers had managed to circumvent the Hays code!


Dance at Bougival, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

While James and Aurelia, the hero and heroine of Waltz with a Stranger, are not in the same terpsichorean league as Fred and Ginger, they nonetheless share a special connection when they dance. A connection that–as with Fred & Ginger in their many films–transcends speech and carries with it the whisper of secret longing and forbidden love. A connection that ultimately proves impossible to deny . . .

Waltz Cover 2

So, if you like the sound of this, please save a place on your dance card for Waltz with a Stranger!

Edited To Add: The hat of destiny has decreed that Rebecca Burnham and infinitieh are the recipients of this week’s giveaway of Waltz with a Stranger. Please contact me with your mailing addresses so I can send your copies (signed if you’d like) to you as soon as possible.