Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a book or an Audible edition of the Josephine B. Trilogy

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a chance to win a book or an Audible edition of the Josephine B. Trilogy


I’ve a newsletter about to go out, and I want to remind my wonderful readers who aren’t on my newsletter mailing list that you’re missing a chance to win one of my books — or (for the first time!) win an Audible edition of the entire Josephine B. Trilogy. The choice would be yours.

Click here to sign up. (Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.)

Wonderful early reviews for The Book of Hope

Some readers have received an Advance Readers Copy (an “ARC”) of The Book of Hope, or read a free copy on NetGalley. It’s not possible for them to post reviews on Amazon until publication day, but it is possible to post a review on GoodReads and NetGalley.

It’s exciting (and anxious-making) to see early reviews coming in. My favourite so far is this one from Chelsea M. on NetGalley:

“Loved this read! It had me hooked!” 

Swoon. That’s the best review a book can get, in my opinion. Thank you, Chelsea M., whoever you are.

Beta reader love

Here is a photo of one of my wonderful Beta Readers, Vanessa Van Decker, with the Canadian ARC of The Book of Hope.


Vanessa wrote that she was moved to tears to see the book. I myself was moved to tears to see the photo (above) of her smiling face with The Game of Hope in her hand.

Readers are so very special, and my team of young Beta Readers who read and commented on the early drafts of this novel were absolutely amazing.

An idea

Early readers: send me a selfie with The Game of Hope and I’ll post it to my website. A photo of the chocolate madeleines you make would be extra special. :-)

Why pre-order?

Pre-orders inform a publisher that the book is going to sell well, which publishers in turn communicate to bookstores. In short: it’s a very nice thing fans can do to help both a book and an author.

  • (due out May 1, in time for Mother’s Day, hint, hint :-)
  • (due out June 26, in time for summer reading :-)

For more buying options, click here.


Draft 8: check. Drafts 9, 10, 11: yet to come. On my painfully slow revision process

Draft 8: check. Drafts 9, 10, 11: yet to come. On my painfully slow revision process

{Lovely San Miguel de Allende, where I am right now. A photo by Leah Feldon, it is similar to the view from my writing room.}

Yesterday was a big day for me: I woke at 4:00am, and shortly before 8:00am I emailed my manuscript to my editor and agent. It was Friday 13. I am not superstitious, but that did give me pause.

Some writers are able to write a perfectly good novel in two or three drafts. I am not one of those writers! It takes me years (and years) to uncover the complexities, the depths and the “fall line” of a story. My revision process is extremely slow, in spite of all the techniques I use (i.e. plotting) to try to speed it up. I do hope I’m getting closer.

J.K. Rowling’s plot guideline. No doubt it helped!

Moonsick (working title) is my novel for Young Adults, a story based on the teen years of Josephine Bonaparte’s daughter Hortense. Is the novel too giddy? Too dark? I’m frankly not sure. This is why beta readers — teen beta readers — will be important to my final revision process.

Teen beta readers wanted

Later that same day I sent out a newsletter that included a call for teen beta readers. I now have three readers, and (I hope) more to come. I’d also like to find a book club that reads YA fiction — not exclusively, but often enough that they are comfortable with the genre. It occurs to me that a high school English class might be interested in reading it (although it really is a novel for girls). Let me know if you have a teen reader or a book club or class to suggest.

Going back to where it all began

Looking for reader guidelines I’ve used in the past, I discovered a blog post I wrote in February of 2012 — five years ago! — announcing that I would be writing a YA novel about Hortense.

Hortense as a teen — the subject of my next-next novel (Surprise!) 

(Note that This Bright Darkness, mentioned in the post, was the working title of The Shadow Queenwhich was published two years later, in the spring of 2014.)

Hortense de Beauharnais

Lovely Hortense as a teen. Energetic, creative, talented — a bright spark.


Yay, Romania—the first country to translate THE SHADOW QUEEN! (Who would have guessed?)


I’m so pleased. I’ve just printed out the contract for Romanian rights to THE SHADOW QUEEN. I’ll sign and send them off today. 

Romania is a country I’ve not yet been published in. Here’s the list so far:

Canada (two publishers: both English and Quebec French editions)






Spain (two publishers: both Spanish and Catalan editions)



The Czech Republic








When I started writing decades ago, I assumed I would never be published, so this does make me smile. 

red smile

“Truth-adjacent” fiction?


I recently read a review of the iSteve movie in the July 2013 issue of MacWorld. I quote:

Despite the movie’s liberties–and it takes a lot of them–it adopts at times a surprising fidelity to historical events. In the end, you might best describe the film as “truth-adjacent.”

I like the term “truth-adjacent” and may adopt it. Another description that seems to be used in the UK but not in North America is “biographical fiction,” which describes my work exactly. “Fact-based fiction” is a term commonly used here, but I dislike it: it has a medicinal flavor.

How would you describe fiction that is based on fact?



Gutenberg’s fingerprint: how much is a smudge worth?

Gutenberg’s fingerprint: how much is a smudge worth?


I’ve posted a few times of late about The Paradise Project, author Merilyn Simonds‘ limited-edition letterpress publication of short stories. In an age when publication is becoming more and more digital, I’m finding this hand-made centuries-old process fascinating.

Merilyn has been blogging about the process. Her latest post, Gutenberg’s fingerprint, is especially evocative.

The studio is crowded today: all the people who worked onThe Paradise Project have gathered to see the final pages printed and put the press to bed. …

Mico looks at the press as he will one day look at the person he loves. “He let me run this thing when I was 14, and ever since, I’ve wanted to come back. It was a big mistake. Now I never want to leave.

Me neither.

On the news front, I’m awaiting the delivery of my edited last draft. I’m told that there are only about 50 small suggestions. (That’s nothing!) I’m also told I was described by an editor as “Queen of Revision.” I love that!

I’m considering changing my main character’s name from Claude (her historical name) to Claudine or Claudette. A number of readers get confused by what they consider a male name. I like the androgynous name and it suits Claude’s androgynous character, but I don’t like confusing readers (at least unintentionally). Your thoughts? Preferences? I’m leading toward Claudine.

I put off sending out my newsletter until later in August so that I could give more concrete information about the publication date, a possible title, the Josephine documentary as well as Sandra Gulland Ink publications.

Yes, there is a lot coming to a head next month!

Illustration at top is from Bibleodyssey.