What does it mean when your characters name themselves?

This week I read an interesting post the importance of choosing the right names for fictional characters. One of the points the post made was that authors should avoid doing anything that might bring a reader out of the story, including having names that sound alike. I first ran into this specific problem when I was about to publish my first book, Maids of Misfortune. Most of you know the story by now: I published this book thirty years after I came up with the plot and twenty years after I wrote the first draft so, as you might imagine, Read more…

Bloody Lesson Goes on Sale today.

Available in print and for the Kindle here! Bloody Lessons is the third novel in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, and in celebration of this launch I am making the first book in the series, Maids of Misfortune, free on Kindle for 3 days (9/15-17) and discounting the second book in the series, Uneasy Spirits, to 99 cents for a week (9/15-21) on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, and Smashwords. Do tell your friends that they can get the whole series the next 3 days for under $5! And a treat for those of you who have joined my Facebook Read more…

Bloody Lessons: Victorian San Francisco Teachers–Part Three

This is the final part of my 3-part series on San Francisco teachers in 1880. I hope it helps deepen your enjoyment of Bloody Lessons, the third book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series. “Who were the women who did succeed in passing their examinations and securing jobs in San Francisco, Portland, or Los Angeles? And, what were their jobs like once they got them? Over eighty percent of the female teachers in these three cities in 1880 were single, and over two thirds of them were single and under the age of thirty. In Portland and Los Angeles, Read more…

Bloody Lessons: Victorian San Francisco Teachers: Part Two

In my newest Victorian San Francisco Mystery, Bloody Lessons, the question comes up over whether a teacher got her position through undue favoritism on the part of a school board member. Once again, a plot point came right out of the pages of my dissertation and the newspapers of the time period. And once again, the controversies of the past, in this case over city policies governing the hiring and retaining of public school teachers, echoes controversies in the present. “No matter what their salary, women highly coveted the job of teaching in the nineteenth century, and by 1880 a Read more…

Bloody Lessons: Victorian San Francisco Teachers–Part One

From the start, my plan for the series of mysteries set in Victorian San Francisco has been that each book should feature a different occupation held by women of that period. In Maids of Misfortune, my protagonist, Annie Fuller, goes undercover as a domestic servant, in Uneasy Spirits, she investigates a fraudulent trance medium, and in my short story, The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage, the elderly seamstresses who live in Annie Fuller’s boarding house are on center stage. In Dandy Detects, it is another boarder, Barbara Hewett, who is the main protagonist. And it was while I was developing Read more…