Author Archive

Exciting New Book Release: The Star and the Strange Moon

Where has the time gone?

I just finished up edits to the first-pass pages for The Star and the Strange Moon and reflected on what a whirlwind the last three years have been for all of us.

When I began my publishing journey with A Witch in Time in February 2020, we were on the cusp of what would be a strange two years where the world shut down due to Covid-19. I was one of the last writers to have a book launch in person and if writing is a lonely profession, it was even lonelier not connecting with readers live. When The Ladies of the Secret Circus came out in March 2021, I was living in West Palm Beach for the winter having just finished radiation treatment for breast cancer and did a virtual  “book tour” with amazing writers like Erika Swyler, Alma Katsu, Gwendolyn Womack and Greer Macallister who so graciously gave of their time.

Fast forward two years and it’s been wonderful seeing people again. I’ll be in San Antonio from June 8-10 for the Historical Novel Society, North America 2023 Conference to do a session “Toil and Trouble: The Witch in Historical Fiction” with the amazing writers Paulette Kennedy and Alyssa Palombo. Then, on June 17, I’ll be appearing at Awesome Con at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

At both events, I’ll be promoting my (third!) book, The Star and the Strange Moon, which comes out November 14, 2023. (You can pre-order it now!)  A haunting tale of ambition, obsession, and the eternal mystery and magic of film, The Star and the Strange Moon tells the story of actress Gemma Turner, who disappears on the set of a horror film in 1968 and is never seen again, and film student Christopher Kent, haunted by one of film history’s greatest mysteries, sets out to discover the truth, he risks losing himself in the process. He’ll have to outrun the cursed legacy of the film—or become trapped by it forever.  

This book is odd, even for me, but it was soooo much fun to write! It has a mash-up of influences from an old ABC-Movie of the Week, Death at Love House (1976) starring Kate Jackson, old gothic romance novels like On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt, Hammer Films (the Christopher Lee ones) and the 2008 British TV-miniseries, Lost in Austen.  The main character, Gemma Turner, was also inspired by the actress, Francoise Dorleac who was the older sister of Catherine Deneuve.  Dorleac died tragically in 1967 in a car crash in Nice.  (See images of the book’s inspiration below.)


When I’m working on a novel, I give up about every weekend and most evenings to hit the deadlines and so there is a real relief when I finish a manuscript and I get to read again!  My top picks right now are: Night Film by Marisha Pessl (another big inspiration for the book and I re-read it again), Cackle by Rachel Harrison, Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourne, The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston and House of Cotton by Monica Brashears. With the last two, you tell me there is a strange funeral home in the story and I’m there!

Have a great summer!

March 2021 Update

Let’s just say it…I should be better at keeping up with my blog! There is so much to cover that I don’t even know where to begin.

First, The Ladies of the Secret Circus hits stores (and online) on March 23rd.  If you’re in the UK, it is already out in paperback.  I’m not going to lie, this second book was a tough one.  No one tells you just how difficult writing a second book is.  You’ve had an unlimited amount of time to work on your first book until you’re fortunate enough to get a book contract, but then on the second, you now have a looming deadline.  I think every writer feels their second book just isn’t as polished or perfect as their first.

That said, I’m really happy with this book.  I took the bones of an old novel that I had sitting around and wrapped it around a fantastic circus tale that I wanted to write about. So far, the reviews have been good.  It’s gotten two starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal:

“Fans of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus will love this page-turning story of dark magic, star-crossed love, and familial sacrifice.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Highly recommended for lovers of timeslip fiction, readers who enjoy their genres very bent indeed, and those who have dreamed of running away to the circus.” – Library Journal (starred review)

I’ll be doing several events around the launch with my dream list of writers like Erika Swyler, Gwendolyn Womack, Greer Macallister and Rena Rossner.  Signed copies of the book will be available through the book events.  If you’ve liked the music from my books, I’ve compiled everything into a Spotify Playlist for both A Witch in Time and The Ladies of the Secret Circus.

I’ve debated (agonized) about writing about this next bit.  I’m a pretty private person, but I’ve been talking with two dear friends who are just heroes to me on their bravery, so here it goes…In between books one and two, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Some of you know this story, so I’ll condense it here to avoid repeating myself. In August, was working on the developmental edits for LADIES when I got the call about my routine mammogram.  This fairly small and non-aggressive 6mm tumor was hiding behind a benign cyst and was nearly missed.  That is the condensed version. The real-time version was terrifying. Getting diagnosed early certainly gave me a lot of treatment options.  I’m forever in the debt of Dr. David Euhus at Johns Hopkins who sat down with me before I went into surgery and began asking me details about A Witch in Time that only someone who read it (or, in his case, listened to it) would know. With Covid-19 safety protocols, I was alone in the hospital for surgery, so to not feel like a number to my surgeon, put me at ease with him immediately.  A course of radiation therapy followed until right before Christmas.  When you finish radiation, they have you ring a bell and read a Thoreau quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”  As cancer seemed to take a wrecking ball to all my plans, reading that quote just caused me to break down crying.  I cannot tell you how much the small kindnesses by the medical staff at Sibley Hospital meant to me as well as drawing strength from the other patients who sat with me in the waiting room as Christmas carols played on the sound system.  I was lucky for so many reasons.

As a result, the release of book three will be pushed back a little bit, but I can tell that I’m already grappling with questions on mortality that will make their way onto the page as only can be done in historical fantasy.  Here’s a little preview of my book three inspirations:  Francoise Dorleac, Dark Shadows, Victoria Holt romances and Amboise, France.  I’m soooo excited about book three.  And for those of you who have asked about whether I will write Luke’s story, I’m definitely tossing the ideas around in my head.  Luke needs a story of his own!

March newsletter photo

L-R: The view outside my window in North Palm, the book, Gidget on the lawn chair

So how has cancer changed me?  To be closer to my support system, I decided to sell my house and moved to Florida for the winter.  I put everything in storage, packed up my Volvo and took the two dogs to live in West Palm Beach with my boyfriend.  I’ll make my way back up to the DC area, but for now, I have adored living in West Palm and the life of a digital nomad!  I’ve been on the road a lot in the past few months, so much thanks to Subculture Coffee, Harold’s Coffee Lounge, Butcher and Bee (totally obsessed with whipped feta and honey) and The Harbinger (The Best Friend is amazing), for making the journey memorable!

Finally, like everyone, I’ve baked too much bread and watched too much TV during this pandemic.  My favorites have been Bridgerton, Lupin, Ted Lasso and The Queen’s Gambit.  On my TBR pile right now is The Lost Apothecary, The Sanatorium, and These Violent Delights.


July 2020

Lots of news to share.

First, I’m thrilled to unveil the cover of my new book, The Ladies Of The Secret Circus which will be out on March 23, 2021. You can pre-order it here.

Once again, the city of Paris figures prominently in the plot. This time, it’s 1925 as Montparnasse is buzzing with musicians, artists and writers. As with A Witch In Time, it’s always so fun to dive into the historical research. Last year, I was fortunate to spend most of June in France including Paris, Normandy and the Loire Valley. I’d been hoping to get back this year to finish a few things, but the world had other plans!

Here’s a brief description of the book!

From the author of A Witch in Time comes a magical story spanning from Jazz Age Paris to modern-day America of family secrets, sacrifice, and lost love set against the backdrop of a mysterious circus.

Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder–a world where women weave illusions of magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. Bound to her family’s circus, it’s the only world Cecile Cabot knows until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2004: Lara Barnes is on top of the world, but when her fiancé disappears on their wedding day every plan she has for the future comes crashing down. Desperate, Lara’s search for answers unexpectedly lead to her great-grandmother’s journals.

Swept into a story of a dark circus and ill-fated love, secrets about Lara’s family history come to light and reveal a curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations. A curse that might be tied to her fiancé’s mysterious fate.

In other news, A Witch in Time will be out in paperback in the US on August 18th. The trade paperback version includes extras like the Readers Guide and an excerpt from The Ladies Of The Secret Circus. The paperback is available in the UK as well as in Germany. Spanish, Portuguese and Russian versions are coming soon!

Finally, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be on a Comic Con At Home panel for Orbit’s new voices in SFF on July 23rd at 5PM PST. I’ll be joined by my fellow writers: Devin Madson, Luke Arnold, Andrew Stewart, Essa Hansen, K.S. Villoso and M.A. Carrick.

On my TBR pile: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Glamourist by Luanne G Smith, Weird Tales: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories and The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh.