Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.
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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History
A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 5, 2020
Against all Fierce Hostility, book 6 in my Monastery Murders series, is due for publication later this month. The first new release in this series since 2015--I've been busy doing other things.
The Monastery Murders moves to Canada when Antony is invited to lecture on the British saints who inspired the founding of Toronto and Felicity couriers an ancient manuscript connected with Saint Patrick to monasteries in Montreal and Vancouver. A spectacular train journey across the breadth of the continent carries them even further away from the murder Felicity witnessed in England. Or does it?
The book will available for...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 26, 2020
Thankfully, the pandemic restrictions are easing for many of us. Good news, indeed. But now we must look at the economic concerns of what it means for millions of people around the world to be out of work, businesses closed, and supply lines interrupted. As the media never tires of warning us, the possibility of a depression looms.
As in my article a few weeks ago on plagues and pandemics, I again turn to literature for guidance and perspective. I recently met with a book club in another state—over Zoom, of course. I asked their members what they were reading and learned many were reading novels set during the Great Depression. 'It is comforting to see how others have handled things,' one lady said. 'Seeing others endure can help us...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 28, 2020
Now, there’s a cheery topic, if I ever heard one. Actually, though, the thing is that it is good news. I know that many of my readers have heard me say before that the great thing I learned from writing Glastonbury, which covers 1500 years of history, is that, no matter how dark the present may seem, times have always been worse before—and humanity has always survived. And triumphed.
Perhaps in the spirit of “Misery loves company," which was one of my mother’s favorite sayings, and even more appropriately, in tune with the Lenten hymn that begins, “Now let us all with one accord, In...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 17, 2020
About the year 425
The April countryside slid past the little coracles gliding up the River Boyne. All was a patchwork of every imaginable shade of green, from the forest black of ancient hill junipers to the tinted yellow of newborn shoots of spring wheat. And around every rath and on every hillside, baby lambs bleated, tottering after their mothers. Rocks, trees, and clouds shaded the land with blue, purple, and gray shadows, and Patrick thanked God that he and his fellow missionaries should have arrived at this wonderful season of the renewing of life.
Patrick took a deep breath of the fresh, moist air and shook his head at the wonder that he should be returning here—to the very land where he had been held as captive; to the very people for whom he had labored as a slave for six years. Renewed life, indeed. A time of studying in a monastery in France had kindled his passion to bring the light of Christ to these people who once enslaved him. And here he was back in Ireland on the very eve of Jesus’ victory over death....
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 12, 2020
While our world is in the grip of the Covid-19 virus, it’s instructive to ponder how history repeats itself. And how Good ultimately triumphs. Here, lifted from the pages of my newly re-released Where Love Calls, book 6 in the Where There is Love Series, we have scenes from China, 1880-1883, as another contagious epidemic rages. Yet, God brings glory from it.
T’ai-yuen Fu, capital of the province of Shansi, North China, was four hundred miles inland from the nearest port—six weeks by sea, then twenty days’ travel by foot and pony...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 4, 2020
When I first heard of Angels Flight, Los Angeles’ unique funicular railway, I was fascinated, but thought that, like so many bits of history, it had crumbled with time. My friend Alice Duncan’s cozy murder mystery Angels Flight is set in 1920s Los Angeles. What fun for heroine Mercy Alcutt to ride that nifty one-stop train to work, I thought—such a shame such things don’t exist anymore.
How wrong I was. When my husband was planning our Anniversary celebration in Los Angeles recently, he stumbled across a...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 30, 2019
When German author E.T.A. Hoffman wrote his short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” in 1816, he could have had no idea that he would be impacting children around the world for centuries.
Although the original story is far more complicated than the ballet version we are familiar with, the basic elements remain the same. It begins on Christmas Eve with Godfather Drosselmeyer bringing mechanical toys to the children. In true ...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 18, 2019
The Christmas preparations at Badminton house were complete to a shade. Georgiana had seen to that: The Christmas pudding well-stirred, the three-tier kissing bough hanging in the center of the ballroom, the yule log ready to set ablaze...
If only she could finish this one last task. She had already ruined several sheets of her mother’s best writing parchment with cross-outs and ink splotches. All the Beaufort children had composed Christmas wishes for family members since they could first hold a pen. Why should this one for her cousin be any different?
A Christmas prayer...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 9, 2019
Okay, I’m not at the English seashore anymore. But Jane Austen was never very far away from it, as Collins Hemingway, our guest speaker reminded us at our annual tea in honor of Jane Austen’s birthday.
The spectacular event was sponsored by the Southern Idaho Chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America. It began early for me when my daughter-in-law picked me up.
We set up the book table at the Emporium, featuring Austen-themed books for gifts, children, and the Jane Austen Book Club.
Also my two Austen Titles, A Jane Austen Encounter...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 6, 2019
Yes, it’s true—my husband and I had breakfast with the princesses on our recent visit to Disney World. And we didn’t even have any of our grandchildren with us. It was my husband’s choice because the breakfast they offered sounded the best.
But we hadn’t been at Norway’s Akershus castle at Epcot Center very long when I began to see a deeper meaning. Watching the delight of all the children, parents, grandparents and...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 5, 2019
My first visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake was many years ago when our son, who lived in Buffalo at the time, took us across the border for a visit. I instantly fell in love. English-themed shops, amazing floral displays everywhere, an authentic Edwardian hotel...
Little did I realize that was only the tip of the iceberg. In 2012 my husband, a devout “Wall Street Journal” reader, saw a rave review of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Yes! We had already planned a trip to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 23, 2019
Due to the leisurely pace and time spent sitting on sidings, enforced by the policy that gives priority to freight trains, and due to the extensive shipping of goods from one side of the continent to another, our trip on the Canadian has extended to another day. By Day 3 we were 11 hours behind schedule—absolutely no problem to me. Yesterday, crossing the Canadian Shield, we had a firm foundation of rock under our tracks, which made increasing speed possible. We made up 2 hours.
Today we journey through the St. Lawrence Forest which extends on both sides of the Manitoba-Ontario border...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 18, 2019
Mickey Mouse, Princesses, fantastic rides—all things that spring to mind when one thinks of Disney World. Cutting edge science might not be at the top of most lists. At Disney’s Epcot Center, however, their scientists are applying innovative methods for growing food to feed the world of the future.
We were at Disney World recently to celebrate a daughter-in-law’s significant birthday and managed to book tickets for the “Behind the Seeds” walking tour which literally takes you behind the scenes of "Living with the Land." We enjoyed a close-up look at Disney’s experimental gardens where scientists work to solve 5...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 14, 2019
Almost all Americans are familiar with the Minnesota motto “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” And even just driving through the state, one finds that is an impressive number of lakes—especially to someone who lives in a desert. So, you can imagine how impressed Stan and I were as the Canadian rumbled through lake-spangled eastern Canada.
This area is known as the Canadian Shield where a billion years ago or so (who’s counting?) glaciers scoured thousands of lakes.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 12, 2019
Donna: I am so happy to welcome Anne McDonald to "The Authorized Version" today. As she recounts below, Anne and I have been writing colleagues for more than 30 years--impossible as it seems. Anne was cutting edge in her publishing journey--entering the world of electronic publishing in the year 2000. Talk about pioneering! I'll let Anne tell her story below.
Anne: I’m so grateful that Donna wanted to feature me on her blog in celebration of the re-release of my romantic suspense Love’s Refining Fire. If it hadn’t been for her encouragement and mentorship, I...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 6, 2019
Yoan, our lovely steward, born in Brittany, but now from Vancouver, brought me my morning tea somewhere along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.
“Oh, you’re still here.” I was surprised because I had understood that they would change crews at Winnipeg in the middle of the night.
He grinned. “Yes, we’re eleven hours late. We’ll be to Winnipeg soon. But don’t worry. We’ll make up a lot of the time.”
I leaned back on my pillows and sipped my tea as the Saskatoon River flowed...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 24, 2019
I am a Rocky Mountains girl. I’ve lived almost all of my life within sight of the Sawtooths, a range of the Rockies. We have traversed the Colorado Rockies many times on family trips and when our daughter and family lived in Calgary we made regular jaunts over the Canadian Rockies.
I was amazed, however, to discover what a very different experience viewing the Canadian Rockies was from the train. One feels so close to nature on the train. The right-of-ways are narrow and the entire panorama is just beyond your window.
We had an early morning stop at Jasper in the northern end of Jasper National Park, often...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 16, 2019
I have loved train travel since I was a little girl when our family took the Union Pacific from Boise to Detroit to get a new car—something quite often done in those days. More recently, I have dreamed of crossing Canada on the Canadian for many years. Just sitting there and watching all that beautiful scenery roll by—what could be more relaxing?
Our Great Adventure did not get off to a relaxing start, however. We began with a visit to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 5, 2019
Today I offer an Author Spotlight, introducing Amanda Fino. One meets the most interesting people in the writersphere and Amanda Fino “Author and CP Gal” is most certainly one of them.
Amanda is a Cerebral Palsy advocate who speaks for the voiceless on her blog. And the busy author of realistic romantic suspense novels. Amanda is currently offering Deepest Elements, her recent release, free on her website.
Donna: Amanda, tell us about your new book.
Amanda: My latest book, DEEPEST ELEMENT, is set at a very elite boarding school that has darkeness within its walls. Arriving in Radcliffe Heights, Rhode Island, freshman Peony “Poppy” Calloway admired the picturesque small town. But deep in the shadows of the woods near Blue Bell Boarding School, and along its hallowed halls, lurked illicit sex, murder, and harrowing danger. Seduced by Jordon Dashwood,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 27, 2019
This month I have a bounty of specials to offer. Readers liking a chilling edge to their reading will want to take a look at Summer Chills and Thrills offering 41 suspense novels all available for free download. As always, I remind you, check the ratings, there is a variety.
I offer An All-Consuming Fire, book 5 in my Monastery Murders: A Christmas wedding in a monastery—idyllic. If the groom can finish the film his predecessor was killed making and the bride can escape the murderer stalking the Yorkshire moors.
For the romantics...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 16, 2019
“Home is the sailor, home from sea”. Well, okay, we haven’t really been sailing—just contemplating the sea from the shore and sometimes thinking of Jane Austen’s sailor brothers. But we are concluding our journey today where Jane concluded her later seashore journeys—at her home in Chawton.
As every Austen fan the world over knows, Chawton Cottage is the home Jane’s brother Edward...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 7, 2019
Margate is just five miles north, across the Isle of Thanet, from Ramsgate which we visited last week. Margate was one of the first of England’s fishing villages to develop as a seaside resort. It has maintained its position as a favorite with Londoners for 250 years, primarily because of its easy access. Its level, fine sandy beaches extend for several miles on both sides of the harbor.
We have no evidence of Jane Austen visiting Margate, but her letters make reference to receiving visitors from there, including “Aunt Fielding from Margate.”
Another was Lady Fagg and her 5 daughters and Miss Chapman from Margate, about whom Austen comments, “I never saw so plain a family, five sisters so very plain!” Presumably Margate was not to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 1, 2019
Ramsgate, like last week’s Brighton, is another of the fashionable seaside resorts that was apparently on Jane Austen’s Least Favourite list, in spite of its being one of the great English resorts and naval ports in the nineteenth century. As early as 1788 the noted artist Benjamin West painted his “Bathing Place at Ramsgate.” The bathing machines West depicts poised to go into a rough sea sport ‘Tilts’ or ‘Modesty Hoods’ invented by the Quaker Benjamin Bale. From the lack of bathing attire the hoods were apparently much needed.
Ramsgate has one of the largest marinas on the south coast and is the only one in the UK to have the distinction of being a Royal Harbour. King George IV, formerly the Prince Regent, bestowed this title on Ramsgate in 1821 to repay the town for their outpouring of hospitality to him when he used the harbor for his Royal Yacht Squadron. Of course, considering Austen’s opinion of Prinney, as we discussed last week at Brighton, that might not have been much of a recommendation to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 24, 2019
It’s one of those ironies of history that even though Jane Austen apparently did not like Brighton—she never went there as far as we know, and only bad things happened to her characters who did go there—her writings have enhanced the fame and popularity of this seaside resort.
In 1799 Jane wrote to her sister, “I assure you that I dread the idea of going to Brighton as much as you do, but I am not without hopes that something may happen to prevent it.” (This quotation from the memoir by William Austen Leigh, who suggests Brighton had been recommended to her brother Edward as an alternate to Bath. It should be noted that Deidre Le Faye translates the town as...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 11, 2019
Jane Austen’s connection with Worthing was completely unknown until late in the 20th century when Fanny Austen’s diaries came to light and Austen scholar Deidre Le Faye began studying them. Before then, all that was known were the references in Jane’s letters regarding plans to visit Worthing. There was no confirmation, however, that the trip had actually come about, rather, considerable doubt was cast on the likelihood:
24 August 1805 Jane, who was at Godmersham, wrote to Cassandra about their 10-year-old nephew Edward who was ill and not recovering well. It looked unlikely he would be able to return to school in Winchester with his brothers when term started that autumn, “& he will...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 5, 2019
Unlike Lyme Regis, for whom its royal ascription was ancient but had simply fallen out of use in Jane Austen’s day, Bognor was just Bognor until King George V went to nearby Aldwick on the advice of his physician in 1929. Queen Mary accompanied him and shopped in Bognor. The monarch found his lodging uncomfortable and did not enjoy his time there. He did, however, recover from his lung infection, and so granted the town permission to append Regis, meaning “of the king,” to its name.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 28, 2019
Boise Extravaganza, 1907: A young Kuna pioneer experiences blow-out celebrations and a history-making trial.
“Merrick, that’s impossible. We can’t just up and leave Kuna to go all the way in to Boise—no matter how grand their Fourth of July celebration promises to be. Papa plans to hold a brush arbor meeting and I—I. . .” Kathryn faltered to a stop. This intriguing Scotsman with his twinkling eyes did come up with the most out-landish notions.
After a deep breath she continued. “Well, I was planning to play the organ. I’d been practicing so hard—‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. I was just ready to start on ‘Yankee Doodle’—but last night while...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 27, 2019
In my series following in the footsteps of Jane Austen at the seashore I have presented the resorts as they are situated geographically from west to east. Actually, though, I started my adventure right in the middle, at Portsmouth. That’s appropriate because Portsmouth comes rather in the middle of Jane’s own story since she lived in nearby Southampton before moving to Chawton, and her novel Mansfield Park, with its centerpiece visit to Portsmouth, is near the middle of her literary output.
My first attempt to attend MysteryFest, a new addition to Portsmouth’s long-standing BookFest celebration every February and March, was cancelled last year when “The Beast from the East” struck with a vengeance. So I was delighted to be...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 14, 2019
Southampton was more than a seaside resort to Jane Austen. It was home to her for almost 3 years and her letters from there provide some of the most sparkling examples of her wit, as does as a reference in her early writing.
Although Jane seems to have been happy during her abode in Southampton, in spite of the fact that she was apparently too occupied with family matters and comings and goings to write anything but letters there, Southampton does not fare well in her Juvenile novel Love and Freindship, written in 1790.
In this cautionary epistolary tale, Laura writes to warn the younger Marianne of the dangers encountered by the girl’s worldy-wise mother: “Isabel had seen the World. She had passed 2 Years at one of the first Boarding-schools in London; had spent a fortnight in Bath...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 7, 2019
Because Lyme Regis was such a favorite seaside location for Jane Austen and because it offers such a pivotal location for her beloved novel Persuasion, our visit there extends over two blog posts. Last week’s part 1 covered: Lyme Regis as a model for Sanditon, my time in Pyne House where the Austens likely stayed and their move to less desirable lodgings, a visit to the Cobb, the filming of “Ammonite” about Mary Anning, and Jane dancing at the assembly.
Today we pick up our tour on our way to the beach with Jane: Now the seafront around the curving beach between Lyme and the smaller Cobb Hamlet is a paved promenade called Marine Parade, much of it lined with colorful cabanas. In Jane’s day it was...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 29, 2019
Of all the sites on our Jane-Austen-led itinerary, Lyme Regis is the one I have most looked forward to visiting. Probably because Persuasion is my favourite Austen novel and Lyme is the site of the book’s pivotal scene. (Although the town received its first royal charter, allowing it to use the title Regis, in the 13th century, it was simply called Lyme in Jane’s day.)
Lyme was part of the general seashore development along the south coast of England in the late 18th century in response to the craze for healthful sea-bathing. Lyme, like all the fashionable resorts springing up, had her visionary developer. Thomas Hollis, whose home was near Lyme, bought up run-down property which he demolished and rebuilt with improved views of the sea. His vision included a promenade and Assembly Rooms—which weren’t completed until after his death. Did Jane perhaps have Thomas Hollis in mind when she chose the name...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 22, 2019
A lovely bus journey continues our Jane-Austen-led seashore tour to Sidmouth. Of course, Jane would have been in a carriage, but the views through the pleasant, rolling countryside must have been similar. And when rain splattered the windows I was glad for the comfort of my modern conveyance.
Tree branches bursting with spring buds scraped the windows as well. I never cease to be amazed how English bus drivers maneuver their mammoth buses along such narrow roads. One field is full of sheep, the next hosts gorgeous fat pheasants. Then we break out into a view of the sea with chalk cliffs running right to the water’s edge. Then a field of black...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 17, 2019
Young (and experienced) writers are always advised to seek outside help for their work—join a writers’ group, find a good editor, acquire beta readers. But can you imagine a budding novelist being able to receive advice personally from Jane Austen?
That was the enviable experience of young Anna Austen Lefroy who...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 7, 2019
The explosion of popularity that gripped Georgian seashore resorts was perfectly timed for Teignmouth, whose fishing industry was declining. The first stirring of elegance came in 1787 when a tea house opened “amongst the local fishermen’s drying nets”. Tea rooms, which are not as thick on the ground today as they once were in England, continue to feature in Teignmouth.
Teignmouth, the western-most point on our itinerary, was listed as a “fashionable watering place” as early as 1803, a year after the Austens are believed to have spent several weeks there. When the Napoleonic wars hindered travel to France and the continent, tourists looked closer to home for their pleasures. Teignmouth...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 30, 2019
Literary tours led by authors are something of a travel industry standard and can bring great new insights to a trip. But have you ever been offered a literary tour led by an author who’s been dead for more than 200 years?
That’s what I undertook on my most recent research trip, and I invite you to come along as Jane Austen takes us to her favorite (and sometimes not-so-favorite) seaside resorts across the breadth of England.
The Regency period saw an explosion of seaside tourism for health and for...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 1, 2019
As this goes out I will be in England. Last month I mentioned I would be speaking at MysteryFest in Portsmouth. From there I will spend a week at the seashore all along the south coast of England, visiting Jane Austen’s favorite holiday spots as research for my next Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense. And then, up to Manchester to visit our daughter and her family.
Which is why my garden pictures are ones our...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 20, 2019
My abject apologies to my highly valued Newsletter Subscribers for whom the pictures failed to come through! I don't know whether I'm more frustrated or disappointed, but I know...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 2, 2019
Britain's Re-Told History Of Tragedy And Triumph Offers Hope For UK In 2019 As It Is Torn Apart By Brexit, Says Donna Fletcher Crow, Author Of The Award-Winning, Epic Novel 'Glastonbury'
To gain the future, Crow says, Britons must reclaim the past. A perspective from history can be an enormous help in holding to hope for the challenges of the present situation.
Author Donna Fletcher Crow
[Boise ID, January 2, 2018] British history, forged and tempered in triumph and tragedies of every kind, has spawned a culture unlike any other on Earth. The United Kingdom has proven to be one of the most resilient nations that has ever existed, producing the largest empire ever known. Having seen more than her fair share of dark times, whether the Middle Ages, civil wars, revolutions or Brexit,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 28, 2018
Ah, the garden is having its winter’s rest and all the activity is cozily indoors these crispy days. No, I don’t have my Christmas decorations up yet, so I’ll share a few of my favorite pictures from last year to help get me in the spirit.
Many years ago, probably back in the 80s, I happened across Marjorie Holmes’ novel Two from Galilee and read it by the light of our Christmas tree. Since then, the tradition of reading a Christmas novel in December has been a part of my holiday celebrations. Anne...
By Fay Sampson ~ November 9, 2018
Three years ago I had a crime novel published: The Wounded Thorn. It was the first in a new series, featuring the intrepid Hilary and Veronica. It was set in the wonderfully evocative town of Glastonbury, with its ruined abbey and its high tor crowned with a church tower.
I planned to write others set in similarly romantic places.I set to work on the second one, set this time in the ancient town of Totnes with its curious healing wells, and a wonderful medieval conference centre nearby.
I sent the proposal to my agents, but got no reply. Follow-up emails still brought no response. I pressed on and sent the completed...
Award Winning Novelist of British History, Donna Fletcher Crow, Announces Release Of 'A Most Singular Venture', An Elizabeth And Richard Mystery
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 6, 2018
Crow said she was delighted with the October 28, 2018, UPI article announcing the up-coming remake of Jane Austen’s perennially popular novel 'Emma' starring Anya Taylor-Joy. "Emma has been described by many, including such literary leaders as P. D. James, as the first mystery novel. In 'A Most Singular Venture' my hero Richard presents a course on 'Emma' at a Queens of Crime conference at London University, exploring his theory of a possible hidden murder in 'Emma'."
"Earlier movie adaptations, including those featuring Gweneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale have focused on the romance elements of the Austen novel. It will be interesting to see...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 1, 2018
I was absolutely thrilled when Torch Trust in the UK contacted me a few months ago to say that they would like to make my Monastery Murders series available in large print for the visually impaired. They produce materials at the request of their blind patrons, so I felt doubly honored that someone had especially requested my books.
I had assumed that the books would resemble the large print books Thorndike Press did of my Cambridge Chronicles many years ago. I was surprised when A Very Private Grave, the first in the series, arrived a few days ago. The book is published in 5 volumes, each bound in pale green card stock, 8 X 12-inch pages, bold face, 25 point type. This is truly the brave new world of large...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 11, 2018
During their 1799 excursion to Bath, Jane mentions in a letter that her brother Edward had gone out "to taste a cheese." At this year's Jane Austen Society of North America AGM in Kansas City, we followed Edward's example with a Cheese Tour of Jane Austen's England. Juliene Gehrer, AGM chair and author of the wonderful Dining with Jane Austen Cookbook was our guide, offering references from Austen's letters, novels and family cookbooks as we nibbled cheese explained to us by a local cheesemonger.
We started in the north of England with Cheshire cheese. This was the cheese of the Royal Navy and would have been eaten by Jane's brothers Charles and Francis during their voyages in the navy. It's low moisture content meant that Cheshire cheese kept well. Cheshire was the largest cheese producing area...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 5, 2018
I'll bet you thought I was going to write about all that the Jane Austen Society of North America does to promote an appreciation of and education about Jane Austen through our Essay Contest for high school, college and graduate student competitions. Or perhaps the work some chapters do through scholarships, book groups or work with libraries. All of which would be perfectly true. But actually, my topic today is much more frivolous--shopping.
Let me say clearly at the start. I don't like to shop. But I make an exception every year at the Jane Austen Annual General Meetings because the Emporiums are always just so much fun. A large room filled with period-clad shoppers, visiting booths that offer everything Anne Eliot...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 4, 2018
I have just returned from the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America in Kansas City, and a great conference it was. It was the largest AGM in history with more than 900 in attendance, 200 of whom were first-timers. Our theme, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Persuasion, Jane Austen's posthumously published novel, was "200 Years of Constancy and Hope." The Royal Navy, Captain Wentworth, Jane's sailor brothers, and seaside resorts such as Lyme with its famous cobb, featured largely.
My head is still swimming with the amount of knowledge imparted by the plenary and breakout session speakers. I took pages of notes from such Austen luminaries as John Mullan, Amanda Root, Sheila Hwang, Randi Pahlau, and Collins Hemingway which I...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 10, 2018
Are you looking for a new angle to stimulate discussion in your book club? As we near Halloween and spooks and goblins begin appearing in store windows and front lawns, many thoughts turn to ideas of the paranormal, so why not prompt a discussion of "things that go bump in the night" by reading An Unholy Communion, book 3 in my Monastery Murders, and talking about the paranormal events Anthony, Felicity and their band of pilgrims encounter?
Here are some questions to get the conversation going:
Wales is often referred to as a land where “the veil is thin”. How do you think the...
By Fay Sampson ~ July 31, 2018
The Author is the one with authority. So you may think that we are fully in control of the books we write.
But the truth is that we only supply half the book. We put down the ideas we have in our head. The other half of the book is what the reader brings to it. It’s a different experience for everyone who reads it.
Readers come to books like my Morgan le Fay series with a lifetime of experiences and images. The Arthurian stories are so well known that almost...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 25, 2018
#Mystery Exchange continues today with a book that tackles the horrific specter of sex-trafficking. Welcome, Linda Bredle to tell us about your book.
About the book:
As a successful D.C. lawyer, Tatia’s mission in life was to destroy the sex trafficking trade in small-town America. She knew where to find it. She’d been there. With only apathetic foster parents to protect her, she fell prey to the local pimp. Trapped in the sordid underbelly of a small Texas town, she survived by sheer will. Her...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 24, 2018
Welcome, Cathy Perkins to answer that age-old question:
Where do authors get their ideas? Someone told me they think an author’s brain is a scary place! We do constantly ask, “What if…?”
Sometimes a daydream offers a story start, but ideas and inspiration can show up in the strangest places. My husband and I were hiking along the Snake River in a game management area called Big Flats (which happens to feature in So About The Money, the first book in the Holly Price Mystery series). We had to push through some tangled foliage at the shoreline. Being a mystery writer whose mind really can go strange places, I glanced over...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 20, 2018
Today I welcome mystery and suspense author Avery Daniels to #Mystery Exchange. Avery and I both write mystery novels with amateur sleuths. Here you can get acquainted with her Julienne, then go on over to Avery's blog "Mysteries and My Musings" and read about Antonia, Lady Danvers.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 19, 2018
Day 5 of my Mystery Exchange--and what fun this is to have such a variety of guests. The never-ending variety of creativity is really amazing. Today my guest is J.J.DiBenedetto to tell us about a whole series he has just re-launched in ebook, print and audio. A huge congratulations is due. I know how much work this is, and i think you'll agree with me that they look great.
When you have finished getting acquainted with The Dream Doctor Mysteries, go on over to J.J.'s Writing Dreams blog where I'm standing in the Author Spotlight.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 17, 2018
Day 4 of my month-long Mystery Exchange. I'm especially happy to be exchanging today with the charming Stacy Juba because way back in 2012 (I had to look it up) I was one of 52 novelists and journalists to contribute an essay on what I was doing 25 years ago for her 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror. And here, 6 years later we're still doing pretty much the same thing, sharing adventures and the joy of writing with our readers.
When you're through here, slip on over to Stacy's blog and see my post on my latest Lord Danvers novel. Welcome, Stacy!
How do you call for SOS when only the killer...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 7, 2018
Day 3 in my Mystery Blog Exchange. Today meet Kris Bock with her novel What we Found. Then go over to Kris's blog and read about my Victorian true-crime A Lethal Spectre, Lord Danvers investigates, 5. If you like mysteries based on true events, you'll enjoy both books.
Welcome, Kris. Tell us about writing What We Found.
Many writers are inspired by real events or people in their lives. This makes difficult situations a form of research. “This stinks, but maybe...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 6, 2018
Day 2 in my July Mystery Exchange tour. My guest is Andi Ramos to tell us about her book Gumshoe Girl. After you get acquainted with Andi and her book here you can go over to Andi's blog and read about my amateur sleuths Lord and Lady Danvers.
Andi, our characters are a century and a half apart, but they both manage to get involved in solving murders. Tell us about your Gumshoe Girl.
Sheagan O’Hare got more than she bargained for when her newly inherited detective agency lands its first case; a missing person, embezzlement, and murder. Sheagan’s out to prove she can hang with the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 5, 2018
Today I am doing a mystery blog exchange with P.J. MacLayne, author of The Marquesa's Necklace The Oak Grove Mysteries, Book 1). After you read this, you can go over to P.J.'s blog Mountain Musings and read about A Lethal Spectre, Lord Danvers Investigates, book 5. P.J. and I agree that our books should both appeal to the same readers.
P.J., tell us how The Marquesa's necklace came about.
The truth is, I didn't set out to write a cozy mystery series. This book was supposed to...
By Fay Sampson ~ June 20, 2018
The great thing about writing books is that they acquire a life of their own after they’re published.
Some thirty years ago I wrote Daughter of Tintagel (Headline). This is a sequence of five novels in which the story of Morgan le Fay is told by four very different narrators, finishing with Herself, in which Morgan adds her own ironic comments on the demonising of her legend. The books have been republished by Cosmos Books as the Morgan le Fay sequence.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 15, 2018
Sally Wright author of exquisite mystery novels died June 15, 2018
"I have lost a treasure...such a friend as never can have been surpassed--" Cassandra Austen on the death of her sister Jane
Level-headed, clear-eyed, valiant-for-truth, Sally Wright saw and understood human nature as it is. Never dramatizing, never demonizing, she used this understanding and her passion for meticulous research to craft her six superb Ben Reese mysteries and her three, perhaps more personal, Jo Grant novels. The mystery-writing community recognized her excellence with an Edgar Award nomination.
Sally was pure class and a true for better-or-for-worse friend. The world needs more Sally Wrights. Sadly, we have one fewer. May she rest in...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 9, 2018
Ascension Day, commemorating the bodily ascent of Christ into Heaven, 40 days after Easter, is one of the most joyous feast days in the Christian calendar. The celebration is always accompanied by lovely hymns such as "Hail Thee, Festival Day" and "Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise." And on one very special Ascension Day I was in the monastery which serves as a model for the Community of the Transfiguration where Felicity is studying and got to experience standing at the foot of the tower and hearing the ordinands far above me sing in the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 25, 2018
Oh, the joy of a new arrival, especially such a long-awaited one as A Lethal Spectre, book 5 in my Lord Danvers Investigates Victorian true-crime series. The often-asked question, "How long does it take you to write a book?" Always depends on how you count. There's the moment you get an idea, the moment you start your research in earnest, the moment you actually start writing, the moment you complete your edits...
And then, of course, there's the fact that each of those beginnings overlap. But for me, I would say that I've been wanting to tell this story since, many years ago, we watched a program about Victorian England on BBC and I heard about the Cawnpore Massacre for the first time. I thought I knew a bit about English history, but this...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 23, 2018
The historic George, patron saint of England, is much disputed, but he was most likely a soldier who was martyred at the beginning of the Diocletian persecutions. There are many explanations of the sources of the legends of his slaying a dragon but I like to apply it symbolically to his slaying the dragon of evil by standing strong for his faith.
At least, that's how I portrayed the story in the St. George section of GLASTONBURY, The Novel of Christian England, of my epic grail search novel. You can see the print edition here...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 6, 2018
Even though it is World book Day, there seems to be little made of it in America—at least in my neck of the woods. But for several years now I’ll admit to reading with considerable envy my British writer friends’ announcements of event they were participating in for the day.
Well, it happened this year—I managed to be in England...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 17, 2018
This month I’m especially telling readers about my Holy Week/Easter novel A Darkly Hidden Truth, book 2 in the Monastery Murders:
Lent and Easter in a monastery—a sacred, set-aside time—until a valuable icon goes missing. And Felicity’s difficult mother turns up unexpectedly. And a good friend turns up murdered... A clerical mystery in the classic English detective style.
It is part of Celebrate His Love, a group promotion, along with more than 25 great Christian reads. You can download...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 14, 2018
What a special day this is—St. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. At first glance they might seem at opposite ends of the spectrum, but at heart, both are expressions of love—human and divine.
So what better time could there be to offer two promotions for free romance books. Both offer many titles and...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 27, 2018
Just a quick note to let you know that A Very Private Grave, book 1 in my Monastery Murders is only .99 through January 30. This is part of the Mysteries and Thrillers promotion that offers 24 edge of your seat reads free or .99 as well as a chance to win a $50 gift card. The offer runs through January 30, so do take a look.
This is a particularly timely offer because Lent starts in just 2 and a half weeks and A Very Private Grave opens on Ash Wednesday. Virtually...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 15, 2018
I am thrilled to be able to offer the complete six book boxed set of Where There is Love for only .99 this month. I have offered individual books from the set before, but this is the entire series, so you can get the whole sweep of events.
This offer is part of the Swept Away Romance promotion which includes 42 other free/99 clean romances as well as a chance to win a $50 gift card. But you will have to act fast. This promotion ends January 16, although my above offer run all month.
Where There is Love: Six novels of the enduring legacy of love and faith. These are stories of real people and stirring historic events in England through the 18th and 19th centuries. Society leaders, university dons, famous preachers, celebrated sportsmen, powerful politicians, highwaymen and rogues… Stories told often in their own words as they direct—and are...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 24, 2017
October 25 is the day the church remembers the brothers Crispin and Crispinian, cobblers who were martyred under Diocletian. The day has become more famous, however, as the day of the Battle of Agincourt because of the stirring speech Shakespeare has the young Henry V make to his troops on the even of battle.
In my book A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary, book 4 The Monastery Murders, Felicity, in Oxford, goes to a coffee house where a local actor is reciting the speech.
From the far side of the octagonal room an actor strode forward clad in a red and blue Plantagenet surcoat. “I thank you, brave fellows all.” He bowed and swept the room with his arm. “We join in revels as others could have done on this very spot to celebrate the victory of brave Harry, for this very building in which you are enjoying your libations, was more than a century old when Harry so inspired his...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 19, 2017
As I have said before, one of the best things about attending the annual Jane Austen Society of North America AGM is the delightful people one meets. This year was no exception and one of my fun connections was a sister Austen Author Anngela Schroeder. We met the first day at afternoon tea and then had the fun of making Regency bonnets together.
Anngela mentioned that she was in the middle of a blog tour for the release of her newest Austen title The Goodness of Men. Since every minute was packed full of lectures, events and activities we had little time to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 9, 2017
In the intense schedule of this conference our only chance for worship was 7:30 at St. Mary by the Sea,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 8, 2017
Before starting my busy schedule of classes I stopped by the book table sponsored by the delightful Collins Hemmingway. Collins, author of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, delightful and well researched novels, kindly allowed me space to display my 2 mysteries with Jane Austen backgrounds on his table, along with Kim Wilson and Susannah Fullerton. I was delighted to be in the company of so many books I have read and enjoyed.
Then on to classes. First, on Jane Austen's Sanditon, the fragment she left unfinished at her death. I was especially interested in this as Sanditon will figure in the background of my next Elizabeth and Richard Mystery. Here is a projection of Austen's...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 6, 2017
A light projection of Jane's silhouette reigns over the conference.
Day 2, morning outfit, off to trim a new bonnet
Stopped by the emporium for a little shopping and a visit with English friends from past conferences
Mary Guyat from the Jane Austen House Museum and Tim Bullamore, publisher of Jane Austen's Regency World
Attended a special interest session on Jane Austen Churches. Since 2000 the Jane Austen Society of North America has designated 17 churches where Jane worshiped or have especially close ties with her family to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 6, 2017
Today the activities were all pre-conference events, the serious academics will start tomorrow. After a brief time on our balcony I was off to get acquainted with this enormous and lovely resort, and to enjoy the fact that the ocean is seldom out of sight.
As I mentioned in my last blog, one of the best parts is seeing friends from other conferences again. Frances Wills above and Syrie James below, were just two of them.
My major activity today was the two English country dancing classes I took. That was three hours of dancing. add...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 30, 2017
the time Janeites across America, and, indeed, around the world, look forward to. It is the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. This year we are meeting at Huntington Beach, CA. The theme, commemorating, the two hundredth anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, is Jane in Paradise, Intimations of Immortality.
Every AGM is a great mix of events. It is part Regency festival with most participants wearing period dress and taking part in workshops on bonnet making and other accomplishments for the Regency lady, tea parties, and a grand Regency Ball. Another part is the scholarly lectures that fill most of every day and leave one feeling as if they have enrolled in a college course. Then there are the tours to places of scenic...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 9, 2017
"How is your book selling," is one of the most frequent questions authors are asked it is right up there with "Where do your stories come from." And, yes, sales are nice. Who does not need money and feel good about a nice royalty check in the bank. But for very few of us is that the main point.
Writers write because we have a story to tell. We labor hard to tell it the very best way we can, and then we want to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 19, 2017
My summer project is to get all of my Lord Danvers Victorian true-crime series re-edited and published in all-new editions. I cannot promise to have all 4 books out by the end of summer, but I can report progress.
Grave Matters, book 2 in Lord Danvers Investigates, is now available in both print and ebook:
Antonia discovers a body at the opening of the Great Exhibition, in the presence...
By Fay Sampson ~ July 6, 2017
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 28, 2017
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 26, 2017
We are amazingly lucky today. Our guide is TV travelogue presenter Kit Pancoast Nagamura. Kit is truly a Ranaissance woman. She is an editor, a columnist for the Japan Times, a photo-journalist, and a delightful person. She tailored our backstreets tour to our special interests, history and gardens.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 23, 2017
We began the day at the Imperial Palace Gardens. The area is surrounded by a massive stone wall erected of huge stones that made one think of the pyramids. The wall, in turn, is surrounded by a moat, as it has been since feudal times.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 22, 2017
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 21, 2017
Walking to church this morning, ironically, through Rappongi, the red light district of Tokyo, was the only time I saw litter on the sidewalk, heard loud music, and saw a person smoking on the street. Tokyo is incredible for a city of 40 million. Quiet, clean and orderly; the people are polite and dress beautifully; the trains run to the minute. Anyone speaking on their mobile in public, especially with the speaker on, is a tourist.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 17, 2017
Grandson Thomas graduated from American School in Japan. I am delighted to say that the ceremony had a sense of dignity that did not include the air horns and raucus catcalls that have become a part of so many graduations.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 15, 2017
Went to see the Imperial Palace today, but discovered it is closed on Fridays, so instead walked in the Kitanomaru Park.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 14, 2017
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 14, 2017
I never in my wildest imagination had thought I would go to Japan. But when you have family there what do you do?
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 18, 2017
First off, garden update. No progress but the force of nature herself, which is truly amazing. The man who is going to redo our wall is having surgery next month, and the re-working of the watering system is not even scheduled. In the meantime, I am absolutely amazed at the luxuriant green we are enjoying without lifting a finger. Not that I never doubted that God was a far better gardener than I am, but it is fun to see such a vibrant object lesson.
My one accomplishment has been to move my houseplants outdoors. In Idaho that is never to be done before Mothers Day. True to my usual 'waste not; want not' way of doing things I had a good selection of coleus carried over from last fall and, yes, if you are...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 11, 2017
Catherine Perronet finds her world is shaken when she learns Charles Wesley is engaged to marry another. After all, her initials were...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 18, 2017
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 14, 2017
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 15, 2017
An All-Consuming Fire, Book 5 in my Monastery Murders, is available free through March 30 on Creative Christian Reads. And that's just the beginning. Twenty super Christian books across a wide variety of genres are all free. Plus, by signing up you will be eligible to win a $25 gift card.
I urge all my reading friends to check out this very special collection that includes mystery, romance, thrillers, historical, fantasy and more. As the ad says, "Fill up you ereader"! And, as yet another bonus, when you choose to download a book (and you're welcome to download them al...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 10, 2017
The freebies just keep coming! Yesterday I blogged about our great FREE 9-book set of mystery novels from Crime Cafe. Today I want to let you all know about the companion set of 5 mysterious short stories from best-selling authors which you can get FREE here.
Our focus on setting continues today as three of our short story authors share about the places their stories take you to.
First, join Jenny Milchman in Life in the head of a suspense writer. Life in a small town:
I make my way up the winding country road, feet skipping over each other in sudden haste, glancing over my shoulder. There's somebody behind me, walking at a steady clip. It's winter and we're both swathed in over-garments. It's hard to tell who might be following along--someone I know? A stranger? A man, surely, given his height, the bulky breadth of him in his dark, sweeping coat. I'm only out here on a short walk--a breather from the story I'm writing--a burst of exercise I had to push myself to take, given how warm and cozy my house was, how cold I feel right now. And how nervous. This is a long, lonely stretch of road. Nothing else out here besides the two of us, except for some cawing crows. If I turn around and walk back toward home, I'll have to go right past whoever this is. But I can't stay ahead of him either. He's speeding up. And he's longer legged than I, and faster. I usually only walk--jogging is for people more motivated and in better shape than I--but I break into a run as the person in back of me increases his pace. I whip my head left, then right. A house to one side--but empty, abandoned--I live in a cluster of mostly summer homes. Dense woods on the other; I picture a gnarled and twisting run through skeletal trees. Then the person is beside me. No time to make a choice. "I've never seen you run before!" he calls...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 9, 2017
23 Shades of Black by Kenneth Wishnia is set in New York City in a time especially ripe for a mystery novel:
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 5, 2017
Hooray—I managed to type 2017 the first time, so now I can wish all my readers and friends a very Happy New Year!
As to my garden report, one word sums it up—snow! More than I have seen in Boise in my very long memory. It certainly gives new meaning to the term White Garden.
As to my writing report, I can announce with a great sense of accomplishment that I have managed to publish two boxed sets of my backlist series:
The Daughters of Courage is my family saga of pioneers in the Idaho...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 10, 2016
Do you have a cherished Christmas fantasy? Mine, which I’ve nurtured for years, but am yet to realize, is that I’ll have all my work and preparations done by the first week in December and then be able to spend the rest of the month sitting by a beautifully lit tree, sipping tea and reading Christmas stories. Well, as the song says, “You gotta have a dream if you’re going to have a dream come true.” So I’m still dreaming.
At least through the years I’ve had the joy of writing lots of scenes of Christmas into my novels, so if you envision a time for reading as part...
By Fay Sampson ~ November 18, 2016
Publishing can be a long road, even for a writer as experienced as Fay Sampson. Today she shares about her new adventure.
Back in February, I told how I had suddenly been seized by the inspiration to write a book in an area new to me. I didn’t want to say too much about it until the book had found a home. I am pleased to say that this is now the case.
A feature of our ageing society is that we are finding more and more people with...
By Fay Sampson ~ October 5, 2016
I love walking through an evocative landscape and finding the stories that belong to it.
Our holiday this year was in the village of Kinvara on Galway Bay in the west of Ireland. Our son and his partner have a traditional stone and thatch cottage there. Mark understands the things I love and took us on a walk to a Celtic hermitage.
The story begins at the castle of Dunguaire in Kinvara. It is said that King Guaire was feasting there on Easter day when the food was lifted from the table and wafted across the countryside. The king and his court followed. They were led to the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 9, 2016
In today’s electronic market yesterday is sooo gone. Everything has to be new and fresh and of the minute. That can be exhausting. And discouraging for writers who have a backlist of really good books that just aren’t getting any attention. My advice is, don’t fight the trend—go with it. For all the frustrations of electronic publishing, it does offer the opportunity of instant renewal.
If you are self-published, you can, of course, do this any time you feel something on your list needs a refresher. For those traditionally published, you’ll have...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 20, 2016
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is marking 2016, the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, by sending a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio to every state in the union. The exhibit opened today at Boise State University and I was delighted to share this great family outing and teaching moment with 3 of my grandsons.
During Shakespeare’s lifetime his plays, which were written to be performed, not...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 11, 2016
The newly released Where Love Restores, Where There is Love (formerly To be Worthy, the Cambridge Chronicles) has always been one of my favorites because it is the most thoroughly historical. This is a true story. I often say, “Even the animals are historical.”
The families of both the hero and the heroine were leaders socially, politically and religiously and, fortunately, both families have preserved their family records to professional standards. Indeed, the muniments of the Ryder family—the earls of Harrowby—although kept at Sandon Hall at the time of my research, are maintained under the auspices of...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 23, 2016
A review should be as much fun to read as the book itself. Sheila Deeth, an Amazon Top Reviewer, achieves that high level in her review of Where Love Illumines, book 2 in the Where There is Love series.
And, as a bonus, this is two reviews in one because she shares charming comments from her mum in England. Thank you, Sheila and Mum!
“What a wonderful story," says my mother. "As a Methodist of 85 years standing I have read a lot about the early days of Methodism, both in stories and in factual accounts. The background to this book and the accuracy of the descriptions, both of apparel and of stately homes is astonishing. It is hard to realise that the book was written by an American author. I began to read it halfway...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 11, 2016
The Idaho Chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America has an annual summer picnic which we sometimes bill as our Box Hill picnic after the pivotal scene in Emma. This years’ event was held today in the beautiful garden of one of our members. We held our annual book exchange where members bring Jane Austen themed books to share, had a short business meeting, and most of all enjoyed the delicious dishes members brought to share and visiting with like-minded friends.
Here I am setting out with my English cake (brought from Canada) and enjoying a mimosa with...
By Fay Sampson ~ May 16, 2016
It began when my young grandson came home from school saying that his homework was to find out what he could about his family roots. Our son rang us to see if we could help. From then on, both he and I were smitten with the family history bug. It appeals to me for all sorts of reasons.
Before I became a writer I was a mathematics teacher. It’s all about solving problems. Sometimes the progression back from...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 13, 2016
Where There is Love continues with another enduring true story of faith and struggle in eighteenth century England: Mary Tudway is forced to choose between two worlds: the pleasurable life of her high society friends Sarah Child, heiress of Osterley Park, and the Bishop of Raphoe and his dashing Nephew, Roger; or the life of...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 10, 2016
Sally Wright's wonderful new novel Behind the Bonehouse launches today. In celebration of this publishing event I am privileged to share Sally's story with my readers. Such an in-depth interview is unusual for this very private author and such a lengthy post is unusual for this blog, but I believe you'll agree the content is worth it for its insight into a writer's life and to add extra meaning to your reading of this exceptional novel.
Building a Bonehouse
Right after I’d finished writing Breeding Ground in August 2013, and was about to begin a...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 7, 2016
Whee! It's a bit like jumping off that high-diving board. Well, I hope it won't be like my one-time high diving board jump--that ended in a bellyflop. But just the little, jumping-off-the-kiddie-board thing which was ever so hard to do the first time--but once I"d worked up the courage and taken that first plunge, I loved it.
So here I am--launching my What's the Latest? newsletter:
Welcome to my World— An Invitation
To see the latest in my garden,
and a favorite video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhvyupqNhL8
(This one the trailer for Jane Austen's deliciously satirical novella Love and Friendship which I can't wait to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 30, 2016
I’m proud to be a British immigrant to the “New World”, in my case Canada. Naturally the immigrant story resonates with me, and in my new release Sofi’s Bridge I enjoyed working with the various accents, brogues and dialects that make up the cultural melting pot in the US.
Sofi is second generation Swedish living in Washington State. The...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 6, 2016
FINALLY, Behind The Bonehouse, the second Jo Grant horse country mystery, is ready for preorder on Amazon, and will be available on April 10th as an ebook, and shortly thereafter in paperback.
Wright says, “This is a book that means a lot to me. It connects to my past and my present, and maybe predicts my future. It clearly deals with the grace of God and the plans he has for all of us.”
It wasn’t until thirty years...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 31, 2016
I love these stories!
At long last the series I began as the Cambridge Collection for Regal Books, then completed as The Cambridge Chronicles for Crossway, is coming back with a whole new look as the Where There is Love Series from Verity Press.
After almost a quarter of a century working with these books I can still say, “These are wonderful stories!” Don’t get me wrong— this isn’t any kind of authorial pride. These are wonderful stories because of what these people of outstanding faith did in real life.
I vividly recall being inspired in my own faith when I read of their struggles and triumphs and I prayed to be able to tell their stories in a way that would bring them alive for modern readers. That is still...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 18, 2016
My tradition has always been to make soda bread for St. Patrick's Day. This year was no exception, but, I must say, the product was exceptional. I used a book our daughter bought in Ireland years agho Classic Irish Rercipes by Georgina Campbell. All the recipes in the book look great, including three soda bread recipes. Here's the super-easy, Traditional White Soda Bread as I made it:
4 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
1/2 teaspoon salt (mine was rounded a bit)
1 teaspoon baking soda (again, rounded)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (the recipe calls for 1 cup,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 27, 2016
For my husband’s birthday we attended a promenade performance of Frankenstein by the Four of Swords theatre company. This took place in the historic manor house of Great Fulford.
Getting there was an adventure in itself. On a dark country lane we picked out the white sign that read FRANKENSTEIN – GREAT FULFORD. ...
By Fay Sampson ~ February 10, 2016
Writing is addictive. Throughout my writing career, I have not finished writing one book before the next one has been pushing to be written. Sometimes there is a log jam of ideas. I have to prod the pile and see which is the next one to float free.
But towards the end of last year I realised that this wasn’t happening. It wasn’t writer’s block. I had several ideas for books I could write and would enjoy writing. But none of them had that imperative I’d been used to
I wondered whether...
By Fay Sampson ~ December 14, 2015
I almost overlooked it. When the hardback of my latest crime thriller, The Wounded Thorn, came out in February I thought it was my 49th book. Since I was 80 this year, I thought it would have been nice for this to have been my 50th.
Then, a few months ago, I discovered that a small book I had written for the Association of Christian Writers, Your Guide to Creating a Christian Writer Group, had been published two years ago by Media Associates International as an ebook available on Amazon.
Suddenly the numbers changed. The Wounded Thorn was now...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 30, 2015
My guest today is the amazing Debbi Mack. I have known Debbi for several years and am a great fan of her Sam McRae mysteries. I was hooked on the first one because, as a lawyer's wife, I appreciated how careful Sam is to stay within the lines of the ethics of her profession while solving crimes in a creative way.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 15, 2015
I'm delighted today to be joining in the general celebration over the launch of Wendy Jones' newest book Killer's Cross, book 3 in her phenomenally successful DI Shona McKenzie tartan noir series. Killer's Countdown, Killer's Craft and Killer's Cross have come out at the breath-taking speed of 3 books in 13 months so I've asked Wendy to talk to us about her writing process. Over to you, Wendy--
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 6, 2015
My guest today is Christine Lindsay whose Twilight of the British Raj series has given me many pleasant hours of reading as it brought back memories of such great television viewing as "The Jewel in the Crown" and "The Last Viceroy" and more recently "Indian Summers." It seems, however, that not all of Christine's potential readers take to the subject as naturally as I do. Tell us more, Christine.
By Fay Sampson ~ October 25, 2015
I’m having a great year for prehistory. I celebrated my 80th birthday at the spine-tingling stone circle of Avebury (see post of July 8), We followed this up with a weekend at Stonehenge, led by archaeologist Mike Stone.
What is great about both Avebury and Stonehenge is that it is not just a single site, impressive though that is. Both are surrounded by a whole sacred landscape.
So in the chill of early morning we were at Woodhenge, where rings of concrete pillars now show where once the wooden posts stood more than 4000 years ago.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 22, 2015
Although born into the privileged world of New York in 1862 where, for women, social expectations eclipsed intellectual ambition, Wharton became the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate of letters from Yale University.
Wharton designed and built The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts, in 1902 to provide herself with a place of privacy and quiet where she could write and to showcase her architectural and landscape design theories. She wrote to a friend that she was a better landscape designer than writer.
Here at The Mount Wharton produced the novels that...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 11, 2015
Began Sunday as Jane Austen would have with Morning Prayers. The vicar read a sermon by the Rev. Thomas Sherlock, Bishop of London in the 18th century, whose sermons Jane read and admired and ended with a prayer Jane Austen wrote.
Just a touch of scandal before brunch:
A dinner cruise in the sunset on the Ohio River aboard the Belle of Louisville:
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 10, 2015
Another full day of great events at the Jane Austen Society of North America AGM "Living in Jane Austen's World" in Louisvile. Started out with a wonderful talk on the place of spinsters in Regency England by Amanda Vickery, historian, writer, BBC presenter and professor at Queen Mary College, London. ...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 9, 2015
Old Friends from my real life and from my literary life filled my day in Louisville. I began with a quick chat with Tim Bullamore, publisher of the wonderful "Jane Austen's Regency World" Magazine who comes to the JASNA AGM every year to bring delight tonew rreaders.
At last night's screening of the BBC documentary "At Home with the Georgians" I was thrilled when presenter Amanda Vickery, who will be speaking to us tomorrow, read from the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 8, 2015
The jne Austen Society of North America's Annual General Meeting got off to a great start in Louisville today with a luncheon and fashion show and lots of browsing and some shopping in the two markets on offer: The Shoppes of Bath and The Meryton Market. The Idaho region includes my Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense A Jane Austen Encounter in their offerings.
Shopping in the emporiums was a fashion show in itself:
A period-correct tailor demonstrated his skills:
Then a two hour English Country Dance lesson and I was ready to put my feet up.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 2, 2015
Almost a whole year after first sending the manuscript to my publisher, the message appears in my inbox: The Flame Ignites- Final Cover.
Deep breath. That word final is so--well, final. I've had what I want on the cover running in my head for all those months. What if my publisher's cover artist didn't agree?
Nothing to do but open the attachment and take a look. . .
Huge sigh of relief followed by shout of joy. I love it! It's better than anything I had pictured. Hooray!!!
The Flame Ignites, the prequel
How did it all begin? Before Elizabeth and Richard’s terror-filled mystery week in the Rocky Mountains . . . before murder accompanied their honeymoon . . . before the life-changing English summer when...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 14, 2015
My guest today is the reverend Philip S Davies, Chair of the UK Association of Christian Writers and author of the young adult fantasy novel Destiny's Rebel which releases tomorrow—September 15— in the US. It released last week un the UK. Philip had his launch at the prestigious Blackwell's Book Store in Oxford and today it is #1 on Blackwell's bestseller list for young adults. ...
By Fay Sampson ~ August 3, 2015
We have just enjoyed our annual literary feast: the nine days Ways with Words festival at Dartington Hall. This is held in the marvellous setting of the 14th-century stately home built by John Holand, half-brother of Richard II, and his wife Elizabeth of Lancaster.
During the festival, the lawn is scattered with deck-chairs printed with the covers of famous books published by Penguin. There is usually a queue snaking around the cobbled paths, waiting for the next event in the Great Hall. And what a spectacular venue. Banners hang the length of the hall, below the high-vaulted roof. The conventional seating is greatly increased...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 29, 2015
Welcome, Wendy Jones, all the way from Dundee, Scotland, on the occasion of the release of your new book Killer's Craft!
May I start by saying thank you, Donna, for hosting me on the blog today. It is a pleasure to be here, especially since my second book, Killer’s Craft, has just been released. This is the second book in the Detective Inspector Shona...
By Fay Sampson ~ July 8, 2015
Given my love of places, and particularly ancient sacred sites, it was not surprising that I chose to celebrate my 80th birthday at Avebury. Avebury is less well known than nearby Stonehenge, but it is in some ways even more evocative.
We stayed in a guesthouse which is probably the only B&B in the world where you wake up in the middle of a Neolithic stone circle.
The circle of massive sarsen stones, with other arrangements of stones within it, dates back four and a half thousand years. The surrounding bank and...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 18, 2015
I love farmers' markets— fresh produce, locally grown, unusual varieties of vegetables not easily found in stores. . . But the truth is, I seldom get myself out to a market. Always in a hurry. Pick something up quickly at the grocery store. . .
Now I have no more excuses. The Boise Farmers Market has established a Mobile Market that comes to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 31, 2015
And here it is! Drum roll, trumpet fanfare~~
Killer’s Craft, Book 2 in Wendy Jones’ phenomenally popular D. I. Shona McKenzie series!
What fun to be taking part in the cover reveal of what is certain to be a spine-tingling read.
The book will be released July 20th at Waterstone’s in Dundee Scotland. If that’s too far for some of you to attend, the book will soon be available for advance purchase on Amazon.
Read more about Wendy and her first book Killer’s Countdown here....
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 12, 2015
I’m not sure how accurate the old saw about criminals revisiting the scene of their crime is, but I can testify to the truth of it for crime writers. Last month I had the delight of revisiting the scene of a murder I committed many years ago at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival in Ashland. Well, at least, my villain in A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare did.
We never missed a season at Ashland for years and years, and then life got even busier—as it seems to do— and...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 27, 2015
Donna: I am so happy to welcome Marilyn Meredith to "Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light: today. Marilyn and I first met sevral years ago on the mystery writers and readers loop DorothyL. Marilyn is one of the most active, prolific and generous writers in this very energetic group.
Marilyn, I know you keep up with family, are very active in your church and write at least two mystery series. Tell us more about yourself.
Marilyn: I'm also known as F.M. Meredith and am the author...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 22, 2015
Welcome, Wendy. I'm delighted to have you as my guest today on "Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light." What a shame that our shring a cup of Scottish Blend tea has to be virtual.
Donna, thank you for inviting...
By Fay Sampson ~ April 20, 2015
t’s strange how some ideas haunt you, turning up repeatedly in your work, even when you don’t consciously will it.
When I set out to write the Aidan Mysteries I wanted to set them in sacred places that had seized my imagination when I first visited them – a wonderful excuse, too, for a second, in-depth pilgrimage. I set the third of these, A Corpse in Holy Waters, around the sacred wells of Cornwall and Devon. In particular, there was that little chapel of St Clether, out on the moor, where the stream comes into the church from one well-house, flows behind the altar, and out into a second sacred well...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 15, 2015
In America April 15 is the dreaded day taxes are due. But to lovers of Victorian mysteries it is a day of celebration this year, because Children of Silence, Linda Stratmann's latest Frances Doughty novel is now available— at least in ebook form, we'll have to wait until July 1 for the print edition, but it can be pre-ordered now.
To welcome Frances to this side of the Atlantic her creator Linda Stratmann, whom I first met a year ago at the Queens of Crime conference in London, is here to tell us about creating Frances' latest adventures.
Linda, thank you so much for visiting with us today on "Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light". For your purposes, however, it might be better if the title were "Deeds of Noise; Deeds of Silence" because your wonderful novel is all about the contrast between noise and silence and how painful noise can be to those who suffer with hyperacusis....
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 14, 2015
Books, espresso and conversation— what better way to spend a Thursday afternoon-evening in Roseburg, Oregon? April 24 4:00-6:00.
I will be joining the publisher/ author Jason Wilcox to meet writers and readers, discuss our books and the craft of writing, and to sign books and enjoy the latest latte at While Away Books and Espresso in Roseburg, Oregon.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 13, 2015
Writers, Readers, and All Who Love Books are invited to Hastings in Nampa this Saturday from 4:00-8:00 where I will be one of four local authors who will be greeting readers, answering questions and signing books.
Popular Boise Valley author and speaker Ray Ellis will be featuring his new release Kraken. When a stranger from Mike Stone’s past appears on his doorstep,...
By Fay Sampson ~ March 23, 2015
I have just been watching the opening stages in the reburial of the bones of Richard III, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. He was the last of the Plantaganet kings and the last English king to die in battle.
It is the culmination of a remarkable story. The victor Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 9, 2015
I've always been fascinated by stories of the intrepid Victorian Travelling Women who conquered distant desert sands and scaled rugged heights— all in proper corsets and long skirts, of course. So I was doubly honored to be included in the exhibit of Idaho's literary traveling women at the BSU Library. .
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 18, 2015
A big thank you to Donna for inviting me to be a guest blogger today. Donna and I both live in Idaho, we both love a good book, and we both love an adventure away from home, especially if it involves research for a new book.
My latest book, LOST AND...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 21, 2015
One of the most universally held daydreams of Janeites (perhaps second only to dancing with Mr. Darcy) is a visit to Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen's home where she lived so happily with her sister Cassandra, her mother and their friend Martha Lloyd, and where her writing at last truly flowered. For me, the dream came true in 2012 when I was following the Jane Austen Trail as research for my literary suspense A Jane Austen Encounter.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 8, 2014
Jane Austen was born on the 16th of December, 1775, at the quiet rectory of Steventon in rural Hampshire. Two Hundred and thirty-nine years later the world is still celebrating her birthday as a heartfelt "Thank you" for the enormous joy her six novel and assorted minor works have brought to our lives.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 19, 2014
It's so much more than a calendar! The hot-off-the-press 2015 Jane Austen Calendar by JT Originals is a guided tour of the locations of the wonderful 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series of Pride and Prejudice.
Through the months you'll visit...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 27, 2014
Mavens of Mayhem— what a great name! Mavens of Mayhem at Mysteries on Main Street— even better. (Just try saying it ten times fast.) And what a great event it was.
Mavens of Mayhem is the name of the upstate New York Sisters in Crime chapter who very kindly invited me to come along and share informally in their panel and book signing at the delightful Mysteries on Main Street book store in historic Johnstown, New York.
What a joy to be in a real book store with actual hold-in-your-hand paper books and to meet a real, live bookseller and talk to enthusiastic readers in person. Yes, it’s been a great convenience on our 6,000 mile road trip to have books on my...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 24, 2014
Have you ever wished you could get paid to live in Jane Austen's world? In some ways that seems to be what Tim Bullamore, publisher of the delightful Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine has accomplished. I met Tim and his magazine last year at the Jane Austen Society of North America AGM in Minneapolis.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 16, 2014
I have enjoyed Fay Sampson's articles on this blog about how family research led to writing her excellent Suzie Fewings mystery series. I'm doubtful that my foray into the Crow family past last week will lead to a mystery series for me— but then, you never know— and it has certainly led to increasing my already-alive appreciation for the heritage passed on to us by earlier generations and the importance of keeping that legacy alive.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 15, 2014
Well, we always knew that the Crow/Crowe family settled in Peterborough, Ontario, when they emigrated from County Monaghan, Ireland, and then, a generation later hired a train along with the McCracken family and migrated to St. Paul, Nebraska, near Grand Island.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 13, 2014
Well, yes, certainly there is the fun...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 9, 2014
A recent discussion thread on the DorothyL Listserve for mystery readers and writers has been to ask writers "How long will you keep writing?" My answer is: "As long as it's fun."
Well, retirement just moved a lot farther off. This weekend I am at the Jane Austen Society of North America AGM in Montreal promoting my literary suspense A Jane Austen Encounter and it's as much fun as I've ever had in my life.
Delightful people, excellent speeches, a dance workshop with Stan, afternoon tea,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 7, 2014
Our last day at the wonderful Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Great theatre and a lovely time relaxing. The examination of marriage continued today at the Courthouse Theatre with "The Charity That Began at Home" by St. John Hankin.
Hankin was one of London's leading playwrights a century ago, but is practically unknown today. His works are making a comeback, however, at the Shaw Festival. In this "comedy for...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 6, 2014
A beautiful Sunday in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We began the day by walking across the park to church— just as we do at home. But here we had the added delight of church bells calling us forward to worship. St. Mark's is an historic Anglican church begun in 1790 when the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts sent a priest from England. We were amazed when the current priest greeted us with "Welcome back." We had only been there once before and that a year ago.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 4, 2014
Three years ago we were planning a road trip to the eastern US when Stan saw an article in the Wall Street Journal about the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Wow— an internationally recognized theatre festival in one of our favorite towns in the whole world. Well, since we would be within a couple of hundred miles anyway, we decided to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 2, 2014
Thursday, September 25, Ogden, Utah
Stan and I are Just starting out on a 6,000 mile road trip. This should be a fun adventure. We will attend the Jane Austen Society ofNorth America AGM in Montreal, research my next Elizabeth and Richard book which is to be set in New England, visit family, and meet up with some Sisters in Crime in New York.
Along the way we plan to listen to about a dozen audio books. Today's listening: M. C. Beaton's DEATH OF A GOSSIP. I vaguely remember seeing it on tv long ago and probably read it about that long ago, but it's still a...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 16, 2014
Well, it's been a busy summer— that's my only excuse— but I finally got to read Jenny Milchman's Ruin Falls which I've had right here on my shelf since I bought it at our shared panel and signing at Rediscovered Books last May. Yes, more than 4 months I've delayed the amazing experience of reading that book. Well, I suppose that's all right because delaying gratification makes one a better person, right?
By Fay Sampson ~ September 2, 2014
This summer we have been to one of my most inspirational places – Iona. This is a small off the west coast of Scotland
Saint Columba came here in 563, in penance for causing a war. He founded a Celtic abbey, a church and a cluster of huts for sleeping and other activities. The monks went out across the North of Britain to evangelise the native Picts. After Columba’s death, others came down into England and lit the fire of Christianity in the great Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.
Vikings raided, and massacred the monks on the beach. The monks sailed...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 17, 2014
I am so delighted to be part of the official blog tour to welcome Jane Austen's First Love, Syrie James' newest release, to my bookshelf and to the bookshelves of Austen lovers around the world. Syrie has written a fascinating article below on the question of whether or not Jane Austen indulged in the 18th century fashion of powdering her hair. But first, let me share my experience reading the book:
One of the functions of a...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 8, 2014
When writing about an historic period no research can beat actually being there. But how often does a writer have a chance actually to live in their time period when they are writing about the 14th century? Well, that's exactly what I was able to do last week.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 21, 2014
Murder in Time, Another Ellie Quicke triumph for Veronica Heley.
Ellie Quicke remains...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 9, 2014
Few things can make a usually rational person want to run through the streets shouting or grab perfect strangers and tell them your news like the release of a new book. And that's exactly how I'm feeling at the moment— that breathless bubble in my throat that makes me want to jump up and down and, yes, run through the streets shouting.
By Fay Sampson ~ June 2, 2014
We’re just back from a delightful research trip to Glastonbury, where I have set my latest crime novel, The Wounded Thorn. If I already have some knowledge of a place, it is good to write the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 18, 2014
The delightful Jenny Milchman and I have been online friends for nearly five years and have the joy of supporting each other through the ups and downs of the writing life. I have twice been a guest on Jenny's "Made It Moment" blog and we have often moaned about the vat distance separating New York and Idaho. But Saturday night we finally got to meet in person.
I was so privileged to be part of Jenny Milchman's 20,000 mile "World's Longest Book Tour." Yes, that's twenty thousand...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 28, 2014
I was recently asked to be part of a mini blog tour. Since the invitation came from Pen Wilcock http://j.mp/RFNNRq who has long been one of my favorite writers— and her invitation came from Claire Dunn http://j.mp/RFOLxi , another writer I greatly admire— I readily accepted.
Likewise, my invitations went out to two more of my favorite writers (okay— I have lots of favorites) Fay Sampson http://www.faysampson.co.uk/ and Dolores Gordon-Smith http://www.doloresgordon-smith.co.uk/ . Who accepted with equal affability.
That got me to thinking about how lucky I am to be a writer. Not just because I get to tell the stories I love to share, but, even more importantly, because I get to do it in company with such lovely people. The writing community may be unique in the support it gives to its members. There may be the odd limelight-grabber or back-stabber, but, if so, I’ve been fortunate enough not to encounter them. Perhaps in the heady heights of best-sellerdom, but not in...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 21, 2014
By Fay Sampson ~ April 12, 2014
I have made no secret of the fact that places are very important to me. They were the inspiration for my very first books, and still inspire my stories.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 31, 2014
Well, life is busy, but I'd been a member of the Idaho Writers' Guild (http://idahowritersguild.com/) for a whole year and hadn't been to a meeting yet. Every month I would recieve notice of the time and place— always a luncheon at a local restaurant— and I would put it on my calendar. And then not get there.
Finally it was time to renew my membership for another year. In other words,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 26, 2014
I am delighted to have Judy Alter as my guest today. I "met" Judy through a mystery Writers' listserve we both belong to and was fascinated to learn that in a creative sense, Judy and I have traded places. Judy grew up with an English father and now writes mysteries set in the American West. I grew up riding horses with my western father and write mysteries set in England.
Just as Judy mentions below, I have often wondered about the whys and wherefores of this and I hope, as Judy's friend says, bringing...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 19, 2014
My guest today is the ever-creative Adam Graham. Welcome, Adam. Tell us about your new book Slime Incorporated.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 14, 2014
Now I can breathe! After months of holding my breath— because one never knows how a book will strike a reviewer— I gave a huge sigh of relief yesterday when the current issue of the wonderful magazine "Jane Austen's Regency World" arrived on my doorstep with a delightful review of A Jane Austen Encounter.
It's not just the fact that the reviewer says nice things— always acceptable to an author, of course—...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 4, 2014
Donna: Veronica, Wwelcome to "Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light" and congratulations on your new Bea Abbot Mystery. Tell us about the release.
Veronica: Yes, FALSE DIAMOND duly came out last November here in the UK. It’s now available in America and all points south. Booklist had given it a good review but now I have – wait for it! – a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
Donna: Wow! That’s wonderful. Starred reviews are very hard to get.
Veronica: It would be extravagant to say that ‘now I can die happy’ and of course I don...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 27, 2014
We’ve recently been having a fun discussion about P. D. James on that wonderful mystery lovers’ loop DorothyL. James is, naturally, a writer frequently discussed among that group of avid writers, readers, librarians, reviewers, booksellers, etc. This round we’ve been focusing (as much as we ever focus) on her Death Comes to Pemberley, The Children of Men, and Innocent Blood.
And, as you would expect, the responses and opinions have been as varied as the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 24, 2014
At last, at last! I've been waiting since last September (when the ebook came out) to announce that the paperback edition of A Jane Austen Encounter, my newest Richard & Elizabeth literary suspense, is available in paperback!
In celebration, I want to share one of my all-time favorite reviews I've ever received in my thirty-some years of writing:
The view from Box Hill in Surrey is incredible. But that’s just one of the places readers will visit in Donna Fletcher Crow’s The Jane Austen Encounter. Two professors of English on a second honeymoon have traveled from the US to England to encounter those places made famous by one of the world’s most famous writers. An erudite guide from Oxford directs their steps—she’ll direct which type of tea they drink if she gets the chance. And an underappreciated student asks their aid with her research project. But the best characters in this book, for me at least, are the places—Winchester, Bath, the rolling English country roads and the tiny remembrances of glories past. Author Donna Fletcher Crow renders voices very convincingly and creates a thoroughly enjoyable sense of place in this novel....
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 10, 2014
I first "met" Syrie James in what is perhaps the best way to meet any author, through reading her book. Others in my local JASNA chapter (Jane Austen Society of North America) recommended Syrie’s book The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and I took their advice. I found the book "A Delightful Pastiche," as I titled my Amazon review: http://j.mp/1iHCpN9
Syrie James' Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen is one of the best Jane Austen spin-offs I've ever read. She did a great job of giving us the known outline of events in Jane's life, then filled in with possible scenes which Jane herself could have drawn on as background for her own stories. I had great fun identifying the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 29, 2014
Ah, a whole week in the California sunshine. And, as if that weren’t enough, I got to have lunch with my daughter-in-law Kelly and author Syrie James. I’ve blogged earlier about meeting Syrie at the Jane Austen Society conference last fall ( http://j.mp/1bf0Gpa ) and I’ll share more about Syrie and her latest book...
By Fay Sampson ~ January 16, 2014
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 26, 2013
One of my favorite gems of wisdom I’ve attempted to pass on to our children is that life gives you second chances. And sometimes even third and fourth chances.
That’s certainly true in the case of books in this age of electronic publishing. And my Lord Danvers Victorian true-crime series is a case in point. I began the series in 1993— wow, that’s 20 years ago!— with A Most Inconvenient Death, telling the story...
By Fay Sampson ~ November 6, 2013
Welcome back, Fay Sampson, with some thoughts on a topic that is never far from a writer's mind— to what extent should we let the internet invade our lives? And how can we possibly find time to write if we do all the social media we are told we should do?
Fay and I would both love to hear how our readers control this ever-pressing aspect of modern life.
Fay also reports that Beneath the Soil, the sixth Suzie Fewings genealogical thriller will be out with Severn House in...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 15, 2013
I have dreamed of stepping back into Regency England since I first read Pride and Prejudice as a teenager. Attending the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North American last month was very nearly that dream come true. "Austenland for grownups."
The publication of my Jane Austen themed book A Jane Austen Encounter, book 3 in my Elizabeth & Richard literary suspense series was the perfect excuse.
so I packed my finery, reread Pride and Prejudice and Stan and I drove across the country to Minneapolis. Some of the events that gave participants a feel of living in the Regency, or having stepped through the screen of their favorite Jane Austen movie, were the afternoon tea,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 19, 2013
I would be so thrilled if any of my readers could join me--
Thursday, August 22
Kuna Public Library
'History and Me', presented by the Kuna Historical Society and Kuna Library, Thursday, August 22nd, is a presentation by Donna Fletcher Crow, a renowned author of more than thirty books who lives in Boise. Her discussion will begin at 6 PM at the Kuna Library and will include:
- Lifelong sense of and love of history
- Family roots in Kuna, Nampa and Boise
- Writing 'Daughters of Courage'
- Expanding to further shores
Donna's Trilogy, 'Daughters of Courage,' is about her relatives arriving in the early 1900's in the Kuna area. In her 'Author's Note' in her book 'Elizabeth', Donna writes: "This is a novel - a work of fiction - but one very dear to me because I was able to use so many bits and pieces of my own family history." Donna will provide time for questions and will have copies of her books to show and be available for purchase. Anyone who has copies...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 9, 2013
Agatha Christie and all the Golden Age English mystery writers are wonderful. But what do you do after you've read all the books and seen all the television adaptations 11 zillion times? I turn to some of the excellent contemporary writers such as Dolores Gordon-Smith who resurrect that age in delightful classic-style mysteries. That's why I've invited my friend Julianna Deering to be my guest today to tell us about Rules of Murder, her new Drew Farthing Mystery And to discuss why she was drawn to writing in this genre.
Over to you, Julianna. Tell...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 23, 2013
Readers in the Boise Valley area have an exciting opportunity to meet one of the most talked-about and beloved new writers to come along in many a year. Jenny Milchman, author of the stunning debut novel COVER OF SNOW will be at Rediscovered Books, 180 N 8th St. In downtown Boise at 11 o’clock Saturday morning July 27.
Jenny’s event will be a unique opportunity for readers and writers alike as she will be talking about life on the road...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 14, 2013
One of my guiding rules as a writer (which I break only when absolutely necessary) is never to write about something I haven’t actually experienced. Of course, I must hasten to say that being murdered, falling off cliffs and finding dead bodies are a major exception to that rule.
But following the rule has led me to be uncharacteristically adventurous at times and provided some delightful experiences. For example, when my heroine Kathryn in the first of my Daughters of Courage family saga books had to go into a lava flow cave in search of a...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 21, 2013
AN UNHOLY COMMUNION will be getting a lot of attention in the next two weeks. This newly released installment in the Monastery Murders finds Felicity and Antony leading a group of young people on an historical philgrimage through mystical Wales. All is as idylic as Antony promised Felicity it would be until the lurking shadows that seem to have been following them take on more substantial form. And then they find a body face down in a holy well. Many of the websites that will be reviewing AN UNHOLY COMMUNION and posting interviews and articles from the author (me) will also be hosting giveaways. I'll...
AN UNHOLY COMMUNION will be getting a lot of attention in the next two weeks. This newly released installment in the Monastery Murders finds Felicity and Antony leading a group of young people on an historical philgrimage through mystical Wales. All is as idylic as Antony promised Felicity it would be until the lurking shadows that seem to have been following them take on more substantial form. And then they find a body face down in a holy well.
Many of the websites that will be reviewing AN UNHOLY COMMUNION and posting interviews and articles from the author (me) will also be hosting giveaways. I'll...
By Fay Sampson ~ April 17, 2013
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 5, 2013
I am thrilled to announce that a beautiful all-new edition of GLASTONBURY, The Novel of Christian England, has just been released by Angelico Press http://angelicopress.wordpress.com/glastonbury/
I have always considered GLASTONBURY to be the centerpiece of my career— perhaps the book I was born to write. My lifelong fascination with the Arthurian legends has had much to do with my devout Anglophilia...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 26, 2013
An Unholy Communion, the third book in my Monastery Murders series, was released in print in the UK and in ebook around the world last Friday (North American print release will be April 1), so I suppose I should be blogging about that, especially since it has been making the top 100 lists on AmazonUK for inspirational books— for which I am delighted and grateful. But sometimes there is something in a writer’s life even more important than than one’s own books and for me, Holy Week is certainly one of those times.
One of the great experiences of my life was spending Holy Week in the Community of the Resurrection in 2005. Normally I want to be in my parish church, experiencing the sorrow of the Great Three Days and the joy of Easter with my church family. But that year I had the total emersion of being in a monastery, participating in fifty-some services in one week, most of the rest of the time spent in silence, the services of the Triduum celebrated with all the fullness of the liturgy, gorgeous vestments and exquisite music— It was an experience that has informed every Holy Week I’ve experienced since then, although I...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 19, 2013
Yes, I'm here at my desk in Boise, Idaho, but I just spent half an hour in Winter Springs, Florida, with the lovely ladies of the Christian Literature Fellowship Book Club. The ladies had already discussed my book A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and Jean, the club director in whose beautiful home they were meeting, had told them to come prepared with a question for me.
It all began many, many years ago when Ellen, who has since become a dear friend, read GLASTONBURY and wrote me a wonderful fan letter. Remember...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 5, 2013
Lovers of English history around the world were thrilled at the news that "A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III.
"Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch's family.
"Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: "Beyond reasonable doubt it's Richard."
I have been a champion of King Richard III for many years, ever since reading Josephine Tey’s excellent historical sleuthing novel Daughter...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 24, 2013
I have long been enamored with the beauty and the deep sense of the spiritual in icons. I have many hanging above my desk and find them an enhancement to my own morning prayers. So I use the theft of an icon as the inciting incident in A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, book 2 in my Monastery Murders:
I then continue to explore the meaning and history of icons as Felicity races from convent to convent across England...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 19, 2013
K. Dawn, welcome to "Deeds of darkness; Deeds of Light." I love doing blog exchanges, so let me invite our readers to turn over to your blog www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com to read about my latest when they finish here. But first, K. Dawn, tell us what Double Identity is about.
Seventeen-year old Bree is shocked when she discovers she has a twin sister, even more shocked to find that she's an identical twin. When Bree's sister becomes obsessed with her boyfriend, Luke, Bree must decide who wants who and who's telling the truth.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 11, 2012
Donna: love the Victorians, I love Scotland and I love Christmas, so it’s little wonder that I was immediately drawn to Liz Curtis Higgs’ new Christmas novella set in Victorian Scotland A Wreath of Snow. (And did I mention that I also love Liz Curtis Higgs?)
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 6, 2012
For almost 14 centuries St. Cuthbert has been inspiring and mystifying people. His simple, holy life lived in as much obscurity as he could manage on not-remote-enough islands off the coast of Northumbria, the amazing account of the 200-year-journey of the Cuthbert Folk guarding his relics throughout northern England and southern Scotland, his uncorrupted body surviving the ravages of the Dissolution. . . the story continues to today, inspiring Believers anew with the power of Holiness.
My efriend, the English poet David Grieve who is also a chaplain at Durham Cathedral, was inspired anew this morning during his private prayers at St. Cuthbert's Shrine. This is the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 5, 2012
Donna: My guest today is Ilene Schneider, author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mysteries Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead and a rabbi herself.
First of all, Ilene, tell us about writing Unleavened Dead.
Ilene: One day,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 1, 2012
Award-winning author and marketing guru Lillian Brummet joins us today to share tips for other writers, and to let us take a peek into her office life. Lillian is a radio host, a blog manager and freelance writer - she is also the author of 5 books to date. The main focus of all the work she and her husband are involved in is to inspire hope in others, helping them realize the value of their efforts and encouraging them to become more positive and proactive in life. Find out more about the Brummets @: http://www.brummet.ca and read my interview on "Finding the Drive to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 30, 2012
That's one thing about life in this electronic age— it's never boring. Just when you think you've caught up with the latest thing, along comes something new.
My learning curve today included entering the brave new world of Authorgraph. I was introduced to it by the amazing Stacy Juba, who is never behind the curve, I jumped in with both feet and found the water to be just fine.
I can now offer personalized autographs to my readers around the world. This is for any edition of any book I've written: Paperback, hardback, out-of-print, ebooks. . . if you can find it on Amazon I can send you a personalized autograph for it. And you don't have to buy the book on Amazon--or at all. I can send autographs to readers who have had my books for years, or haven't yet purchased (or been given) one. Of course, this works perfectly if you want to give an autographed book as a Christmas present or...
By Fay Sampson ~ November 19, 2012
I've written before about the joy of research trips: Pennant Melangell, Burnley and Lindisfarne recently. And I'm planning another, rather closer to home, to evocative Cornish churches and pilgrimage sites which I may use in my next Aidan Mystery. More of that later.
But there is the tremendous liberation of going on holiday without another book in mind. Somewhere for pure enjoyment.
This autumn it was the Dordogne, also known as the Perigord, in France. I was attracted to it by the pictures of rocky river gorges and medieval castles perched on the cliffs above. What...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 15, 2012
I am a firm believer in travelling light, so I’m delighted to have as my guest today Cara Lopez Lee, who travels even lighter than I do, to share how she decides what’s truly important in packing and in life. Cara is one of my fellow authors from the brand new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back are doing a blog exchange today, so after you read Cara’s article here you can read mine on her blog at http://ning.it/SxQKgp
If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then you're sure to enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick. Get a full listing of authors,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 11, 2012
I’m playing a new game called blog tag today I’m "it"! I was invited by the lovely Stacy Juba who included my essay in her ebook 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back http://ning.it/OxPZSt If you enjoy magazine columns...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 7, 2012
My guest today is Carole Shmurak , a fellow author from the brand new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back . Carole and I are doing a blog exchange today, both discussing Dorothy L. Sayer's influence on our lives. So after you read Carole's interview here you can read mine on her blog at http://wp.me/ph91A-6d
If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then you're sure to enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick.Get a full listing...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 6, 2012
Donna: My guest today is the lovely Jessie Anderson whose young adult novel AT WHAT COST about an important and sensitive topic was released this summer. Welcome, Jessie.
Jessie: Thanks for having me, Donna!
Donna: To get started, tell us something about yourself, Jessie.
Jessie: I live in a small town in Western New York with my husband and three kids. I'm a former English teacher, and I now spend my time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. I volunteer at the local library and sing in...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 22, 2012
Karen McCullough, one of my fellow authors from the new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back, and I are doing a blog exchange, so after reading her post here, you can check out my post on her blog at http://kmccullough.com/kblog/?p=376
If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 6, 2012
Welcome. Norma Huss. I love the fact that you call yourself "The Grandma Moses of Mystery Writing" and can't wait to hear how you earned that title.
Donna, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today-and for exchanging blogs with me. Since this is an exchange, as soon as your readers finish here I hope they'll come on over to my blog and read your article there: http://tinyurl.com/cjhbcrf
We are both part of the 25 Years in The Rearview Mirror tour. If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then you're sure to enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick. Get a full listing of authors, essay titles...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 29, 2012
I'd like to welcome Beth Kanell, one of my fellow authors from the brand new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back. Beth is stopping by as part of the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror Blog Tour. If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then we're sure you'll enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Get a full listing of authors, essay titles and retailers here: http://ning.it/OHLH0y
With leaves turning autumnal and the stores filling up with trick-or-treats and spooky decorations, Beth is going to help us get in...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 17, 2012
Today Tracy Krauss one of my fellow authors from the brand new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back are doing a blog exchange today, so after you read Tracy’s interview here you can read min on her blog at http://ning.it/OxPZSt
If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 14, 2012
As much as I love research trips that take me across the water to some of my favorite spots ( I'm often accused of choosing the settings of my books by where i want to go next— which is perfectly true) the down side of that is that I never go any place as just a tourist. if a site isn't on my research list, I don't take time for it.
That's why having a whole 24 hours of my own in London at the end of my recent research trip was pure luxury.
At least, that's how it turned out. I wasn't so sure at first. The day before I received a message from the friend I had planned to stay with that she had a family emergency and had to fly to Paris. Well, certainly London is full of (expensive) hotels. I didn't exactly worry that I'd be on the street, but my first thought turned to other friends (unavailable) and to the monks I had stayed with before (moved). How about the nuns my son-in-law stayed with? No longer taking guests. Did they know of any other religious houses? Yes! The Franciscan Sisters of Malta—...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 9, 2012
I'd like to welcome Vicki Delaney, one of my fellow authors from the brand new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back. We’re doing a blog exchange today, so I’m guesting on Vicki’s blog at: http://ning.it/Olv8Hr
If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 2, 2012
I am so pleased to have Claire Dunn as my guest today. I have just read a magazine article about Claire's new novel, actually her first novel, Mortal Fire, and a truly gripping excerpt from the book. I can promise, this is a book you don't want to miss! But before yourush out to buy the book, let's hear from Claire herself, and then, if you can, take just one more minute to hop on over to Claire's blog where she is hosting an interview with yours truly http://ning.it/NKGtuQ
And now, here's Claire—
Donna, thank you so much for inviting me as your guest on your blog, and I have the pleasure of reciprocating with you on my blog! Although we work on opposite sides of the Atlantic, we write in a similar genre and our books have much in common, combining history, mystery and a touch...
By Fay Sampson ~ August 30, 2012
Half the fun of writing novels is the research. But when is the best time to do it? If it's an historical novel, then it's really important to steep yourself in that period before setting pen to paper or opening that new document. You need not only to read what has been written about the period, but things written in that period. You want to capture something of how people thought, as well as lived.
Place is very important to me. My first children's novels arose from places in my native West Country that cried out to have stories written about them. The challenge...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 11, 2012
second edition cover
Yes, Glastonbury Tor has seen it all: Celtic Druids, Roman soldiers, Saint Patrick, King Arthur and his knights, Saint Dunstan and the builders of the magnificent Glastonbury Abbey, Henry VIII's vandals who demolished the abbey and executed the last abbot on the very top of the Tor. . .
But the ages I'm thinking of at the moment are mine because in the 20 years of its existence, my novel Glastonbury which tells all 1500 years of its history is now in its third edition. This time a special edition just for ereaders. http://ning...
By Fay Sampson ~ August 3, 2012
As people around the world follow the London Olympics, Fay Sampson reports from England, sharing her response to the stellar Opening Ceremonies:
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 31, 2012
I’ve just had one of those exchanges with a reader that can make a writer’s whole week— or maybe even, month. One of the glories of the internet is making conversations like this available around the world. This one is from England, which I especially prize since that’s where my Monastery Murders series is set.
With permission from the writer, I’ll quote:
SC: Just finished reading "A Very...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 28, 2012
"Donna, are you watching the Opening Ceremonies? They just carried the flag to the top of Glastonbury Tor!" My friend rang from England. Another friend sent me a Facebook message from Kentucky.
We hadn't seen the opening of the London Olympics yet. But now we have! Glastonbury Tor recreated in the center of the Olympic stadium in London. A children's choir singing "Jerusalem":
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 14, 2012
Preparing for the upcoming launch of AN UNHOLY COMMUNION, the third title in The Monastery Murders, Monarch Books has decided to give the whole series a new, darker, more mysterious look. This is particularly appropriate because AN UNHOLY COMMUNION is a darker book as a quiet Welsh pilgrimage becomes a life-and-death struggle with evil.
Arriving at this new look has been an interesting process because the proposed cover they first sent me was somewhat more mysterious that that for earlier titles, but still in the original format of the series:
Not only will the look be different, the size will also be slightly different. I could give you the exact dimensions, but since it was explained to me in terms of millimeters it’s easiest just to say that it will be standard trade paperback which I’m told is the most popular in American...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 23, 2012
Be sure you read to the end for details of how to win a free copy of A MIDSUMMER EVE'S NIGHTMARE.
"Write what you know" is the oldest chestnut in the arsenal of advice to writers. And probably the silliest. How many of us could write any sort of novel— let alone a murder mystery— based on what we know?
And yet, I'd have to say that all of my books have grown out of my real life experiences. Except for the murders, you understand. The fact that so...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 13, 2012
I always look forward to receiving Veronica Heley’s newsletter. Veronica, the author of something like 72 books) is one of the most gracious ladies I know, and she’s the creator of one of my favorite fictional sleuths— Ellie Quick. I found this month’s newsletter so delightful and so informative I asked Veronica if I could share it with my readers. Besides Veronica’s charming voice coming through so clearly, it also gives a realistic and humorous glimpse into the life of a writer:
May was a mixture of work and play. We stole away to our favourite holiday destination – Bruges – for a week, and I didn’t touch a computer for seven days. Well, I did think about this and that for the next book. It takes a long time for me to ponder this and that before I actually start writing the next story, so this was...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 6, 2012
Celebrate with me! I just clicked the send button! With a great "Woo-hoo!" AN UNHOLY COMMUNION, book 3 in the Monastery Murders is on its way to the publisher!
Strapline: "A quiet Welsh Pilgrimage becomes a life-and-death struggle between good and evil"
People often ask me how long it takes me to write a book. This one has been quite a model of efficiency. Here’s the saga, beginning with that all-important research trip:
The idea rattled around in my head and in notes on my computer for some time, but by early in 2011 they were well enough formed that I was planning my research trip. I needed two things: to experience a walking pilgrimage...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 24, 2012
I’m still shaking a bit--35 years in this business and I’ve just received the most amazing review of my career from "The Bookish Libraria"
The Bookish Dame's Review :
I hardly know what to tell you except there's little that brings me back to my young adult years like a gothic mystery. I love a gothic novel! Shades of Norah Lofts and Mary Stewart--only more umph and a little better, I have to say! I could hardly wait to receive a copy of Ms Crows book to review. I particularly was anxious to read one set in a monastery with a proper, would-be novice nun,...
The Bookish Dame's Review
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 14, 2012
Beginning week 3 of my Pump Up Your Book Tour and great fun it's been so far with two weeks yet to go. Just wanted to share some highlights to date:
From A YEAR OF JUBILEE REVIEWS
I love a good mystery and put it in a monastery and historic churches in London, makes it all the more fun and suspenseful! . . .
This novel is fast paced...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 3, 2012
Whether an author loves or dreads them, whether you consider them the best part of the job or the worst part, the fact of the matter is that author interviews are part of the job. And it’s important to make the most of every opportunity.
Today I was interviewed for The Examiner which boasts 20 million readers...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 27, 2012
It's always an open question— what's most important in how readers react to your novel: setting, plot, characters. . . ?
I most often choose what I'll read on the basis of background. I want to read a book set in a place where I want to spend time. Perhaps that relates to the escapism function of literature. But at the end of the day, no matter how much I love the place, if there aren't people I like there I won't finish the book.
That's one of the reasons I was so delighted with this new review...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 10, 2012
Just received the Polish translation of A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE. The only words I can read are my name on the front and Kate Charles on the back who gave a very generous endorsement. The cover art is an interesting translation of the picture of Fountains Abbey from the English language version with the addition of Lindisfarne Castle on top— a perfectly valid addition since Lindisfarne does feature in the novel.
Oh, and Corpus Delicti which is their name for their mystery serios— a great choice, I think.
MURDER IN THE CLOISTER
In life you...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 7, 2012
Just as the Great Easter Vigil, traditionally celebrated just before dawn on Easter morning, is thehigh point of the Christian year, so is it the climax of Felicity's search for the murderer in A Darkly Hidden Truth:
They met in total darkness on the wide gravel path in front of the church. Felicity guessed it must be something before four a.m. A lone bird on an overhead branch proclaimed its faith in the approaching dawn, but the sky showed not a streak of promise. At least it had quit raining, but the pre-dawn damp was just as chill.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 6, 2012
Yes, A Darkly Hidden Truth, The Monastery Murders 2, is a murder mystery with lots of action. Felicity spends most of her time finding dead bodies and solving the crime; chasing murderers and being chased by them; rescuing Antony or being rescued by him. But she does occasionally take time out for worship. After all, she is studying theology in a monastery and thinking of becoming a nun.
So here’s her Good Friday at the Community of the Transfiguration:
The Solemn Liturgy continued with readings, Psalms and prayers. All stood for the singing of the Passion according to St. John by the cantors. At the line ". . . He gave up his spirit" all genuflected and paused in silence. Cynthia was right. The silence was...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 4, 2012
In A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, the second of my Monastery Murders, Felicity, who enjoys extravagant liturgy to the fullest, has been anticipating experiencing the amazing experience she has heard that Holy Week will be in the Community of the Transfiguration where she studies in the theological college run by the monks.
As the Maundy...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 30, 2012
Sally Wright is with us again today in her series about the backgrounds for her wonderful Ben Reese Mysteries. The Watches of the Night is my favorite of the series— along with Code of Silence and, well, all the others— so I'm fascinated to read of the impact discovering the perfect setting in Tuscany had on her writing.
Over to you, Sally:
Settings get me started, and give me all kinds of story ideas, and then become as alive for me as the characters in my books.
The Ben Reese novels take place in the early 1960s, so there’s always a great deal of research that has to be done on site, especially since earlier...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 24, 2012
A writer’s community is an important part of her life. We all need like-minded people to support us, encourage us, weep with us in hard times and celebrate with our successes. When I started out in this business more than 30 years ago my community experiences were limited to a once-yearly writers’ conference and a once-a-month meeting of local writers. Plus an occasional postal letter (written on real paper with a real postage stamp— remember those days?).
Now the world is at my fingertips and I belong to lots of writers’ groups, including...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 22, 2012
Donna: Sally Wright is back with us today to share more about the backgrounds of her wonderful Ben Reese Mysteries— all of which are now available in ebook format. Today Sally shares about a passion we share— Scotland— followed by an equally enchanting location— Oxford. Looking at these pictures can give you some idea why I'm such a big fan of the Ben Reese books— reading them is like taking a trip to some of my favorite places. Sally: Typically, I start with some idea of a basic plot, or a situation I want to explore, or a couple of characters I’ve become obsessed with - and then I go where I think I want to place the book. It’s when I get there and...
Donna: Sally Wright is back with us today to share more about the backgrounds of her wonderful Ben Reese Mysteries— all of which are now available in ebook format. Today Sally shares about a passion we share— Scotland— followed by an equally enchanting location— Oxford. Looking at these pictures can give you some idea why I'm such a big fan of the Ben Reese books— reading them is like taking a trip to some of my favorite places.
Sally: Typically, I start with some idea of a basic plot, or a situation I want to explore, or a couple of characters I’ve become obsessed with - and then I go where I think I want to place the book. It’s when I get there and...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 16, 2012
Donna: I am so delighted to announce that all six of Sally Wright's wonderful Ben Reese Mysteries are now available in ebook format! In celebration, I've asked Sally to give my readers a peek at the story behind the story and tell us about how she developed the backgrounds that play wuch an important part in these stories.
Sally, let's start with the last of the series first. Tell us about Code of Silence.
By Fay Sampson ~ March 12, 2012
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 8, 2012
Donna: Welcome Debbi. Thank you so much for being my guest and for hosting me on your blog today as well.
I've been a fan of Debbi and her sassy, loyal, quick-witted Sam McRae ever since I won a copy of Debbi's first book IDENTITY CRISIS. That seems such a short time ago and here's Debbi with a track record of a New York Times bestseller and her third novel launching this weekend.
I think a lot of Debbi's success is due to the intelligence underlying her stories. They aren't just clever plots,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 6, 2012
Oh, my goodness, I had this great idea to do a series on the background of A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, the newest of my Monastery Murder books, and here it is more than two months since my post on the atmospheric, soggy, boggy Norfolk Broads where dead bodies can be washed out of the earth and nefarious villains lurk in ancient church towers. Http://ning.it/wVudAM
Well, I suppose an article every two months can still be called a series, but that wasn’t exactly what I...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 21, 2012
My guest today is debut novelist Becky Lyles whose romantic suspense novel I had the pleasure of reading pre-publication. My verdict:
Now, Becky, tell us about your journey writing The Winds of Wyoming:
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 17, 2012
In the writing world it could be 1776 all over again. Well, except for the reliance on up-to-the-minute technology, that is. But it’s certainly the day of independence and independents. Everything one reads about publishing focuses on the Indies. No, not the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia, but authors who are independently publishing their own books through the miracle of electronics. The idea is that they do all the work and reap all the benefits.
The argument often goes something like this: "...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 15, 2012
2011 was a great year for the mystery novel, as authors young and old stepped up their game to produce some of the most nuanced and exhilarating works of the genre. While popular U.S. mystery authors like Janet Evanovich and Susan Grafton boast huge sales of their latest novels, lesser known authors published new works that challenged conventions of the genre. Louise Penny’s psychological thriller A Trick of the Light and Rosamund Lupton’s family-twist on the detective story in Sister are two entries that continue to keep mystery fiction continually fresh and exciting.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 13, 2012
Thank you to Laura and Bruce at Rediscovered Books and to all my friends who came out to hear about the latest in the Monastery Murders, have books signed and to be so wonderfully supportive— and to my lovely husband who took the pictures. I love you all!
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 9, 2012
Welcome, mystery writer and rabbi, Ilene Schneider. I met Ilene on a mystery writers' loop where I've enjoyed her posts on mystery writing for years. Last summer when I needed research help regarding first century rabbis I turned to ilene. She was wonderfully generous in her help. (You should have fun finding your bits of wisdom when An Unholy Communion comes to light, Ilene.) For now I wanted to share her clerical mysteries from another perspective with my readers. Welcome, Ilene!
First, her bio: Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D., one of the first women rabbis ordained in the U.S., hasn’t decided what she wants to be when she grows up. She is currently Coordinator of Jewish Hospice for Samaritan Hospice, Marlton, NJ, where she lives with her husband, Rabbi Gary Gans, and two “millennial” sons. Chanukah Guilt is the first Rabbi Aviva Cohen mystery. She has completed the second, Unleavened Dead, and is...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 5, 2012
Today I'm doing a blog exchange with K. Dawn Byrd. K. Dawn is a multi-published author who writes romance, romantic suspense, historical, and young adult fiction. She's an avid blogger and interviews authors who give away several books per week on her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com. If you're the winner of a book, be sure and ask the author to sign it for you. So when you finish here, hope on over to her blog to read my interview and enter the drawing for A Darkly Hidden Truth.
When she's not reading or writing, K. Dawn enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years. Their favorite evening consists of a leisurely walk beside a gorgeous lake near their home while plotting the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 1, 2012
One of the wonderful things about sending...
By Fay Sampson ~ January 31, 2012
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 9, 2012
First the shouting and champagne cork-popping (or at least a can of Sprite) and then the nail-biting. After all the months of planning, researching, writing, editing, rewriting, comes the waiting. Then you see the page proofs and the cover— something akin to seeing the photos from an ultra-sound. Then more waiting. At last the book launch. And there is much rejoicing.
Only to be followed by more waiting for the reviews. What if, after all that— months, maybe years of your life— nobody likes it?
All of which helps explain my deep joy, gratitude and relief for the review I received today from the award-winning, highly respected mystery writer Radine...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 6, 2012
In celebration of the January 1, 2012, North American launch of my clerical mystery A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, Monastery Murders 2, I’m launching a series of blogs about the research for this contemporary murder mystery which requires Felicity and Father Antony, my amateur sleuths to spend considerable time exploring atmospheric places and understand a good deal of history in order to untangle the exceedingly tangled plot.
As you might guess, research is one of my great joys in the job of writing and Father Antony, who lectures on church history at the theological college Felicity is attending, shares my joys. Felicity, a thoroughly modern American woman, who chose to study in a monastery in rural Yorkshire in what she can only describe...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 23, 2011
I have blogged before about the vibrant mystery writing and reading scene in Calgary: recounts my delight in meeting Louise Penny and Peter Robinson at last year's Calgary Bookfest and http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/articles.php?id=41 reports on my two book signings at The Owl's Nest bookstore on the launch of A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE .
Tonight I was back again at The Owl's Nest with my Calgary crimje-writer friends Linda Kupecek and Jayne Barnhard.
This event was...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 13, 2011
I have twice had the experience of spending Remembrance Sunday, AKA Veteran's Day, in other countries in recent years and have found it a most moving experience both times. Both in England three years ago and this year in Canada the heartfelt nation-wide observances and the church services have been extremely affective.
This year in Calgary we began at my grandchldren's school on Thursday (since...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 4, 2011
Friday, 7:10 A. M., 4 November, 2011: The phone rang. "Mum, my water broke. We’re our the way to the hospital."
Well, I had wanted to be there (there being across the border in Calgary) for the predicted 11/11/11 birth of our daughter’s third child— our 11th grandchild. But we weren’t scheduled to leave until Sunday, so this be Elizabeth’s first time to give birth without my being there— even though the other two were born across the water in England.
Nothing to do but get on with my day. The reading from Revelation 4:11 for Morning Prayer was especially appropriate; "Glory and honour and power are yours by right, O Lord our God. For you created...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 1, 2011
I know, we haven't had Thanksgiving yet. But Halloween is over, although our neighbor's ghost is still blowing in the tree outside my window along with all the lovely autumn leaves. Still, it really is time to start thinking about your Christmas shopping— there's nothing worse than leaving that until the last minute.
So I've invited my friend Kathi Macias to help us out with a suggestion for the booklovers on your gift list. Kathi, tell us about your latest, A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY HOME.
Thank you, Donna. I'm so excited to have this opportunity to tell your readers about my first-ever Christmas novel. I've always thought it would be fun to write one, and now I've actually done it. In addition, I've contracted...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 29, 2011
The second annual Idaho Book Extravaganza was officially a huge success. Participation trebled that of last year— and projections are that it will triple again next year. Boise’s Convention Center on the Grove was a perfect setting, especially with the autumn foliage on the trees filling the courtyard outside.
Although the official opening was earlier in the day, for me the event began Friday evening, with the awards ceremony for Idaho’s Top 50 Authors. I was thrilled to be one of the award recipients along with so many of my friends.
The Author Mixer followed. I shared a table with my sister writer Kelly Jones whose latest art history mystery THE WOMAN WHO HEARD COLOR was released earlier this month. I enjoyed meeting friends and readers old and new and signing my Monastery Murders A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH (not yet officially available in North America until January), and my epics GLASTONBURY and...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 26, 2011
My guest today is novelist Donn Taylor whose novel The Lazarus File, like its namesake, has returned to life. I asked Donn to tell us about the research and writing of this most unusual novel. Over to you, Donn:
Thanks for inviting me onto your blog, Donna, and thanks for the prompt about how I came to write my suspense novel The Lazarus File. For Lazarus has been resurrected once again—this time as an e-book available through Amazon and B&N.
Unlike my mystery Rhapsody in Red, which developed rather suddenly, Lazarus was a long time in coming about. In the mid-1960s I was assigned as commander of an Army aviation company in Verdun, France, and my pilots were flying deHavilland Otters all over free Europe and the Mediterranean area. I happened then to...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 24, 2011
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 20, 2011
Thank you so much, dear, loyal friends, for voting for me in the Authors Show contest to be included in their book 50 Great Writers You Should be Reading. Thanks to your great response we did it and I'll have the fun of being included in the book.
All the finalists were asked to write an essay on the writing life. Here's my entry:
The Most-Asked Question
No, the most-asked question is not "Where do your ideas come from?" Although...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 19, 2011
My guest today is Chris Nickson, writer of noir historical mysteries set in Leeds. I met Chris through an online British historical novelists group and we connected because his books are set just a few miles from my fictional Kirkthorpe where The Monastery Murders have their beginnings before Felicity and Antony race further afield chasing and being chased by murderers.
I got to know Leeds and the area around it when my daughter and son-in-law were studying at the theological college that serves as a model for my College of the Transfiguration so I...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 9, 2011
The first drawing I ever entered to win an advanced reader copy of a book on the mystery loop DorothyL was for Peg Herring's Her Highness's First Murder and I won! It was a delightful read,...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 3, 2011
Dear Friends and Readers,
Please help! I’ve been chosen as a finalist to appear in the book Fifty Great Authors You Should be Reading. As you can imagine, I would be thrilled to have my profile and books listed in this book along with other up-and-coming authors.
But it’s up to you. All you have to do is click on this link The Authors Show 2011 Contest
Scroll down to the VOTE HERE link. (I think you can skip the survey.) Then scroll down to Donna Fletcher Crow (listed alphabetically) and click.
Thank you so much! I greatly appreciate your help. It would...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 29, 2011
Sally Wright, one of my favorite authors, celebrating the ebook release of Out of The Ruins, #4 in her superb Ben Reese mysteries, recalls the serendipitous experiences and the extraordinary people that brought her to the writing of this book and draws some valuable life lessons. Welcome, Sally, it's always an honour to have you visit "Deeds of Darkness' Deeds of Light."
The writing of Out Of The Ruins grew out of a lot of serendipitous experiences that gradually floated together in my brain to form a fictional pattern. Now...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 28, 2011
A good time was had by all. Especially by me.
The ladies of the Cross of Christ Lutheran book club couldn’t have given me a warmer welcome or more gracious hospitality. The scones were made from my own favorite recipe (but I didn’t have to make them) and each lady was given the recipe printed on peach paper rolled with a blue ribbon.
Once I had piled as much lemon curd, orange marmalade and perfectly whipped cream (thank you, Cynthia) on my scone as I could manage— setting a good example for the others— we sat at long, white damask-covered...
By Fay Sampson ~ September 16, 2011
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 11, 2011
Neither my husband nor I took Saturday off— that's one of the less felicitous things about both being self-employed and both working from home. We tend to work pretty much nonstop.
Saturday evening we finally sat down and put our feet up to watch a favorite TV program— "MI-5" or "Spooks" depending which side of the pond you're watching it on. Then the phone rang.
"Donna, what's going...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 10, 2011
I’m celebrating early!
2012 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the publication of my historical epic GLASTONBURY, The Novel of Christian England. Yes, TWENTY years! And I’m not a bit grayer than when I started. ( I do write fiction, you understand.)
In this ephemeral market twenty years and still in print is no small thing. Although, I must explain that it did go OOP...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 6, 2011
My guest today is Kathi Macias. Kathi is known for writing award-winning books that tackle tough subjects. I'll let Kathi tell you about it in her own words:
People often ask me why I write about such dark subjects, such as the
Deliver Me From Evil, the first book in my new Freedom series, depicts the horrors of human trafficking. The three books in the series follow one after the other, taking the readers into the sordid world of young girls kidnapped or purposely sold into...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 2, 2011
Oh, my goodness! There they are! All three of them!
That’s the way it is in this business: A publisher accepts a book— or in this case a series— and you’re very excited. Then you wait. And pray.
The cover artist asks you for input (if you’re very, very lucky) and you’re very excited. Then you wait. And pray.
Maybe you can’t tell a book by its cover, but let’s face it— if the cover isn’t good...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 29, 2011
I wonder if anyone noticed I was gone? I noticed. Especially when I returned home to 781 messages in my inbox. That, however, is proof that I spent three weeks totally on vacation— I didn’t do e-mail even once. Romping with grandchildren is much more fun!
So what did you do? Thank you for asking. The family news first:
Stan and I drove to Calgary (15 hours straight through) for a half family reunion with two of our four children and their...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 23, 2011
Well, sortof. "Holy Writ," an article in the July 16-22, 2011, issue of The Economist (p.62) reports that St. Cuthbert’s Gospel, a tiny book barely three inches across is to be purchased for £9 million. http://ning.it/qSn2dC
Well, now, that’s attention-grabbing news to any book lover. And I applaud the fact that private donors have given the money to buy the book from the Jesuits at the beautiful Stonyhurst College in Lancashire in order to keep the treasure in England— appropriately at the British Library.
But on a personal level, the really wonderful thing to me was that The Economist article recounted the fact that this Gospel book, made more than 1,300 years ago at the Venerable Bede’s monastery at Jarrow, was placed in Cuthbert’s coffin by the monks of Lindisfarne when they fled their island home in fear of Viking raiders in the year 793. The Gospel, along with other treasures including Cuthbert’s silver portable altar, richly embroidered vestments and an ivory comb, journeyed with Cuthbert’s body through northern England and southern Scotland for 200 years cared for by faithful Benedictine monks who became known as ...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 19, 2011
I have long been a fan of Ellie Quick, Veronica Heley's gently determined, overage detective. When I heard that Veronica has a new Ellie Quick adventure just out I cheered and then asked Veronica to share some of Ellie's background with my "Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light" readers.
I asked Veronica especially to focus on the uneasy mother-daughter relationship between Ellie and her difficult daughter Diana. I find...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 14, 2011
Some days, well, let’s face it— most days— are pretty slogging: get up, get organized, morning prayers, exercise, read email, get to work. . . But once in awhile one gets a boost that gives energy to the whole day, maybe the whole week. I had one of those recently in the form of a letter from a reader. With her permission, I share:
Donna, I just read my first "Elizabeth and Richard" mystery. I loved it!!! I have to admit, when I started reading, I didn't think you could pull it off -- a murder at a murder mystery week? But, boy, you can spin a tale! I loved every moment of the intrigue, the romance, the suspense. I have to admit, I didn't like [the villain] from the get-go. He just got on my nerves, somehow. Richard, now, he's my kind of guy. Sweet, considerate, smart. And Elizabeth is a great character, of course. If only I could have seen photos of her outfits -- you made them sound so wonderful! I loved the scene where Elizabeth and Richard...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 2, 2011
I have put forth a lot of effort this Fourth of July weekend encouraging readers looking for an Independence Day themed book to take a look at...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 30, 2011
Looking for a politically-themed novel to go along with your Fourth of July weekend relaxing? STEPHANIE, Days of Turmoil and Victory, book 3 in my Daughters of Courage trilogy, might just be the mustard in your potato salad. (Actually, I use vinegar, but you get the image.)
For starters, how about spending your Fourth of July in northern Idaho at the 1971 rock festival sponsored by the Universal Life Church? Billed as a "church picnic" it was sure to be a bigger and better Woodstock: better bands, better weather, better drugs. Stephanie is all set to enjoy the warmth, the freedom, the creativity. And her...
By Fay Sampson ~ June 17, 2011
I’m proud to announce that we have agreed a deal for The Hunted Hare to be published next year by Monarch as the first in a new crime series, The Aidan Mysteries.
The theme of the series will be the sacred places of the British Isles – a good excuse to revisit some of my favourite places. The first one is set in Pennant Melangell, a remote shrine church in the Welsh mountains. The legend is of a hunted hare that was found being...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 14, 2011
Continuing the series suggested to me by my friend Rob Walker on how I titled my books, I move on to ELIZABETH, Days of Loss and Hope, book 2 in my family saga trilogy
The Daughters of Courage.
As I explained in last week’s article on the naming of KATHRYN, book 1 in the series, titles are the prerogative of the publisher, and after my previous experience of committing the solecism of insulting the name my editor had...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 3, 2011
A very wise and generous writer friend, Rob Walker by name, advised me, "Donna, your titles are extremely good. You should, one by one over a period of time, discuss how you arrived at the title of each of your books."
Because I am an only child I’m a knee-jerk obedient so I try only to listen to good advice. I think Rob’s suggestion qualifies, so here goes.
I start with my newest series to go up on ebook format The Daughters of Courage, beginning, logically with KATHRYN, Days of Struggle and Triumph, book 1 in the trilogy. I’m especially anxious to get the word out about this book since my publisher, at my request, has just lowered the price to 99...
By Fay Sampson ~ May 26, 2011
Researching books can take you to some wonderful places. Some years ago, I was at a course on Celtic history and beliefs in North Wales. One of our field trips took us to a medieval pilgrimage site at the end of the road in the Berwyn Mountains.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 16, 2011
Welcome, K Dawn. I just realized what fun this is to have a Byrd guesting on a Crow's blog. And, as a fun turnabout, I'm also guesting on K Dawn's blog later today: http://kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com/2011/05/register-to-win-donna-f-crowes-shadow.html#comments
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 13, 2011
Do you ever wonder what your grandmother or great grandmother would have to say about the internet and blogs and Facebook and Twitter and all the fun tools we have at our fingertips? Well, today my grandmothers made it into cyberspace. Of course, they did it virtually, as most things are done these days.
Today my pioneer family saga The Daughters of Courage went live on Amazon, Nook, and— get this— Amazon Germany. (What the Germans...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ May 10, 2011
What a fun idea. Mystery Writer and blogger Marilyn Meredith and I are exchanging blogs today. Please stay right here and enjoy Marilyn's story of the influences on her writing life and learn about her latest book Angel Lost, but as soon as you're through, go on over to Marilyn's blog (http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/2011/05/donna-crows-research-for-her-monastery.html) and read about how my research influences my writing and my recent experiences researching in Wales.
And now, Here's Marilyn:
My Writing Life
Looking back, I think I was always a writer. My first attempt was before I could actually write. I would listen to the soap opera "My Gal Sunday" on the radio with mom and draw pictures about the story. Once I actually learned to write, I wrote all sorts of stories. At first, mostly like the ones I was reading in particular, I know I wrote my version of a "Little House on the Prairie" story. During my growing up years I wrote plays for the neighborhood...
By Fay Sampson ~ April 30, 2011
Note from Donna: I'm delighted with this article on research from my co-blogger Fay Sampson because the superb period detail she uses was one of the first things that attracted me to her books.
Imagine my delight a couple of weeks ago at being in St. David's Cathedral— way out on the very southwestern tip of Wales (next stop Newfoundland) and finding one of Fay's books in the bookstore:
And now, from Fay—
I recently went to a writer’s conference where one of the speakers was a crime novelist. I was surprised to hear her say that she didn’t think...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ April 27, 2011
Eboracum, the ancient Brigantian settlement which was garrisoned by a Roman legion in AD 71 and became capital of the province of Northern Britain, better known today as York, was the perfect meeting place for a group of history-loving mystery writers from three continents.
Dolores Gordon-Smith who lives in Manchester and sets her Jack Haldean mysteries in the 1920's, Jane Finnis who lives nearby and authors the Aurelia Marcella series set in Roman Britain, Rebecca Jenkins who lives in Durham and writes...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 24, 2011
(As Jeeves said to Wooster.)
In plain English, I need your help, dear friends and gentle readers. In our brave new world, AKA The Jungle, of selling books electronically it’s all about getting your book to show up in the searches, especially on Amazon.
With just two clicks you can significantly help boost the sales of a friend’s book. But before I ask you to make those clicks, let me give you the numbers. About a week ago I read a significant article on marketing ebooks (or print as well, for that matter): http://randomizeme...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 23, 2011
I’ve long said, and even before on this blog, that "Librarians are my best friend." It’s true for any reader, of course, but even more so for writers. Especially a writer of historical novels most of which are set 7000 miles away from home and require extensive research.
As I told the audience at the Spring Author Series at Library! At Cole & Ustick today, http://www.boisepubliclibrary.org/News_and_Events/Calendar/OnlineCalendar.shtml#/?i=1 I certainly would not have been there— nor...
By Fay Sampson ~ March 14, 2011
James Bond hangs from the undercarriage of a helicopter spinning dizzily thousands of feet above an active volcano. Dodging hot lava spewing at him from below and bullets fired from above, he scrambles into the cabin, wrestles with the villain as the chopper, now pilotless, spirals toward the abyss. At the last minute Bond defeats the enemy and rights the 'copter. All without wrinkling his French cuffs.
We don't have a clue what's going on, but we are rivited. Novelist and editor Fay Sampson says that's how our novels should start:
Not long ago I went to an excellent session on short story writing, led by Veronica Bright. Much of her wisdom...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 8, 2011
With the expense of travelling these days and the easy, wide reach of the Internet, physical book tours and in-person book signings are becoming rarer and rarer. But there are still a lot of advantages to a real live author event.
Of course, number one has to be the joy of meeting your readers face to face, getting to show them your books and tell how they came to be, then the delight of a good question and answer session. A good book event always has a sense of energy that can inspire writers, readers and book sellers alike.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ March 2, 2011
Kate, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have the Queen of Clerical Mysteries visiting "Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light" Today. Before we get to your books, tell us something about yourself. I think all Anglophile Americans harbour just a bit of envy when they hear about a sister Yank...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 28, 2011
My guest today is Rebecca Jenkins, AKA Martha Ockley who has an exciting new mystery novel just released by Monarch Books.
Rebecca, I was so delighted to see your new book The Reluctant Detective in Monarch Books' new catalogue. Tell us about Faith Morgan.
Faith is a woman in her thirties who starts a career in the police-force then comes to believe that she is called become a minister in the Church of England. Her decision to follow her...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 24, 2011
In response to my earlier post regarding the long wait between book releases from one continent to another I had such interesting replies from friends around the world— with my undying gratitude— that I decided the conversation is worth being pulled from the comment box to its own post.
First, Julie wrote from Australia: "When will it be available in Australia?"
I immediately tried searching for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE on Amazon AU and found it isn’t even listed. That prompted a quick query to my English publisher who...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 21, 2011
An enormous "Thank you!" To all you who have asked, "When is the next one coming?" after reading A Very Private Grave, Book 1 in the Monastery Murders. Believe me, there is no sweeter music to a writer’s ears.
The good news is that Book 2, A Darkly Hidden Truth, is nearing the final phase of the editing process with manuscripts flying back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean by electronic magic between my brilliant and long-suffering editor Jan Greenough and myself. With each version the telling gets better and better. And with...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 14, 2011
Donna: My guest today— who isn't herself an escapee from a lunatic asylum, you undersatnd— is Debra Marvin. Welcome, Debra.
Debra: Hi Donna and thank you for inviting me to guest on your blog.
Donna: I'm so glad you're here through the miracles of our electronic age. Debra, I'll let you explain how we met.
Debra: I recently put out a general call for help while composing a backlist of Celtic inspired books for my group blog, Inkwell Inspirations and it led to my meeting Donna‘online’. I&rsquo...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 31, 2011
Of late I've become aware of an even newer, more immediate method of reaching readers than the virtual blog touring, which I enoy so much and had thought was cutting edge. In recent weeks I've been interviewed over Skype twice, once as a video interview and once audio only, but including a Second Life connection, and I'm booked to do a podcast interview over the telephone.
It's all a lot of fun and I'm up for anything that helps me connect with readers, but I'm also very confused. What's the difference between these various formats? Is one better than another? ...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 26, 2011
What a great day yesterday! A book signing for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE at The Seattle Mystery Bookshop. It’s always fun to get out and about, explore new-to-me bookstores and meet readers, of course, but this day was so very extra special because a wonderful group of writer friends from the old days showed up.
First, about The Seattle Mystery Bookshop (http:/...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 24, 2011
A mystery readers loop I belong to has been discussing the question, "Has a library changed your life?" Since my answer is such an emphatic "Yes!" I want to share the story in detail.
Waaaay back in the 1970’s when the earth and I were both a lot younger I had written my first novel, inspired by Georgette Heyer’s Venetia and set in post-Regency England. The book was Brandley’s Search, later to be reissued as Where Love Begins, part of my Cambridge Chronicles series. And at that moment it was in...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 6, 2011
Okay, life, even the writing life, isn't a popularity contest, but I'll admit to scanning TOP TEN lists just on the chance I might find one of my books there. Well, it did happen in 1996. So you can imagine my delight when I learned from Shannon Taylor Vannatter that my fictional romantic interview made the Top Ten list on her INKSLINGER Blog.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 10, 2010
My guest today is New Jersey mystery writer Chris Redding. Chris is visiting Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light as part of her blog tour for her new book Incendiary which releases in electronic format next week. Welcome, Chris, Best of luck with your new release and thank you for your timely holiday thoughts on family relationships.
I am writing this blog on Thanksgiving weekend. Why is this significant? Because my sister and her husband left a little over 24 hours ago, to drive back to North Carolina. Up until a year and a half ago, they lived about 3 miles from my house. Work took them further away. I've adapted, as I always do, to the change. Except for brief times when...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ December 4, 2010
It was great at Rediscovered Books last night. The additional snow held off long enough that the roads were reasonably clear and there was standing room only for my Boise launch party for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE.
I read an excerpt from the book— enough to take them up to the blood-spattered body, of course, then spoke about how this story, that I had wanted to tell for so long, came to be after...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 24, 2010
Having our Russian grandson with us for Thanksgiving has led me to muse on how fortunate we are to live in a country that sets aside a special day to give thanks to God. And I am double blessed this year because I also got to celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada last month. You can read my account of that here: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/articles.php?id=42
Also, preparing many of my mother's recipes for tomorrow's feast has provided opportunity for me to give thanks for my heritage and to ponder how serving my mother's favorite dishes is a way of keeping her with me. Interesting, isn't it, what an important link food is in keeping touch with...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 19, 2010
Donna: My guest today is one of my favorite authors, Sally Wright, creator of the exquisitely written Ben Reese Mysteries. Sally, tell us about Ben— the man in the books, the real-life man and the man who lives in your head.
Sally: It's funny how writing a series of books about an ongoing character ends up making you feel as though you're talking about yourself.
I've been writing novels about Ben...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 15, 2010
Jason Wilcox, Angela Abderhalden and I had souch a great time sharing a book at the Idaho Book Extravaganza we've decided to take our show on the road. We'll be appearing at Hastings in Meridian this Saturday from Noon to Five.
We all love to talk to readers and writers, to share our books and show our book videos— and we especially love autographing books! So if you're anywhere in the neighborhood of 1769 North Lake Place (between Locust Grove and meridian Rd. on Fairview) Saturday afternoon, please drop in and see us.
We have Mystery, history, romance, action, adventure, science fiction and thriller to offer. That's a lot in just three books! ...
By Fay Sampson ~ November 9, 2010
One of the best meetings this year of our Devon Writers Group was an inside view of a murder enquiry. Detective Superintendent Nigel Boulton talked us through 13 years of leading such investigations. Did you know, for instance, that bodies, or, more usually, bits of bodies are routinely picked up by fishermen in their nets? That has something to do with our living at the westerly end...
One of the best meetings this year of our Devon Writers Group was an inside view of a murder enquiry. Detective Superintendent Nigel Boulton talked us through 13 years of leading such investigations.
Did you know, for instance, that bodies, or, more usually, bits of bodies are routinely picked up by fishermen in their nets? That has something to do with our living at the westerly end...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ November 3, 2010
I was thrilled when my publisher told me that Sam's Club is selling A Very Private Grave and it has been enormous fun to hear from friends around the country that they have, indeed, seen my book there. ...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 25, 2010
Meeting readers, connecting with writers, teaching classes on publishing, selling books. . . The First-ever Idaho Book Extrvaganza was an impressive success for all who participated. The mayor of Meridian's opening speech set the theme for the weekend as she expressed her amazement that the Boise Valley was full of so much talent. "We need to do more to get the word out," she declared. Everyone heartily agreed.
After teaching my class on Writing the Realistic Novel, the importance and how-to of approaching research, I...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 21, 2010
The glorious conclusion to my month-long stay in Calgary was getting to attend Wordfest with my mystery writer friend Linda Kupacek, author of Deadly Dues.
Wordfest is an International Writers Festival aimed at bringing readers and writers...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 19, 2010
One of the great pleasures of a visit to Canada is how Canadian culture is such a skillful blend of American and English heritage and yet so distinctly Canadian. This seemed especially apparent to me in experiencing my first Canadian Thanksgiving.
The holiday began by drawing from the English heritage as we celebrated...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 18, 2010
Canadians are known for their open, welcoming hospitality and after my two book events there last week I can certainly vouch for that being a much-deserved reputation.
The Owl's Nest, an independent bookstore in the charming Britannia Shopping Plaza http://www.owlsnestbooks.com/ was the venue for both events: a Saturday afternoon reading and book signing and the following Tuesday evening, a talk to Mystery Writers Ink, a very active writers' group. http://www.mysterywritersink.com/
The Saturday event had been advertised by the book store which maintains a regular schedule of speakers and I had sent postcards to my friends and contacts in the area, especially to the parish of St. John the Evangelist. Mystery writers, old friends and parishioners turned...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 1, 2010
The weather remains golden in Calgary, if cooler every day. Today I noted a strip of frost on the garage roof. Yesterday, though, we had a lovely outing to a near by historical site: The Reader Rock Garden.
In 1908 William Reader, his wife Rose and young son and daughter came to Calgary from England for Reader to assume the position of Parks Superintendent. There had been 2 previous superintendents, neither of whom had done much or stayed long in this rather arid frontier outpost.
Reader and his family were given a fine Edwardian house on a...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 27, 2010
Writers of historical novels--mysteries or otherwise--are often accused of living mmore in the past than the present--at least, this historical writer is. One of my favorite stories is of taking a chauffered punt ride Cambmridge with my teenage sons. Throughout the ride I discussed the scenes on both sides of the Cam with our escort. Afterwards my sons came up on each side of me and put their arms around me: 'Mom, you're amazing. You know everything.'
Talk about feeling chuffed! When do your teenagers ever say that?
And then the punch line: 'But it's all 200 years out of date...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 24, 2010
A perfect autumn day in Calgary, sunny, golden and crisp.
We took a long walk along the River Bow, complete with attempts at rock-skipping and two deer who observed us as intently as we observed them.
Curves in the river path offered stunning view of the Calgary skyline, including the many cranes engaged in major construction projects in the city. especially on the Bow Tower which, when completed will be the tallest building in Calgary, designed by the architect who gave London its landmark Gerkin.
My son-in-law guide informed me that the only city in the world with more cranes engaged in building is Dubai. Calgary now has 260 skyscrapers with 41 more under construction. An additional 13 have been approved for building and 63 await approval. Further evidence of the booming oil and gas industry that fuels all this activity was evidence in the two Canadian Pacific trains that crossed our...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 22, 2010
Greetings from Calgary where we had a glorious sunny day--at last! This...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 18, 2010
A month in Calgary for a grandchild fix, a chance to do a bit of book promo and enjoy some lovely autumn color long before it comes to our trees south of the border, although I've learned that the iconic red maple leaf doesn't appear in the Alberta praries.
One of the highlights of our day yesterday was exploring the excellent military museums with displays that put the viewer in scenes typical of those encountered by soldiers in both World War I and II. I was particularly interested in the World War I displays because my airplane reading was Dolores Gordon-Smith's excellent novel of that period FRANKIES' LETTER, not a battlefield novel, but rather, a spy novel about Anthony Brooke, a young Englishman who had studied in Germany before the war and passed himself off as a native German as a student prank, but used the skill in deadly seriousness serving the intelligence service. The tables are turned when...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 15, 2010
We have had a string of delightful guests recently on Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light, and today I bring you another one. Marian Allen and I have become friends through the wonders of virtual communication. I especially admire her Flash Fiction— telling a short story in two or three sentences— because I am incredibly long-winded. If you ash Marian about it below, I'm sure she will tell you how to get it on your Ereader for free.
I have also come to admire Marian as one of the most technologically savvy people I know, so today I've asked her to tell us what she learned in a course she took this summer about blogging....
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 13, 2010
I am delighted to have as my guest today DeAnna Julie Dodson, author of the popular Chastelayne Trilogy and the Annie's Attic Mystery Series. Her books which fulfill her motto "Step Into Time" has won her thousands of devoted readers who are sure to be thrilled with her new historical mystery series set in the 1930's. The book covers are mock-ups, but I think you'll agree with me that the final ones can't possibly be more stunning. Over to you, DeAnna.
Good morning, Donna. You ask, "What's...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 10, 2010
I am so delighted that today our guest is Veronica Heley, an author much read and loved on both sides of the Atlantic. Veronica has three mystery series which she will tell us all about. Do leave her a comment or ask a question and be on the look-out for her books.
I started in crime many years ago - more...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 4, 2010
A huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to all who entered my giveaway drawing to celebrate the North American release of A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE. I was completely chuffed to have 43 responses. . . until I read a posting on DorothyL that someone who did a giveaway on GoodReads had 600 responses. But never mind, your responses were quality!
I especially appreciate your taking time to give such thoughtful replies to my question, "Which endorsement did you like best and why?" The winners were pulled out of a hat (my rainy day in England travel hat) purely at random, but I did find it interesting that two of...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 31, 2010
My guest today, coming to us all the way from Manchester, England, is Dolores...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 28, 2010
Welcome, Edgy Christian Fiction Blog Tourers. Can you believe this summer has gone so fast and this is the last post in our summer beach reads tour for edgy fiction? Wait a minute— what am i saying?
Me? Edgy? I’ve been known to describe my Monastery Murders series as "cozy thrillers." How edgy does that sound? And yet, I somehow feel that, as far as the Christian market is concerned, many will consider the high church world of A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE to be edgy.
So first, what is Edgy Christian fiction? That’s one of the topics we’ve set ourselves to explore on this exciting, first-ever blog tour by the "Marketing, Marketing, Marketing"...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 25, 2010
My mother, a very wise woman, always said one should never pray for patience because the Bible says, "Tribulation worketh patience." So she always prayed for strength instead.
I can hardly say that the period of waiting between the June release of A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE in the UK and its September release in North America has been tribulation. But it has seemed like a very long time during which the best I could tell my lovely, and yes, patient, readers was, "Well, you can pre-order it."
And it has taught me that one of the virtues of patience is that when the time finally arrives— and it always does— the...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 16, 2010
Way back in the early 1990's when my Glastonbury was about to be published, my editor sent me a copy of his new release The Wounds of God the middle title in a trilogy by Penelope Wilcock. I fell in love with...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 30, 2010
Dear Gentle Reader— Ah, that lovely phrase snatched from Victorian novels— who would have expected to encounter its like in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal? (7/23/10) The "Dear Book Lover" column by Cynthia Crossen replied to a writer asking for "mysteries. . . for adults that aren’t, well, excessively adult" by saying that many libraries call them "gentle reads".
"Of course," Crossen reminds us, "one reader’s warm milk is another reader’s ipecac." And that can work either...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 10, 2010
After more than 20 years as a professional writer and more than 30 books published, I spent 10 years in the wilderness of the unpublished. Coming back has been like starting a whole new career— at a time when most of my friends are retiring. Ten years ago there was no Facebook, no Twitter, there were no Ebooks and no blogs. It’s little wonder, then that I feel like Rip Van Winkle.
Facebook I came to easily since my daughter set up my account for me so she could more easily share pictures of my grandchildren. Now that’s a natural process. I, much later, set up my Author page with considerable trepidation. Who would care? Why would anyone join? I’m still amazed and...
By Fay Sampson ~ July 6, 2010
When Fay Sampson posted last month about how her own foray into family genealogy led to writing IN THE BLOOD, the first of her Suzie Fewings Mysteries I knew I wanted to read one. I had first discovered Fay many years ago when I was writing GLASTONBURY and found her wonderful DAUGHTER OF TINTAGEL in a similar genre to what I was writing then. And now here we are, both writing mysteries.
I have just finished reading A MALIGNANT HOUSE book #2 in Suzie’s adventures and found it a gripping plot with characters I really cared about. The genealogical research background was so well developed— and...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 1, 2010
What is Edgy Christian fiction, and why does it make for the very best in summer reading? A group of exciting and excited-about-our-topic authors will be exploring that subject this month in a first-of-its-kind blog tour which we invite our readers to follow with as much anticipation as we feel.
The schedule of fascinating topics and the blogs on which they will be appearing on successive dates are...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 30, 2010
"Pick a date and we’ll do an Ebook push," my publisher said. This was my new, young, cutting edge publisher who tells me we’re here to "embrace the technology."
Okay, I’ll play your game. "Er— June 30." Sounded good to me. It was several weeks away— enough time for me to get used to the idea, and it was my daughter’s birthday.
A few days later he told me how to create an event on my Facebook page. I’m an only child, so therefore a knee-jerk obedient. Besides, I can push buttons when people tell me which ones to push. So I did. I heard from friends I hadn’t seen since college...
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 17, 2010
My children raised me right. Our sons grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons with their friends in our basement and our second son and his wife are enthusiastic members of The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) so I get it about roleplaying. But I really had no idea what I was getting into when I responded to a note on one of my mystery-reading loops offering author interviews on Second Life.
I had read about the latest virtual phenomenon in The Wall Street Journal, about how companies like IBM and Sony are establishing spaces on Second Life for business meetings, and universities have created classrooms where they hold actual classes teaching their students who show up in the persona of their avatars. And, yes, I saw the movie, so I knew what an Avatar was. But I really had no idea what a fun experience it can be to enter Second Life. ...
By Fay Sampson ~ June 4, 2010
Donna’s right. Stories can ambush you from unexpected directions. I didn’t set out to write crime fiction. Honestly.
I’m a keen family history detective. I found myself amassing a load of colourful stories from the past, and having colourful experiences of my own while I investigated them.
So I set out to write a novel about Suzie Fewings, who is doing just that. But I hadn...