The Worlds Opened by The World Book

My set of World Book in my office

I love encyclopedias. They give me a sense of security – all that knowledge lined up on a shelf!

Encyclopedias are about an orderly arrangement of knowledge on a particular subject or a range of subjects. The date of the encyclopedia puts it in the context of its time. The online Brittannica has an interesting story about the history of the encyclopedia and its evolution here.

When I was a kid, my mom got me the Brittanica Junior Encyclopedia. Red bindings, gold lettering. The local grocery store had a special, where if you bought X amount of groceries, the volume of the week was $2.95. It was rough for my mother, who was widowed, and handling everything on her own, but we managed to collect the whole thing. I was thrilled, and read each volume as we got it. I used the set for years. I still have it in my office.

We also managed to collect the Audubon Nature Encyclopedia. We had a subscription for one volume a month. Again, I was thrilled whenever the new volume arrived, and everything stopped while I read it.

I didn’t just read them when I had a paper to write in school. I read them because I enjoyed the new-to-me information, and it got me interested in things that weren’t being taught in school.

Again, I still have the entire set in my office. And I still refer to them.

I always wanted a grown-up encyclopedia set. I didn’t say anything to my mom for years. I knew how hard my mom had worked to make sure I had the two mentioned above (and I contributed from the money I earned babysitting, when I didn’t spend it on Nancy Drew books). When I was old enough to buy it myself, I was living in a NYC apartment, where there wasn’t room for the other books I kept accumulating, so there certainly wasn’t room for a set of encyclopedia.

But I never stopped wanting it.

A couple of years ago, a set of World Book encyclopedia came up on the local craigslist. I jumped on it, made arrangements, and drove out to Harwich to pick them up – contained in several heavy boxes. They are in superb condition. They sit, prominently, in my office.

They make me feel secure.

Sometimes I pull a volume out, open it at random, and read.

I’m sure it’s tied to my love of libraries, and doing research in libraries and archives, something that started when I was a kid and got my first library card. The hours spent in school libraries and the local public library have evolved into visiting libraries when I travel, or traveling to visit a specific library or archive during research.

Reference sections used to carry a wonderful selection of encyclopedias. I hope some still do, although at least one local library I know got rid of their reference section because “it’s all online now.” Which isn’t true – you don’t get the snapshot of a particular era without the book itself.

Even Brittanica is online now, and there are a wealth of other online encyclopedia, including those encompassing the parts of history that were ignored or (literally) whitewashed. But there is something comforting and thrilling about holding a volume of an encyclopedia in my hands and sitting in my reading chair to read it.

It makes me feel connected to writers, scholars, and readers in the centuries before me, and to the writers, scholars, and readers to come, who will continue to use physical books in tandem with electronic resources. It connects me to the love of knowledge.

I’m aware that the information within them is dated, and skewed toward the established white point of view. We can and will do better moving forward (especially when we stop allowing a text book firm in Texas to supply biased materials to the education system). But I still use them as a jumping off point. I can look something up – recognizing red flag words and references – and then use what I read to start the search for other sources.  I can disagree with information printed on the pages, and still value the desire to collect information.

I’m looking forward to someday living in a place where I can unpack all my books. You can be sure all three sets will be proudly displayed.

The First Reading Choice of the Year

One of my favorite traditions is choosing my first book of the new year.

In normal years, I’d take my time, making the rounds of my favorite bookstores, taking hours – or days – to browse, until I found what spoke to me, what fascinated me, what I hoped would set a positive tone for the coming year.

Of course, nothing was normal about this past year or about preparing for 2021. Yes, I looked at plenty of online shops, and there were many choices. But the tactile portion of it was missing.

I could have rooted through books I’ve bought over past years and never read.

But I did not do so.

Instead, I chose one of the books I’d gotten from my library, Neil Simon’s memoir REWRITES. Why not learn from a hugely successful playwright? I made the choice shortly after submitting two plays ahead of deadline, and putting in a proposal that means I might write at least three new plays in 2021.

I’m reading several books around this book – I’m not rushing through it. I’m savoring it. I was not fortunate enough to work with him while I worked in theatre in New York, but his work was an enormous part of my life during my theatre career working my way up to Broadway, and when I was actually ON Broadway. We’ve worked with some of the same people (six degrees of Kevin Bacon), but never worked directly with each other.

It was also reassuring that I’m not the only writer willing to cut what does not work! I can also learn from what he learned did not work in his own plays. There are so many asides that make me laugh, and so many experiences to which I can relate. And several I’m glad I’ve avoided.

As I said above, I’m savoring it. Considering the ideas for stage plays I have percolating in my head, lining up in order to spill out onto the page, I think it was a good idea, on both professional and personal levels.

I remember several years ago, when I chose a literary novel as First Book of the Year that sounded interesting, built around some recent historical characters, but fiction. Only then I started reading it, and one of the main characters was committing pedophilia and I was . . .supposed to like him? To say it didn’t work for me is an understatement. I did not finish the book and got rid of it. That poor choice felt as though it tainted months into the year.

I don’t sit there and decide, “This year I’ll start with fiction” or “This year will start with non-fiction.” I choose the book that draws me at the time. As I do my browsing through shelves, what I’ve read about various books and recommendations from individuals I trust come to mind. But I’ve rarely left the house knowing what book I sought.

This year, as I tried to decide with what I wanted to start my year, I definitely wanted it to be something centered around theatre. Again, not sure at first if I wanted fiction or non-fiction. I’m more than tired of the ridiculous clichés in novels, especially in cozy mysteries, that paint those involved in theatre or film as not very bright, very selfish, and horrible people. The tone is often patronizing, the author (and the protagonist) looking down on theatre people. Meanwhile, they’re usually written by people who went backstage to one community theatre production and don’t know what they’re talking about, and certainly don’t have the physical stamina for eight shows a week, or the mental capacity to learn two hours’ worth of lines and blocking. I definitely wanted to avoid one of THOSE novels (to be fair, I am writing my own fiction centered around theatre and theatre people that actually recognizes the work, dedication, talent, and intelligence it takes to create a career in the business).

With my scripts, whether they are for stage plays or radio or screenplays, I want every script to be better than the one before. I want to take what I’ve learned from the previous process and apply it. I do this in novels, too, but because scripts involve other people more than novels do (or, at least, more people), there are often more tangibles to take from project to project.

When I came across the Neil Simon memoir, that resonance happened, like a tuning fork pairing with the right note.

I’m glad this is how I started, and I hoped to build on this year positively, as both a reader and I writer.

What reading are you starting with this year?

“The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” Re-release

This is a romantic little Christmas short that I wrote a few years ago. I was part of a live Facebook event for a group of romance writers, promoting what was then ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (which was later re-released as PLAYING THE ANGLES and is the first of the Coventina Circle series).

I wanted to have a giveaway for the readers who participated in the event. A few days before, I sat down and wrote this little Christmas romance. I don’t often write straight-up romance – it’s one of the hardest styles to get right, especially with a hint of comedy in it. But I stayed up late for several nights, got it up on Smashwords, and created a coupon so that all the participants could download it for free. Once the participants were done downloading, and it was up there for less than a dollar, it’s continued steady sales over the years, and people enjoy it. So I thought I would re-release it on a broader platform.

The cover image is in the public domain. Much as I’ve played with other cover images over the years, I love this one, and decided to keep it, when I decided to re-release the short through other channels this year, taking it off Smashwords.

The piece has gone through some tweaking, and I added an extra scene to up the conflict. But Edwina’s determination and kindness, and Theobold’s strength and admiration for those qualities remain.

This is a novelette, just under 10,000 words, and I hope you enjoy it. Some of the buy links are live now, and more will be added. You can always visit the Stories page on my blog for the most complete list of links. It is also categorized as one of the Delectable Digital Delights.


When a dark, mysterious stranger arrives on Edwina’s snowy doorstep on Christmas Eve, is he the answer to saving her beloved family home, or another threat? 

Edwina Lockesley is desperate to save her family home from a conniving neighbor who claims the house –and her — in payment for a debt. When Theobold Vertingras shows up on the doorstep in a Christmas Eve blizzard, will he help Edwina coax the hall’s ghost to give up her secrets in order to save the manor? Or is Theobold there to complicate matters even more — especially since Edwina finds him so attractive?


            “Oh, bother, must you interrupt just as the ghost is about to reveal her secrets?” Edwina Lockesley swung the large, carved wooden door open and glared at the poor soul on the doorstep, nearly paralyzed by the howling winter storm.

            “Ah, I, well–“

            He was tall, and, Edwina supposed, rather good-looking if you liked the sort. He must have topped six feet tall, with dark hair and dark eyes. The planes of his face were sharp, and his nose a bit too long for traditional handsomeness. The snow fell around him in large flakes, landing on his cloak and not even melting. “You’re not a ghost yourself, are you, sir?” She stared at him with keen interest. If they’d conjured up a completely different ghost, well, it would be a completely different story.

            “I will be, my lady, if I don’t get out of this storm soon.”

            “It wouldn’t be very Christmas-like if I left you out on the snow on Christmas Eve, now, would it?” Edwina continued. “I suppose you have a horse?” She peered past him. “Oh, a lovely one at that. Let me just slip into my boots and fling on a cloak. I’ll take you round to the stable.”

Several cats fled up the stairs. A trio of dogs of undetermined parentage heaved themselves to their feet. “No, dears,” she told them in a gentle, firm voice. “You stay here. It’s too cold for you outside.” She looked at the man on her doorstep. “I hope you don’t mind dogs and cats. We have rather a lot of them. Abandoned animals tend to find their way here.”

            “Don’t you have a groom–“

            “Mrs. Fengest! Unlock the door to the stable passageway so we don’t have to go all the way round when we come back from the stables, will you? There’s a dear.” As Edwina spoke, she slipped into a pair of a man’s lined boots far too big for her. She grabbed a cloak and some gloves from pegs on the wall. “Warm up some supper and get a room ready, please. We’ve got an unexpected guest.” She gave the man before her a bright smile. “Now, then, let’s get started. Right this way.”

            She trudged past him, to where the large, coal-black horse stomped and complained in the drifting snow. “He’s lovely. We’ll make sure he’s well-fed and rested. We’ve got plenty of supplies put by, so even if you’re stuck here for a few days, all will be well.” She petted his nose and he nuzzled her. “You’re a handsome one, aren’t you?” she crooned. She took his reins and led him around the side of the house, the man stomping behind her.

            “Don’t you want to know who I am?” he demanded, as they headed for the stable block, attached to the house by an enclosed stone passage.

            “It would be nice to have a name and not just refer to you as ‘man’, ” Edwina agreed. “Although I warn you, Miss Petal may do so anyway. My goodness, the storm’s certainly picked up. We haven’t seen one this bad in quite a long time. Makes sense; after all, it is winter.”

            “My name is Theobold Vertingras.”

            He looked at her as though he expected her to recognize the name. Edwina didn’t care if she should or not. “You are welcome here, Mr. Vertingras, to wait out the storm. We don’t stand much on ceremony or formality, and you will have to adjust. But we do offer hospitality. I am Edwina Lockesley.”

            “Daughter of Edmund?”

            “And of Tabitha. Niece of Reginald. We could go back through all the begetting, but it would be quite boring.”


99 cents on all channels.

Universal buy link






Angus & Robertson


Feb. 4, 2020: My Ultimate Fantasy Library

this photo of a library in Prague is courtesy of izoca via


I spend a lot of time thinking about My Ultimate Fantasy Library.

When I travel, I like to visit libraries, and use a bit of this, a bit of that, as I build my Ultimate Fantasy Library.

Someday, I intend to transform My Ultimate Fantasy Library into My Actual Personal Library.

As I often joke, someday, I will live in a place where I can finally unpack and shelve all my books.

Since I own several thousand books, and use an astonishing number of them every year, it constitutes a personal library.

My library will have both windows and nooks. I want a lot of natural light. I realize natural light is back for rare books/old books, so they will be kept in special cases with special glass to protect them.

But I still want natural light.

I want to be able to look up from whatever I’m reading or writing in the moment and see something beautiful outside the window, such as my garden. I would like one of the windows to be a window seat, possibly with bookshelves tucked in it and under it. I realize I will have to battle the cats to actually sit on it and read.

I would like, within the shelves of books, a little nook built into the wall, padded, with sconces, again, so I can tuck myself away and read.

I would like a chess table with two comfortable chairs, so that I can finally unpack the gorgeous rosewood chess set I bought years ago in Edinburgh. I will finally, then, learn how to play chess.

I want a standing globe, because I love globes and maps. I might even cheat and have an additional standing globe that opens into a bar. The library I worked for several years ago had one of those as part of our prize package in Spectacle of Trees a few years ago.

There will be a massive wooden desk for my computer and printer and whatever else I need, with nice, deep drawers for current projects. Excellent lighting. Other filing cabinets will be built into the bottoms of some of the book shelving, or built into the wall, complementing the overall look of the room.

There will be at least one table on which to spread out projects, maybe two. Probably wooden tables. And an easel or two, on which I can stand cork project boards for the inspirations for different projects.

There will be at least one sofa. If I have room for two sofas, I would like one to be a Victorian carved sofa, and one to be a pullout couch. If I have more guests than bedrooms, I can give up my bedroom and sleep in the library.

I want one of those conversations chairs, where each seat faces in the opposite direction. I want several comfortable wingback and/or club chairs, with lamps beside them, and small side tables, and maybe ottomans. Plenty of places to sit and read. I want a chaise longue (or fainting couch) with a cashmere throw. All of the fabrics would be soft and warm and textured, with the option to toss yoga blankets or other cotton throws on them for summer.

I hope there is a fireplace — a wood-burning one, to keep it cozy in dull weather.

I might have a sound system set up, so that I can play music if I choose — although when I’m writing, I rarely use music. Sometimes I have music on when I read.

There will, of course, be cat trees and cat and dog beds, although the beasts will probably spend most of their time on the sofas and chairs.

I might have a medallion or painted ceiling, so that when I look up, from a chair or one of the couches, I have something interesting to look at.

I change my mind on the colors. Do I want a soft, sage green, to make the woods glow even more? Or do I want to go with a more Art Deco or Art Nouveau look and do something darker, like teal? Because let’s face it, there won’t be a lot of wall space. It will be covered mostly in bookcases.

If there is wall space, it will have prints of old maps or framed photos of places that matter to me. Most of the graphics will be project-specific, and therefore on the project boards.

It will feel literary, comfortable, serene yet exciting, and a sanctuary for both creation and relaxation.

It takes the best bits from my favorite novels and great houses visited and old libraries visited and transforms them into a wonderful space to work and relax.

What is your Ultimate Fantasy Library?

Unsung Bibliographies


How often do you use the bibliography at the back of a book or the bottom of an article? How often do you create your own bibliographies for what you write?

A bibliography is one of my favorite tools. When I read about a topic that interests me, a good bibliography can direct me to more detailed sources, preferably primary ones like letters or diaries.

When I’m doing research for one of my own projects, the bibliography is vital to both the writing and the editing process.

Bibliographies in other books and articles point me in the right direction. They even give me ideas for people to interview.

Writing my own bibliography of used sources during research saves me a lot of time during the writing and editing processes, especially if the piece is part of a series.

I take notes longhand as I read, whether I’m reading in print or digitally. If it’s a short article and I can print it out, I do so, and put it in my project folder in the project bin. If it’s book-length, or an archival material, I take notes as I go. Sometimes I type my notes later. Often, I don’t, because I annotate and comment on the notes themselves (and clearly mark my own musings). When I look at the note as I wrote it, I remember the context of the moment in which it was written, and that helps me when I use it.

If I’m going to type up and/or submit the sources, I used the standard format by author’s last name.

In my own notes, however, I start a fresh page for each source. Title, author(s). Where published, publisher, copyright date.

Then, vitally important: WHERE I FOUND THE SOURCE.

I use the library A LOT for research. Where I live now has 38 libraries within network. I can order from any of them. Massachusetts also has the Commonwealth Catalog, which means I can order from libraries and some archives all over the state.

I also have a library card at a library in a neighboring town that is the only library on Cape which is part of a different network — through their network, I also have access to all of those libraries.

If I want to go farther afield and use the Interlibrary Loan Service, I go onto World Cat and hunt for what I want, then put the request through the ILL desk at my home library.

Important: If you use Interlibrary Loan (ILL), always ASK if there’s a fee involved. Some libraries or archives charge to send materials out of state.

In my notes, if it’s from my home library, I’d just write the name of the library.

If it’s from another library in the network, I’d write (name of library) via (name of network).

Notation: Vineyard Haven Library via CLAMS network
Translation: the book comes from the Vineyard Haven library on Martha’s Vineyard and came to me via the CLAMS network.

Notation: Plymouth Library via Old Colony network
Translation: the book comes from the Plymouth Library on the South Shore and came to me via the Old Colony network, which means I picked it up and dropped it off at the Sandwich Library instead of my home library.
(I could also order this via the Commonwealth Catalog and pick it up/drop it off at my home library, if I didn’t

Notation: Boston Public Library via Commonwealth Catalog
Translation: the book came from the Boston Public Library system via Commonwealth Catalog.

Notation: U Mass Amherst Library via Commonwealth Catalog
Translation: the book came from the University of Massachusetts campus at Amherst via Commonwealth Catalog.

Notation: Microfilm. University of Indiana Bloomington via ILL. $17.
Translation: It was not a book, it was a roll of microfilm. It came via the Bloomington campus of the University of Indiana through the Interlibrary Loan System and cost $17.
(Note: I own both a microfilm and a microfiche machine, so I can work with both at home, if I order them via ILL. If I didn’t, I could use one of the few machines left in the area at a library or possibly an archive, with permission).

If I get information from a digital online collection, I make a note.

This way, as I write and edit, if I need more than the notes I took, I know where I found it, and where to go back and look for it.

For plays, especially historical plays, I use bibliographies as part of the dramaturgy, and can offer the information and sources to the producing organization and the company.

If I’m writing an article, the bibliographic notes I make are often listed on my fact check sheet. Fewer and fewer publications pay fact checkers (which is ridiculous), but I’m from the days when that was the norm, not the exception. Sources and quotes were checked and confirmed. Off the record sources had to be approved, and had to be verified by at least two and usually three on-record sources, whenever possible. When it was not possible, sometimes it couldn’t be included in the article, or it had to be mentioned that it was an off-the-record source without additional verification.

I also make a note on the reliability of the source. For instance, a diary entry is going to reflect the writer’s frame of reference. If further research shows that individual has a particular reason to like or dislike an individual, or there’s something that influences that point of view, I’ll make a note.

For instance if I’m hunting down a reference to Elizabeth C. in letters between Vera T. and Emily W, and I’ve done my research, I know that Vera hates Elizabeth because she knows her husband has a crush on her. The fact that Elizabeth has no intention of committing adultery with Vera’s husband doesn’t mean Vera’s gossip about Elizabeth are true or un-reflected in her letters to Emily, and that has to be taken into consideration.

If I’m writing fiction about the event, I can decide how I want to interpret Vera’s point of view in the way that best supports the story I’m telling. If I’m writing non-fiction, I have to weigh it against the rest of the evidence.

Even in fiction, it’s vital to make note of where I choose something that supports the story I want to tell best, and where it veers from the best historical record we can put together of what happened. I often mention it in the acknowledgements.

Because even well-researched fiction is FICTION. The more rooted it is in reality, in my opinion, the more one can suspend disbelief. It might be emotional truth (the best fiction often tells emotional truths better than historical record), but it’s still fiction.

Bibliography as inspiration
I read a biography of a particular person, and there’s a reference in passing to someone not central to the subject of the biography. But something about that reference catches my interest.

I’ll go through the footnotes (yes, I’m someone who reads the notes, too), and through the bibliography to see where that reference originated. Then, I go on the hunt.

The bibliography becomes the start when there’s been a spark of an idea. The bibliography guides me to additional information, so I can find out if the idea is viable.

The bibliography may look like a list, but to me, it’s an invitation to browse more shelves in more libraries or archives, and enter even more new worlds.

Books With Impact

I read a lot of books in 2019. A LOT. So many that I didn’t post a number publicly, because I am not wasting time with people who will insist that I “couldn’t” possibly read that much in a year.

I could.

I did.

I enjoyed many, many of the books I read, including those by Arlene Kay, Alyssa Maxwell, Barbara Ross, Lauren Dane, Kate Carlisle, Juliet Blackwell, Ed Ifkovic, Mark Pryor, and more.

When it came to books I didn’t enjoy, if I wasn’t paid to read them (such as a contest entry, or for review), I put them down when they lost me. I don’t consider them books “read.”

But there were a handful of books that blew me away. Books I read for the first time in 2019 (whenever they may have been published) and to which I will return often. I want to share those titles with you here, in hopes some of you might seek them out and enjoy them, too.

UNMARRIAGEABLE by Soniah Kamal. Tagged as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in Pakistan, this lively, funny, beautiful novel made me laugh and cry and want to read and re-read. It has pride of place amongst the old set of Jane Austen novels I inherited from my grandmother. I just loved this book. The writing, the energy, everything about it is wonderful.

EUROPEAN TRAVEL FOR THE MONSTEROUS GENTLEWOMAN by Theodora Goss. Great characters, situations, and actions. I love the way Goss turns tropes, myths, and expectations inside out. I love the characters, their interaction, their growth.

TWO SKIES BEFORE NIGHT by Robert Gryn. One of the best books I’ve read in the past few years, and one of the best world-building I’ve ever seen anywhere. This book mixes detective and fantasy in a beautiful, fascinating blend. I could not put it down.

THRESHOLD DELIVERY by Patty Seyburn. Every single poem resonated, and it’s a book I’ve re-read a couple of times since my first reading last year.

All four of these books stayed in both memory and heart. If you haven’t read, them I encourage you to add them to your TBR pile — and then, actually read them! You’ll be glad you did.

Jan. 14, 2019: Meet Historical Author Jean M. Roberts!


I’m delighted to have author Jean Roberts as our guest today. I met Jean via Twitter, as part of the writing community.

Devon Ellington: The premise of WEAVE A WEB OF WITCHCRAFT is so interesting, because so often, the woman is the partner accused of witchcraft. In this case, it’s the man. And then she admits to being a witch. How did you find them?


Jean Roberts: Mary and Hugh Parsons are a fascinating couple who I first encountered while doing genealogy work on my family. Something about their tragic story resonated with me and I dropped the research on my ancestors in favor of delving into their history. I was excited to find that the testimony taken at Hugh’s deposition in 1651 is still available. The testimony paints a vivid picture of Hugh and Mary and from there I tried to recreate the circumstances that led to the accusations of witchcraft against him. I believe Mary suffered from a mental breakdown which led to her own confession of witchcraft. It’s hard to believe that intelligent people could find such accusations credible, and I tried to show how innocent actions could and were misinterpreted or misrepresented, much to the detriment of poor Hugh. What a scary world they inhabited.

DE: I have to ask the same question about BLOOD IN THE VALLEY. Do you come across these wonderful characters as part of your genealogical research and they inspire you? Or are you looking to tell a particular story and search for people who’ve lived it?

JR: When I was a young girl, I read a family history book, owned by my Grandfather, about my ancestors, the Thorntons. The book mostly dealt with the male members of the family, especially the Hon. Matthew Thornton, Esq., who signed the Declaration of Independence for the Colony/State of New Hampshire. I was flipping through the book, now mine, several years ago and came across the brief story of Catherine Wasson Clyde, niece of my ancestor and his brother Matthew Thornton. The story of the Cherry Valley Massacre and her survival really caught my attention. Questions immediately popped into in my head. What was her experience of the American Revolution? How did the average woman survive without her husband for months at a time? Were her feelings taken into consideration, valued, ignored? I felt like she came to me and begged me to write her story. I hope I did her justice.

DE: What is your process, once you settle on the characters? How much time do you devote to research for each of your books? How do you vet your sources?

JR: Historical accuracy is very important to me and hopefully to my readers. I want to paint a vivid picture of life as it was, from the clothing, to the food, to attitudes and social customs. I spent an inordinate amount of time on research, which is fine as I love it, but I generally end up with way more material than I need. One thing I learned while doing genealogy is the importance of sources. For my research I look for good primary source material which comes from as close to the time period as possible. Luckily for me, the depositions and some trial information exist and I was able to get a significant amount of information for those documents, for Weave a Web of Witchcraft. I have quite a few ancestors who arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s, so I was already very familiar with many sources for life in early New England.

For Blood in the Valley, I combed through countless online archives included the papers of George Clinton, Governor of New York, the papers of George Washington and many others. I read at least a dozen histories of the American Revolution and of New York. I also travelled from my home in Texas to the beautiful Mohawk Valley in New York and stood on the hilltop homesite of Catherine and Samuel Clyde in Cherry Valley. It was inspiring to stand where she stood and see what she saw. It was an amazing and emotional moment for me.

DE: How much do you have to cut out from your research, because it doesn’t drive the plot?

JR: A lot! Not every reader is going to share my passion for historical details and I have to fight my temptation to overload the book with historical minutia. I want there to be enough to make the reader feel immersed in my characters world without the book reading like an encyclopedia.

DE: What are you working on now?

JR: I am really excited about my next book, The Heron. Once again, I have tapped a few of my ancestors to help me tell my story, but this time they are only bit players. This book tells the dark tale of Mary, a woman who lived in New Hampshire in the late 1600s and Abigail a modern-day college professor. Their lives intersect in a house/ B&B called Pine Tree House, once Mary’s home. There is a bit of mind/time travel, a ghost and a love story. The timeline is split about 50/50 in the dangerous period of the late 1600s and in the current time. Historical accuracy is again very important, so I’ve included a lot of details of life along the Indian frontier of New Hampshire. The central themes are abuse survival, and the enduring nature of love.

Blood in the Valley onAmazon.

Weave a Web of Witchcraft on Amazon.

Jeanie Roberts, a proud mixture of English Puritan Great Migration Ancestors and Irish Immigrants, makes her home outside of Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas, Houston with a BSN. Following in her father’s footsteps, Jeanie served in the United States Air Force and married an Air Force pilot. After touring around the world, her family settled in Texas, where she worked as a Nurse Administrator for a non-profit. She has one son, a soldier in the U.S. Army.
Jeanie divides her time between writing, family history/genealogy and traveling. She is currently working on her third novel. When not writing novels, Jeanie reviews books on her blog,The Book Delight, researches and posts about her ancestors on her blog, The Family Connection, and investigates mythical Native American Ancestry on her blog, Indian Reservations.


Tues. Dec. 31, 2019: Reading Ending and Beginnings

image courtesy of Larissa-K via

First of all, Happy New Year! May the New Year bring you many blessings, literary and other.

For me, the first book of the year is a huge, huge choice. I sometimes feel it sets the tone for the coming year, so I want it to be wonderful.

Well, every time I pick up a book, I hope I fall in love with it!

I often buy a new book on New Year’s Eve. Even if I haven’t finished the stack I received for Solstice/Christmas, I often buy a new book, carefully chosen, on December 31.

I start reading it a few minutes after midnight. Unless I’m at a party. Then I start reading it when I get home.

I chose my book yesterday: Blood and Blade byLauren Dane. A kickass book to start a kickass year.

Happy New Year!