Historical Novel Society


I joined this group awhile ago, having stumbled onto their site one day, as one does while clicking along looking into interesting links. I discovered they have conferences every other year, and next year it was in Oxford, city of dreaming spires, of Detective Morse, and of an endless line of novels. And the history! I joined up and will register for the con as soon as it’s possible, for I intend to go, with bells on. Small bells, since I travel light.  Then I forgot about it.

Untill today. The mail brought me a magazine: Historical Novels Review. Who knew? There are 60 pages of wonderful reviews, and more on-line. Then there are articles, such as ‘History, Story, & Fact’; ‘Renaissance Florence’; ‘Fact Behind the Foction and such. Great info for all readers, as well as writers. And there is market news too.

So now I went back to the website and looked a little closer. After all, I have an historical novel just hot off the press. A FRIEND OF MR. NIJINSKY, in case you have forgotten the title and were just waiting for a reminder so you can go forth, buy it, read it, and hopefully review it on Amazon!  Anyway, on this historical site, all the books are divided into periods so you can search through the ages for the era you love! What a great find! And here is the link:  Historical Novel Society




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Angst and Awe: life as an author

It is difficult to explain to someone not ‘in the life’ as it were, just why we do this writing thing. After telling a non-writing friend about some of the technical and other difficulties I have encountered recently in getting A FRIEND Of MR. NIJINSKY into print, she quite reasonably changed the subject. What could she have said about this situation? How doing something we love leads us through such desperate angst. The Awe of feeling that rush of creation, so inevitably followed by the angst of actually getting it out to the market place. And doing it time after time. Isn’t that the definition of madness? Doing the same things, in the same way, and expecting a different outcome? A painless outcome?

“But doesn’t the publisher do that?” she said, confused. “Wouldn’t your editor do all that?”

Indeed. Would that that were still the case. But as we all know, authors are being squeezed into taking on more and more of these jobs. There are far fewer editors on staff, for one thing, and so they are handling more titles then ever before.

Lately I have found I often feel no desire to talk to anyone who is not a writer or editor. I am so involved in doing proofing, video trailers, bookmarks, handout material for events etc. that I have little left over. I do admit to a great sense of accomplishment when I have managed to master some arcane aspect of Photoshop or other software and that makes up for a lot. That is when the angst almost gives way to Awe!
Once we hold the new book in our hands, it is all worth it!

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The Manic Muse

IMG_3118The Muse is unpredictable. The main problem we Writers have with her is when she decides to take a protracted holiday. Although there are some who insist there is no such thing as Writer’s Block, that arrid space of time when no words flow, no ideas bubble up from the lower depths, as one who has gone through this, I assure you it exists. At least for me. The only thing to do is throw yourself into something completely different. For me it was founding the Bloody Words Mystery Conference. That might not be your thing. Just do whatever works! And eventually those batteries will recharge.

Another aspect of that fickle lady is rarely discussed, and that is the one I am experiencing now: the sudden appearance, unbidden, of a very noisy Muse. At night. As I was trying to fall asleep! First it was the sudden rush of ideas for a brand new novel, complete with main characters, plot points, details of backstory and even a few set pieces. Great, you say? No! I am in the middle of another novel!  No time for any other creative activity. I can no longer multi-task!

But ideas are precious so I did make notes in a new jazzy notebook, as always with a new project, then put it away and went back to work. Done and dusted, as a friend says. Except I could not get anywhere. Couldn’t concentrate. I kept getting up and wandering around. And then I recognized it. The Muse was addressively back. I remembered that I often get this nervous unsettled feeling when a new project starts. My head fills with a sort of static and I can’t seem to accomplish anything.

But I will not give in! I have a book to finish! And it is not even half done!

How can I fend off that ferocious Muse for a month or so?

Maybe I will hide the notebook. Maybe I will work faster on the old project. Maybe… I will just wait and see what happens. There is no way to completely ignore the Muse!

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I started thinking about how things have changed this morning when I noticed peopimages.jpegle  wishing each other Happy Easter. But it’s Good Friday, I said to myself crossly. And it’s 2017, I added. Tempus fugit. And everything changes.

In my memories, Good Friday was a very uncomfortable day. I never knew quite how to behave. It was a sad day, so I shouldn’t laugh or be too obviously happy. But it was called a holiday, usually associated with happy times. Still, stores were closed. Theatres were closed. It seemed that everything was wrapped in grey.

Even church services were gloomy with no galloping or soaring hymns, no wonderful happy anthems of praise. The service was long, with periods of utter silence, and gloom. Luckily we did not stay for the full three hours and coming outside seemed like a great release. But what to do? I couldn’t go visit my best friend or even telephone her. I couldn’t play outside. But I could read! Once again books came to the rescue!

Time passed and things loosened up considerably. Blue laws re Sunday closing disappeared. Theatres and amusements were open on Good Friday, but I was much slower to change. Odd how some things are so ingrained it takes a real effort of will to change, even though the reasons are long forgotten or no longer relevant. Although we were not a particularly religious family, there is something about being brought up as a High Anglican that sinks deep into the soul. I still remember the first time I went to the movies on Good Friday, sometime in my early twenties. I still remember how guilty I felt. But today, should there be a movie I wanted to see, I would go without a thought! Progress! Or perhaps just getting old enough not to care?

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New Blurb

IMG_3060“In 1916, New York City quivered on the brink of the modern era. With elegant prose and exquisite period detail, Caro Soles transports the reader back to that complex world, weaving a subtle, utterly enchanting story of betrayal and murder amid the swirl of debutante soirees, motorcar racing, Russian ballet, and social upheaval.”  
Barbara Fradkin, award-winning mystery author

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Henry Hound: getting on

We are not sure how old Henry might be, but one thing we know. He is getting on! We IMG_2981were told he was either 6, 7, or maybe 4 when we adopted him from Canadian Dachshund Rescue but the time we didn’t really care. He was happy, Ruby was happy, so it didn’t seem important. Slowly the nose became frosted more and more. He began to slow down, but who really noticed, since we were slowing down too. Then we noticed his fur was thining. A lot. Alapecia, the vet announced. Nothing to be done besides the usual Dr. Maggie’s skin stuff and generous coconut oil massages. But it did not slow down, and now the poor boy has a big bold patch on his side and several small bald patches on his tale. The vet suggested he wear a t-shirt when outside in the summer. Of course he has a coat in the winter, too, but this obvious signal of “getting on” is nothing compared to his eyesight.

Poor Henry can barely see, now. He gets around the house pretty well, since we rarely change anything here. Now and then he will misjudge things and bump into the wall but he rarely runs very fast so he recovers quickly, more so then I do. The eye problem is similar to what people might have but alas I have forgotten the name.

These health problems only accentuate our love for our faithful furry friend, so affectionate and full of character! We have them for such a short time! Hug your hound! And don’t forget those treats!

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Something In The Air

IMG_3092It seems that Nijinsky is in the air these days! The Ballet Nijinsky is coming up this season at the Four Seasons Centre and I am really looking forward to it even though I have seen it three times. It is an amazing work, interweaving music and dance styles, even costumes from the different periods of his life.

And just a few days ago a friend emailed me to tell me about a book published this January, a novel based on the life of Bronia Nijinska, his sister.

It always amazes me when this happens, when suddenly, seemingly for no reason, everyone starts creating, writing, talking about the same thing. Sometimes it might be annoying, as when a book one has labored over for years, a book completely original to oneself, is finally about to be published and lo and behold, another book arrives on the scene on exactly the same topic!


In my case, I am happy to see all this interest! I must say that if you, the reader, are a true ballet fan you will find much more about the ballet in The Chosen Maiden book then in A Friend of Mr. Nijinsky. After all, the dancer is not the main character in my novel, as you can tell by the title. My hero is Morgan Vanheusen. More about him later!

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At Last!

IMG_3088I am very excited to  have a new novel out there in book-land! So far it is the ebook edition, but it’s the same story, same cover, and much easier to pack in your handy dandy e-reader.

This is my first venture into the past, 1916 to be exact, which makes it doubly exciting. Years of research went into this book, some of it never making it etween the covers, but nonetheless all adding to the texture of the period. Things I never knew about, like the Indy 500 Race, in its fifth year in 1916 and a fascination of my hero, Morgan Vanheusen, the friend of the title. What things cost was another interesting tidbit, gleaned from the micro-fiche pages of the New York Times of that year. And the strange absence of much war news or effect on society of that raging hell going on in Europe, except for some ladies to Marne not getting the latest Paris fashion.

I will post more on the period as days go by, hoping to beguile you into lusting after what my novel tells of the story of the hidden chapter of Nijinskys life in New York.

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2017 A New Year

 A New Book coming out…And it’s about time!

These last few years have been all about the birthing of the wonderful anthology nEvermore!, but now it’s about time to get back to my own writing. Off and on over the years, I have been working on an historical mystery novel which I was loath to part with, it seems. But finally it is off to my publisher and I hope it will soon be moving through all those arcane  stages we writers stumble through all the time, editing, re-editing, taking a last look, checking the artwork (if we are lucky enough to have a publisher who gives us the chance) and at last we achieve lift off! And these days things seem to move much faster. The lift off, we hope, will be even more spectacular!


This is my first venture into the distant past, though my agent used to blithely labell most of my work ‘historical’, even though it took place in the time that I think of as yesterday. This one, however, is in the Edwardian period, an era even I do not recall. It is well and truly historical.

I have learned much along the way about how different it is to write a novel like this, but this post is only to whet your appetite and get my feet wet at the same time (not a mixed metaphor, surely?) as we usher in the new year of books, books, and more books!

Happy reading, whatever your choice may be! There are lots of great book out there.


(NOTE: All nEvermore! posts moved to their own page!)

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The Operation


I love watching hospital shows on TV. There I’ve admitted it. Somehow watching all these other people writhing around with exotic ailments while frantic doctors and nurses rush about doing very complicated things is soothing to me. Perhaps it is because I have been in an actual hospital as a patient only three times in my entire life, and 2 were having a baby, which is quite different. Back then, after the actual birth, about which the less said the better, it was almost like a visit to the spa, minus manny peddies. One whole week in bed, with visits and flowers and cards. The babies came to visit too, and were then trotted off to be seen to, out of sight and hearing.

Nowadays nearly everyone I know has joined the Hospital Scene. It doesn’t sound like TV. But they are having interesting operations, long complicated operations, having things put in, taken out, replaced, cut off and sometimes added to. Even my highly conservative and hitherto quite healthy brother has joined the ranks! It’s as if they were in some sort of special club, with it’s own vocabulary, getting around on their walkers, scooters, canes. One friend even carries oxygen slung over her shoulder in a jaunty manner. However is one to keep up?

And now at last it’s my turn! My very own surgery. I, too, got to do the rounds of pre-op visits to doctors, labs, getting blood work, EKG, x-rays, and various other things just like my friends. And everyone of these things seem to be done in a different building. The whole idea was somewhat daunting but I was not lacking in advice from those who had gone before. I did however detect a slight note of “this is such a minor thing”, which gave me the idea that one was still not going to quite make it into the charmed circle with such a minor operation. But at least I had a foot in the door.

So at last came the Great Day. Off I went, driven to the front door by the ever faithful Gary, nervously clutching my paperwork. I got there at 8:30 in the morning, which I gather from downtown Hospital friends is extremely civilized. I sat shivering in my hospital gown for less than an hour before being ushered to the narrow bed where they prepared me for the operation. Legions of people came and went, asking the same questions, ticking things off on different colored sheets of paper, until I wanted to ask them if they had ever heard of actual computers. Hospital TV people have iPads. What’s the matter with this place? I began to wonder if they kept asking these questions in order to get a more interesting health history for me. Surely I have had something drastic done to me somewhere along the way? Perhaps a pacemaker? Alas no. Hypertension? Sorry not that either. What about nuts or bolts in any part of your leg or arm? Nope not me. I suspect they were getting rather frustrated. Not only had I had no serious hospital visits before this, no operations, not even a broken arm, but I didn’t take any real medication. What kind of patient was this?

At last they gave up and rolled me into the fridgid, dazzling operating room where luckily I was not compos mentis long enough to get any colder than I already was and fleeting thoughts of a meat locker drifted away. As my charming Chinese nurse had told me, “you just go in, they put a mask on your face, and you go hallelujah.” As she threw up her hands in the manner of a gospel singer to illustrate.

As far as operations go, it was a bit of a downer. Not that I wanted any drama mind you. Still, as fodder for a story, it isn’t much. I was back home in four hours. Most of that of course was sitting around, or lying around as the case may be. There were no complications, not counting the part about having to sit rather like Cunegonde on her donkey. I didn’t even rate really good drugs! At least I thought I might get an hallucination or two with some Percocet or some such. But what can you do with Tylenol 3? Well, it does help the pain, just no fringe benefits.

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