Queens Don’t Play: Fear and Gender Equality in Elizabeth’s Court [GUEST POST]

Elizabeth Receiving Dutch Ambassadors, 1560s

Queen Elizabeth I lived during a precarious time for women. Still, she had a knack for handling the men in her life. (Elizabeth Receiving Dutch Ambassadors, 1560s by Levina Teerlinc, Public Domain)

We love a good mystery… especially when it transports us to a time and place we could never go on our own. In Suzanne M. Wolfe’s new novel, A Murder by Any Name, readers are taken to Elizabethan England, where the queen’s ladies in waiting are being killed off one by one, and only one man can find the killer. This premise made us wonder if while researching this story, whether or not Ms. Wolfe discovered any disparities between how the Queen dealt with men versus women. If so, to what extent did fear play a factor in how she dealt with each gender? The author answers all our questions in today’s fascinating guest post. Enjoy! —J&H Read more of this post

When A Bad Idea Seems Like Your Only Option [GUEST POST]

Woman in white dress

When society is unforgiving, some secrets must be kept at all costs. (Photo courtesy K. A. Servian)

What would you do if everything you thought you knew about yourself turned out to be a lie? In the new book, A Pivotal Right, a young woman named Viola is faced with just such a dilemma when she discovers her father isn’t who she thought he was and that her mother, Florence, has kept the truth hidden for years.

This premise captured our imaginations, so we invited the author to tell us how being a mother herself impacted the way she wrote Viola’s character and what advice she would give to Florence on how to handle telling a child such a carefully guarded secret. We hope you enjoy this guest post from K.A. Servian! —Jathan & Heather Read more of this post

Susan Spann Finds Her Muse High Atop Mount Koyasan [GUEST POST]

Konpon Daito Pagoda

Structures like the impressive two-storied Konpon Daito Pagoda elicit quiet contemplation and meditation from even the most experienced traveler. (Photo by Susan Spann)

Most of the time, the plot of each new novel drives my research, but in the case of Trial on Mount Koya, a sacred mountain turned that process upside-down. Each Hiro Hattori novel features a crime in a different setting, and a victim from a different social class or niche, allowing me to keep the series fresh and interesting. Read more of this post

The Brambles on the Branches of a Family Tree [GUEST POST]

Looking up at the branches of a leafless tree against the sky

Every family tree has its secrets. But some just won’t stay hidden, especially when there’s a writer among its branches. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

For as long as we can remember, we’ve loved reading romantic suspense fiction, especially novels filled with deeply buried family secrets. Recently, award-winning author Linda Hughes appeared on our radar, and she’s fearless when it comes to throwing open tightly sealed closet doors and digging up old family skeletons, which makes stories like Secrets of the Island, the second volume in her Secrets trilogy, so delicious. In today’s guest post, find out how her own family tree inspired her to write her latest novel. Enjoy! —J&H


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A Letter to My Pre-Published Self [GUEST POST]

Tools of the trade

Historical mystery writer E.M. Powell offers words of encouragement to unpublished authors everywhere, including her younger self, in this candid letter. (Photo by Chris Blakeley, Flickr)

If you enjoy reading mysteries just as much as you like historical fiction, we bet you’re really going to take a shine to the work of E.M. Powell. Her new novel, The King’s Justice (published under Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint) starts a thrilling new series of medieval mysteries you won’t be able to put down. But like many writers, Powell’s career wasn’t an overnight success. Find out what she overcame on the road to publication in her guest post, “A Letter to My Pre-Published Self.” Enjoy! —J&H Read more of this post