Women Actors Now and Then [GUEST POST]

Meryl Streep at the 89th Oscars

“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.” —Meryl Streep (Photo by ABC/Adam Rose, Flickr)

We have always loved the theatre. In fact, for our very first date we went to go see the deliciously dark Jekyll & Hyde, and its score has entranced us ever since. We relish opportunities to watch amazing actors perform live in shows like The Beauty Queen of LeenaneCabaretChicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Gypsy. But what would any production be without the awesome talents of actresses who were bold enough to make a career on stage and screen? In today’s guest post, author Susana Aikin examines why it still takes a certain kind of woman to live life in the limelight. —J&H Read more of this post

Brooklyn: Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor and Your Schleppers [GUEST POST]

Splashing Excitement - Park Slope, Brooklyn

Thelma Adams, author of Bittersweet Brooklyn, fondly remembers a lifetime growing up on the other side of the bridge. (Photo by Marco, Flickr)

There are few places I think of more fondly than Brooklyn. Having lived just off the Promenade during the early 1990s, I can still feel the crisp air on my skin as I walked up Cranberry toward High Street to get a slice. The neighborhood shimmered with red and gold foliage even as the leaves danced to the throbbing music of city traffic as it echoed around the brownstones and toward the Hudson. I loved everything about that period in my life. Yet as beloved as my time was there, my residence was short, even if my memories are still vivid twenty-five years later. Writer Thelma Adams, however, spent a lifetime there and today she stops by to tell us why she always returns to Brooklyn, literally and in her writing, and what makes it such a special place. Enjoy! —J&H Read more of this post

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