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Extraordinary Stories That Touch The Heart And Challenge The Mind

SYMPTOMS OF DEATH FREE ON KINDLE

The dinner party was singularly unremarkable until the lunatic arrived.

That’s the opening sentence of SYMPTOMS OF DEATH, the first book in the Dr. Alexandra Gladstone Mystery series.

It’s free all this week on Kindle!

Of course I’m hoping that if you read the first book, you’ll want to read the second, AN IMPROPER DEATH as well as the third, HALF A MIND TO MURDER.

After that, you’ll have to wait a little while until I finish the fourth, which I’m calling THE QUEEN’S CRIME.

At the moment, SYMPTOMS OF DEATH is number two on the Kindle best seller list for historical mysteries. I know from experience that can change in a matter of minutes and will have changed several times by the time you read this, but I’m enjoying it while I can and hoping to find others out there who want to read the series.

Here’s the set-up for the book:

A gathering of nobles at the country estate of the Fifth Earl of Dunsford, and a killer stalks the guilded halls. Each of the guests has a secret vendetta against the Earl, but when he’s found murdered in his bed, the lords and ladies flee, placing the blame on a servant. The village’s lady doctor, Alexandra Gladstone, discovers evidence to the contrary and finds herself trapped in a web of scandal, deceit, and ghostly appearances that could cost her her life.

How I came to write this series, set in England in the 1880s, while I am a resident of the American West in twenty-first century, began when an editor asked me to write a historical mystery series and added, “You can write about any place you want except the American West.”
Apparently the reason for that was that “Westerns” had passed their prime and were no longer selling. Never mind that there’s much more to the West thnt gun slingers and saloon girls. And so much for the old adage, “Write what you know.”

Truthfully, though, being something of an Anglophile, I did write something I know. Although, getting to know the details of nineteenth-century medicine has been a real adventure. An added bonus for me is looking at all the tattered covers of antique medical books that line my bookshelves now.

Only a bibliophile would understand that.  Read More 
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A BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR THE WINNER

Catherine the Great’s birthday is this month, and you can have all the presents—a free Kindle and a spa basket fit for an empress (or emperor).

Go to www.coolwellpress.com/sins and sign your name. That’s all you have to do. Of course, I’d love it if you would buy the novel I wrote about Catherine, although that’s not necessary to win. The novel is called Sins of the Empress, published by Cool Well Press.

You may have heard of Catherine. She’s the tsarina with all the lovers. The one they tell that salacious story about having sex with a horse. That story is NOT true. It is true that she was a very passionate woman, not only in her love life, but in all that she did. That’s the reason she is such a good subject for a novel.

She was forced into an arranged marriage with the heir to the Russian throne when she was still in her teens. Her husband, Peter III, had been an alcoholic since the age of eleven, and it stunted his growth, both physically and emotionally. On his wedding night he brought his toy wooden soldiers to share the bed with Catherine.

She was under pressure to produce an heir, and since her husband didn’t seem to understand the mechanics of sex, her ladies-in-waiting convinced her to take a lover. She had several before her life ended (by natural causes, not by the horse incident), and she did produce an heir as well as another son and daughter. One of the tragedies of her life was that she was not allowed to see her children, and she risked her life to be with them.

Some accused her of murdering her husband—I’ll let you decide whether or not she did after you read the book. She did manage to secure the throne, though, even before his death, and proved to be one of the greatest rulers of the Russian Empire.

She was no ordinary woman, refusing to stay within the confines of what a woman “should do.” Many disapproved of her, many still do. That is exactly the kind of woman who makes a great story—the kind I love to write about.
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