Facebook & Missing Persons



If you have gone to look for me on Facebook you will have noticed I’m missing in action over there. I deactivated my account for a variety of reasons Eventually I’ll probably re-activate it, but for the time being Sara is still over there.  Until I get past this writer’s block business I’ll be keeping a lower profile. 


Wednesday 18. May 2016|series in progress|4 Comments

The Gilded Hour: New Edition, Slippage & Good Stuff Coming


The trade paper edition of The Gilded Hour is now out there in the world.


I blame the midnight elves. I blame the midnight elves.

If you follow along here and/or on Facebook* you may remember that when The Gilded Hour was in the crucial final stages of the editorial process, my editor left Penguin/Berkley, and I a new editor picked up where she left off.

Please note immediately: neither editor is responsible for the slippage I’m talking about here. The change in editors was not their decision, and both did everything in their power to make the transition as smooth as possible.

And yet, some things went sideways.  A lot of small errors never got corrected in the hardcover edition of The Gilded Hour and there were also two larger problems. (1) a scene got abbreviated. Once I realized this had happened I posted the complete scene online and you can read the whole thing here.  (2) More problematic was the final scene, which was also not what I intended. 


The trade paper edition of The Gilded Hour came out today, and with one exception  (the missing scene) all the problems were fixed.

If you already have an ebook edition of The Gilded Hour, you can re-download it and you’ll find that all the corrections are now in place … Except not yet. For some reason I can’t understand, they have fixed the problems a few at a time, and thus if you went right now to re-download it, you would still not have the completely fixed version. And you’d have to download it a third time. So don’t, okay? Wait until you see a notice here that says Ebook editions now completely corrected — download it again!

This […]

Monday 2. May 2016|cranky pants, Gilded Hour|1 Comment

The Gilded Hour, Race & Ethnicity over Space

If you remember the Mazzini Hotel from The Gilded Hour (where the Italian Benevolent Society met), you wouldn’t have any way to know that there really was a hotel by that name on the spot on the south border of Washington Square Park in the early 1880s. That whole neighborhood, south of the park and north of Houston, was home to many immigrants and was ethnically very diverse at that time.

The city’s largest group of French and French Canadians was there, as well as a long established African American community that first began to come together  when this was still the outskirts of the city. Italians were also well represented, with fewer Irish and almost no Germans.  This larger area is important in the sequel to The Gilded Hour, as is the area around the Jefferson Market (to the east of the park) which you will be familiar with already. This map indicates that the Jefferson Market area and the neighborhood  tmoving north along Sixth Avenue was populated primarily by non-immigrants.

Note that the color bars don’t map to particular streets; they are meant only to provide relative densities for the different ethnic populations.

This is a detail from a very large map, one that is quite hard to read. I’ve reconstructed the data to the best of my ability and on the basis of additional research.



Friday 15. April 2016|research / resources, series in progress|8 Comments

Trump, Abortion & The Gilded Hour

abortionEarly in my planning for The Gilded Hour  I was awash in academic articles, nineteenth century newspapers and medical journals,  general reading about women’s health issues of the time, and the introduction of women to the medical professions.  The stories I came across that struck me as most interesting had to do with poor women immigrants, mostly Irish and Italian (and Roman Catholic), who were stuck between that proverbial rock and a hard place.

There was birth control of a very limited kind, but poor women had neither access nor money for such things. Even thinking about it, their priests told them, was a sin. Priests had no concrete help to offer, of course.

If women were desperate enough to find a way to end a pregnancy, they knew the odds were against them.  To add insult to injury, the rest of the world .saw these women as  hardly better than vermin, unwashed and undesirable and often unworthy of raising their own children.  

Women coming into the medical field for the first time, limited primarily to the care of the poor and most vulnerable, would have little chance of providing real help. 

One evening after I finished mulling all this over for the day, I turned on the television and found The Birdcage had just started on a cable  channel. You’re wondering what the connection could be between this film, Trump, and The Gilded Hour.  Hold on, it’s coming.

Backstory: The Birdcage

THE BIRDCAGE (1996) Written by Elaine May and directed by Mike Nichols, was a remake of the 1978 French film La Cage aux Folles. THE BIRDCAGE (1996) Written by Elaine May and directed by Mike Nichols, was a remake of the […]

Monday 4. April 2016|Gilded Hour, story : plot, theme|2 Comments

The Gilded Hour Giveaway: Trade Paper May 3

suggest-somethingI have a question for you, because on Wednesday I’ll be at Village Books in Fairhaven to do a short reading as a precursor to the Chuckanut Writers Conference (where I’ll be teaching, in case you missed that) and I’m at a loss for what to read.

Picking the right passage that lasts for 10-15 minutes when the audience doesn’t know you or your work is tricky.

It’s got to be engaging, not give too much away, and in my experience, it goes over best if it’s something amusing rather than dark. Any suggestions? Particular scenes from particular books? It doesn’t have to be from The Gilded Hour. However: if I get suggestions from at least 15 different people I’ll pick one name at random and that person will get a copy of the trade paperback edition of The Gilded Hour when it comes out on *****May 3.****

This contest is separate from the similar contest on Sara’s FaceBook page. You can enter both drawings, but please if you do, two different suggestions.


Monday 4. April 2016|Gilded Hour, writing prompts, workshops|6 Comments