Friday, September 28, 2012

My Night at the Emmy Awards

by Joan

Last weekend, I didn’t write one word of fiction. But I hope you’ll agree I had a good excuse: I walked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards and joined the stars to watch the show in person.

It was my first experience with false eyelashes and let’s just say that a certain actress wasn’t the only one with a wardrobe malfunction (not linking, but you can find it!). Thankfully, the only bare parts I showed were my feet.

I also ate dinner in bed at the Supper Club with twenty-five new friends, sat on the retired Friends’ Central Perk couch at Warner Brothers, visited the set of the Big Bang Theory, dined overlooking the Pacific and had sushi at almost every meal.

But let’s backup a bit. A few weeks ago I got a text from my younger sister, Madelyn. “Read your email NOW!”
I clicked on my phone and saw the following subject line: “Are you sitting down?”

I assumed it must be good news, but what? With Madelyn, you never know. Last winter, I turned down her offer to attend the Palm Springs Film Festival and, after seeing pictures of her not five feet from George Clooney and Brad Pitt, I vowed not to turn down her fabulous offers again.

The email invited her and a guest to attend an Emmy Experience weekend, capping it off with a night at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards. (She has the coolest job! I get invited to lunches where speakers wax on about taxes or real estate investment). I jumped up from my desk at work and called her immediately. As I paced, my heart skipped as though I had been nominated for an award and I mentally calculated how to justify taking off work another two days, after a week off in August to deliver my sophomore back to school in California. But anyone who knows me is well aware I rarely turn down the opportunity to travel. Especially to the west coast.

And so I prepared for my evening of glamour, knowing there wasn’t enough time or cash for cosmetic and Lasik surgery, or for an 8-week intensive personal trainer at the gym. I kept reminding myself, no one is looking at me. But my vain side wouldn't relent and I searched out the lovely Emily at Nordstrom to help me squeeze into try on dresses. My husband was a good sport when I asked him to pause the football game and drive to the store to choose between two.

After a morning trip to get coifed by Ashley at The Dry Bar in Legacy, the long weekend started with a two-hour drive from LAX to the hotel. Luckily, I shared the ride with my new friends, Linda and John Boozer, event planners extraordinaire. (Need a book launch planned?) Our driver Stephen, a comedian with a day job who never tried to make us laugh, delivered us safely to the Hilton, just in time for our first round of sushi.

Those gracious hosts at the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau --Bryan, Cory (pictured here), Angie, Anna, Mariles, Mary & Teresa-- sure know how to show their guests a good time. They amused us with stories and trivia, provided forgotten necessities, even offered press-on toenails (thanks Cory!). 

We viewed L.A. from the heights of the Griffith Observatory, where we saw a sorbet-colored sky scrumptious enough to eat, dined at the lovely Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes coast and at Katsuya, serving some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten. We were treated like royalty and driven around by Strack Premier Transportation, owned by the charming Matt Strack.

Los Angeles has a bad rap. Big city, lots of traffic and big egos. Yeah, there’s that. But I’ve been there many times, and on this trip I was introduced to new treats and unexpected adventures. The city has something for everyone--beaches, mountains, shopping, star-gazing, culture, you name it. Not to mention, I fitted in a few hours to see my son.

I’ve watched the Emmys on a television as small as 18 inches (when Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore accepted awards) and as large as our big screen in the media room, but being at the Emmys was an experience I’ll not soon forget. 

One of the straps on my fancy shoes ripped from the sole and I walked the red carpet barefooted. Once inside, my ever-efficient sister took the shoe to guest services where they promptly duck-taped it back in place. Classy, right? At this point, my fake eyelashes were screaming to be pulled off, but I resisted, preferring irritation to a white glue line across my lids.

So my night of glamour got a bit less glamorous, but I was in the same building as some of my favorites: Jessica Lange, Julianne Moore, Tom Hanks, Brendan Coyle of Downton Abbey fame (yowsa!) and many others. But I was also there with my new friends who made me feel like a star.

All because I decided to forego writing fiction for a weekend and get out in the real world of Los Angeles. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ten Things

by Elizabeth

I'm not the world's best housekeeper, and I've come to terms with that. "But I have other lovely qualities," is the line I've settled on, and since if the clothes are clean and the bed sans mites is good enough for me, I'm okay with it. I do admit to feeling better when the house sparkles (which is one reason visitors are a welcome thing around here), but not enough to transform myself into June Cleaver. Nor my kids, for that matter: take a look at my son's computer area:

 Not to mention my daughter's bedroom:

When the mess in there gets so awful I can't stand it, I often get her to get started by picking up ten things. This is something I do for myself, as well. Just ten things, off the bathroom counter (and yes, putting the mascara away counts as one, as does throwing the toothbrush package in the trash, as does tucking the hairdryer back into the drawer, and look! we're already at three!), out of the family room, back to the bookshelf. Just ten things, and the difference is visible. I've just ten-thinged my entire house clean more than once (just ask my visitors).

Hey, Elizabeth? Isn't this a blog about writing? Hang in there.

One reason we live with a certain amount of clutter is that life gets in the way. School, after-school stuff, work, fun. Laziness. That can happen to our writing, too, especially for those of us who don't yet have deadlines and contracts. Life can get in the way, and sometimes we might find that days (ahem, weeks?) have gone by and the clutter of ideas is stacked only in our heads and nowhere near paper.

So ten things can come in handy. Just do ten things. Ten words might not do the job, true, and ten pages might be overly ambitious, but there are surely ten things we can do to get us back on track, right? Like

10. Write a letter from your main character to his/her antagonist. Or even an email.
9. Write one paragraph on your WIP. Just one. Bet more will follow, though.
8. Open up your WIP and read a random page and see whether it sings. If it doesn't, make it. Just the one page.
7. Eat something tasty. Then write about a character in your book eating the same thing. Include all the senses. Because that tasty thing is surely cake, and we all need more cake.
6. Write a blog post. Maybe about writing. (And if you don't have a blog, well, send it to us for a guest post.)
5. Check with your critique partners and see if there's anything anyone needs a read on. Getting back into the frame of mind with others' work sometimes gets us reinvigorated about our own.
4. Take a writing walk, and use the time to figure out a problem you might be having with plot or character.
3. Suck it up, and actually write the whole two thousand words that taskmaster Stephen King said you should. Just sit down and hammer them out until you have the whole 2K. Even if they're lousy.
2. Write a 100 word short short story that has nothing to do with your manuscript. Just for, you know, fun.
1. Write a three sentence synopsis of your WIP, just to get the idea reaffirmed in your head (plus, this is useful for the elevator pitch later. Clarity and brevity!)

Notice that more than half those things to do begin with "write"? Funny that.

And here's the great thing. There's a good chance your standstill with your writing is not as dire as the condition of my house. Meaning, I can do ten things a dozen times, but you might do one or two and find your writing house is already back in order.

Like my kitchen, ten things later.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Always a Reader

By Pamela

My mother read to her children often and always. We didn't have a lot of extras growing up but we knew we were loved and we had books. It wasn't until much later in my life that I realized my mother never read for her own pleasure. She worked. She baked. She sewed. She volunteered. But, other than her Bible, she didn't read.

Now that she's retired, she reads and loves it. She'll read just about anything I recommend (and mail to her), and I enjoy being able to discuss books with her long-distance. Just the other day she commented about a book I'd sent her. "I feel sorta dumb when I read it," she said. "She uses so many words I've never heard of." I'd read it too and agreed. "That's what's great about reading. You can always learn new words," I said.

Recently Susan and I had lunch and we talked at length about passions and purpose and life and other issues. Then at church the following Sunday, I scribbled on my bulletin a few prompts for my life. One was: Volunteer at the retirement center.

My college freshman boy had volunteered at a neighborhood retirement community and loved it. He played beanbag baseball with the residents and faithfully attended each week. Now that he's miles away and can no longer go, I decided to pick up the baton he regretfully laid down.
We have a logo--it's official. 

After meeting with the activity director, we determined a good fit for my interests and their needs would be to start a book club. I thought At Home in Mitford would be a perfect choice--small southern setting, an elderly Episcopal priest as main character. I came home and ordered books--some in large print--and waited for them to arrive. When I had 12 copies to deliver, I met with the leaders of the women's group and together we discussed logistics. The four women quickly picked up their copies (all large print, I noticed) and one asked about getting an audio version. "I love to listen to books as I knit," she said. A passer-by mentioned that she only listens to books since she's legally blind. (Point taken and audio book ordered as soon as I returned home.)

Then we discussed future titles. I'd culled some from my shelves and pitched them to my new friends. We agreed on two more for November and December: Same Kind of Different as Me and Welcome to the Great Mysterious. (As an aside, my mother has read all three titles!) I asked what other books they enjoy and was a little surprised at their responses. Mysteries! Stephen King! Second point taken and more variety certainly forthcoming. I also told them about Julie's book and they can't wait to read it too.

Last Thursday I had lunch with all the residents (average age is 82), pitched my club and left a sign-up sheet and the books in their library. On my way home I stopped by Goodwill and purchased two armloads of large-print books (some mysteries and one Stephen King) to add to their library. Now I'm on the lookout for audio books too.

I'm looking forward to our first meeting in a couple weeks and regret that two people can't be in attendance: my mother and my boy. But they'll both be with me in spirit and I thank them for inspiring this venture. I find it interesting how life unfolds. How a 17-year-old boy and his 74-year-old grandmother can inspire this 40-something writer to get together with a group of seniors who are destined to become my new friends.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Call Me Ishmael

By Susan _____-_________-___________.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Writers choose their names all the time. From the Bronte sisters writing as men to Stephen King wondering if his work could find an audience without the “King” behind it, writers, for centuries, have struggled with their identity on book covers.

Yet for me, the question of a name goes back way before I decided to send my words out into the world and call myself a writer.  Let me explain.

I married young—at 23—and I liked my maiden name: Susan Park Ishmael. I like my masculine middle name: Park. It was the side of my family descended from Daniel Boone’s brother, Edward, who’d been killed in an ambush by the Cherokees. The Park side of me felt solid and strong. Dropping the middle name for matrimony felt like leaving a part of my heritage behind.

Then there was the matter of Ishmael. I loved the both Biblical and Melvillean aspects of the name, though few pronounced it exactly the way my family did. (We say Ish-mul, not Ish-male, or Ish-may-ell.) When I married a second generation Greek-American boy named Poulos, I was torn. What’s in a name? I asked.  

Yet I didn’t change my name after I married. I’ve used Susan Poulos (or Susan Ishmael-Poulos) professionally for the past seventeen years of my marriage, but deep down (and on paper) I am still Susan Park Ishmael.

Now comes the part where choosing my name for a submission becomes a bigger question. Am I Susan Ishmael? Susan Poulos?  Or some mix of the two?  Should I use Park for some measure of good luck? I studied book cases … do I want to (hypothetically) fall next to Kazuo Ishiguro, Jodi Picoult or James Patterson?

Decisions, decision!

Here are some authors who wrote under different names:

Pseudonym                Author’s Real Name
Ayn Rand                  Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum
Currer Bell                 Charlotte Bronte
Elis Bell                      Emily Bronte
George Orwell            Eric Arthur Blair
George Elliot              Mary Ann Evans
Isak Dinesen              Karen Blixen
Lemony Snicket         Daniel Handler
Mark Twain               Samuel Longhorne Clemens
Pablo Neruda             Ricardo Eliecer Naftali Reyes Basoalto
Richard Bachman       Stephen King
Sapphire                     Ramona Lofton
JD Robb                     Nora Roberts

I never wished for a name like Smith or Johnson. I like the unique fact that I am the only Susan Ishmael-Poulos out there. But when it comes to book covers, what really is in a name?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What are you waiting for?

By Julie

Sometimes it seems as if the writing life is one long waiting game. It doesn't matter where you are in the process of publication, you are always waiting for something. (Actually, that's not so different from any other walk of life, is it? We sometimes like to think we writers are special—that we are the only ones waiting around for things to happen. How silly is that?)

Right now, I'm counting the days until Calling Me Home is published in the United States (February 12, 2013: 146!). It's incredibly nice that I have an answer to "How many days?" and that I can even put the date into an online computer application that figures that out for me.

So many times, we are waiting for an uncertain. Right now, I have friends who are at so many stages in their writing wait. Waiting for edits. Waiting for copy edits. Waiting to hear back from agent queries. Waiting for books to sell. Waiting for someone to get interested in foreign rights. Waiting for reviews to appear. Waiting for sales to pick up. 

So much waiting …

And the one thing we have control over? Writing the book?

So many of us are waiting to do that, too. Even those of us who have already sold a book. We're waiting to start the next one. Or finish it.

Sometimes, the waiting is necessary. I feel I must wait a certain amount of time, until the characters and settings and plot are somewhat gelled in my mind, before I can start the "real writing."

But at some point, you just have to say, "Ready, set, go!"

What are YOU waiting for?

This song by Celine Dion and Jean-Jacques Goldman is about waiting for your true love to show up, but sometimes it feels like that when you're writing a book, doesn't it? Enjoy! 

"I'm thinking about it all the time, about this moment
When we will recognise each other
I will tell him how long I've been waiting
No, I will certainly not tell him
While waiting for him, I live, I dream, I only breathe for that
While waiting for a meaning to all this
To all this…"

Monday, September 17, 2012

The House at Tyneford: A Perfect Novel

by Joan

“Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.”

So reads the heart-wrenching note pinned to the Tyneford Church door by villagers on Christmas Eve, 1941. In The House at Tyneford, NatashaSolomons has crafted a perfect novel by imagining the stories of a “ghost village” requisitioned by the War Office.

With touches of Downton Abbey and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,  The House at Tyneford (Plume/Penguin) is both tragic and hopeful, an intricately woven love story set on the coast of WWII England.

A Jewish nineteen-year-old, Elise lives in a large Viennese apartment amongst maids and furs and music with her mother, a famous singer, and father, a renowned author. As the years preceding the war continue, little by little the maids disappear, the once-grand apartment becomes worn and the family is faced with harsh decisions. Forced to leave for England to work as a house parlour maid while her parents, older sister and husband use the only four visas to America, her father sends her off to keep safe his latest novel, stuffed inside a viola Elise hasn’t played in years.

As an outsider to Tyneford, Elise is alone and haunted by her memories of her parents and sister. On her first night, she sneaks into the back garden where she rinses her face and hair under a water pump. When she meets Christopher Rivers, the head of the manor house, she bumps her head and he brushes away her wet hair from her forehead to see if she’s bleeding.

Later she thinks, “I can’t be certain that the moon was full, but if it wasn’t it ought to have been. Whenever I think back to that night, I see a white lantern of a moon hanging over the stable yard, the wind shivering in the marram grass. As in a dream, I am both the girl in the scene and some other self, watching her. I see Mr. Rivers sliding back the girl’s hair, and I feel the warmth of his fingers on my forehead. I watch that other Elise cross the yard and slip into the dark house.”

Elise’s long hair is “undignified and unsightly in a dining room,” says the head of staff and butler, and she is forced to cut off her long braid. With it goes a little more of her pride. Over the next few days, as she learns English and the exhausting duties that painfully stretch in front of her, Mr. Rivers shares his collection of her father’s novels, much to the chagrin of the other household staff. Finding spare free time, she steals away to the beach where she unleashes into the wind a tirade of newly learned profanity. It is then she meets the handsome, disheveled Kit, Christopher Rivers’ son returning from Cambridge. Soon they become friends, sharing a passion for literature and frivolity.

Elise learns this manor house is not like others, the normal rules seem to bend and twist as the war comes closer to England. She is swept away by her love of Kit, but soon he must leave to join the fight.
With Natasha Solomons’ exquisite prose, we are transported to the aging manor house, the windswept seaside and a bombed countryside. She has created an intelligent, heartbreaking plot with well-drawn characters fighting for hope in the midst of a country in despair.

To me, the novel hidden in the viola serves not only as a reminder of her father, but also represents the elusive, unreachable reunion with her family. I finished through a cloud of bittersweet tears and ached to read more, wanting to read from the start once more, knowing I would never again read with surprise those last magical pages.

I’m fascinated with WWII-era dramas and The House at Tyneford is about as perfect as they come. I am now reading Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English, Solomons’ first novel, and eagerly await her next, which I understand she is finishing as I write this… 

You can order The House at Tyneford from an Indie bookstore or the Read Pink version is now available for order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Review of Kathleen Grissom’s The Kitchen House

By Kim

Synopsis (from the book jacket):

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Kathleen Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

About Kathleen Grissom (from Simon & Schuster’s website):

Kathleen Grissom was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, and is now happily rooted in south-side Virginia, where she and her husband live in the plantation tavern they renovated. The Kitchen House is her first novel.


I happened upon this novel at a bookstore a few weeks ago and bought it based on nothing but the quote on the cover where Alice Walker said, “This novel, like The Help, does important work.”

We live in a time where preconceived notions of race and family are blurred. Though The Kitchen House is set two centuries in the past, Grissom shows characters struggling with the very same issues. Lavinia is white, yet, for all intents and purposes, a slave. Belle is the illegitimate daughter of the master, seemingly his favorite child, yet her skin color bars her from being accepted in the big house, much less in society. Both young women are trapped between two worlds into which they can never fully fit. Both are raised by families that aren’t their own and from whom they are forced to separate. Both are victims of the same shattered man. I desperately wanted to hate that man, but Grissom gave me just enough insight into his childhood to keep one sliver of my sympathy alive.

The prose is gorgeous, the characters complex, and the story engrossing. It does, as Alice Walker said, “important work.”

Have you read The Kitchen House? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest post: Sophie Perinot, author of The Sister Queens

By Julie

Today, we welcome Sophie Perinot to What Women Write. I've known Sophie for nearly a year as we've both participated in Book Pregnant, a group of authors debuting in 2012 and 2013. Sophie writes historical fiction and her first novel, The Sister Queens, released six months ago. We're helping Sophie celebrate her book baby's half-year birthday! 

I am currently engrossed in The Sister Queens, which conveniently floated to the top of my to-be-read pile just in time! I'm generally not a huge reader of straight historical fiction these daysit seems I'm always busy trying to keep up with books releasing in my own genre.

HOWEVER … I've found The Sister Queens so far to be a compulsively and delightfully readable book. Sophie has created such an accessible story of her young queens, born sisters, then separated not only by marriage and distance, but by battles between their rival husbands and intrigue at their courts while they delicately attempt to balance their love for each other with ambition for their husbands and loyalty to their kingdoms. It's also fascinating to read of the critical responsibility each queen has to produce heirs. Necessarily, sex is a part of this story. I was, thus, both amused and not surprised to open the email from Sophie containing her guest post and see her file name, which wasn't the whole title. I grinned and thought, Where is she going with this? And then I found myself nodding along as I read what she had to say. I think you will, too.

Judging men by the size of their … 


By Sophie Perinot

Military victories and territorial holdings remain history’s measure of male success. Should they be the only ones?

Back in college I took a number “women’s studies” courses. At some juncture I dissected a stack of advertisements, horrified by how they objectified women and by the messages sent, often none too subtly, that a woman’s value was largely dependent on her physical attractiveness. My professor pointed out that society had an equally unfair rubric for judging men—“Men,” she said, “judge themselves and each other by the size of their paychecks and their (insert other p-word here).” Decades later, while researching my debut novel, this professorial quip came back to me as I tried to sort out the facts and my feelings about two medieval kings.

My novel The Sister Queens tells the story of Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence—13th century sisters who became the queens of France and England respectively. In doing so, it necessarily involves the lives of their husbands, Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) and Henry III of England. History has come to very clear conclusions about these sovereigns—Louis was a success and Henry was a failure. But in the process of writing my book I became more and more frustrated by the common perceptions of each man, and I started to believe that how we are accustomed to viewing them has as much to do with what matters in “H”istory as it does with who they were.

Traditional political and military history celebrates men who are effective rulers. The personal aspects of those men’s lives are either ignored or attached little value. I, however, came to writing with a background in women’s and social history. Those fields have a different view of what is important. I also came to my story as a woman or rather—since I was writing alternate first person present tense viewpoints—two women. The opportunity to look at each king through his wife’s eyes raised a pair of questions that (given that, generally, women now choose their own husbands) are even more relevant today than they were 700 years ago:
  1. Should the definition of “successful man” include competence as a husband, father and friend?
  2. Is it better to be married to a traditionally “successful man” who has little time for his family or to a good and loving man who is an epic failure?
As I got to know Louis of France and Henry of England intimately, my personal answer to the “Louis or Henry, who would I marry” question became clear.

Louis IX of France is, in my opinion, the historical equivalent of the executive with a seven-figure salary who can’t remember his kids’ names and sends his assistant to buy his wife an anniversary gift.  

Yes, I know he is considered one of his country’s greatest monarchs. Heck, more than this, based on his piety and his participation in the crusades, he is a Roman Catholic Saint. That last bit made me suspicious from the get-go. I mean, when you hear “saint” do you think “damn, I’d like to live with him”? Me either. A single fact associated with his canonization process confirmed my hunch and offered breathtaking insight into what it must have been like for Marguerite as Louis’s wife. Hearings on Louis’s candidacy began shortly after his death at the instigation of his family. Only one person close to Louis declined to testify before the committee of prelates gathered at St. Denis—his queen. I’d say that’s a sign of underlying resentment if ever there was one. Even when pressed by her son, the King of France, Marguerite of Provence wouldn’t yield. Was she just being petty? I don’t think so.

Having walked in Marguerite’s shoes while writing my novel, and seen Louis’s neglect of her time and time again, it seems to me that she had good reason for her refusal. Louis may have reformed French government and behaved with compassion and justice to his people, but he was a poor husband and an uninvolved father. Dismissive of Marguerite’s advice to the end, he ignored her pleas to forgo a return to the Holy Land, tromping off on a second crusade—a journey which cost long-suffering Marguerite not only a husband, but the lives of two of her children. Through Marguerite’s eyes Louis was NO saint.

Henry III of England is a 13th century example of a nice guy in over his head—you know, the one who inherits the family business and proceeds to run it into the ground because all he really wants is to be an artist.  

History does not remember Henry III of England kindly. Considered naïve and unsuited to leadership at best (and downright simple at worst). he is ranked one of the least among English Kings. There is no denying that Henry was not an able monarch. There were times during my research and writing when I found myself ardently wishing Henry had been an architect (he had a passion for architecture and a fine aesthetic eye) rather than a king. He might even have made a go of it as a lesser nobleman on an estate in the middle of nowhere. 

But king . . . the man was doomed. If he had a real talent, beyond his artistic taste, it was as a husband and father. In those roles, he excelled and the historical record is replete with evidence of it. In thirty-six years no hint of scandal ever touched his marriage to Eleanor of Provence. Again and again, he exhibited a deep caring for both his wife and their children. Henry became sick with grief nearly to the point of death when his youngest child, Katherine, who was physically handicapped and likely developmentally handicapped as well, died at age three. He continued to worry about his children’s wellbeing even once they reached adulthood, intervening repeatedly in his daughter the Queen of Scotland’s marriage. And, given the opportunity, he showed the ultimate faith and trust in his wife, making her regent of England in his absence. Eleanor saw all this—lived it. How frustrating it must have been for her to watch the man she loved, and who loved her in return, shoot himself in the professional foot again and again. Yet we know Eleanor grieved at Henry’s death.

So, back to those two pesky questions. Given that I live in a city that worships power (Washington, DC), my answers might surprise you. Unless you are a fellow married woman, and then I bet you’ll say “Duh.”
  1. I believe a man cannot be called successful who is not as capable in his personal life as in his professional life.
  2. I’d hate to live, day in, day out, with a man who had no time for me and failed to treat me as a valuable partner.
So, given my choice of royal husbands, I’d take Henry, failures and all. Louis wins the “paycheck” test, hands down. He is history’s idea of a “great man.” But I can think of a number of “Louis-like” men among my acquaintances, and I am thankful every day that I am not married to them. In the end, for this writer, the size of a husband’s heart matters more than his professional competence . . . or the size of anything that begins with a “p” for that matter.

Thank you, Sophie, for being our guest today! The Sister Queens is available both online and wherever books are sold. Try Amazon or Barnes and Noble or your local independent bookseller

About The Sister Queens
Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals.  They were also queens. 

Raised at the court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages--but never truly parted. 

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?

Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away? 

The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.

About Sophie Perinot
Sophie Perinot received her BA in History from the College of Wooster and her law degree from Northwestern University. She is an active member of the Historical Novel Society and lives in Virginia.

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