Four Walls and a Heart is out!


Four Walls and a Heart brings us back to 1884, and Gil and Magni’s romance.

They appear, some years later (in 1906) as secondary characters in Pastiche, where they’re able to help Richard improve his life in a number of ways. I’m delighted to have the chance to go back in their history, to when they fell in love – and more importantly, admitted it.

It’s also a book about figuring out what choices you have when your life has changed dramatically. It’s full of loving books and reading, and baked goods. (You might want a snack while you read, from what my early readers have said…) And it involves some fun at the seaside, in Brighton.

All in all, it’s a lighthearted cosy read, just the right treat for a break in your day.

Happily ever after, no kids


One of my romance spaces was talking about romances that don’t presume a child is necessary for the happily-ever-after of the romance. If you’ve read my work, obviously I’ve got a mix in here. I thought it might be interesting to talk about the variations. 

(I obviously think people can find happiness in a whole bunch of different configurations and life choices. My characters make a wide range of choices, both in the immediate aftermath of a book and further down the road.)

Cover of In The Cards displayed in a gleaming silver frame, with purple flowers on the right and a purple velvet high-heeled shoes.

Idea to Book: Complementary


Complementary is a f/f novella in 1910, and it’s full of art, forced proximity, and a dash of folklore. 

Fundamentally, Complementary exists for two reasons. First, I wanted to spend a bit more time with Elizabeth Mason (who appears in several other books, notably Pastiche, The Fossil Door, and Old As The Hills.) Second, I knew people who were getting a collaborative project off the ground to feature f/f or sapphic romance, Kalikoi

A copy of Complementary lies on a table with various kitchen herbs and tools.

Elizabeth Mason

Mason – as she is widely known – and Witt are both Penelopes, a relatively small community of specialists who figure out what magical chaos has happened now and fix it (or at least get it stable). They’re Albion’s forensic scientist specialists, but they’re also the people you call in when someone has done something troublesome in an alchemy lab or with one of those ritual methods that really, no one should mess with. 

They were apprentices at the same time, and have worked together closely ever since, in the manner of people who can and do finish each other’s sentences. 

They’re not the same, though. There’s a theory out there – first put forward by forward by Dahilia Lithwick in 2012 that divides people and characters into Order Muppets and Chaos Muppets. (I should note that the original article discusses Supreme Court justices in the US in ways that have aged unevenly, shall we say.) 

This also applies to Penelopes. Mason is the Chaos Muppet of the two, and Witt is definitely the Order Muppet. On average, the Penelopes alternate when they do apprenticeships, though not entirely. (Lucy Doyle, who was Witt’s favourite apprentice and Gabe’s apprentice mistress is definitely also an Order Muppet.) Gabe, of course, is also a Chaos Muppet. Neither he nor Mason are precisely out of control, but they do definitely have unconventional solutions to a number of problems. 

Anyway, I wanted to spend more time with Mason, and in her head. (Want more Witt? You can get a brief section from Witt’s point of view in the extra “Three Times Told“, that takes place after The Fossil Door. There are a few more bits from Witt’s POV coming in extras for Upon A Summer’s Day.) 

Mason is an artist who has a hobby of forging historical documents for fun and education. (How do you know how to detect them if you don’t try making them yourself? I might also have been thinking of a particular episode of Leverage in there.) Complementary gives her a chance to show off her art skills as well as her investigation skills. 

I also had mentioned her partner Rosemary a few times, and I wanted to know how they got together. Rosemary is a midwife by profession, so keeps irregular hours and is also reasonably tolerant of Mason’s habit of covering every flat surface with other objects. 

Artist colonies

During the 19th and early 20th century, there were a huge number of artist colonies dotting scenic bits of the British Isles. Like the one in Complementary, they weren’t always terribly well organised. Basically, you’d get a bunch of people together, some amount of shared resources to rent somewhere to live and manage some amount of food, and then everyone would go off and sketch and paint and whatever. It was usually the more portable arts, of course, especially if you were ending up somewhere more rural. 

One of the things that was appealing about writing about it is that you have a range of personalities thrown in together who might not otherwise have spent a ton of time with each other. Add a bit of a challenge to solve and it makes a great setting. 


Finally, I wanted to have some fun with folklore. That area of England turned out to have some delightful bits of folklore. King Onna, the barrow, the Black Shuck, and the Devil beating on the church of the door are all part of the ongoing lore and conversation. If you do a search on any of these and throw in the word “Southwold” or “Norfolk”, you should dig up several versions.

(Though to be fair, it’s hard to come across spots that don’t have some sort of legend about large black dogs. They’re as common as healing wells, you can’t avoid coming across them regularly.) 

The Deadman’s Barrow is actually relatively close to Sutton Hoo, a famous Anglo-Saxon burial site of the 6th and 7th centuries that was first excavated in the 1930s. You may have seen the famous helmet or other items from the site.

If any of this intrigues, do check out Complementary, a novella of 35,000 words, just the right length for a pleasant treat. 

Shoemaker’s Wife is here!


Shoemaker’s Wife is about coming home from the Great War and trying to figure out your life now. It’s about the difference between falling in love and having a happy marriage. It’s about keeping a business running (and dealing with a difficult customer). It’s about finding work that will keep body and soul together for a bit longer. (And maybe something more.)

And it’s also got a theatre during panto season, a theatre ghost, and the art and craft of shoemaking.

And for those who loved Golshan, Seth, and Dilly (seen in Casting Nasturtiums, which ends about 8 months before Golshan appears in Shoemaker’s Wife), they all lend a hand.

Shoemaker's Wife with postcards and antique writing, and a purple hyacinth. The cover of Shoemaker's Wife has a man and woman in silhouette on a vibrant background of green shading through blue to purple. The woman is standing on one foot with one hand in the air, lifting the other and looking over her shoulder at the shoe while the man looks on. A purple 1920s shoe with a big blue ribbon bow is inset in the top right corner.

Fanfic and me


I’ve had a couple of questions recently about how I feel about fanfic – so time for a post where I can lay it all out.

Short version: I love and approve of fanfic, but please don’t send me any fanfic (or related text, like ideas you’ve had for it) or otherwise directly wave it in front of my eyes. Sharing fan art, craft projects, and other forms of fannish goodness are all wonderful.

Read on for more of an explanation (and why I’m putting it this way.) 

Copy of Eclipse on a white cloth, with various small ritual items - sprig of rosemary, talisman, cards - beside it.

What can you expect from this book?


One of the reasons I’m excited about my website (and authorial wiki) updates is that they’re making it easier to share more about what you can expect from a given book. Time for me to talk about your options here, depending on what information you’re interested in, and whether you want to avoid certain kinds of spoilers.

Copy of Best Foot Forward lying on a wrinkled silk cloth, with a violin lying across it. The cover has a deep red background with map markings in a dull purple. Two men in silhouette stand, looking up at a point in the top left. An astrology chart with different symbols picked out takes up the left side of the image, with glowing stars curving up to the title.

Before we get into that, though, a general word about what you will and won’t find in my books.


Alt-text and the author


Recently, a friend commented on how much she loved the alt-text on my images, and I promised I’d do a post talking about how I think about that. I’m aiming this at people talking about things like book covers – whether you’re a reader, a librarian, or an author – though I’ll be linking to some more general resources as well, some of which talk about describing more complex images. 

Cover of In The Cards displayed in a gleaming silver frame, with purple flowers on the right and a purple velvet high-heeled shoes.

All the information you might want


Hello, and welcome to my newly redesigned website! I wanted to take a moment to share some of what you can find now. I’ve also revamped and redesigned my authorial wiki, and this post also has more about what you can find there.

My goals

I’ve written an ever increasing number of books, and I have a lot more in mind. While you can absolutely still read almost all of them in any order you like, I wanted to make it easier to find the books you’re interested in.

Cover of Fool's Gold displayed on a tablet, set on a desk with a pink rose, a fountain pen, a jar of ink, and paper.

Here’s what the website and wiki now make possible. Read on for more specifics and a lot of links.

A way to follow characters or larger arcs across multiple books. Are you curious about a particular character? The wiki will let you find out all the places they appear, and which books are significant. Curious about the full arc of the books about the Carillons or the Edgartons or the Council? You can find lists and brief notes about each book in one place.

A way to find the books you’re most interested in (or avoid the books that aren’t your thing, or not right now). To make this easier, I’ve created tags, content notes, and a list of books with context that let you browse for those things you want to read.

A way to put books in order in different ways. With books reaching from 1882 to 1940 right now (and expecting more Victorian-era books to come, as well as books up through 1947 or so), timelines and internal chronological order start becoming a lot more useful.

A site that fits the feel of my books – and highlights my gorgeous covers. I love my covers so much. Augusta does an amazing job on them. I’m delighted to have a site that puts them front and centre. You’ll notice other details like the header font matching my cover font.


New and exciting!

Upon A Summer's Day

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Get in touch

My contact page has all the latest on where you can find me (and a form if you'd like to email me directly).