Grousable Books Newletter: 1 May 2023

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My Grousable Books newsletter for May features a historical bit about May Day, a fun interview, an announcement that my romance is leaving KU, a bit of Vienna Blood, and (finally) a freebie short story.

Now through May 13: 50% off my mystery ebooks at Smashwords

I rarely discount anything, so this is your chance if you’re missing one of the Tommy Jones Mysteries! Coupon code 8SWQ7 should come up automatically for Murder at Old St. Thomas’s, Murder at an Exhibition, and Murder on the Pneumatic Railway. Discount for a limited time only at Smashwords. 

May Day

Here’s a bit of history, and it’s Victorian even if it’s American. On the first of May, 1886, the American Federation of Labor held a general strike. The date had been declared a couple of years before as the goal for workers to obtain an 8-hour day without a cut in pay. This was in a time when 10-16 hour days were the norm, and often in dangerous conditions. Naturally, a labor strike of this size (at least 300,000 participated) meant that anarchists and groups advocating violence would get involved, resulting in the Haymarket Affair a few days later. Protests for labor had turned into protests against police brutality in response to the strikes, and violence begat violence.

Engraving of Haymarket riot posted on my grousable books newsletter for May

Harper’s Magazine’s rendition of the Haymarket Massacre. While not accurate in terms of events, it effectively portrays the mood at the time.

Since then, workers’ unions have adopted the date worldwide as Labor Day, aligned as it is with old pagan May Day spring celebrations. Interestingly, the U.S. does not celebrate labor on this day precisely because communists, socialists, and anarchists were involved. Ours got moved to September. But without unions and strikes, we wouldn’t have 8-hour days, weekends, or OSHA protections.

A fun interview

I had the honor of being interviewed by Stephanie at BookFrolic as part of the Cozy 52 series. She asked some great questions!

Author Q & A banner posted on my grousable books newsletter for May


A Heart Purloined leaving KU

A Heart Purloined, my Victorian romance, will leave Kindle Unlimited on May 15 to spread its wings to the wider world. I hope to get it in libraries soon instead.

Mockups of A Heart Purloined, posted on my grousable books newsletter for May

Here’s the “blurb” about the novel:

England 1880

Amanda Goodwin first encounters Jack Strawman when both of them are robbing the same house, so she knows he’s a thief. As companion to Lady Brandon for two years, she has been trying to earn money to help save her family’s farm and reclaim a miniature of her grandmother. An unexpected death means that Amanda must enlist Jack’s help.

Jack Strawman is a man with a light-hearted manner which covers up a mysterious past, and it doesn’t take long for Amanda to see his flair for dissembling. His own goals come into play as he assists Amanda, but her forthright way of doing things presents problems. From unwilling partners to enchanted lovers is a path filled with robberies, kidnapping, and police investigations, all set in Victorian England.

Garden News

April is when the weather is uncertain, but the plants know the days are longer so they grow really fast. I’ve been taking cuttings from growing stems of lavender and rosemary, planting out tiny tomato plants into huge pots, and babying seedlings of cucumber and watermelon.

Photo of a possum posted on my grousable books newsletter for May

The most frequent possum visitor here is Nobby (so called because she has a knob in her tail caused by injury). Did you know that the most common possum in North America is the Virginia Opossum, and that they are the only marsupials on the continent? Nobby has a pouch full of joeys once again (she had a litter last year), and she has already defied the animal info websites by staying in our yard for two years.

TV: Vienna Blood

No, it’s not England, and it’s post-Victorian (just by a little bit), but it is a lavish production, and an international one at that. A disgruntled Slavic inspector and a young Jewish doctor specializing in neurology (psychiatry) navigate Vienna’s social minefield to solve mysteries. The performances are excellent, so good that one might not even notice the furnishings and costumes (including Max’s hat) that aren’t historically accurate.

Vienna Blood lobby card posted on my grousable books newsletter for May

Because you know, I love a lavish mystery.

A freebie!

I told you last month I’d have a freebie soon, and now I do! It’s a short story called “The Dancing Colonel”, and features Jo and Bridget from Murder at an Exhibition. But you don’t have to know the characters to enjoy solving the mystery of a colonel who drops dead at a charity ball. Was he danced to death, or was the cause more nefarious?

Cover of the freebie, posted on my grousable books newsletter for May

Click here to download the story if you already subscribe to my newsletter, or here if you don’t. Enjoy!

Divided by a Common Language

I saw a British meme explaining that the American word “math” is missing the letter “s” at the end, but it’s ok because we can just take it from the end of the word “sports”.