Grousable Books Newsletter: February 2023

Events and a Bookshop

I have been somewhat loathe to attend in-person events in this time of plague, but I recently attended two. One was the Oceanside Sunset Market Authors’ Night, where I got to set up a table and sell books. It was a fun event, with many people and really nice organizers (a helper literally met me at my car with a handtruck!). I was asked all kinds of questions about where I get my ideas. Talking about going through sources, reading newspaper articles written in the 1860s, was a joy. Then the next night I attended the Local Authors Showcase at the San Diego Central Library, where my book Murder at Old St. Thomas’s was among the many others featured on display in the library for the month of February. Quite an honor.

Verbatim Books, located in North Park in San Diego, is my bookshop of the month. They have a fabulous consignment program, put my books on display right away, and were a great place to shop. Used books, new books, beautifully organized and at great prices. Yes, I bought a few!

Launch for A Heart Purloined

Valentine’s Day, February 14, is the “launch” day for A Heart Purloined, my new historical romance.

I was hoping to have an outdoor launch party here in San Diego, but the forecast for February 14 says it will be the only day it will rain, in between some very dry weeks. So it might be a very quiet (or wet) launch.

February in the Garden

Dry, dry, dry. In between unseasonable rain showers, we’re getting Santa Anas. This condition is supposedly when hot winds come down the hills from the northeast. Whatever they are, they mean your sinuses dry to a crisp and there isn’t enough hand lotion in all the world.

The Mr. Lincoln rose planted last month is doing fine anyway, and the sunny weather has fooled a lot of plants into thinking it might be spring. The apple tree has already got both flowers and tiny apples, a very odd thing while the camellias are in full bloom.

Oh, and about those camellias. I learned a trick: water them heavily in autumn and you get less blossom drop. I did it and it worked!


This month I’ve been reading a book I bought at Verbatim, a Nancy Drew book. The Hidden Staircase is Book 2 of the old Nancy Drew series, which I haven’t read since I was a kid. I wanted to see how a children’s mystery reads as compared to an adult novel, and it’s a blast. It moves so quickly! There’s almost no description, and Nancy’s friend Helen is a foil–she encourages Nancy’s fearless adventurous streak. I had not remembered that Nancy was so brave as to jump into scary situations, in this case involving possible ghosts and definite bad guys.

TV and Movies

I was so excited when a friend told me that Remington Steele was on Amazon Prime, because I had just finished watching Seekers (I found the script somewhat disappointing) and didn’t know what to watch next.

Remington Steele ran five seasons starting in 1982, and I loved it. Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) has tried opening her own detective agency, but can’t get clients because she’s female. A man with an unknown past (Pierce Brosnan) appears and is mistaken for the pretend boss she’s created, Remington Steele. There is much humor in them solving mysteries sort of together, but what I really like is that Steele (or whatever his name is) is a serious classic movie buff.

This plays into the story. Some of the plots are based on old movies, but even when they aren’t he finds connections to old films. And so can the viewer. When one episode featured the disappearance of a man named George Kaplan, I knew before they did that the man never existed (see Hitchcock’s North by Northwest). The show is light but intelligent, a definite “cozy”. And the Henry Mancini theme song will keep running through your head.

And that’s it for this time!

Lisa M. Lane