OK, so I'm rarely in jeopardy, but I write woman-in-jeopardy novels—otherwise called "Modern Gothics"—and this is my blog. It will probably have lots of time between posts, but I'll try not to bore you. Welcome.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

WINNERS!

Sorry about the delay, there, but the trusty Random Number Generator has at last been put into service and the winner of Lauren Willig's THAT SUMMER (signed by Lauren, even) is:

mk, who was the very first commenter!
Congratulations! Please drop me an email at susanna(underscore)kearsley(at)yahoo(dot)ca to let me know where we should send your book.

And for everyone else who might have entered one of the two OTHER giveaways I've held recently, just gentle reminder that time is ticking on. It's been some time now since I announced the winners, and the prizes are still sitting here in my writing room.

To be perfectly fair, I'm going to announce the winners' names again right now:

The winner of the "Between Friends" Giveaway was Kay, who commented on December 28, 2013 at 12:54 p.m., and whose best friend is Andrea.

And the winner of the Beatriz Williams ARC Giveaway was Allina Flaat.

If I don't hear from Kay or Allina by the end of July, I'm going to have to draw again for new winners, so if you're Kay or Allina, or know them, PLEASE drop me a line at the email I've given above.

Thanks so much.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lauren Willig Giveaway



Yep, I'm at it again :-)

This time it's my friend Lauren Willig who has a new book out, and since I know many of you like her books, too (as I do), I'm going to give away one new signed copy.

Here's a peek at what the novel is about:

A page-turning new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig, about a woman who inherits a house in England… and the mysterious past that comes with it.
2009: When Julia Conley hears that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it’s a joke. She hasn’t been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when she was six (and gave her nightmares that have lasted into adulthood). But when she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house—with the help of her cousin Natasha and sexy antiques dealer Nicholas—bits of memory start coming back. And then she discovers a pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house’s shrouded history begins to open…

1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. The one bright spot in her life is her step-daughter, Evie, a high-spirited sixteen year old who is the closest thing to a child Imogen hopes to have. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur’s collection of medieval artifacts, including Gavin Thorne, a quiet man with the unsettling ability to read Imogen better than anyone ever has. When Arthur hires Gavin to paint her portrait, none of them can guess what the hands of fate have set in motion.  

Photo by Christina Courtenay
Again, you should know that I know Lauren, and while I've never trudged through a blizzard with her as I did with Beatriz Williams (Lauren wisely stayed at home for that one), I have shared the odd panel and coffee and chat with her. Here we are only last month in New Orleans at the RT Booklovers Convention, doing our "Call My Bluff" historical words and phrases game. (Left to right: Beatriz, Lauren, Molly O'Keefe, Deanna Raybourn, and Me).

So I'm admittedly biased, but I can also honestly recommend her writing to you, because it's very, very, (very) good.

If you want to sample it yourself, you can read an excerpt from THAT SUMMER here at Lauren's website.

You have until midnight EST this Sunday, June 7, to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below telling me:

If YOU could inherit a house anywhere, where would it be located?

I'll choose one name at random when the contest closes. Best of luck!

(NOTE: If you have trouble leaving a comment because you don't have any of the ID's listed, just leave one as "Anonymous" and put your name in the comment itself, so I'll know how to get in touch with you if you win).



Beatriz Williams Giveaway: And the winner is...

Allina Flaat!

Congratulations, Allina! Drop me an email at susanna(underscore)kearsley(at)yahoo(dot)ca and let me know your mailing address, and I'll get your signed ARC of Beatriz Williams's new book mailed out to you.

Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your amazing comments. As one reader mentioned, each one of your comments could be its own novel. I really enjoyed reading all of them.

Thank you.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beatriz Williams ARC Giveaway!

You'll be thinking all I do here is give stuff away, but I can't help this one. Sorry.

My friend Beatriz Williams, whose previous books Overseas and A Hundred Summers are both beautiful, has a brand new book coming out TODAY, and I have in my hot little hands something even better than a regular copy such as you'd find in a store: I have a more-rare-and-much-harder-to-come-by ARC (Advance Reading Copy), SIGNED by Beatriz herself!

(Full Disclosure: She actually sent it to me a couple of months ago so I could give it away, and being Me I set it here on my desk with Good Intentions, and promptly buried it in pages of the novel I'm now working on...)

Here's the official story synopsis for THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT:

Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale.

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate d├ętente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.

More Full Disclosure: As I said above, Beatriz is my friend. We have trudged through a New York City blizzard together to sign books (though she, being Beatriz, looks Elegant even in blizzards, whilst I, being Me, look Bedraggled...)




We have been known to hang out in hotel lobby bars together at conferences.


She has even allowed me to talk her into entering Historical Costume Competitions whilst wearing my reproduction 18th century gown when I forgot to pack my stays so couldn't wear it myself (Beatriz, as you can plainly see, does NOT need stays).


But besides being my friend, she is also one amazing storyteller, and I think anyone who enjoys my books would enjoy Beatriz's also.


To enter for a chance to win this single advance reading copy I have on my desk here, just leave a comment  answering this question:

What member of YOUR family would you like to know more about?

I'll choose the winner at random from all the comments left here before midnight, May 31st.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Between Friends: The Winner!

Me with my late sister Kathryn, forever & always my BFF.

Thanks so much to all of you who entered the Giveaway. Reading your comments and learning why your best friends were the BEST friends was a wonderful thing, and I'm grateful you took time to share all that with me.

I fed all the comments into the Great Random Number Generator and I'm pleased to announce that the winner is:

Kay, who commented on December 28, 2013 at 12:54 p.m., and whose best friend is Andrea.

Kay, if you can email me when you have a chance at susanna (underscore) kearsley (at) yahoo (dot) ca, we can work out where you'd like your eReader and Big Bag of Books & Stuff sent.

Again, thank you to everyone. Really, you all warmed my heart for the holidays.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Between Friends: A Giveaway

Last summer, when The Firebird was published, Sourcebooks held a contest called "Send Susanna to My Hometown", whereby readers nominated their local bookshops and libraries to play host to a stop on my first American tour.

Well, thanks to all of you we had so much fun with that tour that next month Sourcebooks is putting a twist on the concept by sending me out to the hometowns of some of my actual writer friends, letting us party and play do events with each other. You can read all the details here, and learn where I'll be and with whom I'll be playing appearing.

To my friends and readers on the west coast, I'm really sorry — we tried but weren't able to get an event pulled together out there in the very short window of time that I had for this tour (I'm still working to keep to my deadline for the new book, so I can't be on the road very long), and I'm sad about that, but if it helps at all I will be doing another joint event with my friend Deanna Raybourn at Murder by the Book in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, March 1st, to celebrate the publication of her next book City of Jasmine, and with my next book I'll do my best to get over those Rockies for you.

In the meantime, I thought it would be kind of fun to expand the whole "Susanna & Friends" theme by inviting you to enter one of YOUR friends in a Giveaway.

I've got two prizes — one for you to give your friend, and one for you to keep.


The one to give your friend is this:

A brand new, Kobo Arc 7HD eReader, the 32 GB version like the one in the photo at the right, that will come with the sleep cover pictured above at the top of this post. The cover, as you can see, has already been signed by several of my writer friends (clockwise from top left: Janet Gurtler, Jane Porter, Jack Whyte, Jim C. Hines, C.C. Humphreys, Diana Gabaldon, Hallie Ephron, and Eileen Cook) who were at the Surrey International Writers' Conference this year, and I'll be taking that cover with me on my January tour so all the friends that will be joining me can sign it, too.

And for being such an awesome friend, if you're selected by the Random Number Generator as the winning entry, you'll get this:


Ta-da!

A BAG!

But hang on —not just any bag. It too is coming with me on my January tour, and I'm inviting all MY writer friends at every stop to help me fill it for you. I don't know what they'll be adding to it, but I'm starting off the loot with a signed copy of The Splendour Falls, and after the tour's ended who can tell what you'll end up with? Lots of Mystery Present Goodness, that's what!

This is my contest, so it's open to everyone internationally and I'll ship worldwide. All you have to do to enter for your chance to win is leave a comment here, and tell me why you think your friend's the best of all.

I'll keep the contest running till my tour has ended on the 21st of January, midnight Eastern Standard Time, and I'll announce the winner once I get back home. 

Good luck! And Happy Holidays to you and all your family and friends!

http://www.susannakearsley.com/susannaandfriendstour.html

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembering

Sometimes a scene that I witness and write leaves a mark on me. 

This scene, from late in my book Every Secret Thing, left a mark deeper than most, and each year at this time I remember and honour the women and men who inspired it:



There was very little left to mark the site.  In fact, as I took the turning south towards the lake and found myself surrounded on all sides by low stretching industrial buildings, I nearly thought I’d got it wrong...and then, beyond the buildings to my right, I saw the flags—four flags, unfurled against a sky that had been growing greyer as I’d travelled eastward.
            This was it, I thought.  I slowed the car.
            The road curved, and the buildings on my right gave way to open space—a small green rise of hill, and on its top a low-walled concrete monument, not large, that held the four tall flagpoles with their emblems of the Province of Ontario, and Canada, and Britain, and the States, all set at half-mast.  I was very near the water now.  I could tell from the strength of the wind as it slapped the flags around and rippled up the grassy hill to where a sign, in plain black letters, read ‘Intrepid Park’.
            It didn’t look like much of a park—only the unassuming monument, and a few young maple trees with trunks so slender they seemed scarcely able to withstand the bursts of wind that shook the leaves like something wild.
            But I wasn’t the only pilgrim.  A Canadian Forces bus had blocked the driveway of one of the industrial buildings, and mine was the last in a long line of cars that had parked at the edge of the road.  Still, the little assembly of people beneath the four flags looked quite small, I thought.  More like a gathering of family than a formal Remembrance Day ceremony.  I felt conspicuous as, head bent to the driving wind, I climbed the gently rising hill towards the monument.
            No one paid me any real attention.  Most of the people were busy talking amongst themselves, some obviously politicians, working the crowd with their handshakes and smiles.  There seemed to be a scarcity of old men, and old women—that struck me, straight away.  I counted only a scattered handful of them, most wearing uniforms and ribboned bands of medals, sitting quietly on metal folding chairs that had been set in rows for those who found it difficult to stand.  The people around them were younger, respectful in dark coats with red plastic poppies pinned through their lapels, or dressed in military uniform, without a coat, and shivering against the cold.
            There was no shelter on the hill.  The modest monument’s low wall had been shaped as a long open crescent, like arms spread to embrace the slate-blue water of Lake Ontario that stretched away unbroken to the stormy grey horizon.
            Just a half-hour’s drive to the west lay Toronto.  There, the lake was more civilized, reflecting back the bright lights of the cultured city skyline, with the small bit of well-controlled green that was Toronto Island lying just off shore.  But here, at the southernmost boundary of Whitby, the lake had no such pretensions.  It looked icy and forbidding, chopped up by the wind into frothy white waves over which seagulls dipped and hung, shrieking.
            The landscape looked forbidding, too.  Where the little park ended at the bottom of the hill, the rough ground began—dead brown grass tipped with gold and the odd tenacious patch of green, split by a narrow bicycle path that came from the fields ringed by woods to the right.  Beyond the bicycle path there was nothing but scrub brush that fell off abruptly as though there were bluffs or a cliff at the lake’s edge.
            It was a lonely place.  And yet today, Remembrance Day, these people round me had all made the journey, as I had, to stand here in this spot above a long-abandoned site, now turned to blowing field.
            There was movement from the monument.  The soldiers of the vigil were about to take up their position.  Soberly, they stepped forward from the ranks, two of them, each moving to one end of the curved monument.  A few sharp, barked commands, and measured motions made in unison, and both were soon like statues, heads bent, rifle barrels resting on their polished boots.  They’d stay like that, I knew, the whole length of the ceremony.  Motionless.
            Between them, I could see a plaque set in the centre of the wall.  I couldn’t read the words from where I stood, but then I didn’t need to.  I’d already done my research.  I knew what was written there.  It read:

CAMP X
1941-1946

ON THIS SITE BRITISH SECURITY 
CO-ORDINATION OPERATED SPECIAL 
TRAINING SCHOOL No. 103 AND HYDRA. 
S.T.S. 103 TRAINED ALLIED AGENTS 
IN THE TECHNIQUES OF SECRET 
WARFARE FOR THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS 
EXECUTIVE (S.O.E.) BRANCH OF THE 
BRITISH INTELLIGENCE SERVICE. 
HYDRA NETWORK COMMUNICATED 
VITAL MESSAGES BETWEEN CANADA, THE 
UNITED STATES, AND GREAT BRITAIN. 
THIS COMMEMORATION IS DEDICATED 
TO THE SERVICE OF THE MEN AND 
WOMEN WHO TOOK PART IN THESE 
OPERATIONS. 

            I turned again, letting my gaze travel out across the windy, unkempt field to where the line of dark trees rose to block the view across the lake.  Somewhere down there, in a building long gone, in this place full of silence and secrets, my grandmother had first met Andrew Deacon.
            Now there was nothing, just the shadows of dark snow clouds chasing over empty space, and overhead a single gull with black-tipped wings that rose and wheeled and headed out across the lake like an escaping spirit.
            The flags above my head flapped noisily, their cords and metallic rings striking the tall flagpoles with the hollow clinking sound of cold aluminum.  The sound wrenched me back to the present.
The service began.
            It was simple, short on speeches, just the solitary bugle and a reading from the military pastor, who had chosen as his text a passage I had never heard, from the Apocrypha, beginning ‘Let us now praise famous men.’  The words were fitting, bittersweet:  And some there are who left a name behind, to be commemorated in story.  And there are others who are unremembered; they are dead, and it is as though they never did exist...
            I thought of Deacon, in his grave without a headstone; of his grey and faceless presence that had haunted me so long.  Not faceless now, I thought.  Deliberately, I closed my eyes to conjure up his image from the photograph, his smile, his eyes.
            And then, as if in answer to my effort and my mood, the reading changed.  Another voice, the younger voice of one of the cadets, read out the words of Binyon’s proud ‘Prayer for the Fallen’:
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.  Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.  At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.
            I opened my eyes.  The sun, on cue, broke through the clouds at just that moment, falling warm upon my frozen back like a comforting hand, and casting long shadows across the dead grass at the feet of the uniformed young men and women standing still, in ranks, before the monument.  And for one brief minute, to my eyes, those shadows made a second army—ghosts who stood at fixed attention in between the living bodies, silent and aware.
            I hadn’t been to a Remembrance Day service since I was a child.  I didn’t know that Binyon’s poem called for a response; so it surprised me when it came, from those few older men and women in the crowd, from those old soldiers, standing straighter now than anyone around them, their scattered voices finding strength:  We will remember them.’
           
(NOTE: This Service of Remembrance at Intrepid Park, where Camp X used to stand, is held each year on the 11th of November, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.  Anybody can attend).