What dragon on the spine?

I was down at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore yesterday, signing the next load of Silk and Song, and Julie said how much she liked the dragon on the spine. I said what dragon on the spine?

dragon on spine

This dragon on the spine!

No one has ever built me a book like this before so it never occurred to me to remove the cover and look at what might be on the actual book. My mistake.

Although the cover is gorgeous, too, like this gold leaf image of North Wind on the cover spine.

North Wind on spine

Not quite all of these books are sold yet.

Dana w:S&S

But all of them are signed.

S&S signed

Click here to order a signed copy today for yourself
or for that special reader in your life.
It would make a great Christmas gift. She whispered seductively…


Corsets, 4-inch heels, and foot binding.

I hiked the Chilkoot Trail in 2000. When I was writing about it for Alaska magazine, somehow I stumbled across the information that women in that time, 1898-1899, wore on average forty pounds of clothes.

Can you imagine hiking up that

in forty pounds of clothes? That’s, what, like eight 5-pound chickens, or one three-year old child.

Now imagine that part of that forty pounds is a corset

Continue reading

Tomorrow, you, me, high noon* at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore. Be there.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, yeah, yeah–what you really want to concentrate on is

Small Business Saturday!

As in tomorrow at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, from noon till three*, and here’s how to get there. Barbara Peters, owner and proprietor of that self-same bookstore


and me


will be recommending all the best books for good reads and great gifts.

Think Reddit AMA, only about books.

Tell us what you like to read and we’ll find more of it.

Want to step out of your reading comfort zone? We’ve got you covered.

Give us a brief description of the loved one you want to buy a book for and we will find the perfect book for that person.

Books. The gift that keeps on giving.

Soundtrack to this post.

I’ll make you love the scribe’s job more than you love your own mother.

I’ll make you love the scribe’s job more than you love your own mother. I’ll make its beauties obvious to you, for it is the greatest of all professions, and there is none like it in all the land…See, there is no worker without an ovrseer except for the scribe, who is always his own boss. Therefore, if you can learn to write, it will be far better for you than ll the other careers which I have listed before you, each one of which is more wretched than the last.

–Egyptian Middle Kingdom scribal propaganda, ca. 2000 B.C.

(from Joyce Tyldesley’s Daughters of Isis)

Yeah, I would have taken that job.

Tetisheri, Eye of Isis

Every writer’s rabbit hole.

Research, ah, research. If historical personages had not lived such fascinating lives and if writers did not write so fascinatingly about them, I would be far more productive. To wit, an illustration from What Life Was Like on the Banks of the Nile (Time-Life Books, 1996).



I don’t know that I would have fit right in but for sure as a woman I would have been a lot more comfortable in Egypt than I would have been in Rome, where women stayed home with the spinning, couldn’t pick their own husbands, couldn’t divorce, didn’t get the children if the husband up and left, didn’t receive alimony, and couldn’t own or operate their own businesses. In Egypt, a woman of that time could do all those things, and more.

My hero, Tetisheri? Well, let’s just say she does more.


Cleo image.jpg


“Crime fiction doesn’t get much better than this.”


Less Than a Treason (Head of Zeus, 9781786695697) receives a STARRED review in the May 1, 2017 issue.

When Aleut PI Kate Shugak is shot in the chest at close range, trooper Jim Chopin, her lover, is wracked with guilt for not killing her assailant sooner. [redacted, spoilers] When human bones are found near her retreat, Kate returns to Niniltna, where most locals thought she was dead, and resumes working. [redacted, spoilers, don’t bother with a FOIA request] Starting a Kate Shugak book is like going somewhere everybody knows your name, given the warmth and familiarity of the Niniltna cast, even to readers new to the series. The twenty-first series installment, this sequel to Bad Blood (2013) maintains Stabenow’s reputation for concise prose, pithy dialogue, full bodied characters, and intriguing plotting. Crime fiction doesn’t get much better than this.
— Michele Leberkate21-cover-art

May 6, 2017