Happy holidays!

Happy holidays from all of us at Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks! We’re taking a short break from blogging, but we’ll be back for more historically epic posts on January 6, 2014.

Thank you for joining us in 2013!



Our 2014 Releases!

2013 was a busy year for young adult and middle-grade historical fiction! Most of us in Corsets, Cutlasses, & Candlesticks had books published in 2013, including several repackaged paperback editions of 2012 releases, and now we’re looking ahead to 2014.

Here are our books we’re eagerly awaiting to share with you in the coming year…

January 23, 2014:

MadWickedFollyA Mad, Wicked Folly
by Sharon Biggs Waller

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

January 28, 2014:

Manor_of_SecretsManor of Secrets
by Katherine Longshore

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn’t sure she possesses the courage — or the means — to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

March 6, 2014:

by Katherine Longshore
(paperback omnibus edition combining Gilt and Tarnish)

Obsession, seduction, betrayal, desire.
Love always comes with a hidden agenda…

Available together for the first time in one volume, the first two of Katherine Longshore’s Tudor England novels. Gilt, a story of friendship and betrayal in the court of Henry VIII, and Tarnish, the story of a young Anne Boleyn. Plus a sneak peek excerpt of Brazen!

April 10, 2014:

starcursedStar Cursed
by Jessica Spotswood
(paperback edition)

A witchy, magical saga for fans of Beautiful Creatures and A Discovery of Witches

Cate Cahill left everything behind to keep her family safe. Now, with the Brotherhood and a reluctant Finn persecuting witches and women like never before, a divided Sisterhood looks to Cate for answers—answers that she doesn’t have. Then, when Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for witchery, a formidable group of war-thirsty Sisters plan to destroy the Brotherhood from the inside, whether or not Cate is ready for battle. Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to risk involving Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when her sisters Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

May 6, 2014:

Falconer_USThe Falconer
by Elizabeth May
(U.S. edition)
Chronicle Books

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

June 10, 2014:

EveryDayAfter cvr copyEvery Day After
by Laura Golden
(paperback edition; cover subject to change)

Jennifer Holm’s fans will root for Lizzie Hawkins. RUTA SEPETYS, New York Times bestselling author of BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY, says: “A beautiful story of acceptance and determination. Lizzie Hawkins reminds us that in the mids of losing something precious we may find something equally important: ourselves.”

It’s been two months since Lizzie’s daddy disappeared due to the awful Depression. Lizzie’s praying he’ll return to Bittersweet, Alabama, for her birthday. It won’t feel special without him, what with Lizzie’s Mama being so sad she won’t even talk and the bank nipping at their heels for a mortgage payment.

Daddy expected her to be the best at any cost. But Lizzie claims “that cost me my top grades and my best friend. It’s dumped ’em both square into Erin’s hands. She’s gone batty if she thinks she’s gonna get me carted off to the orphanage.”

While Lizzie waits, she gets comfort writing in her journal. As time passes, she can only picture her daddy’s face by opening her locket. If others can get by, why did her daddy leave? If he doesn’t return, how can she overcome the same obstacles that drove him away?

June 12, 2014:

by Katherine Longshore

Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

June 24, 2014:

MaidofSecrets_paperbackMaid of Secrets
by Jennifer McGowan
(paperback edition)
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

If God won’t save the Queen…they will.

Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth I and pressed into royal service. With a faked noble identity, Meg joins four other skilled girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: not everyone is who they appear to be. Meg’s mission tests every talent she possesses, even her loyalty to her fellow Maids. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?

July 29, 2014:

Cover-Not-Yet-AvailableA Rogue at the Wedding
by Jennifer McGowan
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

(Official synopsis not yet available.)




August 14, 2014:

Sisters-Fate-cover-682x1024Sisters’ Fate
by Jessica Spotswood
Putnam Juvenile

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

August 26, 2014:

Cover-Not-Yet-AvailableMaid of Deception
by Jennifer McGowan
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.

Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion….and her own heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: In a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.

Fall 2014:

IntheShadowofBlackbirdsIn the Shadow of Blackbirds
by Cat Winters

(Paperback edition; cover subject to change)
Amulet Books/ABRAMS

2014 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist

In a city filled with the dead and dying, while a nightmarish war rages halfway across the world, the grieving look for answers in séances and photographs.

It’s 1918. San Diego. And a girl who doesn’t believe in spirits steps off the train and into a new life…

Cover-Not-Yet-Available The Cure for Dreaming
by Cat Winters

Amulet Books/ABRAMS

In 1900 Portland, Oregon, seventeen-year-old Olivia Mead’s father hires a talented young stage hypnotist to cure the girl of rebellious, unfeminine thoughts…but the cure doesn’t go quite as planned. Illustrated with late-Victorian images.

(Official synopsis not yet available.)

Dinner is served

Come on in and pull up a chair! Today the Corsets gang is discussing which three people from history each of us would like to invite to a dinner party.


Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I is bringing the pasta salad

From Laura P. Golden:

Elizabeth I: Because she proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that women could rule just as well as, and arguably better than, men.

Leonardo da Vinci: Because he was both a brilliant mind and a brilliant artist.

Sophie Scholl: Because her bravery in putting her life on the line to stand up for what she believed to be right–especially at such a young age–and consequently facing the guillotine with her head held high pricks my conscience and inspires me on a daily basis.

From Katherine Longshore:

Anne Boleyn.  Of course.  I’m dying to know what she was really like!  The information we have about her is almost entirely written by other people–many of whom hated her–and I’d love to hear her side of the story.

Richard III.  Ditto above.  One of the reasons I love history is because of unsolved mysteries.  We don’t know for sure if Richard had his nephews murdered in the Tower of London, but because of Shakespeare (and the source of his material, Thomas More), we have come to believe that he did.  That is, until Philippa Gregory wrote her Cousins War series, and now the matter is again questioned.  I’d love to get to know the man behind the myth.

Isabella Bird.  Victorian adventurer.  World traveler.  Writer.  This is a woman after my own heart, and I’d love just to hear the stories she has to tell.



Jane Austen is bringing the fruit plate

From Jessica Spotswood:

I’d love to have dinner with Jane Austen, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Margaret Mitchell. I’d pelt them with questions about their inspiration and writing processes and they’d probably be very annoyed with me.

From Cat Winters:

For my historical dinner party I would choose the theme  “Twentieth-Century Lady Rebels.” Here is my guest list:

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks – I love that one of the Civil Rights Movement’s most iconic figures is a sweet-looking woman who, on the outside, didn’t appear at all like a rebel who would make a huge dent in the history of racial injustices. I would be fascinated to talk to her about her unflinching courage.

Suffrage leader Alice Paul – A woman who suffered through imprisonment and force feedings so that American woman could receive the right to vote. I would love to tell her that every time I feel like I don’t have a minute to sit down and vote, I think of what she and so many women with chutzpah went through in the past, and I ensure I don’t take my own rights for granted.

First daughter and hellion Alice Roosevelt Longworth – I’ve been fascinated by Alice ever since I saw a turn-of-the-twentieth-century photograph of her standing with her arms crossed over her chest as a teenager. She didn’t look like a proper Victorian young woman, and she most definitely didn’t behave that way either. Her father, Theodore Roosevelt, was once famously quoted as saying, “I can be president of the United States — or — I can attend to Alice. I cannot possibly do both!”



Sylvia Pankhurst is bringing mashed potatoes.

From Sharon Biggs Waller:

I would love to have dinner with Abigail Adams, Sylvia Pankhurst, and Priscilla Mullins.  I admire these three for their strength and poise under extreme duress.

I’d love to have Abigail Adams because she’s the one who warned her husband, John Adams, to remember the ladies when he and the others in the Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain.  She wrote: “remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than  your ancestors.  Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.  Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or  representation.”  I’d ask her what prompted her to write such a powerful letter.

I think Sylvia Pankhurst, Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughter who fought for woman’s suffrage and for justice for the poor, would have an amazing conversation with her.

And wouldn’t it be great to find out what Priscilla Mullins thought and felt during the voyage of the Mayflower and how she was able to make a new life, even after her entire family died?  And did she really love John Alden or did her heart lie with Myles Standish? I would make a Thanksgiving dinner because 1) wouldn’t it be awesome to serve such a thing to Priscilla Mullins?  And 2) because everyone likes turkey.

From Jenn McGowen:

1) Queen Elizabeth I

I have studied the Elizabethan era for the past 25 years, so the opportunity to speak with QE 1 would be a complete gift. She probably would undo a lot of my carefully-constructed research, but just hearing about how she managed to retain the crown in an era of such unrest would be worth it!

2) Eleanor of Aquitaine

As one of the most famous women of history, she would need to be on the list–if only so I could learn more about her! Throughout her long life she embodied beauty, power, romance, intelligence–and more than a little scheming. I think her observations of today’s political and social climate would be extraordinary.

Catherine the Great is bringing a cherry pie.

Catherine the Great is bringing a cherry pie.

3) Catherine the Great

Before there was Elizabeth, for me there was Catherine the Great. She was the first female monarch I researched in college, and her role as an “enlightened despot” fascinated me.  I would want to know her philosophy on ruling, politics, love, and life–and on bringing Russia into its golden age.

From J. Anderson Coats:

I’m interested in microhistory. I’d much rather talk to someone on the ground, someone ordinary and anonymous, someone who lived with the consequences of policy they had no control over rather than people who largely lived above it. Someone we don’t know about because no one with means to record considered them important enough to ask.

So here are mine:

A woman from the First Fleet to Botany Bay. Transportation was the eighteenth-century equivalent of dropping people on the surface of Mars, and women got the worst of it – hungry, homesick, and completely at the mercy of the environment, their fellow convicts, and the liquored-up gun-toting tools who were “guarding” them.

Someone from the Mayan city-state of Copan during its heyday. We know so little about what was going on in this civilization, but we know enough to be tantalized.

Oh, and I’d invite Oliver Cromwell just so I could punch him in the mouth for all the art and architecture he smashed, and all the books he destroyed.


Who would you invite, and why?

A Celebration of Jennifer McGowan’s A THIEF BEFORE CHRISTMAS

ThiefBeforeChristmasThis holiday season we’re celebrating the release of Jennifer McGowan’s newest release, A Thief Before Christmas, a Maids of Honor novella.

The synopsis:

Who better to steal a heart for Christmas than a thief? In this e-short story and prequel to Maid of Secrets, an actress plays matchmaker for two young lovers.

It’s December 1558 in England and a new Queen is about to be crowned, but thief and amateur actress Meg Fellowes and her Golden Rose acting troupe are focused on survival, not politics. In between performances of their newest play in the bustling town of Leeds, the troupe is picking the pockets of rich lords and ladies in preparation for their own ragtag Christmas.

At the end of each long day’s haul, the troupe’s spoils are divided up, with the useless bits cast aside. But on this particularly cold winter’s night, Meg notices two curious, sealed letters in the discard pile. Together with her roguish troupe master, Meg opens them and discovers they are love letters—never sent—between a merchant’s son and a landowner’s daughter, who do not know of their shared affection.

Meg resolves to give the two would-be sweethearts their most hoped-for Christmas wish by returning the letters to the pockets of the intended recipients, not the senders. Can Meg master the role of matchmaker in time for Christmas, or will the young lovers be forced to spend another holiday—and perhaps the rest of their lives—apart?

In classic Corsets, Cutlasses, and Candlesticks tradition, we’re toasting Jennifer’s new book with a group interview…

Jennifer McGowan

Jennifer McGowan

Sue: Jenn, do you have a favorite holiday tradition, book-wise, at your house? We drag out a basket of books like Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, and hey, presto! — the holiday mood is set.

Sue, what a great question! When it comes to works of fiction, the Christmas story that never EVER fails to hit me right in the heart is a fable called “The Christmas Apple.” Because the Internet is awesome, I found a version of the fable online: http://homeandholidays.com/fable-of-the-christmas-apple-the/. Just reading it takes me all the way back to the first Christmas I read the tale. Stories are an amazing thing.

Laura: We often see books with a sequel. What was the process like for penning a prequel?

Laura, I thought writing a prequel would be easier—after all, I knew what was going to happen next! But in many ways it proved to be an interesting challenge. I wanted it to be a romantic story (because that’s how I roll), but Meg meets her romantic match in MAID OF SECRETS, so she couldn’t fall in love a mere months earlier. In addition, many of the characters appear in both books—but for those meeting them for the first time in THIEF, I needed to stay consistent without revealing too much. Finally, I wanted to “reward” readers who took the time to read THIEF even if they’d already read MAID… so I included little “easter eggs” of details that will figure into future books or will round out readers’ knowledge of key characters. I even dropped a hint that won’t play out until book 5 of the Maids of Honor series. We’ll see how well I pulled that off!

MaidofSecrets_paperbackJess: How was writing a novella different from writing a full-length novel?

Jess, it was easier in that it was shorter—so there was only one main plot line to follow. However, it was more difficult in that I had to tell a complete story with only a handful of words compared to MAID OF SECRETS, which was over 100,000 words. It was rather like cooking a full meal to serve in a thimble! But I enjoyed the process tremendously, and if all goes well, I will do more of these novellas to share additional adventures of the Maids of Honor between books.

Katy: So many Tudor novels are set in London or at court, how was it recreating Elizabethan Leeds?

Katy, as one Tudor fan to another, I can tell you it was fascinating! I knew I wanted to set A THIEF BEFORE CHRISTMAS in a bustling market town, not too far away from London (but far enough), and Leeds came up rather quickly as a possibility. I then spent way too much time researching the woolen market and guild halls, even the local church—all minor points in the story, but I wanted to try to be as factually correct as possible. Then I added the Christmas details, including the words of a famous carol of the time, and used it all as a backdrop to a story that would be relevant to Meg’s future adventures. I would never claim to be an expert on Leeds, but I hope to visit it one day to retrace Meg’s steps as she raced through town (a path that I based on a rough medieval map)!

Jillian: Tell us about one darling (a line, a scene) you had to cut from A THIEF BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

Jillian, it seems the more I develop as a writer, the more I find myself cutting. In THIEF, I had a moderately comic business in a courtyard involving a bombastic noblewoman in a furious encounter with a horse. The scene is still there, but finding words to describe the woman that were actually period-accurate proved more and more difficult as I sought to use increasingly colorful descriptions. My long-suffering copy editor at Simon & Schuster forced me to stay true to the time period – but I believe the scene rings more authentic due to her tireless efforts.

From Sharon: How did the idea for the novella come about?

Sharon, with the extremely long time between books in the Maids of Honor series, and knowing that not every reader would be willing to take a risk on such a non-standard time period for an entire novel, I wanted to write a shorter tale to highlight the adventures of the main players in MAID OF SECRETS. I also had never written a novella—or a Christmas story—and the idea intrigued me.

Speaking of Christmas, I’ll be setting a future Maids of Honor book at Christmastime, and the traditions of the time period will be on full display then—as well as the food! Elizabethans definitely liked their Christmas sweets.

From Cat: Which of your A THIEF BEFORE CHRISTMAS characters would you most like to invite to your own holiday table? Which would you least want to have in your home?

Cat, I love this question, too! Quite definitely, I would want to invite Meg and Master James… as long as I counted the silver before they arrived. 😉 I enjoy their relationship so much, especially as Meg continues to discover who she is as a person, and Master James reveals a bit more of his character with each scene I write about him. As to the person I’d least like to invite, I would have to go with the shifty-eyed jewel seller, Theodore Minsk. He’s a slippery character who has known Master James a long time, and readers may see him again in a future Maids book.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my release of A THIEF BEFORE CHRISTMAS! It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate with my fellow history lovers.

Order A Thief Before Christmas in time for the holidays:

Amazon Kindle
Simon & Schuster

Visit Jennifer McGowan online: