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"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Jun 28, 2021

Historical Novel Society 2021 Conference: The Virtual Experience

Originally scheduled to take place in San Antonio, Texas, the  2021 Historical Novel Society Conference was successfully transformed into an online event. The HNS North American Board of Directors worked hard and diligently, working with EventMobi. The result was nothing short of spectacular.

Spread across six days, the pre-conference and post-conference events resembled our in-person conferences in many respects, apart from the reliance on Zoom, the inability to hug friends and hang out in the bar together or sign books in person (the event app included an online bookstore).  We remained in our own homes, receiving glimpses of our colleagues' office space, bookshelves, and--occasionally--pets.

My responsibilities this time round consisted of hosting a Conversation Room for 20th Century historical fiction, and moderating two panel discussions: NO, REALLY, I DIDN’T MAKE THIS UP: USING THE HISTORICAL NOVELIST’S TOOLKIT TO WRITE COMPELLING NARRATIVE NONFICTION and in the closing hour THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES TO A BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL: 3 PROFESSIONAL ACTORS SHARE TIPS FOR BRINGING YOUR BOOK TO LIFE.

I attended as many sessions as I could in real time, and look forward to catching up with others of interest via the video recordings, available to registrants for 90 days.

We even had a successful Hooch Through History session, combined with Historical Trivia.

Upcoming HNS conferences include the HNS Australasia  virtual conference (22-24 October) and the HNS conference in Durham, England (early September 2022).

I'm easing back into normal life after being online from early morning till late in the evening for a solid six days. 

I look forward to spending more time at the lake cottage, resuming work on Novel #15, preparing for the launch of The Limits of Limelight, reviewing books when time permits, instigating an author newsletter, and tending my 175 rose bushes. That should keep me out of trouble!

Jun 3, 2021

Giveaway for Women's Fiction Day: The Limits of Limelight ARC & More


to giveaway winner Laura B. of Ontario, Canada

In recognition of Women's Fiction Day, June 8, 2021, a giveaway!

The winner will receive:

Advance Reader Copy of The Limits of Limelight 

Sortil├Ęge Eau de Toilette, originally created by the House of Le Galion in 1937, and often presented to females who drank and dined at New York's famous Stork Club. Worn in the novel by Phyllis Fraser, the protagonist

Boxed DVD set of Astaire & Rogers movie musicals: The Gay Divorcee, Swing Time, Top Hat, and Shall We Dance, from the TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection, starring Phyllis Fraser's first cousin--Ginger Rogers.

What exactly is Women's Fiction? Well, according to the Women Fiction Writers Association , it  delves into family dynamics, female friendships, job challenges, or long-buried secrets. And The Limits of Limelight contains every one of those elements!

To enter, click here. Be sure to write "ARC Giveaway" in the message box.

No purchase necessary. No country restrictions. The winner will be randomly selected.

Entry deadline: June 15, 2021

Here's what reviewers are saying about this novel featuring Phyllis Fraser, Ginger Rogers and her mother Lela Rogers, and other Golden Age Hollywood luminaries:


"An engrossing glimpse into a bygone era and the forces affecting a young woman's evolution into her own abilities and adulthood . . . vigorous and involving to the end." ~ Midwest Book Review

"An Oklahoma teenager arrives in Hollywood and enters a glamorous world thanks to her famous cousin in this historical novel set in the 1930s and based on a true story . . . A witty and meticulously researched treat." ~ Kirkus Reviews

"A biographical novel as bright as the Golden Era . . . The research and attention to detail in The Limits of Limelight are meticulous . . . A lovely tribute to the larger-than-life celebrities of early Hollywood . . . a glitz and glamour novel that shines brighter the deeper you go." ~ Independent Book Review

"A time capsule of Hollywood's Golden Era . . . a captivating novel of Tinsel Town's perils and pitfalls, trade-offs and triumphs!" ~ Leslie Carroll, author of American Princess

"Porter's elegant, warm and well-researched novel is a joy to read! Perfect for lovers of historical fiction and tales of remarkable women. 5 of 5 Stars." ~ Literary Redhead, Goodreads

The paperback, ebook, and audiobook will be released on September 14, 2021. More information here.