Introducing Weina Dai Randel

Author Photo - Weina Dai  Randel 2
Susanna here, and I'm proud to host my friend and fellow Sourcebooks author, Weina Dai Randel, for a guest post today.

MooninthePalaceWeina is the award-winning author of a linked pair of historical novels, The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon, about China's only female emperor, Wu Zetian.

Weina's writing is lyrically beautiful, which should surprise no one since she holds an M.A. in English from Texas Woman's University, but it's remarkable in that English is not her first langauge—she was born in China and lived there until she was twenty-four, when she emigrated to the United States and, as she puts it, "began to speak, write and dream in English".

Her Empress Wu duology of novels, which have been translated into seven languages, have received starred reviews from Library Journal, Booklist, and ShelfAwareness, and BookReporter called them the “most beautifully written, impeccably researched and well-constructed historical fiction novels released [that] year.”

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Doing Murder (Again)

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The Death of King Arthur, by James Archer (1860), public domain work via Wikimedia Commons

Susanna here. All week I’ve been remembering a vintage post I wrote nearly a dozen years ago, on my now retired Not-A-Blog. I called it, “Doing Murder”, and it went like this:

*****

“I’ve been taken to task several times now for killing off characters readers are fond of. Not in every book, but in enough of them that people sometimes comment on it, and it was the rare review for Every Secret Thing that didn’t make note of the body count.

In my defense, I have to say it’s not a thing I like to do. For starters, I’m the kind of person in my private life who rescues worms from rainy sidewalks, and who captures spiders in a cup and puts them back outdoors instead of squishing them (except the spiders who were always in my bathtub when I lived in Wales, but they were big enough to carry me outdoors, and I did warn them first…) So I’m as sad as anybody when I learn I have to kill a character.

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The Deadly Hours

The Deadly Hours- Cover Reveal Twitter
Susanna here.

One of the many things my fellow wenches have supported me through has been the writing of my first ever novella—a project that took fully as long as any of my novels! That novella, Weapon of Choice, is part of a linked series of four novellas that make up the book THE DEADLY HOURS, a joint effort of love between Anna Lee Huber, Christine Trent, C.S. Harris, and myself, to be published by Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press this September.

Here’s the (I think) beautiful cover, and the official plot summary:

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Good Swig at the Thatcht House

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Susanna here, carrying on our Christmastide with a song from the era I’m currently writing about—the late 17th century.

As some of you know, I love using songs in my own stories, and I’ve been known to spend an enjoyable research hour or seven mucking about on the Bodleian Library’s Ballads Online website…but this particular song, although it is found there, didn’t come to me as a result of my own research.

It came via Twitter, three days before Christmas, in a random tweet that crossed my timeline, authored by historian and writer Emily Brand:

Emily Brand“Can we all agree to forget the Victorian Christmas & embrace the Restoration Christmas this year?” she wrote. “Features: – The finest young wenches that ever were seen – Cake & ale – Widows giving out mustard – Young maids & men getting together on the village green to shake their bums”

Now I confess, the Cake and ale would more than likely, on their own, have been enough to reel me in. But add the Restoration (which I’ve always loved)? And wenches? Wenches?!

Reader, I was well and truly hooked.

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