Bones and Gemstones: Author Tracey Devlyn

I love it when a package–or a person–looks like one thing on the outside, but turns out to be something entirely different on the inside.

Tracey DevlynDevlyn Author photo 2 is a smart, beautiful blonde with a sweet face. I was intrigued when I saw her at an author event last month and she said, “You won’t find a lot of ballrooms in my Regency novels.”

A LADY’S REVENGE, book one in her Nexus series of historical romantic thrillers, starts out with British heroine Cora in a really bad situation. In a dungeon. In France.

I was holding my breath.

Never fear though.  Because Cora is a tough chick. A risk taker.  Tracey is too.  Her new Bones and Gemstones series takes readers for a walk on the dark side of Regency.  For me, that makes Tracey one of the cool girls.

A fun surprise is that Tracey has been a long-time lurker here in the Lair.  But today she’s in the spotlight.Devlyn--Latymer

Sven is behind the bar and all the guys are serving drinks and snacks, so pull up a chair, put in your order, and help me give a famous Bandit welcome to Tracey Devlyn.

*wild applause*

Cassondra: Tracey, before we get started, tell me what Sven can bring you from the bar. He can make anything.

Tracey: To calm my nerves, I’d love a Fuzzy Navel—light on the Fuzzy, Sven–I don’t want my face to go numb during my debut on the Bandits. First impressions and all that, you know.

 Cassondra: Are you kidding me? *glances around the room until she gets a thumbs-up from one of the gladiators*  Seriously, we’re the ones who have to worry. We have to keep the rooster from causing some kind of embarrassing mayhem for the duration of your visit.

Cassondra: I lDevlyn--A Lady's Revengeike hearing about the early reading that influenced an author.  Will you tell us about your earliest memory of books.

Tracey: As a kid, I loved looking through the Scholastic catalog at all the cool books. I could never afford to place an order, but I loved to mark the ones I wanted.

Cassondra: *bounces in chair*   Me too, me too!

Tracey: I never enjoyed the books we were forced to read in school, so I rarely visited the fiction section when at the library. Pictures—l loved flipping through big books with pictures of animals and castles and such.

Cassondra: When did you first discover romance?

Tracey: It wasn’t until my mid-20s, when I took a mental health day from work, that I found romance. Talk show host Jenny Jones brought several romance authors on her show. A few days later I was reading my first romance—and I’ve never stopped.

Henley--The Raven and the Rose Modern coverCassondra: What was that book?

Tracey: THE RAVEN AND THE ROSE by Virginia Henley. Back then, I knew nothing of happy-ever-afters and I expended a whole lot of energy blubbering my way through TRTR.

Cassondra: Tell us about your two series and your unusual approach to the era.

Tracey: Although I LOVE reading about dukes and ballrooms and Almack’s, I don’t think I’m wired right to tell Regency-set stories with the glitz and glamour of the ton as a backdrop. My Nexus series includes a group of aristocratic spies, though readers will find only one ballroom scene in the entire 4-book series. My new Bones and Gemstones series is rooted firmly in London’s underworld where nary a duke can be found.Devlyn--Checkmate My Lord

 Cassondra: In NIGHT STORM, Bones and Gemstones book one, your hero, Cam, is a thief taker, and your heroine, Charlotte (Charley for short) is an apothecary surgeon. What draws you to these characters and professions that are more unusual–more “underworld?”

Tracey: Without scaring readers, the best way I can answer your question is to say…I’m most comfortable in the darkness.  *Tracey raises eyebrow and smiles*

Cassondra: Ah, soul sister! My coffin-sleeping ways are vindicated! Ahem…

The research for historicals has always seemed daunting to me. Charley relies on Chelsea Physic Garden–a Devlyn Chelsea-Physic-GardenLondon spot dedicated to medicinal plants–yet she could lose access to that place because she’s a woman working in a man’s field.

 Tracey: I had a wonderful time researching the Chelsea Physic Garden. Sir Hans Sloane had tremendous vision for his time. If not for him, the garden and the British Museum wouldn’t be what they are today.

 Cassondra:  It’s my favorite London garden.  I love that you included it.  But women weren’t allowed to be members back then, right?

Tracey:  *nods*  Charley’s vocation will either endear her to readers or they’ll throw her against a wall in disgust.

 Cassondra: *frowns* Devlyn--A Lady's Secret WeaponWhy?

 Tracey: There is no record of female apothecaries or apothecary-surgeons in the early 1800s. But as I mentioned in my Author’s Note of NIGHT STORM, I believe much of our true history never reaches the written page. Women tend to be caretakers by nature. To say with absolute conviction that no female apothecaries existed in the Regency stretches my belief system because history is full of women and men who stepped out of society’s confining box to make a difference. Fist pump to those trailblazers!

Cassondra: *lifts glass of wine in tribute* Yes. And women’s roles in particular were so often left out of history. What exactly was an apothecary in the early 1800s?

 Tracey: I’ll do quick “equal to” list …

PHYSICIANS = Considered “gentlemen”; diagnosed internal problems; they did not get their hands dirty; might have a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, but from what I’ve read there wasn’t a set curriculum. They would take whatever classes interested them.

BARBERS = Generally apprenticed; minor surgery—pulling teeth, bloodletting, treating wounds and skin diseases.

SURGEONS = Generally apprenticed; major surgery—amputations, removing bullets.

APOTHECARY-SURGEONS = Generally apprenticed; an apothecary who will also perform surgeries.

APOTHECARIES = Generally apprenticed; filled prescriptions for physicians and sold herbs, tonics, etc. to patrons; treated minor ailments.

QUACKS = Pretenders. Untrained, uncouth, greed-driven individuals.

Cassondra: Okay tell us about Cam. What’s a thief taker?

Tracey: Thief takers were similar to bounty hunters and were generally hired to capture criminals. They were usually hired by the crime victim though. Most of their crime-solving revolved around stolen goods, rather than murders. In contrast, Bow Street Runners would have been the police force for the Regency period and paid by the magistrate via governmental funds

Cassondra: Would you share a brief excerpt from NIGHT STORM?Devlyn--Night Storm

 Tracey: Absolutely!

In the distance, Charlotte Fielding spotted the simple, white-lettered sign that marked her destination. Apothecary. The tension she’d been carrying in her shoulders since entering the Whitley residence loosened its biting grip. The strain between husband and wife had not lifted in her two-day absence. If anything, it had grown worse, now that Mr. Whitley felt well enough to defend himself.

 Charlotte’s brisk pace slowed. A man was slumped on the pavement between her shop and the boarded-up bakery next door. He sat with one leg stretched out across the walkway, the other bent at an angle. The rim of his hat protected his face from identification. So, too, did the long black woolen coat and matching muffler around his neck.

 The tension in Charlotte’s shoulders returned full force. Even though she could not identify him, she knew what he wasn’t—a beggar. Everything about him was too fine for him to be living in the streets. She glanced around, checking the evening shadows as best she could with only lamplight to aid her. Anderson’s lending library, Patterson’s coffee shop, Gertrude’s lace boutique, Tilly’s former bakery—they all stood silent and free of loitering troublemakers and customers. If she cried out for help, would the shopkeepers hear her from their snug, upstairs apartments?

 She considered entering through the back of her building, an area normally reserved for deliveries, but she couldn’t bring herself to venture down the dank, narrow alleyway at this time of night. Drawing in a calming breath, she reached into her reticule and pulled out her pouch of pepper. A poor defense, she knew, but she always kept it, thinking it would give her a small chance of escape if thrown in an assailant’s face.

 Increasing her pace, she stopped in front of her shop’s weathered door, the color of a cloud-streaked blue sky. The man remained motionless, silent. Eerily so. She experienced a moment of indecision. Should she nudge him? Could he be hurt and in need of assistance? Or should she continue on inside her own shop and mind her own business?

 “Hello, Charley.” The voice was unmistakable.

 A chill started at the base of her neck and swept through her body. Bone deep and breath stealing. With slow, precise movements, her gaze lowered to the source of the too-familiar voice. A voice that belonged to the only man who had ever called her Charley.

 The man’s uplifted face revealed itself. Thick, bold eyebrows stood out on a pale, pain-filled face. A once-beloved face. Cameron Adair. What little air she had left disappeared at the sight of Cam—Cameron. Other than a brief glimpse of him a few months ago, she hadn’t seen him for years. But she would have known him anywhere. The shock of seeing him held her immobile, terrified in a way she hadn’t been since the early days of their falling out.

 “Charley, I need your help.”

 His words, laced with a strain born of hard-fought control, snapped her out of the past and plunged her back into the present. Cameron Adair was sprawled at her door, hurt, needing her help.

She slid her key into the lock. Metal scratched against metal until she heard a familiar click. Setting her bag inside the door, she returned outside. “Are you able to get to your feet?” She managed to keep her voice calm, unaffected. But inside, a violent tremor began and a maelstrom of questions flooded her mind. Why come to her? Where was he hurt? Why show up on her doorstep after complete and utter silence for five miserable years?

 Carefully, she folded her hands at her waist and locked her knees before she could humiliate herself with senseless emotion. She had decided long ago to waste no more of it on Cameron Adair.

 Something like disappointment flared in his blue, ice-chipped eyes. “Yes, with assistance.”

“Where are you hurt?”

 “Left leg, right shoulder.”

 “Let’s get you inside out of the cold, and I’ll hail a hansom cab to take you to Dr. Hollingsworth.”

 He shook his head and mumbled, “I’ve been shot. Lost too much blood.”

“Cameron, I can’t—”

 “You must,” he interrupted. “I haven’t the strength to go elsewhere.”

 She knew what it had cost him to admit to such weakness. And because she knew this about him, an unrivaled fear forced her to his side.

 Positioning herself in a crouch, Charlotte took a steadying breath before sliding her arm around his broad back. Blood, sweat, and a masculine scent uniquely Cameron’s filled her nose. She gritted her teeth against an overwhelming desire to inhale deeply.

 “Ready?” she asked.

 He nodded once, his full lips pressed into a thin, determined line. Bending forward, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder to brace himself. The new position put them face-to-face, breath-to-breath.

Cassondra: What’s next for this series? I know Cam and Charley will be featured in future Bones & Gemstones books, but NIGHT STORM is full of fascinating secondary characters. Will they get their own love stories?

 Tracey: Cam and Charley’s adventures continue in NIGHT RAIN (2015). In Book 2, I’ll include a secondary love story, featuring a character from NIGHT STORM.

Box Set--Last Hero Standing Cassondra: I want to take just a moment to mention two projects you’re involved in at the moment.  Both you and Dianna Love—my guest later this month– have donated stories to benefit a fellow author.  Tell us about that?

 Tracey: LAST HERO STANDING Boxed Set – 11 authors (5 NYT and 4 USA Today bestsellers and 2 Award-winning) are donating every cent earned to fellow author PAMELA CLARE for the medical expenses she’s incurred during her breast cancer treatments.breast cancer ribbon

 Cassondra: Right now it’s only 99 cents.  As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, the timing is perfect. The set comes out in November, but you can preorder  now.  It’s a great gift, and it’ll help an author win her own fight.

But Tracey, you’re in another bundle this fall, right?

 Tracey: YeBox Set--Heating it ups. HEATING IT UP, One Hero at a Time Boxed Set – 7 bestselling and award-winning authors bring readers historical romantic adventures set in Medieval Scotland, Regency England, Civil War America, the Wild West, and Gilded Age America. Heating it up with seductive Highlanders, scoundrels, spies, smugglers, mountain men, and more!

CassondraTracey has a question for you, and she’s giving away a book to one commenter! 

 Tracey You can choose a print copy of one of my Nexus series novels, or an e-book of the new Bones and Gemstones release, NIGHT STORM. To be included in the drawing, answer this question…

Have you ever thrown a book against the wall after finding an historical inaccuracy? Or a location inaccuracy? Or a weapon inaccuracy?

Cassondra:  In honor of October, since this month is dedicated to saving the Ta-Tas, I’ll add to that by gifting a Kindle or Nook e-book set of the LAST HERO STANDING box set to a second commenter. (Kindle or Nook account required)

Tracey will be here to chat today and answer your questions, so get commenting y’all!

Find Tracey at her website

Follow her on facebook at Author Tracey Devlyn

She’s on twitter, too. @TraceyDevlyn

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  • Jane says:

    Welcome Tracey,
    Can’t say I’ve thrown a book, but I have gotten pretty close to chucking it when I notice inaccuracies. I mostly notice inaccuracies if the location of a book is my hometown.

    • Cassondra says:

      Jane, you got the rooster. You’ll be too distracted to worry about inaccuracies. Just sayin. ;0)

    • Cassondra says:

      Oh, Jane, I have to say, it’s the ones set in the area I know well that get me too. People have so many stereotypes in their heads about the south–as though it’s all the same–and about Kentucky in particular (nobody here says howdy really, but that’s what a lot of books and movies do). It’s aggravating. And it will tend to make me put a book down. I love it when they get it right though.

    • Jane, congrats on getting the rooster! Yep, I would find inaccuracies about my hometown annoying as well. 🙂

  • Amy Conley says:

    This book sounds great! And my answer is YES, more than once.

  • Oooh! I am intrigued !! LOVE discovering a new to me Regency series, especially a thriller / suspense series!

    And yes, I have thrown a book (or three) against the wall for blatant historical inaccuracies or the use of completely anachronistic language.

    There are many things we don’t know about history. If an author presents a character or a situation in a believable fashion with a nod to history I have no issue with it at all. But when an author presents something that could not possibly have happened simply to sell a book it irks me.

    I have a real issue with contemporary romances written in a Regency setting. I call it romance in Regency drag. And I don’t like to read it!

    The idea of a female physician or apothecary working during the Regency era is completely believable. I am certain it happened much more than any of us dreamed possible.

    Can’t wait to read this series!

    • Cassondra says:

      Louisa, so much of history with regard to women’s participation was just ignored in writing.
      We have a few who could not be ignored, and thank goodness for that. But I think that’s part of why I’m pretty easygoing about things like an occupation. Women have always seen a need and stepped into the role. I don’t think it was different in these situations.

    • Hi Louisa! I totally agree. If the author can present a good enough background to make me suspend my disbelief, I roll with it. 🙂

  • flchen1 says:

    Hmm… I’m not sure… it is possible, but I don’t recall literally doing the throwing (that would probably be pretty satisfying, actually!) I must confess that historically speaking, my grasp of facts and dates and people is pretty loose, so I can go with the flow unless it’s a pretty egregious error! I tend to be more bothered by grammatical and other similar errors. Bad editing has made me want to scream more than once 😉

    Your series sounds great, Tracey–looking forward to diving in!

    • Cassondra says:

      Fedora, I’m that way too. I don’t know enough, often, to catch the subtle errors. I’m more likely to notice uber-modern usage or slang, but what the dress should look like or what the kitchen utensil is called? I won’t know.

    • Fedora, when I was a pure reader, I couldn’t have told you the difference between a Regency or Victorian. To me, historical = Medieval and Jane Austen-esque. 🙂 All I knew was that I enjoyed reading historicals.

  • ki pha says:

    Woohoo! It’s Tracey! Welcome to the Lair as the guest author today.

    I have nothing to say but that I’m excited for NIGHT RAIN!!!

    And no, I have never thrown a book against the wall for inaccuracies. I tend to not pick up on the inaccuracies as easily as I should. Know nothing about weapons so that won’t help, as for location and history…I’m average on those knowledge but don’t take my word for it. But I’ve never really thrown a book, like literally, mentally yes, but I’ll never hurt a book other than creasing the binders.

    • Hey Ki! Thanks so much for stopping by. Yep, I’m guilty of creasing the bind as well. It was the first thing I did before I started reading. 😉

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Ki pha-
      I love the world Tracey builds in her books. And being a plant person, this first book in her Bones and Gemstones series appealed to me from the word go because I loved the idea of the apothecary.

      Bandita Nancy and I are complete opposites in this, by the way. She won’t put a crease of any kind in a book. I fold back the cover and bend it every which way (paperback of course). I love my Kindle because there’s nothing in my way. Just words.

    • ki pha says:

      Oh, the guilt of creasing the binds! Fortunately I have been better at keeping it nice and creaseless these couple of years. If not that than not as majorly creased or more than one.

  • Mary Preston says:

    If the story is engaging and very well written I can be forgiving … most of the time.

    If the history is directly related to me & mine and it is glaringly inaccurate. I will stop reading, but I am yet to throw a book.

    • Thanks for sharing, Mary!

    • Cassondra says:

      Mary, that’s how I feel. I will also push through a couple of inaccuracies or small mistakes. I fear making mistakes myself in writing, and hope readers will do that for me too. But after so many, I just can’t do it. I put the book down unless something is gripping me so hard it won’t let me.

  • Quantum says:

    I have occasionally not finished a book, but if the plot is exciting and the characters well developed …. I particularly like a heroic heroines …. then I can regard the book as an alternate history. A parallel universe if you like.

    I also think that eccentricity among the minor Regency aristocracy could have led to ‘abnormal’ behaviour, breaking the accepted rules. For example in country estates far from London we may find ladies indulging in athletic pursuits or sports such as cricket. Also scientific pursuits like astronomy or archaeology. Such characters are my favourite heroines …. a woman struggling for recognition in a man’s world.

    I say ignore conventions if it yields a stunning story! LOL

    • Amen, Quantum! I tend to break out of the mold for most of my characters’ occupations, especially the women.

    • Cassondra says:

      Quantum, that’s how I feel too. I don’t know enough about the history to say “she couldn’t have done that,” usually, though some things are glaringly obvious. If the writer sells it, I will keep reading.

  • Sally Schmidt says:

    Since it’s fiction and I am reading it to be entertained I don’t get too upset over inaccuracies as much as I do over sloppy writing and proofreading and inconsistencies from one part of the story to the next. I don’t expect a history quiz later so if I am engaged by the characters and they have been developed so I think they are capable of whatever action the author has them performing then I will likely just enjoy it.

    It can sometimes get annoying when an author sets a contemporary story in a specific location (big city, Chicago, San Francisco) and then includes constant references to places and things, accurate or not, if it detracts from the story. And I would probably stop reading if an inaccuracy was so blatant (an airplane flies overhead during the Crusades) you can’t ignore it.

    For the most part, though, if the characters are interesting, in an interesting place, and doing interesting things I’ll just read on.

    • Love this, Sally! I used to be the same way–just loved reading the stories for the characters and setting. Nowadays, I know a bit more and find myself shaking my head when something not-quite-right appears. But I have yet to throw the book or stop reading it. 😉

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Sally-
      Those things pull me out of the book too. Especially story errors–he said this in one graph, then in the next chapter it’s obvious he’s never said that and acts as though the information is not out there–that stuff pulls me out of the story so badly that only a few of them will ruin it for me.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Tracey

    Oh I love the sound of this series I need to read this one 🙂

    As for throwing a book no and although I read a lot of historicals and always have I am pretty easy going and don’t let it worry me too much although I have nearly thrown books (but haven’t as yet) with spelling errors and just bad editing that will get under my skin more than anything else

    Congrats on the release 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Many thanks, Helen! Yes, bad editing can ruin the reading experience.

    • Cassondra says:

      Helen, some day I want to sit over wine and talk with you and you can tell me what books really bothered you. As much as you read and love books, I know you’ve seen some really problems if it’s made you want to stop.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Welcome Tracey! Love the sound of your books and off to order the first in the series! Being a Brit, I love the different twist you’ve put on your Regencies!

    Also as a Brit, I often come across inconsistencies in books about us – our language, our culture, our behaviour. In the main, I’m quite forgiving. For a start, I understand the editing process and know that in my own books some things have had to be changed ;). But what drives me nuts is basic stuff that could be looked up on the internet in seconds. Like you don’t pitch a cricket ball, you bowl it!
    The worst sin is a caricatures of an English character! Contemporary writers are often at fault here, which is such a shame. But it would have to be really bad for me to toss the book 🙂

    • Anna, so nice to meet you! I try really hard to get the words right by spending time in Google Books. I’ll do a search for books written in my time period, then search for a particular word. If the word doesn’t show up, I search until I find an appropriate word.

    • Cassondra says:

      Anna, I think it happens no matter where you live–I still remember the books that get Kentucky all wrong–either stereotyped or they just made an assumption–like Kentucky is all mountains and we say howdy. Neither is true.
      That said, there are far fewer people writing about Kentucky than there are about England. It must be maddeningly difficult to actually find a book that doesn’t make you roll your eyes.

  • Shannon says:

    I usually don’t get that excised about anachronisms since they tend to be minor. I think what I have a hard time with is when authors take a TV series or a movie as their hook, especially a series that I wasn’t that excited about to begin with. I get that they get new people to read books.

    There is one author who writes about a small town in Idaho. She doesn’t get winter in Idaho. And it’s contemporary so she can go talk to people. If you get an ice storm (rare, they’re much more an eastern pattern), it’s slick. You fall down. Snow mobiles slide. Snow shoes help but true ice is a huge challenge. You don’t get to race of in a hurry.

    The one historical liberty that bothered me was in the Tudors. I just find it hard to think of Henry as a hunky guy.

    • Cassondra says:

      Shannon, you are so right about ice! And that’s pretty much no matter where you are! We used to get more snow, but we go through phases–a few years–where the pattern changes and we get ice instead. And with the right temps, the salt doesn’t help!
      No author can know everything, or get every detail right, and it’s easy to assume that things are one way in one place and that means they must be universal. A good friend didn’t know what NASCAR was when I typed that in a vignette one time. In the south, it’s practically religion (though I do not worship there.) So certainly it’s difficult to know what will throw readers, but if you’re going to write something in a particular setting, I think it’s so important for you to have at least walked that land if it’s contemporary. And it pulls me out when it’s wrong, too.

  • Shannon, I totally agree about Henry! LOL But I have to say, I prefer looking at the modern character over the historical one. 😉

    • Cassondra says:

      Tracey, I would have a really hard time thinking of Henry as hunky as well. I’d have a hard time coming up with any sympathy for him too, given some of his choices. I have only a shallow knowledge of that period though.

  • Cassondra, thank you for inviting to the Lair! I’m so, so happy to be here.

    • Cassondra says:

      Tracey, you are so welcome! We’re glad you’re here. It’s been a rather unusual morning. Woke up to a storm at 5 that knocked out power and internet–internet just came back on. Then didn’t have cell service for a while–lots of goings on. Finally made it to the lair though, and I see you’re keeping things hopping!
      Congratulations on your new release, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for Charley and Cam!

  • Becke says:

    Loved the tease. This series will definitely be on my read list.

    And I’m all for the sharp gal in the dungeon with important work to do.

  • Becke says:

    As for inaccuracies–for me it’s two issues: medicine and horses.

    • Becke, I have a good friend who helped me with the horse scenes. As for medicine…I’m tiptoeing into that arena with my new Bones & Gemstones series. 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Becke, a lot of people get the horses wrong, don’t they?
      I have to say that I don’t have as much trouble with the horses in historicals as I do contemporary, because I don’t have that great a handle on the history of tack or gaits or riding styles. But I find a lot of contemporary stories make all horses into Trigger or Black Beauty of Fury in the way they act–make them almost human. I’m like, “Mister, you would be so kicked in the head.”

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Goooood Morning, Vampir…Ladies! Tracey, welcome to the LAIR!!! Grins. Tracey, do watch out, I think the Rooster has escaped Jane’s firm grasp and is sneaking up behind…Paolo. Yes. that was a man making that noise.

    Oh, dear.

    Anyway, welcome to the craziness that is the Lair with a guest. That fuzzy navel looks good, I may have to have one later after I’ve gotten some pages down. Grins.

    Night Storm sounds fabulous and fun too. I read a new-to-me book about Thieftakers last year and loved it. This one, aptly title The Thieftaker by DB Jackson. He places a Thieftaker in America, where they were not mentioned, historically. It was the first I’d learned of the profession. Pretty cool. So I’ll look forward to learning more from your book.

    As to throwing books, yes. Twice for the ending as in 1) their wasn’t one after 700+pages; and 2) the villain was a character never once mentioned in the body of the book. Grrrrrr! Once was for a historical inaccuracy that you could drive a tank through, but which was never acknowledged by the author. I can totally go with a change to history if the author’s note says: “I know that Sherman burned his way through Georgia, but this book leaves Sherman out of the story entirely and makes no mention of fires” Ooookay. I’ll still read, but I won’t keep expecting clanging bells and bucket lines which ruins the story if they don’t show up. Ha! and the last book I threw was because it had so many obvious problems (typos, missing words, bad grammar, etc.) that I wondered how it even got to print, much less got missed by an editor. I’m not talking the subtle stuff. I’m talking glaring. And it wasn’t self-pubbed either.

    Again, welcome to the Lair!!

    • Jeanne, thanks for the warm welcome! I came across D.B. Jackson’s series a couple months ago and listened to audio version of the first book. His stories are neat because they have a paranormal aspect to them. Really brilliant!

    • Cassondra says:

      Jeanne, with your and Tracey’s recommendation of the Jackson series, I’m intrigued–especially by the paranormal element.

      And you know…I mean you KNOW there was such a thing as a thief taker here during that period. I don’t know what they might have been called. Maybe the name was different, but to me, if a thief taker came from England to America and we’re in his head, he’s still going to think of himself as a thief taker. Right? Bueller?

  • Liette Bougie says:

    Hi Tracey,
    Love this interview. And to answer your question: yes, or rather, sort of. Didn’t throw the book on the wall but wrote to the author to tell him about the fact his main character, a terrifying Mongol called Mr. Ming, couldn’t be a descendant of the Mongols as the Ming Dynasty was Chinese. It was the Yuan Dynasty that was Mongol. In response, he sent me a book but never said anything about his Mr. Ming. Mind you, I kept on reading the stories anyhow because I liked Mr. Ming, even though I knew, in my mind, he might have been a Mongol but he certainly wasn’t from the Ming Dynasty.
    That said, historical novels are my favorite type of books and since I’m attempting to write a historical novel myself, I usually check (or try to) some of the facts the authors mentioned in their books. I like when an author says he played with the fact to suit his story and directs those of us who are maniac about facts to the sources he’s used.
    What I don’t like though and what can stop me from reading is finding too many misspelled words and words used in a wrong way. As a translator and having done my share of proofreading, that is something that I have a hard time with (mind you, I do know, from experience, that no matter how many people will go through a book or whatever, there are always little mistakes that slip through.
    Oh boy! I wasn’t planning to say so much but hey, what’s done is done.

    • Hey Liette! Nice to see you here. Yes, those pesky mistakes that get through many eyes are annoying. My husband was reading Night Storm last weekend and found an extra word plopped in the middle of a sentence. Grrr. This is after I read the story several times as well as my content editor, copyeditor and proofreaders. Double Grrr!! 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Liette, welcome!

      I love your comment, and I have to say, I wouldn’t have known the difference had I read that. My knowledge of history is too shallow and scattered. (I can tell you lots about Kentucky history though. *grin*) My husband would have noticed that though. He has such a mind for history and facts and he enjoys Asian history especially. He would have caught the “Ming from the Mongols” thing I’m guessing.
      And it’s extremely frustrating to me that even when I edit things, I know I’m missing errors. The mind thinks it’s a certain way, and the mind decides what they eyes see, no matter what’s actually there. Aggravating.

      • Liette Bougie says:

        Hi Cassondra and thanks for the welcome.

        So, you’re husband is an Asian hstory fan, huh? Interesting. I haven’t met many people who share that love of Asia. I love particularly the 1200-1300 period – anything related to Gengis Khan, the invasion of China, the Silk Road, Marco Polo… Yep, I love China’s history but I love other periods, too. If I didn’t know about China and the Mongol invasion, I would not have noticed such a blatant mistake. So, I guess the same goes for readers who are not familiar with a particular period.

        As for mistakes slipping by, our brain works in such a way that it sees what it wants to see and after a while, we simply don’t “see” the errors anymore. I love editing for that reason because it sort of “forces” my mind to read the word that is written and how it is written, not simply read it with a reader’s eye. Do I make sense? English isn’t my mother tongue – French is – so, sometimes, I get all mixed up in what I’m trying to say.

        • Cassondra Murray says:

          I think you said it beautifully, and yes. I do a lot of editing too, and struggle constantly with certain things–
          1-Fatigue–many hours in front of the computer or any written page makes us less effective
          2-Once I’ve seen the pages more than twice, my effectiveness at “seeing” what is actually there is decreased by about four hundred percent
          3-Always end up reading for story content and copy edits at the same time. It’s impossible, but I find myself having to do that, and I KNOW I’m missing stuff.
          Ah well, all we can do is our best, right?

          The funny thing is, I’ve quit even proofreading stuff like blog comments. I just type and hit publish. I figure, hey, as long as it’s understandable, people will hopefully forgive me. Typos galore!

  • Lianne says:

    I’m not really into book-throwing but what I really don’t like is when details throughout a book or series are inconsistent

    • Lianne, thanks for sharing. Inconsistencies can be frustrating!

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Lianne-

      That will pull me out of a story darn near quicker than anything. The only thing worse is lack of motivation for actions or the character being TSTL (too stupid to live).
      Thanks for coming by the lair to chat!

  • Linda says:

    I have to admit my history & knowledge of is poor at best tho I love historical romance. I probably wouldn’t notice an error if it jumped up & bit me on the nose

    • Cassondra says:

      Linda, I’m that way with historicals. I mean some things are glaring enough for even me to notice, but most of the time I read right over them. As long as I love the characters and feel for them, I’ll keep reading.

  • LOL Linda! Sometimes I’d like to return to those days. Reading for the sheer pleasure of reading. It’s hard for me to turn the editor eye off these days.

    • Cassondra says:

      Tracey, it’s that way for me with weapons. I notice the errors, and it pulls me right out of the story.

  • erinf1 says:

    Can’t say that I’ve ever really noticed historical or place inaccuracies. I tend to want to “throw” books basked on TSTL characters or alpholes 🙂 Congrats Ladies on the new releases and thanks for such a fun post!

    • Cassondra says:

      erinf1, that’s EXACTLY why I will throw a book. I’m so adamant about it that I’ve missed out on a really good book or two until I learned to trust the author to redeem the alphahole. He has to be brought really, really low for me to go, “okay, yeah, I trust that you’ve figured it out and would truly change.” So many times the heroine just forgives the jerk. I can’t keep reading.

      I love that term, by the way. Alphahole. I’m so stealing that.

    • Erinf1–Alphaholes! Brilliant!! Thanks for that.

  • catslady says:

    LOL No, I’ve never thrown anything. But I remember an author once stating that if she didn’t know something she made it up – I was totally shocked!!! I could not buy a book from someone if I thought that was the case.

    Love the comment about Scholastic books. I never had many books as a child (thank goodness for libraries) but when I had my two children I would poor over those pamphlets and order tons of books – the teachers all loved me because they got a percentage back from all orders to fill their classrooms with books. Books are the only thing that I have no control…

    • Cassondra says:

      Catslady, I used to read EVERY entry in those catalogs, and I circled the ones I wanted, just like Tracey did. But I can’t remember a time we ever ordered one. They were just too expensive. The twice-weekly trips to the library to fill up a ginormous bag of books kept me happy though. The librarians cheated for me. They let me check out about triple the number they were supposed to. I love librarians.

    • Catslady, it’s so awesome you ordered from the Scholastic catalog. I had no idea the teachers got a percentage. Very cool.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    Have you ever thrown a book against the wall after finding an historical inaccuracy? Or a location inaccuracy? Or a weapon inaccuracy?

    Uh, all of the above and adding in a hero and or heroine just plain TSTL. That being the most common reason for me to throw a book against the wall and never, ever picking it up again.
    One of the biggest historical inaccuracies that tick me off is slang. I truly don’t believe “okay” was a word used in Regency England. I really don’t think I am a over picky person but……..okay, sure!, yeah, and other such words will make me just toss the book and move on to the next after making note of the author so I don’t buy any more titles they are involved in. Now with Kindle I just hit delete instead of throwing.

    • Cassondra says:

      Dianna, it’s the language that almost always gets me, too. Because I don’t know the historical details (usually) well enough to be sure about those, I generally give the writer the benefit of the doubt. And I’m not too much of a stickler for language EXCEPT that–I have to feel like I’m actually reading about a person from that era. A lot of obvious modern language usage is one of the things that will pull me right out.

      • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

        I agree, I am sure that there are many details that get past me because I simply don’t know. It just ticks me off when there hasn’t been enough research to determine that the era you are writing about simple does not use modern slang,… ever.
        I get ticked when a hero or heroine just does stupid things, I realize there has to be some conflict but don’t be stupid about it yanno?

    • Dianna, I haven’t come across an historical with “okay” or “oh yeah.” I can forgive a lot, but using those words might be more than I could swallow.

  • Can’t say that I’ve ever actually thrown a book against the wall, but I have stopped reading and not picked the book up again. There’s a ton of things that will cause that. Flagrant historical inaccuracies either in location, weaponry, political, etc. would do it for me. Too many people accept that what they read is true and accurate for the time. I’d be sincerely angry if someone was putting wrong stuff out there.

    That said – if the characters are great, the inaccuracy not all that major or explained in the author’s notes (if I make it that far) or the genre lends itself to inaccuracies i.e. paranormal or fantasy, then I’m okay with putting myself in that alternate universe.

    • Cassondra says:

      Donna, that’s interesting–a lot of the readers have said they will forgive something if the author explains in the author’s note what they’ve done. (I always wonder whether those should be up front or in the back, btw) I seldom read the author notes unless it’s Stephen King, because his are so creative and interesting, but clearly, a lot of readers do look at them.

      • I always read the author notes in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard novels. She’s built the whole series around Robert The Bruce and tells how she’s tweaked history so she can use her characters in the settings. Very fascinating.

      • Cassondra, I put my Author’s Note in the front so readers could decide then and there whether they could stomach reading about a female apothecary. 🙂

  • FINGERS IN EARS, HANDS OVER EYES!!! NOOOOO my TBR pile cannot take anymore (Said with a good Mr. Scot impersonation!) Seriously!! Y’all…I WANT this book….I don’t have time to read…I have a book to write…Oh hell, where’s the Kindle one-click button?


    Now that my rant is done…Tracy, welcome to your debut in the Lair! (Yes, I did just click on the cover of Night Storm and bought my copy…writing schedule be damned!)

    So, to answer the question…yes I’ve stopped reading a book because of inaccuracy. But in the medical field. A favorite author wrote a scene where a woman was trying to escape persuers in a hospital by going down the stairs…still dressed in her gown, attached to her IV pole. Ahem…hospital steps are concrete, they echo.

    Here’s the SOUND of the woman escaping down the stairs with a metal pole. Clang. Clang. Clang.

    Nope. Not happy. One quick email to anyone in the field and that scene would’ve been written differently.

    • Cassondra says:

      Hahaha! Gotcha, Suz!

      I’m seriously laughing out loud over your rant. The Lair keeps the TBR pile refreshed, doesn’t it?

    • LOL – thank you, Suzanne! I hope you enjoy Night Storm.

      Now I can’t get the image of that woman clanging down the stairs out of my head!

      • Cassondra Murray says:

        Snork! Well at least you’re taking SOMETHING home with you from your visit to the Lair.

        Our work here is done. Snork.

  • Hi Tracey! Hi Cassondra! Great interview! Tracey, welcome to the lair – lovely to see you here. And huge congratulations on the release of your latest. Sounds fab! Hope it goes really well for you.

  • Kim says:

    I’ve never literally thrown a book. I do remember this, however: an author had two professional tennis players playing a major on grass. The only problem was it wasn’t Wimbledon, so she used the wrong surface.

    • Cassondra says:

      Kim, you must be a tennis player! I love tennis, but I don’t think I would have noticed because I didn’t know that no other major is played on grass. I’m a wannabe tennis player, but I’ve never played on a grass or clay court. Yeah, I love the game but I’m a total newbie.

    • I’m loving these stories/examples. Thanks for sharing, Kim!

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    Wonderful blog today ladies! I really really liked Night Storm, and can’t wait to read more of those characters! I can not recall a time when I stumbled upon an inaccuracy. I probably wouldn’t notice it, to be honest. When I’m reading, I kind of give the author the freedom to do whatever they want. As long as the story is good, then I’m good. Now if it were a non-fiction book that I was using for research, that would be a different story.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Heather I think an awful lot of readers are forgiving this way. They just want a good story and most things don’t bother them. I’ve gotten much pickier as I’ve become a writer. Readers like you give me hope, though, that if I make a mistake I’ll be forgiven. :0)

    • Hey Heather! So great to see you here. I was the same way when I was a pure reader. Back in the day, I didn’t even know if the historical info was based on fact or the author’s imagination. And honestly, I didn’t care. I just loved seeing the hero and heroine’s story unfold. 🙂

  • bn100 says:

    No, I haven’t

  • Tracey, welcome and congrats on your latest release. I’m intrigued by the way you’ve delved into less well known aspects of the period.

    I’ve never thrown a book–I would cringe majorly when it hit–but I have harangued a few. I tend to notice historical errors more than weapons because I know more about history. Although I do notice with medieval weapons. Location errors aren’t apparent to me unless they’re in a place where I’ve spent a fair amount of time or are obviously just wrong–like a hot night in the NC mountains at any time of year.

    I did spot one error in a mystery/suspense series. The serial killer had left bodies under the boardwalk on one of the NC Outer Banks beaches. I’ve been there, and there is no boardwalk, which a simple check of Google confirms. I grumbled and growled about that, but I liked the other aspects of the book enough to pick up the next one anyway.

    What Ive done more than anything else is shun TV shows or movies because the charactes have truly atrocious excuses for southern accents or if everyone who is ignorant, mean, or crude has a southern accent.

    • Nancy, my husband and I visited your fair state back in August. I fell in love with the area–Asheville, Morganton, and Old Salem (visited the apothecary at Vierling House). Can’t wait to go back and spend more time hiking around and seeing the natural areas.

  • Cathy P says:

    Hi Tracey! I really enjoyed y9our interview and love your books. No, I have never thrown a book because of historical inaccuracies. I have nearly thrown books that are full of spelling errors and inconsistency in a book or series though.