My books live in rich historical settings that show the lives, loves, and lusts of women immersed in a society that they want to be a part of, but as themselves. Jewish women living as Catholics in colonial Mexico. Professional female writers struggling to effect change in early 20th Century California. Crypto-judaic feminist historical fiction sounds like a mouthful, but at their heart my books are sweeping romantic tales.
I loved writing Josefina's Sin because it gave me a chance to explore my favorite time period of Mexican history. The story takes place in the 1690s, when Mexico was still a Spanish colony overseen by a Viceroy, with Marquis and Counts. It was a very, very different time from today. Women's lives were run by rules that we would find outrageous, but their friendships and loves were much like ours!
When Josefina accepts an invitation from the Marquessa to come stay and socialize with the intellectual and cultural elite in her royal court, she is overwhelmed by the Court’s complicated world. She finds herself having to fight off aggressive advances from the Marquessa’s husband, but is ultimately unable to stay true to her marriage vows when she becomes involved in a secret affair with the local bishop that leaves her pregnant.
Amidst this drama, Josefina finds herself unexpectedly drawn to the intellectual nuns who study and write poetry at the risk of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition that is overtaking Mexico. One nun in particular, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, teaches Josefina about poetry, writing, critical thinking, the nature and consequences of love, and the threats of the Holy Office. She is Josefina’s mentor and lynchpin for her tumultuous passage from grounded wife and mother to woman of this treacherous, confusing, and ultimately physically and intellectually fulfilling world.
My second book, The Harlot's Pen, came out February 1, 2014 from Devine Destinies. It takes us to San Francisco in the roaring 20s. Brothels and prohibition, rights for women and the red scare... all in one book!
After World War I, San Francisco is a wild town. Abandoned by her lover, Violetta is swept up in the new, freer ways and becomes America’s first embedded journalist. She finds work in a brothel that caters to San Francisco’s most powerful men, to write her epic story on the conditions of working women. But federal agents looking to clamp down on both vice and workers’ rights don’t take kindly to her modern views. Shorter dresses, fair pay for women, and the dark and frightening world of sex and politics give Violetta a learning experience of a lifetime.
The Duel for Consuelo was published by Booktrope in June, 2014. It picks up 21 years after Josefina's Sin. The son Josefina bore at the end of the book is now 21 years old. Consuelo, the beautiful healer with secrets to conceal, captures his love. But he has a few secrets of his own, and the Inquisition, in a final grasp for power, blocks his way to Consuelo's heart.
Two men, two faiths, two secrets--one deadly. History, love, and faith combine in a gripping and passionate novel set in early 1700's. Consuelo, the beautiful healer, is the daughter of Crypto-Jews, the secret Jews who hid their faith in Spain and Colonial Mexico. The Enlightenment is making slow in-roads, but Consuelo's world is still under the dark cloud of the Inquisition. Forced to choose between protecting her secrets and the love of dashing Juan Carlos Castillo, Consuelo's personal dilemma reflects the conflicts of history as they unfold in 1711 Mexico. A rich, romantic story illuminating the timeless complexities of family, faith, and love.