Archives for category: About Writing Lily Modjeska

Daniel J. Watkins, my antihero in The Gilded Age is a deeply troubled 1890s man, having suffered a childhood trauma not uncommon for the period. He learns to overcome his typical derogatory male attitudes toward women with the help of Zhu Wong, my far future time traveler. He’s got serious substance abuse problems stemming from his childhood trauma, and Zhu literally saves him from himself, but not without a struggle.

If you’re curious about men’s attitudes toward women during the turn of the century, many of which linger to this day, I highly recommend Bram Dikstra’s amazing book, Idols of Perversity, to which I gave five stars on Goodreads. Partial chapter titles include such gems as “Raptures of Submission and the Cult of the Household Nun,” “The Nymph with the Broken Back and the Mythology of Therapeutic Rape,” “Women of Moonlight and Wax,” “Gold and the Virgin Whores of Babylon, the Priestesses of Man’s Severed Head,” and “Clinging Vines and the Dangers of Degeneration.” You get the idea.

For my fin de siècle romantic suspense, I wanted a true hero, Jackson Tremaine, who represents the best of what men had to offer during that period—fascination with new technologies and developments in medicine, an appreciation of art and literature, strength and courage, and a protective, positive attitude toward women and children. (The typical fin de siècle patriarch regarded children as pretty much gender-neutral. A child would be referred to as “it.”) Men like the philosopher John Stuart Mill supported the vote for women and women’s empowerment in all aspects of life, in and out of the bedroom.

Jackson Tremaine is an unusual alpha male who is not threatened by women. On the contrary, he loves women and is very aware of the attitudes Dikstra discusses. Tremaine rejects the usual. He’s not without his own checkered past and personal problems—I’ll have to let him tell you about himself in Celestial Girl—but I think he’s an excellent match for my heroine, Lily Modjeska. Their sensuality is hot!

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. But when Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Read all four books in the miniseries at–

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

So there you have it, my friends. Celestial Girl is different from my usual science fiction and fantasy, yes, but still embodies my usual concerns with social commentary, the place of women in society, governmental skullduggery, lust, love, and loyalty.

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.

Whew! Did I forget anything? I don’t think so, but I didn’t include every title in this list, either. For that—

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, on Wikipedia, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

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Zhu Wong, my heroine in The Gilded Age is a time traveler from the far future who returns to the dark age of the 1890s. She enjoys what all time travelers enjoy: twenty-twenty hindsight (mostly). She’s Chinese, a radical feminist. Her far-future conflict focuses on over-population and the far-reaching effects of that.

For my fin de siècle murder mystery, we are in 1896, and my heroine, Lily Modjeska, is a woman of her time. The book description says she’s “not typical;” in fact, she’s quite extraordinary. She’s home-schooled by her educated mother, conversant in literature, history, mythology, and mathematics, and holds her own when she confronts men. She does not defer or flutter her eyelashes, she fights back! She’s a suffragist and acutely aware of the disenfranchisement and disempowerment of women.

It may be difficult for American and European women today to imagine the world of the 1890s woman (though perhaps not so difficult for women everywhere else in the world). Women were not generally educated, therefore could not secure much in the way of gainful employment, were not allowed into most colleges and universities, were not allowed into the professions, could not sign contracts without their husbands’ consent, and often owned no money or property of their own. Abusive marriages were fairly commonplace; the common law “rule of thumb” refers to the width of the stick with which a husband could beat his wife.

Lacking the vote, women were powerless to influence issues that concerned them rather more than men: child labor, workplace discrimination, prostitution, food, tobacco, and drugs, and the Biggie, temperance. The suffragist movement was closely allied with the temperance movement because strong alcohol was closely associated with abusive husbands. The well-funded alcohol lobby opposed both movements (as well as two smaller allied movements–spiritualism and the prevention of cruelty to animals). The national vote for women was not won for thirty long years (though states like California passed suffrage laws earlier). A founding mother like Susan B. Anthony never saw victory before she died.

The average life expectancy of women in 1896 was thirty short years. Thirty years. Why? Well, in addition to incurable mortal diseases like tuberculosis, dysentery, cholera, and various fevers, women faced childbirth. In an age when germ theory was still not widely understood and sterile technique not practiced, childbirth was a very risky proposition. For that matter, so was love and sex—no birth control except bidets and a rarity–condoms made out of sheeps’ intestine.

But enough. All this is deep background and shapes Lily’s personality. I wanted a historical romance like Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager series (which happens to be time travel!) with passion and heat and wit commingled with my fin de siècle murder mystery moored in corrupt immigration policy.

What I needed next was a Fin De Siècle Hero.

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. But when Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

So there you have it, my friends. Do I have more books to offer you? Yes, I do!

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.

Whew! Did I forget anything? I don’t think so, but I didn’t include every title in this list, either. For that—

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, on Wikipedia, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

I’d completed over two years of exhaustive research and writing for the second book of my Random House contract (which began with Summer of Love) and turned in The Golden Nineties, now an ebook retitled The Gilded Age, A Time Travel. Gerald Jonas, the science fiction and fantasy reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, gave the book a cover-worthy quote—“A winning mixture of intelligence and passion”—and plucked the book (out of a field of 1,200 science fiction and fantasy books traditionally published that year) as one of twelve science fiction titles on his New York Times Notable Books list.

During the previous two years, Summer of Love, had been chosen as a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book, so this was more good news!

When I say exhaustive research, I mean it! Please take a look at Lisa Mason Talks Time Travel With Laura Vosika. I’d found an entire library of books about the world during the 1890s, the United States, and San Francisco in particular. Several eminent journalists in the 1930s and 1940s published detailed and lively accounts of the City before the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire had all but demolished old San Francisco. I found an actual guidebook published in 1890, a bound volume of The Argonaut for the years of 1896 and 1897, an illustrated book about traveling from New York to San Francisco aboard the Overland train, recipe books, the Montgomery Ward and Sears & Roebuck catalogs, and novels written during the period.

By the time The Gilded Age was done, I’d developed a Fin de Siècle Voice, in contrast to my more minimalist, slightly profane, hip, science fictional voice. When I was asked to contribute work to two hardcover anthologies to be published by HarperPrism, I wrote two shorter titles in the Fin de Siècle Voice, Daughter of the Tao for Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn and Every Mystery Unexplained for David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible.

But I wasn’t done with the Voice. I wanted to recast all that terrific research as a murder mystery like The Alienist and I wanted a steamy historical romance like a Diana Gabaldon. (Minus the time travel this time, isn’t that ironic?)

Another book was waiting to be born!

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. When Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Read all four books in the miniseries at–

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

So there you have it, my friends. Celestial Girl is different from my usual science fiction and fantasy, yes, but still embodies my usual concerns with social commentary, the place of women in society, governmental skullduggery, lust, love, and loyalty,

From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.

Whew! Did I forget anything? I don’t think so, but I didn’t include every title in this list, either. For that—

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, on Wikipedia, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

I’d completed over two years of exhaustive research and writing for the second book of my Random House contract (which began with Summer of Love) and turned in The Golden Nineties, now an ebook retitled The Gilded Age, A Time Travel. Gerald Jonas, the science fiction and fantasy reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, gave the book a cover-worthy quote—“A winning mixture of intelligence and passion”—and plucked the book (out of a field of 1,200 science fiction and fantasy books traditionally published that year) as one of twelve science fiction titles on his New York Times Notable Books list.

During the previous two years, Summer of Love, had been chosen as a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book, so this was more good news!

When I say exhaustive research, I mean it! Please take a look at Lisa Mason Talks Time Travel With Laura Vosika. I’d found an entire library of books about the world during the 1890s, the United States, and San Francisco in particular. Several eminent journalists in the 1930s and 1940s published detailed and lively accounts of the City before the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire all but demolished San Francisco. I found an actual guidebook published in 1890, a bound volume of The Argonaut for the years of 1896 and 1897, an illustrated book about traveling from New York to San Francisco on the Overland train, recipe books, the Montgomery Ward and Sears & Roebuck catalogs, and novels written during the period.

By the time The Gilded Age was done, I’d developed a Fin de Siècle Voice, in contrast to my more minimalist, slightly profane, hip, science fictional voice. When asked to contribute work to two hardcover anthologies to be published by HarperPrism, I wrote shorter titles in the Voice, Daughter of the Tao for Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn and Every Mystery Unexplained for David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible. (Both novellas are available on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.)

But I wasn’t done with the Voice. I wanted to recast all that terrific research as a murder mystery like The Alienist and I wanted a historical romance like a Diana Gabaldon book (minus the time travel). Another book was waiting to be born!

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. When Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Read the whole miniseries at–

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Or try the miniseries in three installments–

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. As they begin a passionate affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Tremaine journey to Imperial China, confronting soldiers of the Boxer Revolution and brutal slavers. Lily discovers secrets vital to the identity of the Celestial Girl. In Celestial Girl, Book 4: Terminus (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Jackson return to San Francisco and solve the tragic mystery of the Celestial Girl. Both books are on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Both Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) and Celestial Girl, Book 4: Terminus are also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said
“A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,
and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Daniel J. Watkins, my antihero in The Gilded Age is a deeply troubled 1890s man, having suffered a childhood trauma not uncommon for the period. He learns to overcome his typical derogatory male attitudes toward women with the help of Zhu Wong, my far future time traveler. He’s got serious substance abuse problems stemming from his childhood trauma, and Zhu literally saves him from himself, but not without a struggle.

If you’re curious about men’s attitudes toward women during the turn of the century, many of which linger to this day, I highly recommend Bram Dikstra’s amazing book, Idols of Perversity, to which I gave five stars on Goodreads. Partial chapter titles include such gems as “Raptures of Submission and the Cult of the Household Nun,” “The Nymph with the Broken Back and the Mythology of Therapeutic Rape,” “Women of Moonlight and Wax,” “Gold and the Virgin Whores of Babylon, the Priestesses of Man’s Severed Head,” and “Clinging Vines and the Dangers of Degeneration.” You get the idea.

For my fin de siècle romantic suspense, I wanted a true hero, Jackson Tremaine, who represents the best of what men had to offer during that period—fascination with new technologies and developments in medicine, an appreciation of art and literature, strength and courage, and a protective, positive attitude toward women and children. (The typical fin de siècle patriarch regarded children as pretty much gender-neutral. A child would be referred to as “it.”) Men like the philosopher John Stuart Mill supported the vote for women and women’s empowerment in all aspects of life, in and out of the bedroom.

Jackson Tremaine is an unusual alpha male who is not threatened by women. On the contrary, he loves women and is very aware of the attitudes Dikstra discusses. Tremaine rejects the usual. He’s not without his own checkered past and personal problems—I’ll have to let him tell you about himself in Celestial Girl—but I think he’s an excellent match for my heroine, Lily Modjeska. Their sensuality is hot!

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. But when Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Or try the miniseries in three installments–

Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. As they begin a passionate affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Tremaine journey to Imperial China, confronting soldiers of the Boxer Revolution and brutal slavers. Lily discovers secrets vital to the identity of the Celestial Girl. In Celestial Girl, Book 4: Terminus (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Jackson return to San Francisco and solve the tragic mystery of the Celestial Girl. Both books are on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Also available on Amazon.com in Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,  and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

For urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, romantic suspense, humor, and a screenplay, visit the Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide. NYT Notable Book Author https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Zhu Wong, my heroine in The Gilded Age is a time traveler from the far future who returns to the dark age of the 1890s. She enjoys what all time travelers enjoy: twenty-twenty hindsight (mostly). She’s Chinese, a radical feminist. Her far-future conflict focuses on over-population and the far-reaching effects of that.

For my fin de siècle murder mystery, we are in 1896, and my heroine, Lily Modjeska, is a woman of her time. The book description says she’s “not typical;” in fact, she’s quite extraordinary. She’s home-schooled by her educated mother, conversant in literature, history, mythology, and mathematics, and holds her own when she confronts men. She does not defer or flutter her eyelashes, she fights back! She’s a suffragist and acutely aware of the disenfranchisement and disempowerment of women.

It may be difficult for American and European women today to imagine the world of the 1890s woman (though perhaps not so difficult for women everywhere else in the world). Women were not generally educated, therefore could not secure much in the way of gainful employment, were not allowed into most colleges and universities, were not allowed into the professions, could not sign contracts without their husbands’ consent, and often owned no money or property of their own. Abusive marriages were fairly commonplace; the common law “rule of thumb” refers to the width of the stick with which a husband could beat his wife.

Lacking the vote, women were powerless to influence issues that concerned them rather more than men: child labor, workplace discrimination, prostitution, food, tobacco, and drugs, and the Biggie, temperance. The suffragist movement was closely allied with the temperance movement because strong alcohol was closely associated with abusive husbands. The well-funded alcohol lobby opposed both movements (as well as two smaller allied movements–spiritualism and the prevention of cruelty to animals). The national vote for women was not won for thirty long years (though states like California passed suffrage laws earlier). A founding mother like Susan B. Anthony never saw victory before she died.

The average life expectancy of women in 1896 was thirty short years. Thirty years. Why? Well, in addition to incurable mortal diseases like tuberculosis, dysentery, cholera, and various fevers, women faced childbirth. In an age when germ theory was still not widely understood and sterile technique not practiced, childbirth was a very risky proposition. For that matter, so was love and sex—no birth control except bidets and a rarity–condoms made out of sheeps’ intestine.

But enough. All this is deep background and shapes Lily’s personality. I wanted a historical romance like Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager series (which happens to be time travel!) with passion and heat and wit commingled with my fin de siècle murder mystery moored in corrupt immigration policy.

What I needed next was a Fin De Siècle Hero.

Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)

Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. But when Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.

Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,  and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

For urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, romantic suspense, humor, and a screenplay, visit the Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide. NYT Notable Book Author https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

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Thank you for your readership!

I’d completed over two years of exhaustive research and writing for the second book of my Random House contract (which began with Summer of Love) and turned in The Golden Nineties, now an ebook retitled The Gilded Age, A Time Travel. Gerald Jonas, the science fiction and fantasy reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, gave the book a cover-worthy quote—“A winning mixture of intelligence and passion”—and plucked the book (out of a field of 1,200 science fiction and fantasy books traditionally published that year) as one of twelve science fiction titles on his New York Times Notable Books list.

During the previous two years, Summer of Love, had been chosen as a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book, so this was more good news!

When I say exhaustive research, I mean it! Please take a look at Lisa Mason Talks Time Travel With Laura Vosika at https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/10/14/lisa-mason-talks-time-travel-with-laura-vosika-part-5-historical-research-and-the-telling-detail-sfwapro/. I’d found an entire library of books about the world during the 1890s, the United States, and San Francisco in particular. Several eminent journalists in the 1930s and 1940s published detailed and lively accounts of the City before the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire all but demolished San Francisco. I found an actual guidebook published in 1890, a bound volume of The Argonaut for the years of 1896 and 1897, an illustrated book about traveling from New York to San Francisco on the Overland train, recipe books, the Montgomery Ward and Sears & Roebuck catalogs, and novels written during the period.

By the time The Gilded Age was done, I’d developed a Fin de Siècle Voice, in contrast to my more minimalist, slightly profane, hip, science fictional voice. When asked to contribute work to two hardcover anthologies to be published by HarperPrism, I wrote shorter titles in the Voice, Daughter of the Tao for Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn and Every Mystery Unexplained for David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible. (Both novellas are available on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.)

But I wasn’t done with the Voice. I wanted to recast all that terrific research as a murder mystery like The Alienist and I wanted a historical romance like a Diana Gabaldon book (minus the time travel). Another book was waiting to be born!

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

SHAKEN on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords;

Tomorrow’s Child on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords,  and

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.

For urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, romantic suspense, humor, and a screenplay, visit the Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide. NYT Notable Book Author https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a work, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you acquired it, blog it, Tweet it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!