We’re in for a treat today.  I’m a big fan of the Judge Dee mysteries and can’t wait to read Jeannie’s historical mystery/romance.  Jeannie has even included mystery pictures for our entertainment and enjoyment.  Aren’t they fun?  Jeannie is also generously giving away a signed print of THE LOTUS GARDEN  to one (1) lucky commenter.  Historical fans have all read books set in Europe, mainly England and France.  Who has read them set in other locales and where?  Is there a location you’d especially like to see a story set?  Giveaway ends @12am est 9-25-13.  Winner will be announced shortly thereafter.  Good luck y’all!


The idea to write THE LOTUS PALACE as a mystery came about as I was trying to brainstorm what would be a fun way for readers to explore imperial China. I enjoyed reading the Judge Dee mysteries by Robert van Gulik, which are also set in the Tang Dynasty, and noted that what I really liked was how it was easy to introduce characters from different walks of life, various settings and cultural details through the investigations of Judge Dee. I also knew that there were several other historical mysteries set in Asia such as Laura Joh Rowland’s books or I.J. Parker’s Sugawara Akitada mysteries set in feudal Japan.

 My previous books had involved threads of intrigue, so I thought it wouldn’t be a huge leap to craft a mystery.

Boy, was I wrong!

First of all, I sort of had an idea of the romance – it would involve a playboy aristocrat and a lowly and no-nonsense maidservant. But the mystery had to intertwine with the romance plot, introduce the setting of the pleasure district known as the Pingkang li, lay out the political and social culture of the Tang Dynasty capital as well as be an interesting mystery.

I was so green at this that I struggled just figuring out what the crime would be! Would it be a missing treasure? A series of disappearances? A political conspiracy?


Desperate, I asked for recommendations from friends like author Amanda Brice who writes the fabulous Dani Spevak YA mystery series surrounding a dance academy.  She told me it helped to read a lot of mystery stories…which I thought I had, but as a reader not a writer studying them for structure.

Amanda also pointed me to How to Write a Damn Good Mystery by James Frey.  As I read through the book, it was mystery writing 101 for me.

A mystery has to have a MURDER!!

Of course, all of them don’t have to. But that’s the standard set up. The core of a mystery is that society has been disrupted and the mystery must be solved so justice can prevail. And there is no crime with higher stakes when it comes to right and wrong and the social order than murder.

Okay, murder it is. The rest was easy.

Not really.

But it was a labor of love and a lot of fun wandering the pleasure quarter with my hero and heroine as I found my way.


(For the curious, the answers to the crime scenes can be found posted in my Facebook photo album.


THE LOTUS PALACE, a historical romance and murder mystery set in the Tang Dynasty, is available now in print or ebook.

Blurb: When a famous courtesan is murdered, a clever maidservant teams up with the notorious playboy and failed scholar of the Pingkang li to solve the crime, but can they defy the bonds of class and culture to find love and happiness?

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