Think your Mom is hard to select a Mothers’ Day gift for? Here is my humorous take on poor Marguerite de Valois—youngest daughter of Catherine de Médicis and central character in my most recent novel, Médicis Daughter—trying to pick out the perfect gift for her mother.

Oh and Mothers’ Day is just a week away readers, so mail those cards and pick up those last minute presents. And remember, books make GREAT gifts.

Here we are just a week away from Valentines Day. The perfect time for my 7 Reasons Books Make the Best Valentine’s Gifts:

1) a book is ALWAYS the right size

2) it’s non-caloric

3) books don’t wilt after a week

4) if your kids pop into the bedroom unexpectedly and catch one of you in bed with it nobody is scarred for life 😉

5) your sweetheart would honestly rather pick the jewelry our her/himself (trust me on this one)

6) this is your chance to show you’ve been paying attention and you KNOW what s/he like to read

7) smart is the new sexy and reading is all about smart

Want a great reason to give MÉDCIS DAUGHTER for Valentines day—“Perinot matches the rhythm of Margot’s life to the political storms: as the battles escalate, so do the perils of love and lust. A riveting page-turner skillfully blending illicit liaisons and political chicanery”

MÉDCIS DAUGHTER on Amazon or wherever books are sold

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Here we are, four days until Christmas. Personally, I am about to make one last run to pick up some missing gift items. How about you? Done for the season? Are you going to be giving books this year? Getting them?

Books were a go-to gift for me long before I wrote them. What’s changed is the excitement I feel when someone writes to tell me that they received one of my novels as a gift and loved it.  So I guess I get a second Christmas out of my involvement with writing.

If you have a friend or family member who enjoys historical fiction, please consider sharing Médicis Daughter or The Sister Queens with them.  Or share the video trailer below with your fellow historical-fiction aficionados.  They may thank you and I CERTAINLY will.

I am downsizing our gift-giving around here this year but that does NOT mean I am not buying books! SEVEN arrived this weekend alone. Some for stocking-stuffers, some to give friends who I think will enjoy them as much as I did.

In honor of CYBER MONDAY Barnes & Noble is running a 15% off your entire order promo (today only). The code is BNCYBER16 winter-ad-3

If you’d like to give a little Perinot this season, here are the brief descriptions and links for my titles at both B&N (use that coupon code!) and Amazon. Of course the novels are also available at your neighborhood bookstore!

MÉDICIS DAUGHTER (B&N) (AMAZON)

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

THE SISTER QUEENS (B&N) (AMAZON)

Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals. They were also queens.

Raised together at the 13th Century court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages—but never truly parted.

Patient, perfect, reticent, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. Her husband, Louis IX, is considered the greatest monarch of his age. But he is also a religious zealot who denies himself all pleasure—including the love and companionship his wife so desperately craves. Can Marguerite find enough of her sister’s boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in the guise of forbidden love?

Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Her husband, Henry III, is neither as young nor as dashing as Marguerite’s. But she quickly discovers he is a very good man…and a very bad king. His failures are bitter disappointments for Eleanor, who has worked to best her elder sister since childhood. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away?

A DAY OF FIRE (AMAZON)

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . . and these are their stories:

  • A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.
  • An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.
  • An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.
  • A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.
  • A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.
  • A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

Here’s an event that incorporates three of my favorite words – “free,” “books,” and “Christmas.”  Author Genevieve Graham (Under the Same Sky & Sound of the Heart) has put together a marvelous two week celebration of books as holiday gifts—everyday a different author will be featured with an excerpt from her/his work and A BOOK TO WIN!!!

That’s TEN free books to be won.  And on top of that, there are TWO triple-book grand prize packages on offer (entries for those opened today)!!!  So that’s TWELVE chances to win (talk about the Twelve Days of Christmas!)  Check out the author schedule below and check this link EVERYDAY for your chance to win another good book just in time for holiday gift-giving!

December 3rd — Joanna Bourne

December 4th — Pamela Callow

December 5th — MK McClintock

December 6th –Steve Vernon

December 7th – yours truly, Sophie Perinot

*** Weekend to do your shopping and wrapping (psst. . . buy books) ***

December 10th — Rona Altrows

December 11th — Kaki Warner

December 12th –Katherine S.Crawford

December 13th — Nya Rawlyns

December 14th Victoria Vane

PRIZE PACKAGES (entry period opened today): GRAND PRIZE #1 – Kaki Warner’s “Runaway Bride” series (3 books); GRAND PRIZE #2 – Pamela Callow’s “Kate Lange thriller series” (3 books)

Good luck all and never say I don’t share THE BEST giveaways and gift giving tips!

Mother’s Day is a “brunch holiday.”  I detest brunch.  There is something so very non-committal about it.  Besides, all the best food (not to mention the alcohol to go with it) comes out after dark.  In the early years of being a mother I devoted considerable time and energy in the month of April to oh-so-subtly delivering my anti-brunch message (my husband comes from a Mother’s-Day-Brunch family).  By the time we had two toddlers I’d given up on subtle and had “Sophie hates brunch” tattooed on hubby’s arm.  Let’s face it there is NOTHING relaxing or celebratory about trying to consume a meal in a nice restaurant with two toddlers.  And, crazy as it may seem, I’ve always been under the impression that a gift is supposed to delight and relax its recipient.

Motherhood is not, generally speaking, a relaxing occupation.  Everything is prone to interruption.  Everything.  If you are a mother and you’ve been drawn, shampoo-still-in-hair, from the shower by disturbing sounds from elsewhere in your house—sounds suggesting that either furniture or children are being broken—then you know precisely what I mean.  The TRULY perfect Mother’s Day gift would be an exotic getaway.  A weekend on a beach inBali.  Shopping inParis.  A day at the spa.  Heck, I drive past a Dominican retreat on my appointed motherly rounds, and lately I’ve been thinking a day with the nuns would do wonders for me.  Please note, I am not even Catholic.

The truth is, for many of us, an actually physical getaway is pipe dream.  There are kids to be delivered to and from a myriad of activities (anyone who’s had a “oh my god I forgot to pick up [insert child’s name here]” moment, raise your hand), homework to help with, etc.  And can you just imagine the size of the laundry pile that would await a mother’s return should she actually manage to slip away toBali?

But being a mom is a joy and an avocation.  It’s taught me a lot of things including how to live in the moment.  After two decades of motherhood I know that I need to both treasure and expect my “me time” in small increments.  You have perhaps heard of the twenty-minute power nap?  Well, I have become the master of the eleven-minute sitting-in-the-car-getaway.  And that leads me to books.

Books offer the perfect, portable, getaway.  I may look like I am in the carpool line, waiting for the man with the whistle to call a hundred car engines to life, but I am not.  I am in ancient Rome thanks to Kate Quinn’s Empress of the Seven Hills.  I am in regency England watching a confirmed bachelor-dandy fall head-over-heels thanks to Miranda Neville.  I am spending an afternoon with Catherine de Medici thanks to biographer R. J. Knecht.  I am attending festivities at the Valois court with Philippe Erlanger.  I am discovering a set of sisters from Provence in a secondary research source on Notre Dame de Paris—sisters who will lead me on an adventure ultimately resulting in the publication of my debut novel, The Sister Queens.

The cost of these getaways is negligible (certainly not in the league of airline tickets to Bali).  For the cost of a brunch I’d hate for the five of us, my family can get me a whole armload of books I’ll love and that will fit into my schedule.  Yes, I may get snappish when I am forced to put down a novel at a climatic moment to help find a uniform skirt gone missing, or “check” on someone who has already been in bed for an hour but is still not asleep (you know who you are, son).  But it’s a lot easier to settle back down on the couch and slip back into the French Revolution with Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud than it is to sop up all the water and suds from interrupted tub-time.  When I travel by novel I can get back home from Paris for tuck-in time.  Try doing that by airplane (especially in a TSA infested air-travel world).

So, husband dearest, books please.  Mother’s Day is still more than a week away.  Don’t make me tattoo this on your. . . oh, never mind.