Word of the Week – Clone

Word of the Week – Clone

Clone. It’s a word we all know…and use often enough that most of us probably haven’t given much thought to where in the world it came from. And once you pause to think it through, you’re probably still shrugging, am I right? That short little word doesn’t give us a lot of clues!

In fact, the word clone comes from a Latinized form of the Greek klon, which means…”a twig.”

Yep. That’s right. A twig. Klon is related to klados, which means “an offshoot or young branch.” Which helps the lightbulb start to go on a bit. Especially when you realize that the English word “clone” was first created by botanists in 1903. A “clone” was a plant grown from a clipping of another plant, so that it was identical to it.

Ahh, now it’s making sense! These plant “clones” were groups of trees or flowers or bushes etc all identical to the parent plant from which the clippings were taken. And that was the sole meaning of the word until the 1970s, when people began to apply it to other living things that were genetically identical to another as well.

So there we go! Based on a very old Greek word but with a very new meaning.

Word Nerds Unite!

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Announcing the Box of Bookish Things Subscription Box!

Announcing the Box of Bookish Things Subscription Box!

I admit it. I love a good subscription box. I love knowing it’s coming (ANTICIPATION!!!), I love wondering what will be in it (SURPRISES!), and I love discovering new things through it (INTRODUCTIONS!).

I’ve subscribed to food boxes…makeup boxes for my daughter…clothes boxes.


And there are a lot of book boxes out there too. Fantasy boxes. Kids boxes. Christian fiction boxes. Those are fabulous. Who doesn’t love getting surprised by books?? It’s a fantastic way to be introduced to new authors, get special editions, and be delighted by some items that tie in with the book, too.

But…what about a box that isn’t books…and yet is aimed at book lovers?

What about a box full of book-themed jewelry…and clothing…and mugs…and notepads. Book-themed pens…and bookmarks…and tote bags…and ornaments. What about all those bookish delights that make us go “Gasp! YES! I need that to proclaim my book-love!”

Introducing the Box of Bookish Things subscription box!

Well look no further, friends! I’ve got you covered!

Ever since I opened up the Bookish Things shop, I’ve been saving every single bookish product that makes me grin and gasp. And now, it’s all coming together in one box of delights, sent straight to your door!

This monthly subscription box will have seasonal items where appropriate, new things each month. A few of them you may have spotted on my site before, but most will be new, and very few of these things are available on Amazon or at other online retailers.

How to Sign Up

We’re launching the Box of Bookish Things with a waiting-list model. This first month there will only be TWENTY BOXES. Next month we’ll scale up to FIFTY.

Sign up for the waiting-list with the form below. The first twenty to sign up will be sent a private purchase link for this first month; the others will be offered first chance at next month’s box, as will this month’s purchasers.

Here’s what we have planned for the first few months!

September – Autumn Themed, with items that combine books and cozy delights
October –
Generally Bookish, to give you an idea of what’s in store!
November – Christmas Themed
, featuring ornaments and items that combine Christmas and books
December – New Year Themed, so you’re prepared for your next year of reading

Open your Box of Bookish Things
for only $29.99 for a small box
or $49.99 a month for a large box
(US shipping and tax included)!

International purchasers are welcome, but shipping costs will be extra.

Word of the Week – Tabby

Word of the Week – Tabby

Okay, I admit it. The only use of tabby I’m all that familiar with is the cat–and I didn’t know until we rescued a tabby kitten that tabby just means striped. (There was totally a call to the vet that answered the question of “Color?” with “I don’t know, a kind of brownish with darker stripes?” which lead to, “Oh, so a tabby.” Insert me answering, “Is that what that means?”)

But what can I say? Tabby just isn’t used anymore in its original meaning–namely, to describe striped silk.

Yep, that’s right. Tabby was first used in English in 1630 to describe a striped silk taffeta that the French called tabis…which they in turn had shortened from atabis. Which the French in turn had borrowed from Arabic ‘attabi, which is shortened from Attabiyah.

And what, you ask, is Attabiyah? It’s the neighborhood in which said striped silk was first created in Bagdhad. And that neighborhood was said to be named after a prince, ‘Attab of the Omayyad dynasty.

So there you have it. The cute striped cats are totally named after a prince. (The word wasn’t applied to cats until the 1770s though!)

Word Nerds Unite!

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It’s Release Day! A Beautiful Disguise

It’s Release Day! A Beautiful Disguise

Welcome to the Launch Day Celebration for A Beautiful Disguise!

If you’ve been hanging out with me much online in the last couple months, you likely know how excited I am for the beginning of this new series, The Imposters. The concept is just so…much…FUN.

I mean, two aristocratic siblings forced to become private investigators to make ends meet after their father leaves them all but bankrupt? Who have special skills from the performers who had peoples their childhoods…and on whom their father had wasted all that money? A retired circus family now filling in as servants on the estate, with their exotic animals taking up the stalls in the stables?


Live Event!

Join me for a Facebook Live video tonight, Tuesday August 22, at 7 pm Eastern! (You can watch it afterward too, and I’ll try to answer any questions in the comments!)

  • Behind the scenes
  • Fun facts
  • Short author reading
  • What’s coming next

And I couldn’t be more excited to welcome you all into that Imposters world with book 1, A Beautiful Disguise! This book is primarily about the older sister of the two siblings, Lady Marigold, and their latest, too-noble client, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Merritt Livingstone.

Marigold is known among society for her ostentatious, haute couture fashions. But it’s all just intended to mask the real her, so that she can learn things for their cases. People are so used to just noting her hat or dress that they fail to look at her or pay any attention to what she’s doing. Handy thing for a PI.

Sir Merritt earned his knighthood serving among the Coldstream Guards in the Boxer Rebellion, where he rescued a family of missionaries that remain some of his closest friends. He landed behind a desk thanks to pneumonia, and now he’s tasked with helping in the formation of England’s first unified intelligence force, combining the divisions of the army, navy, and police. But he soon discovers something that looks like treason…and which he’s too ill to investigate alone. He calls on the Imposters for help.

And their lives change forever. =D

Introducing Lady M’s Fabulous and Frugal Fashion Column!

Marigold has a secret though–her high fashions don’t come from Chanel in Paris. They come from her own attic. She uses the dresses that were her mother’s and grandmother’s, remakes them for current cutting-edge trends, and dyes or bedecks them. Basically, she creates new looks for next to nothing.

And Lady M has brought her fabulous and frugal advice to the blog! (With the help of a few wonderful ladies you can meet when you follow the link below.)

You can read the advice up already and check back regularly for new fashion tips, because Lady M has a lot to share with you! You can even write to her with your questions, requests, and suggestions!

More from the world of the Imposters

There’s So Much to Explore!

Learn more about the Edwardian circus that defined the Imposters’ childhood, get fashion tips from Lady M, explore the theater of the day, meet the team, pet the animals, go behind the Top Secret stamp to learn about intelligence in the early 20th century, train yourself to be a private investigator, and dive into some fun and games!

Shop the Imposters Collection

Spy gadgets, handmade vintage style bags, peacock stationery, and more!


US entrants, enter to win a copy of A Beautiful Disguise
(or another book of your choice) + a $25 gift card to my shop!

International entrants, enter to win a copy of any of my books, shipped from your usual online retailer.

Word of the Week – Disguise

Word of the Week – Disguise


There’s nothing incredibly surprising about the history and etymology of disguise, but I’m going to talk about it anyway, in honor of the release of A Beautiful Disguise. 😉

Disguise is quite simply a combination of the French guise (appearance) and des (away or off). Granted, the word guise on its own isn’t as common as it used to be, but I imagine most of us have heard or read it somewhere, so as soon you break it down, you go, “Oh yeah, of course!”

Since the word entered English in the 1300s, it’s meant “to change one’s appearance with the intent to deceive.”

What I find interesting is that there’s a sense of the word that’s fallen out of use that focuses on the thing used to disguise, one of the most popular phrases of old being “to disguise with liquor,” for when one’s personality is changed because of intoxication.

You know, other than for costume events and plays, I don’t think I’ve ever donned a disguise. How about you?

Word Nerds Unite!

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