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Newsletter Archives Vol. VI

Volume VI, No. 1 printer friendly Volume VI, No. 2 printer friendly Volume VI, No. 3 printer friendly
Volume VI, No. 4 printer friendly Volume VI, No. 5 printer friendly Volume VI, No. 6 printer friendly

  Volume V, Nos. 1 Archives Volume IV, Nos. 1 - 8 Archives
Volume III, Nos. 1 - 6 Archives Volume II, Nos. 1 - 10 Archives Volume I, Nos. 1 - 12 Archives
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Vol VI, No. 1
In this issue:
Dolled Up for Murder Dolled Up for Murder will be available on Tuesday!
Order Your Copy Now.

Dolled Up for Murder, the seventh entry in the Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series, begins on a sparkling-bright May day in the cozy coastal town of Rocky Point, New Hampshire, with the lilacs in full bloom and the wisteria hanging low. Antiques dealer Josie Prescott is showing Alice Michaels, the queen of the local investment community, the stellar European and American doll collection she’d just acquired. Moments later, Josie watches in horror as Alice, who’s about to be indicted for running a mega swindle, is shot and killed. Within hours, one of Josie’s employees, Eric, is kidnapped, van-jacked. The kidnapper’s ransom demand is simple—he wants the doll collection. Working with the local police chief and against the clock, Josie discovers that the dolls hold secrets from the Civil War. Desperate to save Eric, Josie puts herself in harm’s way, and in the process discovers the truth behind Alice’s murder. Read an excerpt here!

Great Reviews for DOLLED UP FOR MURDER!

Lesa Librarian “Beautifully written,” Lesa Holstein, librarian extraordinaire

Publishers Weekly wrote: “In Cleland’s winning seventh Josie Prescott antiques mystery (after 2011’s Deadly Threads)… Josie once again proves an adept sleuth. The action builds to a seamless and fitting conclusion.”

Jen Librarian

“Just the right amount of intrigue paired with quirky, lovable characters.” Fresh Fiction, review by Jen Vido, reviewer extraordinaire


I Love Librarians

rare books Seventy-five percent of my nieces are librarians. Isn’t that odd? Any family can have a librarian in it... heck... I bet some families have two... but 75 percent? Okay... we’re a small family... I only have four nieces... but still... three of them are librarians (and the fourth is a Ph.D. in social psychology, a highly analytical field). Lucky me. Librarians (and social psychologists) are a remarkable breed of people. They’re curious, knowledgeable, smart, and helpful. No wonder I love librarians.

One of my nieces is a communications expert, researching ways and means of framing and disseminating her clients’ messages. Another is a cognitive expert, assisting scientists in researching issues surrounding thinking and assimilating information. My third niece is an elementary education expert, working with youngins to instill a love of reading and learning. The fourth is a researcher at a major university. I’m in awe of all four.

I come by my attitude of respect and appreciation honestly; my mother loved librarians, too. When I was a mere slip of a girl she taught me that if you wanted to know something you could always consult a librarian because they either know everything or they know where to find out everything.

When I was in sixth grade, I consulted a librarian as to whether Paul Revere’s horse was a mare. (I needed it as a rhyme in a poem, and being an honest girl, I couldn’t just say it was a mare if it was, in fact, a stallion. Note of interest: She found a contemporary reference stating that Paul Revere’s horse was a mare; I thought you’d want to know.) When I was in eighth grade, a librarian held me enraptured as she discussed the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. (Yes, you read that right. Twenty-one people died a gruesome death, asphyxiated by molasses.)

To this day, I love working with librarians as I work to introduce readers to my protagonist, antiques appraiser, Josie Prescott. As an author, I’m in the enviable position of getting to do just that—a lot. As many of you know, I tour extensively as I work to introduce readers to Josie.

Would you please ask your local librarian for DOLLED UP FOR MURDER? And if they don’t have it, ask them to order it! Thanks!

Antiques Collecting Fact:
Part of Our Heritage - Kachina Dolls

kachina doll In DOLLED UP FOR MURDER, Josie buys a collection of dolls that includes a kachina. Kachinas are native to the Pueblo, and were created to represent and honor ancestors. The elders used them to teach younger generations about their ancestors’ spirits and to solicit their blessings. Today, of all Native American artifacts, kachinas are one of the most popular collectibles. Only kachinas that are more than 300 years old have significant value, fetching as much as several hundred thousand dollars for a very old one in fine condition. Most are boldly painted with dramatic features that convey energy and exuberance.

Ask Jane: What’s your favorite part of being a writer?

woman writing Ask Jane: What’s your favorite part of being a writer?

Jane replied: I love it all! I like researching to develop ideas. I like plotting. I like thinking about Josie. I like writing the book, spending time with the characters. I like revising. I like participating in the editing process. hank the cat I like touring and meeting readers and booksellers and librarians. I like thinking about the stories and the people and Hank, Prescott’s cat.


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The Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries. "Ingenious ... engaging!" Publishers Weekly. Jane does Business Communications training work, too!

P.S.  Please add "" to your address book!

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Vol VI, No. 3
In this issue:
Dolled Up for Murder Smuggling Dolls—the Genesis of Dolled Up for Murder

In the latest Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, Dolled Up for Murder, there’s a Civil War theme, which required in-depth research. Here’s a comment from Jane on what she learned in the process:

nina doll In researching dolls of the Civil War era, I came across a doll named Nina who, it seems, came to America from Europe with her papier mâché head filled with morphine or quinine, an effort orchestrated by Southern sympathizers to get medical supplies past the Union blockade and into the hands of sick Confederate soldiers. Nina lives in the Museum of the Confederacy, by the way, in Richmond, Virginia. Nina hid medical supplies. Think what else could be hidden in dolls’ heads or in their hollowed out legs, or under their clothing, strapped to their little bodies. Jewels, perhaps, or gold coins, or military secrets… or who knows what else. And that’s the genesis of dolls in Dolled Up for Murder.

Dolls of all kinds have been used for smuggling for as long as dolls have existed, and smuggling itself has been going on for even longer than that. I am a realist, so I get it. If you have something to smuggle, you want to find a container that’s not likely to attract attention. I may understand the smuggler’s motivation, but to my mind, there’s something especially distasteful about using dolls for illicit purposes. Dolls represent innocence, or should. When a drug dealer or a spy or a thief use dolls to stash contraband, it isn’t merely breaking the law. It’s a betrayal of innocence.

hank in basket Enough of that. Let’s do what Josie does when she’s upset or confused. She finds her Maine Coon cat, Hank. Since smuggling dolls is so dark, I thought you might enjoy reading a brief excerpt from Dolled Up for Murder, that isn’t. Here’s Hank as you meet him in Dolled Up for Murder:

Excerpt from Dolled Up for Murder

Downstairs, I made a beeline for Hank’s area. He was curled up in his basket, asleep. I squatted beside him and stroked under his chin, his favorite place to be rubbed. Second favorite was his tummy.

“Hank,” I cooed, “you’re such a good boy. Are you a good boy, Hank? Yes, you are. What a good boy.”

Hank’s fur was mostly silver with charcoal and apricot highlights. His vet called the color chinchilla. Hank had lived at Prescott’s for just over a year now, ever since Gretchen had spotted him wandering around outside. We hadn’t been able to find his owner, so we’d adopted him. It had taken him about a minute to settle in. It had taken me about two minutes to fall in love with him.

“I’m leaving a little early, Hank. I’ll see you tomorrow… okay?”

He turned his head just enough to lick my hand. His eyes stayed closed. I stood up and he settled back in, curling into a tight little comma.

Buy your copy today! Also, please ask your librarian for the book, and if it’s not in their collection, ask them to order it! Thanks!

Cara’s Raspberry Lemon Lace Squares—Barbara’s Solution

Cara's cake Several readers wrote for the recipe for the Raspberry Lemon Lace Squares Cara baked in Deadly Threads, and when Jane confessed that there was no recipe—that she’d invented the name and nothing else, they tried to come up with their own. It turns out raspberry is tricky to work with—it’s super sweet, among other things. Barbara Moglia came up with the perfect solution! She asked Kate at the cute tea shop, Sweet Tease in Manasquan, New Jersey, to come up with a recipe. Yum! Thanks, Barbara! Thanks, Kate! While only Kate knows how to make Cara’s Raspberry Lemon Lace Squares, lots of Josie's mom's recipes have been posted on the website. Enjoy!


Calling All Book Clubs! Jane Wants to Participate!

Jane loves participating in book club discussions. Thought-provoking book club discussion questions for Dolled Up for Murder have been posted online. These questions are guaranteed to result in lively discussions. Jane loves to attend or call in book club discussions. Contact her directly to set up a time!

A New Author’s Tribute to Jane’s
Favorite Mystery Author: Rex Stout

Read this lovely tribute to the creator of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin from a fellow St. Martin’s Minotaur author. Jane integrates all sorts of Wolfean trivia into her Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries for her pals in the Wolfe Pack. If you don’t know Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe stories, you’re in for a treat! Jane recommends starting with one written in 1950s or 60s.

Antiques Fact: Did You Know?
Antique Dolls Need Furniture, Too!

antique dining table and chairs
Tiny dolls need tiny furniture. This Eppendorfer & Nacke-produced oak set dates from about 1900. The upholstered chairs are barely five inches tall. Sets in excellent condition such as this sell for about $200. Looks like a charming place to have dinner!

Ask Jane: How Do You Select the
Antiques Featured in Your Books?

silent movie poster Jane: I try to find an antique that will interest readers. Also, Josie needs to be able to use it to solve a crime. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I make a lot of false starts before I find the one. In Josie #8, Lethal Treasures, out in summer 2013, the pivotal antique is silent movie posters. Fun!


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The Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries. "Ingenious ... engaging!" Publishers Weekly. Jane does Business Communications training work, too!

P.S.  Please add "" to your address book!

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Vol VI, No. 4
In this issue:
“What’s It’s Worth” is Back on the Website—Get Ready for Fun!

sugar shakers To introduce the very first Josie mystery, Consigned to Death, Leslie Hindman (of the world renowned antiques auction firm, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers) and her staff, did hundreds of antiques appraisals for my fun, free “What’s It Worth? You Be the Judge!” challenge. We’re putting the archives back online… take a whirl and see how you do. For instance, look at this photo and description of Sugar Shakers … then decide, what do you think it’s worth?

Want to see more? Here ya go! Click on this link to “What’s It Worth? You Be the Judge!”

lethal treasure
First Peek!
Here’s the Cover Art for LETHAL TREASURE,
Josie #8, Out Next June

Once again, Hank is a cover boy! You’ll note that he’s playing with movie film… the pivotal antique is silent movie posters.

Click on the image to enlarge.


Calling All Aspiring Writers! Calling All My Writing Students!

endicott house Join Jane at the magnificent Endicott House for an inspiring writing weekend— January 11-13, 2013. You’ll find your unique writer’s voice as you journey through six modules with thought-provoking workshops and inspirational activities. Click here for the detailed agenda. This weekend workshop is intimate, appropriate for both novices and more experienced writers, including those who’ve participated in Jane’s past workshops. Here’s some comments from past attendees (some of whom will be back in January!):

  • “You are amazing.  Thanks for a truly fabulous weekend.  I came back with a glow.” Lita Nelsen
  • “It was probably late Monday afternoon before I came down from the high of this past weekend... I left feeling inspired, invigorated and renewed. Some people can write and some can teach, you are one of those unique individuals who can do both! Thank you for sharing your expertise so generously with us, and for putting together a program that seemed to touch us all, regardless of our different backgrounds and experiences.” Deb Carlson
  • “Thank you for a wonderful inspiring weekend. I really enjoyed your workshops. You have the talent to engage your audience and share all your knowledge. Your warm understanding feedback was a pleasure to hear. Thank you again. I am off writing.” Theresa Jay
  • “Thank you so much for the Rubric and for the wonderful and inspiring weekend.  I am looking forward to editing a few pieces that I have had tucked away in my desk for too long. Also, several of the prompts you gave us over the weekend provided me with insight about where I need to go with my writing. Now I am actually looking  forward to getting back to working on my memoir!” Jean Mudge
  • “I just returned from an amazing Aspiring Writer’s weekend at MIT’s Endicott House. I was absolutely WOWED by everyone’s writing, honesty and openness, including Jane’s, who shared above and beyond my expectations and turned a group of strangers into a family.” Elizabeth Dougherty

To register, buy a gift certificate for someone you love, or for more information, please call 617-253-5211 or email Questions about the workshop content, the instructional design, or whether you’d feel comfortable attending? Email Jane directly.

Antiques Fact: Did You Know?
Verdura’s Wrapped Heart

verdura wrapped heart
A secondary plot on 2013’s Lethal Treasure, involves a gorgeous wrapped heart by the legendary jewelry designer, Fulco di Verdura. Verdura designed one-of-a-kind pieces for many of the most glamorous women in the world including Coco Chanel, Babe Paley, Greta Garbo, and the Duchess of Windsor, among scores of other leaders of 1940s society. If a brooch such as this were to sell today, assuming provenance could be confirmed, it would likely fetch more than $250,000.

Ask Jane: Why does Josie drink Diet Coke?

dolled up for murder Q: Joni from Connecticut sent an email saying, “In Dolled Up for Murder, Josie drinks a Diet Coke… I would like it if you would persuade readers to drink something healthy.”

A: Jane replied: “Josie doesn’t drink Diet Coke often… she prefers martinis."

Joni wrote: “You are so cool. Martini's are more healthy, of course.”

Each book features a special martini. And in each book, Josie always uses her father’s favorite toast, “Here’s to silver light in the dark of night.”


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Vol VI, No. 5
In this issue:
Jane Spoke About “Smuggling Dolls” at the
Westport, CT Library…
She’ll Come to Your Venue, Too!

Jane Murphy Talk about putting on putting on the dog! Look at the cake the gorgeous, thoughtful, brilliant Jane Murphy, a librarian in Westport, CT organized for a recent talk brought to the event! So special! (And how cute is her “Me, Jane” photo?!)

Jane and cake Jane’s talk on “Smuggling Dolls” fits with her latest Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, Dolled Up for Murder. Since dolls were first carved by craftsmen, they’ve both served as role models and reflected current definitions of beauty. Her visual lecture discusses how dolls have evolved since the sixteenth century, how fashion relates to image, and how bounty from the Civil War leads to murder. By following a historical trail from Queen Anne to Sesame Street, attendees discover how dolls have been used for smuggling—and how they represent innocence—or should.

Does your organization, book club, or library host events? Jane would love to participate! She can deliver one of her many visual lectures, business communications training workshops, or participate in your book club discussion. Contact Jane directly for more information!

endicott house consigned to death
Finding Stolen Art:
A Detective Takes on the Nazis
-Come to MA in Jan 2013

Join Jane on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at MIT’s spectacular Endicott House for an evening of delectable food and wine and an engaging, informative presentation. Jane’s presentation on “Finding Stolen Art: A Detective Takes on the Nazis” tells the story of the Nazi’s plunder of art (a fact that’s pivotal to the plot of Consigned to Death).

According to Interpol and the FBI, the Nazis stole almost 20 percent of all Western art. klimtTo this day, more than 20,000 objects are still missing. This visual lecture traces one woman’s effort to recover her family’s art. It’s a real David vs. Goliath tale—inspirational and fun!

For more information or to reserve your spot, call Michael R. Fitzgerald, General Manager, at 617.715.4901 or email him at mrfitzg@MIT.ED.


endicott house
Two Fab Reviews of Dolled Up for Murder

Dolled Up for Murder got two terrific reviews last week—by the great (and Edgar-winning) Joe Meyers in the Connecticut Post and by the great John Valeri in Hartford Books Examiner.


Antiques to Die For Now Available in Paperback

antiques to die for Here’s what Antiques to Die For is about: When the body of a lively new acquaintance, Rosalie Chaffee, washes up on New Hampshire's rugged coastline, antiques dealer Josie Prescott is pulled into the mystery. A blow to the head suggests foul play. And when the victim's much younger sister, twelve-year-old Paige, asks for help, Josie finds herself doing what she does best—hunting for a valuable antique.

Paige can't tell Josie what exactly they're looking for. All her sister told her before she died was that it was worth a lot of money, and Paige fears greedy relatives are already scheming. As suspicion falls on the victim's boss, the CEO of a modular furniture company about whom Rosalie was penning a biography, the mystery deepens. Soon, an illicit love affair, a devious wife, an old diary and a threatening stalker steer Josie closer to the truth—and a killer surprise.

guavatini Read an excerpt! Are you a member of a book club? Here are the discussion questions (and martini recipe!) for Antiques to Die For. Buy your copy today!     It's available in large print, too!

Antiques Fact: Did You Know?
Silent Movie Posters Were Hand Painted

silent movie poster letha; treasures
From 1924 to 1928, Batiste Madalena had designed and painted nearly 1,500 movie posters for the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York using tempera on illustrator board. When the Eastman Theater changed hands, the new owners trashed all the old posters, literally putting them out on the curb. Luckily, Madalena saw what was happening in time to rescue a few hundred of them. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York City featured his work in a 2008 exhibition. Silent movie posters are the pivotal antique in the eighth Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, Lethal Treasure, which will be published by St. Martin’s Minotaur in June 2013.

hurricane sandy
Ask Jane: You live in Manhattan
—did you suffer any damage from Hurricane Sandy?
Karla from Omaha

A: Thanks for asking… we’re fine… our midtown Manhattan neighborhood was spared Sandy’s fury. Our landmark casement windows held. Our power never went off. The plants on my terrace survived without damage. Many other areas in the tri-state area were hit much harder than ours.

Taken by a surveillance camera around 9:30 p.m. on Monday, October. 29, 2012, this Port Authority of New York and New Jersey photo shows the PATH station in Hoboken, N.J., flooding.

I hope you’re all safe and sound, too.

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Vol. VI, No. 6
In this issue:
Lethal Treasure is Dedicated to Librarians
(and a featured title in Macmillan’s Library Newsletter!)

Jane has long considered librarians to be the rock stars of her world. Here’s the lovely article that appeared in Macmillan’s current newsletter and the dedication:

lethal treasureFor antiques dealer Josie Prescott, an abandoned storage unit is the perfect place to find some killer treasure, but finding a dead body amongst the wares is more than she bargained for.

Just like Josie, we got more than we bargained for when we opened up LETHAL TREASURE (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries #8) and found Jane Cleland's loving dedication to librarians "the rock stars of [her] world."

See the full dedication below. Click to enlarge.

Giveaway: We have 50 ARCs of LETHAL TREASURE for the first 50 librarians to send us an e-mail with their full name, title, and mailing address (US only). Mail to, subject: Lethal Treasure.

Isn’t that wonderful?! A featured book!

You’re Invited! Hear Jane speak on
Finding Stolen Art: A Detective Takes on the Nazis

Maria Altmann Sponsored by Lehman College’s City and Humanities program, Jane’s visual lecture is free and open to the public.

Thursday, April 4th, 12:30 to 2 p.m., The Black Box Studio Theater.

Jane’s visual lecture is a fun, inspirational David vs. Goliath tale. According to Interpol and the FBI, the Nazis stole almost 20 percent of all Western art. To this day, more than 20,000 objects are still missing. Jane tells the story of one woman’s efforts to right a 60-year wrong.

Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West
Bronx, NY 10468
It’s an easy ride on the number 4 train, about 30 minutes from Grand Central.
Here’s the link to the campus map.

Any questions? Email Jane directly.


Ask Your Librarian to order Lethal Treasure
—and pre-order your copy, too!

lethal treasures The eighth Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, Lethal Treasure, a tale of silent movie posters, hidden messages, and love—and a cat named Hank, will be published in June 2013!

hank in josie's arms May I ask a favor? Please ask your librarian to order it! Thank you so much. And of course, your pre-ordering a copy would be wonderful! I’d be most appreciative! If you’d like a autographed or personalized copy, it can be ordered through Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale. 888-560-9919. Thank you.

French martini
LIM College Is Hosting the Lethal Treasure Launch Party, the Kick-off to a Mini-tour

Hold the date! LIM College, where Jane taught for many years, is hosting the launch party for Lethal Treasure, June 25, 6 p.m. at Fashionopolis! 12 E 53rd Street, New York City, 212.371.8862. Jane will discuss the role hidden messages play in communications—and a cat named Hank. Books will be available for purchase and signing. French martinis will be served!

Jane will also be visiting Murder by the Book in Houston on June 29th and participating in Poisoned Pen’s conference in the Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale on July 6th. She hopes you’ll stop by and say hello!


Mystery writer, Meredith Anthony, provides a deadly take of workplace homocide in her witty and thought-provoking look at the role work plays in our lives—and why it often leads to murder. Read it here.

Ask Jane: Where are you with adapting Josie for the stage?

Q: Gladys from Omaha, NE asked, “Last I heard you were working on adapting a Josie story into a play. How’s it coming?”

A: I’m busily revising the adaptation of “Killing Time,” a Josie short story that first ran in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, for the stage. It’s more complicated than I expected for three reasons. First, all my Josie stories are written in the first person, which means a lot of the action takes place in her head. Watching someone think doesn’t work on stage. (Picture watching paint dry.) Second, Josie spends a fair amount of her time at the computer researching things. Think of that activity on stage… are you yawning yet? Third, a short story is, well, short. A full length play needs to be more complex. That said, I’m excited to report that the revisions are going well. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York chapter, is hosting a table reading in May. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to hear the words spoken aloud.

greta garbo
Antiques Fact: Did You Know…
Silent Movie Posters Were Hand-Painted

From 1924 to 1928, Batiste Madalena designed and painted nearly 1,500 movie posters for the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York using tempera on illustrator board. When the Eastman Theater changed hands, the new owners trashed all the old posters, literally putting them out on the curb. Luckily, Madalena saw what was happening in time to rescue a few hundred of them. This poster was part of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 2008.

The Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries. "Ingenious ... engaging!" Publishers Weekly. Jane does Business Communications training work, too!

P.S.  Please add "" to your address book!

© 2005— Jane K. Cleland

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