Rerelease Day: Lessons 4-Year Publiversary!

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Today marks the 4-year anniversary of the publication of my historical women’s fiction short story collection Lessons From My Mother’s Life (hence the “publiversary”).

This book was a huge departure for me when I first published it in 2020. I was writing my Waxwood Series at the time, which was set in the 1890s, and I was also working on my Adele Gossling Mysteries, which is set at the turn of the 20th century. So to write stories set in the post-World War II era was a big change. It was also a book that was more personal to me than anything I had written up until that time. 

A word about the title of this collection: I had some arguments with my mentor about changing it. Why? Because she felt the title was misleading. The implication of Lessons From My Mother’s Life is that the book is non-fiction stories about my mother’s life. Or that the book is true stories of other women’s mother’s lives. From a marketing perspective, she thought this would create some problems with the book reaching the right audience.

And truthfully, I did consider changing the title for this rerelease (which I had planned on doing since last year). But I decided to keep the title as it was for several reasons. First, it felt right (and authors can be very stubborn about their titles!) But second, the title originally came from the idea that the lessons the stories convey are lessons that come from my mother’s generation, though they are not lessons she overtly taught me. They are more lessons inferred from her own life, that is, her regrets and what she did that I don’t want to do. These are universal lessons mid-20th century women have to teach us, whether they are our mothers or grandmothers, or even great-grandmothers. In the stories, an older woman teaches a younger one something about life not overtly but covertly, by encouraging her to do what she couldn’t or sending the message “Don’t do what I did.” 

Why am I calling this a “rerelease”? Because a few things have changed. The biggest change is the cover. When I first published the book, I created the cover because I was a struggling author whose finances were extremely limited. But over the years, thanks to all my amazing readers (those existing and those to come), I’ve been able to afford to have a professional designer do my covers. So I knew it was time for Lessons to get a makeover. 

I also took the opportunity to give the book a new cover to give the stories another proofread. I’ve done this multiple times (don’t ask how many) as a way to refresh the stories and make sure they still read well. So there are some minor tweaks to most of the stories. Even if you’ve already read the book, I encourage you to pick it up again because the stories will read a bit differently than they did in the original version.

I hope you enjoy the book and have a discussion with your mother or grandmother about what her life was like so you can learn the valuable lessons her life has to teach you.

Title: Lessons From My Mother’s Life

Author: Tam May

Genres: Historical Women’s Fiction/Short Fiction

Original release date: March 29, 2020

Rerelease Date: March 29, 2024

How happy was the 1950s happy housewife?

Women in post-war America were supposed to have it all: generous husbands with great jobs, comfortable suburban homes with nice yards and two-car garages, and all the latest gadgets to make their housework easier.

The pain and horror of World War II were over. The economy was booming and America was becoming a world leader. American women were to play a role in America’s prosperity, the role they were always meant to play: supporting mothers, wives, and daughters. Theirs was a life of ease. They were the fairytale princesses with the happy ending.

The women’s magazines told them so. The advertisements for laundry detergent and TV dinners told them so. The doctors who treated their children’s colds told them so.

Women in 1950s America were sold a bill of goods about their purpose in life and their futures. Some bought it and some didn’t.

This book is about the women who didn’t.

These are not nostalgic stories about my mother’s life or your mother’s life. They dig deep into the lives of five fictional characters who knew in the back of their minds that their lives weren’t happy and they wanted something more.

Five stories. Five women. Five roads that will lead to self-identity and fulfillment.

About the Author

Writing has been Tam May’s voice since the age of fourteen. She writes stories set in the past that feature sassy and sensitive women characters. Tam is the author of the Adele Gossling Mysteries which takes place in the early 20th century and features suffragist and epistolary expert Adele Gossling whose talent for solving crimes doesn’t sit well with her town’s conventional ideas about women’s place. Tam is also working on a new series, the Grave Sisters Mysteries about three sisters who own a funeral home and help the county D.A. solve crimes in a 1920s small California town, set to release in 2025. She has also written historical fiction about women breaking loose from the social and psychological expectations of their era. Although Tam left her heart in San Francisco, she lives in the Midwest because it’s cheaper. When she’s not writing, she’s devouring everything classic (books, films, art, music), concocting yummy plant-based dishes, and exploring her new riverside town.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammayauthor/

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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tammayauthor/ 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tam-May/e/B01N7BQZ9Y/ 

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tam-may

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16111197.Tam_May

Are you into fun and engaging mysteries set in the past? Love sassy but sensitive women characters defying the social conventions of their time? Then you’ll enjoy The Missing Ruby Necklace! It’s available exclusively to newsletter subscribers here. By signing up, you’ll also get news about upcoming releases, enlightening anecdotes about women’s history, classic true-crime tidbits, and more!

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Introducing the Grave Sisters Mysteries Series!

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If you’ve been subscribing to my newsletter (and if you haven’t, you might want to check out the link below because you’ll get a bunch of cool stuff, including a couple of freebies) you know I announced last year that I would be working on a new series in 2024 to launch in 2025. I’m now ready to talk a little bit about that new series.

The Grave Sisters Mysteries is going to be another historical cozy mystery series (like my Adele Gossling Mysteries). The two series have several elements in common. They both feature strong women sleuths who defy the conventions of their time. They are both set in small towns in California and they both include women who help men in law enforcement solve crimes. 

But the Grave Sisters Mysteries has a few differences that set it apart from my current series. As the name suggests, there is more than one sleuth in this new series. The sleuths, in fact, are three sisters. Eve is the oldest and most involved in solving the crimes. The middle sister, Helena, is her aide and brings different skills to the table. Their younger sister, Violet, is less involved in crime solving (at least at the beginning) but she nevertheless puts her hand in.

Another thing that makes the Grave Sisters Mysteries different from the Adele Gossling Mysteries is the sleuths’ non-crime-solving occupation. Adele runs her own stationary store in town. The Grave Sisters own a family business and its nature might surprise you. They run the only mortuary in town! That’s right. They deal with dead bodies in their line of work, though most of them get that way from natural causes rather than murder. Eve handles the administrative and accounting side of things while Helena is the resident mortician who prepares the bodies for burial. Violet, who is only eighteen in the first book, doesn’t get as involved in the family business until much later.

The time frames for both series are also different. Those who know the Adele Gossling Mysteries know the first book is set only a few years after the turn of the 20th century and the series is currently up to the middle of its first decade (spoiler alert: Book 7 is going to take place during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire). Adele’s values and ideas fit the Progressive Era and her New Woman status lends interest and background to the mysteries.

The Grave sisters live in a later era. The first book is set in 1921, a period in American history that was just as vibrant as the Progressive Era, though in a different way. World War I  was behind us but the Roaring Twenties wasn’t exactly in full swing. In fact, the nation was experiencing a sort of dip in prospects with so many World War I veterans who returned home to find they couldn’t get jobs (this becomes one of the themes of Book 2 of this series). But the sisters are firmly planted in this era that was experiencing a transition from the old to the new. America was still trying to hold on desperately to its old values and yet, the younger generation was sick and tired of the old ways and bringing in the modern age against their parents’ and grandparents’ resistance. All of these things affect the sisters and their relationship to one another. Future blog posts will address some of these topics. 

Even though Book 1 of the Grave Sisters Mysteries won’t be released until the spring of 2025, don’t despair! I have more information for you about the series here. Book 1 will be available for preorder sometime later this year. I’ll also be including more updates about this series as well as details and excerpts in my newsletter this year, so if you’re not signed up for my newsletter, now is a great time to do so!

If you’re new to my site and haven’t yet checked out the Adele Gossling Mysteries, I encourage you to do that too! Book 1 of that series, The Carnation Murder, is free on all bookseller sites so you lose nothing but picking up a copy. You can find all the links here

If you love fun, engaging mysteries set in the past, you’ll enjoy The Missing Ruby Necklace! It’s available exclusively to newsletter subscribers here. By signing up, you’ll also get news about upcoming releases, fun facts about women’s history, classic true-crime tidbits, and more!

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Release Day Blitz for Adelel Gossling Mysteries Box Set: Books 1-3!

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Title: Adele Gossling Mysteries Box Set 1: Books 1-3 (Adele Gossling Mysteries Box 

Series: Adele Gossling Mysteries

Author: Tam May

Genres: Historical Cozy Mystery

Release Date: November 25, 2023

Can a forward-thinking woman help the police solve crimes in a backward-thinking town?

“Great new series!”

Smart, inquisitive, and a firm believer in Progressive Era reforms, Adele Gossling seeks a new life after the devastating death of her father. She flees San Francisco for the town of Arrojo, planning a life of peace and small pleasures. But both elude her when she and her spiritual sidekick, Nin Branch, get involved in helping the local police solve the case of a dead debutante, a poisoned schoolteacher, and a family matriarch who may or may not have left a generous will.

The Carnation Murder: Adele Gossling has barely been in Arrojo for a week when she discovers her neighbor’s dead body in her gazebo. Can Adele and Nin solve this puzzling case involving a striped carnation, a diamond ring, a note, a muddy pair of boots, and a broken promise?

A Wordless Death: Millie Gibb, the new teacher at the local girl’s school, is found dead and everybody in town assumes the homely, unmarried spinster committed suicide. Can Adele and her clairvoyant friend Nin prove Millie’s death was foul play based on a cigar stub, a letter fragment, and a cigarette lighter before the case is closed for good?

Death at Will: When the affluent Thea Marsh dies unexpectedly, the trail of suspects leads to Thea’s beloved and favored eldest son, Theo. Will Adele make a case against Theo’s guilt for the police out of a stained teacup, a fountain pen nib, ashes that should have been in the fireplace, and daisies that should have been fresh?

Pick up this box set of the first three Adele Gossling Mysteries and immerse yourself in turn-of-the-century Northern California in all its dynamic and chaotic glory for a fun and cozy read!

You can get your copy of this box set at a special price at the following online retailers.


About the Author

Writing has been Tam May’s voice since the age of fourteen. She writes stories set in the past that feature sassy and sensitive women characters. Tam is the author of the Adele Gossling Mysteries which take place in the early 20th century and features suffragist and epistolary expert Adele Gossling whose talent for solving crimes doesn’t sit well with the town’s more conventional ideas about women’s place. She has also written historical fiction about women breaking loose from the social and psychological expectations of their era. Although Tam left her heart in San Francisco, she lives in the Midwest because it’s cheaper. When she’s not writing, she’s devouring everything classic (books, films, art, music) and concocting yummy plant-based dishes.


Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammayauthor/

Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/tammayauthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tammayauthor/ 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tam-May/e/B01N7BQZ9Y/ 

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tam-may

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16111197.Tam_May

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Release Day Blitz for The Case of the Dead Domestic!

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Title: The Case of the Dead Domestic

Series: Adele Gossling Mysteries: Book 6

Author: Tam May

Genres: Historical Cozy Mystery

Release Date: August 26, 2023

Everybody in town agrees: Arabella Parnell thinks far too highly of herself. She worked her way up to lady’s maid for one of Arrojo’s finest families, personal friends of the mayor. She attends parties given by the lady of the house as if she were the guest of honor. She writes letters to the daughter of her wealthy former employer as if they were comrades. She flirts with some of the most prominent men in the county.

So the Arrojo police are hardly surprised when they find her dead among the shrubbery in a wealthy bachelor’s conservatory.

And yet, amateur sleuth and suffragist Adele Gossling can’t help but wonder: Who was Arabella Parnell really? Was she just a servant with arrogant manners and too much self-assurance? Or was she the victim of the pride and passions of powerful men, one of whom did her in? With a hair comb, a brooch, and a candlestick to go on, can Adele solve this case?

Early reviews:

“It’s so much more than I expected from a cozy mystery.”

“The characters are well-rounded, interesting, and unique.”

You can get your copy of the book at a special promotional price at the following online retailers.


Excerpt

Missy Grace, the editor of the Arrojo Courier, hurried into her shop, her cotton hair flying as usual around her face. She pushed back her bangs with the edge of her pencil. “Adele, what can you tell me about that body found in Virgil Riddle’s conservatory?”

Adele stared at her. “What the devil are you talking about?” 

“Don’t use such vulgar language, Adele,” Beatrice chided.

“It’s no worse than your ‘bum it,’ dear,” Missy barked. 

Beatrice’s nose went up. “I stopped using ‘bum it’ last year.”

“My congratulations.” Missy turned her back to her. “I’m talking about the sheriff and your brother rushing out of the police station an hour ago, looking very official.”

“They told you there was a body in Virgil Riddle’s conservatory?” Adele asked.

“Certainly not,” Missy said. “You know how hush-hush they are when they’re being official.”

“Then how do you know about it?”

“I caught Assistant Deputy Curd having his morning bun at the bakery and wheedled it out of him.”

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Adele said dryly. 

“Naturally, the boy was too dense to tell me anything of value,” Missy continued. “He could only say Mr. Riddle had found a girl’s body lying among the shrubbery in his conservatory, and she was most certainly dead.”

“Golly!” Beatrice sighed. “Another murder.”

“I wouldn’t necessarily take Assistant Deputy Curd’s word for it,” Adele said. “He’s not the brightest of men.”

“That’s why I’m coming to you,” said her friend. “You remember our bargain, Adele?” She looked meaningfully at her. 

“I tell you what I know if you tell me what you know.” Adele nodded. “Only I honestly know nothing, Missy. This is the first I’m hearing of it.”

“Well then,” her friend took her arm, “it’s our duty as star reporter and lady detective to find out, isn’t it?”

“I’m not a lady detective, you know,” Adele remarked, but she took off the apron she always wore when dealing with some of the dirtier aspects of her work. 

“You’re leaving me to mind the shop?” Beatrice’s green eyes, which had become more almond-shaped as the years passed, widened. “Golly!”

“I see you’ve replaced your ‘bum it’ with another inelegant colloquialism,” Missy remarked. 

“A woman may speak as she needs to be heard,” Beatrice said with meaning. 

“You know how to handle the cash register, as I showed you?” Adele asked.

“No one will come in anyway,” said the young woman. “It’s too early.”

“Nevertheless, we must always be ready to serve anyone.” Adele put on her gloves. “We’ll fetch Nin first.”

“Has she appointed herself lady detective too?” Missy eyed her.

“You might consider her the unofficial medium for the police,” Adele said as they emerged from her shop. “She’s helped them a great deal in the past, Missy.”

“I don’t object if she doesn’t,” she said.


About the Author

Writing has been Tam May’s voice since the age of fourteen. She writes stories set in the past that feature sassy and sensitive women characters. Tam is the author of the Adele Gossling Mysteries which take place in the early 20th century and features suffragist and epistolary expert Adele Gossling whose talent for solving crimes doesn’t sit well with the town’s more conventional ideas about women’s place. She has also written historical fiction about women breaking loose from the social and psychological expectations of their era. Although Tam left her heart in San Francisco, she lives in the Midwest because it’s cheaper. When she’s not writing, she’s devouring everything classic (books, films, art, music) and concocting yummy plant-based dishes.


Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammayauthor/

Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/tammayauthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tammayauthor/ 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tam-May/e/B01N7BQZ9Y/ 

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tam-may

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16111197.Tam_May

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Go West, Young Man, Go West

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Today, July 13, is one of those funky holiday days. It’s Go West Day. 

This term actually came from an editorial piece written by Horace Greenly. Greenly was a well-known figure in the mid-19th century, as he was the editor and publisher of the New York Tribune and even ran for presidential candidate against Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. So Greenly was considered a voice of authority at that time. On this day in 1865, faced with a recently ended Civil War which left many soldiers destitute, he advised them to leave their hometowns for brighter horizons in the Midwest and West which had, a few years earlier, opened up with the Homestead Act. 

It’s no wonder Greenly’s words “Go West, young man, go West” resonated with so many Americans in the post-Civil War era. The West was seen not only as virgin territory to settle and explore (which would appeal to many young Civil War veterans looking for adventure) but also as a place to start a new life. The Homestead Act gave the option of acquiring acres of land for a small fee, though once the settlers reached that land, they were on their own in terms of paying for the necessary tools and equipment it took to work that land. Still, for a young man just starting out in life with no money and no assets, it wasn’t a bad deal.

Photo Credit: Painting of a small town where the train and wagons are heading West, print, 1868, Currier & Ives: Library of Congress website/Public domain

There’s no doubt that “Go West, young man” also appealed to others for darker reasons. If a man or woman wanted to escape dire circumstances, they could do no better than to “go West”. Criminals who committed a crime in one state might go West to escape punishment, as even though the constitution demanded states extradite a fugitive to the state in which the fugitive committed the crime, whether this was done was up to the governor’s discretion. 

Similarly, someone seeking to escape a non-criminal but uncomfortable situation was attracted to the idea of “going West”. In the 1949 film version of Henry James’ novella Washington Square (1880), when Morris (Montgomery Clift) discovers Catherine (Olivia de Havilland) is disinheriting herself in order to run away and elope with him, he promises to return to take her away, then goes home, packs his bags, and hops on a boat to California. In other words, to avoid marrying a woman he only intended to marry for the inheritance she would get, he flees West. 

Although the protagonist for my Adele Gossling Mysteries has, in a sense, already “gone West” (she was born and raised in San Francisco), she nonetheless follows the “go West” call when she decides to leave the big city for the small town of Arrojo, California in order to find peace and small pleasures. Considering her constant involvement in crime-solving, peace and small pleasures aren’t exactly what she gets!

Book 6 of the Adele Gossling Mysteries is coming soon! You can already pick up a copy of it at a special preorder price here. And don’t forget that Book 1 of the series is always free!

If you love fun, engaging mysteries set in the past, you’ll enjoy The Missing Ruby Necklace! It’s available exclusively to newsletter subscribers here. By signing up, you’ll also get news about upcoming releases, fun facts about women’s history, classic true-crime tidbits, and more!

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