Ann Chamberlin's Blog

March 29, 2020

Clogs and Shawls: Mormons, Moorlands, and the Search for Zion

There was going to be a big celebration to greet the release of this, my most recent, book. I ordered numerous copies to be rushed to my bookshop at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, where I was going to offer free birthday cake to all 17,000 visitors to the festival.
Upon my return to my home in Salt Lake, where many of the descendants of the women in the book live, there were going to be more signings and parties. Then, a trip to the East Coast where a visit to my new granddaughter would be combined with signings and parties before I crossed the Atlantic to sign and party in Yorkshire, where my mother was born, and where many of the events related by my grandmother and her sisters took place. I even thought of a little gathering among friends and booklovers in Paris.
Not happening. All cancelled. COVID-19.
So this will serve as the online launch and party.
In the 1980s, when they were about the age I am now, I had the opportunity to interview my grandmother and her six sisters still living. Some of them had memories of when Queen Victoria was still alive. This memoir is the result.
The lively, gregarious father of these eight girls lost his sight as a child and made a life for them by tuning pianos and singing in pubs. Conditions were Dickensian in this dark blight of the Industrial Revolution. Most of the girls had to leave school at twelve to work in the mills.
Their Welsh mother converted to the Mormon Church, and brought the girls up to be the backbone of the local branch. Visions of the better life they could have if only they could afford to immigrate to the Zion of which the missionaries spoke became their lives' goal.
But in a strange turnabout, especially in these trying times, the life they left behind becomes the touchstone of their more cynical descendants' dreams of love, hard work, laughter, and faith.
And stay safe.
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Published on March 29, 2020 10:33

October 25, 2016

The Book of Wizzy

Although the book has been out for a while, I just got the Giveaway up: ten signed copies of a modern Mormon murder mystery. Go, enter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Book of Wizzy by Ann Chamberlin

The Book of Wizzy

by Ann Chamberlin

Giveaway ends November 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

This story that visits Utah's ski slopes as well as Temple Square at Christmastime is perfect for holiday giving.
It is also quite a departure from my usual historical novels where I often use the Middle East to deal with issues from my Mormon upbringing: deserts, patriarchs, prophets and polygamy. Maybe I just feel old enough to come home with more sympathy and nostalgia. At least my mom, who was afraid she'd have to hide her face at the ward house on Sunday, reviewed the story as "sweet". God bless my mom.
Here's the back blurb:

Eighteen-year-old Brittany Bingham is working as a housekeeper for posh condominiums in Park City when she discovers a body in a hot tub. Dead. Brittany's parents are serving an LDS mission in Southern California. Whom should she call?
Why, her aunt Helen Snow, of course.
But Helen has her own problems. She's still mourning the loss of a daughter with Down syndrome who died fifteen years ago at age three. Though Wizzy's sweet, angelic spirit visits her every day, no one understands that she's the source of her mother's inspiration, just as no one can know Helen's celestial marriage is on the rocks. Should Helen accept her bishop's call to be Relief Society president and tune out everything else, even Wizzy? Or should she respond to Brittany and learn how handsome Dave Jaramillo died?
Are yams appropriate in a compassionate-service casserole?
Who will kidnap the dog Horehound?
And forget about the sins of tea and coffee. Who drank the kombucha?

And here's some bio stuff I don't usually share for my other titles, but pertinent for this one:

Born and raised in Salt Lake City of Mormon polygamist pioneer stock, Ann Chamberlin has ancestors who preceded Brigham Young into the Valley to dig the irrigation ditches. Her mother still lives in the house her great-grandmother first bought as two rooms of adobe when she was widowed with thirteen children. On the other hand, Ann’s grandfather was forced out of Brigham Young University in 1911 for teaching evolution. There is some tension here.
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Published on October 25, 2016 09:45 Tags: cozy, mormon, mystery, utah

August 15, 2016

Forthcoming Book

The plan is to launch my new book at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention in New Orleans. This is a complete departure for me from my usual historical novels. This is a contemporary murder mystery to be called The Book of Wizzy set in my native Utah. More details and a give-away shortly to follow.
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Published on August 15, 2016 09:18 Tags: bouchercon, mormon, mystery

November 12, 2014

Two New Books

I'm pleased to announce two new books.

The first is the first volume of the Valkyrie trilogy, The Valkyries Book 1: Choosers of the Slain. In this trilogy, I tell the story of the medieval sagasThe Saga of the Volsungs or the The Nibelungenlied from the point of view of Brynhild. Perhaps you know her as the woman who sings in Wagner's operas.

Brynhild escapes dying as a sacrifice in the annual spring rite and becomes a Valkyrie in service to the god Odin. She and her fellow battlemaids can control the outcome of any battle, but the sacrifices required of them may be worse than death.

Here's a picture from the cover that I really like, the war god Odin's eight-legged horse who features in the story:


Choosers of the Slain is available as a giveaway for this coming month. Sign up!

My second title is another scratch and sniff, The Witch's Cottage, also available as a giveaway. Julia has really outdone herself with the pictures this time. I find it delightful.


Giveaway coming, just in time for Christmas.
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Published on November 12, 2014 14:06 Tags: historical-fantasy, historical-fiction, norse-mythology, odin, scratch-and-sniff, valkyrie, witches

June 11, 2014

Syrian Blog

Visit Sarah Johnson's blog "Reading the Past"
where she has posted a guest blog I wrote about my research for The Sword and the Well in Syria shortly before the civil war.

Also, I just got back from Denver where the North American Historical Novel Society Conference board and I started planning next year's conference. Mark your calendars; it's going to be great. My board of hardworking, devoted and brilliant folks will see to that. They are: Maryka Biaggio, Daniel Willis, Theresa Guzman Stokes, Meenoo Mishra and Susan Pruett.
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Published on June 11, 2014 08:24 Tags: historical-novel-society, syria

May 3, 2014

Introducing Two New Titles

So I lied in my last blog. The painting I sent you the jigsaw puzzle for got changed for this one.

Sword &

And the book The Sword and the Well is finally available, offered as a Goodreads giveaway for the next few days. It concludes my saga of early Islam.

Also available in giveaway is the scratch-and-sniff story I wrote and Julie T. Homenko illustrated entitled The Fair Maid and the Pirates.


This is the one with the Jerry Garcia connection.

Enjoy one or both!
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Published on May 03, 2014 11:22 Tags: islam, pirates, scratch-and-sniff

September 14, 2013

Preview of My New Cover

Follow this link and put the puzzle together for a sneak preview for what I hope will be the cover of my next book, the concluding Sword and the Well.

Working to tame the pinks and purples.
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Published on September 14, 2013 10:00

September 7, 2013

A Visit from Jerry Garcia

Now for something completely different from the lovely ladies who graced my blog for that past few months. But the world is full of so many wonderful things.

[image error]Grateful Dead - Jerry Garcia
--Carl Lender from Wikimedia Commons

Today the illustrator I've hired for a series of kids' books came over, bringing her preliminary sketches and her black German shepherd Nadia. My illustrator's name is Julia Homenko; here's a link to a page for her She also brought a large, battered black briefcase she opened to fish out her work and set the case carefully on the chair between us.

"That case," she said, "belonged to Jerry Garcia."

Dear Julia used to be a chauffeur for the Grateful Dead. I knew that. I didn't know she also covered briefcases with "Jerry Silks" for the band to give as gifts. Jerry himself went through a bunch of them. He gave Julia this case she pulled her pictures out of. I think it's a breach of copyrght if I put a dancing bear or skull with a wreath of roses or one of these silks up on my blog, but I'd like to.

So Jerry sat there in the third chair while Julia and I drank tea, ate raspberries and my sourdough bread (that's for San Francisco) and looked at her wonderful drawings. I can't wait until the books are ready, and I can at least put those pictures up here.

And in the meantime, I listen to "Deep Elem Blues".
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Published on September 07, 2013 12:07 Tags: grateful-dead, jerry-garcia

May 8, 2013

Utah Renaissance Faire

I'm spending the next two weeks with a bookshop tent at the Utah Renaissance Faire near Ogden. Just wanted to share two pictures of my nieces who came up Saturday. Katherine plays the harp beautifully in my shop.
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Published on May 08, 2013 07:22

January 10, 2013

Researching the Historical Novel

My blog with Sarah Johnson is now live. Here's an improved link:

Comment for a chance to win books.
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Published on January 10, 2013 08:26