GUYS, I am so excited for this book and so thankful to Shannon and Nancy for helping me bring Eleanor Dumont's (aka Madame Moustache's) story to readers.
My interest in Eleanor Dumont’s story bloomed as I began researching the women of the California gold rush. It wasn’t long before I came upon a name unknown to me, Madame Moustache. As it turned out, Madame Moustache was the sobriquet for Eleanor Dumont, who was born as Simone Jules, and who had popularized vingt-et-un, now known as blackjack.
The presence of three names for a single woman intrigued me. I wondered how one name bled into the next and how life winded to a nickname—one I didn’t initially find particularly endearing—that Eleanor lived with for over a decade. I wondered if she endured the moniker for all those years or if she was accepting of the name, which was spat at her after taking a man’s last dime during a game of vingt-et-un and offering him a glass of milk, Eleanor having been claimed to have said, "Any man silly enough to lose his last cent to a woman deserves a milk diet.”
In all the anecdotes I found of Eleanor, she was warmhearted, quick-witted, business savvy, courageous, and tenacious. The attributes led me to believe that perhaps Eleanor didn’t tolerate the nickname but instead embraced it. After that, there was no stopping me from telling her story.
And I hope you're excited to read it!!
If you're on Goodreads, please take a quick moment to click the "Want to Read" button >>> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55367443-a-betting-woman
🎉 Book news! 🎉
I'm such a nerd for research and outlining so it's with immense pleasure that I get to say I've begun researching a new middle grade book and that I'll be contributing to Capstone Publishing's Girls Survive series!
The Girls Survive series is for kiddos 8 and up that tells amazing stories of survival during events like the sinking of the Titanic, the San Francisco Earthquake, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and stories about the underground railroad, spying during the civil war and the Night of Broken Glass.
My book -- which is coming Spring 2021 -- is about the London Blitz. It occurred during WWII when Hitler turned his attention away from bombing military targets and instead terrorized civilians in London night after night. For 57 days!
I am very excited to be writing and sharing a young girl's story of survival during this time. Thank you to Capstone for the opportunity to contribute to this awesome series!
I'm very excited to announce a new middle grade novel with Scholastic, inspired by a real-life resistance group in Nazi Germany! Stay tuned for updates. This beauty is planned to hit shelves in early 2021!
I'm excited to share that the ebook of BECOMING BONNIE is currently on sale for only $1.99 through the month of April!
Download now from:
Or wherever you purchase your ebooks!
One of the really interesting aspects of writing BECOMING BONNIE was how both Bonnie and Clyde were musically inclined. Clyde played both the guitar and the saxophone (the later found in the back of the car they were killed in.) And, Bonnie was a singer, having sung in her church's choir.
Bonnie was also known for her poetry. So taking into account their musical abilities and Bonnie's love of words, I thought it'd be really fun to include an original song in the novel, where Bonnie and Clyde write each verse as their story together grows and unravels.
And, here's the scene where I began their song 🎶
Clyde’s head tilts down, and he looks up at me from under his lashes. “I started this here song a while ago, but she ain’t done,” he says. “Was hoping you’d help me finish her.”
His fingertips slide down the strings once, letting the soft sound vibrate ’round us. “You’ll see.”
He goes back for more, a dark melody forming with each stroke, and moistens his lips. Clyde says, more than sings, “Death is a five-letter word, with a five- finger clutch.” His head stays down, his jaw relaxed, eyes closed. “It cornered him, pitting him against the bigger man . . . By the throat, edging closer, nearing Death’s final touch.”
The rhythm quickens, the beat an unexpected surprise.
“Then there she was, light in the dark, defying Death’s plan . . . She stared it down, held on tight, fired off a shot all her own . . . Ohh”—he draws out the word, as if taunting Death—“Oh, oh, oh, death for the boy has been postponed.”
Clyde’s fingers shift to a higher pitch on the guitar. He smirks and sings from the corner of his mouth, “’Cause lean closer, listen close . . . How the story ends, no one knows . . . But one thing’s clear, you’ll see . . . Bonnie and Clyde, meant to be, alive and free.”
That last line, that last note hangs between us.
I forget how to breathe.
“That’s all I got for now,” Clyde says softly. “Thought maybe we could do the next verse together.”
“Together?” I wring my hands, staring into the eyes of Clyde Barrow, the criminal, the charmer, the . . . boy who wrote me a doggone song to show me how he cares.
“Yeah, Bonnie. You and me. What do you say?”
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt and I hope you'll download your copy of BECOMING BONNIE now -- for only $1.99!
Exciting news! The ebook of SIDE BY SIDE, which tells the story of Bonnie and Clyde through Bonnie's eyes, is on sale for only $2.99 and only until February 28th!
If you've ever been fascinated with, intrigued by, or interested in the story of Bonnie and Clyde, then this book's for you -- and now's the time to snag it!
"Jenni L. Walsh has written my favorite kind of novel. She's taken a name we're all familiar with and breathed life into the legend." - Ariel Lawhon
"Compulsively readable" - Chanel Cleeton
"Full of charm and sly humor" - Elise Hooper
History, romance, crime and action – a great book." - Historical Novel Society, Editors' Choice
Grab a copy for yourself or gift an ebook to your partner in crime!
It's all because of the wonderful (so wonderful) support and excitement over Becoming Bonnie that I can announce: there's going to be a sequel, Being Bonnie!
I adore this story and these characters and I cannot wait to share the second half with my soon-to-be readers, which will focus on the depression desperation of Bonnie and Clyde, and the crime spree that made them world-famous American outlaws.
Becoming Bonnie hits shelves on May 9, 2017 and Being Bonnie will follow in the summer of 2018. Being Bonnie is up on Goodreads here, if you'd be so kind to add!
If you haven't yet added Becoming Bonnie on Goodreads, you can do so here! Becoming Bonnie is also available for preorder, including options for signed hardcovers. Please also consider signing up for my newsletter. I'm sending out the first one soon, and there may be some exclusive content and a giveaway of (hint, hint) this mug...
Now, finally, the official announcement from Publisher's Weekly!
Thank you, again. I'm so excited to share my version of Bonnie and Clyde's infamous story with you all! Also, sending so much gratitude to my agent, editor, and publisher for making my dreams a reality <3
Inspiring our kiddos is so important, and I'm so excited to work on a new middle grade series, Brave Like Me, with Scholastic that tells true stories of young woman, who at a young age, accomplished great feats of perseverance and bravery.
Here are the two official announcements from Publishers Weekly!
First and foremost, I'd like to thank my agent, Stacey Glick, for making it possible for me to even write that headline. Her enthusiasm and dedication to this project is something in which I'll be forever thankful.
So what is this project? Becoming Bonnie is my debut historical novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes part of the infamous Bonnie & Clyde duo doing the Roaring 20s. It also happens to be my debut! Wahoo!
I am beyond excited to be working with Bess Cozby from Tor/Macmillan, releasing Becoming Bonnie through their Forge imprint in Spring 2017. I was secretly pining for Bess ever since Stacey pitched her, and I couldn't have been happier when she proclaimed how she loved Bonnie as much as I did/do.
Without further ado: here is the official book deal announcement from Publishers Weekly *squees*
I'd also like to give special shout outs to my husband, Matt, my mom, Susanne, and my author friends, Carolyn Menke and Megan Herman, for their encouragement and support. God knows I wanted to give up many times. He also wouldn't let me.