Today, I find myself in writer-bliss — thrilled to be writing a new novel. There’s the phase of editing a book (tough fun) and the phase of marketing it (tough and not so fun), and the best phase, starting one. It’s summer, and ideas are blooming in my head as wildly as the roses I tend in 12 pots are putting out buds and opening red, pink, gold, and white. New story ideas opened up buds too. A lemon grove. A new heroine who’s fleeing a catastrophe in her life to run away to Florence, Italy. More
travel to italy
I’m delighted to have a new interview up at Authors18 — a group of this year’s debut authors, of which I’m a proud member. Among the questions asked: “If you could spend a day with anyone in history, who would it be?” See my answer in today’s interview (hint: I’d travel to Renaissance Italy). Here’s a link to the interview.
I’m thrilled to be part of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association first ever quarterly Author Happy Hour. Thursday, March 22, at 7 pm Eastern Time (4 pm PacificDaylight) I was on live video, answering questions and chatting with three other women’s fiction authors! Here’s the event link — now archived on Youtube. More
In Places That Verb Your World- Around the World in Books, I’m going to create a series of posts about novels and nonfiction books that take you traveling. Armchair traveling is one of my favorite ways to travel around the world. I’m not much good on an airliner these days, unless in First Class, and so I do a lot of my traveling via books. I have my longtime favorites and my new favorites, which I’ll list in this series of posts.
Travel Books I Love – Durell’s Books
Lawrence Durrell’s two classic memoirs, Bitter Lemons and Reflectionls on a Marine Venus are nothing less than exquisite love letters to places. They contain some of the most beautiful descriptions of places I’ve ever read, gorgeous prose that made me want to be a write when I read them in my early twenties.
Having a book out in the world isn’t a new experience for me. With three poetry books out in the world, I’ve experienced the elation, stage fright, happy overwhelm, and sheer joy in completing a book and giving it an audience. But to have a novel published is in another sphere. It’s a goal I’ve had since I was a child. And yesterday, I achieve it, with the release of The Renaissance Club from Fiery Seas Publishing.
I’ve partied, celebrated, and emailed and passed out bookmarks to spread the word. Right now, I’m happy to share an excerpt, published at Escape Into Life. Thanks to the editors there, you can read the cute-meet of my two main characters, one who lives in the 21st century, and the other who lives in the 17th, but who find a fold in time that allows them to be in the same moment.
If you suddenly found you could time travel, what good could you hope to do by traveling into the past? Could you time travel to prevent a war or a plague? Would you want to ensure that friendly, intelligent aliens landing on our planet weren’t obliterated by weed-killer? Would you want to change your own history to become richer, more successful, or healthier? Would you try to spare someone close to you a catastrophe?
Some of those things are the goal of my main character, May Gold, in The Renaissance Club (now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo). Time travel has been a philosophical problem ever since someone devised it. It’s the problem I asked myself as I sent May back to the 17th century.
And it’s a question I kept pondering as I thought about George St. James, the club’s guide to Renaissance Italy, and for a few the guide to time traveling.
Why did George have this gift? How did he decide to use it only to aid others? In George’s case, time travel appears to be genetic. His grandmother had the ability, though neither of his parents did. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because that’s not in the prologue of The Renaissance Club. It will appear in my third novel, Time’s Wily Thief, which features George St. James.
In The Renaissance Club, art historian May Gold time travels with George’s aid, and she finds herself face-to-face with her hero, 17th century Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. As she goes back and forth into his timeline, she starts trying to change things in his life, to prevent disasters that impeded his art.
Happy 2018! What are your new year’s writing goals? Someone in one of my writers groups asked me, while wishing me a happy 2018. I was shocked to realize I don’t have many. My debut novel launches on January 23 — The Renaissance Club, my time-travel love story, available now on Amazon for pre-order. I have a poetry collection coming out in August — Arabesque, from FutureCycle Press. And I’m finishing the last revision before querying agents and publishers of my new novel, The Romantics. Plus I’m writing a new musical play.
For me, 2018 seems to be all about finishing up big projects and sending them off to sail in wider waters, with new readership and audiences. Do you have a book making its debut in 2018? Maybe your writing goals revolve around book marketing — blogging, doing interviews, giving readings, offering giveaways. These all require a lot of writing. But my big 2018 writing goal is to start writing a new novel.
Would you give up everything, even the time in which you live, to be with your soul mate?
That’s the question my main character, May Gold, has to ask herself when her adventures in Italy in The Renaissance Club bring her face-to-face with her idol, 17th century genius sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. She has always admired — maybe more than admired — the fiery, expressive artist who could make marble come alive. What would you do if you could meet the historical person you most admire?
Click the link below to get a preview:
I’m thrilled to share that you can pre-order it, in either ebook or paperback, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks. Delivery date will be the official release: January 23. If you grab a copy now, you’ll do a sort of time-traveling yourself, having it in your hands in January, when it releases. You can congratulate your past self for giving you a New Year’s present! Perfect for a cozy read during winter nights.
What’s so great about Italy, and why did I spend many years of my life writing about it, culiminating in my novel The Renaissance Club, which features Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini?
Good questions. What I keep coming up with is that Italy is Bernini, and Bernini, Italy. I mean the place is full of gorgeous, sumptuous, emotionally moving art. It’s a place so full of art you start to take it for granted that you’ll turn a corner and see some gorgeous sculptural fountain or fantastically beautiful church.
And Italian Renaissance and Baroque art packs a wallop that can stop you in your tracks. Below are some of the reasons to visit Italy — five fantastic, life-size Bernini sculptures. You can only get a small idea seeing a photo, because these life-size, or even bigger, statues are like people who walk into the room, naked physically and emotionally.
This one, for example, is life size, and not much elevated above the viewer’s plane. It’s in the Villa Borghese in Rome.
A really startling thing about this one, is it is like meeting Bernini–he used his own face for the David. Probably the expression he often wore while chiseling on marble!
This contr-apposto pose, with the body twisting on itself, is something Bernini pushed to the limits. His figures move like actors on a stage. It was something really new, probably shocking, and certainly moves us looking at them.
This is one of the dynamic statues that made me want to write a novel about Bernini! To read a free preview chapter, head over to my website:
And here’s Bernini again, wearing a somewhat different expression in this bust of A Damned Soul.
The sculptures are very much in motion, with lots of curving planes and lines. Italy is so full of these curvilinear forms, in buildings, fountains, sculptures everywhere, and choice of subjects of art, that you begin to feel like you’re in a boat, riding somewhere, bouncing up and down, side to side, on the waves.
When I came home to my Northern California suburb, I really missed the waves, the romance, and of course Bernini. His massive scultpures don’t travel. Bernini everywhere in Rome,gave me such depth of feeling and passion as I’ve rarely seen in art. Ecstasy and torment—rarely anything blandly inbetween. So of course, I had to write a time-travel novel about him! I’d like to time travel and really meet this amazing genius.
For 10 unforgettable reasons to visit Italy, click Lifehack’s list here. Really Venice and Bernini are enough reasons.