Updated studio chalkboard wall. The acronyms stand for books underway. (Mysterious me!)
First day of school. First official day back in the studio after a very full summer.
Time for everything to begin anew.
The Bad Princess illustrations in progress. I like to print them out as I go along, to remind myself how they’ll look reproduced to size.
For now, anyway.
Next up: waiting to hear back from my editor along with heaving a big sigh of relief, taking a long nap, and raising a toast and all that, before turning back to other books underway. In anticipation of this day, I already have a writer’s retreat planned for a special “I Just Finished A Book” treat. Woo hoo!
Above: a finished illustration. This is the first book I illustrated in Photoshop and Painter from start to finish. Brave new world!
The latest news: I’m still finishing up the art, which is a mixture of tongue-firmly-in-cheek graphics and original drawings. As with Doomed Queens, Bad Princess has been designed to resemble a Victorian penny dreadful. This time, the book will be printed in both black and pink inks. After all, nothing screams “princess” more than the color pink. Here’s a sample page featuring history’s favorite bad boy monarch, Henry VIII.
Onto the good news: The finished manuscript has been sent off to my editor at Scholastic. I’m pleased with how it turned out. It was no simple task to consolidate a thousand years of princess history into one sweeping narrative.
So yay—and here’s to reaching the finish line!
As you can probably tell by my radio silence, I’m deep into my creative cocoon with Bad Princess. I’ve a June deadline, and a ton of loose threads to weave together. (Research, writing, design, and drawing, oh my!)
I’m pleased with how the book is coming together, but I’m at the stage where the only way out is through. In the meantime, I leave you these beauties from the Blue House garden.
I’ve been watching them emerge from the winter soil over the past few weeks.
Just as I will once this book is off to my publisher.
Lo and behold, look what I just found at my local bookstore: my author friend Mary Sharratt‘s new novel, The Dark Lady’s Mask! This is one I’ve been eager to read for some time. Here’s the backstory:
London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and gain freedoms only men enjoy, until a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything. Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain, leaving plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later, publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women. THE DARK LADY’S MASK gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.
Long time visitors to this blog may recall I reviewed Mary’s Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen some time ago, as well as interviewed her about Daughters of the Witching Hill. To cut to the chase, I was deeply moved by both books. Mary has a true gift for bringing light to the hidden lives of women. The Dark Lady’s Mask promises to be just as enthralling. What’s not to like about a novel exploring the story behind Shakespeare’s secret muse?
Learn more about The Dark Lady’s Mask here.