In my attempt to catch up here, I’m back to posting Snippet Sunday excerpts. New readers of this blog might be wondering, “What’s Snippet Sunday?” It’s a monthly meme organized by Stephanie Dray in which historical authors post six sentence snippets of their novels (and sometimes a little more). For the sake of organization, I’ve posted previous snippets on the first Sunday of the month.
Though it’s a week late for the first Sunday of the month, August’s snippet is from the THE LOVER’S PATH, which is at last out and about in the world as an e-book. (Woohoo!) This particular excerpt occurs toward the end of the first chapter, and is when my protagonist, Filamena, meets her beloved for the first time. It’s eight sentences, not six. But hey, it’s been a while, amirite?
Cloaked in the darkness of night, I felt safe, hidden. I inhaled the clean, acidic scent of spring, felt the soft earth beneath my feet. My heart began to slow. The stars were bright, the moon a thin sickle in the deep blue sky. Nearby, church bells struck the ninth hour of the night, their metallic clang softened by the lapping of canal water on the other side of the garden wall.
A brief sliver of light appeared from the palazzo door as it opened, then closed. And the young man stood before me again.
“You shouldn’t have followed me here,” I said.
More about THE LOVER’S PATH: Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister’s will, sheltered and lonely in the elegant but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover’s path, wherever it may lead. Read more here.
And the living is … busy.
As you can probably tell from the silence here, there’s been much going on at Chez Art and Words. Quick rundown:
1. I’ve been traveling with my family a fair amount. (Exhibit A, above photo.) Next up: a trip to Italy. I’m excited to reveal to Thea the beauties of Venice for her first time.
2. I also traveled to Denver for this year’s Historical Novel Society conference. It was wonderful, as always. My only disappointment: Between my packed schedule and the hotel location, I didn’t get to explore Denver very much. The last day I ended up climbing to the top of a parking garage to view the Rockies before my departure (Exhibit B, photo below). Ah well!
3. In between packings and unpackings of suitcases and sundries, I finally finished revising the first section of the Next Novel, which is now in my literary agent’s able hands. I am very pleased with how it came together.
4. If that’s not enough busy-ness, I also revised a long aborning Top Sekret nonfiction book proposal, which is also now off my desk and into the world.
5. Plus gardening! Summer is prime time for the Blue House garden, which is small but densely packed with much vegetation and flowers. This year I managed to harvest poppies for the first time. (Exhibit C below. Aren’t they pretty?) No water lilies this year though. Perhaps next year, when I have more energy to battle the raccoons of Brooklyn.
6. I played tourist in my home town. I visited the Hunger Games exhibition in Times Square and Leighton’s Flaming June at the Frick Collection. (Thea and I are big fans of Katniss and Crew, and are counting the days until Mockingjay Part 2 releases.) While at the Frick with my comrade-in-words Heather Webb, I made certain to say hello to the Holbein portraits of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell. Both men played important roles during the reign of Henry VIII, and lost their heads during this same reign. Thanks to the wonders of paint and museums, the two Thomases have been restored to glare at each other from across the gallery.
7. Last but decidedly not least, THE LOVER’S PATH has been decidedly launched into the digital world. I am delighted by the reviews, which have been universally glowing. (Don’t have your copy yet? Learn more here.)
So, what’s ahead for me on this warm, breezy day in August? Right now, I’m focused on my upcoming trip to Italy: Italian lessons, household preparation, travel itineraries. Come September, real life will begin anew: back to school for Thea, and back to a regular studio schedule for me. I suspect by then I will be ready for it.
And how about you, dear Reader? How’s your summer going? I hope it is filled with all good things!
I’m in the midst of last preparations for the Historical Novel Society Conference, which is in Denver this year. Among the usual fun stuff at HNS, I’ll be participating on a panel about book design for historical fiction book covers. I leave first thing tomorrow morning, and my to do list is bursting at the seams.
In the meantime, some quick housekeeping:
~ I’m over at the Emerald City Book Review today with a guest post about converting The Lover’s Path from print to digital. I hope you’ll stop by! Read post here.
~ More book love over at the Book Drunkard: “So much is packed onto the pages and each and every morsel is a delight to read…. I savoured each and every word and sometimes read them aloud so I could hear what they sounded like coming off my tongue.” Read full review here.
~ A guest post about courtesans in 16th century Venice and book excerpt over at Book Lover’s Paradise. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the courtesan post.)
~ Julianne at Writing the Renaissance reviewed The Lover’s Path and proclaimed:
In the intricate, exuberant manner of the Renaissance art to which it pays homage, Kris Waldherr’s lavishly illustrated novella THE LOVER’S PATH tempts and tantalizes the reader into a unique reading experience. Originally released as a print book in 2005, Waldherr has recast her tale of forbidden love as an interactive iPad e-book. Convincing in itself, the fictional confession of a female musician’s journey on the path of true love gains a patina of authenticity from the nest of maps, scholarly articles, museum brochures and other ephemera which encompasses it. The result is an intriguing artifact that blurs the boundaries between word and image, fact and fiction, myth and lived experience and haunts the reader’s thoughts long after the screen goes dark.
~ You might be wondering what’s the photograph at the top of this post. It’s my attempt at sewing a Fortuny-style gown for HNS’s famed Saturday costume dinner. I think it came out nice! (Those of you with long memories might recall I sewed an Aesthetic style tea gown for HNS 2012.) Here are the instructions I used for my Fortuny-style gown, which were very helpful. I had to pleat the fabric before sewing it, which was tricky but fun.
~ And finally, The Lover’s Path official site is up at LoversPathBook.com, if you missed it earlier. It has links to all formats and a special launch offer through 7/5.
Final Fortuny-style gown. (Ignore the foot in the corner.)
Pleated fabric in progress. I twisted and boiled the fabric.
Sewing the gown itself. I used both a serger and a “regular” machine. Oh, and hand sewing on the beading too.
After much hard work, the e-book edition of The Lover’s Path was officially launched earlier this week! I’m still recovering from many late nights and full days behind the computer, but am very pleased at the overwhelmingly positive response thus far.
Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood wrote:
“The sheer design of the book is a delight for any bibliophile. Lavishly illustrated, the images, textures, and illuminated letters hearken back to a time when books were treasured things to behold. As deeply as I love physical books, e-books aren’t going anywhere. The Lover’s Path is a testament to the fact that electronic text can also be artistic and aesthetically pleasing.” Read the full review.
Also there: A guest post by moi about Pre-Raphaelites in Venice.
From Unabridged Chick:
“I’ve got nothing but swoony, swoony love for this one — get it and indulge in some lush escapist reading! With the playful and charming illustrated elements, this book drew out that sense of wonderment I get from reading, the visceral joy of being plunged into a story.” Read the full review.
Over at Unshelfish, Melinda wrote that The Lover’s Path was:
“A delicate, sensual yet powerful story leaving you stunned in beauty in its entirety. Exquisite.” Read the full review.
Also there: A guest post by me about creating the illustrations for it.
We got some love from Peeking Between the Pages too:
“The Lover’s Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice by Kris Waldherr is an absolutely gorgeous book both in story and in the stunning art work depicted throughout its pages. It is a beautifully written tale of forbidden love that is accompanied by amazing illustrations that are a treat for a reader’s eyes. When I opened this book I fell into it and couldn’t put it down until I turned the last page…. I loved this book and can see myself delving into it again in the future.” Read the full review.
From CelticLady’s Reviews:
“Does the story have a happy ending? I can’t really tell you that, but what I can tell you is The Lover’s Path is a beautiful novella, filled with gorgeous pictures done by the author and a bit of a history lesson on the 16th century Italian Renaissance…. What a pleasure is was to read this book.” Read the full review.
More reviews will be coming next week. On top of all this, there’s now a dedicated webpage devoted to The Lover’s Path at LoversPathBook.com. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit. And with that, I’m going to go collapse onto a chaise.
Illustration from The Lover’s Path iPad e-book.
So things are going to get even more Lover’s Path-ish around here in the next few weeks because:
1. It’s only a week—a week!—until the e-book launch for real on June 16th. Because the digital edition has been so extensively revised and expanded from the original print publication, it truly feels like a second birth.
2. Already reviews are coming in this New And Improved Digital Edition. From Stephanie Cowell, the acclaimed author of Claude and Camille and Marrying Mozart:
“THE LOVER’S PATH is beautiful in every way; not only is the story of the girl’s secret and ultimately dangerous love wonderfully told, but the exquisite illustrations and layout make you feel that you have truly fallen into old Venice with its longing and eroticism. You feel you will look up from your screen and find yourself in an antique palazzo smelling of the sea with the soft footsteps of servants on the stair and the sound of a gondola moving through the water outside your window. Prepare to be lifted into another time and place and discover secrets long guarded…. You must own this lovely, lovely book!”
From Kimberly Eve of the wonderful blog Musings of a Writer.
“Follow these lovers as they walk their path and discover along with each of them how they find the love they didn’t know they were seeking. Venice, Italy, comes to life with each tale of lovers whether it is Tristan and Isolde or Dante and Beatrice. Her research is spot on, her history and passion for Venice, opera, and love shines through. If you want an enchanting read full of ancient tales, beautiful imagery, or just want to fall in love, I hope you will read THE LOVER’S PATH when it becomes available…. This one is a DO NOT MISS!!
3. The Lover’s Path is now available for pre-order everywhere save for Nook/BN.com; that link will go live June 16th.
4. To commemorate the relaunch of The Lover’s Path, I’ll be participating in a book blog tour. Here’s the schedule so far:
Thursday, June 18
Review & Excerpt at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Monday, June 22
Review at A Book Drunkard
Tuesday, June 23
Review & Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, June 24
Review & Guest Post at The Emerald City Book Review
Thursday, June 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Friday, June 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, June 29
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, June 30
Review at Just One More Chapter
4. If this isn’t enough, I’m also preparing for the Historical Novel Society Conference later this month—I’ll be on a panel about book design—and finishing up pages of the long-aborning Next Novel for my literary agent. Oh, and revamping a book proposal, designing websites. And more. But no complaints: it’s all good.
The Fortuny dress I’d like to try to sew for the Historical Novel Conference. Because I don’t have enough to do.