Wordless Wednesday: Shelfie du jour

Posted on Feb 25, 2015 in A Gathering of Shadows/The Lily Maid, news & muse, the Next Novel, Wordless Wednesday


Photographed in my studio: some of my favorite research books these days. 

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Fire and Ice

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 in friends and colleagues, news & muse, the world around me, Wordless Wednesday


First, ice. Photographed outside my kitchen window this morning.

Secondly, fire.


This charred book is a relic from a fire that devastated my author friend Kate Quinn’s house last week. Yes, the title of the book is A Day of Fire, which has just been shortlisted for a Historical Novel Society best book award. Yes, Kate is one of the authors listed on the cover. And, as fellow author Sophie Perinot remarked, “In true Kate style, she appreciated the irony.”

393443_299839280050037_411073951_nThis is all preamble to letting you know about a fundraiser to help Kate and her family get back on their feet. Thankfully, everyone survived the fire. However, her house suffered extensive damage, and all of their possessions were lost.

So, if you’re in the mood to do a good deed (and I hope you are), head over to the Kate Quinn House Recovery Fund. You can give as little as the cost of a latte, and it will give you the non-caffeinated buzz of Doing Good. Alternately, you can pre-order Kate’s latest historical novel, Lady of the Eternal City—pre-orders are just the thing to help an author out. And thanks!

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Back from the VCCA

Posted on Feb 11, 2015 in news & muse, the Next Novel, the world around me, travels, Wordless Wednesday

10410712_10204348804175024_7642075150484817828_nMy morning walk to the studio complex.

Aaaannnd I’m back from my writer’s residency fellowship at the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts. My goal at the VCCA: to finish up a draft of the Next Novel. The good news: I met my goal—I now have a completed draft of about 400 pages. Even better news: I returned to Brooklyn inspired and excited about my work. Nothing like two weeks at an artist colony to invigorate the creative process!

10945004_10204360916597827_6305036740843411470_nMy little studio in the woods.

Though I’ve gone to plenty of writer’s retreats and conferences, the VCCA was my first experience at an artist colony. I truly loved it.

1979761_10204412398684847_5725903634339577751_nThe view from my room in the residence hall.

Imagine a place where everything you need as an artist and writer is provided to you and then some: you’re given a private studio to work in, delicious meals to eat, beautiful private gardens and woods to explore. If that’s not wonderful enough, you’re surrounded by like-minded souls—writers, composers, and visual artists—all who respect your process and are creating fascinating work.

10450822_10204414190769648_8628135096757670951_nView of the studio complex.

This is the VCCA.

1456032_10204422303852470_7667552732980192431_nPrivate path amid the private gardens of the VCCA.

I hope to return one day.

10410381_10204355577304348_1501736789349946766_nThe famed VCCA cows. Their grazing field was across from the studio complex.

Wordless Wednesday: Green-wood Obelisks

Posted on Feb 4, 2015 in news & muse, the world around me, Wordless Wednesday


Photographed late last year at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn using the Hipstamatic tintype app.

Snippet Sunday: loaves and homilies

Posted on Feb 1, 2015 in news & muse, Snippet Sunday, the Next Novel

trees at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Snippet Sunday is 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 decided to post mine on the first Sunday of the month. You can read my previous snippets here.

February’s snippet is from the Next Novel, which I’ve been hard at work on these past weeks at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, where I was a writer in residence. The Next Novel is set in 1851 England; this post offers more details. This particular excerpt occurs toward the beginning of my novel.

One cottage, set deep from the road, especially drew Robert’s attention. It looked the same as it had three years earlier: the plaster and timber construction from the sixteenth century, the tangle of blood-red roses blooming even now in late winter. The small vegetable plot and fruit trees marking the front of the house looked abandoned from more than the season; Robert recalled the fig and apple trees, the rows of beans and melons twined over willow stakes, the mill spilling with water diverted their way to mill wheat into flour. This had been his wife Sida’s family home. She’d grown up there, the daughter of a tenant farmer. She’d been someone he was not to speak to. Someone to ignore save on Sunday afternoons when he and his mother would tour the cottages after service bearing loaves of bread and homilies of compassion.

Above: trees at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens via the Hipstamatic tintype app, which makes everything look oh-so-Victorian.