Snippet Sunday: A Visit to Highgate

Posted on Mar 2, 2014 in news & muse, Snippet Sunday, The Lily Maid, travels

Highgate Cemetery

Snippet Sunday is a monthly meme organized by Stephanie Dray in which historical authors post six sentence snippets of their novels. 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.

March’s snippet is from the THE LILY MAID and is set in London’s infamous Highgate Cemetery:

On a late winter afternoon when the trees are bare and the sun golden, the twisty, hilly road bisecting Highgate Cemetery seemed a picturesque secret. As the road climbed toward the highest point in all of London, the burial ground was surrounded on both sides by ivy-covered walls and old growth trees. Perched within them I spied bird nests, optimistic for spring, and a scattering of buds upon green branches. Mama and I had never visited Highgate before; we’d chosen the less lofty Brompton Cemetery for Papa. If I didn’t know where I was, I’d believe I’d happened onto some part of Hampstead Heath that never made it into a Baedeker’s. This made what was about to occur seem all the more sinister.

The above photograph was taken by me during my visit to Highgate Cemetery to visit Elizabeth Siddal’s grave in 2010.

Snippet Sunday: The Gift

Posted on Dec 8, 2013 in news & muse, The Lily Maid

Snippet Sunday is a monthly meme organized by Stephanie Dray in which authors post six sentence snippets of their novels. You can read my previous snippets here. Here’s my belated-but-not-forgotten excerpt for December, which is from the THE LILY MAID. This snippet seems seasonally appropriate, given that we’re in the midst of the holidays.

“Ah, but I’ve another gift for you.”

 

He pointed to the sky, which had darkened to the hue of sapphires. Within it, the rising moon was suspended like a crescent of light. A sudden brilliance shot across the sky—a falling star—crowned by a glow of green iridescence. As if in response, a bevy of crows flew toward the horizon; the darkness of their flapping wings only accentuated the luminosity of the heavens behind them. I’d never seen such a beautiful thing.

The photograph was taken close to my home in Ditmas Park as the moon rose one evening. No crows, but the sky was lovely.

Snippet Sunday: The Blue-tiled Room

Posted on Nov 17, 2013 in news & muse, Snippet Sunday, The Lily Maid

With all my post-Salt Cay Writers Retreat frenzy of revision, I totally forgot that last Sunday was the first Sunday of the month, which is when I should have posted my Snippet Sunday for November. Time to make amends! Just in case you’ve missed previous months, here’s the deal: Snippet Sunday is a monthly meme organized by Stephanie Dray in which authors post six sentence snippets of their novels. You can read my previous snippets here.

Novembers’s snippet is from the THE LILY MAID. This excerpt is a description of a gathering that takes place at a mansion decidedly similar to Leighton House:

The blue-tiled room we stepped into was perhaps the most peculiar place I’d ever seen. It was empty of all furniture except for an elaborately carved teak cabinet that took up the whole of one wall. Set within it was a gold cloisonné vase the height of a small child. There wasn’t anyplace to sit save for some beaded cushions, but one would have to lounge like a pasha. As for the room’s occupants, several clusters of expensively dressed ladies stared at us, their gentleman companions trailing them like shadows. Compared to myself and Mrs. Dulac’s aesthetic-style gowns, these women looked like upholstered sofas, draped and padded from their generous bustles to their ruched bodices.

Snippet Sunday: A curve of promise

Posted on Oct 6, 2013 in news & muse, Snippet Sunday, The Lily Maid

Snippet Sunday is a monthly meme organized by Stephanie Dray in which historical authors post six sentence snippets of their novels. 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.

October’s snippet is from the THE LILY MAID. This excerpt takes place toward the end of the novel:

Once I poke my head out the open window, my chest relaxes. My cheeks lift higher than I can ever remember.

 

The rail station for Florence lies just ahead, a curve of promise leading to a golden city crowned with rust-colored roofs and white plaster; a city dusted with late afternoon sunlight and azure blue sky. It’s unlike any city I’ve seen in England. After all, it’s not the city of Tennyson and King Arthur. Instead, it’s the city of Dante and Beatrice, where journeys begun in sorrow in a dark wood can end in paradise—a city where the stories my father translated in solitude to ease his heartbreak first ripened into form.

I’m still in the midst of preparing for the Salt Cay Writers Retreat. Less than two weeks to go and so much to do! Besides my own writing to prepare, I’ve four manuscripts to read and comment on for the workshopping portion of the retreat. I’m really excited—I adore the process of workshopping.

Photograph: Florence at sunset, Wikipedia Commons

Wordless Wednesdays: Lilies on Parade

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 in news & muse, The Lily Maid, the world around me, Wordless Wednesday

“She left the web, she left the loom, she made three paces through the room, she saw the water-lily bloom….”  Inspired by my previous post about the Lady of Shalott, here are some lilies I recently photographed at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.