Don’t you want to walk over this bridge to see what’s on the other side?
Keeping with last week’s theme of liminality and transitions, this photograph was taken near the source of the Thames in the Cotswolds.
First off, some housekeeping. Congratulations to the winners of Nancy Bilyeau‘s THE CROWN:
MICHELLE GREEN and MEL
An e-mail has been sent to you with information on how to claim your prizes.
In related news, I’m pleased to announce on my next Creativity Friday, I’ll be offering a review of Mary Sharratt’s new novel ILLUMINATIONS: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen. ILLUMINATIONS reveals the unforgettable story of how Hildegard, offered as a tithe to the Church at the age of eight, triumphed against impossible odds to become the greatest woman of her age. Combining fiction, history, and Hildegardian philosophy, ILLUMINATIONS presents an arresting portrait of a woman of faith and power—a visionary in every sense of the word.
Oh, and there will be a giveaway too! I adored Mary’s DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, so am thrilled to feature ILLUMINATIONS on this blog.
Since my return from England on Monday, I’ve been struggling with unusually intense jet lag as well as an ever-growing “to do” list. Four days later, the jet lag is better though I’m still waking at strange hours. As for the “to do” list, well, it’s frankly overwhelming. I think one of my intentions for 2013 is to find a way to feel less overextended, though I’m uncertain how. As a self-employed creative with a small child, my days are often scheduled in what feels like quarter-hour increments.
One piece of good news is that I heard back from my agent on my latest draft of THE LILY MAID. We’ve moved onto what sounds like final edits: streamlining for length, clarifying last plot points and character motivation. So, fingers crossed that will be that! As much as I’ve loved writing THE LILY MAID, it’s been stressful to write an entire novel without a publishing contract in hand. Unlike non-fiction and illustrated gift books, novels usually aren’t contracted by publishers until they’re finished unless you’re a Big Name Novelist.
(Yes, I know most writers write books on spec. Yes, I know I shouldn’t complain. However, bear in mind that I’ve been under one sort of publishing contract or another since I started out in publishing over twenty years ago. During this period, I’ve created more publications than I can recall—if I am to be bold, I’d say I’ve put in my dues. The reality is that, unless I come onto a sudden financial windfall from an unknown uncle in the West Indies a la JANE EYRE, publishing advances are what enable me to create books. So, for me to spend almost three years on a book without a contract seems an (a) act of artistic passion and (b) mildly mad.
That written, I have no regrets about THE LILY MAID. Just a whole bunch of nerves.)
Other good news: I’m moving forward on creating new Goddess Tarot apps for iPhone 5. This is a necessary update because of the larger screen size of iPhone 5. Plus pretty retina display graphics to show off on the new-and-improved display. I’m hoping this will be available by the end of the month. So hooray!
As for my trip to England, I’m trying to hold onto the glow of seeing so many beautiful places associated with the artists and writers influencing my creative work: William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Rossetti, Lizzie Siddal, and others. Many of these places and people figure in THE LILY MAID as well. On the real estate front, I visited Red House, Kelmscott Manor, Buscot Park, the Royal Academy of Art. I also spent a lot of time meandering down rainy country lanes in the Cotswolds and exploring corners of London for final novel research. All of this was capped by the Historical Novel Society conference, which took place at the University of Westminster on Regent Street over the weekend of September 28th.
I have much more to write about all of this. In the meantime, here are some photographs from my journey to Pre-Raphaelite England. Enjoy!
Above: A detail above a fireplace in Red House in Bexleyheath. Red House was built and decorated by William Morris soon after his marriage to his muse Jane Burden. “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis” indeed!