Halloween at Blue House. Perhaps our favorite holiday!
Thus far this autumn I’m:
~ Taking a novel revision workshop with the Francesca Lia Block. Already I’ve learned much, which I’ve applied to revising Novels #1, #2, and #3. (Yes, there is a Novel #3 in the works!) Block’s novel revision method involves twelve questions she’s developed to cut to the heart of your story. Genius! Block is also an amazing line editor.
~ Incorporating research material from my recent trip to England into Novel #2, aka the Next Novel. A portion of the Next Novel is set on the moors of Shropshire. Guess where I traveled to? (More about this in another post.)
~ Preparing for the next stage of Bad Princess, whatever that may be. Still on the docket: the cover illustration and editorial feedback. Though the publication date is set for late 2017, it’s closer than it sounds—already my editor has requested material to prep the Scholastic Books team.
~ Getting my daughter adjusted to middle school, where she’s studying creative writing. For the first time in her eight years of education, she’s commuting. She’s a real city kid! So far, she loves her new school and has made lots of friends.
Fiction, meet Reality.
Photographed on the moors of Shropshire, where my novel is set.
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.
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.
Now that my Bad Princess news is out in the world*, here’s a sample of what I’m reading these days. Each of these are fascinating in their own way.
I have a June deadline for this book, so I am very nose-to-the-grindstone in the studio. Though much of the book is mapped out, there’s still much to do. I’m fortunate to be enjoying such good reading along the way.
*After my announcement on Facebook and Twitter, I was astounded by all the lovely messages. Please know how grateful I am for all of your kind wishes about Bad Princess!