Sometimes my brain feels like the Chelsea Hotel. Unusual types live inside me and this post is about them—the characters that many authors create so vividly that, from time to time, they pop into my head, altered from their originals to be sure, but able to move in two or three places at once and very much alive in my memory. Here are some that haunt me today: Gemma James in the KINKAID/JAMES mystery series by Deborah Crombie. Not short, not tall, the slightly anxious mom, woman, and … [Read more...] about Which Characters Hold You Captive?
Long before they were books, the Serafina Florio mystery series began as two paintings. In 1997 I was commissioned by the American Jewish Committee to paint a diptych of the Lower East Side. The client told me I had free rein as long as my work reflected all ethnic groups that settled in the area from 1882 to 1925. So how do you stuff the richness of that neighborhood onto a canvas? Before I picked up a brush, I spent three months walking the streets of lower Manhattan, sketching in a … [Read more...] about Why Do You Write?
One Recipe for Unblocking Words: Cursive That‘s Cursive, not Curses ... When I have writer’s block, I find the shortest distance between brain and words. For me, it’s journal and pen. Even though my fingers fly on the keyboard at 90 wpm, using Cursive is faster. I’ve tried everything—all kinds of software on computer, iPhone, iPad, Fire—but still, it’s fast penning that unblocks my words. I let the pen do what it will, forgetting punctuation and capitalization as my mind kites down its … [Read more...] about How to Deal with Writer’s Block
From “An Old Friend,” Death Of A Serpent Thursday, October 25, 1866 Serafina stuffed the address into her handbag, stepped outside. Hugging her cape, she visored her eyes, peered toward the piazza, and saw the same carriage return. It circled the statue, its wheels spinning, the horses straining. Pedestrians scurried out of its way. When it halted in front of her, bits of straw, clods of earth flew into her face. She glimpsed a blur of silk sitting inside. Brushing dust from the folds of her … [Read more...] about Her Face Radiant, Her Belly Distended
“The Apparition,” from Death Of A Serpent Tuesday, October 9, 1866 Serafina’s wardrobe wasn’t extensive, never expensive, wouldn’t do, not for her class. The dress she chose to wear this morning, made of watered silk trimmed in velvet, was designed and crafted by Giulia, her middle daughter, in a style dated by a year or two. For daytime, she wore a single petticoat, not too full in front, with an undergarment of unbleached silk ruffled at the collar. She fastened the ivory brooch her mother … [Read more...] about The Apparition