My Blog: Artful Fiction

Next Stop? Excerptville!

Many kind thanks to Elizabeth Keysian for hosting an excerpt of Victorine over on her excellent blog Seduction, Scandals, and Spies. Please pop over and leave a comment while you’re there. Bloggers are authors’ best friends right now, in a time when in-person events are well nigh impossible. Show them some love!


Painting of Victorine by Alfred Stevens

How are you holding up? Are you making time for self-care?

No, I don’t mean just doing your work, although do that. But are you drinking water? (Not enough over here.) Moving? (Ditto.) Are you making time to not just veg in front of the TV but choosing material that moves and inspires you, rather than whiling away the hours as if you are in a jail cell? Because these, these days and hours are also part of the weft and warp of our lives. Don’t discount them. Use them to their full advantage. Let me qualify that.

Today I have put “read for an hour” and “write for an hour” on my list. Sure, being this nigh the other side of publication means I am still doing plenty of PR. This week alone I am recording three interviews with podcasts, which I am appreciative for, but they take time and courage.

Pair that with mailing out books to friends, teaching and related activities, reaching out to friends and family to be sure they’re all doing okay emotionally (some aren’t, which is totally natural during these uncertain times), aspiring to launch a whole new outreach journey which will require trial and error, and more, and I am not just bored at home. (I’m never bored anyway, but I’m particularly not now.)

But is it well with my soul?

In ways I’m very content, but I tell you, though I am grateful for those guest blog posts I will be polishing and handing in this week, the lack of creating is beginning to show. I need to make something all mine, with no expectations on it.

I’m finishing up a novel, except I haven’t written on it in weeks. I have two new novel ideas, except I’m not sure which one to go with, and if I choose one of those, what about that other, simpler, idea? Do I let it go or pursue it as the fast burn I suspect it will be?

Is it well with my soul?

I had a cathartic hour’s call with a friend yesterday. We both needed to vent about life. Today I have scheduled a phone call to someone in quarantine; she isn’t allowed any physical contact for a few more days. My life is so much better than that right now, and yet I haven’t let my creativity out of quarantine.

My to-do list is no shorter than it ever is, showing I am not taking the time to embrace what’s going on in our world. That I am itching to do a thorough cleaning of the bedroom tells me that my priorities are out of whack.

And yet, for me, I know what I need. I need to pull up my WIP and write, for God’s sake. I need to sit down with that new book on Vonnegut and writing (Pity the Reader) that I’m speeding through when I do allow myself reading time.

I need to adjust my expectations. Maybe I can’t achieve twenty things on a list in a day. Maybe I shouldn’t try. I mean sure, I want the upstairs bath to be cleaned, but we aren’t exactly going to have company over. I’d like to get that overdue birthday card out to my sister, but I did call her on her birthday, so if it waits one more day, that’s fine.

What does your soul need today? What goes beyond self-care and into soul care for you today? I’d love to hear from you. Let’s both pledge to do better about that. If our bodies and careers are preserved and not that which makes us who we are, what is the point? Nourish the best in you today.

If we were in church, here is where I would end my “sermon.” I would ask for a few seconds of silence before adding on my words of thanks to Elizabeth for featuring Victorine on her blog. After all, Victorine is a prime example of allowing a creative impulse to fully engulf my life for a time. And Elizabeth is doing me the favor of calling it worthy of a share. Thanks to her, to art, and to and for you.



Blog Tour Stop #3: The Writing Desk

So many, many thanks to the generous Tony Riches for hosting me on his blog today, The Writing Desk.

I so enjoyed being interviewed. His questions were unique and fun to answer.

And…if you want to know what my next book is about, take a look over there! 😉

I couldn’t be more thankful! Thanks again, Tony!

P.S. How are we doing during this shelter-in-place time? I’ve been video conferencing with students and colleagues, which is a nice way to stay connected with the outside world.

It’s supposed to be warm enough today that a walk might be in the works as well.

Hubby is an extrovert; I’m an introvert, so he may get tired of this before I do, but with him working across the table from me, I think I could get used to this life!

Reach out if you need someone to talk to. I’m here:


Edouard Manet: A Game of Croquet.

Can you guess which of these women is Victorine?

Let the Blog Tour Begin!!

Victorine Twitter

I’m not alone in having to press pause on in-person book events. Many authors are having to find alternate ways to spread the word about their newborn novels. I am very blessed, however, to have had a wonderful book blog tour in the works for quite some time.

Many thanks to Mary Anne Yarde of Coffeepot Book Club for her organizational efforts. If you need a caring, competent person to head up your tour, check out her services. She’s wonderful to work with.

My blog tour starts today with a review of Victorine by Mary Anne over at her Coffee Pot Book Club. She also rates it a five-star recommended read. Yay! 

There’s also a spotlight on Victorine over on the blog of Jennifer C. Wilson. Thanks much, Jennifer! I’m grateful. 

Want to follow me on this journey? Great! Every day there is a stop I will post where you can find reviews, spotlights, interviews, and more all about Victorine, our spirited Victorine. All aboard! I’m so glad you’re along for the journey, especially during these uncertain times. 

The Railway, Edouard Manet. Here Victorine holds a puppy.

Living Things

I’m not much of a plant person. I once had my heart broken when a plant my grandmother gave me died. I haven’t been able to become attached to any since. However, I do periodically think about becoming “planty.”

My hubby and I have a policy of “no living things,” because it’s easier for travel.

But the universe is trying to tell me something, I think. First, for my birthday a friend bought me a plant. I usually keep it at work, and so far it seems pretty healthy, once I remembered to water it, and once I learned not to overwater it. It’s a succulent, so I think he had an idea that maybe I’m not the best with plants, because these are easy to care for. I love it. And I kind of want to name it. Is that wrong?

Then there were the beautiful roses my dearest Barry brought me home on book launch day. What a sweet, sweet gesture. Although they’re almost beyond it now, I have enjoyed them so much.

A couple of days ago brought the latest: a friend commiserating with the cancellation of my book launch party for Victorine brought me by some potted tulips. I adore tulips!

The first one was just beginning to open. Today, all have bloomed, and I’ve got to say, being surrounded by these beauties made me decide to bring my succulent home from work as we will not go back for the duration of that dreadful illness that must not be named.

Here’s to living things. All of us.

My Book Featured on History Roadshow Alongside Jane Austen!?!

Okay, I am so excited about this! Thanks much to the excellent History Roadshow.

The show featured my novel, Victorine, at the end of its video on Jane Austen. Please take a look.

The video is so good I forgot to watch out for my book and was surprised at the end.

Let me know what you think, and please go subscribe to the channel on YouTube.

If you love history, if you love Jane Austen, you’ll enjoy this.

Today’s the DAY!!! Victorine has arrived!!

So many fun things going on today all over social media. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, there have been fun times today! This author is worn out, in a good way.

What’s that? You haven’t ordered yours yet? You can order from one of the links below. And if you order before midnight March 17, 2020 EST, you’ll also get the album my husband, Barry Drudge, created for it! Follow the directions on the photo below to receive yours!!

Fleur-de-Lis Press
Barnes and Noble

Bright Spots During Uncertain Times

Hubby and I started the morning out watching our church’s Sunday worship service stream live on YouTube. While it was lovely to hear a few of our friends lift their voices together, and so comforting to hear our pastor’s familiar cadence, it wasn’t the same as being there. But it was something, especially since I’m not particularly good at making it to church every Sunday anyway. Our church not holding a service in the building for all, however, felt strange and sad.

As so many others have had, I’ve had many of my in-person events postponed. As a debut author whose book comes out March 17, it’s disappointing. However, when I reached out to book folks on social media to explain my situation, so many bloggers and podcasters have come to my aid! I already had a nice roster for my book tour ready under my events page, but these others offered to help spread the word even further. My heart is full. I hope you don’t mind if I share their lovely gestures in the coming days.

First up, today brought the publication of my op-ed piece on Victorine in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette! I had no idea it would take up the page! I’m so honored.

Then the fabulous author Kellie Butler posted an excerpt of Victorine over on her blog. A huge thanks to Kellie! I hope you’ll go take a read.

These are, indeed, trying times. But let’s look for the bright spots. The sun came out today, While the drug store didn’t have regular thermometers, it did have plenty of newspapers. Let’s be patient. Let’s be as loving and kind as we can bear to be. And let’s read!

If you need an ear, I’m here. Writer, if you need a shoutout, just say so.

An In-depth Conversation with Lit World Interviews

Thanks much to Florence T. for her wonderful interview with me on Lit World Interviews. I had to dig deep for some of these answers, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to ask myself questions I had not. Please take a look and leave a comment to let Flo know you appreciate her contribution to the literary community!

An Interview with Victorine

Here’s a fun interview between a museum goer and Victorine as Olympia. Thanks much to Erin at Historical Fiction Reader for the interview. Please go take a look!

And btw, Victorine arrives in, oh…just over two weeks on March 17, 2020. If you haven’t preordered it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, there’s still time. When you do, remember to send your receipt to and we will send you the code to download an album created just for this novel by Barry Drudge.