My Blog: Artful Fiction

Day 8 of the 12 Days of Victorine: “Brooch” the Subject

Okay, go ahead and groan at the terrible pun in the title, but this is not at all a terrible brooch. I don’t claim to know anything about vintage jewelry, but this sweet cameo brooch caught my eye.

Did you know brooches have been used since the bronze age? I’m imagining some woman of the time clutching her gaping shirt and asking if any of her friends has something she can use. Maybe she created one out of her frustration. (I’m kidding, of course.)

I once was in dire need of a safety pin at college and none of my friends had one. You’d think I’d carry one everywhere with me evermore, but nope. At the very least you’d think I could carry a brooch with me, for heaven’s sake.

For some reason brooches catch my attention, as this one did. I have a mini collection of them without intending to. If you win this one, I’d love it if you’d send me a photo of you wearing it.

To be entered to win, all you need to do is be a subscriber to my newsletter list. (Again, sorry, but while you will get a free short story when you subscribe, if you’re not in the U.S., I can’t mail giveaway items to you.) Sign up today so you will be eligible not only for this giveaway, but future giveaways!

The winners will be chosen on or after Dec. 18, 2020, midnight EST. A list of winners’ first names will be posted here shortly after the contest ends. Winners will also be alerted via email.

Thank you again for visiting, and best of luck to you! Please share this post with others. 

Day 7 of the 12 Days of Victorine: Bel Canto

I told you I’ve done some of your holiday shopping for you. Here’s another item for you or the reader in your life. This is one it was hard not to keep for myself. I found this pristine copy of Bel Canto (hardback, no less) by Ann Patchett at a second-hand shop. (Don’t worry, I have my own copy, although it’s not as nice seeing as how I have marked mine all up.) That shiny cover made it difficult to photograph, so forgive the halo, please. 🙂

Here’s a summary of it from Wikipedia, in case you haven’t read it but are intrigued:

Based on the Japanese embassy hostage crisis (also called the Lima Crisis) of 1996–1997 in Lima, Peru, the novel follows the relationships among a group of young terrorists and their hostages, who are mostly high-profile executives and politicians, over several months. Many of the characters form unbreakable bonds of friendship, while some fall in love.

Opera is a centralizing theme on many levels throughout the story; the operatic term literally means “beautiful singing.”

This book is important to me because my second novel (not out yet; details to come), Briscoe Chambers’ Southern Fried Woolf, employs the pressure cooker method of putting the principals in an impossibly tight, difficult state. In both books, the characters are trapped together in a house, although admittedly, my characters choose to be there.

It’s widely thought to be Patchett’s best novel to date. It’s very, very good, so if you haven’t read it, do, whether you win this copy or not.

To be entered to win, all you need to do is be a subscriber to my newsletter list. (Again, sorry, but while you will get a free short story when you subscribe, if you’re not in the U.S., I can’t mail giveaway items to you.) Sign up today so you will be eligible not only for this giveaway, but future giveaways!

The winners will be chosen on or after Dec. 18, 2020, midnight EST. A list of winners’ first names will be posted here shortly after the contest ends. Winners will also be alerted via email.

Thank you again for visiting, and best of luck to you! Please share this post with others. 

Day 6 of the 12 Days of Victorine: A Reading Just for You!

I’m a fan of Christmas, always have been. Hubby and I married as close to Christmas as we could without interfering with our family’s traditions and travel plans, although I was campaigning for Christmas Eve.

We’ve been married for nearly 30 years, so it must have been a good time of year to marry.

Anyway, without realizing it, I have at least brief passages about Christmas in my novel, Victorine. I wanted to read them for you to let you know how very much I appreciate you.

I hope you enjoy it. You can listen here.

Day 5 of the 12 Days of Victorine: Brace(let) Yourself!

While this isn’t at all identical to the bracelet Victorine Meurent wears in Manet’s Olympia, it does seem like something she could have worn in the painting. Considering the painting’s theme, this would have worked nicely, having a real Garden of Eden feel. This vintage bracelet is today’s giveaway for one of my lucky subscribers. I’m excited about this one!

This hinged bracelet (it’s vintage, so predictably the hinge doesn’t line up perfectly with the rest of the bracelet, but it still works) is generously sized and would be absolutely perfect to rock on a Zoom call.  

To be entered to win this piece that is suitable for the temptress (or tempter) in you, all you need to do is be a subscriber to my newsletter list. (Again, sorry, but while you will get a free short story when you subscribe, if you’re not in the U.S., I can’t mail giveaway items to you.) Sign up today so you will be eligible not only for this giveaway, but future giveaways!

The winners will be chosen on or after Dec. 18, 2020 midnight EST. A list of winners’ first names will be posted here shortly after the contest ends. Winners will also be alerted via email.

Thank you again for visiting, and best of luck to you! Please share this post with others.  

Day 4: Add some music to your day! Win The Many Faces of Victorine.

Win some music! My hubby, Barry Drudge, musician extraordinaire, created an album, The Many Faces of Victorine, for my launch of the novel. Here’s one of the songs he wrote and recorded:

I enjoy it not only when reading Victorine, but it’s cool to play in the background while I’m doing chores, while I’m on my computer, and more. Five of you lucky duckies will win a code to download his album. Trust me, you’ll want to hear it!

To be entered to win, all you need to do is be a subscriber to my newsletter list. (Again, sorry, but while you will get a free short story when you subscribe, if you’re not in the U.S., I can’t mail giveaway items to you.) Sign up today so you will be eligible not only for this giveaway, but future giveaways!

The winners will be chosen on or after Dec. 18, 2020 midnight EST. A list of winners’ first names will be posted here shortly after the contest ends. Winners will also be alerted via email.

Thank you again for visiting, and best of luck to you! Please share this post with others!

Day 3: My Top 5 Fav Art in Fiction Novels

Welcome to Day 3 of the 12 Days of Victorine. You know how much I love art in fiction, and if you’re here, I imagine you’re partial to it as well. Today, here’s a list of my top five favorite art in fiction novels (in no particular order). If you have an art or literature lover on your list, or if you need something to relax with, you’re welcome.

Irving Stone’s Lust for Life is one of my very favorite novels. Its subject is Vincent Van Gogh, and if you thought you adored Van Gogh, read this and you’ll absolutely want to shelter him against all of the harms (imagined and real) that threatened to stifle this artist.

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham might rival with Lust for my affections. Poor Philip Carey wants so badly to be an artist, only to discover he’s never going to be a decent one. Then he transfers his obsession for art to Mildred, a peculiar, green-complexioned woman he will end up wishing he had never met. Wicked before it existed.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë is an early example of an artist, in this case a woman (though fictional) artist, being written about. Do I even need to recommend this? She’s a Brontë. Read her. (More on this novel later.)

Maugham hits my list again with The Moon and Sixpence, and why wouldn’t he try to capture the essence of Gauguin, albeit a fictionalized version, a man he calls Charles Strickland? There’s an art to writing about the greats, and naturally, Maugham gets it right.

Last but certainly not least, Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund is a novel-within-a-novel telling both the story of author Kathryn Callaghan and her subject, Élisabeth Vigée-LeBrun, portrait painter of Marie Antoinette and others. Full disclosure: I workshopped Victorine with Jeter Naslund, but regardless, I adore this novel and I’m willing to bet you will, too.

Trust me, I have a long list of art in fiction books I adore, but I thought I’d give you a small sampling today to whet your appetite. Let me know what your favorite novel dealing with art is. Have you read any of the above?  

Day 2 of the 12 Days of Victorine!

Today you have the opportunity to win this lovely one and her lamb that I discovered just for you (the winner, that is) at my local vintage shop. She reminds me of the little girl that Victorine paints in my eponymous novel. These photos do not do this piece justice. The pendant is about 2.5 inches long, with a nice length of chain. While there is no maker’s mark on it, it’s got a good heft, something I look for in vintage jewelry.  

She’ll come to you nestled in a holiday jewelry pouch.

To be entered to win, all you need to do is be a subscriber to my newsletter list. (Sorry, but while you will get a free short story when you subscribe, if you’re not in the U.S., I can’t mail giveaway items to you.) Sign up today so you will be eligible not only for this giveaway, but future giveaways!

The winner will be chosen on or after Dec. 18, 2020, midnight EST. A list of winners’ first names will be posted here shortly after the contest ends. Winners will also be alerted via email.

Thank you again for visiting, and best of luck to you! I know this shepherdess would be happy to be worn around your neck. Please share this post with others!

Day 1 of the 12 Days of Victorine! V’s First Christmas!

Vintage jewelry, books, and surprises…oh my! It’s Victorine’s first Christmas, and you’re invited to join in the fun!

Welcome to Day 1 of The 12 Days of Victorine! Each day from now until December 18, 2020 will bring a bonus or a giveaway.

Today’s treat for you is a podcast episode listing ten gifts for the readers and writers in your life, from my and my hubby’s podcast, Writing All the Things. We have so much fun over there.

I’m so glad you’re celebrating with me! As a thank you for being such wonderful people, I’ve done some of your shopping for you and will be giving away items right here in the coming 12 days. (But if you want to keep what you win for yourself, don’t worry, no one will know.)

I won’t tell you all of the goodies up front (think vintage! think jewelry! think artsy!), but let me say they end with a gift bundle I wouldn’t mind keeping for myself. (But I won’t, because I adore my readers and you deserve holiday fun. Especially this year.)

If you’re not on my newsletter list, go ahead and sign up so you will be eligible for the giveaways. When you do sign up, I’ll send you a free art in fiction story about another “forgotten” artist, Olga Meerson, student to Henri Matisse. (Sorry, but I can only mail giveaway items to the U.S. But there are going to be a ton of bonuses and fun links right here, not to mention that free story when you join my mailing list.) And if you’re already on my list, you’re already in on the giveaways. But I’ll love you forever if you tell your friends about this.

Check in every day to see what’s on offer. And Happy Holidays!

Here We Go Orlandoing!

We are still reading Orlando, aren’t we? I know I am, and I hope you’re enjoying the journey as much as I am. What a simultaneously entertaining and philosophically engaging novel this is.

Here’s an article from Vulture that reminds us why this is such an important novel, especially for the past few years. It’s worth a read, for sure.

Heads up: in the next couple of days we are going to celebrate the 12 Days of Victorine over here with bonuses, giveaways, and more. Be sure you’re a newsletter subscriber if you want to be entered in the giveaway. (Alas, I can only mail giveaway items to my U.S. readers. But there will be plenty of fun content for all here, too. And new subscribers get a free historical fiction story.) So be sure to subscribe.

And let me know how you’re doing with Orlando.

My “Thanks Giving”

Thanks to DK Marley for the opportunity to guest post on her blog Hist Fic Chic. Please pop over and have a look if you want to read about the transformation of the architecture of Paris in the mid 1800’s and how it affected a group of painters you might be familiar with. (Think Impressionists and their ilk.) I even added in a poem by Charles Baudelaire for good measure. While you’re there, take a look around. It’s an educational and beautifully laid out site, for starters.

Since our household’s Thanksgiving will be dinner for two this year due to the Damndemic, I don’t have many preparations to make. We’re doing low carb (ugh!), so there are even fewer dishes to cook than usual. (I just wrote a flash fiction piece on the topic of low carb eating; if it doesn’t get published by the publication to which I sent it, I’ll share it with you here in the future.)

But there are dishes to be made, regardless. There is a turkey breast to be baked in the morning. Oh, and the Christmas Chronicles: Part 2 to watch on Netflix along with 84, Charing Cross that hubby does not know I found on Amazon Prime and now very much want to watch. Can you believe I never have?

Then there’s that book I didn’t know I was going to write that is almost up to 40,000 words to carve at. And the fact that I’m as lost as a white glove in a snowstorm as to how to stitch the parts together. (I wrote a loose outline, I did. But alas, I still took off in all directions. I think maybe I’m an “enjoy the journey” kinda writer. )

I really did not intend to join in on NaNoWriMo, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to hit that 50K without trying. (I’m a fast — if messy — writer.) I’m happy about that.

While I have once again taken on more projects than I probably should have, I’m in a productive phase so I’m going with it. All of the things I’m doing are blessings. Some of them have tedious parts, sure, but I enjoy them all.

And after all, being busy keeps you from missing those you can’t be with for the holidays quite so much. Here’s to next year.