Victorine Interview with Stephanie Storey!

Y’all, I have been negligent, and I can only blame Raphael, Stephanie Storey’s latest creation which just came out Tuesday for my oversight. I’m more than halfway through, and do yourselves a favor — go get it NOW! (While I understand that getting a physical copy may take some time due to the world’s current shipping issues, no one is saying you can’t, say, buy a physical copy and while you wait for it, download the Kindle version too. Not that I’ve done that, cough, cough.)

This, however, isn’t a review of that fine, fine book by the author of the celebrated Oil and Marble, which is being made into a movie, by the way! If you haven’t read her first novel, buy that as well. If you love art, especially Italian art (wait, is that redundant?), and if you practically swoon at the name Michelangelo as I do, read it. Read it again, especially that bit about the unpolished top of the head of The David. #Lush!

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this generous author interviewed me for her blog and posted it the day before her own second novel was released!  Such generosity of spirit, such art-in-fiction camaraderie, considering I well know the unending list of pre-launch tasks, and that an author of her stature would feature me on her website, well, caused me to shed more than a few happy tears.

Would you like to read the interview with her thoughtful questions? Please do! As for me, I have some more reading to do…shhh! 🙂

raphael

Time for Another Cup of Coffee…

Mary Anne Yarde has welcomed me back to her blog today over on The Coffee Pot Book Club to talk about the life of women artists in the mid-19th century in Paris. As always, I’m pleased to lift a cup of coffee with Mary Anne. May the tour continue!

If you read my post here yesterday, you know I was just beginning to read Henry James’ The Ambassadors. I’m now about halfway through, and up until that point, I’d really been enjoying it. There are some exquisite, sweet passages. I’d share them with you but I’m tired this morning. Maybe tomorrow?

I picked the book up again in the middle of the night after waking from a dream in which I was being delighted by pet squirrels doing fun tricks and where I was contemplating buying one. (I care just a little too much about squirrels, I fear. I partially blame my dear friend who sends me pics of the squirrels outside her workplace on the reg.) And then I was so tired while trying to read that I got angry at James for taking three pages to say what could be said in one, for forcing me to go back two pages to see who the hell he was talking about! I don’t mind some obfuscation in the right measure, but dammit, man, give me something a bit clearer, would you? (To be fair, it was a passage where the main character wasn’t entirely clear on what was going on, either. So the writing reflected that, but was that on purpose?)

squirrel on wood
Photo by Toni Ferreira Ph on Pexels.com

I still highly recommend the novel thus far, and I am sad that I can’t seem to find a movie based on it, because it seems highly cinematic to me. Am I just missing one that’s out there, dear reader?

I’m not sure what today holds, but I’m hoping part of it holds more reading…because I have a feeling things are about to take a turn…

What are YOU doing today during these uncertain times?

Stay well!

 

 

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!

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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: drema@dremadrudge.com.

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Edouard Manet: A Game of Croquet.

Can you guess which of these women is Victorine?

My Blog Tour Schedule for Victorine!

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436945

I’m thrilled to let you know the blog tour schedule for Victorine! A huge thanks to each of these generous blog hosts who are hosting me during my tour. I’ll individually mention each post when the actual day comes with the link to access the information about my book.

Spread the word to anyone you think might be interested in learning more!

Don’t worry, I’m going to put this under events as well, for easy reference. 🙂

By the way, I’m still accepting guests spots, interviews, reviews spotlights, Q and A’s and the like. Just contact me at: drema(at)dremadrudge.com. Thanks!

Tour Schedule for Victorine.

24/03/2020The Coffee Pot Book ClubReview
25/03/2020Tony Riches: The Writing DeskInterview
26/03/2020Elizabeth Keysian: Seduction, Scandal & Spies  Book Spotlight with Excerpt
27/03/2020Candle Light ReadingReview
28/03/2020Judith ArnoppBook Spotlight with Excerpt
29/03/2020Deborah SwiftGuest Post
30/03/2020Mary Anne BernalGuest Post
31/03/2020Amy MaroneyInterview
01/04/2020Mary Morgan: Mary’s TavernGuest Post
02/04/2020Mercedes RochelleReview
03/04/2020Elizabeth St.JohnInterview
04/04/2020Sarah DahlGuest Post
05/04/2020Samantha WilcoxsonGuest Post
06/04/2020Emma LombartBook Spotlight with Excerpt

Guest Post Over at the Coffee Pot Book Club

Hey there readers! I’m honored to have a guest post up over at the Coffee Pot Book Club, award winning author and book reviewer Mary Anne Yarde’s site which does more than its share for the literary community.

If you’re curious to know more about me and Stendhal’s Syndrome, or if you’d like to read an excerpt of Victorine, go here. Feel free to leave comments over there.

And many thanks to Mary Anne for allowing me to share.

A Train, Manet, and…a Burger?

The title of this sounds like a joke in progress, but it’s not. Over Labor Day Weekend Barry and I took the South Shore Line into Chicago to (finally!) catch Manet and Modern Beauty at the Art Institute.

If you’re a listener of our podcast, Writing All the Things, you’ve heard about our trip in Episode 10. (Shameless plug.)

First of all, the train ride to the museum reminded us of when we rode from Rome to Florence backwards. It gives you more time to gaze at something if it catches your eye. We watched quaint towns go by and I (an urban decay aficionado) paid close attention to the rusting steel mills. It was a short enough ride from where we got on not to be tiresomely long.

Since I have recently fallen for vintage South Shore posters, much to my wallet’s chagrin, it was exciting to ride it for the first time.

We actually arrived early in Chicago, so we stopped for a quick breakfast before getting in line at the museum. “Getting in line” is code for talking with everyone around us about the exhibit, about previous exhibits, and about other museums we had all been to. Visitors were there from Japan and New Zealand, for starters.

Once we had our tickets we raced directly to the exhibit. Inside it, we decided to start at the end and come forwards. This was because, predictably, the area was packed with the early crowd.

Forgive me for this mild rant: it’s eerie to be in an exciting exhibit and hear near silence, to see audio guides glued to faces. That’s fine for those who like it, I suppose, but I “art” aloud. I like to discuss my discoveries, share with wide hand gestures the inevitably beautiful lines. (I’m a line person!) When I see a gorgeous color, I feel obligated to point it out. I don’t think this means I respect art any less. Hubby is much the same.

True, art has sometimes reduced me to silence. It has caused me to weep. This exhibit, however, felt like a visit with a friend. I’ve been studying Manet’s work for several years, and I could likely have been a guide myself.

Because the show was of his later works, Victorine (of my forthcoming novel of the same name; she was his favorite model and a painter herself), was only present in a photo from Manet’s album.

All of the works were worth seeing, though some stood out more than others. In the Conservatory was there. Barry and I last saw it with a dear friend in Berlin, where it lives. It was wonderful to see it again and discover the cigar anew.

Plum Brandy’s colors are hard to match, as is the sad sack expression on the model’s face. The model was actually an actor of the time, and her face would have been familiar. What does that say about acting of the time that he depicted her as so glum? Or was he merely painting what he observed?

Also to note: the banquette the woman is seated at (she’s supposed to be in a cafe or some such drinking establishment) is repeated in another of his paintings, clearly giving away that the painting was created in his studio. And, did you know they actually put a whole plum in the brandy? I haven’t researched this, but that’s what’s in her glass. Go figure. Ah, but those shades of rose and pink, the way the colors race around the canvas…

Manet was a master of still life. His brioche (complete with Zuzu, his wife’s cat, in the background, and a rose sticking out of the baked good) looks flaky and tasty. His white asparagus (besides looking phallic, naturally — the man has a juvenile’s sense of humor sometimes) are lifelike. There were two paintings of them there. One, alone, and a bunch of them as well.

His irregular, faintly bruised peaches also bear testament to his still life abilities. One likes them better for their imperfections.

Barry and I probably spent the most time in front of Boating. The colors in person are dazzling! Those gradations of blue! The shimmering water!

The figure placement is, predictably, pleasingly unusual. The passenger in the small boat, a woman in a dress that looks ungodly hot, complete with a belt, a hat, and veil, leans on her elbows. We see her profile. Her companion, the rower, is in basically a white undershirt, white pants, and a small straw hat. I’m angry that he gets to dress cooler than she does. He looks kinda irritated — because it’s hot and he’s rowing? How warm must she be!

In any case, the couple seems disconnected, for all that they’re in this tiny space. Her pose is relaxed but her body is not. They’re turned about as far away from one another as they can be.

He has the expression of someone who sees he’s about to have his picture taken and doesn’t like it. But since he’s posed for this painting, we have to attribute his features to conveying what Manet wants him to.

Is the rower too hot? Hearing bad news? Tired? The writer in me is still spinning scenarios.

Ah, but I promised you a burger. So because we didn’t have much time after we finished at the museum to have dinner, we shared an Impossible “burger” at Burger King. You know, the veggie burger that’s supposed to be indistinguishable from a real burger? Spoiler alert: it’s not. But nice try, BK.

If you missed the show, I’m sorry to hear it. It was special in so many ways. We talked about it from the museum back to the dunes and pretty much all the way home the next day. I still feel excitement fluttering in me just thinking of it.

What’s your favorite exhibit you’ve ever seen? Or is there one you wanted to make it to but didn’t? Let me know.

Manet’s Mania for Chokers

In Victorine, my historical novel coming out in the next few months, I write about the black choker Edouard Manet paints Victorine wearing. I imagine it as his bootlace, called into service on the spot.

Later, I give Victorine adoring fans who purchase and sport chokers with her as Olympia in lockets. It hardly offsets the cruelty she experiences in the streets after the “scandalous” nude painting was exhibited.

But Victorine is not the only one of Manet’s models to wear chokers. While I wouldn’t dismiss out of hand someone psychoanalyzing the painter and his predilection for encircling his model’s necks, I prefer to chalk it up to his respect and regard for fashion. Few paint fabric and fashion of the day the way he did.

When I stumbled upon this collage on Instagram, I knew I had to share it with you. Thanks, guzelonlu, for this lineup.

Four of the images pictured are Victorine. Can you tell which?

Bonus points if you can tell me the titles of those paintings. First one to comment gets a shoutout from me on Twitter.

#Manet #ArtHistory #Art #Impressionism

Manet and Modern Beauty

See the source image

Manet and Modern Beauty: The Artist’s Last Years, edited by Scott Allan, Emily A. Beeny, and Gloria Groom, is the catalogue for the eponymous exhibit of Édouard Manet’s later works. Filled with lush color representations of the paintings and ephemera on display, the expansive book also delights with authoritative, informative essays for those who might not be as familiar with Manet’s life and painting, or for those eager to learn current theories about the painter.

Later in life Manet gravitated toward unabashedly painting fashion, flowers, and fruit. Unlike his political and hierarchical-upsetting earlier works, he seemed pleased to focus on painting what simply appealed to his eyes during his later years when he was unwell and had limited mobility.

Two notable works in the collection are Jeanne (Spring) and Autumn (Méry Laurent), the only two of a planned set of four to represent the seasons that Manet completed.

The Conservatory, Plum Brandy, Waitress Serving Beer, and the CaféConcert are some of the other paintings depicting modern life and fashion that preoccupied Manet in the second half of his career. No one paints a good mug of beer like Manet. It’s as if he’s anticipating drinking it as he creates it. Equally, no one uses color quite in the same way, either. If you don’t know his paintings by the hands, you’ll know them by the way he places colors adjacent to one another. He evidences his joy in flowers by the care he takes in drawing them. His palette makes flowers look even more beautiful than they do in real life. It’s the work of someone who knows he’s dying and wants to gather to himself all of the beauty and color he will have to leave behind.

The editors of the book thank Juliet Wilson-Bureau, and with good reason: her extensive Manet scholarship is deeply felt in the exhibit. Essay authors and contributors to the collection include Carol Armstrong, Helen Burnham, Leah Lehmbeck, Devi Ormond, Douglas MacLennan, Nathan Daly, Catherine Schmidt Patterson, Bridget Alsdorf, Jamie Kwan, and Samuel Rodary. They write on topics as varied as Manet and the Salon to the materials he used, a fascinatingly deep dive. His “little nothings” are the subject of Armstrong’s essay, lending weight to something Manet himself pretended to dismiss.

The essays are engaging and necessary reading for the exhibit goer (preferably devoured before attending the show and again after), and perhaps even more necessary for those who cannot attend. For Manet aficionados, this book will both whet your appetite to see the paintings and to study him more in-depth than ever before. What the authors spark is a hunger for examining the paintings for oneself.

See the source image

Plum Brandy

This volume will satisfy the curiosity of the most avid fan. It delves into the provenance of every painting. It depicts his “scribbles” on envelopes and his attempts at painting tambourine skins. It reprints correspondence to and from Manet about his paintings. As a souvenir, an exhibit guidebook, and a textbook, Manet and Modern Beauty is one for the art lover’s library.

An important note for would-be viewers: a few of the paintings are not going to be shown at both the Art Institute in Chicago and the J. Paul Getty Museum in L.A., (the two museums which will host the show), so consult the book to know if your favorite will be at the museum where you will attend the show.

My novel, Victorine, featuring Edouard Manet’s favorite model, is on its way!

Victorine. I spent months researching about her, writing about her. Dreaming of her.

Meurent montage

She was Edouard Manet’s favorite model. She was her own favorite model, too, when she went to art school and became a painter! Needless to say, this novel is historical fiction, in case that’s your jam. (I adore it!)

The collage above shows paintings of her not only by Manet, but also by Alfred Stevens.

It seems I’ve shared the news everywhere but over here. Guess what? She’s on her way!Late this year or early next, I will my book about her in my  hands. I can’t wait!

She will be published by Fleur-de-Lis Press, and I couldn’t be happier!

Did I mention this is my first novel? Surely you can imagine how much happy dancing has been happening in our household! I even wrote an essay about it. More on that later!

In the weeks and months to come I’ll be sharing more of the Victorine story: what drew me to her, my discoveries along the way, and more about the paintings she sat for. More of her history.

If you want to know more, please follow me on the social medias: Twitter (@dremadrudge), Facebook (Drema Sizemore Drudge), and Instagram (Drema Drudge).

Hubby and I are launching a podcast, Writing All the Things, in June 2019, and I daresay Victorine news will spill over to it as well. You can learn more about it at: writingallthethings.com. Or join our Facebook Writing All the Things Podcast Group.

What would you like me to share with you about Victorine? I’m open.

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