What’s Her Name? And NEWS!!

Y’all have to listen to this What’s Her Name? podcast interview featuring Victorine (and moi). It is so well done, featuring a virtual museum visit and a dialogue between friends Dr. Katie Nelson and Olivia Meikle interspersed with sound bites of my interview with Katie. She makes even me sound good!

To make it even better, the episode uses my husband, Barry’s, music in spots. (Remember that album he created for Victorine?)

And THEN the thing that maybe thrills my soul the most (maybe? IDK, I loved the whole episode…) first the magnificent hosts of HERstory on the Rocks created a classy, bespoke drink for Victorine, remember, last year?

Well now you can get…drumroll…the cross stitch pattern of Victorine Meurent! (I get no money from this pattern, btw. It goes to support the podcast’s projects. But I immediately bought the pattern and though I haven’t cross stitched in a very long time, I know what my next project is! I’ll add pictures when I’m done with it. I have some special plans for it!) The pattern was created by the talented Olivia Meikle. I’m so grateful for it! I feel every bit of attention and interaction Victorine Meurent can get she deserves.

I’m not sure if I did get around to sharing the drink recipe from HERstory on the Rocks over here. So since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon, here you go. (It’s a wonderful, mesmerizing green color.)

Recipe from Katie and Allie 

The Painted Lady
1.5 oz Gin
1/2 oz absinthe
juice from half a lime
top with Prosecco

Barry made them for us just before I was on their podcast and he recommends using a shaker to prep them in. (I like extra lime juice in mine, btw.) Warning: these are strong. I stopped at a few sips so I could keep a clear head during the episode. But it’s a beautiful green color, fitting for release day, which in addition to being the anniversary of Victorine’s death is also St. Patrick’s Day! 

Buy the cross stitch pattern on Etsy! I am posting the picture below — don’t you just love it?! It’s Victorine in the dress she wore in her self-portrait. I ADORE THIS!

Thanks so much, What’s Her Name?! You’re the greatest.

Now for the news I wanted to share! The ebook of Victorine is coming soon! Mid March is the goal — I’ll let you know when it’s officially available. So those of you who have been waiting for the ebook, it’s almost here!

Happy 176 Birthday, Victorine Meurent, Artist!

Yes, Mademoiselle Victorine Louise Meurent would be 176 years old today! And she’s never looked better.

Best known, of course, as Édouard Manet’s favorite model, we now know she was much more than that. With my rediscovery of her recently recovered paintings, she’s been returned to the world as the artist she was and not only a model! For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s my book trailer which features not only some of the paintings she modeled for, but HER paintings as well:

Not enough of the world knows about her yet, so could you do me a favor? If you’re reading this, could you please share a link to this post on social media? Thanks from me — and from Victorine!

Buy a copy of my novel, Victorine.

“Drudge fulfills her goal to return Victorine Meurent to the world as an artist” — HNS Review

Those of you who are familiar with my journey researching and writing Victorine know my main goal was to remind the world about Victorine Meurent and her art, not just her nude body depicted in paintings for which she is remembered — if that.

Y’all, this review by Gail M. Murray for Historical Novel Society has me so excited! Many, many thanks to her for her intelligent, nuanced review. Please read the entire review at the link below.

Murray goes on to say, “Aficionados of art history will relish this novel,” and make other insightful observations. I can’t thank her enough for her review.

P.S. Would it be vain to say this is review is a big get? I can’t pretend to be anything but utterly excited to have this review both on HNS’S website as well as in their print version. I can’t wait to receive mine in the mail…would you like a peek at it when I do?

I can’t read the headline of this post without wanting to sob. Those of you who have helped me spread the word about Victorine Meurent, thank you, thank you, thank you. Those who have opened your hearts and minds to this unconventional, imperfect but generous, loyal character, thank you.

If you haven’t bought your copy of Victorine yet, here’s the link.

And P.S. there are big, fun things ahead for the one-year anniversary of Victorine in March. More details as they emerge.

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!

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.

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!

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

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.

My First Victorine Reading!

Hubby Barry and I recently visited Louisville, where we participated in the Spalding at 21C: Voice and Vision reading at the 21C Museum Hotel, along with four other talented writers. Besides me and Barry, the lineup included Misha Feigin, Ellyn Lichvar, Alan J. Naslund, and Vickie Weaver. Celebrated author Sena Jeter Naslund emceed.

When the award-winning poet Misha was introduced at the reading, I remember thinking, “Why was I invited? I don’t have nearly his credentials.” Since I was the last to read, I was pretty nervous, but the crowd was so welcoming I quickly felt comfortable, even though such wonderful writing came before me.

Because of copyrighted artwork in the reading area, Barry and I didn’t take photos of our actual reading, but we did catch some shots beforehand.

Barry read from his novel-in-progress, and I was delighted as always at his lyrical language. Filigrees of cigarette smoke? Yes, please!

During the event, I did my first public reading from Victorine, my novel which is forthcoming from Fleur-de-Lis Press this year. I felt almost possessed by Victorine during my reading, she who is remembered by history as Manet’s favorite model, although she went on to painting success herself. I have no illusions about who’s in charge of her story (she is!), and I’m honored to be a part of the process.

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I’m beaming, because I’ve been visiting with some of my favorite peoples! Note my nearly ever-present pearls, although I wear the white set more often.
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We enjoyed this colorful display, only one of many intriguing exhibits. And yes, that’s Mr. Barry D. humoring me by standing before this.

The next day we drove on to Nashville, where we visited the renamed Frist, now the Frist Art Museum. We went specifically to see the Frida and Diego exhibit. Please try to get there, if you haven’t already!

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am drawn to strong female figures. Victorine is certainly one, as is Frida. It seemed natural to me to go from reading about Victorine to viewing Frida’s dynamic paintings.

May 24–September 2, 2019

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection

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This is a Diego painting. Barry and I are teaming up with these fun finger puppets here just because I have a collection of them.
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Doesn’t Frida look like a lioness as she has Diego on her “mind?”
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Said to be the most detailed of Frida’s paintings, I find the imagery of this to be evocative. It seems to me that she is protecting Diego’s talents, as she is protected by the earth, which is in nature’s embrace.
While this photo is playful, I had to sit and stare at this painting silently for a few minutes. It made me dizzy, but in a good way. (Art sometimes does that to me.) I’d like to think Frida would have appreciated the fun finger puppets. She strikes me as both uber serious and playful all at once.

Frida’s strokes are measured, while her colors are freely sprinkled. I like her restrained style, because her subject matter and her use of tones are so extreme that if she had used thick paint or wild brushing, it would be too much. Her manner of painting also tells me something I suspected: she comes across as passionate beyond compare, and she is, but she also controls her image. Nicely done, Frida. Nicely done.

Barry and I also made a stop by the Speed Museum with a dear friend while we were in Louisville, and The Frist had a surrealism exhibit as well as the Mexican Modernism, but those are both topics for another post.

Have you seen any of Frida’s paintings in person? If so, what did you think of them? Do you agree or disagree with my take on her work?