Victorine, the ebook, is HEERREE!

I’ve been promising she was coming for a while now, and she’s here! The release was scheduled for her one-year anniversary, but it took more time than anticipated. You can now download Victorine to your e-reader! (She’s also available elsewhere, too. Just check your favorite retailer’s website.)

So many thanks to my publisher, Fleur-de-Lis Press, for all of their hard work on her behalf. A special thanks to Sena Jeter Naslund, Founding Editor, and Managing Editor Amy Foos Kapoor.

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

An unfortunate side effect of the ebook being released later is that the reviews between formats aren’t (yet) connected. Rumor has it they will be, eventually. I hope so, because people have said some really sweet things about her! But I’m so happy she’s out in the world! (Here’s where I whisper ask if you’ve already left a review for Victorine, would you consider cutting and pasting it to the e-copy review area? It would REALLY help me out.)

I always like to share a bit about my life when blogging, so here’s an update.

A close relative had surgery a couple of days ago. She did well, although they had some trouble getting her to stay awake afterwards, so she’s currently in the ICU. She’s supposed to be moved to a regular room soon. If you can spare any good vibes, please send them her way. (She probably wouldn’t mind if I said who she is, but since I haven’t asked her, I won’t share here.)

On the way home from her surgery, I stopped to get gas. Alas, afterwards my car wouldn’t start or go into gear. Thankfully, Barry and I had driven separately, so although he had just literally pulled in at home from the grocery store where he had bought dinner for us, he quickly put the food away and came to pick me up. He even called a tow truck. Yay for a hubby who rescues!

Still waiting to hear what’s wrong with my Foolish Carriage. (Do you know that car reference? It’s from one of my favorite movies.) In light of my relative’s surgery, it seems a small matter, car trouble. And it couldn’t have happened at a better point — I was safely off the road and was able to go inside the gas station and get a cold drink. And it meant Barry told the mechanic to look at a couple of other things that need tweaking that I had been ignoring. So it is kinda a blessing.

My second novel is still on track to arrive in the fall, although truth be told, I am second guessing its title. Brevity or wit? Which is better? Excited to share more about it as we get closer to its release date! Actually, be looking for an excerpt soon.

Talk to me. What are you reading? What are you excited about right now? And most importantly, are you enjoying summer produce as much as we are? We had a tomato sandwich fest a couple of weeks ago. Ah!

Our recipe: We toast the most mainstream white bread we can find, add sliced tomatoes to a piece of toast, salt them, top them with mayo, and slam another piece of toast atop the first. Sorry, not sorry, but this can’t be improved upon. I’ve had fancier versions, ones with mozzarella, or olive oil, basil, etc., but this is the one I dream of. Barry and I ate SO MANY tomato sandwiches for breakfast in Greece a few years ago. We made them ourselves in the restaurant. There were endless choices for breakfast, but this is what we wanted. We sat on the balcony and took in the view, a beach in the town of El Greco’s birthplace, and ate bites of summer. That was a magical breakfast spot, for sure.

P.S. Don’t forget to get your e-copy of Victorine! And if you do, I’d love it if you left a review.

Where Have All the Shipping Boxes Gone?

My REAL reason for writing this post is this amazing, perceptive, humbling review of Victorine by the fabulous Stephanie Renée dos Santos. “You get me; you really get me,” I wrote to her when she notified me that she had posted it.

Again, let me stress how generous and kind it is for people to review books. I met the amazing Stephanie over on Facebook in her group “Love of Art in Fiction,” where we discovered we have a common acquaintance. Small world. I enjoy her group so much.

So thank you, Stephanie. Thank you, thank you. I love it when the story of Victorine gets a boost. I want the whole world to know about her!

Oh, are the rest of you wondering about the title of this post?

I have SO much to say about purging our house and getting rid of carloads of stuff, me getting my shit together in general. (Maybe. Probably never going to completely do that. But I can try.) But I’m waiting until life slows down a tiny bit. (I’m in the middle of a career change. No, I haven’t stopped writing, but I have slowed my teaching to a drip and am happily in the book marketing world. (Not just my own books.)

Anyway, on this very rainy day I gathered three books I need to ship together to a contest. (Didn’t say I’d win, but you can’t win if you don’t enter.) I have mailers for books I send out to influencers, of course, and for autographed copies I mail out. But alas, while three books did technically fit into the mailer, it wouldn’t come close to sealing.

I wandered the house and garage looking for an Amazon box. While I spied a couple of smaller boxes in my writing room closet, that they have dates plastered all over them tells me that they are for records we are keeping, at least for the next seven years. Taxes, am I right?

Yes, I even ventured in my darling’s music room on the hunt for boxes. It’s so clean, so orderly. I am proud to say I have solved some of his organization problems, and he worked very hard on it. (Music equipment takes up space!) Maybe he’ll let me post a pic again after we’ve repainted. But what didn’t I find?

I did not find a box.

One of my favorite books as a child was My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes. My honey even bought me a copy a few years ago. I memorized it even before I could read, and my mom tried to gently explain to me that I didn’t really know how to read yet, but I had just heard her read it to me so many times that I knew it by heart. At four, I didn’t get the distinction.

Well, if we had any cats here (and we don’t), they would have been sorely at a loss for a box today, because I could find none.

That’s actually a very good thing. Too often either my writing room, hubby’s music room, or our (tiny) garage ends up littered with Amazon boxes. Not anymore. If we order something now, we promptly open it, break down the box, and put it in our recycle bin. This is partly because I spent a good hour breaking down and hauling off to the recycle bin a ton of boxes and cursing about how much I hated it as I did it recently. So we’re not going to get there again. It would have been a good practice to have done from the get-go, but creatives can be impulsive. We kinda pride ourselves on it. Now we pride ourselves on, apparently, having no used mailing supplies about.

Okay, truth be told I *did* save back the cardboard wrap that Barry’s latest comics came in, because he liked it so much and because I feel icky if I infantilize him and toss things behind his back. I trust that if he wants to keep it, he’ll find the right spot for it. Or, preferably, he will let it go when he’s ready. It’s not my business, even if I did tuck it into our partially full Bud Light box. (Those certainly won’t go to waste. And stop judging me on my beverage of choice. It’s not a good look on you.)

I want to tell you so, so much more about our house overhaul, but I need a couple of weeks. You’ll be here then, won’t you?

And once again, THANK YOU, STEPHANIE! Please, go support her post by reading her kind words.

Sneak peek — Stephanie’s quite the writer herself and she has a treat of an art-in-fiction novel,

Cut from the Earth, coming out in a few months. Trust me, you’ll hear more about it here. It’s wonderful!

Recording of “French artists in fiction: four lives, four authors”: France Book Tours webinar on May 8, 2021

Here’s the link to France Book Tours webinar I mentioned a while back with all the pertinent info about the featured authors and books. I, for one, truly enjoyed the experience, though I did have a cold! And warning, if you watch it, you’ll see that my head tilt game is strong here! (SMH.)

My thanks to Emma and my thanks and affection to my fellow art-in-fiction authors. I’ve found my tribe!

Many thanks, also, to those of you who showed up and those of you who signed up to see the playback. You’ll be getting a special thanks from me next week — sorry, there’s a birthday boy in my household to celebrate this weekend, so things are busy.

If you’re coming here from the webinar, welcome and I hope you will hang around and share in the conversation.

Also, on a more personal note, I made a thing!

I love cards and wee treasures, and after stewing and stewing, I decided to adopt this method of hanging my lovelies. I repurposed the frame from a faded art poster, spraying it with blue chalk paint. I strung it with wire (not as difficult as it sounds and I’ve had practice from entering art in art shows) and began digging through my box of sentimental items. The owl pins are from Japan. The feather is from Rome. (There’s a story there.) The pinecone is from China. The tiny canvas is from a professor friend. And cards, glorious cards! I intend to switch them out now and again. Since I have saved special cards for decades now, I think I have a few to get through. So if you have a place in my affections but don’t see yourself represented there, just hold on. You’ll get a turn.

A couple of the cards were handmade for me and Barry by his stepmom recently. They’re beautiful. (Barry said I can share his cards as well.)

Oh, and did you see my beloved finger puppets? I think I’ve just imagined another way to store my entire collection.

My original scheme (and I might do this some day still!) was to find a way to make a wall that is floor to ceiling “pockets” of glass where I can hang things that mean something to me.

You can call this current contraption of mine a glorified bulletin board if you want, but I would disagree: these items have their own space. They hang better. They’re not lost on a cork background.

I know, I know, I should either buy colored clothespins or paint these. I saw colored ones, I did, but I want coral (I can’t get away from that color) ones. I wasn’t patient enough to wait until I’d painted them to hang this. I spray painted the frame yesterday, let it dry overnight, strung the wire today, and before I knew it, I was putting it on the wall and adding the cards. It came out so much better than I expected. And if you’re thinking of criticizing my juvenile owl stickers, just don’t. 🙂

I’m so happy with this that I am tempted to make another one for my writing room. I guess I didn’t say that this one is living in the kitchen. That might seem like an odd choice, but we’re running out of wall space, and it’s right over the small kitchen table where I sometimes eat breakfast and start my day with a cup of tea and my journal. What a nice sight to greet me. So many memories. So much love.

Is there something you’ve been meaning to do for yourself that would make you happy? Do it! And then send me a picture, if it’s that kinda thing.

“If art is for us all and about us all, why isn’t it by us all?” — Victorine

Today’s blog stop takes us to Bookish Ramblings. The headline of this post is a quote from Victorine the reviewer pulled out. I thought it fitting for today. Please stop over and enter the book giveaway and leave a comment. And many thanks to Bookish Ramblings!

Book reviewers are so important to books! They are unpaid warriors who read for the sheer love of it and sometimes a free copy of a book. By the time they read it and review it, they’ve invested hours. I don’t take that lightly. So thanks to everyone who has reviewed my book thus far!

The Railway by Edouard Manet, featuring Victorine Meurent.

I posted the above painting because I said today’s stop, as in on a blog tour, as if on a whistle stop train tour…:-) Too punny?

Happy Palm Sunday!

Thanks to What’sHerName Podcast for mentioning Victorine‘s painting Palm Sunday today on social media. Where was my brain? (Reading Joan Didion essays and filling out a fellowship application, that’s where. Oh, and emailing the dearest friends. Wait, I feel a You’ve Got Mail reference coming on… “Don’t you love email?” Yes, yes I do.)

There are so many lovely observations to be made about this painting by Victorine Meurent, Edouard Manet’s favorite model — the subtle colors (some of my fav), the knowing-yet-innocent model, the composition…

I could go on, and maybe I should. Maybe I will, another time. But as it’s past seven and my dearest is waiting so we can choose a movie (small screen, but still), I won’t go on tonight.

But do tell me your thoughts on Palm Sunday. It was her first rediscovered painting, and I thought it would be the only example of hers I would have as I wrote about her. You can imagine with what care I studied it.

Enter a Giveaway! Two Wonderful Victorine Shout-Outs Today!

Thank you so much to two sweet souls for helping get out the word about Victorine Meurent. First up, my gratitude to Amy over at Locks, Hooks, and Books. Please read her marvelous review of my novel, Victorine, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway while you’re there.

Okay, I have to share a sneak peek of her heartfelt review: “I loved being transported back in time to mid nineteenth century Paris. The historical details were so fascinating and vivid, I felt like I was right there taking in all the sights of the city.” Thank you, Amy. That warms my author’s heart.

Over on Instagram, Crystal Z. Lee, author of the vivid, vibrant Love and Other Moods, posted a fabulous photo and review of Victorine. She said I can share them over here.

“I gravitate towards books that transport, and Victorine–a historical literary novel–takes readers to France in the 19th century. It’s the story of a trailblazing female artist who defied the conventions of her time.”


“We know the woman on the cover of this book, even if we aren’t familiar with her name, Victorine Meurent. Her face and body had been immortalized by artist Edouard Manet in his world famous paintings Olympia, The Picnic In Paris, etc. I took several western art history courses in college, and remember seeing Manet’s work at the #museedorsay on my numerous business trips to #Paris later on. In Olympia, the nude model’s gaze is arresting. She makes you want to know more about her. But at the time, a woman like her received scant respect nor recognition. Her modeling for #Manet made his works world famous, but history hardly paid any attention or credit to his muse. Until now.”


“This book is truly a treasure just for the fact that author Drema Drudge’s thorough research uncovered Victorine Meurent’s forgotten paintings, and one of them is published for the very first time in her book.”


“If Victorine had lived in today’s era, she would’ve been celebrated; she overcame the odds of poverty, war, sexism… and went from being an artist’s muse to an artist in her own right. But because of the times she lived in, she was shunned, shamed, vilified. Still, she unapologetically lived for her art, for her love and passions.”


“This gem of a novel is for art aficionados, history buffs, francophiles, and anybody looking for a riveting read on a forgotten heroine.”

Wow, thank you, Crystal. I’m incredibly grateful for both your review and the creative, beautifully composed photo. My heart is full.

Thanks to both of these bookish, kind women for getting the word out. I truly appreciate it!

P.S. If you want a free historical fiction story from me, join my newsletter and I’ll hook you up!

Enter the Giveaway! Stop #1 on my France Book tour

I agree with Stephanie over at Books Are Cool that books are, well, cool. And if you go over there and read the excellent review (I’m so touched) she gave Victorine, you can also see how to enter the book giveaway that runs for my whole France Book Tour.

Victorine by Drema Drudge

Here’s a snippet of her wonderful review:

“This book is a wonderful illustration of all that’s best about the historical fiction literary genre.
The author has obviously done an immense amount of research into the period, the world of the artist and the persons she portrays. It’s detailed, compelling, but never overwhelming.Victorine is a multifaceted, excellent book, equal parts absorbing, educational and inspirational.”

Bloggers are such wonderful, selfless people. I’m grateful to them all. Thank you, Stephanie!

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that TODAY is the official one-year anniversary of the release of Victorine. We have gone so many places virtually since then, and hope to go to more places in the “real” world in the coming year.

This date also marks the anniversary of Victorine Meurent’s death in 1927. When we set the release date, I didn’t make the connection.

It was (Is? My father has passed) also my parents’ anniversary. And, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. Coincidentally, this date is also my hubby’s stepmother’s birthday. (Happy Birthday, Mary!)

Anyway, thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for opening your arms to Victorine. Here’s to year two!

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

A Spotlight on Victorine

As the celebration of the one-year anniversary/ebook release of Victorine continues, I am grateful to DK Marley over at The Hist Fic Chickie for shining a light on artist Victorine Meurent today. This is in conjunction with my author takeover of The Historical Fiction Club today. If you’re not a member, please stop over and ask to be added so that you can join in on the games, the conversation, and the giveaways!

This Wednesday, March 17, my France Book Tour kicks off, where Victorine will be featured on several stops. I hope you’ll join in.

P.S. While the ebook of Victorine is not up yet, it will be within a few days. (If you’re reading this past the week of March 17, 2021, it probably is up. Let’s hope I remember to edit this after it is available.)

Jup, by Victorine Meurent. #Love!

Let the One-Year Anniversary Celebration of Victorine Begin!

Good morning! The sun is shining, I saw a gorgeous cardinal this morning, and I am thrilled to announce that on the Diary of an Eccentric blog you can enter to win one of two ecopies of Victorine! (Did I mention you will be able to buy your OWN ecopy very soon? More on that soon!) Many thanks to Anna for hosting me over on her excellent blog.

Thus begins the celebration of the one-year anniversary of Victorine being reborn! Victorine Meurent was an artist and the favorite model of Edouard Manet, something she’s most often remembered for. But with my research bringing to light paintings of her long supposed lost, gradually she’s coming back to Herstory and I am thrilled to be a part of that process.

I hope you will stay tuned and join us join me as other celebrations are revealed, including a blog tour with France Book Tours (schedule here) and a takeover of a Facebook group Starting Monday, The Historical Fiction Club. If you are on Facebook, consider joining me. If you’re not a member of the group, just request to be. There will be behind-the-scenes info about my book, fun games, and giveaways. I’m looking forward to it.

And my newsletter subscribers get an extra special opportunity. (Hint: it involves swag!!) What’s that, you’re not a subscriber? Let’s fix that now. (When you subscribe, you also get a FREE historical fiction story about artists Olga Meerson and Henri Matisse and their alleged affair.) Alleged or not, at the very least it was complicated.

This has been a challenging year for all new novels. You should have seen me crossing out book appearance after book appearance from my planner. But I can’t feel too sorry for myself. For one thing, others had it so much worse. And I had all of these wonderful people helping me get the word out. And I am, as always, grateful for you!

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

What’s Coming Next? And a Glowing Review!

So many thanks to Patty of Patty Pirate Reviews for this glowing review of Victorine! I first noticed her blog when she reviewed Bronte’s Mistress (a great book!), and was so pleased when she reviewed my novel as well. These generous souls who spend their precious time reading and reviewing books are angels to the publishing community.

Am I the only one who gets choked up when someone says lovely things about their book? I can’t help but feel I have a sacred trust, bringing Victorine back to Herstory. (I can never say it enough times.) Every review makes me feel that I’m that much closer. I’m humbled.

We are having so much lovely sun these days here in Indiana. I adore writing outdoors, and I can’t wait until I can do that nearly every day! I hope spring is finding its way towards you, too, depending on what hemisphere you are in, of course.

We are inching ever closer to not only the one-year anniversary of Victorine’s release, but to the release of the e-version as well!

There will also be a blog tour coming in the next few days of Francophile blogs.

Be well and keep reading!

Drema