Happy Valentine’s Day! You Read it Here First (Interview)

So I’m trying to be punny with the headline and I’m not sure I’m succeeding. But I do hope you’re having a happy Valentine’s Day. My honey bought a together present for us, which made me so happy. Maybe I mentioned before that we picked out a China pattern when we were newly married but only started buying it to celebrate our 30th! (Don’t feel too sorry for us; we have a beautiful set in a different pattern handed down from his mother that we use.)

Meet the newest members which have already been pressed into service for several cups of tea. When I asked my dear Mr. Drudge whether they were to be put into everyday use or for special occasions, he said the latter, though I do tend to frown upon things being “saved.” I will try to honor his request, but we shall see…don’t you love this pattern, Royal Albert Old Country Roses?

Our first two mugs in our pattern. I’m feeling major mug love over here!

P.S. He also bought me several wonderful books that I will try to forget about while I do my pressing day job duties for the new few days. More on those books soon! (And I bought him some nifty gifties as well. But I’ll let him share those with you in his own good time. Psst…he can often be found conversing with musicians on Twitter.)

And now, here’s what I’ve been building up to. Many, many thanks to the crew over at You Read it Here First and to Debbie A. McClure in particular for her glowing introduction of me and Victorine and her thoughtful interview. I am so touched. I’ll let you read her interview, but I have to share this quote because it warmed my heart: “It’s not often I find a kindred spirit in a writer who loves the craft of writing, art, and the joy of travel as much as I do, but author Drēma Drudge fits that bill. Wit and a serious respect for writing and art, Drēma takes the reader on a journey into the past that delights and educates at the same time.” Debbie A McClure.

Please go show the interview some love on Valentine’s Day!

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 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 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!

An Interview and ANOTHER Giveaway!

How happy I am to start off this Wednesday morning offering you another book giveaway!

I’m thrilled to announce that artist and author Lilianne Milgrom has interviewed me over on her blog. If you head on over there, you’ll be able to read it and find out how to win a copy of my very own Victorine for your very own. 🙂

Victorine as Lady of 1866 by Manet

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?