Teen Were-warriors of France

The research I’ve been looking at recently reveals some surprising wolf mythology, a link, perhaps, to the popularity of werewolves in the Francophile lore.  Just today I found that the place I write about in my current novel, a village straddling Northwest Provence/Southwest Savoy, was home in the 18th cent. to a killing spree —…

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Renaissance Fare — chefs of Provence ca. 1600

Among my current tasks to prepare my historic novel manuscript for its final edit, I need to locate some of the foodstuffs my protagonist, Irene, would have had available in 1630. To that end, I have found a translated handbook, the Viandier of Taillevent or “The Meaty Wind-slicer,” that was compiled for the benefit of courtly…

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Magic in the Age of Enlightenment

  Inventors of the Renaissance were a curious lot. Some painted, others robbed graves, numerous built bridges and domes, many tended to the sick, almost all were employed by governments and numerous wound up in prison, fearing for their lives. Among these inventor/artists were a number of alchemists. Members of this brotherhood tended to be…

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Lunatics on the Page

Madness appears as a regular feature of period fiction, and not just in recent years. Notable titles with this theme include The Metamorphosis, The Awakening, MacBeth, The Yellow Wallpaper, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Secret History, Their Eyes Were Watching God.  History includes such crazies as Caligula (kicked wife to death), Ivan the…

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This sells funny – murder, revenge, & suicide by toxic wine and foodstuff

Research brings me currently to the phenomenon of poison. There appear to have been many kinds and a great many practitioners of the toxic arts during Europe’s Early Modern period, AKA the 16th century. I have found a delightful number of poison objects and accounts of assassination, some of which I will borrow in The Peddler…

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Who Tamed the First Falcon?

  I have been studying the art of falconry while researching my Renaissance-era book. There are scores of paintings, tapestries and etchings from the period of nobles hawking for pleasure, and posing with trained birds for portrait. Not a lot of what I’ve seen so far deals specifically with raptor training, however. So I was…

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Spring Fantasy

I’m all a-thrill over my recent photography discovery, Kristy Mitchell, who tells stories, both biographic and fantastic, through photography. You won’t believe what she does with cutouts, flowers, butterflies, and torn pages of text. Don’t miss a single link from three of her recent exhibitions: Wonderland Similarly, my cover artist, Jiamin Zhu, opens her own…

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History, Witches, and the Bodleian Library

  Why wouldn’t you read a historical fantasy about witches and vampires? And when those witches are vintage book nerds — bring it on! I was looking for another historical title for this spring, and now I’ve found it: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Here’s The Huffington Post’s blog descripton… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/off-the-shelf-/a-refreshing-discovery-of_b_10382610.html I’m hoping for…

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Booking the Indies

My dream one day would be to run my own indie book store. With a coffee shop, bakery, small cinema, live stage, concert series, comedy troupe, and regular book events. Not so unreasonable, right? I’ve had the good fortune to visit one indie store in Columbus this past fall as a guest author. That was…

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