The Romani World: Researching a misunderstood people

Not so long ago, kids cheered the Gypsy Parisian dancer, Ezmerelda befriend a hunchback on the Disney screen. The red-tempered Carmen bewitched opera and bull-fighting fans, everywhere in the countless iterations of that Spanish tragedy. And then Hollywood got its hands on a group of American Romanichel, the U.S. branch of Irish Travelers, in the…

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Being well heeled

One of my research sources, the Toronto Bata Shoe Museum, has an online exhibition at the moment that includes a wonderful assortment of men’s footwear, including one or two from the period I’m studing, the mid 17th century. One shoe I particulary like is the young man’s pump here: The costume that accompanied this shoe…

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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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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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Do protagonists have to look great?

Was this ever you? Reading after lights out? Reading something you shouldn’t? Or reading something with a red hot cover? I’m a sucker for a great cover, but not, typically, a face. Are faces on covers a trend that’s over?Maybe that’s the  publishing world taking a neutral stance on race/beauty. But somehow I doubt that. Covers…

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