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18 Dec Going to the dogs already

I’ll write about my dogs from time to time, I’m sure, so I’ll introduce them now:

Little Brother Big Sister

On the left, Boudin, so named because he is a Cajun doggie adopted through a Houston rescue organization. And of course food products always make good names for beagles. On the right, Cressie, also a rescue, a native of Canada.

My book features two “pocket beagles” (a gift to the new Duchess Barbara from Elizabeth Queen of England) named Tristo and Isa, who are based on my own beagles.

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17 Dec What am I writing?

Earlier this year I finished a novel based on Robert Browning’s 19th-century narrative poem “My Last Duchess.” It’s mostly based on real history, but the history is intertwined with Browning’s fictionalization and some of my own what-ifs.

It’s told in the first person by Barbara of Austria, the Duke’s second wife. Also starring are the Duke himself, Alfonso II d’Este, the fifth Duke of Ferrara, the polished and manipulative narrator of Browning’s poem; and in a parallel narrative the murdered first Duchess—beautiful Lucrezia de’ Medici, hardly more than a child, willful, sensual, and vengeful.

It’s my baby, my preciousssss—and I love the setting and the characters so much I can’t bear to give them up. What did they do next? The summer of 1566 simmered with intrigue in Ferrara…

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15 Dec Hidden Objects

Recently I’ve become enamored of what are called “hidden-object” games. Remember when you were little, those black-and-white puzzle-pictures you’d look at and try to find the carrot or the cupcake camouflaged in the lines of the drawing? These games operate on the same principal, although they’re much more sophisticated and much more gorgeous.

Sometimes the hidden objects are actually camouflaged. Sometimes there is just such a rich and crazy profusion of objects within the scene and one must go over it slowly and carefully to sort out what’s what and what one is really looking for.

It occurs to me that life is like that.

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14 Dec Waiting

Writers wait a lot. We wait for good news and sometimes—oh, lovely sometimes—we get it. Other times, not so much. Here are some of the things I do to distract myself from waiting.

  • Write something new.
  • Walk with the doggies.
  • Eat chocolate.
  • Do the Sunday NYT crossword puzzle.
  • Do housework (of which there is a never-ending supply).
  • Read (as there is likewise a bottomless to-be-read pile).
  • Write some more of the new thing.
  • Sleep.

I suppose now I can add blogging to the list. It could certainly replace housework.