Category: SCA

Florentine Treasure is now available. (Plus a picture of me!)

Jun 1, 2012 by

 Available today, June 1st, from Dreamspinner Press!

Art history professor Daniel Wollek is delighted to assist the Uffizi Gallery in Florence in cataloguing a cache of Renaissance artworks uncovered by an earthquake. But when a second earthquake pitches him headlong into the fifteenth century, Daniel finds himself more involved than he expected in rescuing precious artifacts from a fanatic’s bonfires. Then he meets Leonardo di Vinci’s assistant, Giacopo di Careggi, and finds in the beautiful young model a treasure even greater than art from the past.

Buy here.


To say I’m excited is an understatement. I really loved writing this story, and it’s probably my favorite of anything I’ve done–certainly in the short-story genre. It just was so much FUN. I got to play with time travel, and my favorite era–the Renaissance–and a fascinating, complex time it was, especially in Firenze, the Florence of my story.

And Gio is adorable.

And here’s me in the fashion of the time. Yes, I made the dress (at least the red and black part; I admit to buying the white underdress) and embroidered the cuffs.

That sinking feeling . . .

Apr 12, 2012 by

Today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  I don’t know why I care, except that it gives me a title for this post, which I otherwise wouldn’t have, since it’s not really about anything. I’m just writing so I can avoid working on The WIP That Will Not Die. Two years, people! Two years I’ve been working on this book–or rather, avoiding working on this book. I am determined to finish it by the end of May at the latest. I sort of promised it to a publisher way back last fall, and am feeling very guilty about it.

     I reread it up until the part where it starts to go off the rails, and I like pretty much all of it to that point. I don’t know why it’s taking so long. I like the characters, I like the writing, I like the story, and I pretty much know what’s going to happen. WHY is it being so difficult? Every time I start to work on it it becomes a matter of… look, a squirrel!  Roadblock.

     This weekend I’m getting officially apprenticed to Sarafina, a Laurel in the art of sewing. The idea is for me to actually get better at pattern-drafting and period sewing techniques. A lot of SCA garb gets made on the machine, which is fine, but I like hand sewing, so I’m trying to work on the period styles. I want to make a Tudor outfit using solely period techniques. The only problem with that is it requires I make a corset to fit me.

     I am so not a corset type. I don’t want to wear a corset. Roadblock.

     Seems I keep running into them. Or maybe, it’s really an issue of me putting them up. Probably a pshrink would say I’m afraid of failure or afraid of success, when really I’m a fred a staires. (rimshot)

     The editing process for The Florentine Treasure, the novella coming out June 1st from Dreamspinner, continues apace. I sent in the form for the cover art (which isn’t custom cover art, since it’s only a novella) and the picture that inspired me. I wish they could include it on the cover, but it’s Michael Stipe from REM.

     Here it is.

He looks exactly like a Renaissance angel to me. Amazingly beautiful. It’s an old picture from when they were first getting started, so naturally he no longer looks like this, but boy, was he something back then.

     So, that’s what Giacopo looks like, except his eyes are jade green. You’ll read more about him when The Florentine Treasure comes out. Hopefully.

     ‘Til then, I’m going back to writi… LOOK! A CHICKEN!!


Social, Not Working

Aug 3, 2011 by

     Pennsic preparations are underway; my bins are packed (that sounds vaguely off-color; I have no idea why) and ready to load in the car, and pretty much everything else is properly in train. This means, however, that I will be off-line for about ten days, which, considering I live and breathe by my mobile apps, will be not unlike quitting smoking cold turkey. (Not that I’ve ever smoked, and cold turkey? Yum, especially with mayonnaise and home-grown tomatoes on fresh bread…) 

     This has become an issue the last couple of years, what with the writing life and the social networking I do. (Who’da thunk I’d suddenly develop a social life?)  I pretty much don’t write during Pennsic—hell, I pretty much don’t READ during Pennsic, and anyone who knows me is right now dropping dead of shock. Because I read constantly. But at Pennsic, there’s so much to do, and so many people to talk to, and so many bottles of Gatorade to fill for the Ayreton Angels Fighter Support Squad, that I just don’t have time to read. I do sew, and sometimes draw, because you can do that and talk at the same time, but I don’t read or write, which are both activities for which I require quiet and solitude.

     The internet isolation is especially knotty this year, because of JP Barnaby. JP writes wonderfully angsty stories, some with BDSM, some without, but all with immense tear-jerking properties. In fact, she just sent me a heart-in-your-throat short short story under the subject line: “Your crying jag for the day…” Beast. I love her. AND she and I are going to collaborate on a novel. Or perhaps a series; we haven’t quite worked that out yet. The other day, we shot ideas back and forth like water balloons at a picnic. It’s still in the bare bones stage, but we think it will be a fantasy novel with kings and executions and gods and reincarnation and social reconstruction and battles and wizards and street kids and of course TONS of angst:  betrayals and murder and poison and forced prostitution and slavery and tattoos. Because that’s what we do, JP and I:  we torture our characters.

     So I will be pretty much incommunicado and left to percolate ideas with no way of sharing them with JP, and she will be working on her next Little Boy Lost installment without me as a critique partner (waaaah!!) hopefully, because she has a deadline. And I still need to finish the story I’m working on before I can commit to an undertaking like the collaboration I really want to be working on. It will be interesting to see how we work together; I tend to take a looooong time to write, and JP whips those puppies out like one of those tennis ball machines.  So I hope this will inculcate in me the drive to write faster, because I pretty much need to do that. Not so much faster as more, on a daily basis. I’m gonna have to start writing at home, instead of just on my lunch hour.

     Maybe I will develop a better work ethic….   Nah.

     On a separate note, my mom called last night, to tell me she’d gotten to the part of Kindred Hearts where Charles is in the Battle of Waterloo, and she said she had been on the edge of her seat it was so good.  I love that!  On the other hand, she doesn’t like men who cry, whereas I do. (See “Angst,” above.) I’m just happy that she’s reading it and finding it readable. Because she is, after all, my MOM.

A & S Junkie

May 11, 2011 by

No, that’s not some new kind of drug. Well, maybe it is. Because there are an awful lot of us addicted to it.

A & S stands for Arts and Sciences. In the SCA, it’s one of the ministries, and it’s where Laurels come from.  Laurels are one of the three types of Peers:  Laurels for arts and sciences, Pelicans for service, and Knights for fighting and knightly behavior. People are chosen for these honors by the existing Knights, Pelicans or Laurel. If you’re really dedicated to one of those things, someday you, too, might aspire to the position. But not too hard – humility is one of the peerage virtues. Supposedly. ANYWAY.

Arts and sciences includes everything from armoring to archery, leatherworking to cooking (have you TASTED my cooking?). If it’s a craft, it probably has an equivalent one in the SCA. After all, the Middle Ages is where modern Western culture was born, and we’re not so awfully far from them as we think.

I’ve always been a craftaholic. I get totally into a craft once I start, and get obsessed with it, including having all possible materials to do the craft. At one point my shrink said my hobby isn’t crafts, it’s buying craft supplies. I usually go about 5 years per craft; then I lose interest and have to find a new one. With the SCA, I have more crafts than I know what to do with, so that old scale has to be tossed out. (What? Wait! I know I can use that old scale for SOMETHING…)

Crafts + imagination + pack-rat tendencies = Not Good.

So when Lady Verena Entenwirt told me about her podcast, I had to volunteer. (One day I’ll do a whole post on Helium Hand.)  I will be recording the podcast tonight, along with an interview that Lady Verena will conduct. I think the actual podcast will go out on Friday. The subject is on medieval writing materials, as much as we can squeeze into 3 minutes. Although I suspect my presentation is longer than that…

The A & S Junkie website is I admit to doing the banner header. It sucks. But I think her site won’t.