Readers, this image, created through the ingeniously-designed and very amusing site called Pulp-O-Mizer, is my way of telling you that I need to make a few changes around here, at least temporarily.
Some of you may have noted that my densely-packed historical posts and my explorations of the research process(es) have been pretty scarce lately (though my guest blogger Judith Starkston kept us afloat for quite a while with her series of posts about women among the Hittites and the Mycenaean Greeks). I'm still doing research - feverishly, as it happens. But I'm pouring it into my work-in-progress, and that's where my energies need to go right now. So I'm taking a hiatus, at least from the work-intensive posts. Frankly, I'd rather write the book.
This doesn't mean I'm abandoning this blog altogether; it only means that for the foreseeable future, if/when I post, it is likely to be shorter, lighter, more personal and less historical. I hope you'll still check in and see what I'm up to, and there are plenty of older posts that may still be of interest if they are new to you. But I need to do this. I'm getting rid of expendable pressures and obligations every chance I get these days, because it's Time to Write. I even dropped my Italian class, and I love my Italian class.
Sometimes I love this blog, too. Sometimes I don't. That's the way it goes.
But back to the Pulp-O-Mizer, because I did want to share these covers with you. Here's the one I cooked up for my novel A Thing Done (available at Amazon and through bookstores and all the usual stuff, see my website, yadda yadda yadda). It's a tale about a jester in 13th century Florence, among other things.
The book I'm concentrating on right now is about La Compiuta Donzella, a remarkable woman poet in Florence in the mid-thirteenth century. Was she even real? No one knows. I'm saying yes. Here's her pulp cover:
Still to come is a novel about Gemma Donati, Dante's wife. The fate of this one may depend on what happens to the public consciousness once Dan Brown's book about Dante's Inferno comes out, because once it does, millions of people are going to think they know all about Dante. And since very few of them will actually read Dante, the new reality - for book-marketing purposes, at least - will be whatever Dan Brown says. Whether it makes any sense or not.
And since all of these stories take place against a backdrop of squabbling Guelfs and Ghibellines, I wanted to pay homage to those ancient brawlers, as well. Quite a bit worse than the Hatfields and the McCoys, they kept things lively in the 13th century (and beyond). In Max Beerbohm's 1919 story "'Savonarola' Brown" is part of a parodic play, supposedly written by the title character, whose cast includes Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, St. Francis, Lucrezia Borgia, Michelangelo, and Savonarola. Stage directions include things like "Enter Guelfs and Ghibellines, fighting." and "Guelfs and Ghibellines continue fighting as the curtain falls." That's how it was, in the 13th century.
Farinata degli Uberti, by the way, probably wouldn't have expressed that particular sentiment. For more about him, see this post. He was a child in A Thing Done; you'll see him in all his pride and in his prime in the Compiuta Donzella book; and if Dan Brown's symbologists don't make the Gemma Donati book impossible, you'll see him undergoing an unpleasant posthumous experience in that one.
I have no idea what's coming next for this blog, but probably something. Check back once in a while and see what you find.