Into my second week on retreat at Coyote Ridge, on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains--and loving it. Lots of reading on a new writing project, time in the evenings to watch a good film, and quiet writing and thinking time all day. I didn't bring Molly this time: walking her in snow and sub-freezing temps is definitely not fun. But it feels strange, being without a dog. A good reminder of the importance of our animal friends' companionship.
My new project. A novel (or more than one) about Gertrude Bell, with a likely focus on her espionage work in the Middle East in the years before World War 1. I know the shape of the story I want to tell. What I don't know yet is how far to fictionalize the narrative. In my other biographical fiction (A Wilder Rose, Loving Eleanor, The General's Women) I've kept fictional "inserts" to a minimum. That is, the central plot stays as close as possible to the real story, and there are few fictional sub-plots. But Gertrude's life in Arabia is so dramatic that it seems to me to invite fictional subplots, in the same way that the Lawrence of Arabia story has been fictionalized. If you have thoughts on this topic, please share. I'd love to know your opinion.
Another award for Loving Eleanor! The Library Journal recently named Loving Eleanor as its Indie eBook Romance Award winner for 2016! I'm thrilled, both as an author and as an independent publisher. The book is available in nearly 500 libraries and is being adopted by an increasing number of library book clubs. (If it's not available in your library yet, ask your librarian to order it for you.) Foreword Reviews recently interviewed me about the writing and publishing of the book.Thanks to them for their recognition!
As you know, I'm a strong supporter of independent publishing. One of my favorite projects is the Sarton Women's Book Award program, now entering its seventh year. I love women's books and I'm very proud of this program (bragging here: I created it and help to coordinate it). Some of the very best work in publishing is being done in independent presses.
Doing something. As I've written here and here, there's no likelihood of my accepting the new administration. I am putting my money where my mouth is by joining and actively supporting projects that stand for the values I believe in. If you're looking for work you can do, check out Wall-of-Us, which offers four weekly ideas for "acts of resistance." We can't do everything, but we can do something.
Reading note. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.--Elie Wiesel.