Tag

Italy

Bread Loaf in Sicily

It’s been almost a month since I arrived in Erice for Bread Loaf in Sicily. I wish my pictures could somehow encapsulate the magic that was our conference and this special place. I wasn’t terribly excited about this place before I left; the photos on the Bread Loaf site all looked very, well, brown. I love the rest of Italy, with its lush, verdant landscapes, and this seemed so unattractive. I’m glad I allowed myself to trust the Bread Loaf name; it did not disappoint. Erice is a small, medieval town almost 2500 feet above sea level. Each morning, I woke up to the stunning view above, and I felt myself unwind and go still inside every time I took in that view. It was a balm for my soul. The town is very quiet. There’s little traffic, and only the soft sound of the wind accompanied me on my walks. We were in the clouds every day–they floated past my head, and once I had the delightful experience of getting caught in the rain while in the clouds. It was completely different from any rain I’ve ever felt! The conference itself was intense and wonderful and enlightening. I felt energized to…

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Wonderful news: Now is the Hour!

I have an agent! Almost a year ago, I was contacted by three agents after one of my essays was published in Slice. They wanted to see my novel manuscript (which I’d mentioned in my bio). I was working on my seventh (yes, seventh) complete rewrite of the damn thing, and it wasn’t quite finished yet. When I finally sent the full manuscript out to those three agents last December, two took a pass (historical fiction not being their thing) and one said she wanted it! Brandi Bowles of Foundry Media gave me a list of revisions, telling me she expected these to take 4-6 months (she was right; it took exactly six months). I got the manuscript back to her about a month ago and we spent a few weeks doing some fine-tuning….line-editing and brainstorming a new title and working on a pitch letter, among other things. And finally, a week and a half ago, Brandi began sending out Now is the Hour to New York publishing houses! I’ve worked on this novel for so long–I started it in the fall of 2010, just before I got pregnant with my first son–that this has all felt a little heady, like I’m playing pretend. My…

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Welcome to Cesena!

Welcome to Cesena! Home of my husband’s family, and home of Arturo Donnini, one of the main characters in my novel, House of Truth. I visited Cesena, Italy (in Emilia-Romagna, which is in northern Italy, very near the Adriatic Sea) for the first time in 2010. I was there with my then-boyfriend Paul (now husband) and we were staying with his family; his aunt and uncles and cousins still live in the same city his father emigrated from in 1957. I spent the first week of my trip in Florence with two friends for a creativity workshop; in the mornings, after eating breakfast in the high-ceilinged pink ballroom of our pensione, my friends and I walked along the Arno in golden Italian sunshine to our class. There, we would begin class by lying on the floor meditating before we set about whatever exercises the instructors had waiting for us. Sometimes we drew, sometimes we journaled, sometimes we worked in small groups. It is absolutely a cliche to say that my week in Florence was magical; the air there tasted different, as if the dust motes carried the remnants of those long-gone Renaissance artists and scholars. The trip changed me as…

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