I’ve been watching the mail anxiously, knowing that a box from my publisher should arrive soon. And yesterday, there it was! Inside were my author copies of A is For Anthony.
The book is illlustrated by Miguel Lopez, who drew adorable, child-friendly versions of the saints.
Right now, the only vendor I know of selling the booklet sells it in packs of twelve, suitable for distribution in Religious Education programs. I’ll update later as other vendors pick up the book.
As you can imagine, we were all very excited about this arrival at the Traver house. (My daughter was happy that I had written a book I could actually read to her, unlike my romances.) This is my first traditionally published picture book, and I’m grateful for the many critique partners who helped me get here.
I happened to be looking for paintings and drawings of Regency-era weddings, and I stumbled upon some proposal pictures. This led me down a fascinating rabbit hole, as there is apparently a whole body of artwork depicting men proposing and women seeming uninterested or unhappy. Behold!
In this painting, I’m just going to assume that the answer to the question “Yes or no?” is “No.” I’m neither a flower expert nor an art historian, but I believe the blue flowers in her hand are forget-me-nots, which leads me to speculate that she is remembering a different lover. In any case, she seems more interested in the flowers than in her suitor.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found the artist for the painting above. But again, though the suitor seems anxious, the woman looks like she’s wishing he would leave her alone. Take a hint, buddy: she’s not that into you.
Another Leighton work. The gentleman suitor here gets credit for not looking desperate, unlike some of the other paintings. But the lady can’t be bothered to look up from her fancywork. True, that could be shyness (Christina, from one of my works in progress, frequently looks down at her needlework due to shyness), but to me it looks like disinterest.
On Twitter, we speculated that this poor gentleman just picked the wrong time to propose. His inamorata looks overheated. “Ugh, it’s too HOT for this nonsense!” I hear you, unknown lady. Make your suitor get a cold drink for you. He might as well be useful, am I right?
Shout out to MJ Lloyd, who found this painting by Soulacroix. This is the first Regency proposal picture I’ve seen where the prospective bride seems happy. Note, too, how physically close the couple are. In many proposal paintings, there is a large space between the two people. In a few, the bride is actually leaning away, like in the painting below.
What caught my attention about this image was the way the woman leans away from her suitor, as if trying to get as physically distant from him as she can without falling off the sofa. But then I found myself asking “What is going on with the dead animal under her feet?” Followed by “Why did he tie his cravat as if he were a present? Does he think he’s God’s gift to women?” So many questions, really.
Finally, for further viewing pleasure, check out this article from The Toast. And I’ll end with a satirical engraving from 1805, in which the woman might be happy to be courted.
I can finally announce that one of my picture book manuscripts found a home with Aquinas Press, and is scheduled for publication this fall.
A is for Anthony: An Alphabet of Saints and Animals will be published as a booklet, similar in format to other books from the Lives of the Saints series. It’s an alpabethical collection of mini-stories about saints and their interactions with animals. Some of the saints are ones everyone has heard of (St. Francis, of course), while others are more obscure.
Last spring, I began experimenting with Amazon’s new serial format, Kindle Vella, trying to see how it might work for a young adult novella that I had completed. The work in question wasn’t really publishable in a traditional format because of its short word count, but I wondered how it might do in bite-size formats. So, I published Magecraft and Murder in 32 installments under the pen name of T.A. Rollins.
Did it work? I’m not sure. Because the story wasn’t really written with the serial format in mind, I don’t know that it maintained tension the way an ideal serial story would do. You really need to master the art of the cliff hanger when you’re writing serials, and I don’t think I captured that in this work. Ultimately, I’m not sure that Vella is the right format for me, and I may stick to writing traditional novels in the future.
But, success or failure, the novella is now complete on Kindle Vella, so you can follow the mystery through to its end!
It’s officially time for Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words contest, in which kidlit writers try to compose a complete story (beginning, middle, and end) 50 words or less in length. This is, in my opinion, the most challenging of the blog-based writing contests I know, because of the brevity. Here’s my entry! This year, I’ve gone for humor.
Kitten to Owl
“Today I’ll be an owl,” said Kitten. He climbed a tree and perched on a branch.
“Hoo! Hoo!” He hooted. But it sounded more like “Mew! Mew!”
Passersby panicked. “Help! There’s a kitten stuck in a tree!”
The fire department rescued him.
“Tomorrow I’ll be an ostrich instead,” he decided.