Monthly Archives: December 2013

Upcoming December Events

I have two book signings scheduled between now and Christmas.

On Saturday, December 14, I will be at the Good Garden Café in Kenosha, WI (5925 6th Ave) from 9:00 am to noon. I will be selling and signing books.

On Saturday, December 21, I will be at It’s All Good Coffee & Espresso in Zion, IL (2780 Sheridan Rd) from 8:00 to 11:00 am. I will be selling and signing books, and we will be holding a raffle for a free copy of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte.

Also, I wanted to let people know my autograph policy. I am happy to give autographs. There are three ways of doing this:

1. Ask me in person if you’re someone I see on a regular basis.
2. E-mail me using the contact form on the About page and ask for my address. Then send me the book to autograph. Please note that I cannot pay for return postage, so you will have to provide a return envelope with sufficient postage in the package.
3. E-mail me your address and I will send you an autographed bookplate that you can paste inside your copy. No charge for postage.

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Book Review: The Hare with the Amber Eyes

The book I’m reviewing today is unusual: part history, part genealogy. The Hare with the Amber Eyes traces a collection of netsuke through several generations of a family.

But first things first. What are netsuke? A netsuke is a miniature Japanese sculpture that was used as a sliding bead on the string of a container such as a pouch or box. They were intricately carved from wood or ivory into a variety of forms: fruit, animals, tiny human figures.

Edmund de Waal, a British ceramic artist, inherited this collection of 264 netsuke from an uncle who was living in Japan. De Waal grew fascinated with the tiny, beautiful little objects and spent over a year tracking their history within his family. The collection was amassed by Charles Ephrussi, one of the sons of a wealthy Jewish banking family that originated in Odessa but had migrated to Paris and Vienna. Charles lived in Paris, where he was known as an art connoisseur during the period of early Impression and the second empire. He never married or had children, so his collection was passed on to a nephew who lived in Vienna.

For me, the Vienna section of the book was the most interesting: the story of a socially prominent and fabulously wealthy Jewish family during the days leading up to the German takeover of Austria in the late 1930s. It shed a new perspective on a well-known story. The book also documents what happened to the family during World War II and how the netsuke collection miraculously remained in the family’s possession even as the Nazis confiscated everything else of value they owned.

I recommend the book strongly to lovers of both political and social history. It was beautifully written and a fascinating read.

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Great Blue

I am the heron
standing in the shallows
of a man-made lake,
balanced on bamboo legs,
feet splayed firmly
on a precarious bed of eroded stones.
Focused on the water,
waiting so intently for a sweet-fleshed fish
that I do not heed the humans
gawking on the bank.
Beneath the shimmering surface
just a flicker of racing shadow.
Plunge toward it, beak open…
Sudden displacement of water
stirs up a silty murk
yet cannot obscure the vision
of my future.

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What Inspired My Novel

Melinda over at Enchanted Spark invited me to be a guest blogger today. Please stop by her blog and read my post about the inspiration for my novel. And while you’re at it, check out her posts as well. She has some interesting things going on, including a writing contest!

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Filed under Writing Historical Fiction

Bonaparte Milestones on This Date

In 1803, Napoleon crowned himself emperor in Notre Dame Cathedral.

In 1804, Napoleon won a major battle at Austerlitz, defeating the combined Austrian and Russian armies, who outnumbered him.

In 2013, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte officially went on sale. It’s available at amikapress.com and on Amazon.

Jacques-Louis David, The Coronation of Napoleon editJacques-Louis David [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Filed under This Date in History, Writing