The Chess Game by Sofonisba Anguissola 1555 (Photo by Donna DiGiuseppe)

A PRINCESS OF PEACE  for 2021

So much pain, in so many ways, 2020. Yet, also, transformation, change, growth. Quarantine offered time and simplicity.

I used my time and angst in 2020 to polish the screenplay adaptation of LADY IN ERMINE.

Six rewrites. It was rough in June. Wordy in July. Rambling in August.

In September, I worked with Mira Kopell (UC Berkeley, Film & Media). Thank you, Mira!

October to nail the structure.

November, it all came together.

December, my gift to myself was to finish it.

From reader feedback, Ferrante Anguissola, and my own gut feelings, I know LADY IN ERMINE will make a beautiful film. Plus, historical fiction is back (Bridgerton). Strong female characters are in (The Queen’s Gambit). The time for LADY IN ERMINE  is here.

But 2021 needs both patience and a kick. We pine for the vaccine distribution. We need to get on with life.

So, I’m beginning the second novel of the Lady in Ermine series. Sofonisba influenced so much, and so many.

LADY IN ERMINE: The Story of  a Woman Who Painted the Renaissance begins on September 21, 1549. I will work to finish a manuscript of A PRINCESS OF PEACE by September 21, 2021. Patience and a kick for 2021. Thank you to all who gave feedback on the first novel. It has been so positive! I am grateful. To a healthy and peaceful 2021.

Sofonisba Anguissola and International Travel

Holy Family, Flight to Egypt, Sofonisba Anguissola, 1559, Bergamo Cararra

Life gave Sofonisba incredible opportunities for travel. In an era when many people barely left their hometowns, Sofonisba traveled throughout northern Italy to present her work. She sailed Genoa to Barcelona then rode through Spain to serve at the Spanish court. She sailed 6 more major voyages on the Mediterranean Sea. Her life was a virtual travel guide.

If you want some arm chair travel with historical fiction, go ahead and follow Sofonisba’s life.

Escape Virus Worries With Historical Fiction: Beneath A Scarlet Sky

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For Historical Fiction that will make your heart sing, I want to recommend Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. A best seller in 2017 (when I was preoccupied finishing up Lady in Ermine)Beneath A Scarlet Sky is engaging reading for the current moment, substantively and literally.

Without any spoilers, Scarlet Sky is set in German occupied Lombardy (Sofonisba’s region) during WWII, and we get a first-hand glimpse of the human tragedy through the eyes of Pino. In the first part, Pino employs faith and sheer human will to succeed at the mission assigned to him. In the middle, his craftiness, tenacity and resolve propel him. Written in short chapters like potato chips, Scarlet Sky makes you want one more, and then another. I’m only half way through and I couldn’t resist blogging about it. Touching, moving, insightful.

While not complete escapism-the subject matter is weighty and the horrors of WWII are represented- Scarlet Sky both distracts from our current crisis and comforts too. As we feel invaded and occupied beyond control, it is good to remember the historic struggles we have overcome with tenacity of spirit. And as bad as the current moment is, there have been far worse eras in history. We can be grateful for life and for each day together.