Early this month, in a comment, Diana W. Peach asked me if I kept a secret about my new book.
I’ve been writing my book about my cancer journey since 2016. I kept organizing, reorganizing, writing, rewriting, editing, and reediting. I posted tidbits here and there but the story was still brewing. It is not a secret but it becomes normal for me to keep working on it until I call it done.
Well, my writing group at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at California State University, Fullerton, has been extremely instrumental in helping it to come into shape with clarity. I’ll introduce this group of retired professionals to my blogging community later.
Today, I’m grateful to reveal my Cover, the Foreward, and the Blurb.
The book will be available on Amazon later in the summer. I’ll let you know when I have a date.
You know the ending before you read the story because I’m here to tell it to you. The journey was long and dark, but I survived. The ending is an important part of a story, but the process gives it meaning. At many points during this cancer journey, I felt death was teasing me. I lost most of my muscle mass, lost 20% of my blood, and almost all my energy. Yet, I was breathing. It caused me to ponder. What is life?
I had an active and productive life up until the point when I had cancer. When I couldn’t lift my feet to walk, being productive was thousands of miles away from my thoughts. Family and friends became the only value in my life. In fact, they carried me through this journey.
Life is precious, and it’s worth fighting for. If I died, my pain went with me, but I would leave pain with my loved ones. My life is worth living. I want to enjoy the beautiful earth and everything that lives on it. I want to emerge in the blessed and loving relationship between family and friends.
I’m grateful to be alive, to give to others, and to receive from them.
In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-a dangerous, aggressive, and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received the treatments at the beginning of 2009, her cancer progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and upward winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.
Thank you for letting me share this cover with you. Now, I have to get the ball rolling!
Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’sBastard is a collection inspired by Venetian history. The fictional character, Alexis Lynn, wrote these stories in the novel Will Write for Wine by Sara W. McBride, but they are fun stand-alone adventures to be enjoyed with an excellent glass of Italian wine.
What inspired the story, “Stealing Giorgione’s Mistress?”
I’m that weird person who memorizes historical maps and paintings because it’s fun. Over a few years, I noticed the same model was used in both Giorgione’s paintings and Titian’s paintings from about 1510-1515. Then I remembered something I’d read by the famous Renaissance biographer, Giorgio Vasari. From Giorgio Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists (Oxford World’s Classics Edition, 1991, translated by Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella):
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“Since many gentlemen did not realize that Giorgione was no longer working on this facade nor that Titian was doing it, after Titian unveiled part of it these men congratulated Giorgione as friends would when they ran into him, declaring that he had acquitted himself better in the facade towards the Merceria than in the one over the Grand Canal. Giorgione was so offended by this that until Titian had completely finished the work and it had become widely known that Titian had painted that part of it, Giorgione seldom allowed himself to be seen, and, from that time on, he never wanted to be in Titian’s company or to be his friend.”
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There are several historical references regarding the rivalry between Giorgione and his famous student, Titian. A few claims Titian ran off with Giorgione’s mistress, and then both the mistress and Giorgione died of a broken heart. In truth, Giorgione died of the plague in September 1510, and so did his mistress, Violante di Modena.
In the story, “Stealing Giorgione’s Mistress,” I referenced a document dated 1511 which really secured the story for me. It’s from Violante di Modena’s brother requesting permission from the council of Venice that Tiziano Vecellio (Titian) be allowed to return to Venice because of the great services he had performed in frescoing the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi. The petition was granted. I read about this document in a secondary source and admit that I have not found this document, but do not doubt its existence. Such a document lends merit to the idea that in 1509, Titian left Venice in a hurry. Titian escaping Venice without permission solidified in my mind that he had a reason to do so, and that reason might have been that he was escaping with his mentor’s mistress.
Among art historians, there have been five hundred years of debates regarding the attribution of many of Giorgione’s paintings as to whether they are painted by Giorgione, or Titian, or both. Regardless of who painted which canvas, Violante di Modena seems to have modeled for many of them, thus bearing witness to a possible love affair with both great artists.
A fragment of Giorgione and Titian’s central fresco for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi is preserved in the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti, housed in Ca’ d’Oro in Venice. The rest of the fresco fell into the Grand Canal over two hundred years ago. The fragment shows a female figure brandishing a sword. The face looks remarkably like Violante di Modena’s when compared to the other paintings of her by Titian and Giorgione.
Titian ran from Venice to Padua, where he had a commission. Knowing he had work lined up, he should have applied for permission to leave Venice, giving more merit to the idea that he left unexpectedly. His frescos in Padua are his earliest dated works, executed in 1511 as part of the decoration of the Scuola del Santo, and can still be viewed today. Likenesses of Violante, Giorgione, and Titian are all featured in the three frescoes. When viewed with the idea of a love triangle, these three frescoes show the tortured soul and regrets of the artist, Titian.
The Miracle of the Jealous Husband
The Miracle of the Newborn Child
The Healing of the Wrathful Son
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A painting that also possibly features Violante di Modena is Giorgione’s last painting, 1509-1510 – Sleeping Venus. It was finished by Titian. (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden)
Paintings first attributed to Giorgione, dated circa 1510, the year of Giorgione’s death, were then reattributed to Titian, and the dates altered to circa 1515. I speculated that all of these paintings feature Violante di Modena and that Titian painted them, or finished Giorgione’s canvases, to mourn both her and Giorgione’s death:
-Young Woman in a Black Dress (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
-Violante (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
–Lucretia and her Husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
-Flora (Uffizi Gallery, Florence)
–Sacred and Profane Love (Galleria Borghese, Rome)
-Salome, with Titian’s self-portrait head on her plate. It is the same face as the man from the Padua frescoes of Jealous Husband and Newborn Child. (Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome)
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Look up the paintings and the three frescoes. Do you think the same model posed for all of them?
Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard
“If you’re wondering about the story that made Manu so angry, he banished me from Venice, it’s in here.” –Alexis Lynn
Get ready for a fun evening of stories inspired by Venetian history. Thrill to the adventures of money-laundering plague nuns, a pregnant Renaissance man, a demonic Doge at the Devil’s Bridge, and other tales of ghosts, art, and love.
Following in the footsteps of Lord Byron’s obsession with Venetian history, Alexis Lynn wrote these stories in the novel, Will Write for Wine. We proudly share these standalone stories with you over the objection of her paramour Manu, a modern-day Casanova and illegitimate descendent of Lord Byron himself.
So, pour yourself a glass of your favorite vino, let your dog or cat curl up at your feet (or let your cat do whatever it wants), and settle into these mostly … partly … somewhat true tales.
In vino est fictio.
Will Write for Wine
Alexis Lynn is tired of living for others. She chucks her twenty-year scientific career, and possibly her marriage, to write full time in Venice, Italy. But when Alexis gets involved with a flirtatious Venetian, a man who champions her writing, events spiral out of control. The old Alexis knows she should salvage her marriage, but the new Alexis is quickly falling for the charms of this modern-day Casanova. And she doesn’t know which Alexis will prevail. This is going to require a whole lot of wine.
Sara W. McBride, like many modern-day biological researchers, invents new swear words to sling at million-dollar machines while locked in a dark hole of a decaying academic hall. This has caused her to witness ghosts and create a romantic fantasy life within her head, which she now puts down on a very non-technological paper with her favorite Jane Austen-style quill pen.
Her first novel in the Alexis Lynn series, Will Write for Wine, and the companion short story collection, Stories I Stole from Lord Byron’s Bastard, both set in Venice, Italy, were recently released by Puck Publishing. She’s hard at work on the second Alexis Lynn novel, a Regency mystery series, and a haunted play. She strongly feels the world needs more haunted plays.
My friends and visitors, I’m delighted to have a fellow blogger and an author, Dan Antion, as my guest today. I met Dan years ago at Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS) Challenge. Dan writes about his gathering at his virtual bar for SoCS. Occasionally, he invites guests to his bar party. In fact, he invited Robbie Cheadle and me over on April 20, 2022. It was a wild party with 330 comments. Robbie and I had a blast with Dan and his friends at the bar.
Dan is good at many things. I’m impressed with his woodworking, photography, and technology skills. You must visit his blogto find out more about him.
The most exciting thing of all, we’re celebrating Dan’s new release, Knuckleheads, Book 1 in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series. I’ll let him tell you more about his intriguing Paranormal Fantasy and Speculative Fiction.
Thank you, Miriam, for inviting me to be your guest, and thank you for the graphic support you provided to help me with this book launch. You have been more than kind, and I deeply appreciate what you have done.
As you mentioned, Knuckleheads is Book 1 in a series, but I didn’t start out writing a series. My original plan was to write the story that is told in the second book. As I was writing that book, I reached a point where I saw the opportunity to create a sequel. I discussed this with Teagan Geneviene, who was helping me get started. As I was discussing how the paranormal abilities the two main characters possess emerged during childhood, she suggested that perhaps I should also write that story.
This story is told by Zachary Livingston Amstead to his adult daughter on the day after his retirement party. The other books in the series begin shortly after Zach shares this story with Abbie.
That story begins when Zach and William Ignatius Terrance are in fourth grade. They are experiencing the emergence of their paranormal abilities. Billy sees the future in a limited way. He sees events that are going to happen in his life, and to a lesser degree, things that are going to happen to Zach. Meanwhile, Zach is beginning to be able to participate in the lucid dreams he has had for as long as he can remember.
Both boys struggle with these abilities. They don’t understand what’s happening to them, and they are having a difficult time controlling these powers. Both boys get into trouble, and both are helped by Zach’s father as they try to “get ahead of the situation,” as Zach’s dad puts it on numerous occasions.
The boys grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and many of my regular blog readers will recognize elements from the setting as those described in various blog posts after my visits to that city. While the setting is similar in many ways to my surroundings growing up, the book is not my story. I drew on my experience, mainly because it was easier than researching another.
So far, the book has been getting good reviews, and I’ve gotten some very nice comments from people who are reading it. The few people who have read the other books in the series (they are all complete, but the 2nd and 3rd books are still being edited) have said that they were glad to have read Knuckleheads first.
The Dreamer’s Alliance series chronicles the challenges and dangers faced by two men who have been gifted with paranormal abilities. From their struggles to understand and control these powers through their battle with the attempts of corrupt authorities to exploit them.
Zach and Billy didn’t ask for the paranormal powers that were beyond their capacity to understand or control. Zach, interacting with his lucid dreams, and Billy, “gifted “with shadowy glimpses of the future struggle to make sense of the world around them. Adults in authority in the nineteen sixties have no time for what they considered mental outliers of the baby-boom. The boys are institutionalized, marginalized, and ignored. Zach’s father learns of the challenges they face as children and knows the dangers they will face as adults. With no way to comprehend how these boys perceive and move within their world, he must find a way to guide them.
Dan Antion was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up and attended college in the area around western Pennsylvania. Dan has written and published the popular No Facilities blog since 2011. A lifelong interest in writing became a reality after he retired from a successful 42-year-long career in information management.
Knuckleheads, published in June 2022, is the first book in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series. This story introduces the main characters in this series, which the next two books will follow in the late summer and early winter of 2022.
Dan lives in Connecticut with his wife, a few pets, and all the wildlife they can feed.
Happy Father’s Day to you, to your father, grandfather, your sons who are fathers, and any fathers in your family!
I always give credit to my dad for my love of reading, my gift of a green thumb, and my natural enjoyment of exercise. He was 84 when he came to visit us in the US. My brother and his wife accompanied him because he needed to use the wheelchair sometimes. He got up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to stretch for half an hour before doing anything else. During our travel and sightseeing, he walked as much as he could. He wanted me to get the Chinese Newspaper for him every day. The closest Chinese market is twenty miles away. They keep the Chinese newspapers for three days, so I bought the ones that were one or two days old also. My dad said those were old papers. He wanted to keep up with the current news. If he had stayed longer, probably he would help me with gardening.
My dad passed away at 86, less than a year after he had a stroke.
One morning my husband and I joined a Fullerton downtown tour. We started at 7:00 a.m. before the city got busy. We walked 45,000 steps recorded by several people’s apps.
According to Wikipedia, Fullerton was founded in 1887. It secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. Historically, it was a center of agriculture, with notable groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops.
Fullerton is in the Orange County. When the name Orange County was first proposed, there weren’t very many oranges. Most locals were growing grapes and raising hogs, but in an effort to better promote the area, the county looked to oranges. The name became official in 1889. Migrants poured in, and many planted small citrus groves. Around 1900, oranges became the county’s main crop. Millions of orange trees were planted.
Most of the homes in our neighborhood, including ours, have a Valentia orange tree in the backyard. We benefit greatly with a harvest of 1,500 oranges in the last crop. We squeezed and froze the juice for our daily consumption.
In 1886, the city began negotiations with George H. Fullerton, president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Company, also a Santa Fe subsidiary. They offered free right-of-way and half interest in the land to the railroad and name the city after him. On July 5, 1887, the negotiation came through and the railroad station is now the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue.
Downtown Fullerton, with its palm tree-lined streets and low-rise historical buildings, is full of old California style and character.
The city was built on level ground, which makes walking around the area easy and a great way to explore. It rains on average twenty days out of the entire year.
Fox Theater is a landmark feature from the inception of Fullerton City. The City Council considered demolishing it but the citizen organized a campaign to save it. The group raised funds to strengthen the structure and improve its appearance.
The original California hotel, now named Villa del Sol, was completed in 1922. The project was initiated by Charles C. Chapman for the purpose of creating a first-class hotel in the city. It now currently has a variety of restaurants. The Cellar restaurant is one of the restaurants in the basement. The prices are ranging from $$$ to $$. The Cellar was one of the restaurants in the basement of Villa del Sol. Steak dinner with wine and dessert for two easily costs over $200.