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Picturing a World

X in Xmas

Mattie Palmer, my new heroine, is Jeanette’s younger sister. Since Where the Light Falls is set in 1878–1880 and ANONYMITY in 1908, this magazine cover comes halfway between the chronologically. It’s sort of like a Rorschach test: Would Jeanette’s art be leading her this direction? Would Mattie like it? The fact  Read More 

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Kewpie Votes for Women

After Saturday’s post on Halloween cards, my first search for the illustrators who painted them turned up Rose O’Neill—the inventor of Kewpie! Who knew? (Well, probably lots of historians of material culture, but not me.) It is tempting, tempting, tempting  Read More 
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Picture a story

Images inspire writing. Among my desktop folders, I have one for Pictures Demanding Stories—or, in Greer Gilman’s more potent term, Story-seeds. This image by Rovina Cai instantly called to mind Gilman’s work. I’m tickled pink that she agrees. Here’s hoping that one day she’ll tell us the story! (As for me, it's back to ANONYMITY and, well, to some other fiction that insists on being written.)

Thanks to Line and Colors for the post on Cai. Read More 
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Thoughts on writing

Blog tip: Writer, artist, and editor Terry Windling posts today on Stories that matter. She quotes other writers who share her philosophy (and mine) that real writing is what you must do because you can't not do it. The post is illustrated with fantasy images by Nadeshda Illarionova, whose pictures could easily inspire a fairy tale of your own. Check'em out! Read More 
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Puck Christmas 1908

The true meaning of Christmas may be the opposite of worldly vanity, but I can’t resist posting this image from the period of my present research for ANONYMITY.

San Francisco-based Grant Gordon (best known as a marine painter) provided illustrations to Puck and other periodicals.

I have to assume that my heroine, Mattie,  Read More 
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Alice Barber Stephens

This Christmas shopping street scene is the sort that might have met my new heroine Mattie when she arrived in New York City at the turn of the 20th C. It was painted by Alice Barber Stephens,  Read More 
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Three more shopping days til Christmas

The heroine of ANONYMITY, Mattie Palmer, works in an office near Madison Square, so imagine her witnessing crowds like this. I’ve set the novel in warm weather for various reasons, but winter settings have advantages. Cold, snow, and sleet give urgency to action, and respite from misery in cozy havens are among my  Read More 
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Elsa Beskow

Several interests came together for me when I came across Swedish artist, Elsa Beskow (1874–1953)—Jeanette’s future career as an illustrator; my new heroine Mattie’s work in juvenile book publishing; women’s rights; and Scandinavian women artists. As a Christmas present to  Read More 
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Situation wanted

Situation Wanted seems perfect for a follow up to Labor Day. When I first saw this picture, it interested me that illustrator Walter Appleton Clark has included a woman as one of his job-seekers because fear of losing her job drives some the  Read More 
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Advertising placards

This summer, my husband and I went to an exhibition, The Unknown Hopper: Edward Hopper as Illustrator on view at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, through October 26, 2014. Night on the El Train was not among the work we saw. It is, in fact, one of the freestanding etchings that Edward Hopper made in an effort to support himself beyond magazine illustrationat the start of his career. The Rockwell show, however, demonstrates how much drama and focus he brought to his commercial drawings.

And don’t we all wish it was still the custom to commission illustrations for books and magazine stories! It happens, of course, for children’s picture books and deluxe editions of books some fiction for adults (For two examples, click here and here.)  Read More 
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