Seconds: “First of a Fine Spectacle”

Did you know Russian empress Catherine the Great wrote operas?  She did, badly, or so goes her history. Anyway, back in my own when came an anthology call for Catherine the Great stories and here she was upon research having tried her imperial hand at librettos. I wrote it, a comic romp. Got a yes.…… Continue reading Seconds: “First of a Fine Spectacle”

She Who Must Be Seen: Behind “Star of Zoe”

I just have to see her. How “Star of Zoe” first got going, well, it was without Zoe. Not technically, I mean. I was riffing on this idea, this phrase: I just have to see her. So right there comes a She Who Must Be Seen. A proto-Zoe in the mix. My first riff, though,…… Continue reading She Who Must Be Seen: Behind “Star of Zoe”

Borgias, Bother, and Bad Ideas: Behind “Book of Hours”

So I had this idea for a novel. There was this gentleman thief, see, and he needed to steal something. Wait. There was more. This something, see, was hidden in the pit network underneath the Colosseum. The hypogeum, if you’re into archeology. A caper in front of ten thousand tourists. Say crooks or spies did…… Continue reading Borgias, Bother, and Bad Ideas: Behind “Book of Hours”

I Have No Idea if There Were Communist Go-Go Parties (or, Balancing Research with Creative License)

I have written Communist go-go dancers. Not in a comedy, either. Technically, they were recruits among honors-level university students, but they broke into go-go dancing as the Party’s party night deepened and the drinks mounted. The setting was early ’70s Budapest, and the Happiest Barracks in the Iron Curtain reveled in its post-crackdown decay. Our…… Continue reading I Have No Idea if There Were Communist Go-Go Parties (or, Balancing Research with Creative License)