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Musings and practical advice about writing

Mission Museum Steyl

Mission Museum Steyl

At the southernmost tip of the Netherlands is a hidden jewel unknown to most tourists and locals – the Monastery village of Steyl. It is situated on a bend in the Maas River, across the water from Germany and close to the Belgian border.   Steyl Mission Congregation The village was founded in 1875 by Father Arnold Janssen as the home for his newly established Steyl Mission Congregation. The brothers and sisters of this Catholic organization built their own self-sufficient…

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Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery Excerpt – Visit to Mission Museum Steyl

Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery Excerpt – Visit to Mission Museum Steyl

Here is a short excerpt of my latest novel, Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery (Book Three in the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series). In this passage, Zelda and her friend Friedrich are visiting the Mission Museum in Steyl for the first time. Here are their impressions of this impressive collection. If you want to read my article about my own visit to this fascinating museum, click here.   Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery Excerpt Zelda followed…

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How Henri Matisse, Jan Sluijters, Edvard Munch, and Moos Cohen inspired The Lover’s Portrait

How Henri Matisse, Jan Sluijters, Edvard Munch, and Moos Cohen inspired The Lover’s Portrait

In my novel The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery, the character Lex Wederstein is a young, talented Jewish artist whose career is cut short by the Nazis occupation of the Netherlands. Lex is based on a real person, the Dutch Jewish painter Moos Cohen. Because I am an American writing about sensitive topics in Dutch history, I didn’t dare make up any historical events or characters yet based them all on actual events and people I learned about while conducting archival…

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What is a Bis Pole and Why Were They Desired by Collectors?

What is a Bis Pole and Why Were They Desired by Collectors?

The exhibition central to my latest novel, Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery, is based on an actual exhibition of Asmat art entitled Bis Poles: Sculptures from the Rain Forest. I can imagine most readers are now thinking – what the heck is a bis pole?     Ancestor Objects Carved to Honor the Dead These ancestor objects – akin to Native American totem poles – are created to honor the recently departed during a ‘bis’ ceremony. A bis…

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Bis Poles in Rotterdam – excerpt from Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery

Bis Poles in Rotterdam – excerpt from Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery

In this excerpt of my new novel, Rituals of the Dead, Zelda sees a bis pole for the first time. She’s not as impressed as you might think. Find out why: Chapter Three Once the pole rested on the gurney, the assistants slid the canvas strips out from under it and stepped back, allowing the room to view it in all its glory. Zelda couldn’t help but wonder if it was the ugliest thing she’d ever seen. She’d grown up…

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Books in my Handbag Blog: A Pesky Sleuth and Dutch Masterpieces in my Handbag

Books in my Handbag Blog: A Pesky Sleuth and Dutch Masterpieces in my Handbag

I am thrilled to share more about my art history mystery, The Lover’s Portrait, with Jessie Cahalin and her Books in my Handbag Blog! A Pesky Sleuth and Dutch Masterpieces in my Handbag “Travel with Jennifer S Alderson to Amsterdam and find out what has happened to some missing Dutch masterpieces.  Jennifer asked me to hide the paintings in the Handbag Gallery, but if you read the novel then the secrets will be revealed.  A pesky amateur sleuth will guide…

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Amsterdam: the Perfect Setting for an Art Mystery

Amsterdam: the Perfect Setting for an Art Mystery

Amsterdam is the perfect setting for an art-related mystery, especially one in which the looting of artwork by the Nazis during World War Two plays a central role. My second novel, The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery, is about an American art history student who finds clues to the whereabouts of a collection of masterpieces hidden somewhere in Amsterdam, secreted away in 1942 by a homosexual art dealer who’d rather die than turn his collection over to his Nazi blackmailer. I can…

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Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery out on April 6, 2018

Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery out on April 6, 2018

I am thrilled to announce my third mystery will be released on April 6, 2018! Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery has been a joy to write. It combines my love for anthropology, history, artifacts and Amsterdam into one novel. 🙂  Beta readers are also excited about it, one wrote back: ‘Excellent story, interesting twists. I really love The Lover’s Portrait but Rituals of the Dead is a step up.’ Be sure and read The Lover’s Portrait and Down and…

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Map Your Mystery’s Favorites of the Year & Interview

Map Your Mystery’s Favorites of the Year & Interview

I am deeply honored to see The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery was selected by Christine of Map Your Mystery blog as one of her favorite mysteries of 2017! Considering she’s read more than 250 books this year, I am humbled and excited at the same time! If you enjoy reading mysteries strong in setting, you won’t want to miss her reviews. Check out her ‘Reading Goals’ post to see her complete list of favorite mysteries. She was also kind…

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Budhanilkantha – An Excerpt from Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand

Budhanilkantha – An Excerpt from Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand

Here’s a short excerpt from my travelogue Notes of a Naive Traveler, about one of the many impressive holy sites in Nepal I was lucky enough to visit. December 4, 1999: Budhanilkantha and Sundarijal Last weekend, our neighbor’s son Shekhar and various family members took me to Budhanilkantha and Sundarijal, two holy sites close to our house. To get to Budhanilkantha, Shekhar led us up the very high hill behind our house, through a collection of tiny villages bordering the…

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