How the heck does this happen? I have slaved over The Old Mermaid’s Tale for ten years and it is finally off to press. Then I went back to Each Angel Burns, a book that started out as a short story and now has passed 200 typewritten pages. In fact just last night I printed out the entire manuscript with the intention of giving it to Jane to read. She can tell me if it is any good and worth further work.
Okay. So I’m fine. I’m happy. I’ve got 2 books I need to promote and, if Jane gives the thumbs up, a third book to get back to work on to polish up for next year. And I have a business to run and money to make and work to do and company coming and my house is a MESS, and there is yarn and fabric in flipping PILES around here that needs to be made into something wonderful and....
Well, suffice it to say that another writing project is the last thing I need. But something mysterious happened Saturday night. I had spent the afternoon in a catalog review meeting at the art association and gone out to dinner and spent some time with Mark which I haven’t done in a long, long time and it was late and I was tired and I SHOULD HAVE GONE TO BED! However, in the words of John Belushi, “but no-o-o-o-o-o-o!” I had to start reading.
I found this interesting article about Deliverance Hobbes. Isn’t that a great name? Well, Deliverance herself was something of a horror according to writers of the time — the time being the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Deliverance Hobbes was accused of witchcraft (along with her daughter and husband) and she confessed and admitted she was a witch. She went to prison but was not executed. It’s a long story but then I had this bright idea:
There is a contemporary woman named Prudence Hobbes who is her direct descendent. Poor Prudence has lived in Marblehead all her life and has not had an easy time of it. She is an art historian but circumstances in her life have not been favorable. When she gets the offer to spend a winter on an island a few miles off the coast where a wealthy eccentric named Wyatt Ravenscroft built a mansion and has amassed a substantial art collection, she is happy to take it. Ravenscroft has recently died and his heirs want someone to catalog and appraise the collection. She will receive living accommodations and a generous salary.
Once on the island she finds there are two other occupants, Anjelica, the great-granddaughter of Ravenscroft and her father, Syd Jupiter. Syd Jupiter is a character who has been kicking around in my brain for a few years now. Jupiter is a mysterious man, a brilliant intellectual who gained fame as a pro football player and notoriety when he was convicted of murdering his brother-in-law Raven Silver, a much loved and magnificent dancer. Syd was married to Rachel, Raven’s twin sister — the mother of their daughter Anjelica. Rachel committed suicide while Syd was in prison serving 20 years for killing her brother... Well, you can see where all of this is going. Or maybe you can’t — that’s my job actually.
I didn’t need this! I need to work. I need to promote books. I need to have a doggone life, for crying out loud!
But, see, the interesting thing about Syd that nobody knows is... well, that’s material for the book.
Thanks for reading.