Monthly Archives: March 2014

Finally! Finally! Finally!

Masks will be out March 20! Some retailers may have it a day or two early, because some process metadata faster than others. But by March 20 all should have it, so that’s the official release date.

Also, more good news, it will be priced at $4.99. My editor writes that “Our usual price is $7.99 for a full-length novel but we decided to break precedent and offer MASKS at a lower price because of what you’d promised fans. I know it’s still more than free, but it’s a bargain compared to our usual price for novels.” I am happy they are making some concessions on this, and hope that these, plus the free stories I will be sending your way, will help most people feel that all the drama was worth it. I really loved writing Masks, and hope all of you will have an equally good time reading it. Enjoy!


Masks: Inspiration VII

It looks like Masks will (finally!) be out this month. It should be somewhere around the 18th, and I will update once I hear for sure from the publisher. But since it’s so close, I thought I would do one last inspiration post, comprised of my personal cast of characters. You are, of course, encouraged to see the characters any way you like, this is just for fun. But during my research, I came across some images that struck me as being similar to what I had in mind, so I thought I’d share them.

Arrival of the English Ambassadors 1495-1500, detail, Vittorio Carpaccio.

Arrival of the English Ambassadors
1495-1500, detail, Vittorio Carpaccio.

Vittorio Carpaccio lived and painted in Venice shortly after Masks takes place, so his work gives a real feel for the time. He caught a couple of gents lounging under a loggia that struck me as perfect for Paulo, Martina’s elegant spenditore, and Jerome, the slightly avaricious apothecary’s-assistant-turned-courtesan. That even looks like it might be Mircea behind them, staring in shock at something outside the loggia. I wonder what it could be!

Portrait of a Man, Mabuse, 1515.

Portrait of a Man, Mabuse, 1515.

Bezio! I like this image for the slightly older, blacksmith-turned-vampire in the book. Bezio always had a blunt but kindly nature, which I think comes through nicely in this image. I also love the beard!


I thought Assumpta Serna (Vannozza Catanei on The Borgias) made a good Martina, the grasping, somewhat frightening, always acquisitive brothel owner. I especially liked this pic for the mask she’s holding. It’s perfect for the era, which hadn’t yet copied the masks of the Commedia dellarte that are so popular today. The Commedia was a late sixteenth century creation, and while some of its roots go back to Mircea’s time, the mask makers of the mid-fifteenth century hadn’t yet started to adopt them. Fifteenth century masks tended to be simpler, and half masks were often worn by ladies who wanted to show off their faces.


With a couple of dark contacts, Laura Jane Haddock in Da Vinci’s Demons would be a perfect Marte, the exotic, dark-haired courtesan. She even has the earrings!


I really liked Holliday Grainger (Lucrezia Borgia on The Borgias) for Auria, the self-styled “most expensive courtesan in Venice.” Holliday’s hair is usually too blond, but the tint of this picture has it just about right.

The Senator

I don’t know where this is from, but I found it shortly after I’d written a certain scene and laughed, because it was so perfect. She even has the right hair for the senator.


Under the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ category, we have James Purefoy, Mark Antony from HBO’s Rome as . . . Mark Antony. In all honesty, he’s a little too pretty for Antony, who was described historically as a more rugged type. But the expression is perfect, which counts for  a lot.


Elyes Gabel from Game of Thrones and The Borgias would make a good Danieli.


David Oakes as William Hamleigh in The Pillars of the Earth would make a good Sanuito. Well, with the addition of some pock marks!

So there you have it. And, hopefully, you’ll soon have Masks to go along with it!