Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Month in Tuscany

" rawwwk!"

Sounds like the title to a cheesy romance novel doesn't it. You know, writer comes to Italy to be alone and work on a new novel, and meets up with some ravishing Italian woman who is years younger, unbelievably drop-dead gorgeous, and can't speak a lick of English other than something like, "You rock!." So even if she's angry with you, she screams, "You rock, VEEENcent! You very very rock!" Something like that.

Ok, I'm not going to comment on whether or not I did actually meet the ravishing Italian woman (in other words, I'm not going to deny or confirm such an event took place). But I can tell you this: I came to Italy for a month to work on my new novel, which now has a title I'm going to stick to (unless you guys tell me to change it): Death by Moonlight.

That's right, it's a new Moonlight thriller, and just as a teaser, it's a story based on real events that took place in Albany just a few years ago when a clean-cut college boy decided to take a fireman's axe to his parents while they lie asleep at night up in the bedroom of their quiet suburban home. He managed to kill his father (who curiously enough, got up in the morning, made the coffee, retrieved the newspaper, wrote out a check to his "perp" son, and then laid down and died, with his brains bashed in), but only horribly wound his mother (he cut her right eye out). Speaking of his mother, initially she pointed her own son out as the axe man, but then later recanted. So this is truly a story of how a mother's love for her son can override just about anything imaginable. Even a murder Stephen King couldn't begin to invent. I thought it would be a great case to put Dick Moonlight on, since the unreliable suicide survivor is usually hopelessly unemployed. He does however, own a bar now. How did this happen? Check out Moonlight Mafia, the brand new digital short published just last week by StoneGate Ink!. If you like it, maybe you'll want to read Moonlight Falls, the first Moonlight story.

In any case, I'm sitting at my desk in my 6-flight walk-up apartment that overlooks Firenz and already I'm contemplating the big plane that will take me back to New York on Wednesday. What I have I accomplished since I've been here?

-a new good draft of Death by Moonlight
-a rough draft/outline of what will be Moonlight III (God willing)
-33 short journalism pieces plus 3 pro blogs
-two or three interviews for my bestselling thriller, The Remains, new Virtual Tour which is currently in mid-swing.
-Marketing for all my newly published and republished novels, like The Innocent.
-Half a dozen good bottles of Chianti emptied
-150 jogged miles along the banks of the Arno (5 per day)
-3000 pushups, and an equal number of situps
-Enjoyed countless plates of pasta, countless panini, bowls of soup, etc.
-Thinking. Yes, I've got a lot of thinking done here.

Regarding the thinking thing. This is the third year in a row I've been coming here to write and I now have some very good friends, if not best friends. We shared thanksgiving together inside a villa in Tuscany where one of my friend's lives. And although we share a pretty big language barrier, we still manage to laugh so much we are often brought to tears. In a word, we're silly people. And I like being silly.

The Thanksgiving was perhaps one of the best I've ever had, and it might have been the best if only my kids were with me. I guess you can't have it all. But it's because of those friends, and Florence's ability to inspire me, that I have been thinking a lot about setting up a permanent home here. Perhaps now would be the time to spend half a year here and half the year in the New York? Is that possible? Maybe. I can work from where ever I am in the world. I'm sure I will give it more serious thought on the long plane rides back home this week. I'm 46 now, and my oldest son is 20 and will be out of school come the spring. And wouldn't it be great for my younger ones to spend part of their year in Europe. The ties that used to bind me to one place are not so tight anymore.

I'll keep thinking.

Now regarding that ravishing Italian woman. I'm not going to confirm that I might have met someone who is maybe a tall, Italian beauty. Someone who can't understand three-quarters of what I'm saying but somehow gets the message anyway. Someone I might have hit it off with immediately. I'm not going to confirm that I met someone like that. But I'm not going to deny it either. Because hey, it's entirely possible. But then, I do make things up for a living.

Now about the future....what exactly should I do?


  1. About the future...Having your children with you on the other side of the world can cause perks you haven't even considered. Being in a place with language barriers would make them cleave to you more. Which logically creates bonds. However, the draw back could be your 'possible" Italian lady may decide she wants to be a cougar and goes after your 20 year old son. Mom prob wouldn't like that.

    With that said I find it hard to believe that you have had a sultry Italian companion while there the whole time. You got way too much done. Frankly I would have expected her to be more of a distraction.

    I guess we will find out if she really was there if Death by Moonlight (btw love the title)turns out to be romantic suspense like the Remains.

    So my advice living overseas. If you can work it out with your kids, go for it. Like you said you are 46(smiling to myself)and you have stressed it to so many writers to "live in Europe." Now your kids could experience that.
    Talk to an accountant maybe there is some way you could claim that as an expense ... worth a shot.

    Finally only half a dozen bottles of Chianti...Really V?

  2. I can write and do the wild thing at the same time....un huh, yup!...and then usually I wake up from the dream...I'm still not telling about the ravishing Italian woman, but I did get a lot done, didn't I???? And, yah, maybe a couple more than a half dozen bottles....:)))
    Think I'll head out to Harry's Bar!!!
    Ciao Ciao

  3. You can speak of her or not. It makes no difference to me. Because I'll believe what I believe. You did get so much accomplished! Bravo Bravo
    And you ran a marathon during a monsoon.
    (I'm standing now) Bravo Bravo..

    You know why I'm so encouraging of you living in Tuscany? One day I'll be able to afford the ticket there and I'll need a couch to crash on. LOL

  4. My parents began kind of a slow move to France when I was 12 -- taking us to Europe for three months, then six months, then a year, and now, for the foreseeable future. Although I'm going back to college in the US, I know I'm going to wish I was in France pretty much as soon as I reach US soil.

    So... Drag your kids there next year, I guess is what I'm saying. And if you can, come north to Nantes (my nearest city) -- it's gorgeous up here.