Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Early reviews of the novel

"I couldn't put it down." J.M.

"What a fascinating story! It drew me in right away." B.C.

"It was great fun to read this wonderful, family-friendly fiction book about Leonardo da Vinci. I have been disappointed many times before, so this was a special treat. We couldn't put it down." D.Fl.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leonardo the Florentine, part of 1st chapter

Chapter One
Leonardo swept the floor quickly, trying not to think too hard of the activity going on around him. It just wasn’t fair. Everyone else was doing something useful, something productive, something fun. Why did his father have to punish him this way? He had been just fine at home with his uncle. His uncle had time for his questions, time to point out the variety of plants and animals to him. And there he could go outside and draw them any time he wanted. No one bossed him around and told him what to do! In fact, he was in the midst of sketching the pond behind his grandfather’s house when his father had made the shocking announcement that he was to move to Florence to apprentice to the great master Verrocchio.

And so, here he was. An apprentice. A slave, really. What was he going to learn in this noisy, smelly place? He would never be a great master. In fact, he was never going to amount to anything. That’s what he had been told his entire life, and it was time he faced that fact.

No, he thought angrily, gripping the broom. He did not accept that fact. He was going to succeed. He was going to prove them all wrong. He was going to accomplish great things one day. He gave the broom a hard push, almost knocking over the young man next to him who was delivering panels to the master. Oh great, this was not going to be a good day.

Ever After

Enjoying the movie Ever After with my kids. On top of being a great Cinderella story, it has such a fun portrayal of Leonardo da Vinci. (And other than the picture wound up in the tube, it seems to me to be quite a decent portrayal of da Vinci and his time in France.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance Man of all Renaissance Men!

I made the seemingly insignificant decision several years ago to teach several co-op classes on Leonardo da Vinci...An interesting man, I thought, one we could certainly be happy spending 8 weeks or so studying. Ten years, four books and a lapbook later, I am still studying him, and still teaching about him at every opportunity.

It started simply enough. Six months after starting my intensive study about him I had self-published my first non-fiction work about him -- Da Vinci: His Life and His Legacy. And so my writing, but not my studying, ended, at least for a bit.

As I taught another series of classes on da Vinci, this time surrounding his inventions and his science, there came another book, a Da Vinci Unit Study.

And then more work, and a Leonardo Lapbook developed for the younger kids.

And as the reading and researching continued, came a Da Vinci Student Book to make it easier for these younger kids amongst us to see and appreciate his drawings, his sayings, and his amazing designs.

At that point I had an entire series of non-fiction writings on da Vinci, and there I was content to stop. Until one day, when someone casually mentioned that I should write a novel on da Vinci, maybe even an entire series of novels. But, I protested, I didn't have time to write a novel...To which one of my sons informed me that I should just start, even if I only wrote a bit, it would be a beginning...Except that the beginning took on a life of its own, and 3 1/2 weeks later the rough draft of my first novel was rolling off the presses, heading out to my various editors for their assistance. And before we could have even imagined it, Leonardo the Florentine, my first novel was live on CurrClick!

And novel number two is already in the works -- though we'll be surprised if the rough draft of that is finished in 3 1/2 months, instead of 3 1/2 weeks!