I was born on the fifth night of Chanukah in 1979, said to be the holiest, most special day of the holiday. My estimated due date was 4 December, but I must’ve felt I needed two extra weeks to finish baking. I saved my mother from a C-section by putting her into natural labor a day before the scheduled surgery. Perhaps I knew, even as a neonate, that I’d grow up to become a passionate advocate of natural childbirth and midwifery.
I’m proud to be a Sagittarian, even though all my Sag placements are strongly colored by Pisces, since Neptune was directly influencing Sagittarius the year I was born. I usually describe myself as a Piscean Sagittarius, with Virgo rising. (I’m also a passionate advocate of Astrology, real Astrology, not that generic Sun sign-based crap you read in the newspapers.)
I mostly blog about writing, both my writing and the art of writing in general, as well as some of my favorite and not-so-favorite books. Sometimes I also blog about silent film, classic rock, natural childbirth, topics related to the historical eras I write about, and other passions. I wrote a lot of political and religious-themed pieces on my old Angelfire site, but I decided to try to keep this blog as neutral as possible. I’m a proud liberal with only a handful of more conservative standpoints, but I don’t want to start political fights or alienate readers by expressing those views all the time.
I had hyperlexia at age three, and the first book I read was the adult, uncensored Grimms’ Fairy Tales. I began writing at age four, and did mostly picture books till I was about nine and started writing longer stories. When I was eleven, I moved onto writing book-length stories. Most of that time, my passion was always historical fiction.
I live and breathe all things historical, and many of my hobbies and interests are related to my love of history, like antique cars (esp. Brass Age), silent film, vinyl records, coins, stamps, vintage computers, and old books. I also love languages, philosophy, world religions, geography, travel, photography, drawing, and animals. My dream long ago was to be a vet, but I couldn’t handle having to put an animal down, even if that were the most humane thing to do.
I write predominantly 20th century historical, though my handwritten magnum opus is venturing closer and closer to the contemporary era, and I also have some soft sci-fi projects on hiatus. Someday I’d love to try writing about eras further back in time. My historical interests include but aren’t limited to:
The 1940s (a lot of my books take place during the Shoah and the American homefront)
The High and Late Middle Ages
The Civil War and Reconstruction
The Titanic (except for a certain movie riddled with historical inaccuracies and implausibilities and using the needless deaths of almost 1,500 people as a minor backdrop to a beyond-improbable “love story”)
The Great Depression
Native American history
The Golden Age of Islam
Ancient Indian mythohistory
The 1970s and more contemporary historical settings
The World War I era
U.S. presidential history
The three main projects of my writing life are three (down from four) series set in Atlantic City starting in 1938 and extending into the modern era, a family saga set in Russia and the United States, starting in 1917 and extending to 1991, and a contemporary historical family saga set in Manhattan, Hudson Falls, and Albany starting in 1959 and extending to 2001. My Atlantic City books have also recently had a spin-off series made with my Shoah characters. These characters ultimately link back to the young people coming of age in Atlantic City during WWII, but I felt that their stories were becoming so long and involved that they deserved their own separate books instead of competing with the main storylines.
Oh, and I tend to write extremely long books when I’m not doing one of my interlocking Atlantic City series books. When some writers laugh about something that’s, say, 150,000 words being overwritten, that’s just a drop in the bucket for me. My first Russian novel was finally edited down to 335,000, the sequel’s first draft is 406,000, I’m predicting the third book will be around 450,000, and the first volume of my contemporary historical family saga was edited down to 387,000. No one ever gave me the memo that long, sweeping, multi-layered sagas are considered unfashionable now, and by the time I found that out last year, it made no difference to me. I write what I’m comfortable and familiar with.