THE SONG OF ANTOINE is on Kindle now.

THE SONG OF ANTOINE, Robespierre’s Nosegay is on Kindle!

Adriana Renescu - Song of Antoine: Book 1 'Robespierre's Nosegay' book cover


The Song of Antoine. Book 1. Robespierre’s Nosegay

At long last, after two years of work (and a trip to Paris) THE SONG OF ANTOINE is published and available on Right now it is in paperback form, but in a few days it will be also on Kindle. Yay!

It’s been a  long journey for this one. And yes, there is a sequel already in the works, subtitled Napoleon’s Bees.

Morning Coffee, Apple Cake and THE DEATH OF RAFAEL

For every book club I go to, I seem to end up with a special name.  This one, at Ann’s lovely and warm home in Newport Beach (full of wonderful family heirlooms) ended up being called, as I started to write this, the Apple Cake Club–Ann prepared for us the most wonderful apple cake to go with our coffee, warm and luscious. The guest author (moi) applied a big dollop of whipped cream on top.

A couple of the club members were out of town, but they both sent on their reviews. I was told that  one of the two is ‘brutally’ honest in her critique. That would be Carol.

I held my breath while Ann read the note Carol had sent.

“Family secrets–don’t they make the most juicy stories.And when two opposite and opposed worlds ever so briefly touch in a chance encounter it makes for a very juicy family secret.”

I wish I had put that on my back cover!

One issue that was brought up had to do with the timeline I used in The Death of Rafael. This has been an item that had come up at the other book clubs as well. However, in this particular case,  before I could say anything, the ladies who had commented on the timeline quickly added that had I not constructed it the way I had, the story telling would not have been half as interesting. To which I added that had I used a linear timeline, I would have had to directly mislead the reader, and that would be playing tricks. The timeline construction I used allowed the reader to know what the protagonists did, no more and no less, while it kept me in an honest relationship with my reader.

Again, let me quote here what Carol wrote on this very subject:

“At first the shifting of time and place was confusing but when I finished the book I realized that the story wouldn’t have been as compelling if it had been told chronologically.”

As always, my readers revealed to me aspects of my book and characters that, although I may have had a knowledge of them at a subconscious level, I had not realized it. I am always amazed and awed at what readers discern of the inner workings of the mind that writes the book.

I left the meeting happy and energized to go back to the new novel I am writing.  Besides, now that I told the Apple Cake Club what the premise and story are (just the sizzle, not the steak, as they say in Hollywood when they  put out the ‘hook’ for a movie) and thus my third novel has gone “public”, I am committed.

And here is the Kodak moment, with me enthroned… uh…  seated in the big armchair.


Coffee, warm apple crumble and conversation


To cap this off, here is the recipe for Ann’s Apple Awesomeness:

2 cups sugar (hey, I didn’t say this was diet cake!)

1 cup oil

2 eggs

2 cup flour

2 tsp cinnamons

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 cups chopped walnuts

4 cups green apples (Granny Smith), unpeeled and diced

1 tsp vanilla

Freshly ground nutmeg

Mix all together – do not mix too much.  Bake in greased 9 x 13 pan at 350 for 45 min – 1 hour.

And voila! Apple awesomeness.

I wish I’d taken a photo of that cake.

Next time.




I sometimes procrastinate.

I sometimes do so because my brain stalls.

Sometimes I can’t think of anything to to say.

Sometimes there’s so much to tell, I can’t find my way through all the treasures of what I want to relate.

The latter is the cause of this particular delay in blogging.

I have so much to tell about the book club and the ladies,  the discussion about THE DEATH OF RAFAEL  was so interesting, the Ladies of the Book were so welcoming and beautiful, I had gathered so much treasure,  that I didn’t know how to fit it all in and how to do it justice. So I went into the writer’s default position–curled up in foetal procrastination.  However, this time there was another thing–I left the evening with the Ladies of the Book with  an inspirational glow that kicked my lazy and obstructionist muse out of her cave and actually make me sit down and WRITE, words gushing out on the pages of my new novel.

Also, as I said in my thank you to the ladies–for someone who can write 400+ pages, I sure am at a loss of words when I have to post in my blog.

So, enough excuses. Let’s do this.

On February 19, I had the privilege (this phrase is not just formality) to present and discuss THE DEATH OF RAFAEL at the home of Kathy in Del Mar (another of those beautiful places along the coast, and a beautiful home, lovingly decorated by Kathy, who obviously has great talent for home decorating). A delicious dinner awaited us (Kathy is also a marvellous cook!). And this was just the beginning of this glorious evening. The lively discussion started before everyone had even gathered, throughout dinner (although we sat at two tables and pleas had gone out to wait until the official discussion started; I could hear the other table talking about ‘Giselle’, ‘Francisco’…)

I cannot fully describe what an amazing, wonderful experience is for a writer when she sits across readers who had truly read the story with their hearts and minds open, are interested in the characters of the story and ask questions that are thoughtful and wise, and erudite, and who give the writer knowledge and a new understanding of their own work. Yes, writers sometimes write in the fog of creation, in a kind of blessed chaos. I do, anyway.

 The questions and discussion were simply put–profound.  But let me use the words of the group’s leader (historian and recorder), as she summarized it:

Have you discovered the pleasure of juicing a blood orange? If not, I highly recommend this winter joy. The result is a red-gold sunset in a glass that tastes as good as it looks:) I was looking at those oranges piled in a basket on my counter when it came to me that the juice would be the perfect prelude to my letter about last night. Like our evening, it was extraordinary.



 The questions and discussion centered mostly around the characters of the novel, and as we were debating and analyzing the personalities and images of the story, suddenly the protagonists were real, breathing human beings, flesh and blood.  There are few things  more satisfying and nothing more fascinating for a writer than the realization that the characters that grow and move in a story provoke the emotion and reactions in the readers the writer had hoped for (and agonized for.) But even more fantastic are those reactions and insights that have gone through the mind and soul of the reader, unpredicted but oh, so revealing for the writer. As I said to the Ladies, the process of writing is submerged in the writer’s subconscious and obscured in little corners of the mind, also characters become part of us so much that we do not see them in the mirror, and we are just as surprised by them, and it is the readers who reveal them to us. I know, this sounds so… woowoo and Twilight Zone… but let’s be honest, my fellow writers, it is a process that often comes from the crowded little corridors of the mind and the gut. When I think of my characters, I think of Norma Desmond in Sunser Boulevard singing about those corners of a movie studio crowded with people, whispering and watching.

The scenes that were most liked (and discussed)?

Unanimously, was the central scene when Giselle enters the office of the Archbishop of  Buenos Aires.

The second–the conclave scene in Rome and the cardinals politiking among themselves. Given that we’ve got a conclave going on just as I am writing this, it makes me grin.

 And then, Debbie provided the one sentence summary of THE DEATH OF RAFAEL, the theme and the essence, one that left me thinking for days. It was a quote from Sophocles:


 ‘Nuff said.

And, alas, in the middle of all the fun we had, we all forgot to take photos. So… no photos.




On February 10, 2013 there was a first for THE DEATH OF RAFAEL and for me–book signing event at the  prestigious book store Warwick’s in truly beautiful seaside town of La Jolla. I was invited as a local author, part of the Meet the Locals program. It was a first in many ways and a great compliment and statement on my novel–Warwick’s does not invite self-published authors. This was an exception.

This is great independant bookstore, with a great selection of books, with staff that actually reads the fiction and non-fiction offerings, presents the best authors and it’s a landmark in La Jolla. I have been going there for years and years, whenever I would be in La Jolla. If you ever visit La Jolla don’t miss this place!

As I said, it was a first for me, and I was quite excited about it, greatly anticipated doing this and quite frankly, at some level, dreaded it. This was the first time that I was ‘exposed’ to the public, without filters so to speak.

So let’s be realistic. I did well, better than most writers according to the Samantha, the coordinator of the event. But it became quite clear to me that unless you are a BIG name, already known, (a few hours after me, it was Al Gore’s turn to sign books at Warwick’s; a much larger event, I assure you,) book signing is only a modest exposure for  a writer like me.

More interesting was observiing the people who came in and determine the pattern (yes, the engineer in me was looking at ‘patterns’). First there were the customers who came in as part of their Sunday entertainment–they looked at every rack, sat down, did some reading, wandered around, some I observed were there for the entire 2 hours I was there. They bought no books, had to intention of buying any. A couple did engage me in a discussion, but otherwise kept their distance from any ‘commitment’ to buy. The second kind of customer–blew in then blew out, in the store to purchase a book they already had in mind, didn’t look around, simply focused on their purpose, in a hurry, iPhone in hand, breathless. Third group, and the smallest, they looked around and browsed through books, did buy books unplanned, and these were the people who stopped by my table. It did become obvious, though, that these days, even in the up-scale La Jolla, people did not have the discretionary budget to fork out $ for a book they knew nothing about.

What worked for me?

Standing up, not sitting, passing out book marks, wearing interesting colors (I wore the blue of the cover and the yellow shawl given to me by the first book club I went to in San Clemente.)

Warwick’s Meet the Locals Event
Before opening

I look a bit disheveled…

Thanks again to Warwick’s and Samantha for inviting me, for being kind hosts and for the wonderful bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon!


My first book signing event is coming up.

February 10, 2013 at the prestigious Warwicks Bookstore in La Jolla, California as part of the Meet the Locals series conducted by this wonderful bookstore for their local writers.

2012 stats for the blog

The map is especially interesting. It shows from where the blog visitors originated.

Even from Indonesia.


I have been quite derelict in my duties to this blog and to correct this, I am doing what I would call  ‘interesting stuff’ dump on my long-suffering readers.  Also, the photos in this post are few and paltry.  I had to take thems without flash and also surreptitiously. And there was also that stupid 2 MB limit per pic.

First, of book clubs, specifically my last one on October 4 at a beautiful home in Mission Viejo with an amazing group of women, all of them, including the hostess, movers and shakers at our largest hospital and trauma center in our area, Mission Hospital (run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange). It is amazing how each group I meet has a different take on THE DEATH OF RAFAEL, on the protagonists and the story. The discussion was lively, erudite and fun in spite of some of the darker themes in my novel. The one comment that resulted in a big laugh was that my love scenes were too short. “Only two sentences!” I had to explain that I find it difficult to take love scenes seriously and that I have the unfortunate habit of seeing the comical side of them. We also had great fun figuring out which actor should play which protagonist. Clooney and Banderas. Daniel Craig was selected for von Klaussen. I don’t recall if anyone talked about the women in my novel.

The discussion was around the dinner table, platters of Mexican food and, in honor of Francisco Cardenaz and Argentina, luscious Argentinean red wines. As for photos… well… this darn blog doesn’t take files greater that 2MB and I haven’t figured out how to ‘squeeze’ those pixels and bytes, so… 

Now, of saints.

This Sunday, October 20, Kateri Tekakwitha, in one of those magnificent ceremonies in Rome, was canonized, the first native North American to be declared a saint. She was born in 1656 in the area that is now New York State, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and an Algonquin woman. She contracted smallpox when young, and while she survived it, she was partially blinded by it. She died at the age of 24, and was known as the lily of the Mohawks. She is now the patron saint of Canada and of the Native Americans. 

Because indigenous people in the San Juan Capistrano area had such an important and immense contribution to the building and life of the mission, and because Kateri Tekakwitha has been for many years invoked in the basilica (she is part of the great retablo brought from Spain), on this Sunday there was a special ceremony in parallel with Rome. The ceremony at the San Juan Capistrano basilica was attended by the descendants of the Native Americans who had built this mission, the Acagchemen people, but now known as the Juanenos.  The ceremony started with traditional Juaneno blessing, prayer and then invocation of the four winds.


Blessing of the four winds



Offering of the gifts


Of celestial music

By coincidence, that same evening the Basilica had the dedication of its new, absolutely fantastic organ,  followed by an amazing concert by the great Argentinean-born maestro of the organ, Hector Olivera.  To display the organ’s full range, he went off the program and in addition to Bach and Handel, there was even one of Astor Piazzolla’s great tangos, where the organ actually produced the sound of the Argentinean bandoneon. As a lover of organ music, I was somewhere between the upper reaches of the galaxy and tears. But when the concert ended, it was not over. Members of the audience stayed long after to chat, admire the organ and ask questions. And then, a group of Carmelite nuns who had come to hear the music, gathered on the steps to the altar and the Olivera accompanied them in an impromtu choral piece. I don’t say this lightly, but it did sound like celestial music.






THE DEATH OF RAFAEL–Another Amazing Book Club Meeting

Monday, September 10, 2012 I had the privilege to be the guest of the local San Clemente book club hosted in a beautiful and welcoming home in the Tolega hills,  to discuss The Death of Rafael. I was accompanied by good friend, and advisor on Latin American ‘stuff’, Edda.

The gathering started with half an hour of  ‘meet and greet’, nibbling of goodies and sipping of wine (or water).

Getting acquainted with some of the women of the club

After the initial introduction, the group (of about a dozen) began the discussion of the novel, questions and opinions flowing like good wine. The questions I was asked at this meeting and the discussion of some of my answers turned inward into the character and motivation of the protagonists, but more , it revealed to me my own subconscious and choices for the personalities of the protagonists. Some of the questions I was asked almost had no answer because of how deep I had to dig into my own mind. There’s a large part of writing and creativity that is un-deliberate and uncontrolled, that streams from some place in us that is hidden even from our own selves. This became sharply evident during the discussions. I must admit there were a couple of occasions when I squirmed a little when I realized how deeply I had to dig into my own personality to come up with an answer.  One question that took me aback had to do with the choice in social status of my protagonists. While the explanation had to do with historical events but also effectiveness of the story, it did reveal to me quite starkly that indeed, from somewhere in my subconscious and my own upbringing, and family history, I was projecting into the characters of my novel.  I guess one writes what one knows… 

Bottom line–I delighted in the wisdom and incisiveness of the questions and discussions. I was left with a lot of thinking to do. I learned so much about my writing! Nothing helps a writer’s craft like a good discussion. It has directed me and refreshed the story I am composing for my next novel. (Stay tuned… 🙂 ) 

The women of the book club surrounded me with their excitement and their interest in the story of Rafael.  It was stimulating and encouraging. It seems that I wrote a good story after all.

And the incredibly delicious raspberry tart was the fabulous ending to a fabulous evening.


THE DEATH OF RAFAEL is on the rise on Amazon!

Slightly stunned. The Death of Rafael,  in some strange snowballing effect  became #5 in the Kindle store. Also, it seems to be selling like freshly made fish and chips (sorry…) in the UK.  Now THAT I really like. I’ve always considered sales in Britain as an additional star for me.  Sales also in France and Spain. Not so much in Germany… Interesting.

I will resist the temptation of doing one of those engineer nerd data analysis of bell shaped curves, standard deviations and all that. I am sure my adoring public appreciates my decision not to do some mathematical analysis here. 🙂