Tag Archives: art

Sneak Peek: Photo Art for Scar Tissue and Other Stories

In 2018, I’m planning on releasing a collection of short stories, both previously published and brand new, once my Patreon reaches its firstly monthly income goal. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m busy writing new stories for inclusion.

The collection will be called Scar Tissue and Other Stories. Some of the stories are flash fiction based on lost and found things I’ve discovered (and photographed) in my wanderings. I’ve previously blogged some of these flash fictions on Mortal Words, but I’m editing those and writing new ones, as well as zhuzhing up the photographs on which they’re based using the fabulous Enlight app.

The artified photos will appear in the book next to their relevant flash fics. Above is a sneak peek of the image for the story ‘Bouquet’ – inspired by a bedraggled bouquet I found on the beach in St Kilda. This is a new story for the collection about mermaids and maidens and love and compromise.

This art is for a flash fiction story called ‘Journey’, which was originally published here on my blog.

I’m aiming to make Scar Tissue at least 50,000 words long. New stories include ‘Faithful’, a canon-era Holmes♥Watson adventure in which John is a werewolf, and ‘Bad Night at Bite Club’, a story about Gary the vampire (from The Opposite of Life and Walking Shadows) and the son of an old frenemy.

I’m hoping to have a Ravenfall short story and an origin story from Kitty and Cadaver among the stories as well.

If you want to help me achieve my monthly goal (and the get a copy of the collection for your support) you can support my Patreon (for as little as a dollar a month)and get hold of the collection at least a week before it goes on general sale.

Review: The Portrait of Molly Dean by Katherine Kovacic

Real life is often an inspiration for fiction. Some real events resonate so strongly they inspire a lot of different ways to filter and explore the event, its social context and its repercussions.

The 1930 Melbourne murder of schoolteacher and aspiring writer, Mary “Molly” Dean, is one such event. It’s referenced in George Johnston’s My Brother Jack, in the memoir of Betty Roland, who knew Dean, and in the 2002 play Solitude in Blue.

Poignancy and a mysterious fascination were lent to Dean’s grisly death by the fact that it remains unsolved, and that she was in a relationship with local artist, Colin Calahan, and had been the subject of two of his paintings.

I knew none of this when Echo Publishing sent me a copy of Katherine Kovacic’s The Portrait of Molly Dean, except for the fact it was based on a true event. I resisted any research in favour of just taking in the story as presented.

Kovacic’s debut novel is a marvellous blend of history and invention and uses the notions of art restoration as an effective narrative device to reveal her invented version of the truth.

It begins in 1999 when art dealer, Alex Clayton, buys the Colahan portrait of Molly Dean at an auction. Clayton specialises in finding artworks that have been obscured or underappreciated, buying them cheap, restoring them and proving their provenance, and re-selling at a considerable profit.

Her initial aim to research a little about Molly Dean’s death to make the picture more attractive to buyers (everyone loves a good murder mystery) becomes almost a compulsion. Shocked to learn the trial for the only suspect was abandoned on the day it was due to begin, she starts to investigate the 70 year old mystery herself.

While her friend John Porter begins to slowly clean the portrait and bring long-lost Molly back into the light, an unknown person is trying to obtain the painting from her.

Clayton’s investigation, told in the present tense, is interleaved with the story set in the 1930s, of Molly’s constrained life at home with her mother, her ambitions to become a journalist and novelist, and the night of her murder.

This 1930s story is, like the portrait in 1999, is slowly revealed, with care and attention to detail.  As Alex explores the case and potential killers, the details of Molly’s life are slowly revealed. It’s an elegant little leapfrog progress, where each woman’s narrative reveals just enough to fuel the next act.

Modern Alex’s independence, backed by John and her dog Hogarth, is a complement to and a contrast with doomed Molly’s determination to break free from her awful mother’s house and assert her own independence.

The two women are very different but they have a kinship, and it’s easy to get emotionally connected to them both. While there’s nothing to be done about Molly’s fate, Kovacic cleverly entangles the reader into concern for Alex, whose investigations are of clear concern to someone from the past.

Kovacic’s style is clean and well-paced, and she manages to give the 1930s and the 1990s each a different feel without being jarring or sacrificing clarity or pace. There’s texture and pathos in this story, as well as courage and surprises.

Kovacic is careful to point out in the afterword of The Portrait of Molly Dean that her resolution to the mystery is her own invention. But it’s a good one, in a well-told story, and a very satisfying read.

Buy The Portrait of Molly Dean

Read more about Molly Dean