October 5 2017

Book Tour – The Master and the Maid by Laura Libricz @LauraLibricz

It is my pleasure to have Laura Libricz at Room With Books today. Laura is on tour with her novel “The Master and the Maid” this week. I hope you’ll check in at 4 Wills Publishing for links to the entire tour!

 

THE MASTER AND THE MAID: She’s lost her work, her home and her freedom. Now, harboring a mysterious newborn, she could lose her life. In 17th Century Germany on the brink of the Thirty Years War, 24-year-old Katarina is traded to the patrician Sebald Tucher by her fiancé Willi Prutt in order to pay his debts. En route to her forced relocation to the Tucher country estate, Katarina is met by a crazed archer, Hans-Wolfgang, carrying a baby under his cloak. He tells her an incredible story of how his beloved was executed by a Jesuit priest for witchcraft right after the birth and makes Katarina—at sword point—swear on her life to protect the child. But protecting the child puts Katarina at risk. She could fall in disfavor with her master. She could be hunted by the zealots who killed his beloved. She could be executed for witchcraft herself. Can Katarina’s love for the baby and Sebald Tucher’s desire for her keep the wrath of the zealots at bay? Set in Franconia, The Master and the Maid is an accurate, authentic account of a young woman’s life in Germany in the 1600’s, her struggle for freedom and her fight for those she loves.

 

Katarina

Nuremberg, Germany — May 1616

Katarina twisted the tap on the wooden barrel of beer. Foam spluttered into the tankard and sprayed the white apron covering her coarse brown dress.

“Willi, get me another barrel,” she shouted over the heads of three men sitting at the table nearest her.

The three men swayed from side to side singing a drunken song: “Ich bin a mal auf fischn ganga, in a sumpfig Weier, hockt a Frusch auf meiner Stanga

One man lifted his tankard, slammed it on the table and hit the rude bit of the song, “…zwickt mi in die Eier.”

The tallow lamp spun across the table and onto the floor. The new barmaid, Lily, stomped on the burning oil, proving herself quite useful on her first night serving drinks at The Stork’s Nest.

“Willi can’t hear ya,” Lily said. “I’ll get cha one.”

She swung her wide hips around the three drunk men, waddled behind the bar and heaved the empty wooden barrel onto her shoulder. It was the same size as her stomach. She disappeared into the storeroom.

Katarina grabbed her wooden spoon and whacked the drunk at the bar who dared put his head down on the smooth wooden surface.

He raised his head, rubbing the crown. “Hör auf, Katarina. What was that for?”

“Either you’re here to drink, or you’re here to drink. You can sleep at home,” she said.

Near the back door of the tavern, a woman shrieked and a man laughed. Katarina looked up and saw Willi Prutt catch the still-shrieking woman, set her on his lap and kiss her on the lips.

“Katarina, bring us some beer,” the butchers yelled from the table by the door.

Lily rolled back into the taproom and plunked the full barrel onto the short wooden stool. She bent at the waist and hammered the tap into it, sending foam flying everywhere.

“Hand me some tankards there Katarina, be a dear,” Lily said.

Like a practiced team, Katarina passed Lily empty tankards, Lily filled them and Katarina grabbed the full ones back, banging them down on the counter. Lily straightened, heaved five full tankards in each hand and rolled back towards the table of butchers.

The drunk at the bar took a swig and said, “They say the butchers feed her fat to keep her that fat. They just love her young skin. She’s probably carrying another one of their bastards.”

The tavern door opened, letting in a chill evening breeze. In the street beyond, a group of vagrant boys taunted passers-by. The scent of late spring fleeted by her. As the season headed towards the solstice, the evenings seemed to go on forever. And here she was, in this smelly, dark tavern bettering neither herself nor her purse.

She and Willi had been working this tavern since his mother died two years ago. As a result of them working hard together, they had great turnover and they were making more money than when they were weaving cloth and selling fabrics on the market. He promised they would get married when they had the money. But the money they took in made him giddy, like sweet wine. He forgot his promises. He forgot the reason he’d gotten so far was Katarina. He’d forgotten Katarina it seemed.

She would run this tavern by herself if she could. She’d surely be better off without him.

A man who didn’t belong entered the taproom. Katarina pictured a rose growing amid a field of wheat. He closed the door. The flames from the tallow lamps on the tables nearby flickered. He pulled the thin black cape off his shoulders and removed his hat. His dark smooth hair was caught in a black ribbon at the base of his neck. He moved between the full tables to an empty one at the back of the tavern. He caught Katarina watching him. She poured him a cup of port and silently moved to his table.

Katarina set the ceramic cup on the table in front of him. “Good Evening Herr Tucher.”

“You look wonderful tonight, just like always,” Herr Tucher said.

“You look drawn and pale, like always,” she said.

“I can always rely on you for uplifting conversation, Katarina.”

He smirked in a way Katarina found maddening, as if he were making fun of her. As if he saw something in her that she herself was blind to and she wanted to know what it was.

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

Website: http://www.lauralibricz.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraLibricz

Google+ private page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LauraLibricz

Google+ brand page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/111626375322992289353/111626375322992289353

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3c-yIyoN-UprxB15L5l8zA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraLibriczAuthoress/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauralibricz/

Blog: https://lauralibriczblog.wordpress.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.de/lauralibricz/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6526953.Laura_Libricz

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-libricz-8980a43a/

 

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

August 11 2017

WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour – Laura Libricz @LauraLibricz

Welcome, readers!

Today is the 12th day of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!

I will profile a different RWISA member here each day of August. I’ll introduce you to some good reading and some very talented writers.  I hope that you will visit each member’s Author Page and their Author Story and share your comments and LIKE their pages.  You may find their books within the RWISA catalog.

Now, Room With Books proudly presents. . .

DENTON’S DEBBY DOLLS

By Laura Libricz

The lunch bell rings and I set my brush aside, returning the unpainted porcelain Debby Doll head to the tray. A kettle whistles. Sarah runs to make the lunchtime tea.

“Thirty minutes and that’s all!” Mr. Denton barks at her as he hurries towards his production office, whacking his elbow on the filing cabinet as he slams the glass door shut.

The shocked moment of quiet is replaced by the delicate clinking of brushes against glass jars, chairs scraping on the concrete floor, and the idle chatter of the doll painters on their way to the break room.

Do you remember Denton’s Debby Dolls? The ones from the 1947 film “Ten Days Till my Birthday,” where Tammy James plays a little girl who got one for her birthday? Denton’s Debby Dolls Inc. make the dolls the same ever since. Tammy is well into her 80’s but is still loved and remembered for that tearful scene where she unwrapped the Debby Doll on her tenth birthday and said, “Well, gee, Mother, all I ever wanted was a Debby Doll!”

All I ever wanted was a Debby Doll but I didn’t get one on my tenth birthday. That year I moved from the city to Krumville, to Aunt Fay’s, and she said I was too old for dolls. She was a recovering heroin addict who hung photos of herself dressed as a vampire on all the walls. I was not allowed in the kitchen and had to eat my meals in my bedroom decorated with Aunt Fay photos. She said if I wanted a Debby Doll, I should petition the goddess Diana. I thought she was being funny.

Aunt Fay’s house was in the oak forest. She made oak dolls with hair from deer. The deer hair was arranged to look like human hair. She said these were petitions to Diana. Under an oak tree, Aunt Fay had an altar where she buried the dolls. Sometimes she burned them.

There were always gunshots in the oak forest. I never went outside that fall. In the city, there was shooting every Saturday night in our neighborhood and I was never allowed out. I don’t remember my city house much. One day Aunt Fay went outside and never came back in. Child Services came and took me away. I was now a ward of the State of New York.

What luck, I ended up in the same city as Denton’s Debby Dolls. When I turned eighteen, I went to work in the factory and I still do.

“Aren’t you coming to lunch?” Sarah asks.

“I’m working on my doll,” I whisper.

“Don’t let Mr. Denton see you doing that,” Sarah says. “He’s in a bad way today. I heard we’re 500K down this year. We have orders but there’s no stock. We can’t work fast enough.”

“I can tell Mr. Denton that I’m experimenting with new colors on my lunch break, which I am doing.” I stroke my Debby’s porcelain cheek with my pinky. “Look at her complexion. It’s lavender oil and China Pink pigment.”

“She’s not real, you know,” Sarah says. “I’ll bring you some tea.”

“Tea. Thank you.”

A year has passed since I’d first started working on my own Debby. I’d modeled what was to be the hollow shell of her head. Each hand painted layer and each firing was personally carried out by me. Today, I am ready to add the final details and fill her empty eyes. It’s ten days before Christmas. She’ll be my daughter, mine all mine. Mommy loves you, Debby.

There had been a man once, just once. He left a few hairs on my gingham pillowcase. And a legacy. My body changed in ways it had never before; swellings in places that had been unripe. Rosy cheeks, like a Debby Doll. I so wanted the child. Although I could not yet feel the child, I could. The growing presence of another life made me feel otherworldly.

But I was unmarried, alone, and I would lose my job when the baby came. Panic set in. It must have been eight weeks into the pregnancy when the fever came, followed by some mild cramping. During the night the cramping pulsed and intensified until I finally passed out. The next morning, the otherworldly feeling was gone. My unformed child had been born, its life over before it even began.

I forced myself up and out of the house, not wanting to be alone. I was working in the molding department that week and I would bear my child. From Denton’s secret mixture of minerals, bone ash, and alabaster, I poured the liquid clay. Before the first firing, I’d made a small imperfection on her cheek, like a chickenpox scar, so the other workers would reject her. I would always recognize my child. During lunch breaks, I stole moments to paint her face and sneak her head back to the kiln.

You’re here with me now, Debby, forever.

The lavender oil calms me as I blend your complexion to a natural sheen. I can almost feel your heartbeat. Light brown eye brows are added one hair at a time, your sense of humor. Would you like brown eyes like mine? Each brush stroke to your iris gives you another fleck of depth. Two dots of white on the left side of the iris ascertain your personality. I cover your eyes with high-gloss tears and now you have emotions. The creation process is almost finished.

See? I’ve made you a soft pellet body, into which I stitched your preserved mortal remains, hair from your Daddy, and oak bark—my petition to Diana. Your body lies hidden inside the top drawer of my workbench, along with your new gingham dress made from the pillowcase Daddy rested his head on. I forged a certificate from a midwife confirming your birthday, today, and your name, Debby.

Mommy’s here, Debby, don’t worry…

“What are you working on?” barks Mr. Denton. “Ten days before Christmas and you’re messing around with that B-stock? Those get smashed.”

I never saw him come up to my workbench. Debby, don’t cry, I’ll sort Mr. Denton out.

“You have a whole tray with these new dolls that have to be painted!” Mr. Denton’s face ran red. “You’ve been messing with that one since I came in!”

“Sorry, sir, it’s lunch,” I whispered.

Now Debby, be a good girl and get in my top drawer.

“You want to hide the thing as well! Is that a pellet body in there? Are you the one out selling B-stock on the weekends?”

“No, sir, I…experiment.” We may have to make a run for it, Debby.

“So, it is you! I’ve been told there’s a woman on the flea market every weekend with B-Stock Debby Dolls for real cheap. Give me that!”

“No, sir, don’t, you don’t understand…”

“Tea!” Sarah plunks my unicorn mug onto my workbench, brushes my Debby’s head into my top drawer, and slides it shut with her hip. She grabs my hand and pulls me up. “Come on, we got pizza and it’s getting cold.”

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Laura Libricz’s RWISA Author Page