I just learned a new term, thanks to my sister who knows all sorts of great words, (like penetralia!). The word is "chiaroscuro." As an artist, I should know it, alas, my unschooled background is showing, not to mention my linguistic challenges! Try as I may, the pronunciation eludes me, but that won’t stop me from using it in my soon-to-be-published novel, Portrait of a Protégé! It fits so well because its definition perfectly describes the style of art that I’m using for the cover. Here’s the definition (from my Mac dictionary):
It’s a real challenge to write the cover copy since Protégé is a sequel to a story within a story and is a ‘speculative’ work, written four years into the future. Likely, most readers will have already read The Step-Up Man and so all that will make sense ... or not...
chiaroscuro |kēˌärəˈsk(y)o͝orō, kēˌarə-|
the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.
• an effect of contrasted light and shadow created by light falling unevenly or from a particular direction on something: the chiaroscuro of cobbled streets.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Italian, from chiaro ‘clear, bright’ (from Latin clarus) + oscuro ‘dark, obscure’ (from Latin obscurus).
So, now I must insert the word in the story, just because I can. Yes, it is a gratuitous use of a fancy foreign word, but that’s this writer’s prerogative! Besides, there's a portrait in the story with this exact lighting, though it's not the painting on Protégé's cover.
Anyhow, Protégé's cover was a lot of fun—yeah, it’s original artwork by moi. The dress was actually a cheesy Goodwill prom gown that I altered via the paintbrush, and my husband is the photographer extraordinaire. I do believe this is my favorite cover. I am still working on the cover copy, but this is what I have so far:
James Grayson of The Step-Up Man introduces Portrait of a Protégé, written by the character Layla Sand as the sequel to her semi-autobiographical story, "Girl Running."
Four years after the close of L. M. Sand’s novel, "Girl Running," Leila is twenty-two and living on a pretty little lake in New Hampshire. A new set of circumstances throws her into a repeating cycle of grief that twists and morphs into unexpected and powerful emotions. Leila must finally confront her fears and learn to let go while navigating the field of psychology, protecting herself from the capricious winds of Southern hospitality, playing in the backyard of big-money art, and taming her unruly heart. Even her 'guardian' has a thing or two he must learn about love and letting go.