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Books by Linda Lappin


A Creative Writing Workbook: Ideas and Exercises
for Conjuring the Genius Loci

By Linda Lappin
Published by Travelers' Tales, 2015
isbn: 978-1609521035,
paperback, price: $16.95
also available as an ebook

"Insightful exercises help creative writers of all levels attune themselves to the power of place in order to churn out evocative prose that jumps off the page." National Geographic Intelligent Traveler


"Inspirational...Lovely...Explorative,"Book Riot
"A Workbook for all Creatives"
"A great new resource for writers" Dr. Jessie Voigts, Wandering Educators
"A conscious way to explore the power of place" WanderLit
"Lappin's book feels like a life guide" Candice Ransom
"This book will change your writing" Wandering Educators
"Deeply intelligent & Inspiring" Susan Tekulve, Serving House Journal

“Invaluable advice for the writer and traveler, deeply thoughtful.” –Lavinia Spalding, author of Writing Away

In this engaging creative writing workbook, novelist and poet Linda Lappin presents a series of insightful exercises to help writers of all genres—literary travel writing, memoir, poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction—discover imagery and inspiration in the places they love.
Lappin departs from the classical concept of the Genius Loci, the indwelling spirit residing in every landscape, house, city, or forest—to argue that by entering into contact with the unique energy and identity of a place, writers can access an inexhaustible source of creative power. The Soul of Place provides instruction on how to evoke that power.
The writing exercises are drawn from many fields—architecture and landscaping, painting, cuisine, literature and literary criticism, geography and deep maps, Jungian psychology, fairy tales, mythology, theater and performance art, occult philosophy and metaphysics—all of which offer surprising perspectives on our writing and may help us uncover raw materials for fiction, essays, and poetry hidden in our environment.
An essential resource book for the writer’s library, this book is ideal for creative writing courses, with stimulating exercises adaptable to all genres. For writers or travelers about to set out on a trip abroad, The Soul of Place is the perfect road-trip companion, attuning our senses to a deeper awareness of place.


by Linda Lappin

Prize-Winning Author Probes the Secrets of Italy’s Famous Monster Park


“An intelligent summer mystery”Library Journal
“Moody romantic suspense Daphne Du Maurier might have written.” –Library Journal

Tennessee-born novelist Linda Lappin author of the Indie classic, The Etruscan, takes on the mystery of Italy’s celebrated Monster Park in her new novel SIGNATURES IN STONE. The park, located in Bomarzo not far from Rome, originally created in the 16th century by a Roman nobleman as a memorial to his wife, leads visitors on a journey through hell represented by its eerie sculptures of ogres, mermaids, and giants. Art historians are puzzled by its meaning: is it a pagan itinerary of initiation, a surreal illustration of its patron’s weirdest nightmares, an allegory for political events, or a series of emblems concealing an alchemical formula for making gold? And who was the real mastermind behind this complex creation? Was it, perhaps, as some scholars believe, one of the greatest sculptors of the Italian Renaissance?

Lappin uses this mystery in SIGNATURES IN STONE as the background for a compelling tale of murder, sex, and secrets set in Bomarzo in 1927, when four unlikely misfits find themselves entangled in the meanders of the park. Daphne, a mystery writer with a hashish habit; Clive, an American gigolo and art forger; Nigel, an English aristocrat down at the heels; and Finestone, a fly-by-night art historian, are thrown together in a dilapidated villa looked after by two Italian servants who are not what they seem. Each character will find a private hell hidden in the park, and not everyone will make it out alive. Through the deforming mirror of the Bomarzo sculptures, Daphne will face up to the darker sides of herself while solving a murder for which she has been unjustly accused. Unraveling one mystery, she unwittingly solves another: who designed the Monster Park and why. Perfect summer reading for a plane trip or the beach,
SIGNATURES IN STONE is an “intense, fast-paced, eloquently elegant mystery novel,” showing how waking life, intuition, and dreams are much more interfused than we normally admit.


“Deftly mixing fascinating art history and murder with an exotic atmospheric setting (the Bomarzo garden actually exists), dramatic historical period (1928 fascist Italy), and fully fleshed characters, Lappin (The Etruscan) has written a hallucinatory gothic mystery in which no one is as they appear. Daphne is a most memorable, if a bit unreliable (thanks to her opium habit), narrator. Readers looking for an intelligent summer mystery will find much to savor here.”— Wilda Williams, Library Journal 

FIVE STARS ON AMAZON " I loved this novel! It's a rare balance between eerie and sense-making. Its main character is the spooky Italian landscape of Bomarzo and its Monster Garden of violent statues--which really do exist, the author tells us. But the 5 characters, including the engaging narrator, hashish-addicted Daphne, are as mysterious as the setting. Lappin's people are as dangerously compelling as her Italy. I look forward to a long, creepy series of Daphne mysteries.” Nina Auerbach, author of Women and Demons reviewing for Amazon.

“Lappin is a modern day Agatha Christie with prose that is like eating dark chocolate or sipping a glass of fine wine — the story continues to entice your senses and simply gets better and better the more you partake. Not one to hurry to the plot, she unveils the scenes piece by piece, character by character and leaves her own signatures for you to find along the way.” Vikki Walton I Love a Mystery

“Lappin lures the reader into the loins of Italy, describing it with a lust for its countryside and peculiarities as one might let on about a lover,” Shaina Mugan, Gently Read Literature

alters both consciousness and destiny, as our heroine discovers intrigue to match her own... The novel's a Gothic--in-Wonderland mash-up, no less, with a suspenseful throb that'll keep you dancing till dawn." John Domini, author of Earthquake I.D.

“…Four eccentric traveling companions in an automobile to hell. SIGNATURES IN STONE is as brilliant as it is entertaining.” Thomas E. Kennedy, author of In the Company of Angels & The Copenhagen Quartet

AUTHOR BIO: Linda Lappin, novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer is the author of two award-winning novels. Her first, The Etruscan (Wynkin de Worde. 2004), a tantalizing suspense tale set in Italy in the 1920s, placed second at the New York Book Festival and short listed for the 2011 Next Generation Indie Award. Her second, Katherine's Wish (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2008), based on the life of New Zealand writer, Katherine Mansfield, received the gold medal in historical fiction from the IPPY awards and was a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award in fiction. Signatures in Stone is her third novel. Upcoming projects include a memoir, Postcards from a Tuscan Interior, sections of which won a Solas Award from Travelers Tales, and Genius Loci: A Writer’s Guide to Capturing the Soul of Place,a craft of writing book. She teaches English at the University of Rome La Sapienza and lives in a pentagonal house in a medieval village near Rome. She is currently at work on a new Daphne Dublanc mystery, Melusine, set in the Italian village of Bolsena, another site of Etruscan legends. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop and is a member of the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) and of the European Association for Creative Writing Programs (EACWP)

book details
Title: Signatures in Stone
Author: Linda Lappin
Published by Pleasure Boat Studio
ISBN-10: 1929355904 ISBN-13: 978-1929355907
Trade Paperback Original • $18
250 Pages
Publisher contact info: Tel/Fax 888-810-5308
Pleasure Boat Studio Books are available from
Partners/West Tel: 425-227-8486
Baker & Taylor Tel: 800-775-1100 Ingram Tel: 615-793-2000
Small Press Distribution Tel: 800-869-7553
and from and, also available as an ebook
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A Bomarzo Mystery by Linda Lappin
Prize-Winning Author Probes the Secrets of Italy’s Famous Monster Park

THE ETRUSCAN: A Literary Gothic Tale Set in 1922

Runner up in Fiction, New York Book Festival, 2010
Click on the title for more reviews
"Haunted...vivid...entrancing" Kirkus Reviews Runner Up in Fiction 2010 New York Book Festival/ Short List Next Generation Indie Award

Lose Yourself in the Hills of Tuscany in Linda Lappin’s THE ETRUSCAN
Traveling to Italy this summer or lounging at home, you’ll want to lose yourself in the Tuscan hills in Linda Lappin’s prize-winning novel, THE ETRUSCAN . Runner up in Fiction for the 2010 New York Book Festival and short listed for the 2011 Next Generation Indie Award in fiction, The Etruscan is now available for the first time in the US in Kindle Edition. In this entrancing novel, the tantalizing love story between American heroine Harriet Sacket and the enigmatic Count Federigo, self-proclaimed Etruscan spirit, is played out across the backdrop of eerie Etruscan tombs and boar-infested woods in 1922.
“Lappin elegantly brings the characters, Italian countryside and surroundings to life in vivid, engrossing prose.” Kirkus Reviews

“The basic pleasure of this book lies in the suspension of disbelief, the heightened emotional urgency, the mystery, the lush and mystical scenery.” – Prairie Schooner
“Gorgeously detailed, wickedly fun” - Prairie Schooner

“Lappin’s artfully written novel inhabits a supernatural landscape, but alludes subtly to hints of Etruscan culture … Lappin’s gift for atmosphere places her amongst the finest writers of gothic art, not genre.” ~ The Southern Indiana Review


"A marvelously written wickedly imaginative novel that transcends the bounds of the literary Gothic novel which it resembles in structure."  Mel Ulm

Lappin wrote the novel while renting an old farmhouse in Etruscan country. “I’ll never forget my first impression of that house as I pulled up in the drive on a rainy November night,” she relates in The American Magazine “Two yellow windows like eyes were aglow in the dark. A horned stone guardian standing by the door watched with lidless eyes as I slipped inside and climbed a stone staircase. A huge gilt mirror met me on the landing and I stepped into a room with low ceiling beams, a red brick floor, a brisk fire burning in an enormous fireplace reflected in gilt frame mirrors hanging on every wall.” The author soon noted that the house interacted with its inhabitants by influencing their dreams. Overnight visitors invariably reported dreams of the underworld. She spent afternoons rambling in the woods, poking into Etruscan ruins in the countryside. “The mysterious T shaped doors of those tombs hung with ivy, began to act on my imagination,” Linda says. Sitting before a great stone hearth as the fire burned low, she started writing The Etruscan,

The story is set in 1922, just five years before D.H. Lawrence immortalized his visit to the area in Etruscan Places. “Like Lawrence, Harriet comes to Italy in search of a source of deeper life and finds that source in the mysterious Etruscans,” she says. “Harriet’s story is not mine, but my own life shrank away while I was writing hers.”
The Etruscan recounts the adventures of Harriet Sackett, trouser-wearing American photographer who travels to Italy to photograph Etruscan tombs for the Theosophical Society. Here she falls in love with the charismatic Federigo del Re, occultist and shape-shifter. Her increasing fascination with the man leaves her on the brink of collapse. The story is told from the viewpoint of Harriet’s English cousins, Stephen and Sarah, whose own dark secrets are revealed as they read Harriet’s diary trying to understand what has transpired. As the unraveling of Harriet’s mind is revealed, so too are the secrets of Harriet’s family– secrets which are no less disturbing than the diary. The mystery at the heart of Harriet’s experience draws the reader on: who is Federigo del Re, the man she calls “her secret sun”? Noble lover, unscrupulous conman, Etruscan ghost, village shaman, or simply the product of Harriet’s delusion? Lappin keeps the suspense pulled taut till the very last page.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Think Fifty Shades of Grey, but fifty times better written,” Margaret Bramley,
“Pan dances more deeply in The Etruscan than he does in Lawrence’s Etruscan Places” Mel Ulm, The Reading Life
“I was enthralled by Lappin’s Italy… and by that god/demon/boar that flits through its landscape” Nina Auerbach, critic, author of Our Vampires, Ourselves
“Reminiscent at times of John Fowles’ The Magus” A.E. Stallings


GOLD MEDAL WINNER INDIE AWARDS ForeWord finalist for Book of the Year in Fiction, 2010 click on the title in red for more reviews
Katherine's Wish 2009 Gold Medal Winner Indie Awards in Historical Fiction

By Linda Lappin
A novel about the life of Katherine Mansfield
Wordcraft of Oregon, 2008
Paperback, 225 pages, isbn 978-1-877-655 586
Distributed by INGRAMS, Available from AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE

In this dramatic, fictional retelling of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield’s final years, novelist Linda Lappin captures the rainbow-like essence of Mansfield’s being, transporting the reader like a time traveler into her intimate world. Scrupulously researched and richly evocative, the novel has been praised by Mansfield scholars as “creative scholarship.” With vivid detail and beautiful language and style, Lappin has built on journals, letters, and diaries to fashion a true-to-life mosaic, using themes, motifs, and methods of Mansfield’s own writing. Katherine’s Wish celebrates Mansfield’s deep love of life and its final message is a life –affirming one of joy and of wholeness achieved. A must for libraries, research centers, and book clubs interested in women writers, Bloomsbury, Katherine Mansfield, and modernism, as well as those interested in Mansfield’s contacts with George Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.

“A dazzling bit of literary sorcery,” advance praise from David Lynn, editor, the Kenyon Review.

“The more Katherine Mansfield approaches death, the more she comes to life in Linda Lappin’s Katherine’s Wish…Lappin’s achievement is to succeed where medicine failed and, through her words, give Katherine Mansfield ongoing life.”
Walter Cummins, the Literary Review

“Capturing the latter part of Katherine’s life and world, the author brings vivid life to this novel, which reads like a literary biography of Katherine Mansfield
and her contemporaries.” - Tess Allegra, The Historical Novels Review

“[Lappin’s] writing style, with its rhythm, flow, and sensual detail, richly evokes the significant social scene of a vanished era….Katherine’s Wish is first and foremost the compelling story of an artist fighting against time. Long after the last page, thoughts of her linger like an exotic scent.” Rain Taxi

“An intriguing and highly recommended piece of writing.” Midwest Book Review

Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne,(2020) a novel, and an essay:
Missing Person in Montparnasse:
The Case of Jeanne Hebuterne

For over eighty years after her suicide, Jeanne's
family tried to conceal her connection to the last
great painter of Montmartre, and to hide her
artworks from the world. This essay
reconstructs the brief life and intense
work of an artist whose drawings and paintings
were first viewed in October 2000. Published in The Literary Review, Summer 2002, "Missing Person in Montparnasse" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize

The Ghosts of Fontainebleau

This essay explores Katherine Mansfield's
sojourn at George I. Gurdjieff's Institute
for the Harmonious Development of Man
in Fontainebleau.