My Novel Excerpts

I have chosen excerpts from each book of RUNE QUARTET to share with you: Book One: Fire Dragon Street Theater; Book Two: Wheeling Across Amerika; Book Three: Ruth and Lucina; Book Four: Rune Seekers. Some of the excerpts are chapters and some are journal entries. Although agents and publishers will focus on getting out one book at a time, I am anxious for my readers to get a small taste now of the whole “kit and kaboodle.”

  • RUNE QUARTET, a memoir-driven historical work of four novels beginning with The Fire Dragon Street Theater was inspired by the sculpture seen below. - In 1963 I built this large wooden construction (10’ x 8’ x 6’) of a ritualized female figure in meditative pose playing a built-in xylophone. I originally named her Priestess/Musician/Witch. My understanding of the meaning of this image deepened with the passing of time and increased reflection. When I finally transformed that long cumbersome name… Continue reading RUNE QUARTET, a memoir-driven historical work of four novels beginning with The Fire Dragon Street Theater was inspired by the sculpture seen below.
  • A brief summary of RUNE QUARTET - Set against the background of American artists-activists from the 60s to the 90s, the RUNE TRILOGY chronicles Lucina Holzer’s three decade struggle to find herself in this troubled and precarious world.
  • FIRE DRAGON STREET THEATER: Book 1, Chapter 25, No More War - Lucina opened the huge loft windows; the weather report was wrong! It was a beautiful spring day. They would perform their street theater play again, Choice, the ever-evolving Choice. Crowds of people would be in Central Park hungry for a play. With all those new green leaves making them feel good, wouldn’t everyone want peace? The idea of their “Uncle” Sam refusing to serve in Vietnam, going into hiding and building an underground anti-war movement might even strike a Republican onlooker as a possible choice on a day like this, she mused. By mid-morning Louis and Lucina, nervous sheepdogs, rounded up the other actors. “Time to get going! Who wants to carry Fire Dragon?” The twenty-foot long wire, papier maché and cloth construction was in sections for easy transport. A dynamite crowd gatherer.
  • WHEELING ACROSS AMERIKA: Book 2, Chapter 47, The Blue Giraffe - “A blue giraffe! I should have known.” Lucina fastened on a small object in the window of the breakfast nook at Professor Joan Donaldson's house where she, Louis, Dawn and Cheryl spent the night. Cheryl and Dawn were still in bed on the back sun porch, but Louis and Lucina got up early to enjoy freshly ground coffee with their host.
  • RUNE SEEKERS: Book 4, Chapter 15, Love in the Making - The pressure on Lucina’s forehead, right between the eyes, was a deep coolness working at the knot of pain there. She would suck in that healing dampness like a drink of cold water. Bird songs, like people whistling through straws, opened her eyes. It was dawn! The firm touch must have come from Ruth's fingers; but Ruth lay fast asleep beside her.
  • RUNE QUARTET: How Journaling Informs and Influences the Plot and Literary Genre, Memoir-Driven. - The reason protagonist Lucina Holzer keeps a journal, the content of her entries, and the use she eventually makes of them all play a vital role in plot and character development throughout the three books of the memoir-driven, women’s historical novel, RUNE TRILOGY.
  • FIRE DRAGON STREET THEATER: Book 1, Chapter 15, Finding a Way with Words, journal entries - Journal Entry. January 13, l965: Many artists, like Louis and myself, have banged the door shut on our private lives. Forget quiet studios! No being rich and famous by the time I'm thirty. My dreams have to be sent back to the welding shop, reworked with blowtorch and hammer into raised fists.
  • WHEELING ACROSS AMERICA: Book 2, Chapter 52, The Train Ride, journal entry - After the tour, Thursday, May 4, l967: I’m looking out the loft windows on Spring Street to write this last entry in my Tour Journal. The windows in the lofts across the street are reflecting my building and I can see myself muted, fuzzy, like in a watercolor, staring out the window. The late afternoon sun, with that orange glow I love, like Louis’ eyes when he looks at me as if I’m something very special he stumbled upon, is making the buildings soft and glowing. I am glad to be back.
  • RUTH & LUCINA: Book 3, Chapters 13, 17 and 19, text and journal entries - In her hands were thirty-two pages entitled, ‘Lucina Remembers Louis Altman,’ divided into chronological time frames. The separate sections highlighted major events in the sixteen years from spring l967 to Spring l983 and then seemed to elaborate on them. This was the time span of her transformation away from Louis as she became the self-sufficient dyke she needed to be. She studied the familiar handwriting, both crimped and slanted, obvious signs of feeling pressured.

2 thoughts on “My Novel Excerpts

  1. I am so honored that Jeri chose me to be a “sensitivity reader” of “Fire Dragon Street Theater.” Several themes stand out for me in this beautifully-written, powerful novel of artist-activists in the ’60s and 70’s. The first is Lucina’s struggle between her passion as a young sculptor emerging in the NYC art scene and her growing need to join Louis, her poet-activist companion/lover, in his political work to end the corrupt and tragic Vietnam War. Lucina questions what would happen to her own work? What would she personally be giving up? To understand Lucina’s commitment to her art and her ensuing conflicts we must read the Prologue “Lucina Builds Rune”, as exquisite and detailed an expose into the act of creating as I have ever read. I wish she had included this piece in her blog!

    Another theme that intrigues me is the building of a Street Theater Troupe with young people from diverse backgrounds, many of whom have never acted before. Hilderley creates tension and drama as she skillfully leads us into a world that converges art and politics with protest. Conflicts among members, love affairs, betrayals infiltrate the group as they courageously prepare to take to the streets to confront the immoral war and killing of youth drawn into it. With a 20 foot-long papier mache dragon, props, instruments in hand, they head to Central Park to perform “Choice,”in this case the choice about whether or not to join the army. The tension builds as the crowd assembles to watch and listen. In a dramatic moment the police appear, angry and determined to haul off Louis, the narrator. Police violence erupts!

    I am taken by how much this novel of a bygone era rings out with today’s desperate need for social justice and economic equality.


    1. Rain, this is so supportive of you. I look forward to your continuing comments as a “sensitivity reader.” I’m considering including the Prologue to the Fire Dragon Street Theater, as you suggest, showing the main character, Lucina Holzer, in action building the sculpture Rune, a driving image in the novel. My intent was to help the reader feel the physicality of RUNE, a feminist icon in meditation pose seeking to find love, truth and miracle in life.


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