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Claudia Ricci, PhD, formerly was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and a prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, where one of her projects was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She has published three novels, one of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her short fiction has been published in numerous literary magazines nationwide. She spent 15 years teaching English and journalism at the University at Albany, and was a visiting professor for one year at Georgetown University. 

 
 
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NEW RELEASE
My new novel, Sister Mysteries, is out! Order it here!

Set in northern California in the late 19th century, Sister Mysteries is a murder mystery that doubles as a #MeToo tale.

 
 

FICTION

 

 

sister mysteries

It’s 1883 in northern California. A young Dominican nun is dragged from her convent, accused of seducing and murdering her cousin, Antonie. He suffers from syphilis and has written a pile of erotic fantasies, spnning her into a flamenco dancer and incriminating her for the crime. More than a century later, Gina Rinaldi, a writer suffering from depression, finds herself literally immersed in the story. Gina’s link to Sister Renata is an old Mexican housekeeper, Señora Ramos, who lures Gina back to the past with a plea to save the nun from the twin monsters that are her cousin and the men-only courtroom. Is Gina as delusional as Antonie, or is she living a past life, reincarnated as the nun?  Is she whisked back through time on a mission to save her soul, and the nun, or has she begun to unravel? How will writing the nun’s story heal her? Sister Mysteries is a murder mystery that doubles as a #Me Too tale. It zeros in on the power of men, and their fantasies, to dominate and destroy women.  Beautifully written, the novel’s many secrets make it a page-turner. Told in three voices, the book’s poetic language and haunting images guarantee a delightful and memorable read.

seeing red

At 19, Ronda Cari gave up a promising career in ballet when she became pregnant by her college professor. Now, 18 years later and the mother of two boys, she gives up her marriage to follow her flamenco-guitarist lover Jesus to Spain, where he has disappeared. Her journey of discovery leads her to unveil the secret behind her lover's departure and renews her love of dance, this time through the magic of flamenco.

dreaming maples

A baby born under a Renoir painting at an art museum? That's one of the climactic scenes from Dreaming Maples, a mother/daughter story that follows bohemian artist Candace Burdett as she attempts to prove a point: that she can do a better job as a mother than her own mother, Eileen. But despite her good intentions, adolescent Candace quickly learns a lesson: she has more of her mother inside her than she cares to admit. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, this mesmerizing first novel weaves Candace's harrowing story around the painfully honest diaries kept by Eileen during her own pregnancy with Candace, reminding readers that heartbreaking family dramas makes circles around each other, wreaking havoc in successive generations. In the end, Candace finds herself in her grandmother Audrey's Vermont sugar maple forest, fighting life and death decisions, and it is there that she finally has to come to terms with her terror, and her mother. Together, these powerfully drawn characters plunge toward an ending that will keep readers spellbound.

 

REVIEWS

 

 

sister mysteries

 
Powerful drama, passionate writing, well defined and compelling characters, erotic passages, religious fervor, the metafictional presence of the writer and her problems, a heady mix of narratives and voices, suspense, gripping turns of fortune and event and more.
— Eugene K. Garber, author of Metaphysical Tales and The Historian
I’ve been waiting a long time for this book and was not expecting such an amazing journey. In her previous two novels, Ricci’s vivid imagery created the setting, the characters, and the subject matter in great detail. Sister Mysteries has all of that, plus travel back and forth over almost a century and a half. Her writing is very poetic, with a flow and cadence that penetrates and turns the reader into a fellow traveler. I had to take periodic breaks to let everything sink in, yet during these breaks I still felt intertwined in the story. I am so thankful for a writer like Claudia Ricci, so in awe of her strength in writing this novel, and look forward to more from her.
— Andrew LaCoppola, Palatine Bridge, N.Y.
Just finished Sister Mysteries—Bravo!! Brave and unique! The multiple narratives keep the story (ies) moving and provide an exciting and unusual read. I love the flamenco music throughout; it gives the cover an added intensity. The ending is satisfying—not a small feat for such an intricate and complex story.My favorite parts were with Kitty and the little circle of warmth she provided! Kudos!!
— Sharon Flitterman-King, Ph.D., Hillsdale, N.Y.
I just finished Sister Mysteries - it will take me some time to capture all that I feel about this amazing book. Claudia Ricci is a tremendously gifted writer and the book is well written. It is also beautiful, painful, torturous, true, mysterious, provocative and healing — a story of courage and friendship in the face of greed, power and betrayal. Add to that the gift of redemption by the unseen forces of the divine hand of love and faith-wow! The healing of this book has worked its magic on me.
— Mary Marino, New York, NY
Ricci is such a gifted writer, her descriptions are so vivid, and the story itself so intriguing. Of course, Gina was my favorite character and so real. I can only imagine how excruciating it was to write this book and how relieved Ricci must be and proud of such an accomplishment. I really felt honored to read it. And it gives me lots of food for thought.
— Lana Israel, Great Barrington, MA
I just finished reading Sister Mysteries. From the very beginning I loved Sister Renata. I really liked the Gina sections too — I like the way Gina is trying to write the stories. I particularly liked how Gina moved across time — sometimes she is with Sister Renata and then sometimes she becomes the nun. I also like how Señora moves across time. It has a magical realism quality that makes sense for the entire novel. It reminds me of Isabel Allende’s writing. I also like how the book is really about the power of writing — writing saves Sister Renata because it brings Senora to the courtroom. Writing saves Gina too. The book is great!!!
— P.M. Woods, Ph.D., Shutesbury, MA

seeing red

Ronda’s story in Seeing Red not only made sense to me, but the writing touched me viscerally, emotionally. I could feel her challenges, pain and desire; life was tearing her apart. I felt drawn in from the very first paragraph. She goes to Spain to follow her fantasy lover and pursue her love for flamenco, what she finds there through her wild adventures is the most important thing missing - her love for herself. I recommend this book to all of my friends.
— T.m.

dreaming maples

Ricci has spun a well developed tale of mother-daughter relationships delving into the depths of human pyche ... beautifully written...
— Jennifer Smith, North Adams Transcript
Ricci’s use of metaphor enriches the story...Ricci is a moving storyteller and writes a lush and insightful novel. Albany Times Union, June 30, 2002, Lisa Stevens
— Lisa Stevens, Albany Times Union
 
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ARTICLES

 

 
 

 

two drops of ink

Of Hummingbirds and Lions | September 2018
Feeding on Light | Feb. 2018
Gabriela's Moon | June 2017
Red Bird Alert | Nov. 2016