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Erika Rummel wins Random House Creative Writing Award for an except from her book, "The Effects of Isolation on the Brain"

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The Road to Gesualdo

Like so many noble women before her, Leonora d’Este had no say in her marriage arrangements. She did her duty and married Prince Carlo di Gesualdo, a man of wealth and standing, who was useful to her family. It was only after taking her vows that she learned that Carlo had murdered his first wife and her lover in a jealous rage. Leonora understood it was an honor killing permitted by the laws of the land and forgave Carlo. But soon she noticed odd behavior in her husband. Was he slipping into madness? Was he bewitched? Could she help her husband and protect herself at the same time?

This vivid drama of noble life in 16th century Italy plays out through the eyes of Leonora’s faithful lady-in-waiting and friend, Livia, who has her own romantic problems. She is in love with the courtier Pietro, but their case is hopeless. She has no dowry, and he is promised to another. Will Leonora and Livia find happiness on The Road to Gesualdo?

Erika Rummel's latest novel available at

Erika's novels also available at Inanna Publication
and at

Three Women and Alfred Nobel

Three women are after Nobel. Ida wants revenge for the death of her lover, who has been killed in an accident at Nobel's factory. Sophie wants compensation for the abuse she suffered as Nobel's mistress. Bertie wants Nobel to atone for his lethal invention and spend the profit on a Peace Prize.

Set in fin-de-siècle Vienna, THREE WOMEN AND ALFRED NOBEL explores the social constraints placed on women, the traumatic effects of war on soldiers, and the ethnic tensions that lead to the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

The Painting on Auerperg's Wall

Was the painting on Auerperg’s wall looted or was it a fair price to pay for rescuing a child from the Nazis so many decades ago? Zoltan Nagy, the legitimate heir, is pressured by his daughter to go to court and recoup his parents’ possessions. But Zoltan is also in love with the present owner of the painting. What if winning the court case means losing her?

What reviewers say about The Painting On Auerperg’s Wall: "Sexual obsession, mysterious art, dysfunctional family, and corrosive 20th century history come seamlessly together in this fast-paced psychological thriller."
Michael Mirolla, award-winning author of Berlin and
Lessons in Relationship Dyads

"In this taut, fast-moving novel, a tangle of mysteries surround two orphaned infants, a valuable painting, and identical twins who grow up leading very separate lives. The characters – and the reader—must puzzle over the way family secrets create false identities."
Charlotte Furth, author of
Opening to China: A Memoir of Normalization

The Effects of Isolation on the Brain

"From the chill of postwar Vienna to  Ontario's icy north, all is not as it seems in Erika Rummel's  fast-moving novel, where the dance of reality and role-play tease  and intrigue the reader. It's a book where sex, mayhem, and family  secrets combine to make the pages turn almost by themselves -- Carole Giangrande, author of

Additional information

Erika Rummel wins Random House Creative Writing Award for an excerpt from her book, The Effects of Isolation on the Brain

You can read the excerpt on-line at

You can also listen to a sample reading of The Effects of Isolation on the Brain at

Erika Rummel's above novels are available at

The Inquisitor's Niece

The path of true love never runs straight. Alonso and Luisa love each other. However there are a few obstacles to their happiness: the husband she was forced to marry; her uncle, the Regent of Spain; and Alonso’s heritage as a Jew.

Mix in the meddlesome Natale, whose loyalty is always to the highest bidder, and you have a story of a courageous couple determined to be happy together, despite the cards being stacked against them. Using the tumultuous period of Spain immediately following the deaths of Ferdinand and Isabella as her canvas, Erika Rummel paints a portrait of the era where Cardinals hold all the power, Jews are forcibly converted to Christianity yet still are not accepted in society, and spies are around every corner in every palace. Check it out at

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* Listen to a review at

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“Argentina 1979. Life has gone stale for Jim, an expat working in Catamarca. Everything is predictable until he meets Lisa. She has the starry eyes, the sensuous lips, and the tango steps that make all rational assumptions go away.  Jim gives her top marks for animation but there is a warning at the end of his tip sheet: Danger. Lisa is a little too intense, a little too crazy, a woman with too many scenes playing in her head.  Her antics don’t faze Santos, a spiritualist who is looking for a medium to channel the dead and attract his lost sister. He lures Lisa to his compound in northern Argentina, where she becomes a pawn in a deadly family feud.  Jim goes in search of Lisa. Tracking her down turns into a double mission – freeing Lisa from her captors and himself from the monotony of his life. It takes a fantastic journey through rugged country for Jim to realize that he loves Lisa just the way she is: unpredictable.  The story unfolds against the background of a country under military rule.  It is a place where kidnapping, violence, and death no longer make headlines, a place where you learn survival skills.”

“A fast-paced page turner. A suspenseful, thrilling roller coaster ride with lots of twisty, loopy sections”

“I recommend HEAD GAMES to literary thriller lovers.”

“Unique and entertaining adventure with heart”

Books available for purchase at and


Liz is waiting for her big break in Hollywood, when a different offer comes her way. The wealthy Naomi Baum, a bestselling author, asks Liz to impersonate her on the Ted Hillman Show. The reclusive Naomi cannot bear public appearances but is desperate to make contact with another guest on the show: Miro Bogdan, the son she abandoned as a baby. On the set, Liz gives a convincing performance as Naomi Baum and attracts the passions meant for the author. Miro, now a successful installation artist, harbours a deadly hatred for his mother and is plotting her murder. Ted Hillman, the host of the show, is fascinated with Naomi Baum and romances her stand-in. Liz gives a superb performance as Ted's love interest. But is it a performance, or is Liz beginning to live Naomi's life?

* Excerpts from the book, Playing Naomi


"Erika Rummel's meta-textual legerdemain, strange characters and twisted plot make for a bracing read."

Judith Fitzgerald in the Globe & Mail, 16 December 2009

Playing Naomi is a wry comedy whose self-knowing irony is reminiscent of the corrosive but jovial cynicism of such comic media satire as The Larry Sanders Show and The Newsroom."

Cynthia Sugars in University of Toronto Quarterly 80-2 (2011)

Reviews of the book posted on &

"Consummate writing skill...well-drawn characters...witty, thought-provoking...suspenseful."

"well-drafted and animated dialogue...compelling read...up to the surprise ending."

* Listen to a review and an excerpt from PLAYING NAOMI on Carole Giangrande's podcast.

* Erika Rummel answers Open Book's ten questions