Sunday, February 25, 2018

Strange Orchids

Hey, I've been busy, and I'm going to show you what's been keeping me sane.
I've been working on my art. Watercolors, to be exact. Watercolor is a difficult medium to master, and I'm here to tell you, I've been dabbling in it for months. I've finally found on-line artists that I watch, and one is more of an instructor, and it has helped me to listen to what he says about working with the medium.

Anyway, my current dabblings are below. First I'll show you my paintings, and then the photos (which I've gotten all from Pinterest), to use for the picture.

My paintings usually take me a couple of hours in two afternoons, during the week. On the weekends, I might get one done in a day, depending upon its difficulty.

Below is a close-up of a strange looking flower.
It took me an hour to find something similar on line to figure out what it was exactly.
Do you know what this flower is?

Give up? Well, it's a water lily. Below is a picture of one. 
Beautiful flower, and I had no idea water lilies came in different colors!

Below is a picture of the next offering as I was getting the colors in. There's a strategy to paintings. You need to know how to go about something as complicated as this one.

The finished painting came out really well, I think, considering the difficulty.
What is it? No. Not a spaceship, or something captured from a weird dream. . .

It's actually an orchid. I didn't exactly find out what sort it was, but if you ever see one in your local florist, you'll probably remember it.
Below is a photo of the orchid and the close up of the waterlily.
Hope you enjoyed these.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Spell of Dark Castle, sequel

Finally, after so many years of waiting to get this one out, it's here. Sequel to Spell of the Black Unicorn

It's a romping fantasy that takes place on Zofia's planet, where anything goes, since my imagination knows no bounds. Where Zofia meets an alchemist from 18th century (really much older), Earth, named Saint Germain.

Here is description as it is on Amazon:
After Zofia and her family return to their world, everything should be fine... but is not.

Zofia's first assignment as a Knight is to go to Dark Castle under cover as an Ugwump - mortal - to spy on the owner, Saint Germain, who is believed to be a vampire.

On her trip to Dark Castle, Zofia meets Myron; a vampire with many secrets. After they encounter the handsome Saint Germain, Zofia uncovers truths about his past... and about their attraction for each other.

It's hardly enough description for a book that's over 600 pages long. Here is what I sent them to put into description, and reads almost like a book itself, but here is a more detailed description which does it justice.

Zofia and family return to their world. All should be happy, but is not. Although son, Eltony, is thrilled about going to a school where he can practice his sorcery, his sister, Blanch, is moody and depressed, mostly about missing her 16th birthday, but finds that such a party is set up in her honor in a castle, and she suddenly has many suitors.

In the meantime, jealousy drives a wedge between Zofia and husband, Dorian, when Stephen has made sure of Zofia's nomination as a Knight (First woman Knight in ages). Her first assignment is to go to Dark Castle under cover as an Ugwump (mortal), librarian in order to spy on the owner, Saint Germain, who is believed to be a vampire. (But he is really an 18th century Earth alchemist who has successfully made the Elixir of Life, which has kept him alive for centuries.)

During her travel to Dark Castle, Zofia meets Myron, who she realizes right away is a vampire. But she has a secret too, so they agree to keep one another's secrets. Myron helps with her trunks up the long stairs to Dark Castle. Although Myron was retained by St. Germain to help get her there safely, it's obvious Myron has different ideas. Fortunately, Zofia is above his vampire tricks.

The next day she meets Saint Germain. While he is practicing a dueling match with his servant Jacques, his is wounded, but the wound heals quickly, so suspicion grows for Zofia. But, no one is as they seem, and Jacques, in turn, becomes suspicious of Zofia. She learns his big secret in due time. What Zofia uncovers about the handsome Saint Germain is unexpected. So is their attraction for each other.

Zofia, who is pregnant, tries to keep this a secret for as long as she can, but St. Germain figures this out soon enough.

Dorian, meanwhile, is on the trail of a cult that is at work in the village. They have a fiendish plot to bring forth monsters who once ruled their planet. Zofia's and Dorian's paths cross as they make attempts to stop them, but these rogue wizards are using Dark Castle's powerful ley lines, and St. Germain's time-travel invention, to bring forth an alchemist from the past. It is later learned he and St. Germain were once mortal enemies.

Attempts on Zofia's life come from all directions—from cunning vampires, to a contriving waitress, to wicked wizards—and yet she manages to out maneuver them one way or another until they finally capture her for the wizards' final spell to bring back the monstrous (half-man and half-crocodile) Helsingas.

Will Saint Germain's use of the Philosopher's Stone help him save both Zofia and Dorian in the end, and can they stop the wizards' powerful spell before their world is taken over by these ten-foot beasts? Will Zofia and Dorian reconcile, or is it too late for them?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Good Brush is Hard to Find

Well, not really.
I've posted a few of the paintings (watercolors), I've done over the winter on facebook, but thought I would show it all off here.

First of all, today I purchased a set of watercolors in tubes, and a large set of pain brushes.

Below, I was working on this painting. The sun in it had come out a little lopsided, as seen in photo below. I've  fixed it and tried out my tube paints and new brushes.

The one above and the one below are my minis they're 4"x 6". I've painted several this size first, because I just wanted to get used to the medium. I've only painted in oils and acrylics before, back when I was in school (a half a lifetime ago).

As you can see, I've done alright.

Below is my favorite painting of the sunflowers. This was done using a picture of sunflowers that I've actually grown myself. I like using a photo of some sort to go by. The southwest painting was done combining two photographs I had from a trip to Taos, N.M.

The painting below I used a calendar photo of a lighthouse. I've been working on another, but I'm not ready to reveal it, yet.

So, this is what I've been working on this winter in my spare time. Yeah. I'm taking another hiatus from writing. I'm so far ahead of what I want to do with writing, I'm just going to veg and do my art for a while. Especially since I spent money on a new set of 24 watercolor tube paints. I'm going to hang them on my wall--my brag wall.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Meandering Thoughts

Hello, my pretties. Since last time, as you all know, the weather was harsh to us. But now it has turned a slight corner, and we've enjoyed brief moments of 40's one day, and 20's the next.

But I'm not here to talk about the weather. I've had these various thoughts touring my brain for days, and just had to get them down, so here it goes.

Promise this isn't "Fake News", but it should be enjoyable.

The Logic Behind it?

Let's say for a lark you and a friend went to a psychic for a reading. She tells you a lot of stuff about yourself you have to wonder how she knew. At the end she tells you you'll meet a tall, dark and handsome stranger--like that's original, right?
Then, as a bonus, she gives you numbers for a winning lottery. You are more than a little dubious, wondering why she'd give you a winning number at no extra cost.
You smile and say, "Thanks, but give me the numbers you're going to play, instead."

It's Inevitable

The weather has turned for the worse. You can't even get down the street on foot, let alone drive anywhere. The mayor, the sheriff's police and various other important public people get on TV and tell people to pleast stay home if they don't need to go out.
Naturally, a half hour later, there's an hundred car pile-up on a major highway, because everybody decided they had to go some place.

How's That?

David and Louise Turpin (the couple who are accused of keeping their children chained to beds, starved, and tortured them), have plead "Not guilty".

If I were the prosecuting attorney I might say something like, "So let me get this straight. Your thirteen children chained themselves to beds, refused to eat, go to school, and you just went on with every day life?"

Well, this is all I've got for now. I could say something about Trump, but I figure everyone else is probably on that.

Next time, I'll tell you, and show you, what I've been up to to keep myself amused during this cold weather stuck indoors.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Above Zero

For those you you with modern houses, and no well, you may, or may not understand the trials we've gone through for the past two weeks. Mostly frozen pipes--I've had to draw water from the bathtub into a pail and such in order to do dishes, at least 3 times. But, hey, I didn't complain. I was able to do the dishes, after all.

But it got worse. One afternoon (Friday), I went to take my bath, and after a few inches of water in the tub, the water simply stopped. Dennis had turned off the heat lamp in the well pit (which is outside of the house, and not very deep), thinking to save a little on our electric bill. I understood his well intentions, but he beat himself up over it all night. We couldn't get it to come back on, even after having the heat lamp turned back on.

The next morning, we went out in the minus-something, darkness of pre-dawn armed with flashlights and a small blower heater. Trudging through 4" of snow (thankfully it wasn't more!), we got to the cement block where the well pit is. I helped him pick up the heavy iron cover, and drag it off to the side to lean against the house. He eased down the ladder, and descended into the pit, which might be 7' down. Not a lot of room down there, and I could see the dried mud at the bottom.

I handed him the small stool to set the heater on, then the heater itself. He hooked it up to a drop cord, which he had to feed through a small hole from the basement. I can't tell you how many times we've berated how this house was built back in 1905 or '04, depending upon who you talk to. Sure, they had running water. they actually had a toilet down in a separate room in the basement--which is super creepy when you think about it, but they at least didn't have to go outside in the dead of winter to the outhouse.

Having done what we could, we went back inside to wait. Well, I waited. Dennis went out to the pole barn shed where they'd installed a new well and indoor pipes to fill water jugs just in case this didn't work. Imagine not being able to flush the toilet, for instance?

The worst it ever was was several years back when our power was knocked out for more than two days. I was able to cook something on the stove top (then, but now we've got electric, so this would be a bad thing). We had to go spend Christmas Eve and day in a motel. We were lucky to find a nearby bar and grill open in order to eat that night. The next day, we had to drive a distance to a truck stop in order to eat breakfast.

So, this wasn't as bad, but it wasn't pleasant at all.

Finally, after 20 or so minutes, the sound of the well came on--a sweet sound to our ears.

But, the water had to clear up. We ran the softener, but this hasn't helped even after 24 hours. The water is still ugly yellow. Dennis described it as looking like chicken soup, but decidedly with a nasty smell.

This morning, the kitchen sink water was running, but as always with the wind out of the south, the laundry room--which was actually built off the porch and simply walled off, is still frozen. I think it's 18 pails of water to fill that old washer of ours. We were running out of clothes etc. Taking laundry into town isn't our idea of a good time, and if you've ever spent time in a laundry mat, you know what I mean. Plus you have to pay to do your laundry. When we had no dryer a few years ago, we'd bring our wash in and dry it. We finally bought a dryer--one of those large expenses you don't expect.

So, here we are, still dealing with issues, but at least we have water. This week is supposed to warm up. However, I don't like the forecast of "mixed precipitation" for tonight. I'm hoping we get through that okay. We certainly don't need any other weather-related issues!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Shoving the Old Out The Door!

I've had it with winter, and we're only a few weeks into it. Never mind that a new year is coming in. We'll still have the same crap (including the same president), so, I doubt the new year could be better than this one was.

As I write this, my husband is plowing the park (right next to our house), and although we were around 10 degrees this morning, it's dropping and wind picked up.

Yesterday I put plastic on my north window. I haven't done the same to my west windows, as it's more work. The top of windows are 8 feet, and I have to stand on a step ladder. I could enlist my husband if I wanted, but I'm going to hope the thick blinds and insulated boards will help hold out the cold. I really don't like putting the plastic up. Our furnace works fine, I also have a heater that blows heat if it gets that bad. I've so far been doing okay in sub-zero temps.

I'm supposed to be working on a synopsis for a book that's ready to go, but I just haven't felt like working on it. I don't know why. Just the idea of condensing everything that happens in a large book overwhelms me.

Besides, I'm sort of waiting until after the new year to put this together. It's the sequel to Spell of the Black Unicorn, and it's called Spell of Dark Castle. A longer work, but it was a joy to write. I wrote it too many years ago to remember.

Well, I'll see if I can't muster up some enthusiasm in the coming days. I do feel like Grumpy above. I just don't know how to get out of this mood I'm in.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

(NOT) A Wonderful Life

Aside from the fact some people really don't like Christmas, the music, the adds, and the weather, getting sick on top of it all was a topper. Oh, it was just a cold, and fortunately I've got 11 days off, so I didn't have to worry about getting back to work this week.

But living in a house that is over 100 years old with a foundation that I have to plug with cement to keep mice (etc.) out, old wiring and plumbing, isn't so wonderful. So, yesterday, when we had continued into the minuses temps outside, we expected the laundry pipes to freeze, but not the kitchen sink.

Let me back up a moment. When we knew it would dip to zero, this week, my husband had to check on the well. Among the many stupid things about his house, one is the well. It isn't deep enough to keep it from freezing, and it is separate from the basement. Impossible to keep warm. They used to put straw bails on top of it, but this draws animals--and it really looks trashy. The heat lamps inside work fine... that is, if they're working. That day my husband went to check through a small opening to see if they were on, he saw that the light had burned out. Great.

This meant he had to go out to the well pit to do so he had to go outside, through the snow, and lift a heavy metal covering. Then go down the ladder and try and squeeze himself into the small hole that one of Santa's elves might fit into, and change a light bulb. This might sound easy, but for my husband with a bad back and two bad shoulders, it usually spells pain.

Which it did. Lifting something heavy, twisting and turning, not the best thing for him to be doing especially in cold weather. So, he did suffer a strained muscle in the back for the past 3 days. Very painful. He had to do the heat-ice-heat-ice thing on it. Which usually relieves it, but it sometimes comes back. Which it did. He took Alieves, but those mess up his stomach. But you deal with that.

Good news, our well didn't freeze up, but cold water pipe for the kitchen did. I was fine as long as I had hot water. But this morning that also froze. Which doesn't make sense since it was warmer last night, but I gather it's more an accumulated affect than anything.

Dennis also got my cold, but I assured him if he just took care of it, he'd be fine. Here I'd been taking elderberry juice in order not to get sick, and yet someones germ got through my defenses.

Today, what is it? Thursday? I'm over the cold, and so is Dennis. His back is better, but he has to watch it.

He took a trouble light down to the crawl space this morning to aim the heat light on the pipes. Hopefully this should work in an hour or so. Goody. I'll get to do dishes. Well, we ate cereal this morning.

The bad news is, we've got another week of deep cold, and maybe more snow.

I'll let you know if things get better in a week or so. In the meantime I'm just glad to not have to hear another damn Christmas song.

Strange Orchids

Hey, I've been busy, and I'm going to show you what's been keeping me sane. I've been working on my art. Watercolors, to be...