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Happy New Year!

Beauty Sleep. Ink drawing. 9×12. $75

I don’t really remember ever feeling so peaceful, happy, and optimistic on New Year’s Eve! It’s usually fraught with some kind of anxiety – am I having enough fun? Bla bla. Well, this year I was perfectly content to have no plans and treat myself to a restful day and evening. Of course, one thing that helps with that is having a fabulous lunch to look forward to on New Year’s Day and wanting to be fresh and well hydrated, bright eyed and bushy tailed for it!

What also helps is that I’m feeling that, after a few rather difficult years, my magic is finally back. It simply is. And if you’ve only met me during the past two years, then get ready! Things will get so much more fun in 2020 now that I’m finally back to being myself and being happy and sparkly. If you’ve known me longer and hung in there waiting for me to re-emerge you are very special to me and I can’t wait for all the fun we have ahead of us!

Though mostly what I feel is an energetic shift, there are good things that happened today to confirm it – the return of the magic. John texted me early in the morning with an idea for how I could sell art today. The last day of the year is fantastic for it, as I’ve just learned. I followed his advice and sold a very magical painting. I also continued to reach out to my favorite readers and sold another pre-release copy of Storms of Malhado. These are so special to me! Each one I sell is meaningful, a sign that I’m on the right track, that people love my writing and are looking forward to this new book.

What else? I saw an old man in Randall’s buying grapes for good luck. I was there later than I wanted to be out, on a last-minute errand. I hate last-minute errands, but the store and parking lot were full of last-minute shoppers such as myself and I found this to be comforting and nice. Grapes for good luck, cigarettes, Neosporin, a sandwich, whatever. People were getting that last item they needed to slide into the new decade either festively or seamlessly, and I was grateful we were all there. Ten years ago I lived in a town where it was scary and lonely and weird to go to the supermarket after dark. A town where the store would have been closed the evening of December 31st. Ten years ago I had no dog, didn’t paint, was clumsily writing the tenth draft of my first novel, and hadn’t met most of the wonderful friends I have today. Defining moments, interesting experiences, great adventures and close friendships still lay ahead and I didn’t even know it. I was sad over something and I felt old because society loves telling young women they are aging. A decade later I look the same – hydration is not overrated! – but I am much more authentically myself and feel young and hopeful. I’m curious and excited to see what this new decade has in store.

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Watercolor Deer

Deer. Watercolor on paper. 9×12. $75

Today a friend came over and we painted together. We talked about art and things we hope to achieve in the new year. I made this deer inspired by my friends’ trip to Ruidoso.

I also continued reaching out to people who have loved my books in the past to tell them about the possibility of pre-ordering the new book. This is turning out to be very special, catching up with readers one by one, seeing that they’re excited about the new book. It makes me happy and hopeful. It really makes me feel like this whole adventure in writing and publishing is worth it.

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A Fun Day

Today was a really fun day. I went to John and Ryan’s for Open Studio, and Ryan had a gift for everyone on the New York trip: a cozy fleece vest. I think I’ll wear it all winter. Then I went to my friends’ house for dinner. They have lots of animals and lots of my paintings – some of their animals, some of other things. We had a really nice dinner and even music: old school country, my favorite. I felt very relaxed. I’ve been taking a break these past few days, and it’s been really good for me.

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Suzanne’s Bathing Dress

Suzanne’s Bathing Dress. 16×20 inches, acrylic on wood. $300

Mornings are when I feel a little bold – once I’ve had my coffee. That’s when I get all kinds of ideas, and sometimes act on them. This morning I was editing my upcoming novel and pinning stuff on the Pinterest board I created for it when I came across a 1900-style bathing dress (with pantaloons, of course!) for sale. Of course I had to order it. I’ve some ideas for ways I can incorporate it into some of the pre-release events for my Very Important Readers. Speaking of, some of the people who have supported my writing from the very beginning have already ordered their pre-release copies of the book and it’s been making me very happy. If you haven’t done so already, you can find out about the pre-release copies on the book’s website!

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Have You Heard?

Let me tell you a secret…

There’s nothing I love better than a secret hidden in plain sight. So, let me publish a very special offer on this blog, secure in the knowledge that only very special people will have access to it because only very special people actually take the time to read my blog posts – and their loyalty needs to be rewarded!

I’m starting a very special book club! In fact, I will call its members Very Important Readers. These readers will get access to insider information – such as when my ebooks are free or my paperbacks are discounted. They will be invited to special events both at my gallery and in locations featured in my novels, but, most importantly, they will get a chance to acquire paperback copies of my upcoming novel, Storms of Malhado, months before its release and get invited to some exclusive pre-release events. If you’re excited about Storms of Malhado you probably already know that its official release date is September 8, 2020 – the anniversary of the Great Storm of 1900. And fitting as this release date might be for a book about hurricanes, it sure is a long time to wait! But what if I told you you can get your copy (signed and personalized) as early as April 21st? Why April 21st? Because it’s the beginning of Taurus season and Suzanne’s birthday – which we will obviously celebrate! Also, you’ll get your pre-release book at a discounted rate, because you are a Very Important Reader, but you have to act fast! I’m only selling 200 pre-release copies, and only until February 9th. My hope is that this is a good way to round up those readers who are truly dedicated, and that, in sharing the book with them early, I will inspire them to share this story with others too. Being a Very Important Reader is an honor not just because you’ll have special access to the book, but also because you’re invited to use your special access to become an advocate for the book, should you love it. And I hope you will.

If you want to order your pre-release copy and become a Very Important Reader, check out the book’s website. The link to order pre-release copies is at the top, right after the blurb from one of my favorite authors.

Also, if you wish to be involved in this project in a more meaningful way, by ordering ten or more copies, let me know. There are some very special insider perks that go with that kind of support!

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Time to Hibernate

All I feel like doing these days

I think our modern society has gotten it all wrong. How can the time right after the Winter Solstice be a time of such heavy socializing, when according to nature this should be a time to rest and recharge, a time for quiet withdrawal and introspection? I’ve learned from social media – so it must be true – that in Iceland people celebrate Christmas by giving each other books, then spend Christmas Eve reading. It sounds cozy and delightful. Perhaps next Christmas I will go to Iceland!

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A Christmas Miracle

Silence. 9×12 inches. Watercolor on paper. $100

I lost my voice again, just like I did after my solo show. In fact, I lost it three days ago, which hopefully means I’ll get it back in another 3 or so? This tends to last a week. And yes, I’ve hosted a party and shown art at an Open House without my voice. I gesture a lot, I occasionally scribble notes, but mostly I take a minimalist approach to communication – which is quite peaceful and refreshing. The only thing that’s truly awkward is when people assume I’m deaf. No, I don’t sign – but I am good at being rather argumentative in seven other languages. Each language comes with its own personality. All of mine always want to have the last word. And you know what? That’s quite a waste of energy. This is what I’ve learned lately, and what I hope I will be able to change from now on. This forced silence has made me think a lot about communication that is truly necessary and interactions that are simply not. My new resolution is to stick to what’s important. If I’ve written you a note on the back of an envelope and pretty much shoved it in your face these past few days, know that conversations with you are high on my list of priorities.

And since I’m thinking about my limited energy and how best to use it, I think this whole year – my first year in business – has been an exercise in learning what is worth doing and what not. My expectations might have been a bit too high for myself this first year, when I’ve so much still to get used to and figure out. Sometimes I get these moments of panic where I’m wondering how I dare live like this and why I think I can make this all work. I’m getting better at talking myself down from the ledge, though. I’m getting better at seeing that I’m accomplishing a lot, that I do have support, and that I’m learning and growing. Again, just like not every interaction is worth it, not every event or project I throw my heart and soul into is a fruitful one. But I’m learning which ones to invest in and which ones to let go.

Also, I was able to raise $100 for Star of Hope this Christmas with my house portraits, and that makes me very happy. They buy meals for the homeless, and $100 can feed about 40 people.

And in a few days, hopefully, after a little more silence and introspection, I will be able to speak out loud the things that are truly important, and hopefully zip the lip when tempted to engage in useless arguments. The things that are really important, and that can’t even be scribbled on the back of an envelope, by the way, are often canine words of endearment. One morning I’ll wake up and say “good morning, mama dog!” And that will be a good day.

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Frog

Today was the Open House where I got to show my art. It was definitely an interesting event, and I ended up having lots of fun. The house was big and quite impressive – Miss Vulpe would have loved it!

It was sunny outside, so I got to sit by the pool eating the delicious chicken sandwiches the caterer had brought. That’s when I noticed a frog struggling in the water. I was able to rescue it with a stick. It was completely still for a while, and I thought it was dead. Then it started breathing. When I finally checked on it later, it had gone away. I take that as a good sign.

Also, here are some pictures from the Open House, with my friend Katina Chimney, the realtor who invited me, and with the caterer.

Miss Vulpe would have definitely loved this house!