Saturday, October 31, 2015

Finding Your Inner Artist

For those who know how to paint but aren’t painting because they're too busy. Or for those who want to learn to paint and the most interesting group, those who think they know how to paint, but haven’t been brave enough to try. There’s also those who did try but didn’t like what they saw and gave up. Bad. Very naughty group. Don’t ever give up!! Perhaps someone laughed, or you yourself became overly critical. We can be so hard on ourselves. I know this from experience. Whether singing on a stage or writing poetry, we need to lighten up and try again. Rework, repaint, restore, rewrite, edit, renew, decorate!

This reminds me of a wobbly bench my husband made for my mother. He had never taken wood-shop but attempted to make a simple bench from used pine, adorning it with green paint and red tulips. Though the bench was weak and not a safe place to sit, mother loved it, proudly placing it outside her front door. I think it made a great place for potted plants. As time went on, it took on a country-style patina and looked even better before finally falling apart. It really was a cute bench and it was certainly artistic. 

How do you define art? Of course, there’s a basic way to hold a brush and some elementary fundamentals about mixing colors but let’s say you don't understand all of the hundreds of technical aspects but want to do it anyway. Who will stop you and who would dare say your completed creation is not art? (Do not listen to bratty older sisters and brothers because they were born to intentionally give you a hard time about everything.) Do you only like paintings that look like photographs or do you enjoy cubism, impressionism and pointillism?
By Miro

 How about getting in touch with your own version of shabby-chic such as the aforementioned bench? There are many, many variations on a theme and multiple canvases waiting for your perspective. Before I wrote this post, I saw a website dedicated to a painter who paints on the ends of logs. They were gorgeous and inspiring. Speaking of inspiring, one site I visit often is March House Books which highlights children’s book illustrators and painters. Have you seen those paintings on old saw blades? I have a relative (through marriage) who paints on silk. She's amazingly talented and becoming famous in her own country. Even I tried to paint desert landscapes onto rocks for paperweights and while I wouldn’t say I’m horrible, I prefer writing to painting.

The point is, you should invest in the paint and be the artist you were meant to be. Best of all there’s no such thing as “perfect.” Find time to create artwork part-time and share it online, so the world can see and benefit from your unique vision. We are waiting to see through your eyes. When can we see your work?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

You'd Take a Book to Surgery or Up K2

You love to read.

Somehow, you were able to sneak Dad’s flashlight under your covers so you could finish the story.

Do you remember? Did you get in trouble? (I did)

You took a bus to the library and checked out more books than you could carry. Still, somehow you managed. When you returned the books, you remembered to bring a bigger bag for the next load.

You loved the library’s summer reading program.

Your excruciatingly heavy backpack had 30% school related items and the rest were great books.

You volunteered at a library and miss the card catalogs.

Other kids took sunglasses and lotion to camp while you took books.

You love squirreling away valuable minutes checking the progress of a book you’re reading, one paragraph at a time, during your break. You’re on the clock but maybe one more more minute...heck you’ll finish it during lunch.

You’d rather buy paperbacks than candy or cigarettes.

You wouldn’t mind being stranded on an island, as long as there are boatloads of good books.

There’s always a novel in your purse or jacket. Several in your car and they used to be bungee-cord strapped to the back of your bike.

When you’re at a party, you pick up books instead of socialize.

You feel weird about lending books for various, personal reasons.

When friends make you mad, it’s not that big of a deal because books make you feel better.
Sometimes, you read more than one book at a time.

You don’t understand why people like magazines and periodicals when books are so much better.

Your Kindle or Nook is always charged.

Your Amazon account is out of control.

You admit to making notes in the margins and creating dog-eared corners but only in books you own.

Your apartment will be, or is, walking distance to the library or a bookstore.

There are special stuffed chairs that appear to be designed specifically for reading and nothing else.

No one should interrupt you while you’re reading. There ought to be a law.

You love to read. 
Am I right? 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Late Summer/Early Fall Book Reviews

Here are the books I’ve enjoyed reading these last few weeks. Independent authors wrote these incredibly creative stories and I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you’d order a copy too.

Imaginative Fantasy....

Land of Midnight Days(The Silver Flute Trilogy Book 1)
Author: Katrina Jack

I’m still trying to figure out why it took me all summer to get through this fascinating book. I love reading fantasy and Katrina Jack the author, did a superb job of describing the main characters. There’s a half brother called Zeb and a good group of friends called Helen, Kelly, Fred and Joe. There’s the evil landlord Ezra who is actually an ogre and a myriad of leviathans stomping their feet and causing trouble. There are many types of demons fighting in the streets and an epic battle with Diablo and other unsavory characters but my problem and I will admit this is my problem, was that I couldn’t keep track of the names. This clever writer not only made up her plot and story but she also invented alternative life forms and mental concepts such as brain communications using her imagination. Poor Jeremiah is a deaf flautist and as someone who played the flute for nine years and is married to a man losing his hearing, I felt a certain kindship as he searched for his mother. Maybe I couldn’t relate to a main character who couldn’t speak but I have to admit this urban fantasy is unique and incredibly creative. Jeremiah’s flute however, was nothing like my little silver tone special from Sears & Roebuck. His flute is magic and holds many untold secrets, evident from the filigreed scrolling and the lighted keys that glow brighter as the story weaves around Greycheck’s mansion and Bridge Street. The Gangers, the Grachlach, the Suldali, the Wannabes, the Dragash and street warriors (I honestly couldn’t keep track of these guys but maybe I have a touch of ADD) are marching around throwing rocks preparing for battle. How will it end? Fortunately, there’s the magic flute and more books in this trilogy by an amazingly talented author, ready to help you find out.

Sensitive Subject....

Samah Ronit
Author: Shelly Arkon

I’ve read some other books by this author and was surprised at the intensity and immense seriousness of this current subject. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this emotional story and recommend it highly. In fact, everyone should read this book. Every mother and daughter should read it because there’s a wonderful message and a twist reminding us, of a higher power.

Nostalgic Americana....

Starlight, Starbright...
Author: Barbara Elliot Carpenter

There’s something sweet and poetic about the way this author wove together artful words to create this wonderful story. This is not only a story about growing up in a small town called Redbud Grove but rather an unfolding of truth that will draw you in, making you reminisce about your own childhood. The town has misfits, widows, petty criminals, bad boys, racial bias, even murder. What at first sounds like innocent nostalgia, gradually unfolds into painful lessons of reality. Sissy Bannister tells you her own Saturday Evening Post style story by listening to others. She uses clever techniques such as eavesdropping at the diner, befriending the elderly, hovering at the top of the stairs or listening through the heating vent above her parent’s room. Her attic bedroom looks East onto the stars where she takes it all in and processes the meaning before deciding what to do and how to act. Best of all, she has many friends who help her along the way. But like any young girl wanting to test the waters of adulthood, she crosses into dangerous territory several times making you, the reader turn the pages in anticipation. Will she make it across the park, back to her brother and baby sister? Will her parents be mad?
One of my favorite lines in the entire book, although there are many, is near the end when she says, “I had a place here, a position!” That she did, and now remarkably, she has a place, in my heart. I loved this book! If you want to learn about life in the early fifties or if you enjoy sentimental movies with narrators such as A Christmas Story, La Bamba, Grease, Chocolat, Dead Poet’s Society, Forrest Gump, Driving Miss Daisy, you’ll love Starlight, Starbright.....

A Steampunk Fantasy....

Dragonfly Warrior(The Mechanica Wars, Book 1)
Author: Jay Noel

Once the main character, Prince Kanze Zenjiro utters, “I accept this Sacred Quest,” the reader travels on an amazing voyage traversing across continents into heavily guarded cities by airship, locomobile or submersible. Drawn deep into pirated oceans and dusty deserts you’ll be mesmerized as you follow Zen in his quest for The Sky Blade that will unite his nation with other nations against the threat of the Iberian Empire. Fortunately, he has purity, a belief in fate and a magical talisman called Ishen hanging around his neck. Best of all, he has made some friends along the way to help him with his journey.
You’ll love Noel’s clear and vivid descriptions and the colorful characters will remind you of Jules Verne without any of the old-fashioned writing or ruffled shirts. The fantasy plot describes every detail without being boring and culminates in a gigantic battle at the home of an evil arms dealer. The prince faces challenge after challenge and finds disappointment where he had hoped to find honor. Who will break the samurai code and what happens with the ‘Sacred Quest’? Put on your leather wrapped goggles and get set for an adventure that will leave you steaming ahead for more!
With big-screen style settings, fast-paced action and brilliant dialogue, the mere act of reading Dragonfly Warrior, will make you feel like you’re at the movies!

Click here to enter the Amazon site where you can order these amazing books.

Monday, October 5, 2015

50 Reasons Social Media Takes Time

1.       Think up a blog topic
2.       Unsubscribe from a catalog company(Can be difficult)
3.     Wade through promotional emails before deleting
4.   Clean out the cache on your Smartphone
5.   Manage cookies
6.  Clear browsing data
7.  Disable phishing
8. Wish everyone a Happy Birthday!
9. Read and respond to notifications
10. Change passwords if necessary
11. Delete spam
12. Select a default browser
13. Change the auto responses
14. Remember your passwords/username?
15. Answer private messages
16. Participate in dialogue with stranger who sent mysterious friend request
17. Think of witty comments
18. Share cute posts with your friends
19. Trolling for ‘Likes’for your author page
20. Pray for all the people you promised you’d pray for
21. Order something online
22. Get distracted by sensational posts
23. Create or join a group or two or three
24. Float around Pinterest until you’re ready to bake something
25. Visit other blogs, leave comments then return to see if they got answered
26. Print a recipe
27. Edit your profile picture
28. Change your cover photo
29. Add a clever sounding bio
30. Endorse a professional friend
31. Ask for a recommendation
32. Search for interesting groups to join
33. Write the blog for heaven's sake
34. Search for a copyright free picture
35. Respond to blog comments
36. Copy, paste & spellchecker technicalities. 
37. Figure out how to email a scan
38. Proofread and edit your post
39. Answer questions for an interview
40. Go on a blog hop
41. Write a review and post it.
42. Visit groups and mention or advertise something
43. Create an ad
44. YouTube videos
45. Retweet or send an email
46. Play a game-match three-invite your friends and die.
47. Stare at weird photos
48. Rate and recommend a book other than your own
49. Select inbox messages and read, save or trash
50. Add books to your shelf
Should I go on? There's more....
What's your favorite social media time-suck?