Category Archives: painting

My first Art Contest

Okay, here’s the painting that made the cut, that will be in the show. In this light, you can see some of the brush strokes that don’t show in artificial light (I took it outside to photograph), but this is the painting. (Didn’t win a prize, but it’s in the show! Not bad for my first try ever.)

You can’t see the one that didn’t make it, because I haven’t taken its picture yet. Sorry. It’s a painting of three little boys playing at the beach. With sucky hands and feet. I could stick it on an easel and try to fix the hands and feet, and the arm that’s … just wrong. But I don’t think I will. It will just have to be wrong. (sigh) I still like it anyway.

Um. I’ve signed the contract, so it’s official. I have definitely sold three books to Tor. There. That’s my news of the day.


As in, I need more of it! It’s running away and I can’t catch it!

Actually, I think it’s dribbling through those cracks in the sidewalk. Or something. I’m not sure how it gets away from me. Hmm. It may soak into the white space on the pages of books…

ANYWAY. Life has absolutely NOT slowed down. Made a mad dash trip to Fort Worth last week for a nephew’s Eagle Scout court of honor. It was great. Everybody in this picture, except the guy behind the guy in the red shirt, is a relative. And all the guys are Eagle Scouts.

Now see, to me, that is what constitutes an Alpha male. Eagle Scouts are quintessential alpha males. They are leaders and protectors, but they’re not arrogant SOBs, because most of the time, you can’t be a real SOB and get people to follow you. There’s a difference between expecting and inspiring people to do what they’re supposed to do and browbeating them into doing what you want or controlling their every move. Admittedly, I’ve met a few Eagle Scouts who tend to get a little controlling, but very, very few, especially given the number of Eagles I know. In order to become an Eagle Scout, not only do they have to earn the requisite number of merit badges (which isn’t an easy thing), but they have to plan and lead others in a service project, which can range from painting fire hydrants to demo work on old, dangerous church playgrounds. They’re not supposed to do the work themselves, but organize the troop and the community to do it. And believe me, teenaged boys aren’t going to put themselves out for an arrogant jerk. If a guy can get past his “jerk” phase as a teenager, usually he’s not going back to it later on.

Okay, there’s my segue on what I think makes an alpha male and why I tend to write about good guys. I know too many of them. :)

So. I got back from the trip north and labored mightily to get back into the writing. Monday, it was a real, true struggle. I just want to get my 25 pages on Thunder written for this month, and it seemed even my own brain was conspiring to keep me from it. I wrote a grand total of 3 pages. Tuesday was better. I wrote 7. (Yay!) Then I drove across the causeway for my RWA chapter meeting. (I DO love being in a town where I can actually attend monthly meetings.)

I have to go early, because if I don’t get across the causeway by 4:30 at the latest, I can’t really get across till around 6:30 because of rush hour traffic. I barely made it out in time. And it was raining. But I spent my time usefully. I picked up a pattern for my costume for next December’s Victorian Christmas festival. (Knowing how slow I am, yes, I have to begin now.) I bought some fabric remnants to use for “green” Christmas wrapping. I bought some books. And of course, when it was time to head to the meeting, it was still raining, and there was a wreck backing up traffic. (sigh) Anyway, it was a great meeting. Colleen Thompson gave a terrific talk on emotional impact from the very beginning. And then I went for a “nightcap” with some of the other members. I didn’t get back to my island before midnight. (It is a pretty long way to where we meet…) But, since it was still raining, and a lot harder than it had been, I got wet coming in the house, and stayed up a while to finish my book and dry off.

So I was up really late, which made me next to worthless during my Wednesday writing time. (See, there was a point that tied back to my main point, which has to do with time.) I was pretty much worthless all day Wednesday. The only thing I accomplished on my daily list of things to do (very low tech, kept in a little, fat notebook) was to write four pages. At least I did get four.

So today, I had a LOT to catch up on. Updating the website. (It is updated! With new pictures!) Making a dentist appointment. (I think I have a filling coming out.) Paying RWA chapter dues. (I’m a member of 6 chapters. (Ack!) Three land-based and three online.) Buying caffeine free Dr Pepper for the inlaws visit starting tomorrow. Joining the Art League. (I haven’t painted a thing in 5 months, and I miss it!) I even handwashed all the dishes, because the dishwasher still isn’t repaired. Oh, and I also got 6 pages written.

I had to persist and crank and make myself not look stuff up in research books, because even on the days I got more written, I caught myself procrastinating. I would realize that I wasn’t writing, I was looking at a map of the island that just happened to be sitting on the card table where I write first drafts. (We haven’t moved the desk down yet.) Or pick up a research book to look up a name and catch myself reading the parts of it that I hadn’t read and that didn’t really apply to my book. Today, I did a little better, but it was still tough, because I finished the scene I knew about, and didn’t exactly know where to go next, but I kept going anyway and made junk up. That’s what writing is, right? Making junk up.

So, I have 5 more pages to write tomorrow to earn my charm. I have to write 5 more than that (10 total) to make my goals for my “procrastination” loop, and I don’t know if I’ll make the ten. With company coming, I won’t really be able to write over the weekend, and I’m planning a trip to visit my forgetful parents next week… I don’t have time for a dayjob!

Okay, so all I can do is gut it up and keep working. Think “Buy” thoughts at all those editors out there for me, okay?

Three-Day Weekends

Here’s my other painting–it’s one of the pilings for the Bolivar Point ferry on Galveston Island. I liked how all the seagulls (and one pelican) made themselves at home. I want to paint pelicans all flying in a row like they do sometime…they are so cool. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog rambling.

We’re not going anywhere for Memorial Day. Obligations here in town, and all that. But it got me to thinking about three-day weekends.

Three-day weekends aren’t an exceptionally big deal at my house. Well, not for me, because I work at home and can set up my own schedule how I want it. But we have three-day weekends all summer long, because the fella works at a community college.

A whole bunch of community colleges across the state–and maybe nationwide, for all I know–go to a four-day week in the summer time. They still offer a full slate of summer school classes, but years ago–we’re talking fifteen to twenty years ago–they realized that an awful lot of their students skipped class on Friday. And Texas summers require some serious air conditioning, which requires some serious electricity, which costs some serious bucks. So they started shutting the campus down on Fridays and getting the 40-hour week into four 10-hour days.

The local college has gone to summer hours. Which means that we can have a 3-day weekend to go visit the grandboys Saturday week and not have to deal with Memorial Day traffic.

When we used to live on Lake Whitney (north of Waco), if we took the boat out on the lake on a holiday weekend, we didn’t go out until at least five o’clock. Partly because the sun is lower then and less likely to turn me and our pale children into lobsters. Partly because the central Texas wind tends to die down beginning at about 5:00. But mostly because all the nuts who came down from the big city (Dallas/Fort Worth, mostly) to party on the water had burnt themselves to a crisp by 5:00 p.m. and were coming off the water.

Of course, some summer holidays we went out on the lake at 8:00 a.m.–the wind usually hadn’t picked up yet that early, and the idiots weren’t out of bed yet. This is Texas, remember. When it’s 99 F (37.2 C) in the afternoon, it doesn’t get much cooler than 80 F (26.6 C) by 6 a.m., and the lakes are all quite, quite warm. I got spoiled. I still don’t like to go in the water if it’s less than 90 F (32 C) outside, and the water had better be warm!

Anyway, while we’re going nowhere and doing nothing–except maybe going to see Pirates of the Caribbean III, but not at the drive-in theater in town because of all the bugs I can’t get off the windshield, and I hate looking through bugs–I hope that y’all have a great holiday weekend–those of you who are having a holiday. What are you doing for the weekend? I need to clean all the books off the floor…

Paint Class – Done for Spring

The spring semester has ended, and with it, my art class. For now. I probably won’t sign up for the summer class until I know more about how my summer will go. Which means I may not get to go paint, if it fills up. More people sign up for the summer classes.

In a weird aside to the art class thing, I got a certificate for completing an “Intermediate Fencing” class. I didn’t think I signed up for fencing. I never went to a fencing class. I might have signed up for piano–my art teacher also teaches piano, and sometimes I sign up so she has enough people in her class to “make.” I always kinda wanted to go to fencing class–just to watch and see how it’s done, not because I thought I could do it.

Anyway, at my last painting class, I finished up a couple of pictures. I think they turned out pretty well, but we’ll see what you think. I’m only going to post one of them though. I’ll put the other one up later. Those of you who know the boy–does it look like him? If you can tell who it’s supposed to be, I’m going to assume it does. :) (A lot of the shading in the painting doesn’t show up in this photo, alas.)

The roses and the sage are blooming like crazy. They should continue to bloom all summer long, which is nice.
I may finally have enough flowers to hide the weeds in most of the front–but the burr clover in the back…I need to get busy before all those burrs stick to my socks…

Let’s see–I didn’t mention my Mother’s Day. All the kids called to say hello, and the grandboys did too. It’s a little alarming when you ask “How are you doing, sugar?” and the little voice says “I’m much better now.” Turns out the oldest had strep throat all last week. But he’s much better now. So, I talked on the phone, and I took a nap for Mother’s Day. I was very tired, because we drove down to Lubbock the evening before to watch the college baseball team in the regional playoffs, and we didn’t get home again until after 1 a.m.

That late, it’s safer to drive up through the canyon–you have to go around the Paloduro Canyon to get from here to there and back again–and around sundown, there’s a lot of wildlife on the road. It’s pretty country driving through the bottom end of the canyon–I have never seen it so green. Wildflowers and green, green grass everywhere. We’ve had a very wet winter and spring this year–for which we are grateful, after last year’s drought and fires. The average rainfall in the Texas Panhandle through this time of year is just over 5 inches. We’ve had 15 inches of rain so far this year (not counting the nice rain we got yesterday morning), so no wonder everything is so green. We’re 10 inches ahead. Anyway, we did see a deer driving back home again, but only one. I’ve been down that way in the mornings and seen turkeys, deer, coyotes, road runners and maybe wild pigs (Those pigs are sneaky) out on the road.

Oh. And the Bulldogs lost, but they were playing against one of the top-ranked pitchers in the NJCAA–a guy who usually “run rules” the other team. (“Run rule” is when they call the game after the 7th inning if one team is ahead by 10 points or more.) And the score was only 6-1. They were actually proud of holding them that close. I think they won their second game. But lost the 3rd. So the guys got to go home. And given that some of those students live in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia… You know, it was just a bit odd to hear “chatter” in those Aussie accents…

White Easter??

Yes, we are having a white Easter. Or we will if the snow doesn’t melt off any more. This is Texas. It’s not supposed to snow after the iris bloom. (I’ve been afraid to look at them since it got so cold today.) But it’s out there snowing.

Yesterday, we had Art Club. That’s why I had to hike over to the Methodist church. Except I didn’t hike, because I had a big casserole dish hot out of the oven to carry over. So I loaded up my car and drove the half block to the church, then I drove back and parked in my drive, and walked back to the church. Across the street, past the parsonage to the alley just beyond it, down the alley maybe 5 yards/meters and in the back door of the church. That’s how far it is. Yes, I’m a wuss. But I had to carry a big sack full of pans of rolls (Sister Shubert rolls are Teh Best!) too.

Then at the end, it had started to drizzle and was very cold, and I only had on my suit jacket, which had no buttons, and I had a lot of stuff to carry back home, so I walked home, clutching my jacket closed to stay warm, and got my vehicle, drove back, double-parked in the alley to load up, and drove back home again. Yeah, I know. I’m bad.

As the youngest of the hostesses, I appointed myself head server, running plates into the lunching ladies while Fredie Jo and Ruth and Frances served them up. (Rhenda couldn’t be there.) (And I ain’t exactly a spring chicken…) Then we ate lunch, and an artist from the little town around our county lake gave a talk about art. (Hey, it’s the Art Club.) She brought three of her Western realistic paintings and talked about composition and color and perspective and stuff. I enjoyed it a lot, because composition is something I struggle with. Of course, I prefer a more impressionistic style (I am just not a big detail person.) and I tend to do more still lifes and landscapes, but maybe there’s a story in the paintings… She said she likes for all her paintings to tell stories. And she paints horses and Indians and cowboys without any kind of reference or model!!! Needless to say, I felt totally intimidated. (sigh) These are my horse pictures–the race picture is supposed to look blurry.

Then I came home and wrote. I was really excited about getting so much writing done Thursday, and I was excited about where the story was, and about getting that much closer to the ending, so I got 5 pages written Friday. Which made me happy. Because that made 33.5 pages on New Blood for the week, and my goal was 30 pages. I’m almost through the trial. Just need to have them dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. Then we’ll be at the kidnapping.

The son is home for Easter. He wants to pick up his power tools and some other things to take back to Baylor. We went in to town this morning because he announced that he really needed some shorts (and of course wanted Mom and Dad to spring for them), and we were thinking we could get there and back before the snow got bad. (Which we did, since it isn’t snowing now at all.) But it snowed on us while we were in Amarillo–just on the side of town where the mall is.

And Penney’s was having a sale, so I bought 2 pairs of pants–they were on sale, and then if you used a Penney’s card, they’d give you more off. So I bought a T-shirt and a skirt the fella found and thought would look good on me, too. I’m getting rid of all my fat pants. I still had a few pairs I’ve been wearing, but I haven’t lost enough to go down another size, so I’m getting rid of the big ones anyway. But I needed a couple more pairs of the right size. Then we went to one of the Japanese “cook it in front of you” restaurants. I discovered that I like Monkey Balls. Still don’t like most “regular” sushi, but I liked the Monkey Balls…

And now we’re home again, and since the boy is off hanging with his friends, I’d like to pull together a little synopsis for Old Spirits. Wish me luck. :)


I have signed into Blogger at least three times this week, intending to blog, and never got anything written. I did manage to blog this week, but this was three other times I came here to blog again, and never did.

I even had some things to write about. Like, how when I walked down to the bank this week, the librarian saw me heading back (the library is half a block down the street from the bank), and came out and hollered at me to come sign something. I had to sign something to send in to the State Library people. Or maybe the federal Library people. I don’t know. I did read it, but I don’t remember who it was for. I’d forgotten that she called me last week or so and asked whether I was the president of the Library Advisory Board.

I knew I was on the board, but had no clue whether I was the president or not. I’ve been on it for over a year, and we’ve met once. And when Jerri Ann said she thought I was the new president, I said, fine, I’ll be the president. Only now she tells me we need to meet and come up with a policy for the kids’ computer use at the library once school is let out. Sigh. And one of our board members lives way out of town past a couple of slidy hills and some low-water crossings and can’t get to town if it’s raining, so of course it’s been storming all week…

This is like when I agreed to be the vice president for the Friends of the Library, because I wouldn’t have to do very much. Then we discovered that we had to completely split the Friends from the Advisory Board, and the president of FoL went over to be an Advisor, and I got to be the President of FoL–and that was when the treasurer discovered that we really needed to fill out the official IRS paperwork to become an official non-profit organization (even though we barely fundraise $500 per year), AND we needed to re-do our bylaws to make them fit with the IRS papers. Sigh. This always happens to me.

I did remember to go to community choir practice this week. It was sounding pretty good when the second soprano showed up so us altos weren’t drowning out the only soprano who was there for most of rehearsal. Oh well. Performance is Palm Sunday. AKA this coming Sunday. Hopefully, whatever’s making the gunk in my throat will die and I can sing all those Fs without getting rattly. For some reason, an F (the low one–I haven’t been able to hit a high F in 25 years)(I can only hit a high E when the sun is shining, all allergens are dead and the birds are singing sweetly in the trees. E-flat is generally possible.) shakes loose all the gunk in my throat, when there is gunk, and makes me cough. It’s not where the voice breaks–that’s somewhere around an A or B–it’s just the gunk vibration note. (And I’m sure y’all really wanted to know all that…)

The daughter made an A in her probability class for her statistics PhD. The younger son made a 99 on his engineering test. (This after majoring in theater performance and theater design for 3 semesters before switching to engineering.) We haven’t heard from the older son in a while. Hmm. So, life is mostly good.

Oh, and today, we went to town and bought half-price ready made frames for a couple of paintings, and put them up in the son’s room. They look pretty good, if I say so myself. It all started when we moved out the old broken-down dresser and moved in this antique chest/armoire/desk thing (it has drawers, a door where you can hang up things, and a pull-down writing area). Then I brought in one single painting (see above) to see how it looked over the armoire/desk–and the fella said to bring out all the paintings-ready-to-hang, and we found two more that looked good. We put the “Breakfast in Tuscany” painting over the chest/desk and the one above across the room, and a big “boys at the beach” painting above the bed, but to one side, not over the headboard. Yeah, we started something.


Yes, I am one of those people who, if you look up procrastination in the dictionary, will be pictured there. I am the queen–nay, the Empress of Procrastination! At least when it comes to blogging on my own blog.

Okay, I have excuses. Like, I left town. And then when I came back the computer was still in the shop. For the rest of the whole week. But I could have blogged. I could have used to backup computer, even if it doesn’t have any bookmarks to find places, and I’m not sure I even have the e-mail set up. I could have done it. But I procrastinated. I read. I read and read and read.

I also wrote. I learned a long time ago that if I want to get all the way to the end of a book, I need to Write First. So I came into my office and wrote every morning last week. Some days I only got 2 pages done, but I got them done. I need to remember the No excuses mantra. I want to finish the book this month. I’m getting close to the end. And unexpected things are still happening, so it’s all good. But I need to get more than 6 pages in 3 hours.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been, and that’s where I’m at. Oh, I’m all excited. C.E. Murphy (of Urban Shaman fame) got an advanced reader copy of Eternal Rose and she wrote me this wonderfully incoherent e-mail all about how much she loved it. If you’ve ever met Catie, you will understand how wonderfully incoherent she can get about all sorts of things. So it was nice that my book was one of them. I’m all happy.

Off to sleep now. After writing time in the a.m., will go let the dermatologist look at my skin cancers tomorrow (WEAR SUNSCREEN!!!) and see how they’re doing with the cream treatment. Then I will go paint. I drew off a picture of one of the grandboys I love, so I’m going to give it a whirl. If I can successfully paint three portraits that don’t suck, I may donate one to Brenda Novak’s diabetes auction fundraiser next year. This is number two. Wish me luck.

Dadgum! It’s COLD!!!

I was going to do a blog about Maureen Dowd and her cluelessness, but I’ve never been able to read Dowd anyway (Oh, how I miss Molly Ivins! She’s the only one who really ever got Texas politics) and we all know she needs a great big giant clue, so forget about her. I just want to get WARM.

We finally got the snow/ice melted off our back patio, and it decides to snow again. And get really, really cold. It’s gotten warm enough to melt some of it off, especially off the streets, so I haven’t had to do the 4-wheel drive thing, but it only stays that warm till for about 15 minutes, then gets cold again. Ugh. This time last year, my tulips were coming up. It snowed all morning yesterday, and most of the morning today. Good writing weather.

I actually got 7 pages written today, the most all week, but still not as many as I wanted. I may reach Paris soon. In fact, I’m hoping to get everyone there tomorrow. Cross your fingers.

I should have re-potted my plants this afternoon–I bought the potting soil so I could do it–but didn’t get there. I went to the college basketball games, but missed the end of the women’s game and the beginning of the men’s because I went to community choir. All ladies tonight, but at least there was more than me and the director this time. (I forgot completely last week…) It was fun to sing, but I rusted the voice out doing it and didn’t cheer at the ball game at all. I clapped really loud, tho.

Just agreed to write an article for the Published Authors RWA chapter website. Got to do that by Monday. Now, if I can get any revisions for Eternal Rose from my editor, I may have my ducks in a row.

Um–another painting. I think I finished this one last August or September. I painted it from this photo I took.

Let’s see…I went on a reading binge earlier this week. I read Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs, Let There Be Suspects by Emilie Richards (a cute mystery with a minister’s wife heroine), Catching Stanley by Deirdre Martin (hockey playing hero, neurotically shy dog trainer heroine), Howling Moon by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, (hero’s a werewolf, heroine’s a shapshifting jaguar with a serial killer jaguar after her), and Maelstrom by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon (living planet that’s evolving the people and beings living on it). Hmm. No wonder I’m not getting much written this week. Reading too much…

Nothing new

Nothing much has happened since yesterday, except I did finally get boxes and stuff to mail out the goodies to the winners of the contest I held for my newsletter subscribers. They’re all ready to mail and sitting stacked in the den.

Didn’t call my sister for her birthday yesterday… (Happy Birthday Cathy!!) Didn’t repot my plants which are all sitting with the new pots on the kitchen counters. I really ought to do that tomorrow. Never did get tickets to the Sousa concert the Amarillo Symphony is having. I guess I’m not as productive as I thought I was…except I did get lots of stuff mailed.

So now, I’m going to post another one of the paintings I finally took pictures of. I finished this one around Thanksgiving…

Staying busy

I finished a new painting last night. I carried it out onto the patio (which is finally almost melted off, after a month of snow & ice back there) to photograph it –along with the others I hadn’t got round to taking pictures of. I’m really proud of how it turned out… Even if I did trace it with an opaque projector–it doesn’t look like paint-by-numbers. Now I have to find photos of the other kids to paint…

Been mailing a lot of stuff lately, clearing the decks to get back to finishing a manuscript. I sent the revised synopsis for the Victorian steampunk fantasy I’m working on to my agent on Monday. Yesterday, I mailed off a couple of contest entries. Today, I finished revisions on a dark-ish paranormal and will be getting that in the mail this afternoon. Hopefully the editor will get back to me soon on any revisions wanted for The Eternal Rose. Until then, I’ll be getting back to finishing the Victorian, New Blood.

Oh, I finished Kristi Gold’s new book, Fall From Grace, last night–read it all in one huge gulp. Fabulous book–one I think she was born to write, and I know she’s been wanting to write it for a long time. Wonderful, heartwarming story.

Let’s see, what else do I have to tell you? The lump on my wrist is what was once known as a “Bible cyst” (aka a ganglion cyst) because once upon a time, to treat it, you’d lay your arm/wrist out on a table and get somebody to thump it hard with a big Bible and pop it. As long as it doesn’t get to really hurting bad, I guess I’ll just leave it be.