Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

why the paranormal

by Rain Trueax

It's St. Patrick's Day, about which I thought of writing, since it's important to a lot of people-- even those not Irish. I am though really not much for saints of any sort even if they drove all the snakes out of somewhere, which I personally doubt. Instead, I'm interested in why some supernatural myths appeal to us and others frighten us.

It is ironic to me, is it to you? If you pray to an angel, it's okay but if you consult a spirit guide, it's not. Opening a Bible randomly to give wisdom for the day is fine but Tarot cards not so much. A miracle is accepted if it came from some sources but not from others. The Virgin Mary on a piece of toast is inspirational but a ghost telling someone how to invest in the stock market, not okay. On it goes.

I think these kinds of questions began my interest in the supernatural world which can nicely dovetail with the scientific.  Don't believe me? Check out quantum physics sometime for what we know and don't know about what we consider the reality of life. You think you are solid, think again and it's not just about atoms or time. Life is full of what we think isn't actually what is.

When I wrote my first paranormal, I didn't decide early on whether it'd have a real supernatural being in it. I tiptoed into the water of the other side gingerly with Sky Daughter

More than a few years later came When Fates Conspire. If you are interested in its beginning (out of a 2013 dream), I wrote more about it [here]. It was the first novella of what became three paranormals, which eventually ended up in one book, Diablo Canyon. (I still find that one of the more confusing things I've done as a writer because when I try to list how many books I've written, those three are slightly different without the spice but the same story. Still, I made it that way so that I could open the novel's door on the sexual relationships of the couples). The stories fit together into one book because they involve humans (some with extra powers) coming to eventually fight monsters, of the Native American sort, who have gathered on a canyon south of Billings, Montana. I used a mix of science and magic for the challenges.

The next time I was tempted into the paranormal was driving through downtown Tucson and Barrio Viejo. It was there that I saw the possibility of young, professional couples with a difference-- the women being natural born witches, dedicated to protecting the street. The first of those came out in 2016 and the most recent this year. 

To date, my paranormals have met with very limited interest from most of my readers who love historicals. The question then being-- why continue to write a series that few will ever see or give a try? Well, there is a reason. They excite my interest of what might be. It's fun to create a gnome as a secondary character or have a grandmother, who is Navajo, and lives a very physical life with her sheep and weaving but has protected her land in ways that have come naturally to her. That's the nature of the paranormal, where each writer makes their own rules.

In a paranormal, if I want to have a heroine, who can look into someone's memories (The Shaman's Daughter) or is convinced if people just understood more of the supernatural world, they'd see good guys there (To Speak of Things Unseen) or to be a witch and not want the gifts until they suddenly mean life or death (A Price to be Paid), or my latest where the heroine has to open herself to her human side with more trust (Something Waits), those are the fun parts of writing paranormals. 

In my case, I also see there being a responsible side when I create these fantasy elements in ways that are positive and show how to deal with what is not. Take away the powers and these books are like all my others for their values and what the story has for important elements. 

What they don't have are many readers and finding that kind of reader, open to mystery of life, is what I am looking to do. Turning away from what has been popular writing is not necessarily lucrative in a physical sense, but I don't know any other way to write and stay true to the Muse. ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Painting, and Photograph compared with Chinese watercolor painting

Although I didn't start this painting thinking it would be like a Chinese watercolor, others at the West Hawaii Painters thought it was.  Like a Chinese painting the light area ties the painting together working with very linear brush strokes. The color is subdued with the linear elements giving the painting strength.  When determining if it was finished, I referred to examples in  the book, CHINESE WATERCOLORS by Joseff Heizlar. I was reminded of what I knew about the Chinese organization of distances.

February 22, 2018 at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau  National Park

Kekaha State Park, February 2018
 Like Chinese paintings which combine three points of view, this panoramic picture was made by  moving the camera  first by looking down in the foreground, then across the middle ground, and finally up and farther away in the background.
The Chinese watercolor,"Pines on a cliff'' pictured above  has similar compositional elements.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Something waits

With a new book out and my mind turning toward what will be the fifth in the Hemstreet Witches series, I thought I'd post the newest link here. I've written now six paranormals (one of them, Diablo Canyon, is alternatively available as three novellas)
Natural born witch, Torre Hemstreet feels lost as her third sister marries—the youngest no less. After years being the four musketeers, she’s on her own. More upsetting yet, the boy she fell in love with in high school, the boy who left without a word, is back. Like she needs more upset.

Marsh Logan has had more success with his music career than he ever expected when he left Tucson. He’s  winding up that career ten years later to return to the woman he could never forget—if she’ll have him when she learns his secret and if he survives whoever appears out to get him.

Beginning in Tucson, traveling north to the Navajo Nation, Marsh must find peace with himself, gain Torre’s forgiveness, and find his hidden enemy before he can destroy him. Marsh has never thought of himself as a warrior, had no idea he was in love with a witch, but he’s got a lot to learn-- fast.

Gnomes, shapeshifting, witches, and skinwalkers move through this 71,500 word paranormal romance, the fourth in the Hemstreet Witches series. All the books stand alone but the love stories and adventures begin with Denali, go onto Elke, to Devi and now it’s Torre’s turn—whether she’s ready or not. Spicy romance with speculative spirituality. All paranormal romances are exclusively at Amazon and available to borrow for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Projects in process

by Rain Trueax

On a personal level, about the only exciting news for this week is we saw the first of the wildflowers. This is not supposed to be a spectacular wildflower season due to not enough rain in the fall. We will take them in whatever small quantities they appear.

The project for the week, besides getting my fourth in the Hemstreet Witches series ready to be published, involved the arrival of the last pieces for the king-sized bed (frame, head and baseboard, mattress, etc.). This was good but also complicated. The house has three bedrooms but one has been a den for Ranch Boss's engineer consulting and publishing work when here (he is my editor and publisher). 

The original goal was turning the shop (outside the living room wall and under the same roof as the house) into a den/library. We would then have three bedrooms with two having queen beds. The king was for our master bedroom (not very master sized but it has a second, tiny bathroom off it). It would be a nice addition but still keep it a small home with maybe 1600sqft or so.

We just got the estimated cost for the addition. Way over our budget. Except, now what do we do with that extra queen bed? After much work for Ranch Boss in disassembling it, it's stacked in the second bedroom but that can't stay that way (although one of the cats likes its elevation for her sleeping). 

Our time here has been one project in progress after another (as a writer I am used to those). This one may take another year to get it to fruition.

One problem with spending more to do the addition than we had intended is that it'd not be a good investment, as either a rental or sale, unless we intend to make this our permanent home (that has not been ruled out eventually). The
United States has some areas (Oregon is one) where housing costs are skyrocketing. Tucson is not in that situation. With so many homes being built, more desert scraped of for developments every time we get down here, it keeps housing cheaper comparatively. There are some ritzy areas, of course; but even the more expensive sections in the Santa Cruz river valley (Tucson has several rivers and streams but most only flow after storms) are far less than they'd be in parts of California. 

Our home is in a nice little suburban feeling area where homes were built in the '70s on an acre or two of desert. It has a covenant protecting it to stay as it is. The reason we have so much wildlife is this isn't where they scraped off the desert, as they too often do today. These homes were set into their desert. Wildlife in Tucson has less and less of these places. 

Another reason for more wildlife here is we aren't far from the La CaƱada Wash, which comes out of the nearby mountains. Fortunately, washes are places that they don't allow development due to flash floods after storms. That leaves them also conduits for the critters that many desert lovers don't desire or respect-- sadly. 

A lot of those who come to Tucson only want the golf, swimming, shopping, restaurants, bicycling, hiking, and endless sunshine. Nothing wrong with those activities, but it leaves the original residents just in the way-- unless being viewed in a zoo...

The photos of the bed being put together are because of how a process like this amazes me as to what Ranch Boss knows how to do. If he didn't, we'd have to pay someone who did, as no way could I do it. These projects are never without glitches. The end result though is a very nice bed with room for us and four cats if they so desire :). Through the window, you can see where we store our vacation trailer when we are here.

View out the bedroom window. We do have a wall that is mandated around the pool (does not keep out rabbits or birds). This one is to fence our cats in and let the wildlife have the rest. There is a neighbor at the back of our acre that we can see their porch light at night. The little sculpture garden is new with herbs being added. I don't how they'll do when we are not here, but we are hopeful the drip system can keep them growing. Having an herb garden off the kitchen is one of the many sensual pleasure that this place provides.

Another new addition this year is a hummingbird and loose seed feeders on poles. In the past, we only put out quail blocks but this year we decided to add seed intended to bring in cardinals. It has along with many other songbirds we hadn't regularly seen. When we are gone, the summer has more lushness for them to get feed and some, of course, migrate north to avoid the extreme heat-- snowbirds ;).


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Painting a wedding at Waiailea Beach in Hapuna Park, Big Island Hawaii

At the West Hawaii Plein Air Painters event, 9:30 AM, Friday, February 3, Cindy had been painting for almost two hours. Cindy is not in the painting just on my left on the other side of the log from me.  I was also a little early and just starting this painting and Richard had just arrived and was set up to paint. Then the mother of the groom appeared. She wanted us to all move because her son was getting married there in half an hour.

Richard who facilitates the group said there are no reservations on the site and we would not move. 

To make the lady happier, I offered to paint the wedding and give the painting to her. She said she had photographers and never came to look at my painting luckily because it was in a very dull state after three hours. I have put in many hours on it since.

If she changes her mind and finds me, and demonstrates real appreciation, the wedding painting would still be a gift to her.

The 12 x 16 inch painting is over an acrylic painting on canvas that I covered with absorbent ground that accepts watercolor and mixed media. Then I sprayed it with gloss UVprotective Krylon before making changes with acrylics. With the Krylon protection I could remove the acrylic and preserve the under-painting.

The old recycled surface was intended as a warm up painting before the real effort of the day. When the wedding happened, I decided that the iron wood trees made an excellent symbolic frame for the ceremony of joining of two family trees of life.

 My most memorable paintings outdoors are when I am moved by what happens while I am painting. Most paintings include more than one period of time. This painting depicts the father walking the bride and then he was consoling the sister. The bride was painted twice.

The wedding painting is not finished yet. I am working on the expressiveness of the gestures and relationships between the members of the wedding party and how the eye is directed to the wedding.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

What's around us

by Rain Trueax

It is hard to believe it's already March, and, we've been in Tucson two months. Where did the time go? The lambing and calving are going as usual in Oregon-- except, there are others taking care of them and feeding out the hay. As cold as it's been, there has been a need for more hay. We've had some losses, but that' happens whether we are there or not. One of the men who has always looked after the place has been sick; so lucky we had two backups (one is our son).

a character from Something Waits
Down here, after I finished the rough draft for 'Something Waits,' it went off to editor, beta readers and then back to me for final corrections. I took out a subscription in Dreamscope to do work on its trailer. On the editing, I am going slow with it for assorted reasons. Having done about 1/3 of it using Speech Recognition, there are some odd mistakes, places where the computer doubled up on what I had just written. It's taking a lot to find all the places that speech recognition used a different word or spelling than I intended.

Wherever I am, I always take a few minutes when I first wake to remember any dreams from the night. Sometimes that helps with a book element. Sometimes, it's mundane and filled with daily frustrations or ordinary events. Dreams are important to me though and I pay attention to them. Once in a while, there will be a symbol that isn't part of anything I can connect to me and then I go to an online site i like for dream interpretation.

Whether in Oregon or Arizona, we are up before first light. The cats get fed (3 black and one orange). I read the papers, hope nothing bad happened, write, eat breakfast (which my husband cooks). With the essential repairs to the house out of the way, we are concentrating on figuring out what exactly we can get done, before we have to leave, on what had hoped to be an addition. That may not happen. 

We had an odd happening involving the house where we got a letter to someone else but at our address. By the time, Ranch Boss traced it down, it turned out the title company had goofed two owners back. So far, it looks like more of a nuisance than major problem *fingers crossed*. It involves a lot-line adjustment that let that owner build a
swimming pool. It appears the title company has responsibility to get it right. The assessors office said it's common in this area of older homes and irregular lots. It's not all settled yet but very good we were here to get that letter.

One thing about this house is it's more nature oriented than our Oregon home, which is more ranch oriented. In Oregon, there are fences around the immediate house that allow the sheep and cattle to be down around the house and still have flowers and keep the cats from roaming. Here, every window looks out at desert with the potential to also see the bobcats, coyotes, hawks, bunnies, quail, and a myriad of birds. Sometimes I see nothing, the next time a roadrunner might pass by. A fence again keeps the cats safe from what lurks beyond.

The book I am hoping to have out early next week has shamans and witches as the primary characters-- good and bad. I realized as I looked around the house that Casa Espiritu looks like the home of a shaman. Some of what is in it has long been owned by us. Some was acquired by us for this home. It has touches of various spiritual traditions without one dominating the other.

I write paranormals, even when they have not been particularly successful for me. If I was writing what has sold the best, it'd be historical romances. I like them but right now my heart is into the mysteries of life. What is really around us? Do we see what we expect to see or what is? Once upon a time, I thought I knew. Now I don't but I write books that let me explore  mystery. Maybe someday those books will be wanted by others. A writer though has to write what comes to them or it becomes craft. There is a place for craft, of course. :)