Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome as it turns an article into a discussion, but must be in English, have no links that were not pre-approved, not include profanity, or threats. The problem with the links is we can't take the time go there and see if they are legitimate and relate to the topic.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

It's about process

by Rain Trueax

For me, my life and writing tend to be about process more than conclusion. The process begins often with no clue where it's heading. Recently, I had a good example of that in my life, where something evolved with no idea where it'd end (writing about that next Saturday). I also recently saw it with my writing of the most recent book, where it took getting to Tucson to see its end (after months of not having any idea what was missing).

To be honest, I am not much of a planner and more of a pantser whether it's taking a vacation or writing a book. There are drawbacks to living or writing that way. You can't take some vacations without long distance planning. I am told that having a firm outline makes writing go faster, but in all cases, I keep thinking-- but what would I miss along the way? Well, whatever the case, it is what it is; and in my 70s, it isn't likely to change-- although since I am a 'let's see what happens' kind of person, can't say that for sure either.

As an example in writing: Most of my life, I wrote books without a place for them to go. I had no plan for whether i'd ever market them. For the most part, I didn't have anyone read them. One exception was working with a professional, consulting writer for a year on one book-- expensive but so worthwhile for what I learned. Then in the '90s, I queried and then sent off a couple of the books to a corporate publishing house. Although I got them read, the things they wanted changed went against what I wanted my characters to be. I didn't fit the zeitgeist of the times and wasn't willing to change my ideas to get published.

With the exception of the wagon train story (first written in my 20s), the first books were contemporary romances. Something would interest me that I wanted to explore, and it would find its way into a book. Sometimes I had books connected through secondary characters where one might intrigue me enough to want to write their romance next. To put it simply, these books unfolded. Once in a while, music played a role. Phantom of the Opera soundtrack helped me get through one of them and nail a missing element. Mostly, when I use music, it's a soundtrack-- without words. Phantom was an exception.

Eventually, process changed direction when I learned about indie publishing. I saw an opportunity to bring these books out and in the form I wanted. I began that process in 2011. There was a lot of work ahead. 

The basics of people and complications of relationships hadn't changes so much; but in the twenty years since most had been written, communications had changed our world. Remember doing research before the internet. If you are old enough you do and it involved library card catalogs with lots of note taking. And to communicate, with someone, when not from home there were payphones. You had to find one and then hope the phone book hadn't been ripped off-- most often they had been. Today, we are so spoiled with information at a click or swipe. It was not that way in the '90s. I wanted these books to be contemporary, in the 21st Century. Changes had to be made.

Then, there was the need for a timeline. Since some of these characters knew each other, what year must each story have happened. This is where having earlier been a planner and out-liner would have saved me a lot of time. 

My eight contemporary romances were the first books I brought out in 2012, and frankly, of course, with no plan for how to get them seen. I went with the flow, no advertising, and the end result is most have rankings that put them in Amazon's black hole. They are my backlist, books I am proud of having written, and I haven't given up on them-- even if Amazon might.

Only two of the contemporaries were set in states other than Oregon. None of these early books were paranormals. Contemporary paranormals came years later. These books, the ones I call Romances with an Edge, all have elements of danger, often a villain (they are such fun to write).

From Here to There-- Montana, where the story begins in Boston with a bride  realizing she has made a terrible mistake. On the way to the reception, she tells the groom that he's just not the man for her. She has realized too late that she wants a cowboy and an annulment. As a man, who has pulled himself up from his bootstraps, not that he wore boots as a rich financier, he is understandably shocked as he thought he had a trophy wife and now he's being made a fool. She heads for her uncle's Montana ranch, not knowing her uncle has invited her jilted groom to come and prove her wrong. This book has two romances, one revealed in the journal her deceased aunt had left her. It was fun to write since a lot of the ranch life i have lived found its way into the book.

Desert Inferno-- Southern Arizona, she's a rancher's daughter, a successful
landscape painter, who finds a dead man on the desert. The border patrolman, who comes to check it out, is tired after an all-night stakeout. The last thing he wants is a beautiful woman, especially, not one who has decided she has just seen the one man she wants for her own. Having experienced a difficult childhood, considering himself an ugly man, he's avoided anything but casual relationships that didn't involve the heart. She has to convince him to risk his, while they both deal with a dangerous enemy. This one has a lot of my beloved desert as well as a smuggling campaign that is bringing in prehistoric art objects from Mexico.

The next six books mostly happen in Oregon. They are urban for their settings. The guys are a principal, truck driver, cop, architect/builder, mechanic, and an investigator. The heroines are a decorator, psychologist, lawyer, stay at home mom, teacher of art and sculptor, and photojournalist.

Moon Dust-- when a man has been abused as a child, how does it impact him as an adult? What does it do to his marriage if he's tried to bury the secret instead of dealing with the emotional cost? He's a high school principal, who is dealing with his wife's desire for a divorce as he also confronts a militia leader who doesn't appreciate the principal's ideas about education.

Second Chance-- He was a troubled youth  (Moon Dust), and it's years later where he's tried to make his life into something that matters by beginning a wildlife rehab center, keeping it going by a truck driving job. He has had a crush on a woman he could never have. She is divorced, arguing with her ex-husband over how their daughter should be raised. She doesn't want a younger lover, especially someone who takes on the world's problems as his to solve.

Evening Star-- She has suffered losses and now fears caring too much. She thought she had her life protected with a successful career, friends, and a temperamental cat. Challenges to the heart can't always be avoided. The new police officer in Portland has a different idea, but he has his own problems. This is the only book where I wrote it all from her point of view and that of the villain. The reader sees the hero only through eyes other than his own.

Hidden Pearl-- His busy life is disrupted when his Navajo mother lets him know his sister is missing. It turns out her last contacts were with a cult, painting itself as a saving religion. A female photo journalist has come to Portland to do a photo series on powerful young men. The cult leader is one, this Portland architect builder is the other. Investigating the cult, where danger awaits, architect and photojournalist are brought together; but if there is to be any sort of happily ever after, they have to get past those who don't mind murdering to get what they want. The secondary characters interested me in the writing, especially the heroine's buddy.

Her Dark Angel-- Her husband was murdered by a cult leader (Hidden Pearl) and she is left to raise her two daughters and deal with an invasive mother. She heads for Reno to help her uncle and meets the kind of guy her mother would have warned her about if she'd had any idea he'd appeal to her. It's a bit of a beauty and the beast story as she's the perfect lady, while he's been anything but the gentleman she should want. Worse, he's been forced into undercover work that is potentially deadly to him or anyone around him.

Bannister's Way-- Earlier, he was in Desert Inferno; now, he's going undercover to solve a murder in a small liberal arts college. His ex-wife teaches life drawing and creates sculptures for commissions, and he hopes to get her back. He didn't plan that undercover would mean no cover. The murderer in this book is one of the teachers in the school, leading to a cat and mouse game. It also involves art forgeries. There were several old ladies to help the hero and heroine with one thing or another-- not to mention a home on the Tualatin River that I'd much love to own :).

$$$$

What I have to figure out is how to get these books seen by readers who would enjoy my kinds of stories. I owe doing what i can to the characters and the stories. Writing brief advertising copy, as I did above, is part of that process. 

Then, there is allocating my time. I learned something that was beneficial to me last week with the giveaway. It affirmed what I felt about the blog in terms of writing about writing here. If you are a pantser, you learn as you go and are willing to change directions. 

Lucky for me I am a glass is half full kind of gal. I am practical and face facts. I started into the publishing determined the books would pay for whatever I put out. Advertising though is important-- targeted even better. Books have to be seen if they are to be sold. I am going to dip my toe into that water (actually Ranch Boss is as he manages and gets the last word on the editing, publishing and marketing-- we're a partnership not only with our ranch but these books. I write the copy and he will edit it and sometimes frustrate me with what he thinks should be said, but we've survived almost 54 years of marriage and we are surviving this process lol). Writers can put a lot of money into advertising that still doesn't help the books be seen by the right potential reader. So we'll go slow with it. 

All my life, I've been a creative person with painting, sculpture, photography, and most of all writing. You can create your entire life and never have to turn it commercial. It's called a hobby. Hobbies are valuable in a lot of ways, but if you want to consider it a business, want to deduct your expenses, then the needs change. The IRS lets people deduct business expenses, not expenses related to hobbies. Paying taxes on what you have earned is a good reminder to be responsible with those deductions. Since 2012, i have considered my writing to be a business, where for years it was a hobby. That means I have to put my effort into places where it is likely to be successful. 

One thing though-- I still only write what comes to me, not what I am told would sell better. Can't let the Muse down. It is after all what it's all about.

I haven't been regular in doing what some call vlogs, but did one on the topic of being an indie writer and making choices. It's on YouTube-- Video 15.





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

When is a painting finished?

A painting is never complete. I never set aside a painting  until I can look at it for a long time without it telling me it needs changes.  I never stop painting until it resonates emotionally with the mood of the beholder. Also for story illustrative paintings, they are never satisfying me until they communicate to others.

A neighbor brought back a painting I had originally finished eleven years ago and I had given the neighbors as a wedding gift about ten years ago.  It had darkened hills as though a rain storm was coming. The image of it on their wedding announcement had lighter hills. Apparently I had darkened them to make the yellows stand out  as happy perky survivors. After all this time I could see my last minute changes gave the painting an overall feeling of foreboding.

This is how the painting looks after taking a few minutes to paint over the the mountains and green up the valley. Now the neighbor says the painting is after the rain instead of before the rain.
 
 
The original of the Greenwell beach cabin that I thought was finished in Hawaii seemed incomplete when I looked at it hanging at home.
 
With white lines suggesting back lighting, I popped out the plumeria tree, added definition to child gate on porch,  added some fallen flowers.
The white on the plumeria's branches did not help so I removed most of the white lining and now it is like the original with very small changes.
 
 
 
Of all the on location paintings I did in Hawaii in February the wedding painting was by far the most painted over and over. I had no fear of overworking it. At first I had an uneasy feeling about the wedding but as time went by my feeling was for weddings in general so the painting took on the dreamy atmosphere of hope.

When the  wedding painting was almost complete, but I was not sure, I shared it with the Tuesday Critic Group at the Old World Delhi  in Corvallis.
 I like to hear critics of my new story paintings to make sure people see my story. I received good feed back. The log and sand was ambiguous. The painting had a hole in back of the log - a difficult problem for painters.  To my fellow artists the log looks like ground.  So at home I made the sand lighter to define where the log ended.
 
Before critic
After


 
 Another painting hanging up on trial is of fan coral. I thought it was finished in January, but it is still in question hanging up in our kitchen/ dining area. Living with it for awhile, I may decide but another way to decide is to put it in a closet for a few months until I can look with a fresh critical eye.
 
 This is how the painting looks now.



















This painting was started years ago of an entirely different subject.  North Albany Autumn has become a poetic interpretation of Belize fan coral and fish.
 
My belief is never be afraid to overwork a painting. Working on an exercise is nonsense and an easy excuse for abandoning the work that could transform itself many times.  Paintings are not suppose to be perfect. Paintings do not need to be finished; they are part of an ongoing learning experience.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

A giveaway

by Rain Trueax
Update: Brig, please send me the addy where you want to receive the books at rainnnn7@hotmail.com. I could throw in one of mine if you want (let me know in the email). Do you prefer contemporary or historical? *s*

Since I began this blog before I became an indie writer (means publishing my own books), I have never had any idea how many of you read romances-- or for that matter, ever read one. One reader wrote, some time back, that she used to read them but no longer. A few, I know still do but not how many. Maybe you've never read one but have been curious what they are about. Maybe you read them but prefer no one knows. Secretive romance readers are not unusual. It is the Cinderella of the publishing business and at the same time, it's the cash cow. Some resent this being a reality and hence put down romances.

It's funny about the ideas promoted regarding romance readers-- that they are lonely, unhappily married, living a dream life and that the romances are unhealthy for them. The truth is, in sociological studies, the ones reading romances are mostly happy in their relationships. Many are in high stress careers where the romances provide the same release that another might find from a Tom Clancy adventure. Romances are not just about the hero and heroine but families and friends. They always end with a feel good, it's part of the requirement (love stories not so much).




Through the years, I've had times where I have read a LOT of romances. My favorites are those with action in them. I found the first ones with sex to be-- like, wow they can really say that. Today, yes, I laugh at some of the euphemisms that were sometimes used (come on, you can enjoy the basic story and still think some of it is funny). 

To be honest, if a sex scene goes on beyond a few paragraphs, I skim ahead-- not out of prudity but out of boredom. What I wanted, still want in romances, is the action, the relationships that some fight so hard to have. I though also, like sex for a full relationship, how this couple really come together. Sure, it's idyllic. Better that, then some of the books considered literary, where nothing ever works right. Who wants that for a goal? Not me. Life provides plenty of that. Romances are uplifting as people overcome obstacles. They are often set in worlds most of us don't experience-- sometimes would not want.

Because I began writing books before the romance genre got more 'detailed,' I wondered how mine would fit-- the jury is still out on that one. Romance writing has evolved independent of love stories.  Love stories have long been available, but they do not guarantee a happy ending (i.e. Wuthering Heights or Gone with the Wind). 

Romances where the couples actually did 'it' in the book, only began in the 70s. They were called bodice rippers for obvious reasons. Where there had always been erotica out there, it wasn't mainstream or in the average bookstores. That changed and women (some men too) discovered the fun of sexy stories, and it did help some marriages with the heat the books generated. Remember, there was a time where sex in a relationship was considered kind of dirty-- even in a committed relationship. Men could lust but women not so much. Romances gave women permission to feel desire, to be the aggressor, and open to new things.

By the '90s, romance novels had changed their emphasis. Having a heroine raped multiple times had lost its appeal (not sure why it ever had it). The difference between porn, erotica and a romance was explored. Authors changed their emphasis and style of writing as they tried to provide what readers wanted. Styles changed, the basic plots, not so much, and a lot of those early themes are still popular today.

The ten books you see in the photo are among the many that I purchased during the '90s, when I was most interested in reading the genre and studying writers. I was curious about how they developed their styles and would follow writers I liked through their backlists. During those years, I haunted used bookstores. It wasn't easy to find all a writer had written, since bookstores, even the used ones, only wanted the most recently published. Today, Amazon makes this far easier, and I've picked up copies of books that are no longer even in libraries through small mail-order bookstores. 

In the years, I was buying a lot, some I'd keep and some give away. Once I was in Massachusetts with my husband on a business trip (we'd driven out). i was staying in a motel where the cleaning lady and I would chat. I explored the local used bookstores, and would give her the books I'd finished, which she would pass onto her daughter. That's how books often are-- shared.

Eventually, at home, I had a bookcase stuffed full, when I decided I needed its space for something else (research which I also had a ton of). I packed the books in boxes and forgot about them. This year, I decided to bring some of the boxes to Arizona and see what I could do about freeing the books from the boxes.

The books had been put into boxes randomly, thus was sorting required. Some readers only enjoy English historical romances and don't enjoy American historical romances. Some I remembered reading but many I had to depend on the blurbs. It turned out I had two boxes of English types and two of American. I found very few contemporary, but there were 5 boxes left in Oregon; so there might be more in them. I have always enjoyed reading a mix of genres.

So, the plan is: A GIVEAWAY (the first of what I hope will be more depending on how it works out). From Saturday, March 24th, until Tuesday, the 27th, if you are interested in receiving the books you see above, COMMENT here, which could be as simply as-- yes. If you comment and say you don't want the books, that's okay too. You don't have to sign up for anything. You don't have to have ever commented. You don't have to say you like romances. Maybe this is a chance for you to find out. After three days, we'll draw a name (hopefully there will be at least one) and morning of the 28th (when Diane posts her new blog), at the top of this post, I'll post the winner, who will have to send their snail mail to my email (which I'll also post on Wednesday). 

For me, this is a way to share books that influenced my own writing-- might inspire yours; or if you have no interest in writing, could be fun reads-- or even books to sell or give away. The idea is to get these books freed from their boxes. 

Although not erotic, the books are open door on intimate relationships. Many of the authors are still writing books. A few have gotten their backlists from the corporate publishers and are now indie writers, with their books at lower prices available for eReaders. For some, old paperbacks are the only place the stories can be found. 

I had my husband, he of the sensitive nose, give them the sniff test and they are not musty smelling.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Watercolor painting without glass without visible frame

 

A fresh coat of Golden absorbent ground on canvas boards. When it dries it is matt.



 
When adding acrylic medium to watercolor paint, the medium makes the paint dry hard so keeping the moist watercolors seperate is useful. Left over paint can be kept in a bag with a wet sponge. When painting outside the paint palette will go into an airtight box.

"From my Studio Window" is on a 14x 11 inch canvas board covered with
 Golden brand absorbent ground for watercolors.
 This is my first watercolor in which I mixed  my watercolor with diluted Liquitex gloss medium,
  1 part medium to 2 parts water.  Most of the paint was stable when brushing on the the medium to make the colors permanent, but  some darks smeared.. I suspect I didn't get as much medium in the dark colors that ran into the light colors.
 The watercolor mixed with dilute medium has the same quality as translucent watercolors with some advantages. Watercolor paints is  lighter weight and requires less space in a suitcase. Painting on a personally prepared absorbent ground means the water media can either remain transparent or  take on the appearance of other media.  Gouache white or acrylic white can be mixed in to make it more opaque.. Then more acrylics or oils can be built up over the watercolor. Finally the permanence of the surface does not require the protection of glass or Plexiglass.







I like the glassless presentation of watercolors. Gone are the distracting reflections and all the fuss with framing and cleaning the glass.

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 off 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 Cañada 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. :)