Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome, add a great deal to a blog, but must be in English, with no profanity, hate-filled insults, or links (unless pre-approved).

Saturday, June 29, 2019

What went right and wrong

by Rain Trueax

This is supposed to be about why my contemporary books haven't done well. It will be but first-- Happy Birthday to Ranch Boss, my life partner, and something that went right in my life. Today, he is the main reason any of my books sell as he does most of the marketing for them ;). He has learned probably more than he ever wanted to know about how to do ads and target words. I am very grateful for that but even more that we are life partners. It's been a good ride together going from virtually kids to a couple who will have their 55th anniversary in September-- god willing and the creek don't rise. I won't say it's all been smooth going but through it all, we have remained best friends-- most days ;).

I have some advice for anyone contemplating a divorce. Give it some time-- unless its about physical abuse and then get out fast.  Try to determine what has gone wrong. If your partner wants a divorce, ask them what are the reasons. Communication is a big deal in any relationship. Sometimes through talking things can be worked out. Not always. I'd hate though to leave any relationship without knowing why it was broken. I did that only once-- in high school when a friend just stopped talking to me. Never again. Ask what's up and try to decide if the reasons matter enough or can counseling or time fix what went wrong.

So the question I began with, I am back to-- in particular what might it be about my contemporary romances that has led to them not finding the readers my historicals found.  Most especially, when they went into Kindle Unlimited for borrowing, why did they not find readers even there? *big tear drops-- okay I don't really cry over books not selling but you get the point* What is it about them that doesn't click with readers?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

by Diane; Giving myself permission to over work over and over

Some sense of flight movement but elements of trees and flowers detracted.
Tried removing flowers and trees.

The birds did not have the movement as pronounced as in the early paintings. Several birds were eliminated. The loss of the cross of body opposed to wings is obscured reducing the flow of the flights. The arabesque curves in the background not as strong here of movement. I played with many solutions and the birds at the same time became more cute - another distraction. In my indecision the grass matured and dried in the background field.

Continuing to reward me are many new ideas and new observations watching the birds in flight as well as the changing colors since I began in April. Permission to over work will not necessarily make a better product but the rewards are many.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

They don't quite fit-- or something?

by Rain Trueax 

Why books find acceptance-- or not-- is a mystery to writers-- most of us. I mean we love everything we put out-- most of us. That is not always the case with readers-- most of them. So, this is about my failed contemporary romances, the ones without the paranormal elements, the ones that are all full-length novels-- all with suspense in the plot. 

Only one of these contemporaries was submitted to a publishing house. In the '90s, when I had sent a query on Moon Dust, one editor liked it enough to request the manuscript. This is a big deal as most queries don't end up going that far. Back then, it required printing it off, double-spaced, putting it in a box and mailing it with hope... It was rejected, but I did get a handwritten note with it (again not all do this). The editor said good things about the writing and suggested if I softened the plot, I could resubmit it. I understood the editor's concerns, as the book, while a romance, is also about divorce, consequences of abuse, and the militia movement. How do you soften any of that? 

After my extensive research, I especially saw no way to soften the emotional consequences of childhood abuse.  Some think molestation is only about women, but statistics say 10% of men have been abused. It's underestimated for its impact, given men are supposed to enjoy sex. Abuse is not about sex but control. It is as bad for males as females. I didn't resubmit the book and waited to bring it out-- un-softened-- when indie publishing became an option. 

It turned out to get very few readers; so that editor was probably right that romance readers want their books softer. You know most romance readers have complicated lives and often demanding careers. It's easy to see why they don't want to face difficult issues in their reading for pleasure.

I get that, but writers have to stay true to their muse, to their vision. Each of my books always has elements that interest me about the cycles of life-- not always enjoyable ones. I think this is because those are the books I prefer to read. 

So below are my contemporaries and why they were written-- what interested me in their themes as well as the characters. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

By Diane: Afterthought

I thought this painting of three birds was resolved when I finished my previous post. But with a fresh look at it this afternoon, the strongest statement to me was the straight line between the darks in the upper third of the painting and the lights below.  I  had to break that up with some transitions.
 I lightened up the values on the far left and have repeated diagonals leading to the bird in the foreground headed in flight across a clump of grass pointing the eye up and eventually around.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

by Diane, Summer change

The flowers in our front yard are fun to groom this time of year.

Summer weather is here and it is time for a change in my blog posts. More hours of light means I am drawn to activities away from sitting at the computer. Sitting and typing has not been kind to my body.  In recent posts my involvement was high.  I enjoyed laboring on them for most of several days for each post but unfortunately sitting caused anatomical difficulties in my 76 year old body.
I should change my computer seating. I keep saying I want to stand at my computer but it is yet to happen.

Early in developiment.
My painting and garden are calling. Just not right to be writing about art when I could be painting. My wrists have become the problem and some days I cannot do the simplest tasks. I've seen a physical therapist and my hands are not going to be problematic this summer.
Needed richer color

For the time being, this blog post will be less philosophical. My vision is posting a painting and gardening diary for the summer.
My dear readers, I wish you a beautifu. summer.


Saturday, June 15, 2019


by Rain Trueax

Rain Rock Casino-- Yreka, California

Holy Mackerel, what is going on with time? It seems we just got home with a blog to share but now, time to write another one. Ack. 

Mostly the days after we got home have been about unpacking (a lot goes between homes) and then rearranging the house. When we are gone (with current agreement), our son lives here sometimes with his boys. He takes care of the livestock; and although in town, he has a duplex, he tends to be out here the most due to the needs of the animals. He then, of course, arranges things to suit himself. We come home and have to arrange it to suit ourselves. This business of sharing a home may not work long term for him or us. We are all feeling our way through it. One way or another, change has to come.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

by Diane : The value of art to me and quotes

My personal story:
I learn positive values of aging from my art making. 
My golden years are an empty canvas or book
that I fill with nurturing care for myself like I care for my paintings.
Art is a license for me to play, fantasize, and be young at heart.
Art is healing was the most compelling theme in a book I read recently. Since last week's post which was a review of "Disturbances in the Field", a novel by Lynn Sharon Schwartz, I am looking for more stories of  the art's power to impact the quality of our lives. One of the secondary stories within the novel was about the main character calming herself by coloring in a children's coloring book after two life tragedies. She hid her coloring books under couch pillows when family and friends came unexpected.  During the eighties adults would think she was digressing to childhood. Today public opinion has become more accepting. Big chain stores like Target, Fred Myers, art galleries, craft stores and even grocery stores market adult coloring books. Artist friends of mine are not ashamed to say at times they find coloring books soothing. Art permits us regardless of age to play.
Art saves lives. Practicing an art improves quality of life making living joyful and rich. For example this morning at breakfast I watched the swallows in flight, a couple of foxes hunting and the lighting on the field and woods changing color with the heat of summer. I was looking with the interest of an artist preparing to paint. Seeing like an artist is enough to enhance living. But I wanted more. So I rushed outside to paint. My iphone camera doesn't capture my excitement or how I see the colors. Selecting what I paint from the landscape is empowering.


My experiences are reflected  in quotes my sister-in-law Debby Wenzel gave me.

An hour a day of art makes me happier. An hour of art per week reduces depression.

In art as in life much can be forgiven if your values are right. Experiencing the world my values have changed over the years. I would rather buy art supplies than most material things. I see beauty in people and the environment in unconventional ways.

Art humanizes people. One example is children learning to play musical instruments and playing in a band or orchestra. Another is the art of cursive writing helps to develop a child's brain. Art is the sublime manifestation of the human spirit. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

On the internet I found this quote shared by Donna Watson.
Art is not just ornamental, it is an enhancement of life.
It is a path in itself, a way out of the predictable and conventional...a map to self discovery.  Gabrielle Roth

Saturday, June 08, 2019


by Rain Trueax

What we left behind

Roadtrips are long journeys made by car, bus, anything wheeled. It's not so much a vacation as a way to get somewhere.

We've been on the road this week, pulling our 26' travel trailer, and staying in RV parks, which has made it difficult to write much. This trip has convinced us we do want a larger trailer or a fifth wheel, with more storage and maybe a desk of some sort. At home, I use a ergo keyboard, which makes the laptop dicey for typing. A few years ago we bought an inexpensive lightweight desk for the Wildcat. I set a monitor on it, a split keyboard on the pull out shelf, and the laptop goes below. When not in use, it is stuffed alongside the bed (which we get into by crawling up). Unless we are spending more than a night somewhere, it's too much work to pull out. 

Driving 1400 miles is no vacation. We used to drive all day, but now go for  less miles in a day but the traffic can be horrendous especially with how much trucking moves our goods. I do not deal well with heavy traffic or rough roads. Luckily, Ranch Boss handles it better, but it wasn't a lot of fun for either us or the cats.

So, my plan for what I'd write here is postponed and this about heading north through California. We came across highway work both in Arizona and California. Such fun... i should have taken pictures of that. I was too busy moaning lol.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Art Heals by Diane, DISTURBANCES IN THE FIELD, a novel by Lynn Sharon Schwartz

DISTURBANCES IN THE FIELD, a novel by Lynn Sharon Scwartz was well worth the difficult read. I was up to my chin in attempting to keep from drowning.  I was impatient in a "field" disturbed by vocabulary that I do not often use and by references to forgotten Greek philosophy. I did finally listened to Schubert's "Trout" which played a central part to the plot. I felt I had  to look everything up along the way but found for all of my toil, it was not necessary to understand the book. Every seemingly disparate part of the book did come to an uplifting conclusion for me as an artist.  It is a love story that confirms my belief that art is healing. 

Disturbances in the Field, acclaimed when it first appeared in 1983, has just been reissued in paperback by Counterpoint.

The plot: "When she was a girl, Lydia Rowe spent an idyllic month with her family in a house on Cape Cod. As with Proust and Combray, Lydia’s memories of the brown house by the sea became her talisman of the harmonious life. At college, she comes to feel the same way about studying Greek philosophy with her close friends—precise Nina, aristocratic Gaby, earthy Esther, and her first lover, George. The young women form a circle of intimacy and unity, a quasi family that will endure over the next twenty years.

Lydia becomes the pianist in a chamber music group, another kind of family. She marries Victor, an artist, and though their early years together are turbulent, they have four children and finally achieve something of the order and balance of the classical trios she loves to play, the coherence amid diversity that has been her goal since reading the pre-Socratic philosophers in college. Then a tragic event turns Lydia’s life into a field of dissonance and pain.

The stoic Epictetus wrote, "everything has two handles, one by which is may be borne, the other by which it may not." Lydia grasps the wrong handle and grows numb to herself and those she loves. Though she feels stripped and vacant, her inner voice remains, doing its implacable work of observing, remembering, connecting, persistently limning the shape of her sorrow. What is the right handle by which her loss and her broken faith may be borne? How can Lydia reach a place where "ordinary things... resume their rightful proportions and places in a university of ordinary things?"

I highly recommend the book and especially my friends who write, know music, literature, philosophy, psychology or like love stories with substance. 
The theme: Last night June 4, the theme that art is healing was aired on Public Broadcasting News hour's Canvas segment. Mothers of homicide victims went to the prison where they shared their story with the murders of their love one. The prisoners were moved and wanted to do something to express their remorse. The prisoners got together and decided to make paintings or drawings  which were sold so the money could go to families of victims to pay for the expenses of the grieving families to pay for example the head stones. The act of doing something that expressed true remorse gave them a good feeling they would pursue doing more good. Likewise the families of the victims were  on the road to forgiveness and healing.
In my experience when I had oral surgery, I was able to ease the pain without medication by painting very small tight illustrations for a story book.
What are other examples of how art heals?

Saturday, June 01, 2019

the hero's journey

by Rain Trueax

Last time I wrote about rejection, something most creative people have to learn to deal with if they want to continue creating original work. Copying what someone else did is different-- whether a painting or a book. Where it comes to fiction, there is work that has been proven successful and rules that help someone duplicate the exact pattern (in a romance that is when the couple might first kiss or have sex) and possibly have economic success. 

As a reader/writer, I've seen where certain specific plots get repeated over and over (some say that Shakespeare created all possible plots-- hence generally speaking, there is nothing new). One hopeful writer studied bestselling writers, came up with a pattern, followed it perfectly and wrote her own bestsellers. She was not trying to do creative work but rather make a living-- nothing wrong with that. Copying what has been successful has appeal for many readers and writers. There is a kind of security in it.