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Happy Halloween!


    I can't believe that it is already Halloween! The last day of October, and time to get up to tricks--- and treats! I hope you have a wonderful day and get to enjoy the fun and childlike aspect of the night. I plan on making some very decadent cider, enjoying a meal with friends and taking our little ones (our little cats, I should say! Both are dressing as kitties) out to fill their candy buckets in the neighborhood.
   I know after tonight it will be a quick slide to Christmas, and I am so looking forward to it! But today, I'm going to stop and savor the pumpkiny loveliness, and indulge in some sweets. What better way to spend an evening, right? And before we transition into complete Christmas fun-- here are a few Halloween photos of mine I'd love to share with you:






Happy Halloween!~!~!
~H

Tasha Tuesday-- Anniversary Celebrations


   Hello there, and happy Tuesday! I hope this afternoon finds you safe and happy--- my mind has been on those in the path of hurricane Sandy and the rest of the messy weather since yesterday.

    Here things are quiet and cloudless and sunny, despite our desperate need for some good soaking rains. It's been much cooler here though, making for some good sweater and knitwear weather, and Will and I celebrated our anniversary yesterday as well! of course I knew for dinner we'd have to have Will's favorite--- Tasha Tudor's meatloaf. It's my husband's favorite special meal-- I'm sure Tasha would be pleased to know that her dish is so well loved in the house ;) even Miss Finicky thought it was good!
  
   You can find the recipe for Tasha's meatloaf and many other wonderful dishes in her cookbook. It's a great addition to my library of cooking books. If you're a Tasha Tudor fan, or a fan of traditional homemade fare, I highly suggest it!


    As for us, we celebrated mostly on Sunday since we had some babysitting that day! We went to a really fun holiday party with the Make Tulsa members (every dish was either pumpkin or apple, it was pretty much heaven!) and then later that evening we went to downtown Tulsa to the gorgeous Trinity Episcopal Church and saw a night showing of the 1925 silent movie "The Phantom of the Opera" with live organ music. They showed the film in the huge chapel with its gothic arches and stained glass and a musician came in to play the giant organ with its pipes up the entire wall of the alter, all of this taking place in the pitch dark-- it was really cool.  It was definitely a quirky way to spend an anniversary, but we love to do something a little spooky since its is so close to Halloween. I loved all the old costumes in the film, especially the little ballet dresses, and was mesmerized by Mary Philbin's amazing locks--- and the phantom's goulish face!

   I am also really excited to report that I received (finally!) a copy of Becky's Christmas in the mail, and looked through it this afternoon with a little bit of left-over anniversary pie. I am so thrilled to finally own a copy of this book I've wanted for several years now. A great way to end a weekend of anniversary celebrating!

   Now, back to painting I go! Hope you all have a safe and merry Halloween! How will you be celebrating?

And don't forget--- the Christmas Postcard Preorder is still going on! But only until Thursday! So let me know if you'd like any cards!~
~H



Madonna and Child in Blue

   Sometimes a painting makes me work for it. And this was one of those paintings. I started on it a few weeks ago, but the Madonna's face just never looked right. It took a change in the direction of her gaze (from the baby to the star) and it all seemed to click.

    When I was creating this Madonna, I had an idea of the 'look' I wanted for her, and it was inspired by that iconic National Geographic cover of the Afghan girl with the startling green eyes. I wasn't looking at the photo when I painted it, but the idea was in the back of my mind. Later, I searched the internet for information on the cover and came upon THIS article about the photographer who took the famous photo going back to the area to look for the woman-- and finding her. Her story is heart-wrenching and humbling. It's also amazing to think about what influence that 'nameless young girl'-- had on the world. And she didn't even know it. Much like the young Mary, if you think about. Each girl was from different regions, different religions, and different millenia, but still-- their quiet strength and perseverance were astonishing and ultimately had a worldwide impact. It's amazing, isnt it? To think of the impact just one brave soul can have on the world?


   Of course now I see this and think "Gee, this would make a great Christmas postcard!" I think I'll order some cards with this image on it as well. If you'd like this painting on a Christmas postcard, please read the Christmas Postcard Preorder post and make a request-- I'll be happy to order you some of this image as well!

    And so...I've got lots of ideas in my brain just waiting to be painted! This is such a lovely season!

Also--- I am thinking so much about my east coast friends at this time. I hope that you and yours are safe and well as this monstrous storm washes ashore! I hope things aren't too bad. Be safe!

   Til next time,
~H



Christmas Postard Pre-Order

  It's amazing to think that it's time once again to start thinking about the Christmas postcard pre-orders, but here we are! And it's nearly November! In order to ensure that you have your postcards to send to family and friends in a timely manner, I am going to offer pre-orders for larger quantities so that those of you who'd like to can have all the cards you need! I am also pleased to add that this year, I will be offering white envelopes to accompany each card! This pre-order will only last through Thursday, Nov. 1 and then I will place the order.

This year's images will be:

Gerda's Journey


Candlelight Prayers


Saint Lucia
The backs of the each design will feature this timeless and festive design:

  You are welcome to order sets of one image, or multiple, as long as you order 10 of each design. Once you have decided on the design and quantities of cards you would like to order, you can send an email labeled "Christmas Postcard Pre-Order" to me at audreyeclectic@gmail.com. Please let me know your paypal account email and I will send you a paypal invoice for your postcards!


Pricing per quantity is:

10 cards: $1o.00

25 cards: $18.00

50 cards: $28.00

100 cards: $35

Shipping is $4 in the US

And thank you so very much for your interest and support in my artwork! I am so blessed to have you all for friends and am so glad so many of you out there get happiness from the things I make. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!~

~Heather

Fresh Christmas Prints

   Hello there and good morning to you! It's still dark here in Oklahoma, but the dogs have already been fed and the sun is slowly creeping up in the east and it is time for me to get to work before getting a little miss off to school!
   I am so happy to offer to you an expanded collection of Christmas prints! I just added these fresh designs to my etsy shop--- perhaps there is one you've been wanting?







And since my Scandinavian/Swedish themed items are so popular, I thought I would offer a special trio of prints in that theme for a discounted price. When you order the Scandinavian Print Trio you will instantly have a collection of unique Scandinavian Christmas art to celebrate the holidays with!

All of these pieces are now available in my etsy shop! And stay tuned--- later today I'm going to start Christmas Postcard Pre-orders! Yes, that time is coming!

Have a wonderful day,
~H

PS: Getting into the Christmas spirit around here, I changed the seasonal look of the blog-- what do you think? Do the colors come across well on your computer and is it easy to read?

Tasha Tuesday: Savoring Autumn


           I can't believe that we're in sight of the end of October. It seems like I just blinked and it was September. Now we're headed straight for Halloween! It doesn't seem like we're in the heart of Autumn just yet, but I can see it fast approaching. Yesterday my friend Beth and I went for a good long walk at a local park and saw these brilliant trees turning all shades of orange and yellow.  Autumn is in bloom, if you can catch it!
   But when the temperatures are still in the 80's, and the grass and many other trees are still, well, plain old green, it's easy to forget that this is the season to take a moment and savor. But it's so fleeting. It will probably be 'the perfect autumn' for all of a day, and I want to be able to enjoy it. Before a strong wind comes in and blows off all the leaves, or a sudden frost turns everything to abrupt November. But for now, let's all take a moment to enjoy, just as Tasha would tell us to!


       I don't know about you, but this is the time of year when I start dragging out my Tasha Tudor books. If anything, they are some of my favorite inspiration for creating a handmade holiday season and taking time to enjoy each stage of them as they come. 
    This morning I brought out my copy of Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts and love the autumn section--- making candles, cider, dying yarns, knitting.....it's a cozy time for crafting!
    It also made me curious about what it is about Tasha and her work or lifestyle that impress or inspire you. So I'm going to introduce a new series.....where you get to talk about Tasha Tudor in the Tasha Tuesday segment, and bring your own thoughts and inspiration to the mix. How does that sound?


    I'd like to start featuring other Tasha lovers on here, because I know we each bring our own unique perspective to the world, and I'd love to hear yours. If you'd like to write a little (or big, it's up to you!) post about your love of Tasha, or something about her life, books, illustrating or gardening, please email me and we can get something put together for you! If you have your own blog I would be happy to post a link to it within your article, but you don't have to have a blog to contribute. Everyone is welcome!

   Some ideas for a post might include how you can to know about Tasha, how she has influenced your life or holiday celebrations, how you identify with Tasha, if she has inspired you to do anything or change your life in any way, or even a craft project inspired by Tasha. The options are endless! And I'd love to hear it, and I know my readers would too!

   To inquire about your own Tasha Article, just email me at audreyeclectic (at) gmail . com

   And above all---
Have a happy Tasha Tuesday!~

~H

Who is Tasha Tudor? Well, click here to read more!

A Haunting Under Glass

   There is something so intriguing and beautiful about the little world within a world of terrariums. Inside there are lush and green landscapes, often with a little surprise inside, that makes them so fun to explore.
    I had never build a terrarium until recently, with the help and artistic talent of my friend and fellow Make Tulsa Member, Holly Embry. This lovely little treasure is the end result:


         Because we love all things delightfully spooky around here, Audrey and I decided what we really needed was a Halloween terrarium. Of course! And I knew just the girl to go to to make our spooky dreams come true ;) Polymer Clay artist, Holly Embry from Hollyrocks! She made us a little village of creepy houses, beautiful pumpkins, a lovely crescent moon and cute-but-sweet skulls and headstones to plant among the moss in our terrarium. She also gave me some great tips on how to build a real terrarium, and I'd be happy to pass what I learned along to you:

  First-- you need a glass container with a lid and some potting soil (normal soil for plants like moss or violets, or cactus soil if you're planting cacti or succulents) In order to keep your container mold and yuck-free, mix in some activated carbon (or charcoal, same thing), which can be found at most stores that sell fish aquariums. 




 After the soil has been mixed, you can plant your little world with moss, grass, small flowers like violets, or things like aloe or a cactus. I dug up some moss from my parent's more woodland yard and a pair of wild violets that grow on the north side of my house! Once the greenery was in place, I misted it with a spray bottle of water and then went to work creating the village!


      This, of course, is where Miss Audrey and her decorating expertise came in handy, and she was so excited to pick each place where the houses, pumpkins, tombstones and skulls would live. The little crescent moon looks out over a little 'hill' we made by packing the soil underneath to be a little higher on one side. Talk about easy landscaping ;)

Boo!

  Hope you enjoyed the little Halloween terrarium tour!
And if you're a local artists or crafter, be sure to check out the Make Tulsa group, they are a fantastic source of information, comradery, and crafty opportunities. And even if you're not in the area, the Make Tulsa Blog is full of really awesome information, from tutorials and advice on how to do craft shows, to interviews and info on some great up-and-coming artists and crafters.

Til next time!~
H

Bedecked in Spookiness


     Not too long ago, I took a day when the house was quiet and it was just me and dogs puttering about to transform this little house from 'tired of summer' to 'Halloween bedazzled!' I love this part of the year, when the home becomes more cozy and whimsical with merry holidays, and Halloween is first on the list, and one of my favorites!
    I've shared with you here how I discovered Nicol Sayre on a trip for our first anniversary, and I think her beautiful vintage style dolls have set the tone for the 'vintage Halloween' look that I like to celebrate with.
    I have a weakness for the look of crackled and careworn decorations, slightly tarnished silver and gold with black and white and pops of burnt orange. I like to use sweet holiday inspired dolls and decor mixed with family heirlooms and deeper darker tones.
   Come, have a look!:


   The spooky dolls on the left are both handmade and purchased at a little boutique in Eureka Springs, Ark. called "Something Simple." The silver framed photo on the top right are my great-grandparents in the 1930s and the little pumpkin box is also a Nicol Sayre item. On the bottom right you can see an amazingly strange portrait I picked up at the antique mall a few years ago of two little girls--- the frame is dark and ornate and the way the girls are captured in the photograph and hand colored is just a little bit odd and unnerving-- I love it!
    The two witchy dolls in that same photo are also Nicol Sayre pieces and the painting of the woman and the baby is one I painted myself.


   The wooden mirrored dresser from the 1920s is one of my most favorite possessions and it stays in our room. It looks beautiful against the peacock green walls and stenciling. You see this piece many times on here because I like to photograph new paintings on it. There is an east facing window right beside it which lets in lots of bright morning light.
   Here I've put the little handmade dolls from Something Simple, my treasured 1940s editions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (in the green case) and a couple of the Boney Bunch candle holders that Yankee Candle puts out each year. There's a little garland of gourds and other autumn bits and bobs hung across the mirror.

   And so...that is Halloween around my house! I always look forward to getting out all my spooky pieces! And while there are lots of versions of Halloween--- I like this look best--- it's old timey, a bit muted, and kid friendly. Audrey has been dragging most of this stuff out from the storage cabinet since July. My little decorator just couldn't resist! I'm so glad she enjoys all this stuff too, and my husband graciously goes along with living with all this odd stuff. He even says he likes it ;) Well, good!

   Well, it's fall break this week and I need to find something for me and a little miss to entertain ourselves with. Then maybe, just maybe, she'll snuggle up and take a nap and this mama can get a little painting in! Fingers crossed...

   Have a lovely week!
~H

Tasha Tuesday: Pumpkin Moonshine


    Hello and happy Tasha Tuesday! The day of the week where I like to give a nod to one of my favorite illustrators and writers, Tasha Tudor.
    Since we're well into the loveliness of October and the trees are turning and the pumpkins are coming out, I thought it would be fun to give a shout-out to Tasha's first children's book, Pumpkin Moonshine. This little book was first published in 1938 after a lot of persistence and pavement pounding by Tasha herself. As the story goes, she brought the little story, which she'd originally made as a gift for her niece to about every publisher in New York and was turned away everywhere she went. She was told her illustrations look like they came out of a flower catalog. But she finally found one editor who was willing to take a chance on her, and thus a career spanning seven decades was born! 


       I find that little story encouraging, because it's easy to assume that people who are successful have always had an easy time of getting their work out there and appreciated. When you're working hard and seemingly nothing is happening, it can be really discouraging. But everyone has those moments--- the only difference it seems is that those who succeed never give up.

    Of course another wonderful thing about Pumpkin Moonshine, aside from it being Tasha's first book, is the wonderful old fashioned illustrations. The book is small and the illustrations are small and simple, but full of charming detail and warm autumn colors. It's very interesting to look at this first book and compare it to Tasha's work through the decades. You can really see how she started to master her craft, add depth and demension to her scenes and more realism. The illustrations in Pumpkin Moonshine seem rather 'of the time' and the main character, Sylvie Ann has sort of a "Little Orphan Annie" look to her (although the eyes aren't as creepy, lol) but looking at this first volume, I can really appreciate how Tasha evolved into her own style through the years after publishing this story. 


   It's amazing to think that this book has been a favorite of several generations now--- it was published when my own grandparents were just kids! I wonder if they ever saw it? And I love the old fashioned term "pumpkin moonshine" for a jack o'lantern.

   Do you have any favorite autumn or Halloween children's books? Something that you loved as a child, or something your own children enjoy? I'd love to hear about it! And maybe some day, I'll write and illustrate one of my own!~

~H


A Dapper Fisherman

   Hello!~
     How are you this warm fall day? The sky is bright and it's a little warm here, but the trees are starting to turn to their bright fall colors, and I'm enjoying it.
   Another thing I enjoy is getting paintings completed and into their owner's hands. I just delivered this painting over the weekend, and I (and the owner!) am very pleased with how it came out!
   It's the same gentleman as in THIS family portrait, but he wanted his own portrait depicting him in about the same era, but fly fishing in one of his favorite areas of Colorado. I added an antique fishing pole and basket, and he's smoking a cigar-- another favorite thing of the owner!


  This is a different nature scene than I've painted before (I think this is my first river!) and I enjoyed trying to get the autumn aspen trees mixed with pines just the right shades for the season. I love doing these custom portraits for people and transporting them and their likeness to a different time and place.
   Be it a formal Edwardian portrait or the rustic landscape of Colorado, I love the challenge!
   I've also got several other commissions lined up to make, each one so different and so fun to create. I am just so happy that I get to do this, each day, every day. You know you've found something wonderful when you can't wait to wake up in the morning and get started! And that's how I always feel!

   Hope you have a wonderful week!~ Let's visit again,
Heather

PS: The winner for the giveaway of the Laura Frantz book was.....Tome Traveler! Congrats!

Gerda's Journey


   While yes, I am fully in the throes of Autumn, I must look ahead to Christmas. And it's been a treat! I can't tell you how excited I am for Christmas this year. I really want it to be special, homemade, and thoroughly enjoyed. 
   That's why even though I'm delighting in all things pumpkin and autumn-lovely in life, in the studio we're deep into December.
   This latest painting was finally called "Gerda's Journey" after the girl featured in the Hans Christian Anderson story "The Snow Queen." Thanks to my friend Samantha for suggesting it!
   This painting features my first reindeer! I was nervous about it, my people are always stronger than my animals, but I'm actually really pleased with how he turned out!





   I will definitely be ordering prints of this piece and I think she's a great candidate for a Christmas Card! What do you think? And do you have any favorite wintery tales that would make for a great painting?

~H

October Happenings

    Two months ago, when we were in the worst of the summer heat and misery, the thought of October was like a distant dream. Would it ever be chilly enough for sweaters, hats? Would there even be pumpkins after this drought? Would autumn ever come?

   The answer, happily, is yes! We've been busy with Autumn fun lately--- there seem to be tons of autumn birthdays among my family and friends, and there is just a more festive feel to life in general.

     On Saturday we went to our favorite English Pub in Tulsa (The White Lion) and my brother and my husband celebrated their birthday--- they were born on the same day, well-- 8 or so years a part! They're both very beardy, aren't they? And both love the amazing chocolate cake that is a house special at The White Lion. Will got his standard bangers and mash, and I tried a Cornish pasty with chips (so, fries to we Yankees). It was really good! 

   On Sunday our church celebrated The Feast of St. Francis with a Blessing of the Animals-- many Catholic, Anglican and Episcopal church hold one of these special services to honor the faith and unconditional love of pets in honor of St. Francis, who was all about the critters. This was Franklin's first blessing, and both dogs behaved very well! They seem to like choral music too ;)
   Seeing the church all bedecked in candles with beautiful artwork all around was wonderful-- for the first time I could really feel a sense that the holidays and all those special occasions of the end of the year are close at hand! It was also really fun to see so many dogs at the blessing-- from tiny toy pooches to Great Danes and Greyhounds. So cute!

   And I can't mention autumn without mentioning knitwear! Hurray, the season is here once again! I got to bring out my Secret Garden knit hat and matching wristlets that a friend made me and I was so happy! I would be happy living in perpetual autumn. It's got everything I need! 


   And of course since the season is here, it must be decorated for! A few days ago I 'officially' brought out all my Halloween things and put them out to enjoy. To decorate the mantle I used the gold star banner I had made for my craft show booth as well as some Martha Stewart eyelash yarn I found at Michaels! Also got some battery powered candles to safely give off that candlelit glow. Love how it all looks!

   So....that is how I am enjoying October so far. How are you enjoying this merry month? Do you have anything special planned? 

   Well, I have tons to get finished on the art table, so I must dash!
Til next time,
H

Tasha Tuesday: Autumn in the garden


"Working in the garden in Autumn is delightful, with the clean smell of frost-bitten fern and witch hazel in the air and no insects to bother about. There are always great numbers of bulbs to be put in the ground-- over two thousand this fall, counting the lillies.
   The other day I heard the first Canada geese go over as I was planting. Their calls give me such a primordial feeling. And to see a flock of snow geese flying over the white birch trees by the mailbox on a fair day is a sight to take the breath away."



--Tasha Tudor
by Richard Brown





      For most of us in the northern hemisphere, autumn has come to the garden. In Oklahoma we had a sudden cold turn a few days ago, with morning temperatures dipping into the 30s, and many of my pretty plants felt the nip. The potato vine and basil are getting wilty, and the poor gourd vine seems to be done before it really was begun. But it also a beautiful time in the garden, and one that's worth savoring.

   I love the Tasha Tudor quote above because in it she really takes the time to relish the changing of the season, to notice the continuous cycle of nature and deepening of the days into a chillier, yet more golden world. I'm sure up in Vermont at Tasha's place their readying for bulb planting, and I just got an email from the company I bought my bulbs from saying they are ready to ship.

  I hope you are enjoying the changing of the season and the transformation of the world around you. Take some time to breathe it in before it is all gone into winter starkness. Autumn is a beautiful time to enjoy the garden~

Happy Tasha Tuesday,
~H

PS: In other autumn fun, you can see a halloween-inspired interview with me and have a chance to win a free print at Faerie Moon Creations! Stop HERE to enter!

Giveaway: Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz

 I have such a special treat for you all today!~
   I wanted to share with you the latest novel by my wonderfully talented writing friend Laura Frantz. Frantz is known for her sweeping 18th century novels that capture the heart and grit of early America. 
   Not only are her novels great historical stories, they also have riveting themes of faith, love, redemption and overcoming hardships running through them. No matter what befalls the characters, I am always glad to know that Laura will see them through their trials and tribulations and they'll come away from them better and stronger people because of them.
    Laura's latest book is the first installment of her Ballantyne Legacy, Love's Reckoning, which beings in the 1780s in a dark and lonely winter in Pennsylvania.
    Through her wonderfully woven words, Laura introduces us to Eden Lee, whose home is not the happily and idyllic frontier fantasy you might imagine.
    Life is hard for the Lee's, led by their disgruntled blacksmith father Liege Lee, who is in need of an apprentice in his shop.
    Enter Scottish immigrant and apprentice Silas Ballantyne, whose hope is to do his time, finish his apprenticeship, and head further west to find his fortune.
    While there are plenty of moments of reflection, beautiful landscapes and gorgeous dresses to be swooned over in this novel, there is also a nicely paced story line of love, deceit, heartbreak and redemption. Nothing is easy for any of these characters, and their unique circumstances and the way they go through life are at once plausible for the time and relateable to our modern lives. Laura shows wonderfully how bitterness and greed can bleed the joy and comfort out of a family, how hard sacrifices can pay off, even if there are years to wait, and how God doesn't stop guiding your life, even when things look their bleakest. 
    I might also add that this book contains Frantz's most intimidating villain! And it's a woman. Because we all know there isn't much to top a woman's scorn! I literally worried for our heroine Eden and felt I had to 'read her through it.' 
   I wont give much more of the plot away, because I would love for you to read this novel yourself. All I will say is....there's ice skating! Fanciness and finery! Ex-Quakers! A Scotsman! Fiddle music! Oh my! Our heroine is also a weaver, so I know many of my fiber loving friends here will love her for that.

    Laura has so very graciously agreed to share with us a bit of behind-the-scenes info on her book and writing, and also one lucky winner will receive a copy of the book! To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment here on this post! Be sure to share the giveaway with your family and friends! The more the merrier!~


The amazing cover of Laura's latest book is one of the most gorgeous I've ever seen! Love the autumn colors...

  And now a little bit from Laura Frantz:



1) Your new book, Love's Reckoning is the first in a series of four about the Ballantyne family. What made you decide to do a series, since all of your previous books are stand-alone volumes?
    I have a wonderful editor who studies market trends and keeps a close watch on what readers want and so she suggested a family legacy series. I'd never considered doing one till then and had to give it a great deal of thought before making the commitment. When she suggested it be based in Pennsylvania instead of Kentucky, I was thrilled as Pennsylvania is so rich in history. And it didn't hurt that my hero, Daniel Boone, came from there! But I do believe a series is more complicated than a stand alone novel as you have to age characters and continue themes over several books instead of only one, etc.

2) What makes your characters Eden and Silas different from the standard hero and heroine? 
    In popular literature today, especially historical fiction, it’s common to have a feisty, reckless, take charge kind of heroine. A modern day woman clad in historical costume. But I wanted to craft another kind, one who is more true to the time period in which she lived and the circumstances life wrought for her. A woman whose temperament doesn’t match her hair color:) My Eden Lee is quiet and gentle and very conventional. My hero is also very true to the times, or so I hope. Silas Ballantyne is an apprentice from Scotland, one of many immigrants who came to America in the 18th-century, looking for a better life.

3) This book, like your previous works, takes place in the 18th century. What is it about that time that intrigues you most? 
   Oh, it was a deliciously rich, earthy, sensual, passionate time with little of the prudishness that came into play in the 19th-century. I mean, colonial women didn't wear underwear - though they did wear many layers! Everything was seething with change and revolution and unrest.  Great novel fodderSmile emoticon.


4) Although you've always been a writer at heart, you had another career and then devoted yourself to raising your two sons for many years before you were published. What made you finally take the brave step to complete your novel and get published? How has your life changed because of becoming a published author? 
    Great questions, Heather. Yes, I was a teacher, a social worker, homeschooling mom, etc. Though I've written stories since I was 7 years old, I took 5 years off when my boys were small as they needed all of me. And then when I returned to writing, my brother prodded me to finish the story I was working on (my debut novel, The Frontiersman's Daughter) and submit it to publishers. I didn't think anything would ever come of it but within about 6 months I was contacted by my current publisher and contracted. I didn't have a literary agent at the time so it was something of a miracle.
Life changes tremendously after publication. Marketing and reader contact is a huge part of being an author now, as is dealing with Amazon reviews and other pulse-pounding things. It's often difficult to strike a balance between a normal life and the writing life as publishing tends to be very consuming. You're always releasing one book, researching another, and doing edits on yet another. When I leave my desk at the end of the day, my work is never done. But thankfully, there is joy in the work. If writing wasn't my passion, I couldn't do it. And I realize this is just a season in my life which I need to embrace because one day I'll be too old to hold a pen and others will come and take my place!



*********************************************************************************************

  Once again-- MANY thanks to Laura for her time in answering a few questions and generously giving away a copy of her book! I hope all of you get a chance to read her novel, and let me know what you think when you're done! Don't forget to leave a comment and enter for a chance to win your own copy~
H


CONTEST RUNS THROUGH FRIDAY OCT 12!

Bronte Commission


     Not too long ago I was asked to create a really special painting, inspired by an actress, a play, and Charlotte Bronte! This painting was done on canvas, measuring 18x24" and the inspiration behind it was the play "Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte Bronte", which ran off-Broadway this year.

    This painting was created as a gift for the very talented actress who played Charlotte in the one-woman show. It depicts Charlotte search the moors for a bit of heather to give her dying sister Emily, and also clutching a copy of her book. The dress was inspired by the costume from the show and the landscape inspired by the wild beauty of North Yorkshire.


   I was so very pleased to be able to create this piece, especially in honor of one of my favorite authors and for such a talented actress. You can see a trailer for the play HERE. It looks like an amazing play!

    And now, it is very much like 'a gray day on the moors' here in Oklahoma. It is cold outside--- I'd almost forgotten what that was like! Cold and gray and windy. A taste of the seasons to come.

   Have a wonderful weekends, my friend!~ Til next time,
~H