Paint ’em like you seem ’em

Have you seen James Gurney’s book, Color and Light? Wow! His gorgeous blending of fact and fantasy inspired me to paint again!

This time, however, I won’t paint bold abstracts or Colorado landscapes. My characters will be my subjects.  I’ve always wanted to paint using that wonderful subtle realism that makes you say, that looks almost real.  Remember the full size issues of Analog? The illustrations were as fantastic as the stories.  Sometimes you see similar art in graphic novels and, occasionally, this type of illustration still appears on book covers.

So, I’m going to give it a try. I want to slide my folks into paint form, but I’ve had a few second thoughts. Once I’ve created this art, I’m not sure I’ll show it to anyone who might read my book. It’s funny how the mind works, but the moment I see a character translated into 2D art my brain will automatically revert to that picture – no matter what. Is it like that for everyone?

My question for is you is,  if you could paint your characters, would you? And, if you could choose any cover art for your book, what would it be? Do you want to solidify your picture of your characters in your readers’ minds, or do you want them to create their own images?

How to read science fiction or other genre fiction even if you don’t want to.

It’s happened-the moment you’ve been dreading.






Your wife, husband, son, cousin, or co-worker asked you to read a chapter of their science fiction, high fantasy, romance, or vampire novel. Now what do you do? You’re a decent person, and you don’t want to or can’t afford to hurt their feelings. But, genre fiction stories are weird.  You’ve never read any because you really don’t want to. Sure, you read fiction: murder mysteries, adventures, generic bestsellers. Normal stuff.

I understand. Well-meaning people come to me all the time with suggestions.  When they say, “You really should read this best seller, this YA novel, this non-fiction autobiography,” I always smile and nod. Inside I cringe. No WAY I’m ever going to read that book. I am a very discriminating reader, I tell myself. My time is limited, and I simply don’t want to invest the effort in something that sounds boring or ridiculous.

However, even I, a self-confessed reading snob, occasionally step out of my comfort zone. Some of the recommended books are still not my cup of tea, but some are fascinating and beautifully written, and I fall in love with a new author.  My friends are happy I took their advice, and I’ve stretched my limits. Everybody wins.

Here’s my advice on reading genre fiction.

Suspend your disbelief.

Science fiction has many faces. Hard science fiction follows natural laws. Relativity rules. Character driven space opera laughs at relativity.

Fantasy trumps all natural laws.

Vampires suck the life out of natural laws.

Romance novels usually have happy ending. Girl gets boy-if she wants him.

Go ahead. Read something different. You know you want to. OK, maybe not. But, you never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.

When was the last time you read outside of your comfort zone?



Eight-eight Birthdays

Happy Birthday, Mom

I didn’t send a card. I sent you a blog.

I want to thank you for the many things you did that natured me creatively.

You read to me.

You taught me to draw, read and write.

You taught me how to think outside the pencil and how to translate concept to graphite on paper.

You introduced me to science-fiction and fantasy, from Azimov to mZb, and everyone in between.

You taught me chemistry in the kitchen and string theory in the living room.

You shared your love of the natural world, and you still love it. You are the only one in your building with a garden on your porch.

You taught me the survival skills of making bread, feeding a family, and washing my own clothes.

You took me on flights of fancy and walks of mystery.

You taught me the importance of women friends.

Thankyou, darling girl.

Here are the photos I promised.  In no particular order and a rookie layout. If you run your cursor over the photos information about them will appear.


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