Saturday, August 1, 2020

Blog Renewal in Six Days

Renewal Reminder write on a book isolated on Office Desk royalty free stock image

Guess what, it's almost our one year anniversary for our blog.  Google is reminding me when I decided to take a chance and create a blog suitable and a need for a wide audience of English students, Artists looking for critique on their pieces, how to use a particular medium in an artwork. How has it been since we started?  Would you like more of a particular topic in writing and or art?    Let us know, we're a good bunch and our invite list keeps growing or holding steady since the Disqus change.   Is it better?  Less static from the negative side of commenters?     Our group is for you and not many people are leaving the house during quarantine.  Are you an introvert?  My husband and I are, which has been rather nice.  We have been family centered.   Finished my two books, with the third simmering and already roughly planned out.  I'm a one project at a time kind of person.    Our blog has many openings for more writers and artists.  I sold one artwork for $150.  One of my charcoal drawings got stolen in college.  Yes, it was a beagle.  I thought it was a compliment that someone wanted to use it for their own purpose.  

Have a great Saturday! 


Friday, July 31, 2020

Mick and Jane on the Moon — Three

The two got to the well, and turned around toward the noise. From where they had come a noisy, rickety buggy drawn by a stragering horse rounded the corner. A driver guided the horse and another sat beside him. They didn't see the children at first; but the second rider soon pointed to them, and the driver led the horse to the well. Mick screamed to the girl, "Go up!" The girl, however, did not have the strength to climb up. Mick could have escaped, and gone for help; but by the time he returned the girl might be lost like her brother. The wagon came up to them. The men wore old work clothes; they looked pale, as though they had been away from the sun a long time. The driver, Brie, brought the wagon to a halt. The rider by his side folks called Swiss.

Brie called out, "Ya kids get away from th' moonshine!"

Mick had heard of moonshine, but it always seemed to be a joke. He was speechless.

"At yah feet! What ya think runs in streams?"

Mick answered, "Oh, we came for water."

"For my brother," said the girl, hurriedly.

The two men looked at each other, and Swiss said, "I heard 'bout that. We could take 'em too."

"What's ya names?" the driver asked? "Whoa!" he shouted. The horse had begun to lap the moonshine. It buckled and started off when it got a lash. "Whoa!" he shouted again. The horse stopped. "We ain't carryin' ya."

The two men spoke low. "How we get 'em in the wagon?" Asked Swiss.

"Get in the wag'n!" Brie commanded the kids.

The children couldn't move.

Mick asked, "Do you have water?"

"My brother!"

The two men spoke together again. "What we do now?" asked Swiss.

"mmmm," said the driver. "Ain't got no rope."

"My brother!"

"We need water!"

"How about water?" asked Swiss.

"mmmm, yeah. We tell 'em get in the wag'n and we get some." Then to the children he said, "Get in the wag'n. We'll get wat'r.

The children were doubtful. Mick didn't see how the two of them could escape.

Swiss added, "You want to see your brother. We think we know where he is.

Still doubful, Mick helped the girl on, and climbed on after.

"The wizard will be mighty pleased, with the 'clipse comin'", said Swiss as they pushed on. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Creativity Loaded for All

Writing. Old style writing paper and pen vector illustrationArtist and model. Vector image of an elderly artist makes portrait of a little girl vector illustration

Good afternoon and happy Thursday!   

Almost there to next month and it has been a strange summer with some swimming, fireworks on a horse farm on the 4th and coronavirus numbers are continuing to go up.  If you have nowhere to go, or concerned we understand this is normal.   Watching a family going through it and their son is 15, and they have a child with down syndrome.  The test was done two weeks ago and they are waiting for the results.  Prayers for them would be wonderful.

Writing is good, or I am still in the illustration phase and have about four more left to make.    I seem to also be working on changing names of a city and a place.    My plate is about to get fuller so we are needing two more writers or artists for our wonderful group.  I have decided to homeschool my two children to keep them safe and healthy.  There are lots of resources too tap into.

Let us know what you're working on!  Have an artist you like or is very odd?  We'd like to know about it. Asking for insight on writing? We are here to answer and help you.  I you are an artist, do you prefer realistic or absract?  Have you sold any pieces?  I am currently working with graphite though pastels are a beautiful medium to work with.

Thank you so much

The Wizard of Hel

In the upper reaches of Hel

Some of the lost souls remembered friends and family. Most of those taken from isolated hamlets and caravans did not, and clung to foggy memories for that small solace. Nor was death a means of escape, as no one could die, or even age. But pain was real enough, the kind of pain that made one long for death.

Koll, a stocky farm hand who once dabbled in wizardry, had invested the last 75 years planning his escape. It all hinged on one of the three devil types. It wasn't the dominant Yellows, those fire elementals who beefed up their magic via life taps. It certainly wasn't the dreaded Grays, who misted up from a lower realm, whispering a siren song of privilege and authority. No one could verify that dubious claim, since none who took them up on it ever came back. Koll would instead be the grass sprout that cracked a mighty pavement.

No, it was a certain Blue, those wielders of icy pain, that Koll had been chipping away at. It was a good thing he had such a thick skin for abuse. Koll even knew her name. That happened during an intense encounter where he had been persistent in convincing her of the mindless futility of this place. Under a blast of punishing cold, he tried to recall the only spell he knew--one involving a life tap from plants or animals. But he was woefully under-powered for the attempt at triggering the spell. Worse yet, the astonished devil must have spread word about him.

The Yellow who ruled this twilight enclave singled out Koll for special attention. He delighted in hoisting Koll by the collar while searing him with flame. Yet Koll never cried out, hating the sight of that masklike face. Membranous ears fanned out on either side of beady eyes and a slit nose. The mouth was a weird grillwork, as if the open lips had been sewn together with ruby thread.

Cast down when the Yellow spotted fresh prey, Koll was surprised to see it was none other than the resident Blue. She was sculpting a massive lattice of ice, whimsically embedding souls in the crystal structure for embellishment. The Yellow lambasted it all into a melting ruin. Shivering souls crawled away and tried to be invisible.

It was the opening Koll had waited for. Not today, though, because the furious Blue vented her wrath on all within reach. For that matter, art itself was most un-devil like. There was the place for planting a grass seed.

Next day--though time had no meaning here--Koll watched the Blue sail over a low ridge, lamenting the loss of her project. Koll jumped when a hand grasped at him. Koll searched his face. "You're one of those she trapped in the ice."

"Never mind." The man looked up, where pockets of faint luminosity dotted the high reaches. "From the spat the devils were having, it seemed the Yellow thought we could use the sculpture to climb up there. Don't you see? That's the surface world! But then, if you got up there, could you break through?" He shuffled away, keeping a low profile.

Koll did the opposite in seeking out the Blue. "For what it's worth, your art showed a lot of imagination." The Blue whirled on him and fanned him with a carpet of frost. No one dared speak to the devils. Koll forced his cold-quakey voice to work. "Twila--" There, he'd dared speak her name. "You did it out of boredom. I won't insult your intelligence. You know I'm trying to divide and conquer. Help me with my spell, and. . . ." He sprinted away under a barrage of stinging icicles.

Another "day" passed, when the glow spots returned to the upper heights. Koll remained conspicuous, practically begging to be seen by the Yellow. It came without warning, a plasma lance that pierced his back without mortal damage. The pain dropped Koll to his knees. The Yellow hauled him up by the neck.

Suddenly a patch of blue blossomed across the Yellow's belly, a cold-magic attack from the rear. Howling with outrage, the Yellow spun around and grabbed the Blue by her neck as well, forcing both to the ground.


The word formed in Koll's mind, and Twila was staring at him.

Here is the power for your spell.

A surge of energy infused Koll, picking up strength as it coursed through the Yellow on its way to
him. The spell clarified in his mind. Of course! It was so easy. Rising, Koll gripped the Yellow by his neck, forcing him to release Twila. "Dron. Your name is Dron. Well, this is for you." Koll let the spell rush out in a torrent of life-sapping thievery, siphoning the Yellow so hard his fires went out. He shriveled to a bald, emaciated man who tried to crawl away, but others fell on him, kicking and biting.

Do not return for the others, Twila warned. Was she asserting he could leave? The Grays will come in force, bringing with them an Overlord.

So much for his rescue mission. "And you?"

It is my escape as well. Go, and  I will follow.

Koll raised arms, flush with power, and vaulted upward. He aimed at one of the glowing spots and smashed through.

Late evening snow enveloped him when he came down near the hole he'd made. This was real cold, the kind that could kill, and Koll was too weak to walk. He raised up to see orange sunlight--a glorious sight--making long strips ahead of a caravan pulled by woolly oxen. An old woman climbed down, briefly hefted a spear when a Blue shape went loping away. She helped Koll to his feet.

"By the stars, boy--where in Hel did you come from?"

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Case of the Bully Stalker

"We've drawn notice, Watson. I shall do the talking."

Kid Curry swaggered to their table in the crowded saloon, blew deprecatingly on his blond mustache. "You're those English gents I heard tell about. I'm not sure I want your kind in here." Holmes calmly sipped his brandy.

"See here," Watson blustered, "this is Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective!" The piano player stopped, but resumed at Holmes' bidding. There would be no trouble.

"Sherlock? What kinda stupid name is that, and what is he doing in Arizona?"

"Special assignment for Her Majesty," Holmes replied. "Rest assured it does not involve you."

"Hear that, boys? It does not involve me!" The required laughter sounded a little forced. As Holmes didn't appear to be armed, Curry lost interest when a barmaid called to him. Watson blotted his forehead.

"Relax," Holmes offered. "I intended to keep sidestepping his challenges. Small return on the investment and all that. Simple psychology."

"I fear I lack your icy confidence," Watson said. "Hello--what's this?"

A young dandy sauntered in, dressed so outlandishly that his ensemble practically screamed "yep--I'm a regular shoot-em-up cowpoke!"

Kid Curry couldn't resist sticking his foot out, sending the dude sprawling.

Oddly, the stranger smiled up at his tormentor. "You got big feet, cousin."

"Nobody calls me cousin!" Curry snapped. He watched the dude mosey up to the bar. "Hey--you got my boot dusty. I paid thirty dollars for these."

The stranger rested elbows behind him on the counter. "If you paid thirty dollars for those, somebody saw you comin'." Nervous laughter died under Curry's glare. To make matters worse, the dude turned his back and tended his drink.

"Begin, Watson," Holmes said, watching intently. "If this is our bully slayer, he's taken the bait." Watson reached nonchalantly inside his coat.

Curry was on his feet. "Turn around, farm boy." Chairs scraped out of the way, and the music stopped.

"Nope. You'll hafta shoot me in the back like the coward you are." When Curry stalked toward him in the awed silence, the stranger turned around, placing elbows on the counter. "You up for a game? Unless you're scared, that is." He actually made a kissing  motion.

"Outside," Curry snarled.

Carefully the dude removed his gun and unloaded bullets onto the counter. "You a chicken puke? Come on up here."

Curry guessed the game, and decided to unload. "I'll reload and shoot before you blink." Both men holstered their guns. Suddenly, Curry found the dude's gun pointed inches from his nose. His own gun hadn't even cleared leather.

"Sure he's fast," boasted the dude. "But can he shoot? Barkeep--set us up twelve glasses by the door." Each man reloaded while the displeased bartender did as ordered, lining up six glasses on two tables.

In a roar of fanned gunfire lasting one second, the dude blasted all six glasses. Curry wasn't nearly as fast, and missed one of his.

"I'm callin' ya," the dude said. "Outside."

Now Curry was no fool. "Easy, friend. Just a little misunderstanding." Regardless, he was obliged to crawl out the door to guffaws and backslapping of the new king of the hill.

Some minutes passed untill Watson spoke up. "Time, Holmes. It's been fourteen minutes."

Without fanfare, Holmes shouldered men aside and knocked off the stranger's hat. Rapidly the bystanders cleared a space, and the music froze once again.

"You aimin' to die?" the dude demanded.

"I'm calling you. Isn't that the quaint expression?" The dude made no move. "Come now. I have a Webley top-break revolver in 44 caliber. Surely it's no match for yours in range, accuracy, and stopping power." He drew from his pocket and pointed at the dude's head. "Have you over-tired yourself? Let's try again." He repeated the draw, again without challenge. "I'm arresting you under extradition treaty for Her Majesty's government. The charge is scientific espionage and theft." He marched the dude out after disarming him.

The barkeep scurried to catch up with Watson. "I don't get it--the kid was so fast."

"Only," Watson said, "after drinking a reflex-enhancer, and only for fourteen minutes. He's been trading on his ill-gotten reputation after stealing a supply of it from our military."

"Blimey," joked the barkeep.

"Yes, quite." Watson didn't find that at all amusing.