Saturday, December 9, 2017

Celebrating My Students' Landscapes Thursday

Thursday we worked on landscapes in Art Club. These were more or less "pre" landscapes, in that I took the students step by step in a demo, mixing shades of blue in the sky, instead of using solid

blue from the bottle; making  texture in clouds and treetops, instead of round blobs of solid white or green,, and creating highlights and shadows on                             on treetops and fields by streaking in blue and yellow to let the eye mix the color green. This was in preparation for next week's lesson, when we will use landscapes by the Impressionists for inspiration. These kids always run with the lesson, as you can see. Students are normally 8-to 12, but this year I have a returning student who is 16 and a newcomer who is 7. The 7-year-old did the lower right hand picture in the second set.

No matter how tired I may be toward the end of the week, these students always make me feel like celebrating at the end of the lesson. they seem to give me that extra boost of energy.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)
How about you? Do young people inspire you? Do you get rejuvenated by contact with young people? What are you celebrating this week? 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Getting to Know Mark Noce, Author of Dark Winds Rising

First of all, many thanks to Mark for taking out time from his busy life for this interview. I did an earlier interview with him regarding his first book, Between Two Fires. (You can read it HERE. ) 

Now that the awaited sequel, Dark Winds Rising, is to be released tomorrow, here's a  closer look into his writing history and process. 

How young were you when you first started writing fiction?

Honestly, as far back as I can remember. Even before I could properly write I remember making little books with crayon pictures and stapling it together in preschool. I’ve always loved stories and always will.

When did you know or decide you wanted to be an writer/author?

I’m not sure it was ever a conscious decision, it’s simply me being me. I’ve always had these stories coming out of me, and figured that sooner or later they’d end up in print.

      Has fiction always been your specialty, or do you also write poetry?

I love writing novels, poetry, you name it. It’s all part of the wider artistic canvas. I truly believe that living life itself is a work of art, so everything we do is a form of story-making.

Have you written any books for children?

Not yet, although I make up plenty of bedtime stories for my kids, so I’ll probably have to eventually write some of those down too.

You’ve written two books about Medieval Wales and a spy story about WWII.

Yup, and I’ve got another Viking story in the mix as well.

What got you interested in Welsh history?

I’m interested in all eras of history, but I think that part of what drew me to this time period was the lack of writing that had been done on the subject. I found it all so fascinating and couldn’t believe more people hadn’t written about this place and time in more detail.

What got you interested in WWII?

I’ve always loved murder mysteries, especially British ones, so combining that with London during the Blitz was just too much fun to resist.

Who was/were your favorite author/s when you were a kid?

I really enjoyed those “I Can Read” books as a little kid, such as Sam the Minuteman. I’ve always loved history books and have also been reading about the American Civil War since I was pretty young.

Who is/are your favorite author/s now?

So many to choose from. I’m a big fan of Lawrence Durrell, simply for his incredible ability to write in such magnificent language. Tolkien is of course fun, and I was heavily influenced by The Mists of Avalon as well. Shakespeare and Homer are favorites of course too. The list goes on J

Are you working on a new novel at this time? If so, is it a new book in your Welsh series? A new spy novel? Something else?

I’ve got a few projects in the works. I’m really enjoying exploring historical murder mysteries as a genre, so you can expect more WWII era stories to come as well. But I like to keep the future pretty wide open. Often times I don’t know what I’m going to write until I actually sit down and write it.

     What advice would you give a beginning writer?

Follow Ray Bradbury’s advice. Write a lot or you’re doomed. J Honestly, the key is to keep it fun. That’s why you started writing in the first place, right?

     What advice do you wish someone had given you, and why?

It’s hard to give advice, because often I need to learn things myself the hard way for it to really stick. I’d say the key is to remember that not everyone is your audience, so don’t try to please everyone or you’ll end up pleasing nobody at all.

     Do you foresee a time when you will be a full-time author?

It’s a tricky question. Most authors have a day job (even famous ones – Joyce was a teacher, Dickens an editor, Vonnegut a Technical Writer, etc.). As nice as the image of a cabin in the woods sounds for an author, I think that by having a day job and continuing to be in the everyday struggle for life only adds inspiration and authenticity to a writer’s work. That being said, I know I could fill my day full time with writing if given the chance. J

Thanks again for having me here, Elizabeth!

My pleasure, Mark, as always.

Those of you who want to know more about the author can visit his website HERE and learn more about his books, his blog, and his appearances and events.

You can also visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Just click either of these two to go visit his pages.
Here's the publisher's link that can give you several different places to order it by one click: Go HERE
For those who want to start at beginning, you can also order Between Two Fires at all those sites HERE but these are each "stand alone" books. You can enjoy each story for itself.

Readers, what is your favorite period of history? What countries interest you? Do you tend to read series novels or stand-alones?  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Celebrating a Coming Interview with Mark Noce - Stay Tuned

Today I'm celebrating a coming interview with Mark Noce about his soon-to-be-released historical novel, Dark Wind Rising. I've already pre-ordered it and really enjoyed the first in the series, Between Two Fires. I've blogged about the new book and Mark at my "next door" blog, Elizabeth Varadan's Fourth Wish.  Why not go next door and have a look while you stay tuned for the coming interview? You can also find information about how to pre-order it before its release, Tuesday, Dec. 5th, or order it later after release.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog(You can go to any of these sites to add your name to the links, if you want to participate.)

How about you? What are you celebrating this week-end? Do you have any interviews coming up? Any friends having book releases? Are you a fan of historical fiction?