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Poetry Friday ~ Mother’s Day!

10 May

Hi, everyone and welcome!

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

In the USA Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Although the custom of setting aside a day to honor mothers has ancient roots, our observance of Mother’s Day mainly came about through the efforts of a devoted daughter, Anna M. Jarvis.

After the death of her own mother in 1905, Jarvis wanted to recognize the sacrifices mothers made for their children. She organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in May 1908 at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia.

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day, and within a few years, the idea gained worldwide prominence.

Think about your mom as a person. What are some of her favorite things? What does she like to do? Show your mother you know her by choosing a thoughtful gift that she’s sure to like.

If you’re going to give your mom flowers make sure you give flowers that have meaning for her. You can also give her a plant if she has a green thumb.

Bring mom breakfast in bed! 30+ Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

 

Peach Ginger Bellini Recipe

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Peach Ginger Bellini (Recipe by Tyler Florence)

Breakfast Tart With Pancetta and Green Onions Recipe

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Breakfast Tart With Pancetta and Green Onions (Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

Breakfast Lasagna Recipe

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Breakfast Lasagna (Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

Marmalade Muffins Recipe

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Marmalade Muffins (Recipe by Ree Drummond)

No one knows your mom better than you do, so do whatever you feel she would enjoy on this special day. 

Mother

savor your day

Croissants, quiche, cheese soufflé

Have a miracle for breakfast

Je t’aime

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Mother and Child by Gustav Klimt

To all you wonderful mothers out there have an unforgettable Mother’s Day! This also goes to women that have helped raise children and to moms of fur-babies (which is like having a child that never grows up). 

Poetry Friday ~ A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

12 Apr

Hello and welcome, everyone!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy for me and I was not able to do as much writing as I wanted, so I plan to spend the day and weekend catching up. Please enjoy my story series, A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance, if you haven’t already done so and I will see you next week for another Poetry Friday. Happy Good Friday, Passover and Easter!


 

Doing the right thing

is hard when you do not know

what the right thing is

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Illustration by Melanie Delon

 

Today I’m sharing Part 1 of a short story series called A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance. I hope you enjoy it.

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Who falls in love with a ghost?

 

I recall the first time I saw Abigail. She wasn’t attractive in my eyes. Her skin was as pale as an ivory mist. Her limp, blonde hair reflected merely a glint of sun. Her lips were thin and uninviting, but when she glanced my way with heavy-lidded sea green eyes, she captured my soul so completely I couldn’t look away. I should have looked away.

 

I had a task to do–so I watched. Abigail had a sweet way about her that lured me further into her world. Was it possible to take part in her world? I observed her. This girl did caring things for those around her and had a generous heart. Oddly, she never seemed to expect anything in return. Showing kindness to animals and nature was her way. She enjoyed singing, although she wasn’t very good at staying in tune. I spent hours, days, and then weeks watching her–trying to find something that would make my errand easier. I could not. What was it about this creature that held me captive?

 

Abigail was good, but also an odd and clumsy creature. I lost count of how many times I had to swiftly cover my mouth, fearing that my laughter would betray my presence. Once, she picked up a tarantula spider. It appeared to prance happily in place on her palm. She gazed at it wide-eyed and giggled with glee. Then she dropped it. The spider shattered when it hit the ground. She wailed for hours.

 

Another time she witnessed a small boy feeding bread to a swan. She ran to them and picked up a piece of bread lying by the boy’s feet. She attempted to feed the swan at the same time the boy did, but instead, she clumsily struck the swan’s beak, making it irate. She gasped as the angry bird took the boy’s arm in its beak and pounded his small limb with one of its massive wings. Abigail screamed for help and managed to pull the boy away, but not before the swan had broken his arm. The boy ran away to his parents, red-faced and howling, his arm dangling by his side. She dropped to the ground and created a puddle with her guilt and sorrow. She did not eat for days. That’s when I finally approached her.

 

“Why do you starve yourself?” I asked. She jumped and stared at me. “Do you wish to die?”

 

“No, I wish to live,” she responded, her eyes wide and pale lips trembling. “I hurt a small boy and deserve to suffer.”

 

“You did no such thing. The bird hurt the boy, but his arm is healing well. He plays happily as we speak, regardless of the cast he wears. You have no need to go on tormenting yourself.”

 

“How do you know this?” she asked, looking at me askance.

 

Thinking quickly I responded, “I was told about what had happened to the boy, and I just saw him minutes before I ran into you.”

 

She stared at me, brows crumbled and eyes squinted, and then she smiled faintly. “I’m glad to know this, thank you. My name is Abigail.”

 

“Then you must nourish yourself, Abigail.”

 

I looked around. A red fruit hanging from a nearby tree caught my eye. I picked it and handed it to her. She extended her hand slowly and took it. She bit into it, repeatedly holding the ripened, sweet fruit with both hands. She devoured it in no time. As she swallowed the last morsel, I wiped a bit of dribble off her chin. Her grateful smile turned her cheeks the color of an orchid rose.

 

I chuckled at how her face lit up. “My name is Azrael,” I told her. I’m not sure why. I reveal my name to few.

 

“It’s nice to meet you, Azrael. Would you like to walk with me?”

 

 “Yes. This forest is quite beautiful. I have always enjoyed hiking here. The smells, the sounds–fascinate me!”

 

She took my hand as we began our stroll.

 

“This beautiful place can also be quite dangerous,” I said. “Doesn’t that scare you?”

 

“No,” she said, her face as innocent and pure as a daisy.

 

We continued walking. She stopped to smell wildflowers, drink water from a small waterfall that emptied into a noisy river, to point at birds she recognized and insects. I thought today would be the day, but torrents of crystalline water gushed, white fluffy clouds whipped across intense cerulean skies, daffodils vibrant as stars quivered and danced in the wind. It was much too lively a day for death to intrude.

 

“I must leave now.”

 

“So soon?” She sighed heavily and her body slumped.

 

“The sun will set soon. Perhaps you should go home before it becomes dark and you can’t find your way back.”

 

She nodded with a frown. “Goodbye. It was nice exploring the forest with you. Thank you for a lovely time,” she said as she departed.

 

I rushed in the opposite direction. When I was sure to be far enough away, I crumbled to the ground.

 

“Why? Why must I carry out this burden?” I cried to the heavens. “There is no malice in her. She is a lamb!” I rubbed a deep burning ache in my chest as large drops fell from my eyes. I touched my cheek and looked with amazement at my wet fingers. A voice in my head reassured me that my daunting task was for the best. I rose from the ground and with dragging feet left the forest. 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.

Vashti Quiroz Vega-author-Azrael-angel of death-story-Vashti Q-blog tour-virtual_book_tour-son of the serpent

Illustration by AStoKo

 

Be sure to read part 2 and the finale of A Time To Mourn And A Time To Dance

PART 2

PART 3 – FINALE

Spotlight: Michael C. Hayes (My Book Cover Artist)

15 May

Spotlight: Michael C. Hayes (My Book Cover Artist)


It is my privilege to introduce today a creative and just plain gifted artist, Michael C. Hayes.

His amazing artistry will inspire you. I have always said, art and writing go hand in hand just like poetry and music. I am honored to have one of Michael C. Hayes’ works grace the cover of my upcoming novel, The Fall of Lilith. I will do a cover reveal later on but for now I want to showcase this artist and his magnificent works of art.

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In Michael’s words . . .

If you had told me I would end up painting for a living when I was 17, I would have assumed you meant houses or cars. The idea of creating a representational image out of pigments suspended in linseed oil was so far removed from what I thought I was meant to do in life.

Most other artists I know tell stories of ceaselessly drawing as children and never stopping. Drawing was something I was dragged into against my will. Once I stopped grumbling about it and tried to make the best of the situation, I discovered an unrealized passion. It is funny how a seemingly insignificant high school elective can change your life for the better.

At that point in my life I was set on making the big bucks in the glamorous field of software engineering, so when I learned in order to graduate I had to take an art elective instead of a programming course, I was not happy. I chose animation as the elective; over the  course of that semester, I found that I enjoyed drawing. I was also introduced to a few 3d animation programs, for which I developed an affinity. I eventually decided that animation would be a lot more fun than writing code.

In the 5 years that followed, I studied at a local community college and later at Cogswell Polytechnical College, earning a degree with honors in Digital Arts and Animation. Throughout the years it became evermore apparent that 3D animation was not quite what I wanted to devote my career to. I was slowly spending more and more time and effort on my traditional drawing, painting, and sculpting courses and less time building wire frames on the computer. By the time I was ready to graduate my goals had once again changed. All the years of required art courses and a few influential and supportive professors had made their mark: I was undeniably hooked.

I moved back to San Diego after graduating in 2005 and enrolled at Watts Atelier of the Arts. Free from the constraints of term papers and physics tests, and in a wonderful artistic environment, I began spending almost every waking moment I could spare on a drawing bench or in front of an easel.  I often tell people the crammed 20 years worth of study into my short time at the atelier.  As a result of this effort, and a few extraordinary teachers, my artistic skills began to develop to professional level.

About halfway through 2008 I got my first professional gig working freelance on a game called “Legends of Norrath”.  In the years that followed I began to receive more and more work and took fewer and fewer classes, slowly transitioning from student to full time professional.  Since then I have had the good fortune to work for clients such as: Wizards of the Coast, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, LucasArts Entertainment, Night Shade Books, Palladium Books and others.  In the past few years I have received several ARC awards, a Chesley award and a nomination for a Spectrum award.

In late 2013 I decided to make some changes and pull away from the freelance world for awhile. Although I will still take those projects that are too good to pass up I plan to spend a few years focusing on my personal work.

There is so much more art to see. Check out more of Michael’s work and connect with him at the sites bellow:

DeviantArt

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

You can sign up for Michael’s newsletter here.

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Q & A with Zee

17 Mar

I’m so excited today! I get to introduce you to one of my favorite people on the web, Zee Southcombe.

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Author Z.R. Southcombe

Z.R. Southcombe is a teacher, children’s fantasy writer, surrealist painter, and all-around cool person. She is the author of recently released picture book What Stars Are Made Of and upcoming chapter book The Caretaker of Imagination.

♥♥♥

About her books

What Stars Are Made Of was released December 17, 2014. Print will be available soon but is currently on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords etc. as an eBook. Click on the book cover below to get a copy for your kindle.

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The Caretaker of Imagination – Will be released 21 March 2015 (The Caretaker of Imagination is available now for pre-orders)

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Click on image to pre-order this book

 

Lucy’s Story: The End of the World – Will be released July 2015

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And here’s a sneak peek of the illustration for Lucy’s Story (this may be the cover art).

 

Z.R. Southcombe usually has a few creative projects on the go, including a personal blog, and is always inspired by the young people she meets in her teaching job. No matter what project she is currently working on, Zee is usually accompanied by a cup of tea.

Z.R. Southcombe-teacher-artist-writer

Q & A

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
This is a two-part answer. I realised I wanted to be a writer when I was very young, probably about seven years old I think. However, I only actually decided to pursue it a couple of years ago, when I was 24.


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
In terms of my writing process, perhaps my quirk is that I’m not a coffee nut but rather an *ahem* ‘tea connoisseur’.
As for my actual writing, although I write books for children, I don’t shy away from deeper ideas and themes that are usually reserved for adults. There were a few things that cropped up from my beta readers – concepts such as mindfulness, and deep loss – that were pointed out as aspects that children might not understand. There’s also a lot of big words in there (e.g. luscious, delectable, scrumptious… apparently I talk about food a lot!) but I see it as a teaching point for children.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing or drawing?
As you well know, being a writer involves a lot more than writing! I enjoy most of the other aspects of my writing life, and most of my day is doing something towards my writing career.
Outside of that completely, I play ukulele & guitar, love hiking (though I haven’t been for a while) and enjoy my teaching day job. Obviously, I enjoy reading, and a typical Saturday night is takeouts and watching some sort of Sci-Fi series with my partner.


What do you enjoy more, writing or drawing?
Yeah, no fair. Can I pass?
I enjoy them both equally, for different reasons. I find it easier to express emotion and self through my painting. I am also more practiced at painting, and therefore more confident. This makes my work more freeing.
Writing is more of a challenge, but one that I am thoroughly enjoying. I feel like I’ve had to play catch-up with you guys who have spent years knowing you wanted to write and actually doing so. I’ve devoured books and podcasts and blogs to get to a place where I can write with some confidence. One thing I enjoy more about writing is that it is more easily shared, and lends itself to a wider audience.

How did you come up with the titles of your books?
 ‘The Caretaker of Imagination’ is who the story is all about – he’s the man of mystery, and it simply made sense to title the book in this way.
For my wordless book, I did consider calling it ‘The Star Maker’ for this same reason, but I went with ‘What Stars Are Made Of’ because the story is not about the man who makes them, but about the fact that it is our darkness that helps us shine.

What inspired What Stars Are Made of?

The story was inspired by Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’ and the theme was inspired by my own journey to self-acceptance. I have spent a lot of time over the course of my life wallowing in lowness and self-pity, and I am sure that without the experience of depression, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today.

I hope that this can help other people realise the beauty in themselves.
Briefly tell us what your upcoming book, The Caretaker of Imagination is about.
 It’s a chapter book about a grown-up who realises his life is boring, so runs away (with his cat in tow) in search of adventure. He discovers a real, magical world and is challenged to become magic’s hero.

 ♥

How would your best friend describe you?
Wise, pretty and intelligent. I don’t claim to agree with her.

What are your favorite books for a child?
Anything by Roald Dahl, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Tolkein’s ‘The Hobbit’. Also Dr Seuss, but we all know his books aren’t really for children!
What is the most shocking thing one of your students ever said/done in your classroom?
Well, the most shocking thing is something that should not be repeated. Ever.
The most personally insulting was having a child seriously not believe that I was under forty. I was twenty-four at the time. Thanks mate.

 

Oddball Questions

What songs best describes your work ethic?
I’ve come to realise the importance of self-belief. It is only when I believe that I am and will continue to be successful (in my own way) that I get anywhere with my writing and illustration. On that premise, it’s ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ from Disney’s ‘The Lion King’.

What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
I think the better question would be ‘what don’t you think about when you are alone in the car?’ (the answer would be ‘nothing’).
Here’s a list of the most popular thought-patterns:
• Hmmm, what can I make for dinner?
• It’s not that hard to use your indicator!
• Story ideas (I wrote the first chapter of The Caretaker in my head while on the way to work, then got there and had to write it all down before I forgot it!).
• Discussing whatever’s on my mind with the imaginary person next to me.
• I wonder if I’ve got time to stop at a café for a bit?
• Do I need to fill up petrol? Nahh…. It’ll last.
• My current WiP (in this case, nutting out ‘Lucy’s Story’ and thinking of funny things animals could be doing for my illustration job).
• Are we out of milk / eggs / bread? Oops, passed the supermarket. Too late now.

 

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Connect with Zee on Facebook, Twitter, website, or on Instagram.

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Image

Art That Captures The Imagination

24 Jul

Art That Captures The Imagination

Hello! Welcome to my blog. My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega, for those of you visiting for the first time. I am a writer of Fantasy, Suspense and Thrillers. I do, however, have a tendency to mix a little Romance, horror or humor (among other genres) into my stories.

I love art, creativity and beauty, and I know these come in many forms. In my quest to build my author platform, I have met and befriended a group of incredibly talented individuals. Writers, poets, artists and even singers who are masterful at what they do. I feel blessed to have found them, and I would be selfish if I kept the beauty, artistry and creativeness of their craft all to myself.

So for the next few weeks I will be featuring their art, writings and music along with my own work on this blog. I guarantee you will enjoy every bit of it.

In today’s post I will feature a talented artist name Erin Coldrick. I came across one of Erin Coldrick’s illustrations on Google+, and I was mesmerized. Those of you who know me are aware that I love the HBO series “Game of Thrones” (okay, I’m obsessed with it). I asked Erin if I might see more of her work, and it turns out that she loves the series as much as I do (we’re kindred nerds). Her drawings are marvelous to say the least, so I was compelled to show them off here on my blog. Even if you’re not a geeky fan of the show (like I am), you can still enjoy the skill and creativeness that went into these beautiful pencil drawings.

I added a few quotes and other elements from the show for dramatic reasons (further establishing my geekiness).

Erin Coldrick has been an artist for over twenty years. She loves working with pencil, but has also experimented with color painting. She lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, with her handsome husband of nine years and their beautiful eight-year-old daughter. Erin has been a tattoo artist for the last thirteen years. She works out of her own shop.

Ancient Elements Tattoo
1630 Burntcoat Road
R.R.#1 Noel, NS
B0N2C0

www.ancient-elements.com

I hope you enjoy Erin Coldrick’s stunning portrayals of characters from the fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”

WINTER IS COMING.  The North remembers. There is no shelter from the storm. Fear cuts deeper than swords. …and not a soul to hear. Can a man still be brave when he is afraid? That is the only time a man can be brave. ~Game of Thrones

Daenerys Targaryen exiled princess of the Targaryen Dynasty, Kahaleesi, a queen of the Dothraki and mother of dragons. "I do not have a gentle heart. I will take what is mine with fire and blood."

Daenerys Targaryen exiled princess of the Targaryen Dynasty, Kahaleesi, a queen of the Dothraki and mother of dragons.
“I do not have a gentle heart. I will take what is mine with fire and blood.”

Arya Stark

Arya Stark of Winterfell

Tyrion Lannister and Bronn

Tyrion Lannister and Bronn
Tyrion: “I understand the way this game is played.”

Sandor Clegane "The Hound"

Sandor Clegane “The Hound”

Lord Commander Jeor Mormont  He gave up his lands to serve the Night's Watch.

Lord Commander Jeor Mormont
He gave up his lands to serve the Night’s Watch.

Night gathers, and now my watch begins.

It shall not end until my death.

I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children.

I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.

I SHALL LIVE AND DIE AT MY POST.

I am the watcher on the walls.

I am the fire that burns against the cold.

The light that brings the dawn.

The horn that wakes the sleepers.

The shield that guards the realms of men.

I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch.

For this night and for all nights to come.

The Wall

The Wall

Game of Throwns flow chart