Island Bound

Hi, all! May is upon us already and it’s hard to believe nearly half the year has passed already. Time surely speeds up as you grow older.

I have only been able to Paint a few pictures this year as we have been cleaning and packing up to move. We finally found the house of our dreams on Matlacha Island and we close in two weeks. Greg retires on May May 31st. We are Island bound very soon!

In the past few days, I have been writing since most everything except my laptop is packed away and in storage. So there is hope Book Two of the Naked Eye Series gets written after all.

Here are the few paintings I’ve completed this year:

 

Acrylics on 16X20- Monarchs on Paintbrush Flowers
Textured gel and acrylics with gold leaf on 16X20 hardboard- Japan Alps Spring Thaw with Cherry Blossoms
Hummingbird
Gel medium on music sheets with acrylics on hardboard 11X14- Song of Romance
And my favorite of all times: acrylics on 11X14 hardboard- Still life Turkish Coffee Pot with Tangerines

We are truly excited beyond belief to finally be moving to the island and getting out of the city and back to “Old World” Florida. Away from the traffic, the chaos, and the noise. Here’s a look at the back of our new home on the water. It is a double lot with 100 feet of backyard seawall facing west for premium sunset views. Ahhh…….Dreams really can come true.

Busy Making Art

I have been painting more than I have been writing. Some of it is just for fun, and some of it is hard work. It’s all enjoyable. Thought I would share some of the things I created since my last post. I’ve really challenged myself to step up my game.  There are about 19-20. I didn’t want to put them in a revolving gallery because the images are too small and I wanted you to be able to see and appreciate the detail. Enjoy.

11X14 on canvas board acrylics: “Face Flower is my take on a Concha Jiménez Puente painting

 

16X20 acrylics on student grade canvas: “Autumn Reflections”

 

16X20 on pro gallery wrapped canvas “Misty Tropical Treefall”

 

18X24 acrylics/textured on student grade canvas: “Steelers Pumps” –Irridecent paints on shoes. Gift for friend and Steelers fan.

 

11X14 Acrylics on pro gallery wrapped canvas: “Maya Angelou” Gift for yoga instructor, Jai Dev, who often quotes her.

 

16X20 acrylics on gallery wrapped pro canvas: “Sailor’s Delight”

 

16X20 acrylics on gallery wrapped pro canvas: “Appalachian Waterfall”

 

18X24 acrylics on student grade canvas” “Books are Magic”

 

11X14 acrylics on gallery wrapped pro canvas: 1st commissioned piece for Mark Paxon, “Stronger Than Hate” Inspired by Ben Roethlisberger’s cleats after the Tree of Life Sanctuary shootings–gift for his son.

 

18X24 Acrylics on student grade canvas (I hate this one…my sky didn’t go as planned.) : “Stormy Rainbow”

 

18X24 acrylics on student grade canvas: “Sailing Regatta” This started out as a cloud study, but I liked how it turned out, so made it a painting.

 

16X20 acrylics on gallery wrapped pro canvas: “Spring Gardens”

 

11X14 acrylics on student grade canvas: “Winter Train”

 

16X20 acrylics on student grade canvas: “Wild Horses”–I don’t like how the middle horse’s chest and legs came out so it needs a touch-up.

 

6X16 acrylics on gold-leafed hardboard: “Seven Sand Hill Cranes on Takeoff”–These are new techniques I have been experimenting with.

 

16X20 acrylics on student grade canvas: “Tree of Life in Enchanted Forest”– This was a special project I did for my daughter. It had to show day and night, have mother earth (in the treetop) a man, a woman, and a baby. It was my first fantasy painting. It also uses some luminescent paints, gold and copper leaf, and glitter, but you can’t see the shiny in a pic.

 

16X16 metal leaf on hardboard: “Tree of Life” This was my first try at metal leaf and I had to stencil the adhesive. It took many months and was also a gift for my daughter.

 

11X14 acrylics on gallery wrapped pro canvas: “Kitty” Commissioned piece for a gift. I have since changed some of the colors on the forehead from grays to brown/beige.

 

12X12 acrylics on gallery wrapped pro canvas: “Rose”

Hope you enjoyed your tour thru my little studio.

On a scale of 1-10, I would say “Maya Angelou” was a 10. “Rose” came in a close 9.

All of these pieces are for sale unless otherwise specified (except the “Winter Train”–it hangs in my bedroom)

 

Keeping a Creative Outlet

Sorry about the construction going on here. I am searching for a new header photo, but haven’t found one I like, yet.

Last time I touched base with you all, I was gearing up to start a new business with my husband. We were pretty sure we could make it work. It was basically selling business education, which is ironic, coz we got educated. We went through a three-month training course and were ready to fork over a $60,000 investment which would have covered more training in Fiji, Costa Rica and Malaysia. The company was run by an Aussie and many have had much success. We were in communication with top earners around the globe. We had some grandiose ideas.

Two days before we were to hand over the money, the Federal Trade Commission shut them down and flagged them as an MLM scam. Now, we did purchase products from them, which I liken to tuition for business school. And we’ve gotten our money back for everything except a $3500.00 payment to a loan originator. My husband says he learned more in those three months than he did getting his MBA. (He did that while we were dating in 2006.)

There are literally thousands who are out their investments and can’t turn a dime now, coz all their websites, back offices, front offices, online products pages, sales funnels…everything, gone. The owner, who is now worth $153 million, is paying his fines and retributions and cutting his losses. He’s moving into resort development now that he owns an island in Fiji. Everybody else depending on the company lost everything in the blink of an eye.

We still have retirement dreams that include travel, but we’ve found a rather unconventional way to afford it with International Pet Sitting. We connected with several house-sit platforms and an academy that helps you get set up and offers tips and tricks for sitting and travel. Again, we are in communication with people around the globe who are doing this and we’re pretty excited about it. We both love animals and lost our two doggies last year, but didn’t want to replace them coz when Greg retires we want to be free to travel. Many are doing this exclusively and don’t even own a home.

House sitting for two weeks to several months, caring for other people’s beloved pets, we’ll be able to fully immerse ourselves in other cultures, while getting our animal love fix. Greg speaks a few languages and looks forward to learning more. We have a website. It’s not fully completed, but it’s live now. (You can check it out HERE.)

I still have my writing. It’s slower than molasses though. I get a creative spurt and make it through a chapter. Put it down for a couple of months. Go back to it and trash another chapter. Writing has always been a hobby for me and I certainly never expected to make a career out of it, but it’s more than disappointing to spend so much time creating a good story, investing in good editing and cover art, then not even being able to break even. Have no earthly idea if or when I will finish book two in the Naked Eye series. I’d like to say by next summer, but I know we just finished home renovations and we have to install entirely new landscape in the backyard this winter. We are constructing a xeriscape with a couple of pergolas and a nice water feature made from a large blue temple jar. We have purchased a few colorful boulders as sitting stones for the meditation garden. It has rained heavy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. this summer. So we can’t start that project until things dry out.

My daughter, the professional student, has started back to school, so we are watching after the grandkids quite a bit more than usual. They will be with us for a whole week in October. That’s going to be interesting. Me getting kids off to school and playing “soccer mom” again.

I don’t get onto WordPress like I used to, but I still read a lot of your posts and try to keep up to date on who is involved with what, even if I can’t always comment. There are a ton of old-timers no longer blogging. These are people who were online when I started back in 2013.  I miss the way things were. A few are FB friends, so we keep in touch. Life changes.

I have thrown myself into painting this last month. I have to keep up a creative outlet or I’ll go stark raving mad. I painted in oils and did ceramics in my teens and twenties. Oils are expensive and messy. My back won’t let me throw on a pottery wheel like I once did. There is a place to paint bisque in Winter Park, but they want a small fortune for little pieces. Britt-David Park in Columbus, GA used to provide all of the clay you needed for free, and you paid a very small fee to use their space, wheels, and kilns. They taught raku and other forms. I sold pieces at local art festivals back then. Smashed seventy-five pieces of pottery when I was going thru my divorce…but that’s another story.

I dabbled a tiny bit in watercolors when Greg and I first married, but they didn’t like me. I was heavy handed with my paints and they seemed to have a mind of their own. It was fun and relaxing, but about all I accomplished was a parrot, some Bird-of-Paradise flowers, Native Americans in a canoe, and a tree. So far, I have completed eleven paintings in acrylics using mostly YouTube tutorials. A couple are my own designs or inspired by something I’ve seen. I’m using the tutorials to build technique so I can paint my own stuff better. Much cleaner than oils, but it has its issues. Paints dry super-fast, so there is little, if any, time for blending. Using paint retarders just makes them tarry and sticky, or else I haven’t learned to use them, yet. It’s progress, not perfection. Here’s a little gallery of what I have painted this past month.

Enjoy

 

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New Journey

The subtitle of this blog is mybrandofgenius. I started this blog as a writer who wanted to meet like-minded people. I wanted to know where they came from and what they were doing.

My goal was to connect with people who had tried what I was trying to do as an author and to meet readers to find out what they most enjoyed about reading. I needed education and mentors. I have learned much from you. I am grateful.

You all, my followers, have been with me thru thick and thin. I hope you’ll stay with me as I embark on another pathway. I am not abandoning writing. I love it. I feel passionate about writing and my abilities.

I am putting my creative writing on hold while I develop other areas of my life that need attention.

The rocket scientist, Greg, and I are coming to a time in our lives wherein we have reached financial success, but not financial freedom. We are learning that we have been guilty of some stinking thinking.

We are guilty of living a life where we thought to go to school, earn a degree, get a job, work every day, save our money, make “investments”, and retire on our 401k, savings, pension, and SS/disability was the way to success. It was. But it’s not the way to financial freedom.

Do you know the difference?

Financial success means you have worked hard for your money and now you can spend the rest of your life trying not to go broke while you enjoy it.

Financial freedom means your money works hard for you, so you have time to enjoy it.

We have been living under the delusion that you have to have a lot of money to make a lot of money when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Our thinking about money had to change. We learned that the best investment we could make, no matter how small, was in our education about money and business, but in a way that paid us to do it.

This blog is about to change. We want to share our journey here. Over the next weeks, months, and years, we will be sharing what we are doing to reach financial freedom and how it is working for us. We hope you will stay with us because we believe it may be one of the most valuable journeys you ever embark on.

If you choose to unsubscribe to this blog because it isn’t consistent with your goals, we will understand.

But I urge you to stick around.

As I have said on my ABOUT page, I have met a myriad of geniuses in the blogosphere.

Thank you for being a part of my community.

New Release! THE BONE CURSE, A Genre-Bending, Supernatural Medical Thriller

Was waiting eagerly for this one. Glad to see it has arrived. 🙂

Carrie Rubin

Do you believe in the paranormal?

I wish I did. Life would be more fun. But in reality, a ghost could hit me upside the head with a copy of War and Peace and I’d still find a way to explain it. Thanks to my left-brain skepticism and years of science education, a believer in the paranormal I am not.

BUT…

That doesn’t mean I don’t find it fascinating, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to write about it.

The Bone Curse, available today, takes a rational-minded man of science and tosses him into an otherworldly situation, one with curses, dark priests, and Haitian Vodou.

The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin After getting cut by an old bone in the Paris catacombs, a skeptical med student must use the occult to stop a deadly curse and a vengeful priest.

The Hero:

Ben, the main character, is not a perfect guy. He’s a med student…

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It’s Been a Long Time Coming!!

blindoggbooks

Once again I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you…

Like the last time I’ll give you the bad news first;

There will be no FREE book this week.

After a month of giveaways, and well over 500 FREE books downloaded – I’m pulling the plug on it (at least for the foreseeable future).

That’s the bad news.

Now for the good news;

If you remember when I started giving books away back on Valentine’s Day, I said I was going to do it until my next novel, 24 Minutes, was released.

Well, strike up the band and let loose the doves!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the release of my tenth novel – 24 Minutes!!

It has been about 15 months since the release of my last book, Blood in the Water and I had every intention of releasing 24…

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A Very Short Story

Over at the Disappointed Housewife today reporting on a local water crisis. Drop by for a “fiction” read. Stick around and peruse the site for some interesting and off the wall poetry and fiction.   https://thedisappointedhousewife.com/2018/03/14/rain-reign-go-away-fiction-by-s-k-nicholls/

If you would like to contribute to the Disappointed Housewife, please contact Kevin Brennan. Submission guidelines can be found on the site. It is sort of an “anything goes” site and the more esoteric, the better. Short stories are highly sought after: 1500-2300 words preferred.

Give Me Five Podcast

I meant to link the podcast that was done last week in my last post and totally forgot. My bad. Here’s the link:

http://givemefive.libsyn.com/episode-21-nudist-resorts-and-sleeping-pills-ft-author-sk-nicholls

 

Jimmy, Rob, and Greg are an awesome and entertaining crew. At the beginning of the podcast, I was distracted by the fact that my Pokemon Discord app was beeping every few seconds and I didn’t know how to stop it, so I was not as engaged as I had planned to be. I came into the conversations a little late.

 

We covered some TV series’, movies, the Golden Globes, and a relatively new genre, Rock Fiction, and Moonlight City Drive by author-musician, Brian Paone, which I think is super cool. Then we talked about my books, Red Clay and Roses and Naked Alliances. In the end, I give my five greatest literary influences and why. (Please forgive me, Anne Rice, for calling your werewolves “wolverines,” in a completely live, on-the-air, brain fart.)

 

I have been informed that a class at UCF is interested in more discussion about literary fiction versus commercial/genre fiction, and we will be doing another short piece exclusively on that topic soon.

Politically Incorrect, Offensive and Disrespectful

All sorts of new devices, apps, and what-not exist out there that are supposed to help writers become better writers, but do they?

I want my work to be the best it can be before it it’s read. Even read by my beta readers or editors.

So I tried out the Grammarly app. I even sprang for the premium version that not only proofs your work but makes suggestions on how you might improve your writing.

A couple of days ago, it told me that the word “elderly” is a politically incorrect description and could be found offensive and disrespectful by some.

Really?

I have always respected my elders, and the term elderly is used endearingly to denote that respect. I’d much rather hear someone refer to their parents and grandparents as elderly than old or senior.

The app went on to say that “suffering” from dementia denoted disability, which might also be offensive to some.

Of course, I ignore these suggestions and advise you to do the same when using these sorts of apps. Tell your story your way, and if people are offended, let them be.

You are never going to please everyone, and if they are offended, perhaps they were not your target audience.

It is next to impossible to write a remotely comedic piece without risking offending someone. This entire politically correct thing has gotten way out of hand.

Most people know me as a progressive personality, and I would not deliberately set out to stifle new ways of thinking. My work is not high-brow literature, though. Nor does it pretend to be.

I can only say, for now, if you’re disturbed by “elderly” people “suffering” from dementia, you are likely not to enjoy my story. Please don’t read it.

We don’t have a working title yet, but toying with the idea, Silver Alert.

Politically correct, or not.

 

Is your writing politically correct?

Have you read anything that was so politically incorrect you could not enjoy it?

Writing on Life

When writing a novel, the entire outside world stops. That’s the way my brain works. I can’t say I am introverted or extroverted. I am both at different times. I’s hard to find balance.

Much of my writing evolves from my life experiences. Spending weeks into years in front of the computer writing narrows my focus. That’s a good thing for my writing.

However, to a degree, living stops. I don’t go out to socialize much. I don’t play games. I don’t get much work done outside of writing. I don’t go to movies. Hell, I don’t even watch television.

If it wasn’t for date night and the need to consume food, I’d never go out to eat or go to the grocery store.

But I get stories written.

The flip side to that is spending time living life offers me much to write about. People I meet, places I visit all have a way of getting integrated into my writing. Life experiences become the ingredients of my writing.

My two favorite quotes on writing and life:

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
― Gustave Flaubert
“In order to write about life first you must live it.”
― Ernest Hemingway

The ideas expressed in the quotes seem on the surface to be in opposition, yet apply to me. They’re understandable.

I’m not so regular and orderly, but I like writing about those things that are beyond the scope of my own comfort zone in living. Granted, I have been known to live a wild and crazy life, but even I have limits. My books know no limits. My characters do things and get involved in ways I never could…in real life.

The old cliché, “Write what you know” comes home to me each time I take my seat at my desk. Having lived a full life and taking long breaks from writing to live life has fed me and continues to feed me.

I am obsessed with life. When I am living life, and not writing, I am driving all over the state, meeting new people from all walks of life and visiting places I never knew existed. Hosting lavish parties with four-hundred guests and attending events with thousands. Life is terrible, grand, scary, comfortable, fascinating, exciting, horrific, and wonderful.

There is nothing dull about the life I live.

Now, on to writing.

I recently participated in the “Give Me Five” podcast with Jimmy McCurry, Greg and Rob. They review all sorts of things: movies, TV shows, games, books, places…all of those things that keep us entertained with living. I will let you know when the podcast airs. They asked me some questions and let me talk about writing, my book, Naked Alliances, and list my five favorites. I chose five favorite literary influences. I will keep you informed when the podcast goes live.