Category Archives: The Cozy Red Lounge

Writerly fun. Hear the characters talk.

Meet Bicker (My First Clayboard)

It is time, once again, to introduce you to a new book character.  You may remember Russ and Zeke from past posts.  Zeke’s book, Zeke’s Fate, is now available for sale.

These days, I am working on a prequel to Zeke’s Fate, which has a new set of characters, though there will be a few familiar faces from Zeke’s Fate.  In this prequel is a man who calls himself Bicker.  At first, he was to be a simple side character, but as I’ve written, he’s slowly, surely, become very much the heart of the story.  …I love it when characters take over! 🙂

This is also my first attempt at a clayboard.  What a fun medium!  It’s a lot like scratchboard, but instead of a wooden board covered with white clay and layered over with black ink, it’s just a board with the layer of clay.  It’s up to the artist to color/ink over the clay, and then the artist is free to scratch out details to their heart’s content.  It’s great!  Mistakes were made along the way, but I had a great time with this new medium.


– 5×7 inch Clayboard

– To add value, I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens of mainly the brush tip size.  I used varying shades of grays and blacks to get some depth from the start.  Once I was happy with the mass of shadow and form, I used an X-Acto knife, fiberglass brush, and some other sharp tools to scratch out details.  Since this was all new to me, I went back and colored over the scratched areas several times, changing things here and there, to get the result I wanted.  The face, especially, required a great deal of tweaking and little changes before I felt that this captured the likeness of my fictional character, Bicker.  I did use a couple of reference images very roughly to get some ideas and inspiration, but for the most part, Bicker’s face is from imagination.  As much as I looked, I couldn’t quite find a face that felt like Bicker’s…so I sort of pieced it together.

Unfortunately, the image makes this piece look grainier than in real life.  I’m sorry for that.

Bicker (Finished)CR

Thanks very much for looking!  Stay tuned to hear more about the upcoming novel. 🙂


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Josephine’s Shoes

Last Thursday, my mom and I went to an amazing flea market called Junk Bonanza.  It’s the second time we’ve gone, and we loved every minute there.  The amazing stuff, the talented ways the vendors set up and display their rusty, dusty, beautiful finds, the cheerful vibe of the whole place…it’s a fabulous event!

While there, I purchased a few things for my junk sculpture ideas including some old camera parts, an old gauge, and lenses from an eye doctor’s kit.  But my favorite find was a pair of women’s shoes which I believe date to the late 1800s or early 1900s.  They are leather, very supple yet, and just so tiny!  I have big feet, so these dainty little things are just adorable!

One other piece of happy news.  I believe I have finally settled on a new camera.  I chose the Canon T3i Rebel, and have the 18-55 mm lens as well as the 55-250 mm lens.  I’m having such fun playing with this camera, and the photos below were taken with this camera.  I’m still just beginning to learn about all the custom settings, but so far, I am happy with it. 🙂

Part of why I love these shoes so much is because somehow, it helps to have props to study while I am working on creative writing.  Zeke’s Fate may be complete, but Russ’ book (still untitled) is well in the works.  In Russ’ book, there’s a character by the name of Josephine, who will be a love interest for Russ.  When I saw these little shoes, I immediately thought they looked like they would be Josie’s shoes.  And they go great with my Bowler Hat, which I always visualized as Russ’ hat.  The two go hand in hand. 🙂

Josephine’s Shoes

I hope you enjoyed seeing these cute little shoes.  Have a great day!


Posted by on April 21, 2013 in Photography, The Cozy Red Lounge


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Zeke’s Fate

Dear readers of blogs (and hopefully of books), I would like to announce that my first novel, “Zeke’s Fate” is now available for sale.

Set in the year 1869, it is the story of Zeke Siegel, an American Civil War veteran who has struggled with amnesia for several years.  He finds himself entangled in a world of confusion and danger as he comes home to his wife, who has been told he was killed in the war.  She has begun to move on with her life after years of mourning him.  A new man, Fate, who is a bounty hunter of war deserters, has come into her life.  Learning of Zeke’s unclear and inconsistent past, he begins to suspect him of desertion, something even Zeke can’t be sure is true or not.  Suspicion gives way to vengeance as Fate grows more and more determined to destroy Zeke for the crime he may have committed.  In a struggle for answers, for understanding, and for life itself, Zeke is faced with a fate he cannot forget…

You may remember Zeke from this post made some time ago, and perhaps also from the post of the painting I did of Zeke.  I wrote this novel after being inspired by the fabulous NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge.  If you haven’t heard about it, check it out here.  It’s pretty amazing!

The novels are $10.00 each, plus shipping.  Please contact me at  Thank you!

Zeke'sFateCR Zeke'sFatebackcoverCR


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Meet Russ

After painting Zeke, I decided to try for another character portrait.  This one is Russ, who has been a part of my writing experience for quite some time.  If you’d like to “get to know him”, you can click here.  He is one of those characters who has sort of taken on his own life.  It was such a joy to paint him.  I had an old public domain photograph of a man who really reminded me of this character, so this was inspired by that photo, as well as my own ideas on Russ’ appearance.  I didn’t used to imagine him with a bowler hat, but this just fit in the end.  Russ also claims to have somehow ended up with President Lincoln’s hat.  He does like to tell tall tales. 😉  I imagine he may have a whole collection of hats.  As you can see, once again, I have chickened out when it comes to painting in color, but soon, I hope to ease back into the world of color in painting.  For this particular painting, I liked the idea of it being in black and white.  Classic, right? 😉  This took around 8 – 10 hours to complete.


-Acrylic on canvas board

-11×14 inches in size.

Here’s a close up.

Thanks for looking.  I hope you like it.  Have a great day! 🙂


Posted by on January 26, 2012 in All Artwork, Paintings, The Cozy Red Lounge


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Meet Zeke

After having such a nice time painting the little town of Alma, I decided to paint some more.  Black and white painting is something that I think I could really get into.  I am still trying to think of a book cover idea.  In my search for reference material, I found a photo of a man who seemed to look very much like how I would picture my book character, Zeke.  If you’d like, you can get to know Zeke a little bit here in this old post.

Once again, I was using acrylics for this, and I’m still a little afraid of color.  Black and white media suits me for now.  This one took about 2 and a half hours to paint, and in that time, I couldn’t pry myself away from the canvas.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had fun with painting as I have with these most recent two.

Zeke Siegel

-8×10 inches in size

-Acrylic on canvas

Thanks for looking! 🙂


Posted by on January 10, 2012 in All Artwork, Paintings, The Cozy Red Lounge



Rarely do I paint.  Almost never, really.  I would never set out to have one of my first artworks of 2012 be a painting…the odds of me keeping that simple resolution would be so slim that I probably wouldn’t dare make it.  Sometimes, though, it just happens, and when it does, why fight it?

A recent novel I’m working on takes place in the tiny historical town of Alma, Wisconsin.  It is set in the year 1869 and is the result of my taking on the fabulous NaNoWriMo challenge in the November of 2010.  This novel has needed a lot of reworking and in that process, there was much to learn about the history of little Alma.  Half the fun of writing historical novels is the research that must be done.  Oh, the research!  All the hours of searching, thinking, studying, mulling over, considering and deciding!  Fun, but yes, it can be exhausting at times.

The novel was a something I poured my heart and soul into.  I am, at last, nearing the finish of the editing (I hope!), and I’ve been trying to come up with a unique, eye-catching cover illustration for my story.  I’ve got some ideas, have some images I’d like to work from, and decided to start sketching out some ideas.  After two little thumbnails of my cover ideas – neither of which I really cared for – I took my reference material to my studio where I could really think and toy with different ideas.

…And in my studio, nothing came to me.  I instead looked at an old, homely half-done painting I started ages ago.  Just because the nature of the artist is often to procrastinate, I started playing with that ugly painting.  When I got that out of my system (and only made that WIP painting worse, by the way), I looked at my Alma reference material again.  On a whim, I took out a 5×7 canvas and put some simple black and white acrylic paints on my palette.  Just for the fun of it, I started painting this wonderful old photo taken in the year 1870 of Alma.  I loved the whimsy of the man in the foreground waving his hat.  Isn’t it a charming image?

With this image tacked close by, I picked up a brush, dipped it in water, and loaded up some paint.  Two hours later, this is what I had.  While I likely won’t be using this for my book cover, it was somewhat inspiring to paint historical Alma anyway.  It lacks some detail, and it’s somewhat simple, but I had a great time doing this.  There was something so quick and spontaneous about the strict black and white palette, as well as the small size of 5×7.  I had such fun with this, and that’s saying a lot for painting in my world.  Click on the images if you’d like to see them larger.


-5×7 inches

-Acrylic on canvas

Inspired by some of the work I’ve seen recently in galleries, I painted around the corners and to the edges of the canvas so that this can hang without a frame and still look finished.

I debated painting the man waving his hat, but that’s what I loved about the photo, so I went with it.

A close-up of the distant buildings of Alma.  They were quite small to paint; I actually used a toothpick for the windows and doors.  They are very small. 🙂

I hope you like it.  Thank you for looking at my painting of this little town which has grown near and dear to my heart. 🙂


Posted by on January 8, 2012 in All Artwork, Paintings, The Cozy Red Lounge


Book Illustrations for “Cory”

When I was sixteen years old, I first tried my hand at writing a novel.  In hindsight, I do see it riddled with mistakes.  Even so, it was how I came to love writing.  It’s set in the late 19th century, and is about a boy named Cory who faces numerous struggles and turmoil from his childhood up until he is in his mid-twenties.  I was so enjoying the writing process that I ended up drawing some illustrations to go with my story.  Since it is a fiction, I had no real faces or settings for reference material when creating the illustrations, so these are from imagination.

What’s happening in the images probably won’t make a lot of sense, but I’ve decided to post them anyway.  I will post them in order as they are in the book.  These drawings are somewhat close to me, as I poured my heart and soul into this story and the illustrations to go with it.  Now as I see them, I can see that the characters’ clothing is hardly accurate to the late 1800s, and the proportions are off in some of them.  Even so, at the time I drew these, this was the best I could do without reference material.

They are all done in graphite, with the exception of the first one in color.  I printed a copy of my graphite drawing of this scene and went over it with colored pencils.  The color image is what I used for my book cover.  They are all roughly 5×7 inches in size.  You may click these to enlarge them and see the detail better.

I hope you like them, even if they don’t make much sense without the book to go with them.  Thank you for looking.