artist

365 Challenge: Day 323 – Paint

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Paint: to cover the surface of something with a colored substance that dries to leave a thin decorative or protective coating

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I have absolutely no talent when it comes to painting, but I know someone who does. I’m always in awe of a person with this talent, but when it is a friend–who feels more like family–it’s special. When that person goes beyond your expectations and surprises you with a custom painting to match your book cover, it’s undeniably amazing. If you haven’t figured out whom I am referring to, then let me uncover this beautiful artist: Roda from the Growing Self blog that many of you already follow. If you don’t know her or the blog, click the name to get familiar with an inspirational and passionate woman who has shared so much with many of us about her life running a farm, a family, and a dream in Michigan.

If you want to check out her art website, you must visit Artistically Roda where you will see not only this painting, but several others she’s created over the last year(s). Roda has an amazing approach to how she builds layers and designs her art, even sharing this process on her site. I was utterly shocked when her painting arrived in the mail, as I knew she was doing something special for me, but I never guessed how wonderful it would turn out. I moved the painting around a few different rooms in my apartment before hanging it, as I wanted to see where it would look best. The colors worked in most rooms, but it seemed to pop best in two places. I decided to wait on hanging it until after the holidays when all the Christmas decorations had been taken down. In early January, it found it’s home in the central spot of the apartment — the hallway where I cross through all day long. It’s between the bedroom and kitchen, which means I see it each time I wake up and walk into the main part of the apartment and before bed when I go to sleep.

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I adore this painting, but I adore my friendship and connection with this wonderful person even more. I’m grateful to all she’s given to me this year, especially the camaraderie we feel when referring to one another as Big Sis and Lil Bro. Thank you, Roda, for this perfect gift and for being one of my greatest treasures in 2017. And when I think of the word paint, it means so much more… to paint the beauty of life, to paint with inspiration, to paint the fabric of a shared connection… to paint the words that bond.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: Down to the Needle by Mary Deal

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Why This Book 
After reading a few light-hearted mysteries and non-fiction books, I was in need of a strong thriller and suspense novel. I had Mary Deal’s Down to the Needle in my Kindle downloaded book list, as it was recommended by a friend. I flipped through the summary and overview, which convinced me to give it a try last week; I’m quite glad I did.

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
There are several plot lines in this book, but they weave together in multiple ways in a typical small American town called Seaport. The book kicks off with Abi and Joe, mid-40s to early 50s, covering a string of fires occurring across the city. We learn that Abi has been searching for her daughter, whom her husband had kidnapped nearly twenty-three years ago. Joe stumbles onto an ex who disappeared many years ago, but they’ve found solace in one another as he makes plans to get her off the street. Abi and Joe have their own separate careers and homes, but they consider the possibility of future marriage, assuming Abi can find out if her husband is dead or find a way to divorce him. News outlets are covering the upcoming execution of a young inmate named Megan, who was accused of torching a house eight-years earlier that killed a man’s wife and children. Then Abi finds a few clues which lead them to believe Megan could be her long-lost daughter. The book navigates the path they each take separately, and together, to find their pasts, as well as determine if they can build a future together. New eye-witnesses to the fires step forward and more fires occur. A lead on Abi’s missing daughter unfolds and the discovery of what really happened to Joe’s ex take center stage during this journey — all ending with some happy, bittersweet and sad news. Let’s just say… ‘Down to the Needle’ is the perfect title for many reasons.

Approach & Style 
I read the 381-page novel on my iPad through Kindle Reader. It took about 5 hours over a few days; there are 62 chapters, each fairly short and easy to digest. The story is told in third-person POV with a perspective mostly focused on Abi and Joe. The setting is vividly described, bringing a clear picture of everything, including fires, character expressions and thoughts, homeless conditions, prisons and medical illnesses.

Key Thoughts 
One of the best things I enjoyed about this book is the approach Deal takes in evolving the entire story. There are tons of facts and background information that need to be revealed, but it’s moderately paced and deliberately methodical, to the point where you find your eyes bulging as you get a tad frustrated because you can’t wait to see what comes next. It’s full of suspense, keeping you hanging many times – and then a curve ball comes out of nowhere, in a very almost nonchalant way – it shocks you had some of these things just pop up in a realistic way. Some may find that style hard to digest at first, but once you realize you’re on this wild ride, and you really won’t know what will be thrown at you next, you just dive in to see what happens to the hero and heroine(s) in the story – there may be a few heroines, I can’t decide how I feel! You desperately want Abi to find her daughter, have absolutely no belief/trust that Megan could possibly be her daughter, and then you get happily slammed with something that makes you change your mind, over and over again. It’s great… and when you finally learn all that happened, it’s a brilliant evolution and clearly shows the art of a slow-burning build before the fire pops. Deal has strong skills in this area. The story has a little bit of everything and every genre. It is never boring; a few times, you might wonder where it’s going, but you hang on tightly because you know the author has a plan in mind on how to connect it together. It won’t let you down… to the needle.

Summary 
Mary Deal is an excellent writer, and I am very glad I read this book. I will pick up a copy of her latest novel, The Ka, in the next few months. I enjoy her character development, complex plots, methodical approach to laying out the setting and descriptions, and ability to weave in just enough confusion and red herrings to keep the pages constantly turning. Kudos!

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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365 Challenge: Day 224 – Help (LIST: Artist Support)

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Help: the various ways to support someone who is trying to launch a new product or service (like a book)

Help an Author

Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. Do you know someone who recently launched a new product or service (artist, author/book, greeting cards, editing services… it goes on forever!) but you’re not exactly sure how to best help them? Perhaps you’re not a reader or you don’t have a lot of money to purchase their new book or product. That’s OK! You can still be a critical part of his or her team by supporting them in tons of other ways. Below is a quick LIST of possible ways you can help promote or market, whether it’s a writer, painter, artist, creator, editor, musician… adapt the option to fit the service.

  • Tell your friends, family and colleagues all about the person and their product.
  • Write a review (even a simple one):
    • I’ve learned some interesting things about Amazon from reasonably reliable sources. Amazon doesn’t do anything to highlight your book (or product) until you have at least 20 reviews (good or bad). For instance, they might not start suggesting “if you liked product X, you might like product Y” until you have those reviews, assuming if no one writers a review, why would their marketing automation ever pick it up.
    • They may not showcase your product in certain areas on their page if it’s not getting reviews or purchases. They want to promote products that are already selling, so they start first with those who have a lot of reviews.
  • Ask the author or creator HOW you can help them other than buy the book or product. They might already have ideas but no one to test them out.
  • Join their mailing list and then share those emails with your friends.
  • Re-Blog content. It could be some of the author’s posts, or even book reviews by other readers. Keep the momentum going.
  • Social Media
    • Tweet about the artist or author, the book or share what others in your circles have said about it.
    • Post something on Facebook to interest other people. Perhaps fun quotes or pics that might garner new fans.
    • BookTube your thoughts on the genre or author and let others get familiar with the names.
    • Share the cover or painting on Instagram with different hashtags.
    • Like their posts and pages wherever you can.
  • Check at your local bookstores or galleries to see if they have opportunities to highlight authors and artists.
  • Suggest the book for any book clubs you know.
  • Ask for a copy of the book if you can hold a giveaway with a lot of potential people who might then buy it.
  • Ask the author for a 1-page marketing sheet with all the key details so you can tell others about it and find your own method.
  • If you see a great website or app highlighting or promoting other books and products, tell the author as (s)he may not know about alternative places to market.

 

Share any other ideas you might have! Let this be interactive as it always is on the 365 Daily Challenge. I’ve got the best followers, friends and fans… can’t say enough positive things about all of you who are sharing the love. I just want to spread the news to everyone so they know how to help each other. Thank you to everyone for their advice, support and words. It is much appreciated on all levels.

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

 

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Book Review: Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley

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I read a book from a new genre for me this week: a combination spec fiction with male for male romance and some sci-fi / fantasy elements. It was quite good and I enjoyed both her writing style and her voice. Stay tuned for a profile on the wonderful Lina Langley in a couple of weeks… thought I’d share the review now to give you a heads up and gain interest for Author Alert Fridays! Check out my review below or on Goodreads.

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Book Review
It’s always a gamble when you read a book that might be a bit outside your normal genres, but that wasn’t the case with Lina Langley’s Welcome to Crash. I’ve started reading more in the spec fiction realm, choosing this book based on the cover and a few recommendations from others. I was intrigued by the premise, uncertain how much paranormal, science fiction or fantasy would actually be in it. In the end, that wasn’t the primary point of the story; those elements simply added stronger layers and dimensions to it.

A young guy, Damien, struggles to make a relationship work with his hesitant boyfriend, uncertain if they will end up building something together or splitting apart due to outside circumstances. When he meets a stranger at his job interview, Damien’s thrown off his game, quite smitten, but also confused by John’s style, persona and level of interest. Damien will soon find out as he tries to balance being utterly honest with his boyfriend, Levi, and the growing attraction he has to John.

Just when you think you have it all figured out, the story takes a subtle, then giant, shift away from traditional romance to push you into realizing something different is going on… but readers don’t know at first. Damien suffers from some medical issues, is distant from his family and can’t decide what he wants to do with his life. The book is about his struggle to get through college, become an adult and find love; however, too many forces pull him apart until he has to make a decision about what he really wants for himself and in a potential boyfriend.

This is a psychological book – one where love and desire intermingle with need and reality. Characters are well-drawn; once you know the issues keeping Damien and Levi from truly being together, you recognize why it will be difficult and why Damien looks elsewhere. The writing is direct and clear; dialogue feels realistic and the story keeps you guessing throughout each chapter.
I enjoyed it and will be picking up another of the author’s books to try in the next few weeks.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin