Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writer Wednesday Flash Fiction - Leapling

I’m a “leapling”. I was born on leap day. I got my powers on leap day. I was prophesied to die on leap day. 

Would today be that day? I thought as the children of the night pressed around me. 

I hailed from a family of powerful witches who had control over other supernatural beings. Yeah, we weren’t the most popular lot, until people wanted our help, of course. But my power was the strongest yet, being the prophesied “leapling witch”, and all that. I had the power to make vampires mortal. You’d think that all vampires would hate this particular talent of mine, but you’d be surprised how many came to me seeking to regain their mortality. Still, the majority wanted to see me dead. I have been under special protection all of my life, until I got so fed up with it that I slipped my bodyguards. Hey, sometimes a girl wants to play and be free.

Of course, I wasn’t counting on the biggest vampire clan in the city to find me within an hour of my brilliant escape. And now, the creepy immortals surrounded me on all sides in a dark alley, their silence and slow movement more terrifying than anything else they could have done.

"Nice going", I muttered and squeezed my fists in preparation to raising protective energy.

Before I could raise my hands, a man walked in front of the rest. He was tall and beautiful. I may have been sheltered but I could appreciate a gorgeous male specimen.

“Don’t be afraid, Talia,” he said. “We need your help. Agree to work with us, and we’ll return you safely to your family.”

We stared into each others eyes, and I felt like I was drowning. In a bizarrely pleasant way.

I nodded my agreement. As if I could refuse. No, this will not be the leap day I die.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Here are the rules:

1. Post 2 sentences from the current book you're reading. You can either

a) open the book and share 2 sentences from anywhere on that page or
b) share your favorite 2 senetnces from the book (they have to be in a row)

2. List the page #


3. List the name of the book and the author

"Marcus couldn't reasonably sit on Felix in the car, so he stayed put until Phin returned with enough restraints to bind a raging rhinoceros. The end package wasn't pretty, but everyone seemed satisfied that Felix could neither get loose nor bite anyone on the drive back."

p. 22 (Nook version)

Wrong Side of Dead by Kelly Meding 

Share your teasers in the comments or give a link to your blog if you're running a Teaser Tuesday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World

Yep, it's another Monday and a whole work week ahead...Fear not! There's plenty of wonderful contests and giveaway going on in the Writing World this week to keep you cheerful and looking forward to the rest of the week! Here's a list of some of them.

Twitter Sized Pitch Contest from Tina Moss - win a critique of the first five pages of your ms from Tina Moss and Super Agents Frances Black and Jennifer Mishler of the Literary Counsel (Tina's and my agents!!)

Channeler's Choice Release and Tour Plus Giveaways from the wonderful Heather McCorkle! - Come celebrate Heather's release and check out her blog tour. Enter to win great books! And don't forget to come by my blog for the interview with Heather herself this Thursday, March 1st!

March Madness Agent Contest from Operation Awesome! - If you  have a ready ms, you can't miss this one! This month, they are looking for novels in the following genres: YA contemporary/realistic fiction, YA sci-fi or light fantasy, Adult Literary Fiction, Magical realism, Dark Mystery and Literary Horror. The prize is a full manuscript request! You can't beat that.

3000 Thank yous & Giveaway from The Bookshelf Muse! - This unbelievable writer resources blog is celebrating reaching 3000 followers, and the giveaway include many great prizes, so don't miss out!

Sins of the Son (Grigory Legacy #2) by Linda Poitevin Giveaway by Goodreads!

Birthday & Blogoversary Giveaway by Kristina Ebert - check it out and congratulate the author!

More great Giveaways and Contests to come next week!

Have fun and good luck!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Art & History Feature - Pictures of Archeological Sites

Today, I thought I'd post a few great photos of archeological sites around the world. Enjoy!

Mayan Temple at Palenque, Mexico   

Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simel   

Delfi Archeological Site in Greece

Herodion Temple and Fortress in Israel

 "Caucasian Stonehenge"in Kislovodsk, Russia (Bronze Age)

Excavation Site

Excavation Site

And here's a meme that an archeologist friend posted. As archeology almost became my major in college, I found this to be pretty exact :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Writer Wednesday Flash Fiction - First Writer Campaign Challenge and Guest Announcement

Today I won't be able to bring you a new flash fiction but please visit the flash fiction post I wrote on Monday for the First Writer Campaign Challenge. You can find the post here. Please vote for the entry if you liked it (you'll find the link to the voting page within that post).

On another note, I'm very excited to announce that the amazing Heather McCorkle will be stopping by for an interview next Thursday, March 1st - just one of the stops on her Channeler's Choice tour! 
Don't forget to visit and read the interview!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Here are the rules:

1. Post 2 sentences from the current book you're reading. You can either

a) open the book and share 2 sentences from anywhere on that page or
b) share your favorite 2 senetnces from the book (they have to be in a row)

2. List the page #


3. List the name of the book and the author

"I didn't even need to glance back to know that he'd stepped behind me. The rising chill along my spine was indication enough. Ethan Sullivan, Master of Cadogan House, the vampire who'd added me to its ranks."

p. 15 (Nook version)

Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill (4th book in the Chicagoland Vampires Series).

Share your teasers in the comments or give a link to your blog if you're running a Teaser Tuesday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Writer Campaign Challenge

I'm participating in the 1st Campaigner Challenge. The assignment is as follows:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count) (done)
  • include the word "orange" in the story  (done)                       
  • write in the same genre you normally write (done - normally I write urban fanasy and paranormal romance)
  • make your story 200 words exactly! (done)

The shadows crept across the wall as the orange disk of the sun dipped below the horizon. Soon the silver disk of the full moon would replace it and my world would change forever. I chose this. My heart drummed wildly in my chest as the exhilaration of what was to come sank into every cell of my fragile body. Standing on the balcony, I inhaled the salty air.
“It’s time,” Paul said quietly.
I nodded and he led me to an empty room, save for thin silver chains on the wall. Gently, like a lover, he shackled my hands and feet.
“If everything goes well, you won’t need these after tonight.” Unspoken remained what would happen if it did not go well. I didn’t care.
He sat on the floor by the wall opposite me and we waited.
The change came swift and sharp like a knife. My bones turned to liquid heat and I screamed. Minutes passed in welcome agony. Then it was over.
He knelt next to me. “You did it. You’re free.”
I smiled and laid down, my head resting on my paws. I was not dying. Now I could rest. For awhile, everything faded.

Let me know what you think. It was hard cutting down to bring it to 200 words :) I'm #36 on the list if you'd like to vote for me.

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the "Celebrating 100th Blog Post" Giveaway is...

 Mike Dachuk

Mike, congratulations! You will be receiving an email from me with the details.

Thank you all for participating!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Art & History Feature - Sofonisba Anguissola

When we think of great artists of Renaissance, we usually turn to names such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, Holbein and others of such calibre. Unfortunately, not many know of famous women artists of the era. One of these is Sofonisba Anguissola.

Sofonisba Anguissola Self Portrait

Sofonisba was born in 1532 in Lombardia. She had five sisters and one brother. Her parents, Amilcare Anguissola and Bianca Ponzone were minor nobility. Four of Sofoniba's sisters became painters. Amilcare encouraged his children to pursue their interests and develop their talents. All of the children were well educated and a few of the sisters, including Sofonisba, were apprenticed to fairly famous artists of the area.

Family Portrait

In 1544 Sofonisba went to Rome to continue her art education. While there, she was introduced to Michelangelo. The great artist recognized her talent and she got informal training and advice from him for the next two years.

Because she was a woman, Sofonisba did not have the same privileges or had the same opportunities as the male artists of her time. For example, as a woman she was not allowed to draw from life nudes, which inhibited full understanding of the human anatomy. She concentrated on portraits, especially portraits of her family and of herself.

Portrait of the artist's mother

After painting the Duke of Milan in 1558, she was recommended to the Spanish court. She was 27 when she became the Spanish court painter and lady in waiting to the Spanish Queen, Elizabeth of Valois. Elizabeth took special interest in Sofonisba and they became close companions. In 1571, after the death of Elizabeth and following special wishes of king Phillip II, who paid her dowry, she married Don Francisco de Moncada. Her husband was supportive of her artistic life. They moved to Palermo but Don Francisco died in 1579. The next year, Sofonisba married a much younger captain, Orazio Lomellino. They moved to Genoa, where they happily lived for many years. Again, her second husband supported her art.

Queen Elizabeth of Valois, Spanish Queen

Another famous artist, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, visited her in her later years and recorded her advice to him on painting. He also noted that her sight was weakening. With her sight failing, Sofonisba was forced to give up painting but became a generous patron of arts. She died in 1625, at the age of 93, in Palermo. A few years later, her husband added the following inscription on her tomb: ""To Sofonisba, my wife ... who is recorded among the illustrious women of the world, outstanding in portraying the images of man ... Orazio Lomellino, in sorrow for the loss of his great love, in 1632, dedicated this little tribute to such a great woman."

Sofonisba Anuissola Self-Portrait in later years
  "“Life is full of surprises, I try to capture these precious moments with wide eyes.”
                                                                                       ~Sofonisba Anguissola

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is Flash Fiction?

Today, instead of posting a flash fiction story, I wanted to talk about what flash fiction is and what are its rules.

Flash fiction is a style of fiction writing which is identified by its brevity. Beyond the agreement that flash fiction is shorter than a short story, there's no consistency on its length. It can be anywhere from 150-200 words to over a thousand, although mostly it's under one thousand.

I like to find my own prompts - whether a picture or an idea that inspires me. However, there are a lot of pre-made prompts on-line that writers can use to inspire their flash fiction. A few of the ones that I like are:

Flash Fiction Net - gives you a list of various sites with all kinds of interesting prompts
Flash Fiction 365 - A list of prompts, as well as links to the flash fiction submissions written using those prompts
Flash Fiction - provides a new prompt every 15 days and also lets you read the submissions

There are not many rules for writing flash fiction. There are a few sub-groups of flash fiction that require an exact amount of words, as well as particular parameters to the story. For example, nanofiction is exactly 55 word and has to contain an understandable plot and at least one character. Drabble has to be exactly 100 words.

Many writers, including myself, prefer to write flash fiction that contains some type of a twist at the end. Since one has only a very short amount of words in which to tell a certain story, as in the art of short story telling, it is imperative to only include action and facts imperative to the essence of the flash.  There's no time to develop characters or do too much of scene setting. You want to keep the readers guessing for the duration of the story about what this is all about. Until you hit them with the punchline - the twist.

Keep in mind that in flash fiction, even the title should have meaning and pack a punch. It should be part of the story.

A few questions:

Have you ever written flash fiction?
Do you like to write flash fiction? Do you find it a useful exercise for your other writing?
What advice would you give to those just starting out in flash fiction writing?
What was your favorite flash fiction prompt?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day to Everyone!

Say "I Love You" to someone today - your significant other, your friend, your family members...Brighten their day with a smile and a hug.

And of course, a special shout-out to my wonderful, incredibly supportive hubby, who has a heart of gold, Tommy!
I love you honey!

Teaser Tuesday

Here are the rules:

1. Post 2 sentences from the current book you're reading. You can either

a) open the book and share 2 sentences from anywhere on that page or
b) share your favorite 2 senetnces from the book (they have to be in a row)

2. List the page #


3. List the name of the book and the author

"If I told him I believed it was a deliberate attempt to poison me, he would either take more care the next time - if he was behind it all - or demand to know why I believed someone wished to poison me. That was a question I did not wish to answer."

p. 121

The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas

Share your teasers in the comments or give a link to your blog if you're running a Teaser Tuesday.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Answers to 11 random Question About Me

Thanks to Rachel Morgan for tagging me to answer these great questions as part of the Writer Campaign. I'm having so much fun meeting the writers participating in this campaign!

1. Describe yourself in one word.
Hmm...That's a tough one. The first thing that came to mind was crazy. But I'll go with "adventurous".

2. What was your favourite book as a child?
A beautiful illustrated book of fairy tales (they were in Russian but I belive they were by the French Charles Perrault).

3. eBooks or paper books?
Another toughie. I love the feel of paper books, but I  have switched to mostly ebooks mostly to save space. Now I'm hooked on them. But occasionally I still love to pick up a paper book.

4. If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I would be more extroverted in high school and college. I didn't learn to be more extroverted until I finished college and it gave me more self-confidence in myself.

5. What song is currently stuck in your head?
Adele's Fire to the Rain

6. What fictional character do you most resemble?
I've been told I resemble Baby from Dirty Dancing as far as my appearance lol
As far as my personality, I think Margarita from Master and Margarita - she wasn't afraid to take risks, become a witch and do anything to save her love Master :)

7. If you could have any super power, what would you choose?
Reading minds. But not all the time. I would want to switch it on and off as I need. Also, I would love to be a shifter.

8. What is your favourite quote?
I'm a big quote person, and have lots of quotes that I love. I'll give you three here:

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." ~Mahatma Gandhi

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. ~Mark Twain

Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it's price. ~Sun Tzu

9. Are you a full-time writer or do you have some other day job?
As much as I would love to be a full-time writer, I do have a day job as well. I work with a database in a large university. I also teach the women's classes at my hubby's dojo (karate school) three times a week.

10. Which book would you pick up first: awesome cover or super cool title?
Awesome cover. I know, I know...but hey, that's the first thing that attracts us :)

11. Cream or ice-cream?
Ice-cream. Vanilla.

If you'd like to read 7 random facts about me, you can find them here.

Now here are my 11 questions followed by the writers I tagged:

1. If you could only go visit one place in the world, where would you go?
2. Do you think you're more of an introvert or an extrovert?
3. Do you prefer to be cold or hot (if there's no in between).
4. If you have to give a lecture on a topic of your choice, what would it be?
5. Rock climbing or sky diving?
6. Would you ever consider writing a memoir?
7. If you could go back in time and talk to one person from the past, who would it be?
8. If you could turn into one animal, what animal would it be?
9. What is your dream job?
10. What are your two favorite shows on TV right now?
11. What is your favorite mythological creature?

*I checked a few of those who were tagged and posted their own questions, and I tried not to duplicate their tags, but in case you were doubled tagged, please feel free to just add these to the other ones and combine in one post if you'd still like to answer these questions.  :)

A. E. Martin
Tina Moss
Heather McCorkle
Stephany Simmons
Julia King
Patricia Marques
Elise Fallson
Jessica Therrien
Anstice Potts
Natasha Hanova

Can't wait to read your answers. Go forth and tag :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Art & History Feature - Golda Meir

                                                    Golda Meir - The Original "Iron Lady"

To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man
Golda Meir

One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present
Golda Meir

Golda Meir was the fourth Prime Minister of Israel and the first woman elected to the post there. In fact, she was only the third woman in the world to be elected a Prime Minister.

Golda was born in 1898 in a Kiev, the present day capital of Ukraine. She was one of eight children, five of whom died in childhood. She remained close to her two surviving sisters, Sheyna and Tzipke for the rest of her life.

One of Golda's earliest memories as a child was her father getting the house ready to be protected from a "pogrom". Pogrom's were violent mob attacks, usually directed towards Jews in 19th and 20th centuries all over Russia and Ukraine. During these, Jews were often beaten, their property stolen or destroyed, their houses vandalized.

In 1906 Golda moved with her mother and two sisters to join their father in the United States. They ran a small grocery store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While attending school in Milwaukee, Golda exhibited the first signs of leadership when she formed American Young Sisters Society and organized fundraisers to help some of her classmates pay for textbooks.

When Golda's mother wanted her to stop going to school and marry, Golda rebelled against the idea and went to live with her older sister Sheyna. Sheyna and her husband often held intellectual gatherings in their apartment. There, Golda became exposed to the ideas of Zionism, women's rights and unions. Upon her return to Milwaukee, she graduated from high school and because an activist in the Labor Zionist youth movement.

Golda Meir with John F. Kennedy

Golda taught at a Yiddish speaking school from 1917 until 1921. Also, in 1917 she got married to Morris Meyerson. In 1921 they went to live in Palestine and joined a kibutz - a farming collective community on which early Israel was built. They lived there for the next three years, after which they settled in Jerusalem, where they had two children, a boy and a girl. Golda continued to be an activist, and was elected secretary of Working Women's Council (Moetzet HaPoalot) Golda went to US for two years as an emissary and took her children. Her husband stayed behind. Although never divorced, they were never again close, until his death in 1951.

When she came back from America, Golda quickly continued to rise in ranks of the Executive Committee of the Histradut. In 1948, Golda was one of the 24 to sign Israeli Declaration of Independence. In the next years, she was an ambassador to the Soviet Union, a Labour Minister and a Foreign Minister. Golda was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969 and served as such until her resignation in 1974.

She was knows as a strong leader. Outraged by the lack of global support and help during the Munich Olympics incident, when the Israeli athletes were taken as hostages and massacred by Muslim extremists, she ordered the Israeli Massad to hunt down an assassinate those who were part of the massacre.

Golda Meir died of cancer in 1978. During her lifetime, she received the Israel Prize and awarded the honor of World Mother by American Mothers, Inc. She was also called "the Iron Lady" years before Margaret Thatcher was called that.

 Quotes by Golda Meir:

A leader who doesn't hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.
We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than than they hate us.

Those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart, don't know how to laugh either.
Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writer Wednesday Flash Fiction - The Reunion

Sweat covered my body as I looked around. The unforgivable sun beat down on my head and made the next breath feel scorching inside my nose and mouth. How will this meeting go? That was the only question on my mind. My steps fell on the faded dry grassland. I’ve given years of my life to them. Will they know me? Or will they attack?
Something moved in my peripheral view, in the shadow of the lonely tree. Or someone, perhaps.
“Maybe we should go,” Lilly whispered at my side. I put a calming hand on her shoulder and smiled.
“You can’t show them fear, Lilly,” I told her. “You have to trust.”
I couldn’t blame her for being nervous. After all, she hasn’t been doing this as long as I have. Then again, I didn’t know if that would matter much in the long run. Maybe I was nuts to seek them out. But I had to. This was the culmination of so many dreams and hopes.
If they don’t recognize me, they might kill me. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought Lilly along. But she was so excited to be out here with me.
“I need to see this,” she told me.
Another noise had us jump and look around. My breath caught. There they were, coming towards us. This was the moment of truth.
They stopped and sniffed the air. I felt Lilly squeeze my hand. Then they started running, racing towards us. This is it.
The two lionesses that I raised as cubs approached fast. I stood my ground. When they came nearer, they both roared and ran into my arms. They hugged me and licked my face like puppies who haven’t seen their owner for the whole day. These magnificent animals remembered me, and the culmination of my work was just as I imagined it. Tears slid down my face, mingling with laughter, as Lilly recorded our reunion.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm a Platform-Building Campaigner

Whoo, 3rd post of the day - that's a first...

I'm excited to announce that I joined the Platform-Building Campaign (thank you to Tina Moss for letting me know about it). This will be my first time participating. The Campaign is such a wonderful chance to meet new writers, discover new blogs and help build my own platform! I'm looking forward to connecting with all those who are participating.

Celebrating 100th Blog Post!

I have passed my blog's one-year anniversary awhile ago. However, since the beginning of my blogging journey wasn't as active as the last half a year, it was more important to me to celebrate my 100th blog post. And it happened today!!

To celebrate, I'm doing  a Giveaway for a $20 on-line gift certificate to or B& This is my thank you to all you amazing wonderful and gracious readers who inspire me every day to keep blogging and hopefully bring a little inspiration to everyone who comes by the blog.


Please look below for the Giveaway rules and how you can gain more points. Winner will be announced Monday, February 20th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Teaser Tuesday - 100th blog post!

Here are the rules:

1. Post 2 sentences from the current book you're reading. You can either

a) open the book and share 2 sentences from anywhere on that page or
b) share your favorite 2 senetnces from the book (they have to be in a row)

2. List the page #


3. List the name of the book and the author

"When she thought of George she would feel recklessness stealing over her, and the determination to live dangerously rather than live without adventure."

p. 152

Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy

Share your teasers in the comments or give a link to your blog if you're running a Teaser Tuesday.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Writer Quotes on Writing

Here's another set of great and inspiring quotes. They all come from writers and are about writing. Enjoy!
*Apologies for the formatting - I've re-formatted about 5 times but Blogger is determined to give me problems today.

On Writing Techniques and Methods:

"The story...must be a conflict, and specifically, a conflict between the forces of good and evil within a single person."
       ~ Maxell Anderson
"First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!"
       ~ Ray Bradbury

"Make everyobyd fall out of the plane first, and then explain who they were and why they were in the plane to begin with."
       ~ Nancy Ann Dibble

"My own experience is that once a story has bee written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying."
       ~ Anton Chekhov

"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer."
       ~Karl Kraus

On Motivation to Get Words on the Blank Page:

"Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer."
       ~ Ray Bradbury 

"It is perfectly okay to write barbage - as long as you edit brilliantly."

       ~C J Cherryh

"Get it down. Take chanes. Ia may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good."
      ~William Faulkner

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
       ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. "
        ~Vladimir Nabakov

The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home.
         ~ John Campbell

'You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair - the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart.  You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names.  You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world.  Come to it any way but lightly.  Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.'
          ~ Stephen King

Other Quotes On Writing:

There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.
       ~Brian Adliss 

"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them."
       ~Isaac Asimov 

" If the artist does not fling himself, without reflecting, into his work, as Curtis flung himself into the yawning gulf, as the soldier flings himself into the enemy's trenches, and if, once in this crater, he does not work like a miner on whom the walls of his gallery have fallen in; if he contemplates difficulties instead of overcoming them one by one...he is simply looking on at the suicide of his own talent."

       ~Honore de Balzac

"Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths: that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you. If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego."
       ~ David Brin

"If you have other things in your life -- family, friends, good productive day work -- these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer."

      ~ David Brin


"I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly."
       ~ Edge Rice Burroughs

"I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within."
       ~Gustave Flaubert


Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Art & History Feature - Karl Bryullov

Today, I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite Russian artists - Karl Bryullov.

Briullov's Self Portrait
 Karl Bryullov was born in 1799 in St. Petersburg. His father was an engraver and woodcarver Pavel Briullo. Karl studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts, but he had difficulty embracing the classical style of painting that was taught at the Academy and was influential on his artist brother Alexander. Despite that, Karl was able to distinguish himself among his peers.

From the early years of his life, Bryullov was attracted to Italy, a magnetic pull he felt throughout his life, and upon finishing his education at the Academy, he left for Rome, where he worked as mainly as a portraitist. Later on, he began painting massive and epic historical paintings that brought him fame during his lifetime. His most famous historical masterpiece is The Last Day of Pompeii, painted between 1830 and 1833. Once he gained fame as a great painter in Europe, he returned to Russia, eventually attaining a high position at the Imperial Academy of Arts from which he graduated. When his health started deteriorating, he came back to Italy and died there three years later, in June of 1852.

The Last Day of Pompeii
 While in Italy, Bryullov started a relationship with the beautiful Russian aristocrat Countess Yu.Samoilova, who was separated from her husband but not allowed to divorce under the Church laws.  Thus, Bryullov and Samoilova were never able to get married and she remained his mistress for the rest of their life. Samoilova was featured prominently in much of Bryullov's work.

Countess Yulia Samoilova Retiring From Ball

Bryullov's combination of classical themes, romanticism style and dramatic renditions make his work truly unforgettable.

Italian Noon    

Turkish Girl

Svetlana Guessing on Her Future
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