Category Archives: My inspirations

Things that inspire my creativity.

Vampire Loyalty

I have been watching Vampire Diaries season one this week, I have just finished episode fourteen and I have to say, I am a little disappointed with the lack of vampire loyalty in the plot.  Vampires seem to kill more vampires than they do people in this show and I have to ask, what is that all about?  From what I know of vampires if they are not solitary creatures they are pack animals and I think that the writers here had a hard time trying to decide which type of vampire they wanted to write about.  It is like they cannot decide whether they want a solitary vampire, a vampire twosome that has run away from the pack, or a pack style vampire story.

That’s my observation so far with the series.

Another observation is this, when are we going to get a TV series that concentrates purely on vampires rather than mortal/vampire romances and also throwing in werewolves, witches and other things into the equation too?  When is this going to happen?  When are we going to get a TV series where vampires have vampire relationships and there are no other supernatural beings but them?

I am waiting on that…

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Fantasy Art & Gnomevember

Gnomevember is something I found whilst using WordPress reader and looking for the tag “Fantasy” as I love to do every day.  I am really glad I found it and I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t think it should be just an artist thing – I think it should also be used for writers as well, write a gnome story for Gnomevember, but of course, because I am both an artist and writer, I shall be trying to do them both throughout the month, if I have time along with NaNoWriMo.

I also learned that there are other months too, MerMay, Junicorn, Smaugust and Orctober. 

Now you’re probably wondering what are you talking about?

Well, where I found all these delightful things, simple, here https://rachelillustrates.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/gnomevember/ Gnomevember aims to get fantasy artists concentrating on gnomes throughout the whole of the November month, a gnome a day.

MerMay simply concentrates on mermaids and mermen.

Junicorn obviously concentrates on unicorns and so on.

It’s all in the spirit of Inktober and NaNoWriMo creative kick up the backsides.  It’s to get you doing something every day, working as a team to motivate each other, which helps not only to increase your creative social circle, but helps make you more productive, more regularly and get you into doing some of your art each day.  I think it’s wonderful and we should invent something for every month of the year, as we all, even professional artists and writers feel very sluggish sometimes.

I think there should be a Dracember (a dragon a day month for December).

I also think it would be cool to do one off days, not whole months.  Perhaps Howlaween, making sure you create a werewolf or a wolf for Halloween, either as a story or a piece of art?

Anyway, get visiting Rachel’s website, the link can be found above and get stuck into Gnomevember.

 

 

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Anne Stokes Aracnafaria

Anne Stokes is one of my favourite Gothic artists; if I had money I would try and decorate my house with more of her work.  As a Christmas present in 2012 my nephew Carl and his daughters gave me a 1000 piece puzzle of Aracnafaria, one of Anne Stokes masterpieces.  I finished the puzzle in just 10 days.   I am so proud of it, it’s still wrapped in cling film around a board that I had intended to use as a backboard in order to eventually frame it, but I have never got around to doing that and it’s stored on the top of my wardrobe.

As an artist I aspire to do work as great as Anne Stokes, however, in my own opinion it’s just an airheaded dream, because I am nowhere as good as Anne Stokes and I specialise mostly in what I think are cartoon dragons and animals.

 anne-stokes-spiders-1

 

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Music & Art October 2016

I cannot work in silence when I am writing; I need music all the time.  For me, silence can be painful and headache inducing, as much as having television on in the background is also another disturbance and headache waiting to happen.

There are only two times when silence suits me without invoking a headache; when I am walking in nature, woodlands, pathways next to canals and fields etc., or being driven somewhere by car.  I dislike conversations in cars, I don’t like talking, and I like to zone out and forget I am in the car because I tend to feel sick when I acknowledge I am in a car.  I can imagine other places quite easily when I am not spoken to and in a car, this therefore makes it difficult for my body to realise it should be sick.  I also cannot read in a moving car, but I am perfectly relaxed at reading on trains and in busy cafes.

Travelling on buses and in cars makes me tired as well as daydreamy and any more than an hour in either and I am asleep, unless I am very tired or woke up early on the day, I tend not to sleep on trains, I love trains, I have a passion for them which has certainly rubbed off on my son Henry.

We take regular trips on trains just because; we are trying to get into a habit of going on the Severn Trent valley steam railway every couple of months.  I like to look at the scenery around there, the river Severn is the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen, which doesn’t say much because I’ve only ever seen three rivers personally up close.

Music therefore is a very important tool for my writing.  I like listening to instrumental music mostly, such as that found from Nox Arcana, Apocalyptica, classical music, but sometimes I will listen to lyrical music from all styles and eras, such as Patsy Cline’s Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Round, Movie Soundtracks, Kesha and many others. 

If it weren’t for music I don’t think I could be as emotional in my writing as I am with it. 

When I was little I had no imagination, seriously.  I didn’t find my imagination until I was around 9yrs old, I remember teachers from the couple of schools I was allowed to go to complaining that my stories were too realistic and that I lacked imagination.  I was browbeaten by them to develop an imagination and my mum helped with that – by the time she was finished with me my life was destined to be a writer from the age of 11.  It was decided for me and I have to admit I fell into it.

I am not saying for one moment that I don’t enjoy writing, I do.  But a writer’s life was chosen for me, not something I found I wanted, it was literally thrusted upon me.

When I look back through my therapy and my creative recoveries, I have noticed that when I was a child I had planned to be a mother or a teacher and that I had a huge interest in art and fashion.  I had quite vain thoughts as a child, but all of this was discouraged out of me and by the time I was 16 I had forgotten the art life I had wanted for myself and writing took its place.  I know writing is an art form in itself, but I meant painting, sculpture etc., all those other art forms were discouraged simply because my talent lies in writing, not drawing my mum often told me.

I was thrilled when my cousin Shane bought me oil paints for Christmas one year, my mum dreaded it and didn’t encourage me to continue, despite the good painting I did of some obscure Aztec ancient god.  My dad was proud of it, but she looked at it as an expensive past time that she wasn’t looking forward to smelling.

Since living with Paul, he believes I have talents in both but my main skill is writing simply because I don’t practise art enough.  In fact he is right, because I practise less than two hours a time approximately once every couple of months.  Whereas writing, I am practising almost every day for over an hour.

A lot of the time I just draw with pencils or a biro and never colour it in.  When I do really good drawings I am scared to paint them, because I tend to ruin good sketches with painting them wrong.  I have done excellent work that was ruined by paint.  A large African elephant in the Sahara, when painted, all the excellent detail was destroyed and it became cartoonlike, yet it was coloured in with watercolours, watercolour is my main medium. 

I do chalk pastel art too, but again, I am frightened to preserve it, as I tend to over spray and my work is literally washed away.

I am self-taught in both art and writing. 

Music is vital for me to work, this is the primary reason why I can’t work when my son is awake or at home, his noises drown out my music a lot.  He also wants the TV on all the time and that drowns out the music too.  Unlike most writers and artists I don’t like isolating myself in a room alone, I like to be around people, particularly people who respect music and respect the fact that I am working – a child can never do those things, they don’t understand; So, reluctantly I have to work around him and this is something I am dreading when I become professionally published – my time then has to work around the editors I am appeasing and for me, that’s going to be a nightmare.

 

 

 

 

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Loyalty, Vampires and Passion

I adore vampires, I am not sure if I’ve ever made that clear on here before (grins knowingly) and I’ve been thinking about them a lot today. I’ve been thinking about my favourite vampires, Judas Iscariot from Dracula 2000, John Carpenters VAMPIRES, Interview with the vampire and Daughter of Darkness to name but a few.
I love the culture surrounding vampires and everything Gothic, from the strange music options, to the fashion, the architecture and the darkness of it all, to the sheer sinfulness of loving it.
I love the strangest things and the strangest things inspire me to write and paint.
The strange haunting sounds of the music from Nox Arcana in their album Transylvania = visitors in the night, to their album shadow of the raven = the black cat wails and cries of a demon cat and the semi-Gregorian chants throughout all their albums.
I love the tribal belly dance scene, the gothic belly dancers from tribal fusion, I collect the DVDs regularly, I am a particular fan of Rachel Brice – to me, all of this just oozes vampire.
As a former belly dancer myself (not professionally) I am saddened that I didn’t learn about the tribal fusion style dancers until 2yrs after I gave up the dances, if I had known beforehand I think I would have sought them out and have become professional. I adore the dances and I would love someday to have a daughter who has the same interests in it as I do.
Unlike a lot of traditionalists, I don’t see belly dance as a thing solely for women, there is a form of belly dance for men! In fact it was traditional for both sexes to belly dance right up until the Persian Empire was created, then it was almost eradicated entirely for a practise for men and became a very sexualised dance solely for women by the Persian conquerors. The dance is debated to have originally come from the eastern side of Greece, near Salonica.
There is a dancer known as Prince Andrew which practises the masculine form, by belly dancing with a sword balanced on his naked waist and hips and balanced on his head. I find it very sexy, a very sensual dance. He looks almost like a character from Sinbad and the eye of the tiger; though his style is considered to be indo belly dance, a kind of traditional Indian style.
Here are a couple of videos with Prince Andrew dancing.
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?

q=male+belly+dancer+prince&&view=detail&mid=3920BBFA2116361685563920BBFA211636168556&rvsmid=D607C79DEB3A3D2D04ACD607C79DEB3A3D2D04AC&fsscr=0&FORM=VDFSRV
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?

q=male+belly+dancer+prince&&view=detail&mid=D607C79DEB3A3D2D04ACD607C79DEB3A3D2D04AC&rvsmid=D607C79DEB3A3D2D04ACD607C79DEB3A3D2D04AC&fsscr=0&FORM=VDFSRV

Masculine belly dance is starting to become popularised once again, there are more and more male dancers taking to the scene which I find rather exciting.
Another form of dance I like and think is very Gothic, is fire dancing.
I think vampires are very passionate beings, they put their heart and their soul into everything they do, they surround themselves with beautiful things, things they love, because eternity is a long time if you are around things you dislike or things that do not give you pleasure.
I think because they have eternity on their hands, they go out of their way to surround themselves with things that make them happy, collections from the past and even collecting newly sired people to be around them, of the nature that they like and connect with or that feel familiar to them. This is what I think happened to Lestat in Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles. I think Lestat was very nostalgic and may have seen something in Louis that attracted him to sire him, because he reminded him of someone he knew in his mortal life. Whether or not the relationship was compatible it didn’t matter to Lestat, he wanted familiarity and companionship and for a while he got it from Louis.
I feel very sad for Lestat, he seemed very alone. I think he and I would have got along very well together if he were real. I certainly would never leave his side; I am loyal to a fault with anyone I think is akin to me – not so loyal to those who are not akin to me however; being akin means more to me than being simply blood related, it is how our very essences match each other, how we connect, do we click? If not, then the relationship will be very short lived.
I consider myself to be a very passionate person. I am passionate about everything that I do and I seldom do anything that I am not passionate about. If I find it boring, I won’t do it, I will delegate – which is what I do even for my online games. I delegate the boring parts of the game to Paul, feeding my pets for example or setting them up for adoption for me. Some people call it being lazy; I call it, living my life to the fullest, and why not? Mortal lives are short anyway, there is no vampire going to sire me in this world. More is the pity.
That’s why I envelop myself with vampire mythology, vampire movies, haunting music, music boxes, pictures of wolves, bats and gothic castles around the house, thick wine coloured velvet curtains in the living room, old roses in the front garden with lilac and irises. Royal purple walls in the bedroom with a black carpet and red bedding. But not everything about my house is wonderfully gothic; unfortunately, there are a lot of places I need to decorate in order to eradicate the cold ice white walls my mother painted in most of the rooms downstairs. The brown sofa is a far cry from what I think is perfect, but it will do for the time being.
I have owl ornaments everywhere, a box filled with raven feathers, a raven feather silver necklace I wear on very special occasions. I miss the tiger’s eye ring my ex stole from me and the wolf fleece blanket with the midnight blue sky and full moon another ex-took from me. Yes I know, they are just things, but they were mine and I loved them. Especially the ring, that was special – my dad seldom could afford to give me anything with the money my mum would allow him, so anything he gave me was more precious than life’s blood, he gave me that ring, my ex stole it and that hurts.
It wasn’t all that particular ex stole, he stole an heirloom, the ring was an heirloom, he also stole my savings and unbeknownst to my mother at the time I had savings of £12,000 and when he dumped me I had less than £500 left.
It is this ex that made me dominant. After he hurt me and abused me in more ways than one, I became bitter against men in general for about six years, the boyfriends I had before Paul, were all submissive in the BDSM scene. Paul however wasn’t, but he wasn’t prepared to take me as a submissive, he reckoned he saw the true nature of me that was hidden because of abuse. I must admit that I had a lot of my gumption beaten out of me over the years before I met Paul. Since living with Paul the tolerance for other people negative behaviours towards me are at a minimum, boy have I got feisty since meeting Paul and he thinks this is a good thing.
I have a very low tolerance for anyone destroying my peace, destroying what I have accomplished since disowning my mother three years ago, I have a very short fuse for anything that upsets me. Learn what I like, learn my boundaries and we can be very good friends, solid in fact.
I have no qualms telling people that I demand a lot, I demand attention and the best, I demand love, I demand to be considered precious and above all, I demand loyalty not only for me, but my chosen family.
I consider my family as a pack, a clan, a tribe – very similar to how people view vampires, they have their little nest of individuals that stick together, I consider myself and the members of my house to be like this… a solid loyal unit.
I crave a large pack, whether fashioned together with a few like-minded friends or having children and teaching them loyalty and supportiveness of each other.
This is one the most unforgiving things I cannot stand about my mother. The bridges she burned when the family needed her the most, she’s a quitter. I’ve never been a quitter, but thanks to the bridges she burned not a lot of family wants to talk with me anymore, except for my father’s side of the family. They associate me as her little goon, because I was never allowed to leave her side right up until I was 27yrs old, I went everywhere with her, even missing school for home education to be with her, because she demanded it. As far as many relatives and friends were concerned I and my mother seemed close, too close, unnaturally close, so many believed we held the same values. In fact we’re total opposites.
My heart breaks day in and day out because of the family isolation I’ve endured because of her. When granddad was alive, I would be in regular contact of so many relatives, I was socialising at the weekends with the grandchildren of his cousins! Now that’s extensive family for you, what’s more is I was lucky enough as a child to have this happen on both sides of the family. My father’s side of the family are in regular contact with my grandmother’s siblings grandchildren! But again, because my mother isolates herself, she has therefore isolated me and my father from both sides of the family over the years.
I went from having approximately 15 to 20 visitors a week at the house, all different, all relatives, and having up to 18 people visit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Evening, to getting a visitor once a fortnight, the same one or two people and then only 6 for Christmas dinner, then down to just 5 for Christmas dinner and a visit from my brother and his girlfriend once a month.
I have a void that has not been filled since.
This is why I am in the scene, not the Gothic scene, but the BDSM scene. This is why I am so open-minded about open-relationships, I crave a large family and if I can’t make one through having children, then I intend to grow a large network and I think it is very unfair for anyone to try and deny me that.
I love vampires as they are eternally loyal and passionate.

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Vlad Dracula III

Since the 2nd January I have been slowly reading a history book with a fine comb called “Dracula, Prince of many faces; his life and his times”. I am reading this because I have never sat down at length and read an autobiography of the real legendary hero of Romania outside of short documentaries, articles and mentions in other history books.
So, because a lot of the things I knew about Vlad Dracula before I read this book seem to come from so many other sources, I feel that they are perhaps more accurate than this book. I know you probably think I am wrong to state that because the person who wrote the book was a historian, though I dispute it nonetheless; on the ground that according to my research the Florescu family were well known to be enemies of the Dracula’s and this book was no less written by Radu Florescu, possibly a descendant from those enemies.
I found the historian to be a sympathiser of the Turks and the Ottoman empire despite his apparent heritage; he also doesn’t view Dracula in the same light as other historians and other sources that I have read and he seems to have altered certain facts of major events within his life to make Dracula come across as an unstable tyrant who was unpopular from the start; quite the contrary to the fact. OK, I grant you it is tyrannical to go around killing people in the manner that he did, but by and large he is a much loved hero in Romanian culture, not something a lot of tyrants can proclaim.
So, it makes me wonder, if a lot of Romanians hold Dracula up in a favourable light, whether or not Dracula was as bad as this historian claims he was?
Obviously taking his executions into account they were evil and sadistic, but then again the same could be said for a lot of other cultures in the world at those times. He especially learned his techniques in every manner from the decade or so he was held prisoner and educated by the Turks themselves, so, he is as he was nurtured and the Turks certainly did nurture him ultimately for their own gain. They wanted money, horses, food and a certain amount of young boys integrated into the Ottoman empire to form part of their expanding armies as a sort of security against any Wallachian response and allowed Dracula to govern Wallachia for them, something of which didn’t last long once Vlad Dracula established himself back on his home soil; Dracula rightfully denied the payment and tried to juggle diplomacy between the Turks and the Hungarians for a long time, though eventually it was decided that the Turks were taking too much advantage of their supposed alliance and Dracula dealt with them promptly and harshly as would any other good ruler of the times.
The attack on German immigrants however, is a new thing that I’ve learned about him from this book. Because it is the first I have heard of these events, I cannot dispute it as a legitimate fact.
Many of the things I have learned about Vlad Dracula have made me feel in awe of his cleverness in these very tricky treaties and wars. He was very canny and wasn’t easily duped.
His reactions against the Turks taking possession of his land was by poisoning everything valuable such as wells and damaging his own crops and livestock; he also built dams to mire the edges of the Danube to protect his people from the canon fire from the Turks and then ensuring that his own people moved to safer places away from the invaders leading up to the famous “night of attack” was a very admirable feat, and showed how benevolent he was towards his people despite claims from German sources; He was also incredibly lucky, as six years before this event he was in a war where only 8000 Romanian peasants armed with only pitchforks and scythes, ousted 24000 Turkish professional troops, how he mustered that I have no idea, but to me it shows me how great he actually was, I am very taken by the history of this great and unappreciated man!
I am not taking for granted that things within this book are fact – due to the other sources I’ve learned from. I cannot vouch for whom or where those other sources came from, but I do know one of them was about the legend of Dracula in both media, fiction and fact in one of Jonathan Ross’s specials where a baroness spoke of how great a hero Vlad Dracula actually was and how rightfully offended she was of various inaccuracies and the fact that this great man was turned into a successful horror story.
Some of the events in Draculas life seems more altered in this book than from the other sources too, for example, the incident where he killed a man’s wife and replaced her – from other sources it was said that she didn’t iron his clothes properly and that he was a soldier in Dracula’s army, this book claims he was a normal peasant and his wife got the length of the shirt wrong – so there are some questions about who is right or not.
I have no formal qualifications in anything of which I am saying, but I have read a lot and watched a lot of documentaries over the years about this great prince; I am also an amateur genealogist. I like reading books about wars and royal classes from the 11th to the 17th century and all over the world not just limited to Europe. I read and study these independently to assist me to write such things accurately in any fiction I write, I write a lot containing feudalism generally in many of my fantasy works.
I also educate myself on all kinds of superstitions around the world and so-called heathen beliefs, to again, make my worlds seem more real. I have studied the social sciences to help me further, though I gave up my undergraduate qualification when I found my illness and having a toddler very difficult to juggle with university studies.
By and large I try hard to learn about all things cultural and I think if you are making worlds that aren’t based on Earth or are based on an earlier time on Earth, you need to do the same thing too, otherwise everything will seem unreal to the reader.

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Mummy, you’re not a salad!

Listening to children can inspire more writing as they say the funniest and strangest things.

My son Henry is only five years old, yet he inspires me every time he talks to me. Yesterday I was having trouble getting Henry out of my bedroom in the morning whilst I got myself dressed, I chucked him out of my bedroom no less than six times, before he started to initiate a game with me; the game – he was Mr. Wolf and I was Miss Piggy and he was going to blow the bedroom door down and eat me up. I told Henry “It’s too early and I am not dressed yet”, to which he replied – “Mummy you’re not a salad, wolves don’t eat salad they eat little piggy’s”, which I must admit took me aback.

So always take advantage of communicating with children whenever you can, because they will inspire you, particularly for comedy and fantasy.

 

 

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The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

“The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch” was familiar to me in the sense that the scenery set was very alike to an old Hammer Horror movie I am very fond of called “The Vampire Circus”; though I am not suggesting that this story is a breach of copy-right, merely that the scenery was similar, for example; the movie was about a vampire count who fell in love with a local school-teacher and got her delivering her young pupils occasionally for his dietary needs, eventually she was discovered by her husband delivering a child and the vampire executed in the usual fashion and the woman outcast from the village. She was told formerly by the count that if they were ever discovered that she could contact a cousin of his on the other side of the country who were a traveling night time circus that advertises mesmerism; during the killing of the count, the count had threatened the lynch mob that if he should die, then so should all the children of the village. Many years past and the traveling night circus came and sought revenge for their cousin in the most innovative ways imaginable.

Some of their first victims were visitors of the circus; they entered a tent where they saw various acts and a hall of mirrors only for them never to return to their families alive. Though primarily the movie was about the circus seeking revenge, most of the other victims were seduced into giving up their lives, it was the burgomaster that died in the tent under suspicious circumstances; but because he was so incredibly fat, people presumed the fun and laughter of the hall of mirrors had caused him to succumb to a heart attack.

Similar acts happened in Neil Gaiman’s story, very captivating in more ways than one and a delight for me to read, particularly as not only was it so very similar to my most favorite Hammer Horror movie, but it was also read within a week of me finishing “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and “Emerald Star” by Jacqueline Wilson, which oddly enough have mesmerism and circus’s in their themes too – reading all was a fluke.

I do love stories that have carnival and circus themes to them, another story I read months before I read this Neil Gaiman classic was “The man in the picture” by Susan Hill.

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Carnival of Lost Souls

This is NOT my personal work http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carnival-Lost-Souls-Nox-Arcana/dp/B000FOT9EE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1436560945&sr=8-4&keywords=Nox+Arcana

A lot of my work comes about because of the thoughts that come to my mind when I listen to certain music; my inspiration changes with each kind of music I listen to, this is why I love instrumental music, particularly that from Nox Arcana.
I have all of their albums, they are essential for me to work effectively. Never before has a band affected me in such a way as Nox Arcana. Their music is exactly the kind of atmosphere I need to set my brain into for my work in fantasy and horror writing and art.

I might very well review each album or song separately someday, but the most listened to album for me is this one – Carnival of Lost Souls.

The amount of fantasy horror I’ve thought of. I have even thought about a comic series because of this music, this along with (sorry, something not Nox Arcana related) = The Honky Tonk Merry-go-round by Patsy Cline. Oh the things I have dreamt, thank you Nox Arcana, very much for this one. Johnny Depp is going to love you all the more if he ever reads my stuff and found out his new nightmares were inspired by you. *insert evil laugh here*.

Since I lost Cubase many moons ago, my computer isn’t hooked up with music composing software anymore (and I can’t read or write music, but I can play by ear and compose – with the software). My music was similar to Nox Arcana, that’s why I love it so much. I think the band must be within my soul group or something? Anyway, once I figured out how to configure my old Microsoft XP files onto my new computer (perhaps in Neverwhere) I will load up my old music and share it. Otherwise, if I really am in Neverwhere with that then my old music has been lost in the ethers of time forever. *Insert forlorn pierrot here*.

My creativity really is controlled by the type of music that’s around me at the time. In the times of no music, I tend to write flatly and that’s only suitable when I am writing non-fiction or essays.

Now being deaf, I rely heavily on vibrations, lip-reading and my two hearing aids and I am not looking forward to the day that my consultant said is in the near future, that I will lose my hearing altogether. Unfortunately at the time this was said to me, the consultant in question told me that there is nothing they can do to repair my hearing if the worst case scenario crops up, thankfully I know someone in the ENT department abroad who says that’s utter tosh. So fingers crossed that I will never lose my hearing completely.

I don’t know what I would do without my Nox Arcana!

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Erin Cooper, Artist and Friend.

The below links will take you to the work of a wonderful fantasy artist friend of mine, Erin Cooper from Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShadoWind?ref=pr_shop_more

http://www.zazzle.com/shadowind_erincooper

http://shadowind.deviantart.com/gallery/

She is the artist behind this websites banner and as you can see her skills in fantasy art are extensive, beautiful and an inspiration.

Erin is able to captivate any image I request of her for my work in more ways than one. In future, I hope that she would be considered as my illustrator for books I might have published – though I am an artist myself, Erin’s skills far outweigh my own.

I first found Erin online in a spiritual forum back in 2005 and we bonded almost instantly on so many levels, spiritually and artistically as well as forming a long-distance sisterly relationship that still goes on to this day.

We are each other’s rock and we have both been through so much together.

A lot of my writing and art wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Erin, purely because Erin is the first proper artist I’ve ever known (proper as in, have actually sold art). I say that a lot of my writing wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for her, because we talk online a lot about my stories – we talk like we are the characters to one and other and she helps feed me another point of view. This is something we have never tired of, to us, in our conversations, if we were ever overheard or read, people would think that the things we talk about are real and would probably have the both of us locked up.

It is hard to find someone like Erin who actually talks like this long-term with me. My husband Paul does this with me a lot too, and I used to have four other friends who would do this, but they got tired of it after so many years. Erin however, has made it her mission for my written worlds to be as real as the real world to her and this I thank her for.

Erin has helped me grow in confidence that I am capable of producing my own artwork, she has given me hints and tips and videos of how to sketch and paint effectively and even how to market my work on zazzle and etsy.

I highly recommend you contact Erin for commissions; she is very dedicated to her work and will work tirelessly to produce whatever work you desire from her, outside of her livery duties.

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