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Ok, so I’m a writer, but mostly I like to make pictures

So it has come to pass that I find myself wanting to update my resume and pictures and all that.   So here’s some sample illustrations in no particular order.  But I’m proud of them.  Logos, book covers, illustrations of this and that.  Oh yeah, and one time, I even made a coloring book.

RC-COVER-revised.jpg    Image3.jpg  WMT-Kindle-new.jpg

Official-Season-CMP.png      ring-it-up-sm-3D-reverse.png        Logo-New.png

Hallorans-Logo.png

coffey-banner.pngInR.png

Step_1.jpgStep_2.jpg     stained-glass.jpg

and so on.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Writer’s Block

Scene: Complete black. A scuffle is starting. The sounds of shuffling feet, and bumping around. After a moment voices, both young and old, male and female, some with foreign sounding accents, begin to speak in the darkness.
“Hey! That’s my foot!”
“No it isn’t, it’s my foot!”
“Who’s elbow is this! Get it out of my face before I bite it”
“I can’t see!”
“There’s no lights on, dumbass.”
“There’s no need for name calling…someone find the switch.”
“What be a switch?”
“The. . .who is that?”
“Who dared touch my –”
“OW!”
A sudden hollow sounding thud brings the voices to silence. There is a crack in the air, and an echoed voice says:
“Spot one.”
A single bright light comes from above to shine on a large black box – a crate with hinges on one side, and a large padlock on the other. The voices continue from inside the box:
“Did you hear that?”
“Someone’s out there”
“Hey! Is someone there?”
“Let us out!”
The box begins to rock, and shudder, the padlock banging against the latch. Again the voice from afar speaks:
“Crane up.”
A motor whirs into life somewhere off stage, accompanied by the rattling of chains being drawn across the floor and over the box. The box is lifted, swaying back and forth as the unseen crane lifts it higher above the nondescript floor.

“We’re moving!”
“Hold still!”
The whir silences, the chains jerk with the sudden loss of movement.
“What’s happened?”
“Get your elbow out of my ear!”
“Shh!”
“You shh!
The light circles the box, casting a beam of light on every corner.
“It’s scary in here.”
“Shh, sit with me, wee one.”
“Is that you?”
“Back in the bughouse after this one. Geez louise I can’t cop a break to save my ass. . .I SAID GET YOUR ELBOW OUT OF MY. . .”
The engine whirrs back to life with a new authority as the crane carries the black box to the left, then to the right, setting it swinging, swinging, in an ever growing arc.
“Oh no!”
“She. . . she can’t do it again!”
“But we’re not written yet!”
“Make her stop!”
The speaker cracks once more.
“Let it go.”
The box reaches its fullest arc, but instead of swinging back, it flies free of the tether, hurdling out to a black void of space.
* * *
“You can’t do it that way,” the lad argued.
“Why not? It’s my world. I can do anything I want in it,” I argued in reply.
“But, you can’t just. . . shove them off into space that way. It’s not right!”
I laughed. “You make them sound like real people.”
“Well? Aren’t they?” The look on his young face, was pitiful. By the droop in his jowls one would have thought he’d just been told that Christmas was cancelled.
“Real? No, darling. That’s why it’s called fiction. I can let them go.”
He stared, stricken. “No. You can’t. It’s. . . murder.”
“They’re not real.”
“They are too!”
“I made them all up!”
“You made them real for me.”
I had no reply.
“You made me care for them. Every one of them, and it’s not fair to just. . . toss them off into oblivion, locked up in some old black box that way.”
He was right, though I could not admit it to him. But did he realize how badly it hurt for me to gather them all and push them into the black box in the first place? Could he know what it was like for me to hear them crying out night after night while I slept? To hear them screaming to be brought back into the light, to be made flesh again? He couldn’t know what it was doing to me to know they were languishing in the box, while I struggled for a way to bring them back.
“What can I do about it?” I ask, helpless to keep the shaking from my voice.
“Let them play, mom. Open the lock.”
“But I’ve already sent them into space.”
“So. Isn’t it your universe?”
He’s so clever. I could smack him.
He grinned, producing a silver reel and a rod. “Go ahead. Cast.”
“What if I can’t catch them?”
“You don’t have to. They’ll catch you.”
* * *
“Hey, that’s my foot.”
“Shh! There’s. . . a light.”
“We be goin’ home!”
“Hold on. . .”
* * *
House lights up. . . and. . . Action.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

WordPress has changed, and I am confused

Why can’t I post directly from Word anymore? Not liking it.  Nope, not liking it at all.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

I can still hear you, quit yelling!

I know I’ve been away for a long time, and I feel fairly confident that this will not be read by a lot of people. Be warned, I’m about to rant – not an angry (well maybe it is) rant, but more of a frustrated rant.

For more years than I care to admit, I have been dealing with an ever increasing hearing loss. I admit, for a long time I ignored the issues, denied it, hid it, flat out didn’t believe it, and thought it would just not be an issue.

It became an issue.

I noticed I was missing conversations, not hearing when people were talking to me, not noticing how loudly the radio/tv/stereo was playing, speaking louder than I thought (so embarrassing), and on and on. I noticed a constant high pitched hiss in my right ear, a lower and less noticeable hiss on left, that never seemed to stop. It was loudest when the room was quiet. The hiss would sometimes include a ping, or sudden beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeng, followed by more hissing.

I did my diligent searches online, and self-diagnosed (later confirmed by a real doctor) that I have a chronic case of tinnitus. The cause? Could be anything from exposure to loud, percussive noise, high blood pressure, or aliens. The cure? Mostly folk remedies, lipoflavenoid (sic) pills (ghastly things with very unfortunate gastronomical side effects), white noise machines meant to mask the sound, avoidance of salty food. . . all tried, none very effective.

I was pretty well resigned to just live with it, after all it didn’t’ stop me from doing anything and was only a mild annoyance, right? I just ignored it. That is, until I realized while sitting in a very loud auditorium full of screaming kids and ear-splitting music, that even above all that clamor, the sound I heard loudest and clearest – the hiss.

Time to get to the audiologist.

I was given a battery of tests, auditory assaults, in both ears. I sat in a little glass booth with headphones while the technician sat outside sending random sounds at varying volume to each ear. I thought she was messing with me when she’d ask, “did you hear that?” and I KNOW there was nothing coming through the headphones. But once this happened, four or five times, and she wasn’t laughing and pointing at me, I figured that I really had missed some sounds coming in.

The test results were not entirely unexpected – the left ear is far more gone than the right.

“Are you going to fit me with some hearing aids?” I ask, eagerly, feeling as I would when I get new glasses and don’t have to squint anymore.

“Not yet,” she tells me, in a grim and serious tone, that I hear perfectly clearly.

I was sent to a specialist for confirmation of her suspicion. I have a very real condition called ottosclerosis, where stapes bone in my ear has become fused with the other little bones and doesn’t work anymore. I’m told it is degenerative, but treatable with surgery, or, if I prefer, hearing aids.

Having once gone through laser surgery to correct near-sightedness that only seemed to help me for a couple of years, I figure I’d skip the ear surgery and go with the hearing aids. In my mind, I equate glasses with hearing aids being as how both are necessary apparatus for me to function normally in society.

Well guess what, boys and girls. They are not considered equal in the eyes of the insurers. Hearing aids are not covered. Anywhere. Don’t ask me why, and don’t assume I’m wrong, because I am not. They are not covered.

So, I hold my nose and take out a line of credit specific to the audiologists and am fitted with $4,000 worth of uninsured amplifiers. When I put them in and turn them on for the first time, and hear the lovely little musical chime to tell me they are working, then the ‘pop’ as the rev into action, I am astounded. The hiss is silenced. I am thrilled with the sounds of my new world. I can hear my hair! Tapping on my keyboard is exciting. I hear the ticking of the kitchen clock (that I swore up and down that my husband was lying about). I. Could. Hear. Everything. And it was good.

For a while.

Here is the rant part.

Hearing aids eat batteries, batteries die and they stop working at awkward times, they get full of wax and stop working at awkward times, they get sweaty, they get smelly! They amplify everything.

It soon became apparent that I could hear more than I wanted to hear. The lights in the ceiling fixtures above my desk at work, for example, emitted a staticky buzz that I had never noticed before. I could hear every fan in the building, the drone of the heating unit, even the refrigerator that was at the other end of the building.

I heard all these things just fine. To the point where they were louder than the voices of the people I was trying to have a conversation with.

Back to the doctor for an adjustment. She tweaks and pokes at the settings, lowering the frequency generally associated with fans and vents. She tries various sounds, volumes, resets the right to be different from the left, ups the low tones and downs the highs until things start to sound right. I can hear the world in proper proportions again – and I can hear the hiss as well.

“Oh you’ll never have it all, this is the best it can be.”

So that is what I accept. At least they are paid for.

But now, I have moved to the other side of the country and need to find a new audiologist as a new twist has begun. The hiss has joined a band. Along with the ping and beeeeeeeeeng and ssssssssss there is now a clarinet. It plays constantly, four tones, over and over. It is so loud that I don’t fully believe my husband when he tells me he doesn’t hear it. It is driving me nuts, and the hearing aids do not quiet it.

Ah, well.

So, if you’ve stayed with me this long, please read the rest of the rant, and perhaps if you know someone with ottosclerosis you could please heed these requests (I believe them to be universal):

  1. It is really not funny when you mumble on purpose, then say WHAT?
  2. Hearing aids are not covered by insurance. If you are not going deaf and have never had to deal with it do not assume your friend is wrong or hasn’t looked hard enough. Trust me, they are not covered. And they are expensive.
  3. Cheap miracle ear things sold in the AARP catalog, or those ‘you can hear across the room’ listening things are the drug store equivalent to 4 dollar reading glasses. Yeah, they may help a little, but they are not PRESCRIPTION and are uncomfortable to wear. Don’t suggest them.
  4. Sometimes I have them off on purpose, for a reason. Respect that.
  5. There are not many ways to wear hearing aids and listen to headphones that are comfortable. There again, you may assume there are headsets and headphones specifically for hearing aid wearers, and you’d be wrong. Well, not entirely wrong, yes they exists, but are HORRIBLY EXPENSIVE and not always available.
  6. If you happen to put on my headphones to listen to music, and are alarmed at the volume and the fact that one side is twice as loud as the other, see number 5. My headphones are adjusted for me. Do. Not. FIX the balance.
  7. Stop thinking it’s funny.

     

     

    Here’s a few things I bet you never thought about, but I deal with every day.

     

    Closed captioning is a joke. I’m appalled at how bad it is. When it does keep up with the dialog on TV, often it is wrong. When it lags, it is confusing, and sometimes just drops in the middle of a sentence. It sensors out dirty words because you know, it’s ok to hear them, but not to read them. It spells shit wrong. (It also sucks that I can’t even SEE the closed captioning without my glasses, so putting the TV on to fall asleep is sorta useless.)

     

    It’s difficult to deal with anyone who must wear a mask – dentists, manicurists . . . over their mouths. Sometimes I can’t tell they’re even speaking, and it is embarrassing to keep asking them to repeat themselves, because I can’t see their lips moving.

     

    Hearing aids pick up static from EVERYTHING. If I drive under power lines, SNAP CRACKLE POP! walk past a neon sign at the mall, SNAP CRACKLE POP! Stand too near the microwave oven (as I the same room), SNAP CRACKLE POP! Shake the towels fresh out of the dryer. . . you get the idea.

     

    Talking on the phone is a new kind of hell. I have found that the only comfortable way is with the use of a speaker phone – which of course limits privacy greatly.

     

    So, there you have it. If you’ve wondered why I haven’t been wearing my hearing aids as often as I should, or why I don’t talk on the phone as much as I once did, or ask you to repeat yourself, please be kind. I’m just going deaf.

     

     

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

A Sneak Peek from “In the Wake of Ashes”

I’ve been hard at work polishing the manuscript of the third installment of the Fylbrigge Saga: In The Wake of Ashes. The book will be officially released for Kindle and Paperback on April 19. I thought I’d share a small excerpt.

This sample comes from the first chapter. William is overseeing the construction of his new home.

**Spoiler if you have not finished My Brother’s Keeper**

 

 

 

“I told you it would work.” Ian clapped William’s shoulder. “That was a fine bit of engineering you worked out.”

“He worked it out?” Simon scoffed. “It should have fallen afoul before it started, then.” He crossed his arms over his chest, grinning.

William turned the plans over in his hand and gave Simon a confounded look. “That’s odd. The peaks are pointing the wrong way, look.” He held the upside-down plan out to Simon.

Simon burst into laughter then shook William’s hand heartily. “Congratulations, Will. ‘Twill be a fine home.”

“Thank you.” William rolled up the plans and took another gander at his masterpiece. “I’m as surprised as you are, Simon. It’s better than I expected. I’m amazed that the frame is finished so quickly.”

“It isn’t finished yet.” Ian shook his head, looking to Simon. “Is it, Simon?”

“Why, no, Ian.” Simon stroked his chin thoughtfully. “There’s something missing.”

William gave Ian and Simon a suspicious look. He unrolled his plans to see what could possibly be missing. “What are you two talking about?” he asked.

Ian winked at Simon with a grin. “Won’t be finished without that last touch, will it?”

“Not at all,” Simon answered.

“All right, what are you two up to?” William rolled his plans again.

“Why, the blessing of the bough, of course.” Ian extended a hand to the peak.

“The bough?” William looked where Ian pointed. As part of the construction preparation, a large iron arm, with a pulley on the end protruded from the peak. A rope had been threaded through, and was attached to a workman’s bench, meant for hoisting building materials. “What bough?”

Ian gave William a mischievous smile, then nodded a signal to Ephraim Ashcrofte, the new vicar, and Charles Blackwood, the blacksmith of the village, who were sitting on the grass nearby, both wearing the same look of smug conspiracy. They stood and went to the workman’s bench and set it across two barrels. Charles held up the evergreen branch that, as part of the traditional builder’s blessing, would be attached to the peak of the frame and remain there throughout the rest of the construction. Ephraim held up a hammer.

“So…who is to place the bough then?” William asked, with a slight sense of trepidation.

“The bough is always placed by the master of the house, of course.” Simon said, resting a hand on William’s shoulder.

“What?”

Before he could protest, Ian and Simon flanked William, and lifted him off his chair, each taking one arm and leg, and carried him to the workman’s bench and sat him down.

“You’re not serious…” William laughed, looking back and forth at his friends, “are you?”

“Aye.” Ian and Simon spoke together, as they handed him a long length of rope.

“Strap yourself good, lad, you’re going up,” Ian said with a comical seriousness in his eyes.

“Absolutely!” William grinned, as he wrapped the rope back and forth around the bench and across his lap as many times as the length would allow. He looked up to Ian, then to the peak. “It is safe. Right?”

Ian leaned close to William, “Yes, but if you don’t want to do it, tell me. Truly, Will, it’s up to you.”

William looked again at the peak, thinking it over. “How high is it?” he asked quietly.

“It’s a bit more than twenty feet to the ground from up there,” Ian said, still speaking quietly. “If you like, I’ll go with you, if you’re afraid,” he offered.

William grinned, and raised a brow. “Afraid?” He took the hammer from Ephraim. “I think not. Hoist me, lads!”

The men around him cheered as Charles handed William the evergreen bough. It was no more than a yard in length and an inch in diameter. William threaded it under the rope on his lap, along with the hammer.

“Ready?” Ian asked, as he checked the safety rope.

William wrapped his left arm around one of the supporting ropes. “Ready.”

Slowly, Simon pulled the rope hand over hand, lifting the bench toward the peak.

Twenty feet to the ground. Twenty feet? For a moment William had an odd feeling he’d heard someone tell him that before, then the thought passed as finally he reached the peak of the frame. He glanced down to the ground. Wrong thing to do. He closed his eyes for a moment to steady a strange trembling that began worming its way from the pit of his stomach up through his chest. Fine time to discover that I’m not fond of heights. Just hammer the bough, and be done.

“You’re doing great, Will!” Simon called up from the ground.

“Just drop it in now,” Ephraim added his encouragement.

William tightened his grip on the support line, then reached for the bough with his free hand and slid it out from under the rope. A U-shaped bracket had already been placed in the beam, and all he had to do was slide one end of the bough into it, then give it one or two taps with the hammer and he would be done. Easy enough. Just hold on tight and lean out a bit—

“William!” Mehlyndia cried out, “What are you doing?”

William jolted, violently, as the sound of her voice startled him, and for one, terrifying moment, he was certain he was going to fall off the bench. His brief panic was echoed by a chorus of startled gasps from below him that quickly settled. He clutched the support rope as tightly as possible, and took a long breath, then looked down, nodded to the people that all was well, then looked to where Mehlyndia’s voice had come from. She was running toward the construction from the cottage. Elinor and Prissy, with Seany in tow, ran close behind. Ian ran to meet Mehlyndia half way, and stopped her from getting any closer. She argued with him for a moment, a mixture of panic and anger on her face. Oh, I’ll catch it from her later, I’m sure. Elinor caught up to them and put a motherly arm on Mehlyndia’s shoulder.

“Be careful!” Mehlyndia called up to William as Elinor persuaded her to sit in the shade. “That’s a long drop!” She settled on a rock beneath a large oak tree and watched him through her fingers.

“I’m always careful.” William answered, forcing a smile he hoped appeared more confident than he was feeling after being startled. When he turned his attention back to placing the bough, he discovered, to his dismay, he would have to lean out farther than he expected to reach the bracket. He instinctually wrapped his left wrist one more time around the support rope, which tightened, almost painfully so, as he leaned out, holding the bough with is right hand. Another strange echo flashed in his head, the drop is twenty feet to the floor. He froze, bough midway to the bracket, as the tremble in his middle made its way to his hand. Ground, not floor, there’s no floor under me. It’s the ground.

“Will?” Ian called up, from directly under the bench. “Is something wrong?”

William did not answer. He sat still as a stone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stat tuned!

 

 

©2013 All rights reserved: Lorrieann Russell

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

How to Not Frustrate a Writer

They don’t mean to do it. They don’t even know that they’re doing it. They will deny they did it when confronted.

I’m talking about readers who frustrate the hell out of writers with nit-picks, corrections and ‘helpful’ suggestions on how the plot of the next book should go. Now, make no mistake, I am not implying that reader feedback is a bad thing by any means. It is a fact that we writers crave it and will go out of our way to solicit thoughtful (hopefully positive) critique of our body of work.

What we do not covet are demands to change the plot, change the character’s name or motive, change the period, venue or title.

We know you readers are a demanding bunch, and we always steer with one eye toward the horizon of public acceptance. But the fact of the matter is that you are just passengers on this ship and we, the writers, are the captain, crew and harbor masters.

So, here is how not to frustrate a writer:

  • Be willing to suspend your belief.
    • Just because you have a degree in the history of the invention of the match and candle wick, and you know that they were not widely used until March of 1607, yet the character is shown striking a match in February of that year, is no reason to stop reading and write a long and nasty letter to the author for not getting that bit right. The character struck a match. . . move on.
  • Don’t read a work of fiction for absolute historical accuracy.
    • That’s what historians are for. Believe it or not, sometimes fiction writers invent places, and people who do things that never happened. This is why it is called fiction.
  • Don’t assume it is the author’s responsibility to change a story to be the way you want it to be because you have access to on-line petitions and FaceBook groups demanding you re-write something.
    • Generally, the author writes a body of work to please exactly one reader – the author. We writers don’t expect everyone to like everything we write. But chances are if we enjoy the story, a few others will too.
    • Take the opportunity to be inspired and write your own story! It may turn out to be a best seller, and we’ll be happy for you.
  • Don’t send us suggestions for plot points, re-writes, sequels ect. . . unless we ask for them.
    • Nothing kills the creative process quicker than trying to force a story into someone else’s shape of how it should go.
  • Don’t assume we are flattered by your fan fiction based on our work.
    • Yes, I acknowledge that fan fiction does exist, and there are many people who think of it as the highest tribute one could pay to their favorite authors. It really isn’t. Most authors do not want their ‘children’ stolen. I do encourage you to take your creativity and write something all your own. For that matter, write all the fan fiction you want, just do not make it public.
  • Please don’t write a review condemning (or praising for that matter) a book if you have not actually read it.
    • This should be a no-brainer, yet I feel compelled to mention it. Hollow praise, and ‘it’s good, you’ll like it’ sort of reviews do not help us grow. Conversely, condemnation of our body of work based solely on the fact you don’t like our politics or religious overtones does little but demonstrate your own biases.
  • Please don’t ask us to teach you everything we know about writing so you can write like we do.
    • It is flattering, but honestly, we learned from reading other people’s works. You can to.

And the most important way to avoid frustrating a writer is to read. READ READ READ their work, comment thoughtfully. If you do not enjoy the work, it is still possible to comment respectfully.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized